My new bike Blackhawk took me to Cherry Beach yesterday evening in time to see the following:

This guy’s thinking: “Hey, somebody’s got to do it.”

On golden pond, right? Well, not always.

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As we gaze at the magnificent Heritage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, I urge you to watch Alexander Sokurov’s masterpiece, RUSSIAN ARK. Filmed in the Hermitage with a cast of thousands and three live orchestras, RUSSIAN ARK is the longest uninterrupted shot in film history, and the first feature film ever created in a single take. Plus, it is a delightful tour de force of Russian history.

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Fondly recalling a Saturday afternoon walk I took along the Neva River in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2007.

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I was stopped by a westbound, empty coal train on the CSX line from Grand Rapids. I lost count after 200 cars.



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There’s a new bike on the block, a Trek Verve +3. This black beauty, dubbed “Blackhawk,” arrived Wednesday, after a trade-in at Bike Stop Cycling. Here, Blackhawk awaits his first sea trials. He took me for a great 16-mile ride, and passed with flying colors.

Blackhawk got to see Cherry Beach for the first time, on Wednesday.

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They came, they munched, they moved on. With the cancellation of this year’s Berrien County Youth Fair due to the hysteria over the COVID-COLD, this is as close to the goat barn as we’re going to get in 2020.

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Rainy Monday.

The appropriate response.

Sunny Tuesday.

The appropriate response.

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Flash Fiction
by Charles McKelvy

The best clippers money could buy.

The woman at the garden center promised that “these were the best clippers money could buy. They’re spring-loaded,” she said. “The best!”
So he bought the clippers and went straight to work on the tangled undergrowth that was his front yard.
Hey, the village was threatening to fine him up one side of Sunday and down the other if he didn’t clean it up in five business days, and he didn’t have the wiggle room at the moment to pop for a lawnmower, so he bought the best clippers money could buy.
And he was sure, as he clipped away at the stubborn undergrowth, that he would never get to the bottom of it all.
But then those clippers, with a sixth sense all their own, pulled his hand deep into the densest thicket and opened hungrily over an imposing, blood-red root.
The clippers were so happy they actually hummed.
For they had found the ultimate prey, the very reason for their manufacture in a slave labor factory far from these shores. And they seemed to beckon him to squeeze the handles and severe the gnarled root.
Yes, a gnarled root, but THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.
So he squeezed the clippers and cut THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.
Hot, syrupy sap suddenly oozed and hissed out of the severed root, and, in no time flat, the world was one happy place.
Peace and love steered the stars and there was no more need for guns, bombs, or the federal goon squads, or the lying banksters and their pocket politicians and presstitutes.
All because he had gotten that citation from the village and gone to the garden center and bought the best clippers money could buy.

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Baseball is finally back, but where are the fans? Enough of this COVID-COLD nonsense. Let’s open wide and put the fans back in the seats!!!

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This just in: a piece titled “WIRED” by Assemblage Art in Edwardsburg. I purchased it yesterday at Apothica Teas in downtown Niles, Michigan after enjoying a leisurely luncheon with Joe Rochetto at one of the city’s fine dining establishments. Life is good in southwest Michigan.

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Flyboy is taking five after completing the first volume of his memoirs. Here’s the last chapter of I AM FLYBOY for your reading pleasure this morning.

a cat’s life
by Flyboy the Magnificent

Chapter Thirty-six: A Hasidic Tale

JG beached the raft and popped the valve. As we watched it collapse into rubbery folds, she said: “I’ll take care of this later, Little One. We mustn’t litter the beach. But now we have to get you home.”
“But I don’t know the way, JG.”
“Your heart knows the way, Little One. Follow it.”
And so I did.
And, in no time flat, I found myself settling into my leopard bed as Team Charley-and-Natalie hovered smartly about. They wanted to know where I had been and what I had done, during what they perceived to have been just a few hours.
I wanted to tell them all about my fantastic voyage of discovery. And to give thanks and praise to JG, Dan D. the Dancing Gull, my sister Kitty with her five mewling kittens, Barnacle Bill the Sailor, and the Lion of Jablon. Oh, and all the humans who helped me discover what I needed to discover.
I wanted to tell them I had learned so, so much, but I was so, so tired and only wanted to take one long cat nap, by the fire. So I simply referred them to page 18 of Anthony de Mello’s aforementioned classic, Taking Flight, a Book of Story Meditations. I refer it to you, dear readers, as well. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sleepy-cat land.
A Hasidic Tale:
The Jews of a small town in Russia were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Rabbi. This was going to be a rare event, so they spent a lot of time preparing the questions they were going to put to the holy man.
When he finally arrived and they met with him in the town hall, he could sense the tension in the atmosphere as all prepared to listen to the answers he had for them.
He said nothing at first; he just gazed into their eyes, and hummed a haunting melody. Soon everyone began to hum. He started to sing and they sang along with him. He swayed and danced in solemn, measured steps. The congregation followed suit. Soon they became so involved in the dance, so absorbed in its movements that they were lost to everything else on earth; so every person in that crowd was made whole, was healed from the inner fragmentation that keeps us from the Truth.
It was nearly an hour before the dance slowed down and came to a halt. With the tension drained out of their inner being, everyone sat in the silent peace that pervaded the room. Then the Rabbi spoke the only words he pronounced that evening: “I trust that I have answered your questions.”

