Tuesday, March 31, 2020

answering prayers

Scored some toilet paper at the local dollar store.  I'm so happy.  Yesterday I was lamenting the lack of toilet paper.  Then, poof, there were packages of toilet paper.  

On a related note, I know someone who screens luggage at the airport for TSA.  He said someone checked a suitcase full of toilet toilet paper two days ago.  Go figure?

Monday, March 30, 2020

where is all the toilet paper?

U.S. Census data, the average U.S. household of 2.6 people uses 409 regular rolls per year.  There is no toilet paper in Tucson.  It simply does not exist.  The poor folks who work at stores just shrug when asked about the current shortages of food, medicine and toilet paper. I get the hand sanitizer and food shortages as people prepare for the roving hoards that should be forming in the next few weeks. But I do not understand where all the toilet paper is going. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Cheer up

It's certainly easy to get depressed.  Millions of people can't work and you can't even have a drink at a bar. My dad's birthday is coming up in a few days.  I can't take him out to dinner. Hell, I can't even buy a steak and do a cookout--the local store has no meat.  But there's plenty of wine and liquor. I guess dad can just get blotto for his birthday.  I can't even join him for that as  can't drink do to my kidney problems (doctor's orders).  On the other hand the power is still on; water comes out of the tap; the trash is still getting picked up.  

Friday, March 27, 2020

wishful thinking

I live in  a neighborhood of older people.  For some reason, a rumor started that I had died from the virus. A neighbor was staring at me at the mailbox then said "I thought you were dead." That surprised me a bit. "Sorry to disappoint you," was my response.  Then other people told me I'm dead. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


I was actually able to buy food yesterday.  There remains no toilet paper anywhere.  Someone's hoarding a hell of a lot of toilet paper.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dog Serial Killer

I've written before about the dead dogs that keep turning up on Bopp Road, which is near my house. They all appear to be healthy looking.  At first I thought they might've been hit by cars, but the fact they're always in the same place makes me think they are being killed somewhere and dumped. This is the eighth dead dog at the same exact place in the past four months.  Someone from county animal control comes along and scoops up the dead bodies and hauls them away. I think there's a dog serial killer on the loose. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Back yard roundup

One of my birch trees seems to have died. It shed its leaves last winter. Whilst the other two came back and sprouted new leaves, the third one just sits there.  I suppose n this climate, where water is scarce and its hot one should be happy with that. However, its been an exceptionally cool spring we've had fairly regular rain. So, why'd the tree die?  Maybe it was simply its time to go off to tree heaven.

On a brighter side, my two lemon trees are looking pretty good.  They've  been in the ground about three years.  For the longest time they neither seemed to grow or produced fruit. The last fruit cycle yielded enough lemons for a pitcher of lemonade and the little rascals are clearly growing now. The barrel cactus on the side of the house is looking really good and has benefited from the extra spring rain.  

Alas, the one bad thing is the weed problem seems to be getting worse.  They are everywhere and my efforts to abate them seem futile.  I've been using propane but may have to go to a chemical solution.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Where are the marauding hords?

Well, I hope people are looking out for the marauding hoards. This situation reminds me of some 20 years ago. I literally lived next to  some guy in a bunker.  It was kind of creepy, but this guy lived in an underground bunker. I don't recall actually seeing the man.  A TV camera would follow you as people moved around on the public sidewalk. I once got into a discussion about him with other neighbors. I contended when we have a fall of government and roving hoards are looking for food, people like bunker guy will be the first to die. My neighbor, who wished he had a bunker like our other neighbor, thought bunker people would carry on for society when folks like me were dead. I disagreed.

Why?  I'm gong after bunker people and other survivalists if things get that bad..  I'll light fires under their ventilation shafts to smoke them out, get heavy equipment to dig them out--whatever.  They are going first as they're stuck. I'm forming my own roving hoard.  We'll be mobile and we'll go after people like bunker guy, who are stuck in one place. Yes we will.  Now, I don't think it's quite come to that yet. But Safeway's shelves were almost completely bare yesterday. Somebody is hoarding a hell of a lot of food. Worse yet, there's no toilet paper to be had anywhere in Tucson. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Okay, now this is getting weird

Okay, when my bank [credit union, actually] said they didn't want me coming near the place and they were locking their doors I didn't care too much.  Now I've gotten an email from my doctor. Apparently, they do not want sick people to come to the doctor's office.  I gather, if I interpret their latest email correctly, they want sick people to cancel their appointments and stay home. 

That's too bad because I wanted to go to the doctor's office and steal their toilet paper.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

what next?

Now they've closed the restaurants here in Tucson.  My bank has closed its doors as well and told us to use the ATM.  What more wonderful ideas will they have?  I've got one.  Use nuclear weapons and kill everyone in cities with confirmed cases. This will eliminate the need for people to die from Corona virus and folks can get on with their lives if they're not dead.  I still don't understand why people are hording toilet paper.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Wearing the green

I have a green shirt on today.  That's what we do on St Patrick's Day.  Many years ago I was working at a hotel and the morning people arrived and the night people [me] were about to  go home. I asked one of the morning front desk agents if she'd like a shamrock [paper] as I had a few.  She declined. "But it's St. Patrick's Day," Said I.

