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.