Dogs and Walkers Walking Dogs


As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
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Crows have been on my mind but it went elsewhere. Well, not exactly – I did mention my observations of crows while on walks.
On past saunters, 1I could have used ‘walk’ but I remember a teacher saying I should use a variety of words meaning generally the same thing. a dog behind a six-foot cedar fence barked. It did the first week on our route, the two days last week, yesterday and again today. I gave some attention to the reliability of the fasteners securing the wooden boards to something behind. Would or could the dog, or perhaps dogs, behind the fence charge a gap and attempt to have my leg for lunch? Would I have to go on Judge Judy for a settlement? Just a fleeting thought.

Farther along the walk, a dog has barked from inside a house (like the Yorkie in the comic strip “Grand Avenue”). I met that dog at a garage sale last summer. Then it barked while standing inside the garage on a slack leash. No lunging from that one. Just a response to a human in its territory. What would the one behind the fence do with a stranger in its self-assigned territory? I know dogs have the bark response to instill doubt in the mind of any who might cross the imaginary line. So be it! I’m not going to do more than walk by and let the dog bark.

Another dog I saw and have seen before lives behind a chain-link fence. It appears agile enough to jump over but seldom runs toward it while barking. Its companion dog just stands and watches.

I saw five leashed dogs and four walkers walking them. One was probably being trained. It barked back at chain-link dog. Its walker made a motion, it stopped barking, and it went to an observing hunkered down position. At another motion, the canine trainee almost sprang to sitting at attention. There was a second snapping of fingers and the trainee stood. Dog and master walked away even while chain-link dog woofed a few more times. Don’t know if trainee dog looked back – I was going the other direction.

A lady who looked to be dressed more for a dog show than for walking on the street appeared from a side-street with a pair of Greyhounds. They also looked to be dressed for show with matching blankets on their backs. Neither made a sound.

One lady jogged behind a Pitbull. Its guttural sound inspired me to slow my pace until it and human were well ahead of me.

The other person I saw was being pulled by a large mutt. I asked, “Who’s walking whom?”

She said, “This is building up my arms more than my legs.” Then they were gone.
Oh, the crows don’t seem to show fear of the dogs. They just fly up until the dogs pass and settle back to their eating or whatever is on their morning agenda.


Corn starting update:2Not that I really believe anyone really cares.

If the seeds disappear from the garage window, I’ll quit for the year! Not!


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Change of Direction


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Shortly before posting my school series, I gave considerable thought to expressing opinions, agreeing with, or posing arguments against views of others.
Some seem to expect Octogenarians to judgements about nearly everything, and I’ve heard it said that people of a certain age without opinions about a topic just make up something. Then I started thinking seriously about whether or not the aforethought was a good idea.
So then, how does an octogenarian change direction? It depends on the octogenarian’s internal and openly discussed consideration of clinical observations based on a constant flow of effective information or a constant flow of ineffective information as well as the independent functional principle used to maximize the probability of impactive change and minimizes the emotional cost and time required for considerable differences analysis and trade-off studies to arrive at a significant implementation of the transformation(s).

Having met the criteria above, I think I’ll just continue my randomness which includes posting frequency.


Most years I use paper egg cartons to start my corn. I had several dozen in my lean-to and after several days checked the dampness of the soil. I noticed a dimple in nearly each place I had put a corn seed. I checked and each seed I had planted was gone.

I know these birds are involved in a Murder, but it never occurred to me that they be involved in a Robbery.


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No Title


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No title, you question. Well, one might think it was an auto fill or something like that from the software. It’s not. I did and I’m glad! 1 As said in at least one Perry Mason episode.

The title of a _____ is supposed to give a clue about content or at least spike a browser’s curiosity. Or it could be something that makes a reader think/say, “Why that title? I read it as…” I’m guilty of putting a title into the same vein as you can’t tell a book by its cover. I have a copy of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman with only her name on the cover. The dust jacket, however, has a picture of a tree and approaching train on tracks converging to a horizon. I know from where ‘go set a watchman’ comes, but who might that title interest without having heard of Harper Lee or her To Kill a Mockingbird?

Titling is tricky, or so I’ve been told. However, I say without malice aforethought that titles for work by well-known writers are nearly irrelevant. One would expect a good story, no matter what the title, from _____.

Designing covers for and Nescient Decoy, Echoes of Nam, and Iniquities of The Fathers was a challenge to match titles and backgrounds.

In retrospect, I believe my covers would help sales if the books were on a bookstore shelf instead of online. But promotion of one’s work is an issue much broader than a good title and cover.

As one thought leads to another, and my mind tends to do that, I wanted to make some comments about promotion. I’ve read several blogs about promoting work, and most end with a sales pitch for a paid program to help. Several years ago, when I was looking for an agent for the first version of Echoes of Nam, I included my age thinking it would bring some credibility to the topic of the book. I wasn’t too surprised at the agent’s saying something like, “At your age, you might not have the energy to travel to promote your work, so I can’t commit to representing it.” Wish I had saved the e-mail for an exact quote.

My non-family validation came from several Nam Vets, but mostly from this one from Ray LePoidevin 2Not the man from Australia as shown on “Find a Grave” site.

