Saturday, December 26, 2015


My long-time neighbor, Ms. Jean Smith, passed away last night. Have known her for about fourteen years. She was in her eighties and was the daughter of local USC legend Rex Enright. She loved her cats, both the one that lived inside and a few over the years who stayed outside. Enjoyed tending her patio garden. Many nights she would sit out with neighbors and have a beer and chat. She was an avid reader, and I provided her with hundreds of large-print books, mostly romance, that I picked up at the thrift shop. I'm glad I could contribute a little bit of happiness for her. She always had candy ready for kids who flocked to her door. Sadly, over past couple of years she suffered repeated bone breaks. She was a nice lady and we will miss her. It's been a rough week, losing three people I have known, as well as another battling with the final stage of a disease.

Chorus of cat cries fills the night,
Ms. Jean’s spirit has taken flight;
they’re sad because she protected
the feline world, now deep dejected;
though she had many a good year,
spreading sweets and local cheer,
our world will now be sorely missing,
angel kittens she’s surely kissing.

{For Jean Enright Smith, who died 22 December, a gentle soul and long-time neighbor}

Friday, December 18, 2015

MERU (2015)

Trapped in a flimsy contraption tacked to crumbly cliff a mile high and swaying in a snowstorm hurricane, fuel running low and little food for several days, is exactly how I envision spending my vacation days. NOT! And this is not to mention the still-daunting task of scaling the remainder of sheer granite above as well as eventually getting down, as your fingers and toes no longer register feeling and the altitude is doing nasty things to your body, seen and unseen. Yep, high-altitude climbers are crazy. Yet their daring, skill, and drive is so darn appealing and intriguing, possibly an acknowledgement that any sane person would never undertake such risks. And there is the ever-present specter of Death. I have watched and read many mountaineering movies and books. But the recently released Meru is one of the best I have enjoyed. Two experienced and climber-lauded icons, Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin (who is a wonderful photographer as well), along with relative newcomer Renan Ozkurk (who only a little earlier barely survived a snowboarding accident that crushed his head and neck), determinedly attack the never-summitted Himalayan Meru, a technically difficult pitch that required expertise in multiple methods and equipment, partly in homage to a fallen mentor and because no one else has accomplished it. The lure of the never before. Although it fits well into the growing body of documentaries on mountaineering, this one is gorgeously beautiful, intense, and informative, without being too hokey or artificially ramping up the tension. The section recording Chin's experience in an avalanche will scare the bejesus out of any one. I love John Krakauer's commentary, as well as interviews of participants and family, and some of the historical background. There is almost nothing I can say negative about this film. Anyone who likes adventure or climbing will love it.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Worked with Troop 324 on the annual Honda Charity Ride for Vets. Serving hotdogs, pastries and cookies, drinks. Kept the boys pretty busy for four hours on a really glorious day, well into the 80s. Herewith a few shots:

Joey walking about.

Joey manning the hotdogs, with Zach beside him, and Bruce with the hat farther down the table.

Chimo grabbing more sodas for the cooling bins. He worked most of his time handing out drinks.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Sauntered into the chat-room site
looking for conversational delight;
But what I found, depressingly,
was no one much interested in me;
first room in, what happened there?
It quickly emptied into silent air;
second one was not much different,
it turned into time not well spent;
several tries and none was better,
made me wonder, then to fretter;
decided to give it a rest for while,
next time won’t post my pic profile.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I have been reading Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, basically a series of short stories concerning the residents of a small Illinois town in 1928, largely as experienced by a dreamy and introspective twelve-year-old boy. One episode focused on his reaction to a friend moving away suddenly. It brought to mind my own, somewhat similar though different, experience of the loss of friends. When I was about ten I had practically free reign on a small island near Charleston, off the Inter-coastal Waterway. I roamed patches of woods, explored marshes, and biked on the few streets with two brothers, Keith and Mack. We climbed scuppernong-covered oaks, pulled crabs attached to chicken necks from marshy waters, and patrolled the various paths of our little kingdom (including a boundary of tree trimmings and yard refuse that stretched out into the marsh that we were able and light enough to scamper upon) We dug caves and threw up breastworks to repel enemy attacks. We exploded firecrackers (once setting a copse of woods alight) and picked field peas (which their father helped us shell and cook---wonderfully delicious). The boys lived but a couple hundred yards from me. One morning, it must have been on a weekend, I awoke, mounted my English racer, and headed over to their house, but found it silent and empty. They must have cleared out overnight. They hadn't said goodbye or even indicated they were contemplating a move. Perhaps it came as much as a surprise to them as it did to me. I stood rooted to the spot in their front yard, and stayed there for at least an hour, sobbing. I went home stunned and asked my parents if they knew anything, but they didn't. I never found out what happened to them; I couldn't even tell you what their last name was. But then and since it left a saddened place within that I never really recovered from. For a while I was the only one my age around, other than my siblings, but soon playmates came along. I still see that little boy, distraught, standing by his bicycle, bemoaning a loss that deeply affected him and left a melancholy streak in his soul.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Quilts, to me, are far more than utilitarian pieces of bed wear, but are often gorgeous pieces of art. And an exhibition mounted by the main branch of Richland County Public Library displays this fact incredibly well in a large collection of colorful quilts sewn by local ladies, using scraps left from other projects (although just how do you know?), and the result is wonderful. The quilts are mostly hung on the lower floor, near the children's wing, as well as around the escalator. Amazing pieces, some whimsical, others displaying unusual collections of colors and patterns. If you like quilting, you should stop in and take a look.


