Why-Q: Do we care how ‘smart’ our dogs are?

Miles the dog is crazy smart, with an emphasis on the crazy. If he channeled the brainpower he otherwise devotes to locating food and molecular remnants of food, he could probably cure cancer. In his 12 years on this planet, Miles has learned how to open just about every type of door that may conceal... Continue Reading →


The tail of another year

For all the idiocy and death jammed into it, 2016 seemed an especially fleet year. Maybe it was the leap day. Per Thomas Mann in The Magic Mountain, I neither celebrate 2016’s demise nor 2017’s arrival: “Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce... Continue Reading →

Love and peace to everyone

I heard the howls on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat Of treats on Earth, good will toward men. (Art and words by Anthony Groen. Apologies to The Beach Boys, Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, The Jackson 5, The Chipmunks and David Seville, and Ray Charles.)

Love won’t keep us together

In the wake of the national embarrassment/lurking catastrophe that is President-elect Donald Trump, I have much admiration for those who preach “healing,” “coming together” and “loving one another despite our differences,” all, incidentally, the same types of sentiments we spew after a mass shooting or act of terrorism. I tried to follow in their path,... Continue Reading →

A tread balloon

Remember how cool balloons seemed when you were a little kid? So vibrant and bouncy and celebratory. Versatile enough to carry aloft everything from postcards to people. The integral exterior of water bombs. Shape-shifting putty in the hands of creepy clowns. Exceptional conductors of static electricity, and thus excellent destroyers of your mom’s or sister’s hard-fought... Continue Reading →

Thank dogs for insulin (and, OK, Banting too)

Monday’s Google doodle promoted the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, a figure without whom our beloved Miles the gluttonous, diabetic dog would likely not be preparing to celebrate his 12th birthday. Banting shared the 1923 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the “discovery” of insulin with John Macleod, a biochemist and professor whose role in the... Continue Reading →

Misty mountain slop

We took the precautionary measure of spending the last Saturday before Election Day in nature. I fear for our public lands with a Trump White House and Republican Congress; I envision forests of failed casino-hotels and fields of fracking rigs (the latter of which will be accompanied by earthquakes that are totally natural and coincidental;... Continue Reading →

Hip to be Square Top Mountain

Colorado’s Guanella Pass offers access to expansive wilderness, stunning scenery and a series of breath-taking peaks over 12,000 feet. I generally avoid it as if it’s a radioactive, viral hot zone amid an oil spill that spawned irradiated, plague-carrying, high-viscosity zombies. The pass is accessible by road for only part of the year, and it... Continue Reading →

October leaves, a lot to be desired

After we finished raking for the third time in three weeks, I wrenched my spine back into position and looked up at the crown of our productive crabapple tree. At least three depth-charge-size trash bags’ worth of leaves still clung to the branches. I thought of Robert Frost’s October: “O hushed October morning mild, Thy... Continue Reading →

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