And Gutenberg Lived Here: You Can Sit And Do Nothing, And The Grass Will Also Grow- But You Will Never Get A Lawn.

Last night was one of those moments

you just wish would go on forever

and forever

and forever.

Three musicians,

sixty-ish to eighty-ish,

took to the stage,

had immediate control over a crowd of over twelve hundred,

changed the expectant atmosphere to intent silence,


No, it wasn’t the Stones.

Or the Beach Boys.

It was…

An Englishman, A New Yorker, And a Scotsman.

Trained by Benny Goodman,

Duke Ellington,

and the Dorseys-

Bruce Adams,

the top trumpeter in Scotland for many years

(and still is as far as I can tell)

Roy Williams,

an eighty year old plus Englishman who can make a trombone cry,

and the public even more.

And Ken Peplowski,

a top top clarinetist,

star of the Newport Jazz Festival,

who had to change to sax because he was competition for Benny Goodman.

These three,

and a beautiful younger English lady,

Denise Goodman,

who learned her amazingly singing style in Harlem,

and a Jamaican Baptist church,


and sang

three hours of incredibly hard licks-

(at one point, the trumpeter put the mute over his face

like an oxygen mask.)

the music of


Ella Fitzgerald,

the Dorsey Brothers.

(And amazing jazz vocals-

from In The Garden,

to a marvelous comic piece I had never heard,

called “chicken”

“take a tip from Shakespeare- a chicken is just a bird”

And all topped with a skyward glance

and an honest thanks to God that she, Denise,

could be there that night with the others,

the music topped all expectations.

This is one of  our traditional nights of joy each year-

the October Friday Night

when three Frankfurt lawyers and businessmen-

the Barrelhouse Jazz Band,

who started playing together as young students-

are invited,

along with their younger

very brilliant

rhythm group,

by the fervent and huge jazz club

of a very small village in the middle of the prairie,

to come and play-

and bring along anyone they wish-

all expenses paid.

Fans for years,

and used to excellence,

including Winston Marsalis’ fantastic trombone player doing St. James


Last night still topped,

for me,

all expectations.

Raised on the music of the jazz clubs in Saint Louis-

the yearly tours of the  greats of the Preservation Hall jazz band,

and the live Dixie of the riverboat bands,

as the paddlewheelers arrived,

cradled in the beauty of real gospel,

sung by real believers,


to me

was coming home.

(And we even got to sing along-

good strategy-

the others good-naturedly forced the clarinetist to sing)

And I learned more than a few things I had never,

or seldom-


even after all my years on a stage-

rapt attention to what the others,

even the youngest beginners,

were doing,


raising the praise level for another performer.

Positive tips-

at one point,

the trombonist walked over and convinced the guitarist to turn up

the volume and take three-

Boy, was he was right.

This happens only occasionally where I have worked,

usually among the best,

but these were the best of the best.

They didn’t have to do it.

But they did.

Ie traveled from NY, England, and Scotland

at sixties to over eighty years old,

worked three hours  plus,

gave their all,

and their absolute best,

and watched the crowd go home happy.

And singing.

Because they are pros.

And because they are trained to absolute discipline

and to shrugging off,

by laughing,

what is happening on stage-

Mikes not on,

drums too loud,

a brilliant pianist

who never works with glasses,

and had to find a pair when they gave him unknown sheet music-

he was great-

and best of all:

no idea of the free-flowing line-up-

“You wanna do A-train?”

“Fine with me?”

“In F?”

Then a quick turn to the audience-

“F o.k. with you all?”

F was definitely o.k. with us all.

And then,  of course,

the final moment-

when the founders,

also seventy to eighty-

who had worked the first half of the program,

then signed programs,

given interviews,

overseen the recording,

returned to the stage for double soloist versions of the final numbers.

And to pick up the traditional fringed umbrella,

and instruments,

and lead a final circle around the hall.

March style.

One final time.

After they had done their final circle the year before.

And the year before that.

And this time,


the final number

was “rock around the clock.”

Free style.

It takes real conditioning,

and hard work,

and planning,

and just plain joy of living

to do that.

At that level.

And that age.

See you next year, guys.

copyright Dunnasead. co 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Day Of The Other Triffids

Last night Harold and I went to bed swearing we

would neither stay up,

nor get up for,

nor listen to

“the great debate-”

part three.

We didn’t.

But at three am,

we were awake.


