Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Westward Ho

I do a lot of work in westerns. Sort of.  Actually, I edit and write weird westerns. Legends of the Dragon Cowboys  is a weird western. David Boop's Straight Outta Tombstone is a weird western anthology [I'm not involved with that, just an example]. These aren't quite the same as traditional westerns in that they have horror or fantasy aspects to them. Still, I like to stay current on what goes on with westerns--especially when a new feature film comes out. As I said yesterday, Hostiles is not very good, in my opinion. 

Still, Hostiles did a few things that the heyday of the western rarely explored. All the tribes weren't the same.  Some Indians were bad and some weren't all that bad. The government did not treat Indians particularly well.  So, think back to the westerns of yester year.   The Indians attacked the good fine white people just out there trying to take Indian lands away from them. Nope, Hostiles didn't promote that. But the story is still a mess and it's almost an incomprehensible plot.  

That's hardly new. Little Big Man did that much better decades ago.  This story wants us to understand it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Duh. It still makes little sense and it's still an awful movie.

So, the remake of The Magnificent Seven--I went.    And the next major western that comes out--I'll go to it as well.  And maybe they'll make one I actually like some day. That would be nice.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Random Thoughts During Hostiles

Why, with multiple rows available in here, do they always want to sit next to me?

Please, Comanche, please kill all the white actors off and and save me from the next hour of this horrible movie.

Please dear God, can't the Cheyenne just kill the white people and we can go home?

Why can't they hire some Indians to come through the theatre and slit the throats of everyone and put us out of our misery?

Even the horses look bored.

I should just leave.

With all the rampant violence now we need a badly filmed rape scene. Can it get any worse?

This rancher guy is unbelievable. Yay! She shot him. Why won't he die?

What? This ending makes no sense at all.



*****

This isn't really a review.  This movie is awful.  Terrible wandering storyline.  That's all I can say.




Monday, January 29, 2018

That Evil Weed

A couple days ago I got a bag of fresh oregano straight out of the garden from my brother.  Of course I was pulled over by the sheriff's department on the way home.  The deputy asked for my license and registration. I complied. Then he said, "Why don't you hand over the marijuana."
"I don't have any."
"I can see it right there on your seat."
"It's oregano."
"What?"
"Oregano. It's a spice. They put it  in spaghetti sauce."
"What now?"
"Smell it," said I. "Does that smell like pot?"
"Well, not really."
And I soon was on my way.  Fresh oregano is remarkably better than the dried stuff you get at the store.

fresh oregano

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dear Cookie

Dear Chinese Fortune Cookie Company

I recently had food at a Chinese restaurant here in Tucson.  I was given a fortune cookie at the end of my meal, which is, of course, state law. I ate my cookie and then I read my fortune. It said I am going to come into a fortune.  Well, I've been kind of wondering, when that will be, exactly.  I went to the financial planner and they asked me where the fortune was coming from. I told them I didn't know but it was in my fortune cookie and they threw me out of the place.  [Well, not really but I wanted to].

By the way, I really like Chinese food. I understand why it's so popular in China.  My brother doesn't like fortune cookies. He thinks I'm an idiot. I think you couldn't print I was getting a fortune cookie if it wasn't true. So, what  should I tell the financial planners?

Your friend,

Dave





Saturday, January 27, 2018

Don't Go In There!

I've said previously how much nicer the library in Tempe is than the Pima County libraries around the greater Tucson area.  I was up there for their book fair last fall.  The local libraries here are tiny little things. They have few books, and just a row of computer terminals,  a meeting room or two and that's about it. Sure, the librarians are nice enough, but there's just so little point in going in there.  Add to this the bathroom is almost always out of order.

Why is the bathroom out of order? The neighboring park is crawling with bums. They're everywhere and the only bathroom around is inside the library. So, to discourage the bums, I believe they're faking the bathroom being out of order. Frankly, I only go in there to use the bathroom. The library is pretty much useless for me otherwise. I guess I've been mistaken for a bum before so it may be intentional for me as well.

The Denver area had nice libraries.  They actually had books and stuff in them, unlike ours. Ours seem designed for access in there are quite a few branches, but these branch libraries have nothing in them but bathrooms that are out of order.  Ergo, why have them at all?  Weird, being on the side of the bums.

