Tuesday, March 30, 2010


"I'm not trying to come down hard on C.C., but I am, you know? Somebody really needs to call her out."
College aged female to another college aged female, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

"Dude, where's my money?!?!"
Male in his mid-twenties speaking on his cell phone, Post Office, Idyllwild, CA


This afternoon we went off the hill to run an errand, but our van was completely out of gas. So we stopped by the overpriced gas station here in Idyllwild to put in enough to guaranty sufficient fuel to see us to a more reasonably priced gas station down off the mountain.

Who doesn't play this game? I always try and get it to land perfectly on an even dollar amount. My heart started beating a little faster when I saw "9.70" on the digital readout- "71, 72, 73...85, 86, 87... 94, 95, 96... LET GO!"

$10.00 even.

It was very satisfying.

Friday, March 26, 2010



You will only be as good a parent as you are a spouse?


"I know what she' thinking, but what the f***? It'd be good for a while and then I'd find out what she's really like, she'd find out what I'm like, and then s***, it'd be all f***** up. You know? I almost like it more how it is now, all flirty and s***. I'm just being honest with you, but yeah, I know what she's thinking."

Male, early to mid-twenties, Village Market, Idyllwild, CA

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The 2010 elections, which just yesterday looked like a promising stop-gap against President Obama's disastrous ambitions, now look like too little too late. I am disheartened. What can be done? Is this irreversible?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Benjamin Drye of Apartment 1B in the Uxbridge Apartments on Ruby Street, was the sort of fellow that everyone was aware of, but nobody knew. He had a sticky smile and greasy hair. He tended to talk to himself as he walked along. Sometimes, late at night, a sudden, shrill burst of laughter would tell his neighbors that he was walking past, and if they had bothered to go to the window they would have seen that he was walking quite alone, engrossed in animated conversation with an invisible companion.

Another oddity, In good weather or bad, and in every season, he always wore a tired, old Red Sox jacket. In the four years since he had taken up residence on Ruby Street no one had ever seen him separated from his jacket. There was little doubt that he was soft in the head, but he seemed harmless enough, so he was left alone.

Inside Apartment 1B, Benjamin Drye double checked to make sure the door was locked and the curtains were drawn. He turned off the lights and retrieved a flashlight, which had been attached magnetically to the side of the refrigerator, and with one more furtive glance toward the windows and door, he opened the freezer and removed a shoe box, wrapped in tin foil, which had been carefully hidden beneath boxes of frozen, french-cut green beans. He set the shoe box down reverently on the counter next to the refrigerator, and, with flashlight in hand, he opened the lid. Wide-eyed, he gazed on the precious treasure which he had painstakingly accumulated over four years on Ruby Street. Bottle caps, hundreds of them, filled the box two-thirds full. A broad grin spread across his face as he took it in. Then, fishing a grubby hand into the pocket of his Red Sox jacket, he produced three more, which he let drop into the box one at a time.




Friday, March 19, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


L’Asile De Fou, 1273 La Rue Martrand, Paris, France

December 12, 1972

Marie Robetois, the sole survivor of Jogues Valley, sat silently in the drowsy room waiting for a group of reporters from Le Monde. Light spilled in through the generous floor to ceiling windows which ran along the eastern side of the room facing the street. An orderly sat on a bench just inside the door, but otherwise Marie was alone. She didn’t mind. She was used to being alone. The reporters were late, but Marie didn’t mind, she was used to waiting.

Somewhere distant, a door swung open and the sound of approaching feet replaced the sleepy silence. The orderly got up and stepped out into the hallway.

Marie remained seated- her face inscrutable.

Reporters and photographers, five of them, filed into the room and the orderly directed them to sit in chairs, which had been arranged in a line in front of Marie.

The orderly addressed the assembled men, reading a prepared introduction from an index card, “This is Marie Robetois, believed to be 33-37 years old, daughter of Jean and Lucille Robetois, originally of Andelot. She is the only known survivor of Jogues Valley. You have been granted a half hour to interview her. If Marie becomes upset or violent I have been directed to terminate the interview immediately. Understand?”

The assembled journalists and photographers nodded their heads in unison as they produced pads of paper, recording devices and cameras. The first to pose a question was a short, sour looking man, whose press credentials identified him as Marc Vasic. “Marie, what happened to the rest of the people who were stranded in the valley?”

“There were voices in the sand. You should really ask them,” said Marie in a flat monotone, her eyes fixed on Vasic’s shoes.

Vasic, sounding slightly agitated, rephrased the question in a slow steady voice, as though he were talking to a child, “Marie, where did they go? The others?”

“I don’t know where they went, but I know where they are,” came Marie’s answer, still speaking in a monotone and staring at his shoes.

“You know where they are?”

“You should ask the voices, the voices in the sand.”

“You know where they are?”

“Yes, but not where they went.”

“What does that mean?”

“You should ask the voices, the voices in the sand.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I think there was a time in our society when a larger percentage of the population could have made the claim that they too had punched a man in the face. Perhaps in some neighborhoods the percentage is sadly higher today than ever before, but I think that, taken as a whole, it is a rare claim in today's America to have done so.

I have punched a man in the face.

I'm not exactly proud of it, but, at the same time, I am not ashamed of it either. It wasn't in anger. It was justified and I would definitely do it again if I had to.

