Ripple, sure I know that word.  It brings to mind a lot of fond memories.  Some of my old childhood friends would say, “sure you know that word…you should…you sure as hell drank enough of it.”
But they would be wrong…not wrong about drinking the Ripple Wine but wrong about my having any fond memories of those Ripple Wine hangovers.

No, the fond memories are about my grandpa’s dog, Ripple.  You might think that’s a strange name for a dog but ole Ripple came by it naturally.  You see, in those days, my folks and I’m sure most of the folks around that part of the country didn't name their dogs until the dogs earned their right to be named.

Folks figured there was no use in naming a dog until it really belonged to the name it was given.  The other thing about dogs in those days was they had to be worth their keep. If they weren't worth their feed…well, folks just took them out back and…bang.

I know you’re wondering what you would call a dog if you didn't give it a name. For the first two years of Ripple’s life my grandpa just called him “Hey”.  Some people had a habit of whistling for their dogs but my grandpa was happy just shouting “Hey” and then that ole black Lab would be right by his side.

Every time I went to visit my grandpa I would worry that “Hey” would not be around anymore but he always passed the tests that grandpa laid before him.  He learned real fast not to bother the chickens and that his place was outside.  My grandpa would not allow a dog in the house.  If they needed a place to sleep inside they could use the barn.

By the time that “Hey” turned two he was becoming a pretty good hunting dog.  He could find the birds and most times never broke his point.  He never shied from the blast of a shotgun and he never took out after the birds until my grandpa said go.

While he was straining to get going after the birds he would stand with all four feet spread wide apart and shake but as his back muscles really began to develop he stopped shaking and started rippling.  Yes, that’s what I said, he started rippling.  His ripples looked just like the ripples in pond made by skipping stones.

The ripples would start at his butt and work all the way up to his neck.  His head never moved or quivered at all.  He kept his eyes on exactly where he had seen the prey go down.  When the ripples finally reached his neck they would begin all over again.

At first the ripples would move kind of slow but the longer my grandpa made him wait the faster the ripples went so naturally, grandpa began calling him Ripple.

Ripple learned how to find and point out quail and pheasants with the best of the dogs.  In fact he became a real good hunting dog.  He would set his point and not move until commanded to do so.  He would go into a perfect set with his head craned sort of away from his body, his left front foot would come up with his leg bent, his whole body leaned forward and his tail would get stiff as a board and point directly backwards.

But then his rippling would start and get faster and faster until he was released to flush the bird.  Well this rippling never bothered my grandpa.  He was sure it made ole Ripple just a cut above the other dogs so he decided to enter him in the county fair
Grandpa bragged all over the county about how he had the best hunting dog in the state, of course when someone says that he has the best or is the best there is always someone that will disagree.
In my grandpa’s case, it was his cousin Arlo.  Arlo personally knew of at least three dogs that were better and he bragged that he should know something about dogs because he was the judge at the county fair.
Naturally, grandpa had to enter Ripple in the competition that summer and, so the story goes, the judge, Cousin Arlo, disqualified Ripple because he moved when he was setting in his point.  My grandpa argued that he wasn't moving.  He argue that it was a ripple in his skin but Arlo wouldn't budge.  Ripple was disqualified.

Grandpa appealed to organizers of the fair and cousin Arlo was disqualified as a judge because of the family ties.  Grandpa strutted around the fairgrounds like a bandy rooster around a bunch of hens.  He hee-hawed poor Arlo like he was a Jackass entered in the fair.

No, Ripple didn't win a prize.   Grandpa removed him from the competition.  He said that getting the best of his cousin Arlo gave him enough bragging rights for a whole year.


The Homeless

I don't have the answers

I have been doing a personal investigation of the homeless for a year.  When I started I had a dream that I could make a difference.

However, making a difference in the world of the homeless is not as easy as I naively thought.  

I started by dressing like a homeless person and begging on street corners.  I quickly learned I could make I made a few bucks but  begging for money is not easy (at least in my case) and it is dangerous.  I didn’t last long and really didn’t learn anything about the homeless or the homeless problem.

I decided that interviewing the homeless was a better avenue to solving their and society’s problems.  I have no idea why I thought the interview idea was a good one.  I guess it is simply that I am not only naïve, I am stupid.

