Member Monday: Ads and Cowhides, by Dale Angel

Ads and Cowhides

by Dale Angel

dale-angelThe ads feature all kinds of stuff we need to enjoy life more. There are pictures of huge chairs and couches made of black or brown leather…a refined word for ‘cowhide’.

For a little extra money you can have a place built in the arms of couches or chairs for your beverage of choice. It relieves one of using their arms, and alleviates the few steps to the refrigerator.

The ads indicate you need a wide screen to go with those loungers of great comfort.

Is selling these objects a subtle way of cultivating an appetite for self-destruction?

I’ve noticed after one falls into these comfort zones they fail to recover for hours. These lifeless areas of life add five pounds. Monday mornings their pants shrink and the buttons won’t work.

After a few years of practicing riding these cow hides they can’t breathe going up a single flight of stairs. Fancy names like Lazy Boy should be a red flag.

If the screen breaks down during a really big sports event, anxiety and distress indicate withdrawal symptoms. Bigger pickups apparently soothe and meet that need. Maybe because they have lost an important part of the masculine anatomy.

A limp self-destructing life may be caused by a failure to believe in raking the leaves or painting the house, so you pay the gym for the privilege of pumping iron. That same physical activity can enlarge all aspects of the body by running behind the lawn mower or repair the roof or some other useful work. An added benefit is you can learn to breathe again, maybe even climb ladders.

One of my neighbors returned a lounger because the neck rest was not angled right. Now, necks are so soft one can lose his ability to hold up one’s head. Can back problems be healed if one crawls off the cow hide? I hope before the neck fails to do its job, there are special doctors on every corner for failed backs and necks.

I’m keeping in mind shopping on line is a form of self-destruction when you’ve sit so long ones feet have no feeling, a good indication of my own symptoms of chasing the ads while sitting on cow hides.

There were awesome bargains for personnel; she got first dibs and took home pick-up loads after she plundered the spoils. I was left with a bikini, size 2, entry level bras, and old women’s shoes, the kind you wouldn’t be caught dead in. The kind I wear today.

Beautiful instrumental music came through the intercom. She sighed and said “That is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.” I grabbed my polished sword and plunged it between the third and fourth rib as my lips answered “Yes, it is. It was written by The Beatles.”

She told me to set up a display for vases. I said “There’s a mistake. It says the price is $12.98. I just bought one of these at the dollar store.” She appeared defensive, fatigued, weary, and said that I lacked ‘retail savvy’. I think that includes salable skills.

It got worse. They put me in fabrics. Me! I suffer from ‘textile dementia’.

When the soft rose paisley brushed against me, I buckled and took it home. Then there was the blue polyester silk I saw myself draped in it. I couldn’t pass up 16 yards for so small a sum, there was more, at the end of the week, I had to pay them to work there.

I couldn’t count past my fingers and toes, so when a customer asked for a yard and three-sixteenths…six inches of the yellow and a half yard of the green…add the quarters of five eighths to that…cut three and one fourth plus half inch pieces…add another quart of the blue…a cup of tea and a half gallon of the striped and one fourth of a teaspoon and a mile and a half and eight tenths of a pound two ounces plus five grams…

I had to excuse myself. I needed to scream.


Member Monday: Let Go, by Larry Solberg

Many poets take great efforts in arranging their poems visually on the page as well as how they sound by ear. Sometimes presenting those poems can be a challenge in various media. Marie Warner’s poem from last week took a lot of work from both of us to get the blog’s presentation of it just the way Marie wanted it.

Cropped Larry Solberg 2Poems submitted by Writers Forum members Larry and Phillis Solberg presented similar challenges. Reproducing the line breaks and paragraphing exactly the way Larry and Phyllis submitted them pushed me outside of my technical comfort zone. Let me know if you think the presentation was successful.



Larry Solberg

Member Monday: George Parker

Today’s Member Monday piece was written by George Parker, and read to the Writers Forum at the June Readaround.


First Afternoon of Fire

geo fireThat first afternoon we completed a patrol around our assigned section of the entire fire perimeter. The fire line was a literal line scratched onto the forest floor through the duff down to the mineral soil. ‘Duff’ is leaf litter, or any flammable organic debris on the forest floor. It’s the thick carpet of pine needles, sticks, and cones that accumulate on the forest floor. It’s critical to get this line down to dirt and rock…stuff that will not burn, or else the fire will just burn on through the line and keep burning. Everything outside of the fire line is green…trees, grass, brush. Most everything inside the line is black. ‘Most everything’ because not everything in a ‘burn area’ necessarily burns. Wisps of smoke rose from the ground and from charred trees everywhere inside the line. We attacked the more significant ones right away.  We dug into the dirt with the grubbing edge of a Pulaski to expose and cool off the hot material. We broke up smoldering pieces of wood and duff to dissipate the heat and cool them down. Flames licked from the ground up into bushes that were not yet fully consumed. One of us would go over and root out the burning material and spread it out as well. One of us carrying a piss pump would wet down the flames and hot smoldering material.

