And Gutenberg Lived Here: 2018: Somewhere Near Roswell

Reading my news posts this morning, it suddenly dawned on me:

In the year 2018

it will all start again.

Every candidate for public office who has made our lives miserable for the last two years,

whether they won or not,

will come back out of the woodwork

and start running for office again:

Trump, Cruz, Hillary, Sanders, Palin, Mitt Romney, Dan Quayle,

the ghost of presidents past.

Their dream team of advisors,

all the news teams in the world-

who have only two topics:

Isis and Potus.

And we sit in our offices,

don’t turn on the tv,

doctor the computer so it avoids the two topics,

board up our windows so we don’t have to see campaign signs,

don’t answer the phone except to a secret ring,

or the door

except to a secret knock….

In the year 1947….

just two years after the end of the latest of the series of nearly continous warfare in the history of the world,

a discovery was made in the middle of a US desert.

Not, as reported, a weather balloon,

the space ship,

reportedly from a planet of the star Sirius,

contained a series of small humanoid children.

The result of genetic programs with DNA from all the worlds’ citizens studied by aliens over the years.

Six of the small children,

five boys and a girl,

now long grown to full adulthood,

have been working at NASA,

and in the tourist centers of space-addicted visitors to the

extraterrestrial highway,

in consumer relations.

Studying people.


Hawaiian birth certificate in hand,

for their elections to the posts of

President, Vice President, Secretary of State,

Homeland Secretary,

Speaker of the House,

and Head of the Supreme Court….


If you are reading this

and enjoying the idea of peace and quiet for a few years,

despite violent but limited news coverage,

and the all-invasive elections,

please feel free to use this data

to start a cult.

Who knows…

maybe then we will finally be left to do something important with our time:

and, as a sideline,

to actually think,


and vote for someone.


copyright 2016


And Gutenberg Lived Here: Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

I’m going to start this post,

for the Friday Loose Bloggers,

where Shackman at,

and Ramana at Ramana’s Musings.wordpress

have already posted wonderful ideas,

and memories of their pasts,

with a joke my brother and I thought was hysterically funny when I was a child-


What happens when you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?

You get hot cross bunnies.


And there we are-

the other side of Easter.

Over here in Gutenberg Land,

which was, and still is, the home of many many Americans over the  last forty years,

there are still lovely lady Easter  bonnet competitions,

egg and spoon races,

hand-made baskets,

with hand-gathered flowers,

egg hunts,

with the children in heats by age so they don’t knock  one another down.

Then there is Cologne-

Home of the British Council, BBC, the buying of British products at the NAAFEE

(post exchange)

And hot cross buns.

As I discovered when I taught there, in the Nobel Dynamite factory,

many years ago,

and was given some as a present,

by an international crew of engineers.

Before the two sides,

“Tommy and Ami,”

as the Germans say,

and the Russians and French

arrived with their own customs after the war,

there were, of course, generations of beautiful, totally German, customs:

In our area, for example, one of the loveliest

is making hoops of long willow rods,

covering them with intricately hand-decorated blown out egg shells,

and using the perabulas for the “capping” of the town well,

the “Mary-water”

To make it pure,

through work and prayer.

Since almost everything needed for the family’s Easter celebration has already been bought,

starting in January, actually,

by three today,

Good Friday,

an incredible still has settled on our town.

The churches are draped inside in black,

with the black-draped crucifix

and transformation bells,

and the silent organ

almost terrifying in their message.

Of walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

The fasting is heightened here today-

wine cream for those who have to work,

or bread, salt and herbs.

Saturday, then, is a whirlwind of cleaning, purification, baking, and cooking.

In our family, we will dye eggs.

Not in the traditional way preferred here,

of boiling onions, or beets, or spinach

to get color,

then shining the eggs with bacon fat-

We actually bought our colors last week-

in a healthfood store:

they are a sort of jelly goo that contains natural color.

And turns your hands green

or blue,

or red

as you work,

so that they have to be scrubbed twenty times with mechanics soap,

or you have to wear gloves to church.

