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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, July 17

Football, Again


          I wrote these football bits in 2012 and again in 2016, about the future of football, and now I see an article about the start of an AFFL (American Flag Football League). I think it’s come full circle. And I saw it coming.

This I wrote in 2016:
          I see the demise of football on all levels within the next twenty years, maybe even the next ten. Don’t get me wrong. I love football, as do millions of fans and players around the world. But the game has changed so dramatically in the last half century that no amount of equipment improvements and rules to protect players will do any good. When we’ve seen enough horrific injuries—players carted off the field on stretchers, broken backs and necks and legs and arms, spinal damage leading to partial or complete paralysis, concussions that either kill players on the spot or lead to their deaths by dementia at age fifty—parents and fans and players will all agree to give the game up, ban it forever.
          Fifty years ago, the game was played at half the speed we see in games today. And I’m not talking about just the NFL. High school players are bigger and stronger and faster than they were half a century ago, partly because of weight programs that pump them up but also because every generation is bigger than the last. Nutrition, exercise, genetics, whatever—each generation is bigger and stronger and faster than the last. Many college teams are as good as or better than most of the NFL teams fifty years ago. Quarterbacks are almost all 6-3 or 6-4 and weigh 225 to 245. Offensive lines average 300 or more, defensive lines only slightly less but are faster than lightning. And the hits are much more severe. Remember in the old days? Whatever happened to the “quick kick” on third down, or the old “Statue of Liberty” play, or the quarterback who would leap in the air to throw a pass to be sure to get it over the defensive line, or the triple reverse? All of them required time that in today’s game just isn’t available. And the quarterback who would jump to make a throw would be cut in half today. Granted, equipment is much better today, especially the reinforced helmets with visors and facemasks. Granted, rules are being made to protect not only the quarterbacks but all players—no helmet to helmet hits, no blocks to the knees, no late hits after the whistle, no horse-collar tackles. But does a fifteen-yard penalty save a player’s life after the infraction? Or an NFL fine? No. I have one solution that might prolong the life of the game. At all levels, holding could now be called on virtually every play, but the officials can only see so much or go so far on that one. All right, why not allow holding? If a defensive player can’t free himself from a hold to get to the quarterback or running back, so be it. If a tight end or a wide receiver can’t separate himself from a defender to make the catch, so be it. That could make for an interesting game and could result in fewer injuries.

And this I wrote in 2016:
          More on what to do to improve NFL and college football and to make the game less dangerous. Have you noticed how long it takes for officials to blow the whistle when the play is obviously over? Instead they allow that pack of defenders and offenders to shove each other around like they do in a rugby scrum . . . with the poor ball carrier somewhere in the middle of the mess, with defenders all ripping at his arms to get the ball loose. So, referees, blow the whistle sooner. My other suggestion is to eliminate tackling. Just play it as a two-handed touch football game—no tackles, no slams to the ground, no grabbing, no late hits—just touches.

          There, we can still let our kids play football, we can still watch football, and very few players will get broken to pieces or concussed to death.


Wednesday, July 11

Day Brighteners



How about a few jokes to brighten your day?

A woman goes to her doctor to see what he can do to enlarge her breasts. He tells her he is opposed to implants but that she can help herself by religiously performing an exercise he can give her. He demonstrates—arms extended to the sides, then in with hands over breasts, then out again, all the while to the rhythm of “Dibbledee dabbledee dust. I CAN increase my bust,” etc. She agrees to try it. A week later she’s in a park doing her exercise, softly saying her incantation, “Dibbledee dabbledee dust. I CAN increase my bust.” A man comes up to her and says, “I see you have the same doctor I have.” “How can you tell?” she asks. “Because he told me to try a similar exercise.” He demonstrates by marching in place, his feet striking the ground with force, while chanting, “Hickory Dickory Dock . . .”

Henry and Charlie, two very senior citizens, are sitting on a park bench enjoying the day. Henry says, “I feel good.” Charlie says, “Yeah, I feel pretty good too, but every morning at 5:00 I have a bowel movement.” Henry says, “Well, that’s good.” Charlie replies, “No, not really. I never wake up till 6:00.”

A doctor says to his male patient, “I have some good news and some bad. The good news is your penis is growing by an inch a month.” “Well, what’s the bad news, doctor?” “It’s malignant.”

