Saturday, August 31, 2019


Leader of the pack?
Sometimes I worry that I'm losing "it."
I can't help but fear the possibility that
all of the things that made me special
have faded away. Over a lifetime each
of us evolve, expand, and contract as
external factors impact our perspective.
And slowly, much of that delusional
differentiation that we assumed made
us unique slowly fades away. In the
end we realize that by and large we
humans are but a pile of pablum. A
mass of messes. And the only thing
that often differentiates us is LUCK.
Teacher's pet
When my daughter "E" last visited me
in Montana she posed many questions.
One related to the early completion of
my education post skipping two grades.
She wondered whether I had realized that
I was smarter than most. My answer?
No, I just did what I was told. Hence
I've no clue as to who made that final
decision to drive my forward momentum.
To me it all seemed so natural and that
may be the greatest gift of youth. Could
not realizing what you've got nor how
you got it be the best way to succeed?
News release
I worked most of my life since the age
of fourteen. Actually earlier given I was
a paper boy at twelve. Looking back my
initial foray into the work force had little
to do with me. Rather it was due to my
parent's commitment to pushing me out
into the world. There was many a rainy
day when the last thing I wanted was to
deliver sodden news. However post their
prodding I did what I had to do. And now
in hindsight that initial step into reality
was the best lesson imaginable. You see
it changed my life for the better... forever.
Who knew?
Naivety might possibly be the ultimate
gift from God. With age comes wisdom.
Yet I can't help but wonder if knowing
too much stands in our way of doing
more. In days of yore there seemed to
be nothing we couldn't do. Whatever
situation we were thrown into, we each
survived and usually thrived. That's all
because we had no preconceived notions.
Given a task we accomplished it then
quickly moved on. None of us were
victims given the idea of failing never
entered our minds. We rose above it.
School of hard knocks
With wisdom comes a bitch slap of reality.
Slowly we learn that caprice can never be
controlled and hence we each develop a
plethora of self-defense mechanisms. The
problem is that said safety net often defers
one's forward momentum. We assume it's
safer to stay here... than risk going there.
Given human nature, many of us resent
our self imposed inertia. Which leads us
to search for someone, anyone else than
ourselves to blame for our inability to push
beyond a certain point. When in all truth...
Guidance counselor
Nobody likes to be told what to do. And
yet in retrospect, most of us wouldn't be
where we are today sans some external
force pushing us to next. Growing up
requires assuming responsibility for
ourselves and others. Thus maturity also
requires assuming the mantle as mentor.
If one is honest, little of what made us
who we are today had anything to do
with ourselves alone. Rather it is due to
somebody above us leading, prodding,
teaching, and pushing us over the line
forward. Are you a leader of your pack?
Facts of life
Could life in reality be an exercise in
reciprocity? As part of the collective
whole - we each have a responsibility
to pay our way. Preparing said path
for those younger may be the best way
to pay our fare before we reach the end
of our line. Nurturing and encouraging
the bravado of youth may be hard for
some. However if one ever hopes to
relive their youth, they must be willing
to help other self starters succeed. That
will deliver the ultimate return for our
investment. Give and we shall receive!

Friday, August 30, 2019


Truth be told
Perception is reality. However often one's
self perception is not always what others
view. Last night I was told that somebody
called me "the big one." That description
couldn't be farther from my truth. Slowly
I've evolved into a big mouth in an even
louder sport coat without even realizing
it. Deep down I still consider myself an
awkward, skinny, closeted youth. Thus
that gentleman of advanced age and girth
who looks back at me in the mirror can't
possibly be me. Rather he's seems to be
some odd vestige of cocktails past.
Doin' what comes natural
We are what we eat (and drink.) And
there is no doubt that I'm a hedonist.
Not only do I adore fine cuisine and
wine, I've never met a bag of potato
chips I didn't LOVE. Hence depriving
myself is virtually impossible. Which
is obviously why I've lost my battle
of the bulge. That said, I'm more than
happy with my self inflicted girth as
I've NO intention of dieting nor of
limiting my pursuit of pleasure. If I'm
out of control then so be it. As long
as I'm happy and healthy who cares?!
The real deal
There's no doubt that I'm delusional.
While fully aware of who I am and
how others perceive me I can't see
what they see. For most of my life
and career I deftly leveraged all of
my assets. However I'm unable to
shake my preconceived self notion.
It's obvious that I'm stuck in a rut.
While in theory I'm fully aware
that I've become a different person,
I hit flash back mode upon reflection.
Oddly the guy who should readily
embrace the new me can't or won't.
Self imprisonment
Why is it that most of us can't give
ourselves a break? Sadly we're our
worst enemy. Rather than celebrate
our evolution we reject the result of
decades of hard work. How could
anybody assume that they're frozen
in time?  Even more important, why
reject all of the progress that you've
achieved post puberty? Yet that deep
inner voice, the one that whispers to
you in your time of greatest distress
continues to be unable or unwilling
to acknowledge who you truly are.
Upon reflection
Are you as tired as I am? If nothing else
I ran the course and finished with some
level of dignity. Self flagellation thrills
some but at this point in my life it's not
an activity I'm inclined to participate in.
At this point it's time to think BIG. To
embrace my personal reality and end
the mania of trying to be someone who
I  never was. Whatever I had to prove
was long ago satisfied at a high school
reunion. It's the dawn of a new day and
whoever that fat guy is in the mirror...
I like him! I really like him!

