If ever you are advised to make amends with gnomes, because of negative things thought and spoken about the wee little folk, there is a special place just for you. In West Putford, near Devon, England, there is a garden just for gnomes; in fact this pastoral gnome haven currently is the dwelling place for over 2,000 of them. And you are welcome to visit there.

The reserve was established in 1979 by Ann Atkin, a former art student. Ms Atkin created this idyllic gnome home on a 4 acre site, and is still the owner of the tourist attraction. The lush area includes various woodlands, streams and ponds, a meadow and a wildflower garden with approximately 250 labelled species of wild flowers, herbs, grasses and ferns.

When you bravely visit the Gnome Reserve, you will find the little people (all 2,000+ of them) going about their gnome lives, doing what gnomes do: playing chess, relaxing with a good book, getting married, fishing, or just enjoying the shade while smoking a pipe.

To benefit you, the intrepid visitor, whose main task is to spark a friendly, peaceful, and uncritical relationship with the garden gnomes, a red hat and fishing pole will be issued to you upon entrance to the reserve. Here you can have a sit in the shade, maybe hum a little tune, and light up your pipe, if you brought one.

This non-threatening behavior most likely will draw the gnomes your way. You will notice one who was lying on the grass across the stream is suddenly lying on the grass a few feet away from you. Perhaps, the gnome who was reading a book on a bench in shade from the tree next to yours will, at a subsequent glance, have closed the book and be looking skyward. Closer, ever closer they will approach; you’ll never see them moving, but you will observe their increasingly close proximity.

It is all in the peacemaking process. Little gestures, kind words, and as many starchy tubers as you can find mean everything. One of the best ways to show friendly intention is to put out a fine plate of carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, and radishes. Gnomes will find this a generous act of restitution for anyone who has been unkind to them in the past. Make the plate decorative, and let them take it. This, too, will help the gnome understand there are no longer any hostile nor fearful feelings present in the person who once felt terror at the very mention of the word gnome.

The actions will be a first step in making things new again. And keeping them friendly and positive will be a lesson well learned, making dwelling together a most beneficial experience for gnomes and humans in the garden of life.

(Photo courtesy of

Posted in Baby Boomers, Britain, Friendship, Garden Gnomes, Gardening, Gnome Reserve, Life Journey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stop Lemon Thief; Give Them Back

(Photo courtesy of McDonalds)

Thermal, California is a hot and dry community in the desert of Southern California. It is just the kind of place a tall, cold glass of lemonade would be welcome by anyone who needed to quench a powerful thirst.

But 800 pounds of lemons? Stolen lemons? Dionicio Fierros has some explaining to do, since that is how many lemons were found in his car by Riverside County Sheriffs’ deputies, who were conducting traffic stops in an attempt to quell recent thefts that have been reported from nearby farms.

When Fierros’ car was searched, after being stopped in the little farming town in Coachella Valley, they found his stash of freshly harvested lemons, which had been picked from one of the local farms.

Riverside County sheriff’s officials arrested the 69 year old man, and booked him for theft of agricultural products. No one knows, yet, exactly what Fierros planned to do with all the stolen lemons. It is safe to say, though, 800 pounds of lemons will make approximately 100 gallons of lemonade. That is a pretty good sized lemonade stand by anyone’s measure.

Posted in Agricultural Products Theft, Baby Boomers, Crime, Criminal Investigation, Current Events, Lemons, Life Journey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meet Steve: You Too Can Name A Sky Phenomenon

People have observed Steve in the northern Canadian skies for decades. Always believed to be one of the northern lights, which appear in wide, wavy bands of green, reds, and blue; Steve is more of a very long, thin, purple and white light that shoots straight up into the sky, with a height of more than 600 miles.

When a European Space Agency satellite passed through Steve, it recorded fast moving speeds, and phenomenally hot gas cutting through the atmosphere. At that time, very hot Steve was approximately 200 miles above the Earth, and its insides were afire at 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius).

And now we have learned tall and hot Steve is not an ordinary Aurora. Just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, new research shows whatever made Steve used a different set of rules than the solar particles that created the Aurora Borealis.

An even more interesting fact about this research is, while realizing Steve is not an Aurora, but something completely different, scientists are unable to figure out what it is. So far, it is a complete unknown, but for the sake of discussion, it is being called a “sky glow”.

In their study, researchers stated, “Based on our results, we assert that Steve is likely related to an ionospheric process”. They plan on conducting more research, including observations of the Earth’s atmosphere taken at varying levels.

In the meantime, all you stargazers in the northern parts of the world need to keep up your good work. It was dedicated bands of citizen skywatchers in Northern Canada, such as the Facebook group, Alberta Aurora Chasers, observing and tracking this most unusual sight, who eventually gave it the name, Steve. Researchers decided to keep the name, but officially changed it to an acronym for “Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement”.

