Archive - Mar 2010

Swan update

Two hours after I wrote the below, swan #2 reappeared. Kind of a relief!

Must have been a duck that got eaten last night. Without orange sauce.

Swamp struggles

Last night, I heared from inside the house a tremendous struggle on the swamp. I went outside to listen. It was dark, so I couldn't see, which of course allowed my imagination to go a bit crazy. To me, it sounded like a bobcat or cougar was eating a swan.

Now today, there is only one swan on the swamp. So, we'll wait to see what happens. I can't tell one swan from the next, so I won't be able to tell if a new pair moves in or what.

The growling and hissing of whatever predator was doing the damage was pretty frightening.

The frogs started croaking last evening. That is always a sign of spring.

I have never seen more birds than in the past two days. Waterfowl of all sorts, fighting for territory. Songbirds. Just now I heard a new one. I spotted him from outside, and ran inside to get a closer look with the binocs. Just as I got to the crow's nest, the bird flew away. It will be interesting to see if I get another chance to identify the bird.

This morning, I spoke with a writer's group in Grand Forks. They were curious about marketing books. When that is the topic, I always rain on the parade. Marketing books is not easy. Publishing it yourself is expensive. Publishers are not interested in new authors. It is an uphill climb.

But it was fun to spend a morning with a bunch of writers.

March 30th

Johnson tapes

Lyndon Johnson orders slacks.

March 28th

Health care

A friend just emailed me that they were going to read the blog to see what I thought of the passage of health care reform. About a month ago, I gave up posting on politics for Lent. It just stirs up the blood, and I sort of sensed things were going in a good direction. No need to get in the fray.

Bottom line: The health care reform bill is a moderate measure, almost identical to what Republican Mitt Romney advocated and instituted in the state he was governor of which I can't spell. It is also similar to the Republican measure which was introduced in the mid-1990s to combat the Clinton plan.

Those who think the country is going to hell in a handbasket over this relatively mild but utterly necessary reform are completely nuts, blinded by their irrational hatred for a President who doesn't look like their Dad.

Article response

Lots of nice response from the article in the Herald today. My roommate from college wrote: "Thirteen years ago? I think I started listening to your speeches in 1985." That was when we were roommates.

Ann Bailey knows the secret to writing a good feature article: She made my life seem to have more sense than it actually has. I told her so this afternoon at the home show in Grand Forks. She also cleaned up the quotes to make them sound better than they were when I said them. Ann is the only reporter I have ever been completely comfortable with. You know she's going to be utterly accurate.

Spent today at the home show in Grand Forks. I gave a seminar as well. It went fine, but three straight days of seminars and manning a booth have me shot.

Typical: Yesterday after speaking for nearly an hour to 450 people in Underwood, a nice older lady from the front row came up and whispered in my ear: "You need to zip up your zipper."

Sure enough.

Grand Forks and Underwood

The past two days have been spent shuttling back and forth. First to Grand Forks on Friday to man the home show booth and give a seminar, then down to Underwood yesterday for their garden days, then to Grand Forks again this afternoon to finish up the home show.

Underwood puts on one of the premier garden shows in the state. Yesterday, they had about 450 people. I got them at the end of the day. I think they were a little tired after six hours of classes.

March 27th


Ann Bailey at the Grand Forks Herald has a nice article in the Sunday paper. At least I like it! Thanks, Ann.

March 25th

A shred of decency

From an unexpected corner comes a little welcome remorse.

March 23rd


Had a fun time in Ada last night entertaining at the school. It is always nice to have a theater-style auditorium with a grand piano on stage, as well as a crowd of old friends. Since most of them have heard my program five times or so, I came up with a new monologue, which consisted of reading columns from way back that got me in "trouble," at least as people around here define trouble (somebody responding in a negative way). I didn't use one old line. It felt good.

March 23rd

Pitts on Beck

Leonard Pitts pens a good editorial on Fox's showman Glen Beck.