1 December 2016

Someone – I think more than one person, probably several – keeps coming into our house and pouring water into our house plants. I believe they do it because they think the plants are dying of thirst, and so they – whether sister, brother, nephew, niece, inlaw or step – are killing our plants by drowning them, because apparently they think they are dying of thirst. Even the maids who come once every two weeks – pour more water into the poor potted plants.

We have now lost two plants to drowning. The latest one of them – number three, a beautiful orchid that began to wither two weeks ago – is now so bad it smells like an open sewer, festering with water and organic slime. I have had to pull it out of its pot and hope it will air out before it dies from super-hydration.

Another one, a lovely baby rose bush, died last week. That was when I first began to notice there is just too much water in all of these plants.

Following my mother’s instructions, I water them once a week, and yet, it always seems someone else has beaten me to the punch.

Maybe it is a poltergeist. Hmmm. I hope not. Or, maybe .  .   .  it’s Mom. She is getting rather forgetful these days .  .   .     .

Well, anyway, to whom it may concern: stop watering our house plants! You are killing them! I know you mean well, but you are paving the road to hell with your good intentions, and furthermore, it ain’t even your home that you are peeing on.

If you want to water the yard, okay. I am grateful for that, since it is harder and harder for me to get around without running short of breath. But leave the indoor plants alone, please. Please. Please!


2016 November 25

Patty was my “older woman” – you know, the one that the bad angels – “they” – are always telling a young man he should have for a while, to learn something. She taught me a few things about women, and sex. The sideways backwards X-position, for example.

I was twenty three, she was thirty… or was it thirty four? Or maybe only thirty. I don’t remember.

She had four children. Three girls, and the youngest, a boy. Let’s see, there was Ginger, Pam, and… I can’t remember. Tanya? Tasha? Something. The boy was called V.J. – I remember – which was for Vincent Joseph.

I don’t remember Patty’s last name.

She was psychic. Showed me so, once.

Well, either that, or a superb faker. I will explain later.

My coffee is starting to perk and it is morning, now, forty-two years later.

Okay. I turned it down. Now I have to wait five or six minutes while it percolates.

Forty-two years ago, the first drip coffee makers had already been invented, I believe.  I remember.

I believe I remember.

I definitely remember Patty. Like all of the women – seven or eight, if I can trust a flash memory off the top of my head and heart – like all of them, I owe her a debt of emotional power and love. Thankfulness that she, and they, cared for me, each in their time. Some of them still do. Others have gone on and I don’t know where they are now. One, my last one, after sixteen years of going out together (we only lived together for a year), died.

I have been fortunate, mostly. I cannot think of any particular badness in any of them. That is excellent fortune. To have been with good women. Loving women.

Oh… one other thing. To the best of my memory, I did keep in touch with all of them long enough to realize that none of them – except for the mother of our son – had a child from my loins.

Well, I have my hot cup now. A mug with a sheep on it.

L’AGNEAU it says.


I am, oddly enough, thankful that I am sick with a chest cold and am not going to the family dinner where I would have to listen to them whining and trumpeting (another politically divided California family) while I spent my time coughing and sneezing all over them.
I am even more thankful that my step-cousin SK (yes, part of the ambivalence is we are a “blended” family [I am also thankful we have worked it out so well for the past thirty-nine {my dear heaven has it been that long?} years] yes) came by yesterday after sunset with a bag full of goodies I can fix for Mom and me (my mother [96 and extraordinarily healthy] does not want to go and finds me to be a convenient excuse, even now refusing other offers of rides) tonight, yes, a piece of already cooked turkey breast, some pumpkin soup, mashed potato mix, frozen veggies, stuffing mix, etc., etcet., etcetera.
I am also thankful I have a family.
I am also thankful and prayerful for all those who do not have merely a simple cold/flu to worry about — but much more to stay on guard for — our men and women under arms in foreign lands (oh the burden of empire) and the children and women and men suffering war and being remembered only when someone googles “What is a Leppo?”
I am thankful for this community of diverse and talented writers. Like so much else in my life, I do not deserve. But then, grace is not deserved. It is given.

10:09 pm 23 November 2016

I tried to lie down and rest but the itching in my throat made me cough and cough so I got up and sat down at my laptop on the kitchen table and now try to figure what to write.

I could work some more on my fragments from an ancient life, and part of me desires that, hungers for that, especially now that I have been spending a few days reading about ancient caravans, studying a book I found online at the project Gutenburg I think it was, namely Caravan Cities, by M. Rostovtzeff, translated by D. and T. Talbot Rice, published by Oxford at the Clarenden Press, 1932, Oxford University Press (I made a point of writing down the bibliographic information and filing it away, yes.

Or I could write some more of my genealogical ramblings, but every time I do I remember Sandra and how we have lost her, yes, and that is painful and sad.

Or I could just write some of my own memoirs but I am afraid as sick as I am and as weak as I am feeling I will end up writing about what each of us knows but no one tells, to quote myself from years ago when I was barely twenty and wandering around the hills smoking and dropping out of classes at Grossmont college, those two years before I discovered the bookstore and became a boulevardier – or at least my small version of that word I somehow learned from where was it, the Tropic of Cancer? Someone told me to read that and now I struggling to even remember the author’s name somebody famous once upon a time and. .  .

Yes. Prime numbers.

Or I could agree with myself just to write this and not to edit it.

