Sunday, November 30, 2014


This illustration is by Darrel Sweet. I'm posting it without his permission, and I don't have a working link to his web page. The one I have is broken. This picture reminds me of how my daughters and their dad interact. It takes a tough-minded Pixie to keep order in this house because Knobby Knees, even when he's in his dragon mode, is easily manipulated by our girl children.

Page Views

            Well … this blog drew over 900 page views yesterday – most of them from the same source: Someone using AT&T in Indiana. While I like it when someone reads my blog or views the photos I post, this is a bit creepy.

They systematically read through each post back to March 2010. I’m inclined to attach this to a controversy on a history blog where I am moderator. But it may have come from a small group of Internet griefers who’ve been reading everything they can find about me.

If you are Mr. (or Miss) Indiana, introduce yourself. I hope you enjoyed my blog. You spent enough time here to decide. Let me know. Did you find the porn you were apparently seeking?

If you’re one of the trouble makers who center on a woman living in the UK, let me know what you think anyway. It’s much easier to ask me direct questions than it is to search the internet looking for my biography. I noticed that the same bunch (I’m presuming it’s the griefer bunch, though I may be wrong) read my first “guest post” on the history blog over thirty times. Didn’t it bore you after the second reading?

I posted an indignant rant to the history blog, but I removed it. It didn’t address the real issue. And the person for whom it was meant wouldn’t get the point anyway.

I’m weary. People who believe that I’m obligated to like them no matter what wear me out. I’m not obligated to like anyone.

I have clearly defined expectations for friends and acquaintances. I am not obligated to tell you what they are. And I’m free to like or dislike you without notice. Live with it.

 What did you expect to see?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Goat Girl and Her Pet Shape-shifting Dragon

Dragons are easily seduced.


            I have a bad headache today. It’s really my neck. It’s making me miserable and unhappy.

            The illusive Mr. Jones is giving up his secrets – slowly, reluctantly. He used so many aliases that he is hard to follow. But the key elements of his life are clear. I think the man needed mental-health counseling. Eventually, we’ll try to locate records of his second divorce. These are in Cook County, Illinois. This and his first divorce are important, I think. The other “divorces” seem never to have happened. He just remarried without divorcing his pervious partner. We know of one incident because his “ex” was prosecuted for bigamy. While she was in court, and Jones was no where to be found, he was married to a fourth wife (or maybe fifth.)

            I can’t locate any of the first issues of his magazine. There must be at least one copy out there. They were “throw away” items, things few saved. We see something similar with a booklet entitled Food for Thinking Christians. About a million and a half of them were printed. A handful survives.


            All my children have scattered. No school. Knobby Knees is working, but it will be a short day. It’s turning dreary. The wind is picking up. I need a nap already. As soon as the laundry load is in the dryer, I’m going to snuggle my pillow and dream about dragons and evil frogs and lost temples, or maybe just about nothing.


            Someone gave me a huge file of old newspapers. We couldn’t afford the microfilms, and it’s really kind of them to scan them all and pass them on. We aren’t allowed to share them. I have no clue what sort of reasoning demands I not share what I can otherwise get from a library in Minnesota. But, I promised …


            I found an illustration online but didn’t save it. I went looking for it today without success. I found the same illustration but the girl in it is naked. I wanted the one where she is fully clothed. I should bookmark things I like. And I do sometimes.

           I was going to use it with a post entitled “Shopping with a Dragon.” But since the post is still an idea and not a reality, it can wait.


            I purchased a stamp I’ve wanted for years. Sometimes it only takes patience. This is the three mark stamp from the 1900 series for Germany. Later versions differ in wording, making some of the first series scarce. This one catalogues for seventy UK pounds in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, slightly less in the Scott Catalog.  I’m happy to have it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Click to Mix and Solve

My Pet Scot's View of Life with a Pixie

            One of my friends is an artist. We discuss life, dragons, sex with wicked elves and lately anthropomorphism. She sent me a huge file of illustrations, none of which are hers. I don’t post hers because this is usually a PG to G rated blog. Her drawings are never exactly PG. They’re more R to XXX.

