(Chapter 10)



        I just love to drink water!  That was a nice break but now it's back to work for me.  I figure I have about three more hours of work to do.  This days has turn out to be better than I thought it would.  I like learning and writing about new things.  Thank Everyone up there. 

      I'm having so much fun!  But I'm not done yet.  Three more chapters to go.  Oh!  The chimes are ringing above me.  Ah!  A nice breeze just came in off of the eastern desert from behind the three Sheds.  Hey holy Spirit!  I want to think I'm feeling You Guys right now.  

     I can't believe how fast this day had gone You Guys.  And now it's what they call the "Home Stretch."  I feel great!  I'm not even tired yet.  I am getting kind of hungry though.  Daisy and I haven't had snacks today.  I can't believe I have only three more chapters to go.  

     At the beginning of this tenth chapter I'll write about the Mormons.  Some live around us and they're important in the history of America, California and the High Desert Mr. Steve says.  I'll also learn and write more about that Mexican War of 1846-48.  I smell a Joshua tree.

     In glancing over my outline, it looks like in the this and the next chapters I'm going to write about the subject of Sports too.  Sports have been a big part of Mr. Steve and his two brothers lives.  Mr. Steve's two younger brothers are much better athletes than he has ever been.

     Well, three more chapters to go God.  I guess it's "Downhill" from here as they say.  I guess no snacks for me today.  I can't wait to eat dinner in three hours.  There were no snacks today; not even one.  But that's okay.  Hey God!  Did You arrange for that to happen? 



       Holy Spirit!  Looking out into the eastern desert beyond the three Sheds I think I feel Your essence.  Birds are chirping and flying about.  Judging by where the Sun is behind me I'd say it's about four thirty or so.  All of the he shadows are leaning away from me now.   

      Dais thinks everything happens for a reason; as You know God.  She says hopefully we'll be able to understand Your purposes within our lifetimes.  If not that's okay too.  We'll just have to try to be good and see You up there in Heaven.  Does Mr. Steve suspect what I'm doing?

      No snacks today!  Daisy thinks our boss has been really busy making money for us to live on.  Or he could be working on one of his art projects.  He sometimes makes money doing that.  I can smell a Creosote plant and it's a new Spring version.  I can tell by the scent.

     Smelling that Creosote plant reminds me of last year at about this time.  Now the plants that were new then smell different.  But of course, as Daisy says, we've been smelling them for a year now so are used to them.  I love this time of year!  I wish every day could be like today.

     Someday I might learn how to draw and color things the way Mr. Steve does.  Then he'll like me even more.  Daisy told me one time that when he has a bad day, working on one of his many art projects makes him feel better; even if he's not making any money doing it. 

     Well God here I go!  Three chapters to go.  I want to "finish strong" as they say.  I'd guess it's about four thirty in the afternoon judging by the angle the shadows I see now.  There are a lot of Birds zooming around out there over the eastern desert; beyond the three Sheds.   

    That dark gray bucket over near the sliding glass door is new around here.   Another one just like it is out in the garage with Dais.  Every morning Mr. Steve fills them up with clean water.  Ah!  I see a Gopher coming up over there to the side of Manny the far right Shed. 

     We used to have these two smaller light gray water buckets to drink our water out of.  But I guess then they got too old so our boss just threw them away at the "Dump" on one of his trips there.  But I like the new water buckets because they hold a lot more water. 

    Well Lord, according to my outline the next thing I want to write about are these nice people called "Mormons."  Mr. Steve says for a long time they did not want to be called Mormons and preferred the term "L.D.S" which is short for "Latter Day Saints."  I smell Sage.

     Hey Lord!  I'm looking at our three Sheds; Manny, Moe and Jack.  And as you know it was a  Mormon man who built them.  Daisy and I have met a few Mormons and they seem so friendly.  Mr. Steve told me that he thinks most Mormons seem like honest people..

    In this Encyclopedia it says here just what my boss told me Lord.  Mormonism was started in the 1820's in the State of New York by this man named Joseph Smith.  He said he had a vision and You and God the Father were in it Lord.  Two Pigeons just flew bye.


                                                                                     JOSEPH SMITH (1805-1844)


     Hey God!  Did You tell that guy Joseph Smith to start his new religion?  This is interesting.  It says here in this Encyclopedia that Mormonism was originally a "Protestant" denomination.  I just now saw the other two Pigeons fly bye.  They're all moving toward the northeast.

     From what it says here, for a few years the Latter Day Saints lived in the State of New York.  But some people didn't like them and there were "conflicts."  So Joseph Smith decided to move his people west to Missouri.  But there was even more violence there.

     Finally, I guess Joseph Smith decided to move the original Mormon for a third time; this time to the State of Illinois.  And things went okay for a time.  They even started their own city and had a Mormon army.  But eventually things went really bad there too.

     Wow!  According to my Encyclopedia that guy Joseph Smith and his brother were killed by an angry "mob" while they were being held in a jail.  That mob broke in and just shot them to death.  Fannie and Freddie the Crows are gliding bye; floating out into the desert.     

      Boy!  The original Mormons sound kind of like the Jews.  No matter where they went in the first half of the 19th century some of the other people didn't like them and at times even killed them.  Looking toward the eastern desert I see Crows swirling about. 

      Hey Lord!  As You know, Mr. Steve says the way Mormons were treated in the mid-1800's is kind of like how some Jews have been treated for centuries over in Europe and Russia.  At times life is filled with "harsh realities" and even "harder choices" he told me.   

         It's too bad that life isn't fair!  But, as Daisy says, there's no sense thinking life is fair all the time because you'll just be disappointed a lot.  Better to be thankful when things go well and just work it through when things don't.  I'm learning to do that!  I hear Birds chirping.

    My Encyclopedia says the full name for the Mormons is "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" Lord.  So they just shorten it down to "L.D.S." As You know Lord, Mormons are      also  Christians but have beliefs which other Christians like us don't really believe in.

      Wow!  It says here that in 1832, twenty nine years before the American Civil War, that man Joseph Smith correctly predicted that Slavery would cause the North to fight against the South.  And he even said it would all start in South Carolina!  I smell a Cholla cactus.

      It kind of sounds like in some ways Joseph Smith was sort of like that little hunchbacked guy Homer Lea.  Homer Lea, who I wrote about in chapter one, correctly predicted certain things in warfare which did end up happening in the world during the mid-20th century. 

      I've already written about the Mexican War a little bit this morning.  And on my outline I'm scheduled to write about that war's battles tomorrow but I suddenly feel like writing some things about it right now.  Oh!  Heathcliff  the Rooster just crowed next door.

     When writing about some of the things that happened here in California earlier this morning I already mentioned the Mexican War.  And now I think I'll go into more detail about that war. I think I'll write about particular details of the Mexican War battles tomorrow.

     From what it says here in this Encyclopedia the American government offered to buy what is now called the "American Southwest" in the early 1840's.  But Mexico did not want to sell all of that land that they inherited when they broke away from Spain back in the 1820's. 

      By the mid-19th century many Americans believed in "Manifest Destiny." They thought the U.S. was "destined" to eventually stretch all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  So the government really wanted land beyond or to the west of the Mississippi River. 

     It says here that when this man named James K. Polk was elected President in 1844 he said one of the things he wanted to accomplish was getting that land west of the Mississippi.  So when Mexico refused to sell it he was not happy.  I can hear some Crows cawing.

     In early 1846 President Polk sent troops into "disputed" land near Texas.  He was hoping the Mexicans would "throw the first punch" so to speak.  That way he could use that as an excuse to "declare" war on Mexico.  The Mexicans did attack so the Congress voted for war.


                                             JAMES K. POLK (1795-1849) WITH WIFE

        There's a picture in this Encyclopedia of President Polk.  And it shows his wife too.  I know that Mr. Steve has read quite a bit about both of them.  President Polk's wife was just as smart as he was and helped him a lot he says.  It sounds like she was a good partner.

     This is interesting.  It says in this Encyclopedia that James K. Polk was the first American President ever to be photographed.  Dais told me that when Mr. Steve had a Dark Room in his house down in Sylmar on Hagar Street he did this "Process" called "Sepia Toning."

      Mr. Steve said the main reason why people looked so serious in 19th century photographs is because in order to take a picture the "Exposure" had to be left open a long time.  So the person in the image had to stay still for a long time or it would come out "blurry." 

     Tomorrow I'll write more about James K. Polk; and his wife too.  But right now I just want to write "generally" about the Mexican War.  It started in 1846, the same year Brigham Young and the Mormons left the United States to find a new home.  Two Pigeons flew bye.

     From what it says here in this Encyclopedia the first "Campaign" of the Mexican War was in northern Mexico below Texas.  Mr. Steve told me Mexicans call the Mexican War the "Invasión Estado Unidos a Méjico" or "Invasion of Mexico by the United States."   

      SANTA ANNA                   ULYSSES S. GRANT                 JEFFERSON DAVIS                                                                       

      The Americans under Zachary Taylor won battles in northern Mexico against Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  Ulysses S. Grant and Jefferson Davis fought in those battles.  But Mexico didn't give up.  I just picked up the faint scent of one of the new Spring Juniper plants. 

      Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, who won the "Battle of the Alamo" a decade earlier,  retreated back south to Mexico City.  But, because his government did not surrender; President Polk decided it was necessary to actually "invade" Mexico.  A Crow just squawked.

      My Encyclopedia says that in 1847 American troops were sent by sea from Texas to land on the east coast of Mexico.  It would be the first American what they call "Amphibious" military landing in history.  Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows are flying bye right now.

     One hundred years later in World War II Americans perfected the Amphibious landing; first in the Pacific Theater where the Marines often had to take land from the Japanese by sea.  And in Europe the "D-Day"

     Mr. Steve's father landed atr incon.I smell a Jackrabbit nearby.



     This is interesting.  I like this map of of the Mexican War in my Encyclopedia.  It shows that the route taken by the American army after they invaded Mexico and then went on to capture Mexico City in 1847 was the same route taken by Hernando Cortez took in 1519.

     Just as Cortez and his Spanish Conquistadors had to battle their way inland before finally getting to the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan; the American army also did the same to get to Mexico City.  I see the Jackrabbit over there sticking its nose out from under Jack the big Shed.


       There's a good painting in this Encyclopedia that shows the Mexican and American soldiers firing their guns at each other.  But I notice that the Americans are also shooting a cannon at the Mexican forces.  Oh!  A second Jackrabbit is now standing next to the first Jackrabbit.

      The war in northern Mexico took place in 1846.  The American General who won two of the battles was named Zachary Taylor.  After the war in 1848, as a "War Hero;" he was elected to be President.  I just picked up the strong scent of one of the new Sage plants.   


                                                          ZACHARY TAYLOR (1784-1850)


           When he was the President that guy Zachary Taylor used to let his Horse roam around the grass lawns outside the "White House."  Of course that was when he and his wife were living in it because he was the President.  I smell the clump of Joshua trees near Libby's Corral. 

        Oh wow!  In this Encyclopedia it says that man Zachary Taylor died on July 9th.  That's Mr. Steve's birthday.  In book three I plan on writing about people like this Football player named O.J. Simpson who were also born on July the 9th.  That Jackrabbit just ran away.


   WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON (1773-1841)                     HERBERT HOOVER (1874-1964)


        I guess Zachary Taylor was not the only American President who kept Animals at the White House.  Mr. Steve told me that William Henry Harrison's family kept a pet Goat there and about a century later that man Herbert Hoover's family had two Alligator's.  I smell Juniper.

    Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows just landed on the clump of Joshua trees just to the right of Moe the far right Shed.  Oh!  Blackbeard flew down and is pinning to the ground with his feet a Gopher Snake.  He just bit the Snake in the head and killed it. 

     It says here in this Encyclopedia that Zachary Taylor's 1846 victories up in northern Mexico did not convince the Mexican government to "Sue for Peace" as they say.  So President Polk and  his American government decided to invade Mexico and capture Mexico City.                                                  

                                                        WINFIELD SCOTT (1786-1866)

      It says here in this Encyclopedia that 1847 was when the second phase of the Mexican War was fought.  Mexico City was eventually "taken" by the American army.  And that army was led by this one man named Winfield Scott.  Like Zachary Taylor, he was a General. 

     Both Blackbeard and Anne just flew away.  And hanging limply out of Blackbeard's mouth is that dead Gopher Snake.  They'll go somewhere and divide it up and eat it.  I just noticed Libby the Horse watching Blackbeard and Anne Bonny fly off toward the northeast.

      The American army captured Mexico City toward the end of 1847.  Then it took a few more months until the Peace Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February of 1848.  So that's when California, New Mexico and Texas first came into the United States. 


     ANTONIO LÓPEZ DE SANTA ANNA (1794-1876)        


       There's a painting of this man named Antonio López de Santa Anna in my Encyclopedia.  He was "Presidente" of Mexico at the time of the Mexican War.  And ten years before that in 1836 he led Mexico at the time when that famous "Battle of the Alamo" was fought.

     I know my boss thinks "Santa Anna" was one of the most important people in 19th century Mexican history.  That's why tomorrow, when I write book two, I'm planning on writing a lot more about the things he did.  I know that he killed almost everyone at the Alamo.

     Wow!  I'll bet Mr. Steve knows this.  It says here in Mexico Santa Anna was "in and out of power" eleven times!  He was called the "Napoleon of the West" and liked colorful uniforms like Napoleon Bonaparte did.  I guess he lost one of his legs in combat against the French.

     Mr. Steve said someone should make a movie about that guy Santa Anna.  The Battle of the Alamo and Mexican War of 1846 and 1847 are just two things he did during his eventful life.  He was a "real character" as they say.   I can hear that big Dragonfly coming.

     Oh!  This is interesting.  It says in this Encyclopedia that Santa Anna was born on the 21st of February.  Mr. Steve's father's birthday is February 23.  And in looking at my list of birthdays I see that Mr. Steve's girlfriend Harriet was born on the 19th.  The Dragonfly just flew bye.

      Anyway,  I think I'll stick to my outlines and write a lot more about Santa Anna tomorrow.  That's when I'll learn and write about the 1836 Texas Revolution when Santa Anna won battles at the Alamo and "Goliad;" but then lost badly at this place called "San Jacinto."

      Tomorrow I plan on writing in a lot more detail about the battles of the Texas Revolution.  As I've mentioned, Mr. Steve's brother Rock lives with his sons Rocky Jr. and Jacob back there in Texas.  For a few years Mr. Steve's Uncle Marty lived in San Antonio with his family. 

       I guess one reason why the Mexican War was so important is that many of the Officers who later fought against each other in the 1860's during the American Civil War got  a lot of combat experience.  I hear some Crows cawing way out there in the eastern desert. 

     Mr. Steve thinks the Mexican War is an example of how a stronger country "maneuvers" a weaker country into a bad war.  In this case the purpose was to buy the land the U.S. had offered to buy; but at a lower price of course.  And I guess that is what eventually did happen.                  

                                                                                  ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885)

        In this one Encyclopedia there's a picture of that man Ulysses S. Grant taken during the Civil War.  That was about twenty years after he had fought in the Mexican War.  General Grant did so good in the American Civil War that he even later was elected President.

     Oh!  Mr. Steve was right!  It says right here that Ulysses S. Grant thought that the Mexican War was an unjust war.  He even said later that it had been; "one of the most unjust wars ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation."  Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.


                                                                      ULYSSES S. GRANT (MEXICAN WAR)

      I like it when my Encyclopedias have pictures.  There's a picture of that guy Ulysses S. Grant taken at the time of the Mexican War.  He was with the American troops who were sent in early 1846 to the land near Texas.  Oh!  Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed.

     This is interesting.  I wonder if Mr. Steve has ever heard this one quote by Ulysses S. Grant? It's about being sent to the disputed area before the Mexican War actually broke out; "We were sent to provoke a fight, but it was essential that Mexico should commence it."


                                                                                    ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1846)

       There's a picture in this Encyclopedia of that guy Abraham Lincoln when he was young and didn't have a beard yet.  Yup!  Mr. Steve was right.  It says right here in this Encyclopedia that Lincoln was really against going to war with Mexico back in 1846. 

     From what it says here Abraham Lincoln, and others like that writer Henry David Thoreau, suspected that the Mexican War was "trumped up."  To them that war was just a "convenient" way for the southern Slave States to get more land for moving their Slaves into. 


        Wow!  On this map in my Encyclopedia you can really see how much land the United States got from Mexico by winning the Mexican War.   On the map it's called the "Mexican Cession." A Crow is cawing faintly way out there in the eastern desert beyond the three Sheds.

        As I wrote about earlier this morning, in February of 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo officially ended what they call "hostilities" in the Mexican War.  The United States "acquired" what is now called the "American Southwest.  I hear Ducks quacking next door. 

     Well, now I'm kind of glad I wrote so much about the Mexican War today.  What I did today will be "overview" and tomorrow I'll write a lot more about the "specifics" of the battles in the war.  Samson and Delilah the Crows are gliding bye.  Samson is so huge!  



      Well Lord, it's back to my outline.  Now I'll finish writing about the Mormons.  As You know, Mr. Steve says some Protestants and Catholics don't think they're really even Christians.  But I want to think they are; mainly because my boss says Mormons do follow You.  

     Even when he lived down in Sylmar there were Mormon families around Mr. Steve says.  He thinks that most Mormons he's met over the years have been basically decent people.  One of the main reasons is, on most things, he's conservative too.  So they tend to "get along."

     Over the years Mr. Steve has known what they call "Cultural" Mormons.  That means their "Lifestyle" is Mormon but not their religion.  One of my boss's friends, Mr. Grant, is a cultural Jew more than he is a "Practicing" religious Jew.  I can smell a Joshua tree.

     Hey God!  I just thought of something.  I'm scheduled to write about the subject of whether Jews are a "religion" or a "people" tomorrow in book two but I kind of feel like doing it right now instead.  A You know, Mr. Steve seems to think this is an important subject.

     A few years ago God, as You know, Mr. Steve met that one nice man from the Arab country of "Lebanon."  They disagreed on whether the Jews are a "faith" or a group of people.  The man said that modern Israel had no right to "National Sovereignty."  I smell a Lizard.

     The Romans put down a rebellion of Jews in ancient Israel and then "dispersed" or spread them out all over the world.  Tomorrow in book two I'll write in a a lot more detail about what happened in 79 A.D. at the time of the first "Diaspora."  Mr. Steve went to "Masada."

     Mr. Steve pointed out the "Jewish Calendar" to that man from Lebanon.  Hey God!  As You know, Mr. Steve says, as he understands it, "Passover" celebrates the birth of the Jewish people when you had them escape slavery over there in ancient Egypt.  I can see the Lizard.

      Hey God!  I like this picture in my Encyclopedia that shows Charlton Heston being Moses.  You told the real Moses to lead the Jewish Slaves out of Egypt and back up to Israel.  But first You made them wander in the "Sinai" desert for forty years.  I still see the Lizard.

       Mr. Steve's father always wanted to visit Egypt and also the Siani area.  But now he's too old to do it.  Tomorrow in book two Dais has me scheduled to write about the three wars that have happened in Israel since its creation back in 1948.  So I'll write more about Sinai then.

      As You recall God, Mr. Steve told the man from Lebanon how, on what's called "Shavuot," Jews celebrate when You gave them the "Torah" at Mount Sinai.  Mr. Steve thinks this shows how the Jews from then on had a particular path to You.  I smell a Sage plant.

      Mr. Steve thinks a goal of all three monotheistic religions God is to see You revealed in this temporal world You created.  And sometimes I really do think I feel You Guys around me.  Like right now as a matter of fact.  That Lizard just waddled off and went under a rock.

      I guess my boss told the Lebanese man about the Jewish Passover "Seder" ritual.   He thinks it's mainly to celebrate the Jews "Exodus" from Egypt and the beginning of when Jewish people began more to think of themselves as a "specific, particular group of distinct people." 

      According to what it says in my Hebrew Dictionary, the word Seder means; "Arrangement." Mr. Steve has attended the meals or "Feast" that Jews have.  He says the Seder ends by saying; "Next year in Jerusalem."  Oh!  Heathcliff just crowed again over there next door.

      Hey God!  As You know, Mr. Steve says when he was up there on what Jewish people call the "Temple Mount" in Jerusalem; he thought about the last statement of the Seder ritual.  I guess Muslims call that area in Jerusalem "Haram el  Sharif."  I smell a Cholla cactus.

      Mr. Steve told that Lebanese man how, in the early 19th century; German "Reform" Jews kind of turned Jewish identity into a faith that didn't need a "Homeland."  Their "Zion" was Berlin which was a German city.  Zion means a "Jewish place;" like modern Israel.

      From what Mr. Steve says God, even Jews that are what they call "Ultra Orthodox" believe in the idea that  Jews are a people.  But they usually think strictly interpreting religious law is even more important than what happens to the Jewish people.  I smell a Sage plant.

      I didn't plan on writing about the difference between the Jews as a people and a faith but I'm kind of glad I did.  I think it kind of fits in here too because I was mentioning about how my boss knows cultural Jews and Mormons.  Well, it's back to my outline for me God.     

      Well, back to writing about the Mormons.  This Encyclopedia says that after Joseph Smith was killed the new Mormon "President" was named Brigham Young.  Mr. Steve knows someone who's son is in Utah going to "Brigham Young University;" or "B.Y.U." for short.

       I guess, from what it says here in this Encyclopedia; when those "Vigilantes" killed Joseph Smith and his brother in 1844 that was the "Straw that broke the Camel's back" as that old saying goes.  Another way of saying the same thing is; "The Last Straw."  

      Hey God!  Was it You who guided that guy Brigham Young in convincing the other original  Mormons they had to leave Illinois?  Brigham Young told them it was better to just "pick up " and move way out west to the area that is now where the State of Utah is now. 

       I guess that man Brigham Young has a lot of nicknames; the "Modern Moses" or "Mormon Moses."  In 1847, while the Mexican War was going on; he led about seventy thousand Mormons all the way out to Utah so they could hopefully "Live in Peace" as they say.  I smell Sage.


BRIGHAM YOUNG (1801-1877)


     According to my Encyclopedia in 1846, the first year of the Mexican War;  Brigham Young sent out a few smaller "Scouting" parties westward.  At that time Utah was part of Mexico but the capital Mexico City was so far away that they couldn't govern the area. 

     The main body of Mormons under Brigham Young started for Utah in 1847.  For much of the way they followed the "Oregon Trail."  At that time there were still many other people going out west to Oregon.  At first all of the "Pioneers" followed the Missouri River.  

     This is interesting.  It says in my Encyclopedia the Mormons "trekked" on the north side of the Missouri River because there were many non-Mormons traveling to the "Pacific Northwest" below that same river on the south side.  A breeze just floated in off of the desert. 

     When Mr. Steve visited the city of Saint Louis he heard about how people who went west in the 1840's often started their journey to the north of the city.  That's where the Missouri River  "intersects" the Mississippi River.  I hear Dawn and Blinky barking next door.

     From what it says here in this Encyclopedia many of those Mormons moving to Utah walked. They pulled these little carts with all their things in them.  Some died along the way so had to be buried in the middle of nowhere.  Samson and Delilah the Crows just flew bye. 

     Mr. Steve told me one time that back then in the 19th century life was often much more of a difficult struggle.  Violence was common.  In 1848 the Mormon Temple back there in Illinois was even burned down he said.  People often lived short lives compared to today.



       This Encyclopedia shows a picture of the Mormons pulling their carts.  Even though it kind of looks like they're traveling along dirt paths but I know that in the 1840's there no roads.  Mr. Steve says that's what made travel so hard in those days.  I smell a Joshua tree. 

       It says here that once Brigham Young and the Mormons got to Utah they immediately "set to work" building a country of their own.  They hoped that they could live in a place where no one would try to kill them.  My boss says most Mormons seem like hard workers. 

      Hey!  There goes Heathcliff crowing again!  And I hear Dawn doing her happy howl.  Maybe Dais will be right and some new baby Chickens were born next door.  Oh!  Able Company with their new Quail babies are going out into the desert.  I love the way baby Quail sound.



         As of course You know Lord, hearing Heathcliff crow has at times made Daisy and I wonder if any Roosters crowed when You were born.  I would've crowed in happiness if I were one of the Roosters there.  I wish I could travel back in time to meet You and Your mother.

       Oh my God!  The picture in this one Encyclopedia of what they call the "Nativity" shows a Chicken  standing near Your bed when You were born Lord.  So there must've been a Rooster around too.  Wait until Daisy sees this.  I can't wait to show her later.

       Hey Blessed Mother!  As You know, Daisy and I would really like to meet You in real life.  In chapter one I wrote about when You came down here to see those three lucky kids at Fatima.  Tomorrow I'll learn and then write about the time You visited Guadalupe, Mexico.  

        As I mentioned earlier, every day the Sun rises behind our house and then slowly moves up and over the top of the house.  It sets in the evening in the front of our house.  The Sun's location behind me makes me think that it's probably about four thirty in the afternoon.  

     Boy!  I can't believe how fast this day went.  I've gotten a lot done so far today.  I've learned so many new things.  I still have three more chapters to go in book one.  I guess there won't be any snacks today for Daisy and me.  I'm hungry and can't wait for dinner.  


                                         MICHEL DE NOSTRADAMUS (1503-1566)

        Oh darn!  I just noticed that I forgot to write a few things about that one man from France named Nostradamus.  But instead of going back and inserting it into chapter nine I think I'll just do it now instead.  Samson and Delilah the Crows are flying bye right now.

        As I've mentioned, when he was in College at C.S.U.N. back in 1970's; Mr. Steve took that class where he spent a whole Semester researching and writing about the "Black Death" plague that happened in Europe from 1347 through 1351.  I smell Libby the Horse.


       According to what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, they were still having breakouts of the Plague in Europe two hundred years after the original Black Death.  And in the 16th century one of them broke out again and killed Nostradamus' wife and their children.

      Mr. Steve thinks Nostradamus was probably in such shock about his whole family dying that he just started walking and ended up walking all over France helping as many of the sick people as he could.  I guess he never caught the Plague himself.  I smell a Bunny Rabbit.

      I remember that one time when my boss told Daisy and me about how sometimes what they call "despondent" people just start walking.  I've mentioned that Mr. Steve's first girlfriend was named Sandy.  Her mom was a Nurse and said that walking can be "Therapeutic."

       Looking to the desert beyond the three Sheds makes me think about how Mr. Steve likes at times to walk out there in the eastern desert.  He goes up and down Primavera Road; the dirt road behind our half acre of desert.  I just noticed a little Bunny Rabbit under Moe.  

       Mr. Steve thinks that man Nostradamus probably didn't know what to do so he just decided, like the Mormons in the 19th century, to "Pick Up" and move.  But unlike them, Nostradamus didn't have any particular destination in mind.  I see the Rabbit under Moe. 

       As I wrote about earlier today, in 1985 Mr. Steve and some members of his family went to Italy and Israel as members of a Tour Group from Saint Ferdinands.  On that trip Mr. Steve met a girl from France.  She explained about she was what they call a "Flâneuse."

        I guess over in France a "Flâneur" is a male who likes to just walk around "observing" the  things around him.  But Nostradamus was really a Flâneur.  He ended up walking a lot further than most people do; probably because he was so sad.  That Rabbit is gone.

       Hey Stanley!  That guy Nostradamus must've had a Guardian Angel just like you who also watched over him.   That's what Daisy thinks and I agree with her.  After all she says, look at how he was around all of those sick people who even died and yet he didn't get sick! 

                                                                                             "MOTHER" TERESA (1910-1997)

        Tomorrow Lord, as You know, one thing I'll write about in my second book is that one lady named "Mother" Teresa.  She was a Catholic Nun who worked with the really poor sick people over there in the country of India.  And like Nostradamus, she never got sick either.      

        I'm so lucky to have you around protecting me Stanley.  And Dais is lucky to have Ramona protecting her.  You know, I haven't had any dreams about my bad Angel Lilith lately.  And Dais says Eddie her bad Angel hasn't been around either.  I hear a Crow squawking.

        I guess after his family died Nostradamus decided to just go somewhere else.  So he walked all over Europe with no destination in mind.  I'll bet he just wanted to get away from all the bad memories.  But, things eventually got better for him.  I hope I never get that sad.



     I'll write that Baseball player named Yogi Berra tomorrow.  But I feel like putting in a funny thing he said here; "If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up someplace else."    Hey!  Yogi Berra was born on May 12th just like Mr. Steve's Sister-in-Law Yolanda.                      

      My Encyclopedia says how, after his long "trek" working as a Doctor; Nostradamus came  back to France and met and then married a lady named Anne.  They settled in southern France in a town called "Salon de Provence" and had three boys and three girls.  I smell Sage.

     Hey God?  Did You allow all of those those bad things to happen to Nostradamus?  I sort of want to think like Mr. Steve does that You later "Graced" him with the gift of his second wife and family.  Aldous Huxley also got remarried when his first wife died. 

     My boss says that from what he's read it sounds like Nostradamus's second wife was a good and decent woman who ended up being a really good partner.  She was a good mother to his kids and gave him "Space" to do his work.  I can hear the Pigeons cooing nearby. 