Shalom alechem.

(to be continued when I am older and wiser)

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They’re back!!! The Munchers on Hooves are happily eating the underbrush in our dunes this summer. As of yesterday, they were working their way along the Dog Path.

Flyboy says: “You’d better not be trading me in for a goat. Plus, I want them to rename the Dog Path to the Cat Path. Let’s get our priorities straight here.”

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(Harbert, Michigan) I’m calling this one: Flame Tree of Harbert. It was just a matter of being on the back deck at the right time with the right camera.

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(Niles, Michigan) If you ever find yourself in Niles—and why wouldn’t you find yourself in Niles?—be sure and take a walk along the Saint Joseph River on the city’s delightfully designed river walk.  We had back-to-back dental appointments in Niles last week, and I finished first, so while Natalie was getting her pearly whites even pearlier and whiter, I took a river walk.  Here are some of my photographic memories:

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These clouds this morning signaled a change for the better in the weather. Yay!!!

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My travels last Sunday took me on a soulful sojourn to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Here are some photographic highlights:

The Monastery of the the Holy Cross.

A stroll along 31st Place to my favorite Bridgeport restaurant for lunch.

A stop in South Shore on the way to the Monastery of the Holy Cross.

A Bridgeport landmark: St. Mary of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church.

I parked by the guesthouse.

Westbound on 31st Street.

Flyin’ on the Ryan.

The Skyway was my flyway home.


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A recent ride to Warren Dunes State Park revealed these shore lines.

Taking on water at the beach.

Gulls will be gulls.

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Tower Hill is the centerpiece of Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan. Have you been to the top?

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The Saint Joseph River as seen from the Clifford D. Eden Bridge in Niles, Michigan.

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Stopped for the light at 31st and Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, on a quiet Sunday morning.

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Time for a drive in the country.

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A reward of the early riser. Now, if I could always be an early riser. Oh well.

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Any guesses as to where I might have taken this picture? Hint: I was not in the Middle East when I took it. Nor did I have to leave my home state to capture this image.

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Happy Saint Benedict’s Day, everyone. Saint Benedict, the father of Western monasticism, built his own life of prayer and praise on the Word of God. The communities founded by Benedict, including the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago, are found worldwide.

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Author’s Note:  I began writing this novella at the Panera restaurant in Saint Joseph, Michigan on July 2, 2020 at 9:45 a.m. EDT.
I got the idea from the Moleskine® notebook I bore in my shirt pocket. Hence the title: POCKET BOOK.
Having a pair of Pilot fountain pens at the ready in my pocket advanced my literary ambition.
I resolved, then and there, to write at least one, one-page chapter each day until I had exhausted the notebook’s supply of pages.
And thus I began, fortified by two toasted bagels and a cup of the house dark roast.
And so, gentle readers, we’re off to the races again.
But this is going to be a darker ride than what you experienced with I AM FLYBOY.
So hold on to your horses, because we’re off to the races.
Now sit back and enjoy and expect regular updates on the page marked POCKET BOOK.  Coming soon to a blog near you.

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Last night’s “weather event” made me want to learn “Stormy Weather.” Maybe I will. Stay tuned.

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I want to come back as my cat.

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Up a creek in New Troy, Michigan. This is the view looking east from Pardee Road.

Looking down the same creek.

Twinkle, twinkle, little creek.


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Recalling an earlier time in America when many farms had a so-called “noon tree.” That was where farmers would take their noon meal, in the shade of the noon tree.

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(Lake Township, Michigan) The sun sets behind Warren Dunes State Park as seen from Snow Road during an evening bike ride last week.

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