Or the neighbors downstairs listening to,

and fighting about,

the great debate.

(Germans are absolutely MAAADDD

for every little detail about Dilary.

Or Honold,

whichever way you see it.

But then they are mad for ALL kinds of politics.

In fact, I once had this idea that if we ran a kangaroo

for the socialists-

because he has deep pockets,

and a crocodile for the Christian democrat/Christian socialists-

the rightists-

because …..

So anyway,

trying to get back to sleep,

I realized that:

what had woken me was not the noise,

but the super-moon,

a giant orange and yellow pumpkiny thing in the sky

about the level of our bedroom window,

and lighting the place up like klieg lights,

and secondly that the noise wasn’t the neighbors tv,

they were on the balcony on the other side-

telephoning someone.

Probably about the debate.

Which left only one possibility:

the Sirians had landed.

In a burst of orange circulating light,

accentuated by the big pumpkin,

which definitely,

(now that I was just the tiniest bit awake,

the rational lobe of the brain started a tap dance-

to me and my shadow-

while it shoved old computer cards

into ancient pigeon holes of all the things I might have seen or done,



it wasn’t the police,

who flash blue and use bar lights,

the fire department,

ditto in red,

the emergency squad,

who use red with squealers.

No, said my overused and over-tired brain,

it was definitely aliens.


And with that, brain went to sleep.

Leaving me with mere passing whiffs of thoughts of:

maybe it was something to do with the chem lab at the u-

visible from the bathroom window-


(I checked)

the physics lab?

visible from my work room?


The video recorder set to record something

but with the tv left on by mistake,

thus leaving lots of room for noise?

Not a chance.

It was orange.

It was loud,

with a kind of thumping sound

ka thunk ka thunk

followed by a kind of whirring sound,

vriiiinnng …vriiiinnng …vriiiinnng

And it was definitely orange.

And had spinning lights.

And small people-like creatures,

in silver and orange suits.

It was at that moment,

that I recognized,

through the fog,


the garbage truck had come on the wrong day,

and at three am, no less.

They do that sometimes,

when they want to work double shifts,

or get off early.

Or so I have been told.

I usually am ASLEEP

at that time.

So there I was.

Brain asleep.

Triffids disappearing in the fog

taking all possibility of the id joining it with them,


At precisely that moment,

from the distant living room,

just past the bathroom,

with its summoning ear plugs,

and the kitchen,

with its summoning milk and cookies,

the tv recorder went on.

It was Donald and Hillary.


The aliens were back.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Day Of The Peppermint Astronaut.

It’s cold here.

Cold cold cold.

White skies.

A sharp chill in the air.

Sharp like apples taken from a fridge are sharp.

And cold.

Not that we weren’t expecting this, here in Gutenberg Land.

The Christmas deco

and marzipan,

often called marchepane in English,

a candy made of ground almonds and powdered sugar

and shaped into small animals, and religious figures,

have been in the stores for months.

(The chocolate St Nicks started arriving

as soon as the store was cool enough that they didn’t melt.)

(And some of them even before)

In fact, it is so cold here,

even the dog chocolate has arrived.

(Special small white candy drops,

about the size of M and Ms,

that smell like dog-tempting choc,

but don’t contain things to hurt your dog.)


actually our huge Canadian Airedale Mugg was far too discriminating,

in a dog of the world way,

to be fooled by such nonsense-

she actually sniffed and walked away from dog chocolate,


she couldn’t pass anything with peppermint without taking a big bite-

from tinfoil wrapped mints,

(she prefers Menthos

and English strong mints,

and once drank a small bottle of peppermint oil)

so that, after a while, we just gave up

and tried to keep things in closed glass jars.

(So far, she hasn’t figured out how to unscrew a large Jiffy Jar…

but hey, who knows…

in time….)

Which was probably why we had gotten lazy

in the perpetual battle of

don’t eat the neighbors’ peppermint vines,

so that when she was left alone for a moment,

with an unfortunately open bottle of peppermint schnaps-

friends had brought it,

so we gave them some.

Meaning there was most of a bottle left over.

Which she carefully poured onto the table.

(And no one can tell me a dog who lands the booze puddle

in the one place it won’t go off onto the floor before she licks it clean,

didn’t plan it.

Especially since this is the dog that carefully closes the refrigerator door

to the ice-maker

so she doesn’t get caught stealing ice cubes-

Her favorite four o’clock snack-

Yes, four.