Thursday, August 29, 2019



The grass may appear greener
anywhere but here. However
you can get more for less (of
the green stuff) right here in
Montana. Lewistown that is...

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


The odds are...
Is it me or is everybody a spy or suspected of
being one? Today's Times was filled with a
plethora of examples of seemingly innocent
folk being sucked into subterfuge. Is it me or
is everybody a liar or accused of being one?
Everyday our President tells a fib or ten which
in theory empowers everybody to manipulate
the truth in their favor. Is it me or is everybody
lazy or simply don't care? Wherever one goes
it seems that few if any of us go above and
beyond. Hence we expect very little of each
other. Is it me or is everybody compromising
their morals in order to get what they want?
Much ado about everything
All across America folks seem ready and willing
to give in. To accept less rather than fight for all
they deserve. Hence neither white supremacists
nor those whom they hate feel they are getting
the attention, support, or legislation they deserve.
City folks are misunderstood while suburbanites
tend to be ignored as farmers simply get screwed.
All while Brazil takes offense for being offered
millions in support while Iran cries poor and as
Russia is positioned as the G7 poster child for
adoption. No wonder we're all so confused. And
therefore have no idea when, where, or how to
take action. So instead we simply sit and wait...
Victims of circumstance
In today's world of polar opposites one is either
right or wrong or nowhere in between. Which
depends on what side one sits. Hence nobody
wins except those who stir things up. Like cast
offs we spin in the endless swirl of our global
toilet. Unable to rise above the morass. Or be
put out of our misery by going down the drain.
Instead world politics are now the equivalent
of purgatory. A unless state of limbo where try
as we might, it's impossible to find redemption.
Let alone escape from never ending turmoil to
find nirvana. Have politics always been this
way? Or have we all become sadomasochists?
Wakeup call
In the end we're all human. Which sadly means
that at some point we've been there... done that.
The question is when will we learn from our
mistakes? Or even more important try to make
sure that we don't err again in the near future.
We know what must be done. Which is all that
is necessary to insure that we never suffer such
consequences again. It's time for we the people
to retain control. To rise against all that's wrong
with our country rather than sit back and watch
the carnage from the comfort of our recliners.
All that's required is a willingness to confront
our problems. And vote against all that is evil.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

But who knows where or when?

Glass half full
I can't decide whether I'm happy, complacent,
or comatose. Like it or not I like wherever I'm
at. Rarely do I yearn for more. Nor anything
different from whatever is my "ordinary" as of
here and now. Even in my darkest times I have
been able to somehow find my sweet spot. The
only difference being when, where, or whatever
said destination may be. However it bothers me
is that little seems to bother me. Which has me
wondering if I'm boring, flawed, or numb. Why
don't I want more? Why can't I be dissatisfied?
What causes me to be willing to not embrace
the status quo and actually enjoy it?
Bright eyed and busy tailed
Some if not all of us crave change. That along
with turmoil, angst, and drama fuel our daily
existence. Others have wanderlust. Meaning
that they'd prefer to be any place except here.
Some feel trapped. Prisoners by choice of their
existence. And finally quite a few of us never
seem to be happy. No matter the circumstances.
So how did a rather jaded man transform into
a beaming Pollyanna? The answer is years of
trial and tribulations. Along with a few wins
along the way. Rather than let bad times drag
me down, I consider them as great lessons. I
don't know what I don't know until it happens.
It's a small world after all
If nothing else the process of winning and
losing has forced me to focus on the here
and now. Helping me to discover that life's
simple pleasures are better than nothing.
Given any of us could drop dead tomorrow,
it's the little things that count. So rather than
worry about the fate of mankind, I focus on
what I'm going to make for supper. Instead
of trying to please everyone, I try to limit my
sphere of influence. And somehow all of that
creates a peace that passeth understanding. Is
such passivity a sign of defeat? Or a badge of
victory? Have I found a winning proposition?
End of the line?
One of the few blessings of aging is that it helps
one prioritize. Much of what consumes us in our
youth is of little consequence. Hence the older
one gets, the more focused their world view. As
one's time here on earth becomes more limited,
most of us edit out the unnecessary. Superfluous
silliness that doesn't add up to anything. Along
with embracing the reality that few if any of us
can control much more than ourselves. Once you
reach that plateau, said safe haven becomes the
stuff that dreams are made of. That is unless your
dream is in actually your better half's nightmare.
How can two people land in the same place?
No matter where or when
Relationships are a balancing act. One where
each half counters the other. However we all
grow differently on divergent timelines. Thus
at times chances are that one may have to drag
the other to a better place. The question being
who gets to lead the team. Along with where
or when? Is what's good for the goose always
best for the gander? Does one stay put or travel
the world? Should you gamble everything or
save for a rainy day? Push the envelope or hide
it in the safety deposit box? Ultimately we all
give into another. And still hope for the best.
Whatever that may be...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Recipe for a perfect summer's end

