Magnificent Obsession 2020

Douglas Sirk's 'Magnificent Obsession', 1954 - Starring, Jane ...

Can you imagine what this movie would be like if it were playing today? A plethora of tragedies would grace the screen in addition to the 1954 litany. In the original story, a millionaire playboy has a speed boat accident which requires the only resuscitator in the area to help. Unfortunately, it is taken from a renown doctor’s house where the doctor’s life depends on its help as well. The doctor dies before the equipment can be returned. The playboy falls in love with the widow. The widow wants nothing to do with him, but he persists, following her into a taxi, we find her struck by a car when she gets out of the cab trying to get away from him, hits her head and ends up blind. The series of mishaps just keeps multiplying throughout the movie, including her falling in love with him (he poses as someone else). Schmaltzy soap opera type stuff, with Rock Hudson delivering his worst performance ever. 

The 2020 version would include a worldwide plague, political war, hurricanes, floods, complete states on fire, looting and violence in the streets, asteroids blasting the earth, and Presidents tweeting on something called the internet.

Now that would be a movie worth watching!



Kowean Kwaziness


Behind the whir of my laptop fan – above the neighbor’s droning mower – these nightly Korean sing-song dramas  invade my peaceful living room.  I glance up from the computer to see weak boys courting giggling girls.  I hear the mourning of the rejected.  I see the tears of the spurned. I witness the intense story line about rival chefs.  I see the transgender stove queen in action.  I wonder why my daughter and soul mate are so addicted to such close-captioned, tear-jerking, over-the-top drivel.  It must be the romance, the unreality, the gauche/misfitting background music, Korean-style humor and cute boys.

I am sad.  But at least they aren’t watching “Chainsaw Massacre” in 3-D.

Valentine’s Day – In the Garden and On the Cross

John 3-16

From Genesis 2

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.
But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


Created in God’s image, we enjoy this wonderful capacity to sacrificially and unconditionally love others. We run to get married because of it. We nurture and protect our children because of it. Soldiers sometimes give up their lives on the battlefield because of it. It is ingrained in our deepest thoughts and actions, though imperfect.

And the God who gives this love is perfect love Himself. He proved it 2000 years ago when He was manifested in His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, who paid the required price demanded for sinful men and women who couldn’t pay it themselves. God’s law requires 100% obedience – no lying, no stealing, no thought murder or sexual lust.  Only Jesus lived a sinless life that completely met God’s law-keeping.

And only Jesus was qualified to pay for sins by receiving God’s wrath and judgment. A Roman crucifixion was in God’s plan for this redemption, and that plan also included a rising from the dead and ascension to sit as eternal King and Lord of His church in heaven.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


Staten Island Road Fog Tele 15 Cranes

It’s dark and cold. Frost bites the cul-de-sac as my car leaves the garage and heads north through deserted streets while most of Stockton sleeps. Lighted signs and streetlights color the way in the darkness. The birds are waiting, standing ankle deep in wintry water, waking to the blaring chorus of geese.

A few stars dance as dawn begins its daily ritual beyond the Sierra. Layers of fog embrace sleeping vineyards and kiwi fields along the way. Ranchers and farmers are breakfasting on eggs and toast. The cranes are thinking about preening and spreading their wings, but that would have to wait for more light.

I can barely see the pinkish vapor cloud above the Lodi wastewater treatment plant west of Thornton Road. One cloud blankets another. Flag City lights adorn the lines of sparkling big rigs as I drive through. Denny’s is busy. The lube place is closed. It’s six thirty five. I’ll be turning onto Staten Island Road about six fifty. Sunrise is at seven sixteen.

I drive between the Interstate and vineyards. The smell of dairy mixes with the heater air. Dozens of calves stand beside their plastic igloos, waiting to eat. It’s 31 degrees outside. I already ate my banana and tossed the peel in front of the passenger seat. It’s 71 degrees inside. The birds are waking, waiting to pose for a few photographers.

The little town of Thornton greets me once again. Porch lights, street lights, bakery lights – all welcoming this Saturday morning traveler. The fire department has decorated its four doors with Christmas lights all around in double rows. Simple fare for a simple town. The Psychic Shop chose to remain in the dark. The sound of geese calling is getting louder as I would soon hear for myself.

Staten Island Road is a straight, dead-end stretch of road just to the east of the Sacramento River near Walnut Grove. A single line of utility poles march along the narrow, unlined and rutted asphalt. The wires sport hanging bird warning markers with round red targets in four inch triangular frames. This is a bird sanctuary in the middle of ag country. Cattle roam the narrow fields to the west. The land on the east side is farmed, then cut, then flooded for the thousands of birds that will winter here.

Fog shrouds the few birds I can barely see as the sun rises. They silhouette in a dreamy world that is starting to color with a pink/gold hue. My best pictures will be of the sun covered in rising geese, their blackened forms crisscrossing between my lens and that giant orb. Second best will be of the Sandhill cranes as they wingflap and banter before lift off. But I’m only guessing. I haven’t looked at the pictures yet. But I have high hopes on this shivering Saturday.