   Hey God!  As You know, Mr. Steve thinks one of the greatest gifts You give is what they call a good "Life Partner."  He's seen it in his family.  His Grandfathers could not have been able to do what they did without good wives.  I'll write more about them in book three.                                   

    Mr. Steve told me that his father would be the first person to admit that if their mother had not been the type of person she is he could never have accomplished all the things he did.  They    were a good team.  Our four Pigeons just flew in and landed on Manny the far right Shed.            

       Daisy has me scheduled to write more about Nostradamus tomorrow and also on Saturday in book three.  As I mentioned earlier today in chapter nine, Mr. Steve has a book about him in    his Office.  Jack the Jackrabbit just ran bye out there in the eastern desert.                                     

         Someday I'll be over my fear of going all the way down the Hallway inside the house.  Daisy does it all the time and says I'm being so ridiculous.  There's no way I'm going to get trapped she says.  I do want to see that one Sun-Moon plaque that hangs next to the Bathroom. 

     Dais told me that our boss bought that white and gold sleeping Moon and waking Sun plaque at one of the many "Garage Sales" in our area.  He likes things that have to do with the subject of "Duality."  The Pigeons are still over there standing on top of Manny the right Shed. 


     Daisy says that plaque represents Duality.  The sleeping white Moon on the left and waking gold Sun on the right represent two necessary parts coming together to make one whole.  Dais says it hangs above one of Mr. Steve's mom's paintings.  I smell a Rosemary plant. 

      Hey Blessed Mother!  Mr. Steve told Daisy and that other Dog Millie it's now starting to look like he's destined to be single for the rest of his life.  And he's okay with that.  "More often than not" as they say, he now actually prefers being alone.  The Pigeons are looking at me.

      From what Dais told me Blessed Virgin, our boss admits he's "weird;" the "Exception to the Rule" so to speak.  Many, if not most people, would seem to rather have a bad relationship than no relationship at all.  He's seen it many times he told Daisy.  I still smell Rosemary.

     Over the years Blessed Mother, as You know, people have "felt sorry" for Mr. Steve.  They see him alone so try to "Set him up" with girls.  He tells them he really appreciates their concern but is seldom lonely.  Daisy says Mr. Steve is always working on something.   

     Hey God!  As You know, Mr. Steve's Grandma Trujillo used to always say; "If God wills it."  Well, he now says that too when people talk to him about how he's been alone for so many years. He says "if it's meant to be" he'll be with a girl again someday.  The Pigeons flew away.

     Blessed Mother!  Do You think maybe You could ask Your son to arrange it so Mr. Steve will have a girl partner?  Daisy thinks that would be so great.  Even though it's not as if he just sits around doing nothing.  Look at today.  He's been in the house working all day long.

     As You know Lord. it was the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands who first put it into my boss's mind that the best way to ask You for something was to go through Your mother.  Sister Clara Joseph said to her class; "Most sons will listen more closely to a petition from their mother."  



       Hey Blessed Mother!  As You know, Dais and I actually pray to You as much as to Your Son.  Mr. Steve thinks You don't mind Lord and we want to believe that too.  Daisy and I have only "vague" memories of our mothers so want You to be like our mother Blessed Virgin.

     When he was growing up Mr. Steve jokes that his mother seemed to have "eyes in the back of her head."  It was so hard to get away with anything because she sensed and then "nipped in the bud" any "bad behavior."  That's why now he so respects the "Female Instinct."

     Hey Lord!  As You know, I sometimes think about that one story Mr. Steve likes.  That's the story where You and Your mom were at a wedding and they ran out of Wine.  In those days that was really embarrassing.  I smell one of those Horned Toads somewhere around here.

     I see the Horned Toad next to one of the rocks around the bottom of the big tree.  Oh!  Now it's wiggling around and is burying itself in the ground.  It's so amazing how Horned Toads do that.  Now you can't even see it.  It's almost magical the way they disappear.

    Hey Lord!  Remember when Your mother asked You to make more Wine at that wedding?  And You did it too.  Mr. Steve thinks it was mainly because You Blessed Virgin asked Him to do it.  My Dictionary says the word "intercede" means "to plead on behalf of another."

     As You know Lord, if I could use Mr. Peabody's Time Travel Machine and go back in time I would go back and see one of Your miracles.  I'd like to see You cure all those sick people and things like that.  The faint scent of one of the new Spring Sage plants just floated in. 

     Boy, Mr. Steve is so lucky Lord. In 1985 he and the people in his his Tour Group got to go see those Chuches on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.  That's where You'd go to talk to people and tell them Your ideas.  That was where You did Your "Loaves and Fishes" miracle.



      Lord!  Mr. Steve and his Tour Group were so lucky!  They went to that area called "Tabgha" where You fed five thousand people with only those five loaves of bread and two Fish.  And they also visited the place where You recited to the people what are now the "Beatitudes." 

     As You of course know already Lord, I'm planning on writing more about the Beatitudes in chapter twelve; which will be the last chapter in this first book.  That will probably be in about two and a half hours.  I still have so much to do until then.  Heathcliff just crowed.

     On that 1985 trip to Israel Father Mahan, the Priest from Saint Ferdinands, was allowed to "Say Mass" at different places.  The most amazing place was inside of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  But the place Mr. Steve liked best was a Church dedicated to Saint Peter.

     Hey Lord!  Mr. Steve and his group went to three Churches in Tabgha.  According to what I wrote down in my outline, Mr. Steve says that one Church on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee was where, after You had died, You came back to visit Your twelve Apostles.

     I really like it when my boss tells us about Your life Lord.  When Father Mahan said Mass in that small "Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter" Mr. Steve "Took Communion."  As You know Lord, he had not taken Communion for a while before that trip over to Israel. 


                                                             CHURCH OF THE PRIMACY OF SAINT PETER


     Hey Lord!  Is it true that after Your "Resurrection" You appeared to the twelve Disciples three times?  An on that third time they were fishing but couldn't catch anything until You told them where to go on the Sea of Galilee.  And then they caught a lot of Fish.

     It was on the site of that one Church dedicated to Saint Peter that You supposedly forgave Peter for denying he knew You on the night You were arrested.  And it was there that later You even told him that he was the; "Rock up which I will build my Church."  

     The reason Lord why Mr. Steve liked the Mass in Saint Peter's Church the best is because it was built right over the rock where You ate breakfast with Your Apostles.  That was after You made them catch all of those Fish the night before.  Two of the Pigeon just flew bye.

      Mr. Steve took pictures of things when he was in Israel.  But I can tell he particularly liked walking around Tabgha.  Daisy noticed it too.  Oh!  This is kind of interesting.  It says here in my Encyclopedia that Church was built in 1933 by some Franciscan Priests.


                 ADOLPH HITLER (1889-1945)             FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

                                          PAINTING BY BRUNO JACOBS                                                                                        ARTWORK BY GREG GROESCH                 


     I know that my boss thinks 1933 was an important year in history.  That was the year Adolph Hitler became "Chancellor" of Germany and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected to be "President" of the United States.  Their lives were "linked" together Mr. Steve thinks.

     I know from what I wrote down in my book two and three outlines that I'm going to write a lot about Adolph Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt.  And the main reason is because I know that my boss is very interested in them.  Daisy told me he's got many books about them.


             EVA BRAUN / ADOLPH HITLER                          ELEANOR / FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT


     That guy Adolph Hitler had a girlfriend named Eva Braun.  And Franklin Roosevelt's wife was named Eleanor.  Both, in their own way, were important to their men.  I plan on writing in a lot more detail about them in my third book day after tomorrow.  I smell Sage.  

     From what it says here in this Encyclopedia, those Franciscan Priests who built that Church for Saint Peter in 1933 put it up over some 4th century A.D. ruins.  Oh!  Pope John Paul II, who my boss took pictures of in 1985 and 1987, visited that Church in the year 2000.

     Hey Lord!  According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia, the Latin name for the rock that Church is built over, which is right near the Altar, is "Mensa Christi."  And that means the "Table of Christ."  I guess they mean it was Your breakfast table back then.   

     Well, I kind of wrote more about Mr. Steve's trip to Israel than I had planned on.  But that's alright.  I was going to talk about those things later anyway.  But now it's back to writing about that guy Nostradamus.  A good breeze just came in from the east.  I smell a Joshua tree. 

     I kind of got off subject for a second but that's okay.  I'm writing things that I know Mr. Steve is interested in.  In fact, I'm going to really write about him, and the four Grandparents too, in book three.  Jack the big Jackrabbit is sticking his nose out from under Moe the Shed.

     Mr. Steve has read many of the things Nostradamus predicted.  Some seem to have come true he says but on other things he seems to have been completely wrong.  At times Daisy and I wish we knew our future.  But, as Dais says God, we'll just leave it in Your hands. 

     I wonder if Mr. Peabody's time machine can travel to the future?  I know from watching our cartoons on many Saturday mornings that he and that boy Sherman go back in time.  I smell a Mouse around here.  Oh!  Jack the Jackrabbit just ran out into the eastern desert. 

      Hey Lord!  My boss says that Nostradamus predicted there would be three what are called  "Anti-Christs."  And it seems like the first two were Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler.  He wrote some things in code which seem to really be about them Mr. Steve thinks. 

     According to what Mr. Steve told me Nostradamus said the third Anti-Christ would wear a blue "Turban."  That's one of those hats they wear in the Middle East.  Dais says our boss knows this other man from India who wears a Turban.  He's what they call a "Sikh."

     As You know Lord I plan on writing about the "Book of Revelation" in book two when I talk about how my boss and his Tour Group went to this place in Israel called "Megiddo."  The Book of Revelation also mentions an "Anti-Christ."  Hey Lord?  Isn't the Devil an Anti-Christ?

     I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this?  If he doesn't I know he'll probably be interested.  It says here in this Encyclopedia that Nostradamus predicted his own death because the night before he died he actually told his family that; "You will not find me alive at sunrise."

      Oh darn!  I just noticed that I forgot to write some more things about Delphi and those girls who were called Oracles.  I'll just do it now because I don't feel like going back and inserting it back there.  Aha!  I see a Mouse over there sticking its nose out from under a rock.

    In ancient Greece the person who was paying the Oracle to tell him or her their future had to "Interpret" what the Prophetess said.  But, the problem was Mr. Steve says, the Pythia spoke is "Tongues" or “Gibberish.”   So, "More often than not" this was hard to do. 

     Mr. Steve told me that before saying anything the Oracle went into what they call an "Altered State."  This is just another way of saying a "Trance."  Daisy told me sometimes people go into "Mind Altered States" when they drink alcohol or take drugs.  I smell Sage. 

     Before a person went into the Priestess' chamber, they were supposed to look up to read the words "KNOW THYSELF" and "NOTHING IN EXCESS" carved on the portal or lintel above the door.  One was to keep these words in mind when trying to "decipher" the Pythia.  


       Mr. Steve says there are stories about Kings "misinterpreting" what the Sybil said and then making big mistakes.  And the main reason they did was because they didn't keep the words up on the walls in mind.  Some just ran out and made "rash" or "reckless" decisions.

       It's a good idea to keep those words up on the walls of the temple at Delphi in mind, even when not listening to an Oracle my boss says.  I sure do wish I could meet a Sibyl.  I wish I could use Sherman and Mr. Peabody's Way Back machine to go back and see a real Sibyl.

     Mr. Steve has been described as "measured."  Daisy, because she wants to please our boss, is now the same way.  So, she tries to keep those words up on the "Pediment" in Delphi in mind; even though I'll bet she doesn't think she could be petted too much!  I smell Sage.

     It's hard for me to not want to do things "in excess.”  Dais is way better at being moderate so I try to be more like her.  Mr. Steve would like that.  But, I really think that I'm coming to know myself way better.  I don't make nearly as many mistakes now.  Daisy's noticed it. 

     Sometimes when Daisy has the urge to try to herd or corner me I let her catch me.  Then we do what our boss calls "Play Fighting."  We wrestle and jostle back and forth.  Someone might get the idea that we were really mad at each other.  We kind of growl and grunt.

     When Dais and I play fight I usually keep jumping  around and Dais tries to do what they call in Football "Bull Rushing" me.  She's pretty good at Bull Rushing but I'm really good at moving and dodging her.  Mr. Steve jokes I could be a good Bullfighter like that guy El Córdobes.   


                                                                   "PLAY FIGHTING"                 

    But after a while, in our play fighting, even though I have more stamina, it becomes obvious Daisy has me at a disadvantage on the “inside.”  In what Mr. Steve calls “Grappling,” Daisy uses her neck strength as "leverage."  My boss jokes that she's "Well-Grounded."

     Pushing against Daisy's thick neck when she has all four feet planted firmly is like pushing against a tree stump.  Our boss says Daisy stands "Sure-Footed." I get tired pushing her ninety pounds.  Dais would be a really good Football "Lineman" my boss jokes.   

     Well, Mr. Steve was right.  He told me about a "Portrait" of Henry VIII who was the King of England at the beginning of the 16th century.  And I see it here in this Encyclopedia.  He does sort of remind me of Daisy in way he's standing.  Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.  


                                                           HENRY VIII (1491-1547)

       My Encyclopedia says that Henry VIII, like Martin Luther and John Calvin, also revolted against the Catholic Church back in the 16th century.  But King Henry didn't do it for what they call "Theological" reasons; he did it because the Pope would not grant him a divorce.

        I guess Henry VIII, who was Queen Mary and Elizabeth's father; wanted to get rid of his first wife because she didn't give him a male "Heir."  So he just decided to start his own religion. He then "dumped" his first wife and married a "better version" my boss jokes.  

        From what I read here in this Encyclopedia, the new Protestant religion Henry VIII started in the early 1500's is called the "Anglican Church of England."  And I guess here in America the Anglicans are what they call "Episcopalians."  I smell one of the Cholla cactus's. 

        Daisy says our boss told her and Millie one time about how he's been inside of  Protestant Churches.  They're plain compared to a Catholic Church.  That's because there are no "images" or things like statues inside Protestant Churches I guess.  Dawn is barking next door. 




         From first through eighth grade Mr. Steve attended Saint Ferdinands Elementary School which is in the city of San Fernando.  So of course he and his classmates became very familiar with the Church too.  The other night he even had a pleasant dream about it.

        I remember when Mr. Steve said that, after Henry VIII created his new Anglican religion in the early 16th century, he would kill you if you didn't convert  to be a Protestant "voluntarily." Dais thinks Henry VIII sounds kind of mean.  His time was called the "Tudor" era. 

       This is kind of interesting.  It says here in this one Encyclopedia that Henry VIII's daughter Mary came to power later in the 1500's.  But she was Roman Catholic just like us.  She would kill you if you didn't become a Catholic.  I hear two Crows fighting out in the desert. 

        I guess King Henry's daughter Mary's nickname was "Bloody Mary."  But, as Mr. Steve says; the 16th century was a very bloody time.  It was in the 1500's that Ivan the Terrible ruled over Russia.  Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows are flying bye right now. 

        Earlier today in chapter three I wrote about that guy Homer Lea who wrote the books on military history.  As I mentioned, he believed that in history; violence and warfare is much more common than what they call "Pacifism" and times of peace.  I still hear those Crows.

        At times my boss says he's wondered if the famous alcohol drink called a "Bloody Mary" was named after England's Queen Mary I.  It's made with tomato sauce.  Mr. tried one a few years ago and says it tasted pretty good.  He doesn't like the taste of "Beer."

           Mr. Steve has attended Protestant "Services."  His Nieces Samantha and Cristina went to a Lutheran school which had a Church.  My boss told me that in some ways Lutherans seem like Catholics.  But I could never be Lutheran because they don't glorify You Blessed Virgin.

        Protestants have no statues or paintings in their "Houses of Worship" Mr. Steve says.  This is because Protestants, just like Jews and Muslims, don't believe in what they call "Icons."  We do have icons in our house!  Boy, someday I'd really like to attend a "Mass" Lord.

           Dais told me about how in our boss's Bedroom the ceiling is fifteen feet tall.  I've been in the Living Room to watch cartoons on some Saturday mornings and seen the high ceiling in there too.  But I'm afraid to go down the Hallway to see our boss's Office or Bedroom. 

       Hey Lord!  As You know, Dais told me how, high above Mr. Steve's drums way up on the wall below the ceiling; Mr. Steve hung a really good "Crucifix" that shows You dying.   Someday I'll see that Crucifix.  Daisy says it makes her kind of sad to think of You like that.

       Another thing I want to see in our boss's Bedroom are those two paintings Mr. Steve's mom did.  Dais says they're huge.  One is hung on the south wall and the other is on the west wall right above our boss's bed.  Both were part of the Art Exhibit I wrote about earlier today. 

       From what Daisy says, besides those two big paintings by Mr. Steve's mom in his Bedroom; there are two others she painted as well.  But those two are smaller, only about four feet tall.  One is a painting of a flying Sea Gull.  Daisy thinks I'd really like that Sea Gull.

       I'm kind of tempted to write about all of the paintings that are inside our house.  But I think I'll just wait and do it tomorrow in book two.  That's when Daisy and I put that subject when we put together our three outlines.  Mr. Steve's mom is such a good artist I think.

                                                                  PAINTINGS BY STELLA CÓRDOVA

        Daisy says right behind our boss's drums, below the Crucifix; is a painting of an American Indian wearing a big hat made out of Eagle feathers.  She told me about how she and that other Dog Millie liked looking at.  Mr. Steve has a giant Condor feather.  I see a Lizard.

       Well, I kind of got off on another tangent again.  I didn't intend to write about Churches or Mr. Steve's Bedroom.  But, like Daisy says, I can just write about things as they come into my head.  I really do want to agree with her on that.  I want to tell about our lives.

       Okay, back to my outline.  I can see that I still have some things to look up and then write about the 16th century.  And even though I'm really going to write about the 1500's in my third book, I still have more to say about that guy King Henry VIII.  The Lizard ran away.        


                                                   HENRY VIII AND HIS SIX WIVES

        Wow!  In this Encyclopedia it says that not only did Henry VIII get rid of his first wife but then even had five more wives after that!  And he "executed" some of them.  Dais says this is just a nicer way of saying he had them "killed."  I just looked that word up and she's right. 

        Daisy says a King or Queen can do whatever they want and no one can stop them.  This is because they're what are called "Tyrants" or "Dictators."  My Dictionary says a Dictator has "absolute" or "unlimited" power."  I wonder if there's such a thing as a nice Dictator?

        It says here Henry VIII "beheaded" his second wife Anne Boleyn; who was Queen Elizabth I's mother.  That means he cut her head off.  A few years later Queen Elizabeth also had enemies "eliminated."  Dais would probably say that's just another way to describe killing.

       Oh!  I wonder if my boss Mr. Steve knows this?  It says here in this one Encyclopedia that the last words King Henry VIII ever said before dying were; "All is lost.  Monks."  I know Mr. Steve is interesting in things like that.  At least that's what Daisy's told me.

       It says here that after he had their heads cut off Henry VIII at times had his enemies heads "mounted" on spikes or hung from bridges.  This was to warn others not to do anything wrong. As terrible as that sounds, I guess in history doing things like that has been pretty common.


                                                       VLAD "THE IMPALER" (1431-1477)

                                                                PAINTING BY AMBRAS CASTLE (c. 1560)

       Even though I'm scheduled to look up this guy named Vlad "The Impaler" tomorrow when writing about "Horror" movies; I kind of feel like mentioning him now too.  He did like Henry VIII in trying to scare his enemies.  But he "impaled" his victims.  I hear Crows cawing. 

       This painting in my Encyclopedia shows Vlad "Tepes."  It was painted one hundred years after he died.  I notice that where the painting date is listed there's a little "c."  That stands for the word "Circa" or "about" in Latin.  I guess Tepes would translate as "Impaler."

       This Dictionary says Vlad The Impalr was a "Count" from a place in the "Balkans" called "Wallachia."  He was in and out of power three times.  That area was later "Transylvania" and is now a part of the country of "Romania."  Samson and Delilah the Crows are flying bye.


            Oh my God!  Another picture in my Encyclopedia shows how impaling is stabbing a person through the body and then putting it in the ground.  It looks like it would be so painful.  I would definitely "Think Twice" about doing something wrong in Vlad's 15th century Kingdom.  

       Wow!  According to what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, that guy Vlad The Impaler is "estimated" to have impaled from forty to one hundred thousand people.  He fought against the Ottoman Turkish Empire a few decades before Columbus made his famous voyage.  

            I just mentioned how tomorrow in book two I'll write about those black and white Horror movies made during the 1930's Great Depression.   Mr. Steve likes those movies Daisy told me.  She so lucky.  She and Millie saw some of those old movies in Mr. Steve's Bedroom.

        On Saturday in book three I plan on writing about "Gypsys" or the "Roma" people.  And a part of that will be talking about this movie about a man who turns into a Wolf when the Moon is full at night.  Daisy says it's such a good movie.  I really want to see it someday.

        Daisy is so lucky!  She and Millie got to watch on tv some Horror movies.  One was about an Egyptian Mummy that came back to life.  And another one was about a creature who lived in a water "Lagoon."   Dais told me all about that one big monster named "Frankenstein."

            Dais says one of the best Horror movies was about a man who turns into a Bat and lives on drinking peoples blood.  And according to this Encyclopedia that movie, called "Dracula;" was based on a book written at the end of the 19th century.  Dawn is barking next door.

       Oh my God!  Wait until Dais sees this!  A picture in my Encyclopedia shows all the Horror movie monsters in "Collage."  My boss makes Collages.  Boy!  This picture so amazing!  I really do have to hurry up and get over my irrational fear of going into the far end of the house.


                                                         BRAM STOKER (1847-1912)

       This is interesting.  My Encyclopedia says the 1930's movie Dracula was based on a late 19th century book written by a man from Ireland named Bram Stoker.  I guess he was influenced by Vlad the Impaler's life.  Vlad The Impaler's family name was Vlad "Dracula."

       Well, back to writing about the time of Henry VIII.  But I'm sort of glad I wrote about Vlad The Impaler.  I just wanted to show that being cruel and brutal is not that unusual; especially in the 15th and 16th centuries.  Fannie and Freddie are flying in from the desert.  

       Another person whose head King Henry VIII had cut off was this really smart man named "Sir" Thomas More.  Among other things, Thomas More was a Lawyer.  Daisy told me our boss has a book about him.  Oh great!  I just smelled that one old Sage bush behind the Sheds.


                                       SIR THOMAS MORE (1478-1535) AND FAMILY

       I guess, from what it says here; when Henry VIII left the Catholic Church that man Thomas More opposed him.  So Henry VIII just killed him.  As I've mentioned before, the 16th century was when Christianity broke in half because of the "Protestant Reformation."  

      Oh!  It says here in this Encyclopedia that what my boss told Daisy and Millie was right.  He said he thought Thomas More was the first Utopian fiction writer.  And now I know why.  Back in 1516 he wrote a book called "Utopia;" which is Greek for a "good place." 


                                                      ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963)


       This is interesting.  About four hundred years after the time of Thomas More, in 1932; that man Aldous Huxley put out his famous book Brave New World.  But instead of describing a good place of the future he described a "Dystopia" of the future; or a "bad place."

        I like how in this Encyclopedia it shows that man Aldous Huxley with his two wives.  Mr. Steve thinks Aldous Huxley seems lucky because his two wives helped him when he was almost blind.  As I mentioned earlier, Aldous Huxley's first wife died back in the mid-1950's. 

        It says here that, like Aldous Huxley in the mid-20th century; Thomas More "used fiction to challenge his readers" to think about some of the bad things in British society back then.  I can see how the Sun is now behind the house because the shadows are leaning away from me.

        From what it says here, Thomas More's book Utopia was not at first recognized by King Henry VIII as a criticism of his early 16th century Tudor Government.  Like Nostradamus over in France a few years later; it was written in a "clever" way.  A Crow just cawed. 

       But, I guess eventually King Henry did figure out that Thomas More's book was referring to his British Government.  So that was the end of Sir Thomas More.  It must be so painful to have your head cut off.  But I suppose it's a lot better than being slowly burned to death.


                                                        ALICE IN WONDERLAND

       Daisy told me in this good movie called "Alice in Wonderland" if a mean Queen gets mad at you she orders "Off with his head!"  Tomorrow in book two I'll write more about 19th century Victorian England.  So I'll learn about the original book called Alice in Wonderland.        

       I wonder if, for a short time; when your head is cut off your head is still alive?  Daisy thinks it probably is.  She told me that one time about how sometimes Chicken's will still run around even after their heads have been totally cut off.  Boy!  I'd sure like to see that for myself.   


      I wonder what Daisy's doing?  I just heard her bark a minute ago but I know for sure that's not her bark telling me to come help her.  And one reason I know is because Twinky and Dawn also did their "obligatory" barks they think they have to do every once in a while.

     Thinking about how strong Daisy is and what a good wrestler she is makes me think it's too bad there's no such a thing as an Olympic Games for Dogs!  We should invent a Dog Olympics!  We could even call it the Córdova Olympics!  We might make a lot of money. 

      Starting our own Dog Olympics would be so great!   There would be a lot of work to do but I'm convinced that between our boss, Daisy and myself we could "pull it off" as that old saying goes.  Mr. Steve has what they call "organized" a number of things like that!

     Even though Mr. Steve handles all our money and really doesn't like to gamble, I'd be willing to risk some of our savings in betting Daisy could win a medal in wrestling.  And, even though our boss says it's illegal, I'd  represent us in running; and bet on myself!

     When Daisy and I wrestle eventually she starts to get what Mr. Steve calls the “Upper Hand” in what he calls our “Rugby Scrum.”  At that point I just jump back and then dart quickly "Out of Range" as they say.  Daisy knows how to use what they call "Leverage."

     When we're done playing Daisy often goes and rests on her blankets inside the garage.  Why, I'll be she's there resting right now.  My boss calls the area between the refrigerator and the door to the Utility Room her "Sanctuary."  This couch is my sanctuary area.

     After our fake fights Daisy and I feel better.  Daisy would probably a good Rugby player Mr. Steve jokes.  Lately she's been teaching me how to get just the right "angle"so you don't waste as much energy getting to a certain spot.  And I'm a really fast learner! 

     Mr. Steve jokes that if Daisy played Raquetball she'd probably be good because she knows "positioning."  He says the best Handball player he ever played against was overweight but he knew where to be when the ball came off the wall so didn't have to run much.



       I remember when my boss told me about that one guy named "Ara."  He was Armenian and was a great Handball player.  Mr. Steve used to play him in Handball at Sylmar High school and only beat him twice.  That guy Ara weighed about two hundred and fifty pounds.

     Mr. Steve says that he and his other friends played Handball against that guy Ara; who would have them running all over the place "reacting to" his shots.  Ara seemed to have an instinct for knowing where a ball would land as it came off the wall.  I smell a Joshua tree.

    Because Ara could almost "visualize" where a ball would go even before it hit a wall he simply took a few steps and was there to meet it.  This gave him more time to decide what he wanted to do.  Mr. Steve used to do better when he and that guy Ara played Tennis.  

  When you get older one of the things that changes is that you lose what they call "foot speed" my boss told me.  And it's usually true even if you're a professional athlete.  So you have to make some adjustments or adapt to the "changing circumstances" he says. 

     Playing on defense in Baseball, as a slower player, you have to know from experience where to position yourself better even before the pitch is made.  He told me one time about this guy on a team from back east called the Baltimore Orioles named Cal Ripkin Jr.


                                                                   CAL RIPKIN JR.

     I guess back in the year 1995 Cal Ripkin broke that guy Lou Gehrig's Major League record of playing in 2,131 "consecutive" games.  He then ended up setting a new record of 2,632 games.  Consecutive means "in a row."  I just looked it up.  Dawn is barking next door.

     According to my outlines I'm scheduled to write more about Lou Gehrig in books two and three.  In book two I'll also write about that other guy Babe Ruth.  In book three I'll write about Lou Gehrig' family and the Great Depression of the 1930's.  I smell a Cholla cactus.


                                                            LOU GEHRIG (1903-1941)


       Looking over to my right I can see Libby the Horse walking around.  That reminds me that Lou Gehrig's nickname was the "Iron Horse."  Libby must have sensed that I was over here on this old couch and looking at her; because she's now staring in this direction.   

      Starting way back in 1928, a year before the Stock Market "crashed," Mr. Steve's Grandpa Trujillo worked moving luggage for the Santa Fe Railroad Company.  And in over forty years, just like Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripkin, he never missed a day for fear of losing his job. 

      In book three I'm scheduled to write a lot more about my boss's four Grandparents.  He still thinks about them.  His Grandpa Trujillo, probably like Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripkin, sometime went went to work even though they were sick or had been injured.  I smell Sage. 

     Mr. Steve has also had jobs where he never missed any days.  And some of those jobs lasted a few years.  That's what Dais told me.  But he says he's sure glad he's never had to live at the time of an economic depression.  Jack the Jackrabbit just ran out into the eastern desert. 

     Cal Ripkin accomplished his amazing record over nineteen years.  And Mr. Steve says, he played his entire career with just one team; the Baltimore Orioles.  Lou Gehrig did not play for any other team but the New York Yankees.  I hear those Ducks quacking next door.

