Wandering Mind…

The dogs are wondering what happened to my vividness, and so am I. Seems like this dumb cold is two steps forward and one step back — but that’s still progress. I also wonder at this point if it is a cold, with the inaccuracy of home Covid tests being the stuff of legend. And then I think, “Yeah, but all you can do in either case is wait it out.” Still it’s pretty amazing what our bodies do to get rid of something that doesn’t belong. This is war.

In my recent talk with the bot — ChatGPT — over writing a piece of dystopian fiction in which corporations and their machines take over the world and ultimately destroy human life, I wanted to talk to it about whether anything in nature — such as humans — could ever create something that was completely OUT of nature or if anything humans made would, in some way, always come to resemble natural forms and processes in the way complicated highway systems looking like — and operate like — an animal’s circulatory system.

It was up for the idea because it’s a bot, and it’s programmed to be up for the ideas humans bring to it. I suggested that even the machines of the future would ultimately evolve into something reminiscent of their human creators and that even the fact that the machines had killed all the humans was a very human behavior. The bot took this under advisement and didn’t throw out the idea because, well, it couldn’t.

That’s a story I’m unlikely to write. I have read and enjoyed science fiction since I was a kid, but it’s not my thing to produce. Putting the jig-saw puzzle of the future together in fiction doesn’t interest me as much as the jig-saw puzzle of the past. I guess the closest I will ever come to writing science fiction would be the Saga of Lamont and Dude which seems to have petered out after several hundred posts and Lamont dying and coming back as an albatross.

Speaking of the jig-saw puzzle of the past, this photo of my grandma came up today in my Facebook memories.

In this photo she seems to be filling a barrel from a well. The two draught horses will pull it back to the house so my grandma can (my mom told me) do her laundry.

Anyway, that’s how my mom explained it to me, but when I enlarge it, I am not sure. The photo is some 90 years old, and its events are already so distant to me that I, her granddaughter, have “no idea what’s going on.” You have wonder about the car — whose car is it? I know it wasn’t my grandparents’ car. Neither of them ever drove. What’s it doing there?

It looks like this was once a pretty nice farm — big, beautiful barn, not that old, nice tight, hen house. But there are fenceposts with no fences and boards lying around everywhere. Why? Some look to be impromtud walkways over seasonal mud, but that’s just a guess. There’s a wagon parked against the hen house. Even putting a story together around this one picture would be pretty difficult. I know where, though. The high plains of south-central Montana.

So, if my mom was right — and I suspect she was because she lived this — the fact that I won’t have a fully functional laundry room until week after next is no big hardship.

P.S. What I know about this photo for sure: The photo was taken during the depression. It was a drought and dustbowl in Montana but to a lesser extent than in Oklahoma and other places. I think high winds happened a lot, too (and still do). I suspect the farm was semi-abandoned, maybe taken back by the bank???? My grandfather was a tenant farmer, and he could’ve been working it (poorly) for whoever owned it. Their house on that place was half-log, half-sod. Awful. They were extremely poor.

Lamont and Dude Discuss Tar

“What are you doing here?”

“You forgot. I can fly.”

“Lamont, seriously. What are you going to do while I’m working all day in a shipping container?”

“What do I ever do? Observe the passing parade. That kind of thing.”

“Wouldn’t you be happier back at the beach?”

“I can go back any time. We albatross can fly miles and miles with little or no effort, and pretty fast, too.”

“But the tar pit…”

“Been there. Done that.”


“You just go on about your work. I’m going to go talk to the fellows outside. Nothing like trash to bring in the gulls, am I right?”

“You usually are. Awright. Just stay OUT of the water. You KNOW what happens.”

“Are you going to be dressing up later in your Smilodon suit? I always wanted to see that.”

“I don’t know. Depends.”

“On what?”

“If there’s a school group coming. I don’t know yet and I’m late. You…. OH never mind.”

“I made you angry. Oh, Dude, I just have this feeling that I need to stick close to you.”

“I know.”

“No good deed, etc.”

