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Saturday, November 25, 2023

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Dragon Story Part Three

Dragon Story Part Three 

Read Part One Here:

Read Part Two Here:


Henry politely said, “Good morning,” and turned to begin the long trek home with the maple tree slung across his back.

“Halt. Worm!” the knight shouted.

Turning his head from side to side, he saw no worms on the ground. He asked, “Where?” thinking that it might be a nice little snack for his wife.

“You! You are the worm! Stand and meet your destiny.”

“I’ve never seen a destiny before. What is it?”

“Your destiny,” the knight informed him, “is to become a trophy on the wall of my castle.

“Why would I want to hang on a wall? And why would you want me to do that?”

“Well, you are a sort of a sorry-looking dragon. And your jacket is torn. But I’ve been searching high and low for a dragon for weeks on end, and you are the first and only dragon I have come across. It seems there are no other dragons to be found, so you will have to do.”

“I know of another dragon, one that would suit you much better.” Henry thought that this might solve his domestic problem without the hassle of a divorce. Surely the knight would frighten his wife, and she would run away, never to be seen again. Maybe she would even meet her destiny and hang on this knight’s castle wall. He wished he knew what a destiny was.

Henry stumbled here and there while leading the knight along the field toward his house. He stopped occasionally to adjust the maple tree when it ruffled his scales and made his back itch. Neither of them spoke along the way, but from time to time Henry let out a puff of smoke and the horse snorted at the smell of it. When the house came into sight, the knight spurred his horse and left Henry behind. The dust kicked up by the horse’s hoovers made him cough and sneeze.

As the knight approached the house, Mabel opened the door and came out to meet him. Henry sat on his haunches and watched the spectacle, for a thing to see it was. Mable shouted, “Who are you, little man? Did my lazy, good-for-nothing husband bring me a canned man for my breakfast?” Her inner fire rose from her gaping mouth, and the horse slid to a stop. The knight uttered a curse that will not be repeated, while the horse swung around and carried him back across the field at full tilt.

Henry sighed, picked up the maple tree and shuffled home.

“It’s about time you got home,” Mabel told him. “I’ve already been to the farmer’s market and traded a sheep’s fleece for a feast of eggs, potatoes and ham. Your breakfast is cold now, but you can heat it up yourself.”

Henry sighed, hoping that his weak inner fire would be up to the task of heating his food.

“Is that a maple tree?” she asked. “What a lovely gift! It will be for dessert after supper.” She smiled at her husband. Looking at him a bit more closely, she said, “Your jacket is torn. Pull it off, and I’ll mend it for you.”

Henry, for his part, decided that a divorce would not be necessary, since he would have a full belly, a mended jacket and a happy wife.


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Read Part One Here:

Read Part Two Here:


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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Dragon Story, part two


Dragon Story Part Two

NOTE: You can read Part One at

Henry Draco wondered who was riding a horse into the woods so early in the morning. Surely most humans would be sound asleep, unless they were out working in the fields. In either case, they would not be riding horses. Could it possibly be a knight? Or could it be a stray horse that somehow gotten out of the barn or the paddock? Well, whoever or whatever it was, it was no concern of his. Huffing and puffing, he passed between the trees and stopped from time to time to sniff the air in search of the sweet scent of maple sap.

At last he found one, a young maple with a trunk six inches across, mature enough to contain plenty of sap, but young enough to easily pull out of the ground and not too heavy to carry home. With a great grunt of effort, he pulled the trunk one way and the other, twisted it and pushed on it, until he heard the wonderful sound of the roots letting go of the dirt. He had just slung the maple tree over his back when the clopping of horse hooves began to sound faster and louder than before.

He wondered what Mabel would say when he presented her with his gift. He never knew how she would react, whether she might be angry or pleased. Well, in any case, he had done his duty and found something to eat. Now to trace his steps back and get out of the woods. He simply could not remember the way he had come. Turning this way and that, he searched for any familiar landmark, but he had to conclude that he was lost. Not one to give up easily, Henry decided to pick a direction and walk until he got somewhere. Perhaps he ought to head toward the sound of the clopping horse. Yes, he said to himself, that horse would not be in the woods. Horses liked to run, and it was much too difficult to run among all these trees.

His plan worked out well enough, for when he emerged from the woods he saw the horse running toward him, with a knight astride. “Halt!” the knight shouted. He held a lance upright, pointed toward the sky, so Henry did not feel threatened. Well, he was a little nervous.

“Dragon,” the knight addressed him, “what happened to your jacket?”

Puzzled, Henry looked down at his jacket and inspected the sleeves. Sure enough, the sleeve that had caught on a cedar branch was torn and dirty. “Just a little scuffle with a pesky knight,” he said, hoping that this would inspire some respect from his adversary. Knights, after all, had a habit of slaying dragons. Henry Draco had no desire to die this morning, least of all to die with an empty belly, and the knight seemed serious about getting a trophy.

“I’ve been looking for such a challenge,” the knight told him, “but frankly you are not a very presentable trophy. In fact, your scales are dull, chipped and cracked. Perhaps you can lead me to a more acceptable specimen, and then I won’t have to settle for your head on my wall.”