“Even though a work of fiction, in ECHOES OF NAM, John Benson does a superb job in articulating the mental and physical pain, confusion and suffering that many survivors of war deal with daily. Even as a combat vet, this story has affected the way I look at homelessness among veterans. While the V.A. has come a long way in dealing with PTSD and other disorders facing our soldiers, sadly there are many who still “slip through the cracks.” For that reason alone, this could be a true story.”

Ray authored his own Vietnam experience in Alternate Route: One Man’s Journey Through the Fog of PTSD.


Did you notice my change of title for this site?
I feel that it better represents me and how I tend to think.3Self-analysis, not opinion from a professional. And my SEO went up 3 points.
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End in Sight


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It has been a year and 12 days since I posted “Hunkering Down” as verbatimed 1Can I claim to have coined this verb form? below.
So, with the end in sight, my first thoughts may bear repeating. Well, it’s OK for you to think not, but this is for me. And it’s my blog – so there!
But is the end truly in sight? That depends. If I knew I’d be investing in some kind of futures. My paternal grandfather invested in grain futures in the early 1920s, but that’s a story for another time. Whooops! I’ve started to stray from my intent. Seems to happen often these days.


Hunkering down is hard to do. That’s quite possibly true for our very mobile population but isn’t hunkering down what most writers do? Since most of us cannot, except by choice, avoid the current news, I’ll not mention the current required hunkering down. But didn’t I do just that did I. [I may have been watching too many British crime shows in which many statements by suspects and even detectives are followed by a question.]
OK!
It’s OK if “Breaking up is…” comes to your mind! But that could be a generational thought too. Neil Sedaka, The Partridge Family, The Carpenters, Sissel Kyrkjebø, … When I titled this blurb, the song title came to mind almost immediately. However, –I nearly always have a however– the only words in the song that might apply to a writer at his/her task are six lines starting with “Comma, comma.”

It’s difficult to not notice what season it is. I know we hear the sound of conifer branches whipped by the wind, but do weeds in the spring cry out, “Pull me, pull me?” Yep, it’s gardening time again and I’ve decided to get the planting done. As soon as the soil reaches 50 deg. Wonder if the friction of weed roots being extracted will warm it enough? In the past I’ve roto-tilled weeds and all, but the result was even more weeds is because weed seeds seem to enjoy being spread by mechanical means. So, is doing a garden a form of hunkering down? In the context of the current situation, Yes.

Back to writing. Hunker-hunker-hunker. The Sun is out, so I’ll do a little different hunker for a break – hope it’s not my back. And if you weeds have internet access, consider this fair notice.


Last year’s weeds must have had some form of social media access because they spread faster than …. ← insert your own words or thoughts to replace the … 2I couldn’t remember if ellipses was singular or plural, so I just illustrated it/them. The only edible that grew well was acorn squash. We like squash.
Since I titled this post End in Sight, I should perhaps say something about why. If the end to which I speak is a return to what we knew as normal, I believe my sight is limited. Does “yada-yada-yada” need to be cited?
“Oh, how you do carry on,” I say to myself.


My short story rejection of the month is on I, JMB Say I did, however, submit three other shorts in March.


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Watch for It


Taking time off from blogging and other short projects has been fruitful. In my last post I said, ”
Remember Jason Finn from Nescient Decoy.” Well, a well started sequel to it was not where I went.
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I drafted a story several years ago but put it into the vault. (Not the one Geraldo Rivera was trying to open years ago.) Seems to me that I mentioned in one of my blogs long before the school experience series that I wanted to finish at least one or more of the books I’d started. That I did.
My initial plan was: as soon as a beta reader gets back to me, I’ll put the process for self-publishing the paperback and Kindle versions into motion.
After some input, and internal reconsiderations, I did some revisions and decided to query a regional publisher. So, if rejected or not responded to, I’ll resume the self-publishing route.


Game Time: A Week in October

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The Smelt River flows between the Southwest Washington small towns of Mill Run and East Mill. Football, somewhat like it’s characterized in the book and movie Friday Night Lights, dominates that season in East Mill. But football is not the only game in town.

Expected and unexpected social and political dynamics weave through the school and town during preparation for the annual big game game.

An inside observer and his family make a life changing decision to remove themselves from the games.

Efforts of high school girls seeking highs, finding ways to acquire drugs, and plotting a real party on game night thread through the week. Parents, teachers, coaches, and others play the games of their daily life.

An event involving a senior running back gives a local gambler what he believes to be an advantage. The all-league player is further conflicted when he discovers the infidelity of a role model. With seconds left in the game, he is forced to make a moral, last second performance decision that he knows will win the game or destroy his future.

While the hometown games are being played, a random explosion destroys a secret military operation near the Iraq – Iran border. Two navy seals related to players survive the explosion, make hard decisions about mission security, and give exemplary but expected effort to save their unconscious Gunny.

The simultaneous in-town games are paused by an avoidable tragic event. Survivors, good and bad, move on to other games.


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Now could be the time a further develop the aforementioned sequel, or I have more in the vault. But gardening time looms near!


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