“I know. Just stay out of the tar.”

“I’m a lot more acquadynamic than I was as mastodon, you know.”

“Yeah, well, be that as it may, don’t test it. I’m not going in there to save you.”

“Been there, done that too, right Dude?”

“Shut up. I have work to do.”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with several years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Dude Tries to Go to Work

“Well, Lamont, I guess this is some kind of weird fate that I’m going to live with an albatross in this two bedroom beach house.”

“You don’t like it, Dude? I thought I’d be good company.”

“You’re pretty messy, Lamont. I can’t believe you don’t want to live with the other albatrosses on the beach.”

“Problem is, Dude, I can’t. My albatross brain has imprinted to you. Birdbrains, you know? Besides you know what they say, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’. I don’t know if I ever thanked you.”

“No. But you’re welcome anyway.”

“You going out?”


“With your board?”

“I have to go to work today. It’s been weeks since I turned up at the museum. Lucky for me they’re an understanding bunch, and when I told them I’d taken in an orphaned albatross, they just thought I was deeply and environmentally cool and gave me a paid leave of absence.”

“From the Smilodon suit?”

“That and the research, you know, scrapping tar off bones to find out what they are.”

“Right. Well, when do we leave?”

“Lamont, you can’t come with me. You’re going to have to go out there on the beach with the other albatrosses when I’m at work.”

“That’s terrifying.”

“Why? You might find out you like them.”

“What do I say to them?”

“Maybe just shut up for once and listen. Find out what albatrosses think about, what worries them. Learn how to be an albatross because you’re going to be an albatross for the duration, Lamont.”

“I know what they think about. Just like the rest of us. ‘Mate, spawn and die.’ What else is there? When will you be home?”

“I dunno. 7 ish. You going to have dinner ready for me? No no no, never mind, just kidding. Please don’t bring dinner.”

“Images of fish guts just flashed through your mind didn’t they, Dude? I don’t see why I can’t come with you. I’ll be quiet.”

“It’s dangerous. You’ll be drawn to the water in that pond and let me tell you, you DON’T want to go there.”

“I’ve BEEN there, or have you forgotten? Thanks to you.”

“Let it go, Lamont.”

“Is there a dumpster?”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past iterations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

My response to the Rag Tag Daily Prompt today — bottle — is a link to the first episode of Lamont’s and Dude’s adventures.

Dude — and Lamont (RIP?) Investigate Avian Health

“Hale and hearty.”


“That albatross of yours. No one has ever brought in an albatross before. How in the world?”

“It’s a long story. I found him orphaned on the beach. He more or less adopted me.”

“Doesn’t sound much like an albatross to me. They’re pretty fierce and independent beasties. You never saw his parents?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Well he’s in good shape. He’ll fledge soon. Look at those wings!”

“I know. I just hope he…” Something kept Dude from finishing his sentence. His plans to open his house as an Air BNB had been stopped in their tracks by this bird. One thing an albatross does very well is poop. Who would want to stay in a place where — no matter how hard the owner worked — was covered in albatross poop?


“Oh my. That’s an understatement. And I almost lost my job! I had to stay home and…”

“Chew up sardines for him?”

“Exactly. Now he’s more on his own.”

“Well, if I were a parentless baby albatross, I would want you for my parent, that’s for sure.”

“Does he need shots or anything?”

“He’s an albatross.”

“Right. Thanks doc. C’mon Lamont.”

It was a joke, or meant to be. Dude had no idea he’d hit on the truth. The bird flapped it’s almost useful wings and got up on Dude’s shoulder and they headed to the car.

“Took you long enough.”


“Long enough. I thought you’d recognize me right away.”

“I’m really losing it,” thought Dude. “First the whole Covid debacle and the lock down. Then Lamont kicking it courtesy of a dune buggy. And now I think an albatross is talking to me?”

“I am.”


“Humans forgot all the communication methods since they invented that short form, language. Nothing but vague gestures in the direction of communication. I see that now — again. I am so glad I’m a bird this time.”