Henry considered this offer, but the only other dragons who knew lived miles away. Then he thought again. Perhaps this would help him to escape death and become a bachelor again. “I know,” he said, “a most beautiful dragon who live just over that rise.” He pointed in the direction of his house, where Mabel was probably fussing and fuming because they had no food in their larder. “Follow me!” he shouted as he took off at a comfortable lope, the maple tree bouncing on his back and dragging on the ground. It was a tall tree, several feet longer than his back, so it slowed his pace as he traveled toward home.

Read part three here:


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Dragon story, part one

 This little fantasy presents an ordinary dragon who suffers under the domination of a nagging wife. This is only the first part of the story. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon. 

Dragon story, part one 

One morning Henry Draco awoke with a vague sense of foreboding. When he reached toward the bedside table and fumbled for his eyeglasses, Mabel Draco grumbled and turned over. 

"You idiot," she hissed. "You left them on the mantle!" 

Henry's green scales rattled as he sat up and dangled his legs over the side of the bed. A great yawn issued forth from his mouth, tinged with just a little puff of smoke from his internal fire. He slipped on his house shoes, which he kept beside the bed, and rose to his feet. His poor eyesight made it difficult for him to navigate, but after twice walking into the door frame, he managed to go into the living room. He stumbled to the fireplace and clutched his eyeglasses, which were on the mantle, as his wife had said. He wondered how she knew where they were, when he himself did not know. Was she psychic or something? 

Mrs. Draco grumbled loudly from the bedroom, where she lay half asleep on the mattress which she had made herself by stuffing the feathers she had taken from many swans and geese and ducks into a soft linen bag. 

Henry plodded into the kitchen and opened the pantry, which he found mostly empty. They had a box of cornmeal, a canister of salt and not much more. 

"I'm hungry!" Mrs. Draco roared. "Go out and get me something to eat!" 

Henry sighed, pulled his coat off the hook near the door, and stepped outside. 

"And don't slam the door again!" his wife screamed. 

Apparently, he had a habit of annoying his wife. He wondered how she put up with him, and more, he wondered why she didn't leave him. Oh, how he treasured peace and quiet, how he longed to be a bachelor again. A divorce would be easy, since they had no young dragons to provide for, but he lacked the motivation, or perhaps the nerve, to pack his bag and leave her. 

Henry decided to go into the woods and find a maple tree. That would satisfy Mabel's sweet tooth, and then maybe she would settle down and stop hissing at him. On the other hand, she did like a pot of meat. Henry felt a flutter in his belly and a slight shiver down the scales of his spine. He did not like killing things, so he decided that a maple tree would have to do until Mabel decided to go out and hunt something down. 

Henry Draco lumbered down the winding dirt road to the edge of the forest. When he tried to squeeze between two cedar trees, his jacket snagged on a low limb. He shook himself, sending up a cloud of dust from between his scales, and pulled himself free. As he passed among the oaks, pines and cedars in search of a maple tree, he began to hear the distant clopping of horse hooves.
You can red part two here: 


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Snowed in

 We've been snowed in for ten days in beautiful downtown Crestline. I have major cabin fever, but I'm okay. I have heat, light and plenty of food. Also good friends and neighbors. 


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Overlooked Masterpiece: Radio Free Albemuth

Why do many film critics and Philip K. Dick aficionados overlook John Alan Simon's thoughtful interpretation of the first and best VALIS novel into film? Radio Free Albemuth (2010) is actually a gem of a movie, which suffers unfairly from its low budget and lack of promotion. 

Radio Free Albemuth was actually the first VALIS novel that Philip K Dick wrote, and in my opinion it is the best of that trilogy. His agent returned the manuscript with a note saying that it would never sell, so Phil wrote a second version and a third, both of which the agent returned with the same message: This will never sell. That was in the three years spanning 1974 through1977, and the market for his work improved over time. 

After Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner went into production in 1981, publishers soon found an interest in publishing the VALIS novels. By the time the film was released in theatres in 1982, Phil had tragically died of a stroke followed by a heart attack. Those in charge of his estate wanted to release a VALIS trilogy, but they knew nothing about the first novel, which Phil had called VALIS before changing the title to Radio Free Albemuth. In search of a suitable third volume of the trilogy, they settled on The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, which really does not belong. 

So, without that stamp of official approval as part of the VALIS trilogy, the novel languished. The film similarly fell under the radar of most fans and film critics. Despite the low budget, which was funded by producer-director John Alan Simon and his wife, along with a few others, the film features a brilliant cast. Shea Wigham stars as Phil, with Jonathan Scarfe as Nick Brady, and Katheryn Winnick as Rachel Brady. Alanis Morissette shines as Sylvia Aramchek. All the cast members agreed to work for union scale in this low-budget venture, since they believed in the project enough to take less money than usual for their work. 

Like the novel, the film suffered from its lack of pubic connection with VALIS.  What a shame! Despite the changes necessary when translating the written word into a visual medium, Radio Free Albemuth represents the most faithful interpretation of the work of Philip K. Duck that has ever shone its lights in a movie theatre. 



wish list, I wanta get cooking

 I need a little help to set up my kitchen for doing some cooking videos, so I set up my wish list on Amazon. This will also help me to expa...