Scariest Cave Names Ever

Caves are fissures where evil seeps. And some of these must’ve been named by people who were scared shitless. In Texas, don’t stumble into Toad Frog Falling Floor Fissure, Left In a Lurch Cave, Coon Crap Cave, Putrid Pit, and … Read More

Ode to frost

Tonight your plants and mine sit outside under a carnival of covers. Old bedsheets and tarps. And six old deck umbrellas, cranky and unwieldly. My back yard looks like the circus came to town.

Crossing the Lexicon

“…ours is a mongrel language,” Mark Twain said about the world’s most expansive tool kit, “which started with a child’s vocabulary of 300 words and now consists of 225,000; the whole lot, with the exception of the original and legitimate … Read More

Outlaws need pants.

Just south of Lawson, in the pastoral countryside, a huge factory, built more than 150 years ago, made pants and sweaters. The factory may have sold pants and sweaters to Harry Truman, who sold pants and sweaters when he was … Read More

Snakes? Shamrocks? Patrick’s Real Story Is Better

Researching for a novel about my Irish priest great grandfather, I’ve come face-to-face with the real St. Patrick. Two tales make him less caricature, more saintly. Every Irish child knows the first story: Patrick ascended Clough Patrick (the Irish Mount … Read More

Turquoise, Green Chiles and the U.S. Treasury

Gallup, New Mexico. Stopped at Jerry’s Cafe for the chiles, specifically New Mexico hatch chiles rellenos. We slid into a cozy two-top booth across the aisle from a spittin’ image for Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin. No shit. Doppelganger. I didn’t … Read More

121 Years Ago Today

Sunday evening, February 5, 1911. Unusually warm. A thunderstorm approached the state capitol from the west and lightning struck the dome around suppertime. Among the dozens of eyewitness reports and photographs is this one, courtesy Cole County Historical Society. The … Read More

The Good Badass Samaritan

It was Friday, already scorching hot, and the sun’s heat shimmered on the highway ahead. My car, Erifnus Caitnop, pointed her nose toward Columbia, and we both looked forward to some rest after a grueling week on the road. By … Read More