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October 3, 2012

Chalk One Up For the Toga Candida!

As everyone on earth must know by now, elections in the US are a little more than a month away. And every time I open an election pamphlet to read “position statements” and biographies I find myself wondering what kind of person would want to wade into the Extreme Fighting world of politics. I got one answer a few years ago from a radio news show.

Somewhere in the American Midwest — I think it was Kansas, and correct me if I’m wrong — there was this guy who couldn’t get a  job anywhere. I mean anywhere. Even (or perhaps especially) after he’d mailed out over 400 resumes. And this was during a time when the stock market was going hog wild and small biz owners were so desperate for employees they had to resort to actually placing warped cardboard “Help Wanted” signs in their windows.... Read More

September 26, 2012

Camera Chameleon

So, with nothing in particular to do last Sunday, and needing a break from the pixi-ranch, my spouse and I took off for parts slightly known, in hopes of  finding something we hadn’t seen before here in Gold Country.

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California are home to a lot of history. Like the town of Placerville, once known as Hangtown because, hangings! Highway 49, the original wagon trail of — you got it — the 49ers. And the Mormon Emigrant Trail, not in fact, spelled wrong because those 19th century pioneers were  actually, like many Californians these days, leaving the state. It was an interesting loop but we were finished by early afternoon, at which time my husband suggested a visit to the Marshall Gold Discovery Park in Coloma.

Coloma is a living time capsule on the banks of the clear, cold... Read More

August 7, 2012

Ghosts of Seasons Past

I was drinking iced tea and cleaning out my bookcases — a long overdue task — the other day when a brochure from the Tahoe Maritime Museum floated out of the pages of “The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories.” What was a brochure about boats doing  in a book of ghost stories? Boats? Ghosts? What could they possibly have in common? Then I saw a date penciled in at the top–December 16, 2007; the day Jack and Ernie, two old pals visiting from the East Coast on their touring bikes, took off for a casual jaunt up to Lake Tahoe. And returned to my house with a curious tale.

Jack is an avid sailor whose family founded the famed Boston Whaler company way-back-when, and he wanted to see the Tahoe Maritime Museum. Since both guys needed a day off from two-wheeling, I graciously agreed to lend them my SUV... Read More

May 23, 2012


Two characters—who happen to be dogs—needed for my WIP. Attested by naturalist Pliny the Elder to be  “… of very large size.”  Brought from a chain of islands in the Atlantic to the North African mainland  by expeditionary forces of Juba II, Berber king of Roman Morocco, around 2,000 years ago. Possibly a hybrid of the islands’ indigenous dogs and escaped hunting dogs of ancient Phoenician mariners who first landed on the islands around the sixth century BC.

As I imagine the composite canid Juba’s men found, what exactly might I have to work with?

One: Wild dogs. Generally weighing around 40 pounds (18kg)  Stand-up ears. Rangy. Short fur with thick undercoat during colder months. Omnivorous. Really good teeth from gnawing bones clean. Distrustful of man. Self-sufficient. And verrry,... Read More

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