Which is probably why we once found four wrist-watches

in a pile under the dining room table.

Next to her dog dish.

(No, we don’t normally keep it there.))

So anyway,

this time,

Mugg found the peppermint.

Poisonous green-looking thick syrup,

with small green flecks.

Guaranteed to turn your tongue bilious

so bilious you would wash it with a washcloth,

if you could figure out how to use one.

Which may be why we found Mugg in the bathroom,

in a huge heap of toilet paper, thank heavens.


On her back.

All four paws holding the bottle.

For her to lick.

Since it was now empty,

since she had apparently rolled it into the bath.

Which bottle she then carefully pushed away,

rolled on her side,

struggled to her feet,

all four paws going in different directions,

And never, either before or since,

have I seen a dog that sick.

Although she did prove that,

even bilious,

she had the right stuff to become an Arfstronaut-

perhaps even the first dog to go to Venus,

since she survived the centrifuge-

that test where you turn in a circle fifty times,

in her case, probably chasing her tail,


being an Airedale,

was too short to chase.

Which meant that she,

being an Airedale,

simply turned,

and turned,

and turned,

and looked at us reproachfully,

And threw up.



Which meant

the 397th visit to the vet,

by this time a dear personal friend,

since we had basically paid for his new car,

and a true aficionado

of the “what did she do this time school.”

Hey, even dog-lovers have to sleep sometime.

(As for the vet, he always swore he would publish her up in a medical journal one day-

This is for you, Dr. S.)

Oh, and as to Mugg?

She’s fine.

Although, after what she went through,

(maybe she just likes milk and bread as an antidote?

And all the extra attention?)



Mugg is now permanently TPT

total peppermint temperance,

meaning we no longer have to explain to the vet

that despite the fact that we hid all peppermint things behind the laundry soap,

she had still found the breath mints,

and eaten them all.

With tinfoil wrapper.

Like our first visit.

Or watch her turn in a circle on the backseat of the car,

like the last.

No, this is one Airedale who has apparently learned her lesson.


what I can’t figure out,

for the life of me,

is why she now spends her time

dragging chili mix packets

through the kitchen.

Maybe because it’s cold here?

Cold, cold, cold?

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Not

It’s Monday morning here in Gutenberg Land.

Time to report all the newest on the weekend Gutenberg scene.



I find that formulation so bizarre,

I sometimes play with it.

Like to describe what I did with my long awaited long-weekend  vacation.

As in:


Nobody dead,

Like in tv movies.

And nobody dead at a country house murder game,

Like in the classic murder mysteries.

(I am reading one of the first Martha Grimes,

to get a perspective on

(well-deserved, in my opinion)

grand masters,


they that carry the small jeweled scimitar shaped dagger.

Boy, don’t mess with them

if you meet up at a Bouchercon.)

And don’t wear long hair.

The rule of thumb is a giant hat

with demonstrative hat pin,

and preferably with a veil,

if you can walk into a discussion room in one.

(Sorry, I’m a little touchy since one of the biggest names in mystery fiction

once asked me if with all that long hair I could play more than three chords

on the guitar.

(Actually about twelve instruments, but,

I have to admit,

she IS a grand master.)

(Not Martha Grimes, by the way)

(If you haven’t been to a Bouchercon, go)

So anyway,

since I was,

on the weekend,


as in:

not here in Gutenberg Land,

What DID happen,

in this case of the

more or less


is that

we got a last-minute call from some cousins,


bless their hearts,

we will never forget it,

had collected the last bits of junk

that had to be removed and stored,

before we could sell my husband’s ancient family house.

And I couldn’t do

after I had a car wreck

and couldn’t drive for a while.

Again, and since they are very active,

but still over seventy,

bless you both.

So there we were,

weekend off,

being reasonable and adult

(I want a weekend off some time)

riding through the incredible beauty

of the multi-colored fall leaves

of the Hunsrück mountains,

a stony, traditionally not very fruitful area,

(think pine trees, not corn)

populated by kind, warm-hearted (pig-headed) people


by a freak chance of mother nature,


and now mine


and gemstones,

and make their living trading,



and setting.

And since the tourist season is now finally over,

we had the place to ourselves:

long walks in the hills,

alongside small brooks,

a supper of potato specialties,

the main crop here,

and home-brewed beer

in a small inn,

and the next day a discussion of gemstones

with some very bored

and brilliant,

gem designers,

about who they sell to,

what the state of the local economy is,

ie good,

even though most of the cutting is being done cheaply in foreign countries.