“I’m losing my mind,” thought Dude. “I’ve wandered into the yellow miasma of madness.”

“You’re fine, Dude, I mean for you. Sorry I’ve been such a bother and thanks for all the fish. I know you wanted to rent out my room.”

“It would’ve brought in a little something, Lamont.”

“Are you strapped for cash, Dude?”

“No, I’m OK, but inflation and, well, you know.”

“Actually, I don’t know. I’m a bird and I only hatched a few weeks ago.”

“Right. How did you find me?”

“I have no idea. How do we keep finding each other? Big mystery, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m glad I’m not human this time. This is going to be great. Did you know an albatross can fly thousands of miles? That’s going to be great. I was trying to remember the last time I was a bird. How about you?”

“I don’t know if I ever was a bird.”

“It’s a lot like being a velociraptor but with wings, not that my wings work yet, but thanks to your care I wasn’t run over by one of the life guard’s jeeps on the beach. I have a chance of taking to the air! Wheeeeee!”

“You were a cute chick.”

“That’s hilarious. It explains your attraction, though.”

Dude could swear the bird laughed.

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything. If you want to know more of the story, just search Lamont and Dude 🤣

Dude Makes a Friend

One Saturday morning, after he’d surfed a couple of perfect sets, Dude sat on the beach looking off into infinity collecting his thoughts before he headed to LA for work. As he sat there, minding his own business, fantasizing informally about mermaids and whether he should turn his house into an Air BNB, or sell it and move to LA and be closer to work, he felt a gentle poke on his lower back. He turned to see an albatross chick. “What?” was his first thought, then he remembered the bright red birthmark on his back. “Ah. I’m not mom, little guy. I don’t have anything. Where are your parents?”

The albatross cocked his head and lifted its tiny wings. It knew it should maybe fly away but it couldn’t. Dude sat beside it for a while and realized there was no mom and no dad for the little guy, not like Albatross parents were very interested in their chicks. They weren’t, but they did feed them. Dude stood up and took a few steps toward a pile of seaweed. The chick followed. “Looks like I have a family,” he sighed, wondering how to make a home for an albatross. “You guys are pretty independent,” he said to the bird. “Maybe you don’t really need me.” This albatross seemed unusually needy.

“Listen, little guy, I don’t think I can chew up some rotten fish and puke it into your mouth to keep you going. You need your parents.” But he went into the house and smashed up some sardines and fed them to the bird as well as he could given the bird’s instincts and Dude’s abilities.

After that, every morning, when he went out to surf, the albatross would be waiting. On his next trip to Costco, Dude stocked up on sardines. After all, his chick was growing.

Lamont (RIP) and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have (had) the unusual ability to remember many of their earlier incarnations which gives (gave) them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

RIP Lamont. Dude Surfs

The sun had barely broken the horizon, but Dude was already out there, waiting, ready. Since Lamont’s death he’d done a LOT more surfing. The museum at the Tar Pits had also opened since Covid had shut things down. Dude was getting out at dawn for a few rides before he had to drive to LA to sort bones and don his Smilodon costume for the kids.

Why Lamont had wanted to go down to Puerto Peñasco when they could have gone anywhere — and, for that matter, they lived on the beach! — was still a mystery to Dude. In a MOTORHOME for the love of God? A rented motorhome, “See America.”

“We’ve SEEN America, wouldn’t you say, Dude?” laughed Lamont as they took the keys from the rental agent. “In four dimensions.”

The next morning, as he was walking on Playa Bonita, pondering life, the universe and everything, Lamont was flattened by a dune buggy. The driver never stopped. Lamont’s last words? “Watch out, Dude. The Reaper’s driving a dune buggy. Well, see you later.” That was it. His life left his body, the vapor of the soul sped toward its next life.

Dude missed Lamont. After all, they’d been through a lot of lifetimes together, a fact that was a consolation but also, in its way, a curse. Who knew if Lamont would be back or when or, worse, as WHAT? Dude thought about that almost every day as he sorted bones. As he was all too aware, it was kill-or-be-killed out there in reality and one day’s dinner was the next day’s diner.

