The Happiest Blog On Earth

A journal of my 2nd half century. From the midwestern State of Wisconsin, all the way to the Monterey Bay. This week, I'll get in the car and head West. If you want to come along, you'll need your pillow and a flashlight.

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Location: California, United States

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ghosts of the Civil War


Through a typically strange set of circumstances, I am right now, sitting in the grand ballroom of a Civil War era mansion in Vicksburg, Missisippi. My bedroom is downstairs and it's the place I will sleep tonight after I finish my work on my laptop. I sit here, typing away, connected via wireless to the internet, in a building that is now a bed and breakfast inn, but 145 years ago was the Duff Green Mansion, a home to a family encroached upon by the war between the states. They vacated their home, going to live in nearby caves, while the soldiers took over and converted their house to a hospital. In one of the rooms downstairs were stacked the amputated limbs of damaged soldiers. The room I will sleep in was once the operating room. In 1865, conditions for anesthesia were not ideal. I imagine much suffering took place here, and yet, here I am, typing away on the second floor, sending out this message. This place feels familiar to me, and I stumbled on it by chance, looking for a place to stay tonight. My great, great grandfather died in the Civil War. He was taken prisoner and died of cholera or dissentary I believe. Perhaps he was here for a time. Another thing I may never know.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

How to save America

Example Example Example

If we erected statues to all of our heroes, each and every town in America could have one.
In Illinois, Chester has Popeye; Metropolis has Superman.
Some people consider George Bush a hero. Now that, is a fantasy.

Happy Easter

This photo represents the sum total of all America. Look no further, you've seen it all. My eyes are bleeding.

I'm in St. Louis, MO, heading toward Memphis tonight. I suspect there will be more mansions, giant animals and roadside debris. I have gone back and forth across the Mississippi river 9 times so far. Whenever I see a bridge its too tempting to pass up. I stopped in Hannibal, MO to say hello to Mark Twain last night. He wasn't there but his hotel, hot dog stand, drycleaners, lube and oil garage, campground and lucky corncob pipe shop were all open for business. I said a prayer for him and left discretely.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Previously on Battlestar Galactica...

Example Example
Example Example

Time warp: Ripon, Wisconsin.
Cylons have infiltrated a small midwestern town and commandeered the national political process. Note the clandestined photo I obtained of their headquarters. I am not fooled by their Victorian architecture. Two Cylons from Barraboo approached me at one point. I took evasive measures and headed to Dodgeville. Through the cheap, alumunun windowsill of a Super8 Motor Port I can see their Spacecraft landing in the weedy lot next door. I have to get out of Dodge... fast.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Elvis has left the building

I love you all. You know who you are.

Monday, March 14, 2005


this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I love the idea of somebody swooping in and coming to the rescue, but you and I know that ain't gonna happen. In the Batcave, a supercomputer analyzes the situation and spits out a real good solution. My solution is only based on instinct. My instinct tells me, "be a good man, love life, honor the ones you love". My idea of rescue now includes, me first. I think I'll give that a try, because the other way, didn't work.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Summer of Love

I have no comment here except to say, Spring is in the air and I've been In Wisconsin for over 3 months now. It's time to move on.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Mad Potter of Biloxi


I haven't left yet, but like a carrot on a stick, I imagine that any road trip is propelled by its destination. Mine is west, yet first I want to head south. I've travelled the interstate highways across America far too many times and I'd like to see something more. For example, I'd like to go to Biloxi, to see the George Ohr Museum. Ohr was a prolific potter and his misshapen vessels are now revered as some of the finest folk art in America. Ohr was an original eccentric, like my dear, long gone friend Grant. I've learned to appreciate the precious few who walk a roundabout path to get where they want to go. That seems to be the road for me.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Life on the Mississippi

I plan to drive south, along the Mississippi River, before I head west.

Mark Twain said...
• You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
• Always do the right thing.
This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
• Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
• Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
• The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
• Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction?
Fiction, after all, has to make sense.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Significance of 42/24

With all the recent sunspot activity going on lately, you'd think that we'd all be looking to the skies. Not me.
Example Example Example Example
If Chicken Little is right and the sky is falling, then I need to tend to all my unfinished business. I'm caught up in locating my own place on this world.
I am present and accounted for.
For me a number like 42 turns upside down and backwards over and over again. I see it everywhere and I have for years.
The 2 in my life share a birthday on 2/24. On that day I was with them in spirit from thousands of miles away.
Liittle H asks me,
"Daddy when will you come home?" and I can only say... soon. This week I'll leave Wisconsin and start the roundabout drive across America.
A huge storm began today and the snow is starting to accumulate. Last week the same rain was falling on H in California. When the sun came out again, all was forgotten and she became a 3 year old.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

2/26/55 Today in History

• In 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from exile on the island of Elba.
• In 1870 A 312-ft long pneumatic subway was opened in New York City; funding for a larger version never materialized.
• 1919 Grand Canyon National Park was established.
• 1935 RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging) was first demonstrated by Robert Watson-Watt.