Well, she went off on a tangent about how the Irish were all worthless and good for nothing but fighting and drinking.  I shrugged and went home.  At some point she apparently realized I have an Irish name.  Well, the  next day she seemed to be trying to be nice to me, but found me rather chilly. Heck, I just offered her a paper shamrock.

Alas, I'm actually only about 1/4 Irish.  I don't know why some people spell it O'Reilly and my family spells it Riley.  And I don't like corned beef and cabbage very much.  But I still resented what this woman said. So there.  

Oh, some idiot on the radio last month said St. Valentine drove the snakes out of Ireland. It was St. Patrick.  And I don't like mint milkshakes, either.  They're weird and unnatural. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Okay, but?

I realize folks have been getting confusing information from the government.  I know it's scary when faced with a virus that can lead to pneumonia leprosy and rabies.  I can see hording hand sanitizer. But I just do not understand why everyone is hording toilet paper.        

Sunday, March 15, 2020


The Census forms are out. Yay!  I've worked at previous Census operations that come along every ten years.  In fact, I worked for a while last year updating maps and address lists for the Census just getting underway. But I won't be knocking on your door when you don't return your Census form. I'm no longer involved with the Census and have no plans to ever work for them again.  It's not really a very good job.  While it's important work, I did not find working there particularly enjoyable. But that's just my opinion.  I liked working there 10 years ago, but this time I felt they were mean spirited and management was unhelpful and the overall experience lacking.  So, my job there is over and I won't be working there again.

That said, if you don't want someone knocking on your door, send in your form. It only takes a few minutes and you'll be done with it.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

All we need now are the zombies

Hmm, crash of financial markets, pandemic virus..

Things could be worse.  They still have stale doughnuts at the local convenience store.  Sure they're running out of toilet paper at the stores, but you can always use some leaves--just stay clear of poison ivy.  And there's no need to get down on the food shortages; most doctors think people could stand to lose a few pounds anyway.   Before we know it, there will be some asteroid hurling toward us and we'll have all forgotten that stupid old virus.  

Thursday, March 12, 2020

name game

I decided it was time to review my email files and update the names and such. I was simply astonished at how many of the names I had are  for people I have absolutely no idea of who they are. I don't know who these people are or why they would be in my email address files.  A big purge is coming today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


How do you know if some old guy is really old? Huh?  It's not entirely about age. It's about garbage. My 93 year old father is obsessed with garbage.  I was over at his house yesterday [Monday] and he was already talking about how much room he had left in his trash can [they pick up on Wednesday]. He also wanted to know what time they pick up at my house and I have a different trash service than he has.  I think he could easily talk about garbage all day long.  I mean, whatever makes him happy. 
He has a birthday coming up. I wish I could get him a ridealong with the trash company but they don't seem to do that.  It's a shame because he's their biggest fan.

Monday, March 9, 2020

back from con

Well, had a splendid time at Wild Wild West Con. Panels went rather wll. I didn't win the short story contest, but you can't have everything.

Friday, March 6, 2020


Through the coming weekend I'll be at Wild Wild West Con out at Old Tucson.  I do not anticipate any more blog entries until the early part of next week.  

Thursday, March 5, 2020

count 'em up!

Well, we're just days away from the census.  I was thinking back to the census 10 years ago. I worked that one in Colorado.  My friend Raymond Broadbeard was on our crew.  We had to distribute census forms as most of central Colorado has no residential mail delivery--people have to use PO Boxes.  We also tried to add and remove addresses as we went along.  Raymond found some guy who introduced himself as Harry Balls (we weren't asking names, just handing out forms and confirming addresses but some folks just introduced themselves)  I never met Harry.  With a name like that I always wondered how he got through junior high school.  Raymond was going to do a book on rare names from the census and went back to talk to Harry a few months ago. It turned out he no longer lived there.  And, since the census data can't be publicly released (the actual responses. The statistical data can be released) for 70 years, Raymond gave up on the idea.

Whatever your name is, fill out the census form.  Even if you hate the government, it's still better to fill it out. That way there won't be a census worker knocking on your door.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Straight Outta Dodge City

There's a new book in town. As some of you may know, Baen has put out a three book series of Weird Western anthologies entitled Straight Outta Tombstone, Straight Outta Deadwood and Straight Outta Dodge City.  They are edited by Denver author David Boop.  I just got my copy of Dodge City.  As of this entry I have not finished it. But, the foreword certainly caught my attention since I am mentioned in it.  This is the final paragraph of that foreword.

To David B. Riley and David Lee Summers:
I owe you both so much for leading me through the world of weird westerns.  You've had patience with me as I've struggled to get the story right.  You've supported me as an author and as a person. We've laughed together and grieved together. Your faith in me is why there are three volumes of weird western tales. You are great writers, editors, mentors, and friends. 
I dedicate this anthology to you.

Wow.  Frankly, I did not expect that.  As I said the other day about the fan mail, compliments are nice. Recognition is nice.  But I have never had a book dedicated to me.  Wow.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Something really amazing

It doesn't happen often, but every now and then I get a letter or email from someone who liked one of my books.  It's really nice when people take the trouble to do that.  This last weekend I got two emails from people who wrote that they liked my books.  It's a real pickup.  I also discovered a few reviews I had not known about and they were basically positive.  So, I was feeling rather upbeat this weekend.