Early Winter

Posted: November 27, 2015 in Seasons, story

The crunch of the ice under my unlaced boots broke the silence of the chilled morning air. Footprints of white broken blades of grass marked my path to my curbside mailbox. Bare handed, hitting the ice-covered lid to break the seal,  I jerked the cold metal handle to only reveal the frozen emptiness inside. No mail today.

Before I opened it I knew there would be nothing. Just a look out of my living room window had confirmed that no tire tracks had veered into the gutter to shorten the mailman’s reach into the box. The unbroken ice seal covering it told me that the lid had not been opened yet today. But I made the short trek across the frozen yard anyway just to be sure. As if I needed a reason to go outside to hear, feel and smell the first freezing rain of this early winter.


Poem or Book

Posted: November 18, 2015 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry
Tags: , , ,

“Sometimes you look at the calendar, turn to your watch and just know”.  OC


Forceful gathering of thoughts and words
arm wrestled to the page
hog tied and thrown out to the light.
You turn wiping the smear of the words from your hands.
Fingers leaving your prints on each strung out syllable
that will smudge the letters and the mind that reads them forever.
Thoughts gathered and slaughtered, cut and wrapped in  butcher paper
To wait frozen until unwrapped, seasoned and baked, broiled or fried
to hopefully the taste of the chef
for consumption as rare, medium or fucking well done.
Slaughterhouse, poem or book.






Out of the corner of my eye I think I see the flash of my wife’s middle finger, the bird. My back isn’t turned, we are in the car setting side by side. I am concentrating on the road ahead but I ask her if she just gave me the finger.

Without hesitation she says, “yes”.

“Do you give me the finger behind my back often?”

“NO!, it wasn’t behind your back! If I want to throw you the bird, I’ll do it face to face! I would not do that behind your back!”.

I’m not one to argue. I can tell when a conversation will be going nowhere. But we did come to terms. It was decided that on the occasion that  a finger is going to be thrown then the questions “Are you looking at me!? Are you looking at me!?” must be asked first.

Nothing can be said, thrown or gestured until full attention is drawn from the receiver. That way it will be honorable and up front. Not sneaky and behind each other’s backs. You call that an open relationship. We’ve been married a long time and deals like this have been made often to make things work.

Don’t get me wrong. We have very seldom used the F you or flipped bird in a detrimental way. We nearly always say or do it with tongue in cheek. A finger flipped my way during a card game confirms that I have the better hand. Or if given after a request for a cup of coffee or to bring a sandwich pretty much conveys that I will probably be getting it myself. The flipped bird has never, as I remember, initiated anything more than a silly frown or an ornery smile. Not so with the F— You.

The F— You from your mate can mean one of two things. And you must learn to react correctly to each.

The first kind of F— You can mean, conversation is over. I hold you and what you say in total disregard. There will be no facial expression. You must learn to recognize this one. It is best to be very quiet, do not make a smart-ass remark and very slowly back away.

With the second kind of F— You, you will notice a bright gleam in the eye and a slight grin. This confirmed, it is safe to say “F— you, too!” right back at her. But really smile when you say it, I mean really smile! She’ll probably return a laugh. Oh God, you better hope she returns a laugh!


Move On

Posted: November 11, 2015 in poem, poetry
Tags: , ,

Roll the black wheels and move on,
The swift wind goes before you.
Press homeward with your determined dreams,
away from the struggle and the rush.
Long miles you will leave behind you.
Steer the blind curves and climb from the steep canyons.
What was lost and the love you yearn for, regain.
Move on, move on to the green meadows
and the rain laden hills you once played in.
Move on to the home where you know you belong.
Move on and face the swift wind.


What A Waste

Posted: November 8, 2015 in food, tradition
Tags: ,

The last time I was out, I was sent this link and I have finally had the time to follow it. It is an Andrew Zimmer, you know the Bizarre food guy, article about the island country of Madagascar. To summarize, there is a family tradition. It seems that after each male birth at the age of five, they have a ceremony of circumcision. This is not the unusual part of the story. The unusual thing, and it definitely has attracted my attention, is that one of the grandfathers of the clan must eat the foreskin. I hear your ewwwwwws! already! I guess to make it more appetizing they eat it from the end of a banana, really. Here’s the link, I am not making this up!