     Nowadays it's rare for a player in any sport to be with only on team for an entire career my boss says.  This one Basketball player named Kobe Bryant has played almost twenty years for the Lakers who Mr. Steve used to work for.  That Monarch Butterfly just went bye.

     Mr. Steve says Cal Ripkin Jr., in playing so many games in a row, was lucky to not have had any major injuries.  But, like Daisy does, as he got older, he played "smarter" in conserving his energy over a long one hundred and sixty two game Major League Baseball season.   


                                BILLY RIPKIN / CALRIPKIN SR. / CAL RIPKIN JR.

     Another thing Cal Ripkin Jr. "had going for him" was his "Tight-Knit" family.  That's what my boss thinks.  A picture in this Encyclopedia shows Cal Ripkin Jr. with his father Cal Ripkin Sr. and his younger brother Billy.  I kind of like the way the color orange looks. 

     From what it says here in this Encyclopedia Cal Ripkin's father was his Coach for much of his life and in the Major Leagues with the Baltimore Orioles his brother was a teammate.  So they supported him in playing in all those games in a row.  Daisy supports me! 

     I'll bet my boss is working in his office right now.  He hardly ever misses a day doing his what they call "regular" job selling apparel and promotional products.  And when he's not doing that job he's often doing one of his many art projects.  Mr. Steve does a lot of art.

  My boss has told me about the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball team. For a long time they were  called the "Brooklyn" Dodgers.  But then in 1958, three years after Mr. Steve was born, they        moved out here to Los Angeles.  And they've been here ever since.                                                                                   

       When the Dodgers first moved out here to the "West Coast" they had at first to play in this Football stadium downtown called the "Coliseum."  It's near the U.S.C. campus and right next to the Natural History Museum; where my boss and his mom had their Art Exhibit. 

       Since he's been a kid Mr. Steve has "attended" a few events at the "Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum."  In the 1960's he went to Rams Football games there.  He still has the "Programs" from those games.  I'd like to see and smell a real Ram someday.  And Daisy would too.


      L.A. MEMORIAL COLISEUM                                              FLAVIAN AMPITHEAATER


           Earlier today I wrote about how back in 1985 Mr. Steve and his Saint Ferdinands Tour Group visited Italy and saw the original "Colloseum" in the city of Rome.   There are pictures of both the Los Angeles Coliseum and Rome's Colloseum in this one Encyclopedia.

        Mr. Steve thinks the L.A. Coliseum has had a big influence on the evolution of the city in the 20th century.  It has been the site of many important local events.  In the 1930's during the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt spoke there.  I smell a Lizard around here.


       On Saturday in book three Dais has me scheduled to write about this one guy named Jessie Owens who became famous in the 1936 "Nazi" Berlin Olympics.  But it says in this Encyclopedia that he "set" or "broke' records for running at the Coliseum during the 1930's.

        I just noticed a Lizard standing in the dirt just to the right of the big tree.  There are Birds standing on Jack the biggest Shed on the far left.  Oh!  The four Pigeons, Lucy and Rickie and Fred and Ethel; are flying back in from the eastern desert behind the three Sheds.


                                                    GEORGE S. PATTON (1885-1945)

       Tomorrow in book two and the next day in my third book I'll write a lot about George S. Patton.  He grew up here in Los Angeles and is a famous 20th century soldier.  After World War II ended over there in Europe I guess he and a full L.A. Coliseum celebrated victory.

       The Lizard ran under one of the boulders Mr. Steve put around the bottom of the big tree.  The Birds on Jack the big Shed are flying out into the desert to the east.  Because it's afternoon the shadows are now leaning away from me sitting over here on Elvira the couch. 


                                              WILLIAM MULHOLLAND (1855-1936)

        This Encyclopedia says the L.A. Coliseum was built in the "Roaring" 1920's when the city was growing.  On Saturday in book three Dais has me scheduled to learn and then write about this Irish man named William Mulholland.  He brought water to Los Angeles.

         Mr. Steve was with this girl named Emily for a few years.  She still works at U.C.L.A.; who play their Football games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.  Like the Coliseum, it was built back in the 1920's.  Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows are flying bye right now.


       From what Mr. Steve told me, the people must have been a lot smaller in the 1920's; based on how small the seats are.  He one time joked with his friend Mr. Ralph that they must've also been thinner and shorter back then.  has been to 

From what my boss says, in the 1930's, during the Great Depression, the Rams were from this city called "Cleveland."  It's in a State called "Ohio."  Their team colors were red, black and white.  They used to wear leather helmets back then Mr. Steve told me.

     It says here in this Encyclopedia that before they came to Los Angeles in 1946, the year after World War II ended, they had changed their team uniform colors to "navy" or dark blue, gold and white.  The Rams won the Championship the year before they moved out here!

     I guess there aren't too many examples of a team winning a Championship and then moving to another city before the next season starts.  Oh!  Just like Mr. Steve told me, the Rams were the very first Football team to ever have logos on the sides of their helmets.

     It says here that one of the Ram's players was an artist who volunteered to paint yellow some Ram's horns on the leather helmets.  But, just like my boss said, they had to re-paint them after each and every game because the paint would chip off from getting hit all the time.



      It says in this Encyclopedia that in 1949, the year before the Korean War started, the "NFL" or "National Football League" began using plastic helmets.  They could "bake" in the the Ram's horns right into the helmet.  Mr. Steve's mom has done "Ceramic Sculpture."

      There are two pictures of 1940's Ram players in this Encyclopedia.  And it shows how back in those days they didn't wear "Face Masks" until the 1950's.  And I guess one of the Rams players even played without a face mask in the early 1960's.  I can smell a Joshua tree. 

     Oh! There goes that same Dragonfly I saw earlier today.  And now I just noticed some Bees near the Jack the big Shed.  Hey God!  I sure hope there aren't as many Bugs around this year as there were last year.  Last year Flies bothered me a lot.  I see Libby over there.

                                                                 ROMAN GABRIEL


     Oh wow!  In my Encyclopedia there's a picture of this guy named Roman Gabriel who was the Los Angeles Rams' Quarterback back in the 1960's.  And it shows how he had only one skinny bar for protection in his face mask.  I like the way white horns look on his helmet.   

   One thing I could see if I ever work up the courage to go all the way into the far end of  our house is this thing called a "Goalie" mask hanging in my boss's Bedroom.  Dais told me all about it.  Mr. Steve and his brother played Hockey when they were younger.

     One thing I have seen in a corner of the Dining Room is a Goalie stick given to my boss by a guy named Grant Fuhr.  In the 1980's he played Goalie for this one team called the Edmonton "Oilers" and wore a mask that was red, white and blue.  I hear Dawn barking next door.


                                                                    GRANT FUHR

                                                                    PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA


      According to my boss, Grant Fuhr broke a stick in practice so gave it to him.  Mr. Steve then fixed that stick.  First he carefully removed the tape and then with some wood glue repaired the broken blade.  Then he "re-taped" it and it looks "as good as new" as they say. 

     A few years ago Mr. Steve met a guy from Canada.  His favorite team is the Edmonton Oilers. So Mr. Steve gave him some pictures he took of the N.H.L. during the 1980's.   They had a good discussion about Hockey.  Edmonton is a city in the Canadian State of "Alberta."

     That man told my boss when the Oilers first started out they were in the "W.H.L." or "World Hockey League."   My Encyclopedia says the W.H.L. started in 1972 and in 1979 they and three other W.H.L. teams were added to the National Hockey League.  I smell a Lizard. 

     At first the Oilers were called the "Alberta Oilers."  That's what that one guy told Mr. Steve.   There's another big city up in Alberta called "Calgary."  From what my boss says there are still many Cowboys in Calgary and they have these events called "Rodeos."

                                             JACQUES PLANTE (ALBERTA OILERS)


       I was going to write about this guy named Jacques Plante day after tomorrow in book three. But I feel like doing it now because when I looked up the Edmonton Oilers in my Encyclopedia there's a picture of him wearing an Alberta Oilers uniform.  I see the Lizard.

     Jacques Plante was from this other Canadian State called "Quebec."  In book three I'll write a lot more about the history of that French-speaking State when I discuss the name "Dionne" or "Dion." Mr. Steve took pictures of this guy named Marcel Dionne back in the 1980's.   

     Mr. Steve thinks Jacques Plante, even though he only saw him play later in his career, was a great Goalie.  Mr. Steve and his brother Rock liked playing Goalie when younger.  And over in Texas Rock played Goalie in a League just a few years ago.  The Lizard is gone.

     I guess that guy Jacques Plante at first played for the Montreal "Canadians."  Montreal is a big city in Quebec my boss says.  I know that the Brooklyn Dodgers had a Minor League team there for years.  That's where Jackie Robinson played before he went up to the Dodgers.



      As hard as it is to believe, until the early 1970's, when my boss was in High School, most of the Ice Hockey players in the N.H.L. didn't wear helmets.  And some of the Goalies still didn't even wear masks.  I guess that guy Jacques Plante was the first to wear a mask.

     Mr. Steve was right.  My Encyclopedia says that in 1959 Jacques Plante got hit in the face but his Coach still wanted him to play anyway.  So Jacques Plante told him the only way he'd do it was if he could wear a mask.  So, reluctantly, that Coach agreed.  I smell Sage.

     Nowadays Goalies wear some "elaborate" masks for protection my boss told me.  Here in this Encyclopedia there are black and white pictures of Jacques Plante when he was on the Montreal Canadians.  And in one of those pictures he's wearing that very first mask.  

     This is interesting.  One of the Edmonton Oilers players when they were still in the W.H.L. was that guy Mr. Steve told me about named Bill "Cowboy" Flett.  Mr. Steve and his brother and friends saw him play in the late 1960's when he was on the Los Angeles Kings.

                                                           BILL "COWBOY" FLETT


      I hear Sparrows singing.  That reminds me of the time when Mr. Steve told me about how Bill Flett was the only Hockey player back then to wear a beard.  And he was one of the last players not to not wear a helmet.  A small brown Squirrel is running bye right now.

     From what Mr. Steve says, in the late 1960's and early 1970's Bill Flett had one of the hardest "Slap Shots."  I guess that's when you "Wind Up" to hit the "Puck" really hard with your stick. Mr. Steve heard that guy Bill Flett at times shot it over one hundred miles per hour.



      In the 1970's one of the best players was named Bobby Hull.  His nickname was the "Golden Jet" and he played for the Chicago "Blackhawks."  His Slap Shot went over one hundred miles per hour.  Mr. Steve saw him play the Kings down at the Forum a few times.

     Players were allowed to use sticks with big curves in the blades in the 1970's.  But the N.H.L. changed the rules because this made the puck curve too much when someone like a Bill Flett or Bobby Hull took Slap Shots.  It was way too dangerous.  A Crow just cawed.

     Mr. Steve says one time down at the Forum that guy Bill Flett took a really hard Slap Shot.  But the defender's stick deflected the puck up into the audience and this one guy tried to catch it with his hands.  As Daisy has at times said in such situations; "bad decision."

      Unfortunately for that guy at the King's game, the hard puck went between his fingers and hit him right in the mouth.  Some of his teeth even broke out and he was bleeding a lot.  One of the Ushers gave him a white towel which ended up being covered in red blood.  

     According to what my boss told me, when you attend a sporting event you "Assume the Risk" of getting injured by a "stray" puck or ball that goes into the crowd.  On the back of the ticket is this thing called an "Exculpatory Clause."  That means the team is not "Liable."

     As I mentioned earlier, for about twenty years Mr. Steve's family bought Season Seats for the Dodgers.  One time this guy who played for the Cincinnati "Reds" named Dan Driesen hit a fowl ball that hit Mr. Steve's father in the forehead.  Boy!  That would really hurt I'll bet.                     


                                                                 GERRY CHEEVERS

       Oh!  My Encyclopedia has a picture of that one Goalie Mr. Steve told me about.  In the 1970's he drew stitches on his mask where he would've been cut had he not been wearing a mask.  Daisy says Mr. Steve has drawn many of the N.H.L. team logos.   I smell a Squirrel.

     Mr. Steve told me now all Hockey players are required to wear helmets and all of the Goalies must wear masks.  Today not wearing them would be just as unthinkable as a Football player wearing a helmet without a Face Mask.  Fannie and Freddie are now flying bye.


                                                            MURRAY BANNERMAN


       According to what Mr. Steve says, by the 1980's when he was taking pictures at the Kings games all the Goalies wore masks.  At that point, just like with Football helmets, artistic designs and things like that could be "cooked" right into the material the mask was made of.

     That guy who was the Edmonton Oilers fan discussed with Mr. Steve how this player named Wayne Gretzky went from the Oilers to the Kings.  That was one of the biggest events in N.H.L. history.  Wayne Gretzky's nickname is the "The Great One."  I see the Squirrel.


                                                                    WAYNE GRETZKY / MARK MESSIER

       It was kind of surprising to Mr. Steve when that Oilers fan told him his favorite player was not Wayne Gretzky but this other guy named Mark Messier.  And here in this Encyclopedia it shows a good picture of Wayne Gretzky on the bench sitting next to Mark Messier.

    It was obvious to Mr. Steve that Oilers fan was as proud of what the Oilers did in the 1980's as he was of what the Oakland A's accomplished during the 1970's.  After the W.H.L. went out of business in 1979 the Oilers were added to the N.H.L.  That Squirrel just ran away.

     Wayne Gretzky is considered by many as the best Hockey player ever; even though he wasn't that strong or fast.  Mr. Steve told me that during the 1980's he broke most scoring records and led the Oilers to five championships.  Two of the Pigeons are flying bye right now.

     From what Mr. Steve says, that guy Wayne Gretzky was not strong or fast but was one of the smartest Hockey players.  He seemed to have a Sixth Sense for where the puck would be when it landed.  Oh!  A big flock of Birds is now going bye way up there high in the sky. 

     Mr. Steve jokes that when he and his brothers and sisters were growing up it at times seemed like their mother had "eyes in the back of her head" as they say.  And I guess there were some who thought Wayne Gretzky was like that too but as an Ice Hockey player.

     Just as that guy Ara was a good Handball player because he knew how and where to position himself; Wayne Gretzky was the same way.  That's what Mr. Steve told me.  He often seemed to be "in the right place at the right time" my boss says.  I her Pigeons cooing.   

     Wayne Gretzky was really good at not being hit; so hardly ever got injured.  That's what most impressed that Oilers fan I guess.  With what seemed like perfect timing, Wayne Gretzky would avoid at the last second being what they call "Checked."  I hear Dawn barking.   

      That Oilers fan said in 1978 the N.H.L. had this rule which said no team was allowed to sign anyone under twenty years old to a contract.  So Wayne Gretzky, who was seventeen, went to the W.H.L. Oilers instead.  One year later the Oilers were added to the N.H.L. 

     Mr. Steve says Wayne Gretzky would often position himself behind the opponents net so could then move left or right depending on the play.  He wasn't a fast skater but had quick hands and was what they call "deft" in his use of his stick.  Now Blinky's barking too. 

     In the "Den" area of the house next to the Living Room, along with the Goalie stick that guy Grant Fuhr gave him, Mr. Steve has two other "regular" Hockey sticks.  One he's had since he was a kid and the other one he bought for only a dollar at a local Garage Sale.

     Mr. Steve re-taped the Goalie stick in royal blue exactly the same way Grant Fuhr had it.  The stick he bought at the Garage Sale he re-taped in pink just to see people's reaction.  There are no Hockey teams who use pink as either their primary or secondary color.  I smell Sage.

     The pink stick is for a right-handed shooter.  That means the left side of the blade is curved.  My boss's older stick is a left-handed stick where the right side of the blade is curved.  Mr. Steve can shoot with either one.  Sometimes he shoots against the door of the Garage.

     Even though he's right-handed my boss does things right or left-handed.  But for some reason he feels more comfortable shooting left-handed with a Hockey stick; as Wayne Gretzky does.  If he's "driving" golf balls he feels better doing it right-handed.  I smell a Cholla cactus.

     Mr. Steve says his old "veteran" stick has been taped a number of times over the years.  But now it has green, yellow and white tape.  This is mainly because of how he likes the Oakland A's and this one other Hockey team called the Oakland Seals.  I hear Birds chirping.


                                                                  OAKLAND SEALS

        I'm tempted to write about that Hockey team the Oakland Seals now but I better not.  I'll just wait until day after tomorrow when I work on my third book.  That's when I'm scheduled to do it.  Mr. Steve thinks the Oakland Seals are the only team ever to wear white skates.

     Over the years my boss has at times wondered why Wayne Gretzky tucked in his jersey the way he did when he was playing.  He would just tuck in one side it seemed.  But that one Oilers fan explained why he used to do it that way.  I hear some of the Pigeons cooing.

     From what that Oilers fan told Mr. Steve, even as a little kid Wayne Gretzky was so good he had to play against older boys.  His uniform was often way too big for him so he tucked in his jersey in the odd way he did.  And out of habit he just kept doing it like that. 

    But, as good as he did during the 1980's, in 1988 Wayne Gretzky brought his family out here to Los Angeles so he could play for the Kings.  The Canadian people were really mad my boss said.  Rudy the Roadrunner is jogging bye right now but I won't chase him.

     The Kings first came into the N.H.L. in 1968 when the League expanded from the original six franchises; Montreal, Boston, New York, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.  But I guess the Kings never had any winning teams.  But that changed when Wayne Gretzky got here.


        The Kings were lucky in 1988 when Wayne Gretzky came here Mr. Steve thinks.  They went from a bad team to a pretty good team seemingly "overnight" as they say.  This usually never happens in sports; where the addition of one player makes such a huge difference.   

     When Wayne Gretzky came to the Kings changed their colors from purple, yellow and white like the Basketball Lakers; to black as their primary color with silver and white their secondary colors.  In 1993 they almost won the "Stanley Cup" championship.

     Mr. Steve told that one Oilers fan he thinks Wayne Gretzky might've saved Ice Hockey in California.  More people became interested.  Now the Anaheim "Ducks" and San Jose "Sharks" are the Kings competitors.  For a time there was even a team over there in Arizona.      


      I spent more time writing about Ice Hockey than I planned on.  This book one outline says I still have more to write about the Football Rams; when they were here in Los Angeles and now that they're located back there in Saint Louis.  A Thrasher Bird just ran bye.

     Oh well, I can change or add things as they occur to me.  Things don't have to be exactly how I wrote them in my outline.  And now that I think about it I'm sort of glad I wrote so much about Wayne Gretzky.  I learned a lot; which I know for sure Mr. Steve will like.  

     Mr. Steve says over the years the Rams Football team have used "Navy" or dark blue as their primary color.  At other times it was "Royal" blue.  Gold and yellow have been "interchanged" as their secondary color.  White is always used too.  I hear our neighbors Ducks.

     More than most people, Mr. Steve notices things like uniforms.  This is because to this day he draws a lot Daisy says.  And he says in his subjective opinion when the Rams "sported" white horns on their helmets is when their uniforms looked the best to him. 

     When the Rams had white horns on their helmets my boss thinks the players kind of looked like real Rams ready to charge when they lined up before a play at the "scrimmage" line.  Daisy says we might have some "Bighorn" Sheep living right here in our mountains.

     Over the years Mr. Steve has done a lot of drawing.  He's drawn many sports team logos and a lot of cartoons too.  He gives them to kids to color.  Daisy told me that he's drawn Underdog and Sherman and Mr. Peabody.  He's drawn some of the Rams logos.

     Mr. Steve said one time in the 1980's he was invited by this girl named Francine to a lunch being held at the Elk's Lodge in San Fernando.  A "Public Relations" person who worked for the Rams came to give a "talk" to the people who were there.  I smell a Cholla cactus.


                                           SAN FERNANDO ELK'S LODGE


     The man from the Rams brought with him some rams helmets from history; one a red leather helmet from the 1930's when they were the Cleveland Rams.  My boss still has a cassette tape of the event which was given to everyone in what they call "attendance."

     A while back Mr. Steve was told by this Mormon man that Merlin Olson, who played for the Rams in the 1960's and 1970's, was Mormon.  So my boss went and got a Program from a game Merlin Olson played in at the Coliseum in 1967.  He showed it to that man. 

     That Mormon man noticed right away that the Rams at that time wore royal blue and white uniforms with no yellow or gold at all.  And he really noticed how good the Rams helmets looked with white horns.  Ah!  There goes Max the Hummingbird zipping bye.


                                                       MERLIN OLSON (1940-2010)

     In the 1970's my boss's girlfriend Sandy's parent's really liked this one tv show called "Little House on the Prairie."  Mr. Steve told me that by then that guy Merlin Olson had retired from Football and was one of the actors on that show.  I'd like to see it someday.

     Mr. Steve says, like most of the Mormons he's met, Merlin Olson seemed like a decent person.  He used to tell kids never to lie.  One of the worst things he thought a person could do was show up for a job "unprepared."  There goes Mex the Hummingbird again.

     Over the years our boss has asked people if they like watching the NFL.  If they says yes he then asks which team has no logos on their helmets.  Most people have never noticed the helmets of the this team called the Cleveland Browns.  They're all orange.

                  BROWNS                                                         STEELERS                                BENGALS


        Mr. Steve says most people have never noticed that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a logo only on one side of their helmet.  And this other team called the Cincinnati Bengals have Tiger stripes on their helmets.  All of the other teams have "emblems" on both sides of their helmets.

     I wonder if we do have some Rams up in the mountains to our south?  Daisy told me they're called "Bighorn Sheep" and the boy Rams always fight each other over the girl Rams.  Blinky is barking next door.  Birds are flying about out in the desert behind the three Sheds.


        Daisy told me that when two male Rams fight it's unbelievable how hard they hit each other.  They put their heads down and then charge head-first right at each other.  It's a miracle they don't damage their brains she says.  Hey, maybe that's why they call them Rams!

     Wow!  This so amazing!  I have only two chapters to go in this first book.  I'd say it's about five thirty in the afternoon.  There's about two more hours of sunlight.  That should give me just enough time to finish the last two chapters.  Thank Everyone for the day!

                                                                            (Chapter 11)



   According to my outline I still have a few things to write about that stadium in downtown Los Angeles called the Coliseum.  Back in 1984 Mr. Steve's father was involved in the organizing of the Los Angeles Olympics and also got a license to sell things like cups and pins.

     Many of the events for the 1984 Olympics took place at the Coliseum.  Mr. Steve's parents saw the "spectacular" opening and closing ceremonies there.  And his family, including Uncles and Cousins from New Mexico, were able to see a lot of different games there too.




        From what Daisy says Mr. Steve took a lot of pictures at the Olympic Games events he went to in 1984.  She told me that he once told her and that other Dog Millie about how really good the American Boxing team was that year.  I'd like to go to an Olympics! 

     Over the years Mr. Steve has spoken with people who actually attended Dodger games down at the Coliseum.  They all said it was not suited for Baseball because its "dimensions" were too strange.  The right and left field corners were really short they told my boss.



      Over the years when he's attended sporting events at the Coliseum downtown he would try to visualize what it must have been like to turn it into a Baseball field.  And he says it's sort of hard to imagine because the field is long and more suited to Football or Track and Field.

     After a few years of using the Coliseum for Baseball, the city and the Dodgers "chased" away people living in an area called "Chavez Ravine;" to the northeast of downtown.  There they then built "Dodger Stadium."  It's still a beautiful Stadium Mr. Steve told me.

     Mr. Steve says many of the people whose families were "evicted" from Chavez Ravine were angry.  He's met a few of them.  And just like how some of the people from Brooklyn never ever forgave the Dodger for leaving, these people never have liked the Dodgers.

     I know what "Eminent Domain" is.  I don't agree with it!  It's when a city says it needs your land for their own purposes so the landowner has to sell the land to them even if they don't want to.  I sure hope something like that never happens to us!  A Crow just cawed.

    In  1958 when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles they were owned by an Irish family named "O'Malley."  But in 1949, four years after the end of the Second World War, their owner was a man named Branch Rickey.  He was a "former" Major League player Mr. Steve says.

     That man Branch Rickey is now famous for being the first owner to hire a black player.  That player was named Jackie Robinson.  Mr. Steve says that Jackie Robinson was a really good what they call "base runner."  He was an "all around" athlete at U.C.L.A.

              U.CL.A.                                ROBINSON FAMILY                                  U.C.L.A.       


      Jackie Robinson was from Los Angeles and he played four sports in college at U.Cl.A.  Mr. Steve's former girlfriend Emily still works at U.C.L.A. in the Athletic Department.  Her job is to raise money for that department and she's really good at it.  I smell Joshua tree.

     When they were together Emily and my boss went to games at a place called the "Rose Bowl" in Pasadena; right near where Jackie Robinson grew up.   U.C.L.A. stands for "University of California at Los Angeles."  Mr. Steve still knows people who live in Pasadena.


              BRANCH RICKEY                                     JACKIE ROBINSON / BRANCH RICKEY


      Our boss  likes this one quote by Branch Rickey; "Luck is the residue of design."  He jokes that  Daisy and I's "play fighting” might be good practice in case someone ever tries to invade our property and we have to be mean "for real" as they say.  I smell Sage.

      Daisy says Mr. Steve told her about this man from France named Louis Pasteur who said once; "Luck favors only the prepared mind."  That's one reason I'm learning to read and write.  Someday I might just get a really good opportunity because I'm prepared for it. 

     Our boss jokes that Daisy and I's "mock" fighting might be like an unemployed musician keeping up his “chops;” just in case he or she gets lucky and a job or "gig" comes up; especially a paying job.  We are prepared to defend our two acres if necessary.

     For almost twenty years in the 1970's and 1980's, through their business, Mr. Steve's family had what are called "Season Seats" for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  As it turns out he says, this was a good time to have had Season Seats for professional Baseball. 

     In the 1970's and 80's season tickets for the Dodgers were still "reasonably priced" my boss told me.  Mr. Steve's family were lucky and went to four World Series.  In 1988 the Dodgers played the Oakland A's, my boss's favorite team, in the World Series.

     During about half of the time that Mr. Steve's family had Season Seats for the Dodgers the team had a unique situation which my boss thinks will probably never happen again.  They had the same four players on what's called the "infield."

     At the time everyone took it for granted but now, looking back on it Mr. Steve says, having the same four players on the infield for so long is what they call "astounding."  Nowadays on most teams it's often a "revolving door" in all nine positions. 



    In addition to seeing the same four players on an infield, my boss says that his family were very fortunate to experience the "phenomena" of "Fernandomania" in 1980.  This was when this man from Mexico named Fernando Valenzuela came in as a "rookie" pitcher. 

       From what Mr. Steve has told me that guy Fernando Valenzuela did great in back in 1980.  He was a smart "thinking" pitcher.  Many young pitchers rely on pure what they call "velocity" when they first come into the Major Leagues.  But not "Fernando" my boss says.    


                                                        FERNANDO VALENZUELA                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                  PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA                                                       


        Mr. Steve says that Fernando Valenzuela, because he wasn't just what they call a "fireballing thrower," had some people not believing he was as young as he really was.  I wonder if I could throw a ball?  It would be kind of hard to grip but maybe I could do it. 

      From the beginning Fernando Valenzuela seemed like more of a "cerebral" pitcher my boss told me. He changed speeds and moved the ball in and out and up and down.  He tried never to get into predictable patterns.  Mr. Steve says Fernando was obviously smart.

     According to Mr. Steve Fernando Valenzuela was kind of like that guy Wayne Gretzky in that he was not the best athlete.  But, again like Wayne Gretzky, he made up for his lack of strength and speed by knowing proper positioning and timing.  I hear Birds chirping.

      In 1988 the Dodgers beat the Oakland A's in the World Series.  In the first game one of the most famous events in Baseball history took place my boss says.  In the ninth or last inning the A's had a one run lead and one of their best pitchers on the mound.  A Crow cawed.

     An injured player named Kirk Gibson came off the bench in that ninth inning and hit one of the most "dramatic" home runs in history.  Mr. Steve's parents were at that game.  My boss said that Kirk Gibson always did seem to have what they call a "Flair for the Dramatic." 

       On the same night Kirk Gibson hit his famous home run at Dodger Stadium, my boss and his girlfriend Harriet were at a place in Reseda called "Be Bop Records."  They were there to see a band and then write a review for Music Connection magazine.  I smell a Crow.

      Mr. Steve usually doesn't gamble; especially because his family in the early 1990's was in the gambling business so he "knows the numbers." But in 1988 he was so sure Oakland would win he jokingly "bet" his friend Armando the Dodgers would lose.  I see the Crow.

     "On paper" as they say the A's were better than the Dodgers in literally every category my boss told me.  This is very unusual as normally each team has strengths and weaknesses.  But in thisre rare case the A's were unquestionably better in every way. I hear the Crow cawing. 

       Well, Oakland lost that World Series four games to two.  So "technically" my boss owed his friend Armando one hundred dollars.  But Armando was a very nice person and didn't hold Mr. Steve to the bet.  He "let him off the hook" as they say.  That Crow just flew away. 

     That 1988 World Series really taught my boss "a lesson."  He's never gambled since; not even one of those "Lottery" tickets.   He now thinks gambling on sports is dumb.  It's what they call a "legal scam."  It's legal but you have little chance to make money he says.