But, to us, it is part of family togetherness.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago in my blog,

we are take-a-just-before-sunrise walk people,

followed by an, at first absolutely silent outdoor  sunrise service,


the reading of the creation,

and then with beautiful music,

the Easter message,

with, for us, a picnic afterwards,

or breakfast at home, depending on the weather.

Then a phonecall to all the friends and family.

And since my husband was born with teeny hiking boots on,

we may even take an afternoon walk

to see how the grain and vegetables in the farmers fields behind our house are growing.

And Sunday night,

as we drink good tea,

and steal small smidges off the brownies,

or strawberry tart I will bake tomorrow,

as soon as my better half decides which he wants,

probably both,

and watch one of the films from the marathons they show here for Easter.

Probably Miss Marple-

The Margaret Rutherford version-

We will thank God for our blessings,

and for our friends and family.

And here a special thanks to all those reading what I write,

and especially to Chuck and Ramana

of the Friday Loose Bloggers who gave me my start.

Happy Easter,

Have a great year.

And Rabbit, Rabbit.

copyright 2016



And Gutenberg Lived Here: Plastic On The Field?… It Must Be Easter

This morning I got up early, looked out the window

And went back to bed.

It was snowing.

As far as I could tell in the dull light.

Slightly later, however,

after a shower,

Tai Chi,

and three cups of very black tea,

I decided someone must have flooded the field and frozen it

for an iceskating party.

Or something like that.

Hey, what did I know? It was only six fifteen.

Again, some time later….

Actually, it wasn’t until I told my husband, “hey, do you want to go ice skating in the field after work?”

followed by my husbands’ blank look, and “say what?”

that I finally really woke me up enough,

to realize…

the fields were wrapped in plastic.


You heard me.

This week is Easter.

You wouldn’t want the asparagus to get cold, would you?

Or actually,

to break through the knee -high dirt mound around each stalk,

automatically changing the white-tipped asparagus

from first class premium-

anything from $20-$30 for two portions,

to the spindly purplish,

or even green stuff

worth less than half.

For this is the land of the kings’ vegetable.

The aphrodesiacal

(by magic-thinking only- ie if it looks like something sexual it is)

and medicinal-

“thins the blood, cleans the kidneys, etc etc”

super veg

that costs more for a field worth than an ante-bellum mansion,

and makes good old Gutenberg Land

the Detroit of Europe.

Or maybe Roulettenberg, if you are a Dostojewsky fan.

You see,

every year, the government here cranks out cheap-paying jobs,

for anyone willing to do the back-breaking bend, stick a sharp sort of tuning-fork thing

parallel to the ground,

and cut and pull out a stick of pure white gold.

Ensuring back-ache,



frozen hands,

and a head-ache

at the end of the day.

But, for most Gutenbergers,

you just can’t have Easter without it.

Meaning one of two things:

You either go to church,

and then pick up your pre-ordered kilos of the stalks after,

go home,

peel for two hours,

and then cook-

with butter, or thin-sliced ham, or schnitzel (breaded calf-filet)


you go to church-

six hundred worshipers in a church for four hundred,

then go to the city,

where you have reserved a table in one of the asparagus specialty restaurants,

then take the family to see Star Wars,

or a Disney film

with on-line tickets bought (or scalped) weeks in advance.

(And leave the movie every ten minutes, because white asparagus causes extreme kidney activity.

And with children along…)

At least you can usually buy the Dvd a few weeks later,

to catch up on what you didn’t see.

Or, you can do what my husband and I do-

Take the car across the ancient bridge to the other side of the Rhine,

go for a pre-Easter sunrise walk,

watch the sun come up over the quiet little boat harbor,

join the worship crowd at the special outdoor service,

then go home for the Easter-egg war-

each egg has to be cracked head on head,

or point on point.

whoever’s egg survives gets a wish.

And fresh rolls,

and chocolate rabbits,

a quick telephone call to everyone we know,

and then hibernation.

