Sunday, March 31, 2019


He struck again today, launching himself from the porch railing to the top of the bird feeder pole and chasing the tweety birds away. He plopped himself down into the shelled peanut tray that the blue jays and woodpeckers are so enamored of, and proceeded to stuff himself.
We loosed the hounds—three Maltese dogs, only one of which is bigger than Frankensquirrel. And of course, he ran, And they chased him. Off the porch, down the steps, across the yard, up the wire fence, off the wire fence, back through the yard,---with Tooki, the fiercest of the three Maltese, snapping at his tail--to the tree, where he made his escape..
It’s our own fault. We first saw Frankensquirrel in the winter. He was thin, small, probably the runt of the litter, and he looked miserable. We decided to fill the squirrel feeder on the tree for him. It worked. He became a daily visitor, in a time when there were only one or two birds coming to the bird feeders.
And he fattened up. Now, he seems convinced that we put food out only for him. The birds have come back, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nuthatches, three different Woodpeckers, and of course, Sparrows and Juncoes..  He chases everyone away. We have created a monster. We’ve tried reasoning with him. Tried confining him to the squirrel feeder. Nothing seems to work.
So we loose the hounds on him. Of course, he’s faster than they are, but Tooki gets pretty close. After a really close call, Frankensquirrel seems to go somewhere else for a few hours. Most of the time, he’s back in less than fifteen minutes.
We’re now concerned that he may not be able to forage for food on his own.
We’ll find out this winter.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Who Am I?

Writers are artists. Our medium is words. And as artists, we have to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” What defines me? What role do I choose to play in my art? Am I a Maurice Chevalier or an Edith Piaf? Am I a Glen Campbell or a Tommy Smothers?
During World War II, Maurice Chevalier decided he was an entertainer and it was not his role to do other than entertain, even if it was for those who had overrun his country. After the war, some Frenchmen accused Chevalier of collaboration, which he denied. Edit Piaf was an active member of the Resistance. Obviously, she was not found out, for she would have paid a far more serious price than Tommy Smothers.
During the Vietnam conflict, Glen Campbell decided he was an entertainer and it was not his role to take part in the politics of pro or anti-war factions. Tommy Smothers decided otherwise. Tommy paid for that decision. His TV show was cancelled. For his activism, he gained some fans and he lost others. And for his decision, Campbell gained some fans and lost others.
In these days when the trumpery seems to get worse by the minute, artists must also ask themselves “Who am I?” And in asking that question, I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it.”
I believe in the power of words to place people in positions where they can change their own minds about something. I believe, as the psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl--who survived the Nazi death camps to write some of the most positive psychology the world has ever seen-- pointed out, you cannot make anyone do anything they truly do not want to do. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Choice always intervenes. So I choose.
I'm done with trying to not alienate Trump supporters. Time is up. I'm done with that. The man is deeply disturbed and objectively reprehensible. His condition is worsening, and as long as he remains in power, our nation is in jeopardy.
If you choose not to see that, it's time to think long and hard about what that says about you, who you choose to be. To my mind, anything that can be destroyed by truth, should be destroyed. In my writing I will continue to speak the truth. Silence in the face of evil is collaboration.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Just spoke with the Vet. Tino is coming out of anesthesia and doing okay. The surgery was "difficult" because he's so small (5 1/2 pounds) and quite a few of the gall stones had lodged themselves in his urethra. One stone was large enough to have stopped his urinary flow if left unchecked, so we got to it in time. He's nine years old. This was his second gall stone surgery--last one was in July of 2016. He has a genetic  disposition to develop them. So the good news is, we still have him for however long we have.
Now if I can only learn a defense to the Russian Wolfhound Gambit he's so fond of, I might beat him at chess some day.