I never liked school, not from the first day to the last. Like Louis L'Amour, I found that it got in the way of my education. Sadly, I wasn't as wise as L'Amour. He left. I didn't.
First Day of School
Click to read The Reluctant Scholar (a short story)
Well, to be honest, I did leave, twice, the very first day. L'Amour waited until he was a bit older and able to escape those who would take him back.

I have told and retold the tale to my friends and family too often. They don't need to hear it again.

So, I decided to share it with you...


“The science is settled” sounds more like a pronouncement from a cleric than anything a scientist would ever say, doesn't it? It's the kind of thing tyrants say to quiet dissension and impose their will upon their subjects. Well, that is in fact what is happening in the global climate change debate. The only thing to be settled is who will control the people and how will they control them. Pseudo-scientists like Al Gore are using the threat of global catastrophe by severe weather to scare the minions into submission. Indeed, if the former Vice President should ever decide to pursue another career, I believe he would make a remarkable actor. He already has an Academy Award for his work in science, the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. I could well imagine him among the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus...



Life is a tragedy when characters are brought to ruin or suffer extreme sorrow as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. 
Life in these United States feels like a tragedy these days, doesn't it? 



Conversing with a political ideologue is like attempting to teach a parrot to speak, one that has already learned another vocabulary from an old sailor. You say "Pretty bird" and it replies with something you wouldn't allow in polite company. In my case it's even worse. I couldn't even train a bird that had no vocabulary. What chance to you suppose I have with an ideologue full of pre-recorded sound bites?
Click to read "Pretty Bird" by Jack Durish
Right now I'm suffering from bronchitis and sinusitis and I just finished one of those conversations with a family member that has left me numb. I can't remember the pain in my chest and face. Why do I do this to myself? However, the experience inspired me to write a short story.

A really short story.

I may have mentioned, I'm not feeling well.

Click on the photo of the bird to read it.


I don't suppose that I looked all that good even when I was young, but the ravages of seventy-two years hasn't helped. 
Even so, I can still make the subject of a fine photograph provided it is produced by a true photographic artist, and I found one, Mark Jordan.

My first job upon moving to Southern California was as a writer for the Vivitar Corporation which manufactured and distributed photographic products. Inasmuch as photos were our business, image was everything. Thus, as I worked on product packaging, point of sales promotional materials, and instructional guides, I had an unlimited budget that attracted the very best artists and photographers. I wish I had Mark on my team in those days.

Every great photograph begins with a snap of the shutter. However, the real magic takes place in the moments afterwards. Once upon a time, the magic occurred in the darkroom. Now it happens in a computer. Raw files of bits and bytes produced by digital cameras are manipulated into works of art. Images are overlaid. Colors are balanced or unbalanced. Blemishes hidden. Features emphasized.
Click to enlarge
I may not have Brad Pitt's boyish good looks, but I have a better photographer.

You can too.


Apparently, my memory is very selective.
I dressed in jeans and a turtleneck sweater this morning. (I'm retired and every day is casual dress day.) As I met my wife in the dining room where she was already having breakfast I announced, “I can remember the first time I ever saw a turtleneck sweater.”

“That's nice, dear.”

Well, it may be nice to her, but it certainly is curious to me why I would remember such a thing.



My reaction to this question on my favorite discussion website, RallyPoint, took me by surprise. “Have you ever made a snap decision? How did it turn out?” I reacted much like the cynical food critic in the Disney animated film Ratatouille when he ate the dish prepared by a rat and flashed back to his childhood.
This question elicited a similar response from me...

I flashed back to the moment when I came to a fork in the road just outside Denver. I was driving across the country without a plan looking for a new beginning. I had been dismissed unexpectedly from the Army and needed to find my place in the civilian world.



A few decades ago while serving in the US Army, I lived in a duplex at Fort Shafter in Hawaii. Another captain and his wife lived next door. On a Halloween evening a young goblin knocked on my neighbor's door and announced, “Trick or treat!”

Inspired by a random impulse, my neighbor responded, “I don't have any treats.”

The perplexed urchin hesitated a moment and asked my neighbor, “Do you have any 'tricks'?”

The child obviously didn't comprehend the Halloween contract.
As I said, this was many years ago. Most likely, the situation hasn't improved. Thus, as a service to posterity, I propose to record my favorite tricks for those who failed to provide treats on Halloween. Some were even committed on selected citizens for no other reason than the fact that they weren't very well liked in the neighborhood.

I suppose that I should begin with the least disruptive or least costly pranks, the ones that were committed by the youngest.



Here's a hint: Don't do as I do. You would never want a marriage like my first one. You would never want to use the same numbers I use when purchasing lottery tickets. You would never want to reinstall a computer and go through the trials and tribulations that I've experienced this week. Trust me, you really wouldn't...


So many injustices, so little justice. It's impossible to get through life, especially a long-lived one, without encountering stories of injustice such as this one.
This is simply one of those stories I had to share beyond the social media. Thus, I have shared it here in hopes that it will receive even wider distribution. If nothing else, please pass it on to your social audience and reblog.