The trick is,

that the worse the political situation in the world is,

the more gemstones are sold.

And our political situation,

and the Brexit,

have people half-way around the world buying gemstones again.

Which makes me wonder what the queen is now keeping

in that small safe

in the Corgies’ quarters.


copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Buoy Bells And Ancient Manuscripts

Yesterday was a special day for Harald and I.

So we chucked everything,

took a day off,

and went to one of our favorite places:


Alta Villa.

Right on the water,

the city of roses,

and where Gutenberg “retired.”

Ie, toward the end of his life,

he was broke.

As he always was,


he was more than a bit of a pirate type,


he had lost his press,

the printing press he invented,

numerous times,

(in those days, printing was the black art-

ie the holy word not written by monks)

had to flee several times:


due to a plague epidemic that shut down the city,

loading  everything on a wagon

and sneaking out in the middle of the night,

to hide out in the south.

And spread the black art there-

from whence it spread-




all over the continent.

But it was still the black art.

And since there was no patent office in those days,

and you had to rely on the bonhomie,

and hopefully Protestantism,

of local princes,

he ended up,

at the end of his life,

more or less without a sous,

and was, politically correct for those times,

fobbed off

with a small yearly pension

for life,

and a spot in a cloister.

In Eltville.



about eleven am,

the wind howled,

the gorgeous fall leaves swirled,

the boats and barges plied their trade,

carrying coal and passengers up the river,

the teachers,

on fall holiday,

or oldies,

enjoying a short couple of days vacation

in the golden sunshine,

all wandered through the world-famous castle rose gardens,

visited the fantastic church,

and the tower of saint Florian,

patron saint of fires.

(I wonder if he does firewalls)

before gathering

in the only spot apparently open that day,

a marvelous pier cafe,

the 511,

in a beautiful old building that looks like a small church,

that has been in the same family hands for eleven generations.

And the youngest,

looking about twenty,

were doing a marvelous job of it.

Hot grog and black coffee in all forms,

and waterfront specialties-

it is mussel season here,

and masses of pumpkin specialties-

from soup to casseroles.

Live with the season,

fare well,

is the local motto here.

Which we definitely did yesterday,

spending several hours wandering the Rhine paths,

prompted by the timelessness of it all,

and the stillness of the gently splashing water,

and car-lessness,


sudden lack of cares and problems.

We strode as Gutenberg must have,

and the monks he lived with,

enjoying every minute of our timelessness day,

thinking of the many blessings we have

and how good it is that we are both healthy

and together.

And that this is a moment I will definitely fold and put away in my memory box.


copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Jellied Eel And Hot Dog School Of Politics

Every couple of weeks,

a group of us Gutenbergers,

mostly ex-pat,

but also local English speakers,

some of whom are VERY good at the language,

meet up with,


those from that other state capitol on the other side of the Rhine,

(which shall remain nameless

for the protection of those of the lineage of the

very tall and square Germanic purveyors

to the vacation homes

of the crowned heads of Europe-


they who don’t really wish to be recognized as

crossing the river to meet with-

again gasp-

those  small round very Asterix celtic types,

who are primarily farmers,

or work in entertainment,

like the second national tv,

the University,

0r the university clinic-

(there is no university in that “other” town,

which stresses its elegance by


in pronunciation,

on the “bath” part

of its name-


a city so royal,

that Dostoyevsky-

he who lost his shirt in the local casino

while “taking the sulphur waters” in the local spa

with the rest of the rich and famous-

had the narrator of his novel The Gambler

call it Roulettenburg.)

(Harald always finds it amusing that the state tax office is in

Dostoyevsky street)

They who know no fun.

As opposed to the good old boys of Gutenberg City,

which is known Europe-wide

for the locals’ talent to party with the best of them.

Especially at carnival time.

(ie Mardi Gras, for any Yanks reading this)

And here,

as an honorary Gutenberger,

with regard to the “Roulettenburg, we’ve got it, you ain’t”


I have to add “nyah nyah nyah.”