God almost always spoke to man on a mountain.  When Moses went up Mt. Sinai to receive the two tablets, he stopped to speak to God, off the cuff, so to speak. According to some of the less well-known gospel, Moses decided to engage God in some theologically metaphysical questions. He said to God, “A million years is a very long time to mankind, but what is it in Your perspective?” God replied, “About a minute.” “And a million dollars,” Moses continued, “is a fortune to most of us, but what is it in Your perspective?” “A penny,” God answered. Moses was thoughtful for a moment. Then, “Well, would it be possible for You to lend me a penny?” “Just a second,” God said.

Harry was visiting a circus and was amazed to see a man dancing with a bear. The man and bear whirled and danced and danced and whirled. As they danced by, Henry asked the human dancer, “Sir, I am amazed by your animal and your act with him, but even more amazed by your stamina. How long do you dance with the bear?” The man answered with a wry smile as he whirled by, “Just as long as he wants me to.”

Saturday, July 7

Punny Names


It’s been in only the last several decades that “OCD” became in vogue. We’ve always known about those who seemed a bit strange in their behavior, but we just called them odd. I mention this because in a number of ways I’m compulsive but not necessarily obsessive. How do these two words differ? I went to the Net for the answer. “Obsessive” relates to the mind or thought, and “compulsive” relates to action. An obsession is an unrealistic fixation with someone or something (often resulting in stalking), or a fear of something to an unnatural degree—fear of germs, the dark, unlocked doors, etc. These fears become obsessive when we compulsively act to allay them. Cinematically, maybe the best example of this was Jack Nicholson in the 1997 As Good As It Gets. In real life, Nicholson has always struck me as strange, but in this film he was really strange until Helen Hunt came along and pulled him up and away from his obsessions. Compulsive behavior can result in constant washing of the hands, or using shirt sleeves to open doors for fear of what may be on the doorknob, or avoiding handshakes or hugs or (oh, yuck!) French kisses.
          All right, now I have the ground rules established: I’m compulsive but not obsessive. And here’s my latest compulsion, something I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, but here it is again in all its compulsive glory—an alphabetized list of all the punny names I’ve come up with over the years. I think my collecting them and now alphabetizing them is the compulsion. Some of these names are better than others, more clever and surprising. Some are pretty obvious and less clever or surprising. Of all of them, though, my favorite is the romantic couple William Aramy and, in this age of same-sex marriage, his long-time partner Hugh Bettcha.
          If anyone knows of a punny name not on my list, please let me know and I’ll compulsively add it to my list.

Funny Punny Names
A –

Adam Uppen (or, on his IRS form, Uppen, Adam
Al Abord
Al Bearound
Al Besinya
Al Fabeticle
Allen Gudthyme
Allison Vanderlind
Al O’Peeshia
Al Packa
Althea Thune
Al Titude
Al Truism
Al Wayz
Amber Griss
Amber Wayvagrane
Anita Favour
Anita Hand
Anita Schauer
Annette Prophet
Annette Score
Annie Rexia
Artie Choke
Artie Facks
Art O’Fischel
Art Sore
Auntie Dote
Auntie Klymax
Auntie McKasser
Auntie Pasto

B –

Barbara Savill
Barry D’Attchette (a peacemaker)
Bea Keller (or, on her IRS form, Keller, Bea)
Bea Kownted (friends with Stan Dupp)
Ben Dare (long time companion of Don Datt)
 Ben Dover
Bess Amay (who married someone named Mucho)
Bette Nowarr
Betty Euthanme
Betty Kahn
Betty Kahnt (answers to Kenny Duit)
Betty O’ass
Betty O’Bippy
Bill Eamick
Billy Button
Billy Aards (or Billy Yards)
Billy Danser
Billy Dew
Bob Enweeve
Brandon Kattle

C –

Candy Labra
Carlotta Bawls
Carmen Geddit
Carol Ittle
Carol Ott
Carol Singers
Cary Mebach
Celia Laiter
Celia Lipps
Char Donay
Char LaMain
Cherry Pitts
Chuck Stake
Chuck Upp (or on his IRS form, Upp, Chuck)
Clara Zahbel
Claire Voyant
Claude Bawls (the animal trainer, specializing in big cats, brother of
     Harry Bawls)
Claude Tuhbitts
Cliff Dweller
Cliff Hanger
Clyde Eskope
Clyde Sedale
Coco Vann
Curtis E. Kerr

