April 2016

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When you’re creating a novel length distraction to keep people from knowing that nothing’s actually happening, things start to get complicated.

Why we suddenly jump to the kingdom of Rohan. Where there’s a king who used to be bold, manly, and brave. Name of Theoden. Now he looks like this.

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He’s being influenced, undermined, rotted, and grossly overfed with junk food by a cur named Wormtongue.

Strider (now Aragorn) and the elf and the dwarf show up at Rohan. They’ve heard a rumor that Theoden’s other son, Faramir, has Frodo and Sam in custody. But Theoden has banished his son Faramir. He’s just sitting there now. Eating tacos. By the dozens. But the bikers of Rohan are running free.

Faramir, brother of Boromir. The King is completely pissed. The Bikers of Rohan are banished.

Faramir, brother of Boromir. The King is completely pissed. The Bikers of Rohan are banished.

But they run nonetheless.

Lyle.

Lyle.

George

George

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde

Axl

Axl

Plug Ugly

Plug Ugly

Mr. Sidecar..

Mr. Sidecar.

Eowyn. Oops. Something for me.

Eowyn. Oops. Something for me.

The Greyhound.

The Greyhound.

Spike.

Spike.

Hitman.

Hitman.

But Faramir captured Frodo and Sam. The bikers made them ride.

Frodo is, as usual, scared.

Frodo is, as usual, scared.

Sam is not scared.

Sam is not scared.

And then Gandalf returns from the dead. He pretends to be Gandalf the Grey.

Gandalf the Grey

Gandalf the Grey

But in reality he’s Gandalf the White.

He shimmers. His new superpower.

He shimmers. His new superpower.

Stay tuned for the next segment — Part 9, the Return of More Plotlines and even Hobbits and Suchlike.

Got to get to Mordor. Unless Gondor.

Got to get to Mordor. Unless Gondor.

Sooner or later, every epic turns into the Wizard of Oz.

This time we have to pass through the gates of Gondor.

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Or the Gates of Mordor…

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Where the shadows lie. (Sauron’s tower at the upper right…)

After Boromir died and Frodo and Sam went off on their own, there was a need for a whole interim book about the gang who were supposed to protect Frodo and didn’t. They had to be heroic and elvish and dwarvish and hobbity and in Strider’s case, human. Whatever that is. Since they started the problem in the first place, what with humans being so human and all.

So in the new vainly heroic phase of the quest, the elf and the dwarf and the human immediately lose track of the hobbits. No child seats on horses, I guess.

One of them winds up with Ents. Who are gigantic slow thinking critters who are mostly indistinguishable from trees.

Ents are slow to anger, but you should see what they can do a bad wizard's tower.

Ents are slow to anger, but you should see what they can do to a bad wizard’s tower.

Before.

Saruman was great. He thought.

Saruman was great. He thought.

After.

Tree beard: "That little hobbit fella said there'd be cheese curls in there. Sorry."

Treebeard: “That little hobbit fella said there’d be cheese curls in there. Sorry.”

Saruman was none too happy.

"I'm none too happy."

“I’m none too happy.”

But never mind all that. Gondor’s where the action is. Or why would we have a elf, a dwarf, and a human riding pell mell toward a ruined kingdom with more towers presided over by a zombie and his mongrel Rasputin?

Stay tuned for Part 8, The Bikers of Rohan.

Very bad news.

Very bad news.

Things keep getting worse. Out of Moria and then the Orcs attack for real.

The worst one attacks Boromir, just as he’s getting around to stealing the ring from Frodo.

Boromir is tough. But not this tough.

Boromir is tough. But not this tough.

Very very bad news.

Boromir. Dead.

Boromir. Dead.

Frodo is like totally out of brave pills, so he runs away and Sam has to go with him, while everybody else has, as usual, no idea what to do.

Frodo tries to swim to safety, empowered by pure fear.

Frodo tries to swim to safety, empowered by pure fear. But fear doesn’t make you a good swimmer, does it?

Sinking, drowning, Frodo is almost lost.

Omigod.

Omigod.

He has a vision of the afterlife, which seems to be reaching out to him.

I will save you. Just give me the ring. First.

I will save you. Just give me the ring. First.

He was capsized and captivated all at once.

Omigod.

Yes.

But Samwise is on the scene, looking out for his master.

Always working the plan.

Always working the plan.

Until you have to improvise.

Got him. And the ring.

Got him. And the ring.

All is well.

Frodo

Frodo

Only Sam understands the fundamental equation. Which is that the One is really the Other, and Frodo is helpless against such power. So they have to run like hell into the worst possible situation.

I will save you. Just give me the ring. First.

I will save you. Just give me the ring. First.

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Stay tuned for the next part, which has Ents and things.

Rikki and Samuel

Rikki and Samuel

So now we have two twelve year old greyhounds. Except for two specific attributes, impossible to tell them apart. One has deer ears and the other a needle nose. The new boy is Samuel, whose race record we just looked up. 40 races, two wins and six seconds. Not bad at all to undergo that and survive to this ripe old age. The senior boy in our household is Rikki Tikki Tavi, who also raced and survived, despite his close resemblance to Bambi.

Good news? They’ve already bonded.