(You have to or they pull your green card)

So anyway,

now that all the gods of ancient history and funny squabbling

with neighbors are appeased,

back at our little “do:”

so there we were,

several tables full of left Rhine,

right Rhine,

Island in the Rhine,

Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina,

London, Paris, Hong Kong, and all points east, west, and

otherwise on the globe,

all looking out the huge picture window at the gorgeous

park-like atmosphere,

all munching vegetarian and salad specialties,

or not,

ie wild boar hotdogs and wild mushrooms,

depending on whether you are from Gutenberg City,

or WiesBADEN…


and trying to avoid the obvious questions-

all political,

that are usually in full vocal roar,

in this season of Dillarity-

or is it Honald-

and Brexit,

vs Fixit,

and Mommy (the German name for Angela Merkel,)

and her new forty-year old slightly aggressive to say the least,

female chancellor rival,

by the time the first beverages arrive.

Thus, there we were,

looking for an alternative,

any alternative…


on this particular night,

somehow ended up as:

hot dogs.



As in:

wild boar, chicken healthy, massively greasy and fried with onions,


or Turkish-

big over here.

And then, of course,

Do Americans eat boar?

(They must. They all hunt surely? )


I only hunt bargain minnestrone

at the local health-food store.

And then it hit me:

wouldn’t that be an alternative to the political scene?

They bore you, you stick an apple in their mouths.

At which point we had to explain the three forms of boar, bore,


and ended up trying to explain the political significance of hotdogs.


In Illinois, the worst form of hotdog,

for you and your health,

is the left-overs from a local


luncheon meat and catfood making


served with large soft sugary hotdog bun,


chili, cheese, onions, and pickle relish.

It, of course, tastes fantastic.

Especially at a ball game.

(Go Cards)

By the way,

the way they decide where you are from dialectically over here

at Gutenberg U’s linguistic department,

is the word hot dog:

hat dag, hot dog, hawt dawg, you get the picture.

(My home city says hot dauug- they asked if they could test me.)

In Chicago, add sauerkraut, Polish dogs, huge deli-pickles,

catsup, mustard, and

sometimes horseradish.

If your tongue doesn’t fall off, you haven’t done it right.

Which, of course, led to the question of how you eat all of that.


take thumb and first finger,

grab a clean end section of the bun,

flip it up gingerly,

use the solidity of the dog

to push the rest of the bun-moosh into your mouth,

slide the dog down,


As opposed to hamburgers,

which have to be grabbed with both hands,

flipped on their heads,

squished together,

and demolished before the filling falls out.

By this time, the foreigners,

especially our French computer specialist,

were somewhat aghast,

as in,

mouth ajar,

eyes about to fall out of their heads,

at which point Philippe started taking notes on his cell phone.

(And this from a nation that eats runny cheese and song


This was then followed by a session of explanations,

from the other members,

of the intricacies of the more unusual foods in their culture.

(Believe me, hot dogs are nothing in comparison to some of

what we discussed)

and the methods of tackling trying to eat them.

Including a discussion,

sorry John,

with a Londoner

about what I got fed by an Aussie girlfriend on a last visit

to the Smoke.

(Pie, mash, green sauce, and jellied eel)

And how to eat it-

This time, I took notes.

And there, in a nutshell,

in case YOU weren’t taking notes,

is the answer to the entire political, nonsensical worthless

aggro going on at the moment,

in my humble opinion:

meet with a group of people-

with the idea of getting along and sharing,

and laughing a lot-

(whining and winging,

a bit of a national trait over here,

and many other places, unfortunately,

really just doesn’t have to be, people)

And pulleez stop trying to tell others they have to be like you.

(and that you are willing to fight to the death to prove you are


Motto: a discussion is a discussion,

a dispute makes you unhappy.

Instead, promote individualism,


and eccentricity.

as long as it doesn’t injure anyone.

(and they don’t make you eat jellied eel)

(I swear I saw a head in the portion I got)

And finally,

in my humble opinion,

Friendship only really happens

when you actually meet up with someone in public,

and can “smell” one another-

or the jellied eels and hot dogs.

Go cards.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Culture On Demand

Gutenberg City is known for Roman centurions,

and Legions,

and monuments,

and the Roman,


who supposedly introduced wine to Germany.


Since I spend a lot of my life here in Gutenberg City stumbling over

dinosaurs bone excavation spots,

trying to get across an impenetrable street to get to a bus stop,

or circling to find a parking spot

where what used to be my parking lot is now home to local archeologists,

trying to save:

the bones of the local Robin Hood,

several large Roman ships and their cargos,

the oldest  amphitheater north of the Alps,

a sixth century Merovingian church,

under the already oldest chapel in GC…

And that is just the beginning.