He looked to the west and saw a perfect swell heading his way.

Lamont (RIP) and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have (had) the uncanny ability to remember many of their previous incarnations which gives them an unusual perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Another Doggone Post

Bear is amazingly eloquent in her gestural language. Yesterday she came in wanting a walk. How do I know? She made eye contact then nodded toward the back door and made eye contact again. “Can’t do it, Bear. I just rode the bike to nowhere and as I rehab or whatever this thing, I’m not doing everything at once.” I think I’m “rehabbing” my hip but I don’t actually know what I’m doing. I just need a lot more exercise than I’ve been able to get since this showed up. It really affects my perspective on life the universe and everything when I can’t exercise. Bear “shrugged” and laid down on the floor by my feet.

Part of understanding Bear is related to the limited number of things she has to “tell” me. Part of it is having known her all her life. Part of it is that I probably taught her some of this — but not all. That said, she’s articulate, especially for a dog who isn’t all that verbally attuned. She has learned a LOT from Teddy who is.

Somewhere along the way, Teddy learned “Go to bed,” and it had to have been one of the other people he’s lived with, because I didn’t teach him that. Still, his verbal acuity is related to wanting physical contact. You can teach a dog a bunch of words but what they want is a closer bond with you. Words are just a way to get there. The only “trick” my dogs are rewarded for with food is coming in the house when I call them.

Dogs are usually easy for me to understand. People are more complicated (who knew???) and difficult to understand. Kids are OK, but grownups? Some how two dogs can meet and know immediately what’s going on with the other one. Two people meet? Confusion reigns instantly. If we had tails to drop when we’re unsure of a new contact or wag when we’re hopeful, if we were as open about our curiosity as our butt sniffing canine companion, or had giant teeth to rend and tear the enemy — and the other guy knows it — “Be nice or!!!” Maybe that was the whole philosophy behind the nuclear stockpile? The thing is, humans can devise bigger and bigger and “better” canine teeth. I don’t know.

Dogs aren’t perfect (who knew?) they even *lie. If Teddy wants another cookie he will ask to go out FOR NO REASON than to come in again (and get a cookie). Sometimes Bear follows him then turns around and looks at me with a face that clearly says, “Huh? Why?” and she comes right back. Cracks me up. She is the soul of integrity. Teddy ends up with a cookie and big hugs for coming back in and Bear for her sweet and honest soul.

*Teddy just told me he’s not lying. He really thought going out the back door and coming back was what I wanted him to do. He was just trying to make me happy and get a cookie. I accept that, even if he might be lying. He says manipulation isn’t the same as lying. I’m not going to argue with him.

Bear and Teddy telling me the mailman has come. It’s OK with Bear, but Teddy has some doubts.

Oh, some readers have asked about Lamont and Dude — the two fictional characters who remember many of their past incarnations — who haven’t been around in a while. Dude wrote and told me that last year, Lamont was run over by a Dune Buggy on the beach at Puerto Peñasco. Dude wanted me to remind Lamont’s many fans that they shouldn’t worry; Lamont will be back.

In the featured photo my friend Lois’ dog Shoe explaining how things work to puppy Bear.

Lamont and Dude Discuss Fire


“You’re a human, Lamont. You keep forgetting.”

“I never forget. If I did, I’d end up at the museum in LA dressed in a Wooly Mammoth suit performing for kiddies.”

“Ha ha. I’d take you down again, Lamont, and you know it. But what’s wrong with humans NOW???”

“I was reading an article here by a noted educator, in his own eyes, anyway, who says knowledge is created. What a dumb shit. The tools for acquiring knowledge might be created, but knowledge? It’s not a ‘creation’.”

“You need to surf more and read less, Lamont. I’ve told you that about a million times. It would really make this human iteration a lot more pleasant. Isn’t that the whole point of these iterations? To enjoy life and then die?”

“That’s your philosophy, Dude?”

