Boy You Guys, this day is going fast. This is chapter seven. Dais likes that one saying about how; "Time goes fast when you're having fun." That's such a wise saying. I want to believe it now. I'm sure glad I have Daisy around. I wonder what Daisy's doing right now?
I'll bet Dais is either laying on her side on the cement slab in front of our Garage or she's in the Garage. If Daisy's in the Garage, "Odds Are" as they say; she's laying in her area in front of the Utility Room door where her old Barney the Dinosaur blanket's is at.
As I mentioned earlier, before Daisy goes to lay down she'll spend time out in the Sun on the driveway; licking her paws because of her arthritis. While doing it she listens and smells what's going on. Even though she's going blind Dais has good hearing and sense of smell.
Boy! How did people even think about how to make such an amazing thing like a blanket? What an unbelievable invention. And clothes too. I wonder when human beings first figured out how to make cloth and things like blankets. Blankets are so ingenious!
Mr. Steve has my three blankets draped over Elvira. They're soft and feel so good on cold nights. Once a month Mr. Steve takes them in the Utility Room to wash them in that amazing machine called a "Washer." Then he puts them in a "Dryer." I love warm blankets!
A nice cool breeze just came in from the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. I smell the two Joshua trees Mr. Steve calls the Twins. I'd know their smell anywhere. Smelling them now makes me think back to last Summer for some reason. I like how the Twins smell.
The weather is so good today. Daisy has memories of years when the first day of Spring was really cold. When I took my break after part one two hours ago I told Daisy about how I've been smelling the Twin Joshua trees. Above me Bonnie and Clyde's babies are waking up.
Daisy was right. She thought it would be a warmer than usual Spring when we saw Bonnie and Clyde starting to build their nests earlier than usual. Hey God! Thank You for the warm day. I can sure feel You in the Sun's warmth again. I just love this warm air!
Our two acres is so great to live on! Thank Everyone for sending me over here to live. Oh! Andy and Helen the Squirrels are over near that one pile of rocks Mr. Steve has piled in front of the back fence. I'll bet they're going to start playing and wrestling around pretty soon.
Yup! Andy and Helen are jostling and playing. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Steve not only spreads Bird Seed and Chicken Scratch out below his Office window; he also puts out Pellets for the local Rabbits and Squirrels. I've noticed how Crow couples play too.
I'd say that it's about one thirty based on the shadows. I can't believe how fast this day is going. But for some reason Mr. Steve hasn't given us any snacks. I've learned so much already today. One of Bonnie and Clyde's baby Birds above me in the nest is chirping.
Mr. Steve says Squirrels are smart. He used get mad when they stole Bird seed right out of the two Bird Feeders hanging from the tree branches. But now he just puts out food for them to eat that's even better than Bird Seed. Daisy says Squirrels, like Crows; hide food.
Dais told me Squirrels trick Crows by pretending to bury "Nuts." They drop rocks into the hole instead but keep the nuts in their mouths. This will fool the Crow. Boy! I'd like to see that. I've seen Squirrels sing. Squirrels eat Bird eggs, tree bark and Bugs too Daisy says.
I know one thing. Momma Squirrels will get mean and try to bite you if you get too close to their babies. Helen had three babies last year but none are around here anymore. Daisy thinks that they either died somehow or found their own territories to start families.
Sitting back here on Elvira and looking to my front I see a few Birds zipping about out there in the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. I hear them chirping too. Two of the Pigeons just flew out into the desert. Oh! Andy and Helen just ran out into the desert too.
Hey God! Thank You for creating Squirrels. When I see Andy and Helen it kind of makes me want to have some babies. That would be so great! But I'll leave those type of things up to You God of course. As I mentioned earlier, Daisy thinks I would be a good mother.
Daisy says our boss met a lady once who thought there was sacredness in the fact that two parents are needed to make a third life. Hey God! As You know, I sort of want to believe that You reach down sometimes and cause things to happen. Dais says we're proof of it.
As You know God, besides feeling You in the Sun; I've come to think of You in the form of things like flowers. Mr. Steve and Daisy do that so now I want to do that too. I sure hope You send us some of those pretty yellow "Sun Flowers" like You did last Summer.
Daisy and I were remembering how last Summer three Sun Flowers grew up near the back fence; between Manny and Moe the two smallest Sheds. Daisy knows a lot about what they call "Wild Flowers." Oh! Speedy Gonzalez the Ground Squirrel just ran bye.
I love to smell and look at flowers; whether all the wild flowers that grow around here or the "Roses" and "Oleanders" our neighbors grow. I can't wait to smell our neighbors flowers when they come out; which will hopefully be pretty soon God. One of the Wrens is chirping.
In the Spring plants with white, yellow or even purple wild flowers grow around here. Mr. Steve doesn't cut them down and lets them grow. To the east of where we live here in Piñon Hills these orange flowers called "Poppeys" grow every year in the Springtime.
PHOTO BY MIRIAM MONTES
Near to where those orange Poppy's grow is the town of Littlerock. As I mentioned, that's where Mr. Steve's brother Sam lives with his family. Mr. Steve and his mom used to go see the fields of orange Poppy's near this one city near Littlerock called "Lancaster."
Dais is right! If our boss ever did take us to see and smell all of those orange Poppey fields we couldn't because I'm afraid of riding in a Car. Maybe I will just force myself to not be afraid to ride in a Car. I've just got to do it that's all! Daisy rides in our vehicles.
I guess when Bees drink from flowers "Pollen" sticks to their bodies. When they then go to the next flower this helps make baby flowers. It's called a "Symbiotic" or "mutually beneficial" relationship. In book two I'll write about Sharks and these Fish called "Remoras."
Over the years Mr. Steve's mother has planted flowers around her house down in Sylmar. In book three day after tomorrow I'm scheduled to write about the history of this one flower called a "Tulip." I'm tempted to do it now but I better wait. Mr. Steve's mom likes Tulips.
On Saturday I'll write about "Descanso Gardens" and "Huntington Library." They both have gardens. Mr. Steve and his mom has visited them a few times. The Huntington Library is also a Museum too I guess. I smell a Juniper plant. I don't recognize it.
That lady Miss Susan who used to run the local Newspaper gave Mr. Steve a book to read on the wild flowers that grow in our area. And she's lent him other books too. Mr. Steve and Miss Susan sometimes cut out Newspaper or Magazine articles to give to each other.
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
Daisy says our boss took close-up pictures of Roses as part of he and his mom's Art Exhibit which was at the Natural History Museum. As I've mentioned, those paintings, drawings and photographs were also shown at the Capistrano and San Fernando Missions.
Last year Daisy took the arrival of those three Sunflowers as a "Good Luck Sign." So I did too. According to my Spanish Dictionary "Girasol" and "Tornasol" are words for Sunflowers. "Sol" is Sun, "gira" means "turning;" and "torna" is the word for "changing."
I remember last Summer Dais when pointed out to me how young Sunflowers will move to face the Sun. Young Sunflowers start the day facing east but end the day facing westward. It's so incredible to see them do that. There are wispy white clouds up in the sky.
During the day, as the Sun moves toward the west, the Sunflowers will "trace" or "track" its movement. By the end of the day they're looking to the west. Daisy pointed out to me that more Bees land on young Sunflowers too. I can hear two Wrens singing to each other.
Hey God! Sunflowers seem to be smart. Like Daisy says, not only to they move along to the Sun during the day; but by the next morning they've turned around and somehow are facing the east again. When Sunflowers get old I've noticed how they always face to the east.
I just noticed a Lizard standing on the wall; over there near the sliding glass door that leads into the Dining Room. It's amazing how even when they're vertical instead of horizontal Lizards can still do those pushups. The Lizard is doing it right now as a matter of fact!
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
VINCENT VAN GOGH SELF PORTRAIT
As I mentioned before, Daisy helped me prepare my three outlines. In book three I'll write about a "Dutch" painter named Vincent van Gogh. In this one Encyclopedia there's a painting of him and the caption below it says it's a "Self-Portrait." The Lizard is gone.
According to what it says here in my Encyclopedia, that guy Vincent van Gogh lived in the second half of the 19th century. Even though he was Dutch he's more associated with France I guess. I wonder why they call a person from the country of "Holland" Dutch?
Mr. Steve's mother is a really good painter too. Inside our house are big paintings she did as part of Art Exhibits they had in the 1990's. I'll write about them in the next three days. I know that Mr. Steve's mom likes paintings "van Gogh" did in France of Sunflowers.
My Encyclopedia calls van Gogh a "Post-Impressionist"painter. Mr. Steve's mom studied "French Impressionism" in College; as well as other forms of art. I'll discuss some of them over the next three days. "Post" means "after" something. A Finch just zoomed bye.
In the self-portrait of van Gogh I like the wavy blue lines giving off energy. Van Gogh killed himself like Ernest Hemingway did; and died poor like Vivaldi. Mr. Steve says the only painting he sold in his lifetime was bought by his brother just to make him feel better.
It says here that Vincent van Gogh eventually moved from Holland to France. And that's where he lived until he died young. Dais and I decided not to put van Gogh in book three. I just picked up the scent of that one old Joshua tree over there to the right of Manny the Shed.
GEORGIA O'KEEFE WITH HUSBAND
Daisy and I were thinking about putting van Gogh in book two tomorrow. That's when I'll be writing about the influences on his mother's painting. But instead I'll write in detail about him on Saturday in book three. And I'll write about this other guy named Paul Gaugin.
I feel like mentioning a painter named Georgia O'Keefe who lived in New Mexico. As I've said, Mr. Steve has relatives in New Mexico and now his friend Dave lives in Taos. Mr. Steve says Georgia O'Keefe, like his mom; painted with "precision" and "energy."
Like Georgia O'Keefe, Mr. Steve's mom loves New Mexico's sunlight. So does Mr. Dave in Taos. In looking at the open skies over the eastern desert our sunlight is beautiful. Some Birds are flying around. Anyway, I'll write more about Georgia O'Keefe tomorrow.
IRVING STONE WITH WIFE
The day after tomorrow in book three Daisy has me scheduled to write about this one writer named Irving Stone. In the mid-1970's Mr. Steve and his friend Chris helped Irving Stone's wife clean out a warehouse in Van Nuys. Her husband wrote a book about van Gogh.
I guess another book that guy Irving Stone wrote was called "The Agony and the Ecstasy." It's about the 16th century artist Michelangelo. I mentioned him earlier when I wrote about Mr. Steve's 1985 trip to Italy. Mr. Steve's mom read The Agony and the Ecstasy.
Over the next three days I'll write more about that guy Michaelangelo who I mentioned this morning. And I'll write more about his fellow Rennaissance Italian and competitor Leonardo da Vinci too. Boy Everyone! It looks like my three books will be really long. Oh well!
DA VINCI (1452-1519) MICHELANGELO ( 1475-1564)
I guess Michelangelo didn't care about not having friends or if others liked him or not. Mr. Steve says he lived kind of like one of those Catholic Monks except he was dirty. He seldom even changed his clothes. He didn't like food. Boy! That's hard for me to believe.
As I mentioned, for three months Daisy helped me put together my three outlines. She also helped me make my list of birthdays and special dates in our boss's family. I smell that old Sage bush behind Moe the middle Shed. Dais will be happy. She likes that bush's scent.
Michelangelo was born in March like Mr. Steve's sister Susan. He died on February 18th. Mr. Steve's ex-girlfriend Harriet's birthday is the 19th. His sister Susan's son Dalton was born February 11, Stephanie's boyfriend Rich on the 16th; and his father on the 23rd.
LEONARDO DA VINCI (SELF-PORTRAIT)
When he was eighteen Mr. Steve's ex-girlfriend Sandy's mom got him this Notebook with Leonardo da Vinci's drawings in it; to challenge him and see if he could copy those drawings. He did and Sandy's mom was amazed. Daisy says he still has that Notebook.
One of the drawings in that Notebook was a "Self-Portrait." Mr. Steve copied that drawing too. I guess Leonardo da Vinci was born in April. Mr. Steve's other girlfriend Emily was born on April the 9th according to my list of dates. And Leonardo died in May.
In our family the most birthdays are in May. And his parents marriage Anniversary is on the 24th of May too. I'm so tempted to write more about that guy Leonardo da Vinci now but I better just wait. On Saturday in book three I'm going to write a lot about Aviation.
GEORGIA O'KEEFE 1887-1986)
PAINTING BY MICHAEL A. VACCARO
Oh! I just noticed how in this Encyclopedia it says that lady Georgia O'Keefe was born on the 15th of November. And on my list of birthdays I see how Mr. Steve's Niece Samantha's birthday is that exact same date. Andy and Helen are running out into the desert.
I sort of feel like writing about Georgia O'Keefe right now but I'll just wait until tomorrow. When Andy and Helen went into the desert they ran through the two vertical openings on each side of the gate. It's so amazing they don't hit their heads when they go so fast.
Even though I'll mainly write about Georgia O'Keefe in book two, I will mention about how she's now "associated" with the open skies and sun of New Mexico. Like Mr. Steve's mom, her paintings are often "precise" and "energetic." Ah! I smell that one old Sage bush.
ERWIN ROMMEL (1891-1944)
Tomorrow I'll write about this World War II German General named Erwin Rommel. Mr. Steve thinks he was one of the best "Field Commanders" ever and was also born on November 15th just like his Niece Samantha. His nickname was the "Desert Fox."
Daisy says our boss has studied the World War II "Campaigns" of that guy Erwin Rommel. And I guess one time she and that other Dog named Millie were in Mr. Steve's Bedroom and saw a really good Documentary about what Erwin Rommel did in North Africa.
This Encyclopedia describes Erwin Rommel as "audacious." He used "Blitzkrieg" tactics in Poland and France even before he went to North Africa. Blitzkrieg means "Lightning War." I'll write more about Erwin Rommel tomorrow and on Saturday in book three.
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
When I write about Vincent van Gogh on Saturday I'll learn about his relationship with this other painter named Paul Gauguin. Mr. Steve told me they were friends but also used to argue a lot. One time van Gogh even cut off part of his ear after one of their big arguments.
There's a picture in this one Encyclopedia of Paul Gaugin. He looks kind of like he would be a mean person. Mr. Steve's mother has books that show the paintings by van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. As I just said, van Gogh was originally from the country of Holland.
From what it says here, that guy Paul Gauguin was from France. But I guess he's famous for paintings he did in "Tahiti;" while living in the "South Pacific" in that area called Polynesia. Mr. Steve's mother likes the way Paul Gauguin used really bright colors.
As I mentioned, I go in the Living Room on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons like Mr. Peabody and Sherman. But again, only if the front door is open so I have an escape route. If I wasn't so afraid to go all the way down the Hallway I could see the Sun/Moon plaque.
We have a lot of Mr. Steve's mom's paintings in our house. A big ten foot tall painting of the San Fernando Mission bells hangs above the couch in the Living Room. Daisy told me our boss has some of his mom's other paintings in his Bedroom. They're really big too I guess.
Tomorrow in book two I'll describe the inside of our house. Hey Blessed Virgin! You know how one of my goals in life is to overcome my fear of enclosed areas. Daisy goes all the way down the Hallway all the time and thinks I'm being so silly to be so afraid of doing it too.
Daisy says I don't know what I'm missing when I'm afraid to go down the Hallway and into Mr. Steve's Office and Bedroom. I could listen to way more music on his Stereo she told me. I'm going to do it Blessed Mother! I can't wait to tell Daisy on my next break.
Tomorrow in book two I'm going to write more about the time before I was brought here to live. Mr. Steve will be so surprised when he eventually reads my three books You Guys. I hope he'll be surprised to remember back to those times. Dawn is barking next door.
Sitting back here on Elvira, underneath the wooden roof of the Patio; makes me realize even more how amazing a house is. How did people even think of such a thing? Mr. Steve read that the first "Shelter" or "Dwelling" might've been made out of giant "Mammoth" bones.
Mammoths and these other things called "Mastodons" are extinct Elephants. I guess they were even bigger than todays Elephants. This one painting in my Encyclopedia shows how "Pre-Historic" people used Mammoth bones as the "Frame" for their "Huts" or houses.
I guess, unlike a modern Elephant from Africa or India; some Mammoths had thick fur like Daisy. This is interesting. The caption under the "Diagram" of the Mammoth bone house says the outside of the bone house was covered with the "Hide" or skin of the Mammoths.
Boy! It would be so great to smell an Elephant. Daisy says Mr. Steve has taken pictures of Elephants. They're huge! It's scary how they have those two long teeth called "Tusks" sticking out. Daisy told me boy Elephants use them like spears when they fight for girl Elephants.
"BLUE BOY" "PINKY"
Dais and I decided I'll write about two of Mr. Steve's mom's favorite paintings; "Blue Boy" and "Pinky" in book three on Saturday. They were painted by two Englishmen and are "On Display" over there at the Huntington Library. I can really smell Libby right now.
Mr. Steve and his mom like to go to Museums and places like that. Someday I'd like to visit a Museum. That would be so great! I could learn new things. I don't think my boss Mr. Steve has gone to the local Library over there in Phelan lately. He likes their "Book Sales."
Hey! I wonder if a Dog could learn how to paint? Someday I might just try it if Mr. Steve buys me the right equipment. I'm writing so maybe I could make art like my boss does. I'll bet his mom would lend me paint brushes. We could could then maybe start a Dog Art School.
I guess there are two Museums on this road called "Wilshire" Boulevard down there in Los Angeles. A Boulevard is a really big road with a lot of Cars Mr. Steve says. Living up here in a small town now makes him appreciate more not having what's called "Traffic."
One of those Museums is "L.A.C.M.A." which stands for "Los Angeles County Museum of Art. When Mr. Steve worked for the sports teams in the 1980's he spent a lot of time in the area where L.A.C.M.A is located. A Bunny Rabbit just ducked under Moe the middle Shed.
Over the years Mr. Steve and his mother have gone down to L.A.C.M.A. a few times. And Mr. Steve has also been there with his girlfriend Harriet. When he was a kid he went with his class on Field Trips to all the different Museums. Dawn is barking next door.
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
Mr. Steve says "right next door" to L.A.C.M.A is this place called the "La Brea Tar Pits." The Museum has the bones of things like Mammoths in it. And it also has bones of Saber Tooth Lions and those "Sloths" too. I'll write more about these Museums in book three.
I can't believe I'm over halfway done with this first book. I've already learned some new things and gotten a lot of practice writing and looking things up. And the best part is that I've still got two and a half days to go. I wonder if we're going to get any snacks today?
As I've mentioned, the warm Sun makes Daisy's feet feel better. When it's cold outside they really hurt so Mr. Steve takes her in the house at night. I'm still afraid to sleep in the house but I'm going to try it soon. Daisy will be proud of me. But Elvira is warm too.
CHARLES LUMMIS (1859-1928)
AUTRY MUSEUM OF THE WEST
Another Museum Mr. Steve and his mom like is the "Lummis House." It was built by a man named Charles Lummis and is made out of big boulders like the ones around our trees. He was a writer for the Los Angeles Times Newspaper and believed in "Indian Rights."
I feel like looking up Charles Lummis now but I'll wait and do it later. In 1884, he walked across America to get to Southern California for his job as a "Journalist." That was over three thousand miles! I guess Los Angeles had only twelve thousand people living here then.
As Mission Tour Guides Mr. Steve and his parents knew of Charles Lummis' "Landmarks Club." Theodore Roosevelt was Charles Lummis' "Classmate" at "Harvard." In 1888 Charles Lummis lived in "Isleta," New Mexico; near Belen where Mr. Steve's parents grew up.
Heathcliff just crowed. As I mentioned, Dais has noticed him crowing in the middle of day too. She told me some Roosters do crow during the day but usually not Heathcliff. Fannie and Freddie the Crows just came flying back in from being out in the eastern desert.
Maybe Dais is right and Heathcliff's announcing the birth of new baby Chickens and wants to show how happy he is. Males do things like that she says. That would be so great! Mr. Steve's father and brothers say you do feel like cheering when a baby is born. I smell Sage.
Aha! I knew I was being "observed." A Lizard just ran under the wooden Coffee Table in front of Elvira. It's smart to hide or it might get eaten. I mentioned earlier how that old Coffee Table used to belong to Mr. Steve's ex-girlfriend Emily. Mr. Steve sits on it sometimes.
Heathcliff just crowed again! Dais is probably right and he's just so happy it's Spring. She's usually right when it comes to things like that. Daisy has a lot of experience. Hey God! As You know, Daisy had babies. If I had babies I'd take really really good care of them!
Daisy will be impressed when she sees how many words I looked up in these Dictionaries she found for me in the Garage. When I took my big break at the end of chapter four and part one, I told her about how I kind "Improvised" on certain parts. She said that was good.
This old couch Elvira is so comfortable! To my left, on the other side of all the Encyclopedias and Mr. Steve's legal research books; is a dome-shaped Dog House called an "Igloo." Dais says it's meant to look like the snow or ice brick Houses they make in areas where it's cold.
ARTWORK BY ESKIMOWIKI CLIPART
One time on a Saturday morning Daisy and I were watching cartoons and they showed how a real igloo looks. Mr. Steve once met a guy from Alaska who said his dad taught he and his two brothers how to build a temporary igloo in just a few hours. I smell Libby over there.
The Igloo over there is for me but I'll never go in it. When Mr. Steve tried to put me inside I panicked and scratched his arm trying to escape. Someday I might be comfortable enough to go in there. But I kind of doubt it. There are two more Igloos up in the front yard.
The "Truth be Told" as they say, Daisy is way too big to fit inside an Igloo. Besides that, she prefers sleeping outside on warm nights and on cold nights Mr. Steve takes her in the house. At times we both sleep here on Elvira. Eskimos were so smart to invent real Igloos.
As I've mentioned, I'm afraid to be anywhere that's hard to quickly escape from. Oh! The chimes are ringing! A breeze just came in from the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. I want to feel You Holy Spirit! I think I sense You in all the many scents I can smell.
On my break after part one Daisy told me how that Roadrunner "Rudy" jumped up on the Bird Bath to drink water this morning. Then Rudy caught a Lizard and "Body-Slammed" it to death before eating it. I feel like running. I wonder if Rudy's a girl or boy Roadrunner?
Even at this time of day there are Birds Mr. Steve jokingly calls "scavengers" who dig in the dirt for every speck of the seeds Mr. Steve spreads on the ground under his Office window. And I know for sure the Bird Bath still has some water in it. Sometimes Mr. Steve re-fills it.
I'm still thinking about Rudy the Roadrunner. Daisy thinks Rudy is one of the best Lizard catchers she's ever seen. Rudy seems to be able to read their minds and know where they'll run to even before the Lizard does it. I like chasing Rudy but not for the next three days.
Mr. Steve says there are times when you "Win by Losing" or "Lose by Winning." And Daisy agrees with him on that. There's even a "term" for losing by winning; a "Pyrrhic" victory. It's named after this ancient Greek King named "Pyrrhus." Dawn is barking.
Boy, having these Dictionaries and Encyclopedia's is great! I couldn't do this without them. Daisy jokes that in the unlikely event I ever caught Rudy It would be dumb to kill him because I wouldn't have him to chase anymore. I'd never eat Rudy! No way! Ugh Ugh! Nope!
KING PYRRHUS (319-272 B.C.)
I just looked up the word "pyrrhic" and it means "too costly a victory." My Encyclopedia says in 280 B.C. that one Greek King Pyrrhus defeated a Roman army and killed thousands of Roman soldiers. He didn't lose nearly as many men from his army. A Crow cawed.
From what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, in 280 B.C; whereas the Romans had an almost unlimited supply of soldiers the Greeks did not. When King Pyrrhus "Ran out Of" men "That was It" as they say. He couldn't afford to waste even one man I guess.
So, in "In the Long Run" as they say, King Pyrrhus could win "Tactical" battles but end up losing "Strategically" the war. Mr. Steve says there have been times in his life when he's lost by winning. But he's also had other times when he won by losing. I smell a new Sage plant.
In book two I'll write a lot about the American Civil War. The "South" under Robert E. Lee at first won many battles but they ended up losing the war. One reason is because the "North" had way more soldiers than they did. I hear our neighbors Ducks quacking next door.
Aha! The Quail I've been smelling are now filing in through the two thin vertical openings on either side of the gate. It's Able Company. Angeline and her babies are with them. They'll go under Moe the middle Shed. I smell the clump of Joshua trees near Libby's Corral.
The leaders of Able Company will get organized under the cover of Moe. When the time is right the "Scout" Quails will run out and go ahead to see if the "Coast is Clear" for the other Quail to follow. Then they'll stream around the northeast corner of the house to my left.
Mr. Steve says in the American Civil War the North or "Union" had plenty of what they call "Cannon Fodder." Poor Irish and German "Immigrants" were coming into America then. Mr. Cliff joked about how Cannon fodder is just a way of saying "expendable lives."
This Encyclopedia says when Abraham Lincoln was elected the American President in 1860 some States who used Slaves "Seceded" or "Left the Union." And other States like "Virginia" broke away a few months later. There ended up being eleven "Confederate" States.
Mr. Steve thinks the "Rebel" States could only win a shorter war because they had a lot less men able to "Bear Arms;" a huge disadvantage. But both sides were way too "Overconfident" about it being a short war my boss told Mr. Cliff. Ah! I smell Able Company.
PHOTOS BY DAVID MACKAY
Yup! Three members of Able Company are now running toward the northeast corner of the house to my left. Mr. Steve says Quail groups sometimes move in the way armies traveled before Radio communication. The Scout Quail go ahead and signal back if there's danger.
I guess during the Civil War Army Scouts were called "Pickets" or "Skirmishers." I'd be a good Skirmisher. Oh! There goes the big group of Quail moving quickly toward the corner of the house. Angeline is leading her babies. Mr. Steve calls that group the "Main Body."
I've mentioned a few times about how Birds come to eat the Bird Seed and Chicken Scratch Mr. Steve spreads out on the ground below his Office window. They don't know Mr. Steve is in his Office sitting at his desk watching them. I sort of like the way Quails run.
As I've mentioned earlier, Mr. Steve's father was an "Artillery Spotter" during the Korean War. I smell Libby over there in her Corral. Now I can see her walking around. That suddenly makes me think about this girl Horse named "Reckless;" who was in the Korean War.
I'm supposed to write about that Horse Reckless tomorrow but I just feel like writing about her right now instead. Then I can go back to writing about the American Civil War. If I could just go back in time I'd really want to meet that brave girl Horse named Reckless.
A few years ago Mr. Steve met a man who also fought in the Korean War. Like Mr. Steve's father, he had been in the "1st Marine Division." He knew all about Reckless the Horse and said she was courageous and smart too in carrying things around on the battle fields.
My Encyclopedia says that Horse Reckless was bought by a Marine for two hundred and fifty dollars. She was a three year old girl "Mare" Horse like Libby. That man told Mr. Steve the Marines made Reckless a "Pack Horse." She was only "thirteen hands" tall.
Wow! It says here in the 1953 "Battle of Outpost Vegas" Reckless made fifty one trips up and down a mountain. She was brave even when a big battle was going on all around her. She just kept doing her job of delivering heavy "Artillery Shells." I smell a Lizard.
A shell is kind of like a big bullet that cannons shoot. In the Korean War the 75 Millimeter cannons used shells that each weighed from twenty to twenty three pounds. It says here Reckless was smart. In 1953 she did all of her deliveries "solo" or "On her Own" as they say.
That man told Mr. Steve about how Reckless "caught two rounds" at that one battle back in 1953. That means she was wounded twice. My Encyclopedia says she was hit by "Shrapnel" or "pieces of metal." Wow! I guess Reckless was awarded two "Purple Heart" medals.
During the battle in 1953 Reckless "delivered" nine thousand pounds of shells. On the way back she "evacuated" wounded men and at times carried them thirty miles to safety. She saved them. And Reckless did it all by herself without anyone with her. I see the Lizard.
I'd sure like to be described as "brave and steadfast" the way Reckless is called in this one Encyclopedia. Boy! It would be great to be "Decorated" like Reckless. She was a "War Horse." I guess after the Korean War Reckless was taken from Korea back to the United States.
I just noticed Libby over there looking in this direction. That one man told Mr. Steve about how Reckless, after coming over here to America; became a Marine Corps "Mascot." Wow! I guess Reckless was "given the rank of Sergeant." It would so great to be a Mascot.
Another thing that man told Mr. Steve is how, when Reckless was "Off Duty;" she walked around the Marine Camp and was even allowed to go inside the tents. And Reckless was smart. When the North Koreans and Chines bombed them she went into a "Bunker."
Hey God! This Encyclopedia says after that Horse Reckless was brought back to the U.S. from Korea she had four babies. Did You cause that to happen as a reward for being so brave and courageous? I guess "Filly" means girl Horse. That one Lizard just ran away.
On Saturday in book three day after tomorrow Daisy has me scheduled to write about a guy named Steve Carlton. I guess he was a really good "Pitcher" for that Baseball team called the Philadelphia "Phillies." His Cousin "Bonnie" had a "Tack Shop" in San Fernando.
Even though I'm going to write about Steve Carlton on Saturday, I'll say now how in 1972 he won 27 games for a bad Phillies team whose record was 59-97. My boss told Mr. Randy that means just one Pitcher had 46% of the wins! Mr. Steve was seventeen in 1972.
I looked up the Philadelphia Phillies and my Encyclopedia says the Franchise is; "the oldest, continuous, one-name, one city franchise in American professional sports history." Mr. Steve says, like the Chicago Cubs who I wrote about earlier; they've had a lot of bad teams.
GROVER CLEVELAND ALEXANDER (1887-1950)
PAINTING BY ARTHUR K.
What the heck! I might as well write a little bit about the Phillies now even though on my outline I'm not scheduled to do it until book three. Mr. Steve was right. He told Mr. Randy the Phillies started in 1883! Wow! That's old. I smell another Lizard around here.
A painting in this Encyclopedia shows another famous Phillies Pitcher named was Grover Cleveland Alexander. I guess he was named after that American President Grover Cleveland. I'll write about him tomorrow. Daisy says our boss drew the Phillies logos.
I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? Before being the Phillies the team was the "Quakers" or "Philadelphias." I guess they've had "long periods of struggle." They went seventy seven years before going to the World Series. I'll write about the real Quakers tomorrow.
SERGEANT RECKLESS (U.S.M.C.)
Wow! A picture in this Encyclopedia shows a Marine giving Reckless the Horse a special sweater with her name on it. And they promoted her to "Sergeant." It would be great to have your name put on something. I'd wear it. Boy! I wish I could be a Sergeant.
I wonder if my boss Mr. Steve knows this? It says here they "erected" a statue of Reckless back east in Virginia. And the Marines also put up a "plaque" at that place to our south called "Camp Pendleton;" where Mr. Steve's father did "Basic Training" or "Boot Camp."
Boy! It would be such an honor to have a statue of yourself put up. But a plaque would be good too. Mr. Steve's parents have a plaque with their names on it down there at the Capistrano Mission; where Mr. Steve and his mom had their Art Exhibit back in 1993.
UNITED STATES (1861)
Well, back to the American Civil War. I'll write more about the Korean War later. I kind of got off topic but I just felt like writing about that Horse Reckless and then that led to the Phillies. Boy! It's so good to have a map to go along with whatever your reading about.
A map in this Encyclopedia shows the "Free" and "Slave" American States in 1961 when the war "erupted." I can see that California is colored in royal blue so that means it was a Free State. Samson and Delilah the Crows are flying bye. Boy! That Samson is so huge.
Mr. Steve says many people are surprised to find out that during the American Civil War four Slave States did not leave the Union; Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. You can see them in gray on this map. A Bunny Rabbit just ducked under Jack the big Shed.
QUARTZ HILL HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT (1970'S)
Mr. Steve did artwork for a guy from Antelope Valley; where Frank Zappa grew up. He graduated from "Quartz Hill" High School. As I mentioned, A.V. is to the west of us. Littlerock, where Mr. Steve's brother Sam's family lives; is kind of near Quartz Hill.
For years the name of the sports teams at Quartz Hill was the "Rebels." That was based on a Civil War Confederate soldier. Their Mascot "Johnny Reb" carried around a "Stars and Bars" Confederate battle flag; the red one with the "Saint Andrews Cross" on it.
That guy said Quartz Hill High, after "legal battles;" was established in 1964. Mr. Steve was nine years old in 1964. When the current site was picked it was decided a "Rebels" theme was fitting. In 1995 Johnny Reb was replaced by a Revolutionary War "Patriot."
Oh! I just noticed Theodora the Thrasher Bird sitting in that one Creosote bush she likes so much; the one just to the left of Jack the big Shed. As I've mentioned, in book three Daisy has me scheduled to write about the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora.
