Self portrait.




Several years ago someone posted a link to Bob Dylan’s cover of “Some Enchanted Evening.” It was wonderful, and I bought the album it was taken from, Shadows in the Night.

It’s not a song I would have considered if not for the link. I think of Dylan as more of a songwriter than singer and interpreter, and this seemed a little out of his zone. It was a very pleasant surprise, and it’s become one of my favorite albums.

I wanted to link to the song myself, so that my half-dozen followers could hear it. Hopefully they would be have been as taken with it as I was. They might have even liked the song well enough to buy the album, as I did.

But, unfortunately, the song is no longer available on YouTube, unless you have purchased a premium account. I can’t share the song, and without hearing it you’re unlikely to buy it.

Everyone loses.

Nice job, Google.

Oh, Joy.

From SlashDot:

According to a new report from First Orion, nearly half of the mobile phone calls received in the U.S. next year will be scams. “The percentage of scam calls in U.S. mobile traffic increased from 3.7 percent last year to 29.2 percent this year, and it’s predicted to rise to 44.6 percent in 2019.”

My phone has become something I carry solely for emergencies and to see what time it is.  I use text or email for casual conversation.

I never answer calls anymore, unless it’s from someone in my contacts.


My father’s acute hearing loss has changed the way we communicate.

We’ve lost subtlety. I can’t whisper to him, “Be sure to compliment Mona on her new haircut,” because he won’t hear it. If I shout it loud enough for him to hear, then of course she’ll hear, too.

It’s surprising how many asides we have in a day, little comments and intimacies that are meant for just two, not the entire room.

I used to be able to make my Dad laugh, but it’s really hard to shout a joke or a funny observation.  It loses something.  Sometimes it comes across as witty, but that’s not the same as funny.  Usually it just sounds odd.

He would benefit from a hearing aid, but won’t even consider it because “Hearing aids are for old people.” He’s 88. I suppose “old” is forever “five years older than me.”

Worse, he has become very good at giving the impression that he’s heard. Typically what gives him away is inappropriate laughter at something that wasn’t intended as a joke.

I try to use visual cues. I asked him if he wanted something to drink, and he said “No.” I waited a minute, then held up a pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid and asked again. This time the answer was “Yes.”

I can’t change the reception, so I have to change the transmission.

I’m learning.

Insects and Such

This is a little Potter Wasp’s nest I found on our back porch screen.  It’s about the size of your thumbnail.  I rarely see the wasps themselves, but I frequently spot their little nests around and about.  It’s filled with paralysed spiders and a single wasp egg, which will delight you if you’re on the side of the wasps and horrify you if you’ve thrown in with the spiders.

I’ve studied insects as a hobbyist for most of my life.  I love finding and identifying something new, then reading all about it.

But I’ve never had an insect collection.  The idea of seeing something beautiful then killing it to display its corpse always seemed awfully morbid to me.

There are a lot of insects that require close inspection to identify.   Flies and dragonflies are often identified by the way the veins in their wings branch, many beetles require you to see tiny variations in their feet and antennae.  Fortunately for me, insects are cold blooded, so when they require a closer look I simply put them in the refrigerator and let them cool down.  They can’t move when they’re cold, so I have plenty of time to examine them under the magnifying glass, then I set them down in the sun where they warm up and fly away (with quite a tale to tell their little insect buddies).

Where have all the flowers gone?

We tried to go to a Bellamy Brothers concert last night.

The evening began with a rousing tribute to our brave and glorious troops, after which the crowd burst into spontaneous applause because they, too, love our brave and glorious troops.

Then we were compelled to rise and recite the pledge of allegiance (I declined), after which the woman next to us, grinning from ear to ear, shouted “AMEN!” Several men, overcome with emotion, pumped their fists in the air.

Nobody but me seemed to notice that there wasn’t actually a flag present.

Over an hour later the band still had not taken the stage. We looked around at the stone-faced polyester stretch pants and western shirts mindlessly contemplating their cell phones, and decided to call it a night.

We’re giving up.

In the future, we’ll drive a little farther to attend concerts that are more focused on music than some weird political/religious litmus test.  East Texas is not for us.

Pete Seeger used to host a famous Strawberry Shortcake Festival in New England. It was purposely, decidedly non-political. He just wanted everyone to come, have some strawberry shortcake, and enjoy singing songs and each other’s company.

I miss Pete.