Friday, January 26, 2018

blow me down

Our wind is back.  We're not used to a lot of wind in this part of Arizona, but we seem to be getting more and more of it.  It makes mild days seem chilly. Case in point, this afternoon I was running some errands and I noted that a lot of our senior citizens were running around with heavy coats on. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, though I do admit I felt a little uncomfortable. Still, it struck me as odd that the old people were wearing heavy coats and I wore none.

Could it be that I used to live in Colorado for 17 years? Perhaps, although I think I've been in Tucson long enough to have acclimated.  Maybe some people just are sissies.  I don't know. When the wind died down in the afternoon I saw no need for a coat yet old people were still wandering around all bundled up. I can't figure it.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

touchy people and a big mouthed idiot

Boy, my quickness to open my mouth got me in trouble yesterday. I should do better to keep my big mouth shut. I was reading stories for Science Fiction Trails whilst I was having lunch at a coffee shop by using this wonderful device called a notebook computer.  One story was simply awful by someone who claims to be a published author.  I said aloud, to no one in particular, "This moron can't even form a paragraph. " The waitress asked me what I was doing. I said I was editing a book [not wanting to explain SF Trails]. That would've been okay had I let it drop then. But no. I added, "He must be home schooled. He can't read or write, let alone compose a story."

Well, that's my bias. I really have not found home schooled people to be particularly well educated. Sorry if you're home schooled. I got my penance for my arrogance. Read on.

So, the waitress, a very nice woman with gorgeous red hair, who I happen to be kind of sweet on, is standing there glaring at me whilst she was holding a coffee pot [I don't drink coffee, but other customers do].  And she's glaring at me with hate rays coming out of her eyes. "I'm home schooled," she said. My immediate fear was she was going to douse me with the hot coffee. Mercifully, she just walked away. And she never came near my table again. I didn't even get a check, let alone an iced tea refill.  

Well, I really stepped in it.  I paid my check and told the cashier person I didn't have a check yet and she looked me up and it was no big deal. Then I left after leaving a typical 20 percent tip on the table.  Now, I felt really bad about my crass remark and tried to suppress an urge to leave a $20 tip. But that would change nothing and might even re-offend her again.  Now, I could've gone over and apologized. I started to, then she vanished back in the kitchen--where they keep the knives. I decided to retreat and leave. I'd done enough damage.  I really have a way with women. 

The story really was wretched. It was rejected, of course. But editing is a solitary job and I should keep it that way. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Coyote Cafe

Where I live, this time of year, the coyotes are quite active.  There are a lot of jack rabbits and other prey around and the coyotes seem to view it as an all you can eat buffet.  Good riddance to the jack rabbits, I say.

Of course there is a down side to all this canine activity.  It sounded like one of them was in my yard last night.  They were yapping and howling and it was quite loud.  News of threats. News of good eats.. Hell, I don't know what they howl about but it's quite a ruckus.  

Back when I worked in Yellowstone, you could sometimes hear the wolves howling.  The wolves have an elegant, almost mystical howl.  Not so with coyotes.  Coyote howls are in short bursts and not at all appealing to listen to.  I doubt they care what I think.  I just wish they'd go down the street and howl by someone else's window. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Brr

After an extremely mild winter in Arizona whilst much of the country is freezing, yesterday was quite cold.  Compared to what we used to have in Colorado it was nothing, but the locals felt cold. Some places even got a little snow, but not where I live.  I can deal with the cold. It's wind I don't like and we've had plenty of it lately. But, all you can really do about the weather is cuss.

I had to go out and about for a while.  I noticed the usual bums at intersections begging for money were all gone. I don't know where they do, but it was a welcome reprieve. I'm sure they'll be back.



Sunday, January 21, 2018

Oh Britania

When I was a lad I loved British comedy.  Back then you didn't get the BBC channel, you picked up a few programmes on PBS and occasionally on some independent station.  Well, now the stuff is still on PBS and also on the BBC Channel. To a point, anyway. The BBC Channel carries a lot of Star Trek and a lot of BBC programming does not appear in the USA. Frankly, I find the current crop of British TV incomprehensible.  [I'm not going to go into Dr. Who, I've talked about it before]. Just absolute gibberish that makes no sense.  I tried to watch a few British shows last night and turned them off. I could not even stand to watch them.

I note the schism in terms of sales of written material as well.  I used to sell quite a few books in the UK. And I always sold copies of my magazine Science Fiction Trails.   Not any more. Now it is rarely never that I sell something in the UK.  