That guy who went to Quartz Hill High said for years the school had a special day called "Slave Days" where some students would "Auction Off" other students in order to raise money for the different "Student Clubs." Theodora is now looking over here at me.
According to what that guy from Antelope Valley told my boss, Quartz Hill High was almost all white. Antelope Valley High, where Frank Zappa went to; now has a lot of black students so people in the Antelope Valley jokingly say "A.V." stands for "African Village."
CONFEDERATE GRAVESTONE (HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY)
PHOTO BY KEVIN WAITE
Mr. Steve and that guy from Antelope Valley discussed how, as I mentioned earlier, in 1861 when the Civil War broke out; many people here wanted Southern California to be a Slave State. As I said this morning, some even fought for the South and are buried in Los Angeles.
I heard Mr. Steve tell that guy about Hollywood Forever Cemetery. That's the cemetery I mentioned this morning where forty Confederate soldiers from California are buried at. There's even a big Grave Stone set up in their honor. Jack the Jackrabbit just whizzed bye.
California became a State in 1851. In the 1850's, or years just before the Civil War; many people here asked the Federal Government to let Southern California become a Slave State. The Governor and many of the local Mexican "Californios" even wanted that too.
JOHNNY RAMONE (1948-2004)
PHOTO KE CLICK MEDIA
Mr. Steve told that guy from Quartz Hill how Johnny Ramone, though he was from New York City; is also buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I like that one fast-paced RAMONES song called "Blitzkrieg Bop." And Daisy really likes it too. I smell some new Sage.
On the 1861 map of the U.S. it shows how, at the time of the Civil War; New Mexico was a "Territory." What would become the State of "Arizona" was a part of it. Each one only became an actual States in the year 1912; just two years before World War I started.
Mr. Steve says since the beginning of the country in the 18th century the "issue" of Slavery was "a problem." The "Northern States" had "Abolished" Slavery and were "Industrial" so used machines more. But even in the North people didn't think black people were equal.
I guess in 1861 when the Civil War broke out the "Southern States" were "Agricultural" and used Slaves on "Plantations;" which Dais says are big farms that grew cotton and tobacco. Mr. Steve sells cotton Baseball hats but most "Caps" are made of "Acrylic."
That guy Thomas Jefferson wrote in the "Declaration of Independence" how "All men are created equal." But he and other Founding Fathers owned Slaves. From what I heard Mr. Steve tell his friend Grant that time, even George Washington owned Slaves too.
Mr. Steve says Slavery has always been normal in history. Many Native-American tribes in North and South America had Slaves. And over there in Africa Slavery has always existed. The same is true everywhere else in the world too. A Crow is squawking out in the desert.
KARL MARX (1818-1883) WITH WIFE
Mr. Steve thinks there are Slaves even today. They just don't call them Slaves anymore he jokes. He and Mr. Cliff talked about that one time when they sat back here on the Patio. If you don't "control your own destiny" in life then, in a sense; you're sort of like a Slave.
In my three books I'll write about that German Jewish writer named Karl Marx. He was a "Socialist" who wrote about "Capitalism" while living with his family in England. He described how a person can be what's called a "Wage Slave." That Crow is still cawing.
Hey Lord! As You know, my boss Mr. Steve told his friend Cliff about how he thinks war, hate and intolerance have always been way more common than peace, love and understanding. In history the strong will almost always "Take Advantage Of" the weak he says.
Daisy's right Lord! She thinks if everyone lived their lives the way You said to do wars and fighting would be less common. Sister Rita Joseph believed that and so does Mr. Steve's mom. I want to think like that too but I might have to fight to defend our land someday.
Mr. Steve told Mr. Cliff Lord how he thinks many people still like to hate. They just need a good excuse, like revenge; to do it. I heard Mr. Cliff say he thinks the "enjoyment of violence" is "built into" many people. And he mentioned something called "D.N.A."
Many people like to feel "superior" Mr. Steve thinks. In the 19th century just because the northern States didn't want Slavery that doesn't mean they weren't "Prejudiced" against black people. They didn't want them around and hoped they would stay in the south.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865) WITH FAMILY
Mr. Steve says that Abraham Lincoln, who was from "Illinois;" is known for "Freeing the Slaves." But, by "today's standards;" he was a "Racist." His wife's family in "Kentucky" had Slaves. I just picked up the faint scent of a Lizard somewhere around here.
From what my boss told Mr. Randy, for most of his life Abraham Lincoln believed there was no way "Inferior" free blacks could live peacefully among "Superior" whites without violence. I guess, for most of his life; Lincoln wanted to ship the black people back to Africa.
Mr. Steve has this book of Abraham Lincoln's "Letters." In one he describes whites having babies with blacks as "disgusting." He used the word "amalgamation" which, according to my my Dictionary means; "To unite, mix of combine." Oh! I can see the Lizard over there now.
It says in this Encyclopedia that, as the United States "expanded" westward in the first half of the 19th century; the decision had to be made over whether those new areas would be "Free" or "Slave" States. The Lizard is standing over there in the dirt near he big tree.
The map in my Encyclopedia shows the "Regions" of the "Contiguous" United States. Slave States are in green and the Free States are orange. The modern States of "Alaska," and Hawaii where Mr. Steve's friend Mark lives; are not connected" to "Continental" America.
In the years before the Civil War it was important how many Free or Slave States there were because of "Representation" in the Federal "Congress;" or the "House of Representatives" and "Senate." It meant power in Washington D.C. That one Lizard just ran away.
SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER BEATEN (1856)
ARTWORK BY HARPER'S WEEKLY
As I mentioned, each time America expanded westward there would be big arguments over whether to allow Slavery in the new areas. Sometimes Politicians got into fights. One southern Senator even beat a northern Senator with his wooden cane on the Senate floor.
From what it says here in this Encyclopedia, in 1856 a "pro-slavery" Senator from South Carolina named Preston Brooks almost killed the Massachusetts "anti-slavery" Senator Charles Sumner. A really good black and white drawing shows Senator Brooks doing it.
Andy and Helen the Squirrels just ran bye and are now going out into the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. They're such a good couple. Just like Mr. Steve's parents, you can tell how much they care for each other. I sure hope someday I have a boy partner.
PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865)
Abraham Lincoln didn't want to allow Slavery in new Territories. But it wasn't because he liked black people so much. He didn't want black people, free or slave; competing for jobs with poor whites. As I said, for years, like others; he wanted to ship them back to Africa.
Mr. Steve thinks, like almost all white people in the 19th century; Abraham Lincoln thought blacks were not as good as white people. Only after blacks fought in the Civil War and proved they were brave too did he change his mind about sending them back to Africa.
In books two and three I'll write about the State of "Kansas." In 1854 the area came into the U.S. Both sides of the "Slave Debate" went there to fight. One man who was against slavery was named John Brown. He didn't like Slavery at all I guess. He was an "Abolitionist."
JOHN BROWN (1859)
In 1854 "Bloody Kansas" there was a lot of violence between between men like John Brown and his sons and pro-slavery "advocates." Many were killed it says in this Encyclopedia. Some people say the fighting in Kansas was the actual beginning of the American Civil War.
A painting in my Encyclopedia shows John Brown "being led to his execution" in 1859; or two years before the Civil War. He tried to "incite" a Slave revolt or "insurrection"but failed so was hung. He was "Put to Death" as they say. A Crow is cawing out in the desert.
The painting shows John Brown kissing a black baby as he's taken out to be hung. Boy! It would be so terrible to be strangled! I guess in Kansas John Brown used swords to kill people who wanted slavery. Anyway, I'll write more about John Brown on Saturday.
L. FRANK BAUM (1856-1919) WITH FAMILY
In book two tomorrow I'll look up and write about this one man named L. Frank Baum. He wrote a book about Kansas called the "Wizard of Oz." Daisy saw a movie based on his book. I really, really want to see that movie someday. Mr. Steve has customers in Kansas.
I'm so tempted to write about the Wizard of Oz now but I'd better just wait until tomorrow and do it according to my outlines. Daisy and Millie both thought the movie was one of the best movies in history. It has this mean Witch who has flying Monkeys in it I guess.
Mr. Steve told his friend Randy one time about how that guy L. Frank Baum was lucky he has such a smart, supportive wife who "Managed" his "Business Affairs." They had three sons and she stayed with him even during the bad times when they were really poor.
As I mentioned, Mr. Steve likes that band KANSAS. I'll write about them in my third book on Saturday. And another thing I'll write about then is this guy named John Riggins. He was a Football player from the State of Kansas. I'm so tempted to write about him now.
Even though I'm mainly going to write about John Riggins on Saturday, I feel like saying something now. I guess Mr. Steve saw a tv show about John Riggins and heard him say how he and his two brothers were heavily influenced by their father. I smell new Sage.
Mr. Steve and his brothers are influenced by their dad. All three are different but in some ways have "Absorbed" their father's "Mannerisms." On that one tv show John Riggins said his father was a person who said; "If it's fourth and one you can come to me."
As I've mentioned, when Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860 some of the Slave States decided to "Secede." That means they thought they had the "Right" to leave the U.S. and become their own country. I hear two Crows fighting out there in the desert.
The problem was for the South, as I just mentioned; when the war broke out they didn't have enough enough of what's called "Manpower." Like King Pyrrhus back in 280 B.C. against Rome, the southern "Rebels" were limited in the number of men they had to fight a war.
Mr. Steve thinks, besides the manpower issue; another big advantage the North had during the American Civil War was the fact that some of the northern States had more machines. This allowed them to "Manufacture" things out of steel, like modern weapons for instance.
Thinking about southern agriculture makes me remember how my boss Mr. Steve thought about starting a Garden. But as I mentioned before, here in California we're in a big drought. So everyone is kind of low on water. Ah! I just smelled that one old Cholla cactus.
WILLIAM MULHOLLAND (1855-1935)
Day after tomorrow on Saturday I'll write about the history of water here in Alta California. So that means I'll learn about an Irish man named William Mulholland. He came to America in the late 19th century and brought water to Los Angeles. I smell that old Juniper bush.
I just heard the faint whistle of a "Train" coming from my left or to the north of where I'm sitting here on Elvira the couch. That reminds me of how about three miles north, right near the Train tracks; is this thing called the "Los Angeles Aqueduct." A Wren is singing.
That guy William Mulholland built the The Los Angeles Aqueduct back in 1911. It brings us a lot of our water here in Southern California and comes all the way from up in Northern California. There's a good map of it here in this one Encyclopedia. I love maps!
One of the things Daisy has me scheduled to write about on Saturday in book three is how it was in Sylmar where William Mulholland first opened the "Flood Gates" in order to let all the water from Northern California go into Los Angeles. I smell that one old Joshua tree.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865)
PHOTO BY ALEXANDER GARDNER
I want to write just little bit more about the American Civil War. President Lincoln was from the State of "Illinois." His wife Mary's family from Kentucky owned Slaves and some of her relatives even fought for the South. I can smell Libby over there in her Corral.
As I mentioned, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri decided to stay in the United States even though they had Slavery. A lot of people don't realize that when President Lincoln "freed" the Slaves in 1862 that didn't apply to those four States. A Crow is squawking.
Oh well, I think I'll write more about the American Civil War right now instead of doing it tomorrow in book two. I just kind of feel like doing it now. Besides, I can also write about the Civil War tomorrow too. Fannie and Freddie the Crow are flying bye right now.
ROBERT E. LEE (1807-1870)
When the Civil War started most of the Slave States seceded. But a second group left a few months later. Virginia was one of them. Robert E. Lee was from Virginia and was more loyal to his State than he was to the United States. I like this picture of him on his Horse.
The caption under this picture of Robert E. Lee says his Horse is named "Traveler." I can tell that someone painted it like how Mr. Steve used to do when he had a Dark Room at his house in Sylmar. I see our neighbors Horse Libby walking around over there in her Corral.
Hey God! As You know, I'll write about Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant throughout my three books. That's mainly because I know Mr. Steve is interested in how people's lives can be what's called "linked." A good example are the Boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
Three men who I'll also be writing about quite a bit over the course of the next three days are Russia's Joseph Stalin, the American President Franklin Roosevelt and England's World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill. And all are linked closely with Adolph Hitler.
At the beginning of the American Civil War, for about two years in the "Eastern Theater;" the South was winning; mainly because Robert E. Lee beat five Union Generals in a row. In the "Western Theater" near the Mississippi River Ulysses S. Grant also did good too.
Mr. Steve says by the year 1863 the "Tide was Turning" in the Civil War. General Grant was brought back east by President Lincoln to face General Lee. So for two more years the two men met in some huge battles in Virginia. Fannie and Freddie are flying bye right now.
Tomorrow in book two I'll write in a lot more detail about the particular battles of the Civil War. Mr. Steve has studied those battles so I really want to do an extra good job in describing them. I' kind of nervous about tomorrow. I want my boss Mr. Steve proud of me.
A good map in this Encyclopedia shows the two Theaters of fighting during the American Civil War. As I said, the Eastern Theater where Robert E. Lee fought and the Western Theater where Ulysses S. Grant fought for a few years. Maps make things easier to understand.
This Civil War map shows what each side was trying to do for the five years of war. Arrows in blue represent the North while the red arrows show what the South tried to do. I just picked the scent of that one really old Joshua tree that's over there near Libby's Corral.
WILLIAM T. SHERMAN (1820-1891) ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885)
General Grant had a good friend named William Tecumseh Sherman. He was also a General in the Union Army. He helped Grant take the Mississippi River in the Western Theater and then went to fight in Georgia for two years while Grant faced Robert E. Lee up in Virginia.
I'll bet Able Company and their new babies, below Mr. Steve's window; are eating Bird seed and Chicken Scratch right now. Seeing Able Company's new batch of baby Quail reminds me of last year at this time. But I also remember that Hawk eating two baby Quail.
As I mentioned, because of how good he did out west, in 1863 General Grant was "Promoted" by President Lincoln who was desperate. He gave Grant "Overall" command of all the Union forces and I guess some of the other Union Generals got really jealous about that.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia, one of the things General Grant did when he "assumed" overall command was to change the "Policy" regarding exchanging prisoners. It would stop completely. This was because he knew the Rebels had only so many men.
In books two and three tomorrow and day after tomorrow I'll write a lot more about the two World Wars of the 20th century. In my third book I'll learn about the years leading up to World War I; and also the "Treaty of Versailles" which came at the end of that big huge war.
Tomorrow, and also on Saturday in book three; I'll look up what happened in all the years "Between the Wars" as they call it. I know for sure that Mr. Steve thinks those years were really important. The "Roaring" 1920's were followed by the "Great" Depression of the 1930's.
In both world wars the Germans fought the Russians. The idea of Germany fighting a "Two Front" war is very important. And in both wars the Russians had way more men they could lose than the Germans. Fannie and Freddie are flying back in from out in the desert.
JOSEPH STALIN (1878-1953)
Mr. Steve says Joseph Stalin learned how to be "ruthless" from that other man Vladimir Lenin. Stalin didn't seem to care about the lives of his soldiers in World War II. Daisy has me scheduled to write about "Lenin" later. I hear a Crow squawking out in the desert.
A few years ago my boss Mr. Steve met an older man who was originally from this place called the "Ukraine." He knew a lot about the two world wars. He said in the First World War there were times when there weren't nearly enough weapons "To go Around" as they say.
That man told my boss Mr. Steve about how the Russian Officers instructed the common "Foot Soldiers" or "Infantry" to simply pick up and use the rifles of their "Comrades" who had been killed. I see Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows are flying bye right now.
Another thing the man from the Ukraine said Stalin seldom laughed. But at times he joked that in the Soviet army it was more dangerous to retreat than charge into enemy lines. That's because these other Russian soldiers had the job of shooting anyone who "Retreated."
Like King Pyrrhus, in the Second World War Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany had only so many men; maybe six or seven million. But Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union in 1941 could what they call "Muster" twenty million men. Now I can hear two Crows squawking.
My Dictionary says muster means "to assemble." Mr. Steve told his friend Randy how, from June of 1941 when Germany attacked Stalin's Soviet Union, until the end of the war in May of 1945; the Russians lost twenty seven million people with sixteen million being "Civilians."
HEINZ GUDERIAN (1888-1954)
Mr. Steve says after the Second World War this German General named Heinz Guderian, the "Father of the Blitzkrieg;" said fighting Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union was like an Elephant attacking an Ant hill. Oh! Blackbeard and Anne Bonny are flying bye again.
That guy Heinz Guderian meant; an Elephant can stomp to death millions of Ants but still more Ants keep coming and are willing to commit suicide. So, "Little by Little" as they say; eventually that big giant Elephant dies from all of the countless millions of Ant stings.
Oh my God! I just glanced down at the Patio floor on the other side of the coffee table and there's a long line or column of Ants marching bye right now! Hey God! Are You helping me right now in writing this first book? Thank You if You are! I'm afraid of Ants!
The Germans attacked Russia on June 22 of 1941. By then they had conquered most of Europe except England. Dais has me scheduled to write a lot more about World War II in book two tomorrow. That's when I'll learn about "Blitzkrieg" or "Lightning War."
In book three on Saturday I'll write about the country of "Poland." And one of the things I'll learn about is World War II. That man from Ukraine said that Poland was unlucky in being located between two big Empires. Mr. Steve said ancient Israel was kind of like that too.
Hey God! Like King Pyrrhus, Mr. Steve thinks in June of 1941 when Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany attacked Joseph Stalin's Soviet Russia he ended up losing by winning because all it did was "arouse" the patriotism of millions of Russians. I smell that old Joshua tree.
The United States came into World War II because "Imperial" Japan, Germany and Italy's ally; surprise attacked us in December of 1941 at "Pearl Harbor" in Hawaii. By then the war had been going on for about three years already. That Dragonfly just zoomed bye.
PEARL HARBOR (DECEMBER 7, 1941)
President Roosevelt said December 7, 1941 would "live in infamy." That was the date on which Japan attacked America. In Russia the Nazi "Wehrmacht" was "Closing in On" the city of Moscow. Things looked really bad for the world. I hear some Crows squawking.
According to my German Dictionary Wehrmacht means "Armed Forces." This is what the German military was called under Hitler's Nazis. Before that I guess the German Armed Forces were called the "Reichswehr." Oh! A Snake just crawled under Jack the big Shed.
I guess much of the "U.S. Pacific Ocean Fleet" was either sunk or damaged on that Sunday morning in Hawaii. In 1941 Mr. Steve's father was nine years old and his mom was six. They remember how the adults reacted when everyone heard the news on the Radio.
In 1941 there was no tv like today. So everyone listened to the Radio. Daisy told me that our boss Mr. Steve listens to the Radio while he works. I like when he brings his Boombox outside to listen to music. Someday I'd like to have my own tv. But I'd share it with Daisy too.
Right up until the "unprovoked" Japanese attack many Americans didn't even want to fight in the Second World War. But most changed their minds. I guess Mr. Steve thinks it was mainly World War II that finally got the American economy out of the Great Depression.
CHARLES LINDBERGH (1902-1974) JOSEPH KENNEDY (1888-1969)
On Saturday in book three I'll write about these Americans called "Isolationists." They did not want the United States to enter the war. Two of the most famous Isolationists were that one famous Pilot named Charles Lindbergh and Joseph Kennedy Sr. A Crow just cawed.
Rudy the Roadrunner is now running out into the the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. And I can see that he has that Snake in his mouth. If I know him he'll look for a hard place to body slam that Snake. Oh! Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed over there next door.
ADMIRAL ISOROKU YAMAMOTO (1884-1943)
Boy! I's so tempted to write about this man named Isoroku Yamamoto right now. He was an "Admiral" in the Japanese Navy who "Planned Out "that attack on Pearl Harbor. Fannie and Freddie are now sitting on a tall Joshua tree which is just behind Moe the middle Shed.
I better just wait until tomorrow in book two to learn about that guy Admiral Yamamoto. That's when Daisy has me scheduled to do it. But I will say how Admiral Yamamoto warned that Pearl Harbor would; "Wake up a sleeping giant." And he turned out to be so right.
Another thing I'll just mention quickly is how attacking the Soviet Union turned out to be Adolph Hitler's biggest "Blunder." Hey God! As You know, tomorrow "I'll write more about how some people think You caused Hitler to have bad judgement at certain times.
NAPOLEON RETREATS FROM RUSSIA (1812)
I guess Adolph Hitler made the same exact mistake Napoleon Bonaparte made in 1812 when he attacked "Czarist" Russian; hoping to force Russia to stop "Trading" with England. But, just like in World War II; it turned out be a disaster. Fannie and Freddie are looking at me.
Oh my God! My Encyclopedia says in 1812 Napoleon attacked Russia with an army of six hundred thousand men. And just like Hitler a century later, he did good at first. But then he had to retreat and supposedly only he and twenty thousand made it back to France.
I know that Mr. Steve thinks the year 1812 was kind of important. Not only was it the year of Napoleon's disastrous "Russian Campaign," it was the year of the "War of 1812" back here in America. That was when the United States fought England for the second time.
I'll write a lot more about the War of 1812 tomorrow in book two. That was the war where Washington D.C. was burned and the "Star Bangeled Banner" was created. In California big earthquakes damaged the Spanish Missions. I'll write later about that subject too.
Hey God! Was it You who caused Napoleon and Hitler to lose in Russia? Daisy thinks it was You and I kind of do too now. If it was You I'm sure glad You did. It was the most huge in scale war ever fought in all of history! Hey God? Did You cause those freezing Russia Winters?
Mr. Steve's father thinks, as bad Hitler's decision was to attack the Soviet Union six months before Pearl Harbor; an even bigger mistake was to "Declare War" on America right after the Japanese surprise attack. Fanny and Freddy lifted off and are flying away now.
I guess that guy Hitler didn't have to declare war on America in December of 1941. But he felt obligated because Japan and Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy were his "Allies." Also, he was overconfident at that point. He controlled almost all of Europe at the end of 1941.
That guy Admiral Yamamoto turned out to be right! Just like in the American Civil War, the "Industrial" Sleeping Giant of the American economy ended up winning the Second World War in both "Theaters." President Roosevelt called it; "The arsenal of Democracy."
Mr. Steve thinks, fortunately for us here in the United States; we won the biggest war of all time. Unfortunately for the world, as usual in history; that means to a large extent we get to do whatever we want. The United States is now the most "Affluent" country in all of history.
It's not fair for one Kingdom, Empire or country to be able to dominate the smaller areas Mr. Steve says. But it's totally normal. What they call the "Haves" always get to "Exploit" the "Have Nots." That old saying "Might is Right" has always been really really important.
Out of the "Corner" of my eye I just noticed a long trail of Ants moving along on the Patio floor. They're marching bye on the other side of this old "Coffee Table" that sits in front of my couch Elvira. Oh! Able Company of Quail are streaming out into the eastern desert.
Boy! I really like the Coffee Table in front of me. I guess it used to at one time belong to Mr. Steve's ex-girlfriend Emily. Mr. Steve sits on it when he takes a break from doing yard work and just enjoys looking at the desert to the east of us. I hear a Finch singing out there.
Ants are so amazing! We have three types of Ants who live around us. Some are really big and make "Ant Hills." But the most common are the little "Grease" Ants like the ones going bye below me. I always try to avoid all Ants as much as possible. Their stings hurt.
Last year we had some really big Ant Hills around here. I guess some people don't like them and even try to kill all the Ants. Not Mr. Steve. He likes having them around. He likes seeing how big the Ant Hills can get. We just stay away from Ant Hills as much as possible.
During the really hot Summer days Daisy say, our boss Mr. Steve makes sure never to leave even a crumb out in the Kitchen. One time the phone was ringing when he got home so he put a Pizza down on the Kitchen counter. A Thrasher Bird just ran out into the desert.
From what Dais told me, Mr. Steve was only on the Kitchen phone for a few minutes. But when he went to put the Pizza in the refrigerator it was already swarming with Grease Ants. He had to put it out here in the dirt so they could eat it. Mr. Steve was kind of mad I guess.
Mr. Steve wanted to see how long it would take for the Ants to eat or carry away the Pizza. But a big Lizard came in and ate the Ants. Later Andy the Squirrel found what was left of the Pizza and he dragged it under Moe the middle Shed. There he and Helen got to eat it.
It's two types of big dark-colored Ants who build those Ant Hills. Mr. Steve kind of wants to see how big they get. He leaves them alone and so do Daisy and myself. Dais told me about how one time her and that other Dog Millie saw two groups of Ants having a big battle.
Oh wow! Wait until Daisy sees the picture in my Encyclopedia! It shows an "Anteater." In book three on Saturday Dais has me scheduled to write about the "Anteaters" and "Armadillos" who live down there in South America. I hear our neighbors Ducks quacking next door.
Daisy was right. She told me how her old owner knew all about Anteaters. Their heads are so skinny. I guess that's for sticking them into Ant Hills to eat the Ants. Daisy told me they have long tongues that are sticky to pull in the Ants. I'll write about Anteaters on Saturday.
CAPTURED RUSSIAN SOLDIERS (1941)
Oh my God! There's a picture in this Encyclopedia that shows some of the Russian soldiers captured by the Germans at the beginning of the war on the "Eastern Front." I guess a Front is kind of like a Theater. Boy! There are so many Soviet prisoners in this one picture.
This is amazing! My Encyclopedia says Hitler attacked Stalin on June 22, 1941. It was the biggest land invasion in history. The Germans called it "Operation Barbarosa." I better not write too much about it now because Dais has me scheduled to learn about it later.
FREDERICK BARBAROSSA (1122-1190)
By December of 1941 the Germans had killed over three million Soviet soldiers and captured at least as many Mr. Steve said. Germany's attack on Russia was named after this German King named Frederick Barbarossa. I guess Barbarossa means "Red Beard" in Italian.
My Encyclopedia says Frederick I was the "Holy Roman Emperor." That means he was a Christian so went on what's called the "Third Crusade" of 1189 through 1192. My Encyclopedia says he was a "contemporary" of that guy Richard "The Lionheart" of England.
Tomorrow in book two Dais has me scheduled to write about this one "Outlaw" named Jesse James. From the State of "Missouri," he and his brother fought for the South in the Civil War. In the years after the Civil War his gang robbed Banks, Trains and things like that.
Some people said Jesse James was like this one other guy named Robin Hood who; "robbed from the rich to give to the poor" as they say. But this wasn't true. Mr. Steve thinks he was just a robber who kind of liked to kill people he didn't like. I'll write about him tomorrow.
If there was a person named Robin Hood Mr. Steve says, he lived in England at the same time as that King Richard The Lionheart. But there probably wan never really a person named Robin Hood just like there was probably never a King Arthur or a place called "Camelot."
Thinking about 20th century Russia makes me feel like writing about some of the Russian leaders in history. I'm supposed to do it in book three day after tomorrow but it's okay to do it now. I'll explain it to Daisy later. Besides, I can also write more about it later too.
IVAN "THE TERRIBLE" PETER "THE GREAT" CATHERINE "THE GREAT"
(1530-1584) (1672-1725) (1729-1796)
PAINTING BY VICTOR VASNETSOV PAINTING BY PAUL DELAROCHE PAINTING BY JOHANN BAPTIST LAMPI
Earlier today I mentioned about how Mr. Steve thinks the 16th century was one of the most important centuries in history. Czar Ivan "The Terrible," who I mentioned before; lived in the 1500's. He tortured people and looks kind of mean in the picture in this Encyclopedia.
I think I will wait until Saturday to finish writing about Ivan The Terrible. But I'll look up Peter "The Great" and Catherine "The Great" right now. As I mentioned earlier this morning, "Czar" is Russian for the Latin word "Caesar." A Crow is cawing out in the desert.
Daisy thinks a Czar sounds a lot like a dictatorial King or Emperor. They all have unlimited power. I just looked up the word "Autocrat" and it means; "A Ruler with absolute authority." As I also wrote this morning, "Kaiser" is the German word for Caesar. I smell Junipr.
My Encyclopedia says in the 18th century two leaders "Modernized" Russia. The first one was a guy named Peter "the Great." He was followed by this really smart lady called Catherine "the Great."
Well, back to writing about the 20th century. A painting in this Encyclopedia shows a man named Vladimir Lenin making a speech to a crowd in 1917. The caption says his "Communists" or "Bolsheviks" had "overthrown" the Russian Government of Czar Nicholas.
Mr. Steve has studied the history of Russia. And like Spain, it's a very violent and bloody history. My Encyclopedia says that by 1917, the third year of World War I; the "incompetence" of Czar Nicholas had led to disaster. I can smell a Gopher somewhere around here.
VLADIMIR LENIN LEON TROTSKY JOSEPH STALIN (1870-1924) (1879-1940) (1878-1953)
I guess by 1917 Czar Nicholas' Russia had been fighting Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany for about three years. Most of the Russian Revolutionary leaders like Lenin, Stalin and this other guy named Leon Trotsky had been what they call "Exiled" but returned to Russia.
From what it says here in this Encyclopedia, the Germans even helped that guy Vladimir Lenin sneak back into Russia. Russia was in complete chaos and pulled out of the war just as the Germans had hoped. Aha! A Gopher is sticking its nose out from a hole.
As usual in Russian history, thousands died before the Russians withdrew from the First World War in 1917; and even more thousands died after the war ended. It took the Bolsheviks a few years to "Consolidate" their power. That means to kill off most of their enemies.
KARL MARX (1818-1883)
Lenin and the Communists believed in the ideas of Karl Marx. He was a German Jew who lived mostly in England. When we were putting together my outlines Dais said Mr. Steve has his books "Das Kapital" and "The Communist Manifesto." That one Gopher is gone.
From 1917 until 1991 Russia was called the "U.S.S.R." That stands for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" but I've noticed usually they're just called the "Soviet Union." Daisy and I decided that I'd just mainly use the names "Russia" and "Soviet Union" in my three books.
I remember that time when Mr. Steve was cleaning weeds along the south side of our two acres. He was playing music on his Boombox and one song I really liked was by that British band from the 1960's called the BEATLES. The song was called "Back in the U.S.S.R."
From what Daisy told me, in his Office our boss has hats and other things that were from the Soviet Union. He has this one furry black hat that is for really cold weather. It has a little red pin on the front with the "Hammer and Sickle" emblem. I can smell a Cholla cactus.
Over the next three days Dais has me scheduled to write about three bands Mr. Steve has liked since he was a kid in the 1960's; the BEATLES, BEACH BOYS and ROLLING STONES. Mr. Steve likes their music which has been a part of his life. I smell a Juniper plant.
From what Daisy told me, our boss as a teenager drew the BEATLES, BEACH BOYS and ROLLING STONES logos. He's also drawn a lot of other band logos too; like the KINKS, the MOVE and the GRATEFUL DEAD. There are puffy white clouds in the sky.
Oh! Rudy the Roadrunner is jogging bye in front of the three Sheds right now. It's hard for me not to go chase Rudy. Hey God! As You know, Daisy says I have to be really disciplined if I expect to write these three gigantic books. And I will try to be more disciplined too!
In 1925 Adolph Hitler wrote a book called "Mein Kampf." Daisy says our boss has a copy. This was way before World War II. In it Hitler said he'd conquer Russia for "Lebensraum" or "Living Space" for the German people. Mein Kampf means "My Struggle."
As I wrote about earlier today, from 1936 through 1939 Hitler and Stalin's forces opposed each other during the Spanish Civil War. This Encyclopedia described the fighting as at times "brutal in the extreme." Samson and Delilah the Crows are flying bye right now.
Yet, in 1939 Adolph Hitler's "Nazi" Germany made an alliance with Joseph Stalin's "Soviet" Russia. According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia, that surprised almost everyone in the world. I guess a Soviet is a "Governing Council" kind of like our "Senate."
Mr. Steve says Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf about how he thought Germany's big enemy was "Communist" or "Bolshevik" Russia. He wanted to destroy Russia and obtain the "Slave Labor and "Natural Resources" like oil to possibly conquer the rest of the world.
That one older man from the Ukraine I mentioned earlier told Mr. Steve he thought Stalin admired Hitler's "Cold-Blooded" ruthlessness. He might've hoped together he and Hitler might be able to conquer the whole world. There are two Crows yelling at each other.
Mr. Steve says the main reason why Hitler and Stalin would make such a surprising deal together is because they both wanted to conquer Poland. Mr. Steve went to Catholic School at Saint Ferdinands with a few kids whose ancestors came here to America from Poland.
Stalin may have made a deal with Hitler because in his "Heart of Hearts" as they say, he was the same type of person. Both had little pity and loved what they saw as the good feeling of how hate feels. Loving to hate is very important in mankind's history Mr. Steve thinks.
