Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I’ve enjoyed the shooting sports since childhood. These days my interest is in self-defense proficiency and marksmanship. While I legally carry Glocks, the little snub-nosed revolver is an ageless alternative.

This digital image of a Taurus model in .38 caliber is a pleasurable combination of two of my hobbies--shooting and photography.

Thunder on the Mountain, by David Poyer

A gritty tale of labor organizing in the oil fields of Western PA in the 1930s. Poyer’s characters vibrate with authenticity. The mountains of his setting come alive with period realism. I’ve read several of his other works. I intend to read them all. --tw

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


When the language is abused I feel like someone ran their fingernails down a slate blackboard.

Here’s a prime example; the trendy advertising phrase “We’ve got it!” That translates to “We have got it.” Egad.

How about this; “Our Zit Zapper is the most unique..." blah, blah, blah! Uniqueness does not come in degrees. It is either unique or it is not.

Here’s one from a Milwaukee educator recently, “Folks have to rise themselves up....” Tell me, how do you rise down?

How about this dandy redundancy; “Consensus of opinion”? The word “consensus” does not need the prepositional repetition.

And, this one I just heard on a TV weathercast; “It is snowing at this point in time....” The first three words are sufficient, thank you. What else would “It is snowing” mean; it is snowing yesterday?

Of course, my opening symbolism regarding “...a slate blackboard” is doomed to failure. With over half our population now below the age of 25 the majority of folks will not even know what a slate blackboard is.

I guess I’ll just smile and trundle on. It’s less painful that way.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Last night tumbling snow painted the air gray and it was quiet as butterfly breath while darkness consumed us.

The temperature plummeted as if the thermometer had fallen off the wall and Max came in, gently complaining of peeing stalactites.

Then, it was black and the fuzzy quarter moon stencilled a soft silhouette of the woods on the quartz-studded snow.

Jack Frost, meanwhile slowly embroidered his crystallized designs on the windows...

...and, my little slice of nirvana was at frigid peace with itself. --tw
Publisher's Note: Loyal reader Lynn Rush brought to my attention the posting dates on this blog are out of synchronization with the calendar. The post immediately preceding this, for example, was done at 5:55 a.m. (EST) Monday January 29th. It is listed as being posted at 1:19 p.m., Sunday, January 28th.

I have no explanation for this as the date/time settings I can control all are correct. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and promptly acknowledge--my kids will find me being out of sync with the calendar a perfectly normal occurrence. --tw

Sunday, January 28, 2007


I was feeding the birds this morning and flushed a disabled junco from under dormant cover in the rock garden. It half scramble-flopped its way to safety under a nearby woodpile. Then, I remembered—

Yesterday I heard a horrible thunk against the deck door glass and saw a junco sprawled in a layer of new, powdered snow; flat on its back, wings spread, motionless. I checked later and, later again. Comatose. Sad.

Then, later again; it was moving its head. Still later, it had righted itself, and, finally I found nothing but it’s depression in the white fluff; much like a child’s miniature snow angel.

Such an injury violates a compassionate human’s sense of civility. But, unless licensed as an animal care giver it is recommended we simply let nature take its course in such instances; except, maybe, shooing away a neighbor’s marauding cat while there is still hope.

After seeing the courageous survivor this morning, I found myself going back to the shed for more seed and sprinkled an additional ration for my injured little friend.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Al Quaeda in Europe by Lorenzo Vidino.

This book is so intensely documented it reads like a dictionary. The story is clear however; the global scourge of radical Islamic terrorism is about as welcome on Earth as a more virulent strain of Ebola. --tw


Digital photography is one of my passions. This is a prior season's image of the pond enduring winter's firm caress. Yet, the sparkle of a slowly warming sun gives hope for spring's soon to arrive moderation.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Friday, Fox News was reporting voters in San Francisco had recently approved a law requiring employers to provide 9 days of sick pay per year to all workers; full time, part-time, seasonal; it does not matter.

Some workers even can be paid if they take the day off to assist an ill friend. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure; the first of it’s kind in the nation.

Heavens! I have an even better idea. Why not just vote everyone a guaranteed, annual salary—say $150,000 per year. That way everyone could squeak by without the tiresome bother of even going to work.

Show up once in awhile just to let the boss know you care and still have the cost of your necessities met by society’s and the boss’ generosity.

Soon, some longhaired, Berkeley professor will coin a charming slogan to describe your new utopia; something like, say, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.


The blue-black shadow of dusk fell across the snow-covered pond while the trees groaned under their burden of arctic wind; the warm glow of the landscape lights, the only visual relief in the numbing punishment of this frigid assault in winter’s darkness.

Thank God for flannel sheets.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I just noted it is 32 degrees in Ketchikan, Alaska this afternoon.

Right now it is 22 degrees in Richland County, Ohio.

Somehow that just doesn't seem fair.

After dinner last night Ruthie and I were browsing the charming gift shop of a local restaurant when I noticed a display of sayings for everyday life.

