(and Happy Holidaze)
Left: Birder Larry with his heavy artillery. Right: Birder Janis, in Kenya, having just seen her 4,000th bird, a Jackson's Hornbill (who wondered what all the excitement was about).
Best wishes for a Gude Yule
and a Happy New Year
. . . and may you count your birds . . . er . . . blessings.
♩ ♫ ♩ ♫ ♩ ♫ ♩
Larry and Janis
The Birdy Couple:
After three decades of marriage, I finally succumbed to Janis's entreaties and progressed (if one could call it that) from being an S.O.B. (Spouse of Birder) to something of an actual birder. And to Janis's surprise (and the confoundment of real birders), I somehow managed to become one of the highest ranked birders in San Diego County for the year, observing, identifying, and photographing more than 330 birds (still counting, a few more days to go). Mind you, I didn't do it all on my own — I had help from some of the top birders in North America (and pals of Janis). In case you're interested, you can see some of the photos at the Macaulay Library.
Meanwhile, Janis went globe trotting, following her feathered friends to Africa, where she not only saw hundreds of birds, passing the 4,000 mark (lifetime), she also saw the other wildlife one would expect — including a near encounter with lions and a close encounter with a zebra (pronounced like "debra" and, no, she did not try to climb aboard).
Book / Writing News:
No new books from yours truly, what with the new-found obsession for birds, but working on yet another edition of Food & Provisions of the Mountain Men: A Guide to Authentic Provisions of Fur Trappers, Traders and Explorers in the Early American West, as well as a novel set during the American fur trade era.
More Book News:
However, I edited or assisted authors with a number of book manuscripts, some of which were published and which you might enjoy:
- They Must Be Monsters (nonfiction, true crime) by Matthew LeRoy and Deric Haddad. The authors reveal the untold story of the McMartin Preschool sexual abuse hysteria in Manhattan Beach, California, and introduce previously undisclosed details and motives that underlie the most expensive criminal investigation and prosecution in U.S. history.
- Polar Melt (fiction, suspense) by Martin Hill. An American research ship disappears in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea only to reappear a few days later, its crew having disappeared, two bombs waiting to explode, and an even darker secret hidden below her decks. Martin's
Butcher's Bill (fiction, suspense), which came out last year, garnered the 2018 Clue Award for Best Thriller as well as top honors in the adult category of the 2018 California Indie Author Project.
- Exposed: The Electronic Sickening of America and How to Protect Yourself (nonfiction, health) by Bill Cadwallader and Lois Cadwallader. As the title says, it exposes the hidden dangers of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by wireless devices that now pervade our daily lives — "the tobacco of the Digital Age" — and how to protect oneself from these dangers while remaining on the grid.
- Ragged Justice (fiction, mystery) by Thomas K. Matthews. In this Lou Drake Mystery set in San Diego, the former NYPD detective is drawn into a conspiracy-laden mystery that starts with a corpse and leads to an old savings & loan scandal.
- Strong In, Strong Out: The Dick Virgilio Story (nonfiction, memoir) by Joe Ditler and Richard Virgilio. Dick Virgilio survived a difficult childhood to become a surgeon who
saved innumerable lives in Vietnam, which in turn led to his pioneering the trauma care system in San Diego that continues to save lives today.
- Cyberwarfare (fiction, thriller) by Penn Wallace. Reflecting today's reality, this novel, Book 6 in the Ted Higuera Series and set in Seattle, tells the tale of an all-out cyber-attack on the United States.
- The Trip Home: Reflections (nonfiction, memoir) by Arthur Raybold. Through his 44 narratives — often amusing, if not poignant — poet, salesman, and raconteur Arthur William Raybold relates his memories of growing up in the southeastern region of Massachusetts as well as life in San Diego, and closes with the prelude to his future demise: He writes his own obituary.
- To the Moon on a Slide Rule: and other tales of the dawning of the Space Age (nonfiction, memoir) by Bill Ketchum. If that name rings a bell, it might be because I published his great-grandfather's letters and diaries from the U.S. Civil War: What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet in 2015.
Even More Book News:
This year some of my cohorts at the Ocean Beach Writers' Networking Group launched books (in which I had no hand, other than clapping) that you might enjoy:
- Soul Survivor (fiction, mystery) by G.M. Ford (yes, that's his real name; no, he's not our former president, but he did teach at my alma mater, Lake Washington High School). This is Ford's umpteenth Leo Waterman novel, and the last one to be set in Seattle, where Leo infiltrates a group of neo-Nazis intent on creating chaos through simultaneous domestic terror attacks. (Leo, like his creator, has moved to San Diego, the setting for the next book in the long-running series.)
- The Sisterhood of the Blood Moon (fiction, sci-fi) by Terrie Leigh Relf. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching.
Music Arena: Music took a back seat this year, although Janis and I made the annual winter trek to the Anza-Borrego desert with what remains of the F Group.
Sunrise at Mountain Palm Springs.
John Salzano, Dave Somes, and yours truly.
As my alter ego, Friar, I continued playing with Heritage and the Corps of Rediscovery at mountain man re-enactment events: rendezvous and fourth Saturdays at the Blacksmith Shop in Old Town San Diego, as well as the Old Town summer dances with Contra Notion.
Friar . . . and Corps of Rediscovery and friends at the Blacksmith Shop
(l-r) Weezer, Dr. XO, Two Beads, Merry Blacksmith, Friar, Broken Hand, and Scout.
Contra Notion: Caller Ron Nelson, Christina Ouang, Archie Breeden, Friar
Winter Solstice — Shortest Day of the Year (northern hemisphere)
Winter Solstice Traditions: Rituals for a Simple Celebration
Larry's Facebook Page