Mr. Steve thinks that people "seeking" what they call "Sweet Revenge" has been one of the most powerful forces in human history. It gives a person a "Justified" reason to hate. Then that person more easily will do violent things they kind of already wanted to do anyway.
Hey God! Neither Stalin, Hitler or that other guy from China named Mao tse-tung believed in You except in as much as it might help them politically. In fact, both Communist Russia and China were officially "Atheist." All were responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
Hitler copied the Catholic "Pomp" and "Ceremony" that he learned from being a Catholic in trying to create his new secular religion.
In September of 1939 Germany attacked Poland from the west. And then a few weeks later the Russians moved in from the east. Together they slaughtered and killed thousands of Polish people; both soldiers and civilians too. I'll write more about it in book three.
Tomorrow I'll write in more detail about Blitzkrieg, the new form of warfare Germany developed in World War II. It means means "Lightning War" and uses fast-moving "Armor" and "Infantry" in coordination with "Aircraft." A Crow just cawed faintly.
ERWIN ROMMEL (1891-1945)
As I mentioned, tomorrow in book two I'll write a lot more about that man Erwin Rommel. He rose to the rank of "Field Marshall" and with Heinz Guderian perfected the use of Blitzkrieg tactics in World War II. The British grudgingly called him the "Desert Fox."
In this Encyclopedia it says that from 1939 through 1941 the Germans used Blitzkrieg to take nine European countries; Poland in 1939, and Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, France, Norway and Denmark in 1940. Then, in 1941 Yugoslavia and Greece also fell to the Blitzkrieg.
Mr. Steve told me Blitzkrieg war was kind of like that one Heavyweight Boxer named Mike Tyson who overwhelmed his opponents with power and speed. And in Poland Blitzkrieg really worked good. I'll write more about Poland in book three; and Mike Tyson tomorrow.
For two years Hitler and Stalin were friends "On Paper" as they say. By mid-1941 Hitler had conquered most of Europe. At that point Stalin probably liked being linked to Hitler but, as Mr. Steve says; "He should've read Hitler's book." That was a really big mistake.
Winston Churchill's England survived the "Battle of Britain" in 1940-41; after the Germans conquered France. Hitler had plans to invade England but decided to attack his "Ally" Stalin instead. Daisy says our boss has a book in his Office called "Operation Sea Lion."
I can't wait to write in a lot more detail about the years 1940 and 1941. Those were two very important years. When I look up and write about the Battle of Britain tomorrow in book two I'll learn about this thing called "Radar." It was one reason why the British survived.
Hitler told his soldiers Stalin's Soviet Union was a "Hollow Shell." All they had to do he said was; "Kick in the door and the whole rotten edifice will crumble." Fannie and Freddie the Crows just flew bye. They were talking to each other. Sometimes they'll do that.
The main reason that guy Adolph Hitler thought Russia was weak is because in the 1930's Stalin "Purged" his intellectuals and military leadership. Dais thinks purged is just a nicer way of saying "killed." Stalin executed thousands before the war even started in 1939.
Wow! My Encyclopedia says over twenty million Russians died during World War II. And some say it was closer to thirty million. In that one picture of the Russian prisoners the whole picture is nothing but prisoners. How would you even feed so many prisoners?
I better not write too much about World War II right now because I'm scheduled to write in a lot more detail about it tomorrow and day after tomorrow. But it just fit in with talking about a Pyrrhic victory. Blackbeard and Ann Bonny the Crows are flying bye "In Formation."
Back in 1951 Mr. Steve's father fought in the Korean War. I'll be writing a lot more about the Korean War tomorrow in book two. The "Battle of the Chosin Reservoir" was a Winter battle in which Mao tse-tung's Chinese Communists fought in what they call "Human Waves."
HO CHI MINH (1890-1969)
Mr. Steve says during the Vietnam War this one man named Ho chi minh said that his North Vietnamese could lose ten men for every one American and he would still win. And I guess to a certain extent he turned out to be right. I smell a Mouse somewhere around here.
Dais is right! If I caught Rudy I'd lose by winning. It would be a "Short-Lived" or "Hollow" empty victory. We'd never see him again. I mean, it's not as if we need to eat any Roadrunners Daisy says. We're not starving like so many other Cats and Dogs are nowadays.
The opposite of losing by winning is winning by losing. Mr. Steve says it's called "A blessing in disguise." Me having to learn to survive out in that field was like that he thinks. I was forced to learn a lot about staying alive out there. Oh! I see the Mouse near the tree.
Mr. Steve told me in 6th Grade Sister Rita Joseph said to her class that, even though people like professional athletes are judged by winning, there are times when they learn more about life by losing. Hey God! Dais agrees but, as You know, I'd rather not win by losing.
In 1968, when he was thirteen, my boss says he was on a Baseball team that lost almost every game. But they weren't that bad he says. Mr. Steve was the "Lead Off" hitter and had one of his best years. He hit .298 and learned a lot. That Mouse ran into the eastern desert.
MR. STEVE (AGE TWELVE)
Mr. Steve's team had a lot of good hitting but no pitching at all. He jokes that they even let him "try his hand" at pitching. He was terrible. So that 1968 team lost a lot of what they call "High-Scoring" games. But almost every game was "Competitive" as they say.
From what my boss told me, in 1968 even the best teams in the league never took Mr. Steve's team "For Granted." At the end of the year teams trying to make the "Playoffs" were afraid Mr. Steve's team might play the part of what they call a "Spoiler." I smell new Sage.
Oh wow! Just when I was thinking about Roadrunners I see a small Roadrunner poking it's head around the corner of Jack the Shed. It's new around here. That new Roadrunner is now looking in this direction but I don't think it sees or smells me over here on this couch.
Looking out at the back half acre of desert behind our house the same exact landscape I've been looking at all morning looks way different now. It's past mid-day so the Sun's rays make it brighter. Once the hot weather comes this view will look harsher at this time of day.
Some don't know this but, a Roadrunner can lift off the ground and glide. It's just not fair when a Roadrunner coasts and lands up on a fence or bush; just out of my range. Roadrunners are quick. Dais says she's seen them catch a Dragonfly right out of the air.
That Roadrunner over there is now making that clattering sound they make. I've also heard Roadrunners making a low Pigeon-like coo. I can tell by the way it's acting the Roadrunner is not aware of me sitting over here. Well, that Roadrunner just ran into the desert.
Mr. Steve jokes that Roadrunners seem to be smirking at me as they look down from up on their "perch" as I bark and helplessly jump around in small circles below. By the time Daisy comes what my boss calls "lumbering" up I pretty much know the game's over.
I once saw a Roadrunner jog along the top rail of our front fence! At first Daisy didn't believe me! She thought I was "pulling her leg" as they say. But luckily our boss just happened to be in his office and saw it too. He was able to "confirm" or "witness" my claim.
Well, most of what I just wrote was not on my outline but Daisy told me it's okay to go off on what they call a "tangent." Daisy right. Why should I stick strictly to writing about only what's in my outlines? This is kind of a diary too. Boy You Guys! This is so much fun!
Before I trusted him, Mr. Steve sometimes got very upset with me when I faked him out and made him fall as he tried to catch me. He would get frustrated with me and joked that I must be "part Gazelle" and could most likely "dodge a bullet" as they say. I smell a Cholla cactus.
When I was rescued from that awful field, in my heart of hearts, I knew on what they call a "subconscious" level that Mr. Steve wasn't going to hurt me. So, even though it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, I let him catch me. I didn't even bite or anything!
But now I like it when Mr. Steve cleans my eyes or checks my coat and ears for stickers or these bugs called Fleas. One of the reasons I look forward to the mornings is because our boss uses this amazing soft paper called "Kleenex" tissue to wipe the "sleep" from our eyes.
How did humans ever come up with the idea of paper! Mr. Steve told me it was probably the Chinese who first invented paper. But he said the ancient Egyptians also made paper from this one plant called "papyrus." Paper is so amazing. Oh! I smell a Mouse again.
When I look at my notebooks paper seems a miracle. And to see how words and other things are printed on the surface of the pages in books astounds me. Boy, I sure do wish I could invent something that would make us some extra money. That would impress my boss.
Daisy told me I would really be impressed by this little device called a "lighter." Mr. Steve holds it in his hand and then uses his thumb to press this button so that fire comes out! And he has these other things called "matches." I just noticed the Mouse near the tree.
That little Field Mouse is standing near the tree just to my front. It's on a bed of rocks Mr. Steve put around the base to keep the water in. Usually Mice don't come out in the day so that little Mouse better be careful. There are a lot of things who would like to eat him.
I've noticed that for some reason every night Daisy's eyes seem to build up a lot more sleep than mine. I've thought maybe it's because her eyes are going bad. I know one thing, whenever our boss is gone for a day or two her eyes really need cleaning when he gets back.
When I came to live here I wouldn't let anyone touch me! But I now even allow my boss to examine my stomach and hind quarters! Why, I even turn my back on him. I don't do that for just anyone, except him; and Dais of course! There goes that Mouse running away.
Oh my God! I see that there's one of those "Black Widow" Spiders web near the sliding glass door into the dining room. It's a good thing Daisy's not here because she's really afraid of those Black Widows. She says they're poisonous and you can die if they bite you.
I wonder if it's true that female Black Widows eat the smaller males after they mate with them? Daisy thinks maybe they do that so the male won't eat her babies. I'll just stay over here on this couch and leave that Black Widow alone. Mr. Steve kills Black Widows.
From what our boss told Dais male Lions always kill the babies when they take over a group. And many types of Fish do the same thing he said. When you raise Fish in Fish tanks Mr. Steve says you have to really protect all of the baby Fish from their own fathers.
Heathcliff just crowed again. Daisy says that, just like Heathcliff "rules the roost" over the other Chickens next door, our boss gets the "final say" around here. She jokes that if Mr. Steve tells us to "jump" we just have to say "how high." I hear a Sparrow singing away.
One really good thing I learned from Daisy is how to stand conveniently in just the right spot below Mr. Steve's hands so he'll think about petting my head. I didn't use to like it but now I do like having my head rubbed by my boss. And Dais really likes it even more than me!
I still at times start to panic when Mr. Steve forces me to allow him to check my stomach by laying me on my side. Daisy loves nothing more than being "Groomed." She'd do it all day if she could; even though she knows it's not really good to do things "In Excess."
There's nothing Daisy enjoys more than having her "tummy" rubbed. Why, she'll even lay on her back with her legs up in the air! So far I can't be comfortable doing such a vulnerable thing. Mr. calls our stomachs our tummies. The Mouse just ran under a rock.
Another nickname Mr. Steve gave me is "Spookie." This is because when I first came to live here on our two acres he said I was kind of "Spooked." Dais says there was a British band from the late-1960's and early 1970's that our boss likes called SPOOKY TOOTH.
Mr. Steve told Daisy and that other Dog Millie about SPOOKY TOOTH. They were unique for using two keyboard players; piano and organ. One member was a guy named Gary Wright who I guess a few years later did a song called "Dream Weaver." I smell new Sage.
Boy! This has been such a good day. Dais was right. Now I feel kind of silly for stalling that long in beginning to write my three books. But I was sort of afraid that it would turn out to be too hard and I would fail and then Mr. Steve and Daisy wouldn't like me anymore.
Daisy told me SPOOKY TOOTH'S guitarist founded a band called FOREIGNER. Our boss used to play drums to some FOREIGNER "Hard Rock" songs. I guess FOREIGNER had both British and American members in it. The singer is an American Dais says.
Because our boss likes Hard Rock music, Daisy and I now like it too. One band he's played drums to is JUDAS PRIEST. Daisy told me JUDAS PRIEST once did their version of a Spooky Tooth song called "Better by You, Better by Me." Ah! I smell that old Joshua tree.
For a while Mr. Steve thought maybe I wasn't “Wired” quite right. And maybe I wasn't Dais says. Who would be after having to live out in that field. But I'm doing a lot better now! I don't twitch nervously as much; and I've come to trust a lot more. I hear Birds chirping.
Mr. Steve used to get frustrated with me. At times I'm still overly nervous, cautious and kind of what they call "Skittish." My boss jokes I'm a “Work in Progress.” But, even though I need a lot more experience, I really think I'm progressing! I smell some Sage bushes.
When I was brought here Mr. Steve forced me to go into the Garage by putting our food and water bowls inside. At first I didn't like this at all! I still don't like being "Boxed In!" But now I don't mind the Garage. In fact, I kind of like it! Three little Finches just flew bye.
I'll bet Daisy's laying at the back of the Garage right now; near the the door to what my boss calls a "Utility Room." Like me and Mr. Steve, she's got her predictable patterns. If Dais is not in front of the Utility Room then she's for sure out on the Driveway enjoying any breezes.
Even though there's a bucket of water just to my right in front of the sliding glass door going into our Dining Room; Mr. Steve always puts a bucket of water at the back of the Garage. So, if I'm up front and feel thirsty, I have to go all the way into the Garage for a drink.
Hey! I just smelled a Gopher! But, "Scanning Around" as they say, I don't see anything. Oh! There it is. I see dirt moving just over to my right. Any second now that Gopher's head will pop out of the hole and sniff the air. Gophers have such big teeth. I'll bet they bite hard.
I wonder what it would be like to live all of your life underground? I think I'd be afraid of the dirt caving in on me all the time. But like Dais told me, at least you wouldn't have to worry as much about being food for Hawks, Bobcats, Mountain Lions or Coyotes.
Last Saturday morning Dais and I saw this new cartoon called "Alvin and the Chipmunks." Mr. Steve says a Chipmunk is sort of like a Gopher. That cartoon was about these three really talented singing Chipmunks; Simon, Theodore and Alvin. I can't wait to see them again.
SIMON, ALVIN, THEODORE
I sort of like the way those three Chipmunks sound when they sing. Their voices are really unique. I guess Alvin is the leader but from what Dais and I noticed Simon seems like he's the smartest one. That one Chipmunk Alvin seems kind of what they call "mischievous."
According to what is says here in this one Encyclopedia Chipmunks live in "burrows" down in the ground just like Gophers. I guess a Chipmunk tunnel can be over twenty feet long. That Gopher just ducked back underground but I can still smell it even now.
Oh, this is interesting. It says here that in Greek the name for Chipmunks is "Tamias" which means "Treasurer." And that's because Chipmunks collect and then store up extra food for the cold Winters. This picture in my Encyclopedia shows how cute they are.
From what this image in my Encyclopedia shows Chipmunks have little hands like Squirrels. But they have stripes on their backs. Wow! It says here that Chipmunks have these "pouches" in their cheeks that expand really big so they can carry food back to their burrows.
This is interesting. Chipmunks seem smart. It says here that when digging a burrow they carry the "excavated" dirt away from the entrance so that other animals which would want to eat it won't notice the hole. I guess a group of Chipmunks is called a "Scurry."
Bonnie and Clyde the Birds just flew away after feeding their babies. So now the babies are resting up in the nest. But I can hear a lot of other Birds twittering and tweeting all around us; even though it's already past the mid point of the day. I smell one of the Joshua trees.
I just glanced over at the bucket of water next to the sliding glass door. Dais and I really like when our boss fills our water buckets with ice cubes on the hottest of days; or hot water on the coldest. A flock of Sparrows just flew past. They're going out into the eastern desert.
Even though California is in a drought water is one thing we don't have to worry about. We have these things called "faucets" on the side of the house where unlimited water comes out! Of course; we can't drink the boiling hot water until after it cools down a lot.
I know from experience it's not a good idea to lick a new ice cube. They can sometimes even stick right to your tongue! I definitely won't make that mistake ever again. Now I wait for the ice cubes to melt and get what they call "absorbed" into the warmer water.
Dais is right. I'm lucky Mr. Steve is patient. I came to him with a lot of “emotional baggage” and at times he's gotten kind of aggravated with me. But I'm a lot better now! There were times when Mr. Steve considered getting rid of me; thinking maybe I was just too “wild.”
Mr. Steve has owned other Dogs; and Cats too. The Dog I replaced was named Millie and Daisy replaced Lucy. Dais and I are the only Dogs our boss didn't raise "from a pup." This is a new experience for him. Daisy says we just have to make it a good experience.
Daisy tells me she thinks our boss has now what they call "bonded" emotionally with us so it's not likely that he would ever get rid of us. We're sort of like his children now. And I know one thing for sure, Mr. Steve has replaced the parents I've never had. I smell a Lizard.
On those occasions when my boss has thought about getting rid of me Daisy put in the "Good Word” for me. She always gave my boss the impression that I had a lot of potential. Daisy's the one who really convinced Mr. Steve to give me the "benefit of the doubt" as they say.
If I finish my three books Mr. Steve will like me more and then never make me leave our two acres. But I'm lucky Daisy's opinion "carries a lot of weight" with our boss. Daisy's logical but; she can be emotional too! She just hides it better than I do. I see the Lizard over there.
Hey God! Some of Mr. Steve's friends told him to keep me when he thought about getting rid of me. One older lady said You might've sent me to teach him patience. His friend Frank joked I might bring him good luck if he kept me. That Lizard just ran away toward the Sheds.
Luckily for me, when Mr. Steve thought about getting rid of me he met this one really nice Muslim man whose name was “Ahmed.” Mr. Ahmed jokingly reminded him, even though most Muslims don't care for Dogs like me that; "Allah tends to favor the compassionate."
One of our boss's favorite movies is from the 1960's. It's about a man from England named T.E. Lawrence who was what's called an "Archaeologist." Mr. Steve, who is also interested in Archaeology, has books about, or written by, T.E. Lawrence. I hear Crows cawing.
T.E. LAWRENCE (1888-1935)
One movie our boss likes is called "Lawrence of Arabia." It's about that man T.E. Lawrence. Mr. Steve says there's a scene in that movie where someone says to Lawrence, who's "taking in" two orphan boys, "Allah favors the compassionate." I smell a Joshua tree.
So when that guy Mr. Ahmed used those same exact words when my boss mentioned that he was thinking about getting rid of me he immediately recalled that one scene from Lawrence of Arabia. I want to believe it was You Blessed Virgin Mary who made Ahmed say that.
Hey God! As you know, Dais and I prefer to believe in the idea of "Pre-Destination" where You control things in our lives. I want to think it was You who had my boss rescue me from that awful field. But Mr. Steve believes You don't usually get involved in this world.
A you know God, my boss thinks that You created the Universe and all of the physical world but then let people have "Free-Will" to do good or bad. But he admits most cultures in history have believed in Pre-destination. The ancient Greeks and Romans definitely did.
According to my outline the next thing I want to write about are these three Greek Goddess's called the "Three Fates." They were sisters and might've been Zeus's daughters from what it says here in this Encyclopedia. I guess in Greek they were called "Morai."
The Greeks believed that the Goddess "Clotho " spun the thread of life, "Lachesis" wove the thread of life and "Atropos" cut the thread of life. The three sisters controlled completely the fates of all people. I wonder if that goes for Dogs too? I smell a Joshua tree.
Another thing that Muslim man Mr. Ahmed said to my boss that "stuck in his mind" was that in his family "talata," Arabic for three, was a lucky number. Mr. Steve, Dais and I equal 3! And now Daisy and myself want to believe that three is our lucky number too!
Mr. Steve said that in the movie Lawrence of Arabia he "took in" those two orphan boys and they ended up becoming a good team. I really do believe that Mr. Steve, Daisy and me are now a really excellent team of three; just like in that one movie Lawrence of Arabia.
Oh wow! Just when I was thinking about the number three I see three Lizards sitting on that big gray rock near the tree to my front. And the bigger one is looking at me. I wonder if those Lizards know what I'm doing? It must look strange seeing a Dog using a pencil.
When Mr. Ahmed said that to my boss it made him reconsider or "think twice" about getting rid of me. I think it was You God who had Mr. Steve meet Mr. Rafi when and how he did. Dais thinks I should also Thank You too Blessed Virgin! The three Lizard's are gone.
Who knows where I might've ended up. Daisy says every day unwanted Dogs and Cats are "put down" or "euthanized" by the government. Those are just nice ways of saying "killed" she thinks. And Daisy's right. I just looked those two words up. I see a Sparrow.
There are times when she and I wonder why I got so lucky? I want to believe that it was You Blessed Mother who arranged for Mr. Steve to get me out of that field and bring me here. And I now also want to believe that my what they call "destiny" is to protect these two acres.
Dais wants to believes things sometimes happen for a reason. She says we were sent to Mr. Steve for the purpose of guarding him like those “Praetorian Guards" protected all the ancient Roman Emperors. I do like to protect things! The Sparrow just flew away.
Hey God? Is there supposed to be a purpose in life? Some say You don't exist and there is no purpose in life; that life just developed here "randomly." At times I wonder if You didn't put us here in this sometimes difficult world as a test to see if we earn our way into Heaven.
Mr. Steve thinks, when on my "rounds," I resemble a prancing Arabian Horse in the way I hold my head and tail up as I trot. But at other times he says I "slink" along just like a hunting Leopard that's "on the prowl." I do really admire Horses and Cats an awful lot!
When I'm chasing a Jackrabbit or Roadrunner I make myself what they call "Streamlined." Mr. Steve one time called it “Wind-Resistant” like the two Chevelle's he used to own. He thinks I look a one of those African Cheetah's when I'm running at what they call "Full Speed."
Mr. Steve jokes how Daisy, who has no tail; trots and runs like a small "Tractor." She's kind of like a little "Bulldozer." Dais runs "Flat-Footed" whereas when I run fast only the "balls" of my feet touch the ground for an instant. I'm sort of like the Muhammad Ali of Dogs.
One of Daisy's other nicknames is “Madame Wrecking Ball.” She's also our "Battering Ram" or "Steamroller." At times this kind of embarrassed her but she doesn't mind because she told me this means our boss likes her and won't ever get rid of her. I smell Cholla cactus.
Unlike Daisy, I have a tail! Mr. Steve jokes my tail is just like a "whip;" especially when I'm happy. Daisy avoids my "wagging" tail when it's near her face. She's learned that it hurts to get hit. My boss has a leather Bullwhip! Fannie and Freddie the Crows just flew bye.
When I go into what our boss calls "Guard Mode," my tail and ears stiffen and straighten up like a "boat mast" or an "antenna." I've noticed that when a Roadrunner goes into this same "ultra alert mindset" it's tail stiffens and goes up in the same way. I smell Sage.
Daisy's still strong! There are times she doesn't realize her own strength. Once, she “hit the brakes” late and accidentally "plowed" into and "bowled over" our boss. He sprained his right wrist badly and it hurt for weeks. A Cow Bird ran past Manny the far right Shed.
Mr. Steve jokes he now knows what it might be like to be a right-handed quarterback who is "blind-sided" by a tackle he never sees coming. It felt like a a Train or "Tractor-Trailer" Truck ran him over. He says Daisy hit him "like a rolling Manhole Cover."
Because of that one time she knocked him over out in the Garage, my boss now jokingly calls Daisy our "mini Eighteen Wheeler." He told me she hit him so hard it was like being "sucker punched by a Bulldozer." But Daisy really did feel bad about it. I smell Sage.
At first, Mr. Steve was angry with Daisy for knocking him off of his of feet and sending him flying and sprawling onto the ground. But later he just blamed himself for not paying enough attention. I know one thing. He and Daisy won't soon make that mistake again!
The worst part about that day was my boss was kind of dressed up with a tie and white shirt when Daisy hit him. He had to run back into the house and change clothes. Because his wrist was starting to swell up it was hard just to to change clothes. I smell a Joshua tree.
By the end of that day Mr. Steve's right wrist hurt so much he had to do everything with one hand; like taking his shirt and tie off. A simple thing became a "real challenge" he told me. But luckily he could do it left-handed. I hear a Wren singing out in the eastern desert.
After changing shirts Mr. Steve then drove down to Los Angeles and from there drove his parents and niece Samantha to a Funeral down in this place called "Orange County." He drove with only his left hand on the steering wheel because his right arm was hurting a lot.
Dais says at times you just have to "Grin and Bear it" so to speak. That's what Mr. Steve had to do with a "sprained" wrist. Because he's played sports he's had sprains and muscle pulls. He knew right away that this was not one of those things you just "Shake Off."
Hey God! As You know, secretly, Mr. Steve couldn't wait to get home from the Funeral that day. He ended up filling a Bathroom sink with ice cubes and putting his "throbbing" wrist in it. That was "one very long day" he says. He fell asleep with his wrist in the sink.
It's a good thing my boss is what they call "Ambidextrous" in most things! He was able to use his left hand to allow his right wrist to heal. It's so great having all these Dictionaries. I would never have been able to "sound out" the word ambidextrous. Oh! I smell Libby.
It wasn't easy for my boss to not use his right hand. But "in the long run" he says it was good as it forced him to adapt. But writing left-handed hard. Hey God! You know what? I think I'm right-handed. I see Libby over in her corral looking over in this direction.
People are so lucky to have fingers and hands. I wish I had some hands. But human beings can't scratch themselves with their legs like us Dogs do. That's what Dais says and she's so right. I can use either one of my two "hind" or rear legs to scratch myself when I itch.
My right paw is starting to get tired from writing so I'm going to try to write left-handed for the rest of my first book. But if it turns out to be too hard then I'll just have to go back to right-handed. I want to be what they call "versatile" so my boss will be impressed.
JAMES A. GARFIELD (1831-1881)
PHOTO BY LEVIN C. HANDY
When Daisy was helping me put together my three outlines she thought this would be a good place to write about the 20th American President named James A. Garfield. He was from the State of "Ohio" and, like President Lincoln in 1865; was assassinated.
The reason why we decided to mention him here is because he was like our boss Mr. Steve in being ambidextrous. According to what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, James A. Garfield is the only member of the "House of Representatives" ever to be elected President.
I just looked up the State of Ohio, which is the State where the most American Presidents have come from. That's what it says in my Encyclopedia. I notice how Ohio's flag has a unique shape. I guess it's meant to be like the tail of that one Bird they call a "Swallow."
A picture in this Encyclopedia shows a Swallow Bird flying up in the sky. And you can see clearly the shape of its tail. I noticed how last year there weren't any Swallows around here. I can see Birds out there flying around over the eastern desert beyond the three Sheds.
Two years ago that one Swallow couple often came in to eat the Bird seed my boss spreads out below his Office window. And sometimes they even played in the water of the Birdbath. I liked watching them. They seemed like a good pair. I smell one of the new Sage plants.
According to the outline Dais and I prepared for tomorrow I'm scheduled to write about the Art Exhibit Mr. Steve and his mom had at San Juan Capistrano Mission in 1993. And part of that is to write about how some Swallow Birds always go back there every Spring.
Daisy heard about how Swallows now symbolize Spring. Mr. Steve knew a girl who believed if you dream about a Swallow that means you're about to have good luck. I'd sure like to dream about a Swallow to see if it's true. I'll bet it is! A Rabbit is under Moe the middle Shed.
This one older Korean man who lives over there in Phelan told Mr. Steve he's noticed that some of the Swallows in our area build nests out of mud. And he told Mr. Steve he's seen those nests under the Freeway "Overpasses." I'll write more about Swallows in book two.
Hey! I just heard Heathcliff the Rooster crow again! It's mid day. Maybe Heathcliff is just what they call "mixed up." Daisy hopes he's announcing the birth of some little baby Chickens over there. Boy, that would be great! That Bunny Rabbit just ran away.
I wonder if Dais is hearing Heathcliff? If I know her I'll bet she is. Daisy can't see too good but has great hearing. And I wonder if Mr. Steve is hearing Heathcliiff? Maybe Heathcliff will remind him to come out and give us a snack. Hey! I think I smell a Coyote.
I guess I'm not smelling a Coyote around here. The last time that happened it turned out it was a scent from the night before and I just somehow missed it when doing my rounds around our two acres. And I have a feeling that's probably what happened right now too.
Usually Coyotes only come out at night and then sleep during the day; unless they're really hungry or thirsty. Looking to the east beyond the three Sheds I see Crows circling around up in the sky. I'll bet they see something dead or dying below them in the desert.
This Encyclopedia says Coyote's are smart and can "adapt to almost any environment." Mr. Steve was told by that one Shoshone man he met at the Phelan Library about how in some areas of the country Coyotes have been known to cooperate with other animals.
That man said usually Coyotes and these things called "Badgers" are enemies. Sometimes Coyotes even eat Badgers. But there are time when they hunt together. Ah! The Crows are now diving down to the ground out there in the desert. I can hear them squawking.
Coyotes are fast runners so can chase a Rabbit to tire it out. Then if that Rabbit hides in a hole the Badger "takes over" so to speak. I guess Badgers have really powerful front legs with big huge claws to dig the Rabbit back out of the hole. And they have sharp teeth too.
That Shoshone man told my boss Mr. Steve about how some Native American Indian tribes have myths about Coyotes working with Badgers. He said in Europe the ancient Celts had some stories about Foxes teaming up with Badgers. Japan also has stories like that too.
Coyotes will eat Insects, Lizards and even berries if they're really hungry. I know one thing, they have a lot of sounds they make in talking to other Coyotes. But that's usually at night I've noticed. Native Americans have stories about Coyotes being "Tricksters."
What a coincidence! Just as I'm reading about how Coyotes mate for life just like Crows who do I see? Fannie and Freddie just landed on Jack the biggest Shed on the left. And now I see Samson and Delilah sailing bye up there high in the sky. I smell a Creosote plant.
Hey Blessed Mother! I hope someday to have a boyfriend. I'd try hard to be a good partner. Maybe someday I could even have babies. Dais is too old to have babies and besides, she's what they call "fixed." She thinks I would be good mother. Fannie and Freddie flew away.
Seeing all of our local Crows makes me think about how Daisy said she wishes she could fly. That's one of the reasons why she so admires that one Dog Underdog. She sure likes watching his cartoons on Saturday mornings. And so do I now. I want to like what Dais likes.
The way Underdog "watches out for" Sweet Polly makes Daisy "envious." I'll bet that Dais could be a good Reporter like Sweet Poly! She's interested in who, what, when, where, why and how. Jack the Jackrabbit just ran bye and is now going out into the eastern desert.
During all those months when Dais helped me put together my three outlines I got a lot of practice in reading and writing. And I think Daisy picked up a lot too. She's pretty that Daisy. She like me in being curious. I smell that clump of Joshua trees near Libby's Corral.
UNDERDOG / POLY PUREBRED
I can tell sometimes that Daisy is kind of jealous of that girl Dog named Polly. Underdog takes care of her and protects her. The way Underdog speaks in rhymes is so amazing! Dais thinks he's great the way he does that. She thinks that's a skill not just anyone has.
Whenever Daisy hears "There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!" she gets excited. He is really cute in that nice uniform. Daisy says if I weren't so afraid of going all the way down the Hallway to see our boss's Bedroom and Office I could see a lot more good cartoons
ARTWORK BY HOUSE OF GEEKERY.COM
Dais and I both like the way Underdog always shows up just in the "Nick of Time" as they say. And the way he just swoops in to capture the criminals is pretty amazing. That's sort of why I like those guys Superman and Batman. I wonder if Batman smells like a Bat?
When Dais knocked him over our boss joked that she's been watching too many Underdog cartoons because Underdog runs into things and causes "collateral" damage. But usually Daisy's not clumsy the way she was on that day. That Rabbit went under Moe the Shed.
Mr. Steve has these two books from ancient Greece called the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey." The Iliad is about this famous war called "The Trojan War" and the Odyssey is about a man named Odysseus who tries to go home after the war is over. I can smell a Snake.
I'm lucky Daisy is what our boss calls a "patient mentor" to me. In this Encyclopedia it says Mentor was the man who tutored Odysseus in the Odyssey. But later, after they finally beat Troy using the Trojan Horse, he has to try to sail home. Ah! I see the Snake.
My Encyclopedia says The Odyssey was written by a man named "Homer." He also wrote The Iliad. But he really didn't write them, he told or "recited" them to people. A Rabbit just ran under Moe the middle Shed. And that Snake crawled out into the desert.
Mr. Steve says me Homer was blind. It says here the Romans, who came after the Greeks in the ancient world, called Odysseus "Ulysses." I want to be a writer like Homer but I would not want to be blind! Thank You God for my good eyesight! I smell a Joshua tree.
I'm going to use one of my Encyclopedia to look up another story from ancient Greece about this "Tribe" of females called "Amazons." It says here they were warriors who, like Ants, used males only to have children. Amazons used battle weapons as good as males.
Hey God! As You know, our boss jokes that Dais and me are his Amazons. Because Amazons were brave I take it as what they call a "Compliment. If ever I do have to defend our two acres I really think I'll have courage. At least I hope so! Fanny and Freddie just flew bye.