What's the deal? I don't know.  Either Britain or I have changed, it would seem.

I still have fantasies of British police women handcuffing and searching me. There's something about that uniform. But that has nothing to do with whatever it was I was talking about.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

DMV part 2

I went to the DMV Thursday as I had some sort of problem to resolve. So, I get there and there's only one person ahead of me in line. I explained that I received a letter stating I can't renew my registration, but it lacked a reason.  The DMV agent checked and claimed I never signed my initial application a year earlier. Although skeptical, I signed a new one when she printed it out. And that was it. I was out of there in less than 10 minutes. No real hassle at all. I was amazed.  

Where were the long lines? Why wasn't the agent I talked to mean and rude?  The world must surely be coming to an end if a trip to the DMV was a pleasant and quick experience.  I guess they could have attractive women come by and give customers a neck massage while they're waiting in line, but otherwise I was impressed. Arizona DMV you're doing pretty good if my experience was typical. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Latest Review

Got a nice review in the January edition of Midwest Book Review.


These two Western novellas are seasoned a dash of exotic adventure, featuring cowboy protagonists who hail from the Far East and pursue their dreams in the tough-as-nails frontier. Riveting from first page to last, Legends of the Dragon Cowboys is enthusiastically recommended for public library collections and connoisseurs of the genre!

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/jan_18.htm#fiction


Thursday, January 18, 2018

DMV Oh Boy!

Right up there with buying used cars and going to the dentist ranks a trip to the DMV. That's where I plan to go today.  My car needs to be registered. Now, most people can register online. It should be a simple renewal.  But not for me. I got a letter telling me I am not allowed to renew my car registration. In typical DMV fashion, there is no reason given.  I tried emailing them on their information site--including the plate number and VIN number of my car to get a reason for this.. The response was that they cannot help me without the plate number. If you call on the toll free number you sit on hold until you give up and hang up.

So I am anxiously looking forward to going to the DMV and trying to register the car that cannot be registered. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Opera Don't Fail Me Now

I've been a fan of the power of opera for decades. The power of what? Let me explain. Opera is an acquired taste.  Most people hate it.  That's just the way it is.

I first discovered the power of opera  when I had a roommate in college.  If I wanted to get rid of him, back then we had these things called cassette tapes. Some of mine were opera. Well, I could pop on the Barber of Seville  or some other performance and poof, my roommate would be gone in minutes. Wow.

A little later in the timeline I was dog sitting my parents golden retriever.  He was in the back seat and we were going somewhere in my car. The NPR station had Metropolitan Opera on Saturdays and on came this opera. The dog tried to climb out the open car window. I pulled him back in. It was unclear whether he just wanted to stick his head far enough out to escape the music or he was going to leap from the car--but he was not happy when I grabbed his collar and yanked him back inside. I had to turn the radio off to settle him down. Adding insult to injury, the dog was asleep on the floor when that very night I had the TV on but was actually reading something and not paying attention that some special opera from PBS was coming on.  The dog heard that and got up. He glared at me for a moment, in his mind I'd deliberately made the station play opera. He let out a huff and left the room and went to another room away from the hideous opera.

Fast forward a few years to my service in the hotel industry in Vail, Colorado. There, we had a couple of families that let their adolescent children run around the hotel all night, causing me endless grief as they trashed my lobby and made never ending noise. I was desperate to get them to go to their rooms. Then I remembered the PA system, awash in Christmas music, actually had an opera channel on it.  Three minutes later, the lobby was empty. I was a genius.

So, since my relocation to Tucson, the one drawback to living here is the huge number of bums at street corners begging for money. It gets quite old. I was stuck at a red light the other day. The local reprobate was heading for me and I even had my window down. Miraculously, the classical music station put on an opera--some German thing and I forget which one. I quickly cranked up the volume. The vagrant turned and walked away from my car. Hallelujah. Do I love opera.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Color of the Wild West

This is written on MLK Day, but posting a day later. Anyway do you know who the first black female billionaire was?  Oprah.  Shouldn't be a surprise, really. She's very good at business.  And she doesn't lie and cheat people like Donnie does. Am I saying I want Oprah to run for president? No. I don't do a political blog, so I wouldn't say that.

I thought I'd actually touch on another aspect of race. I'm editing a book of ghost stories right now, along with Julie Campbell.  I noticed something that's come up before.  Almost all the characters are white people, or generic people we assume to be white.  As of this moment, I'm almost through the preliminary round of readings. There just aren't many folks of color--although there was one Asian character in one of the stories.    