I have attempted to interview homeless people for a year with few results.  I have found that as long as the questions are about solving the problems of their world, their ideas flow like a flash flood.  Most of them have some kind of solution and most of the solutions are based on additional help of some sort.  However, if the questions were personal (name, age, where do you come from or the reason you are homeless) they immediately became suspicious and clammed up.

Most told me they would work if jobs were available and I truly think they were telling me the truth.  However, I have personally hired a few at my company and found that the few I hired didn’t really know how to work, didn't care how good their work was, expected salaries or wages way higher than I would pay my own employees or they were scam artists

The bottom line is that the few times I have tried to help have, in one way or another, ended up in small disappointments for me.


next - who and what really helps....if anything?...


I cry

I breathe
breath won't come

my head spins
 vision is blurred

I cry for what 
I do not know

I cry
for me



I talked to the wind
 I listened

It whistled
it blew
it pushed

it said
 not a word
so I tried

the sun

the sea

the sky

Like the wind
They won’t talk

At least to me

My wife says
they talk to her

I went back
and tried again

And still
they ignor me

I wonder



the equinox has come
or is it the equilux
some say the time has shifted
but does time really shift
the sun comes
and goes
but does time shift
the rising and the setting
the time from one to the other
nears twelve but never gets there
is that the way we are
do we try to equalize
and then fall short
only to start drifting
back to where we started
never to really
let our dreams mature


What do I Know

What do I know?
The legend of Mt. Timpanogos

I grew up in central Utah in the valleys and foothills below Mt. Timpanogos. When I was growing up, Mt. Timpanogos was reported to be 12,008 feet high, the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range of Utah.

I climbed the mountain 5 times between the age of 12 and 17. Climbing Mt. Timpanogos was not like the pictures you see of people climbing the world’s highest mountains. It was merely a hike up a steep trail that began more than half way up the mountain but at that time my friends and I did not know the difference. We thought that we were real mountain climbers.

The trail zigzagged up the mountain until it arrived at a glacier. The top of the glacier was the first crest of the mountain top. The glacier was climbed the same way we climbed the mountain. Once the top of the glacier had been reached it was an easy hike along the crest of the mountain to the summit. Someone had built a small metal canopy hut and the organizers of the “Timp Hike” were there waiting to congratulate you and give you a small round button pin that proved you had reached the summit.

I was proud to have climbed Utah’s highest mountain and Utah’s only glacier. It was something to brag about. I knew that I could conquer mountains and glaciers. The world was mine. Nothing could hold me back. Those feelings were great and I love to recall them even though it is obvious that I was not a conqueror of mountains and glaciers. I was merely a boy meeting the local challenges of growing up.

I also grew up with stories about the Indian Maiden that slept on the top of the mountain. If you look close and someone points out the bumps and curves, the top of Mt. Timpanogos has the shape of a woman. There were stories of Indian legends about an Indian maiden with a broken heart jumping off of a cliff and the gods causing the earth to rise and create the mountain in her honor.

I didn’t believe the story but I did believe that it was an Indian folk tale.

My first disappointment or ego busting experience came a few years after the last time I climbed the mountain. Someone recalculated the elevation and discovered that the mountain was really only 11,988 feet high. It really wasn't a big deal but somehow I felt cheated. However, Mt Timpanogos was still the highest mountain in Utah so my accomplishment was only diminished by a few feet.

My second disappointment came when I found out the legend of the Indian maiden was made up by a college professor that wanted to romanticize the mountain and the hike. The professor wasn’t even an Indian or related to any Indian in any way. I wondered why some of the local Indians had not scalped him but I guess they had higher morals than he did.

The final blow came when I was doing some research about Utah County for my life story and discovered that Mt. Timpanogos isn’t the highest mountain in Utah. It’s not even the 2nd highest or the 3rd highest mountain in Utah. It is only 11,750 feet high and the 7th highest mountain in Utah.

However I have figured out how to overcome the blows to my childhood memories. I have decided that when I climbed Mt Timpanogos it was the highest mountain in Utah at 12,008 feet. Since then, the wind has blown a few feet off the top of the mountain.

The Indian maiden? Maybe the professor was right. After all, what do I know?


Pet Peeves

We all have pet peeves. They change from time to time. I believe it’s just due to whatever you’re into or however you’re living your life. My worlds revolve around the internet, or as some people are beginning to call it, “the interNUT”.