D

Dan Druff
Daisy Chain
Derry Goze (pal of Harry Kumz)
A whole bunch of Duits
    Kenny Duit
    Willie Duit
    Deedee Duit  (all three related to I. Darren Duit)
    Dewey Duit
    Shelley Duit
    Cheryl Duit
    Woody Duit
    Howdy Duit
    Wendy Duit
    May I. Duit
    I. Darren Duit (a man who could never get married)
Dick Hedd
Dick Tater
Don Chuduit
Don Datt (long-time pal of Ben Dare)
Donny Lukalyve (see Izzie Dedd)
Donny Luknyss
Don Wenaur (friends with Gay Apparell)
Doug Ahdich
Doug Graves (married to Flora Liven)
Duane N. Spayn
Duane Fawdaun
Duncan Donutz

E

Eben Flo
Ed Strong
Eileen Dover
Emma Hand (Can you guess her maiden name? That’s right, Nolkau)
Emma Bea Leaver
Emma Fein
Emma Fielbadd
Esther Leif-Atterdett
Etta Tumutch

F

Faye Ling (An Oriental hooker with a penchant  for doing everything
    “wong.”  She screws up when she should be screwing sideways.)
Fess Upp
Frank Lee Muhdeer (starred in Gone with the Wind)
Frank Ensense
Frank O’File
Freddie Katt
Fred O’Nuttin
Frieda Slaves

G

Gideon Payle
Ginger Snapps
Ginger Vaitis
Gladys Seyew
Grace Noates

H

Hal Atosis
Hal Palp
Hal Zapoppin
Hank Avair
Hank R. Chief
Hank E. Panky
Hank O’Hare
Harvey Dariet
Hannah Dover
Hans Auff
Hans Down
Hans Upp
Harry Bawls
Harry Kumz (pal of Derry Goze)
Hazel Ayes
Hazel Nutt
Helen Highwater
Helena Hanbasket
Horace N. Bucky
Holly Hocks
Horace Poop
Howard Yew
Howie Duin
Howie Yew
Hubie Karefall
Hugh Bettcha
Hugo Tommy Hedd
Hugo Towell
Hume Adore
Hume Mormey

I

Ida Noh
I. Darren Duit (a man who could never get married)
Isadora Jarr
Izzie Dedd
Izzie Dunne
Izzie Yewman

J

Jack Auff
Jack Carr (or on his IRS, Carr, Jack)
Jack Swatt
Jack Pott
Jay Walker
Jerry Attricks
Jerry Boham
Jesse Kenn
Jimmy D’Loch
Jim Saachs
Jose Canusee
Judy Obscure
June Ezbustin

K

Kenny Duit
Kerry Meebak
Kitten Caboodle
Kitty Litter
Kitty Wampus
Kurt C. Enbaugh

L

Lance O’Boyle
Lee Mialone
Lily Livered
Lisa House 
Lisa Kerr
Les Tawk (Mo Ackshun)
Les Phalinluv
Les Sizzmor
Les Dans
Les Pardy
Lem Megoe
Lola Palooza
Lou Scannin
Lucy Bowells
Lucy Goosie
Luigi Bored
Luke Warm

M

Mac O’Damia
Mac O’Ronee
Mal Adroit
Malcom Tent (or Mal Content)
Mal Feezents
Mal O’dure
Mandy Laiphbotz
Manny O’Tier (married Esther Fawl)
Matt Reside
Mark Ettvalyew
Mark Myward
Marty Nee
Marty Pantz
Matt Attchou
Marv Illus
Maude Lynn
Maxie Mumm
Maxie Padd
Max Stout
Meryl Lee Werolalong
Mike Rochip
Mike Rowkasm
Minnie Mumm
Miss Bea Hayving
Molly Coddle

N

Natalie Attired
Nick O’Thyme
Nick O’Teen
Nina Forty (or on her IRS Form, Forty, Nina)
Noah Kant
Noah Notting

O

O. Howie Danst
Olav Mihtender
Olive Apperaid
Olive Branche
Olive Oyl
Oliver Klozov
Oliver Sudden
Opal Eeze
Ophelia Draft
Otto Graff
Otto Kratik
Otto Matik
Otto Mayshun