My western oriented books have done better, often having a Native American person, sometimes an Asian. My projects tend to be rather specialized.  They're, alas, in the small press end of the market and not high paying projects.  So, I don't pretend to have all the answers. I just note, that on MLK Day, as an editor, I see dang few black people in the stories submitted to the projects I edit.

As an author, I've used Chinese characters quite a few times. I've used Native Americans a few times. I can't say that I've used black characters, either.  Again, I don't really know why. I do a lot of stuff set in the Wild West era. Census data (and this varies a lot by state and territory) from back then says about a fourth of the cowboys were black. About a third were Mexican. You don't see that in Hollywood's version of the Old West. Gunslingers and Ghost Stories, edited by yours truly, has a really good story about a black marshal. My Science Fiction Trails magazine has had stories about Buffalo Soldiers. Like I said, I don't see a lot of stories about people of color, particularly when it comes to black people.   

Stories set in the west do have people of color. Just not a lot of them. Joel Jenkins' Lone Crow is  a Native American gunfighter.  I reviewed his new book recently right here on this blog. My newest book, Legends of the Dragon Cowboys is two novellas--both with Chinese heroes. 

So then, why don't I see very many black people in this era when we know they certainly were around? A lot of freed slaves fled the South after the Civil War. They took various jobs as did other folks heading west to make their fortune.  In fact, I wanted to write  a nonfiction book on black lawmen in the Old West. I decided I simply couldn't figure out how to research it. There just isn't much information on this topic.  I got interested in the  topic after seeing a gravestone for a black marshal in a Missouri cemetery some years back  I can't realistically wander the nation's cemeteries trying to see if I can find the names of more black lawmen.

Like I said, I don't have the answers. I just note the lack of black people in western stories.  Even more so than the lack of other people of color.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Pool Shenanigans

Something interesting happened to me last week. I went to an apartment complex to give a friend a ride to the airport.  I was waiting out front for her to finish putting useless crap in her suitcase when I noticed a commotion in the pool.  It was around seven o’clock pm, so it was dark this time of year.  Anyway, since people were talking loudly it wasn’t hard to figure this out. Apparently, four boys circa 13 years old decided to go skinny dipping in the apartment’s pool. A woman walked by the pool and one of the boys asked her if she wanted to join them. This was about an 18 year old blond.  She apparently decided what the hell, dropped her running shorts and everything else and jumped in.

So, naturally, the mother of one of the boys shows up. She is furious that the boys are naked in the pool, and especially that they’ve got a full grown completely naked adult female in the pool with them. Mom’s nearly hysterical and wants to call the police. Then her husband shows up and calms her down and everyone puts their clothes on and goes home.

My friend only caught the last part of it. so I filled her in. Her only question was “Was she attractive?”

“Yes.” was my answer. 

So we’re on the way to the airport and my friend asked me what I thought of that. I said the boys are probably very unhappy the mom showed up. They erred in being in a public pool, but skinny dipping with a girl at that age–they probably thought they died and went to heaven.

Well, she did not seem to like my answer.  “I can’t believe she did that. I’d never do that.”

Thankfully we got to the airport and that ended it.

But it got me thinking. Men and women do not always view the same situation in the same way.
I checked the girl out when she got out of the pool. My friend did not seem to think I should’ve looked at her.   And I didn’t think the boys were doing anything all that bad.  The mother thought it was Sodom and Gomorrah out there.

As a nation, Americans are somewhat prudish when it comes to public nudity.  Nude swimming is not all that common here.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Thanks Donnie

I didn't know you can say "shithole" on TV. It's all I've been hearing the past couple of days. Wow.  It's a word I've used from time to time, sometimes to describe some of the housing in my former hometown of Vail, Colorado.  Anyway, I guess I can go around saying shithole now without fear of offending people. Thanks Donnie.  By the way Donnie I think your hotel in Las Vegas is a real shithole and I'd never stay there.  Haven't been to your other shitholes. Have a Nice Day.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lettuce Prey

There's a restaurant in town that I eat at now and then.  The food's decent and reasonably priced. As I ate my hamburger the other day I found myself wondering about an e-coli outbreak concerning romaine lettuce--the very type I was eating. The problem supposedly does not apply to Arizona, but I still found myself wondering about the lettuce on my sandwich. Frankly, I don't understand why they put romaine lettuce on sandwich's. It has that spine on it. It may be prettier than iceberg lettuce, but I'd rather have iceberg lettuce on my sandwiches. I just do not get it. Chefs out there what's the deal? Why use romaine lettuce on sandwiches instead of iceberg? 