        Mr. Steve left his house to go pick up Harriet in the late afternoon on that night Kirk Gison hit his home run.  When he left the A's were ahead so he was confident they'd win.  After all he thought, they had the best what they call "closer" in Baseball.  I smell a Joshua tree.

      A closer is a pitcher who's job it is to come in at the end of the game and then "shut down" the opposing batters and get the final outs.  On the A's in 1988 it was this right-handed pitcher named Dennis Eckersley who almost "unhittable" that season.  A Sparrow is singing.

     Dennis Eckersley is now considered to have been one of the best "relief" pitchers ever.  But the Dodgers had scouted him well so Kirk Gibson, even though he had an injured leg, was fairly confident he knew what pitch Dennis Eckersly was going to throw.  I smell a Cholla cactus.


                                                            DENNIS ECKERSLEY    


      Be Bop Records was a nightclub which had a bar.  And behind the bar the bartender had a little black and white tv set up.  So as he waited for the band they were there to cover come out Mr. Steve watched the World Series.  But, being so small it was hard to see he says.

      When Mr. Steve saw Kirk Gibson limp up to the plate in the ninth inning he was confident the A's would win.  But when he saw what happened he was "shocked."  At first he wasn't sure he saw it right and thought his eyes just might be "deceiving " him as they say.

     When my boss realized what had happened, even though it was only the first game, he sensed that the Dodgers were "destined" to win that World Series.  He was stunned!  And while taking pictures of the band he says he felt like one of those Zombies you see in movies. 

     Mr. Steve says for the rest of that night he felt "Thunderstruck" just like in that one song by AC/DC.  He just knew "in his heart of hearts" that the A's were going to lose that series.  But he did his job and took the pictures of the band.  Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.

      Oakland, who beat the Dodgers in the World Series in 1975,  did end up losing the series in 1988.  Now, in "looking back on it," Mr. Steve says he thinks he should have paid Armando on that bet because he was such an idiot.  A Squirrel just ran past in front of the Sheds. 


       Wow!  This is so amazing!  I'm already finished with ten chapters in this first book.  It's now about five thirty.  The shadows are now leaning away from me.  Only two more chapters to go.  I see a Bunny Rabbit sticking it's nose out from under Moe the middle Shed.

     There are times when Daisy does not want to play with me.  She gives me a low growl and I know to leave her alone.  When Daisy wants to be by herself I sometimes go and lie down; often on this old couch.  But sometimes I go over to the north side of our house. 

     Sometimes I like to chew on a piece of wood or one of the toys or rawhide bones Daisy and I have stashed about. I love to chew on things!   For some reason it just feels good on my teeth.  But I've noticed that the older I get the less I enjoy chewing on things.

     I like to gnaw on plastic or rubber balls but; then I get kind of  "carried away" and rip, tear and shred them to pieces so, eventually, they get thrown on the back of our old Truck in a trip to our local "Dump."  I have a new green ball.  I'm going to chew on it later.

     Daisy and I have very strong jaws!  I still have really sharp teeth!  Daisy's teeth are dull or blunter but; if someone ever tries to rob us Daisy's old teeth will be even worse because she has such strong jaws!  Mr. Steve calls her "Vise Grip" or "Clamp."  I smell a Squirrel.

     I know one thing; I sure wouldn't want to be that poor robber if Daisy ever got a good bite on him!  He'd have to break her jaws to get her off!  My boss says that in this way she'd be like a Pitbull; or the Gila Monster Lizard our boss used to own.  I see the Squirrel.      

     This old couch is like my friend now.  It's hard to believe but; when Mr. Steve first tried to put me on this couch I jumped off  "like a scalded Cat" as our boss says.  He was starting to get very upset with me for being so afraid.  That Squirrel just ran out into the desert.

     Most of his life my boss has been called by his father "Hard-Headed."  This is sometimes true he admits.  And on some occasions this has turned out good and on other occasions it has turned out bad.  The truth is, I have a "tendency" to be a bit stubborn; just like my boss.

     But, eventually Daisy showed me how nice it was to lay on this couch's soft surface.  Our boss was so happy when he opened up the back sliding glass door and saw Daisy and me laying next to each other on this old couch.  I've never seen him so happy about anything.

     Hey Blessed Virgin!  As You know, Mr. Steve came out of the house and just kept petting and hugging me while saying over and over; "Good girl!  Good Maggie!"  I felt alive and energized as he held me close to his body.  Now I want to get him to do that again and again.   

      When I stayed laying on this old couch and let our boss come up to me it was the first time I'd ever seen Mr. Steve so emotional!  Dais and I really liked it a lot.  We now try to get him to do that as often as possible.  In part, that's why I'm going to write my three books.     

     It's embarrassing to admit but, I was just as scared when Mr. Steve tried to cool me down in the really hot days of Summer by wetting me with water from this incredible rubber tube called a "Hose."  It's so amazing the miraculous things that people have come up with! 

     I was so surprised that there was such a thing as a hose where water came out of the end and you could control it whenever you wanted!  It was like magic!  But now I sort of like our hoses.  Daisy told me about the "faucets" inside of the house.  I smell a Sage plant. 

     Again, once I learned how Daisy liked getting wet I was willing to at least try it.  Now I do enjoy being washed down.  It feels great.  In fact, I now don't even mind when water splashes right near my face!  That used to terrify me.  Daisy thought it was funny. 

     Because our boss says it's good to try new things, even if you're afraid, I'm thinking about learning to swim.  But that's not for sure yet!  What if I just sank like a lead weight?  How embarrassing would that be!  But my boss would save me from drowning. 

     Mr. Steve believes that personal growth is harder if you always live in "total comfort." So he thinks you should try new things or live outside of your "comfort zone"every once in a while.  I kind of like being in my comfort zones.  This old couch is my comfort zone. 

     Our boss is allergic to, among other things, Dog hair.  That's why Daisy and I can't spend a lot of time inside our house.  This is fine with me because I'm afraid of going in a house.  I don't like being where all four "Cardinal" directions seem blocked off as escape routes. 

     Mr. Steve often feeds us by putting our food bowls just inside the dining room near the back patio.  This forces me to go into the house to eat my food.  At first it was not an easy thing for me to make this radical adjustment but now I'm fine with it.  

     You know, even though I now rest more than ever, I could run all day no problem; except of course on the hottest days of Summer.  I just love to run!  Daisy, not so much.  Mr. Steve jokes that I might be "part Kenyan" because I like to run around so much. 

     But Kenyans are what they call "long distance"  or "Marathon" runnersI enjoy sprinting more.  Mr. Steve's brothers used to run in this annual race called the Los Angeles Marathon.  I know where Africa is.  Boy, I can't believe it's already this late in the afternoon.

     I was going to write later about the history of the Marathon race but I kind of feel like doing it now instead.  According to what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, in 490 B.C. the Persians invaded Greece.  And the Greek armies met them at this place called Marathon.

     After the Greeks defeated the invading Persians the news was taken back to the City-State of Athens by a runner.  He announced his good news but then died.  Two thousand years later, in the year 1896, people decided to "resurrect" the ancient Greek Olympic Games.

     When the organizers of the first modern Olympic Games decided to have a long-distance race they called it the Marathon.  They put the distance at about twenty six miles mainly because that was the distance the messenger had run back in 490 B.C.   I smell a Squirrel.


                                                  BATTLE OF MARATHON (490 B.C.)

                                                                  PAINTING BY PETER CONNOLLY


      The picture in my Encyclopedia of the Battle of Marathon shows Greek and Persian soldiers trying to stab each other with spears.  Inside our house Daisy says, Mr. Steve has a miniature Greek Helmet; probably like the one in this painting.  I see the Squirrel.

     This is interesting.  Mr. Steve was right.  He said the runner who died in 490 B.C had already run about one hundred and fifty miles in the two days before the Battle of Marathon even began. So no wonder he died!  Mr. Steve thinks he must've had a heart attack.


                                                         HERODOTUS (484-425 B.C.)

    Tomorrow I'm scheduled to write about this ancient Greek historian named Herodotus.  Mr. Steve knows about him.  My Encyclopedia says that for years many people thought the story of the Marathon runner came from the writing of Herodotus.  The Squirrel is gone. 

     I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this?  It says here that even though Herodotus did write a lot of things about the wars between the Greeks and the Persians he didn't mention the part about the runner.  A nice cool breeze just floated in off the eastern desert beyond the three Sheds.

    Dais probably can't believe that I've stayed back here for most of the day.  Wait until she sees what I've done.  And I've shown a lot of discipline if I do say so myself.  I've been tempted a few times to chase things like I normally do.  Daisy is going to be so proud of me.

    I'll bet Daisy's in the Garage right now, resting on either her Barney the Dinosaur blanket or that black and orange "Tiger" blanket; the quilt with the Tiger images on it. Mr. Steve bought it at this big "Thrift" Store down in Sylmar.  He buys other things too at Thrift Stores.      

     Daisy used to have this big green blanket but Mr. Steve threw it away because it was getting "ragged" as they say.  Daisy was so sad.  That green blanket was her friend.  I have my favorite blankets right here on this old couch.  I just love all of my blankets! 

     Both of Daisy's blankets are spread out in front of the door to our Utility Room, right near the Refrigerator in the Garage. Inside the Utility Room we have these two amazing machines called a "Washer" and "Dryer" which clean and dry our blankets automatically!  


     At times I still have nightmares when I sleep!  I dream about living out in that field; of being homeless, with no friends or any hope for a better future.  But Daisy calms me down when I start to thrash around when I sleep.  I always feel better when Daisy's around!

     Boy Blessed Virgin!  I can tell by where the Sun is that there's only about two more hours of daytime left.  I've gotten a lot done today.  But there are still a lot of things left to write about from my first outline.  I'll just have to really "buckle down" as they say. 

      I guess the last two chapters of this first book will have to be kind of long because according to my book one outline there are still many topics left to write about.  I've been checking things off or crossing them out as I finish writing about them.  I can smell a Sage plant.

     I guess no snacks for Daisy and myself today.  That's okay because I've been so busy writing this first book.  And besides, I know I'll have a really good dinner.  I sure hope we have some of that new meat called Spam.  I can still remember from this morning how it tastes.

     I guess you could say that, after I got dumped off in that field, I was what our Chief might call a "Castoff."  I lived a life of "peril, isolation and fear" as they say.  I was kind of lonely.  But now I have my boss and Daisy.  Thank You Blessed Mother!  I smell a Lizard. 

     I'm sure glad I'm here with Daisy and Mr. Steve now.  There are times when it seems almost too good to be true.  Daisy and I are kind of like the two orphans in Lawrence of Arabia. In a       sense we were adopted by our boss who's now more than just a boss.                                                

     At this point you might say that both Daisy and myself have come to think of Mr. Steve as our parent.  I just looked up the word "Surrogate."  It means "in place of" or a "substitute."  Daisy  told me about that word a while back.  Mr. Steve is our "Chief" she jokes.                                                     

      Hey God!  As You know I've sometimes thought; how could I have gotten so lucky?  Are the things that happen in life just random or what they call "pure chance?"  Is there no purpose or “Rhyme or Reason" for things?  I want to believe things often happen for a reason.  

     There are still times when I'm frightened and jumpy but, at least now I'm never lonely and have renewed hope.  I've learned not to fear the unknown as much as I used to.  But, best of all, I have a friend in Daisy!  I really do fit in over here.  Thank You Guys for that!

     Mr. Steve's father told him and his brothers and sisters that if a person has one good friend in a lifetime he's lucky.  Many don't.  Isaac Newton, who's called the "Father of Physics," said he   never really wanted any friends.  They would just distract him from his work. 

 ISAAC NEWTON (1643-1726)

     In Mr. Steve's opinion another reason why Isaac Newton never really wanted too many good friends was, besides being too involved in his work; he didn't like much of "human nature."  He saw a lot of bad in people so preferred to be alone most of the time my boss thinks. 

     Mr. Steve told me that there's an old philosophical question which has been debated forever; "Is human nature basically good or basically bad."  Since the time of the ancient Greeks some  philosophers said good while others saw most people as more bad than good.

     Isaac Newton would probably have said that human beings were kind of bad.  Mr. Steve says he thinks the answer to the classic question is "somewhere in between" or in the middle.  In his mind most people seem to be capable of doing both good and bad.

      In College Mr. Steve studied about Isaac Newton's "Three Laws of Motion."  I'll write more about them on Saturday in book three.  Mr. Steve also read about how Isaac Newton described what's called "Gravity;" supposedly after he saw this one apple fall from a tree. 

      Hey Lord!  I just noticed how this Encyclopedia says Isaac Newton was born on December the 25th; which is Your birthday.  Mr. Steve thinks it's not likely You were born in December.  He thinks the Christians just took over some dates from Pagan Roman holidays.   

      My boss read a book about a man named Albert Einstein.  He was smart like Isaac Newton.  Daisy has me scheduled to write a lot more about him tomorrow in book two.  He studied what Isaac Newton wrote and then in the early 20th century came up with ideas of his own.

      I'm so fortunate to have Daisy and Mr. Steve!  They're my friends!  And, I'd kind of like to also think of Fannie and Freddie as my friends.  The same is true with both Max and 99 and also our neighbors three Dogs; Blinky, Dawn and old Rosie.  Oh!  And all our Quail too.

     Writing this book makes me realize even more how lucky I am.  I thank my "Lucky Stars" as they say.  There's nothing I like better than looking up at Stars.  I just love the Stars; especially the three Stars in Orion's belt!  And I like looking at the Sun and Moon too! 

     Daisy and I want to believe that the three Stars up in Orion's belt are our lucky Stars.  But now that it's Spring we won't be able to see them again until next Winter.  I can't wait!  As Daisy says, it's always good to have something to look forward to.

     One of these days when I overcome my fear of going all the way down the Hallway I can see the white and gold Sum / Moon plaque.  Dais says it's hanging on the wall next to the Bathroom; above one of Mr. Steve's mom's paintings.  That painting is of Capistrano Mission.

     As You know God, both Daisy and myself are glad that You sent Stanley and Ramona down here to be our Guardian Angels.  But Daisy thinks that sometimes You use actual people to be a Guardian Angel.  Like Mr. Steve for example.  He saved us both Daisy says! 

     Because Mr. Steve saved us, both Dais and I have at times wondered if, perhaps, he was sent as a messenger or, maybe even our Guardian Angel?   Hey God?  Sometimes I wonder if You can have more than just one Guardian Angel?  Or maybe one is just temporary.

     As You know God, earlier today I mentioned that girl named Miss Maria.  She's from Mexico and Mr. Steve's mom calls her a "God-Send."  She took care of Grandma Cordova when she was really old.  And Miss Maria helps Mr. Steve's parents a lot now.  I can smell Sage. 

     God?  Thank You for sending me Stanley to watch out for me.  And You know of course that Daisy really appreciates her Guardian Angel Ramona.  Daisy never does bad things but her bad Angel Eddie never quits trying to make her do wrong she says.  I smell a Joshua tree.

      Now that I think about it my bad Angel Lilith hasn't been around lately.  I'm so glad for that but even when she does try to make me do bad things I can resist the temptation.  The last time Lilith showed up I resisted the urge to chew on that one couch cushion.       

     I don't know why but for some reason I sure do like Angels an awful lot.  And not just Stanley and Ramona.  I've noticed that Daisy likes to hear about Hopi "Kachina" dancers.  She's told me about that our boss has an Indian "Tom Tom" drum in his Bedroom. 

     You know, now that I think about it, Kachina means "teacher" and Daisy and my boss have now become sort of like my personal teachers!  Boy, someday I want to teach others about things and then they can call me a teacher too.  But I still have so much to learn!

     Hey God!  Who knows?  I might be dead by now if You  hadn't brought me here. You might say my life is a sort of “Redemption” or; "Salvation."  I've been given a second chance to begin again!  And I want to believe that it was You who did it.  I smell a Sage plant.
     Mr. Steve says he thinks life often "unfolds" in three phases; "rise, fall, then renew."  A few years ago a friend jokingly explained the proper "stabbing technique" when using a Bayonet as; "thrust, develop, then recover.  That does kind of sound like the cycles of nature.
      In my Dictionary it says that a "Bayonet" is the "blade attached to the end of a gun."  Daisy told me that in his office our boss has a few Bayonets.  Most are just replicas but he does have a real American Civil War "Enfield" Bayonet hanging on the east wall.  It's real Dais says. 
    Hey God!  As You know, someday I really want to work up enough courage to go all the way inside our house.  Daisy does it all the time and thinks I'm being ridiculous for not going all the   way down the Hallway.  She says I don't "know what I'm missing" as the say.   I believe her.        
  Even though a bayonette is meant to be a spear-like "Stabbing" weapon on the end of your gun, I can see how if necessary it could also be used as a "Slashing" sword in a person's hand.        Boy, I sure do wish I had a hand like Mr. Steve.  That would be so great!  I smell a Creosote.                                                  


       Oh my God!  There's a picture of a Civil War Enfield bayonete here in this Encyclopedia. It shows two Union soldiers with their Enfield bayonettes attached to the ends of their guns.  I can easily see how you could stab someone with it.  Two Crows are fighting out in the desert.

       Mr. Steve sometimes jokes that I've been given what the ancient Roman teachers used to call a “Tabla Rasa” or Latin for “blank” or “Clean Slate.”  But Daisy told me it won't mean a thing unless I take advantage of my good luck.  I am going to do that!  I smell Sage.

     Sometimes I feel a bit guilty.  I do wonder why I survived when so many other Dogs and Cats don't.  But, at least I haven't had any really bad dreams lately.  I've been sleeping so well.  I'm grateful for that.  I don't like nightmares!  Thank You God and Blessed Virgin!

     I used to be a bit “self-pitying.”  But not now because Daisy told me our boss doesn't really like people who always blame things or others for their bad luck or life's unfairness.  He thinks anyone who expects life to be fair is often going to be very disappointed. 

     Mr. Steve thinks one should take responsibility for ones mistakes.  And he says, he's made a lot of mistakes in his life.  But he's tried to learn from his mistakes.  I try to learn from all of my mistakes too.  Sometimes I rely on Daisy's experience to avoid making mistakes.

    My boss says after World War II the American President was named Harry S. Truman.  He had a sign on his desk which read; "The buck stops here."  Mr. Steve agrees with that sign and thinks that, to a great extent, we're all responsible for our own fates.

                                                    PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972)

     Daisy says Mr. Steve has a lot of books about the different President's of the United States and is now re-reading a book about that one man named President Truman she told me.  He reads in the Bathroom Daisy says.  Someday I want to see one of our three Bathrooms.

     My Encyclopedia says President Truman, just like J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and also Ernest Hemingway, fought in World War I.  But before that I guess he failed in some what they call "business ventures."  But he didn't give up and even later became President.  

      Tomorrow in book two I'm going to write about this other President named Ulysses S. Grant  who was a General during the American Civil War.  Like Harry Truman, he also failed in many of the things he tried.  But both men had supportive wives who believed in them.



        It says here that in 1918 Harry Truman led and artillery unit in the American Army.  His men took part in what's called the "Meuse-Argonne Offensive" and later fired some of the last shots of the war.  Artillery means "Mounted Guns" or "Canons."  I just looked that up.      

     Our boss was raised a Catholic.  Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, he and his brothers and sisters went to "Elementary" school at Saint Ferdinands.  Mr. Steve thinks they got a better education than others who went to what they call "Public" school.

     Saint Ferdinand's is what's called a "private" or "Parochial" school.  It's located in the city of San Fernando and also has a Church.  Not only did the students go to "Mass" on Sundays but also on most weekdays at eight in the morning.  Someday I want to attend Mass.    

     Nuns in full black “Habits” were Mr. Steve's teachers for much of that time.  Mr. Steve and some of his classmates, who at times gave them grief, recall these decent women fondly.  They think the Nuns in their layers of veils, looked like Penguins, or “Piñguinos” in Spanish. 

     Daisy and I have wondered what a Penguin would sound or smell like.  Imagine a Bird that can't fly up in the air but can seemingly fly under the water!  Boy, Penguins must be able to hold their breath for such a long time.  That's so amazing to me!  I know I can't do it. 

     Mr. Steve says Penguins seem to be a good example of what that man from England named Charles Darwin described as "Natural Selection;" or "adapting to a particular environment" in order to survive in that specific environment.  This is what they call "Evolution."

   The Nuns who were my boss's teachers at Saint Ferdinands taught him a lot.  Now, "in looking back on it" as they say, he appreciates them more.  But, at the time, he regrets that he never gave them  a "second thought."  Sadly, most of those Nuns died many years ago.                                     


                                                     SAINT FERDINAND'S CHURCH

                                                                      PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA


      Some of the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands were what's called "Scotch-Irish."  He tells me all of these "capable," decent women are still alive in his memory.  So, in sort of a "philosophical" way, they're still live; at least in his mind.  And now they live in my mind too!  

     Mr. Steve told me that he recalls how the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands taught he and his fellow classmates about what they call the "Golden Rule."  I guess it was You Lord who said; "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  I want to believe in that rule.                                                                                                        


       As much as possible, my boss says he tries to practice the Christian Golden Rule.  He admits that he hasn't always followed it.  Mr. Steve says there have been times in his life when he didn't treat others very good.  I just looked up the word "repent."  It means "regret."  

      Regrettably my boss says, he and his classmates didn't always follow this rule with the Nuns.  They did "pranks" and some "dumb" and "mischievous" things.  They shot "spit wads" using pens like blowguns and sometimes caused the Nuns to get mad. 

     Some of Mr. Steve's biggest regrets are the mean things he and some of his classmates did to the Nuns at Saint Ferdinand's; who were women with "common sense" and "grace" he now realizes.  They were good people who set good examples to others.

     If he could use Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine to go back in time I'll bet my boss would go back to the 1960's and apologize to those Nuns at Saint Ferdinands.  Daisy and I like the Golden Rule. We try to be nice to others because we want them to be nice to us. 



      A Nun named Sister Rita Joseph believed in what's called "Corporal" punishment.  Dais says that means they hit you.  Sister Rita Joseph carried a wooden pointer and used it to point things out but also to swat students.  And Mr. Steve admits he did some bad things.                                                                             
    My boss told me he had a dream about the time that Nun Sister Clara Joseph caught he and his friends shooting "Spit Wads" up onto the roof of the Bathroom at Saint Ferdinands.  Mr. Steve had his back turned to the Bathroom entrance so didn't see her come in.                                
     Mr. Steve and his friends used to take out the middle of a pen and then use it as a small "Blow Gun."  As soon as he shot the Spit Wad out of the pen he could see by the look on his friends faces that he was in trouble.  He turned around and saw Sister Clara Joseph.                                  
   As he slowly turned around Mr. Steve saw Sister Clara Joseph calmly standing there with her hands folded in front of her.  He and the others had been caught what they call "Red-Handed"     as they were still holding their little improvised Blow Guns.  I smell a Joshua tree.                          
    Sister Clara Joseph looked at Mr. Steve and then glanced up at the ceiling.  She then said; "I hope you boys realize that after you clean the roof you're going to be on detention for a month." "Detention" means that you had to stay after school and do work as a punishment.                               
    According to what my boss told me, when he was in school there were "Chalkboards" in each classroom.  You would then write with chalk and then "Erasers" were used to clean it off.  Sister Clara said calmly; "You boys are going to clean a lot of erasers in the next month."                                                                                                                                                                                                                           After graduating from eighth grade at Saint Ferdinand's in 1969, Mr. Steve then went to this other Catholic school called "Alemany" High School.  Unlike public schools, Parochial High       Schools begin in the ninth grade.  So my boss started at Alemany in 1970.                                                                           


     After going from first through eighth grade at Saint Ferdinand's our boss then went to this  Catholic High School in the town of "Mission Hills" called "Alemany."  In those days he says,     the Coaches were allowed to "swat" players with wooden paddles if they "acted up."                    

     A coach at Alemany also taught Spanish and had a thick wooden paddle with holes in it.  He called it "Hermanito" or "Little Herman." Those holes made it hurt even more when you got a    swat.  Hey Blessed Mother, I'm sure glad that Mr. Steve never gives us any swats.                                                                                             CÒRDOVA FAMILY ((1981)                                                         

    Mr. Steve says there's an old saying; "Spare the rod, spoil the child."  He says he and his two brothers got "spanked" by their parents but were never ever "beaten." And his two sisters were hardly spanked at all because they didn't do as many bad things.  I smell Sage.                                                                                                                         
   Because he now admits he did some bad things, my boss thinks he deserved to get swatted by Sister Rita Joseph and later the coaches at Alemany.  But he told me that he's sure glad he never got swatted with Hermanito like some of his friends did.  I hear the Ducks quacking.                                          

     In College my boss studied History, Philosophy and Political Science.  Just before his time in College there was this guy named "Cheech" Marin who, like my boss, also went to Alemany and then College at C.S.U.N. or "California State University Northridge."   

     "Northridge" is a city in the San Fernando Valley Mr. Steve told me.  The College campus is about twelve miles from Sylmar he says.  Moving up here to the desert has made my boss think    more about the "distances" to things.  I just picked up the faint scent of a Joshua tree.                  

  When Mr. Steve thinks about living in Los Angeles he realizes how much closer things were.  Up here the closest Stores in Phelan are seven miles away.  The closest "cities" are "Hesperia"     about twenty miles away and "Victorville" which is closer to thirty.  I smell a Lizard.                    

    One time Mr. Steve told his Nephew Sammy who lives in Littlerock that from our house to his house is almost the exact same distance as a Marathon foot race; twenty six miles.  That's a long  way if you had to run the entire distance.  I hear our neighbors Ducks quacking next door.           

    The main reason why a Marathon race is twenty six miles long is because one time the ancient Persians attacked Greece.  But their invasion was stopped at a place called "Marathon."  In real  life the runner sent to Athens to announce the victory died.  I can see the Lizard.                            

Sometimes Mr. Steve still thinks about his time as a student at C.S.U.N.  He has some good memories from the late 1970's.  Both he and Mark Ritter worked at Laser Images throughout      that entire period.  He still has some of his "Textbooks" from C.S.U.N classes he took.                           CHEECH AND CHONG  

                                                                                                                                                               Cheech Marin is part of the comedy team "Cheech and Chong."  His real  name is Richard Marin.  Mr. Steve heard "Cheech is short for "Chicharrónes;" or pieces of deep fried Pig.  Mr.     Steve's mom makes good chicharrónes!  That Lizard just ran under Moe the middle Shed.           

      I love food!  It's one of my favorite things in life.  Writing about Chicharrónes is making me sort of hungry.  I wonder why Mr. Steve hasn't given us any snacks today?  Oh!  Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows are flying bye.  Blackbeard is holding a dead Snake in his mouth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Boy!  It's already mid-afternoon and we haven't eaten all day long; not even a single snack.  Oh well.  I sure do hope we have some of that Spam meat for dinner.  I can almost taste it now.     I'll bet Dais is getting hungry too.  She likes eating just as much as I do that's for sure.                  

           Mr. Steve's parents visited us here the other day.  They've been married for over fifty years and, because they have both trust and respect for each other, will be together until they die my     boss says.  Both have been really good examples to everyone around them he told me.                                      



   Mr. Steve's parents have always been what they call "Role Models" for he and his brothers and sisters.  That one Dog "Lady," who was with Mr. Steve for almost twenty years, has come to  be kind of like Daisy and I's role model; even though we never knew her.  I smell Sage.                  

     I'm scheduled to write about that other Dog Lady in book three day after tomorrow.  And I'll also write about two Cats; named "Mookie Wison" and "Miss Foot."  Mookie was an all white     Cat and Miss Foot had an extra toe, and claw, one each foot.  I hear Dawn barking.                       

   I know for sure that if she could Dais would definitely go back in time using Mr. Peabody's Time Machine; to meet that Dog Lady.  And I'd go with her.  We both have high admiration for   her because our boss cared for her so much.  She must've been a really good guard.                       

     Mr. Steve's mother is a good cook.  She makes chicharrónes in her own New Mexico style.  Chicharrónes originated back in Andalusia my boss told me one time; but now are made in all of the countries Spain established in the New World.  I like to eat Pig.                                                   

     I thought about raising a Pig but Daisy thinks our boss wouldn't want to do it even if we could make money selling some of the meat.  Besides she told me, what would happen if the Pig became like a friend?  Who would what they call "butcher" it?   Daisy's probably right.                                                                                                                                                                                          Daisy told me about this funny show called "Green Acres" where one of the "stars"  was this  really smart Pig named Arnold Ziffel.  Mr. Steve told me that Pigs are smart like Crows. Some    people  even keep Pigs as pets.  You know, Daisy and I are pets!                                                                                                                                         ARNOLD ZIFFEL                                      


      Some people raise Pigs for this thing called 4H.  If my boss would let me raise a Pig I think I'd join 4H too.  It sounds like it would be a lot of fun!  But as Daisy says, feeding a big Pig can't be cheap.  And Mr. Steve has the money.                                                                                                                                                                                 

  Boy, I sure would like to meet that Pig Arnold Ziffel!  I'll bet I could learn a lot from him. Daisy says he's so talented.  He attends school and carries books in a backpack. And not only that she     says, he reads and writes, changes channels on tv and has his own stereo.                                                                                                                                                                                              Thinking about that guy Cheech Marin and chicharrónes makes me hungry!  I'm starting to think about dinner because it's already late in the day and I haven't had any snacks today.  I can probably work for another hour or two today.  Then I can eat my dinner.