One said, “Approach both making love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

And, this in a place with an Amish heritage; I dare say!


Earlier, while making do with my laptop computer because my desktop was in the shop, I was grappling with a less than complete Favorites folder so I did a quick search for the Richland County public library.

Their evidently newly designed home page popped up and I dutifully entered my pedigree in the sign-on section for my account.

And, I was rejected as an unknown—twice!

Then I noticed my library had “moved” to South Carolina.

Right church. Wrong Pew. So to speak.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


While checking out at the main library yesterday the tawdry young fellow ahead of me did not have a dollar for the clerk who was attempting to issue his replacement library card.

At lunch, a bit later at the Coney Island Restaurant down on Main St., another fellow, who also looked like he existed fairly low on the economic ladder, inquired of the waitress regarding an order of toast to go with his breakfast.

It wasn’t included in the price of his menu choice but he could have an order for just 90 cents she told him.

He pondered the matter then passed up his additional delicacy. I found myself, in both cases, pondering silent prayers of gratitude.

Later, I noticed the tracks of a Great Blue Heron in the fresh snow on my pond’s surface; a very unusual visitor this time of year.

No doubt it too had difficulties with its quality of life—it being extremely challenging to extract one’s lunch from an ice clad pond.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This is the US of A and that’s our language. Period.

If you came here to live legally, fine. Learn to live in our culture. Do not expect me to adapt to yours.

I am growing extremely weary of such things as having to select “English” from a variety of choices on some electronic gadget in order to do business. Make “English” the default choice and let the foreigners do the selecting.

I avoid the local Lowe’s store. They have Spanish emblazoned on their signs-- everywhere. On my very last visit I asked the check-out lady if we would next be expected to make our purchases with pesos. She gave me an apologetic shrug. Good for her and good-bye to the bozos who sign her checks.

Now, where did I put my blood pressure medicine?

Monday, January 22, 2007


Max and I took our first hike at dawn today. We did an orbit of our hilly, mostly wooded, newly snow-clad acres—and did not see an animal track. Not one!

We discussed that thoroughly and concluded the critters were smarter than us; they stayed in bed on this cold and gloomy winter morning.

Except for one vole. He had poked his periscope through the crusty, new fallen snow on the trail down by the outlet stream and obviously noted his neighborhood had frozen white overnight. No problem for him.

His search for breakfast was plainly marked by the arced protrusions of his meanderings below the snow surface. His trails looked like a network of swollen capillaries and, no doubt, provided him a very comfortable trek for his morning ritual.

Sometimes it is the things you do not see that are memorable.

This from today's Science Daily web page: A ring of northern lights dances around the arctic ice cap. Image by UC Berkeley.



Folks are noticing some very early in the a.m. postings on the blog. That's misleading.

Posts showing times in the middle of the night are those I do about 6-ish in the morning EST. The time shown is correct to the minute actually but off by 3 hours--exactly the correct time as if I were in the Pacific Time Zone.

Further explanation eludes me.

Ponder this.

All of man’s knowledge and literature can be published simply by the proper arrangement of just 26 letters, 10 numerals and a few symbols.


Sunday, January 21, 2007


My lady friend Ruth’s daughter Andrea gave me a lottery ticket for Christmas.

I recently scratched the assigned spaces and WON a buck!

I went to the local lottery store and traded my winnings for another ticket.

And, I WON two bucks!

I went to the local lottery store and traded my winnings for two tickets.

And—I lost.

From this I must conclude playing the lottery is not a sound investment strategy. --tw

Today's headlines are saying the Obama vs. what'shername race is a dilemma for party officials.

One definition of the word "Dilemma" is ...a choice between unsatisfactory alternatives.



Some folks are having difficulty with the image of cousin Bob in an earlier post.

Here's another try.

Sorry Bob!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Some silly words have morphed into common use in my blog. Here’s a brief explanation:

Fogey-ism: A written utterance by an old fogey.

Fogey-ism-er: The author of such utterances.

Pearl-ism: A brief written utterance of a “Pearl” of wisdom. Caution: as used here the word “Wisdom” may be totally inappropriate.

Pearl-ism-er: The author of such utterances.

With my apologies to the lexicon po-lice of course. –tw

Speaking of Carl Sagan (Below); he is my cousin Bob’s favorite author. And, speaking of cousin Bob; he is the one who introduced me to this marvelous world of blogging. So, with a tip of my hat, here’s an image I did recently of cousin Bob Wolf of Altoona, PA:

This is a digital image ultimately processed through a watercolor filter in Adobe Photoshop software.

My oh my--ain’t today’s technology marvelous! --tw

Here’s a really B-I-G word: Cosmos. Paraphrasing the late Carl Sagan in his book by that name it means;

All that has been, is now, or ever will be.

Ponder that for just a minute.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, by Spencer Burke

A penetrating look at the decline in popularity of organized religion, and, achieving spirituality without the bother of churches, synagogues, and sermons--for examples.

