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The Ornithophile

January 16, 2022

The Ornithophile

A Beginning (34)

I was touring Crystal Cave and noticed no birds.

“We don’t let ‘em get in here,” said the guide.

“Why’s that?”

“If they stayed in here it’d be too much of a bird den.”


A Middle (34)

“Get it?” he said.

“Got it.” Then, “I like birds, any way y’all could allow them in?”

The guard laughed and said, “Well, pal, you could wish for that and it stalagmite come true.”


An End (34)

Back at my cave.

“Hey, Buddy,” I said.

“Good bird.”

“Yes, you are.”

“I’m Buddy.”

“If I made the decisions, I’d let you into Crystal Cave, Buddy.”

“I love you.”

“You’re a good bird.”


Yes, I cheated. 😦

wk 244 cave


January 1, 2022

A quick look under the bed. “See, nothing there.”

Light off.

Goodnight, champ.”

Door closed.

A minute, then another. The foul smell. I pulled up the cover and squeezed my eyes against the chill of the greasy tentacle snaking across the bottom of my foot.

wk 242 goodnight

Almost over

December 31, 2021

So, 2021 is almost over. You probably already knew though. I won’t see the new year until I wake up tomorrow morning because no matter how hard I try, come 8:30 – 9:00 PM and I’m Zzzzzzzzz . . . I used to set the alarm for 11:30 PM but it never worked. I’d just wake up the next morning with no recollection of turning off the alarm.

Enough about me.

Chel Owens is a really good writer and poet and person, and she had an interesting blog post the other day about New Year’s resolutions and suggested this instead:

“For a slightly different idea, I’ve seen several bloggers come up with a word for the new year. I even read a friend who inadvertently gave a word to summarize 2021 before naming one for 2022.” You can read her blog post here.

I don’t like resolutions. Woody Guthrie liked New Year’s resolutions and you can see his list right here. I think #15 and #26 make some good sense. How about you? So I don’t like resolutions and I don’t make them, but I really liked the idea of the two words. My word to describe 2021 was ‘shaky‘ and my word for 2022 is ‘tolerant‘. Not just tolerance toward myself, which is important, and my main focus, but tolerance toward everyone and everything. Even that person who cuts me off in traffic, and the person who doesn’t offer a thank you after holding a door for them, and the person who leaves their grocery cart at the end of the aisle and walks down the aisle picking items off the shelf and walking them back to their cart. And especially to people who are less fortunate or lucky than me.

I hope anyone who reads this has a very happy and healthy new year. And thank you for reading. You make me feel good.

Speaking of feeling good, not everyone is experiencing that feeling today. I probably shouldn’t share this because no one likes hearing sad stories, especially on the last day of the year. Anyway, I learned today that a very good friend just lost his job this past Wednesday. He had a responsible position at a very upscale bakery here in Minneapolis and apparently they found him loafing.

Happy new year!

Enjoy tonight, enjoy tomorrow, enjoy everything. Be yourself baby, hit or miss.

A Tuesday evening

December 24, 2021

Neighbors argue.
Flagrant shouts
the din of displeasure.
I’m going to listen to loud music
and bake bread.

wk 241 din

Oh, so soft!

December 11, 2021

I bought a washing machine last year and for some reason, no matter how I washed, my clothes came out wrinkly. I bought some Snuggle fabric softener (who doesn’t love that little Snuggle Bear, right?) and say goodbye to wrinkles!


I just realized I read the prompt word incorrectly. It’s SMUGGLE, not SNUGGLE.

And I’ve used my limit of 66 words. Please accept my apologies.

wk 239 smuggle

Be an opener of doors*

December 11, 2021

The picture below is the entrance to the Fallout Arts Initiative on Stevens Avenue in South Minneapolis. They’re closed now for all public events because of COVID, but they’re still offering community meals six days a week and hosting a food shelf on Saturday mornings. They accept donations if you’re so inclined.

I’m not so good with colors, but I think there’s some crimson here. You tell me.

* “Be an opener of doors to those who come after you, and don’t try to make the Universe a blind alley.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One foggy night

December 5, 2021

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

December 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the littlest Christmas goat. Who does the goat belong to? What is happening? Go where the prompt leads!

One foggy night

Rolfie the mini pygmy, a roan with frosted ears and a shiny bornite-colored nose, is the smallest of rancher Anders’ goats. The other goats bleat and call him names and they never invite Rolfie to any of their lively goat games.

Rolfie is all alone.

On Christmas Eve rancher Anders goes to herd his goats into the night pen a little earlier than usual. He walks to the field, but it becomes foggy and he can’t find his way back. “Rolfie,” he said. “with your nose of burnite, won’t you guide my goats tonight?”

And the rest is history.


Any similarity to other famous mammals with decorative bony head gear is purely coincidental and my baaad.

Oh, almost forgot. What did Ebenezer Scrooge see on the family farm when he returned home for the holidays? The goats of Christmas past.

They looked familiar

December 4, 2021

They looked familiar. Something about the way they were smiling and holding hands. How they leaned into each other as they walked.

So plainly in love.

I followed them trying to put my finger on it.

