Monthly Archives: January 2021

The phrase “train wreck” now seems to apply more to people and situations than trains. Early in my restaurant days a manager used it to describe the trail of maple syrup I’d negligently created that went all the way from the host stand to the dish pit. What a mess!!



My former co-worker at Samaritan Health/Patient Financial Services, June Hall Allen, and I were texting each other on Facebook Messenger. I had just finished my Dolly Parton portraits but had not posted them yet, and I invited June to a sneak preview. When she saw them she was lavish with her praise, and then asked me if I could draw a manatee. I told her truthfully that I can draw anything…badly. (True. It only takes a split second to draw a Galaxy. Just use your pencil to make a dot, say it’s a DISTANT Galaxy, and that the dot is a perfect representation of its radio emissions.) But I decided to give it a try, and I did, and June lavished more praise on me and wanted to buy it for $80 (and WOW, that’s putting your money where your Lavish Praise is, June!) but I of course refused monetary payment for such a sweet praise-lavishing friend of more than twenty years, and asked instead to blog-post it, and here we are.

2021 0129 manatee

At the risk of making people see something they will not be able to unsee, I daresay that a Manatee would be perfect for a reincarnation of Bert Lahr.


making waves be habitat
makes a wavy life at that

and there is a give & take
and warm water sets you free

now you’re swimming and awake
nothing like a chance to Be

Another Bad Pun Brain Teaser today. Here is the contest, and the response, as it appears now on my Samsung laptop:

2021 0128 bpbt dolly

Scott and Jess are frequent flyers with my contests, and frequent winners. So this time I made an Executive Decision:

WOW, that didn’t take long. Scott, multi-Bad Pun winner, has the correct answer. Jessica, multi-Bad Pun winner, has THREE brilliant answers, and the Judges say they would accept at least two of them, the left one and the right one.

What am I going to do with you two brilliant people? I don’t want to discourage you, but I do want to give ordinary mortals a chance. So here’s the deal: henceforth, you two must WAIT TO POST a minimum of ONE HOUR. As soon as you get the answer, write it down and take a time-stamped pic, so if you both get it the prize will go to the first.

Meanwhile, I’ll try to come up with harder Bad Pun Brain Teasers. Truly, I am in awe!

Oh, the Judges would also have accepted “River Deep, Mountain High,” and, if Dolly were wearing too tight a bra, “PLEASE Release Me, Let Me Go.”
ETA on the two Dollies is three days or so. I want to do them justice.

One more acceptable answer–blinding flash of the obvious from Yours Truly–“Hello, Dolly.”

And here is what Scott will receive in the mail in a couple of days:

2021 0128dolly01

And this one’s for Jess:

2021 0128 dolly02

Congratulations to the brilliant Winners!!

Today my daughter and I finished watching “Queen’s Gambit” while eating Hawaiian Barbecue. It was a thrilling story with a deeply satisfying ending, a joy to watch. But it’s not why I am posting this. I have Kate’s kind permission to post our text exchange from when she asked me if lunch were a go to just before I arrived where she lives. This holographic blog would not be complete without a record of the way my daughter and I interact. And Hallelujah that we do, the way that we do. She truly is the child I always wanted. (Note: text was copied from a Gmail message to myself and for some reason it stapled the thumbnail of years-ago myself and a little ancillary text to the dialog. Please ignore.)


text for blog postInbox

Kate: Lunchtime okay?
Dad: Woo hoo!!! Better than OK! You want Hawaiian?

Kate: Hawaiian sounds great!
Dad: Lovely. What would the ideal time be for deliviies?

NOTE: In 1998 there was a family reunion in Lakewood, California. Joni, Kate and I stayed at a hotel. Visible from our window was a sign on a restaurant that proudly proclaimed “WE MAKE DELIVIIES!” So “deliviies” is an inside joke.

Kate: Noonish?
Dad: Good! Appreciate the Ish. Vagaries of PubTrans, yknow…

Kate: I expect lunch at 12:03:51, not a jiffy sooner or later.
Dad: Fuck!!
Dad: I am so Effed

[Kate sends a GIF of Captain America scoldingly saying “Language!”]
Dad: But OK, Cap. Love ya. Would Joni want some?

Kate: I don’t fucking know, I’ll ask. 😛
Dad: Chuckle out loud.
Dad: Please rext your household’s order by 11:30.
Dad: Text it, too.

Kate: She says no, she doesn’t really care for it. I like the #4.
Dad: Okey dokey.

Kate: See you noonish. 🙂
[Exchange of Thumbs Ups]

Kate: At least I think it’s still #4. The Hawaiian BBQ mix if numbers fail me.
Dad: BBQ mix it is. Love you, Daughter

Kate: Love you too, Father.
Kate: I suggest you bundle up before you leave. Heat is pretty nonexistent in the house.
Dad: Will do, thanks. Leaving now.

[Thumbs Up from Kate]
Dad: Got hailed on with the vitest little hail. Just got on the bus.
Dad: *cutest

Kate: Aww. Door will be unlocked when you get here.
Dad: Thank you, mija.
Dad: Just missed the train, gosh darn heck gee whizzers. I will be latish.
Kate: Glad you are sufficiently bundled, then.

Here in Phoenix, Arizona, snow is exceedingly rare. Today we saw that rarity.


For the first time in a long lifetime, mostly in the Valley of the Sun, I was able to make a snowball with Phoenix snow. I put this one in my freezer.


I posted it on Facebook, and a friend asked me if I could make a Snow Angel. I told him I could make a tiny one with my fingers, Then I did this.


Conclusion: Magic is a rarity, and vice versa.


The five Joneses, in no particular order, are Tommy Lee Jones, John Paul Jones, Davy Jones, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, and Davy Jones. By far the most fascinating life of the Joneses goes to Jeffrey Catherine. She was not wearing a monocle in the photo i used as source, but I needed an eye-magnifier to catch her arresting gaze.

How this came to be: Yesterday I wrote a poem whose protagonist, receiving bad employment news, got a bit sloshed and decided to spend the four idle days making five amazing portraits and falling out of love. Though I am not myself the poem’s protagonist, I will own that I did get a little sloshed yesterday in the interest of the poem’s verisimilitude. 🙂 How amazing these portraits are is your call, not mine, dear Reader. To my eye they all miss the Amazing mark, some more widely than others. (I will give the Davy Jones Monkee sketch an honorable mention for sheer economy. Zoom in on it and you will see that the illusion of detail disappears snd it becomes lines and blobs, and not many at that. Placement of features turned that trick. It took about thirty seconds to draw.) But the poem’s protagonist did say it was an intention and not a promise.

2021 0124 nes171

What this quasi-fable is really about is the way we magnify things. I plowed a little of this ground in one of my earliest blog posts, but another peek through the magnifying glass couldn’t hurt.

Did a fly affect the 2020 United States Presidential election? Is it really a good idea to put a marriage proposal on the Jumbotron? Is Bernie Sanders still the same guy he was before his seated mittened image got ubiquitized? What does all this say about us?

Once Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman were having dinner, and Hoffman asked Sir Larry what lit him up as far as acting goes, and (if memory serves; I’ve been trying to find the Hoffman interview and so far no dice) Olivier said, “My dear boy, it’s like this…” and he gently grabs Hoffman by the back of the neck and pulls him till they’re eyeball to eyeball and continues, “Look at me, look at me, look at me.

Scrutiny has gotten screwier and screwier lately. I don’t envy people in the spotlight. Skilled editors would be able to take all the raw video footage of my life and make two intensely entertaining movies, one that would make me look like a Hero, the other like Hellspawn. Dear reader, how about you?