Saturday, August 30, 2014


The Urban Dictionary defines a floater as: 

"...a social mastermind who wavers between members of one ... [or more] clique[s] ..., pitting people against one another and leeching out information without seeming like a threat."
Urban Dictionary, Floater

The dictionary also identifies a floater fecal matter (aka "shit") that floats in the water.
Beware the Floater. 
If you like to walk along the shores of the many creeks in Kansas, you will come across Floaters. The Floater is the most common large species of mussel in Kansas. Its shell can reach 6 to 10 inches, a tasty meal for a raccoon or an egret. The discarded shells of the Floater mussel can be found in Kansas along muddy creeks and in lakes. It gets its name from the fact that when it dies, the shell rises to the surface of the water and floats.

Floater mussel
This one was a recent victim of a predator, possibly an egret who left his white feather behind.

Egret feather Floater mussel

What fascinates me is the iridescence of the inner shell. It is called nacre, also known as mother of pearl, the same organic-inorganic material that goes into pearls. We are all rich if we only see it.

Pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The last time but one I watch my son go to college

Penultimates never get the credit they deserve. 

a bee fly hovers over a thistle

My first son, second child is off to college. This is his junior year. His mother and I follow him out of the house this next to last week in August. At this time of year, the morning is unusually cool for Kansas, good for a seven hour trip across Kansas to Fort Collins, Colorado.  

A father always gives a child a little extra cash, a new crisp hundred dollar bill. The son says, "There really is no need hundred dollar bills, other than to fuel the drug trade."

This summer is over all too quickly.

Summer came and went
Like every year before
'Til there is no more.

Monday, August 4, 2014

James Brady Dies at 73

It is the spring of 1981, a rainy afternoon, March 30, 1981, at the Washington Hilton Hotel, near the upscale residences of Adams Morgan and Woodley Park, one mile from the Smithsonian National Zoo; and 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

John W. Hinckley Jr., a mentally troubled college dropout hoping to impress the actress Jodie Foster, on whom he is fixated, raises his handgun as Reagan steps out of the hotel after giving a speech.

James Brady and Ronald Reagan

Reagan is hit, as were a Secret Service agent and District of Columbia police officer. But James Brady, with a gunshot to the head, is the most seriously injured. The bullet damaged the right section of his brain, paralyzing his left arm, weakening his left leg, damaging his short-term memory and impairing his speech. Speaking becomes a study in concentration, life becomes "hard as hell." but he perseveres.

Afterwards, he and his wife Sarah became ardent gun control advocates.

Sadly, the shootings continue.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Forget about the doctor, send for a priest

"Forget about the doctor. Send for a priest." says Kirk Douglas acting in the role of Detective McLeod.

Detective Story movie poster

Turner Classic Movies shows the 1951 movie, Detective Story, based on the Sidney Kingsley play, with Kirk Douglas in the title role.

At the end of the movie, after his wife (Eleanor Parker) has left him, Detective McLeod (Kirk Douglas), saves his fellow policemen in the squad room from a petty thief, Charley Gennini, who shoots him with a gun grabbed from another cop. Detective McLeod suffers in agony from a gut shot, meanwhile offering a man accused of fraud a second chance, and praying that his wife Mary will forgive him for not helping her when she begged for his help. McLeod's obsessive pursuit of an abortionist lead him to discover his wife had an abortion.

Then McLeod/Douglas makes the Sign of the Cross with a bloody hand and begins to pray the Act of Contrition – but dies in the act of praying.

Does writing get any better than this? 

The old man was once a twelve-year-old kid who heard his best friend's mother say:

"I am going to hell in a hand-basket, and I am pushing the cart."

The kid often helped his mother at the grocery store and he loved to push the shopping cart. He always meant to ask her what she meant. If heaven and hell are your choices, why choose hell?