Friday, January 12, 2018

Morons

If you ever have time to kill, say twenty minutes, go park yourself outside a post office.  Make sure you can see the drive up mail boxes. and just sit there and wait. It won't take long. It is simply amazing how many people who drive up to mail boxes have a lot of trouble mailing a letter. Just stick it in the slot and drive off? Not hardly.I can't predict what you'll see, but I am astonished these people are out on the road--let alone mailing letters.

Their hands shake so badly they drop them, they fumble around and can't find them inside their car, they put them on top of the mail box [yeah, the big blue ones] and drive off. Some of them stare in bewilderment at the mail boxes for no comprehensible reason.

Try this. It fails to astonish me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tailgate Party

Lately I wish I had one of the secret agent cars. You know, the kind that have flame throwers or dump oil slicks or nails out to thwart pursuers as the secret agent tries to get away from the bad guys. Well, I don't have such equipment on the Ford.  But I sure want some. The problem is tailgaters. I'm sick of people driving along inches off my rear bumper.  

I live in Pima County, some distance from the municipal boundary of the City of Tucson.  To get anywhere I must drive on one of two two lane roads. These roads have few places one can pass. So, drivers always seem to want to get overly familiar with my rear end.  I typically drive a little over the limit.  The thing that bugs me about being constantly tailgated is there is always a car in front of me. I have nowhere to go. Riding my bumper won't speed me up. The car in front of me is putting along, and there is nothing I can do about it. 

It's rude. It's dangerous. And it never stops.  So little missiles in the James Bond surplus sale would be way cool. I know of no other way to stop people from tailgating me. 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Get Yer Gunfights

Washington state author Joel Jenkins sent along a copy of his new story collection The Condemnation of Crow.   If you're not familiar, Lone Crow is a Native American bounty hunter/gunfighter who gets into all sorts of supernatural situations.  I would describe most of the stories as high energy weird westerns. I have said at science fiction cons when I've talked on weird westerns that these are some of the best gunfight stories I  have ever read. Now they're all together in a book.

If you like weird westerns read this book. Get your library to order this book. You won't be disappointed. It's first rate adventure and the action never stops. If you aren't in to weird westerns, try this book anyway. It's really good storytelling. 

In the interest of disclosure I edited and or published some of the stories in the book in my Story Emporium and Science Fiction Trails magazines. Here they're all together in one nice convenient package put out by Pulp Works Press, $14.95.  I have a print book. No word if there will be an ebook

I only have one little quibble. This is the second Lone Crow book. The first one, Coming of Crow looks a lot like this one in terms of its cover.  While you want a sequel to conjure up the memory of its predecessor, .this book looks too close like the first one. I actually thought, at first glance, I'd been sent another copy of the first book.



Addendum: There is indeed a Kindle edition

Monday, January 8, 2018

That's Service

Last Thursday I took my car into the Ford dealer for servicing.  They got all confused and didn't charge me.  I even pointed out they made a mistake but the cashier couldn't fix it so they just said it was complimentary.  Now, how often do you get something free from a car dealer? They're masters at extracting people from their money.  It was free.  Wow.

I was so happy I went to the very good Chinese restaurant  down the street and had lunch.  When I got the bill, it was wrong. They hadn't charged me for my drink. I was told not to worry about it. So, I paid the reduced price and left. 

Couldn't really imagine places that didn't want my money.  The hospital did wonders for my shoulder with physical therapy, but I think the bill is wrong.  They certainly want my money and then some. So I guess the money gods decided to cut me a break on Thursday and let me slide.  I liked it.  I just wonder what new calamity awaits to make up for it. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pizza From Outer Space?

Well, yesterday my father decided to order pizza.  More specifically, he wanted me to order it and go get it.  Okay, so I naively agreed to this nefarious plan.  Then he wanted a medium.  I would get a large one, as it costs little more. Nope, it had to be a medium.  He can't stand the thought of there being any leftover pizza.  I love leftover pizza and don't consider it a problem. Dad is terrified there will be a slice of uneaten pizza--he would never eat leftover pizza. 