Preferably until the end of the asparagus digging season.

copyright 2016

Uncomfortable Situations: And If You Thought THAT Was Bizarre…

The Helmsley, aka Writers’ Den, hint for this week is:

Uncomfortable situations.


In my life?

Where to start.


A mother, father, three kids, two dogs, cat, canary,

and the chicken…

defrosting in the sink

and dragged over,

and into the bed,

by the cat.

Probably in case we get hungry in the night.

Then there are the tent experiences:

A tent in the rain

in Colorado,

in the middle of the empty great wide forest.

the rain pours down so hard the sides are soaked,

and you spend the night trying to keep anyone from turning over,

since you know if they touch the tent wall,

you will all float away to Texas on your air matresses.


and the next night,

in Jellystone,

excuse me,


where Yogi’s bigger,

and un-nicer, brother Bubba

and his little buddy

decide to breath on the tent poles,

nearly melting them in the process,

and here, I really don’t want to guess what he and his bud were eating just before they decided to test just how strong the tensile strength of the tent walls was

by sitting down for a small after- foraging rest.


thank heavens,

by horn-honking,

pan and spoon banging neighbors.

Aparently creating the feeling in the bears

that that since it was New Years Eve,

and this was a very boring party,

it was time to go find the real thing.

Like down at a lumberjack bar.

Which brings us to the uncomfortable food situations-

From a blind girlfriend

who makes wonderful tasting

beautifully cooked food.

As long as you eat with your eyes closed.

(Which is fine with me- she’s a terrific person, and a lot of fun to be around.)

Then there were my college years.

Where, since I was double majoring,

I only got food if I went to the chow hall of the diplomatic school,

or the South American Spanish speaking colleges.

(And a quick “hi” here to all the spread-everywhere in the world UOP P’cans)

Since those were the only places open later than the standard hours.

Resulting in wonderful,

but also sometimes hard to get used to foods,

like three times fried six types of chili peppers,

or baked Guinea pig.

Which was probably why I became a serial vegetarian.

Then there is travel.

And my experience with an over eighty year-old German granny,

who decided to carry a huge self-slaughtered and cured ham,

wrapped in plastic,

and a baby receiving blanket,

across customs to her grandchildren in the US.

And, also, unfortunately,  that we were the ones who would help her.

Resulting in one of those “here, you take it” “no, you”

in front of two very astonished,

and not much amused

customs officials.

Although even they were nothing compared to the customs officials who decided my alfalfa seeds were pot.

Oh, and then there was my airplane encounter

with the head of an Indian cult

who had booked the entire first class for him and his (all female) followers.

And who graciously allowed the airlines to put me in their section,

to make serving our non-standard  food easier.

After the first of fourteen hours of how great the master was,

I fell asleep.

And slept right through dinner

and apparently,

through the movie,

which must have been something exotic,

or at least in a foreign tongue,

because, for two weeks,

I had dreams of Jeanie and Major Nelson trying to land a flying magic bottle at an aiport in New Dehli.

Or maybe it was Pune.


And here, I could go on forever,

but writing this has made me realize two things:

God has really been good to me

to provide all this color in my life,


it is also good that I experienced, and survived, all of this,


as a writer,

if I had to make all of this up,

I would have continous writers’ block.

copyright 2016


And Gutenberg Lived Here: What’s Green And Sings?

What’s green and sings?

No, not girl scouts.

At least this time around.

Although they do do a few really nice ballads,

like “Green socks, they never get dirty”

No, this time it’s the old Irish ballads we’re after.

Sung by old green Irish.

Make that old green Irish-Americans.

The two thirds of the country outside the country.

Who spend St Patrick’s day chasing all things green.

And, if they work hard enough at it,

finally succeed in becoming green themselves.

Probably from all the green beer they down on the journey.

And since, over here in Gutenberg Land,

they are Irish mad-

Our side of the river  has multiple Irish  pubs.

On the other side of the river,

in the more elegant,

and don’t they know it,

neighboring state capital of Wiesbaden,

not only do they have more Irish pubs,

they also turn every non-Irish local pub green

and celebrate with the best of them.

