A walk in the park, in Cary, gives one an undeserved impression of privacy and isolation. As always, there are clusters of houses and apartments on the other side of thin lines of towering North Carolina pine trees.
Author Archives: ronaldscheckelhoff
Hutch for President 2016
With great enthusiasm and fanfare the announcement was made today at the Canis Lupis party headquarters near Raleigh, North Carolina. Hutch is running again!
With the party’s financial woes still lingering from the last failed attempt, some frugality has been necessitated with reusing the 2012 placards. Yet – the party hopefuls are up beat about the chances, and are reorganizing the platform to appeal to the squirrel as well as the cat demographics. Hutch, quoted as “Wot Wo!” – meaning “We will have a broader voter appeal this time around …”
What makes a good cherry pie? In my opinion, it’s the starch that does it. Substitute tapioca flour for about half of the cornstarch you would normally use, and forget about the cornstarch altogether. It makes the cherry pie good even when it’s cold. It’s not too runny, not too gelatinous, and very tasty. I’ve found that cutting the sugar back to three eighths of a cup (rather than the half cup often suggested) – really brings out the cherries, without making them too sugary-sweet.
WordPress is very generous with sub-domains. You may have as many as you like (within reason). This blog contains mostly stuff of a personal nature – but I’ve created a few other blogs for some of the other interests I have.
Hutch has a birthday
Posted April 3 2015:
Happy Birthday Hutch! Can he already be seven years old? (Well, he’s forty nine in dog years, but a good looking forty-something, dontcha think?). Time really flies for a dog. He’s wondering why it’s picture day, and his sleep’s being interrupted. Knock off the flash, would you?
Trying to look handsome!
OK – I’m going back to the important stuff that you interrupted!
And – since Starsk is Hutch’s litter mate – it’s his birthday too!
I’m handsome too!
If there’s ever been a word that’s underused, wouldn’t you say it’s peripatetic? You should see clurichaun in any decent story that spans more than a couple pages, and what sermon would be good enough without a reference to thaumaturgy thrown in? They’re damned good words. You can look up thaumaturgy if you want, and no – I’m not going to tell you what it means.
Really, this is part of what you buy when you invest in a really good thesaurus. The words at the top of the story are so obscure that my WordPress spell checker doesn’t know about them. Well, maybe that’s not saying much.
I use a thesaurus regularly, but I’ve never used any of the words I wrote into the first paragraph. I use a thesaurus not to find obscure words, but to find simple ones that do a better job of explaining my stuff.
At one time I possessed fifteen different thesauruses and dictionaries. All but thirteen of them were a waste of both the shelf space and the time I spent thumbing through them. I definitely have a strong opinion on this matter. The only thesaurus I think is worth the occasional hangnail is a book that’s not even called a thesaurus. Notwithstanding the name, it’s the best “thesaurus” you’ll find, if you count my opinion for anything.
I use the J.I. Rodale Synonym Finder. It’s inexpensive (18.99 is what I paid, which is a lot less than many other books of lesser value. Again, my opinion may not cut much ice for you). No, I’m not connected to the company, in any way. I’m just relaying hard-learned lessons won by hard earned money. You can spend yours as you like.
Forget the “Collegiate this/Collegiate that” thesauruses. I found them to be of little value. Just my opinion.
Never mind the online thesauruses. They are so weak as to be maddening.
The Rodale is the better part of three inches thick, just big enough to facilitate banging yourself on the head with it, while experiencing writer’s block. It’s intemperately versatile. 🙂
Name that butterfly
Today, taking my usual walk (my forspent feet took me a mere three miles), I came across a butterfly (deceased) – lying on the pathway. I’m not the neighborhood Lepidopterist (expert on all things butterfly), but I have a suspicion that the specimen I found could be classified as a common variety. It’s unusual to see them (butterflies) in Cary, so I scooped the little winged creature into my empty coffee box, and slid it into my carry pack.
Any Lepidopterist care to comment about the identity?
Dog Days (of Summer)
Posted July 22’nd 2013:
As we teeter on the edge of the dog days of summer, I bathe in the appreciation that once again I will have survived to see the start of the Days of Sirius. It’s a time that, for me, is a favorite season and time of year. Some like it hot. I do. Simmer my bones at eighty nine or ninety Fahrenheit, and count me happy.
Wikipedia’s expert on such things, writes that the dog days of summer historically marked an evil time, brought on by Sirius, the god of hot. The ancient Romans sacrificed dogs to Sirius, to appease him in order to ward off the blazing heat.
The dog days officially start on July 24’th, and end on August 24’th. These dates mark the old calendar for such things, but recent almanacs place the start date in early July, and the end date in early August. The old Roman “dog days” schedule is more appropriate for the southern United States, as those weeks hold the hottest days of the year for the southlands.
The Wiki description points to Clavis Calendaria, from 1813, and takes a dog days quote from it. I liked it well enough to repeat it here, plus or minus my paraphrase:
"The sea boiled, Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid ... causing to man - burning fevers and hysteria..."
Update August 12th, 2013
As the end of the dog days is less than two weeks away, we might compare this year to last year. I’d reckon that Sirius has given us a break this time around. I’ve yet to consult the local meteorologist for the numbers, but I’m thinking that my walking ritual could tabulate the averages almost as well.