AMAZON QUEEN HIPPOLYTA / PENTHESILIA
In Amazon "Legend" there were these "Warrior Queen" sisters; named "Hippolyta" and "Penthesilea." Hippolyta fought Hercules while Penthesilea was in the Trojan with that one guy named "Achilles." I'll write more about them day after tomorrow on Saturday.
Mr. Steve likes joke nicknames so I'm his Penthesilea and Daisy is my sister; our Hippolyta. I know for sure that Dais is brave! And so are Dawn and Blinky next door. It would be hard for one of those burglars to try to come and steal from us. I some hear Birds singing.
According to this Encyclopedia that Greek warrior Achilles killed a Trojan named "Hector." Then he tied Hector's dead body to the back of his Chariot and dragged it around the "walled" city of "Troy." Boy, that sounds really mean. I don't think I'd want to see that.
HECTOR / ACHILLES
Mr. Steve played Baseball with this guy named Hector. This Encyclopedia says Achilles was himself later killed by a Trojan named "Paris;" who did it by shooting an arrow into Achilles foot. I just saw one of the new Ground Squirrels zip out into the eastern desert.
Ah! The Chimes above me are now ringing. And I feel a nice breeze coming in. I feel Your presence Holy Spirit! More and more I'm starting to think like Daisy in wanting to see You in breezes which make us feel better. But I also sense You in other things as well.
There's a story which is not in the Iliad my boss says. It's about how Achilles mother, who was Goddess, dipped Achilles as a baby into this magical river called "Styx." This made him what they call "invulnerable" to things like spears, swords and arrows.
But from what it says here Achilles mother forgot to wet behind his ankle where her fingers covered up part of his foot as she held him. So years later when he was fighting Paris Achilles was killed by a "perfectly placed" arrow to the back of foot. Ouch! That would hurt.
My Encyclopedia says the "tendon" behind a foot is now called an "Achilles heel." And that name now symbolizes a person's weakness. In the late 1980's my boss took pictures of that band from San Fernando called ACHILLES HEEL; who before that were called CAULDRON.
Hey! Heathcliff just crowed again! Boy, he sure is crowing a lot today. I'll bet Mr. Steve is in his office working right now. He often sits at his desk looking out that window whih faces the western horizon as he works. A flock of Birds is flying bye high up in the sky.
Mr. Steve jokes that from his office he has what they call a "front row seat" on nature. Daisy says he likes seeing the Birds feed on the seeds he puts out for them. And he likes it when other Animals show up a well; like Rabbits or Lizards. I can see a Lizard right now.
I wonder if Mr. Steve is hearing Heathcliff crowing? Heathcliff crowing so much must be a good sign! I think I want to believe it's a good omen for me writing my three books. I know one thing for sure, hearing Heathcliff gets me motivated. That Lizard just ran away.
Maybe if Mr. Steve gets up to go listen to Heathcliff it will remind him to give us a snack. By this time in the day we've usually already had at least one or two snacks. I can't believe my boss hasn't given us a snack! But, no matter. I'll just keep "plowing ahead" as they say.
From his office window Mr. Steve watches all the "Wildlife" without them even realizing he's looking. For seeing things really "up close" Daisy told me he has these powerful glasses called "Binoculars." Oh! I just noticed another Lizard just to my left; out on the dirt.
It's so cute when Lizards do what my boss calls their "push ups." Up and down, and then up and down again. Daisy thinks doing this might make it easier for them to smell things. And yet, it's so unbelievable how Lizards can also stay perfectly still without even moving.
Dais thinks one reason Lizards stay so still sometimes is because they don't want to attract the attention of Crows or Hawks who like to eat them. And Coyotes and Bobcats will also eat them if they can. I just picked up the scent of a Sage bush from out in the eastern desert.
I just looked up the word "Camouflage." It means to "conceal" or "disguise." Lizards can "hide in plain sight" when they "blend into" the background. Mr. Steve thinks Lizard's abilities to stay still and do that is a "survival trait." That Lizard just ran away.
Mr. Steve told me he's learned a lot looking out of that big window in his office. But at times it gets tiring sitting there; especially if he's having a bad day on his job. But as he says, even on those bad days he knows he's better off in life than many, if not most people.
Well, I guess I'm more right-handed. My left hand is already getting tired and I can't write as clear left-handed anyway. But, at least now I know for sure that I'm more comfortable writing with my right paw. So I think I'll just have to go back to using it again.
If Mr. Steve is not in his office then he's probably in his bedroom sitting on his bed working on something; usually with a Stereo or Radio on. Daisy says that most of the time if he listens to the Radio he has on what's called "talk" Radio. Those Radio's are so amazing!
Even though I'm working on this story I've got my ears "peeled" listening for my boss to call us for our first snack of the day. I can't believe we haven't gotten one today. And it's already past midday. I guess he's just too busy in his office. I smell a Field Mouse.
Mr. Steve at times takes breaks from work during the day. And when he does he often gives Daisy and I a snack. I am starting to get kind of hungry. Oh well. I'll just get a lot more work done! I still have half a day's worth of work to finish up this first book.
I have a feeling any minute I'm going to hear Mr. Steve whistle or call us. And I'll be ready too! I'll hide my materials under the blankets draped over the cushions of this couch. And I can even put things under the three cushions themselves. Oh! I see the Mouse.
There's nothing I like better than food! I just love snacks! After living out in that field I now appreciate not having to worry about food and water. I sure could use a snack right now. I'll bet Daisy's getting kind of hungry too. I wonder if a raw Mouse would taste good?
A few hundred feet from the front of our house is this road called "Oasis" Road. The horizon beyond Oasis Road is to the west. Actually, Mr. Steve told Daisy and that other Dog Millie our house faces slightly northwest. That Mouse is running away right now.
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
At “Twilight” or “Dusk,” as the light fades; we all like to look at the pretty Sunsets. On some evenings the horizon is kind of yellow and on other nights it's more orange. And we even have a few purple Sunsets. No one scans a horizon or fence line like me! Nothing escapes my eye.
Daisy's eyes are old so more and more she relies on me. I like that responsibility; especially at night when she really needs me! Being Daisy's eyes is fine with me. It's just another reason why Mr. Steve will hopefully always want me around. We're a good team Dais and myself.
It's at night when our little dirt paths that we've made by running over them so many times "come in handy." Daisy and I know our roads like the "back of our hands" as they say; or paws in our case. I actually feel sort of like running right now as a matter of fact.
Mr. Steve usually goes to bed and gets up early. A friend of his joked he "goes to bed with the Chickens." All three of us are creatures of habit so we've developed our daily "Routines." These patterns make us feel comfortable. Dais likes predictability even though it's boring.
On many days the first hint Daisy and I have that our boss is up is when he opens up the front door. He then usually fills up the Bird Bath with water and puts out seeds for the Birds we share our "space" with. I love to watch Birds. Oh! I see Fanny and Freddie.
If the front door doesn't open near "Sunup" or "Dawn" then Daisy and I go and check at Mr. Steve's bedroom or office windows. We're usually hungry, "hambre" in Spanish. I just used my Spanish dictionary to look that word up. In Spanish the h is often silent.
Daisy and I look forward to each day! We try to make every day "productive," just like our boss does. Mr. Steve says sometimes there "doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day." But this is a "good problem" he says. Many don't have enough work these days.
Daisy and I look forward to eating. We love breakfast and dinner plus our snacks! Just after "Daybreak" or "First light," if Mr. Steve is in his office working Daisy and I go through a kind of "ritual." Our boss calls my daily routine below the window my "food dance."
Below Mr. Steve's office window I hop around in circles while giving my very best sympathy whimper. Sometimes I even howl. Daisy just stands there patiently; looking hungry. Our boss calls her his "Stoic;" just like this Roman man from Córdoba named "Seneca."
LUCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA (4 B.C.-65 A.D.)
My Encyclopedia says, in the first century B.C., Rome conquered the Andalusia region where Córdoba is located. And a few decades later Seneca was born in Córdoba. I guess he was a great "speaker, statesman and writer." But he was mainly a "Stoic" philosopher.
In Córdoba there's a big statue of Seneca. Mr. Steve's friend and his wife saw it when they visited Spain a few years ago. In College they all had read about Seneca and how he was kind of what they call a "Cynic" about human nature. A small Jackrabbit just ran past.
It says here Greek and Roman Stoics believed too much emotion was bad. They thought logic was better and believed "actions spoke louder than words." That's why it's kind of funny when my boss calls Daisy our "Resident Stoic." That definitely fits her all right.
I just looked up the word "Introvert." It kind of describes both Daisy and our boss. Most of the time they're "more interested in their own thoughts or feelings than any external objects or events." That Jackrabbit just ran bye again, this time in the opposite direction.
Dais told me our boss once told her and Millie that at times in his life he's been criticized for being too "measured, deliberate and restrained." But he thinks at times he talks too much. Dais jokes sometimes that I'm enough of what they call an "Extrovert" for all three of us.
It's okay for me to sometimes be "outgoing" Daisy says. But I also have to know when to be more serious. She thinks it wouldn't be as good if everyone was exactly the same. She told me, as hard as it is to believe, she was more outgoing when she was young.
Sometimes I wonder what Mr. Steve was like when he was young? I sure wish I could use a Time Machine like the one Mr. Peabody and Sherman use in those cartoons. I would definitely go back in time to the 1960's and 1970's. That would be so great I think!
Dais told me how a while back this one older lady joked that her husband of thirty years and Mr. Steve "got along" because both were similar. Neither one of them was exactly "The life of the party" as they say. But she said she liked her husband being that way.
Hey God? You know I try to do like Seneca said to do. Some think he was the first Roman to believe in just one God because he wrote; "Live with men as if God saw you. Converse with God as if men heard you. No man is good without God." I just smelled a Joshua tree.
It's too bad Seneca had to kill himself! My Encyclopedia says that a mean Emperor named "Nero" forced him to do it because he thought Seneca was part of a "plot" to overthrow him. Seneca had been his tutor. I just heard a Crow caw faintly out there in the desert.
My boss says Seneca probably didn't "conspire" to help overthrow Nero; who was way too "Paranoid." It says here he even killed his own mother and blamed the Christians when Rome burned up. I guess he had Saint Peter and maybe even Saint Paul "Executed."
NERO (37-68 A.D.)
Hey Lord? Did that Emperor Nero really use the live bodies of Christians tied to burning stakes as fires to illuminate his parties? Didn't he hear them screaming or did they just endure their suffering in silence? Or, maybe Nero just liked hearing people yell in pain?
I'll learn more about Nero on Saturday when I write about the "Julio-Claudian" families of ancient Rome. That will be the day after tomorrow in book three. I'm going to learn so many new things over the course of the next three days. This is going to be fun.
Hey Lord! Even though I'm not scheduled to write about that guy Saint Ignatius until book two tomorrow I kind of feel like doing it now instead. Mr. Steve told me about how the Romans, just for entertainment; threw him to some hungry Lions who ate him alive.
ST. IGNATIUS (35-108 A.D.)
Hey Lord! It says here in this Encyclopedia that Saint Ignatius was the third Bishop of the city of "Antioch." Antioch is over there in "Asia Minor" or the area now called Turkey. Wow! Lord, I guess some people think as a little boy Saint Ignatius might've met You.
If I could use Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine to go back in time Lord I'd go back to meet You too. Ans then I could also smell You too Blessed Mother. That would be so great! This is interesting. It says here it was Saint Ignatius who "coined" the term "Catholic Church."
I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? I just noticed how in this Encyclopedia it says that Saint Ignatius' "Feast Day" is October the 17th. And in looking at the list Daisy and I put together of important dates I see how Mr. Steve's brother Rock was born on that date.
Sometimes on Saturday mornings Dais and I go in the Living Room to watch cartoons. But this coming Saturday I think I'd rather work on my third book instead. I'll just have to what they call "Play it by ear." I wonder how the saying playing it by ear came about?
According to my outline I have one more thing to look up and then write about the Spanish city of Córdoba. That's this smart man who lived about seven hundred years after the time of that man Seneca. His name was Abbas ibn Firnas. I can smell a Sage plant.
The main reasons why I want to learn about that guy Abbas ibn Firnas is, number one, he was from Córdoba and secondly, he was one of the first to try to fly. Thirdly, Dais told me that our boss knows about him so I want to impress Mr. Steve. I just smelled a Mouse nearby.
I guess that man Abbas ibn Firnas lived in Córdoba during the 9th century A.D., about two centuries after the Moslems conquered the Andalusia region. There's a good drawing here in this Encyclopedia that shows him jumping off of a tall building. I see the Mouse.
The picture in this Encyclopedia shows that man Abbas ibn Firnas jumping off of a really tall building. But he may have jumped from a mountain. Some people think he might've made two juimps. It says here he was sixty five years old in 875 when he made that jump.
"UMAYYAD" EMPIRE / 9TH CENTURY A.D.
In the 800's Córdoba was one of the greatest cities in the whole world! And this map of the "Umayyad Emirate" shows that it was part of one of the largest empires ever; even bigger than the one Alexander the Great conquered. I like it when my Encyclopedias have maps.
From what it says here, Córdoba "rivaled Baghdad" as the "cultural center" of the Muslim world. At the time it was the capitol of what was called the "Andalusian Caliphate." I just now noticed that the Mouse is gone. Oh! I see it running under a rock near the big tree.
According to what it says in this Encyclopedia Abbas ibn Firnas must've been really smart. He studied many things just like that guy from the Rennaissance Leonardo Da Vinci did in the 16th century. Dais says Mr. Steve has copied Da Vinci's "flight" drawings.
ABBAS IBN FIRNAS (810-887 A.D.)
Abbas ibn Firnas had knowledge of many subjects I guess. The "Device" he built for flying was probably more for "Gliding." Looking out into the eastern desert from this couch I see two Crows just floating along; barely moving at all their outspread wings.
Besides being being an Aviation story about Córdoba, which I'm pretty sure my boss will be interested in; there's another reason why I know he'll like this part of my book. A few years ago he met a guy who fought in Iraq in 2003. And he was missing his right foot.
Daisy told me about when Mr. Steve met that ex-soldier. I guess that when he was fighting in Iraq one of the placed they fought in and around was an Airport named after Abbas ibn Firnas. This was kind of near to the city of Baghdad Daisy remembers him saying.
Daisy's first owner was also a soldier. But he went to fight over in this other country called "Afghanistan." So Mr. Steve took Daisy and told him he could get her back later. But Daisy says her first boss really didn't want any more. Mr. Steve would never give her up now.
That guy who fought in Iraq told my boss there's a statue of Abbas ibn Firnas near Baghdad. Mr. Steve had not know that. He told that guy Libya made a Postage Stamp to celebrate the life of Abbas ibn Firnas; and a "crater" on the Moon is named after him.
A Finch just landed on Manny the far right Shed. I guess Abbas ibn Firnas flew around for a while but then got hurt when he tried to land. I've noticed that when Birds come in for a landing they pull up into what Mr. Steve calls a "stall" by using their tails. I smell Sage.
From what it says here in this Encyclopedia because Abbas ibn Firnas had not built a tail on his flying machine he landed sort of hard. When he was a kid Mr. Steve says he and some of his friends were idiots. They did really risky things but never tried to fly.
Mr. Steve first heard about that guy Abbas ibn Firnan back in the 1980's when he met a guy who was what they call a "Hang Glider." He knew a lot about the history of "Flight" and taught my boss some things. A group of small Finches just zoomed bye right now.
Every Summer people come from around the world to Hang Glide in Sylmar. Mr. Steve has had a few friends over the years who liked to Hang Glide. He once met some Hang Gliders from Germany and others who had traveled all the way from down in Australia.
Another time my boss had a nice talk with this British guy named Richard Dawson. He was an Actor who played "Newkirk" on a tv show called "Hogan's Heroes;" one of Mr. Steve and his friends favorite shows. I just picked up the scent of a Squirrel.
BOB CRANE / RICHARD DAWSON ("HOGAN'S HEROES)
Hogan's Heroes was about a World War II "Prisoner of War" camp. Mr. Steve told Richard Dawson how he and his friends liked seeing all the authentic uniforms and medals worn by the Actors. Aha! I see the Squirrel sticking its nose out from under Moe the middle Shed.
According to what my boss told me, he and Richard Dawson talked about how the makers of Hogan's Heroes even used a real "three-axled" Mercedes Benz like the one Adolph Hitler used to be driven around in. Mr. Steve told him as a kid he drew military uniforms.
That guy Richard Dawson told my boss he ran away from home in England as a teenager and joined the Merchant Marines; where he was a Boxer. Mr. Steve told him his father also Boxed in the Marines. A nice cool breeze was just blown in and with it the smell of new Sage.
Oh! The Chimes hanging above me up there near the Patio roof are ringing. Hey Holy Spirit, are you here right now? I think I feel You. As You know of course, Daisy says we can feel You in the breezes. And I now want to believe that too. Thank You for this beautiful day.
One of Mr. Steve's favorite movies of all time is called "The Longest Day." It's about the big invasion of Nazi Europe in June of 1944. Tomorrow I'll write about "D-Day." But that one guy Richard Dawson said he had a small part in it. The Squirrel just ran off.
When Mr. Steve met that one guy Richard Dawson it was up on a mountain above Sylmar. That's where the Hang Gliders still go to jump off. Even higher than that is a Military Base of some kind my boss says. The scent of Sage is suddenly really strong right now.
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
Mr. Steve says that to get to the area up on the mountain where the Hang Gliders take off you have to wind up a dirt road. This road is behind and above a Park. Before the 1971 earthquake there was a Veteran's Hospital which his father used to go to on that site.
The sunlight is so clear right now! As I look to the east beyond the the three Sheds I can see a single Crow out there standing on a Joshua tree. And behind him I see a few small Birds darting about. I smell new Spring scents. Oh! Our neighbor's Ducks are quacking next door.
Mr. Steve told me that guy Richard Dawson was later the "Host" of of what they call "Game Shows." Mr. Steve's mother still watches "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" every night. His Grandma Trujillo did the same thing. There seems to be a lot more Sage this year.
According to what Dais has scheduled on my outlines; I'm scheduled to write about Hogan's Heroes tomorrow when I learn more about "Intelligence" in World War II. I'll especially write about the Actor who played Colonel Klink. Dais says Mr. Steve seems to admire him.
Mr. Steve told Daisy he once met a guy who knew a lot about Sylmar Hang Gliding and the Wright Brothers too. He thought the Wright Brothers, the first persons to fly in a Plane; were influenced by what that guy Abbas ibn Firnan of Córdoba did way back then.
I can't wait to write book two tomorrow. But I'm a little nervous too because it's partly going to deal with things Mr. Steve knows a lot about; like the history of Aviation, the American Civil War and also World War II. And I'm going to learn about the Wright Brothers.
I wonder when Dais and I will get our first snack of the day? It's almost midday and usually by this point we've had one. But, it doesn't matter. We had a really big breakfast so I'm not all that hungry anyway. Jack the Jackrabbit just ran bye in front of the Sheds.
Whenever I do my circle dance below my boss's office window it usually works because Mr. Steve "more often than not" feeds us. He jokes I'd get an Academy Award for acting if there was such a thing for us Dogs. I sometimes like to howl so he calls me "Wolf."
Oftentimes in the morning Mr. Steve opens up the window and asks “Are you girls hungry?” Well, both Daisy and I know exactly what those words mean. You don't have to ask us twice. I sprint for the front porch where our food bowls are. Dais jogs slowly behind me.
My morning "Jig," as my boss calls it, doesn't always work. Sometimes he's talking on the phone for his job. So Daisy and I just wait. That's okay. I still remember how amazed I was the time Daisy explained to me what a "Phone" was and just how it worked.
Hey! Heathcliff just crowed again! What's going on around here? Maybe he did have some babies. Babies are one of the reasons why I now like this time of year so much. I just saw a new small Ground Squirrel run in front of the three Sheds. Three Sparrows just flew bye.
ROCKY THE FLYING SQUIRREL
ARTWORK BY AMIWAKAWAIIDESU
Dais heard that in the San Gabriel Mountains to our south are flying Squirrels! But she says they don't fly like that cartoon character "Rocky Flying Squirrel;" they glide. I'm scheduled to write about Rocky the Flying Squirrel later. Daisy admires Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
According to Daisy those flying Squirrels have wings attached to their arms and body that can unfold out like "Parachutes" when they jump down from trees. Then they use the currents of air to go wherever they want to go. Boy! I sure wish I could see that for myself.
According to Daisy Mr. Steve once told her and that other Dog Millie he's at times wondered if there was ever a Dinosaur who glided like a flying Squirrel. He knows there were Dinosaurs like "Pterodactyls" and "Pterosaurs" who had wings and flew the way Birds do.
I'd sure like to see one of those flying Squirrels! But Dais thinks they only come out at night and besides that they only live in places like Wrightwood where there's more Forrest type trees. They use their tail to balance their flight and eat Bird seed like our Squirrels do.
That lady Miss Susan, who ran the local Newspaper and who's family have lived in this area for years; one time told Mr. Steve that for a few years the town of Wrightwood had a population on white Squirrels living there. Boy! I'd really like to see a white Squirrel.
Well, it looks like this is the end of chapter seven. I'd say it's about two thirty based on the Sun's location up there in the sky. Fluffy white clouds are hanging over the desert. I think I'll stash everything and take a quick break so I can drink some water. I'm kind of thirsty.
Thank You God for inventing water. It's one of the greatest of things. I just took a big drink of water from the gray bucket in front of the sliding glass door. This will be the last chapter of part two of book one. I guess we're not going to get any snacks today. that's okay.
Sunrise, with Heathcliff's crowing, is now my favorite time of day. Daisy feels the same way. We feel "renewed" as our boss says. Spring makes us feel the same way but on what they call a "bigger scale." That's why today is special to us. There goes Heathcliff again!
Dais says Spring reminds us of the "Never Ending" cycle of life, death, and then resurgence. That's what our boss thinks. He told us that some cultures think of the Summer and Autumn seasons as representing life, Winter death and Spring symbolizes life's rebirth.
Mr. Steve calls the night our "Battery Charger" or "Alternator;" even though we're all still alert at night. Daisy and I rest more during daytime. I'll bet that's what my boss thinks we're doing right now. Which reminds me, we haven't had even one snack today!
NIKOLA TESLA (0000-0000)
My Dictionary says an Alternator "generates" electricity. In book two tomorrow I'll learn about a man named Nikola Tesla. I'm tempted to do it now but I better just wait. Nikola Tesla was originally from and area called "Serbia;" which is where World War I broke out.
wonder what an Alternator is? Daisy doesn't know either. She thinks it just might have something to do with creating energy. But she's not sure. Andy and Helen the two Squirrels are running right now out into the eastern desert behind the three Sheds.
On most mornings I can't wait to hear the sound of Heathcliff crowing. It sure makes me feel good! Before I came to live over here Dais says she and Millie got up to the sound of Heathcliff's father "Heathcliff I;" or "Heathcliff Senior" as our boss jokingly calls him.
Mr. Steve says the current Heathcliff is "Heathcliff Junior" or "Heathcliff II." Pretty soon, maybe today even, one of the Hens he guards might have some babies and then there will be a third generation we hope. Baby Chickens, just like baby Quail, are so cute!
Taking deep breaths of the desert makes me feel great! Dais is right. This is the time of year when we need to appreciate each day; before it gets too hot again. There's nothing better than the sights, sounds and scents of Sunup and Sunset; especially now during Springtime.
I now love the feelings I get at "first light;" especially on warm mornings like today. On cold mornings it's harder to get up. I want to stay curled up here on the couch. That's when my bad Angel Lilith tries to tempt me into being lazy and not do my job guarding.
Mr. Steve says most people celebrate “New Years” on the first day of January. But not us! In our household March 20, today, is the start of our new year. Today is the "Vernal Equinox" and is the only day where there's twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark.
This Encyclopedia says the reason why today will have twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of night is because the Sun's rays will shine directly over the Earth's Equator. Daisy told me that our boss has a really nice "Globe" in his office. Someday I want a Globe!
This day is going a lot faster than I thought it would. I've already learned many new things. Dais will be so proud of me. I'll take a good break after this eighth chapter which will be the end of part two. Jack the Jackrabbit ran bye but I won't chase him like I normally do.
Oh! Able Company of Quail are moving around the northeast corner of the house to my left. I wonder if they know that today they'll have twelve hours to search for food? I'll bet they do as Birds just seem to know things like that. You can tell a lot by watching Birds.
Hey Lord? As You know, Daisy's favorite holiday is "Easter;" which is next month and is when You were "Resurrected" from the dead. Dais doesn't like how mean the Romans were to You. They "Flogged" You and then they nailed You onto that wooden cross.
Flogging means "whipped." Daisy says our boss has a "Bullwhip" in his Bedroom. But the ones the Romans used was way worse. It had little pieces of metal attached to the whip. So this tore the skin every time it hit you and was probably even more painful I guess.
Lord? It must've been so painful to have the nails put through your hands and feet! Thank You for doing that for us. And it must have been hard for You Blessed Mother to have to watch Your son die like that. I'll bet You were crying a lot. Daisy and I would have been crying.
As You know Lord, Mr. Steve thinks the most brutal "torturers" were the "Assyrians" from ancient Mesopotamia. They "impaled" and even "skinned" people alive. According to this one Dictionary impaled means to stick a sharp pole through you and then hang you up on it.
We have a big Assyrian statue near the entrance to the front door. It's a "Winged" half Bull, half man and weighs over five hundred pounds. Mr. Steve's friend Mike had to help him take it down from Rex the Truck and put it in position to the side of the front door.
Daisy told me how our boss has a miniature clay "Book Divider" on one the bookshelves in his Office. His mom made it as as "Assignment" in College. It's the winged Assyrian Bull. I want to see it some day. Daisy says Mr. Steve's mother did a really good job making it.
A long gravel driveway leads from our house out to the road. It's about one hundred and fifty feet in length. And along each side are some of those cement Stelae's showing images from China, India, Mesopotamia and Egypt; some of the places where "Civilization" began.
As I mentioned this morning, around our two acres are Stelae's which represent the four areas where Civilization started. One shows an Assyrian man on a Chariot killing a Lion with a bow and arrow. Max the Hummingbird just zoomed past. I heard him coming.
Sometimes Daisy and I sit near the driveway in the afternoon and evenings. Those Stelae's look so good then; especially when the sunlight coming from the west makes it so you can really see the images better. I see Libby over there in her Corral. I can smell a Lizard.
VLADE "THE IMPALER" (0000-0000)
Tomorrow in book two Daisy has me scheduled to write about this 15th century man named Vlade Dracula. He was a King in the area that is now called "Romania" and fought against the Ottoman Turks. His nickname was "The Impaler." Aha! I see the Lizard.
I'm so tempted to look up that guy Vlade Dracula right now. But I'd better just wait and do it according to my outline. Even though he lived about two thousand years after the Assyrians Vlade Dracula also used impaling as a way to scare people. The Lizard is gone.
BRAM STOKER DRACULA
Another thing I'll look up and write about later is a writer named Bram Stoker. At the end of the 19th century he wrote a book about a "Vampire" who could turn into a Bat that drinks blood. Daisy saw a good movie that was based on Bram Stoker's book.
Some people who visit our two acres notice that, in addition to the Mesopotamian statues and stelaes; we also have statues and stelaes representing ancient Egypt, China and India. Dais told me that Mr. Steve bought them from this nice man. I really like all of our statues!
Hey Lord? As You know, my boss says, unfortunately for You, the Romans "turned torture into a science" so to speak. The Roman "masses" watched torture just for entertainment. And they weren't the only culture to have things like that back then. A Crow cawed faintly.
I don't think I'd like being tortured God. I suppose, if I had to; I could do it but please have Stanley protect me from torture. I'm sure glad that I live over here now. As of course You know Lord, Mr. Steve never hits us to, "By Force;" make us do what he wants us to do.
Thank You again Lord for dying for us. I want to believe You died for us Dogs too. I wish I could go back in time to when yo died. If Daisy went with me You know how strong her neck is. She'd help you carry that heavy cross beam. And so would I. You know that!
It was so interesting the other day when Mr. Steve told me that at times he's wondered if the Romans just used the trunk of an olive tree to hang You on. That's what they did in other parts of the world. It's simpler. My boss thinks they probably used many methods.
Hey Lord? Lately I've been thinking abut what Dais said the other day. When her paws are hurting even more than usual she told me she thinks about the pain You had to go through and it makes her pain seem "pale" in comparison. I'll start thinking like that too!
From now on Lord, when I feel like complaining because things don't go my way I'll think of what You did for us. Mr. Steve thinks that Crucifixion was probably a "well thought out" and "calculated" way to kill people slowly in the maximum pain. I hear Crows cawing.
Us Catholics believe that You had to die for our sins Lord. I try not to commit any sins but, even though I'm still afraid of a few things; at times I have too much pride. But that's because You gave me the ability to learn anything God. Daisy says I need to be more humble.
Hey Lord? Do you blame that one High Priest named Caiaphus for killing You? He was the leader of the Jewish Council, or "Sanhedrin." Did Caiaphus just have the Romans kill You? You did say just before dying; "Father forgive them for they know not what they do!"
Mr. Steve thinks Caiaiaphus probably just got the Roman "Procurator" Pontius Pilate, who was really in charge; to do his "Dirty Work" Lord. He shifted the blame over to the Romans even though he wanted You dead. But You had to do Your duty and die for us.
CAIAPHAS (Died 36 A.D.) PONTIUS PILATE (Died 37A.D.)
Hey Lord. Mr. Steve says the Temple Priests didn't like it when You criticized them for their wealthy lifestyles. And the Romans, in political control, were afraid You might get the common people to revolt against them. So it was just easier to go ahead and kill You.
For Dais there's no question that Easter is her favorite holiday. But I haven't quite decided yet what my favorite holiday is; mainly because I like them all. Halloween is a very interesting time of the year. I would wear a costume but I know my boss and Daisy wouldn't.
I smell a new Rosemary plant! And now a cool breeze just came in from the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. Hey Blessed Mother! The Chimes are ringing so I want to think maybe You're here now. And I was just thinking about how You had to watch Your son die.
As You of course know Blessed Virgin, even though I love to celebrate I don't really like the Fourth of July that much because of the sound "Fireworks" make. Thunder and lightning used to make me shiver and shake but Fireworks are still kind of scary sounding to me.
Well Blessed Mother, I'm sure glad I learned the Hail Mary prayer. As You know I says it a lot during the day and at night too. Daisy does that too. Whenever I'm scared I just say a few Hail Mary's and then go ahead and do whatever I have to do. But it's still hard.
You know Lord, even though Mr. Steve says You weren't really born in December, I think I kind of like the Christmas season more and more. Everyone seems to be happy during that time. I just love to celebrate! Daisy thinks I get too excited sometimes.
Our boss's favorite holiday is "Thanksgiving" because it makes him think about how the 3 of us have so much to be grateful for. And it also makes him appreciate more his own family and how everyone has pretty good health. Thank You God and Blessed Mother!
I love the first rays of Sun, when the sound of Crickets is replaced by chirping Birds. I also like Heathcliff's voice. Mr. Steve calls me "Eos," the Greek Goddess of Dawn. Sometimes I do howl at the first rays of Sun! Daisy never howls but doesn't mind when I do.
Oh! I just heard the faint sound of a Train whistle to the north; out in the desert. I like the way Train whistles sound! At night you can hear them even more. I now think of Train whistles, along with Heathcliff the Rooster's voice, as almost symbolic of the morning hours.
Mr. Steve told me that the Trains we hear going bye out in the desert to our north are what they call "freight" Trains. There used to more Trains carrying "passenger" too. The other day my boss and his father took the "Metrolink" to downtown Los Angeles from Sylmar.
Because his Grandpa Trujillo worked for the Santa Fe Railroad Company for more that forty years my boss and his family used to take some Train trips back and forth to New Mexico. But now almost all Trains only carry freight Mr. Steve told me. I smell a Joshua tree.
My boss says he now realizes that as much as he liked looking out of the Train window during those Train trips, he never really appreciated them until years later. He's come to think that it's normal to not appreciate good things until later. I'd love to go on a Train trip!
Just like the sounds of Train whistles, I really like the sound of Heathcliff's crowing. Even though Daisy and I really love to eat Chicken we'd never eat Heathcliff! No way! He's way too valuable! We now almost need to hear his voice each and every morning.
Mornings are like magic to me! Also, I love to celebrate! It's one of my favorite things to do. Daisy and our boss really don't "show their emotions" as they say. To them celebrating is rare. But at times I kind of get excited and just want to bark and dance!