I blog, I Google and I use the system for my work. I also get the ton of emails that jam up your system and take up your time. There is a ton of really bad stuff on the internet but there is a ton of good stuff.
I read most of the emails. Some are stupid. Some are cute or funny and some are even informative but it seems like most of them have one ending.

That ending is my pet peeve. In some form or another I am instructed that I must pass it on. The different forms of “pass it one” can be threatening in one way or another. I have collected a few for you edification:

   • After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
     You have two choices now:
     01. Delete this
     02. Forward it to the people you care about.
     You know the choice I made.

It was a religious message and insinuated that if I didn’t pass it on I hated God and didn’t care about my friends.

       • The Chinese have a saying that goes something like this:
          'When someone shares with you something of value,
           You have an obligation to share it with others!'

I think this one was some political junk about Obama. I should have kept track of what the email was about but I have a good habit of junking all anti Obama letters.

       • You can do your bit by remembering to send an e-mail to at least one unstable person. My job is done!

This one was some screwy thing that insinuated that I was mentally unstable. It’s true, I am a little unstable but I don’t like to admit it. (OK, I know it was a joke, but I’ll decide what I want to pass on)

      • They say if you pass this on, you will receive a miracle.
         I am passing this on because I thought it was really pretty, and besides, who couldn't use a miracle?

Here is another religious letter letting me know that if passed it on I would receive a miracle.

I think I’ve made my point and remember if you don’t pass this on to all of your friends, you will be trampled to death by 1000 marauding camels. If you do pass it on, you will be trampled to death by 1000 marauding interNUT NUTS.



I've been thinking. I try to do that every now and then.

This think is about clichés.

I have noticed that a lot of people, including myself, talk in cliches. When I make a statement it is not uncommon to be answered with a cliche or to answer with a cliche.

One of my favorite cliches is “Opportunity doesn't knock twice”.

When I hear those words I always wonder, why not? If it came the first time, surely it could drop in the 2nd time. What would happen if I’m in the shower and I don’t answer the door when opportunity knocks? It wouldn't be fair if opportunity only knocked once. If that were really the case then no one would ever take a shower and then what a stinking world we would have.

I know it’s just a cliché and cliché’s are just a bunch of words tossed into a pot, stirred around and then extracted by a word witch or just to be fair a word warlock. But people really do believe them and live by them.

What would happen if the word gurus stirred the pot and extracted, "Opportunity won't knock twice”? Would that change the meaning? What if the pot had popped out “opportunity only knocks once”? Would that change the meaning?

Or maybe if they forgot to tend the pot and the words just started popping out. Then the cliché might be “Opportunity knocks once, twice, three times or if you are not careful, opportunity will come knocking every night like a love stricken teenage boy mooning over your giggling teenage daughter”.

You hear the knock and you scream, “Get the hell away from my daughter!” and it turns out to be that pesky old opportunity. Then the cliché could be “opportunity keeps knocking until you chase it away with a shot gun.”

I think that cliches need to be short and to the point. Something like, “black dogs don’t talk”. You could fit that one into any conversation you want to.

Let’s say someone wants to borrow some money. All you have to say is, “They tell me that black dogs don’t talk.” You’re home free. Who in their right mind would challenge you and claim that, “black dogs do talk”?

The statement is correct. Black dogs don’t talk. They might ask, “What does ‘black dogs talking’ have to do with borrowing a buck or two?” You could continue with something like, ""I don't think white dogs can talk either' and then you have shifted the conversation to black versus white and then it will shift to politics and you won't have to worry about giving the guy a buck of two.

Most people are afraid to challenge cliches. We don’t challenge them because  we do not want to admit that wew don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

I once said to a young friend of mine, “It’s tough to make ends meet”.

He thought for a minute and responded, “I guess when you do, you can barbecue them.”

I thought for my minute and said, “No, I’m going to boil them.”