Which means that  every year, I get an invitation-

from one of the bagpipe clubs,

or the English speaking women’s clubs,

to “sing a few Irish songs”

between the dinner courses,

meaning you start one,

and they sing along.

With a German accent, often,

and from a song sheet,

but hey…

And since each year there is a call for more authenticity,

and this year, especially,

being a commemorative year,

Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder

will have to be the end of the program.

Which is better anyway,

considering how big some of those bagpipe guys are.

And how much green beer they can hold.

But, in the name of helping a colleague I passed everything on to,

at least for this don’t sing broken ribs year,

I went into my files for the ultimate song set.

And suddenly realized:

Most of what I sing is popular,

in the sense of what the locals want to hear:

popular-modern, ballad,

Molly Malone,


the  Wild Colonial Boy,

Danny Boy,

Did Your Father Come From Ireland?

(sorry, it’s what they want to hear here)

although I usually try to slip in a few authentic historical ballads

with just enough explanation to not bore everyone,

or real romper-stompers:

Who Threw The Overalls In Mrs Murphy’s Chowder,

Finnegan Wakes,

Whiskey in the Jar

numbers by the White Feathers,

or the Irish Rovers.

Or the Wild Flowers

who tour here often.

In fact, all things Irish are so popular here,

there are stores that make a good living selling only Irish goods-

including REAL tea,

not that boiled in plastic triangles stuff.

And with the huge parades and assemblages-

(the one in Frankfurt had 15,000 visitors last year)-

you would expect a huge crowd.

But somehow,

so far,

this year’s parade went virtually unadvertised,

and almost clandestine-

except in Munich, where it was held on Sunday-

But, so far,  pubs throughout Germany are still all holding events-

like Irish pub quizzes,


as a friend told me in anguish today,

some people have apparently started hoarding the Guiness for private parties

and they may have to drink Scottish whiskey instead.

Oy vey.

copyright 2016


Today On The Social Media

Today on the social media I learned:

that a small fluffy dog actually LIKES wearing flashing sequened shoes,

that dogs do get epilepsy,

and that they often have to wear shoes because of foot allergies.

I learned

how Gordon Ramsey makes braised beef ribs

and that the Irish discovered America.

(And don’t eat corned beef)

I also read a discussion about the differences between centralization

eg in India

and the fact that we are all being herded together-

like sheep by a border collie,

so we can be more easily counted

and financially managed.

And prevented from killing one another.

Instead we just do it step by step

on what should be a personal basis-

but isn’t-

as trolls,

or groups of trolls

on the social media.

Today I was given beautiful new thoughts

and beautiful new literature,

but boiled down into short poetry

and six word novels.

The real novels,

those great big brassy Victorian flower smashers

and doorstop ersatz

can be read on the Gutenberg project

for free.

If you have the right type of kindle

or modern computer

where they can read where you placed your finger on a page,

take fingerprints,

or tell you that,

from that last letter to your brother

they know you need a new computer.

I also read a marvelous thought-

thanks Elan Mudrow-

that things have gone so far that we now need an app

to think of talking face to face with others.

What ever happened to talking around a campfire?

Or on a porch swing

as the heat of the day cools,

and the dark hides faces

so you can truly tell your deepest thoughts

and most important experiences,

with someone who won’t troll you

and follow you from page to page

just because they can.

These snoopers will never understand real communication

or respect

or tolerance of others’ opinions.

Or the right of an individual to say

“Enough. You are injuring me”

And their partner in conversation listens.

And thinks.

And moves to a more conciliatory position.

Because people are important.

And not just car wreck viewing emotion simulators.

Or greed feeders, with a need to see and know everything.

How much depth have we lost by going wide?

How many people are being trolled

because it is unaceptable to be an “over-thinker?”

A trolls’ label, not mine.

If I look at the heroes of my childhood-

Abe Lincoln,

for example,

a deep thinking, kind, caring person who led a war-torn nation-

Today we have been told he is gay

and was married to a bi-polar schizophrenic.

Do the labels change the valor of what he did?


But branding him and his family like that would pull down his way of life.

