Monthly Archives: November 2014

now you see it, now you don’t.



as my mac book air


the warmth


the counter top

it enters into

a world of the unknown

a giant ziploc bag

filled with rice

with fingers crossed

and plenty of hope

for a speedy recovery

and i had a good laugh

when i realized

that i had


brown rice

in hopes

that it would


be healthier

for it

“cross your fingers, throw salt over your shoulder, knock on wood…

simple folk remedies for unfortunate situations.

silly superstitions…

but were they based in truth from a past long forgotten? i didn’t know,

but it wouldn’t hurt to just do it and let the universe do its job if it was of a mind to.

don’t you think?”
― madelyn alt

what do you get when an apple and cup of coffee cross paths?


1when you mix these

two wonderful things

in a way

they weren’t meant to

sometimes you get this

2or sometimes

your computer


work quite right

and you hope

for a miraculous

apple recovery

happy thanksgiving: rituals, relatives and rolls.



7 Overlooked Thanksgiving Rituals,

According to Sociologists

The first major sociological study of Thanksgiving appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research in 1991. The authors conducted in-depth interviews with people about their experiences of the holiday.

They also had 100 students take detailed fieldnotes on their Thanksgiving celebrations, supplemented by photographs. The data analysis revealed some common events in the fieldnotes that people rarely remarked on in the interviews. Here are some Thanksgiving rituals you might not realize are rituals:

Teenagers are given a ritual status shift to the adult part of the family, not only through the move from the kids’ table to the grownup table, but also through the career counseling spontaneously offered by aunts, uncles, and anyone else with wisdom to share.

Oh no! I forgot to put the evaporated milk in the pumpkin pie! As the authors of the Thanksgiving study state, “since there is no written liturgy to insure exact replication each year, sometimes things are forgotten.” In the ritual pattern, the forgetting is followed by lamentation, reassurance, acceptance, and the restoration of comfortable stability. It reinforces the themes of abundance (we’ve got plenty even if not everything works out) and family togetherness (we can overcome obstacles).

Remember that time we cooked a green bean casserole and burned the house down? Another way to reinforce the theme of family togetherness is to retell the stories of things that have gone wrong at Thanksgiving and then laugh about them. This ritual can turn ugly, however, if not everyone has gotten to the point where they find the disaster stories funny.

Transfer a store-bought pie crust to a bigger pan, filling out the extra space with pieces of another store-bought pie crust, and it’s not quite so pre-manufactured anymore. Put pineapple chunks in the Jello, and it becomes something done “our way.” The theme of the importance of the “homemade” emerges in the ritual of slightly changing the convenience foods to make them less convenient.

The pet is fed special food while everyone looks on and takes photos. This ritual enacts the theme of inclusion also involved in the inviting of those with “nowhere else to go.”

In some cultures, feasts are followed by a ritual destruction of the surplus. At Thanksgiving the Puritan value of frugality is embodied in the wrapping and packing up of all the leftovers.

After the eating and the groaning and the belly patting, someone will suggest a walk and a group will form to take a stroll. Sometimes the walkers will simply do laps around the house, but they often head out into the world to get some air. There is usually no destination involved, just a desire to move and feel the satisfied quietness of abundance – and to make some room for dessert.

credits: mental floss magazine, the graphics fairy


i’m not quite sure how, but i’m quite sure it somehow happened.


in the end, that turtle’s (or terrapin, as some prefer), hard shell refused to let a wolverine break through, and hung on for the victory in our recent matchup here in my very own hometown of ann arbor.


as promised in my wager with fellow blogger, a man who writes about sports and entertainment, rival and friend, mark b. – here is the fight song of the winner in the battle between my michigan wolverines and his maryland terrapins.  you may not recognize me as the singer, but i like to surprise, just like those terrapins. what say you, mark b.?

here is the link to mark b’s always entertaining blog, even when he has won and is gloating…

and congrats to you and your turtles, mark. well-played.

University of Maryland
Fight Song

Fight, fight, fight for Maryland,
Honor now Her name again,
Push up the score, keep on fighting for more,
For Maryland, GO TERPS!
And we will fight, fight, fight for terrapins,
Keep on fighting ’till we win.
So sing out our song as we go marching along,
To victory!!!