            Anthropomorphic art and literature takes in everything from Peter Rabbit to Laurel K. Hamilton’s torrid (read pornographic) fairy fiction. My favorites include the Redwall series. They’re fun books written for pre to late teens. I’ve read most of them.

            Almost none of the art she sent can appear here, but this one I especially liked. I don’t know how to title it. Is she stealing carrots? Going to share with friends? I dunno. I just like the picture.


            The bunny girl reminds me of my children, two of them especially so.

            I like girls with swords pictures. They fit in nicely with some of my oral stories. This one reminds me of the warrior princess in my current story.

            And this last one is my pet Scot’s view of life with a pixie:

Harry thinks he needs a coffee cup like this one

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hunting the illusive Mr. Jones.

Hunting the Wild Illusive
So … my writing partner and I are trying to tell Albert Delmont Jones’ story. He will have a chapter of his own mostly because he was a bad boy, and bad boys are more interesting than saints. As with many of the personalities that make up the history we write, he is illusive. I feel like a hunter stalking the wild, pixie-eating lion. (I don’t think lions actually eat pixies, but you never know with lions.)

            We’ve accumulated some good documentation. Antonius, “Ton” to readers of our history blog, spent hours researching Jones. (I miss Ton. He was a tenacious researcher.) And we found things as well. What we don’t have is key issues of Jones’ magazine, Zion’s Day Star. Some issues are in the Library of Congress. We’d need over three hundred dollars to have them copied, money better spent on other things. The key issues (1882-1884) are no where to be found.

            We have bits of early life biography. We know something about his family. We have a spotty criminal record. We know about a failed bank, real-estate deals gone bad, a scheme that sucked in someone who we usually see as an adept business man, money borrowed from a rich iron merchant, and we have divorce records. We don’t have his photo. We believe it’s in the New York City archives, but no one has located it.

            As with any research project there have been dead ends – hunches that did not work out or that remain unproven. The next step down from hunches are wild guesses. We’ve made a few of those, none of which were fruitful. It’s like playing “cowboys an Indians.” You can shoot all you want, but if the other person refused to die, you can’t do anything about it but whine.


Bows and Arrows and Little Toes.

            My oldest daughter attracts boys. She’s mostly oblivious. She is good at identifying nonsense. Most twenty-something young men are full of nonsense. I don’t have to point that out. She’s tumbled to it, and probably did so when she was seven.

            Annie and my baby half-sister have made a teddy bear village. BHS thinks that’s super. Annie crafts stories, and they play act. Annie will make a good story teller one of these days if she wishes to write.

            My CPI recertification class was last night. Four hours of lecture and role playing. I got to be the bad-acting student, mostly because I’m small. So I was restrained in various ways. I surprised a principal who took the course by being able to pin his arm down so he couldn’t move. It’s not about strength but position. Most of the class is about the mechanism of emotional release and how to handle the explosive emotions of students. It’s very interesting. But it’s not a fun class.

            My body temperature is off kilter. I bought a new heating blanket, the kind with dual controls. That’s part of my neurological problems, and it comes and goes. It’s not fun. But a good snuggle helps relieve it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Solving it.

If solving a jigsaw puzzle takes longer than expected, try this:  

Find the border pieces first. Solve from the border inward. While you’re solving the border sort out pieces that have similar colors or patterns. Green was a prominent color in our last puzzle. Put those pieces in one spot out of the puzzle area. (I start my puzzles in the upper left corner.) As the similarly colored or patterned pieces are found, put them together. When you have them all assembled put them in the puzzle frame. 

Remember, though, that you’re building the puzzle from the frame inward.
Look for clues. For example, a bit of blue sky at the edge of a puzzle piece tells you it connects to the sky area. Straight lines are a give-away too. If they continue across the piece, then they connect to another piece with a similar straight line. Puzzle solving is based on pattern recogniztion. However, note the picture patterns first, the shape of the puzzle piece second. If you focus on puzzle piece shape first, it will increase your time.