Kind of explains why I can feel abundantly pious just walking in the woods. --tw

My buddy and high school classmate Ramsey (RB) Burrows called last night from Yuma, AZ where he and wife Kate winter in the sub-tropical, southern sun. Sort of.

The same arctic weather that has devastated the citrus crops in California is pummeling their sunny retreat with bone chilling cold—and relentless north winds. The dust blows so badly we cannot see down the street, he bemoaned.

"Even the Canadians are dressing like Eskimos down here to cope with the cold."

I tried really hard to be sympathetic. --tw

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Three Blind Mice

Some instinct moved me to check the mouse traps this morning.

You see, it was bone busting cold last night and I had set a mouse trap under each sink. Yup! A winning trifecta.

Always strike when the iron is cold—or whatever.

--The Fogeyismer

Wow! In just a few days you have offered support and encouragement for my new blog in the form of posted comments and emails. That's absolutely delightful.

I tip my hat to: Brian (OH), Craig (IL), TJ (FL), Bob (PA), Becky (PA), Bill(FL), Brad/Karen (OH), Norrie (OH), Dave (NY) and Fritz (OH).

In launching an effort like this it's like throwing a party and wondering if anyone will come; like running the flag up and hoping someone, anyone, will salute.

With warm appreciation. Lots of it! --tw

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


A Hairy Woodpecker

Max and I were meandering through the near Arctic clarity of the southwest woods today when we were treated to the thumping of a busy woodpecker high in the Scotch Pines.

Soon, his movement revealed his location as he was very busy side-swiping a pesky piece of bark with the side of his bill. Then, it was back to his rhythmic rat-a-tat-tat.

Tell me; how would you like to have to beat your nose on the refrigerator door to earn your lunch?

--the Fogeyismer

Icy Tapestry

One early winter morning this handiwork of Jack Frost appeared in the form of a skin of new ice on the pond.

Seems an appropriate image to share with this dawn's temperature hovering at 14 degrees. --tw


A fishing Kingfisher

Just the other day, I caught the motion out of the corner of my eye as a Belted Kingfisher splashed below the pond’s surface then splashed back into flight with a bluegill in its beak—bigger than some fish we have teased son Brian about catching.

I remember Brian once getting a small, aquarium strainer as a gift "fishing net"; more than adequate for his fishing accomplishments the giver opined. But, that’s another story.

Meanwhile the kingfisher did an aerobatic zoom to a landing on a nearby log and repeatedly whacked his catch on the perch, reversing the fish’s position and his own violent arc until achieving permanent submission, then, it flipped the fish into a head-first, disappearing slide down its gullet. Poof, one less meal for the bass.

Quickly, the bird shivered then shivered again; no doubt energizing his digestive juices and savoring his ample meal. Quickly again, he chandelled back into the pond then seemed to bounce out of his splash and back to the log for a good preening—or maybe a celebration. Again. And again. Until, with a seeming smirk of satisfaction he flew out of sight.

Certainly makes one appreciate being higher up on the food chain.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The Innocent Man, by John Grisham.

The first nonfiction work by one of my favorite authors takes a penetrating look at justice gone awry in several Ada, OK capital offense cases. A jarring look at our system of justice where four men serve more than a combined 30 years on death row for crimes they did not commit.

Interesting read but I prefer his fiction works. --tw

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Pal Max

One of my favorite hobbies is digital photography and one of my favorite beings is my pal Max--truly the embodiment of all things good in "Man's best friend." It is therefore fitting his picture should be prominently displayed as the first image on my blog.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago looking south on the back trail of our little slice of Heaven-on-Earth, here in the rural countryside. In this view Max is true to form; pausing while leading our hike to turn around and inquire of my progress.

May I present My pal Max:


I stood on the dam this morning and listened to the sound of distant thunder--or was it rip-rap tumbling; you know, the sound of massive things bumping deep underwater. The tide rose last night. The pond level swamped the boat dock. The emergency discharge channel was roaring and the outlet stream was an angry cataract.

And it continued to rain. And it was mid January. And it was 54 degrees.

And all is well. Thus says the coolness of blue and eternal optimism.

And I say there: "Welcome to my blog."

What better way to launch this new year than to explore this nifty feature of web technology, my personal blog site. Imagine that!

I ponder the continuing rain from the warmth and comfort of the computer room, blessed with sufficient curiosity to appreciate today's exploding growth of technology and the good health to enjoy its rewards.

Retirement, the arrival of Medicare and 66 years are now behind me. And, it has been a good ride. Mostly. My dad and mom and only sister died so many years ago. My bride Carol of more than 41 years did too. And these are severe wounds to the human spirit. But, the bounty of their warm and loving presence in my life left some fuel in the tank and I will carry the comfort of their memory into the adventures that lie ahead.

Please stop back from time to time and together we will see what is around the next curve in life's road.