A Noble Book Signing

It’s back to Noble Art Gallery for a book signing Saturday, July 11, from 2-5 p.m. For you locals, that’s in the old Black building the stoplight in Albion, where Dan Gagen sells  art and features local artists every Friday and Saturday.

There’ll be copies of all my books, including the newest, Slightly Off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns. More details coming (okay, I pretty much covered the basics)—hope to see you there!

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: I’m from Missouri--Julie Lynn Hayes Shows You!

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: I’m from Missouri--Julie Lynn Hayes Shows You!: This might not be the official nickname of the state, but by Golly, it’s pretty true. Just look at our license plates. We’re proud to t...

"Maybe It's Just Me" by Barry Parham, book review

Book review: Maybe It’s Just Me, by Barry Parham:

“Barry strikes again in the only way he knows how: Politically incorrect and howlingly funny.

Anybody need some hay?

My lawn needed mowed *before* I hurt my back--now it needs a hay rake. I'm starting to worry about what might come out of that jungle. Even if I was up to it, Emily would inflict more pain if I tried to mow.

But I think I'm up to writing now, if the muscle relaxer doesn't put me out. Time to get publicity around for the next book signing on July 11.

There's a syndrome for everything that hurts, and most things that don't

I’ve been diagnosed with Acute Mechanical Back Syndrome.
Yeah, I hurt my back.
Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which isn’t cute at all. Years ago I spent several hours at a business fire, most of it with a steel breathing air tank on my back because I was a dumb rookie. You know those big external fuel tanks on the space shuttle? Like that, only on your back. The newer air tanks are lighter, but—too late.
Now my back hurts all the time more or less, but you get used to it. More or less. Chronic back pain is like members of Congress who just keep getting elected, and never quite go away.
Then there’s acute pain. One time at an accident scene I pulled a back muscle while helping to carry a body up an embankment. (Yeah.) I managed to crab-walk into the rescue truck, got home without whimpering too much, and died. This was back in the days when firefighters didn’t admit to pain, or to being without insurance.
That’s acute pain, which I don’t usually get in exciting ways. At fires I’ve had ceilings fall on me, faced venting propane tanks, been on burning roofs, and once I missed a step in a smoke-filled building and fell down a flight of stairs.  (I’ve also done that in buildings that weren’t burning, but I’d rather not talk about it.) Generally I’m a pretty dull person, but every now and then I get into a situation.
But when I really get hurt? Never an interesting story, unless I embellish. This time, for instance, I’ve been laid up for days with intense lower back pain. What did I do? Rescue a kitten from a bear? Put out a flaming cocktail bar? Yank on Chuck Norris’ cowboy hat?
I jumped over a puddle.
Yep. Just did an extra-big scissor step over some water, and felt a “twang!” like an overstretched guitar string. Then came the acute pain.
“I’ll be better tomorrow,” I told my wife. I wasn’t. I hurt so bad I couldn’t even write. Luckily for me she’s an excellent nurse, although she did overdo it a bit on al the stuff she made me do. Heat, cold, pills, rest—sheesh. On Monday I crawled into the doctor’s office, and he prescribed some stuff that had me counting the little rainbows spinning around on the ceiling. Then he gave me possibly the best advise any man who wants to heal could possibly get:
“Do whatever your wife tells you to.”

Yeah, those breathing air tanks. I had more air and more hair.

Turning Seven

My grandkids are turning seven! It’s particularly hard to believe, as I’m clearly too young to be a grandfather. But time is a thief that steals from us all, as I’m sure someone said sometime.

I’ll worry about them forever as I worry about my daughters, nieces and nephews, in this world where technology brings us new ideas and possibilities even as people and governments seem to get worse. Still, things have looked dark before; we can only hope it gets better again.

But there’s time for them to learn of all that later. Until then, leave them to their LEGOs, Mutant Turtles, and Ghostbusters!

Historical Proof

The page proofs have arrived for Images of America: Albion and Noble County … and we’ve got nine days to go through the book, make corrections, and get it back. It looks like my first week of vacation is going to be a working vacation.

Time to find a red ballpoint pen and get to work!