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Cicadas - another reason to MASK UP

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For a while there, I was afraid I was going to have to go full hazmat. A rubber body suit, with face shield, gloves and steel-toe boots.  Never mind the coronavirus pandemic - the Great Neighborhood Cicada Crisis of 2021 seemed to call for complete head-to-toe protection.   A hazmat suit may sound extreme, but so are swarming cicadas. If I had had such a suit handy last week, I might have crammed my well-rounded frame into it to walk ODJ, Ornery Dog Jasper. That would have given the neighbors something to talk about.  As it is now, the cicadas from Brood X, the largest and most impressive of the cicada swarms that periodically emerge in force in the eastern U.S., seem to have reached their peak in my neighborhood. Although there are still plenty hanging out in the tree that shades the stoop, they've begun dying off. There doesn't seem to be as many looking for love, making the need for full body protection somewhat less urgent.  Walking ODJ through the neighborhood last week, t

HELP! I'm looking for a particular waterfall in Tucker County. Also, have you noticed all the cicadas?

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Cicadas.  They finally made it to my neighborhood.  Then again, I guess they were always here, lurking for years just beneath the surface, waiting among the roots of trees in their untold numbers for their day in the sun - to shrug off their carapace, grow up, and keel over dead after having a few kids who will head back down to earth to start the cycle again.       The swarm that wrapped the stoop in a steady, buzz saw wall of sound this week weren't that evident when my wife and I left for a getaway to Asheville, North Carolina. But they clearly began emerging even as my wife happily made friends with the alpacas and goats that live next door to the tiny Airbnb house we had booked for the weekend. We also did some hiking in the mountains around Asheville, had lunch with my old friend Sheryl (a longtime Ashevillian) and toured the Biltmore Estate, a retreat for the 1% if there ever was one. Too much to take care of, if you ask me.  Our visit to Asheville was our first trip away fr

Haircuts, beard trims and a little more on Porte

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Here's something that shouldn't be remarkable but is  - being fully vaccinated means I get to resume my normal haircut schedule, butt in the barber chair every two weeks, or as near to payday as I can manage. A small victory after happily exposing myself to the credulity stretching possibility that the DEEP STATE is using the vaccination effort to implant some sort of tracking device in my left bicep. Why some shadowy government apparatchik would want to keep track of where I go and what I do is beyond me. And don't smart phones already do that anyway?  In any case, I'm boring.  A homebody, if you must know. Sedentary. I like watching Star Trek and writing stupid blog posts. I acknowledge the need for exercise long enough to walk Ornery Dog Jasper (ODJ) a couple of miles most days.  That's about it - my everyday pandemic life in a nutshell, unless you throw getting my hair cut in there as well. If I missed anything over this past year of social distancing, it's

Ridin' outlaw with Porte Crayon

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Has it really been more than a month since I posted here? Either the stoop hasn't generated much news or I've been ... busy? That can't be right, unless you call binge watching my latest TV obsession "busy." In this case, I've been devouring "Sons of Anarchy," the motorcycle gang drama that takes inspiration from Shakespeare's "Hamlet."  The protagonist has some serious daddy issues.   "Sons" ran for seven seasons beginning in 2008. I was vaguely aware of it while it was on, but didn't watch it until now, probably because of the strange hours I keep working as a radio newsman.  The sacrifices I make to keep food on the table. Anyway, I just started season six, which seemed like as good a place as any to take a break and write a blog post about how the outlaw biker life has passed me by.  Honestly, I didn't even know being an outlaw biker was a viable option as a career path until I started watching "Sons." No

Got my first dose and the Ornery Dog has started school

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Fine.  I admit it.  It's nice to step out to the stoop in the morning with a hot cup of coffee. And it's been a pleasure to open the windows to air out the house. It's almost like the breeze is stripping away all those worries about the pandemic that have been trapped inside all winter. "Resistance is futile" as the Borg warn on "Star Trek TNG." And maybe they're right.  My wife's daffodils don't need any more encouragement. They are now fully awake and the two Bradford Pear trees in my front yard will soon be in full bloom.  I give up.  Spring, you win. But while you can consider me assimilated into the Borg Collective, I still don't have to like cutting the grass. It's drudgery, even for a Borg drone. After this week's rain, though, it looks as though my lawn mower is about to make its first appearance of the season - perhaps even as soon as this weekend, unless I can I find an excuse to put off cutting my weeds grass. I could

Ornery Dog Jasper found a new way to live up to his name

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I'm sure this will delight a reader or two.  After Thursday night's rain, the skies turned blue. And the weather forecast says the stoop is in for a string of sunny days and temperatures warming into the 60s.  Ugh. As much as I'd like winter to stick around for a little while longer, there's no stopping the seasonal change. It's as inevitable as the holes Ornery Dog Jasper digs in the backyard. No amount of pleading is going to stop either one. It'd be like standing there trying to convince the daffodils that they are coming up way too early. Not only are daffodils no better listeners than ODJ, but you'd give the neighbors another reason to think you're a little cuckoo.  Funny thing about spring. It can be a tease.  Looking out my front door on Friday, all that bright sunshine made it seem warm enough for shorts. But if you were thinking about slipping into those cargos. the joke was on you my warm weather friend.  It was still about the way I like it -

Couldn't we have just skipped the time change this year?

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For those who were marveling as highs on the stoop touched the 70s last week, I say have a little patience - your lawn mower will appreciate it.  Give the mower another week or two to work up to the rigors of spring. It's likely to be groggy after a long winter with nothing better to do than guzzle the beer stored in the garage fridge. It might have even put on a little weight. After all, those tater tots the beer washed down come with a price.  No need to rush into cutting the grass.   If you're one of the few who regularly catch up with me here, you know yard work is not one of my favorite things. It ranks up there (down there?) with the time change. - a harbinger of spring and  ... well, yard work.  We all know people who look forward to moving the clocks up an hour, to having some extra daylight in the evening. They seem to be legion.  I don't understand them. I'd sooner stand in line at the DMV. I view the time change as a conspiracy foisted upon us by extroverts