Yes. That will do.



Speaking of smoking it was an earlier bout with the flu or a cold or whatever horrifying respiratory infection it was that made me finally stop smoking back in early 2007 when I lay in bed for days on end, only getting up to go to the bathroom or fix myself something to eat or drink and after that week or ten days (every time I think about it, it gets longer and more impressive) I had lost most of the physical addiction to nicotein and realized I had an opportunity to finally truly stop or at least cut back way way back but I would have to bribe myself and trick myself into not smoking again except that I wanted to smoke again and I still do but I knew I had to stop smoking so damn much twenty or more cigarettes a day and so I said okay I can have one cigarette only one you know kind of like a devil’s bargain version of alcoholic anonymous one day at a time but this time it would be only one cigarette at at time.

Trouble was I had tried that before, and started with all good intentions on the highway to hell, and bought a pack of cigarettes and tried to smoke only one but then another and another and another and lickity split smack your lips I was hooked again.

But this time, things were different. This time I was living in Tijuana and I could walk down to the corner a few blocks from home and buy one cigarette at a time, loose, from the candy and nostrum stand on the corner of Bellas Artes and Lopez Portillo, near where all the route taxis and busses stop and go, the launching pad, they call it, la lanzadera, and

that is what I did.



Civ VI second response

Today is Sunday.

Day before yesterday, Friday the 21st, I received delivery of my copy of Civilization VI. I played it that afternoon and evening, and again yesterday and last night, and again this morning, Sunday the 23rd.

There are significant differences between this new version and those which came before. After my first ten or twenty hours of play, I am beginning to understand these changes, to appreciate them, and to manipulate them, as well as to look back with fondness toward certain classic touches which have been left behind, as well as to look forward, already, toward future versions, and to wonder where the Civilization franchise will take us, next time, and beyond.

Perhaps the biggest change, the one that most people were talking about in previews and comments I was reading (mostly at yutub) even before I got my game package, is the new use of “districts” – where certain city buildings can be built outside of the original city location, but still within its zone of immediate control. Military, religious, and several different cultural districts can be dedicated and constructed and certain specialized buildings can then be added to those districts: e.g. either a barracks or a stable can be built in the military encampment (which so far looks like an ancient Roman legion camp); a library and then a university can be built on the educational campus; a shrine and temple, on the holy site; and there are also theater and entertainment districts, economic and industrial, etcetera.

Certain requirements and benefits are associated with the physical siting of the districts. For example, today I began to build a campus (education/science district) near my capital city of Kyoto, and after  reviewing the possible sites, chose one with mountains on three sides of the hexagon (the world map is constructed as a matrix of joined hexagonal tiles), because each neighboring mountain raises the basic science output by one point.

I must confess, however, that it feels good to step away from the machine, and just sit down and write for a little while. In a few minutes I am going to go watch TV, or, if I find nothing good to watch, maybe read some more of a book I have studying recently, about religious practices in the Roman empire.

My mother, meanwhile, is playing solitaire on the desktop machine while I am using my less powerful laptop to write, and upload, this small text.

More to come later or tomorrow.


First Civ Six Comment

I have only been playing for a few hours now, and only last night until eleven.

Civ Six, I mean.

I play the long game, which goes on for hours and hours and hours and days and days and weeks and well now I think the program calls it “marathon” so I am barely out of the stone ages by now, moving into the classical era (next will come medieval and after that renaissance etc.).

My first complaint, from the very beginning, was that this new version does not have a “real” Earth map – all the previous versions I played from two through five – no, I never played the first game, although I had heard about it but until that fateful day when I found a used version two game in the Otay Tijuana street market until that day I had really known nothing nor experienced nothing but I must admit I had played sim city before, three different versions, I think it was, between 1994 and two thousand something yes… the first one (sim city) was on an old nintendo – the same machine I won as a consolation prize for losing on wheel of fortune I think it was… ah, gaming memories. Yes. Wait a minute, maybe that was a different nintendo I forget now… shoot. Dang. Flushlinger memory fritz. Zap.

Now it is the morning after my first night with civ six and I am avoiding the game, instead sitting in the kitchen next to my stepfather’s lovely windows looking out onto his front yard. I have been watering his plants a little more. The roses have come back from their stunting in the drought. They are beautiful. The little white whatever it is called that covers the ground is also doing well. And my stepbrothers have not cut off the big limb of the ancient tree they keep threatening to amputate.

The dog’s ashes were also delivered yesterday, a few hours before my new game got here. Mom and I had a martini and said a prayer for her blessed spirit. Somewhere yesterday on the computer I saw a quote from Will Rogers I think it was that if dogs don’t go to heaven then he would rather go somewhere else, where-ever it is that they go.

I should google it.


This is the time of year when Orion begins to rise up out of the west and rule the night sky.

I have always gazed at stars, even in the city where you can hardly see them at all for the glare of streetlights and such.

And as such, as a stargazer, however amateur I may be – and I am – stargazer and amateur – Orion is one of the most important landmarks in the heavens. For me, and for many others, too.

Orion rules the autumn and the winter skies. His most sublime moment must be on the evening of the Epiphany, January 5th, when the three stars of his belt – Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka – are celebrated as the three kings, bringing gifts to the Christ child, and through him, to all the children of the world.

Frankincense, Myrrh, Gold.

Three, and three.