This should speed up your puzzle solving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So-so at 4:05

Click to Mix and Solve


            So, today was on the not-fun side. The circuit breaker for our furnace went bad. It’s cold. The furnace will run, but the breaker buzzes loudly. So we’ve turned the heat down. An electrician is coming tomorrow to replace the breaker. Until then we’re all wearing sweaters.

            I had the day off (both jobs). It’s a school holiday. And I scheduled myself off for today on my ‘other job.’ I’ll spend my night off snuggling ol’ knobby knees.

           I’ve almost caught up on the laundry. That’s always a near miracle. Try doing the laundry for seven people! Okay six. My oldest does her own.

            I didn’t get anything done other than work out when the electrician can come and do the laundry and cook dinner. Good dinner though, even if I say so.

            I noticed that none of my blog readers tackled the “what would you be?” question.

            One of the school counselors sent a really nice email: “You are wonderful! Thank you! So many would-be writers struggle with this and exaggerate expectations in their own minds. And so many of them floursh in your classes because you see past their difficulties to their gifts. You are a huge blessing in their lives. It never ceases to amaze me how many non-writers choose and love your classes!” Nice, huh? Better than a chocolate bar. …

            I’m collating papers. I keep our research material in binders. As needs change I move some of them into other sections. For instance, if I have a newspaper article that mentions two people, while we write about one of them, the paper is in his binder. When we write about the second person, I move the paper to his binder. They’re all tabbed with sticky notes, so that isn’t hard work. Just time consuming.

            I’ve been watching detective videos. This is a quick assessment:


            Colombo - Contrived, irritating, predictable.

            Perry Mason - Gorgeous 1950s sets. Good plots. Perry always wins his case, except once in the whole series.

            Burk’s Law - Utterly stupid American TV.

            77 Sunset Strip - Campy. Funny when it’s supposed to be serious.

            Wild, Wild West - Meant to be funny, but often isn’t. Fun though.

            Dragnet - the 1950s shows are the best and hold up well. The 1960s shows are a rant disguised as a crime show.

            Inspector Linley - Same complaints as noted in a pervious post.

            Inspector Gently - Really good to so-so.

            A Touch of Frost - Uniformly good. Police work is iffy by American standards, but then that’s so of most crime shows no matter who makes them. Frost reminds me of someone I know. I like this show.

           Various Agatha Christie based shows: Mostly really good. I was disappointed in Moving Finger. Nemesis was good.


            Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies and shows. Funny, entertaining.


            Though A Touch of Frost is high on my list, Law and Order is still the very best show.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What would you be?

So … I’m still vegetating. But I’m much better than I was. I still sleep endlessly after I take my new medication, and I’m lethargic. I am back to work. Most days I make it through my schedule without feeling as if I am dying.

I’ve continued my story about the eleven year old warrior. Except she’s now fourteen. This isn’t something I’ll write. I just entertain my family with it. As she is now she’s in the wild mountains with a wolf companion who isn’t really a wolf. He was a bad boy and was turned into a wolf because of his sins. I’ve married off the bad man-wolf’s daughter to prince Robert. They’re off with 125 knights conquering what was her father’s kingdom. Papa can’t come because he’s a wolf, more or less forever.
Imagining the World as Other

This is the longest continuing story I’ve ever told my family. When we’re in a deep sleepy snuggle Knobby Knees says, “Okay, tell me what really happened.” That version is not for young ears.

I CPI recertify next week. CPI training is instruction in non-violet take down of violent students. I’ve only used those skills once. But I have to stay certified. It’s not a fun course.

I’ve been thinking about the world. It’s not a very nice place. And it’s never what it seems. We presume things about it that aren’t true - or of necessity true. We ignore huge bits of it. What if a planaria had true genius. How would you know? Most people reject the idea of invisible beings, but there is evidence for them. Because the idea falls into the area of superstitious belief, it’s a fringie concept usually left to horror novels and science fiction movies. But I think invisible beings exist. Don’t you? No? You mean you don’t believe in God, the angels?

The world as we see it is incomplete. And humans are unobservant. They believe nonsense and reject truth as if it were nonsense.

