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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Penguins at the Rio Grande Zoo

 Last week wife, daughter and I went to the Zoo. First time for us to see the new Penguin exhibit.

You can't use flash to take pictures, so I used video on my regular camera. 

Here's what you see when you first walk in.

Be sure to click on the button in the lower right-hand corner to see full screen

Here's one of the exhibits. Look at all the different kinds of Penguins!

Here's some frolicking.

WC Plot Line


Today's challenge is: Plot line or theme you refuse to watch.

I watched one season of Criminal Minds. Wife and I decided we did not want to understand or think like serial killers.

I watched Psycho as a teenager. That was enough, no mad slasher movies that tally up dead teenagers caught having sex.

I've watched almost all of Alfred Hitchcock's other movies and not had a problem.

I'm turned off by what passes as humor in movies today. Someone playing with a man's intestines thinking it's a movie prop is sad, not funny. Seeing women trying on bride's maid's dresses and having diarrhea is gross not funny.

I watched Carrie and have never read anything of Steven King's horror books or seen any other of his movies. My brother made me watch The Green Mile while I visited him, I could have done without the part of the guy being electrocuted painfully. I do own a copy of his book on writing.

I enjoyed reading Anne Rice's vampire, mummies, and other supernatural books, she wasn't gross or trying to freak you out. Her historical novels Cry to Heaven and Feast of All Saints are wonderful. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

TTT: Microhistory


Today's topic a school freeby, I'm joining Lydia in doing micro history, As per Wikipedia, microhistory “is the intensive historical investigation of a well defined smaller unit of research (most often a single event, the community of a village, a family or a person)

Wow biography is micro history, who knew.

Guess what, I Maury qualifies. The life and times of truly great scientist who changed transportation on the oceans dramatically. He is the father of Oceanography.

Other biographies come to mind:

William Manchester's American Caesar, biography of Douglas McArthur.

Elizabeth Jenkin's Elizabeth the Great, biography of Queen Elizabeth I.

Charles W. Ferguson's Naked to Mine Enemies, biography of Cardinal Wolsey.

Topical micro history would be:

Basil Lidell Hart's Strategy and World War II.

John Keegan's Face of Battle, World War I, Fields of Battle, and History of War.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

In Remembrance of My Twin.


Coming Storm by Anne Littlewolf.


It's hard to start telling everyone about my spiritual twin. 

We met at Wayland Baptist College as freshmen in 1972. At that time, she was Patricia (Pat) Penny. Her father was pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Farmington, NM. 

For six months I lived in Farmington and attended that church. That led to our introduction, and that's all you needed with Trish, as we called her.

She never met a stranger. She was friendly with everyone and hard not to like.

Our names were so close that professors and other students would get confused. I was called by her last name and she mine. We laughed about it and decided we must be twins. From then on, we called each other twin.

We were both history/English majors and chess players. We talked a lot of history and played a lot of chess over those years.

Till the last time we met and laughed over lunch we talked about Mrs. Jamar's Literature classes and living and dying by Kate Turabian's style book for term papers. 

She liked to crochet in the TV room of the Sub to relax. Two of her closest friends kidded her about be a granny and she started talking like a cranky woman, they imitated her, and it caught on. They decided they were a sorority sisters in Omicron Beta, it stood for Old Biddies. She was the last one, Judy passed in 2019, Nora in 2021.

One time she was in the TV room all alone and watching Englebert Humperdinck in concert. Two guys came in and changed the channel to a football game. They never knew what hit them. 

Judy was my first wife. She was engaged to David, but his mother broke them up. We started dating and Trish became engaged to David. Both our marriages ended in divorce. She had a daughter named Karen Sue, and she is now working at the Smithsonian Institute in D. C.

I remember in Spring of 1976; we had a class together. She was six months pregnant and showing. The class was held in an old auditorium in Gates Hall. We sat in theater seats. I'd sit next to her trying to take notes without a desk and fussed at her as she used her tummy, that it she had an advantage.

We graduated and lost touch. I didn't go to the 10th class reunion, and she wasn't there for the 20th. Nora told me she was in an abusive marriage. At our 30th reunion, she wasn't there, but Nora had her phone number and e-mail.

She legally changed her name to Ann Littlewolf, was remarried and living in Gunnison, CO. We got in contact, and she drove down for a twin reunion. It was like thirty years never happened.

Linda and I drove up and spent a night and got to see her horses, then went on to Nebraska to visit Linda's brother and family. it's a long drive from Gunnison to Lincoln.

For a while she taught at BIA schools in the Four Corner's area but quit to become an artist.

She had horses and they were her life. She and her husband rode them, and she bought an 1890 Surrey that she fixed up and trained her horse to pull. They'd ride it at county fairs in the area and take friends out on rides. 