There are:

Roman aqueduct

that carried hot water from the sulphur springs in Finthen,

downhill to the Roman Officers’ baths in Gutenberg City.

And caused a huge amount of grief and problems to the locals

until they could be carefully blocked out and preserved

in what is now called the Roman Stones Park,

and is now causing grief to the city planners trying to run a narrow-gauge

train between their pillars.

And then we have the  blocked the work of the local construction crews,

trying to put up:

extensions to the Hilton,

including a casino,

a parking lot for the local Woolworth’s,

which ended up delivering a huge Isis and Magna Mater temple,

now called the Isis Passage.

Although perhaps,

despite the fact that the political organization Isis

is called IS over here,

still not such a great choice in modern times,

and probably the reason the locals still say Woolworth’s Passage.

Then there are all the fascinating trends that come out of the research.

A local historical reconstruction group of interesteds,

plus professors and students from different departments of the U,

spend their weekends trying out ancient weaponry

and armour,

fighting techniques,

ancient food recipes,

some of it not so bad.

(But somehow fermented fishhead sauce on grain and vinegar in water

isn’t really my thing.)

Not that the soldiers weren’t fit,

but somehow, I think the smell of all of that,

plus cabbage and garlic…

Maybe that’s why they bathed in sulphur water.

Still, we have museums and more museums here-


all things Roman,

bizarre and fascinating science specimens,

like exponents of all kinds of beetles,

including a miniature model of a VW beetle no one noticed until about a year ago

and now one of the most popular exhibits,

a museum of the local way of life,


beautiful historic paintings…

Culture ?

And, of course, the number of historic churches is massive.

As are the huge stone buildings themselves.

Religious and classical music?

Absolutely abound here.

with concerts somewhere in one of the churches every weekend,

and often even during the week.

Germany claims to have over a million singers,

gospel singers claim there are nearly that many gospel singers.

I feel, from the work load as a singer and conductor,

there are probably nearly that many

right here in Gutenberg land.

So you add all of this together,

and you get culture, right?

Uhm, right?

So why, then, are there ads in the local internet pages

asking for you to sign up for “culture on demand,”

a local underground movement to:

since live music, especially pop music on a big scale,

has gotten expensive,

and pop-jazz fans,

as opposed to classic fans,

have gotten a bit lazy,

and prefer to download,

unless a concert is directly in their area,

bring the big live groups directly to Gutenberg City

with internet petitions

and chat rooms

and working together behind the scenes.

Groups like:

are you ready?

Justin Bieber.

Or Kiss.

Or even the Kiss cover band.


Now if it were Herman’s Hermits…..

copyright 2016

“This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of Nefarious…”

Anyone else out there remember the late sixties?

(Not that I do- my grandmother must have told me about it-

I would put a smiley here, if I

  1. didn’t hate them so much,
  2. weren’t raised in an age where you thought about what people wrote, so that you heard the smile in their writing
  3. which made you people, not computer, literate.

And please please please never send me those idiot cats that do dumb things-

(I once wrote an old classmate on our class page,

who I avoided in highschool because she was  so aggressive.

And always surrounded by a group of “ladies” who also smoked,

and did drugs,

and were also aggressive.

She made my life hell, to say the least,

And I was trying to get past it,

and bury the hatchet

by telling her about my world,

ie that some musicians have to watch totally what they eat and drink,

especially on concert days.

(Others are teflon)

And that I belonged to the former

and thus had my own recipe for what I can eat that day-

mix a small amount of strong hot black coffee, into

oats, peanut butter, raisins, and vanilla,

stir till it is a consistent mess,

freeze for a couple of hours,

till it is solid.

When you defrost it, it stays solid

and gives me, at least, the energy I need to conduct three to five hours straight.

My ex-classmate

changed the recipe,

told me it was now paleo,

and now better for me,

that I had to change my life to paleo,

proceeded to analyze everything she thought was wrong in my life,

(she belongs to a growing movement here of those who give themselves group names

to justify the fact that

they think they know better than everyone else what is good for you)

sent me a tape of her cousin singing for me to critique,

and then signed it with a cat doing chemistry.

According to her page, she is a scorpio.

(Imagine twelve smilies here.)

Which brings me back to what I was trying to write about.

Not that the age of love and peace was perfect.