To make room for what?

Dogs in flashing slippers?

Acceptance of ugliness

instead of the need to change it?

Or prevent it?

Or is the idea to make it so difficult to run for office,

that only the type of candidates we have today in the current US elections


Until no one runs at all.

And we are governed by international finances.

When was the last time you said something significant,

and non job-based,

to another human being?

Or they to you?

(If you type it, it doesn’t count)

Today I have an appointment to decide a major question with regard to my life.

And afterwards, I shall have coffee with my husband.

And tell him how strong, courageous, and brilliant

and funny

I find him.

And maybe, just maybe,

one day I will start a page where everyone can enter their latest joyous experiences,

and positive ideas,

and wish everyone else on the page well.

Now that, to me,

would be real social media.

copyright 2016

Pi-Bald And Pi-Eyed

Yes, I know I more or less have an excuse,

what with trying to get someone to ecologically drain and junk a wrecked car,

and checking facts to see if I really want to drive a car painted bright yellow,

with rubber bathmat sides

and a name like cactus,


get ready for it….

I almost missed pi day!

And that as a math wife!

Sheldon Cooper,

please forgive me.

Especially as this is not just any old pi day.

This is 3-14-16.

The pi of pi.

The century Pi

The pi-ultimate…


you get the idea.

So what do you do when you have goofed big time.

You bake a pie.

You turn exactly three point one-four-one-six times

in a circle, while grasping your forelock.

Hence pi-bald.

You collect a series of things you think might interest him,

the way a margaret pie or magpie does it,

ie songs about pi,

songs written in pi,

using a tone sequence based on the digits of  pi,

best played on a theorba,

or a t(h)eremin,

or the thuba-



Then you read him a new article you just found about Grothendieck

or the obituary of Nicolas Bourbaki

(ni fleurs, ni wreath products)

or the famous ballad of poor epsilon,

and hope that with enough tossed-in  pi,

and a couple of lit candles for the birthday of Einstein,

also on this day,

comes pi-cification.

And pi-eace in the valley.

At least until St Patrick’s day,

when it turns out that he who lives and breaths math

has forgotten that he has married into an Irish-American family,

and has to make you green eggs with orange dots for breakfast,

corned beef and cabbage,

yes, I know already.

I said Irish-AMERICAN-

the ones who discovered that salt beef lifted off a British supply ship,

or fallen off a British train,

tastes pretty darned good when you are starving.

Which is probably why they also drink green beer,

and march in kilts and bearskin hats,

to the skirl of the bagpipes.

And in general just have one heck of a good time.

Even if St Patrick really was Roman.


who knows.

If you play the whole thing up enough,

and write about what you did for him on Pi-day,

you might even get him in a frame of mind where jewelry is called for.

And that, friends,

is where you remind him it’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing.

(Just joking. Happy 3.1416.)

copyright 2016




And Gutenberg Lived Here: Club-ed To Death

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m a right on the border to almost southern girl,

from the kind of church,

and social structure,

that believes that anyone who doesn’t daily cross the doorsill

of someone else’s  home

or social club,

or community hall,

baked bean pot in hand,

will turn into a pillar of salt,

or die an old maid in a house coated in cobwebs

and uneaten wedding cake,

like in Great Expectations.

And then I met the Gutenbergers.

A race of Sean Connery like Celts,

who drink with the best of them,

make burn offerings to the ancestors of all things male especially grilling,


if you get three of them together,

form a club.

And here, I don’t mean book clubs.

Alone here in Gutenberg land, we have political clubs,

for those with a need to reform the politics that,

in my opinion,

is played on the Tammany Hall basis,

and hasn’t changed since the time of Siegfriend and Hagen,

who, according to legend,

stashed the Rhinegold,

and killed off most of Valhalla.

The modern political units being called things like:

Free Democrats, Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, the greens (ecology)

the Lefties, Alternative for Germany (the far right)

and, of course,

the Pirates.

Who hack computers and smoke drugs a lot.

