Good Friday evening April 14, 2017


Take thought, man, tonight. Take thought, man, tonight when it is dark, when it is raining. Take thought of the game you have forgotten. You are the child of a great and peaceful race. You are the son of an unutterable fable. You were discovered on a mild mountain. You have come out of the godlike ocean. You are holy, disarmed, signed with a chaste emblem. Deep inside your breast you wear the number of loss. Take thought, man, tonight. Do this. Do this.

Thomas Merton; from ‘The Early Legends’

Thought for Today 4/6/17

It has been years since I’ve seen this and just recently refound it. There was nothing as funny as the old National Lampoon.

Deteriorata – National Lampoon

Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.
Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself,
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss, and when.
Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do.
Wherever possible, put people on hold.
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment,
and despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

Remember The Pueblo.
Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate.
Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you –
That lemon on your left, for instance.
Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore. It will stick to your face.
Gracefully surrender the things of youth: birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan.
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
Hire people with hooks.
For a good time, call 606-4311. Ask for Ken.
Take heart in the bedeepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.
And reflect that whatever fortune may be your lot,
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god,
Whatever you perceive him to be – hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.
With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
The world continues to deteriorate.
Give up!

Hilarious One-Star book reviews from Amazon March 29/17

(Various books, author’s name mercifully withheld)

—What the entire hell?

—If you gave this book to somebody on Death Row they would die of boredom before the government could get to them.

—If somebody gave you this book they are either playing a joke or they hate you.

—The longer I think about this book the dumber I get.

—-Undertake this book with moistened thumb because you’ll be applying it at skipping page after page of “character development” that would make Judy Blume readers recoil, if their hearts hadn’t stopped already.

—This author would be hired instantly for a job writing federal government publications.

—Give this one a can of Alpo because it’s a real dog.

—Mind puke.

—Why? Why?

—I am writing this review from the grave. I died of boredom. 

—I was rooting for the protagonist to get killed so he didn’t have to suffer through the horrible prose.

—It turns out this isn’t even what I thought book this to be. And that as a result the very fabric of books booking booker tj hooker were not as dank as originally thought to be. My condolences to the purchased of those that were very yes.

—By the end I was hate-reading this book.

—While mildly engaging it seemed like the author had to finish the story quickly so he could get up to use the bathroom.

—Be sure to recycle before you leave the airport. Abandonment on a convenient chair will work.

—Horrible. My own opinion, but it’s the only one I’m qualified to give.  


March 26/17 —-more pictures from Big Bend trip

A very flattering picture of me, by June, which is why I included it. This is when we finally made it to the top of the Laguna Verde trail. There’s a forest up there! Farther down on the valley floor it is all desert. Walked back into the pines and saw a buck with a great rack of horns who was not at all afraid of me but I think something was wrong with him. He staggered a little. Odd.

Lunch at the old ranch house at the bottom of the Blue Creek trail.

Living through the extremely hot summers would probably have been bearable in a stone house like this. That’s the fireplace.

Evelyn taking pictures.

And Happy Birthday to Caroline Woodward-George! Belated, but at any rate best wishes for a great year! They are babysitting the light station at Nootka. Nootka; Land Of Whales. Which is cool because Caroline’s father was from Whales, she is half whelsh.



March 18/17 More from Around the web.

February 20, 2017

My sexual assault by the TSA

It was an excellent week-long trip my husband Keith and I took to Arizona to take the 250 Pistol Class from Gunsite Academy. The week ended, and it was time for us to fly back home this past Saturday, February 18th. While I have gone through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regional airport checkpoints since its spawning after 9-11, I had not yet gone through a TSA checkpoint at a major airport. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a major airport, and on Saturday, I was immersed there in one of those TSA “horror stories” about which I had previously only read.

My very dim view of the TSA has been shaped by all the reports of corruption, misconduct, molestation and sexual assault, theft, abuse of power and ineptitude by the TSA. To find these stories, you need only do an Internet search with any of those terms along with “TSA.” In addition to all that, air travelers in the United States are now stupidly forced to remove their shoes because of one Muslim maniac.