     Mr. Steve says chicharrones are now made in countries as far away as the Philippines.  He told me in Spanish they're called  "chicharrónes de puerco."  In Spanish "puerco" means pork. I just used my Spanish Dictionary to look up the correct spelling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         When my boss was at Alemany in the early 1970's Cheech Marin's mom worked in the front office and his twin sisters were students.  Mr. Steve told me he read that in 1967 Cheech Marin once auditioned as a singer for Frank Zappa's band.                                                                        

  In 1972 Mr. Steve transferred from Alemany over to Sylmar High for eleventh grade.  It was while there that he and his friends first heard Cheech and Chong's first album.  Daisy told me      that to this day our boss still has a vinyl record of that really funny album.                                      
      Mr. Steve and his friends laughed when they heard that first Cheech and Chong album in 1972.  They all knew of people from the northeast Valley where they grew up who were just like Cheech's character.  Cheech created what's called a "Composite" character.                                                                                                                                           
    Mr. Steve says he sometimes cringes in shame when he thinks back on what idiots he and his friends were when they were young.  But, he now realizes it's normal to be stupid when you're     so young.  You think you "know it all" he says.  He chuckles thinking about it now.                                                                                                                                                                                         Everyone has to try to overcome parts of their character my boss says.  He admits he did some dumb things when he was young and is proud of his younger brother Rock over in Texas who      overcame his bad temper.  They at times "bickered" when growing up.                                                                

As embarrassing as it is to admit, at times Mr. Steve and his brother Rock actually got into fistfights; one time over mayonnaise on a sandwich!  This was such a dumb thing to have done      he now thinks and he cannot believe they actually did it. I smell Joshua tree.                                                                  

 "Looking back on it" my boss says, it's funny that he and his brother fought over a sandwich.  But it wasn't funny then.  And, just as he's learned to keep his "cynicism" and "skepticism" on    what's called a "tight leash," his brother has learned to better control his temper.                         

     Mr. Steve read a magazine article about that British band the KINKS.  It said that at times Ray and Dave Davies did not get along.  That article also mentioned this one other English band called OASIS.  I'll discuss them in book three day after tomorrow.  A Crow cawed.                                                    


    Mr. Steve thinks that his brother Rock learning to control his temper was partly due to having kids but also the "softening" influence of decent women like their own mother; and even more recently his girlfriend Judy back in Texas.  Ah!  Fannie and Freddie just flew bye.                                                                                                                                                                                  Growing older sometimes makes one "reconsider" things that seemed so important earlier in life my boss thinks.  What they call "priorities" change.  I know that when I was young I was always overly concerned about getting my fair share of the food.  But not anymore.                                                                                                                                          

     Sister Rita Joseph was strict but was the first person Mr. Steve remembers who told him to never stop learning.  She was also the first person to explain the difference between "sympathy"  and "empathy" and "subjective" versus "objective."  I smell a Cholla cactus.                                   
    Sadly my boss says, because of what's called "Peer Group Pressure," he pretended to ignore his teachers when he was young.  Daisy said he told her once that he had a dream about Sister      Rita Joseph in which he apologized to her.   I smell a Lizard nearby.                                                 
  My boss also recalls Sister Rita Joseph saying that one should never be too "timid" or afraid to ask questions. This made an impression on him later when his mother told him the exact same thing one time when they were driving in West Los Angeles and got lost.                                          
   When he was young Mr. Steve didn't like asking for directions.  He thought this made him look weak.  But now, he knows that most other people don't think badly of you if you admit you   need help.  Now he's never scared to admit when he's wrong.  I see the Lizard.                                                           
   That Lizard is standing on one of the big rocks around the bottom of the tree.  Now it's doing those little pushups that Lizards do.  I think he, or she, might have just noticed me over here on    this couch looking at him.  Yup!  Now the Lizard just now ran out onto the dirt.                                                   
    It's so amazing how Lizards can run so fast in what they call "spurts."  They can also "Stop on a Dime" as they say.  Mr. Steve jokes that Lizards need good "brakes."  They go from being    as still as a rock to running really fast.  That Lizard just ran under Moe the middle Shed.                                                                                                                                                                                  
   Back in the 1980's Mr. Steve says there were two songs about teachers.  One was a "Pop" song by a British band called  ROCKPILE; the other song was a harder Rock song by this band from  the South called .38 SPECIAL. I really do want to hear those two songs someday.                                                                          
                          ROCKPILE                                                                          .38 SPECIAL                                                                                                                                By what they call a "coincidence" both of those songs were called "Teacher Teacher."  Mr. Steve says ROCKPILE was described back in the 1980's as "Power Pop" while .38 SPECIAL is   "Southern Rock" from the State of "Florida."  I hear some Pigeons cooing nearby.                        
    Mr. Steve and his friend Armando visited Florida back in 1995.  They rented a Car on the    west coast of Florida; the side which faces toward the big "Gulf of Mexico."  One time in driving around that song Teacher, Teacher by .38 SPECIAL came on the Car Radio.                                   
     On that 1995 trip to Florida they visited with Armando's sister and her husband in the city of "Tampa."  On the map of Florida in this Encyclopedia I can see that Tampa is located near to a   Bay on the west  coast.  Oh!  Rudy the Roadrunner is casually jogging bye right now.                    
   I'd like to go chase Rudy but I better not.  I've showed good discipline today in not chasing things when I'm tempted to.  Rudy ran around the northeast corner of the house and is probably going up front to drink some of the water out of the Birdbath.  I can smell some Sage.                   
    When Mr. Steve and his friend Armando were in Tampa they drove around.  One place they drove past was the Stadium used by the N.F.L Football team called the "Buccaneers."  Mr. Steve has drawn their various logos.  Dais says Buccaneer is just another name for a Pirate.                   
    In Tampa a few times Mr. Steve and Armando were amused when they actually saw a few of those Alligators just laying around Golf Courses; or near to where people lived.  I'd be so afraid  to see a Crocodile or an Alligator.  I wonder what an Alligator would smell like?                                 
    There's a good picture in my Encyclopedia of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Mr. Steve says some teams use gold or silver as secondary colors but the Buccaneers are unique in using bronze   or copper.  Their primary color was orange but is now red.  I can smell a Joshua tree.                  
    As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Steve's friend Rick follows the teams from Pittsburgh because his parents grew up there.  The Baseball Pirates are sometimes called the "Bucs."  That's short for    "Buccaneers."  Some people even call them the "Buccos."  I can smell a Squirrel nearby.              
    Well, it looks like Dais was right.  According to what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, a "Buccaneer" was the name given to certain Pirates to lived in the 17th century.  Originally they   were the ones who cooked the meat.  In French "boucan" is what they called the meat.                  
    There's a painting in my Encyclopedia that shows some Buccaneers.  The caption says they're  "barbecuing" or "Smoking"a Pig.  I guess the word Buccaneer is the "Anglicized" version of the French word "Boucanier." Boy, this picture makes me kind of hungry.                                            
     When Mr. Steve and his friend Armando were driving around the city of Tampa Bay another place they drove past was the New York "Yankees" Spring Training facility.  He remembers how hot and humid it was on that particular day.  I just picked up the scent of a Juniper bush.                     
    Tomorrow in book two I'm scheduled to write about a 1977 trip to New York City that Mr. Steve and his brother Rock took.  One thing they did was go to a Yankees game at the old Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees played the Chicago "White Sox" who wore all black uniforms.                  
     My book one outline shows that I have more to write about the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands.  Mr. Steve says even though both songs called Teacher, Teacher are about having a "crush" on a   eacher, he thinks about the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands when he hears them.                                     
      Daisy says ROCKPILE'S song is "catchy" and Mr. Steve at times still plays drums to it. The singing by two people at the same time are what she remembers the most.  That's what they call   "Harmonizing."  I looked that word up a while back.  I smell a new Sage plant.                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mr. Steve told me one time how that lady Sister Rita Joseph told her class; "There are no dumb questions.  On the day you stop asking questions, or learning, your brain starts to atrophy and die.  Your brain is the most important muscle you have so exercise it!"                                                      
    My boss jokes the 3 of us are what Sister Rita Joseph called  "lifetime learners” or "perpetual students."  That's us alright!  Mr. Steve's parents have never stopped learning.  I'm never going   to stop learning God!  And Dais feels the same way.  I can smell a Creosote bush.                                                     
     Hey God!  I sure hope You'll keep Daisy around for a long time.  She believes, like our boss, in what Socrates said; "The more you know the more you know you don't know." I just learned the other day that not all baby Ground Squirrels are gray.  Some are more brownish.                          
   Oh! This is so amazing!  Just when I was thinking of them I see a group of brown Ground Squirrels near this hole below that Joshua Tree near Libby's corral.  Libby's looking at them.  I    can see four of them and two are really cute little baby Ground Squirrels.                                     
      We're in this thing called a "Drought" and water is scarce Mr. Steve.  He was told that the Squirrels, to get "moisture," eat the roots of trees in a drought.  But that's so bad because then    the tree dies.  Last Summer the Squirrels killed two of our trees that exact way.                              
                                                                                                                                                                           This lady named Sister Clara Joseph was Mr. Steve's 7th Grade teacher.  She had a different personality from Sister Rita Joseph.  But both were very smart and seldom got angry.  Both were what my boss describes as "low key."  I just picked up the scent of a Cholla cactus.                                                
      One time Sister Clara Joseph caught Mr. Steve and his friends shooting these things called "spitwads" in a Bathroom.  She didn't get mad but just said calmly;  "Mr. Córdova, I hope you    realize that you'll be clapping erasers for a few weeks."   I hear some Crows cawing.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Sister Clara Joseph said to her class that, in life, there are often "more things to be unhappy about than to be happy about."  So, she said, at times it's necessary to make a "conscious effort" to be happy; even if for no other reason than for "the benefit of those around you."                                                                                                                                                                                                 Whenever Mr. Steve is unhappy about something he tries to just stay to himself because he remembers what Sister Clara Joseph said.  And as he gets older he told me it seems to him that there are more things to be unhappy about.  So he keeps to himself and works.                                                                                                                                                                                      
     Sister Clara Joseph was also the one who said, because so many things in life can be dual in   nature, disappointment is just the other side of the coin to fulfillment.  And both are normal she   said so, at times everyone gets depressed but the "key" is not to stay depressed.                             
     Daisy told me that she's noticed that Mr. Steve tries to stay even more busy than he usually is when he feels sad.  He's always got a few "projects" going so never runs out of things to do she     say.  I haven't been sad lately.  Thank You very much God!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr. Steve says there are times where if you weren't depressed you wouldn't be normal.  And a "sense of loss" is sometimes painful but "unavoidable."  At times things are beyond your control he says and there's nothing anyone can do about it.  So you try to work through it.                            
   At those times when things are bad you've got to just got to "pick yourself up" and try to move forward my boss says; even though it's sometimes really hard.  Unfortunately he told me, life is    often not all "peaches and cream" as they say.  I wonder what that means?                                     

     Tomorrow in book two I'm going to write about this man from Mexico who Mr. Steve hired to work on our two acres.  His name was "Esteban" which means "Steven" in English.  He told my boss about this one old Spanish saying; "No hay mal que dure cien años." 

     "Nothing bad lasts for one hundred years" is how that saying would be translated in English.  In other words, nothing lasts forever.  Boy, I'm sure glad I have all of these Dictionaries.  They sure do help when I'm trying to figure out how to spell new words.  I smell Creosote.

     My boss's parents, and the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands, taught Mr. Steve one thing you don't do in life is just ignore misfortune hoping it will go away.  It's better to face problems and deal with them as best you can.  "Life goes on" and "doesn't stop for anyone" he says.

     Mr. Steve believes that change is a never ending part of life.  He likes that one oriental saying I have written in my outline; "When the winds of change blow you can either bend with it or be broken by it."  I'm sure glad I have these three good outlines to work from.



     My boss thinks that most religions have similar beliefs which help to "cope" with life's many  difficulties.  In Buddhism he says they teach you should try to live life by traveling along in what they call the "Middle Road" or "Middle Path."  But sometimes that's hard to do.

     Traveling in the Middle Path means that when things go well be grateful but don't even get "big-headed" or "headstrong" as Mr. Steve calls it.  Because with those good times also comes the potential for equally big bad times.  My boss calls it "proportionate."   

     But, Buddhists also say that when misfortune hits, and it will, don't get so depressed because buried within those bad times is the possibility of a "silver lining" as they say.  Daisy and Mr. Steve are more "pragmatists" while I tend to be kind of what they call an "idealist."

     Because life can sometimes be really terrible, of course trying to live one's life on the Middle Road is a lot "easier said than done" Mr. Steve says.  And this is especially true when things in your life start to go "sideways" or even"south" he told me.  I smell a Juniper plant.

     Just as the "Golden Rule" is not a uniquely Christian concept, my boss says so do most other religions also teach about good coming with bad and bad coming with good.  And they tell you to be moderate while knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you don't repeat mistakes.   

     Mr. Steve thinks there seems to be an "innate" need in most people to want to hope.  So that's why there are so many religions he says.  Even those that believe in more than one God seem to get comfort in believing there's a life beyond this "Temporal" existence.

     And many, if not most, are searching for You God.  I'm searching for You Virgin Mary and  Daisy is too.  We're both now yearning or, as Mr. Steve says, "hoping for" something beyond ourselves.   I want to believe in a "Higher Power" in the Universe.  I smell a Lizard.

    There's an old saying; "Time heals all wounds."  My boss says it's not always true.  He's had some pretty depressing times in his life where things were terrible.  And most of the time those bad times were mainly due to dumb things he did; things that were his own fault. 

     1999 was one of Mr. Steve's worst years.  He jokes it was an "Annus Horribilis" which means a "horrible year" in Latin.  I'm glad I have a Latin Dictionary.  I've already used it a few times today and I'm sure I'll use it in the next two days too.  Ah!  I see the Lizard.

     Mr. Steve told me that in 1999 he lost almost all of the money he had saved up.  During that terrible year he often thought about how his father used to tell his kids that a big wall was built brick by brick over a long time; but could be destroyed in just a short time.

       One good thing or "Silver Lining" that came out of 1999 my boss jokes is that he's now an expert at making "Top Ramen" taste good.  He'd put in onions and other things like that to make an inexpensive meal.  In 1999 Mr. Steve was glad he was single.  The Lizard is gone.

       For many people the year 1999 was a year for hope because it was the last year of what they call the "Millennium."  That's what my boss said.  But it wasn't a very good year for him.  That one guy PRINCE even had a song which mentioned "partying like it's 1999."



     As I mentioned earlier this morning, Mr. Steve's friend Mark, who worked with him down at the Forum; now lives with his family over in Hawaii.  Whenever Mr. Steve hears a PRINCE song he can't help but think of Mark and the 1980's.  Ah!  Heathcliff just crowed. 

     I'm scheduled to write a lot more about Mr. Mark a lot more in book two tomorrow.  I'll also write about different kinds of music Mr. Steve associates Mark with; like Jimi Hendrix and the history of what they call "Funk" music.  Well, there goes Heathcliff again.  

      Mr. Steve stayed home a lot in 1999.  So his friend Mr. Mark used to come over to visit him in Sylmar.  And, in the "long run" as they say, luckily for him things did work out; in large part due to the help of this one man named Steve Banks.  I hear some Pigeons cooing.




                                                                 STEVE BANKS


     Steve Banks owned the company which my boss still works for.  It's located in the city of San Fernando.  He hired Mr. Steve as a Salesman in September of 1999.  Before that, my boss had four other jobs in that same year alone!  I hear Dawn barking over there next door. 

     In 2009 Steve Banks died.  Not only did he hire my boss but also what they call "advanced" Mr. Steve money until he could get "back on his feet" as they say.  This was a big help because my boss was too embarrassed to even tell his own parents how stupid he'd been.

     Mr. Steve eventually told his parents what he'd done in 1999 but for a long time he was way too ashamed to tell them what an idiot he'd been.  But now everything's okay again.  Thank You God!  Mr. Steve got up and spoke at Steve Banks funeral.  I see a Squirrel over there.

       I guess the Jewish Cemetery where Steve Banks was buried is right across the street from the Catholic "Mission" Cemetery where Mr. Steve's sister and Grandmothers are buried.  It's near the San Fernando Mission where Mr. Steve and his parents were Tour Guides.

     The Mission Cemetery is also where Mr. Steve's parents have two "Crypts" where they'll be buried next to each other.  Mr. Steve told me he'll most likely end up being buried there when he dies.  Hey God!  I hope my boss never dies.  The Squirrel just bolted out into the desert. 

      Just like only Catholics are buried at the Mission Cemetery, only Jewish people are buried at the "Eden" Memorial" Cemetery where Steve Banks is buried.  Because it's "elevated" on a hill you can look across the street and see down into the Mission Cemetery I guess.

      A few months ago Mr. Steve and his Niece Samantha went to the Mission Cemetery.  They  cleaned up the areas around the graves of Grandma Trujillo and Samantha's mom Celina.  I'm going to talk about Celina tomorrow in book two.  I hear some Pigeons cooing.  

      In 1989 Mr. Steve worked for this company called "Pace;" now "Sam's Club."  His job was to sign up businesses to be members.  He signed up the owners and employees of both Eden and Mission Cemeteries.  The Pigeons are up on the roof of the Patio; right above me. 

     Daisy has me scheduled to write more about Pace in books two and three.  One time Mr. Steve went to a place called "Lake View Terrace" to sign up this man named Patrick Swayze.  He was an Actor and had a Horse ranch.  But he died Mr. Steve says.  I see Libby over there.

     At Steve Banks' funeral my boss was told that Lenny Bruce, who was a comedian, is buried at Eden Cemetery.  And so is this other guy named "Groucho" Marx.  I'll write more about both of them tomorrow in book two.  I'm going to write about Mission Cemetery in book three.

                                                                                                                                GROUCHO (1890-1977) / HARPO/ CHICO MARX              


       Mr. Steve says Groucho Marx worked with his brothers as a comedy team.  All of them had nicknames that they "went by."  In my Encyclopedia there's a picture of them and I notice that it's been "painted" in the same way Mr. Steve used to do.  I smell a Cholla cactus.

      This Encyclopedia says Groucho Marx died in August of 1977.  This was just a few days after the famous singer Elvis Presley died.  At that exact time Mr. Steve and his brother Rock were back east visiting their Uncle Marty and his family.  I'll write about that trip tomorrow.

      So, like Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis' deaths were totally "overshadowed" by the death of  President Kennedy in 1963; Groucho Marx's death was "Lost in the Shuffle" because of all the attention Elvis Presley got.  Blackbeard and Anne Bonny the Crows just flew bye.

      As I mentioned earlier today, those guys The Three Stooges were also Jewish.  And just like the "Marx Brothers" they were mainly brothers too.  Mr. Steve told me Groucho Marx lost all of his money in 1929 when the Stock Market "Crashed" at the start of the Great Depression.


                                                                   LENNY BRUCE (0000-0000) WITH FAMILY


       Mr. Steve says he knows "generally" about the humor of that guy Lenny Bruce but he prefers comedy that isn't so what they call "X-Rated."  I guess Lenny Bruce's jokes were mainly meant for adults and not children.  Samson and Delilah the Crows are flying bye right now.

   In a Jewish funeral people use a shovel to throw dirt down on the casket.  As my boss threw dirt on Steve Banks he heard Alemany's Football team practicing nearby.  It struck him how life  goes on no matter what.  A Jewish mourning ritual is called a "Shiva" he says.

     Recently Mr. Steve has been watching this old 1970's tv show called "The Waltons" while eating his dinner.  That show at times deals with "mortality."  He's never watched the Waltons until now even though he once met the man who played "Grandpa" Walton. 



     Mr. Steve transferred from Alemany High School to Sylmar High in 1972.   A year later he met this girl named Colleen in one of his classes.  Her family were friends with Bob Hite who was the singer, harmonica and flute player from this band called CANNED HEAT. 

     That girl Colleen once invited my boss to what they call a "Barbeque" at a place down in Los Angeles called "Topanga Canyon" where Bob Hite lived.  The barbecue was on the property of Bob Hite's neighbor who played "Grandpa" on a tv show called "The Waltons."

     Sometimes Mr. Steve barbecues meat on this thing called a "Hibachi" which is just over to my right.  I love when he does that because of course I get some too.  Boy, now I'm starting to get really hungry!  I guess there won't be any snacks for us today.  But, that's okay. 

     Mr. Steve says whenever he smells meat cooking at an outdoor barbecue he thinks of other barbecues he's been to.  At the barbecue in Topanga Canyon my boss was introduced to a band called BLACK OAK ARKANSAS who played "Southern Rock."  I smell Sage.

     From what my boss told me, in the mid-1970's that band BLACK OAK ARKANSAS had a period in which they were successful.  They put on good concerts; and had three guitarists!  But nothing lasts forever Mr. Steve says so now few would even remember them.


                                                               BLACK OAK ARKANSAS


      Mr. Steve says BLACK OAK ARKANSAS is an example of how "fleeting" fame can be.  For a few years they were "Popular" but today, if anything; they're a "Nostalgia Act."  My boss  told me that in "Entertainment" there's usually a short "Window of Opportunity."                              

      For many if not most entertainers Mr. Steve says, whether in sports or music; that window of opportunity eventually closes.  Only some entertainment careers last forever so entertainers also need to save their money and then know "when to quit" he told me. 

      Mr. Steve says if an entertainer isn't "dumped" first oftentimes they risk of becoming what's called a "Parody" or "Caricature" of themselves; a "Cabaret act." This means they become kind of like a cartoon character.  My Dictionary says a Cabaret is a "Cafe." 

      A few years ago my boss spoke to an old friend named Paul who he hadn't talked to in years.  Mr. Paul told him about a band from Los Angeles called WASP who were still doing the same "over the top" stage act they've been doing since the 1980's.  It was sad Mr. Paul said.    




      Mr. Steve thinks there are certain "Acts" like WASP or New York City's TWISTED SISTER who look ridiculous wearing the same costumes they wore when young.  Wearing those costumes is a sign that they're not "aging gracefully" he says.  I hear a Crow cawing faintly.

      What they call teenage "Angst" and "Alienation" are normal when you're young Mr. Steve says.  But to still be "rebelling" against anything your parents or society as a fifty or sixty year old doesn't really look too good he told me.  I'd like to see that band WASP.  

      Maybe bands like WASP and TWISTED SISTER should just play their music without even wearing the costumes Mr. Steve says.  If the audience likes your songs it won't matter anyway.  WASP and TWISTED SISTER use "Theatrical Pomposity" as a "Gimmick."     


                                                                   TWISTED SISTER


       Becoming a parody of yourself does not happen to all entertainers Mr. Steve says. That guy David Bowie knew when to quit playing the part of Ziggy Stardust he told me.  It's important for an entertainer to save some of  your money when you're making it.  I smell a Lizard.

       Sitting here on Elvira is so great!  Thank You God for my life.  I'm not so sad anymore and I feel hopeful.  Looking to the  east beyond the three Sheds I see a few Birds darting about.  I can smell the clump of Joshua trees just behind Manny the far right Shed.

       A while back Mr. Steve met and older Mormon lady who asked him if he had ever heard of a band called the NEW YORK DOLLS.  He told her yes he knew who they were but was surprised that she did.  I see the Lizard standing on the wall near the sliding glass door.

       I guess that one lady told my boss how her daughter worked in 2003 at the "Family History Center" in Los Angeles.  And one of the Librarians was a tall guy named Arthur Kane.  It turns out that when he was young he was the bass player for the NEW YORK DOLLS.

       After that one lady told him about Arthur Kane Mr. Steve wanted to get a copy of the NEW YORK DOLLS first album.  Not only did he want to hear it again but he really wanted to show it to that Mormon lady.  The Lizard is doing pushups hanging from the wall.



        Oh my God!  I just looked up the NEW YORK DOLLS in my Encyclopedia and they do dress up like girls the way Mr. Steve told me.  No wonder Mr. Steve wanted to show that lady what the "DOLLS" looked like.  The Lizard just walked down to the Patio floor.

       This man who Mr. Steve knows was able to find a copy of that first NEW YORK DOLLS album.  Mr. Steve bought it from him and even gave him extra money for getting it for him.  It was "nostalgic" hearing those songs and reminded him of being in High School.

        Mr. Steve enjoyed that lady's reaction when she saw what the NEW YORK DOLLS looked like back in the early 1970's.  Mr. Steve thinks the NEW YORK DOLLS were the first band to dress up like girls as a gimmick in order to get attention.  That Lizard is gone.

       According to my boss Mr. Steve, when that one Mormon lady saw the picture of the NEW YORK DOLLS she looked surprised and said; "Goodness gracious!"  When she was told why they looked like that she told Mr. Steve; "What kind of a gimmick is that?"


                                                          ARTHUR KANE (1949-2004)


       That lady said Arthur Kane, who died ten years ago; was tall.  And her daughter said he was a reliable person who was always helpful.  She said one time he was looking at "Microfilm" in the "Geneology" Department when he learned that his father had already died.  

       From what Mr. Steve told me, he used to spend a lot of time at different Library's studying microfilm.  But he hasn't done that in many years.  Someday I'd like to visit a real Library.  It would be so interesting I think.  Then I would  never run out of things to learn.

       I guess, from what it says in this Encyclopedia; Arthur Kane loved his mother but hated his father.  His father was an alcoholic who used to beat him up.  But sadly, his mom died when he was sixteen from "Leukemia; the same exact thing that ended up killing him in 2004.

       Well, Mr. Steve was right.  He told me the NEW YORK DOLLS didn't make any money but influenced later Punk and Glam bands.  During the 1980's Mr. Steve took pictures of some of the Los Angeles "Hair" bands.  There's a small Bunny Rabbit under Moe the middle Shed.  

       Over the years Mr. Steve has wondered if David Bowie was at all influenced in England by the NEW YORK DOLLS.  His band the SPIDERS FROM MARS also dressed like girls.  That Bunny Rabbit just hopped out into the eastern desert behind the three Sheds. 



        I guess, from what it says in this Encyclopedia; the NEW YORK DOLLS broke up in 1975; when Mr. Steve was twenty.  Arthur Kane then moved out here to Los Angeles but was never as successful as he had been in the NEW YORK DOLLS.  I hear some Crows cawing.

       Hey God!  I guess that guy Arthur Kane got so depressed at being poor he even tried to kill himself by jumping out of a 2nd Floor window.  But his fall was broken when he landed on a Planter.  After his recovery he became a Mormon.  Did You save Arthur Kane God?

          My Encyclopedia says Arthur Kane's nickname was "Killer Kane."  That's because a writer once said in a review the NEW YORK DOLLS had a "killer" bass player.  Daisy says our boss likes a 1930's show called "Buck Rogers."  The bad guy was named Killer Kane too. 

        This is interesting.  I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this?  It says in this Encyclopedia that back in 1992 Arthur Kane was walking home from a party put on by that band the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS when he was beat up and just "left for dead."   A Crow just squawked.

       After his recovery from being beaten up Arthur Kane soon after converted to Mormonism and got his job at the Family History Center.  But just before he died he was able to do one what they call "Reunion" concert with the NEW YORK DOLLS over in London.

       Hey God!  Was it You who arranged it so Arthur Kane could at least play one more time and then he died?  Daisy thinks You do things like that as You know.  And she thinks it was You who had him meet the Mormons who helped him.  Two of the Pigeons just flew bye.

       Mr. Steve has been playing drums to the first NEW YORK DOLLS album.  I've never heard it but Daisy has.  She says it has a lot of good songs on it.  She likes the one about a this boy who flies in Jets.  But Mr. Steve likes this Arthur Kane song called "Private World." 

       In the early 1990's Mr. Steve and his girlfriend Harriet witnessed what he calls the "demise" of the Heavy Metal Hair bands.  And as I've mentioned, in the 1980's, he as a photographer and she as the writer; they covered that "scene" for some local Los Angeles magazines. 

      But, then came the era of what they call "Grunge" and that was the end of all of those Hair Bands.  It was almost like the "flick of a switch" Mr. Steve told me.  Almost in the "blink of an eye" one style of Hard Rock or Heavy Metal was over.  Ah!  I just saw the Lizard.


                           WARRANT                                                                    ROUGH CUTT

                                                                   PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA


     Almost overnight it seemed the Hair bands were "eclipsed' Mr. Steve says by Grunge bands like Nirvana.  One minute bands like WARRANT and ROUGH CUTT were treated like heroes and then next minute they were "Old News" and treated like garbage he says.

     Like most people my boss says, when things are going good musicians tend to think that it will last forever.  And if they didn't save some money they could be in trouble because many of them have no other "skills" besides playing music.  The Lizard just ran into the desert.