Better late than never
It seems that I'm finally getting in the groove
just as summer ends. The warmer weather is
still impacting my culinary output. Causing
me to keep things simple rather than slave
over a hot stove. Dining al fresco continues to
be our preference. Even with uninvited guests
such as flies and yellow jackets. However over
the course of the last few weeks I've relied on
a few tried and true dishes. All that are quick,
easy, and quite popular. However as many of
you know, I rarely follow recipes. Hence the
following is my attempt to replicate them for
the record. My hope is you'll  enjoy them also!

Asian Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage sliced by choice
4-6 green onions sliced
1-2 jalapenos (no seeds) sliced thinly
3/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lime
Salt/Pepper to taste

Mix all of the above.
Chill for 2-3 hours then serve.

Mayonnaise Slathered
Roast Chicken

5-6 pound whole chicken
1 small yellow onion peeled and halved
1 stalk of celery (with leaves on) cut in 3" increments
2 springs fresh rosemary
1 lemon halved
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 small jar of mayonnaise
White wine

Preheat oven to 450
Wash/prepare chicken as you usually do.
Salt/pepper cavity as you like.
Sprinkle cavity with garlic/onion powder.
Stuff cavity with onion, celery rosemary, lemon.
Tie legs together with kitchen string. This will hold cavity contents in.
Salt/pepper chicken exterior by preference
Sprinkle with garlic/onion powder.
Place chicken breast side down on roasting pan (with rack).
Liberally coat chicken with mayonnaise.
Pour 1/3 to 1/2" of white wine in pan under tray (do not touch chicken).

Roast 30 minutes at 450 degrees breast side down.
Carefully turn chicken over to breast side up (watch out it's slippery!)
Slather the breast side once up before putting back in oven.
Roast one hour minutes more at 325 degrees (until juices run clear.)

Cast Iron Skillet
Upside Down Plum Cake

2 sticks butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 extra large eggs
6-8 fresh plums

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Heat 12" cast iron skillet until warm.
Take off heat.
Melt one stick of butter in warm skillet.
Add brown sugar.
Mix with a fork and spread around.
Lay halved plums into brown sugar.
Alternating skin and flesh sides up in circular pattern.

In a bowl combine one stick butter, milk, sugar, and vanilla with a hand mixer.
Add flour, salt, and baking powder and beat gently until mixed.
Add eggs and beat additional two minutes.

Gently pour batter on top of plums.
Batter should cover just slightly.
Spread gently.
If it doesn't go to the edges don't worry.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes (test batter with toothpick),
Let sit in skillet for 20 minutes.
Loosen edges with knife.

"Shangri-la" (Sangria)

1 bottle red wine (I prefer Spanish Tempranillo)
1 cup cognac or brandy
1/2 cup orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier)
Optional -
One can San Pellegrino Lemonata
One orange sliced
One lemon sliced
One lime sliced
One apple sliced (across core)
Handful of whole strawberries

Mix all of the liquid ingredients in a large pitcher.
Add fruit.
Let "steep" in fridge at least 2-3 hours before serving on ice.
Be careful - it can take you by surprise...

Sunday, August 25, 2019

7th Day Surprise: BOO-TI-FULL

Here in Lewistown
summer means family reunions.

Then there are the high school chums
who regroup to share memories.
And... check each other out!

Men are almost always worse from the wear.
Buff high school football heroes evolve into paunchy has beens.

Meanwhile the ladies look better than ever.
Fluffed, stuffed, and puffed.

All of which proves that beauty is a life time responsibility!

So work it baby... work it!