P

Pat M. Down
Pat M. Upp
Pat Reside
Patsy Fazool
Patty Dew
Patty Trayned
Paul Bearer
Pete O’File
Phil Armonick
Phil Issity
Phyllis Stations
Phyllis Steen
Phil O’Dendrun
Polly Esther

Q – 

Quentin Sam (or on his IRS form, Sam, Quentin)

R

Ray Zerbach
Ray Zerscharp
Rick Oop (an insurance adjuster)
Rick O’Shay
Rick Rac
Rick Tangle
Ricky Tony
Rob D’Kraydel
Rhoda Dendrun
Roger Oubernoudt
Roy Altee
Russell Mania
Russell O’Leevs
Ruth Less

 S

Sally Forth
Sally Mander
Sal Monella
Sal Utashins
Sam Perfidaylis
Sandra Packy (or on her IRS form, Packy, Sandra)
Sandy Beeches
Sarah Bonna (or on her IRS form, Bonna, Sarah)
Saul R. Eaklips
SeƱor Moment
Sharon Cheralyke
Shirley Yugest
Stan Dout
Stan Bimee
Stan Dupp
Stan Doffish
Stella D’Knight
Sunny Beech
Sunny Skyze
Swen Golly

T

Tess Tickles
Tess Tosterone
Toby R. Notaby
Tom Boreen
Trudy Grapevine
Trudy Lukenclass

 U

Upton O’Gude

V

Vaughn Meetball
Vic Tumm (with a brother named Rick Tumm, who’s an asshole)

W

Wade Inn
Wanda Ball (the nympho)
Warren Peese
Wendy Getthehr
Will Hubie Mein
William Aramy
Willie Duit
Willie Maykett
Will Paur
Wun Hung Lo

X

Y

Z



Wednesday, July 4

Happy Fourth


          Happy Fourth of July. Let’s do drones instead of fireworks this year. Who needs another forest fire?
A few days ago, I spent an hour watching a crew from our electric company take down a large tree from the yard across the street. It had grown so much it was interfering with the power lines from the street. Or maybe the home owners simply wanted it down for their own reason. Anyway, it was a fascinating project. But it also looked to me like there was a tremendous potential for tragedy in such a job. One guy is in the power seat lopping off all the branches while another is on the ground below him, sharpening teeth on a second power saw. Branches are flying all over the place, hitting the power lines, barely missing the second worker on the ground. The upper guy is taking off the smaller branches with a little saw on a long arm, and a big saw for the larger branches and the trunk. After he’s finished with the branches, he powers up to the top, ties a rope around it, has the ground guy pull on the rope as the top guy cuts through the top. Then he moves down the trunk, cutting off five-foot chunks and shoving them in safe directions on the ground. Lots of room for tragedy. I wonder how long these guys can do this work before they kill themselves.
Years and years ago I got an idea for a painting technique (portraits, not houses). I had been working with the graphics on my computer. When I enlarge a picture to work with the fatbits, the pixels, all semblance of the original subject disappears into a random pattern of different colored dots. Nothing is recognizable until I pull it back into a normal perspective. I thought about doing a painting on a very large canvas, with the spots of color in an unrecognizable pattern from a normal distance of about ten feet. From there it would look like an abstract painting. In a gallery, this large canvas could be hung on one wall of a long, narrow room, and on the opposite wall, maybe a hundred feet away, there would be a large curtained mirror. The viewer would then be instructed to stand adjacent to the painting, face the other wall, then press a button that would open the curtain, showing him the painting at the proper distance as seen in the mirror. And there, suddenly, would be the real painting. The more I think about it, the more I realize it probably wouldn’t work. But if it did, wouldn’t that be exciting?