     That guy Mr. Paul who told Mr. Steve about WASP also said he heard one of the guitarists from a band called RATT ended up up homeless and died.  Mr. Steve knew who Paul was talking about because he once met that tall, blond-haired guitarist from the city of San Diego. 




       There's a picture in this Encyclopedia of RATT.  Robin Crosby, the rhythm guitarist; is in the upper right hand corner.   Mr. Paul told my boss he heard he became a drug addict and lost all of his money.  Mr. Steve felt kind of sad when he was told that by Mr. Paul.

       Mr. Steve told me that guy Robin Crosby said he was from a town called "La Jolla;" which means "The Jewel" in Spanish.  It's near San Diego.  Mr. Steve told Robin Crosby he's been in La Jolla twice.  It's a beautiful city he said.  I just smelled that one old Joshua tree.

          I guess Mr. Steve told his friend Paul about how, he thinks in 1995; he met Robin Crosby at a Rehearsal Studio in Van Nuys.  It was kind of near a Recording Studio called "Sound City."  I'm scheduled to write about Sound City tomorrow in book two.  Heathcliff just crowed.

      Mr. Steve and Robin Crosby had a nice conversation on that day when they were introduced. Robin Crosby asked my boss if he knew the Valley well.  Mr. Steve said yes and told him about how he and his parents were Tour Guides at the San Fernando Mission nearby.



       Mr. Steve told me that Robin Crosby said he wanted to see the San Fernando Mission and took his phone number on a business card.  But he never called and now Mr. Steve knows why. I think I'll add that guy Robin Crosby to the list of Souls that I pray for every night.

       Robin Crosby told Mr. Steve his father wrote about California history.  Mr. Steve realized at that point he's read Robin Crosby's father's books on "Baja Indian Cave Art" and another one about "El Camino Real" or "The Royal Road."  I smell Libby over there in her Corral.

        The Royal Road was the Highway going north through Baja and Alta California all the way up to northern California.  In book two when I write about the history of New Mexico I'll talk about the Royal Road over there.  Jack the Jackrabbit just sprinted bye. 

        When Mr. Steve told that guy Robin about he and his mom's Art Exhibits he was told that Robin Crosby's mother down in La Jolla was also a good painter.  People who come to our house always admire Mr. Steve's mom's paintings.  I love the one in the Living Room.           

        Mr. Steve told me that music is not the only field where things change quickly.  A word often used in entertainment is "Transient."  And my Dictionary defines transient as "temporary" or "passing quickly.  In Sports, which is entertainment, the same rule holds true.


                  HOLMES / ALI                                                                                    BERBICK / ALI                                                                                                

      My boss says most entertainers get "One shot at the apple" or "Brass Ring."  One exception was Muhammad Ali who was "Heavyweight" Champion three times.  But he didn't know when to quit so took terrible some beatings from Larry Holmes and then Trevor Berbick.  

      In books two and three tomorrow and the next day I'm scheduled to write in a lot more detail about that Boxer Muhammad Ali.  The main reason why is because I know that Mr. Steve thinks of Muhammad Ali as more than simply a "sports figure."  I smell a Cholla cactus.

      According to what my boss told me, that guy Muhammad Ali was one of the best Boxers of all time.  But in one of his last fights it was so sad to see Larry Holmes asking the Referee to stop the fight when he kept hitting a defenseless Muhammad Ali.  I hear Crows squawking.


                    SANDY KOUFAX                                                                  JIM BROWN

                                                                                                                                 On Saturday the day after tomorrow in book three I'll write about a Dodger pitcher named Sandy Koufax and the Football runner Jim Brown.  They quit before embarrassing themselves.  At least that's what Mr. Steve thinks.  Some people say Jim Brown retired too early.

      In my Dictionary it says "brass" is a "metal made of copper and zinc."  In "Slang" in means "High-Ranking Officials."  In my case I guess that would probably mean Daisy and Mr. Steve. I see a Ground Squirrel near Moe the Shed.  His skinny tail is wiggling up and down. 

      Mr. Steve says in the entertainment "field" an entertainer usually has to "produce" or make money immediately.  And if you don't quickly "do well" then you're replaced in an often "cold-blooded" way he told me.  I want to believe in the idea of second chances!  


                                                                                                               (Chapter 12)

       Wow!  I can't believe I have only one chapter left to go in book one.  I'd say it's about six thirty judging by how the shadows are now leaning away from me.  Sitting here on Elvira and looking to the east behind the three Sheds I feel very lucky.  Thank You God!

       Oh!  Heathcliff just crowed next door.  He usually never crows during the day like he's done today.  Daisy might be right when she says Heathcliff knows it's the first day of Spring and just wants to announce it to the world.  I'm getting really hungry.  I can't wait for dinner. 

          Thinking about how in 1973 Mr. Steve went to Grandpa Walton's for a barbecue in Topanga Canyon makes me hungry.  And I'll bet Daisy is really hungry too.  We didn't even get a single snack today.  But we'll eat in about an hour when the Sun goes down.  I can't wait! 


        During the 1970's when the show the Waltons was originally on tv my boss never watched it.  But now Dais says he sometimes watches it while he eats dinner.  He told me he now realizes why so many what they call "family-oriented" people liked it.  I hear Dawn barking. 

       My boss told us that in the 1970's people made fun of the Waltons and said it was what they call "corny."  But lately Daisy's been going into the Bedroom to watch it and she told me it's so good.  The Waltons have this one boy Dog who's name is "Reckless" she says.

      The more I think about it the more I'm beginning to believe that Daisy's right.  She tells me I don't know what I'm missing because I'm afraid to go into our boss's Bedroom.  And she says, at dinnertime I'm missing an extra snack because our boss gives her food off of his plate. 


                                                                    THE "WALTONS"


       Mr. Steve likes the "family values" of the Waltons.  On one episode the oldest brother "John Boy" told his sister; "self-pity is just like quicksand.  It will suck you in if you let it."  My boss right away thought of the year 1999; the worst year of his life.  A Crow just cawed.

       At first my boss admits he tried to blame others and make excuses for what happened to him in 1998 and later 1999.  But he only felt sorry for himself for a little while he says.  He now takes responsibility.  And now that's all behind him he says.  I see the Crow near Moe the Shed. 

       Mr. Steve told me when things go bad "you just have to work through it." Those are times he says when you keep even busier than usual so you don't "dwell" on all of the bad things and feel sorry for yourself.  I now do that too!  That Crow just lifted off and flew away.

        At times Mr. Steve still thinks about how Sister Clara Joseph told her 7th Grade class it's important to act happy even when you're not.  He'd always had a hard time doing that.  He says when he's not happy instead of "putting on a good act" he'd rather just stay to himself. 

       Since moving up here to Pinon Hills Mr. Steve says, "more often than not;" he prefers to be alone.  But he says, this is okay because the older he gets the less he likes being around a lot of people anyway.  But thank goodness he likes being around Dais and me!

       When Mr. Steve told people he was moving up here many said they would go visit him but only a few have.  This is mainly because we now live so far away and the cost of gas for Cars is now so high.  I like when Mr. Steve's friend Grant visits us with his blind Dog Miggie.

        A book my boss keeps in his Car and reads little by little is a biography of this man from Ireland named Jonathon Swift.  My Encyclopedia says he was born in Ireland but lived much of his life in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  A Wren is chirping. 

        It says here in this Encyclopedia that Jonathon Swift, who lived at the same time as Isaac Newton; was a "Protestant Anglican" Cleric.  To this day Mr. Steve says most Irish are "Roman Catholic" like us.  A little Ground Squirrel just ducked under Jack the big Shed.  

       Hey God!  Just like Isaac Newton, I guess that guy Jonathon Swift was intelligent and didn't think highly of "Human Nature."  Mr. Steve told me that Jonathon Swift, like Aldous Huxley in the 20th century; was a satirist.  Some people say he was the greatest satirist of all time.


                                                      JONATHON SWIFT (1667-1745)


       Some people think Jonathon Swift was the best satirist of all time my boss says.  And like Sir Thomas More and Aldous Huxley, he used fictional worlds to "ironically" make people think about injustice.  I wish there was always justice in the world!  I smell a Lizard.

       One of Jonathon Swift's most famous satirical books was called "Gulliver's Travels."  Some day I want to read it.  Daisy thinks it sounds like a good story.  Mr. Steve told us once that Ray Harryhousen worked on a movie based on Jonathon Swift's book.  I see the Lizard.

       It says here that Jonathon Swift was a Christian "Cleric."  But, unlike most Irish, he was a Protestant and not a Catholic.  Besides "Gulliver's Travels" he also wrote other poems, essays and these short books called "Pamphlets."  Mr. Steve says he "had a big vocabulary."

       A Cleric is kind of like a Priest I guess.  It says here in this Encyclopedia Jonathon Swift was a "Dean" in the "Church of England;" the Protestant religion started by Henry VIII in the early 1500's; when the Catholic Pope wouldn't give him a divorce from his first wife. 

       This is interesting.  I guess over there in England another name for the Church of England is "Anglican."  And here in America they're known as "Episcopalians."  Two of the Pigeons are flying bye right now.  They're moving toward the northeast.  I hear their wings flapping.

        Earlier I wrote about how that guy Thomas More had his head cut off by Henry VIII in the early 16th century.  Just like it was dangerous in Henry VIII's Tudor England to say the wrong thing; about two centuries later in Jonathon Swifts time the same was just as true.    

        In Mr. Steve's subjective opinion that guy Jonathon Swift was an even better satirist than Aldous Huxley.  Both criticized their cultures.  A little while ago I wrote about how the Queen of Hearts in that one book Alice in Wonderland always ordered heads "Lopped off."   

        My boss says in Gulliver's Travel's Jonathon Swift describes how two countries of "Little People," or "Lilliputians;" are "Mobilizing" for war.  Their "Ambassadors" are going back and forth on "High Level" negotiations as their armies prepare.  A Crow just cawed.   

                                                                                     "GULLIVER'S TRAVELS"                                  


     My boss says in Gulliver's Travels the issue Lilliputians are willing to fight each other over is; "Which is the proper end of a boiled egg to open first, the big or small end?"  Mr. Steve told me it was Jonathon Swift's opinion that sometimes "Politics" is "ludicrous." 

     Jonathon Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in the early 18th century my boss says.  In his story about the "Big-Enders" versus the "Small-Enders" Mr. Steve thinks he was trying to tell people that war should not be entered into for silly reasons.  The Dragonfly just whizzed past.

     During much of the 18th century England, a Protestant country, was always fighting against France, a primarily Catholic country.  And sometimes it was over ridiculous things.  So it was obvious to Jonathon Swift that sometimes people or governments can be kind of dumb.       

     My boss thinks that towards the end of his life Jonathon Swift was most likely what they call a "Misanthrope."   Misanthropes hate humanity.  Just like Isaac Newton, he didn't like much of  human nature and thought  many, if not most, people were primarily bad. 

     Frank Zappa at times seems to have really disliked humanity Mr. Steve says.  He often made fun of people and seemed to think that many, if not most, people were idiots.  And sometimes it's hard to disagree with him my boss says.  I hear Dawn and Blinky barking faintly. 

     Mr. Steve does not believe human nature is basically bad.  But as he gets older he's come to understand more and more how people like Jonathon Swift felt the way they do.   There were times in his life when the saying "no good deed goes unpunished" applied to him. 

     At times my boss has given people money.  On other occasions it was supposed to be a loan but they never paid him back.  He says that's okay because most of those times he had an idea when he lent the money that he'd never see it again.  Heathcliff just crowed. 

      Hey God?  As you know sometimes my boss tells people he lends money to they don't have to pay him back.  But he makes them promise to help someone else someday and think of him when they do.  So maybe he jokes, this will help him on Judgement Day in Your eyes? 

     It was Mr. Steve's mother and the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands who told him to help others and then tell them to later help others in his name.  Tomorrow I'm scheduled to write more about the Hindu concept of "Karma."  I like that BEACH BOYS song "Good Vibrations." 

     One time in the mid-1990's Mr. Steve and his mom, brother Rock and Niece Stephanie went up to Las Vegas.  Mr. Steve drove.  It was in July, a few days after Mr. Steve's birthday.  It was so hot he told us; way over one hundred degrees.  I smell one of the Creosote bushes.

     Mr. Steve was driving his father's Car.  It was one of the first years where they tried using one "Serpentine" belt on a Car motor; instead of separate belts.  As they were going into Las Vegas near this one place called "Henderson" that long belt snapped and broke.

     This was in the days before "Cell" phones.  Mr. Steve has been a member of the "Auto Club" for many years so he knew he could get the Car into town.  But the closest houses in the area was about a mile or so away.  He had to walk over there and borrow a phone.

    Walking over the desert toward the houses Mr. Steve wanted to hurry because it was so hot and his family was waiting with the Car.  He "hopped" a fence and knocked on the door of one of the houses.  He explained to the lady who answered the door what happened.

    Hey God!  As You remember, after using the lady's phone our boss offered to pay her but she refused.  So Mr. Steve joked with her that he would help someone someday and think of her; just in case it might help her in getting into Heaven.  She laughed and agreed.

     When Mr. Steve got back to the Car he found only his brother Rock there.  It was kind of a relief when Rock told him everyone else had gotten a ride into the Hotel.  So they both just had to wait until the Tow Truck arrived.  It was boiling hot on that day he says.



     Most people don't associate the city of Las Vegas with Mormons Mr. Steve says.  But since the mid-19th century they've been involved in many things having to do with the State of "Nevada." I'm scheduled to talk about some of that tomorrow when I write about the Mafia.  

    It turns out this Mormon couple with their kids saw everyone in the broken down Car on the side of the road.  They stopped in their Van and offered to take them into town. Mr. Steve's mom agreed and when they were dropped off she really wanted to pay that Mormon couple.

     Our boss's mother kept insisting on paying that one man but what finally made her stop was when he joked he would much rather she help someone else and think of his family when she did it.  She promised that she would and has thought of them often ever since.  


                                                     KENNETH HAHN SR. (1920-1997)

       I sort of feel like writing about this man named Kenneth Hahn Sr.; even though he's not on my outline.  Kenneth Hahn was a longtime Los Angeles politician who did a lot of good for the city Mr. Steve says.  His son and daughter were also politicians too.  I smell Sage. 

      Today, from what my boss says, everyone has a telephone with them at all times.  But before that when people broke down in their Cars they had to go to a "Pay" phone or do like what Mr. Steve did that one time.  Three Birds just zoomed bye; going out into the desert.

      I guess that guy "Kenny" Hahn, who Mr. Steve's father knew, was for many years what they call a County "Supervisor."  He got the other Supervisors to install "Emergency Call Boxes" on the sides of the roads in Los Angeles.   Few very people need them now.

     Every time Mr. Steve or his father drive past one of Kenny Hahn's Call Boxes it's impossible for them to not think of him.  It's sad that someday they'll all be gone and part of his legacy will be over.  But a lot of things are named after him in Los Angeles.  I smell a Lizard.

     I'm tempted to talk about this one guy named Mike Antonovich.  He's a Los Angeles County Supervisor now.  He and Mr. Steve's father worked together on a few projects over the years.  But, I think I'll just wait until books two and three to talk more about Mike Antonovich.   

                                                 SUPERVISOR MIKE ANTONOVICH

          I think I would probably like that man Mike Antonovich.  I guess he, like Kenny Hahn, has  done a lot of good things for Los Angeles.  But I like how he helps rescue Dogs like me and Dais. That's what our boss told us.  If Dogs could vote I'd vote for him.  I see the Lizard.

      Hey Lord?  Is there a place called "Purgatory;" where you go when you aren't bad enough to go to Hell or good enough to make it up into Heaven?  Mr. Steve says Sister Rita Joseph told him one time that a "Good Act" might also help you if you're ever stuck in Purgatory.

     Sister Clara Joseph told her class that it seems human nature to be selfish so; we should try to force ourselves to think more about other's welfare.  I'm lucky Daisy's not what our boss would call "Self-Centered."  Sometimes I'm too selfish.  That Lizard just ran away.  

        I'm going to write about other religions throughout all my three books; mainly because Mr. Steve is interested in that subject and I really want to impress him.  In book two tomorrow I'm nervous about writing about the American Civil War which he knows a lot about.

     A while back at the Phelan Library Mr. Steve met a guy from India named "Rahul."  He was a "Hindu" and told Mr. Steve about his religion.  He described how, at a "Puja" ceremony it was very important to get the right "vibrations;" just like in that BEACH BOYS song.


     Mr. Steve and that guy Rahul "compared and contrasted" Hinduism with the all three of the  monotheistic  religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Rahul said there are Puja's for many purposes.  "Prasad" is "holy" food in Hinduism.  I smell a Creosote bush.

     Hey God!  Is a "Mantra" like our prayers?  They kind of sound like they might be.  That guy Mr. Rahul said Pujas made him feel better and "take solace" when he's sad about things in life. I sort of feel like that too God.  Praying just makes me feel calmer somehow.   



     Oh wow!  In this Encyclopedia there's a painting of the Hindu Elephant God "Ganesh."  Mr. Rahul told our boss he sometimes prays to Ganesh.  And one of the first things I notice is that in the picture there are two of what they call "Swastica's" in the corners.

     In book three when I write about Fascist symbolism I'm going to learn a lot more about how the Swastica logo has also been used by Hindu's, Buddhist's and even in the artwork of some of  the American Indians so live here.  The Greeks and Romans used that design too.  

      From what it says here in this one Encyclopedia, the Hindu Elephant God Ganesh is thought of as the "Removal of Obstacles."   That guy Mr. Rahul told Mr. Steve an "Arti" is a ceremonial offering to the Gods which is done through the use of fire.  I smell a Joshua tree.   

      Mr. Rahul told our boss that when his mother died some time back he went through thirteen days of Pujas.  It says here in this Encyclopedia that the "mourning period" for Hindus lasts for thirteen days and involves "elaborate" ceremonies.  I hear some Crows squawking.     

     Just before Mr. Steve rescued me I was starting to become more depressed.  But now, when I feel a  twinge of what our boss calls "Melancholy," I think of that one AC/DC song called "Stiff Upper Lip."  As Dais says, sometimes you have to "Put on a brave face" as they say.   

                                                                       KEEPING A "STIFF UPPER LIP"

      I'm really starting to like that band AC/DC!  They have such energetic songs; at least the few songs that I've heard.  I've only heard the ones my boss plays on his Boombox when he's out in the yard working.  But Daisy says in his bedroom Mr. Steve has a lot more.

    Daisy says Mr. Steve has a set of black what they call "Tama" drums in his bedroom. He plays along to pre-recorded music. At times people bring over guitars and play with him.  He says he's not the best drummer in the world but can keep a good basic "Backbeat." 

                                             MR. STEVE PLAYING DRUMS (1988)

    Daisy thinks drums seem like a hard thing to be able to play right.  It looks easy when you see someone good at it playing drums but it isn't Mr. Steve says.  He knows he's not that good at it but enjoys it anyway.  At times I hear him playing drums inside of his Bedroom. 

     I know one thing for sure, drums sure do make loud sounds!  Dais says it's way louder when you're closer to it.  I've only heard them from back here.  Someday I'll probably go in the house to watch my boss play the drums. Daisy says it's kind of like a loud Woodpecker.



     A while back this red-headed Woodpecker flew into our house and broke its neck.  Mr. Steve said it looked like a Punk rocker with a red "Mohawk" haircut.  This man named Mr. Mike held it while my boss took pictures of it before burying it on the south side of our house.

     Daisy told me that as loud as drums are Mr. Steve hits these round flat metal things called "cymbals" which are at times even louder she says.  Daisy knows that I'm sort of afraid of loud sounds like thunder during a storm.  And lightning is really scary too!    

    Mr. Steve told me that AC/DC are from a country called "Australia."  It's such a giant island that it's actually a whole continent all by itself.  And because its so far away from all the other continents way out in the Pacific Ocean; it has unique animals.  I smell a Cholla cactus.


        Even though it's not on my outline I kind of feel like learning and then writing about that country called Australia where AC/DC are from.  According to this Encyclopedia for most of its history, Australia was a part of the British Empire.  Three little Finches just flew bye.

      In book two when I write about those islands called "Hawaii" I'll talk about this man named Captain James Cook.  In the 18th century he explored and "Mapped" many of the areas in the Pacific Ocean.  He's important in the history of Hawaii and Australia too.    

      Someday I'd really like to smell and see some of the animals who live only in Australia.  Mr. Steve's friend Mark Ritter is so lucky!  He got to visit Australia before he died.  A Squirrel just ran bye; in front of the three Sheds.  Ah!  I just picked up the faint scent of a Rabbit 

     Dais told me about these things called  "Kangaroos."  In my Encyclopedia the picture shows a baby Kangaroo sticking out of this pouch in his mother's stomach!  I wonder if Kangaroo's are related to Jackrabbits?  But their back feet are so huge!  I see the Jackrabbit.  


     Dais says Kangaroos are the symbol of Australia.  And what's different about them is that they hop when they run.  I guess Kangaroos use their tails not only for balance but also as a kind of third leg.  This is interesting. A baby Kangaroo is called a "Joey" my Encyclopedia says.

      It says here that Kangaroos were first seen by Europeans in the late-18th century when that man from England named Captain James Cook went there.  I guess his ship hit some "jagged" coral in an area known as the "Great Barrier Reef." So they made repairs in Australia. 


                                                                            CAPTAIN JAMES COOK (1728-1779)


       My Encyclopedia says Captain Cook explored the "Saint Lawrence River" in eastern Canada but then was sent by the Royal Navy to the Pacific Ocean.  Even though Spain had been sending ships from the Philippines to Mexico for years, Captain Cook discovered many islands.

     I guess, in the second half of the 1700's, during the same period when the Spanish set up the Alta California Mission system here in California; Captain Cook and his sailors explored and what they call "charted" the "South" Seas and "Pacific Ocean."  I smell a Joshua tree.

     According to my Dictionary charted means to make maps.  Captain Cook and his men were the first Europeans to visit the Hawaiian Islands which are now part of the United States.  But he called them the "Sandwich" islands.  A Snake just crawled under Manny the Shed.

     Daisy says one time our boss told her about this other really rare animal that lives only down in Australia.  It's called a "Duck-billed Platypus" and is a mammal which lays eggs!  And it has a flat tail that looks like just like a Beaver's tail she told me.  I smell the Snake over there.  


     According to my Encyclopedia those Platypus's are one of the few mammals that are what they call "Venomous."  I guess they have a really sharp claw on their back feet called a "Spur."  And it has poison on it.  If I ever see a Platypus I'll have to remember that. 

     Oh!  The AC/DC song "Hell's Bell's just came into my head.  Daisy says that Mr. Steve can play AC/DC songs on drums but admits he's just an average drummer.  Daisy told me he also can play songs by this other band from New York City called THE RAMONES. 


                     THE RAMONES                                                                      RUSH


       Mr. Steve says he's not an expert on the music of this one band from Canada called RUSH. But from what he has heard he knows they're a "Cut Above" as they say.  He really can't play their songs on drums because they're more difficult than the average songs. 

      I guess my boss told Daisy and that other Dog Millie one time that he mainly just plays the drums for the fun of it.  But Daisy he seems to be pretty good to her.  The other day he played along to some songs by this one band called the CARS.  I smell a Cholla cactus.

   AC/DC have this one song called "A Whole Lotta Rosie."  It's about a girl "who ain't exactly small."  Our boss jokes that Dais is kind of like our Rosie.  Sometimes he jokes that she's sort of like our "steady" Malcolm Young; Angus Young's older brother.  A Sparrow is singing.

     Malcolm Young plays "Rhythm" guitar. With AC/DC's drummer and bass player he provides a solid "bottom" for their songs.  Mr. Steve thinks that he and his older brother Angus make a really good team together.  Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed again next door.  

     I guess Angus Young also plays rhythm guitar on AC/DC songs.  But then he adds a "Lead" guitar which gives the songs their color my boss thinks.  I think I could provide color!  I see the Sparrow over there.  Mr. Steve's Niece Stephanie has a Dog named Angus.

     Mr. Steve's friend met AC/DC back in the 1980's.  Like my boss, he's about six feet tall and said Malcolm and Angus Young were small like Jockeys.  But Mr. Steve says they sure play with a lot of power!  Daisy says they have a really good song called "Thunderstruck."    

     I remember that one time when my boss told me how he's heard that, "Pound for Pound," a Jockey is the strongest athlete.  I guess you'd have to be to control those big giant Race Horses as they go "Full Speed."  Mr. Steve says it's amazing to see a Horse Race "Up Close."

     Libby the Horse is slowly walking around over there in her Corral.  Seeing her now makes me think about Race Horses racing around a track.  My boss told Daisy one time that the power of a Race Horse is as impressive as watching the Race Cars in a "N.A.S.C.A.R" race.


      N.A.S.C.A.R stands for "National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing."  On Saturday, the day after tomorrow, Daisy has me scheduled to write about Auto Racing.  That will be in book three.  Mr. Steve sells N.A.S.C.A.R apparel like hats and shirts.  I smell a Joshua tree.

      Mr. Steve says unless your actually there you cannot fully appreciate just how much power a Race Horse has.  And that's even truer with Stock Car Racing.  Seeing Horse or Auto Racing on tv does not "Do it Justice" so to speak.  A Stock Car goes about 200 miles per hour.


     When my boss's Uncle Marty and his family lived down in San Diego in the early 1970's Mr. Steve and his brother Rock stayed with them a few times.  They went to watch Horse Racing at this one beautiful place called "Del Mar."  That means "by the ocean" in Spanish.

     Mr. Steve says it's legal to gamble on Horse Racing.  So he bet two dollars on each of the nine races at Del Mar on that day back then.  He told me you can bet on whether a Horse will win the race but can also bet on whether that Horse will come in second or third too. 

     Because he doesn't know anything about Horse Racing my boss says he just bet on a Jockey named Howard Grant because he was at the top of the Jockey standings.  And by pure luck that guy Howard Grant won six times so Mr. Steve won about forty dollars that day.       



      Judging at how the Sun's rays are falling away from me I'd say it's about six.  Well, I guess no snacks for me today.  I'm getting sort of hungry and I'll bet that Daisy is too.  Pretty soon it will be time for dinner!  I sure hope Mr. Steve puts some of that Spam in.

     Dais and I are happy!  We're always alert.  We both hear and smell things from far away; especially Daisy.  I just picked up the scent of a Squirrel somewhere around here.  It must be close bye but so far I don't see one anywhere. I just smelled a Joshua tree.

     A lot of times you'll see a Ground Squirrels scurrying about running really fast if they're not underground in their burrows.  Aha!  There it is.  I see a Ground Squirrel sticking his nose out from under that one big pile of firewood along the back fence; sniffing the air.

     Another thing that helps Dais and me in guarding our land is what Mr. Steve calls a female “Sixth Sense.”   My boss thinks many females have something many males don't have; that is, the ability to “feel” things almost "instinctively."  I definitely have that ability! 

     Because she's so old Daisy says she feels "in her bones" when the weather is about to change.  Our boss believes that a female's “intuition” is one of  the  reasons why males find it hard to live without females.  Males tend to be more "rational" he says; sometimes too much.

     Mr. Steve thinks that many times “two opposites create one whole.”  He says females tend to “civilize” males; often by acting as their “conscience.” This is one of the themes on the Waltons tv show.  His own mother has been his family's conscience for many years now.

     A while back I went in the living room on a Sunday and watched this really good sport called  "Football."  But I think I like Baseball better; mainly because that's Mr. Steve's favorite sport.  Both Daisy and I have become really big Oakland A's fans.  We love green!

     One example of females being the conscience of a male are televised Football games my boss says.  If a player on the bench happens to notice a camera pointed at him what do many of them yell?  They wave at the camera and say "Hi mom!" or "It wasn't me mom.”

     At times I sure wish we had a Way Back machine so I could go back in time and see who my mother and father were.  And I'd go back to the time of the American Civil War so I could see that man Abraham Lincoln.  I know that Daisy would want to meet Joan of Arc.


                                   ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865) WITH FAMILY                                 


      Mr. Steve told me President Lincoln once said; “The hand that rocks the cradle is the power which rules the earth."  And another time he wrote that "All that I am and all that I will ever be I owe entirely to my mothers.”  Max the Hummingbird just zoomed past.

     Daisy says Mr.Steve has a lot of books and other things about Abraham Lincoln.  One time he told her President Lincoln's father was kind of mean and didn't think it was important to learn to read or write.  But it's a good thing President Lincoln did it anyway she says.



                             (1784-1818)                                                                     ((1788-1869)


      My Encyclopedia says President Lincoln's mother died when he was nine. So his father got remarried and it was his new stepmother who encouraged him to learn to read and write.  Daisy thinks President Lincoln had trust and respect for her.  Our Pigeons just flew past. 

     In 1967, when Mr. Steve was twelve years old, in 6th Grade, Sister Rita Joseph was the one who first told him that there are only two types of people in the world, from any group, race or culture; “decent” or “indecent.”  She said "good crowd" versus "bad crowd." 

     A joke saying Sister Rita Joseph taught my boss was; "Lay with Dogs, get fleas."  Daisy and I don't have fleas but, even if I did get a flea I'm very accurate at using my hinds legs to scratch a particular area.  I use my teeth too!  They're sharp!  I smell a Lizard around here.