(So I’ve been told)

And then there are the hobby clubs:

Glee clubs-

over a million singers over here-

Men only, Women only, Children, Mixed, Quartet, Opera chorus,

and, of course,

the little theater groups,

and cheerleaders

who belong to each of the clubs.

No wonder the political parties spend a lot of time hiring them and paying them to  put up party flags at their concerts.

Then there is….Soccer!

Oh my yes-

and if you think Sunday tailgate parties are a big thing in the States,

you ought to see what those of us who live in the path of the fans

get back in change for recycled discarded bottles on a Monday morning.

Not to mention getting to hear “On top of old Smoky” or “From the blue ridge mountains here I come” (actually, “she’ll be coming round the mountain.”)

In German,

And with full details about our local 05 club,

and just how much they will cream the other team if they dare to win on OUR turf.

It’s a good thing they don’t have,

as far as I know,

any of those songs for curling, galoshes pitching, duck-pins, boules,

ballroom dancing with dogs,

or any of the other unusual, to say the least,

kind of popular


sports being practiced Saturday, Sunday afternoon,

and at least once per week after work.

Followed by a couple of beers in the club house or pub attached or near-by.

But back to clubs.

One way or another, you always end up in a club over here,

whether you want to or not.

Community service:

ie the volunteer fire department,

committees to arrange carnivals and street fairs,

three kinds of ambulance corps: St John, Samaritan, Maltese-

we have all three cards.

It’s something you just don’t not support,

and they do good work.

Then there are the support groups-

Anti-airport noise goes every Monday to Frankfurt to make a silent

and respectful but disapproving protest.

And if you had to try to sleep with planes at 2, 3, 4, and 5 am,

you would too.

And the watch groups,

since our local government has a tendency to whack ancient trees down in the middle of the night.

Gone is gone.

Oh, and of course, the ADAC, the German equivalent of the AAA motor club.

And it’s little brother,

the ADFC, the club for non-motorized bike riders.

Then there are special interest groups:

wheel chair groups, league for the blind,

clubs for those whose grandparents fled East Prussia, or the Balitic regions during  the war,

and still do the local dances, speak the dialects, and cook for each other a couple of times per year.

And the animal groups-

pro: pigeon raisers, dog clubs, cats, fish,

and anti: hunting, fishing,

although, to be fair, they do do an incredible amount of forest and stream repair and ecology work as the other side of the coin.

Oh, and don’t forget the carnival clubs.

And, a specialty over here in our area,

the Union of Catholic Clubs, who have their own carnival.

And then there are the two kinds of boy scouts-

international scouts,

and Christian church run scouts,

the organization of church choir singers,

and all of the Moose, Elk, Optomist, and…

believe it or not,

Druids International.

Actually, the first time I heard of all of this,

right after I got to Gutenberg Land,

I had the idea it would be great fun to stage  a contest.

The prize:

His picture in the paper for the person who owns the most club memberships.

Next to the broken axel of the car he used

to bring in the proof.

copyright 2016

And Gutenberg Lived Here: Ring Those Bells

Wednesday, a week ago,  I was in a car crash.

Car chop suey. Broken ribs. No singing for 6-8 weeks.

My only real condolances:

I was alone in our car.

And thank God no one in the other car was more than shaken up.

So why am I writing about this?

Because I did what I always do in such situations:

Take an aspirin,

Sleep, sleep, sleep,

and then read murder mysteries.

Since, if it is a classic, I can, at least in my mind,

with a large stretch of the imagination,

chalk it up to unpaid research time.

And since I felt that I had truly had my bells rung that day,

(and needed something religious-

in addition to a lot of grateful prayer,

to keep my mind off the situation,)

I decided to take a real- and dusty-old favorite to hand:

Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Taylors-

a fascinating story about a murder among campanologists-

bell-ringers for us non campanologist types.

Which got me thinking about bells.

All forms, all sizes,

all ways of playing them.

A friend of mine is a brilliant organist.

And avid bell freak.

He collects hand bells,

tapes of different rings,

reads books and learned papers on the subject.

And I have to admit, after all that, I was sceptical.