Words and music by Ralph Davis, Class of 1941
copyright 1941

by the University of Maryland Student Government Association

i feel like i am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. ~author unknown



the email came


how many miles

i had on my car

 they were spot on

within 200 miles

inviting me in

for an oil change

a winterizing

a check up


would you like coffee

will you need wi-fi

a ride home

a loaner


spend time here with us

while we

pamper your car

and you


i was half expecting

 a massage

 a mani/pedi

i took

the earliest appointment

on my day off

with plans

to head off

to do all the things

i’d been wanting to do

i drove up


the door opened for my car

welcoming me in

to the dealership

with a warm embrace

and they asked what they could do

 took me to the comforting area to wait

gave me coffee








cushiony chairs


the company of just one other

pampered customer

a man of about my age

and we each

went about our morning

waiting in comfort


they realized

his car

was going to take too long

 so he took a rental


headed out

  half an hour


 the service advisor


 knelt down by my chair

i felt

there was possibly

a bit of bad news coming



i don’t know how this happened

 i looked at her

as she said

that man

who was sitting here with you

has just left with your keys

 we don’t know why

this has never happened


in the history

of our dealership


we can’t

get ahold of him

i’m so sorry

we’re not sure

why he’d take your keys

since he was taking a rental

 even if

he thought those were his keys

we’d need them to work on his car

that he left behind

we just can’t understand it

we apologize

we can drive you

all of the places you need to go


give you a loaner


when we get your keys back

 we will

we’ll deliver your car

with your keys

to your house


you can wait a bit


see what happens

with more coffee

i chose

the waiting option


i do enjoy my subaru family

but really didn’t want to

spend the whole day with them

 doing errands

having lunch


i wanted to see

what would happen


he was not answering

his phone

his email

the texts

i wanted

to know

his story

 i imagined him

working out with at my gym

using the id on my keys

then at my house

dancing with nacho the cat and his cat friends



drinking a glass of my pinot noir

 reading my magazines

listening to my music

while taking a bubble bath

in my tub

getty images


they came in again

 said they still

couldn’t reach him

do you want to wait


more coffee

more comfort

 a while later

he called

 said he had no idea

why he took the keys


he didn’t

want to see me


apologized profusely


came back


they pulled up my car at last


all free service


thank you’s


being understanding

no explanation


the wish for a good day

and i was off

once again


would the tub be drained

when i finally got home?


one cannot plan for the unexpected.
– aaron klug

images courtesy of: google images

d.b. cooper



   i have always been a fan of true crime, and unsolved mysteries in particular. while i have no desire to be a part of any criminal activity, (and openly admit to occasionally absconding with an extra fine chocolate or two from a hotel lobby), i have always been fascinated by the criminal mind and the planning and execution of their crimes. i love putting the puzzle pieces all together, the wild goose chase, the wrong turns, and the process of finally solving a case. today is the anniversary of the day in 1971, when one of my favorite cases ever took place, and one that remains unsolved to this day: the d.b. cooper case.

D.B. Cooper: Everything you need to know in 20 sentences and 5 minutes of your time.

One afternoon a day before Thanksgiving in 1971, a guy calling himself Dan Cooper (the media mistakenly called him D.B. Cooper) boarded Northwest Airlines flight #305 in Portland bound for Seattle. He was wearing a dark suit and a black tie and was described as a business-executive type. While in the air, he opened his brief case showing a bomb to the flight attendant and hijacked the plane. The plane landed in Seattle where he demanded 200K in cash, four parachutes and food for the crew before releasing all the passengers. With only three pilots and one flight attendant left on board, they took off from Seattle with the marked bills heading south while it was dark and lightly raining. In the 45 minutes after takeoff, Cooper sent the flight attendant to the cockpit while donning the parachute, tied the bank bag full of twenty dollar bills to himself, lowered the rear stairs and somewhere north of Portland jumped into the night. When the plane landed with the stairs down, they found the two remaining parachutes and on the seat Cooper was sitting in, a black tie.
Jets, a helicopter and a C-130 aircraft had been scrambled from the closest air force base to follow Cooper’s plane. The military was called in days after the hijacking and approximately 1,000 troops searched the suspected jump zone on foot and in helicopters. The Boeing 727 used in the hijacking was flown out over the ocean and the stairs lowered and weights dropped in an attempt to determine when Cooper jumped. The SR-71 super-secret spy plane was sent in to photograph the entire flight path but no sign of D.B. Cooper was ever discovered.
Nine years later in 1980 just north of Portland on the Columbia River, a young boy named Brian Ingram was digging a fire pit in the sand at a place called Tena Bar. He uncovered three bundles of cash a couple inches below the surface, with rubber bands still intact. There was a total of $5800, the Cooper serial numbers matched, and the first evidence since 1971 came to light. The FBI searched and analyzed the beach, the river was dredged by Cooper Hunters and the theories on how the money got there supercharged the Legend of D.B. Cooper.
Decades passed, D.B. Cooper became famous in book, movie and song. In 2007, Special Agent Larry Carr took on his favorite case with the restriction not to waste government time or money pursuing it. Agent Carr brilliantly decided the way around the problem was to treat the hijacking like one of his bank robbery cases – to get as much information out to the public as possible. He released previously unknown facts about the case and the D.B. Cooper frenzy started anew.