Wednesday, June 27

Winning & Losing


          Success and failure, winning and losing, such a fine line between each. Often, luck is involved in outcomes, often determination or lack thereof is the determiner. And sometimes we have only ourselves to blame if we lose or only ourselves to congratulate if we win. Sometimes we lose because winning would be too painful or too public and we don’t want to be at the front of the stage. Sometimes, on a subconscious level, we cause ourselves to lose. I think back to the Winter Olympics in 1994 with Dan Jansen, the speed skater who was favored to win by a bunch in the 500 and 1000 meters. But then, he’d also been a heavy favorite in 1988 and 1992 . . . and lost. In 1988 in both events he slipped and lost. In 1992 in Albertville the ice was too soft and he failed miserably. And in 1994 (that was the year the Winter Games got back on schedule with the Summer Games), he partially slipped in the last corner heading home, fell to the ice again, and lost again. He was devastated, his wife was devastated, his coach was devastated. I was reminded of Jim Ryun years and years ago in the mile and Olympic 1500 meters. He was the best miler in the world at the time; at eighteen he became the youngest ever to break the four-minute barrier (3:55.3). He ran in the 1964 Games but failed to get through the preliminaries and then won the silver, his only medal, in the 1968 Games held in Mexico City at elevations that Ryun wasn’t used to and he could do no better than second place. It was what happened to him in the 1972 Games that was so tragically sad. In his preliminary heat, in which he was incorrectly entered because of some official’s error over his time in the 1500, he had 500 meters to go when a runner in front of him slowed down and Ryun ran into him, after which a runner behind him stepped on his foot and all three fell off the track. He got up and limped in, with a look of agony for me and the world to see. And that ended his attempts to win gold in the 1500 meter Summer Games. It was one of the saddest moments in sports I ever witnessed. Was it fate that caused that fall? Was it fate that put him in a preliminary with inexperienced runners? Or was it some part of him that didn’t want to win the gold? I think some people cause themselves to lose in biggies like the Olympics. Maybe their fear of failing is so great that they, like people who are accident prone, make things happen that will allow them to lose for reasons that aren’t their fault, or at least for reasons over which they had no control. Jansen and Ryun may fall into that category.
          There must be all kinds of other unfortunate losers not just in sports but in life itself, with unrequited lovers probably the best example. According to Tennyson, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Hmm, I’m not sure I agree with Lord T.

Monday, June 25

Countdown


Since I have so few newsworthy topics to write about, today’s blog will be devoted entirely to the latest details of my Countdown.
I seem to be sleeping longer than I did not so long ago, like for ten or eleven hours. And I seem to be looking forward to sleeping. Ten o’clock arrives and I can hardly wait to climb into bed. It’s almost as though I want each day to end and the next day to begin so that I can get to the end of that day. In other words, I seem to be marking time until something happens. Death? Maybe. A regaining of some health and stamina? Probably not. Each of our days is becoming too much the same lockstep routine—arise at 8:30 or 9:00 (more often 9:00 or later than 8:30), make coffee, bring in the Arizona Republic, take morning pills with orange juice, check the sports section, check the obituaries to see how many my age or younger have died, have a muffin or a piece of toast. Paper, done. Muffin, done. Coffee done. Then I hope that the PGA or LPGA is on or possibly an early afternoon Diamondbacks game. If no sports are available, I write a blog or catch up on letters or read one of the many e-books  on my IPad. Then, finally . . . blessedly, it’s cocktail hour, after which we have a simple dinner as we watch Lester Holt and the NBC Evening News to learn what new stupid things Trump has said or done. Then we watch whatever is on the tube or whatever we’ve saved until the magical 10:00 p.m. arrives and we can go to bed . . . to hurry to another day too terribly similar to the one just ended.
          Weight loss. As my appetite diminishes, my weight keeps dropping to levels I never thought possible. This morning, I tipped the scale at 159. Looking back to my youth, I think I probably weighed more than that when I was fourteen or fifteen. What will happen if this weight loss continues? Will I one day just disappear in a little puff of smoke? Or will I, like Benjamin Button, keep getting younger and younger and smaller and smaller until I disappear into my mother’s womb? Gadzooks! Such metaphysical questions.
          Although I have no way to give it a numerical value, less and less activity for me requires more and more rest time. Now, whenever I get up from my bed or chair to do anything . . . ANYTHING . . . after only a few minutes I have to collapse into a chair panting and wheezing like I’d just crossed the finish line in the Boston Marathon. Each day that passes sees me incrementally more exhausted than the day before. I now ride in an electric cart at the grocery store. I’m thinking about buying a wheel chair for conveyance on my rare times out of the house, but should it be a self-wheeling chair or an electric? If I had to turn the wheels myself, would I have enough energy to do it?
          And each day the Countdown gets closer and closer to midnight.

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