I don’t understand why they waste the foreskin in that way. In my family, we have a similar circumcision tradition. But we use it to upholster another bar stool.


  • ( I’m reluctantly introducing OC, another one. When John, I’m talking about my everyday mundane life, I’m the one pulling the plow. DSS, the poet, E the politician. OC, is the adventurer, traveler, John’s co-pilot. OC is Obsessed by any aircraft, an almost childish Obsession. DSS is afraid of heights unless he is flying with John, E sees flight as just a way to get from one point to another. E is one of those guys that reads the newspaper on takeoffs. I, John, love flying, have been around it all of my life. I love the science of it but OC is Obsessed, Obsessed by it.

    This is an account of one of John’s and OC’s flying days.   OC wrote this 8 years ago, on one of his saddest. The day Steve Fosset was lost in the Sierra Nevada mountains. With OC’s permission I submit this for your consideration.)

      September 5, 2007 – Through my connections with the press, namely a little girl named Magoo. I was able to experience one of my most thrilling adventures in aviation so far. I was given an “all access” press pass to Steve Fossett’s around the world record flights from Salina, KS. back in Feb. 28, 2005. Where I was so fortunate to meet Steve Fossett and Sir Richard Branson. I was allowed full access to the GlobalFlyer and given the run of the VIP / Press area at the Salina Airport. There I actually rubbed elbows with other aviation greats such as Bob Hoover, met the Scaled Composites Engineers that eventually put the first civilian spaceship and astronaut into space. Baron Hilton was there with Hoover and drank coffee at the table next to me in the press room. I was able to go out to the end of the 12,000 foot runway where the GlobalFlyer and Fossett were waiting for the winds to calm before takeoff on it’s historic flight. All in all a very heady day in the life of OC. I realize now why these things are done. They happen to inspire, only to inspire.

    As we wait for news of Steve on his latest unplanned adventure of survival, we are sure of a good outcome and know that he has the greatest chances of getting home OK. Here’s a few pictures of Steve Fossett’s adventures from my point of view during the last couple years.


    The press conference at Mission Control the night before the first around the world flight.


    Yes, that’s me on the left in the green coat working up the nerve to ask a question. All of the major media were there. The woman reporter beside me was from “The Gaurdian” in England.



    Steve Fossett and Sir Richard Branson at a preflight “meet and greet”.


    They were listening earnestly to the Kansas Lt. Governor.

    Global Flyer 036

    This is another angle of the picture being shown on the news today. Unfortunately I missed the landing due to a commitment in Okla. City. My friend Larry, took this picture.


    Yep, that’s me standing beside the GlobalFlyer about 30 minutes before takeoff of Steve’s first solo non-refueled flight around the world. The gentlemen that took the picture had an interesting background in large cameras, also. You can see by the long shadows that it was getting late in the evening and the sun was setting. It was very windy and Fossett was waiting for the winds to calm. Although a small headwind was helpful to his takeoff. Notice the tail number N277SF, the same number as the balloon that he flew around the world in.


    Inside the cock pit of GlobalFlyer the evening before takeoff. Not real crowded. Notice no windshield. He had a bubble in the roof to look out of during takeoff and landing. You can see the long Joystick on the far right side and just the edge of the roof bubble above.


    This is Steve Fossett’s Cessna Citation X. At an average speed of 726.83 mph Steve and copilot Doug Travis smashed the transcontinental record for non-supersonic jets in this aircraft flying from San Diego, California to Charleston, South Carolina in 2 hours, 56 minutes, 20 seconds. I took this picture as we drove by in the press bus. My Cessna 150 aircraft mechanic and Annual Inspector IA, Larry, works for Cessna Turbine Group and performs the inspections on Fossett’s jet in Wichita. He was invited in out of the wind. I spotted him in the cockpit as we went by and snapped this picture hoping I’d get a picture of him. He tries to inspect a few propeller aircraft each year and we have mutual friends. So he agreed to inspect my and a buddy’s aircraft each year also. Larry inspected my airplane a few days after inspecting this one, readying it for it’s chase around the world meeting up with the GlobalFlyer. My plane was always in very secure hands. He said he enjoyed working on my plane as much as he did Fossett’s. I don’t know.