There were a lot of riots,

and people shot,

kids on drugs.

Those who didn’t believe in the Aquarius movement

beating up on those who did.

And vice versa.

But there was joy.

And happiness.

And fantastic music.

And hope.

Oh my yes.

The age of hope.

And love.

And the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

Not that I am an astrology fan.

But I did find it interesting

even way back when,

when certain people,

usually wearing astrology tags,

so they would know how they are supposed to act,

actually acted that way.

And there was a certain way of behaving in social situations.

“Oh, so you’re an Aquarius.

That means you are….”

“Yes, but my Rottweiler is a Pisces…”

The conversations were silly.

And broke the ice.

Or told you right away someone owned a Rottweiler.

Or a boat.

“I’m a water sign.

I own a boat.”

Nowadays a picture of the boat is just posted on Facebook.

And people sit at a table in a restaurant,

or any other public place,

texting at each other.

I’m one of the ones who sits quietly,

reading a book,

and smiling,

and then find myself being touched on the sleeve by a waiter

“would you mind not humming, ma’am. You are bothering the other customers”

Clickety clickety click.

“You mean the ones texting each other pictures of the weirdo reading a book?

or a penguin hitting another pinguine and pushing him off a cliff?”

That is what you are thinking.

What you say is,

“of course, I’ll stop humming.”

And then you think of the Tin Drum,

a book by Gunther Grass,

where little Oscar Mazarath,

preferring not to grow up,

stays tiny,

so he can look like a three-year old,

as he plays his little tin drum

to stop the coming Nazi movement,

and the war he sees as inevitable.

And you ask the waitress if it has been a busy day.

Or how her kids are doing, if you know her,

And you tip her a little more, if you can do it financially.

And you go off down the street humming.

The age of Nefarious.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Ring Those Bells

It’s seven fifteen here.


And so far,

I have cleaned and put back together a coffee machine where someone put coffee in the

basket holder, not in the basket.

(In our house, the first one up does the beverage service.)

Did I mention it is seven fifteen here.

And that I only drink tea.

Surely those little coffee grains you can use for keeping drains clean

must do the same for human insides, right?

It’s seven fifteen.

Somehow, the scoop for the coffee,

the silver-plated one we were given as a present one Christmas,

since when I make coffee,

the spoon stands up on its own,

and all the little old ladies at the grande dame

(my mother-in-law’s)

birthday party decide to either dance

or help clean the kitchen.

After eating fifteen pieces of cake.

Most were over eighty at the time.

Yup, we had to actually call the doctor.

For the grande dame.

the next morning

when her blood sugar played up.

Did I mention I only drink tea?

The silver-plated spoon was behind the refrigerator.

Someone must have kicked it there.

Or dropped it and it rolled.

Or placed it there for safe keeping from burglars.

I’m not really sure,

but at least we have it back.

And the coffee is now made.

(I actually used that little girl scout trick,

learned many years ago,

where you put your thumb and fingers together

to make a cup.

The bottom of the “cup” is about a tablespoon.

I used two.

The coffee appears to be just a little black.)

Did I mention it’s seven fifteen.


And I only drink tea?

Which I was just about to sit down to,

while writing,

when the phone rang.

Did I mention….

A girlfriend of mine.

With a labrador.

Who wanted to know,

I kid you not,

if I knew

what would happen to her,

since someone had mixed up those funny plastic holders

the kind you put your pills for they day in,

one for you,

one for the labrador,

if you took your thyroid tablet

from the de-worming tray.

In a case like this,

trying desperately not to laugh,

did I mention I hadn’t had my tea yet?

I told her the only thing I could think to say


embarrassing as it is,

call the hospital.

Or the vet.

He prescribed it,

he should know the consequences.

Even on humans.

And was it really the de-worming,

or was it one of the myriad of other tablets Gonzo had to take?

This is not really a healthy dog.

Her answer was clear.

Not a clue.

My answer:

Count the tablets,

call the vet.

I hung up.

THEN I laughed.

And thought about how all those newest of new phones

are constantly blowing up when you charge them.

And wondered how I could get one.

And as for the bells?

You know those fight matches?

Where they ring a bell to send everybody back to their respective corners.

So the boxer can have a minute for himself?

Did I mention it is seven fifteen?

And I haven’t had my tea yet?

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Kewing Up, Nun and Vampire Cemeteries, And Douglas Adams’ Pens.