It’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of broiler days hot enough to poach a Londoner. But, this year he’d have been only soft poached. Yesterday, I took my usual walk, cut to four miles in light of the 96 degree heat. Before stepping outside, I availed myself of the umbrella, as per my normal practice. Many days, it has served to deflect the steamy hot breath of Sirius, and on more than a few dog days it has managed to keep my head dry too!
There is a thing I thoroughly enjoy about walking in the midday heat – and yesterday it was my happy fortuity to enjoy this treat, once again. I dropped into a low spot on my path, partially shielded from the breeze. Here the lazy air slowed even more, and I was at once enveloped by the strong scent of flowers and other things, floating along in the hazy slow swirl of the sultry air, and topped off with lingering notes of hot, sublimating pine sap.
The summer’s simmering aromatic delights, the best of nature’s potpourri, had been presented to me … for being the one willing to brave the dog days of summer, and a walk in the midday sun …
Wine of the Bean
Posted Saturday, June 29’th 2013
I’ve always had a weakness for the wine of the bean (Arabic to Dutch translation: Kaffee). Early in the morning, the original Arabic word was seemingly too long gone to recall, but I was able to remember that it derived from the phrase “wine of the bean.”
As I poured the aromatic little beans into my grinder, I was taken with a thought. My olfactory sensors, in spite of the dimness brought on by age, seemed to be transporting me into another space altogether. The early hour combined with my natural grogginess to make the transport swift and easy. Suddenly I was in one of my favorite places, an old bookstore, with its lode of old novel pages.
Coffee and old books: my nose wanted to sense those two things as similar, or the same. Methinks it’s because I so often have them in combination!
The Beatles didn’t have it right after all!
Cherry Ice Cream
Hutch is a Basket Case!
Hutch is a basket case! For more computer modified artwork, see the “Funky Computer Art” articles on this blog!
Increasingly, video is the front-and-center medium of the internet. See some of this author’s favorite online videos at:
Hutch for President
The very late entry into the 2012 presidential race by candidate Hutch of the Canis Lupus Party is being viewed with some skepticism by politial pundits. Regardless, the indefatigable, albeit unusual candidate expressed his usual optimism at a party rally of the Canis Lupus party headquarters near Raleigh, North Carolina. Speaking later from his home, he gave interviewers a bright smile, saying “Wut Wo!” – which seems to be a party slogan of sorts. Vice presidential candidate Starsky was as upbeat as the presdential hopeful who is his brother as well as his running mate. The aspiring VP politely deferred comment on the bulk of the interviewer’s questions.
Major party philosophies are detailed on a political poster that has been spotted on a number of local lawn standards, and promotes a set of political planks that should resonate well with voters:
No Catting Around
The last and (some say) most dubious platform plank promoted by the Canis Lupus Familiaris party has been drawing most of the skepticism from the pundits – but pollsters have already detected that many voters believe in the sincerity of the candidate.
A larger photo of the candidate can be seen at:
We were born awash in it, and ever since then our lives have depended on it. We are mostly made of it.
Has this wondrous resource turned on us now, to be the dark horse killer of our intellects – the destroyer of our minds?
See the side page post “So Beautiful – So Deadly” for more …
The viewer might want to check out my explanation of the strange sky sound phenomenon from January of this year. I think I have one of the more layman friendly theories on the net:
On to the next …
“Beelzebub’s Bargain” was a four-month endeavor. Now that it has been finished, I have donned the hat of the marketer, something I am obligated to do, whether I like it or not. Otherwise, “Beelzebub’s Bargain” would forever remain my secret, and that would be a shame. Most writers like to write, and some of them plow ahead – writing tome after tome – and never taking the time to effectively publish what they have written. Many famous authors have done this – even Henry David Thoreau was known to leave the marketer’s hat on the hall tree. That explains his later post-mortem “discovered new works” .
The Beelzebub cover image:
Being the writer, I’ll try to both write and market, perhaps the former better than the latter (some may argue). Beelzebub gets the marketing effort while the writing will be concentrated on my new novel, “Book of the Doppelganger”. The cover for this latest tome is shown below:
The graphic artwork for the cover was the result of putting together a few miscellaneous items I found in my kitchen – an old, unwanted paperback, a kitchen knife, and my daughter’s favorite organic ketchup. Then, with the magic of GIMP, a marvellous tool running on my FreeBSD 8.2 desktop, I simply moved the contrast ratio up a couple notches – turning ketchup into blood. (Seems like a quote). I’ve added four pages behind the cover … mum on the details.
Marketing isn’t all drudgery. I’m having fun putting the posters together for the book fairs and festivals. One is upcoming on the fourth of February 2012.
The Welcome page is here by default. The good people who created WordPress gave it to me as part of the initial template for the blog. I guess they figure that every blogger should have one. Maybe they are correct about that, and I should write something here that seems relevant to the title. “Welcome.”
Now that is out of the way. Whew!
Really, this blog is likely to contain mostly writings about writings, as the blog author is an author outside of the blog. So, writings are sure to be centered, most of the time, around the travails of authorship and book writing. I’m not much into long serial message posts, so most of the stuff will be in the “pages” accessible at the top of the screen.