“Well, yeah. What else is there? Being human in this iteration living in this particular place isn’t what I’d call a nightmare. And, remember; there are always asteroids. You know that, I know that, and all of this — ocean and all — is inflammable.”

“Water isn’t inflammable.”

“If the perp is an asteroid, everything is flammable.”

“Not exactly. And an asteroid isn’t exactly a ‘perp’.”

“You’re going to argue this, Lamont? Seriously? Vita brevis. Asteroid, Smilodon, Bear, whatever. There’s an end to the road. I’m heading out. The waves are breaking clean and high. You want to come?”

“Sure. Let me get my board.”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude Ponder Sand

“Hey Lamont! The Sand Snowman should be done today. They finished the Sand Christmas Tree yesterday.”

“You don’t see anything strange about that? Consider how many people passing that creation have never seen a real snow man?”

“Yeah, so what? Have you?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been wondering about that, how many iterations I don’t remember and why I just remember those I, well, those I do. I do remember the Ice Age, a couple of times. The good time and the bad time.”

“Oh I guess the ‘bad time’ was the one where my family took you down at the Tar Pits?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Oh Lamont. Sometimes it’s difficult enough with the memories we DO have. Think about it. Because of the persistence of memory, you, for example, you look askance on all human revelry. It might be fun to go out there and enjoy the lighting of the Sand Snowman or the Sand Christmas Tree. Just because it’s NOW doesn’t make it less of a party.”

“You’re right, Dude. I don’t dispute that at all. If I could enjoy it, I would. But I don’t. That kind of facile, systematic, seasonal joy seems contrived.”

“It IS contrived, but it still might be fun. It’s a human thing to have these traditions and seasonal way-stations.”

“Signaling the ever closer approach of our mortality. Do they think about THAT when Santa throws candy from a parade float? No. All this — whether it’s sand or snow — is just a reminder that we are temporary fixtures on this planet. Before long, Mother Ocean will come in and undermine the Sand Snow Man and the Snow Tree but long before THAT they will have been forgotten. Humans are fickle.”

“Joy is in the moment, Lamont. Drag it out too long it just becomes an orgy or a war.”

“Good point, Dude.”

“But, since you’re such a downer this morning, I’m going to catch some waves. Wanna’ come? It might cheer you up.”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude Discuss Human Limitations

“Where you going, Dude?”

“Meeting up at the museum.”

“OH! Does that mean your second iteration as a Smilodon — albeit this time only a costume — is about the recommence?”

“Could be. I don’t know. I just hate that they have meetings on Saturdays. I don’t see why. The museum is busy as hell on Saturdays.”

“You keep expecting rationality from this particular group of humans.”

“You’re thinking that’s irrational?”

“Yeah, but you know, we’re part of this groups so…”

“Good point. And strangely tolerant from you.”

“I’ve had the last year or so to think about this species of which we find ourselves.”

“Do you think humans have ever been more rational?”

“No. I was reading about the Black Death. They did everything they could to make it go away, but they didn’t know HOW to make it go away. But, to their credit, they did what they knew. And they didn’t know shit, Dude. There were painters back then who painted against the Black Death. What’s a painting going to do?”

“Ah. You’re humbled, Lamont. I never imagined.”

“Take it from me, Dude. 99% of what people do they do just to get from day to day. That’s it. Like this Black Friday business. What’s that about?”

“Oh stores think they might finally make some money.”

“Consumerism is a way of getting through the day. That’s all it is and then there’s that brief moment when they have gotten something and they have a kind of buyer’s high — you know what that is, Dude? Think back to the good old days.”

“Sure I know what that is. It’s how I felt when my family and I drove you into the tar pits.”

“I’m sure you did but then? Then? Tell me what happened Dude.”

“I don’t really feel like it. I gotta’ go.”


“OK. I landed in the tar pits.”

“Heh heh heh. What goes around comes around.”

“Lamont, that wasn’t just whimsical killing. You were going to feed us for MONTHS. Smilodons starve too.”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.