new mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar book store opens in redmond

 THE U.S. CENSUS of 2010 uncovered several dozen full-time book-lovers among the 59,000 residents of Redmond, Washington. Like most such readers, these residents required a regular intake of new and old books, and while some of their needs were filled by the King County Library System’s branch in Redmond, other needs have gone sorely lacking. When Borders closed its Redmond store in 2011, there was no longer any local access to a leisure walk about a store, from one’s favorite sections (say, science fiction or baseball) to genres one rarely notices (such as basketball or New Age) to a… Continue Reading new mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar book store opens in redmond

posting online ain’t the same as being in print

REGARDING POSTING ONLINE, in response to having the official Elvis Presley website at Graceland picking up one of my articles—which I trumpeted loudly to family and friends via Facebook and email—my friend Stephanie Locke posted a nice comment on my A Touch Of Gold site: “Good to see Umphred back in print.” Instead of simply accepting the comment, I responded with, “Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t consider being published online as being in print. In fact, I don’t even think the word publish should be used for online articles. I think I’ll write a short piece on the topic… Continue Reading posting online ain’t the same as being in print

some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in the attack on benghazi

THE LAST WORD ANYONE would use to describe me is “conservative”—at least not regarding most issues related to politics. But there’s more to life than politics: I remain old-fashioned on the issue of prescriptive versus descriptive dictionaries (strongly believing in the former) and the misuse of the designated hitter in major league baseball (not at all what you think). And I am adamantly conservative about the correct use of grammar and punctuation and opposed to piss poor writing in all sizes and shapes. Oh, and I still think vanilla malt shakes are yummy! 1 Nonetheless, I have subscriptions to several politically rightwinged newsletters, which… Continue Reading some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in the attack on benghazi

pangur bán and the nameless monk

EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT A COINCIDENCE IS: “The occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection”—at least according to Merriam-Webster. But of course it’s not that simple: ‘real’ coincidences not only catch our attention, they resonate with us. Real coincidences seem to ‘mean something,’ even if that meaning is just beyond our ken. Also, coincidences seem to be unique—they feel special. They feel woowoowy. They feel like God/Grommett or the Universe/Void are trying to call us out of our revery and pay attention! They feel like they’ve never happened before . .… Continue Reading pangur bán and the nameless monk

philosophical mutts and zen master cats

GUARDIANS OF BEING is a collaboration between Eckhart Tolle (words) and Patrick McDonnell (pictures). I have enthused over it since its publication in 2009, and have recommended it to everyone! The book describes beautifully and playfully how philosophical mutts and zen master cats help in grounding human beings—call us out of our reveries, our worries, and our self-absorption, and plant our feet back on the ground of the here and now. 1 “This wonderfully unique collaboration brings together two masters of their fields, joining original words by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle with delightful illustrations by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the acclaimed comic strip… Continue Reading philosophical mutts and zen master cats

the slaughter of our wolves (a little less action, a little more conversation)

SOMEWHERE TO THE EASTWARD A WOLF HOWLED; lightly, questioningly. I knew the voice, for I had heard it many times before. It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which once was ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had glimpsed and almost entered, only to be excluded, at the end, by my own self.” 1 The quote above is from Farley Mowatt’s 1963 book Never Cry Wolf, a fictionalized account of his experiences… Continue Reading the slaughter of our wolves (a little less action, a little more conversation)