Photos here: Fog and Sun


Whistler’s Son

Dave and Dad SLO

Dad would always whistle when working
with his hands.
Lost in the 40’s somewhere,
Less than a dozen notes,
His favorite little symphonette.

I never asked about the name of the song.
I was a kid then,
And a kid didn’t ask his dad anything.

July 7, 2019

Dragon Breath



The pain is expected.
It has its routine,
like an ancient, circuit-flying dragon
that skims the forest’s brow
looking for familiar victims
to incinerate
with blazing breath.

Listen to the wings –
pushing dark skies,
cutting primal paths,
savoring the quest.

Brace for the flames –
flashing bright daggers,
burning their prey,
ministering death.

Embrace the shield –
covering wholly,
protecting perfectly,
deflecting the test.


June 2, 2019



My waking dreams have evolved over the years, thankfully. I used to struggle to get off the ground when flying, but now can effortlessly take flight in any situation.

This morning’s 2:30 adventure began in a young, expecting couple’s small and poorly lit living room, where (fuzzy here) an angel was mentioned, and I immediately and slowly levitated to the ceiling, bumping my head before gliding down and out of the door to my left. Making a turn, I headed toward a long, framed panel that looked out over a large lake. Approaching the 4′ x 4′ frames, I put out my hand, not knowing if they were glass, then flew right through one of them and over a blue lake.

Floating about 10′-20′ above the water, after about 10 seconds, I saw the white branches of a dead tree rising out of the water. It was about the size of a large sofa, and after flying over it, I turned around and started back, but very low above the water. I reached out and touched the closest branch while speeding by at a slow 10 mph or so. Past the tree were two 30′ wide and 10″ high areas of turbulence that I paid no attention to.

I thought it would be fun to fly low enough to ‘ski’ with my hands, and spray water in front of me. The scene changed and I found myself close to a shoreline with a few people and a building, probably a restaurant with windows all around it. The spray went far enough to drench all the windows when I passed by. A little farther, I saw a few men sitting on a porch in front of a house up a little hill, but my spray wouldn’t reach them. An old Studebaker (?) was parked at the curb of the street, though, and it received a good dousing.

Then I found myself flying over a tree-shaded, leaf-strewn road, maybe 40′ above it. I looked back, thinking authorities were following me. The road was flanked by overly large oak trees that I flew by. The atmosphere, road and trees all had a golden glow about them. My flight had no fear in it. I was only an observer.

With four men approaching (also in a flying ?), I headed behind a tree whose leaves were bokehed, impressionistic dots, flying up to a forked branch to hide while the men flew by about 50′ away (and a little higher than my position). The two sitting on the right didn’t see me, but the third man from the right did – the fourth, maybe.

Time to awaken from this lighthearted and light-headed entertainment.

In the Mood

Formal Dress Kids 1890s

Writing is one of those ‘in the mood’ passions for me.  ‘Good mood’ scribbling puts limits on quantity, but adds that indispensable measure of quality.   Poetry is on the easy list. Novels, not so much.

Novels require a perfunctory discipline that often leads to nothing much, literally.  They incorporate a First Commandment that is impossible for me to keep. “Thou shalt get alone, sit down, grab a drink of flavored water, turn the phone off, keep the dog and spouse on hold, then plunk on the keyboard for at least one half hour.” And for the weaker not-so-die-hards, the half hour changes to fifteen minutes.

Novels also require a Second Commandment that is harder for me to keep. “Thou shalt research thy subject matter ad nauseum.” Research, investigate, explore, elevate the relevant, plan your attack, outline your chapters, shed tears, shed more tears, learn to love your frustrations, throw away/delete more than what you keep, and above all, fight to that bitter end where you’ll finally be able to enjoy a smile.

Best to just give all of your material, thoughts, inspiration and aspiration to someone else who is an avowed masochist, and let them go for it.

One and Only

BirdingLodi 140mm 06

I learned something today.  I’m anti-social around strangers.  I would rather hoof it alone than gather with the ‘other.’  My xenophobia isn’t pronounced, but it reveals itself by degrees.  Differences in interests, worldviews, enthusiasm, knowledge – all contribute to this sense of not fitting in and an unwillingness to go with the flow.

Am I confessing a lack of love for others?  Probably.

I joined a group of birders this morning.  I’m much more a photographer than a birder, so that was strike one.  There was only one other photographer there, but his main interest was shooting birds, so that was strike two.  My hearing is pretty bad in the high frequency range, and I couldn’t clearly hear what everyone else was raving about, so strike three was inevitable.  Strike four capped it all: there was no port-a-potty on the trail!

Maybe there’s a streak of timidity in my creaking bones at this stage – a wide one.

Yeah, I know – there’s no strike four in baseball.