Another shooting
steals many innocent souls
in California.

How many more lives
must be lost before we stop
this gun craziness?

Citizens do not
need machine guns and armor
to live peacefully.

Stop the madness of
angry folk taking their spite
out on the blameless.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Thanksgiving's over,
tucked tummy of turkey,
and family time.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


He sat there angry, and a bit unnerved,
his haughtiness had been rudely served;
fur flew furious, with a startling spring,
near six feet high---he nearly took wing!
I had never seen one levitate like that,
you could say he was a freaked out cat.
What made him flip almost out of his skin?
What feline demons lurked deep within?
What made him become a kitty tumbler?
Why it was only---one scary cucumber!

I love kitties and never wish them harm, but the current craze of setting a cucumber near a cat unawares, usually while they are eating, and recording their startled reaction makes em cry with laughter. I just can't help it.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Blood flows in Paris,
pain felt all over the world,
but hate will not win.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It was like pulling teeth, but finally got them to agree to a picture this morning before hauling them to school. Both are marching in the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Columbia. I will try to get pictures of them in route, but they often do not come out well. So here is this, and we will hope for more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Joey was finally awarded his Life Scout rank at a small ceremony last night. Chimo was presented with six merit badges. The troop itself was honored for being the top gatherer of canned good, both as a unit and by individuals.

JZ and his parents on the right; Tidds to the left. Scoutmaster Greg Turbeville stands behind the table.

Chimo gets his merit badges. JZ stands nearby.

Joey and JZ light the ceremonial candles.

Joey pins me with his miniature Life badge. I wear over my pocket the rank of each boy. Not official BSA standard, but what the heck. Notice that Joey is about the same height as I am.

Monday, November 2, 2015


It's sad when a person who had an impact on you passes and for some reason their death slides by unnoticed. While looking up materials recently I came across a 2013 obituary for Professor Cecil B. Currey. Primarily a military historian, his dissertation and first book claimed Benjamin Franklin was British spy. Blasphemy, so many said! He later wrote a book about military command in Vietnam that should have been better received, but he was attacked because he never served actively there, apparently staying stateside as a chaplain and later as a reserve officer, and his publisher convinced him to put it out anonymously (though his name was quickly revealed). He later published some well-received and even acclaimed biographies of Vo Nguyen Giap and Edward Lansdale. He was my very first professor in a graduate-level master's class and I ended up not liking him much, though he taught me a good life lesson. My class with him was supposed to be a seminar on colonial American history, but I was disappointed its only focus was Salem witchcraft (allegedly because he was considering a similar project). We were supposed to write a paper, read and critique our fellows. When delivering our summaries, I was amazed by universal mimicry, restating positions Currey opined in class which was basically that everyone in colonial Massachusetts was caught up and no one challenged. Several papers I simply hated (and pointed out my objections), though they seemed to receive soft, even enthusiastic, praise from him. Foolish me, I decided to concentrate on those who actively opposed both accusers and their supporters. I paid a high price for my contrarianism. He was so easy on most presenters, until I got my turn. He scowled and criticized my effort, and threw my paper at me in front of everyone. It was covered in so much red ink I thought it was bleeding (I still have it somewhere). No grade marked on it. "See me after class." Several of my classmates were as stunned, all of them claiming that they liked my paper best of all. I later sat in his office, practically quaking. This had never happened to me before. Ever. He told me that my paper was "horribly written, not graduate-level work" but he would generously let me rewrite. His main objection, my overuse of "the" in it. I went home shaken and determined to quit graduate school. Nevertheless I rewrote it, mostly cleansing aforementioned miscues but without changing any of my conclusions or research. If I remember correctly after all these years (33 years), I was stunned when I received my grade, an "A". When I saw him next and asked why he had raked me over coals, he looked at me and said, "You did good research, and were willing to challenge me, but I didn't get the feeling you were taking it seriously enough. I expect much better effort from you. I think you have the ability to do well." I decided to stay and earned my MA at USF, but ever since that day I have often been accused by some professors as curiously avoiding using "the" in my work. :) I don't know if he mellowed, but others liked him, and he had a long career at South Florida, earning emeritus status a few years ago. I avoided him religiously thereafter, though. Perhaps I should have gotten to know him better, but I wasn't much on military history and I was more enamored with Depression Era history. Luckily I later had a wonderful professor of Colonial history at South Carolina, my guardian angel Jessica Kross, who rekindled my interest in early American history as one of my doctoral fields. My belated condolences to his family and students.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