Needless to say, as we stood in the moderately long line of the Sky Harbor TSA security checkpoint, I was not happy and only wanted it to be over. We finally arrived at the x-ray conveyor belt with all the gray plastic bins into which we had to put our shoes, belts, purses, bags, watches, cell phones, laptops and anything in our pockets. When flying, I always try to wear nothing that would cause the x-ray imaging machines to raise an alert. So, I wore no belt or any jewelry. I had nothing in my pockets. I only carried my small purse, and I wore blue jeans, a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and simple leather boots. I removed my boots and placed them and my purse into two of the bins and pushed them on toward the x-ray screener.

I was directed into the – what I call a “rape scan” – body imaging machine. As you may know, we are forced to stand inside it for several seconds with our arms held up as if we’re common criminals, and the machine does a circular spin around our bodies. When the scan was done, a black woman told me to step out of the machine. I’m guessing this woman was probably in her early thirties. She directed my attention to the human body outline image on a screen outside the machine, which displayed the supposed results of my scan. There were “warning” boxes superimposed directly on the crotch, one knee and one ankle area, which I instantly knew were bogus.

Because of those flags, she informed me I would be subjected to an enhanced pat-down. I numbly looked at the entirely phony warning box images on the screen, knowing that with the advanced imaging capabilities of that machine, it would not possibly have “seen” any kind of threat anywhere on my body, much less between my legs. Nevertheless, I stood there silently with a smoldering outrage welling inside me as this girl described the sexual assault she was about to undertake on my body.

I hardly heard what she was saying she was about to do, because I was so angry knowing that this was a fake result, either from the machine or from someone’s arbitrary decision to subject me to this despicable, Fourth Amendment-crushing, far-beyond-unreasonable search. She finished her little speech by asking me if I preferred [my sexual assault] to be done in a “private room” or right where we stood in front of hundreds of onlookers. I was barely able to mumble a “here” with an indication of my hand gesturing down to the yellow footprint stickers on the floor where I was to place my feet.

She required me to assist her in my sexual assault. I had to lift my shirt to give her clear access to my waistband, into which she thrust her blue-latex-gloved fingers and ran them all around the front and back of it. She made me hold my pants in place from the top as she crouched down and firmly ran her hands from the top of my legs to the bottom, both front, back and sides. She firmly pushed and rubbed her hands between my legs, the entire area – THE ENTIRE AREA – from the front and back.

She finally directed me to hold out my hands, palms up, as she swabbed them with damp squares of white tissue, which she inserted into a machine that I assume “sniffed” for explosive residue. When it gave my hands the all-clear, she indicated that I was free to go.

At that point, I was fairly blind with rage. Shakily, gritting my teeth hard enough to beat the band, I went and retrieved my boots and purse from the end of the screener belt several yards away, where they had remained while I got the enhanced grope-down. I was glad no one had taken my purse. Keith had been moved along after going through security, and from his viewpoint was unable to see my belongings or what was happening to me.

Still seeing red, I slowly walked to a chair near the TSA checkpoint to put on my boots. I was shaking with rage, and my husband had to quickly talk me down from reacting to the powerful anger that was exploding in my mind. The sickening feelings of rage, helplessness and violation continued to roil in me for the rest of the day.

What can I do? File a complaint with the TSA? Yeah, right. Call my congressman? And get a nice form letter reply in the mail in a month or so? Yeah, no. I’m powerless here, as are the many other people who have been sexually assaulted by the TSA. Maybe you’d like me to tone it down a notch and call it “molestation” or merely “groping,” but I know what happened to me, and in any other situation, it would be legally regarded as sexual assault. If an ordinary person did to me what that woman – by authority of bad law – did to me, he would go to jail.

The TSA should be dismantled. Airport security needs to be returned to the airlines and local airports. The federal government’s takeover of airport security screening after 9-11 has only created yet another unaccountable, monstrous bureaucracy that continues to grow in corruption, especially under Obama’s recent lawless reign. Free-born American citizens should not have to abide such degenerate despotism in the name of “security.” The TSA has seized illegitimate power in its random imposition of unreasonable searches on innocent airline passengers. If the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution means anything, then the TSA must go.