She wrote and illustrated a children's book. 

She was living with a man, and was driving, as they were talking, he slumped and died from an aneurism. The book was her catharsis. How she learned to go through grief and go on. I particularly like how she handled loss.

APS has a place where teachers can mass produce work. You just had to pay for the materials used. I took her pages and had them copied on card stock, laminated and bound. She could only afford twenty copies, but at Kinkos it would have been three times the cost. 

They sold out very fast. I sold some at book signings. I sold two to a cancer doctor, he said he'd put them in his waiting room.

I retired and couldn't use APS anymore, so I desktop published them. My printer couldn't use cardstock, so they were on regular paper, and I couldn't laminate them, but they were easy to copy and with a square hole binder were easy to publish.

She came down with some of her artwork and found a cafe in Old Town that would let her put up paintings on commission. Coming Storm was one of them, the others were paintings on tree bark.

I would from time to time go into the cafe and check on them for her. She called and said the guy who owned the cafe's phone was disconnected. I went down to the place it had been gutted. Nothing was left on the wall. The paintings were gone most likely tossed in the trash by the new owner when he started renovating.

She gave me two of her paintings that I framed and have on my wall at home. The first one I call Aspens in Colorado.

The other one is Line Wolf. 

She came down here as the altitude in Gunnison was becoming a problem. She stayed with Mom while her husband was selling their place and trying to find a place for them and their horses. Mom was having some medical problems and she moved in with another lady in the Baptist community. 
They settled in Tijeras Canyon, not far from Albuquerque. I talked her into redoing Finn and Flipper as a coloring book. She did and I've published a number of them.

When Mom sold her townhouse and moved into senior living, she and her husband help with the move. Mom loved Anne like her own daughter.

Anne's church's choir on one Sunday a month would stop and the Senior living place and sing. I took Mom to church, and she insisted after I got her back that we listen to the choir, and Anne naturally made me sing with them.

We kept up with each other on Face Book, it was easier to message than e-mail. Every few months we'd meet at a restaurant and catch up. I always made sure Linda came too. They became friends,

Covid stopped any attempt at selling copies. When my mother went into hospice, I gave what remaining copies to the kind ladies who helped my mother with her last days. They were grateful.

A year ago, we met at Papa Filipe's, laughed a lot and had a good time. A couple of months later she stopped messaging, e-mailing or answering her phone.

In November she wrote an e-mail saying she'd been ill and couldn't work on her art, she'd shifted from oil to colored pencil and crayon. They were amazing.

In February another e-mail said she had an aggressive cancer. I had no way to contact her directly. I started checking the Journal's online obits, but never saw one. Today I finally called the church where she was on the governing council, and they told me she passed on April 10. If there was an obit in the paper, I never saw it. 

When she lived in Gunnison, she painted a mural at a nursing home in the ward for Alzheimer's patients. It was a mountain scene with a fence and a gate across the door. They had trouble with the patients getting out, with the gate there they stopped trying.

Those who bought her work was John Denver and Ricky Skaggs. Ann and her husband went to a festival in Windstar, CO. This is where John Denver's legacy is preserved. She took a number of paintings and gave them for the foundation to sell. They chose two paintings of Eagles to put on a wall.

She had her work in a number of places in Edgewood on I-40 and she'd let me know whenever one of her works sold.

She will be sorely missed. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

WC One day in my past.


Today's challenge is where I would spend one day in my past.

Picture is of the first NAIA Texoma conference championships in May 1974. The runner I was passing was from Australia running for Dallas Baptist. I beat him in the mile, and he lapped me in the three-mile.

Oooh a tough one.

There is one day that changed everything for me. I can't give the actual date, but here's what happened.

It was between nationals at the 1974 cross country championships, where I ran the race of my life, and the start of track season in February 1975.

I went out on an eight-mile run and felt good. Coming back to campus. I went up to the back door of the gym and found it was locked. I stupidly did an about face, like taught in my high school AFJROTC class. Something twisted in my right knee.

Also, stupidly I applied a heating pad to it when I got back to the dorm. A few years later sports doctors advised ice when a swelling injury occurs.

To train for the mile and three mile takes two or three days a week in long distance like an eight-mile run. Usually Monday and Wednesday, Tuesdays and Thursday for interval runs, 16 220's with a walk that distance between, 8 440's win a one lap walk or 4 880's with one lap walk. This is to keep speed up for the sprint at the end of the race.

What I found about my knee was that on intervals where I was running fast, I didn't feel anything. On over distance I had a nagging ache. Running that way was like water torture.

By the time the season started I was still in good condition, but in a month my conditioning was gone. My times and places suffered. The coach dropped me from the team.

I had been running track since 7th grade, earned a track scholarship and now junior year in college and it was all over.