In 1955 I was zero percent of 50 years old.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Since no one is reading this blog anyway, I'm considering selling ad space on it. The possibilities are limitless. Google AdSense offers to place ads and pay me. Whoohoo!
My inclination is that if I creatively pick and choose and limit the ads,
I could build something of interest.
My common sense tells me that Google will place boring, craptastic ads that will turn off all zero of my readers.
What do you think, nobody?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel

My three children are waiting for me.
Far away in a stony castle, Rapunzel checks her web site. Her long, red hair streams in the fresh breeze that blows in from the tall tower window. As she looks out into the distance she wonders what is up with Poppo and when will he bring it on home.
Meanwhile, blonde Hansel and golden Gretel walk hand in hand, following their trail of breadcrumbs. In the woods, they know, is a gumdrop cottage, sweet and pretty but hardly an answer to what nags their wondering thoughts. Where is the daddy, they say to themselves, and why is he still so out there. Is he just lost in the woods?
Maybe we'll find him along the trail.
Rapunzel peers off into the distance and sees the two little figures nibbling on the gingerbread doorjamb. From high above she sees clearly, the path connects them and lo!, a licorice roadmap guides the way. In a burst of joy she realizes that we'll all reunite soon.
No one is lost, everyone is secure, no one is coming to save us. There is only one road home and the path is clear.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Past Tense

Ok. I'm ready to talk about it for a minute.
What if you had to catch yourself while talking about your life to refer to things in the past tense?
I want to say, "sometimes when the french doors are wide open on a warm summer day, blue scrub jays will walk in looking for some scrub food. They startle when they see me and fly around madly".
When I stop to think about it, I have to say... "scrub jays would come into the house where I lived. On a lovely warm day, they'd feel safe and welcome, apparently. Looking for food or excitement they would brave themselves in. They couldn't bear confinement and pummeled the glass to escape. Used to be, I'd make sure they were freed.
That was when I used to live there.


There is a lively snowglobe that appears outside the picture window, early in the morning. Not every day, but only when the old snow gets so decayed that Mo Nature can no longer bear to look at it.
Like part two of an unresolved dream, I wake up and go to the window. All the pocks and gravel that mar the landscape are lost in a softer view of yesterday's neighborhood.
I can relax now. Expectatons are lowered and no one will blink if I don't venture out for a day or two. School is cancelled and workers hibernate at their desks. I am alone with my thoughts. Snowflakes float down by the thousands, millions, billions, trillions, and so on.
Now I wonder about the roads. I will drive in this, soon I hope. Maybe in Missouri, possibly Louisiana, all the way to California. Once I leave here, I let go of my bed and the comfortable sound of the furnace kicking in.
The toaster and the coffeemaker and running water will go to the end of the list.
I picture my car in a blanket of snow. I'll wake up in the back seat and look outside through the rear window. I'm in the snowglobe with all my things. I've spent a lot of time arranging them neatly in bags. I hope no one picks up the car and shakes it.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Treasure beyond your wildest dreams.

Sweet Aunt Jo and I went to a farm auction. In a cold, tin shed stood a greedy mob, looking for the finest remnant to carry away for a dollar or two. The perimeter of the room was stacked with stuff, delightful items, mysterious devices. Look! Its an antique sausage stuffer. Ahoy! An old sailor suit. Schwing! A Girly poster. All around the room, the murmur of the day, the credo of the crowd- "we used to have one of them".
As our feet continued to freeze, we still were intrigued. I held out to bid for a beautiful patchwork quilt. Sold for 50 dollars, to someone else.
By golly, there's an old army helmet. Sold, for 50 dollars. For an army helmet? What a maroon.
I had set aside and consolidated 2 boxes of mixed color Fiesta Ware. When it came up and the cowboy lifted it high in the air, I waited... waited.... waited.... bid 15 dollars. Hooray! No one wanted it but me. Triumph.
Now that I reflect on it, we should have stuck around for the other items I spied. I now have regrets. Wasn't that japanese print a tiny woodblock masterpiece? That dusty Currier and Ives print was original- certainly. Early photographs in broken frames. They may be nondescript buildings but Atget could have taken them.
I'll never know. I wasn't meant to know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Like, totally happy...

You'll never guess what happened to me. It shook me to my bones. It could happen to you too.
Yes. You.

I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but I will be soon.
Meanwhile I'm getting ready to leave home, again actually. The first time I left was long ago. I was 18.
I am much older now. I didn't realize back then that you could play out your life, then rewind it and do it all over again.
The only drawback is, you have to make sure you learn to let go. If you don't, it will really hurt.