I love to dance! At times Dais can't understand why I run around in circles or jump up and down. She thinks at times I'm just being too silly. But I do have so much of what our boss calls "pent up enthusiasm." I agree with that! A flock of Sparrows just streamed past.
I like when Mr. Steve works out here. The main reason I like it is because I can hang around him. Dais thinks the same thing. But another reason we like it is because he usually plays music on him Boombox. He did it this morning. We listen to all kinds of music.
Dais says if I weren't so afraid to go all the way into our boss's bedroom I could hear so much more music on Mr. Steve's Stereo. She's sort of right. But when I look down that hallway it just looks so narrow and kind of scary. I hear some Crows cawing out in the desert.
Two songs I have heard are "Celebration" by KOOL AND THE GANG and a song with the same name by an Italian band called PRIMIATA, FORNERIA, MARCONI, or PFM for short. Both songs are from the 1970's. I like PFM because they have a flute player.
KOOL & THE GANG PFM RARE EARTH
Mr. Steve told me about a song from 1971 called "I Just Want To Celebrate" by this one band called RARE EARTH. Daisy heard it and says it starts with someone counting; "On, two, three, four." She says our boss does that too when playing with a guitar player in his bedroom.
In 1971 Mr. Steve was a sixteen year old tenth grader. Yesterday in book one I mentioned a rare black Punk band called DEATH. RARE EARTH was a rare white band on a black label in Detroit called "Motown." My Encyclopedia says Motown "Integrated" popular music.
My Dictionary says one meaning of "integrate" is to "remove barriers." It says here that's what the singers and musicians at Motown did. I guess During the 1950's black and white music didn't mix but Motown used "Soul" and "Pop" to make "Crossover" music.
Daisy and I don't really care who makes a song. If we like it that's all that matters. If a Cat made good music we'd like it; even if we're supposed to be enemies. Some day I might just learn how to play harmonica and make songs and I would hope Cats like it too.
A few years ago Mr. Steve did some artwork for this one girl who was related to a guy in this other all white band on Motown. And they were there even before RARE EARTH. They were called the UNDERDOGS; like Underdog the super hero. Another Train whistled.
According to my Encyclopedia "Motown" stands for "Motor City" which is what Detroit is called. A man named Barry Gordy, who had been a Boxer and was in the Korean War just like Mr. Steve's father; started "Motown Records." They used to build a lot of Cars in Detroit.
BARRY GORDY JR.
It says here Barry Gordy, before starting Motown Records, worked in an "Auto Assembly" plant in Detroit. Mr. Steve's brother Rock did the same thing for many years; first here in the Valley in a city called "Van Nuys" and later in Texas. I smell a young Joshua tree.
Mr. Steve told that girl whose relative was in the UNDERDOGS he did artwork for this other lady who was related to one of the FUNK BROTHERS. They were the "Studio Musicians" who did the music for the SUPREMES, the TEMPTATIONS and the other singers at Motown.
THE "FUNK BROTHERS"
I've never heard any songs by Motown but Daisy has. She told me the singers are really good and so are the FUNK BROTHERS who made the music. But she says, Mr. Steve was told they didn't make a lot of money. The FUNK BROTHERS were paid ten dollars a song!
Boy, ten dollars seems like a lot of money just to do what you love to do. It would be so fun. But Mr. Steve says when millions of people buy that song then everyone should be able to share in the "Profits;" not just the writers and business people. I really agree on that!
Daisy has me scheduled to write about the subject of Session Musicians on Saturday in book three. I'll write about LED ZEPPELIN'S Jimmy Page and musicians from here in Los Angeles called the WRECKING CREW. Birds are singing in the desert behind the three Sheds.
THE "WRECKING CREW"
Boy! I'm so tempted to write about the WRECKING CREW right now but I'd better just wait until day after tomorrow. I want to keep to Dais's outlines as much as possible even though it's okay to change things around sometimes. I csn smell a new Juniper plant.
I will say that in the 1960's one of the WRECKING CREW was this girl named Carol Kaye. She played bass on famous tv themes and also on the BEACH BOYS "Pet Sounds" album. In the 1950's she played the "lead" guitar on that Ritchie Valens song called "La Bamba."
RITCHIE VALENS (1941-1959)
Not only will I write about about the WRECKING CREW in book three but I'll also write about Ritchie Valens tomorrow and the day after too. He was from "Pacoima" which is really close to Sylmar where Mr. Steve and brothers and sisters grew up. I can smell a Lizard.
I guess Ritchie Valens, whose real last name was "Valenzuela;" is buried next to his mother about twenty feet from the "Crypts" Mr. Steve's parents have ready for when they die. I'll also be writing about the city of Pacoima over the next three days. A Finch is singing.
Another person from Pacoima who Daisy has me scheduled to write about on Saturday in my third book is Chacon. He was a world champion Boxer twice in the 1970's and 1980's. Mr. Steve and his family got to know Bobby and his family in the 1990's. I see the Lizard.
Wow! In this Encyclopedia there's a good picture of that guy Bobby Chacon landing a good right hand on this other Boxer named "Boza" Edwards. The caption below says that fight over in Las Vegas at "Caesar's Palace" was one of the "greatest fights of all time."
Well, I better get back to my outline. I kind of got off track a little bit. But that's okay. I can just mention things as I go if I happen to think about them. But, it's back to writing about that company in Detroit called Motown. The Lizard ran under a rock below the big tree.
THE TEMPTATIONS THE SUPREMES
SHOWTIME MUSIC ARCHIVES
This Encyclopedia has pictures of the TEMPTATIONS and SUPREMES. They were two of the singing bands who worked in Detroit at Motown. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and also the JACKSON FIVE made songs working for Barry Gordy's Motown. A Wren is singing.
Looking to the east beyond the three Sheds I can see that there are now some pretty fluffy white clouds hanging up there high in the sky. A few Birds are darting about. I smell the clump of Joshua trees behind Manny the far right Shed. The Sun is so warm right now.
EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER
On Saturday the day after tomorrow Daisy has me scheduled to write about a 1970's British PROGRESSIVE ROCK band called EMMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER. I guess their bass player Greg Lake said he was influenced by the FUNK BROTHERS bass player.
In 1984 Mr. Steve started working for the Basketball Lakers, Ice Hockey Kings and Lazers Indoor Soccer. That's when he met his friend Mark who now lives in Hawaii with his wife Kim and sons "Dylan" and "Taj." Mark moved to California from the city of "Milwaukee."
Milwaukee is on the west coast of Lake "Michigan" which is one of the "Great Lakes." It's a part of the State of "Wisconsin." Mr. Steve has a few customers in Wisconsin. He says people from Wisconsin seem like friendly, basically decent people. At least his customers are.
When they says a Lake is a "Fresh Water" Lake they mean that the water in it doesn't have salt in it. On Saturday I'll study and write about the five Great Lakes. And tomorrow I'll look up "Salt Lakes." Mr. Steve and his Tour Group visited the "Dead Sea" in 1985.
Detroit, where Motown was located; is near Lake "Erie." I see where it is on this one map and it's east of Milwaukee. Oh! I'm going to write about the city of Chicago in a few minutes when I look up and write about these two brothers named Phil and Leonard Chess.
On this one map it shows how the city of Chicago is also on the coast of Lake Michigan just like Milwaukee. I'll be learning a lot about Chicago over the next three days. I have some good outlines. I wonder what Daisy's doing up front? I wonder if we'll get a snack soon?
Daisy has me scheduled to write about Mr. Steve's friend Mark in books two and three. But I think I'll just write about him now instead. I just sort of feel like it. Besides, I'll still mention Mr. Mark later too. Able Company of Quail are now streaming out into the desert.
Milwaukee is west of Detroit where Barry Gordy lived. Mr. Steve says Milwaukee gets really cold in Winter. I guess Mr. Steve's parents went to Milwaukee one time. They visited one of Mr. Steve's father's friends from their time together as Marines in the Korean War.
Mr. Mark, who sold Mr. Steve Elvira the couch on which I'm sitting; is Black. He used to go dance on this one show called "Soul Train" and won a "Date" on this other show called "Love Connection." I just picked up the faint scent of one of the really old Joshua trees.
Hey God! As You know of course, Mr. Steve's friend Mark now lives with his family over on the "Big Island" of Hawaii. Mr. Steve thinks it's kind of funny how Mark and Kim are living in Hawaii; which is the furthest thing from the weather up there in Wisconsin.
From what my boss told me, when his friend Mark left the Lakers he then got a job selling Advertising at an "Entertainment" Newspaper called the "Hollywood Reporter." He now runs his own Daily Newspaper in Hawaii called the "Big Island Reporter." A Finch is singing.
Before Mr. Mark worked for the Hollywood Reporter he had sales job working for this one other Los Angeles Basketball team called the "Clippers." Mr. Steve saw a few Clipper games because his girlfriend Harriet's father had Clipper Season Seats back in late 1980's.
Mr. Mark is a musician Mr. Steve says. He can play guitar and keyboards and became good at using this thing called a "Drum Machine." He used to come over and play Mr. Steve's drums Daisy told me. A Train just whistled faintly to my left out there in the northern desert.
One thing Mr. Steve's friend Mark knows about is Motown's music. In 1984 when they were working for the Lakers that guy Marvin Gaye died. I've never heard any of his songs but Daisy has and says he's a really good singer. Marvin Gaye used to live here in Los Angeles.
MARVIN GAYE (1939-1984)
There's a picture of that guy Marvin Gaye here in this one Encyclopedia. It shows him riding one of those Scooters like the ones Mr. Steve saw in Italy and Israel back in 1985. I've noticed a man who lives near us riding a Scooter up and down the road in front of our house.
Mr. Steve says that when Marvin Gaye was killed by his father back in 1984 it was big news in Los Angeles. Even though his family were originally from back east around Washington D.C. they were living here in Los Angeles in 1984. Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.
In 1984 when Marvin Gaye died Mr. Mark told my boss that Marvin Gaye once made an album that involved the New Testament's "Book of Revelation." Dais has me scheduled to write about the Book of Revelation tomorrow in book two. I hear Crows cawing faintly.
A few years after Marvin Gaye died Mr. Steve met a girl who had lived near where Marvin Gaye's family had lived. She said his father shot him the day before his birthday. That girl said Marvin Gaye's father was kind of mean to his kids and used to even beat them up.
STEVIE WONDER / MARVIN GAYE
IMAGES SHOWTIME MUSIC ARCHIVES
There's a picture here in this Encyclopedia that shows Marvin Gaye. The caption below it says he's recording a song in Detroit back in the 1960's with that guy Stevie Wonder. Daisy and that other Dog Millie watched a really good tv show about Motown one time.
Daisy and Millie saw that show on Motown in Mr. Steve's Bedroom. The main thing Daisy and Millie noticed was what good dancers the TEMPTATIONS were while singing. One of these days I'll "Summon Up" the courage to go ahead and do things in Mr. Steve's Bedroom.
In 1984 when Marvin Gaye died people at the Forum told Mr. Steve and Mark about a time when Marvin Gaye sang the "National Anthem" at a Lakers game. They even watched a film of it a few times. People were kind of shocked about how Marvin Gaye could be dead.
Back in 1968 Mr. Mark told others about a 1968 World Series game in Detroit. The Tigers were playing the St. Louis Cardinals at this place called "Tiger Stadium." And that guy Marvin Gaye sang the National Anthem before one of the games. I smell a Lizard nearby.
I think I'll write about the 1968 World Series now instead of in book three on Saturday. It will fit in here too. Daisy has me scheduled to talk about that World Series when I discuss other things which happened in 1968 but I just kind of feel like doing it right now. That's okay!
PHOTO BY WALTER IOOSS JR.
I know Mr. Steve watched the 1968 World Series. He was thirteen years old. A lot of things happened in 1968 but I'll wait until book three on the day after tomorrow to write about them. In the 1968 World Series this one Pitcher for the Cardinals named Bob Gibson did good.
From what my boss told me, Bob Gibson was a "dominant" Pitcher who threw hard. In my Encyclopedia there's a picture of him and the caption below it says he seems to be "flying off the mound." I just noticed Fannie and Freddie the Crows sitting on Jack the big Shed.
Wow! It says here that 1968 is now called the "Year of the Pitcher." Bob Gibson had an "Earned Run Average" of 1.12 during the long "Regular" season. His record was twenty two wins and nine losses. Fannie just cawed at me. I think she's asking me what I'm doing.
Mr. Steve remembers the 1968 regular season well. His favorite team the Oakland Athletics or "A's weren't very good but were hopefully "improving." That guy Bob Gibson had been a great Pitcher for a few years by 1968. Oh! I think I just smelled a new Spring Sage plant.
Back in 1968 that guy Bob Gibson had a really good year Mr. Steve told me. The St. Louis Cardinals are in the "National" League. But over in the "American" League this one other guy named Denny McClain had an unbelievable year for the Tigers. Freddie just cawed.
I know what Freddie's doing. He and Fannie sit on the Sheds and hope a Lizard or Mouse might make a mistake. Then he'll pounce on that Lizard or Mouse. Sometimes it just so happens that Fannie sees the food first so she gets it. But usually Freddie does most of the killing.
Wow! My Encyclopedia says how during the 1968 American League regular season that guy Denny McClain won thirty one games! Most of the time Mr. Steve says, if a "Starting" Pitcher wins twenty games in a season it's considered good. So thirty one was tremendous.
I guess that guy Denny McClain lost only six times back then in 1968. And what's even more amazing Mr. Steve says is how Denny McClain had twenty eight of what they call a "Complete Game." That means that he pitched in all nine of the games "Innings." I smell Sage.
Mr. Steve told me a "Starting" Pitcher today hardly ever goes all nine innings. So it will be really hard to do it twenty eight times like Denny McClain did in 1968. Nowadays the "Relief" Pitching" is very what they call "Specialized." Fannie and Freddie just lifted off.
From what Mr. Steve says, in a "Series" where a team has to win four out of seven games few teams ever "Come Back" when they're "Down" three games to one. But the Detroit Tigers did it in the 1968 World Series. Two of the Pigeons just flew in from out in the eastern desert.
From what my boss told me, the 1968 World Series was really good because both teams were good. During that World Series Mr. Steve first drew the Cardinals and Tigers logos. Daisy told me that he still has them with other drawings in one of the closets in his Bedroom.
Mr. Steve still remembers when the Cardinal's Lou Brock, who I mentioned this morning when I wrote about the Cubs; was thrown out at the plate. A perfect throw from left field by this guy named Willie Horton made it a "Close Play. Bill Freehan blocked "Home Plate."
Some think that guy Lou Brock should have tried to slide into Home Plate instead of going in "Standing Up" as they say. At least that's what Mr. Steve says. You can see by the picture in the Encyclopedia how Lou Brock's foot tries to get in there. But it was too late I guess.
What made it possible for the Detroit Tigers to come back when they had lost three games already was the pitching. In the actual World Series the Cardinals had that guy Bob Gibson but the Tigers had Denny McClain and also this other left-hander named Mickey Lolich.
Mickey Lolich won three games against the Cardinals in the 1968 World Series. He was what they call "the difference." Earlier today I wrote how the Chicago Cubs havn't been champions since 1908. In 1968 the Tigers hadn't won since 1945; the last year of World War II.
As I mentioned earlier today when I wrote about the Chicago Cubs; the Oakland A's are Mr. Steve's favorite team. One thing he recalls well about the 1968 Major League season is how that guy Denny McClain won his thirtieth game against the A's. A Crow just cawed.
Mr. Steve watched Denny McClain and Detroit beat the A's 5-4 on tv and was so angry. He realizes now it's dumb to get so upset at an entertainment event. But when you're thirteen it did seem like "The End of the World. For a short time he even hated Denny McClain.
REGGIE JACKSON (1968)
Mr. Steve associates the 1968 Baseball season with the unique A's uniforms. For one thing they wore white shoes. And unlike the other teams didn't just wear white uniforms "at home" and gray "on the road." They even had a sleeveless "Mustard Brown" uniform.
There's a good picture in this one Encyclopedia that shows a guy named Reggie Jackson swinging his bat. And he's wearing one of those mustard-colored uniforms. Boy! I sort of like the way uniforms look when they don't have any sleeves. I smell a Bunny Rabbit.
Reggie Jackson, who's in the "Hall of Fame;" is most famous as a member of the New York Yankee teams of the 1970's. I'll write a lot more about that period tomorrow in book two. In 1977 he hit three Home Runs in just one World Series game against the Dodgers.
REGGIE JACKSON HOME RUN ( TIGER STADIUM 1971)
A picture in this Encyclopedia shows Reggie Jackson when he was still on the Oakland A's. The caption says he's hitting a five hundred foot Home Run in the 1971 "All Star" game played in Detroit at Tiger Stadium. I can smell a Lizard somewhere around here.
In the picture of the 1971 All Star game the Pitcher giving up Reggie Jackson's Home Run is "Doc" Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates. As I mentioned, the Pirates are Mr. Steve's friend Rick's favorite Baseball team. A Gopher Snake just crawled under Moe the midde Shed.
REGGIE JACKSON (1977)
As I said, Reggie Jackson became really famous after 1977 when he went over to play for the Yankees. I'll write about that season tomorrow in book two when I discuss a trip back east Mr. Steve and his brother Rock took in 1977. Oh! I can see the Lizard now.
That Lizard better be careful. The Gopher Snake which just went under Moe doesn't only eat Gophers. It will eat Lizards too. I can smell that clump of Joshua trees over there to my right; next to Libby's Corral. That Lizard just ducked into a crack between two rocks.
In August of 1977 Mr. Steve and his brother visited New York City and then their Uncle Marty's family in Morristown, New Jersey. Later they spent a few days in "Gettysburg" which is in the State of "Pennsylvania." I can see the Rabbit under Manny the far right Shed.
From what Mr. Steve told me and Daisy the year 1977 is now called "The Year the Bronx Burned." A lot of things happened in New York City. They had a huge "Power Outage" which allowed "Looting" and "Rioting" to happen. I can smell one of the Cholla cactus.
When Mr. Steve and his brother Rock were driving their rented Car around New York City there was what they call a "Garbage Strike" going on. So even near "Yankee Stadium" where they saw a game there was trash everywhere. It smelled bad Mr. Steve told me.
One morning in 1977 Mr. Steve went down to the Lobby of the Hotel they were staying at in a place called "Queens." He noticed people talking so asked what was going on. This one older lady said; "They caught the Son of Sam yesterday." I can hear some Crows cawing.
SON OF SAM (1977)
I guess the "Son of Sam" was a guy who had been killing people in New York City in 1977. But he was caught and put in jail. Another thing Mr. Steve remembers about that trip back east in 1977 was how Elvis Presley died. But I'll write about it tomorrow as scheduled.
As I mentioned, for a time Mr. Steve did not like that guy Denny McClain. But now he's come to really admire his 1968 accomplishment. At the time he really didn't appreciate just how amazing it was to have won thirty one games in a single season. A Sparrow is singing.
No starting Pitcher has won thirty games since and Mr. Steve thinks probably no one ever will. Things ar
DENNY MCCLAIN / REGGIE JACKSON
Because he draws Mr. Steve notices things like uniforms more than most people. Tomorrow in book two and on Saturday in book three Daisy has me scheduled to write about the history of the A's "Franchise." I think I hear a Dragonfly coming in from out in the desert.
Before they were the Oakland "Athletics" or A's they were called the Philadelphia and then Kansas City A's. Day after tomorrow I'll write about the history of the A's uniforms and their logos too.
the color green a lot more now; even though my ultimate favorite color is still Royal blue. I like yellow too.
CHARLES O. FINLEY (0000-0000)
Boy! I'm so tempted to write about the Oakland A's right now but I better just stick with the outlines Dais and I put together. But I will write about the A's in 1968.
DENNY MCCLAIN / REGGIE JACKSON (0000)
As I mentioned this morning when I wrote about the Chicago Cubs,
Well, back to my outline. I still have more to write about music. When growing up down in Sylmar Mr. Steve collected these flat, round plastic things called "Records." Dais told me about them.
At first it was hard to believe that you could miraculously hear music coming out of the plastic "Disc." I want to hear a Record someday.
I guess by the early 1970's Mr. Steve had a good collection of Records; both 33 R.P.M. or 45 R.P.M. Daisy and I looked up R.P.M. when we were putting together my three outlines and it means "Rounds per Minute." Daisy says our boss still has Records and things like that.
Dais has me scheduled to write about these two brothers named Phil and Leonard Chess on Saturday in book three. But I just kind of feel like looking them up and writing about them now instead. Oh! I can smell that old Joshua tree behind Manny the far right Shed.
Hey God! Thank You for allowing that old Joshua tree to make through another Winter. I know Dais will be happy when I tell her for the first time this year I smelled that old Joshua. We like looking at it out there in the eastern desert. Joshua trees make me feel calm.
Just like that guy Barry Gordy's Motown Records is important to the music of the 1960's, I know Mr. Steve thinks "Chess Records" is just as important for the the music of the 1950's. Oh! I just picked up the combined scent of Andy and Helen the Ground Squirrels.
According to this one Encyclopedia, back in 1950 those two brothers Phil and Leonard Chess "co-founded" a "Record Label" in the city of Chicago called Chess Records. I guess their real last name was "Czyz which is Polish. A Jet just flew bye way up there in the sky.
PHIL CHESS LEONARD CHESS (1917-1969)
PHOTO BY HENRY HERR GILL
I've noticed how back in the 1950's some men wore those small little hats. Daisy thinks they look kind of cute. In our Living room, which is the only part of the house I'm not afraid to go in; Mr. Steve has a few military hats from the time of World War II. I smell new Juniper.
Mr. Steve has a collection of all different types of hats; even though he seldom even wears a hat. Sometimes he wears a Baseball hat when doing yard work. I'd like to have a hat and Daisy would to. We should invent hats for Dogs. We might be able to make a lot of money.
Originally Daisy and I had decided to write about the Chess brothers when I learn about the country of Poland; especially 20th century Polish history. But I'll do it now. Daisy won't mind. She said I can improvise. I see Andy and Helen over there under Moe the middle Shed.
I guess Phil and Leonard Chess came or "Immigrated" with their family from Poland into the United States. Like a lot of people did back in those days they thought it would be a good idea to change or shorten their original name. I'd like to learn to play Chess.
Mr. Steve has been told that Phil and Leonard Chess didn't know or even care much about music. But they were good "Businessmen" or what they call "Entrepreneurs." Their company recorded musicians and made Records to sell. I hear our neighbors Ducks quacking.
Because Chess Records did business during the 1950's they recorded some of the first songs which would later be called "Rock and Roll." Mr. Steve was born in 1955 which was about the time Rock and Roll first appeared. Mr. Steve likes "Hard Rock" and "Heavy Metal."
There's a good picture of what the caption below calls the "skyline" of the city of Chicago. It must be looking west from out in Lake "Michigan" judging by where Chicago is located on the map. Looking at this picture of Chicago makes think of how amazing a city must be.
Mr. Steve has never been to Chicago where the Chess brothers lived. But his dad has been there a few times. Mr. Steve has some customers in or around Chicago; which is a big city that is bordered on the east by Lake Michigan. I hear some Finches out there in the desert.
Tomorrow in book two Dais has me scheduled to write about American "Organized Crime." Mr. Steve knows about that particular subject. Daisy and that other Dog Millie once watched a really good movie called "The Godfather." I'll write more about that movie tomorrow.
This Encyclopedia says that during the Great Depression of the 1930's "Gangsters" like this man named Charles "Lucky" Luciano "controlled" New York City crime. But before that, in the "Roaring" 1920's; Al Capone ruthlessly controlled his "Territory" in Chicago.
I'll just say quickly that when I learn and then write about the "Mob" tomorrow I'll focus on Italian or more particularly "Sicilian" men. But there have also been some Jewish and Irish Gangsters too. I'll come back to them tomorrow in book two. I feel so good!
CHUCK BERRY ETTA JAMES (1938-2012) BILL HALEY (0000-0000)
Mr. Steve likes Rock music and was born in 1955; about when Rock and Roll appeared. He likes the male energy of Chuck Berry and Bill Haley and the female energy of a girl named Etta James. I want to hear her songs some day. Dais says she was a really good singer.
Chess Records in Chicago is where Chuck Berry and Etta James made their songs I guess. That's what it says in this Encyclopedia. The only Chuck Berry song I've heard is called "Roll Over Beethoven." But I heard a version by the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA.
That Jet which flew bye left a long white vapor trail up there in the sky. Those puffy white clouds are pretty. I can't see Andy and Helen the Squirrels under Moe but I know they're there because I smell them. And I at times can also hear them too. I smell a new Sage plant.
HOWLIN WOLF (1910-1976) MUDDY WATERS (1915-1983)
According to this Encyclopedia, Chess Records is important in the history of early Rock and Roll but is as important in the history of "Blues" music. It was while working for Chess Records that those two guys Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters recorded some of their songs.
Tomorrow in book two Dais has me scheduled to write about this other company called "Sun Records in the State of Tennessee. They recorded musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. And I guess Howlin Wolf also worked there for a while too.
On some mornings, before we check at his office window, Daisy and I go to either one of the two windows in Mr. Steve's bedroom. We listen, knowing our boss sometimes prepares for the day, even when it's not Spring, by listening to that guy Vivaldi's song La Primavera. I guess Vivaldi was a "Baroque" composer and he wrote La Primavera in the year 1725.
ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Daisy and I have come to like Vivaldi's music, especially La Primavera! My Encyclopedia says La Primavera is part of Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons,” which has one "Concerto" for each season. Our boss sometimes plays it loud on his Boombox when he's outside working.
Whenever I hear La Primavera it gives me energy and makes me feel more "optimistic. But of course Daisy's right. The main reason I've come to like that song so much is because our boss really likes it. A small flock of Sparrows just flew bye up above me.
La Primavera, like Beethoven's 6th Symphony, the "Pastoral," has become one part of the "soundtrack" to our lives; as are other songs. That's what Mr. Steve says and I agree with him. I could listen to La Primavera over and over and not get tired of hearing it.
Oh! This is interesting. I wonder if my boss know this? Vivaldi, just like that other more famous composer Mozart, died a "penniless pauper." Wow! That really makes me appreciate a lot more just how fragile life can be. I just looked up the word pauper.
Dais told me what "penniless" means. I just looked it up in my Dictionary anyway. I'm sure glad my boss has enough money to take care of us! Daisy thinks if we ever go into an economic Depression we'll probably do better than most but it will still be hard times.
This is amazing! Time is going fast because mainly because I've been so busy looking things up and then writing about them. Looking toward the eastern horizon makes me feel so good. I know I'm lucky God that You had Mr. Steve rescue me from that awful field.
I can hear Blinky barking over there in our neighbor's yard. His bark is comforting to me somehow. And I an also hear our neighbor's Ducks quacking away. Oh! Heathcliff just crowed again. I'm having so much fun today. Thank You Everyone! I like learning new things.
According to my outline the next thing I want to write about is this famous Indian Chief who lived during late 18th and early 19th centuries. His name was "Tecumseh" and I wrote down from memory something my boss told me he said about life. I hear Pigeons cooing.
I'm lucky to have such a good memory. Dais thinks our boss will be so amazed someday when he reads my three books. He'll be proud of me and will hug and pet me because I did something no other Dog has ever done. I wonder if Mr. Peabody ever wrote any books?
I can tell that Mr. Steve kind of admires many things about what they call Native American or Indian culture. Daisy told me he's got a lot of books on that subject. He also has this Indian Spear with feathers on it she says. In his Bedroom Mr. Steve has an Indian drum.
Recently my boss met a friendly girl who lives near us. She's a Lakota Sioux and grew up in the State of Montana. She knows a lot about history so of course she and Mr. Steve have had a few good conversations. He's learned a lot from her he told me one time.
That girl and her husband sometimes dress up in "traditional garb" and then go to dance at special events. There's a place called the "Trading Post" in the town on Pearblossom to the east of us. That's where Mr. Steve met that girl and her family. I smell Sage.
The Córdova's in our family have been "traced" back to the year 1692 in New Mexico. And Mr. Steve says "a few generations back" a "Pueblo" Indian married into the family. In books two and three I'll write a lot about the history of New Mexico. I still smell Sage.
It says in this Encyclopedia that Chief Tecumseh was what they call a "Shawnee." In book two I'm going to learn and then write about that Civil War General named William Tecumseh Sherman. I hear Pigeons cooing right above me up on the roof of the Patio.
I now really agree with that "quote" by Chief Tecumseh; “In the morning, always give thanks for the light, life, strength, food and the joy of living. If you should see or feel no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Heathcliff just crowed again. I love Heathcliff!
Dais thinks that all 3 of us have a lot to be thankful for. We don't have to worry about the "Necessities" of life and all of us are in pretty good health. Daisy told me Mr. Steve admits he does need to lose some weight. Two Pigeons are flying off into the eastern desert.
Oh! Hey God! I just now decided what I'm going to call my second book; which I plan on writing tomorrow. I'm going to title it "Be Grateful" because that's Daisy always says. I was already planning on dedicating book two to her anyway. Thank You God!
Tomorrow in book two when I write about the American Civil War I'll also learn more about this one man named William Tecumseh Sherman. He was a General and that guy Ulysses S. Grant's best friend. I'll find out tomorrow if he was named after Chief Tecumseh.
Reading and writing are unbelievable things to be able to do! And if I can somehow learn to to them it will be a good thing Daisy says. She thinks I can be an example for others by showing that hard things are worth trying; even if you fail. But I'm not going to fail!
It's kind of hard to learn to read and write. I made so many mistakes this morning. But on my midday break when I ran out front to see Daisy she got me motivated to come back here on the couch and finish my first book. But we both wondered about our snacks.
How did people even discover how to read and write? Mr. Steve thinks reading and writing seem like "extensions of the human mind." But what about Mr. Peabody? He's not human and he can read and write. I admire Mr. Peabody! I smell a Squirrel nearby.
Another joke nickname Mr. Steve calls me is "Nabu" the ancient Mesopotamian Assyrian God of wisdom and writing. He'll be proud of me when he finds out I've written three books. I can't wait. Later I might just try to teach Dais to read and write too!
Hey God! According to my outline the next thing I want to write about is how You sent the Angel Gabriel down here to the Prophet Mohammad and told him to "read." My Encyclopedia says the Angel Gabriel met him in a cave. I see the Squirrel near the back fence.
ANGEL GABRIEL / PROPHET MOHAMMAD
Hey God. Mr. Steve says Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad was like all the Jewish Prophets from the Old Testament in that You used him to reveal Your will. It says here it was in 610 A.D. when You who sent the Angel Gabriel to meet him in that cave.
As You know Lord, my boss says Muslims think of You as just one of the Prophets. But they knew how important You were. They even believe in some of Your ideas I guess. Mr. Steve says he enjoyed talking to Muslims when he was in Israel. That Squirrel is gone.
Hey Blessed Virgin. The Angel Gabriel also told You that You were going to have a new baby. Boy! I wish I could travel back in time to see that! It must've been one of the greatest moments in history! Oh! I hear our four Pigeons cooing somewhere around here.
Oh my God! Just when I was thinking of You Blessed Mother I can now smell the scent of one of the new Rosemary plants that are growing out in the desert. That's already happened a few times today. Maybe that's a good sign that You're sending me!
Mr. Steve thinks its significant that, inside that cave where the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet Mohammed, she told him not just once but three times to "Read;" even though he was what they call "illiterate." Our four Pigeons just flew bye; moving to the east.
Someday I'd really like to see a real cave. Dais feels the same way. Mr. Steve is so lucky. He's been inside a few caves; some big and others small. His parents have been to this place in New Mexico called "Carlsbad Caverns." A "cavern" is just another name for a cave.
Even though it's not on my outline I feel like finding out about those caves in Mew Mexico called Carlsbad Caverns. Wow! This is interesting. According to this Encyclopedia Carlsbad Caverns is actually over one hundred different caves. I smell a Cholla cactus.
From what it says here those Carlsbad Caverns are about two hundred and fifty million year old! And I guess they were originally "formed" at a time when the whole area was under water. That is so incredible how Scientists can figure out those type of things.
This picture in my Encyclopedia shows these things called "Bats" flying out from inside one of the caves at Carlsbad Caverns. I guess they go out every night and then come back to sleep during the day. It says here over half a million Bats live in Carlsbad Caverns.
We had a Bat show up here one time. It was at night and I remember how it had these little teeth. But they looked sharp! The most amazing thing is how Bats fly around at night but never accidentally run into things in the dark. Mr. Steve explained it to me.