Yes. Keep looking up, and you too may find yourselves naming a new miracle-like phenomenon in the sky. After all, Steve probably would like a little company as it continues to show off all its glory to those watching from below.

Posted in Astronomy, Aurora Borealis, Baby Boomers, Camera, Canada, Communication, Current Events, Space, Steve, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pants Man, The Cute Cryptid Who Walks At Night

Paranormal World is such a unique and fun place. The rides and exhibits are never ending, usually pretty surprising, and they are free. It is a bargain on any day!

While appreciating the entire Paranormal World experience, people who visit this wonderland of oddities seem to prefer particular ones over others. My personal favorite is Realm of the Cryptid. It is filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes, some menacing and ferocious, some shy, some oblivious to humans, and some who behave as though they are going to eat the next thing they see. Regardless, all manner of sightings are reported regularly, although no one ever catches one, and as we all have observed, clear, discernible photos or videos are simply wishful thinking.

And just when I thought I had heard of all the possible Cryptids walking, swimming, flying, or slithering around on planet Earth, one I had never heard of popped up today that has me bursting out laughing every time I see a photo, or watch a video of it. This Cryptid has been dubbed, the Fresno Nightcrawler, or the Fresno Alien.

No, it is not a large worm found in Fresno, California, nor does it resemble any of the bipedal aliens to which we have become accustomed. This one is a pair of pants. Yes! A pair of pants! And I call him Pants Man.

The story goes, in the 1990s or early 2000s, a family in Fresno, one of the “nothing ever happens here” communities located in the San Joaquin Valley, heard their dogs barking every night. Not knowing if someone was prowling their neighborhood, they set up a surveillance camera, hoping to find the source of their dogs’ barking.

The following morning, they were shocked beyond their wildest expectations. They found the source, all right. It was two white, slightly awkward, pairs of pants ambling across their lawn. They were only a couple of feet tall, walked in a sort of disjointed manner, had no arms, and were whitish in color.

They reported the recording to police, and subsequent to this family’s experience, other people in Fresno came forth with stories they also had seen Pants Man, and reported their sightings. Interestingly, the statements always said there were two of the Pants People walking together. One is usually about 4 feet tall, while the second one is smaller, around 2 feet tall. They do no harm, and walk about like a couple, sightseeing.

When it seemed Fresno was the only place these strolling pants were observed, a new locale hit the news. In 2011, Yosemite National Park was having issues with a group of vandals destroying private and park property, so they set up a security camera to identify the culprits. Little did park officials expect what they found on the camera footage.

There they were, two of the walking pants, strolling down a road in the park. Again, just like any other pair of sightseers enjoying Yosemite, in the dead of night. They bore the same description as ones seen in Fresno; little, 2-4 feet tall, no arms, flappy fabric-like legs, awkward gait, and tiny heads, each with two eyes.

No one has been able to decide what these creatures are, what their destination is, or from where they originated. What has come to light, though, is these Fresno and Yosemite appearances are not new, nor recent. Native Americans from that area explained the creatures have been there for a long time. They view them simply as another of Earth’s mysteries.

For the more curious, there are videos on YouTube, which have been determined to be authentic, and unable to be reproduced by debunkers or skeptics. They are funny, and actually pretty cute to watch. Take a look, and enjoy Pants Man going for a walk. It makes me laugh, every time.

Posted in Alien, Baby Boomers, Camera, Communication, Cryptids, Current Events, Fresno, CA, Life Journey, San Joaquin Valley, Uncategorized, Yosemite National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alex Jones And InfoWar’s Banned From Big Three Social Media

As with hockey, if there could be a hat trick in online social media, today’s events definitely would be it. And Alex Jones, along with his Infowars, would be the puck.

It all began last night with Apple banning Jones and his program from their social media platform. On Monday morning, Facebook followed suit. They stated he could appeal their decision to “unpublish” him. Shortly after Facebook’s action, YouTube also banned InfoWars. No one is certain if the YouTube ban is permanent, but the InfoWars’ videos have been deleted from their platform.

The reasons being given for the big three companies’ actions against Jones are his repeated use of “hate speech”. They stated he has violated their policies regarding Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, to which he agreed when he signed up to use their services.

InfoWars’ recent legal difficulties most likely were the impetus for being banned. During his broadcasts, Jones has steadfastly maintained the Sandy Hook murders of 20 children and 6 adults were fake. He has said the government staged the shootings, and it was a hoax with actors. Family members of murdered victims claim his wild statements have led to their being harassed. Subsequently, three lawsuits for defamation have been filed against Jones.

It remains to be seen how Twitter, last of the big social media platforms, will deal with this. They have not made any public comment, yet. YouTube and Facebook also need to determine and notify the public if the bans they have imposed will be permanent. Additional information will be published as it is released.