    Global Flyer 052

    The Citation again, look close and you will see this plane in the background of some of the shots this week in Nevada.  Notice the tail number N377SF. The FAA inspector in our group on the bus wondered what happened to N177SF.

    Flyer_Before_Takeoff_BransonBranson waiting beside the GlobalFlyer before take off


    One of these guys took the picture of me beside of the GlobalFlyer. There was a lot of “I’ll take your picture if you’ll take mine” going on. The gentlemen in the NASA flight suits are  Astronauts Kenneth Cockrell and Mike Good. They flew in on a NASA T38 jet to witness Fossett’s takeoff. Cockrell has flown on a number of Space Shuttle Missions and Good is still in line for a flight. I E-mailed a few pictures to Cockrell in Houston since they were without a camera. Real nice guys. Wish I had their plane. The fellow in the yellow I believe is the Blog editor for the Cosmoshere web site. This picture really meant a lot to him too.


    This is the GlobalFlyer returning from England after Steve’s longest flight around the world and then some. He departed from the long runway at Cape Kennedy, circled the world and then flew on to England where he had an emergency landing. Jon Karkow flew her back from England to Salina. Marcia and I caught the plane’s arrival as Jon flew over the south fence and did a low pass for the few of us that were there to greet him. Jon was the Chief Engineer, builder and test pilot of the GlobalFlyer working for Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites. It was such a beautiful plane. It is sad that it hangs suspended from a ceiling in a museum now, even if it is the National Air and Space Museum.


    This is the arrival in Salina of Steve from his third record breaking flight around the world. Cloudy old day. I got his return on tape. I’ll show some day.


    Steve Fossett after the closed circuit flight. He flew the plane to the Smithsonian soon after this.

    Hopefully tomorrow will bring good news of Steve’s rescue. He has had many escapes from trouble during his adventures. It seems strange for him to be lost on such a routine type of flight. If anyone can survive a bad landing Steve can. I’m sure he’s stomping thru the desert right now doing what he can to be discovered.


    ( One year later, Steve Fossett’s ID’s and a few other personal items were found, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California about 65 miles south of Fossett’s take-off site, near the crashed remains of the single engine propeller driven aircraft he flew.  His body was never found and is assumed ravaged by animals. A sad day for OC and all that knew and had met Steve Fossett.  John)

It is Good to Be Good

Posted: October 30, 2015 in Everyday Life

  • (Since OC has emerged once again and we never know how long he will stay. I thought I would repost his last entry before he left back in May of 2009. He was posting this due to the announcement that Astronaut Mike Good was on the crew of a Shuttle flight to repair and upgrade the Hubble Telescope. OC has had an interesting life. This account of meeting Mike, is from a time that OC was asked to cover the GlobalFlyer Nonstop Around the World Event of Steve Fossett in Salina, Kansas for a local newspaper back in February of 2005.)

    May 16,2009 – It’s good to be Good and you are in space. The space shuttle Atlantis launched to space this week to do major repairs and upgrades to the Hubble Telescope. Astronaut Mike Good is on the team to accomplish this.


    This is a picture I took of Astronauts Mike Good and Kenneth Cockrell on Feb. 28, 2005 in Salina, KS at the GlobalFlyer Nonstop Around the World Event.  Cockrell wanted a picture of them witnessing the launch. They had no camera so I shot this and others and e-mailed them the pictures. You can see the GlobalFlyer in the background. We chatted for about an hour waiting for Fossett to launch. Mike is the taller gentleman on the right. At the time, Cockrell had flown many space shuttle missions and was then a NASA instructor. Good was training but had not yet been assigned the current Atlantis flight. They arrived in Salina in one of NASA’s T-38 aircraft. The gentleman on the left was a reporter the just happened to step into the shot.

    I have been watching and glad to read that Mike was finally assigned a flight. I didn’t know until this launch that he would be aboard. Yesterday he was one of the space walkers replacing equipment on the Hubble Telescope.

    God’s speed Mike Good and congratulations on your accomplishment. Can’t say that you are without a camera now!


    ( OC, if he sticks around a little longer, may allow me to add more about the few days hanging with Steve Fossett and Richard Branson during the 2005 event.   John )

Let Me Explain

Posted: October 27, 2015 in creative writing

At every home we have established, Marcia and I have unexpectedly answered the door for a nocturnal animal. At every home we have heard a commotion at the back or front door and on checking what was going on out there have been greeted by an opossum.

Detroit was an exception, we were greeted there by what we think was a opossum sized wood chuck. It looked like a small beaver but without the flat tail. I can’t explain it. It could be karma, it could be Fung Shei, hell it could be nothing but magic, we don’t know. Our opossum at our present home was a couple years ago. We first noticed footprints at the grease catcher on our Weber grill, then a few nights later a commotion at the back door.

Opossums are strange critters and stumbling upon one is similar to coming across a snake. It scares the heck out of you at first but then you get yourself composed and under control and you try to be scientific about the thing. It’s a tossup who will faint first, you or the opossum. I am always too shaken to think about taking a picture. I think they have beady eyes, pointy teeth and pale pinkish gums.

The first one we came across in Iowa “played opossum” and it freaked me out! I slid him off of the 10′ high back deck with a broom. They’ve been retaliating for that every since. In Michigan they sent a surrogate with a more local flavor just to spook us even more, just to let us know that they were watching and in complete control.

I’m glad our visit from them at our present home is over. We always have a gnawing feeling in our stomach at every night bump until the event finally happens. We can’t explain it and we have never shared this with anyone. But every state we have lived in! Beware, the beasties are more organized than you can imagine.. they’re watching.

Wish I had a good picture, but there are no good pictures of opossums.

OCTotem_Staring 8_8_8

My Totem Animal

Posted: October 27, 2015 in creative writing

It seems that my immediate family will not drop the notion of Totems. There have been offline discussions on the subject. Many animals have been suggested as appropriate Totems for me. In short, the opossum has been dismissed by my family and found unworthy of my Totemage.

Image result for pogo cartoon

Because I am the only one that has accepted the notion that the opossum is my totem animal, I make this declaration. Although I have disdain and mistrust for it, I feel I must honor the beast. Since I am the only one to honor this miserable marsupial, I declare today that in all future posts and comments to my blog, opossum will be spelled “opossum” not “possum”. Any further references without the “O” will be rightly noted as misspelled.

It’s not me, The Great Opossum has spoken. OC

Working Memory

Posted: October 27, 2015 in Everyday Life

There is an old study that reviews our “working memory”. I guess that is the memory we use in the present. It is not short term memory but the memory that serves us as we go from room to room and then wonder why we left the kitchen and are now standing beside the dining room table. What was it that I came in here for? We have all done it. For me it goes like this.

I am in the kitchen sweeping the floor, I decide to take the trash bag out of the trash can, I tie the bag neatly and take it through the garage out to the dumpster and on my way back thru the garage I remember to change the oil in the car. While I change the oil, the broom and dust pan are still in the middle of the kitchen floor and the trash can sits without a bag in it.  I think that is what they mean by working memory. It has nothing to do with age. I know I have done this on occasion since I was in high school. According to the study I’m normal.

It goes on to say that the reason for this is we can only hold 3 to 4 separate things in our working memory at one time. We can remember many more things than that but we have to group everything so it can all be contained within those 3 or 4 memory slots. That explains it! I replaced the broom, dust pan and trash bag with 5 quarts of oil, the car, a wrench and oil pan. Whew! I thought I was losing my mind.

I remember long number strings by giving each number an exaggerated color, character or characteristic. And then remember the parade of odd looking numbers. That’s a trick I use and it works, I know it sounds odd but I am odd and I get to see colorful little parades often everyday.