Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Pity poor 2016. It's being blamed for all that happened within its confines.

Between dead celebrities, violence and the election that shocked the socks off everyone, that is a lot of responsibility to heft.

OTOH, 2016 wasn't all bad.

I had epiphanies that improved my writing and successes unaccomplished until now. Hurray for hanging in there.

We had a wedding. It was perfect. Thank-you Montana for the beautiful weather.

I went places I'd never been. Yo, Vermont. What is with those moose signs?

So, put those socks back on and stop blaming 2016.

People die.

Politics are unpredictable.

Time is a constant and we're the variable.

Make of it what you will.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Clickbait Journalism

Beginning a story, back in the old days, makes old folks sigh and young folks scarce. But sometimes, we need a bit of distance to see the whole picture.

When I was in journalism school, back in the old days, journalism was an honorable profession. The Fourth Estate. The crew who kept things on an even keel. The ones, we counted on, to find and reveal the truth.

Sure, one could be mocked for being a journalist, tarred with the if it bleeds, it leads brush, but still, as truth providers, liked or not, an honorable profession.

At my first job at a newspaper, the AP teletype machine was in a centralized room in the back. When something newsworthy happened, bells would ring and the AP story would roll out on a stream of paper.

I was fascinated by the AP wire. Whenever the bell rang, I would hurry to the machine and read the story as it printed out. It was like watching events happen before my very eyes.

Back in the old days.

Now days, we’ve all seen an airliner slam into the World Trade Center. Most of us, in real time. We’ve just seen an election unfold, no one predicted and few claim to understand. As I write this, three days post election, the blaming continues.

I suppose within the DNC there is plenty of blame to go around. For the rest of us, some blame the pollsters who got so much wrong, and some blame the media.

And where was the Fourth Estate while all this happened? Were the AP bells ringing out  non-stop?

What was the truth and who was telling it?

Back in the old days, news moved relatively slowly. By wire and newsprint, at a speed that created time and distance for surprise and reflection. Now days, information is instantaneous. Online, bang, as fast as band width can stream.

What value does thoughtful analysis have when how many times a webpage loads is the scale?

Click bait is our new norm. Write a headline that guarantees a reader will click through to the next page, now there’s a story that sells. This is much worse than the old if it bleeds, it leads bias because the best click bait is the most outrageous, and truth is often dull and complicated.

Sick and tired of the Electoral College? To change that will take a Constitutional Amendment and here’s how that works.

Who’s clicking through to that story?

You’ll never guess who this NAKED CELEBRITY voted for?

How many click throughs did that one get?

I’d hate to imagine.

Add to this the new Fifth Estate, which is social media. Fast-moving opinion in short bites that has enough muscle to ruin careers and boost sales. But is it broadening our perspective or reducing it?

So, here I sit, fed up and cranky, wondering what can I do? I have a plan. Here it is.

I will no longer get my news from the Internet. I concede this may be a hard habit to break because it is so immediate and I have a life long attachment to that. Still, I say, no more. I have resubscribed to my local paper. I know that is like trying to fill a gallon bucket a teaspoon at a time, but at least I’ll know Google and Facebook aren’t looking over my shoulder poised to deliver the next best likeable thing.

I’m subscribing to more magazines. There doesn’t seem to be many left. Maybe I can help with that.

When online, I will not select any of those salacious click bait headlines, no matter how naked or which celebrity is involved.

While the Internet is a rich source of information, sometimes the stream is polluted and we need to watch where we step.

I realize, it’s ironic that if you’re reading this, you doing it online.

Back in the old days, maybe we would have had this conversation over coffee.

Now days, without irony, nothing much left is funny.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Best, The Weird, The End and The Work

The Best Way to watch the debates. The beer helped.

This just struck me as WEIRD.

The END -- Halloween and Christmas up for sale at the same time.

The WORK -- structure board for my latest. Used to use a bulletin board or a SAVE THE CAT beat sheet, but this is more convenient.

And that's this week -- Living with a Writer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saturday, October 08, 2016

It Came from Above

Run for your lives.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ask Not. Seek Not.

I saw on a news feed -- discover your "Patronus" online. It's a HARRY POTTER thing.
My kiddo was the wrong age, so I missed both Potter and Barney (thank all that's holy) so, I didn't know what a Patronus was, but I wanted one, of course. 
It's a shopping thing.
So, I went to the site, jumped through all the hoops, took the test and before anyone could say ABRACADABRA, the website floated the answer to me.
My Patronus was a Bassett Hound.
I beg your pardon.
Turns out, I didn't really want one at all.
I'll be returning floppy short legs back to the magic forest from whence he stumbled.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Every year on my birthday, the Universe throws me a meteor shower.

This year, due to a moon so bright it cast shadows and clouds over Montana, the Perseids were a no show.

Did get a nice time lapse of cloud cover on the GoPro.

Guess there's always next year.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sexism in the Bath

Bathrooms have been in the news lately. Who's going where to do what gets lots of ink, animosity and agita.

Sexism and gender bias in la toilette is not confined to transgender issues or former Olympic athletes.

Bolted to the back of the stall door in the Ladies Room at the local sushi restaurant, the following ad.

Isn't it bad enough, a person can't get a moment's peace out and about without being bombarded by advertising, musak, or greetings by chummy clerks?

Now, even a private crap is invaded with intrusive, sexist advertising.

I prefer the good old days of vandalism graffiti.
Billy Bob loves Betty Sue
for a gud time call 406-1234
Betty Sue don't live there no more
At least it made no assumptions.

Does the gas company think it has my attention showing a cheap knockoff purse picture?

Gentlemen, please.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Monday, May 09, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

Another terrorist attack on a civilian target has left populations stunned, citizens dead and a country on lockdown.

Brussels, Belgium is a city of beauty and history and one I remember for the kindness of its people.

A volcanic eruption in Iceland had stranded us in Amsterdam while we were on our way to see our daughter in England. With all flights canceled for the foreseeable future, we took a college student’s advice to take the train to Brussels then the Eurostar to England.

All travel guidebooks say to never wander looking lost. Proceed with confidence or make yourself a target for thieves and opportunists.

Unfortunately, my resting countenance seems to be either awestruck or befuddled. When we emerged from the train in Brussels, my husband and I did a slow circle trying to decide, now what? We clutched the address page our Dutch concierge had printed out for us, and peered around for an EXIT sign.

An older woman approached and asked, in English, “Do you need help?”

Gratefully, we handed over the paper with the address and explained. She turned to the gentleman she was with and together they tried to decipher Dutch directions in rapid fire French. She called her companion, Papa, but we discovered he was her husband.

After a discussion flurry of pointing, headshakes and murmurs, I realized marriage looks the same the world over. Directions deciphered, they led us out of the train station and pointed the way to our hotel.

We thanked them and we each went on our way. The next day we were in England with our daughter.

This morning, Brussels is in shock from three bombings. Once more, we watch innocents suffer and a country struggle to recover. But I’m reminded of the beauty of two Belgians who took time from their day to extend help and compassion to tourists.

In the face of those who seek to destroy, we should remember the world is also made up of people who reach out with kindness and grace.

I hope the lady and her Papa and their family are safe and that beautiful Brussels recovers quickly from this assault.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 02, 2016