By God, I did not so desire
But to have myself a fire
To balm my sore and rheumy knee
And steep me up some oolong tea

But to my irk, and hence my ire
The flame grew high, and then quite higher
And spread to sofa, rug, and drape
Suggesting hastily, escape!

Now some clever passerby
Did posit that 'if you were I'
That we should without pause conspire
To fight this fire with what? More fire!

We hadn't time to give it thought
In retrospect we should have ought
To seen this counsel as the grind
Of some cocaine-besotted mind

But fight we did, that flame with flame
And isn't it a crying shame
For future reference you might oughter
Fight a blaze with plain ol' water

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Galveston, Texas. Tiny, darting about, and at some distance, I did not make ID in the field. I usually just assume Ruby-throated when I see a hummingbird, but the photo gave me a nice surprise. I had never even heard of this species before. There are records all along the gulf coast, though fewer the farther east you go.

Chechov’s Gun


The second act's starting to be 
Rather boring, but just wait and see 
It's a rule that the gun 
Introduced in act one 
Must be fired by the end of act three

Chechov’s rule on the “introduced object” is a rather excessive constraint on the mechanics of story telling and has been derided by other writers, including Hemingway. A variation you see often in film is the setup and payoff where an object or situation seems irrelevant until later, giving us a little mini story arch.

Number Two


Let me quietly tell you the tale
Of me shipping my poop through the mail
My blood and my pee
Aren't enough for them, see
They insist that I squat on a pail

Seriously, I’m grateful for the alternative to the dreaded colonoscopy, and for my Medicare coverage which paid for it. Routine periodic cancer screening returned negative, by the way. Here’s to a future with less red meat and more vegetation, for the sake of our guts and for this poor battered biosphere we call home.


In an auto mechanic’s waiting room I find a freshly painted mustard-yellow concrete block wall complimented by the pale plum fabric of a minimally upholstered chair, and sunlight splashing in through a small window with burglar bars.

Not shown in the photo are a row of misaligned, economically framed prints of Van Gogh paintings, mounted way too high, the sequence interrupted in a strangely satisfying way by a wall mounted air conditioner which has dimensions close to those of the paintings. In my gut, I know this was not done deliberately.

I imagine if Van Gogh were here waiting for his car to be serviced, that he would break out his kit and paint the scene. He did paint a lot of ordinary work-a-day subjects. He would have nailed that yellow too.

A few years ago I saw an exhibition at the MFAH of Vincent Van Gogh and David Hockney, with their works displayed together. My feeling was that Hockney suffered for the comparison. Not that I dislike Hockney. It was wonderful to see the Van Goghs in person and up close. I would look closely at a detail from his painting and think, “how did he see that?”

Well, that’s why he made the big bucks.

Red-shouldered Hawk

An immature Red-shoulder in a residential neighborhood, Houston, TX. I had seen this one the last 3 times I visited my laundromat, in and around the trees by a cleared lot nearby. I was treated to its call as well. Nice to get some birding done while my clothing tumbles in the dryer.