Then there were the ingredients. He wanted spinach, seriously. You spend roughly $1.25 per topping. They give you five cents worth of spinach.  And he wanted green onions. Same deal. I wanted pineapple--way more expensive than spinach and I wanted to get some pepperoni.  He wanted ham. okay, I could live with ham though I prefer sausage.  We finally negotiated it down to ham, sausage and pepperoni and the damned spinach. He wouldn't budge on the spinach. It's not like he's Popeye  or anything. So, I relented and ordered the spinach.  

Old people.  No  wonder most pizza places in this town are near the university and not near the old folks homes.

So, I went and picked it up, This was a take and bake place Brought it home and cooked it.  And I thought we could've used another slice, but he was so happy it was a medium and there was nothing left over. God forbid there be a left over slice of pizza. 

The moral of this story--don't eat pizza with old people. They're crazy. All of them. Papa Murphy's should lock the door when they see old people approaching.  

Now the back story of this is I met someone and finally got the courage to ask her out. And I asked her out to a pizza place--not a take and bake.  Well, she declined my offer.  Then, coincidentally, I went by my father's house to see if he needed help taking down his Christmas lights. He didn't, but then he wanted to get pizza.  It was like the pizza gods were smiting me for some reason. Instead of eating pizza with a very nice woman I get to have it with some old guy and I can't even have a few slices for the next day and I can't have my pineapple and I'm stuck with spinach.  It was one of the most depressing pizzas I've ever had.




Thursday, January 4, 2018

What's in a name?

A few days ago I found a review for my horror anthology Low Noon on a website. The review had come out in April of 2017 but I was unaware of it. Alas, the book is out of print although used copies are around.  The odd thing was it was inexplicably attributed to David A. Riley.  The cover clearly shows David B. Riley (that's me) and David A. isn't mentioned anywhere.  David A. is a British horror writer  who people keep confusing with me.  That's why I always go by David B. Riley and not simply David. It's bad enough people at cons want me to sign his books, but now he's getting my reviews as well.  

It was a nice review.  Just wish it had the name right.



Addendum: The nice folks at SF Reader have corrected the name error on the review since I first wrote this.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hey

Hey, got a gift card from some book store or Amazon?  Have I got the answer for you. Buy Bonded Agent.  It's just an awesome science fiction book.  More importantly, it'll make you a good person if you buy it.  You see it makes me happy when you but it and that happiness spreads out all over the world, coming back to you, the purchaser.  

Still no sale?  Sarah Meadows kicks ass.  Like a strong female character--Sarah's one.

Don't like a strong female character--well, it's got lizard men.

Like Mars? Sarah lives on Mars.

What more could you possibly want?  That's Sarah on the cover.  And those are lizard men behind her.  The lizard men are the good guys.  





Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Poof!

People don't all do their Christmas lights the same.  They go up differently and go down differently.  I take mine down the day after Christmas.  Most folks leave them up until New Years. Yesterday, most of the holiday decorations in my neighborhood disappeared. Now it's same old gated community boredom for the next eleven months or so until we start over again.

I was brought up in the Episcopal tradition where you celebrate 12 days of Christmas, then you toss your trees. Actually, I think you;re supposed to burn them.  Like I said, my practice has evolved and the decorations go right after Christmas.  Somehow, I don't think they had electric Christmas lights on the manger where Jesus was born, and an evergreen tree with ornaments also seems unlikely. So, I do not really know how we got to electric lights to decorate our homes.  I do know the modern version of Christmas was simply a co-opting of a Roman winter festival. But I don't think the Romans used electric Christmas lights, either.  I'm sure they did on the History Channel, but not anywhere else.

Of course the retail stores will have it all back up in  a few months. They had Christmas decorations up around here well before Halloween.  They had Rudolph standing next to the Grim Reaper at one store. Kind of weird. It won't be long and it'll go straight from Forth of July to Christmas decorations in stores, me thinks. So, let me be the first to wish everyone a Merry Forthmus. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Auld Lang Syme

Well another year has come and gone.  Today people will cheer on their favorite college football team, unless it's on some other day with the bowl system being what it is these days. I never liked the playoff concept college football went to. College football is not a league in the sense of the NFL, rather it's a disparate confederacy of leagues.  To select a true champion is folly.  I also know no one cares what I think.  My college team, The Oregon Ducks, have already played their bowl game. I may watch another one today or I may just work in my yard.  I've got a bush that's dying and it may be time to chop it up and plant something else.