Until I was allowed most of the way up the steps to the bell-tower

on Easter morning at sunrise.

And then I was hooked.

The different peals

and what they mean.

The saint names for the bells,

and why the tenor (in this case, low)  bell is named St Paul.

And why,  although this is true for England,

land of ring those chimes,

a tenor Paul is considered most amusing over here in Gutenberg Land,

where the the first letter of a bell tells the tone:

A Catherine bell is, for example, is in C,

or where the bells have the historical names of the patron saints,

ie the high cathedral of Gutenberg Land has the bells Maria, Joseph,

I assume a Martin bell, for the patron saint Martin, although I have been unable to confirm this,

and, of course, the Bonifacius bell,

for St. Bonifacius,

whose statue,

next to the front door  of the cathedral,

protrays him being stabbed, through a Bible, by a Roman sword.

And for the modern churches, both here and in America,

which have electric bells,

not human ringers,

there are modern hand-bell choruses,

whose concerts are a prized part of each Christmas,

and often Easter,


Hand bells were a fast,

and virtually noisless,

method of first teaching,

or staying in practice with,

the art of bell ringing.

With each ringer ringing up to four bells in each hand.

(You apparently just have to watch which way the clapper goes, but it still looks pretty tricky- and sounds wonderful- to me.)

Still and all,

there are many happy moments in my life that have to do with bells and bell ringers-

from the Easter sunrise experience I just mentioned,

to the fabulous vacation we had one year on an Atlantic island,

where they still ring the bells daily in the big cathedral,

and, to me a fantastic moment,

practice changes with real, huge, deep-sounding bells

each Tuesday night.

Bless you all for the joy.

Oh, and, just to make my friends,

who think I am Dr Who obsessed,

(who isn’t?)

even more sure of it,

there are the fantastic Bells of St john-

the bell on the outside of Dr Who’s tardis,

the ringing of which tolls to connect him to Clara

who is being uploaded on the internet,

as I will now upload this post,



copyright 2016



A Winter of Forests In Winter

I got a note today from the Writers’s Den

that they want me

and a whole lot of other people, I suspect,

to write on A Forest In Winter.

Why not?

I wood therefore I am.

So anyway,

there are a lot of forests out there:

actors: Forest Whitaker

Forrest Tucker

both fun to watch when snowed in.

A book:

Forrest Gump-

a great book to read on wintery days.

Even real and very special woodpecker bait:

the Petrified Forest-

a national park of three million year old petrified giant redwoods,

to be found in Arizona,

the one place to be when it snows.

Then, of course, there are the German National Park forests.

The Black Forest, in Swabia, is one of the great ski, snow hiking, and beauty spots in Europe.

And even with snow, there is more sun here per year than anywhere else in Germany.

Just watch out for the huge number of ecology freaks,

who take great umbrage to you using a battery-run flashlight, instead of a hand-pumped.

Then there are the Bavarian National Forest-

wild and beautiful, and the oldest of the park system,

And the Harz Mountain park-

Mysterious, wild, full of legends that fairy tales are made of.

Home of the canary people-

who upped their winter income by raising birds,

usually the small green roller canary,

and carrying them village to village in wooden cages on their backs,

for sale as songbirds in homes,

or to check oxygen levels in the large number of mines in this area.

A sort of “cheep” smell of success.

Which handles the bird in the tree, tree in the forest,

forest in the national forest question.

But where exactly is winter?

Metaphysically, everywhere.


from late fall to the ides of july,

if you are from the southern parts of Germany,

or the northern parts of the USA.



There are, of course, towns called winter

in places like Colorado,

or Florida.

(Southern humor, I’m sure)

or Snow,

in Idaho, Kentucky, or Missouri,

or even North Pole,

in that great state of Alaska,


forgive me if I’m wrong,

but I really can’t picture having a forest.

In winter.

But then again,

I’m from a place called Sunnyside,

which, of course,

has a forest.

Even in winter.

Somewhere, I’m sure,

under all those six feet of snow.

If you find it,

send me a selfie.


copyright 2016