We did not spend too much time right now on any particular area. Stretch’s main job for us that afternoon was to see the entire terrain we would be covering during daylight hours. We hiked our assigned section of the perimeter several times. Stretch pointed out to us things we would be addressing the next day, such as the few trees that needed to be felled back into the burn area. These trees needed to be dropped because if they caught fire and fell across the fire line, the fire would escape and take off again. The Hot Shot crew had tackled most of those trees, but there were still a few for us to fall.

The two Yosemite fire fighter ‘grunts’ had a hard time keeping up with us as we moved around the perimeter. Listening to Stretch talk to them, it soon was obvious that this was their first season as fire fighters. Whether they would be back for a second season was open for debate right now. We Corpies would be right behind Stretch as he legged his way up and down the steep grades. This was the part of firefighting that we already knew all about! Every so often one of his guys could be heard from way behind “Stretch! Wait up!” Stretch started getting irritated with them. “Geez! C’mon! These guys are keeping up with me just fine, and they’re not even fire fighters! Get with it!” And then he would not slow down.

By sundown we had made several trips back and forth across our perimeter. No open flames remained…at this time. Stretch had a plan for the next day. We went back to our campsite for dinner. Dinner on these fires was MREs. Army rations. MRE stands for Meal Ready to Eat. Each meal comes in a big heavy-gauge plastic bag. Each bag contains a main course, a side dish, dessert, instant coffee, plastic utensils, toilet paper, and chewing gum. Each part was in its own little plastic pouch. The concept was simple. Tear the top off the pouch, add hot water, let it sit several minutes, and there you had it. An instant dinner. That first MRE went down pretty well. We had worked up quite an appetite.

We sat around talking for a while, and then everybody turned in for the night, two to a sleeping pit on the uphill side of a tree. As I crawled into my sleeping bag next to Glen, I took my boots off and set them carefully right next to my bag. I fell asleep to the sight of stars and the smell of smoke.


Member Monday: Ron Pritchard

This week’s Member Monday features an excerpt from Ron Pritchard’s work in progress, The Phantom P-40. Ron shared this piece at the June Read Around.

Ron Pritchard Cropped

Ron Pritchard

The Phantom P-40

April 22, 1941, 11:00 a.m.

Over the skies of Northern California


Two P-40 Tomahawk fighters have collided midair during a training exercise. Out of control, one of the aircraft drops from the sky at 18,000 feet. The pilot trying desperately to get back control of his aircraft as it is spiraling out of control toward the canyon fay below.

The author, Ron, from a young adventurous boy, now an older gentleman is obsessed in the story that he’s been told about a missing P-40 aircraft that crashed up in the mountains near where he now lives. His driven obsession searching for this Phantom P-40 has taken him on an adventure of his life. He had no idea at the time if this story was true or just an old tale. With endless time spent researching and travelling to different airport locations that once upon a time had been used by the Army Air Force for training looking for any clues that he may find about a P-40 crashing in the area he was looking at. Now with countless hours, days, and months behind him searching, he’s finally able to locate someone who says he knows where the P-40 crash site is. So maybe this story is true after all! When he meets up with the gentleman who told him about the crash site he shows Ron photos that he had taken of the crashed aircraft.

Now a new search has just begun. What kind of airplane was really in the photos? Why had been the pilot? Did he survive? If so did he fight in the World War II? More unanswered questions and many more hours, days, and months lay ahead before he’s able answer all of those unanswered questions. The aircraft was a P-40 Tomahawk, the pilot a young 24 Year Old Lieutenant James K. Dowling. He survived the crash and went on to fight in Alaska, North Africa, and Europe during the D-Day invasion.

The description to this true story fits perfect. Taking this action filled war story adventure around the world on the wings of a fighter pilot.


Member Monday: Marie A. Warner

Today’s Member Monday is a contribution from Marie A. Warner. This is a poem that Marie read at our latest Read Around.


Time with a Pen


Sitting down to collect my thoughts,

To draw out what otherwise I would have not.

Always going…thinking of the next thing to do,

My mind always buzzing but to what end I can’t construe.


Weighing out what matters at this stage of life,

Knowing what cleanses me from layers of strife.

Enjoying the discovery that words are a friend,

One that will be with me until the end.


To collect them on the page gives me such relief,

It helps my day move forward with a new belief.

One I wouldn’t have ever known if I had not sat down,

And given my pen some time to move around.


Written in Redding, CA 9/16

Copyright ©2016 Marie A. Warner all Rights Reserved