Try as I will,

it’s hard for me to realize that

just a couple of days ago,

I was in Kew Garden.

That’s the Royal Botanical Gardens about a half hour by train outside of central London.

And one of my favorite places on this earth.

Now I’m a park person anyway.

Any time we travel to a new area,

the first thing I do is check:

the layout of the town-

square and free-mason style exact, orderly and organized,

like a lot of towns on the prairie,


based on local features:

the rivers, a mountain, the ocean.

(In San Francisco, for example, it used to be that bus roads were parallel to the ocean,

to go up and down you had to use a cable car. I know things have changed a bit since I lived there, but…)

(And here in Gutenberg land, the street signs are blue if they are parallel to the Rhine,

red means perpendicular)


step two,

I check the cemeteries

and photographers’ shops.

You can tell a lot about a town by the way they remember.

The cemeteries in London, for example, are amazing.

In fact, locally they are called the Magnificent Seven,

like the film.

And they contain everything you expect from a cemetery in a large town:

Weeping angels

(was that where Moffit got the idea?)

Marvelously designed architectural marvels of crypts-

for entire families-

sometimes as big as an entire street

(I haven’t seen Douglas Adams’ grave,

in the East section, near the grave of Karl Marx,

but apparently, there is a small pot of the ground for visitors to leave a pen-

I would have left a small tea towel.)

Maybe even with a small Tardis on it, since he wrote their best stories.

In the midwest, we are more conservative.


Solid pioneer graves,

well-kept churchyards,


Except for the moose ears and fez of certain brotherhoods.

Or a few wonderful statements like

“see, I told you I was sick”

Mostly, though, it is hope,

and belief in the future,

and trust in those left behind.

To do the right thing.

And sometimes, the stones even tell their own stories.

“Take a good look. This is all you get.”

I wonder how they meant that?

Or was he born after the introduction of federal, state, and local taxes?

Who knows?

Then there are the graves here in Gutenberg Land.

Here everything is nicely divided.

By job.

There is a nuns’ cemetery,

we have so many orders here it’s a local game to guess which one the habit shows.

An Academics only.

With learned inscriptions,

usually quotes,

the older ones in latin.

Sports heroes,

A local film star.

A local doctor,


school teacher

did good for the community?

A special grave,

and a street named after them.

Several streets in our little village were named for Jewish families,

not uncommon here in “Little Jerusalem,”

which has its own special cemetery section, by the way,

true Gutenberger since the first foundings under the Romans,

and suddenly carted off and killed,

or forced to flee to the States.

I worked for a very short time,

project only,

for the first head of the Gutenberg museum of Book and Printing,

who had been living in the States for many years.

And came back for a quick visit.

And couldn’t really handle the culture shock

of a town that grew up without him.

This happens often here in Gutenberg land.

There’s a local psychiatrist who is specialized in helping returnees.

Then there are the photographers.

There is one in a small village near here

who takes portraits of people exactly as he sees them.

Hair not brushed down,

emphasizing bad teeth,

close-ups of wrinkles.

For some reason, people still go to him.

Mostly for passport photos.

The pictures on the gravestones,

in small silver, glass, and leaded frames to make them waterproof,

are better.

Happy families,

lovely babies.

A strong healthy couple just starting out into life.

Life in death.

And dead-looking pictures in life.

At a photographer’s.

That’s Gutenberg Land for you.

Which brings me back to parks.

And Kew.

And a glorious day spent just wandering under the tree-canopy,

drinking tea in the little tea shop,

then out again to meditate in a huge metal exact-reconstruction of a beehive,

where you walk on a glass floor

and look up at the sky through the hole in the top,

and all the walls light up with thousands of lights when you approach them-

exactly as if you were a bee.

And there is constant absolutely accurate bee humming,

and a machine where you put a popsicle stick in your mouth,

put the other end in a hole in the machine,

and close both ears,

to hear the fighting of two queen bees,

or the sound of the drones hatching.

It’s absolutely fascinating.

And well worth an afternoon,

to get that kind of educational experience.

And quiet meditation time.

In public, no less.

Even though the pictures of large groups of adults,

popsicle stick in mouths,

fingers in their ears,

is not something I will easily forget.

Nor the fact that for weeks I have been plagued with sudden unexpected cravings

for bread with honey.

I wonder if it has something to do with Harald humming Procul Harem?

copyright 2016