     Sister Rita Joseph believed it was better to be alone than to "hang around" indecent people who "engage in bad behavior."  She once told my boss and his classmates that; "You're known by the company you keep so keep good company or stay to yourself." 

      Mr. Steve has been doing the same job for over a decade.  And now, the man who does all of the "embroidery" he sells is named Julio.  Julio is originally from Mexico and was "amnestied" by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.  Julio is a decent person.  I see the Lizard.

      Our boss says his friend Julio one time told him an old Spanish saying which goes; "Mejor solo que mal acompañado." This means "Better alone than with bad company."  Mr. Steve then told Julio about Sister Rita Joseph.  Sister Rita Joseph still lives in his head he says.    


     Mr. Steve has expanded on Sister Rita Joseph's idea.  He believes Sister Rita Joseph's first group is composed mainly of flawed, imperfect but “basically" decent people who "generally" have a conscience and try to do the right thing; but they don't always do it. 

     Sister Rita Joseph taught our boss that "we all have the capacity for decency and indecency." Mr. Steve thinks that those in the second category are “basically" indecent.  They usually don't have much of a conscience but sometimes do the right thing.  That Lizard ran away.

      Sister Rita Joseph told our boss and his classmates that no group has a "monopoly on right or wrong" and "everyone has the capacity for both good and bad."  Mr. Steve told me he thinks this is true.  There is no such thing as a perfect person.   Heathcliff just crowed next door.

     Mr. Steve likes decent women.  It is his opinion that history proves one of the quickest ways to “tame” a wilderness or frontier is to bring in a population of decent females.  He thinks that this is partly because decent women don't easily tolerate indecency around children. 

     California in the 1850's, a few years after the "Gold Rush," seems an example of this.  And in Britain, our boss told us that something similar seems to have happened after the Romans built, and then settled all along the length of "Hadrian's Wall."  A lot of Birds are singing.

                                                          MR. STEVE'S PARENTS

      Our boss believes the joke phrase “his better half” did not come out of nowhere.  In his own life he and his brothers and sisters have seen firsthand how, over fifty years, his mother's basic decency has influenced and benefited their father and all of those around her. 

     By what Mr. Steve calls "osmosis" his parents have come to "bond" and influence the other.  They've become "at one with" each other.  Both have adapted to the other and because they have trust and respect they accept each others differences in personality. 

     It is our boss's opinion that one of the most difficult things in life to do is to raise children.  He's never done it and respects those who have.  And he says, there's no such a thing as perfect parents; too much love or not enough, too much discipline or not enough

     Mr. Steve has seen how raising kids can be a "humbling" experience even though he's never done it.  All one can do he says is the best one can "under the circumstances" and learn from mistakes. That's what his parents did with he and his two sisters and two brothers.

     Because he's never been a parent Mr. Steve has thought about raising children.  He himself is the "eldest" of five and the only one who never had kids.  He gives his brothers and sisters credit in seeing just how well they've brought up all of his Nieces and Nephews

     Mr. Steve and his family are lucky because both of his parents are basically decent people.  They believe that trust and respect, the pillars or foundations of any relationship, are ultimately what matters the most.  Dais and I like it when they come to visit us from Sylmar.  

     My boss thinks that two individuals in any relationship can "weather" almost anything just as long as they have trust and respect.  Hey Lord?  Mr. Steve mentioned a few times how You talked about a "house built on sand" in that one story from the New Testament.

     Our boss's parents knew it was not enough to have a good "image" of a parent in "showing up" or making the "obligatory" appearances on all the "right" occasions.  They didn't just want to give the impression of being good parents.  That Dragonfly just flew past.

     Mr. Steve's father was his Baseball Coach when he was young and his mother was always a  Girl Scout leader to his sisters.  And both of his parents really influenced other kids besides just their own.  They've always been "good examples."  I just smelled a Cholla cactus.


                                        MR. STEVE'S MOTHER AS A GIRLSCOUT (AGE SIXTEEN)


      Dais and I like it when Mr. Steve's mom and dad visit.  In a certain way, they're kind of like our Grandparents!  We never knew our parents let alone our Grandparents.  My boss says he's so lucky he got to know all four of his Grandparents!   I hear some Pigeons coming.

     It is Mr. Steve's belief that many females do have what he's called an instinctive Sixth Sense.   He once told me that he's noticed how females seem possess a "natural" ability to have really strong "gut" feelings.  Daisy and I have those feelings!  Ah!  There goes the Pigeons.

     Females strong feelings at time don't seem logical to males my boss says. He told me the story of Julius Caesar.  He ended up getting assassinated like President Kennedy two thousand years later.  But in his case it was Roman Senators who did it.  I smell the Pigeons now.


JULIUS CAESAR (100 B.C.-44 B.C.)    

    My Encyclopedia says the Roman Senate did not want Julius Caesar to be "Dictator" so some of them stabbed him to death as he arrived at the Senate.  Mr. Steve told me Julius Caesar's wife Calpurnia begged him not to leave the house but he ignored her “Premonitions.”

     In one of Shakespear's plays Julius Caesar paid a high price for ignoring his wife.  He also chose to "disregard" a fortune teller who said "beware the Ides of March."   His last words may have been; "Et tu, Brute?;" Latin for "And you Brutus?"  Brutus was a Senator.

    My Encyclopedia says The Ides of March means March 15th, which was the day Caesar died. sometimes Dais and I wonder why things happen when and the way they do.  Oh!  I just heard Heathcliff crow next door.  Maybe he's announcing dinner.  I really hungry now. 

     Even before reading it here in this Encyclopedia I knew that the "Ides of March" symbolizes the story of Julius Caesar and how you should pay attention to a females uneasy feelings.  I know that Mr. Steve's father now does not ignore it when Mr. Steve's mother's Sixth Sense.  

     Mr. Steve's sister Susan was born on March 16th; and his friend Ralph on the 17th. On many mornings Mr. Steve listens to a man named Bill Handel on the radio.  And every year on March 15th Bill Handel mentions the Ides of March; which reminds my boss of Susan and Ralph.

     There's a "Heavy Metal" band from England called IRON MAIDEN.  Mr. Steve says a few years ago they did a song called "The Ides of March."  It was what they call an "Instrumental."   That means there's no singing in it.  Here comes Fanny and Freddie in from the desert. 

                                                                   IRON MAIDEN

     Mr. Steve told me some of his favorite songs are instrumentals.  He also likes songs that have no musical instruments but only singing.  This is called "Acapella."  In High School one time he went on a date with a Mormon girl to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.   

     Dais told me Mr. Steve owns Knives or "Daggers" like the ones the Roman Senators used to stab Julius Caesar.  And she says, he has this really heavy replica "Gladius" Sword like those used by Rome's Legionaires or the Gladiators in the Coliseum.  I hear a Crow. 

    Our boss collects things Daisy says.  He even has this one miniature Roman "Siege Engine" or "Catapult" sitting on the divider between the kitchen and the dining room she told me.  It says here in my French Dictionary and a Siege Engine is called a "Trebuchet."



      Someday, if it doesn't cost too much Daisy says, our Chief told her he'd like to buy a Roman Peelum Spear like the ones used against the Celts under Queen Boudica.  In a corner of his office Mr. Steve has a few Spears leaning against the wall she says.  I smell a Gopher.  

        A band our boss likes is called METALLICA.  Dais says he told her they were originally from Los Angeles but now live "Up North" in the "Bay Area where San Francisco and Oakland are located.  I like METALLICA too; even though I've only heard one of their songs.              




      Mr. Steve saw a tv show the other day about that band METALLICA.  It said that one time in a concert the singer accidentally got burned really bad up on stage.  But as bad as it was it could have been much worse my boss told me.  I see a Gopher sniffing the air.

     Years ago Mr. Steve knew someone who worked with what they call "Stage Pyrotechnics."  So he knows that they can put out a lot of heat.  He jokes that singer from METALLICA must've had a Guardian Angel looking over him that night.  I'm sure glad I have you Stanley!

   Daisy told me that Mr. Steve joked that he liked METALLICA even more after he found out that the bass player's last name is "Trujillo."  This is also his mother's "Maiden" name.  Trujillo is a last name, like Córdova, that is common in New Mexico.  And both are from Spain. 



     Mr. Steve told Daisy and I that there's a town in Spain called "Trujillo"; in "Extremadura" where Hernando de Soto was from.  Like Andalusia, Extremadura is poor.  That's why soldiers like de Soto became Conquistadors in the 16th century.  The Gopher is gone.

     Another Conquistador was this named Francisco Pizzaro.  Just like de Soto, he was originally from Trujillo in Extremadura.  Pizzaro conquered the "Inca" Indians down in South America; in the area now called "Peru."  De Soto was one of those who served under Pizzaro.


                                                  FRANCISCO PIZZARO (1471-1541)

    My Encyclopedia says Francisco Pizzaro, a few years after Cortez beat the Aztecs in Mexico, defeated the Inca's in South America.  In both cases it was partly because the Spanish had steel helmets, weapons and armor.  Max the Hummingbird just flew bye just to my front. 

     It says here that, just like Cortez, not only did Pizzaro's Conquistadors have steel, his soldiers had some Horses too.  And their shields were way better than those used by the Incas.  But by far the most important thing is that the Spanish had guns.  A Crow just cawed faintly.        

    Mr. Steve thinks that in times of war what they call "Atrocities" are often committed; and a lot of times by both sides.  In the 16th century many if not most of the Spanish didn't really think of the Indians as humans with a soul.  So it was much easier to just kill them. 

    In June of 2001 Mr. Steve's Grandma Trujillo died.  In the late 1990's she had come from New Mexico so she could live with Mr. Steve's parents.  But when she died she was living in what they call a "Retirement Center" in Sylmar.  I just picked up the scent of Sage.

     From what my boss told me, even though his Grandma Trujillo only went to Eighth Grade, she was really good at "Math."  Mr. Steve's father is also good in math.  Someday I might learn some math.  Jack the Jackrabbit just zoomed bye in front of the three Sheds.


                                                     GRANDPA / GRANDMA TRUJILLO


      Mr. Steve's Grandpa Trujillo died in the mid-1990's.  He had worked for many years for this one company called the "Santa Fe Railroad."  Both he and Grandma Trujillo lived through the Great Depression of the 1930's.  Both were hard-working basically decent people.

      According to my outline for book three day after tomorrow I'm planning on writing about my boss's four Grandparents.  But I can already tell that as I go along I'll want to move subjects up as I think of things.  But, that's okay.  Max the Hummingbird just zipped bye.

      Mr. Steve was talking the other day with his friend Ralph.  Mr. Steve said to him; "I don't know what's worse, having your mind go out with your body still strong, or your body getting worse while your mind is sharp."  We've had both in our family he told Ralph.

     As he was cleaning out his Grandma Trujillo's room at the Retirement Center after he died a "Filipina" Nurse came up to Mr. Steve and said; "You'll be happy to know Mr. Steve that Miss Lupe watched her show Wheel of Fortune last night."  I hear Pigeons cooing.

     Mr. Steve says he almost felt like crying when the Nurse said that to him.  His other Grandma Córdova was the exact opposite.  When she died her mind was "completely gone" but her body kept "going and going" like the "Energizer Bunny" he says.  I still hear the Pigeons.

     While Grandma Trujillos's mind was still clear when she died; her body was "shot" as they say.  She was "confined" to a Wheel Chair but always got to the the "Bingo" games.  Grandma Trujillo used to tell Mr. Steve he should go on "Jeopardy;" and "win a lot of money."

       From what my boss told me his Grandma Trujillo died on the exact same day that this famous "Blues" musician named John Lee Hooker died. And he says an actor named Carroll O'Connor also died on that day.  Boy, I'll bet that was a sad day.  A Crow just cawed.


                                                                                               "ALL IN THE FAMILY"

     Dais says in a tv show called "All In The Family" Carroll O'Connor played this guy named Archie Bunker who, with his wife Edith and their family, lived in "Queens;" which is a suburb of New York City.  Edith was Archie's conscience at times.  Mr. Steve's been to Queens.

      Mr. Steve's sister Susan worked as a "Set Designer" for Bill Cosby twice.  The first time was when they did everything here in Los Angeles.  But for the second "reincarnation" of the show  she worked in Queens at the "Astoria" Studios.  Heathcliff just crowed again.   

     Our boss says that his Grandma and Grandpa Trujillo were both "able, honest" people who were not lazy and led by example.  Mr. Steve says he will never forget how clean his Grandma's always house was.  She said; "It's one thing to be poor, another thing to be dirty." 

   My boss's Grandma and Grandpa Trujillo started out poor but through hard work were able to lift themselves and their children up.  Grandpa Trujillo was really strong Mr. Steve says.  He had the "arms of a Blacksmith" as they say.  Dais has really strong legs!

     For over forty years Grandpa Trujillo's job for the Santa Fe Railroad in Belen was to carry the "luggage" of passengers.  This is why he developed such great strength.  In arm wrestling even three kids couldn't "budge" his arm Mr. Steve told me.  I smell a Joshua tree.

     Our boss likes a lot of different types of music.  One style he's always liked is the "Blues" and another is called "Boogie."  That man John Lee Hooker played both.  One time Mr. Steve and some of his friends saw him play down at this one place called "Busch Gardens."

                                                                                 JOHN LEE HOOKER (1111/0000)


     John Lee Hooker inspired this one guitar player named Jim Hendrix and also other bands like AC/DC and LED ZEPPELIN too.  They played a "heavier" more "Hard Rock" form of Boogie music Mr. Steve told me.  I kind of like what little Boogie music I've heard. 

     At times my boss plays drums to ZZ TOP'S 1970's song "La Grange" Daisy says.  She told me  our boss thinks La Grange is a louder and "faster-paced" version of John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillin;" a song John Lee Hooker wrote many years ago.  I smell a Cholla cactus.

     Another form of music our boss likes is an "offshoot" of Hard Rock called Heavy Metal.  Dais and I like Hard Rock and Heavy Metal too because he does.  METALLICA is "Thrash" Heavy Metal.   A baby Ground Squirrel just ran past right in front of the three Sheds.

     A METALLICA song Dais and I like when Mr. Steve plays it loud on his Boombox is called "Enter Sandman."  But Daisy told me  METALLICA also have this "instrumental" song called "Orion."  Someday I'd like to hear some of the other songs by that band METALLICA.

     Daisy says if I weren't such a big Chicken about going all the way into our house I could see the short movies many bands make to go along with their songs.  She told me that they're called "Videos."  I guess Enter Sandman is about this one boy having a nightmare.  

     One reason I like Enter Sandman is because every night before we go to sleep both Daisy and I  recite the same prayer Metallica put in their song; "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take, Amen."  Our Pigeons just flew past up high in the sky.

     I "empathize" or "identify" with the words to Enter Sandman. I also "sleep with one eye open."  I've been a light sleeper ever since living  homeless out in that field.  I feel sorry for Dawn next door.  She has only one good eye.  But Twinky helps her like I help Daisy. 

     Hey God?  As You Guys know, sometimes I still have nightmares about the time I spent living out in that awful field.  There were Coyotes, Bobcats and Mountain Lions who would have liked nothing better than to have made an easy meal out of me.  I smell a Joshua tree.



      Living out in that field it was so dark sometimes.  And during the Winter it was really cold.  But I was never what they call "ambushed" by hunting animals!  No one is going to make a meal out of me if I have anything to say about it.  I'm what they call a "survivor!" 

     Nobody ever got me mainly because I was always just "one step ahead " of them as they say!  I won't be caught “flat-footed!"  But now I really don't have to worry as much or have "sleepless nights."  I'm not what my boss calls as "fidgety" as I used to be.  I smell a Lizard.

     Mr. Steve thinks I've probably become partially "Nocturnal" because of all my time in that field.  Now that I live here I can relax a bit more when I sleep even though I'm  a light sleeper.  But, who's complaining!  My problems are small compared to other's problems. 

     And, do you know what Lord?  I now I feel more normal ever since our boss told Daisy and I that when Mallard Ducks want to sleep "in line" while in the water the two outside Ducks swim with half of their brain alert and keep one eye open.  Aha!  I just saw the Lizard.

     Mr. Steve says Dolphins also swim with half their brains asleep.  He jokes that, just ike Ducks and Dolphins, I could be an example of what that man Charles Darwin described in his theory about  "Natural Selection;" my parents gave me "Traits" to help survive.

     Hey God!  I wonder if Charles Darwin believed in You?  Mr. Steve says he probably didn't but may've been what's called an "Agnostic." Charles Darwin said Religion and Science could "Co-Exist."  That Lizard just ran really fast under Manny the far right Shed.

     As You Guys know, my boss wants to believe that You God created the physical Universe and then gave men a "Free Will" to do good or bad.  Oh!  I just saw a big Snake crawl under Jack the big Shed to my left.  I wonder if he'll smell that Lizard underneath Manny? 

     I think I want to believe the way Dais and Mr. Steve do Holy Spirit.  The late afternoon Sun is falling on the desert to the east making shadows much longer.  I feel You expressing Yourself in this physical world that You've created.  Oh no!  The Snake went under Manny!   

     This Encyclopedia says in the 19th century Charles Darwin wrote about the "Survival of the Ffittest;" an idea that seems to make logical sense my boss believes.  But, unfortunately, that idea was used by political leaders like Adolph Hitler in the 20th century Mr. Steve thinks. 

     This is interesting.  It says here Charles Darwin's wife Emma was a "Devout" Christian who he trusted and respected.  He himself described her as; "so infinitely my superior in every moral quality, my wise adviser and cheerful comforter."   That Snake will catch the Lizard.

                                                        EMMA DARWIN (1839-1882)

      I guess Charles Darwin's wife was his Cousin.  My boss thinks she was obviously a good and decent person whose opinions influenced her husband.  In fact he says, in many things in their lives she made all the decisions and then just "decreed" what they were going to do.  

     Wow!  My Encyclopedia says Charles Darwin and his wife had ten children. But, only two survived to adulthood.  Oh!  I just heard a loud squeek coming from under Manny the Shed so the Snake probably caught the Lizard.  Fannie and Freddie flew bye and heard it.

     Hey God?  As You know, Mr. Steve thinks Charles Darwin for much of his life was what they call a "Deist" like he is.  Deists believe You designed and created the world but then left it alone to evolve at its own pace.  And the people had Free Will to do either good or bad.

     This is interesting.  I guess Charles Darwin liked the "Psalm of David" which said;  "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim his handiwork."  Looking out into the eastern desert behind our Sheds I think I know what King David meant.

     As You know God, Deists do not believe in the idea of "Pre-Destination."  They can't imagine that no matter what good acts you do in your lifetime it doesn't matter at all if you were already doomed to go to Hell even beforehand.  I hear Crows cawing faintly out in the desert. 

     Mr. Steve says he thinks that in nature Darwin's "Theory" of "Evolution" is left to move in whatever direction that Natural Selection takes it.  He says from his office window he sees every day proof of creatures that have adapted particularly to our area of the High Desert.

     I just smelled Cholla cactus.  That reminds me of last year at this exact time.  But last year on this day it wasn't nearly as sunny and warm; even though yesterday was not as warm as it was two years ago.  I remember when Daisy was teaching me about guarding our land. 

     One month from now it will be warmer.  Two months from now it will be even warmer than that.  Three months from now it will be pretty warm.  Four months from now it will probably be hot.  Five months from now it will most likely be boiling hot.  I smell a Sage plant.    

     Looking out to the east I see a darker blue sky beyond the three Sheds.  Oh! I just noticed the Crows Samson and Delilah circling and wheeling about up high in the sky.  They're hoping that something died in the back half acre so they can go down and eat it I'll bet.

     Even from this far away I know it's Samson and Delilah because of how huge Samson is.  His what they call "Wingspan" must be three and half feet across.  He looks so majestic floating up there.  I can tell that Delilah is following his movements.  Oh!  They saw something.


                                                                   PAINTING BY WALTER COLVIN 


     Yup!  Samson is now diving down toward the ground like one of those World War II German "Stuka" Planes.  And now Delilah is moving into position right next to him; "in his wake" as they say.   Samson must've seen something to eat.  Boy, I'm getting kind of hungry too.

     Sometimes at night Dais and I wonder if any other Planets have life on them?  Hey God? Are we alone in the Universe You created?  Mr. Steve thinks You made such a huge Universe "Odds Are" as they say, there's most likely life somewhere out there.  I smell Sagebrush. 

     Daisy would really like to meet an alien from outer space.  Not me!  That would be too scary. And what if they kidnapped or "abducted" us and took us away from here?  We might never see our boss again.  Sometimes at night we see lights going across the sky.  

     Hey God!  As You know, Mr. Steve told me You probably created the Universe about fourteen billion years ago through what's called the "Big Bang" theory.  But is that just another way of describing how, in the Old Testament Book of Genesis You said "Let there be light?"   

      Because I was able to survive the time I was living homeless out in that field I must be one of the fittest my boss jokes.  I do want to believe that!  I'm strong!  And even Dais has noticed how I never even get sick or tired!  Daisy wishes she could be young again.  I smell a Mouse.


                                                    CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882)

     Mr. Steve told me, like Aldous Huxley, Charles Darwin was English.  One of his good friends was Aldous Huxley's Grandfather.  This Encyclopedia says that he was a "devoted" husband and father and always put his families welfare ahead of his.  I see the Mouse.  

     When Mr. Steve's friend Mark Ritter was alive they sometimes talked about the "Galapagos" Islands.  I'm going to write more about that tomorrow but I'll just mention it quickly right now. Hey God?  You knew one of Mark Ritter's goals in life was to see the Galapagos.

     Well God!  I'm almost done with my first book; even though I still have things write about.  I can tell that I still have a few thing to go by glancing at my book one outline.  As You know, I'm sort of hungry right now.  But I'll be disciplined and finish this first book.  

      I can't believe it!   Heathcliff just crowed agaian!  Wow!  And now I'm watching as that one Mouse is running under one of the rocks around the bottom of the big tree.  Libby is standing to the side of her Food Bin.  Pretty soon they'll feed her.  I hear a few Birds chirping.  

     I guess Samson the Crow found something to eat because now I see Blackbeard and Anne and Fannie and Freddie circling above them.  If it's something big like a Rabbit they all might try to go down and eat some of it too.  Well, Heathcliff just crowed again next door.

     Daisy told me that sometime Crows will share their food.  If they kill it themselves they might not be as willing to share she says.  Oh!  Now I see some other Crows flying in.  Boy, whatever Samson and Delilah are eating must smell a lot.  I wonder what we'll have for dinner?      

     In my Encyclopedia it says that way back in 1839 Charles Darwin went with this one big ship called the "Beagle" on a voyage around the world.  Boy, all around the whole world!  I wouldn't feel comfortable riding on an ocean because I don't even know how to swim.

     I guess Charles Darwin's ideas on Evolution and Natural Selection came about after studying the unusual animals in Australia.  But he also studied life on the Galápagos islands.  They also have unique animals and plants on them.  That Mouse just ran out into the desert.


     It says here that when Charles Darwin got home to England after his long voyage he spent many years studying his collected materials.  I guess one thing he studied were the beaks on the Finch's in the Galápagos islands; which are off the coast of northwest South America. 

     Darwin noticed that each island's Finch's had a beak adapted for getting at the food on that particular island.  One island needed a long beak while on another island it was necessary for the Finch to have a short stubby beak.  I'm looking at some small Birds right now. 


                                                             GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

                                                                                                                                                  One "Sea Bird" Charles Darwin saw on the Galápagos islands is called a "Cormorant." It says in my Encyclopedia I read that in many other parts of the world Cormorants fly but in the Galápagos they don't fly because it's not even necessary.

     From the picture in the Encyclopedia it looks like those Cormorant Birds have shorter, stubby little wings.   And I guess instead of using them to fly through the air Cormorants use their wings like a Fish's fins.  I'd sure like to see that and I'll bet Daisy would too! 


     Cormorants on the Galapagos Islands have no predators on land I guess.  So they don't need to fly and over thousands of years have lost their big wings.  And because they live much of their lives under water they just fly under water like Penguins.  That is so amazing! 

     Sitting in his office working in front of his big window my boss studies Birds, Rabbits, Lizards ad other things.  The Birds and Rabbits come to eat the seeds and pellets he puts out.  Some of the Birds also come to drink or play in the water of a Birdbath.  I smell a Joshua tree.  

      My boss says he sees Charles Darwin's theories in the way the creatures up here in the High Desert have adapted to life in our area.  He "observes" almost every day how they've developed what are called "Defense Mechanisms" to survive in a very hot and dry desert.

     Mr. Steve sometimes jokes that since he hasn't had a "date" with a girl for a long time and never goes to the movies any more because he doesn't like to go alone; in a way watching Birds has become one his primary forms of entertainment.  I really like watching Birds too!  

     Seeing just how the Birds around us have adjusted to our particular environment makes my boss think Charles Darwin's ideas on Evolution are probably mostly correct.  And it's not just the Birds that have adapted to our area here in the High Desert.  I hear Birds singing.

     Looking out to the east at the desert behind our three Sheds I can see that some of the Joshua trees are moving slightly because of the wind.  I smell Cholla Cactus on that breeze.  The Sun has already gone to the west side of the house so the sunlight is coming from there.



     Out in that field, and here too, are Snakes, Lizards and Bugs.  I avoid things that sting like Ants, Bees and Spiders!  But, one useful thing I learned in that field; you can eat Lizards if you have to, though they don't have much meat.  Some Lizards bite harder than you think!

     Since my days in that field Hawks have always caught my attention!  They have very sharp claws called "tallons." They're like blades!  When I see a Hawk circling I come here to the back patio and then just wait for the Hawk to leave.  Daisy's not afraid of Hawks! 


    I'm sure glad I haven't seen any Hawks so far this year.  Mr. Steve is right; I know there's no chance a Hawk will try to attack me or Daisy because we weigh too much to carry off but; I still don't trust those Hawks.  Hawks have kind of mean looks in their eyes. 

     Fannie and Freddie the Crows are sitting on the back fence.  Because it's later in the day I see Quail moving to the east.  Quail are like us. They go to bed early and get up early.  Wow! I can't believe it.  There are only a few things left on my outline to write about. 

      Mr. Steve was told that in certain years these big Birds called "Eagles" come up here to the High Desert in the Spring.  They're even bigger that Hawks my boss says.  Even Hawks will not fight them.   Aha!  I just saw a little Lizard and he's looking at me from out on the dirt.

     One hundred years ago there used to be "Black" and "Grizzly" Bears in our area.  At least that's what Mr. Steve told me.  What a scary thought!  It makes me nervous just thinking about it.  I sure am glad we have a fence all the way around our front two acres.

     Except for Yogi the Bear or that other Bear called "Smokey" the Bear I wouldn't ever want to meet a Bear!  But if I ever do run into a Bear I'd freeze; like that Lizard who's still looking at me.  Dais taught me how to stay still but it's a really hard thing for me to do. 

     According to my Encyclopedia when Charles Darwin was alive in the 19th century the Queen of England was named Victoria.  And in looking her up I can see that her birthday is May 24th which I happen to know is the same date as Mr. Steve's parent's "Wedding Anniversary."


                                       QUEEN VICTORIA (1819-1901) WITH FAMILY                            

     Wow!  I guess Queen Victoria had a big family.  It's too bad her husband died way before she did.  It sounds like they trusted and respected each other.  It seems like they were good partners for each other; just like Mr. Steve's parents are.  I'd like to have a boy partner someday.

     Well, there goes that little Lizard running away.  Some Lizards "waddle" but other one kind of sprint fast.  But Roadrunner's can chase them down because they're fast runners too.  I know one thing, Roadrunners have really sharp beaks!  Oh!  Heathcliff just crowed again.  

     According to what I had planned on my outlines, I was really going to learn and then write about that lady Queen Victoria in books two and three.  And I'll still do it but I kind of feel like looking her up right now.  Oh!  Rudy the Roadrunner just jogged bye right now.

    For most of the 19th century England was ruled by Queen Victoria.  This Encyclopedia says that a "Victorian Era" writer named Rudyard Kipling  wrote "Short Stories" about the British Empire during that time.  It says here that England had the biggest Navy back then.

     My Encyclopedia says people used to say "The Sun never sets on the British Empire." This was because England had "Colonies" all over the world.  The British under Queen Victoria had the world's biggest empire since the time of that guy Genghis Khan. 

     It says here that from the 18th century all the way until the end of World War II the area that England controlled in India was called the "Raj."  I'm scheduled to write about that later when I talk about Mahatmas Ghandi; who has the same birthday as Mr. Steve's mom.  

     This is interesting.  That guy Rudyard Kipling wrote stories about the British Raj and one of them was "The Jungle Book."  One Saturday morning when Daisy and I watched our cartoons in the living room they played that movie.  It was so great!  I like when they sing in Movies.


                                      RUDYARD KIPLING (1865-1936) WITH WIFE


    According to my Encyclopedia that man Rudyard Kipling, with his wife Caroline and their children, lived a lot of the time in India.  And I can see that Jungle Book was what they call a   "Series" about India.  Those stories are told by the animals who live in India. 