Trying to remember where I met them. Where I knew them from.

They separated hands. He put his arm around her shoulder, she wrapped hers around his waist. Their pace slowed.

They laughed.

And then it hit me.

I used to be him.

wk 238 familiar

Looking around

December 4, 2021

“Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” – Robert Hunter (Scarlet Begonias)

Good morning! The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is “the extraordinary in the ordinary“. I love this prompt because there is so much that’s extraordinary in our ordinary world if we just pause and look around.

I was introduced to the play Our Town at an early age and it made an impression on me. At the end of the play, as Emily is looking around and remembering, she asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it, every, every minute?” to which the stage manager answers, “No.” Then: “The saints and poets, maybe—they do some.” I’m not a saint and I’m not a poet, and I don’t know about you, but I believe we don’t have to be much of anything special to realize life beyond keeping our eyes open and paying attention. Paying attention to something as simple as our breath, to our footsteps, to what’s in front of us and to others.

Enjoy your Saturday!

This picture is looking out the front window of my car inside the car wash. It’s ordinary in an extraordinary way.

Going home again

November 30, 2021

THE DETAILS: Friday Fictioneers: 1 picture, 100 words, scores of people from around the world sharing their creativity and vision. Feel free to join in, just visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields to find out how.

This week’s photo courtesy of Roger Bultot

Going home again (100 words)

She looked at me like who’s this crazy man when I asked if her flat had hot water.

Eldridge near Canal, fourth floor walk-up. No hot water, no heat. Now I hear they sell for over a million.

Pessis’ store down on the corner and a metal gate covers what used to be Shimmel’s Bakery. Best knishes in New York, take my word.

Trucks and people. Every day the street was busy. And the noise, like you wouldn’t believe.

“Zayde,” they said when I asked to visit the old neighborhood. “You can’t go home again.”

I guess they were right.

* Zayde = Grandfather in Yiddish


My Thanksgiving

November 28, 2021

I basted with barbeque sauce
and I topped it with smoked applesauce.
It wasn’t so swell,
and it didn’t sit well,
my meal was a certified loss.


November 27, 2021

Narrow shore
sunrise topping river birch
hungry carp jumping as
early morning walkers
modern mudlarks with arms
attached to metal detectors
hunt for left behind treasures

Downtown street
detectors mounted to
traffic lights monitoring
the mettle of passersby
hands poking from frayed sleeves
modern mudlarks hunting trash cans
for left behind treasures


wk 237 mudlark

Friendly skies

November 27, 2021

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

November 25, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about a canceled flight. Where was the flight headed? Who does it impact and why? How does a protagonist handle the situation? Go where the prompt leads!

Friendly skies

The announcement came at 7:55, just minutes before boarding.

“We’re sorry to announce that flight 497 to Minot has been cancelled—”

Thinking about the merger meeting at 11:00 I joined the grumbles from the other passengers. I opened my phone.

“—has partnered with Twilight Wish and today we’re fulfilling Edward Bendix’s wish. Mr. Bendix was an Air Force pilot during WW2. Today is his 100th birthday, and his wish is to pilot once more.”

The flight crew wheeled Edward toward the gate. His smile shone as bright as his Medal of Honor. I stood, returned his wave and applauded.


For Elise

November 26, 2021

When I read a word prompt, like today’s FURNACE, I go with the first thing that pops into my mind. Sometimes it’s not good and I erase it and go do something else, and sometimes it’s “good” (translation: something I like) and I go with it.

The last time I talked to anyone about a furnace was the repairman after my furnace had broken for the second time in two weeks in the middle of January. I won’t recount the story here other than to say it was a heated discussion.

The first thing that came to mind when reading FURNACE this morning was this piece of music. There are different versions, some faster and some slower, and some for solo piano and some for piano and orchestra. Regardless of the version, it’s got to be one of the most heard and recognizable pieces of Classical music ever.

Nut Goodies? It all Depends.

November 25, 2021

Akimbo. Outside of me frequently standing with my arms akimbo I don’t have much to say.

I know there used to be a mixed martial arts fighter named Kimbo Slice, and if I had an action figure of Kimbo, I could have taken a picture of me pointing to it and saying, “Hey, look, here’s a Kimbo!“. But I don’t.

I learned that Harry Potter made a movie called Guns Akimbo but I haven’t seen it so I can’t talk about it. Other than to say that I watched the trailer and Harry Potter uses the “F” word. More than once. That was a little dismaying.

So it’s Thanksgiving and even though I’m someone who doesn’t like grocery shopping because of the crowds, for some reason I feel drawn to the store on Thanksgiving because you feel you need one thing. This is a feeling I learned this morning that’s not unique to me. It’s not that I really need that one thing, or even know what it is going in, but I need it, if you know what I mean. There’s a sort of a thrill being around the action and watching the shoppers and wondering why they’re all here seven hours before dinner with with full grocery carts and making up stories about them.