This head hanging routine is definitely a greyhound thing. Don't question it. Just know that it is real and meaningful.

This head hanging routine is definitely a greyhound thing. Don’t question it. Just know that it is real and meaningful.

You can only imagine what these two are doing to two romantics. All the titles and references that come to mind. Twilight of the Gods. Castor and Pollux. David and Jonathan. Huck and Tom. With the addition of our deerhound, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But given the gravity of their age and complicated unknowable histories, here’s the reference that seems most appropriate.

Where are the clowns?

Harlequin is the ultimate clown act.

Harlequin is the ultimate clown makeup.

Next best is the Emmett Kelly thing. All sad face and painted on tears

Next best is the Emmett Kelly thing. All sad face and painted on tears

Though some clowns wear no face paint at all.

Though some clowns wear no face paint at all.

And orange is not a clown. It just is. Kind of like greyhounds. Top speed until you drop.

And orange is not a clown. It just is. Kind of like greyhounds. Top speed until you drop.

We’re doing just fine, thank you.

In dog years, we're the past. But in real years, we are present and accounted for. Thank you.

In dog years, we’re the past. But in real years, we are present and accounted for. Thank you.

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Just feeling like some Ry Cooder tonight. All music. No politics. There was a time…

And then there’s this potpourri of the Slideman.

Talk and talk about the best. Cooder is the best.


Before the Change.

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After the Change.


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And people still think I’m for Trump. How Satanic could I be and not be for Kasich. Very. Very very. Kasich is a bigger incompetent than Trump and Cruz combined.

then again, I am the Anrichrist. Ask Zincavage.

Cat, dog, man, horse. And the mystery of life and death.

Cat, dog, man, horse. And the mystery of life and death.

I'm older and younger than most of you. Mostly, people my age look like insurance executives. They might outlive me, but they've paid a heavy price.

I’m older and younger than most of you. Mostly, people my age look like insurance executives. They might outlive me, but they’ve paid a heavy price.

It’s all done fellas. And gals. Doesn’t really matter what happens from here. Obama succeeded in destroying the United States, the Constitution, and the two party system. You all let him do that. Assholes.

Golden. Name of Buddy.

Golden Retriever. Name of Buddy. Consider this a Jersey elegy. All Jersey music for a Jersey Golden boy. He’s fourteen now.

Knew him from puppyhood. He was our grandpuppy. When he looked like this.

It's still the same old story. Got him to teach the daughter responsibility. Daughter doesn't want the responsibility. Mama takes over.

It’s still the same old story. Got him to teach the daughter responsibility. Daughter doesn’t want the responsibility. Mama takes over.

Funny thing. Mama is energized by his vitality, intelligence, and unconditional affection.

They seemed to know each other, wordlessly

They seemed to know each other, wordlessly

There is bonding. She loves him. He loves her. She insisted when she got married on having him in her wedding pictures. Because he was every bit as important as the Best Man and the father of of the groom. He was her dog.

Then comes the Golden Age of the Golden. There is a rhythm to his partaking of life. He is the star of family gatherings, in constant motion, greeting his many friends and playing with all the children, and looking for a chance at the shrimp on the table, and greeting everyone again, and never obnoxious, but always close and loving and the friendliest of boys. He seemed to have a unique relationship with everyone. I believed I was the only one who worried about his propensity for chewing stones from the garden. He put up with my worry and then returned to his habit when I was otherwise engaged. Rocks, shrimp, it’s all good, right, Grandpa?

Life IS a cabaret, old chum.

Life IS a cabaret, old chum.

He was great at hurtling hither and yon, front yard, long back yard, see the kids, kiss the old ladies, and then leaning against you in intimacy. “You don’t want that last deviled egg, do you? I can eat a hot dog faster than you, wanna see?” And then off again to visit absolutely everyone at the party. But he always gave you a lavish hello and an equally lavish goodbye, tail wagging and “Please do come back again soon.”

But time passes and then comes the diminuendo.

Still anxious to say hello, but it's slower, takes some time, though the rhythm of human interaction is still spot on. A tail wag in place of a determined insistent hug. He was getting older, though he still had a sense and fondness about the kids. And you.

Still anxious to say hello, but it’s slower, takes some time, though the rhythm of human interaction is still spot on. A tail wag in place of a determined insistent hug. He was getting older, though he still had a sense and fondness about the kids. And you.

It's hard getting old. We still love each other, but it's harder to lick people's faces. From the floor.

It’s hard getting old. We still love each other, but it’s harder to lick people’s faces. From the floor.

Then comes the long goodbye, sorrowful on both sides.

I love this version of an ultimate Jersey Boy song. All voices singing the same tune. Buddy had so many friends, and all would sing the same song about him. And we will never leave him behind.

And now it is done. A sacred farewell from yet another Jersey voice. Toms River, I think. One of the greatest mezzo sopranos in the world. We look after our own.

Never been comfortable with the greyhound meme of the Rainbow Bridge. I prefer the idea of the shore of a new, next life. Where Buddy is now.

Never been comfortable with the greyhound meme of the Rainbow Bridge. I prefer the idea of the shore of a new, next life. Where Buddy is now. Sitting with Sue. His mama.

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