     Mr. Steve really doesn't like it when they sing too many songs in a movie.  He thinks it's kind of what they call "Corny."  But, he knows he's in the minority on this issue.  So, he'll what they call "Tolerate" those "Musicals" when other people around him like them.

    Oh my God!  The one picture in my Encyclopedia of "Baloo" the Bear in the cartoon Jungle Book looks kind of like Daisy!  It says the Bears in India are called "Sloth" Bears.  Sometimes Daisy does look like a little Bear but she's not lazy which is what "sloth" means.    

     It sounds like Baloo the Sloth Bear is very friendly!  And he was a good singer too!   Some day maybe I'll actually be able to go to a Library and have my own card like the one Mr. Steve has.  Then I can read books like The Jungle Book.  A little Squirrel just ran bye just to my front. 


                               DAISY                              BALOO                           SLOTH BEAR                                                                                                          

     I wonder if Dais could ever be a good actor just like Baloo?  Probably not because one thing about Daisy, she  doesn't like to pretend at anything.  Daisy's kind of "Grounded in Reality" as my boss says.  Besides, she doesn't like dancing or singing.  Daisy doesn't even howl. 

     If I were ever to run into a real Bear I would stay still.  That would be hard because I know that my first instinct is to chase when something runs from me.  So, as hard as it would be; I'd be so still because Dais says Bears are really fast runners.  I can smell a Joshua tree. 

     One time Daisy told me that discipline's easy in normal average times.  But it's much harder not to panic when things go bad.  I'm trying to be more like Daisy.  She's always calm.  I really admire her for that.  Sometimes I have a tendency to panic.  Ah!  I smell a Gopher.

     Our boss tries, as much as possible, to make the most of bad situations.  But sometimes it's not easy trying to turn negatives into positives he says.  I thought it was funny when he told me that one joke; “If life gives you lemons then try to make lemonade!”  I see the Gopher.

     Mr. Steve told us in Chinese the word for "Crisis" is composed of two characters; one means "Danger" but the other means "Opportunity."  His father believes in this idea too even though he's not even Chinese.  I try to avoid risk.  I can see that the Gopher's gone now.



    Mr Steve says he once read in an old philosophy book that a good "Epitaph" on a gravestone would be: "HE / SHE  DID THE BEST THEY COULD WITH WHAT THEY HAD TO WORK WITH AT THE TIME." I'm going to try to do that too.  I hear a Sparrow singing. 

     Our boss thinks nothing's perfect and everyone has problems or obstacles to deal with.  He told me Sister Clara Joseph said because good often comes with bad and bad comes with good, "sadness and heartache are as much a part of life as happiness."  I see the Sparrow.

     Mr. Steve jokes that disappointment and loss at times "Comes with the Territory" and is part of the "Job Description" in life.  He says he now realizes that, in part, he learned this from the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands. A life with no disappointments is impossible. 

     One time this older man he met at the Library down in Sylmar said to my boss that in life all you can do is try to "deal with things the way you find them" and "move forward one day at a time doing the best you can."  That big Dragonfly just zoomed past right in front of me. 

     My boss doesn't like it when others see themselves as "Victims."  He says everyone's a victim of something at one time or another.  Mr. Steve believes that it's a normal "Tendency" to look for what they call "Scapegoats” or blame others or things beyond one's self for misfortune. 

     But, as Sister Rita Joseph said to her class one time, the tendency to never accept the blame for anything is a tendency everyone should try to "Keep a tight rein on."  I don't feel sorry for myself anymore!  Thank You God!  Oh! And thank You too Blessed Mother.

     Mr. Steve and his friend chuckled when his friend's wife said that “Gregarious” or "People Person" would not exactly be the words to correctly describe her husband or my boss.  Both now at times feel uncomfortable around people they don't know that well.   

     Mr. Steve admits that at this point in his life it would be ridiculous to say that he's what they call "Happy-go-Lucky."  In fact, a few years ago another friend described Mr. Steve as "a bit non-demonstrative" or "Buttoned-Up" around strangers.  I smell some Sage. 

     But, more and more, our boss enjoys talking to older people.  This is mainly because he's old now too he told me.  Our boss jokes he's not exactly a "Spring Chicken" any more.  Daisy's old!  But Daisy is still very strong.  It's really hard to wrestle around with her.

     I admire Daisy!  She's wise and has valuable insights.  I've learned a lot from her.  I'll write a lot more about her tomorrow in book two.   Daisy's the one who showed me the best places to stand to "Catch the Breezes coming off of the desert on really hot days. 

     What would I do without Daisy You Guys?  I don't even want to think about it!  I need her presence now like I need food, air and water.  Even though I'm writing these three books for the later generations of our family, "In the back of my mind" I really want to impress her. 

     Daisy says we should "Have each others Backs" just like the "Three Muskateers."  They were "All for one, and one for all," Tous pour un, un pour tous" in French. 

     A favorite song of  Daisy's is "Let's Work Together" from the 1960's Blues / Psychedelic band Canned Heat.  I like that song too but; I like even more the  songs: "Goin Up The Country" and "On The Road Again."

     Mr. Steve, who met Bob Hite of Canned Heat in Topanga Canyon, says that Canned Heat once played with John Lee Hooker and later developed their own Boogie style.  For my boss Canned Heat's music will always remind him of 1968; the first time he heard them.

     In reading about Canned Heat in my Encyclopedia it says that back in 1969 they played at a big outdoor concert at this place in "up-state" New York called "Woodstock."  I'll bet that town is kind of near to where his sister Susan lives in Connecticut with her two boys.

     Dais say in a corner of Mr. Steve's bedroom, above all of his vinyl records, is a picture of that guy Jimi Hendrix playing at Woodstock.  Rich, my boss's Niece Stephanie's boyfriend, gave it to him and he then paid to have it "matted" and framed.  It looks good Daisy told me.


                                                    JIMI HENDRIX AT WOODSTOCK

                                                                                                                                             PHOTO BY HENRY DILTZ


      People have offered to buy that 11x14 print of Jimi Hendrix Dais says.  But Mr. Steve would never sell it. He says many people think that Jimi Hendrix was the best guitar player ever.  I've never heard any of his songs but Daisy has.  She says he's really talented.

     Dais is lucky.  Because she's not afraid to go all the way down the hallway and into Mr. Steve's bedroom she's heard a lot more music than I have.  She told me that our boss has vinyl records by Canned Heat.   And he also has music recorded at Woodstock she says.

                                                                         BOB HITE

     If I had fingers instead of toes it would be easier to learn how to play Flute or Harmonica the way Bob Hite did.  My boss says Bob Hite was big.  His nickname was "Bear."  Like my boss he was about six feet tall; but he weighed about three hundred pounds!

     When my boss met Bob Hite part of his long beard was shaved in the middle because he cut his chin in a car accident.  Mr. Steve thinks that he probably cut his chin on what's called the "Dash Board" of his car; or maybe the "Steering Wheel."  I smell a Cholla cactus. 

      Our boss, like Dais, thinks “Trial and Error” or, a "Learning Curve," is the "norm."  Daisy doesn't believe in "Magic Potions" or a "Silver Bullet" but thinks there are times when others can tell you a shortcut which guides you to avoid making big mistakes. 

     Mr. Steve told me he believes that failure's normal.  He's come to think that only those who never try anything never fail.  He's failed a lot but says, looking back on it, he's learned more in losing than he did in winning.  But he jokes it's usually better to win.  I agree!

     Our boss, and his two younger brothers too, played Baseball for much of their lives.  So, they know that even the best hitter gets a hit only three times out of every ten "at bats." In the Major Leagues they play 162 games and even the greatest teams lose 60 or more games.

     I remember when my boss told me about an old joke saying that most Salesmen know;  "The only way to increase your success rate is to proportionately increase your failure rate."  He said this isn't always true but, "more often than not" as they say, it is.

     It is the opinion of Mr. Steve that, in our sometimes overly competitive society, the “End Result” is all that matters.  But, as Sister Clara Joseph once told him and his classmates; "There are times when, even in defeat, the journey itself has been just as beneficial as the bottom line" or final analysis."  In such cases she said; "The trip itself, for good and bad, can turn out to be the destination because you learn in the process." 

     Mr. Steve says older people have done their trial and error so can give you ideas.  He believes many people, but not all, can teach you something.  I know Dais sure has taught me a lot of things.

     I'd like to believe I'm a "Success Story." Dais thinks I am and if I can write my three books my boss will too.  I can't wait!  Daisy even told me she thinks I would  make a good teacher.  I feel good when she tells me things like that.  There goes Heathcliff crowing again!

     I still don't entirely trust too many strangers; especially if they're holding something in their hands.  To this very day I'm a bit  frightened at times.  But I'm working on it!   Mr. Steve has said to me; "The "Great Wall" in China  was built one brick at a time. 

     Another popular old saying is; "A steady pace wins the race."  Mr. Steve jokes we should put that as what they call an "epitaph" on Daisy's gravestone.  Dais never gets too high or too low.  My boss jokes she might have been a Buddhist in a "prior life."

     Daisy and I like when Mr. Steve plays music on his Boombox when he's doing yard work.  One song he's played Daisy and I like is called "Turn, Turn, Turn."  It was written by this guy named Pete Seeger.  There goes Max the Hummingbird but his girlfriend 99 is still not with him.


                                                        PETE SEEGER AND WIFE

     In my Encyclopedia it says Pete Seeger wrote Turn, Turn, Turn in the 1950's.  Mr. Steve once read how Pete Seeger said his wife of sixty years, "Toshi," was his "foundation."  Oh wow.  She died on July the 9th, which is Mr. Steve's birthday.  Boy, I'm really hungry.   

     From what is says here that singer Pete Seeger was at times poor.  I guess he was what they call a "social activist."  And he and his music really influenced a lot of other later musicians like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.  Blackbeard and Anne the Crows just showed up.


                       BOB DYLAN                                                           BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND FAMILY

        It says here Bob Dylan played concerts with Pete Seeger in the early 1960's.   This was before he started playing electric guitars.  I guess his real name is Robert Zimmerman and he's from a state called Minnesota.  Blackbeard and Anne are sitting on Moe the middle Shed.

     I've never heard any Bob Dylan songs but Dais has.  She says he has this one really good song that Mr. Steve likes called "Like a Rolling Stone."  She heard him say one time he thinks that guy Bob Dylan writes good songs about the passing of time and how love can fade.

     Daisy says another good song Pete Seeger wrote is called "If I Had A Hammer."  She told me that these 1960's singers called Peter, Paul and Mary did a Pete Seeger song called "Puff the Magic Dragon."  Daisy knows I'm always interested in anything to do with Dragons. 


                                           PETER, PAUL AND MARY / WITH ACTORS        

                                                                     PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA

      In 1986 Mr. Steve's girlfriend Emily got him a job taking pictures of Peter, Paul and Mary at an "A.C.L.U." event at this place called the "Universal Amphitheater."  My Encyclopedia says that A.C.L.U. stands for the "American Civil Liberties Union."  I smell a Joshua tree.

     Mr.  Steve told me that Peter, Paul and Mary were very friendly and helpful in taking all of the necessary photos.  Some of them were later used in A.C.L.U. newsletter.  Boy, I'm almost done with my first book!  It's late in the day so I'm sure we'll have dinner soon.   

        This is interesting.  I guess Pete Seeger's song Turn, Turn, Turn was also done by this 1960's "Folk Rock" band from Los Angeles called The Byrds.  And in the 1960's a girl singer named Judy Collins sang it too.  A Snake just crawled out into the desert to the east.

                                                                 JUDY COLLINS

      Mr. Steve told me, he likes Pete Seeger's and Judy Collin's versions of Turn, Turn, Turn.  But he prefers the Byrds "rendition" of Turn, Turn, Turn the best; mainly because it's done with all electric instruments so is "heavier."  Fannie and Freddie just flew in for the night.

     Being around our boss both Daisy and myself have come to like songs that are more "Rock."  But we like softer songs too!  I like almost all songs that have either flute or harmonica in them.  Flute is my favorite instrument!  Ah!  Our Pigeons just arrived back for the night.            


                                                                                                       THE BYRDS

      At times Mr. Steve still plays Drums to the Byrds Turn, Turn Turn.  He likes the sound of a 12 string Guitar.  The Byrds also do a good song, which was written by Bob Dylan, called "Mr. Tambourine Man." I really think I could learn to play a Tambourine! 

     The lyrics to Turn, Turn, Turn are based on an Old Testament passage; "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven; a time to plant and a time to sow, a time to laugh and a time to weep, a time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to speak and a time to keep silent, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for peace and a time to make war, and a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2).


    In my case; Mr. Steve says it's now my time to thrive after my time of suffering.  He tells me I was lucky but now probably stronger and better off for surviving my time existing out in that field.  Dais says I can be an example to others that you don't have to be scarred for life.

     Mr. Steve, Dais and myself lead plain lives.  Our boss jokes our lives would not make a good "Soap Opera" as it would be too boring.  But, he recalls an elderly lady named Helen Graham, who worked with him at the Forum, saying: "Part of happiness is ordinariness."

     I just thought of what that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said way back in the 19th century; "That which does not destroy me only makes me stronger!"  Both Dais and I now really want to believe in that saying!  That field didn't destroy me!


                                                  FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900)

     Mr. Steve thinks at times Friedrich Nietzsche's writing is kind of dark and "Pessimistic."  Mr. Steve say sometimes he understands this attitude about human nature.  But he says, it's better to at least try to be as "optimistic" as possible.  I hear a Crow cawing.

     Hey Lord!  A basic "tenet" or Your teaching is "repentance" and then forgiveness.  And my   Dictionary says "repent" is to "regret" something and "admit guilt."  But even though those who abandoned me to die out in that field never repented I want to forgive them anyway. 

     My boss jokes; "Life is often what happens when you're planning something else."  He's told Dais and I about times when he was a victim of the "Law of Unintended Consequences." You just never know how things are going to go he says.  A Squirrel just ran past the Sheds.

     Robert E. Lee is a man Mr. Steve knows about.  He and his wife had seven children; four girls and three boys.  My boss told me, even though he fought to preserve slavery, Robert E. Lee seems to have been flawed but basically decent.  Dais thinks he's up in Heaven with You God.

     Daisy says one time our boss told her that Robert E. Lee, toward the end of his life when he probably knew he was dying, wrote a letter to his oldest son Custis.  In this letter he said; "All is happy if you make it so."  When my boss read this he thought of Sister Clara Joseph.


 ROBERT E. LEE  (0000-0000)

     Dais told me later in that same letter to his son Robert E. Lee also wrote; "Try to live in the world that you inhabit.  Look upon things as they are.  Take them as you find them.  Try to make the best of them.  Try to turn them to your advantage."  I just smelled Libby over there.

     Hey Lord!  When Mr. Steve read Robert E. Lee's letter the ideas in it kind of reminded me of that one prayer I like called the "Serenity Prayer."  Mr. Steve says it was written by a German-American man named Reinhold Niebuhr.  He was what they call a "Theologian."

      Our boss says he thinks he first heard the Serenity Prayer was from Sister Clara Joseph in the 7th Grade.  Lord; but he really didn't appreciate it's ideas until many years later.  That was when that older lady recited it at an outdoor Barbecue down there in Sylmar. 


                                                    REINHOLD NIEBUHR (1892-1971)

  I really want to believe in the Serenity Prayer Lord!  Mr. Steve taught it to me and I've already  got it memorized; "Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  Heathcliff just crowed again over there next door.

     Tomorrow I'll write more about that man Reinhold Niebuhr and his Serenity Prayer. And I'll  talk about this other man named Thomas Merton.  Mr. Steve's parents, especially his father, has read both men's writings and has been influenced by them.  I smell a Creosote plant.  

     According to my outline I'm almost done with my first book.  One of the last things I want to write about is how for almost ten years my boss played in "Little League" at this place called the "Sylmar Independent Baseball League;" or "S.I.B.L". or short. 

     During that ten years Mr. Steve told me one of his coaches was named Dick Jackson.  Like the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands, Mr. Jackson made a big impression on my Chief.   Mr. Jackson gave  him and his friend Rick advice similar to the meaning of the Serenity Prayer.


                                                   DICK JACKSON LANE (S.I.B.L.)


   Mr. Jackson was a decent man my boss says.  He once told Mr. Steve and his friend Rick; "To a certain extent in life, you're often defined by how you react to or handle defeat; or all of life's inevitable crises."  The older he gets the more he agrees with that my boss says.

     My boss's father told him and his brothers and sisters similar things about having to get back up after being knocked down.  After "all is said and done" as they say, you just have to "work through" or "overcome" the bad times.  I just looked up the word "persevere."  


                            DICK JACKSON / L.A. COUNCILMAN ERNANI BERNARDI

                                                                        PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA


     Mr. Jackson said life can at times be like Sports; a series of "adjustments" and then some "readjustments."  That man Charles Darwin believed that in the physical world either you adapt or you "fall by the wayside" and are passed up by those who do.  I smell a Gopher.

     During the Great Depression of the 1930's black people could not play sports against white players.  I just looked up "Negro Leagues" in my Encyclopedia.  Some of the best players of all time played in that league.  One of them was a pitcher named "Satchel" Page.

     Satchel is only a nickname Mr. Steve told me.  According to him that man Mr. Jackson once told he and his teammates that Satchel Paige, who was right-handed, used to joke; "Don't look back.  Something might just be gaining on you."  I see the Gopher near Manny the Shed.


                                                      "SATCHEL" PAGE (1906-1982)

      When Mr. Jackson told our boss that Satchel Page quote it "resonated" with him because his Grandpa Córdova at times said in Spanish; "Picen para adelante que de atras vieñen picando."  This means "Push forward because someone is pushing from behind" in English.

     The other night Mr. Steve says he had a dream in which he was a little kid and was sitting at the dinner table at his Grandma and Grandpa Córdova's house over in Belen.  They were all eating Piñon nuts.  That Gopher just disappeared back underneath the ground.


                                                    GRANDPA / GRANDMA CÓRDOVA


       Because he was their first grandchild Mr. Steve's Grandma and Grandpa Córdova at times "spoiled" him.  In his dream they were "shelling" the Piñon nuts for him.    And in that dream he also "re-lived" the time when he took their picture near the front porch of that house.

     Mr. Steve has told me about his four grandparents.  His own father is a lot like his Grandpa Córdova in that he believes the "best defense is a good offense."  And because he was a Marine his dad is what they call "conditioned" to always try to "seize the initiative."

     Many years ago Mr. Jackson told my boss that; "In life oftentimes all you can do is deal with things as they come up to the best of your abilities and after that just keep on moving forward."  When you get "knocked down" he said, you just "pick yourself up" and start over. 

     Mr. Steve's parents and grandparents had to do this a few times.  They were all influenced by living through the Depression of the 1930's and the Second World War in the 1940's.  And this influence was passed "in turn" to my boss.  I sure hope we never go into a depression. 

     Mr. Steve's parents taught him and his brothers and sisters there are times in life when you're faced with what they call "barriers" or "obstacles."  And they said that in such cases all you can do is "accept reality" and "work things through" as best you can."  I smell a Lizard.

     I remember when my boss told us Sister Clara Joseph told her class that at times in life all one can do is "prepare for the worst while hoping for the best."  She's also the one who said it was so important to try to "remember yesterday and at the same time imagine tomorrow."

     Someone told my boss a while back that he heard Mr. Jackson had died a few years ago.  This made him sad but, just like the words of the Nuns at Saint Ferdinand's; Mr. Jackson's words still live in my Chief's head.  And now in Daisy and I's minds too!  I see the Lizard.



       Wow!  This was a long day but I'm finally almost finished with my first book.  Looking out into the desert to the east, beyond our three Sheds, I can see by how the sunlight is falling that the day is almost over.  Pretty soon it will be time for dinner.  It will be dark soon.    

     According to my outline one of the last topics I want to write about is Mr. Steve's relationship with his friend Rick.  They've known each other for most of their lives.  They went to school and for years played Baseball together.  That Lizard ran under Moe the middle Shed.

     Pittsburgh, where Rick's family is from, is about three thousand miles away!  To go there by airplane takes five or six hours my boss says.  Pittsburgh is to the southwest of Connecticut where Mr. Steve's sister Susan lives with her two sons.  I an smell Libby the Horse now.

     My boss and Rick at times played Baseball on the same team.  Mr. Rick tried to make it to the Major Leagues as a pitcher but didn't quite make it.  Mr. Steve was his "personal catcher" when he would "try out" for scouts.  Mr. Steve still has a lot of what they call "mitts."

      Because Mr. Rick's family were from Pittsburgh and my boss grew up around them, he was influenced by them.  The same is true about Mr. Rick being around my boss's family. He came to know a lot about New Mexico culture.  I just noticed Libby looking in this direction.

     Just as my boss's favorite Baseball team is the Oakland A's; Mr. Rick's favorite Baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Over the years Mr. Steve, in part because of his long friendship with Rick, has learned about the history of Pittsburgh.  Samson and Delilah just showed up.

     For about ten years my boss's job is selling things to auto dealerships around the country. Just as he has customers in New Mexico, he has auto dealerships he deals with in the Pittsburgh area.  But the economy is bad so they don't buy as much now.   A Mockingbird just flew bye.

     Because the Oakland A's have been Mr. Steve's favorite Baseball team since he was about ten years old, Mr. Rick also came to know more than most about the A's long history. The A's have been around for over one hundred years!   I just heard Heathcliff crowing. 


    Mr. Steve one time told me that a "Trivia" question most people don't know is that Pittsburgh is the only "major" city in the United States in which all of it's professional teams wear the same what they call color "Scheme."  But I know the answer to that question!

     In Pittsburgh the Baseball Pirates, Hockey Penguins and Football Steelers all use black as their "Primary" color; with yellow and white as "Secondary" colors.  Mr. Steve has customers in and around Pittsburgh and he sends a lot of black and yellow things over to them.    



     I know one thing, living out in that field made me appreciate small things like a soft breeze on a really hot day. And I sure do appreciate simple things like looking out from this couch to see the desert to the east behind our Sheds.  I'm lucky to have a home!  I smell a Squirrel.

    One thing that Dais has taught me is to never "take for granted." No matter how much of a Creature of Habit I am I know things can change in the "blink of an eye."  That's why Daisy and I try to do like Mr. Steve and make every day productive.  I got a lot done today!

     Mr. Steve was told by that man at the Phelan Library that some of the Indians who lived in our area believed that a cool breeze on a really hot day was the breath from a spirit of someone you were nice to in life; or it could be one of your ancestors.  I see the Squirrel.

     I don't remember anything about any of my my ancestors and Daisy has only what's called "vague" memories of her mother.  But we do try to be nice to our neighbors like Blinky, Dawn and Shadow so if some day we're ever invaded we can help each other like a team.

     Dais doesn't like heavy winds! They hurt her eyes so she hides in the Garage. But she's taught me to appreciate the breezes which come off of the Eastern Desert..  And, like her, I now really appreciate learning new words.  I just love learning new words!  The Squirrel is gone.

      You know God, I really don't like strong winds either!  But I love this good old couch!  I curl up here and feel safe.  I relax.  As my boss has said, at times I do tend to "obsess" or think about certain things a little to much.  Writing my three books will be kind of like my "vent." 

     I love Daisy too.  When "all is said and done" as they say, she's my "buddy." She supports me and makes me feel less of a "misfit."  Mr. Steve says the only things that really matter are trust and respect.  Dais and I have trust and respect for each other.  I hear Pigeons cooing.

     My boss says there used to be a "Punk" band called the MISFITS.  They played what' called  "Horror" Rock and their singer became more famous after he left the band.   Tomorrow in my second book I'm planning on writing about the history of "Shock" Rock.

     According to what Daisy told me, that band the MISFITS, just like that one other band called KISS, wore what's called "Makeup."  Daisy described it to me but someday I really want to see how a human being would look with a pure white face.  I smell Libby again.

     I guess the members of both KISS and MISFITS grew up back east.  That's what Daisy says.  The MISFITS are from the State of New Jersey while KISS are from New York City.  Many good bands are from those areas our boss thinks.  I'm almost done Everyone! 

     Mr. Steve's Niece Stephanie's boyfriend Rich was in a band called DRAGPIPE.  They're from New Jersey too.  In book two I'll talk about Rich when I write about Cuba and these guys named "Che" Guevarra and Fidel Castro.  Dais says DRAGPIPE made a good album.


                      THE MISFITS                                                                            KISS

     Mr. Steve told me he read that the MISFITS got their name from a Marilyn Monroe movie.  Mr. Steve does a lot of what they call "Artwork."  He's drawn the MISFITS and KISS  logos.  He's also drawn many other band's logos as well.  I just smelled a Cholla cactus.

     Over the years my boss has noticed that in today's Popular Culture there are still images that come from Fascist influences.  Daisy told me she's noticed how the two S's in KISS'S logo looks kind of like the Lightning "Runes" some Nazis wore on their uniforms. 

      Day after tomorrow in book three I'm scheduled to write about how there's still a lot of Nazi symbolism floating around.  At least that's what Mr. Steve thinks.  He says whenever someone wants to create images of menacing "Power" they used Fascist imagery.

     Not only has my boss drawn many band logos, he's also drawn some logos of Sports teams and other companies or organizations too.  He sometimes gives kids blank copies of cartoons like "Bugs Bunny" or even "Sponge Bob" so they can color them.  I smell a Mouse. 

     Mr. Steve sometimes jokes that maybe someday for Halloween he'll dress Daisy and I up like that band KISS; or the MISFITS.  I'd do it but I don't think Daisy would be too happy about it.  She joked that I could be KISS'S drummer who looks exactly like a real Cat. 

     Boy!  I can't believe Mr. Steve didn't even give us one snack today!  He hardly ever does that.  He must've been really busy.  I'm hungry!  I'll bet Daisy's also hungry and she's probably also wondering what happened to our snacks.  I now just heard that Mouse squeek.  

    Oh!  Speaking of Daisy.  I hear her barking.  And now our neighbor's three Dogs are starting to bark too.  I'll bet there's something happening on the road in front of our house.  I'd better put everything away and go see what's going on.  I'm done with my first book! 

     And besides, those pesky Flies are back and are starting to land on me again.  I'm tired but at least I finished this first book.  Thank You Everyone.  Oh!  And thank you too Stanley.  I wonder if Daisy's barking just to get our boss's attention so he'll feed us?  I see the Mouse.

     Well, I think I'll "call it a day" as that old saying goes.  I got a lot done today. One book down down and two to go!  As they say "only time will tell" if I succeed in writing my three books.  But I have two more days to go.  Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed next door. 

      It's about seven thirty in the evening now.  It will be time dinner soon.  I sure hope Daisy's barking will remind Mr. Steve to feed us.  I'm starving!  That Mouse just ran under Manny the far right Shed.  A flock of Birds just flew bye.  They're moving toward the northeast.   

     That's not Daisy's emergency bark so, it's likely not that important up front but, I should go see what's going on and see if Daisy needs help.  You never know when that "one in a million" comes up and a bad person tries to break in.   It would be embarrassing if we missed it!

     Another Nun at Saint Ferdinands named Sister Joanne Clair first used the old "Adage" that  Mr. Steve still believes in; “Better safe than sorry.” This is something Daisy has taught me too.   I learn so much from Daisy!  Oh!  Heathcliff just crowed again next door.

     Sister Joanne Claire was also the person who first taught my boss to get in the habit of always "Double Checking" everything you did.  Mr. Steve once told Daisy and myself that in the field of carpentry they have a saying; "Measure twice, cut once."  I just smelled a Joshua tree.

     Well, I think that's enough for my first book.  Besides, I'm have almost no blank pages left in this notebook.  I'll hide all my material under the cushions of  our couch and then go check on things up front.  Boy!  I really do need to stretch my legs out as they say. 

     I've been here on this old couch all day.  Pretty soon it will be time for dinner.  I can't wait!  I'm hungry!  I sure hope my boss gives us some of that new Spam meat he fed us this morning but even if he doesn't that's okay.  Even dry food is good.  I'll bet Daisy's hungry too!

     If nothing else, I'll go up front and give Daisy some "moral support."  I can still hear her up there barking.  Blinky and Dawn are also still barking.  I love Daisy!  We've come to count on each other because we're a team.  We're best friends!  I just smelled a Sage plant.

     Besides, this gives me a perfect excuse to run.  I've learned one thing about myself.  I just love to run!  But  not to excess like when I was younger.  Our boss jokes that if I had thicker fur like Dais I might be part Husky because they also like to run so much.  I smell a Cholla cactus.

     I know for sure that I could pull a sled if I had to!  And, as Daisy says, I'm a lot stronger than I look.  Daisy made me feel good when she told me that one time that if we ever do have to pull a sled maybe I could even be what they call the "lead" Dog!  That would be so great!

    Thank You God!  Thank You Lord!  Thank You Holy Spirit!  Thank You Blessed Mother!  Oh!  And thank you too Stanley!  I want to think of You Guys as my friends too.  Well, I guess I'll be back tomorrow morning at 7:30 to start book two!  Heathcliff just crowed.