© Gina Miller

Finally more pictures from the Big Bend trip, last of February 2017

Started out February 23 and as always on the 25th June, April and Evelyn went up to Alpine to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, I never go because by that time I need a day alone. I had just got back from Jackson/Savannah 2 days before, on the 20th, had to pack for me, Buck, Girl Dog. Rode with Evelyn in her terrific beautiful comfortable new truck, hauled Buck and her horse Anna in my trailer.


Girl Dog slept all the way. BTW I have no idea why my entries all end up in a column on the left side, will have to get Harold to come and do something about it.

Tricky curves getting into the Chisos Basin and unloading Buck at the house we rent. We were very glad to get there!

Sunset view from the house we rent.

That’s me, June and April. On the Laguna Meadows trail.

After a day’s ride everybody hitting their phones and laptops.




Today was the fall of the Alamo March 6

Strange painting, black-and-white, photographic.

They were fighting for the Mexican constitution of 1824.  Santa Ana wanted to simply overthrow it and its guarantees by force of arms and become a dictator with no limits on his behavior. Which he succeeded in doing. Eventually.

2/28/17 Big Bend Trip — our fifth year

More to come. At the Panther Junction ranger station and gift shop I found this book —I recommend it strongly. A desert explorer worked for (I think) the Forestry service tracing out waterholes in remote US deserts, many adventures, wonderful writing.

More pictures later. This is the first time I was on the Chisos Mountain trails, mainly up to Laguna Meadows. Hikers were endless. We met people about every mile, groups. They got off the trail for us although we tried to give walkers the right-of-way.

Lunch at an abandoned ranch house.

On the Laguna Meadows trail.

Book tour Jackson Mississippi and Savannah Georgia Feb. 16-19 / 17

Both cities were great, in Jackson I read and spoke at the Eudora Welty Center right next to the Welty house — was given a private tour of the house, much appreciated. Saw several of her manuscripts laid out on a dining room table — I mean ones she had edited and noted how she had arranged syntax to get rid of ‘and’s. Wonderful audience. A man named Richard (didn’t get his last name) spoke of his favorite passage in NOTW and I asked him to read it aloud, and he did, he did a great job.

We are nearing Mardi Gras and so it’s King Cake time in the south! This was at the little deli outside of Lemuria Bookstore, They are flying off the shelves. Great bookstore, thanks to Kelly Pickerill of Lemuria for being a great hostess and escort, more later.

This is Mardi Gras staring you in the face. I love the south.

Savannah Book Festival was extravagant to say the least, I had a very large crowd of people to speak to, great questions, much enthusiasm for the Captain and Johanna. Met Mark Hall’s mom and dad, so that was a bit from home. Mark is our baritone and guitar player for the bluegrass group. Got to walk around afterwards and take pictures. Savannah is just extravagant. Case in pint; lobby of restaurant in my hotel, The Mansion:

I will not include pictures of my Gone With The Wind bedroom and bathroom, that is just too redneck. But details were everywhere, backstairs and window facings.

and spooky houses on one of the squares at dusk

And an art museum horse with garden hose wrapped around his middle. Loved it! Wish I had it. Don’t know what I would do with it.

Four of us are hauling to Big Bend Wednesday, close on the heels of my return from Savannah, but couldn’t NOT go, it is a yearly tradition that I look forward to so much, pictures to come. We each take a dinner, so will make the King Ranch chicken tomorrow and try to clean up Buck who is plastered with mud from recent rains and before I go catch up on e-mail and an article for the Amtrack magazine. I am meeting myself coming and going. But no more traveling after this (I get nervous every time I have to pass through security now, an awful feeling) and back to bluegrass and writing and pennywhistle.


Feb. 13th / ’17

A good picture of my cousin Susan on Doc, from last October. The sacred light of holy Ozark Mountain horse spirits shining down on her. I don’t know what she’s doing — talking on a phone? Where’s the phone?

And here is Happy Hour at St. Joes’ the best trailer food in the country, run by June’s son Chris Chism. That’s June and Peggy Ramsay, in the background June’s sister Jeannie and April Baxter.

It was a BYOB evening, warm south Texas winter while storms and snow are hitting the north-east. Sorry guys.

And these are Peggy Ramsay’s new boots and no, I do not have any idea why this photo was so skewed.