Since then, I've seen pro football players injured the same way, they plant their foot and twist to change direction and they go down career over. Tony Dorsett did it in practice with the Denver Broncos, Bam Morris (Atlanta Falcons) did it on national TV against the Cowboys.

If could get in a time machine I'd tell the young fool, don't go to that door.

Then again, maybe I'd tell myself not to get married to my first wife in May of 1975.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

 Today's meme is ten favorite books more than ten years old.

I'm upping it to ten favorite authors.

Barry Sadler, his Casca: The Eternal Mercenary series. Taken over by Tony Roberts is now 56 books and counting.

Isaac Asimov, Science Fiction, History, Religion, hard science like the book pictured. He did it all with knowledge, humor, and style.

You think the pioneers of science fiction were Victor Hugo and Jules Verne, don't forget Andre Norton. She invented the galactic empire. She invented the star gate.

 A man who changed the way war was fought between WWI and WWII, A British captain and wrote the book Strategy. A treatise on historical battles using the indirect approach. The French and English dismissed it, the Germans used it to destroy them at the beginning of the war. The United States used it learning from our allies past mistakes. Island hopping in the Pacific is a prime example of the indirect approach.

One of the twentieth centuries greatest theologian, murdered by the Nazi's for helping Jews and others escape to Switzerland. The shame is that he was only beginning on his philosophy and cut short. He lived his beliefs and died by them.

Known for her book the Thorn Birds and subsequent mini-series, this was her life work. Starting with the rise of Marius through to the rise of Octavian a hundred-year stretch encompassing the life of Julius Caesar. I've read it through at least three times, when writing my books Optimus and Stephanus all of the social dynamics of Rome came from these books. History Channel should make a soap opera based on them there is enough fodder here for at least ten or more years in that format.

Mary Stewart wrote many different books, but her Arthurian books based on the life of Merlin, not Arthur was ground-breaking at the time.

Hank Bruce is a great friend and has a wonderful wit. Most of his writing is horticulture and gardening, but he branches out on other things. He works with those around the world on planting the Moringa tree to help end world hunger. He has a children's book explaining the merits of this miracle tree.

He is the only one who has read all of my books and written a review on Amazon.

Irene Blea is another friend and member of Writers2writers. She started as a professor and wrote the still available books on Chicana studies. She has a trilogy on the life of her aunt who was sold in the early 1900's as a wife to an old man at age 13. It's hard to image Daughters as being past ten years. It's still an open wound in Albuquerque where 7 women and an unborn child were found murdered and buried on the West Mesa.

It takes the life of a woman whose daughter is missing and fears as the bodies are being dug up that one of them might be hers.

I am a Tony Roberts junky. I can't get enough. As mentioned earlier he now has 26 Casca books. This is the Dark Blade series now with seven books and counting. A half-dark elf and human growing up reviled and shunned, when her mother dies, she discovers she's a princess of the dark elves and her father has left her a quest to rebuild his following and take over the throne of the dark elves.

He has a Kastania series on the rebirth of an empire before it is destroyed by the greedy nobility 

And a series on a rock band with a woman lead named Siren.

Why none of Anne McCaffrey's dragon books haven't been made into movies or TV series is mind boggling. I want a fire lizard as a pet.

Bonus, Harlan Ellison. The writer who has influenced me more than any other. An absolute horrible person, but a great writer.

He was a screen writer who wrote The City on the Edge of Forever for the original Star Trek series. 

Honorable mentions: Zane Grey, James A. Michener, William Manchester, Thomas B. Costain, James Clavell, Tom Clancy, Joseph Badal, Anne Rice and many more.

I'm an old man that has always had a voracious appetite for reading.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

WC 080322



Last Wednesday was crazy and I didn't get to post pictures of my library. It's not very big anymore. My eyesight won't let me read hard copy anymore and I've given most of my books away to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I have an extensive library on my Kindle. I've replaced many of the books I gave away as e-books.

Today's challenge is the weirdest food I love.

Quite a challenge, I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food, as a diabetic I am on a pretty strict diet, not that I stay on it much as my A1C tells me.

This is from an old (early 1960's) TV advertisement from Kraft recipes. Take Philidelphia Cream Cheese and a can of chopped olives. Mix together, chill in the fridge and spread on celery. Good on Ritz vegetable crackers too.

I like a can of Chili with beans and add a packet of crushed red chile.

Instead of putting pickle relish on a hot dog I use chopped green chile. Costco sells small packets of green chile in a bundle. Not weird in New Mexico.

I like Thai food but made the mistake of once ordering it Thai hot. Hot is equal to Habanero, Thai hot could strip the enamel off of a car. An experience only to be done once. 

My Mom once tried to cook beef tongue, but never again we wouldn't eat it.

Sorry no snails or frog's legs and I shudder at the thought of raw fish.