There once was a Florida resident
Who set quite a political precedent,
Missed half Senate votes,
But staff took some notes!
And now he wants to be president?


How many places on a person’s skin
can people find to place a pin?
Another tattoo, “woman on pole,”
colorful inks next to pinhole;
tongues a-pierced and skin a-flayed,
one’s body now a creative arcade.
Earlobes stretched to amazing size,
though I wonder, “Is that wise?”
There’s scenes of beauty, I will admit,
but some don’t know just when to quit.
So when friends suggest I get one done,
I turn around and quickly run.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Bernie, I love ya!,
but inside I really think
it’s Hillary’s turn.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Herewith a picture of Paul playing on the Australian longboard in Keystone Lake. I don't remember grandmother swimming, but here is proof she did. This picture probably is from around 1974. The dock in the background belonged to the Wachtler's.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


No more will his visor slam sideline here,
but forever the HBC our fans will cheer;
he forged a team that fought for glory,
and fielded a squad that was SEC worthy;
while he did not garner a title in hand,
the garnet was tougher in football land;
he taught his players to be better men,
sandstorm polished, a house to defend,
he got the best both on and off field,
now we wonder what his legacy will yield.


My little brother sent along a couple of photographs of us from a few years back. I share them here:

I'm likely 9 or 10, and Paul is 3 or 4. Not sure where this was taken at, but most likely at our Edgewater Island residence in Charleston, S.C.

Roughly the same age, possible a tad older. We must have been attending some Christmas event, possibly on the base.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Rainfall came heavy,
followed by crushing flood
that swept much away.

Luckily I live on a hill and was blessedly spared. Many neighbors flooded. Reports still trickling in of damaged experienced by friends, but nothing serious so far, thankfully. Quite a few businesses damaged. Surprisingly my local library, according to one friend, weathered the storm ok. I thought it was a little lower. Some interrupted services and the water in tap still a bit cloudy, but overall nothing too bad. Schools still closed, but the boys like that.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Joey helped cook dinner at his high school open house tonight. Culinary arts is one class he really seems to enjoy and do well with. Perhaps he will have a career in food. He sure is dashing, even in a chef's jacket.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Herewith shot of my parking assistant during the Greek festival. Granted, it was very hot.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


A rather nice recent picture of me. Okay, that might be stretching it, but it is a pretty good one if I say so myself.


Herewith a shot taken from the LPP website that shows me at my desk, behind my monitor, with my sons' art on the wall behind me. There are also some molas (mostly just above my head), a nice silvered icon, and to the left is one of The Chicken Man's (Ernest Lee) creations, which I love. I own five of his pieces.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Some pictures from tonight's celebration of Harrison earning his Eagle. Here are a few pictures taken by some of the leaders.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