Hey Stanley! Writing about the Angel Gabriel kind of made me think about you and Daisy's Guardian Angels Ramona. I feel you here Stanley; protecting me from bad luck. And Daisy's Guardian Angel Ramona is probably doing the same for Dais up there in the Garage.
It's often in the soft glow of early morning that Daisy and I realize, compared to other Dogs, we "Have it Made" as they say! Mr. Steve jokes how, in a sense or to a "certain degree," the 3 of us get to be “Born Again” each and every day. I want to agree with that!
Hey God! I still remember the first time I understood the idea of "Re-Birth." As You know I was going pee behind Jack the Shed; marking our territory. I suddenly experienced what Mr. Steve would probably call an "Epiphany" or "Catharsis."
I hear Pigeons cooing up above me on the Patio roof. The baby Birds in their nest are quiet so might be sleeping. I can hear Blinky and Dawn barking faintly next door but I can tell that it's not their alarm barks. Ah! I just picked up the scent of a new Spring Sage plant.
Mr. Steve says it was his 6th Grade teacher Sister Rita Joseph who first told him about how even when you have a really bad and horrible day you can choose to hope for tomorrow when you just start over. As long as you did your best she said. We're so lucky!
Dais and I bark when people walk, or ride Bikes or Horses past our land; out there on the road in front of our property. We let them know that we see them! It's our duty to do that so Mr. Steve will like having us around. Daisy and I make a good guarding team.
Looking over to my right I see Libby the Horse nibbling the ground. Her skinny black tail is swinging around. I sure hope there aren't too many of those pesky Flies this year. I sure do wish Molly the Mule was still alive. I miss her scent some times. I hear a Wren chirping.
One time this Donkey got loose and was running past our land out on the road that runs in front f our land. Three men chased the Donkey and were trying to rope it. But the Donkey did not want to go with them. It was kicking hard and what they call "Braying."
When that Donkey got loose out on our road it was definitely one of the most exciting things that has ever happened around here. Even old Rosie next door was barking! To this day I can still smell the sweat coming from that Donkey. It was a really hot day I remember!
It was so amazing when that Donkey got loose out on the road in front of our house! Later Mr. Steve joked how those three men trying to catch the Donkey looked kind of like these three guys called the “Three Stooges. A Rabbit just ducked under Moe the middle Shed.
Some day I want to see on tv the Three Stooges. Daisy says they're so funny. She and that other Dog Millie used to watch them in Mr. Steve's Bedroom. Daisy says I'm being so silly in my being so afraid to go down the Hallway into our boss's Bedroom and Office.
Oh! I smell that one old Creosote bush Mr. Steve lets grow just to the right of the Patio. I'll bet it woke up from sleeping in the Winger. I so wish Daisy were back here to smell this. Thank You God for the Creosote bush. And thank You for for my couch Elvira too.
Those three men who captured that Donkey out on the road sure did find out how strong a Donkey is. Two held onto the Donkey's neck and the other guy tried to hold down the rear of the Donkey. They were flying through the air as it kicked and bucked. I smell the Rabbit.
Once those three men grabbed and calmed the Donkey down that one older lady pulled up in a Truck with what's called a "Horse Trailer" attached. It took three men to force one Donkey inside the Trailer. And then everyone laughed. We all thought it was funny too.
My boss jokes that sometimes we're like the Three Stooges in trying to get out of what they call "Predicaments." Later when looking back on it that time might be funny but at the time it wasn't very funny. That little Rabbit over there is sniffing the air from under Moe.
According to what Daisy told me, it's so amazing how those guys the Three Stooges always seem to solve their problems and get out of trouble. She says "Moe" is the boss and he has black hair. Sometimes he's bossy and even hits the other Stooges "Larry" and "Curly."
From what Mr. Steve says the Three Stooges in real life were mostly brothers. Their family was Jewish and Mr. Steve says they were lucky to have jobs during the 1930's Great Depression. A lot of people were really poor during that period between the two world wars.
On Saturday in book three Dais has me scheduled to write about Mr. Steve's Grandparents. They lived through the Great Depression. His Grandpa "Trujillo" was fortunate enough to have had a job loading and unloading what they call "Freight" and "Baggage from Trains.
Hey God! As You know, I've never seen the Three Stooges. But Daisy has and says they're great. That other Dog Millie also liked the Three Stooges. Boy! Dais is so lucky! If someday if I overcome my fear of going into the far end of our house I'll get to see them too.
I just noticed that some Birds are flying bye way up there in the sky. I think it might be a group of Pigeons. They're moving to the north. Now I smell what I think is a new Spring Sage plant. Watching those Birds makes me feel good. Mr. Steve likes watching Birds too.
The faint scent of a Juniper plant just floated in. I see Libby walking slowly around over in her Corral. I think it's Fannie and Freddie the Crows who are sitting on top of the fence around Libby's Corral. One of them just squawked and Libby then looked at them.
Dais thinks it's funny when the Three Stooges try to decide what to do and the only solution to the problem they can think of is; "We'll have to blast!" One thing about those Three Stooges Dais says, they're not lazy. On each show they have a new job or something to do.
That guy Curly must've had a hard head Daisy told me. One time he was at the bottom of a well and Moe dropped him down a shovel. The shovel landed right on Curly's head but all that happened was the shovel got dented. Fannie and Freddie are flying away right now.
I sure wish I could meet the Three Stooges. But Mr. Steve says they're all dead and all that's left are those old films. So, in a sense he says, you could say the Three Stooges are still "alive in spirit." That's what that lady Sister Rita Joseph would've probably said I'll bet.
Mr. Steve told me he thinks it's unusual for females to like the Three Stooges. But Daisy and Millie sure liked them! My boss's three girlfriends and his sisters and mother never thought the Three Stooges were funny. They don't appreciate what's called "Slapstick" he says.
I kind of admire those guys the Three Stooges; even though I've never even seen any of their tv shows. But Daisy is really good at describing things. She's not afraid at all to go inside of Mr. Steve's Bedroom. So of course she gets to learn about new things way more than I do.
THE THREE STOOGES
Daisy says the Three Stooges seemed like really nice guys. Because they lived during such hard times in the 1930's Great Depression; they didn't really make that much money. But as my boss says; "At least they had a job." I think I can hear a Dragonfly coming.
During the 1930's, before the Second World War; people all over the world were starving to death; even here in America. Mr. Steve told me how a lot of people had to line up outside these things called "Soup Kitchens" just so they could get some food and water.
CURLY WITH HIS DOGS
Mr. Steve thinks Curly, who's mother cried when he shaved his head, was the funniest of the Three Stooges. But in private he says, Curly wasn't anything like the character he played on camera. Curly loved Dogs but never had any good friends. I smell a Lizard.
From what my boss told me that man Curly wasn't close even with his own wife and children but was what's called a "workaholic" who died young. But then his brother "Shemp" took over for him. Daisy says in her subjective opinion he wasn't as funny as Curly.
In 1984 my boss almost got to go take pictures of this famous guy named Michael Jackson at the Forum where he worked at the time. It was the "Reunion" of the JACKSON 5 family and was called the "Victory Tour." I can now see the Lizard right beneath the big tree.
MICHAEL JACKSON (1958-2009)
In his subjective opinion Mr. Steve thinks that Michael Jackson was a good singer but even a better dancer. He read that Michael Jackson was a big Three Stooges fan and wonders if Curly influenced Michael Jackson's "Moonwalk" dance. The Lizard is looking at me.
Someday I want to see Michael Jackson dance. My boss told me that in some of his silly times that guy Curly used to do sort of do a "backslide" walk just like Michael Jackson did in his own Moonwalk dance. Boy! I really want to see that. Daisy says it's amazing.
A few years ago at the Library down in Sylmar Mr. Steve had a conversation with a guy who knew the history of the Moonwalk dance. He said that, way back in the 1930's during the Great Depression, this guy named "Cab" Calloway used it. That Lizard just ran away.
"CAB" CALLOWAY (1907-1994) JUDY GARLAND (1922-1969)
Mr. Steve says that one man at the Sylmar Library also told him that this girl named Judy Garland, who was in the movie "Wizard of Oz," also moon-walked in a World War II era movie from 1944. I wonder if a Dog could learn to Moonwalk? I'll bet I could do it!
Another thing my boss learned down at the Sylmar Library was that this Mexican comedian named Aldalberto Martínez, whose nickname is "Resorte," did the Moonwalk dance in a movie from 1958; when Mr. Steve was three years old. A Train just whistled faintly.
ALDALBERTO "RESORTES" MARTÍNEZ (1916-2003)
When that guy at the Library mentioned Resortes Mr. Steve recalled this one time when his Grandpa Córdova told him about Resortes and this other comedian named "Cantiflas." All of my boss's four Grandparent's liked Resortes and Cantiflas. I smell a Gopher Snake.
That guy at the Sylmar Library and my boss discussed about a 1973 episode of "Soul Train" ten years before Michael Jackson's "Eye Popping" Moonwalk. On that episode a much younger Michael Jackson did a dance which is now called the "Robot." I see the Gopher.
According to what Mr. Steve says, back in 1973 when he was a Senior at Sylmar High, only a few people they knew even noticed what a good dancer Michael Jackson was. But a friend of his girlfriend Sandy noticed and so did our boss. I smell one of the new Creosote plants.
Tomorrow in book two I plan on writing more about Mr. Steve's friend Mark who now lives in Hawaii with his wife Kim and their kids. Mr. Mark used to dance on Soul Train on Saturdays so he could get the Colonel Sanders two-piece Chicken dinner that was his payment.
Wow! Two pictures in my Encyclopedia show how Michael Jackson looked as a kid and then just before he died. Mr. Steve thinks as talented as he was he also went kind of crazy. It seemed like he didn't want to be black or like his face so had a lot of "Plastic Surgery."
Every once in a while Mr. Steve says he has a dream in which he hugs and then talks to all his Grandparents. They "Reminisce" about a lot of things that happened. Book three will be called "Reminisces," I'll talk more about my boss's good and bad memories then.
There are many people, and Cats and Dogs, who my boss has known over the years who have "Passed Away." And I intend to write about them so others will remember them. Daisy told me that passed away is just a nice way of saying that someone died. A Wasp just flew bye.
Well, that 's the first Wasp I've seen this year. I think I'll take some time to write a little bit about Wasps. Some of the ones in our area are like "flying Ants" and attack lights at night. So Mr. Steve jokingly calls them our "Kamikaze Bugs." I can smell a new Lizard.
Those flying Ant Wasps are smaller than other Wasps and don't make nests like many other type of Wasps. At least that's what my boss told me. Tomorrow in book two I'm going to write about the suicidal Japanese "Kamikaze" pilots at the end of World War II.
Mr. Steve says Wasps do good in helping control the populations of Bugs which eat vegetable gardens. They lay their eggs inside Bugs like Beetles and then, when the babies are born, they just eat the "host" Bugs for food. Yuk! That sounds terrible. I see the new Lizard.
Oh! I just saw a skinny little Spider crawl behind my couch. But it's not one of those Black Widows. Looking up and scanning the horizon beyond the three Sheds to the east I can see a few Birds zooming about. There are now a few wispy white clouds up in the sky.
Well, back to my outline. My Encyclopedia says that one Mexican comedian Resortes was an acrobat in a circus when he was young. In his later years I guess he made an acting "comeback" in the 1980's. That new Lizard is now doing some of those Lizard pushups.
In the 1980's Mr. Steve took pictures of a Mexican Boxer named Jorge Paez. His nickname "Maromero" or "Acrobat." Mr. Steve says Maromero Paez was a hard fighter to hit. At times he moved as if he was made out of rubber and frustrated his opponents.
Mr. Steve told me Maromero Paez one time did a Moonwalk before and after one of his fights. And he also at times did "Back Flips" up in the ring. He was a very entertaining fighter my boss says. That one Lizard just ran underneath Manny the far right Shed.
The reason why that man at the Sylmar Library knew about the Moonwalk was because he did what they call a college "Research Paper" at "Cal State Long Beach." Mr. Steve told him about Maromero Paez. I hear Pigeons cooing above me up on the Patio roof.
Mr. Steve also told that man at the Sylmar Library about the Research Paper he did on the "Black Death" plague of 1347-1351. In my three outlines Daisy has me scheduled to write about the plagues that have happened in history. I can now smell a Mouse nearby.
Mr. Steve remembers seeing film of the two Astronauts, Neal Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin do a real Moon dance up on the Moon in 1969. And he saw this one Russian Hockey player named Alexei Kovalev Moonwalk on ice in celebration one time. I smell a Joshua tree.
That guy at the Library said he thought Michael Jackson was most likely influenced to do his Moon dance by the singer James Brown. Mr. Steve asked him if Michael Jackson ever saw that guy from the 1950's named Jackie Wilson? He said he did. I see the Mouse.
JACKIE WILSON (1934-1984)
Mr. Steve thinks that singer Jackie Wilson, a Detroit friend of Barry Gordy's when they were both Boxers, was important in the "transition" from "Rhythm and Blues" music into "Soul" but he ended up "broke" like Vivaldi. I hope we're never broke. The Mouse ran away.
Mr. Steve told that man at the Library about his one friend named Mark; who came to Los Angeles from Milwaukee in 1984. Mr. Steve worked with Mr. Mark at the Forum in Inglewood then. Mark is a really good dancer so went on this show called "Soul Train."
Mr. Mark, who is black, now lives with his wife Kim and their kids over in Hawaii. He told Mr. Steve some Soul Train dancers taught Michael Jackson to Moonwalk; that and watching this French "mime" named Marcel Marceau. The guy at the Library confirmed that.
Mr. Steve, because he plays the drums, was always a pretty good dancer he says. But to go on a show the level of Soul train you have to be a great dancer and he's not that. Mr. Steve says he doesn't dance any more because he's too old and "it would look ridiculous."
My boss jokes that Curly from the Three Stooges may have been the first "Break Dancer" in history when he did his imitation of a "Chicken with its head cut off routine." Daisy told me that he would lay on his side and go round and round spinning in circles. I smell Sage.
A few years ago Mr. Steve saw a band called the STOOGES play a concert at this one place called the "Hollywood Palladium." Their singer is named "Iggy Pop." My boss says that over the years he and his friends have "attended" some concerts down at the Palladium.
IGGY AND THE STOOGES HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM THE STOOGES
My Encyclopedia says the Hollywood Palladium was built so "Swing" or "Big Bands" like Tommy Dorsey's and Duke Ellington's could play there. Because it's a "Dance Hall" there are no seats. Mr. Steve's parents went to dances at the Palladium back in the 1960's.
Tomorrow I plan on writing about this family whose last name is "Lennon." The LENNON SISTERS were singers who did concerts at the Hollywood Palladium or sang on "The Lawrence Welk Show." Mr. Steve took pictures of Jimmy Lennon Sr. and Jr. in the 1980's
My boss says he and his friends saw a lot of bands at the Palladium; some famous and some "not so famous." He and his friends saw the KINKS play there a few times. And they saw ZZ TOP, BLUE OYSTER CULT and KING CRIMSON play there. I smell a Lizard.
In the early 1970's, when one of his favorite English bands called the MOVE became the ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, or "E.L.O.," he saw their first tour down at the Hollywood Palladium. Jack the Jackrabbit just ran bye in front of the three Sheds.
Another band Mr. Steve saw play at the Palladium was JO JO GUNNE. They were from Los Angeles and two of the members were originally in this other band called SPIRIT. Mr. Steve has some SPIRIT and JO JO GUNNE records Daisy told me. I can see the Lizard now.
JO JO GUNNE
My boss thinks JO JO GUNNE were good. But they never really "made it" big he told me. They got their name from a 1950's Chuck Berry song called "Joe Joe Gun." Daisy and Millie listened to JO JO GUNNE songs in Mr. Steve's Bedroom. That Lizard is gone.
I think Daisy has me scheduled to write about how LED ZEPPELIN may have been influenced by that band SPIRIT'S song "Taurus." The beginning section their song "Stairway to Heaven" does sound kind of like that SPIRIT song
Randy California/ Hendrix
I guess the Hollywood Palladium was built in 1940 and cost one and a half million dollars. In those days that was a lot of money. It's was designed in "Art Deco" style. Mr. Steve knows a lot about Art Deco and "Art Nouveau." I think one million dollars is still a lot of money.
TOMMY DORSEY BAND HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM DUKE ELLINGTON
It says in this Encyclopedia that the Hollywood Palladium holds four thousand people. In 1940 the first concert was by The TOMMY DORSEY ORCHESTRA and Frank Sinatra. Each ticket cost one dollar and dinner was three dollars. Jimi Hendrix played there in 1969.
In 1973, when he was in twelfth grade, Mr. Steve and his friends saw this blind piano player named Stevie Wonder do a concert at the Palladium. And that night this other tall guy named Taj Majal also played. A band called the GRATEFUL DEAD played there a few times.
My boss says that he always thought "Stooges" was an odd name for a band. But he told me, they influenced a lot of other bands over the years; and not just in their music. He thinks that David Bowie's "Ziggy Strardust" character comes from meeting Iggy Pop.
DAVID BOWIE / IGGY POP ZIGGY STARDUST DAVID BOWIE AND FAMILY
Iggy Pop is from a city called Detroit while David Bowie grew up in England. Both places have produced some good musicians my boss says. But, sadly, both Detroit and England are also now in really bad financial shape. A Sparrow is singing. Detroit is in a state called "Michigan." They had to do what's called "declare bankruptcy!" I just looked that word up and Daisy was right. That means they don't even have enough money to pay their bills. I just used my Dictionary to look up the "insolvent."
About twenty miles to the south of us is a big city called "San Bernardino." Just like Detroit it also had to go bankrupt. Mr. Steve said two other cities up in northern California, Stockton and Vallejo, also ran out of money and had to declare bankruptcy.
The economy is kind of bad here too in California. Mr. Steve has a customer in Stockton and they talk about the economy. Businesses are leaving the state because things like gas cost so much they think. I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about making money.
I can hear some Birds out back singing. It sounds like a boy Bird and a girl Bird singing to each other. According to my book one outline I still have a few things to write about music. To me the sounds of the desert are like music. I feel so good here on this couch!
Today Mr. Steve says, it's much harder for musicians to "earn a living." That thing called the "Internet" can be good and bad! As with most things my boss told me, the Internet is dual in nature; good with bad and bad with good. Someday I want to have a computer.
For Mr. Steve, who used to spend a lot of time in Libraries, the Internet is great. He still goes to the local Library in Phelan but only because he enjoys it. For years he used to have to go to Libraries for research on jobs and other things. Now he uses the Internet.
Daisy says dishonest people are called "Crooks." There a lot of them on the Internet trying to steal money she told me. According to my Dictionary the word "swindler" is used to describe a crook. Mr. Steve says too many people lie a lot more now. I smell a Mouse.Besides musicians, my boss told me that another group of people who have not benefited from the Internet are these people called "Travel Agents." He knows a few of them who had to find other jobs. Mr. Steve thinks it's harder to make money nowadays.
My boss jokes he's a "Dinosaur" in some ways. To a certain extent, he likes "Analog" over "Digital." And he likes when things aren't perfect and have "warts." Because he enjoys playing drums along with other musicians he prefers "spontaneity." I see the Mouse.
In his subjective opinion Mr. Steve thinks that there's a "subtle" difference between the old "Analog" and new "Digital" music. To him most Analog has a "warmer" feeling or quality to it. He's heard others describe it as "organic" but he just thinks of it as "human."
Of course my boss jokes, if he was a "D.J." he'd use digital because vinyl records and C.D.'s take up space. Besides that he says, most people having fun dancing at a party are not going to be all that "critical" of how the music sounds. The Mouse just ran away.
Dais says my boss told her about a song from the 1960's called "Louie, Louie." There was a timing mistake by the singer whre he came in to early but the drummer just "covered up" for him and they recorded it with the mistake left in. I smell a new Spring Sage plant.
One time this guy told Mr. Steve about how that British band LED ZEPPELIN left in a few what they call "Imperfections" He said you could even hear the bass drum peddle squeeking on one of the songs. But Mr. Steve doesn't mind "Rough Edges." I smell Creosote.
Mr. Steve says that if things keep going the way they're going, pretty soon there won't even be a need for musicians. Everything will just be "Programmed" or made on a computer. So there will not be people with each other making songs. That will be a sad day he thinks.
A few weeks ago my boss saw an interview with this guitarist named Joe Walsh of that band called the EAGLES. Joe Walsh said he doesn't care for a lot of today's music; much of it made on computers. Mr. Steve agrees. Max the Hummingbird just zoomed bye.
In the early 1970's my boss and his girlfriend Sandy saw Joe Walsh play at the Hollywood Palladium. This was before he joined that other more famous band the EAGLES he says. In fact, they saw him play a number of times down at the Palladium. I see a Lizard.
The reason Mr. Steve and Sandy saw Joe Walsh so many times was because at that time he was "Opening Up" for many other bands. I guess that means he played before the "Main Act" at the concert. Someday I really want to see an actual concert. That Lizard is gone.
BON JOVI ALICE IN CHAINS
In the 1980's BON JOVI from New Jersey used a Talkbox on "Living on a Prayer." ALICE IN CHAINS in the 1990's used one on their song "Man in a Box." That one kid Jason who plays guitar told Mr. Steve METALLICA used a Talkbox on the "Black" album.
AUSTIN / SUSAN / DALTON
If things keep going the way they're going Mr. Steve says someday people like his sister will not be needed anymore. Daisy thinks that will save movie producers money. Daisy's often right about such things. Blackbeard and Anne the Crows just flew bye; moving to the north.
One time, down in Hollywood, a friend of our boss's named Chris met Iggy Pop. He told Iggy how much of an influence he'd had on his own band. Iggy grinned, shook his hand and joked, "I know. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that I'd be rich."
Mr. Steve thinks it's harder now for most musicians to make money. But he remembers how, back in the 1970's when they didn't have money, one person would buy an album or tape and everyone would copy it. Sadly, some of those were Iggy Pop's STOOGES albums.
A while back Mr. Steve heard that at one time Iggy was broke and nearly homeless. So he felt kind of guilty that he had made copies of his albums and didn't pay for them. Daisy was the one who told me that broke meant having no money. I know what homeless means.
Today with everyone, especially teenagers like his Nieces and Nephews, able to get music for free off of the Internet, it's even worse for musicians. I'd be willing to pay for music. And Daisy thinks it's only fair to pay. After all she says, musicians need to "earn a living" too.
Someday I might just learn how to play either the flute or harmonica. But it would be really hard because I have no fingers. But if I ever did learn how to play a musical instrument I think I would do it for free and not charge anyone to hear me. A Train just whistled faintly.
I just thought about those guys the Three Stooges again. I sure do wish they were still around but Mr. Steve says they died years ago. It's too bad we all have to die! I wish everyone could live forever but; then there would be too many people and Dogs too Daisy says.
We could sure use one of those Way Back Machines like the one that boy Sherman and Mr. Peabody have. Then we could go back and see the Three Stooges or anyone else we wanted. I'm sure that my boss would want to go back to see how things were in the 1500's.
If only we had a Time Machine! We could live forever! When you get old you simply go back in time. Of course, you'd have to take the Time Machine with you. But, I wonder if you could charge for this? We'd make so much money. But I'm sure my boss would never do it.
Oh wow! I see one of those ugly Potato Bugs! It's a big one too. I'm glad I'm sitting up here on my couch. Even though Mr. Steve says they're harmless, Potato Bugs have such scary faces. I don't think that Potato Bug even knows I'm up here looking down at him walking bye.
I'm looking to the east at our two acres of desert beyond the three Sheds. There are some big Insects who live out there. I haven't seen any Scorpions so far this year but I'm sure I will once the really hot weather comes. I know one thing for sure, Potato Bugs look so scary!
Well, that Potato Bug is crawling away. It looks like he's going to hide under the curled up green water hose sitting near the sliding glass door. Bonnie and Clyde's nest is right above that area and there are no sounds coming from there. I think the baby Birds are sleeping.
Dais says one time she went in Mr. Steve's Bedroom and they watched this scary movie called "Predator." She says our boss told her that he read the monster in that movie's face was "based on" the face of a Potato Bug. But they added a few things like teeth Daisy says.
Mr. Steve told Dais that movie Predator was made in the early 1990's. The "Star" was this man from Austria named Arnold Schwarzenegger. About that time my boss and Harriet were sent on an assignment to a place called West Los Angeles where they met "Arnold."
Mr. Steve's ex-girlfriend Harriet for a time wrote for a magazine called "Fitness." They gave her an assignment to go over to this Elementary school to cover an event sponsored by California Governor Pete Wilson's "Council for Physical Fitness." It was in West Los Angeles.
Harriet asked her Fitness Magazine Editor if it would be alright for Mr. Steve to go with her to take the pictures. The lady said it would be okay. So my boss and Harriet met Arnold and he was friendly. It turned out to be a very interesting event with a lot of happy kids.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER / GOVERNOR WILSON PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
From what Mr. Steve says Harriet wrote a good article about that event in West Los Angeles. I'll bet Harriet's a good writer. She sure sounds like she would be based on what my boss says. Harriet sounds like she would be a really nice person Dais thinks.
Looking to the east beyond our three Sheds the light blue sky is so pretty. There are a few wispy white clouds here and there. Lizards, Snakes, Jackrabbits and Quail live in our half acre. In fact, I just smelled the scent of a Ground Squirrel somewhere around here.
I can see Blackbeard the big Crow, and his girlfriend Anne, sitting on a Joshua tree out in the desert behind the fence. I saw our four Pigeons flying up in the sky; moving toward the east. Ah! There's a Quail walking around to the side of Moe the Shed.
That Quail is doing what Quail often do; "scratching" at the dirt trying to dig up some food. When they do that Daisy thinks they look kind of like little gray Chickens. I wonder why that Quail's alone? You don't often see "solitary" Quail. I smell a Squirrel.
Mr. Steve likes to walk in our back half acre and also up and down "Primavera" Road; the dirt road which runs north and south behind our half acre. Dais and I are kind of afraid to leave our two acres. We feel safer inside the fence. Aha! That Squirrel just ran past.
At times Daisy and I are kind of curious about what's out in our back half acre but, then just stay inside our yard. The other day I saw the first Rattlesnake of the season crawling toward the field. That big Dragonfly just zoomed past. I heard it coming from far away.
Oh wow! Just when I was thinking about how I haven't seen any Scorpions this year what do I see? A big Scorpion running under that pile of wood Mr. Steve has stacked near Manny the far right Shed. Mr. Steve told me the Scorpions in our area are big but not aggressive.
I just heard the sound of someone on one of those Dirt Bikes going up Primavera Road. But this is a Thursday so the kids should still be in school. Usually the ones who are into Motocross racing don't show up until about three. I just picked up the scent of some Sagebrush.
Most of the time there are more than just one Motorcycle racing up and down our dirt road. Maybe that kid got off of school today. I'll bet he's going toward the northeast because that's where Mr. Steve says they go to practice jumping and things like that.
Not all of my boss's customers are Auto Dealerships. He also at times sells things to these places called "Motorcycle Shops." But because of the bad economy in the last few years a lot of Motorcycle Shops have gone out of business he says. I smell a Snake.
Superstitious is not a word I would use to describe my boss but, he told me that when he saw our dirt road listed on a map as "Primavera" Road, just like that one Vivaldi's song; he thought it "interesting." I want to think it was a good omen. I see the Snake. It's brown.
I always watch for omens. And Daisy also believes in signs. But my boss doesn't. He just says there a lot of what they call "coincidences" sometimes. There's a dirt road near us called "Daisy Lane." There goes that kid on his motorcycle again. Motorcyles are kind of loud.
Libby the Horse is nibbling the ground over in her Corral. Sometimes she eats the little pieces of hay that fall off of what's called a "flake." I can see the early afternoon Sun is falling on her back. The brown Snake crawled under one of the rock's around the big tree.
I can see some Flies over there in the Corral near Libby. And now that I look around here I can see there are a few Flies in front of the tree where that Snake is hiding. I sure do hope there aren't too many Flies around this Summer when the weather gets hotter.
You know God? Thank You for having Libby around. Just her presence somehow makes me feel relaxed and happy. The same is true for Heathcliff the Rooster and all of the other Birds and animals who live around here. And thank You too Blessed Virgin Mary!
I see Libby's tail "swatting" back and forth to keep the Flies away. I'm lucky that today the Flies aren't too bad. Flies can be really annoying. Daisy and I snap at them with our mouth's but we've never caught one yet. I wonder what a Fly tastes like? I smell Sage.
Mr. Steve says Libby is about what's called fifteen "hands” tall. One hand is four inches, or the width of four human fingers. You know, I could never eat hay; unless I was starving. Oats don't seem that appealing either. I can really smell that old Joshua tree right now.
Libby seems nice. She stays to herself and doesn't bother anyone. My boss says Libby is what they call a "Quarter" Horse. But she's old now so our neighbors rescued her. Libby's scent is a part of our lives now. I like having Libby around! And so does Daisy too.
For a few years there was also a Donkey, or more correctly a "Mule" named Molly, living in that corral too. I sure liked Molly but; she died a while back. Sometimes both Daisy and myself wonder if Libby is lonely being by herself now. I would be. A Sparrow is singing.
According to what it says here in my Dictionary, a Mule is defined as "the offspring of a male Donkey and a female Horse." I can see Libby over there in her Corral right now. As usual she's walking around slowly. It's so nice and warm. I smell Libby even from here.
Molly used to come over to the fence and then let people pet her on the nose and even rub her head. She was such a nice and friendly Mule. Molly and Libby's scents still remind me of when I first came over to live here. Boy! I just realized just how much I miss Molly!
Even though it seems like there were more Flies around when Molly the Mule was around I miss hearing her "braying" in the mornings. She welcomed the day like Heathcliff. I remember that time when Blackbeard the Crow jumped in surprise at Molly's voice.
Wow! Just when I was thinking about Heathcliff I just heard him crow next door. It sure does seem like he's crowing a lot more than usual today. But I don't mind. In fact, I sort of like it. I'll bet Daisy's noticed Heathcliff crowing too. I still smell Libby over there.
Molly the Mule could hear even better than Daisy! That's saying a lot! As Daisy grows older her eyesight gets worse. But her hearing and sense of smell sure seem to be getting a lot sharper. I also hear and smell things from far away. I just smelled that new Gopher!
Both Dais and I can feel any vibrations in the ground. We're near this thing called the "San Andreas" fault to our north; nearer the mountains. There haven't been any "tremors" lately. I am kind of afraid of earthquakes! Daisy says we'll be brave if a big earthquake happens.
Early in the morning on a day back in February of 1971 Mr. Steve and his family lost their house in this really big earthquake. It's now even called the "Sylmar earthquake." My boss was "half awake" but lying in the top "Bunk" of a bed when that big earthquake hit.
Daisy explained to me one time what a "Bunk Bed was." In 1971 Mr. Steve's family lived on Hagar Street which, as I mentioned in chapter one, was a circular or rounded "Cul-de-Sac." In that earthquake four of the five houses on it were destroyed.
That big earthquake back in 1971 was really scary Mr. Steve says told me. But those things they call "Tornadoes" like the ones they have in Texas where his brother and Nephews live kind of sound way worse. I can hear some Crows cawing faintly out there in the desert.
Sometimes here in the desert we have these little swirling "Dust Devils" which spin around like a top. I'm afraid of them but Daisy isn't. But Mr. Steve says they're not very powerful and are small compared real tornadoes like the ones over there in Texas.
Well, It looks like I'm pretty much finished with chapter eight. I'll go over my outline for the next chapter and then get started on chapter nine. Looking to the east out in the eastern desert behind the three Sheds; I see and hear a lot of Birds. Dawn is barking next door.
I suddenly feel like writing now about something which, according to my outline, I'm actually scheduled to write about tomorrow in book two. That is, the color "Purple." Looking to beyond the three Sheds I can see that sky is now bluish-purple and I like that color.
A while back Mr. Steve had a dream about living on Hagar Street down there in Sylmar The neighborhood was lined with "Jacaranda" trees which every year bloom with purple flowers. In his dream my boss was sweeping up the fallen purple flowers. I smell a Cholla cactus.
Even though my boss's favorite color is green because he likes the Oakland A's, another color he appreciates is purple; which has had an influence on his life. Back in the mid-1980's when he worked at the Forum the Lakers, Kings and Lazers wore purple as their primary color.
Tomorrow in my second book I'm going to write about Mr. Steve's friend Mark. In 1984 he came here to California from a city called "Milwaukee," which is in the State of "Wisconsin." They met working for California Sports Inc. Mr. Mark's favorite color is purple.