Of course, it happened while I was a police officer. I have never struck a person as a private citizen. (**I have to apologize for all of the police stories. I have been out of that job for longer than I was ever in it, but still it was a vivid and interesting time in my life.**)

I had parked my cruiser behind the police department and was getting my paperwork and equipment together to go in and do a little office work before heading home for the day. Noticing movement out of the corner of my eye, I glanced up and saw another officer escorting a man with hands cuffed behind his back towards the rear door of the police department .

Now I'm not criticizing this other officer. What happened to him could have and, frankly, should have happened to me several times over. It was common practice on the part of some officers, myself included, to allow our prisoners a smoke before taking them inside. This demonstrated that we were reasonable and human, and in most cases, this small kindness, made the prisoner less disagreeable and more cooperative over the next few hours of paperwork, processing and such. The only problem was that he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, which made smoking difficult. So I watched with half an eye as my fellow officer took off one of the man's handcuffs so that he could move his hands around and handcuff him again with his hands in front. It all looked pretty routine to me (although, in retrospect, he was practicing some pretty sloppy technique in controlling his prisoner) but before he could reapply the handcuffs the man suddenly jerked his arm away and took off running.

Right toward me!!!

He looked surprised when I jumped out of my cruiser directly in front of him. He didn't know I had been there watching. I think that even if he had wanted to stop or change direction inertia and the icy conditions of the parking lot would not have let him. He was barreling along, and I was in the way of freedom.


He did a crazy thing then, I think he was just hopped up on adrenaline (and whatever else) and kind of lost his head, but he started swinging the loose end of his handcuffs like a weapon as he closed in on me. That's felonious my friends! Truly, I would have been justified in shooting him for it. I didn't think about that at the time though. I just instinctivey hauled off and hit him right square in the face. It wasn't like in the movies though. I'm sure that it didn't look cool, and it felt pretty ineffuectual, like it landed with all of the force of a marshmallow. I certainly didn't lay him out or anything like that. My hand glanced off his cheek and along his left ear as our chests, his surging and mine stationary, collided. We were both thrown off balance. He fell to one knee and I landed against the side of my cruiser. As he tried to scramble back up onto his feet I grabbed his jacket and the other officer caught up with him. We all went down into the slushy parking lot together and a few seconds later he was back in custody and I was left with soggy knees, shaky hands, and a heart that was threatening to beat right out of my chest. You feel all weak and wobbly after a fight like that- like you forget how to walk.

Beware the man who possesses complete composure after a fight- that only comes with too much practice.

So there you have it. I have hit a man in the face. Have you? I'd like to hear your story.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I will be preaching at Idyllwild Bible Church on Easter morning- April 4th. I'm pretty excited about it.

ARTS AND CRAFTS with Josh Tate

Last night a raccoon lumbered across some soft, wet sand at a construction site here at Camp Maranatha. My friend, Keith, told me about them this morning and I decided to make a plaster cast of the tracks to add to the camp's collection. I hope someday to put them together into a display for the camp. All of the tracks are from the camp's property, which is kind of neat.
The first thing you need to do is make a rough form, like so.
You'll also need some plaster of paris, cooking spray, a bucket and a stirring stick.
Place the form around the track. Press it down into the sand so that the liquid plaster can't escape under the form.
Spray a light film of cooking spray over the track.

Mix the plaster (two parts plaster to one part water). The plaster will set pretty quickly so you'll have to move quickly to pour it into the form. If the plaster is too watery it'll wash away portions of the track, and if it is too thick the result won't be very well defined.
Wait about an hour for the plaster to set before picking it up. This will allow it to cure and harden.
At first it will look like this. As it dries much of the sand will fall off and the tracks will be clearer.

I keep my tracks in this locker down in my office.

Mountain Lion.



Mule deer.
Hopefully soon I'll have all of the tracks I need for the display. I'm still trying to get a good coyote and California quail sample.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I'm cheating a little in this installment of "MY SHOES," as these are not truly shoes at all. I think we would all agree though that slippers at least belong in the shoe family, right?

Anyway...Sarah bought these for me for my birthday back in January, and I love 'em!

I have had a warm spot in my heart for slippers ever since I was a little boy and my Mom used to knit me and my siblings a new pair sometimes for Christmas. Those slippers were really cool, Mom! Of course, being made of yarn, they wore out pretty quickly, but I really liked them. So when Sarah got me a pair of slippers for my birthday I was pretty stoked.

I think these slippers look kind of classy too- like you should wear them with real pajamas and a bathrobe as you step out in the morning to retrieve the paper from the sidewalk. They're great for puttering around the house on a lazy morning too. For some reason they kind of remind me of my great-uncle Don. I think he used to own a pair just like them. I like that too.


Like any revolution, March is messy. When I lived in Vermont, March was the month when Winter, the old tyrant, finally started to lose its grip, and Spring began its uprising. The swollen streams would surge along past flooded fields like a raucous, peasant rabble, and the exiled robins returned to pull worms from the mud and prophesy the coming day of liberation.

It rained.

In March, winter became more cruel as all despots will when faced with being ousted. Warm days, when the snowbank steamed, were followed by snow and the sort of cold that felt like a brutal crackdown. Slush and mud took the place of gore on the battlefield of March. Spring always won in the end, of course, it always does, but victory wouldn't come until April. March was always the last, miserable gasp of Winter's reign.