When I’m drowsy with my meds, I drift into thoughts of the otherness of our world. I get to make it up. But there is a reality out there, just beyond my grasp. I would like to find it. I’m certain I never will

So suppose space travel becomes common in say two years. Maybe through a sudden, surprising leap of technology. And you decide to take a tour of Nether Space. Your tour ship crashes, and, while the residents there can save your life, they say: “We can reconstruct you and make you walk and see again, but we cannot restore your form.” You’re given several choices, each of them somewhat anthropomorphic but not really so. What would you choose to be if you had to look something like a cat or a goat or a deer or a cow or a fox?

What Would You Be?

I’m sticking my cute little nose into the life of A. D. Jones. He was a bad boy. I don’t have a photo. I probably won’t find one either.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Lost in the Wilds ... O. Reader's Adventures with ....

A gig too far

A final word from Scotland.

Our trip to a folk festival finally came to an end, and amongst the singers who sang, we saw Amy who has featured on these blogs in the past. As I have connections with her family, I made sure I saw her two performances.

Amongst the mishaps of the ten days, our extended party  all got dressed up to visit a place called Aberfeldy for a religious meeting, only to find that the congregants had all pushed off to a semi-annual conference that weekend. So we spent the day as uncomfortable tourists in the area, somewhat “improperly dressed.” But it ultimately led to us visiting what I can only call a gig too far.

There was an advertisement on the wall for the Aberfeldy Festival. Attending the Perthshire Amber festival we had nothing booked for this final Saturday night, and hey – there was Karine Polwart. My daughter had seen her when she first went solo at the Cambridge folk festival, and today she is very well-known as a singer songwriter. Look her up on Wikipedia. Mrs O sings one of her songs “Follow the Heron Home” which has become a sort of standard in folk clubs today.

So we booked.

The problem turned out to be that a festival may have a folk artist as headliner, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is that kind of festival.

As we soon found out when we turned up. The pleasant lady at the door asked if we wanted to leave our coats in the coat check room? No thanks – we would stick them on the back of our chairs. Chairs – what chairs? This venue didn’t actually have unreserved seating – more like unreserved standing.

I have been told by my daughter that many concerts are standing only. The problem was – this was nothing like a folk concert. The first two acts reminded me of punk bands from 20-30 years ago. The drummer did a nice impersonation of Animal from the Muppets, and the lead singer with his Adolf Hitler moustache, and musical looping box made loud discordant sounds while shrieking unintelligible words. The audience, ourselves included, were sort of crammed shoulder to shoulder, jigging up and down in a kind of unison – a rather difficult feat to accomplish successfully when you have an overfull glass of beer in your hand. At one point the vocalist looked like he was going to launch himself into a spot of crowd surfing – memories of Jack Black in School of Rock going splat on the floor.

Mrs O and I (by far the oldest people in the building) eventually worked our way to the edge of the fray, and sat down in a heap on the floor. The dance floor pulsated under our bottoms with the beat, as we leant back on the wall against a radiator which supplied a comforting heat. Then - all of a sudden, through the scrum came two ministering angels, two very pleasant ladies with concerned faces, carrying chairs. Would we like a seat? How sweet. How nice. As they disappeared, my daughter (still standing) said – do you know who that was? Karine Polwart and another band member. She must have seen us from behind the curtains and worked out that we had to be part of her core audience, rather than being there for the supporting acts. So – KARINE POLWART BROUGHT OCCASIONAL A CHAIR. How kind. My daughter Facebooked her with thanks after the gig, and got a nice reply.

As for Karine – how on earth she got booked for this gig, who knows. She introduced herself as feeling like the spotty kid at school who finds herself invited to the wrong party... But she did her stuff. And the audience went all quiet, and morphed into an attentive crowd who gently swayed and sang along with the choruses. It was quite a transformation. It was nice that the good people of Aberfeldy had such eclectic tastes.

Even if Occasional didn’t.

As a Pixie addenda:

New to My Collections

World War Soldier's Mail: Bulgaria 1916

Germany, 1919.
National Assembly Issue with Commemorative Cancels.

Sunday, November 02, 2014