Posted in Alex Jones, Baby Boomers, Communication, Conspiracy Theory, Current Events, Death, Info Wars, Life Journey, Radio, Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, Social Media, Telephone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Art Bell, Your Love Was Enough

Fare thee well is a blessed good-bye. To a fare thee well is a measure of perfection. Thus, when I think upon the report issued today of Art Bell’s last moment on this plateau, I embrace both that fond good-bye and the perfection that was his leaving.

I believe in the man, Art Bell. I believe in the strength and verisimilitude of his nightly presence on the radio. He was invited into my home and my life, a welcome guest who made me smile, laugh, wonder, and ponder everything from the depths of a bottomless hole to galaxies far beyond my wildest imaginings. His music and voice comforted me; a friend in dark places, on lonely nights, or in a room with my favorite people, gathered around our C Crane Hand Crank Radio, playing cards by candlelight.

There were questions I always wanted to ask Art, and now wish I had. Why did I need to call in on a certain line if I lived west of the Rockies? And how did he know if I wasn’t really a first time caller, but called in on that particular line, anyway? Was cranky old JC Webster for real? Who was his favorite guest? Why did he believe someone wanted to shoot him? So many more questions, and now I can only speculate.

This I do know, Art Bell was a very sick man. He had advanced COPD. If one does not know, this is an extremely difficult and frightening way to die. And the medications found to be the cause of his death were for a person in enormous pain, most likely from his back problems. What final decisions he made, or what led up to that last night in his home are beyond the scope of our knowledge. And I think they should remain that way.

There are two profoundly cataclysmic, yet solemn and simultaneously celebratory events in one’s life. Birth and death. We do not control the first, and seldom control the second. What is noted, though, is the presence of our most important and intimate people at one and, hopefully, both events. In Art’s passing, I choose to believe he was surrounded by those who loved him most, on this side of the veil, and on the other. I believe, by whatever means it took, his passage was peaceful, and he was welcomed to his new home, pain free and released from all that had imprisoned his earthly body.

When we think of this man who spent his life bringing each radio listener new and unexplored stories, places and people who had been there and back, again; I hope we recall with fondness and appreciation what he gave. I hope we recall he lived a full and productive life. And most of all, I hope we remember him, Art Bell the man, and not merely how he left us. That was his private business; what he left us is our’s. Let’s let him go now, and be grateful we knew him, and that he loved us. In the end, that is enough.

Posted in Art Bell, Baby Boomers, Communication, Current Events, Death, Life Journey, Radio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yew Tree And Other Pluckers

Understanding of words is critical to successful communication. On any level, it is smart to know what is being said. That also must include recognition and comprehension of some unpleasantries we all experience, sooner or later, in the daily societal combat we call life.

More specifically, there is a two word instructional phrase, that carries with it a one-fingered salute, which most of us have received or given by the time we reach adulthood. Recently, a story has been circulating in social media providing an interesting, and possibly heretofore unknown explanation of the etymology and symbolism accompanying this recognizable salute.

Although any serious logophile would have researched the long history of this phrase’s colorful word, and found it to have originated in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures; many today are purporting its usage began with the 1415 French and English battle at Agincourt.

At this battle, the French were favored to win. So much so, they threatened to cut off a certain body part from all captured English soldiers. To everyone’s surprise, the English won the battle, and taunted their French adversaries by waving that body part at them.

What were they waving? Their middle finger! Without this appendage, an English longbow, made of the native English yew tree, would have been impossible to draw. And what was the act of drawing an English longbow called? Plucking yew, of course. The story continues that when English soldiers were waving their middle fingers at the defeated French soldiers, the shouts rang out they still could pluck yew! Victory was theirs! Middle finger waving! Pluck yew!

An additional aspect of this intriguing etymology is the phrase “giving someone the bird”. Once known as a pleasant mother pheasant plucker, everyone knew this was the person to whom one went for feathers used in making arrows for the longbow; ergo, giving someone the bird was simply providing pheasant feathers to make arrows.

As the story concludes, and all actual historical evidence of ancient usage shoved aside, we are supposed to believe the letters “pl” in pluck changed over time to an easier spoken “f”. It makes for a slightly plausible explanation; however, when all is said and done, one thing which cannot be ignored in today’s account of the waving finger’s origin, and a very offensive instruction that goes with it, is everyone knows an archer plucks a bow string, not the wood of a yew bow, itself.

Plucking yew, pleasant mother pheasant pluckers, arrows, waving fingers, and victorious taunts from battling archers have provided a clever, but way too recent history of one word. It is creative, but inaccurate. For accuracy, a student of language, both polite and not, must return to the oldest records of word usage. Therein, one finds where and how our language came about, and who is responsible for some of the things we say, or on second thought, even if one is an archer, probably should not say.

Posted in Baby Boomers, Communication, English, Etymology, Humor, Learning, Reading, Uncategorized, Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment