March 2014 Newsdumpster


Winter’s Over, Right?  It’s Safe To Leave Florida, Right?

As we exit the Sunshine State after a brutally pleasant month, we're looking forward to meeting many friends, acquantinces, strangers and yahoos in Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Iowa this month.  As you might expect, our time here was pockmarked by photographs, visible here.  More photos will be added when we can think of stupid captions for them.

Also, please visit our overwrought photo albums page.


The White Squirrel In The Blue Meanie’s Wheel Well Reminded Me Of a White Cat, Which Reminded Me Of a Purple Cat, Which Reminded Me Of a Gray Cat, Which Reminds Me Of a Story.

As Rebecca and I arrive upon 20 years of proficiency in the marital arts next month, I was thinking about something that happened early on.

My cat was named Sing-Sing--I didn't name her--she was a rescue from the North Shore Animal League, and I think it's the cages that are named, which you are then free to apply to the creatures within.  Anyway, she was a noisy Siamese mainly, and the name fit well enough, so I stuck with it.  Rebecca's cats were Maggie and Delia.  Maggie was orange, and Delia was gray, sister mongrels adopted from the cat man next door in her Lower East Side apartment.  We got along well with each other's cats, which I thought bode well for a possible Brady-Bunch-style union at some later date.

Late one evening, not long after we started dating, I got a frantic call from Rebecca--something about Delia managing to get herself trapped at the bottom of the airshaft, three flights down.  For those unfamiliar with old New York tenements, a law enacted in 1879 required every inhabitable room to have a window facing a source of, shall we say, fresh air.  The cheapest way to do this was to erect endless structures in the shape of dumbbells, with the long side of each offering intimate views of its neighbors' back hair, and a chop suey of rubbish rising, like a tide of rising chop suey, below.  Such was the miracle of the airshaft.

I dragged myself across town, fully expecting to fail at something.  I arrived at Rebecca's third-floor flat, grabbed a flashlight, and aimed it into the void.  There were no doors or windows at the bottom, only rubbish and a pair of reflective eyes.  I thought of bravely lowering myself on a rope and climbing back up with Delia under one arm.  But there was no rope, and even if one had been present, there was still neither bravery nor the ability to climb with one or both arms.  No rope, but there was a ball of string.  And a basket with a handle.  I just asked her why she had it, but she can't remember.  Maybe a spent gift basket?  I tied the string to the handle, threw in Delia's pillow and some fancy cat food, and lowered the contraption down.  I shone the light into the basket as if to say "the mothership awaits."  The eyes shone back as if to say, "I hope you like sleeping at your desk."  

What self-respecting cat would allow itself to be hoisted in a flimsy basket a hundred or so feet up through a dark, fetid airshaft?  Not Delia, that's what.  After a moment, or maybe two hours, of thought, I imagined a helicopter spotlight targeting me.  I didn't like the idea--reminded me of too many police reality shows.  So I redirected the spotlight on Rebecca, myself and the basket, in sequence, again and again, while we both recited a mantra of "Delia, come on Delia!"  To my horror and disbelief, she actually entered the mothership.  Okay, it took a few false starts, but I eventually managed to haul that stinky cat back to the relative safety of home.

I sometimes wonder how things might have turned out if, say, Delia had decided to go it alone, or if I'd dropped the basket just short of the window.  It would have been a much longer night, and definitely less entertaining.


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Tuesday, March 4, 7:00 PM
Dekalb Library
215 Sycamore St.

Decatur, GA 30030

Admission: Free
Saturday, March 8, 7:00 PM
Barton Library
200 E. 5th St.
El Dorado, AR 71730

Admission: Free
Monday, March 10, 6:00 PM
Ada Public Library
124 S. Rennie St., Ada, OK 74820

Admission: Free
Thursday, March 13, 7:00 PM
Fort Stockton Public Library
500 N. Water St.
Fort Stockton, TX 79735

Admission: Free
Saturday, March 15
Art of the Song @ Art of the Song & The Standing O Project
Albuquerque, NM

We're honored and delighted to be featured in this terrific songweriter series, which is also syndicated nationally through National Public Radio.  We'll let you know when we know the broadcast date.

Sunday, March 16, 3:00 PM
Four Corners House Concert
Farmington, NM

For reservations and information, please contact Charles at or

Tuesday, March 18, 6:30 PM
Silt Branch Library
680 Home Ave.
Silt, CO 81652

Admission: Free
Wednesday, March 19, 6:30 PM
New Castle Branch Library
402 West Main St.
New Castle, CO 81647

Admission: Free
Thursday, March 20, 6:30 PM
Rifle Branch Library
207 East Ave., Rifle, CO 81650

Admission: Free
Sunday, March 23, 3:00 PM
West Liberty Public Library
400 North Spencer St.
West Liberty, IA 52776

Admission: Free
Sunday, March 30, 2:00 PM
Hudson Public Library
401 5th St.
Hudson, IA 50643

Admission: Free
Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 PM
Pocohantas Public Library
14 2nd Ave. NW
Pocahontas, IA 50574

Admission: Free
Friday, April 4, 10:00 AM
Burlington Public Library
210 Court St.
Burlington, IA 52601

Admission: Free
Friday, April 4, 6:30 PM
Musser Public Library
304 Iowa Ave.
Muscatine, IA 52761

Admission: Free
Saturday, April 5, 2:00 PM
Clinton Public Library
306 8th Ave., S.
Clinton, IA 52732

Admission: Free
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green St.
Champaign, IL 61820-5193

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