Mr. Mark now lives over in Hawaii with his wife and kids. This couch I'm on right used to be his. I'll write a lot more about Mr. Mark tomorrow. He used to dance on this one tv show called "Soul Train" and got a date on this other show called "Love Connection."
JIMI HENDRIX PRINCE
Mr. Mark plays guitar and keyboards. He used to come over to visit Mr. Steve, both here and when he lived dowqn in Sylmar. He enjoyed playing my boss's drums. Two of Mark's favorite musicians are Jimi Hendrix and this one other guy named Prince. I smell Sage.
Both Jimi Hendrix and Prince are associated with purple. Jimi Hendrix had a song "Purple Haze" while Prince's movie was titled "Purple Rain." I'll write about Prince later and in book three I'll talk about how Jimi Hendrix is a member of this thing called the "27 Club."
I like purple a lot now too. Sometimes we have purple wild flowers that grow around here. Mr. Steve, who works selling Apparel, told me that purple is not what they call a "Stock" color. If someone wants a purple hat it has to be "ordered." I hear Dawn barking.
In his dream Mr. Steve was doing what he did many times when he lived on Hagar Street. He swept up the fallen Jacaranda flowers before they made a mess. Things being dual in nature the purple Jacaranda flowers are pretty to look at but stick to things when they fall off.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia, Jacaranda trees were originally brought up here to California in the 1930's during the Great Depression. Mr. was told one time that they were intended to add color to what otherwise was a dark and "dismal" time.
Mr. Steve told me that most of the time Jacaranda trees begin to grow flowers in the month of May. But he noticed over the years that when the Winter was warm they sometimes started in mid-April. I just picked up the faint scent of some of the new Spring Sage plants.
It says here that some of the first Jacaranda's ever planted in California in 1931 were in a city to our south called "Fullerton." One time Mr. Steve sold Season Tickets for the Lakers to a guy named Gary Carter. He was a Baseball player. I'll write about him tomorrow.
Dais has me scheduled to write a lot more about ancient Rome in books two and three. When the Empire was centered in Italy they spoke Latin and the primary color was red. When Italy fell the main color of the surviving "Byzantine" Rome was purple. They were Greek.
One time Mr. Steve had a conversation with this man who knew a lot about Jacaranda trees. They discussed the "Love-Hate" relationship many people have with Jacaranda trees. This is mainly because when the flowers fall off they became very sticky as they decay.
Some people hate Jacaranda flowers when they fall on their Cars or go inside things like pool filters. That man told my it's not the "Nectar" or what they call "Sap" that makes the mess; it's the Bugs that feed on the flowers. I guess those flowers look like little trumpets.
Mr. Steve thinks the way to enjoy the beautiful Jacaranda trees and not get mad at them is to clean up the flowers as soon as they fall off. Daisy says he does the same with these things called "Dishes" which people eat off of. He never lets dirty dishes "accumulate."
Wow! It says in my Encyclopedia that some Jacaranda trees can get up to forty feet tall and live to be over one hundred years old. That guy who knew about trees said meat "smoked" or cooked with Jacaranda wood tastes really good. I can smell a Ground Squirrel.
Boy, thinking about meat makes me kind of hungry. I wonder why Daisy and I haven't had any snacks today? Usually by this time we've had at least two or three snacks. Oh well. "That's the way it goes" as they say. I can't wait to see what we'll have for our dinner.
This is interesting. My Encyclopedia says in 1972, when Mr. Steve was in the eleventh grade, the Jacaranda was made the "official" tree of the city of "Glendale." Glendale is next to the city of Pasadena which my boss says also has Jacaranda trees too. I see the Squirrel.
Day after tomorrow at the end of book three I'm scheduled to write about this older lady who worked with Mr. Steve and Mark at the Forum. Her name was Helen Graham. She lived down in Glendale until she died a few years ago. She made a big impression on my boss.
Some of Miss Helen's neighbors didn't like Jacaranda trees and joked about cutting them all down. Miss Helen said until she worked for the Lakers, Kings and Lazers who wore purple, and saw Jacaranda trees, she didn't care too much for purple. That Squirrel is gone.
Mr. Steve does a lot of artwork. So he knows about colors. And he likes the uniforms of some sports teams who use purple as a primary color. But he even likes it when a team uses purple as a secondary color; like the Colorado "Rockies" Baseball team. Dais likes purple too.
Well, I wasn't intending to write so much about purple until tomorrow but I'm sort of glad I did it today. I kind of just felt like doing it. Besides that, I'm still going to expand on the things I mentioned. Thank you God for giving me a Free Will to do what I want to.
I'm still kind of thinking about good old Molly the Mule. I remember how, at night, if there was something out in the desert Molly would start braying and kick the fence really hard! One time a big Mountain Lion walked along Primavera Road. I smell a Lizard.
The morning after the night Molly kicked the fence my boss saw big Cat tracks on Primavera Road. A friend said because of the drought Mountain Lions and Coyotes are coming down from the mountains looking for water. And some may be females who had babies he said.
Dais and I are so lucky! We don't have to worry about water. And Mr. Steve has the amazing ability to make these little square things called "Ice Cubes." He puts them in our two gray water buckets in the mornings when it's going to be really hot. Aha! I can see the Lizard.
I can see the water bucket over near the Sliding Glass door. The other one is right outside the front doors of our house. In cold weather Mr. Steve fills our water buckets with warmer water. I can almost feel that warm water on my tongue and in my mouth too. I smell Sage.
Daisy says it's incredible how many ways people have thought of to heat water. They can put it in a metal container above a little ring of fire which comes out of this machine called a "Stove" or put that container inside what's called an "Oven." That Lizard just ran away.
From what Dais told me, the most astounding way that Mr. Steve heats things like water up is when he uses a machine called a "Microwave" oven which shoots in invisible rays. Someday I'm really going to have to overcome my fear and go inside of our Kitchen and Dining Room.
Looking over at Libby nibbling the ground in her Corral makes me think about Molly. Boy, I must admit, Donkeys and Mules have very impressive ears! Daisy says that it's "small wonder" Donkeys hear so well. She says we'd hear better too if we had big ears like Donkeys.
Even though we don't have as big of ears like Mules both Daisy and myself have really good hearing anyway. Right now I can hear clearly our neighbors Ducks quacking away next door. Oh my God! There's a Jackrabbit standing over there in the dirt near the big tree.
Jackrabbits also have really big ears! The very first time I ever saw a Jackrabbit I couldn't believe my eyes! I was shocked! It was as if someone had pulled on the Rabbit's ears and then stretched them way out. But now I know why they're so big. It's Evolution!
When I saw that Jackrabbit I flinched and did what they call a "Double Take." It took me a few minutes to react. But now I've come to kind of like our Jackrabbits; even though sometimes I have a duty to chase them when they come onto our property. I smell the Jackrabbit.
I feel like chasing that Jackrabbit right now but I better not. I've got too much work still to do today and don't have time to waste. Maybe on Sunday after I've finished my three books I'll go back to chasing things. But "for the time being" I've got to stay focused.
Mr. Steve not only spreads out Bird Seed and Chicken Scratch on the ground below his office window; he also puts out these little things called "Pellets." They're for the Rabbits and also the Squirrels to eat. That Jackrabbit just ran out into the desert behind the Sheds.
Baby Jackrabbits and Quail are so cute! I won't chase baby Jackrabbits or Quail; even if they are on our land and even if I were hungry. Oh! Just when I was thinking about them I just saw Able Company with their new babies going back out into our half acre.
I still think about Molly. I got used to seeing her. She was old so it wasn't such a big surprise when she died my boss says. But it was sort of shocking to me. I miss her scent and voice. Daisy and I still think fondly of Molly. She left what's called a good "Legacy" in our minds.
A few weeks ago I had a dream in which all of a sudden one morning Molly was back and out in the corral eating alongside Libby just like she used to do. At times I wish I could hear Molly's voice just one more time. If I had money I'd even pay to hear it! No problem!
Molly's voice had become part of the soundtrack of our lives; just as the cawing of Crows like Fanny and Freddie still is. I also like the sounds of all the many Birds out in our back half acre. I wonder why I haven't seen those two Bluebirds with the orange chests today?
MOLLY THE MULE / LIBBY IN BACKROUND
As Daisy says, thinking about Molly makes us appreciate "the moment." Mr. Steve says living up here in the desert has made him understand better that popular saying; "Stop and smell the Roses." Roses smell so good to me. I sure do appreciate them an awful lot!
Oh my God! This is so weird! For the first time this new year I smell our neighbor's Roses. I wonder if Dais is smelling this? I want to believe this is a good sign! To me this exact moment is symbolizing the renewal of life. I can also smell the new leaves on the Joshua trees.
My boss says that he realizes now how most times, good or bad, are not fully appreciated until later, if ever. Our neighbors have Rose bushes. I like the smell of Roses in Spring! And I used to like the smell of Molly when the wind blew her scent in my direction.
Mr. Steve told me that he was told the reason we seem to have more Butterflies around this year is because there are more flowers growing next door in our neighbors property. I went over to the fence and looked at some of those "Oleander" bushes on my mid-day break.
This is amazing! Just when I was thinking of them who should appear? That orange and black Butterfly I saw this morning. And what did my nose just smell? An Oleander bush! Oh! I just noticed another Butterfly. I wonder if they're partners?
My Encyclopedia says Butterflies flap their wings over three hundred times a minute and use air currents to float or glide; sometimes for a thousand miles! It says here they go from twelve to twenty miles an hour. I guess Butterflies "migrate" farther than any other Insect.
Dais says she's noticed that, because most things in life are dual in nature, the biggest roses also have the biggest thorns! Mr. Steve says the bigger the good, the equal potential for bad; and "vice-verse." But I still like big Roses! More and more Daisy thinks like our boss.
The other day my boss told me about all those years when he and his parents were Tour Guides down at the San Fernando Mission. He says he enjoyed giving tours to people who wanted to learn about things. There are a lot of flowers at the San Fernando Mission.
SAN FERNANDO MISSION
PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
For a few years there were these really beautiful Birds called "Peacocks" on the grounds of the San Fernando Mission Mr. Steve says. Peacocks are almost a "fluorescent" blue and the males have big tails. But my boss told me that Peacocks are kind of "messy."
Mr. Steve took a picture of a Peacock and it was one of the photos in the Art Exhibit he and his mother had in the mid 1990's. I wish we could have a Peacock but what I'd really like is if our boss planted a Rose bush. But, we're in a drought. Ah! I smell a Lizard.
About two miles north of us is this thing called the "California Aqueduct." It's sort of like a river made out of gray cement. It's water from northern California keeps Los Angeles alive my boss says. Without the California Aqueduct there would be no Los Angeles he told me.
The California Aqueduct is low on water because California hasn't had much rain lately. Most of the that water comes all the way from the "Owens Valley" in Northern California. Mr. Steve says some people fish in that Aqueduct. Some because they're low on food!
In 2007, after my boss moved up here, he tried to grow a miniature Japanese "Banzai" tree but, after a lot of time and effort; it died anyway. This desert can be kind of harsh he told me. When that little Banzai tree died Mr. was sad; and a bit angry.
Living alone out in that field I learned when to stand my ground and when to run; mostly run. I heard Mr. Steve once call it "fight " or "flight." He says I was like a Poker player who has to know when to "Hold" or when to "Fold" his cards. I smell an old Joshua tree.
Mr. Steve doesn't like to gamble but for a while his family was in the "Gaming" industry in the early 1990's. He jokes that just as "Pre-Owned" sounds better than a "Used" Car, gaming sounds better than "gambling." Mr. Steve's father is a really good Poker player!
Some time back my boss told me about this song called "The Gambler" by this singer named Kenny Rogers. In it he sings about knowing when to Hold or Fold in a card game. Sometimes I wonder if I would be a good Poker player. Maybe someday I'll learn that game.
Kenny Rogers was born on August 21, the day after his mom's birthday my boss says. He also told me that Kenny Rogers has sold millions of albums. He was what they call "voted" into the Country Music Hall of Fame even though he does other types of music too.
I just might be a good Poker player; if I knew how to play Poker that is. Mr. Steve has kind of explained it to me but I'm a little unclear on all of the rules. My boss told me that his father has played Poker for much of his life. Two of the Pigeons just flew bye.
In College Mr. Steve took classes in "Deductive" and "Inductive" logic. Sister Rita Joseph was the first person who explained the difference to him. Inductive logic deals with the "Law of Probabilities." Good Poker players like Mr. Steve's father are good at inductive logic.
MR. STEVE'S FATHER ON LEFT
During the Korean War in the early 1950's Mr. Steve's father played Poker with some of the other Marines. They all saw "Combat" in that war against the North Koreans and Chinese. His feet froze one time! I'll write more about that tomorrow in my second book.
Dais has me scheduled to write about the Korean people who live around us up here in the High Desert tomorrow in book two. But I kind of feel like doing it now instead; mainly because Mr. Steve recently met a man and his wife who are originally from "South" Korea.
To the southeast of Piñon Hills is this place known up here in our part of the High Desert as "Korean Valley." South Koreans live there now. Many of them, like that one man and his wife, are Farmers. Some grow fruit trees that produce "Jujubes." I smell new Sage.
Mr. Steve met that Korean couple at the McDonalds in Phelan. They told him they wanted to practice speaking English. I guess a jujube is kind of like a "Date" and can be used in some of the Korean medicines. But you can just eat jujubes too they said. A Wren is singing.
Those people from South Korea told Mr. Steve that jujubes are used as ingredients in soups and things like that. They also said how Koreans like "Soybean" sauce on chips. In Phelan is a business that cleans clothes. Mr. Steve goes there. Two Pigeons just flew bye.
Hey Lord! As You know, the lady who runs the Cleaners in Phelan is also from South Korea. And like that couple over at the McDonalds, she's Christian. Mr. Steve told me there are Korean Christian Churches up here where we live. I hear our neighbors Ducks quacking.
Oh! I just picked up the scent of that old Joshua tree in the clump to the right of Manny the far right Shed. Trees must know it's Spring. Boy! We has a few really cold nights. But this old couch is so warm and comfortable. Now I can smell another Joshua tree.
Dais thinks I'm silly not sleeping in the house on freezing cold nights the way she does. She says we could sleep on the carpet in front of Mr. Steve's drums. That other Dog Millie liked to sleep between the two beds in the Guest Bedroom. I would like to see those drums.
On cold nights Mr. Steve uses a thick "Quilt" that was made for him by his one sister Celina; who died few years ago. He paid the Korean lady at the Cleaners to clean it and fix some of the areas that needed repair. Mr. Steve had a dream about Celina a while back.
Those people at McDonalds said "thank you" when Mr. Stcve told them how his father saw combat in the Korean War. They both lost family members in that war. Mr. Steve relayed their message to his dad and he just said; "Tell them you're welcome." I smell old Sage.
That Korean man told Mr. Steve about his father's memories of being given some candy by an American soldier during the Korean War. Mr. Steve then told him that his father was one of those soldiers who would give away his chocolate to the children in South Korea.
According to what that couple at McDonalds told Mr. Steve; Koreans first settled here in the early-1990's. A Restaurant called "The Place Where the Clouds Rest" attracted Koreans from "all over" as they say. Some noticed the land was like parts of South Korea.
LOS ANGELES "KOREATOWN"
PHOTO BY "DISCOVER LOS ANGELES"
Another thing Mr. Steve talked about with the couple at McDonalds was a place in downtown Los Angeles called "Koreatown." Mr. Steve told them that he's driven on "Olympic" Boulevard a few times. One time he was hired to take pictures at a Korean wedding.
That Korean man's wife said they lived in "Garden Grove" but when they saw what the area near Wrightwood was like they wanted to move here. Mr. Steve sold Lazer Indoor Soccer season tickets to a Barber Shop that was in Garden Grove one time. I smell a new Cholla cactus.
Well, I'm kind of glad I wrote about the Koreans who live near us today instead of tomorrow in book two as was originally planned. I'll explain to Daisy why I did that tonight after dinner when we go over my outline for book two. This is so fun learning new things.
Mr. Steve thinks I'm a good "Bluffer." I can pretend to be really mean if I'm guarding our property. Dais thinks this is funny because our boss has told us that it's usually not a good thing when "image" or "perception" become even more important than "reality."
I think I'm courageous! If anyone ever tries to invade our two acres I'll defend and protect everything we have. I know one thing for sure. Daisy's brave and would even bite if it became obvious we were being robbed. Me too! I have some really sharp teeth.
The Australian Shepard in Daisy makes her first instinct to "herd" things. Mr. Steve says he laughs when he sees her trying to pin me in one of the corners of our two acres. But she can't really do it because I'm so what my boss calls "elusive."
Mr. Steve jokes Daisy's sort of like the Boxer Joe Frazier who, because he was short and had short arms, was really good at getting on the "inside" and then“cutting off the angle” against faster opponents who were trying to get away from him.
JOE FRAZIER / MUHAMMAD ALI
Unfortunately for Daisy, I'm as hard to catch as was Muhammad Ali! And, as Daisy knows, I can "duck and weave" but, when "cornered like a Rat" or when "push comes to shove," I can hit back really hard too! I'm a lot stronger than when I first came to live over here.
Mr. Steve, during the 1980's and early 1990's worked as a photographer. One of the things he took pictures of was Boxing and Kickboxing. Some of those "Cards" were held at the Hollywood Palladium and others down at the Forum in Inglewood. I smell a Joshua tree.
PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
If I were a Boxer I'd be what they call a "Counter Puncher" my boss told me. This is because, just like the Germans during World War II, I'm pretty good at "Counter Attacking." I do react very fast if I do say so myself. Even Daisy has complimented me on this a few times.
We have two "Dining" areas in our house. One is just to my right inside of the sliding glass door. The other one is up front kind of near the Living Room. Both have tables and chairs but Mr. Steve doesn't often use them to sit around and eat. I can smell a Creosote bush.
Hanging on a wall to the side of the front door to the house are Boxing gloves. I've noticed them when I go into the house on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. One of the pair have no thumbs. And another set says "Reyes" on them. I hear Wrens singing to each other.
Because of my terror of being trapped in "tight spaces" I move quickly. I'm really good at "reaction" if I do say so myself. Some day I want to play that game "Whack a Mole" but, first I have to learn how to use tools better. I know what a hammer is! I smell a Mouse.
Mr. Steve jokes that trying to herd me is sort of like trying to herd a Cat, or catch a greased Pig. Daisy has now pretty much given up on trying to "corner" me. But, sometimes, she can't help herself. It's in Daisy's nature to herd things like Sheep. I see the Mouse.
Telling Daisy not to try to herd things would be like telling me not to run. It would be a waste of time. I still have a lot of what my boss calls "nervous energy." As a matter of fact I wouldn't mind a good run right now. I 've been here writing for almost nine hours now.
I'd like to someday smell and hear a real Sheep; or a live Goat. Mr. Steve was offered Goats. I'd vote to get a Goat! Dais and I could guard and protect it; even though you can eat Goat. But so far Daisy's voted against the idea too; even though she could practice herding it.
If only I could just convince Daisy to change her mind about getting a Goat! After I heard that Goats climb trees I have to see this for myself. We've got good trees for them to climb! And our boss could shape the trees just like he shaped our shade bush near the front gate!
In this Encyclopedia it says in the Viking "Sagas" Odin's son is named "Thor;" the God of thunder and lightning. And Thor has a magical belt named "Megingörd" which gives him great strength. It says here Thor also has a really powerful hammer called "Mjölnir."
Mjölnir the hammer shoots out lightning and is like a "Boomerang." My boss has a plastic boomerang in his office Dais says. And he has "Sledge" hammers out in the Garage; near where I'm sure she's laying right this very minute. Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.
It says here Thor lived in three places and flew around in a two-wheeled Wagon or "Chariot" pulled by two Goats. Boy, I sure do wish I could see that; even though I'm still kind of afraid of thunder and lightning. I can see Libby the Horse over there in her Corral.
Later today Dais has me scheduled to write about our boss's favorite Actor Charlton Heston. Daisy says he was in a movie called "Ben-Hur" where they show a Chariot race. In book three I'll write about the 6th century A.D. "Nika" riots that happened after a Chariot race.
Oh, this is interesting! Today, "Thursday," comes from "Thor's day." Daisy told me that the month of July was named after the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. Mr. Steve was born in July. I sure wish I could go back in time to find out my birthday. I smell a Cholla cactus.
According to my Encyclopedia Thor lived in a giant Hall up in "Asgard" called "Valhalla;" where Vikings went if they died bravely in battle. This Hall was ruled over by Odin it says here; and a magic Goat named "Heidrûn" also lived up there too. A Crow is cawing faintly.
I guess pretty girls called "Valkyries" escorted the souls of dead soldiers up there to Valhalla. Hey God! Asgard sort of sounds like our Heaven. It says here Crows "accompanied" Valkyries. In books two and three Dais has me writing about things having to do with Valkyries.
Back in 1944 some German military officers, in "Operation Valkyrie," tried to "get rid of" or kill Adolph Hitler. I'm so tempted to write about it now but I better just wait until Saturday when I work on book three where Dais decided to put in our outlines. I smell Sage.
You know God, Daisy's right! Valkyries do kind of sound a lot like our Angels. Dais knows I love Angels. I'll write more about Angels tomorrow. Seeing Birds moving about makes me kind of think about what it would be like to fly. Daisy would like to fly with Underdog.
I notice that in Viking stories Crows are called "Ravens." Valkyries rode flying Horses. Mr. Steve told me one time about how a 19th century German composer Richard Wagner wrote an "Opera" and part of it was named "Ride of the Valkyries." I smell a Sage plant.
In German Ride of the Valkyries is "Ritt der Walküren." On Saturday in book three I'll write about how Richard Wagner's music influenced Adolph Hitler; so of course effected the history of the 20th century and the world. Fannie and Freddie are flying bye.
Mr. Steve told me once that most of the time he prefers "Classical" music to "Opera" singing. An "exception" are Wagner's powerful "Heroic" Opera's. Dais says Wagner makes you feel like you're in another world of Vikings and things like that. I do want to hear them.
RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
Oh wow! My Encyclopedia says Richard Wagner was born on May 22. According to my list of birthdays and things like that Mr. Steve's Nephew Austin in Connecticut was born on May 20 and his brother Sam on May 23. Mr. Steve's parent's Wedding Anniversary is the 24th.
It was in Operas Richard Wagner "composed" which created the image of Vikings having big horns or wings sticking out of the sides of their helmets. In reality my boss says, most Vikings didn't even wear any helmets at all. Mr. Steve has a replica Viking helmet.
From what Mr. Steve read, any Viking who did wear a helmet only had a thin nose guard on the front. But some of them probably did have what they call "Face Shields." But whatever the Vikings wore; it says here they "laid waste" to towns and killed many people.
My Encyclopedia says that "Viking" means "to go off raiding." For most of the year Vikings were farmers and fisherman it says here. And I guess the Vikings came from an area in Europe called "Scandinavia." Now it's the countries or Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
There are two maps in this Encyclopedia that show where the Vikings sailed to in looking for things to steal. The first one shows how they even went up rivers into Russia. The second map shows that Vikings crossed the Atlantic Ocean all the way to North America.
Daisy says, even though he believes in making his own luck, above the desk in his Office Mr. Steve has hanging some Medals, Crosses, and what they call "Good Luck Charms." I do want to believe in things like that. As Dais says, "It couldn't hurt." This couch is lucky for me.
Oh! The Chimes above me are ringing because of a slight breeze. Another thing hanging in Mr. Steve's Office above his desk is an Egyptian Ankh Dais told me. And so are Hummingbird-themed Chimes which make pretty sounds whenever he leaves the window open.
Hey Holy Spirit! As You know, whenever I hear Chimes I think about You. Daisy says that Mr. Steve really likes Chimes and I'm sure glad he does. There are even Chimes hanging from the roof of the Bedroom Bathroom; which has a window to let in the breezes.
Also hanging above Mr. Steve's desk are things called "Amulets." One is shaped like a little Hammer of Thor and looks just like the good luck charms that Vikings wore around their necks whenever they went int a battle. Boy! I'd sure like to wear one of those!
Looking at the map showing the Viking voyages across the Atlantic Ocean I notice that one of the places they settled in was called "Greenland." My boss has a friend named Mr. Cliff. He's been to Greenland and says it should really be called "Whiteland" instead.
Wow! There's a good picture of a "Greenland" Shark in this Encyclopedia. They're huge! It says here a Greenland Shark is a "slow-moving" Shark that lives in really deep and "frigid sub-Arctic" waters around Greenland. I smell a Bunny Rabbit around here.
At the end of book two tomorrow Dais has me scheduled to write about Sharks and things like that. Mr. Steve is very interested in those type of things. I'll also learn about "Stingrays" and "Whales." But I think I'll write about Greenland Sharks right now instead.
It says here Greenland Sharks can grow to be twenty feet long and may live to be over two hundred and fifty years old. That makes them the longest living "Vertebrate" Animal in the whole world. I see the Bunny Rabbit sniffing the air from under Moe the middle Shed.
I'm pretty sure vertebrate means things like us who have skeletons. This is interesting. It says here that because Greenland Sharks live in such deep water they really don't need eyes all that much. Instead, they can really smell things; even from kind of far away.
Mr. Cliff knows the oceans and seas. He says some people say Greenland Sharks could live to be five hundred years old. Tomorrow I'll write about Mr. Steve's friend Mark Ritter and giant "Galapagos Island Tortoises" who live really old too. I can't wait until tomorrow!
According to what Mr. Cliff told Mr. Steve, there are some Scientists who think that the main reason why Greenland Sharks can live for so long is that in extremely cold water things grow a lot slower. that Bunny Rabbit just turned around and ran out into the eastern desert.
Thinking about Thor's Goats makes me remember how one time when he was visiting New Mexico Mr. Steve got "nibbled on" by his Cousin's Goat. The Goat chewed on the "untucked" back of his shirt until, "little by little," it ate his shirt right up to near his pants.
I guess the Goat ate the shirt until it's teeth pinched my boss's back. It really hurt and Mr. was mad. He hit the Goat but that was a dumb thing to have done he says because then the Goat got angry and chased him. His Cousins Randy and Casey Ray chuckled.
Looking back on it now Mr. Steve says he's kind of embarrassed that he hit that one Goat. He should have just let it go because it's not smart to upset a Goat. Goats have two really sharp horns that can stab and cut you. And he says goats have pretty strong necks too.
Somehow, if I could Daisy to change her mind about getting a Goat or two we'd have our boss outvoted with two thirds of what they call the "popular" vote. But Daisy thinks it would be too much extra work. She says she's way too old to be guarding Goats. I smell Sage.
If we were to get a Goat it would eat the weeds so our boss would have less work to do. We'd have no food bill! Of course we'd have to give it some water. But it would be a rare "Win, Win" situation like the situation Mr. Steve and his father like. You don't see those often.
The more I think about it the more I'm convinced we need a Goat; maybe even more than one as it would be lonely for a single Goat. Everyone needs a friend. Of course, I'd have to do most of the work because Dais has her arthritis. But she could help me herd them.
I like the idea of traveling back in time but I think Dais is right. It would also be interesting to travel to the future too. Daisy, if given the choice, would prefer knowing the future. I'd sure like to know if I'll ever have any puppies God. I hear some Birds chirping shrilly.
You know God, as of course I've mentioned before, I would love to raise some babies! I would teach them all of the things Mr. Steve and Daisy have taught me. You know I'd be a really good mother. I can see some billowy clouds have formed up there in blue eastern sky.
One of the of the places the Vikings settled when their "Long Boats" allowed them to move west in the warmer waters of the north Atlantic Ocean was what's now called "Iceland." I know Mr. Steve thinks this singer from there named "Bjork" is very unusual and unique.
Mr. Steve told me that in ancient Greece, when people like Alexander the Great wanted to learn what was in their future, they made what's called a "Pilgrimage" to this one famous city called "Delphi." I sure wish we had something like that here in our modern time.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (356-323 B.C.)
Mr. Steve has a book about that guy Alexander the Great. According to this Encyclopedia he was a "Macedonian" Greek who died at age thirty three. But before he died he conquered the biggest empire up to that point. He and his mother killed his father my boss thinks.
It says here that on his deathbed Alexander the Great was asked who should take over as the leader of his giant empire. I guess he said; "tôi kratistôi" which is Greek for "To the strongest" but Mr. Steve said this may just have been a rumor. I just smelled a Joshua tree.
From what my boss says that guy Alexander the Great was not the only person to make the trip over to Delphi. A lot of people did back then. Boy, if someone could just figure out a way to predict the future they could make a lot of money. If only we had a time machine!
Inside a Temple in Delphi if you wanted this girl called an "Oracle" or "Pythia to predict your future you paid her for the "privelige of being in presence of holiness." An Oracle sounds kind of like a "fortune teller" or one of those people they call a "Psychic."
My Encyclopedia says the Oracle was a female "Priestess" called a "Prophetess." According to Mr. Steve "initiates" went to a lot of trouble to travel to Delphi to see her. If we had Oracles now I'll bet Daisy would want to see one. She's always thinking about the future.
Mr. Steve told me that a few years ago one of his friends visited modern Greece with his wife and kids. They drove their rented car over to see what's left of Delphi. The wife said it was one of her favorite parts of that vacation. Boy, I'd sure like to run around Delphi!
According to my boss's friend the only thing left from Delphi are what they call "ruins." But he said you can at least get an idea of what it must've been like in ancient Greece. Mr. Steve says the country of Greece has a lot of hills and high mountains. I smell a Mouse around here.
I'd like to meet someone who can predict the future. We might even be able to make a deal with them to try to figure out a way to make money for all of us. Mr. Steve told me about this one man named Edgar Cayce who could predict the future like a Pythia. I see the Mouse.
EDGAR CAYCE (1887-1945) WITH WIFE
From what my boss told me that man Edgar Cayce was like an Oracle. He would go into what they call a "trance" to predict things. In my Encyclopedia it says he was from "Kentucky" and had a wife and three kids. Mr. Steve said Edgar Cayce was a good photographer too.
It says here Edgar Cayce was born on March 18. My boss's sister Susan was born on March the 16th. Edgar Cayce "interpreted" dreams and believed in "reincarnation;" where a soul has "more than one life." I wish I could have my dreams explained. The Mouse ran away.
Edgar Cayce did "readings" for a lot of people. And I guess some were famous. Wow! Even President Woodrow Wilson had Edgar come to the White House. My boss says President Wilson was definitely one of the most "educated" Presidents the United States has ever had.
WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924) WITH WIFE
Woodrow Wilson, unlike Edgar Cayce, did not like people. When he suffered a "stroke" his wife Edith secretly took over and, "in effect," was the first female President Mr. Steve says. She protected her husband and did all his work without others finding out about it.
It says here in my Encyclopedia that Edgar Cayce is called the father of "holistic medicine" and "New Age" thinking. He believed that physical, mental and also spiritual health were all equally as important. Edgar Cayce was "ahead of his time" as they say.
Mr. Steve thinks Edgar Cayce, like Woodrow Wilson, were lucky to have had capable wives. Edgar Cayce's wife tried to protect him from overwork because readings got him really tired. But he was too nice a person and it ended up killing him anyway my boss thinks.
I guess Edgar Cayce never charged money to do readings. This at times did not make his wife too happy; especially when they were really low on money. They had children to support. I think he should have charged for his services. The Oracles in ancient Greece did!
Dais told me that a while back, before I came to live here, our boss explained to her and this other Dog named Millie about what a "Soothsayer" was. And I just looked that word up in my Dictionary. It sounds like a Soothsayer is kind of like one of those Oracles.
Mr. Steve says, just like the ancient Greeks made pilgrimages to Delphi, Christians make pilgrimages over to Israel. And Muslims go to a city called "Mecca" for what they call a "Hag." In 1985 his trip to Israel was considered a pilgrimage. I smell a Squirrel nearby.
Hanging on the east wall of the hallway in our house Daisy says our boss has this one framed certificate or "Attestation of Pilgrimage" from that 1985 trip. It hangs right above a bookshelf where he keeps most of the many books he has on the religions of the world.
Daisy says there's a white state flag of Israel with the blue "Star of David" on it hanging above that bookshelf. My boss bought that flag in Israel in 1985. We also have a small cement stelae with a Jewish "Menorah" symbol on it right near our front door. I see the Squirrel.
Mr. Steve says that Menorahs are for holding candles. But nowadays he told me, they can have little light bulbs instead of candles. Mr. Steve's father told him that, as a young boy growing up in New Mexico, he saw some Menorahs.
My Encyclopedia says in 70 A.D. the Jews in Israel rebelled against the Romans. So a General named Titus, who was later Emperor, "put down" the revolt by killing a lot of Jews. And those not killed were sent as slaves back to Italy. The Squirrel ran away.
