Jul 13

Western fire

A FRIEND WANTS TO KNOW what I would do in regard to people building houses in and immediately adjacent to wild lands. My response does not fit onto one or two iPhone screens. It is impossible to long live here in the West before being touched one way or another by range and grass fires. We have quite a lot of federal land here. All of it managed as open space and much of that is wild lands.


States also own large swaths of land managed to benefit public education and other state funded institutions. The above map shows federal lands. One almost might wonder, looking at Idaho or Nevada, where the population resides.

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Jun 13

Buy 2 get one free

Sometime in the 1960s I am sitting in front of the black and white TV in our home in Penn Square Village and on comes this commercial for a new type of pen. A ball point pen. You don’t buy new ink cartridges for it when it needs refilling. You just throw it away. Part of our new disposable society. The quarterback says to his fellow players: “OK boys, here’s the play; buy two Bic Clic pens; get one free.” ¬†

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Apr 12



THE SANDS OF NORMANDY slide down inside the legs of my camouflage trousers as rubber erasers zing past. Crawling along golden sands; sunbathers glare at me and return to their umbrellaed mai tais. Now chalkboard erasers are incoming fired from booming cannon miles inland. As the black felt erasers strike the sun-drenched beach, puffs of white dust rise up.

A baseball cracks off of George’s bat and he ambles to first base. The ball bounces off a tree in the infield and it’s foul. Disappointed he returns to the dugout nervously watching for snipers. We take our platoon into the forests of Verdun. But we are in the Pacific, an isolated atoll watching for enemy aircraft. We take some casualties and call on our walkie talkies with giant whip antennas for air support. But it doesn’t come. It is time for dinner. Continue reading →

Mar 09

Waiting for news …

The news as seen through the keyhole of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

The news as seen through the keyhole of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

… about the explosions in the downtowns of Bozeman and Whitehall

I AM AWAITING NEWS ABOUT THE EXPLOSION in downtown Bozeman. I can see the thick column of smoke rising straight up over the empty day care center across the street from my house announcing that something has happened. But I cannot find out what because the newspaper has already been delivered.

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Jan 09

Questions for which there will be no answers

Jean gets a closeup from the "Blue" standing area

Jean gets a closeup from the "Blue" standing area

NOW THAT HE’S GONE, I suppose we can begin reflecting on the eight years during which George W. Bush was our President … of the United States … of America. It really happened, right? All of those images flash by at warp speed. Mission Accomplished. Clearing brush down on the ranch in Crawford, Texas. As I review these things I can’t help but ask myself a very simple question: WHY?

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Aug 08

Harvard Square is calling

JUNIOR COLLEGE STUDENTS live a half life. Accelerating into two years the matriculation that takes four for bachelor candidates. Maybe that goes for experiencing life as well. Pack a lot in because in May 1971 it’s all over – that is if graduation is held amid calls for strike, strike, strike.

Being broadcast journalism students we feel this obligation to move beyond keeping students informed about the length of the line at the Food Circus. We have available to us what looks like a studio for a small radio station. One that is seriously overstaffed. On the evening of the so-called Harvard Riots, the room with a single ancient teletype machine, nearly a dozen beat-up manual typewriters and a bunch of scratched up wooden desks that might have been props in a production of The Front Page, the regulars are there in force. Holding their breaths each time the phone rings and it is one of our two reporters on the scene in Harvard Square.

The Harvard Square riot followed a peaceful Moratorium, Oct. 24, 1969

The Harvard Square riot follows a peaceful “Moratorium,” Oct. 24, 1969

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Jul 08

What parents want for their children

WE DECIDE FOR WHATEVER REASON that we wish to aid in the propagation of the species. Then with ease or following great trials and tribulations we are with child. That happy day arrives – probably at 2:30 AM – and we become parents. And on that day when the first of our brood makes her debut our lives are changed. Eventually we don’t remember the nature and form of our existence BC (before children). We adapt, not easily. The shock wears off. It becomes clear to us there is no return policy.

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May 08

Bozeman, Montana

Dramatic clouds on Paisley Ct

Jan 08

Sandy wins

I HAVE A 20-YEAR BET going with my friend Sandy from way back in the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center days. We each bet that we will out-earn each other following our respective life/career philosophy.

Sandy wins. Continue reading →

Nov 07

Home maintenance nightmares

DO YOU HAVE HOME MAINTENANCE NIGHTMARES? I do. I have them at night. When I’m sleeping. Honest to goodness nightmares regarding things that, fortunately, are not nightmares in real life. Dreams tend to disappear (poof!) when you wake up the next morning so I have to write quickly before my faint memories go away. In real life I am recalling that yesterday I was leaning out a window on my stair landing grabbing at a few vines that are on their way toward eating my roof. My dream surrounds the notion of this same window leaking air around the frame. The window is only a few years old and so it is in my dream. Upon further inspection I find that the window is leaning out at a crazy angle toward my neighbors. Daylight and wind pouring in all around it. Continue reading →