The boys joined their troop for a short canoeing excursion to Lake Murray. Here are a couple of pictures.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Without a doubt, I consider JUSTIFIED the best television series I have ever watched. And I've seen a few. Although I might love FIREFLY the most, JUSTIFIED was actually the best-written, best-acted program I have experienced; surely there are fans of others, say OZ, THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, or DEADWOOD who might dispute my assertion, but for my money I support this drama, based upon short stories and novels by one of my favorite authors, Elmore Leonard. Timothy Olyphant absolutely nailed Raylan Givens, the wise-cracking, serious, fast-draw U.S. marshal sent back from a stint in Miami (in which he is cleared of a justified, but questioned, shooting of a local mobster) to clean up his home state of Kentucky (mostly Harlan County). He is forced to deal with many Appalachian ghosts and still-active criminals from his past, including his father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), an ex wife, and many friends and acquaintances. Almost every actor in this show was wonderful. No long-running episodic show can do well without a witty, smart, sympathetic villain; in this case the role is the scheming Boyd Crowder, masterfully and delightfully played by Walton Goggins (simply excellent, and I loved his occasional turns as a transsexual on SONS OF ANARCHY too), with whom Raylan has a long-standing association going back to when they mined for coal as boys. They share a female interest in Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), the ultimate survivor. I should note here that JUSTIFIED had probably the best roles for strong women top to bottom than any other series I can recall. My favorite character was Raylan's boss Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), but I also liked his coworkers, ex sniper Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) and earnest Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel). Another long-running adversary and survivor was the sun-tanning, trailer-living Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). I can't simply list the parade of wonderful characters (good and bad) who graced the program, but I would be remiss if I didn't note the wonderful performance in season of Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett. Add the recurring performances of the hilarious wanna be deputy Constable Bob (Patton Oswald) who actually delivers. I simply can't do justice to the many actors who showed up for only a few episodes, but the casting director needs to get a huge bonus. I can't recall even a single bad performance or show; even the best shows usually have dead periods, but not so in this one. I will very much miss them all.

Friday, August 21, 2015


I'm sad Carter's sick,
but it is Trump's brain that is
filled with cancer?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The Donald came by and left me this selfie:

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Herewith a few pictures from the weekend's Order of the Arrow activities. Chimo became an Arrowman, while Joey advanced to Brotherhood status (signifies by red bars on either end of the red arrow on his white sash).


Herewith picture of my Order of the Arrow boys, Chimo and Joey enjoying breakfast this morning at Camp Barstow on Lake Murray. I am off to pick them up. They look like they had a nice time. School starts tomorrow.


Ordeal is over,
Now I have two Arrowmen,
I'm a proud father.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


You could feel the anticipation. The crowd, larger than I have ever seen at Findlay Park, positively thrummed. They grooved to ever part of the pre-concert dj jams. And when Midnight Star finally stepped on the stage, it was a little more of an hour of almost nonstop hits. And I didn't know they wrote "Rock Steady," "Meeting in the Ladies' Room" and "Love Shoulda Brought You Home." And there was almost no one (except for me) sitting when they ended the concert with "No Parking on the Dance Floor." What a concert, the best of the summer. I hope the attendance at these concerts convinces the local leaders to adopt this plan in the future, cause people showed up in huge numbers. You know the purveyors made money. It was a great summer of music.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Chimo this weekend completed his ordeal and is now the newest Scout from Troop 324 to join the ranks of the Order of the Arrow, in the hundredth celebration of the organization. Now both the Tidd boys are Arrowmen. I am so proud.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Joey was a member of the NOAC Three-peat national championship Ultimate Frisbee team at Michigan State University this past week. I couldn't be prouder or happier for him, for his three teammates from 324 (Jared, Jacob, and JZ), for Muskogee Lodge 221 from South Carolina. I'm just about ready to pick him up tonight from the return bus trip. Herewith some pictures.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Silky black tresses,
with her long slinky dresses,
and seductive voice.

[For Cher]

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I know this picture of the Muskogee contingent is small, but I can pick out my son in seconds, and even at this distance it looks like he is having a good time and participating.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Some additional photos of Joey as part of the 324 contingent as they prepare to board their charter bus for the trip to Michigan. Joey is even smiling in one.

And, from a picture taken at their dinner stop in Georgia, though dark, you can see Joey standing in line. Conveniently a yellow marker on ground is practically pointing right at him.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Joey left this afternoon to attend the Centennial anniversary of the Order of the Arrow NOAC conference at Michigan State University. Fourteen hour trip by bus. Something like 15000 members will be present, and I understand that figure could easily have been doubled. Herewith a picture of the boy in his new uniform.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Last night Chimo was tapped to join his brother Joey as a member of the Order of the Arrow, a Boy Scout fraternal organization. I am happy both got to join this group. Chino was tapped along with his Assistant Scoutmaster Zack. Herewith a few pictures from ceremony at Raven Knob.


Chimo has been active his first three days of camp. He finally finished his requirements for the Lifesaving merit badge. And he was tapped into the Order of the Arrow. I unfortunately don't have any pics from that, but here he is mugging for the camera.