When Mr. Steve's Tour Group was in Rome back in 1985 their bus drove past this thing called the "Arch of Titus." This big arch "commemorates" Titus's victory over the Jews and on one of side shows some Jews carrying a Menorah into slavery in Rome.
When he was in Rome, "on his own" as they say, my boss walked around Rome and one of the things he saw up close was Titus's Arch. For two days, apart from his group, he walked all over Rome. And he took this one book about the city with him.
Mr. Steve says there are two types of menorah. One has seven "branches" on it and this other version used during what they call "Hanukkah" has nine. God? According to the Hebrew Bible or "Torah" You told that man Moses what the menorah should look like.
Dais told me that our boss's favorite actor is this guy named Charlton Heston. Back in the 1950's he played the part of Moses in a really famous movie. Daisy says Charlton Heston was so good in that part some people almost thought of him as Moses. "MOSES"
According to my outline I'm going to now write about that actor Charlton Heston. Daisy told me that because he's Mr. Steve's favorite actor she now really likes his movies a lot too. She told me about this other movie Charlton Heston played in called "Ben-Hur."
Daisy's seen that movie Ben-Hur and told me it's really good. It's mainly about this Jewish man named Judah Ben-Hur and his family. Hey Lord? Daisy told me the story of Ben-Hur takes place in Israel during the Your time!
Boy, someday I want to see some Charlton Heston movies. In my Encyclopedia it says the story of Ben-Hur was written originally by this one ex-Civil War Union General from Indiana named Lew Wallace. He was a lawyer and Mr. Steve says had a smart wife.
SUSAN WALLACE (!!!!_!!!!) LEW WALLACE (1827-1905)
My Encyclopedia says during the Civil War, in April of 1862, Lew Wallace led Union troops near the Mississippi River at the "Battle of Shiloh." His commander then was General Ulysses S. Grant; who later became President. I guess he didn't do too well.
Wow! It says here that twenty years before the Civil War that man Lew Wallace fought in the "Mexican War" of the 1940's. After the Civil War he was involved in the trial of the people who killed President Abraham Lincoln and the commander of "Andersonville" prison.
In my Encyclopedia it says that after the Civil War, during the 1870's, Lew Wallace was the Governor of New Mexico when it was just what they call a "Territory." That's when he wrote Ben-Hur. Oh, he was the Governor in New Mexico during the "heyday" of Billie the Kid."
That guy Lew Wallace sure did a lot of things in his lifetime. He was the Ambassador to the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the 1880's. Mr. Steve says one time that his Uncle Gil and Aunt Nelly took he and his cousins to visit a Santa Fe Museum with things on Lew Wallace.
Daisy told me in the movie Judah Ben-Hur is from a wealthy Jewish family in Israel. His best friend is a Roman named "Mesalla;" even though the Romans are "occupiers." They do things like riding Horses and use weapons together. But then Mesalla goes back to Rome.
Daisy says in the movie Ben-Hur a few years later Mesalla comes back to Israel in command of Jerusalem's Roman garrison. But he's meaner and doesn't like it when Ben-Hur complains to him about how the Romans are controlling Israel and it's Jewish people.
So, eventually that guy Mesalla gets mad at Ben Hur and has him arrested and put in jail. He also kicks Ben Hur's family out of their house. Then, as a punishment he makes Ben Hur a slave and they then drag him away. That guy Mesalla sounds really mean!
I've noticed that Romans were really mean to slaves. Daisy has noticed it too. She told me that movie Ben-Hur they whipped the Galley slaves an awful lot; even when they didn't need to. I'm sure glad Mr. Steve never hits Daisy and me. Thank You for that God!
Dais told me that man Ben-Hur first has to work in a dirty mine digging for gold. But then they send him to work on a Roman Galley. But in both places the Romans hit and beat the slaves and their lives are terrible. My Dictionary says a "Galley" is a "warship."
Daisy says Ben-Hur is one of the slaves who has to row the Roman Galley. But then, in a big sea battle with some Pirates their boat is sunk. Ben-Hur saves the life of a Roman Consul who is so grateful he takes Ben-Hur with him back to Rome.
Eventually Dais says, that Roman Consul asks the Emperor Tiberius for permission to free Ben-Hur so he can then adopt him as a son. Then all Ben-Hur wants is to do is go get revenge on that guy Mesalla. Later he goes back to Israel and looks for his mother and sister.
Daisy says it's so sad when Ben-Hur finds his mother and sister living in what they call a "Leper Colony" because they have a bad disease called "Leprosy." That's when a body starts to rot even before you're dead she told me. Then Ben-Hur gets really mad at Mesalla.Sometimes Romans would whip and hit you if you didn't do what they say. They sure beat You up a lot Lord. Our neighbors Dog Dawn was hit with belts and things like that before she came over here to live. I just smelled Dawn and Blinky's scents a few minutes ago.
Dais says Ben-Hur blames Mesalla for what happened to his family so wants revenge. Hey Lord! As You know in the movie Ben-Hur's mother and sister are miraculously cured when You die and they just happen to be stand nearby.
I can see Libby the Horse over in her corral. Dais told me that if you like looking at Horses you'll really like that movie Ben Hur because Ben Hur ends up becoming a great Chariot racer. I like looking at Libby. But I also see a few Flies around her too.
Libby looks so relaxed over there in her corral nibbling at pieces of hay on the ground.. It's now about mid-afternoon and the sunlight makes her look so pretty. It's hard to imagine Libby running fast the way Daisy says the Horses had to run in the movie Ben-Hur.
Someday I really want to watch that one movie Ben-Hur. Daisy told me this one Chariot race in it is so unbelievable. She says Chariot racing seemed a lot like modern car racing. And it was just as dangerous too. Many of the Chariots used to crash Daisy says. Dais says in the Chariot race that guy Mesalla races against Ben-Hur with a team of four all black Horses and Ben-Hur has solid white Horses. They go so fast Daisy told me. And they don't seem to get tired either. Oh! Libby is now looking over here in this direction.
I wonder if Libby knows I'm writing about her? She keeps staring at me or at least looking over here. Libby's getting old like Daisy so moves around slowly. I see her tail swatting away a few Flies. Oh! There goes Samson and Delilah the Crows flying past.
Dais says Mesalla had long blades sticking out from the "hubs" in the middle of the wheels on his Chariot. So this gives him an advantage. He gets in close to the other Chariots and then uses the spinning blades to cut out the wooden "spokes" of the other Chariots.
From what Daisy says Chariot racers were kind of like those Gladiators who fought in the arena of the Coliseum. They could also die brutal and violent deaths so the "mob" or "masses" could be entertained. Daisy told me Mesalla was what they call a "sore loser."
Dais says when he realizes that Ben-Hur might beat him that guy Mesalla cheats by trying to whip Ben-Hur when they get close together. But Ben-Hur grabs his whip and takes it away from him. Mesalla later gets trampled to death Daisy told me.
Mr. Steve says he hasn't gone to the movies since 2005 when he and his nieces Cristina and Samantha went to see "King Kong." I've noticed that he likes older movies about the ancient world. Daisy says he likes the movies "The Robe," "Quo Vadis" and "Cleopatra."
In my Encyclopedia it says Charlton Heston was in a lot of movies. Reading the long list of characters he's played I see now why our boss likes him. Besides Moses and Ben-Hur, he was also; Marc Antony, Buffalo Bill, Andrew Jackson and even John the Baptist.
This list is amazing! Charlton Heston also played the part of Michelangelo, and Brigham Young, who was the 19th century leader of the Mormons. I just saw a Jackrabbit duck under Jack the biggest Shed. I'm too busy to go over right now but I'd sure like to.
I know you're there Lilith! You're trying to tempt me to go over to Jack and try to get that Jackrabbit to run away. But I'm too disciplined today. I have a job to do and even though it sure would be fun I'm not going to do it. Thank You Stanley.
Next on my outline I have listed this other Charleton Heston movie called "El Cid." Daisy hasn't seen that movie but really wants to someday. Unlike Ben-Hur, the main character is based on a real person, a Spanish Knight who lived during the eleventh century A.D.
My Encyclopedia says that El Cid was just a nickname. It means"The Lord" and is based on the Arabic "As-Sidi." But I guess the Castillian Spaniards made it "Al-Sidi" and then El Cid. He was what they call a "Nobleman" and came from Castille.
I guess you could say El Cid was what they call a "mercenary." Mainly he fought Muslim Moors but this Encyclopedia says he also fought Christians in Spain. El Cid lived just before the time of the "First Crusade to take back Jerusalem from Islam.
Libby is looking over in this direction again. I wonder if Libby has good eyesight? I noticed this morning at breakfast that the light blue cloud over Dais's right eye is getting darker. In my Encyclopedia it says that El Cid's Horse was really famous.
EL CID (1043-1099)
It says here that Christians called El Cid "El Campeador" which means "The Champion." And his Horse was named "Babieca." My Spanish Dictionary says that means "stupid" but from what I read here Babieca was a really brave and courageous Horse.
This Encyclopedia says one story about how Babieca got his name is a Monk offered El Cid a free Horse and he picked a "runt." So they thought El Cid was stupid. A runt is the smallest one in a litter according to my Dictionary. Mr. has picked runts too Dais says.
Wow! A legend says when El Cid died his wife allowed his corpse to be tied to Babieca and sent out with his troops. When the enemy Muslims saw this it scared them so much that they all ran away thinking they were seeing a ghost.
I guess Babieca is buried right next to his boss. When she dies Daisy wants to be buried here in our graveyard next to Lucy, Millie and Blackie. So do I. Oh! There goes Blackbeard and Anne Bonney the Crows flying past.
Well, according to my outline the last of the Charlton Heston movies I want to write about is called "Major Dundee." Daisy told me it's our boss's favorite Charlton Heston movie. In fact she say, it's probably his favorite movie period.
Daisy is so lucky! She got to watch that movie Major Dundee with our boss. She told me that it takes place during the time of the American Civil War and is mainly about this one man named "Amos Dundee." He's a Union cavalry officer. I still see Libby over there. "MAJOR DUNDEE"
Daisy says Major Dundee fights at Gettysburg but doesn't do that good so as a punishment is sent to command a prisoner-of-war camp in New Mexico. And from what my Encyclopedia says; in the 1860's New Mexico was not yet a state but a "Territory."
In that movie Major Dundee Dais says these Indians called "Apache's" raid southern Texas, massacre ranchers and soldiers, then kidnap two little boys. The Apache's are led by this Chief named "Sierra Charriba." He and his warriors escape down into Mexico.
Daisy says the Apache's in Major Dundee seem mean. They kill and burn people. But Mr. Steve told her the main reason those Apache's did what they did was because they thought the Americans were stealing all of their land.
Major Dundee decides to put together what they call a "makeshift" little army of Union soldiers, some black, Cowboys and even Confederate prisoners. Of course the Confederates did not like having to serve alongside blacks Daisy told me.
One of his Confederate prisoners being held in Major Dundee's prison camp is named Captain Benjamin Tyreen Daisy told me. They had been classmates at "West Point." But even back then they never really liked each other much.
Dais says Captain Tyreen agrees to help Major Dundee hunt down Sierra Charriba. He tells him he'll make his Confederate soldiers cooperate but that doesn't mean he likes Major Dundee. Daisy says by the end of the movie they've earned each other's trust and respect.
Of course the main reason I'm writing about all these Charlton Heston movies is because my boss likes them so much. Daisy really helped me on this section of my outline and I also took a lot of good notes. Thank You God for giving me such a good memory.
According to Dais in that movie Major Dundee not only wants revenge on Sierra Charriba and his Apache's but also wants to rescue the two kidnapped boys. So he and Captain Tyreen take their small army into Mexico. That movie has a lot of Horses in it Daisy says.
Dais says Major Dundee's main "Scout" down in Mexico is this man who has only one arm. He and his group of Indians are actually hunting Sierra Charriba's Apache's for Major Dundee. Mr. Steve told Daisy that most of Major Dundee was filmed in Mexico.
According to Daisy the Union and Confederate soldiers don't like each other just like Major Dundee and Captain Tyreen don't like each other. So sometimes they almost fight. But in the end they kill the Apache's and rescue the boys; who were like Indians by then.
It says in my Encyclopedia that during the time of the American Civil War Mexico had been invaded and occupied by France under Napoléon III; who was Napoléon Bonaparte's nephew. As "puppet" leaders he "had installed" Maximilian and his wife Carlotta.
ARCHDUKE MAXIMILIAN (1832-1867) EMPRESS CARLOTTA (1840-1927)
In this Encyclopedia it says that the "Archduke" Maximilian was from the German-speaking country of Austria and his wife was born in Belgium. When I was reading about that man Lew Wallace it said he and his wife were in Mexico right after the Civil War.
Oh! It says here in 1867 the Mexicans under a man named Benito Juarez revolted against Maximilian. I guess when he refused to leave Mexico Napoléon III just "abandoned him to his fate." So "that was the end of him" as they say.
I wonder if you die quickly when a "Firing Squad" shoots you the way that man Maximilian was executed? It's too bad Maximilian's wife Carlotta ended up going what they call "insane" when she heard about what had happened to her husband.
So Dais told me, in the movie Major Dundee after the Americans killed Sierra Charriba and took back the two boys they then had to get back to the United States. But their way was blocked by the French who were on the north bank of this river called the "Rio Grande."
My Spanish Dictionary says that "Rio Grande" means "Big River." Mr. Steve says that river is a big part of anyone from New Mexico's life. He told me that he's seen it many times over the years whenever he's visited New Mexico. Dais wants to see it someday.
Major Dundee could see that if he was to get his men back to the United States he was first going to have to fight the French; who were mainly what they call "Lancers." That means they fought on Horses using these long spears as well as guns and swords.
Dais told me Major Dundee's battle scenes in the water were so exciting. Even though they don't like each other the Union and Confederates have to fight as a team if they want to get back home. They have a wild battle in the Rio Grande.
From what Daisy has described to me a lot of people on both sides die during the fight in the waters of the river. It's what they call "hand-to-hand" combat; "up close and personal" as they say. I'd be kind of afraid of being cut by a blade or stabbed a spear!
Dais told me that in the movie after a French soldier captured the American flag Captain Tyreen rides over and kills him in taking it back; even though he's a Confederate soldier who had at one time fought against that same American flag.
The battle scenes in Major Dundee show how when people made war then their Horses also had to die too. Dais told me that a lot of Horses got killed or wounded in that movie. The water got really red with blood!
Daisy told me that after Captain Tyreen takes back the American flag he's shot in the side. He realizes or thinks it's what they call a "fatal" wound. So he rides over to Major Dundee and then hands over the "colors." My Dictionary says fatal means "resulting in death."
Daisy says in Major Dundee after Captain Tyreen hands the flag over to Major Dundee he pulls out his sword, twirls his Horse around in the water; and then studies the vicious fighting going on around him. At that point the fighting is "raging" everywhere Daisy told me.
As Daisy describes it, Captain Tyreen, knowing he's going to die, sword in right hand while holding the "reins" in his left; "spurs" his Horse to charge "headlong" right at some French cavalrymen. Boy! Captain Tyreen's Horse must've been so brave to do that!
When Captain Tyreen meets the French cavalrymen "head on" in the middle of the river he kills a few of them but eventually gets shot, stabbed by spears and slashed by swords. So he falls off of his Horse and then lands in the water with a big splash.
Even though he "gives up his life" as they say, Captain Tyreen "ties up" or delays the French just long enough to give Major Dundee and the others time to get to the north bank of the river and then get away. It's so sad when Captain Tyreen dies Dais says.
Daisy says Charlton Heston was also in other movies our boss likes. One is about this planet where Apes are in control and humans are second class. And another movie, "Khartoum," was about a time in 19th century African history Mr. Steve has studied.
Mr. Steve once told Dais and that Dog Millie that Major Dundee was "directed" by this man named Sam Peckinpah. He died a few years ago and is now most famous for a movie he directed called "The Wild Bunch." Mr. Steve liked that movie too Daisy says.
SAM PECKINPAH (1925-1984) ON SET OF MAJOR DUNDEE
From what Mr. Steve told Daisy and Millie that man Sam Peckinpah drank too much. Some people think The Dirty Dozen was the movie he intended to make with Major Dundee. My boss says Major Dundee was not "commercially" successful.
Well, I kind of got off on what they call a "tangent." I didn't intend to write so much about Charleton Heston but I got so interested in him because my boss is. But the good thing about it is I learned some new things. A Finch landed on Manny the Shed.
Oh darn! I just noticed that on my outline I still have more things to write about the Oracle at Delphi! It was supposed to go earlier. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to put it in here. that's okay I guess. I'll go get that Encyclopedia book out again. I'd already put it back in it's spot.
I know for sure that if Daisy could go back to ancient Greece she'd ask the Pythia about our future. I probably would too even though I think I'd prefer to go back in time to see some of the important times in history. I'm kind of like Mr. Peabody in that way.
But if Daisy did go back to ancient Greece she'd have to take some money because you had to pay before you could go in to see the Oracle. Boy! We could make money if we could just hire one of those Pythia's to come back with us to predict the future. My Encyclopedia says the Oracle would sit on a three-legged chair and then look into this bowl of water. Then, just like Edgar Cayce did, she'd go into a trance and predict your future. But most of the time it was hard to understand exactly what the Pythia meant.
"ORACLE" AT DELPHI
According to this Encyclopedia the Pythia was also called a "Sibyl." Mr. Steve told me that the problem with letting the Oracle predict your future was that she spoke in "code" or what's called a "riddle." I'm so glad I have these Dictionaries and Encyclopedias!
It says here that that girl Oracle was said to have a "channel," or "direct line"as they say, to "Apollo;" who was the Greek and Roman God of music, poetry, prophecy and medicine. There are times when I wonder if there really was such a place as "Mount Olympus."
Apollo was also the god of the Sun; while his twin sister "Artemis" was Goddess of the Moon. One of the joke nicknames my boss has for me is Apollo; even though I'm a girl. Daisy he calls Artemis. Apollo was "builder / destroyer" who they say built the city of Troy.
My boss knows about the concept of "creative destruction;" or the idea that in life there is a three stage cycle of life, death and then rebirth. He says the ancient Greek story about a Bird called a "Phoenix" that "rises from the ashes" is one example of this.
The idea of a Phoenix rising from ashes represents the notion that from destruction can come opportunity. In ancient Greece the Phoenix was associated with the Sun and in early Christian history it came to symbolize redemption and rebirth.
Mr. Steve told me there's this big city to our east in a state called "Arizona" called Phoenix. He's been there a number of times. It gets even hotter there than here in the High Desert" he says. Phoenix is the capital of Arizona in a place called the "Valley of the Sun."
The only time in his life that Mr. Steve ever what they call "blacked out" was in Phoenix on a day when it was really hot. He was in an "air conditioned" hotel room and suddenly decided to go outside. The contrast in temperatures made him faint and lean against a wall.
In this Encyclopedia it says that for about fifty years Arizona and New Mexico were what they call "Territories." And it wasn't until 1912 that both became actual states. Mr. Steve told me that both Arizona and New Mexico have some of the best what they call "landscapes."
This is interesting! I guess for about two thousand years the Phoenix area was home to Native American Indians called the "Hohokam." I wonder if my boss knows that? He has this weapon called a "Tomahawk;" and a bow and some arrows in his office Daisy says.
It says here that most of the "indigenous" tribes in what is now the United States had what are called "Shamans." I guess they're kind of like Priests. Some went into trances like Edgar Cayce or the Oracles to communicate with the "spirit world." I believe in the spirit world!
My boss says he was told that Jim Morrison, the singer for that one band the Doors, believed in a "past life" he was a Shaman. The same girl who told Mr. Steve that also said the Doors got their name from Aldous Huxley's book called "The Doors of Perception."
Well, I guess the next thing on my outline for me to write about was this really famous man from France named Michel de Nostradamus. The call him just by his one name "Nostradamus." In this Encyclopedia it say he lived way back in the 16th century; or the 1500's.
I see here that man Nostradamus lived during some of the many "plagues" that killed so many people in Europe. Mr. Steve has studied about those plagues; especially the really big one called the "Black Death" which happened from 1347 and went through 1351.
MICHEL DE NOSTRADAMUS (1503-1566)
Daisy says Mr. Steve has a book about that man named Nostradamus. Someday I do want to read that book. I'm not only interested in time traveling but also with predicting the future too. And I'm always interested in the subject of what they call the "supernatural."
It says here that Nostradamus was what's called a "seer" which means he could see into the future. To earn money to support his family he was an "apothecary." That means he was kind of like a pharmacist or doctor I guess. A seer sounds like an Old Testament Prophet.
Just like the Sibyl did, Nostradamus also looked into a bowl of water to see the future. And, like the Oracle, he wrote in what they call "abstract" language which at times was kind of hard to understand. But he had to my boss says; because of the times he lived in.
When Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand re-united Spain by defeating the Muslim Moors in the late 15th century one of the first things they did was force everyone to become a Catholic. And if you didn't you had to leave Spain or be tortured and maybe even killed.
Nostradamus parents were Jews. In France, just like in Spain at that time, Jews were told they either had to convert to Catholicism or leave. They decided to just become Catholics so they could stay living in France. It must've been a really hard choice Mr. Steve says.
Nostradamus's parents were forced to convert and he didn't want to get in trouble with this thing called the "Inquisition" who tortured and killed you for saying the wrong thing! So he had to "mask" his predictions in code. Mr. Steve says he was a "Crypto" Jew.
In those days it was dangerous to be Jewish. Some people think that Christopher Columbus might even have been Jewish but he hid it from everyone. My boss thinks it's likely that some Spanish Jews went to the New World after Columbus discovered it in 1492.
Mr. Steve and his father have wondered if maybe their family, who arrived in New Mexico in 1692, might've been Jews pretending to convert to Catholicism but actually "hiding out" in the New World of the 17th century when there was less "communication."
One of Mr. Steve's friends is named Mr. "Grant." His family is Jewish and his Grandfather fought for the Germans in the First World War. His family left Europe when Adolph Hitler and the Nazi's came to power in 1933. I just picked up the scent of a new Sage plant.
Daisy says our boss has these little "skull" hats from Jewish weddings and what they call "bar" or "bat" mitzvah's he's attended. Most are made of cloth and some are white while others are blue. Dais told me those little hats are called "Kippah's" or "Yarmulke's."
In 1985 when Mr. Steve and his Tour Group visited Jerusalem he was reading a book about the history of the Old City and in particular the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall. So of course it dealt with the two Jewish temples which have occupied that exact same site.
This Encyclopedia says that man King Herod built what is known as the "Second Temple" to replace the Temple destroyed by the Babylonians about five hundred years before. He built it to keep the people happy so they would not want to rise up and overthrow or kill him.
KING HEROD (74 B.C.-4 B.C.)
King Herod was what they call a "Puppet" of the Romans my boss says. In the Encyclopedia it describes him as a "Client King." It sounds like he was mean. He killed members of his own family. Mr. Steve thinks King Herod seems to have been what they call "paranoid."
A band from Birmingham, England that Mr. Steve likes is called BLACK SABBATH. They have a song called "Paranoid." King Herod was paranoid. I'll write about BLACK SABBATH tomorrow in book two and Saturday in book three. Max the Hummingbird flew bye.
Hey Lord? Did King Herod really try to kill You when You were a baby? Mr. Steve says some people say that story about You and Your parents hiding over in Egypt are is not true. But it's easy to believe he says because it sounds like something King Herod would do.
This Encyclopedia says King Herod was called "The Great;" just like Alexander the Great. Tomorrow I'll write about Constantine the Great and his "Byzantine" Empire. And I'll write more about King Herod too. I can hear a Dragonfly coming from my right.
Besides building the Second Temple King Herod built other things. Mr. Steve saw "Masada" and the coastal city of "Caesarea." I guess the land on which modern Israel is now located was called "Judea" back in those ancient days. That big Dragonfly just zoomed past.
I guess that Second Temple only lasted a short time because in 70 A.D. the Romans decided to burn it down when the Jews revolted. You predicted it Lord! And now, the only part left of it is the western part which came to be called the "Wailing Wall." I hear Crows squawking.
Mr. Steve says Jews have been making pilgrimages to the "Western Wall" for centuries. He tells me that if you want to pray there you have to wear one of those "platter-shaped" caps. The one they gave him in 1985 is made of cheap cardboard but he kept it anyway.
I used by Hebrew and Yiddish Dictionary to look up "Kippah" and "Yarmulke." Kippah is Hebrew for "dome" and Yarmulke is Yiddish; which is a language used by "Ashkenazi" Jews that combines Hebrew with German. Boy, I'm so glad I have these Dictionaries!
My boss told me there are different views on why Jews wears Yarmulke's. In this book called the "Talmud" it says to "cover your head in order that the fear of Heaven may be upon you." Some Jews think it reminds you that God is always above and watching you.
That man Maimonides who lived in Córdoba said this book called the "Torah" told Jews not to follow all the customs of non-Jews. So he thought, a Yarmulke "distinguished" Jews from the rest of society. I wonder what Dais and I would look like in Yarmulkes?
If my boss were Jewish he'd be "Sephardic." That's what Jews from Spain and Portugal call themselves. My Hebrew Dictionary says that Sephardic means "Iberian;" which as I mentioned earlier is what the land where Spain and Portugal is located on is now called.
"Ashkenazi" Jews are from eastern Europe Mr. Steve told me. His two girlfriends Emily and Harriet's families were Ashkenazi. Over the course of the next two days I'll "expand" on Jewish history. A small gray Ground Squirrel just sprinted out into the eastern desert.
Mr. Steve's friend Mr. Grant, just like my boss, is not what's called a "practicing" religious person. But both believe in what are called the basic "Tenets" of Judaism and Christianity and live their lives as basically decent people. A Wren is chirping out in the eastern desert.
Neither my boss or Mr. Grant have been to "Mass" or "Synagogue" for a while. Mr. Grant's family left Germany when the Fascist Nazis came into power in Germany in 1933; even though his Grandfather fought for Germany in World War I. I smell a Joshua tree.
According to Mr. Steve the Germans had Jewish soldiers during World War I. And some of the families like Mr. Grant's had lived in Germany for centuries. My German Dictionary says that "Nazi" is short for "Nationalismus" or "National Socialists."
Hey God? As You know, in the 16th century during Nostradamus' time there were two types of Christians; "Catholics" and "Protestants." And each killed the other because they thought You wanted them to do it. Mr. Steve says violence is common, or normal, in human history.
As You know Lord Mr. Steve says some think science will make people less violent because it will prove superstitious ideas wrong. These people believe that since the "Enlightenment" of the 18th century science has destroyed many "false beliefs;" including religious beliefs.
But what many of those who think science will make people less violent don't realize my boss says is that many people, to a certain extent, like violence. So, even though most people are more sophisticated now there will always be some who will never stop liking hate.
Mr. Steve thinks that in today's modern world most people just need a better excuse or reason to be violent. He says "revenge" and what they call "justified retribution" are very often used to "rationalize" violence. Oh! A Jackrabbit just ducked under Manny the Shed.
About one hundred years ago a man named Karl Marx said "Bloody revolution is the midwife of history." Some believe revenge and retribution are the "Mother's Milk" of man's history and there is no force more powerful than "get even!" I'll write about Karl Marx tomorrow.
God? You know my boss thinks what they call "ethical" or "moral" judgements are "by their nature" subjective. So trying to say whose values are better than other's is impossible; especially when things involve my interest over yours. Human being will always be violent.
Hey God! Mr. Steve thinks people who don't believe in You can be decent. And people who believe in You do bad things. But most people he thinks, whether they believe in You or not, if given the "right circumstances," can hate. Violence seems to be "innate" he says.
Blessed Mother? Thank You for helping me today. Mr. Steve is right. He says it's just a lot easier dealing with life's "ups and downs" believing in something "beyond yourself." And even if other's say you're "weak-minded" or dumb for thinking that way it's okay.
Mr. Steve thinks that if you were to eliminate all religious or spiritual beliefs people might even become more violent. Look at what happened in Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany, Joseph Stalin's Russia and Mao Tse-tung's China in the 20th century. All were Godless.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546) JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564)
From what it says here in this Encyclopedia in Europe during the 1500's some Christians, led by men like that German named Martin Luther and John Calvin from France, broke away from the Catholic Church. It was what they call a "Schism" which means "to split."
My Encyclopedia says that this period in the early 16th century is called the "Reformation" and people who left the Catholic Church called themselves "Protestants." They were re-forming the way they practiced Christianity and protested certain things.
I guess one of the reasons Martin Luther and John Calvin called themselves Protestants was because they protested against certain Catholic practices such as the selling of what they call "Indulgences." In those days some of the Popes were sort of "corrupt."
To pay for an Indulgence meant that if you gave money to the Church you could "in effect" buy your way into Heaven. Daisy wondered if this meant you could then do anything bad and not even have to worry about it! Daisy always comes up with good questions.
Of course, in 1985 when my boss and his Tour Group from Saint Ferdinand's visited the city of Rome they went and saw what's called "Vatican City." This is where most of the past Popes have lived and is what Mr. Steve calls the "headquarters" of the Catholic Church.
It was in "Vatican Square" where my boss took pictures of Pope John Paul II back in 1985. He told me Saint Peters Basilica, part of Vatican City, was partially built using money from the selling of Indulgences. This made that man Martin Luther really mad.
The Vatican is sort of like it's own country! It even has its own Post Office which, in 1985, was a lot better than the Italian postal service Mr. Steve says. In 1985 the Italian economy was bad as there was really high what they call "inflation" where prices were high.
In the same way the Vatican is not "technically" a part of Italy, Mr. Steve says that the Capitol of the United States, Washington D.C., is not part of either Maryland or Virginia, the states all around it. D.C. stands for "District of Columbia."
Down in the San Fernando Valley my boss says the city of San Fernando is also not part of Los Angeles. They have their own City Council and Police Department. But being independent can be both good and bad my boss says. There's no such thing as a perfect system.
San Fernando, right next to Sylmar, is as familiar to Mr. Steve and his family as Sylmar. It's where for years they went to school. And friends lived in San Fernando. In the 1980's my boss worked for a local newspaper called the "San Fernando Sun;" or "El Sol" in Spanish.
In July of 2008 my boss and most of the members of his family visited Washington D.C. They saw many of the "sites" like this place called "Arlington Cemetery" which used to be Robert E. Lee and his family's house and land before it was taken away from them.
During the 16th century when Nostradamus was living in France it wasn't just the Catholics who didn't like people trying to predict the future. Even the Protestants like Martin Luther and John Calvin thought it was "heresy" to predict the future.
In the 1500's a lot of people were really against what they call "Witchcraft." A girl was called a "Witch" but a male was a "Warlock." So people like Nostradamus had to be careful around Catholics and Protestants because both would kill Witches.
SALEM WITCH TRIALS
In the 1500's predicting the future was called the "Devil's work." Catholics in Italy, Spain and France used to burn you alive if they caught you doing it. And Protestants in countries like England and Germany either hung you or cut your head off.
Mr. Steve says in history violence and hatred are much more common than peace and love. And the 16th century was no exception. My boss says told Daisy and I, when we say our nightly prayers, we should be grateful we live in a country at peace.
Nostradamus lost his first wife and their two children in 1534 when they died from this thing called a "plague." In college my boss did a long "research project" on the "Black Death" or "Bubonic" plague. From 1347 to 1351 plague may have killed half of Europe he says.
Mr. Steve has studied "Epidemics." He once told me that at the time of the Black Death in the 14th century so many people died so quickly that the cities had to send wagons to pick up all of the dead bodies in the same way cities now have regular "Trash Pickups."
In 1918, at the end of World War I, the "Spanish Flu" or "Influenza" killed about thirty to forty million people around the world. Some say more than that. Mr. Steve told me that some Doctors think that someday there will probably be an even bigger "Pandemic."
The superstitious people of Middle Ages or Medieval Europe often blamed Jews when plagues arrived. People in France, Germany, Spain and other counties killed them in terrible ways. Mr. Steve told me that in history Jews are often unjustly blamed when things go wrong.
Wow! I just noticed where the Sun is up in the sky. It must be about four or four thirty in the afternoon. I guess I'm not going to get any snacks today. Hey! I just heard Heathcliff over there crowing agian. I wonder if Daisy is up there in front hearing Heathcliff too?
There goes Fannie and Freddie the Crows flying past; heading to the east out into the desert beyond the three Sheds. Looking to the east I see Birds zipping around the desert. Ah! I smell a Gopher somewhere around here. It's not a familiar scent so it must be new around here.