business in the front, party in the back

When I cut off my dreads, there were pieces of black fuzz still stuck to the tips. Things I had been carrying around with me for the last year. I picked it out with oily fingers, bit by bit, and washed it hard, marveling at the way the back of my head feels, now that […]

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people of westerwald!

This week I brought a copy of the (almost mastered) Black Diamond Express Train to Hell demo CD along for the driver with whom I get to and from work twice a week. He slid it into the car stereo and slide guitar and banjo and cajon started coming out of the speakers. (On car […]

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all hail ye, mighty eyjafjallajokull

I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you: for the last week Eyjafjallajokull the Friendly Icelandic Volcano has been spewing 14-kilometer columns of ash into the air. The ash created clouds that in turn smoked all of Europe’s airplanes right out of the sky. The skies were blue, not tic-tac-toed with plane-exhaust lines, they […]

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building project number three: stairs

Oh, how the spring air and the change of place has motivated me! building a mini-porch and stairs (picture one) I started with a heavy wooden bit (already assembled) that the guys at the plumbing company at the front of our property had put out with the trash. Problem number one: only one angle bracket […]

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victory is (briefly) mine

Some little steps in the building process seem so huge that they catapult me into motion for days, sometimes weeks afterward. Yesterday we took one of those steps. I finished securing that last pesky corner beam, and we moved my wagon. It didn’t have far to go, but the amount of effort that it took […]

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dumpster find of the season

As last fall was on its way out, the bulbs that bore these tulips were on their way into the grocery store dumpster. And I wonder, had they made it to the dump, would they have sprouted there among the garbage? I like to imagine they would have, although the reality is probably that the […]

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fame, glory, etc

Yesterday there was an article about me in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on the first page of the Rhein-Main section. Probably already available in your neighbor’s trash, should you like to take a look. I don’t think I would like being famous very much. I can barely handle the disturbingly enormous picture of me that […]

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people of cologne! people of mühlheim (am ruhr)!

We are coming to your city to play for you! Lalalalalalala! Black Diamond Express Train to Hell Pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong at the last minute did. Our dobro player is at home in bed with his face rotting off because of an infection that could blind him if he doesn’t take […]

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the gorilla garden

My friend’s mother is an avid gardener and my patron saint of seeds. She filled bags with willow tree branches (put them in water and they will grow roots, she said), three kinds of mint, tarragon, loveage (in German liebstöckel or Maggikraut), strawberries, and garlic. “This line of garden is 23 years old,” she told […]

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john hoffman on dumpster diving and the underground economy

I don’t know that Hoffman’s economic analysis would hold up in a court of law, but I’d rather we dissembled those anyway. So here is a very long quote from The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving: “It’s a great feeling to have somebody hand you CASH MONEY for an item you found in the […]

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