In the ink well

Dog Ear

December 7, 2023

Santa’s burly, dangerous helper (DOG EAR)

ookophiles, it’s nearly Christmas (or Xmas, which means, what, “Extreme Christmas”?) and you know what it’s time for again, don’t you? Yes, it’s time for putting antlers and even a red poofy nose on your FUV. Okay, let’s look at this. I can’t take credit for coining the “FUV” phrase. It came from “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on NPR. One of the guests slipped and said it and I made it my very own. An FUV (i.e. an SUV) is an oversized car, sometimes riding high on a heavy chassis, a total Americanization/Consumerization of the standard automobile. And, as […]
November 30, 2023

Sharp and Short (DOG EAR)

et’s talk about a media I really love – phones! I have to carry a phone originally because I ride a bike in the worst city in America to do so – Orlando, Florida. Here, people fly through stop signs, race too fast, corner without looking or signalling, and if they do crush a cyclist, the jury always lets them off. So yes, a couple of times I’ve ended up with a bent bike on the side of the road, calling for the wife to skyhook me home. Originally I didn’t share the number with anyone. It was my emergency […]
November 9, 2023

Out of the Box (DOG EAR)

was starting to gear up to assemble the winter issue of The Journal Box. This is a model train newsletter for the local region of the National Model Railroad Association. Years back, a friend of mine needed an editor (the entire publication had fallen off the face of the earth). So I agreed to step in and do it, even though I didn’t know anything about Microsoft Publisher. Slowly learned it and started assembling these quarterly, adding a bit of a whimsical touch and some jokes here and there as I filled the pages with layouts, news, and coverage of […]
November 2, 2023

Memories (DOG EAR)

ad a waking dream today. Woke up remembering a small game store in Cincinnati I went to in the mid-seventies. Small little shop on a twisty downtown street. My friends would pile into my old VW and rattle down there. In the packed shop with its game-stuffed shelves, little Marilyn (how we all had crushes on her) would talk about the latest games (and old favorites still in circulation). I’d nearly forgotten all about that. It’s strange, these little shops that the internet has rolled over. I remember when there were three hobby shops within two miles of my Orlando […]
October 19, 2023

Drug addict (DOG EAR)

his is a sad story. Recently I was at the La Mesa Club housed in the San Diego Model Railroad museum. I was there for one of their operations events, where they run their massive layout under 1950s methods, with written orders and manned stations. It’s not for the faint of heart or the impatient of mind – you can wait for hours and hours for a train, or even find yourself standing in a siding for an eternity. Also, I get cell phones and why they are so cool and convenient to have. My friend I went out there […]
October 5, 2023

My Thoughts on Curbside Libraries (DOG EAR)

uddenly Curbside Libraries are popping up all over the place. Since I tend to walk a lot, I’ll pass them often and nose in, seeing if there is anything interesting. I hate to say it, but judging America’s reading levels, it is pretty bleak. Most of the time, it is grim. Generally there are two things in these boxes – children’s books (not beloved classics, but just general teach-a-lesson books) and utility books (cookbooks, self-help books, etc). Really, this is what you people read? A few years back, I was riding my bike and came across a stack of books […]
September 21, 2023

Tooned out (DOG EAR)

ne of my guilty pleasure are Webtoons, specifically found on the site of that name (search for it). This is an avenue for artists to easily post up their comic strips so the reader can follow them and enjoy them. Some of them occasionally get turned into low-budget movies. If I were an artist (and not a writer) I might consider it. I have subscribed to a dozen of these which post on different days. My little guilty pleasure was to ride my bike into work, have a shower, get a cup of coffee and since I was the first […]
September 14, 2023

Junk Stories (DOG EAR)

‘m a student of media. I love all sorts of storytelling, from writing to joke-telling to chats with the barista at the local coffee house. My robot question is infamous. Stories aren’t only books or movies or shows. You can see stories everywhere. Even model railroading. On my own Tuscarora Branch Lines model railroad, I filled up a small siding area (a tiny triangle in something like a diagonal 5″ x 5″) with a junk yard. Specifically, Levine’s Iron and Metal, which exists in my locale (I drove by it but didn’t see it from the road, but I know […]
September 7, 2023

Ghost Story (DOG EAR)

his is one of those strange things that occur, noticeable if you keep your eyes open. So yeah, I busted my shoulder. And yeah, I needed physical therapy. I had to go three times a week for months. Usually the appointments were either at 7:30 am or 9:00 am (I preferred the latter since I could hang out at the coffee shop and gas-bag with the baristas). Today was my finial session. As usual, I start on this thing very much like a stationary bike, but you pedal with your arms instead of your legs. It’s a six-minute warmup, three […]
August 30, 2023

A rock and a hardback place (DOG EAR)

like paper books. Kindles are nice and all but give me a nice solid book to put on the coffee house table and I’m set. Even today, the woman collecting the dishes asked me if I was enjoying my book. I don’t think she’d ask if I faced the glow of a kindle screen. However, today was a bit of a quandary. I was in the death throes of The Hero of Ages, a nearly 600 page phone book that rounds out the MistBorn trilogy. I was close to having that mother done. And next up, another hardback (more modest at 300 pages […]