In 2008 the Cooper Research Team came together to take up the challenge and was given special access to investigate the case. This website is the result of that three year investigation.


The Public Debates:

The D.B. Cooper case continues to be debated in forums and chat rooms around the world. Most of the conversation (and arguments) center around a few ideas outlined below. The ‘Debate Factor’ is the level of interest for that theory among Cooper followers.

Did Cooper die in the jump? It is a huge public debate if Cooper died in the jump or not. Experienced skydivers say he would have died if it was his first jump but if he was an expert, no problem. One experience parachutist believed that anyone who had six or seven practice jumps could accomplished the jump. The cold weather may or may not have killed him in the woods even if he landed ok. No body or parachute was ever found. Debate factor* = 9 of 10

Was Cooper an experienced skydiver? He requested “front and back parachutes” = novice. He turned down instructions on how to use the parachute = experienced. He picked the non-steerable military parachute = novice. The military chute could better withstand the exit speed of the plane = experienced. He put the parachute on like he knew what he was doing = experienced. He took the reserve chute that was sewn closed and non-functional = novice. Debate factor = 7 of 10

The Tena Bar money find is problematic because it is 20 miles away from the town of Ariel, Washington where the drop zone analysis completed in 1971 said he jumped. In order to get the money on to Tena Bar, several theories are in play. First is the Washougal Washdown Theory, based on the idea that the money had to wash first down smaller rivers, then into the Columbia River in order to end up on Tena Bar. Second is that the FBI flight path was incorrect and Cooper actually landed on Tena Bar and buried the money. Third is that Cooper or someone else buried the money on Tena Bar to throw off the FBI. Debate factor = 10 of 10

The “Palmer Report” stemmed from the FBI bringing in Portland State University geologist Dr. Leonard Palmer to analyze the sand bar where the money was found. In between the 1971 hijacking and the 1980 money find, the Columbia River was dredged and sand was deposited on Tena Bar in 1974. Palmer’s report determined that the money was in a layer of top sand laid down by the dredging. This implied that the money was somewhere else upstream for years before coming to rest on Tena Bar. The counterpoint was that the delicate rubber bands were still intact on the bundles when found. The bands pointed to an earlier time frame for the money coming to rest on Tena. Debate factor = 9 of 10

Where was the real flight path? The flight path map in the FBI archive has no information on who drew the flight path or when it was created. The flight path as drawn is thought to be from the detailed analysis of radar data and flight recorder discussed in the FBI transcripts. The FBI path does NOT fly over Tena Bar or the Washougal area. The money found on Tena Bar forces the flight path debate because it would be much easier to explain the money find if Cooper flew over Tena Bar and jumped, or flight #305 flew over the Washougal River and Cooper’s ransom money ended up washing down stream. Debate factor = 7 of 10

How did three loose bundles of money stay together for years and then get buried together? Several possibilities have been put forth. The bank bag protected them for years in the river and then rotted away before the bills did. Cooper lost the money when he landed on Tena Bar in the dark. Someone else buried the money there. Debate factor = 5 of 10

Was Cooper from the area? He recognized Tacoma from the air = local. He would be an idiot to hijack an airplane where he could possibly be recognized = not local. He made the very unusual request for “negotiable American currency” unlike most Americans = not from this country. Debate factor = 3 of 10

How did the money degrade around the edges and get holes in them? Roots, tumbling downstream, dredging? Debate factor = 3 of 10

Are any of the current crop of suspects the real D.B. Cooper? Debate factor = 13+ of 10


 source: fbi archives

black hawk down.


if you see mt. fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant on new year’s day,

you will be forever blessed.

-japanese proverb

coyote hills


if you go

to your middle daughter’s house

(one of the infamous h’s)

 for coffee

and see a

beautiful and wounded

black hawk

walking around the back yard

and it turns into


rescue adventure


and the

emergency animal  squad

shows up

within minutes

to help save him


restore him to good health


then your new proverb would be

‘if you see a pond, a hawk with a broken wing and a cappucino

on a random sunday, 

you will be forever blessed.’

and then

you will have your coffee

and wonder

if that just really happened

image credit:

a sudden reversal of fortune.



this was lj’s response

as i broke the news

that i’d saved him

a birthday treat

  his classmate

had brought in

 the day before

when he had been absent

rabbit the penguin

i’m sure

he imagined


wonderful treat

such as this

giant cupcake

as big as his head

all gooey chocolate

and rainbow sprinkles

and wonderful goodness


he closed his eyes tight

in giddy anticipation

and waited


and then

i came back

with this



granola bar










this was lj’s response

as soon as he saw it


took it all in


his eyes

got big




fill with water


his head

went down


it was

the letdown

of the century

food should be fun.
– thomas keller

all pics courtesy of google images