This cold Minneapolis Thanksgiving morning I realized that I needed to head out to the store. Not because I wanted to experience the atmosphere of panicked grocery shoppers for some odd reason that I don’t fully understand, but because I legitimately needed something: a Nut Goodie bar. Why do I need a Nut Goodie bar? It’s because I thought I might watch the Harry Potter akimbo movie later and candy bars go good with movies. Nut Goodies are made in St. Paul and if they’re not sold where you are that’s unfortunate. The store didn’t have any so I bought some cole slaw and went to Walgreens.

I don’t understand why it’s “Walgreens” and not “Walgreen’s”. The company name is the Walgreen Company and it was started a lot time ago by a guy named Walgreen. So why not Walgreen’s? And if it’s “Walgreens” then shouldn’t their pharmacy department be advertised as “Walgreens’ pharmacy”?

Anyway, I’m at Walgreens (or Walgreen’s if you’re like me) and it’s not too busy. I grab my Nut Goodie and I’m walking up and down the aisles checking out the action when what do I see? The song is true: once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right because there in front of me on a package of Depends is a picture of a happy guy with arms akimbo.

Score! Reward = double back for a second Nut Goodie bar.

Thanks for reading and sticking around and if you’ve ever given me a ‘Like’ or a comment in the past, thank you! I hope you’re enjoying the day.


November 24, 2021

This Ragtag Daily Prompt of CONSPIRACY is appropriate coming just two days after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This could, in and of itself, be a conspiracy? Or maybe the conspiracy is that no one seems to remember JFK’s assassination. Hmmm . . .


Conspiracy! My dear you see;
that everything’s conspiracy.

They’ll find you now, they’ll find you later;
there’s a clone of you cooking in a large duplicator.

Spacemen have landed and Elvis is still here;
and Santa’s really Satan! It’s true, Virginia, dear.

Politicians who are birthers and the folks who are flat earthers;
There’s a monster in Montana and something’s odd in Susquehanna.

You can laugh and you can snicker, cuz some are so absurd;
like it’s not true(man) Capote wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

Don’t let yourself get nervous or feel you are hard put;
it’s just a silly shadow and it’s not that thing Bigfoot.

Politicians who are birthers and the folks who are flat earthers;
There’s a monster in Montana and something’s odd in Susquehanna.

Take a breath and think it through and I hope you will agree
that everything we think and see’s just more conspiracy.

<drum roll>

Oh say, can you see, there’s a conspiracy.
What so loudly we claim, are just thoughts that we’re scheming.
And wild stories and claims, from our day-to-day life,
Rants and raves we do watch of imaginative daydreaming.
And the statements they claim, they just fan up the flames,
of anger and appall till one just sits down and bawls.
Oh say why do lies and misinformation still wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Politicians who are birthers and the folks who are flat earthers;
There’s a monster in Montana and something’s odd in Susquehanna.


Poison Ivy with a twitch

November 22, 2021

The word is “twitch”.

Back in 1981 I bought Bob Weir’s Bobby and the Midnites album. This was a side project for Weir and not a Grateful Dead album. I listened to if a few times and my thought was, “Eh, this isn’t the Grateful Dead” and I ended up selling the album not long after.

Flash forward to the summer of 1984, a wonderful time when I was still able to stay up late at night, and Bobby and the the Midnites played First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis and I went to see them. I knew it was the Grateful Dead, but the thought of going still seemed cool. Other than being happy with the small venue and the ability to stand near the stage, my thought was, “Eh, this isn’t the Grateful Dead”.

Here’s Bob Weir and his band singing Poison Ivy. Oh, FYI, it isn’t the Grateful Dead.

Measles make you bumpy, and mumps’ll make you lumpy.
And chicken pox’ll make you jump and twitch.
A common cold’ll fool ya, and whooping cough’ll cool ya.
But poison ivy, Lord’ll make you itch!”


November 21, 2021

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

November 18, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about tools. Whose tools are they and how do they fit into the story? What kind of tools? Go where the prompt leads!


The guys asked Richie to do bad things. Once they asked him to go into Wagner’s drugstore and steal a Playboy magazine. Nice Mr. Wagner, but he did it anyway.

Once they said, “Richie, ask Jenny Edwards for a date.”

“She doesn’t like me,” he said.

“C’mon, it’ll be funny,” they said.

Jenny and the guys laughed. Richie laughed with them, but he was scared, and he hurt.

Richie wasn’t stupid. He ignored their loud whispers; he rationalized their laughter. He told himself he wasn’t a tool.

Making friends was difficult, and Richie believed this was better than nothing.



November 21, 2021

For the Weekend Writing Prompt #236.

wk 236 blue

oceans are blue
skies are blue
your eyes were blue

don’t understand oceans
don’t understand skies
didn’t understand you

maybe you’re happy now

do you ever think about me
wherever you are
and does that make you blue


Dare I air?

November 19, 2021

Derriere my sad story? I’ve a haunch that it might seem fanny to some, but it’s a sad story that made me feel a little rumpy. I’ll share it to prove I’m no bum.

Thank you to Sheryl at ‘Your Daily Word Prompt‘.

= = = =

I can avouch
I sat on the couch.
A spring broke free
and I said “Ouch!”

Yes I did soar
and you bet I swore
I hopped around
cuz my butt was sore.

I looked around
then I slowly sat down
before I had
a nervous breakdown.

The End

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