He changed the subject and I wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg (there’s another one of them critters) or whether I was pulling his leg and I really didn't want to ask because, as you know “black dogs don’t talk.”
gs batty


within me

within me
lies something confused
I should name it

but so far I refuse
to give it a name
that could lead to a soul

 now it is just
a nameless thought
a jumbled mass 

 confused energy
wanting to be free
to inform the world

who is really me
and if it is released
would I know too



my heart
a blade of grass
a pond
a tree 
will she come


I see voices in the sky

The sun opens the eastern sky
closes the western sky. 
Scattered clouds are born in the west
slip away in the east

Shards of blue peek through the black
 Rainbows of oranges and reds and gold
reflect from the white of sun and the clouds
I wonder about the clouds and the sun

about the colors.
 Have they just been sired
are they at the end of their time. 
Have they traveled far

Are they born again
for inspiration
 are they dying
to show the way

it is plain to see
that either way
They are
 just as beautiful

it’s a lesson for me
  to continue to shine,
to continue to be
even as I start to fade.


Politics and Preaching

I see,
I hear
One side too
The other fro
Which am I?
Sometimes too
Sometimes fro
The preachers politic
The politicians preach
When did politics become religion?
When did religion become politics?
One side oot
The other orf
Am I either?
how would I no?


Aliens, they’re a laugh a second

Prompt……."Suppose aliens abducted you as you were walking in the park. Write a story telling about this experience."
Do you remember that song about strolling through the park one day in the merry, merry month of May?  It goes on to say, “I was taken by surprise by a pair of roguish eyes…

It turns out the roguish eyes in the song belonged to a young maiden and they lived happily ever after.

Why do I bring that up that song?  Well that sort of happened to me.  I was strolling through the park and I was taken by surprise but it wasn’t in the merry month of May and it wasn’t a pair of roguish eyes.

It was last month, January and I was taken by surprise by a pair of alien eyes and a pair of alien arms and a single space ship.  I was abducted by space people.

No, they were not little, they were not green and they didn’t have bug eyes but they did have great big ears like Dopey from Disney’s “Snow white” and they wore dopey hats and dopey robes.  They said they were from the land of Dope just beyond the 10th Star of the Galaxy Organorous.

You may be wondering why a bunch of Dopians would want to abduct me and I wondered the same thing and then I found out the head Dopian was also wondering the same thing.
 I distinctly heard him say. "He's no dope, why did you abduct him?  He is of no practical use to us.  Throw him out."

Good I thought until I looked out the window and realized we were somewhere in outer space.  It dawned on me that “throw him out” might not be good for my health.

I said, “Wait!”  I didn’t know what else to say. Wait was the only thing I could think to say but it was a brilliant stroke of genius to say wait because “Weight” was the name of the head Dopian's daughter.

However, her name was not spelled w-a-i-t, it was spelled w-e-i-g-h-t but he didn’t know I was saying wait to wait.  He thought I was calling his daughters name because I knew her.

His ears wiggled and he said, “Do you know where my daughter is?”

Now I am not the swiftest watermelon in the patch but I knew I had better know where the beautiful Miss Weight was located because if I didn't, I was going to do a space walk and not the Michael Jackson kind.

“Absolutely,” I replied.  “She was sitting on a park bench right back there where you picked me up.  Now if you will take me right back there where you picked me up, I’ll point her out to you.”

His ears went to full wiggle and he did a little circle toe dance that was kind of fun to watch.

I said, “You should do a show in Vegas.  You would be a hit”

His ears started wiggling again and he did a circle toe dance in the reverse direction.

He giggled and said, “I had to unwind.” 

Then he slapped me on the back and said, “That’s a Dopian joke…get it?”

I laughed because I knew it was smart to laugh at jokes of the powerful.  His whole crew laughed because they knew it was smart to laugh at the jokes of their leader.

They took me back to the park and as I was leaving Weight really was waiting and she came Toe Dancing up to meet him.  First, she wiggled one ear and then she wiggled the other ear. 
I have no idea if that had a special meaning because I wiggled my derriere out of there.

                                                                                                                       gsbatty/Feb. 2012


the cloud

The cloud
was there, so was I
I can only wonder
Wonder about the cloud
I knew I was there
but why the cloud
I well, I
I come from not to far
and the cloud
Now the cloud
is different
the cloud has traveled
The cloud has been reborn
Time and time and time
And there it sits
Over me
why that cloud
it’s not a good cloud
it has the black below
the gray above
is that me
do I see a message
feel a message
it moves
it moves away
am I marked
an omen
If that cloud comes back
I’ll know


The Horseman

     We all have fond memories of our childhood.  We remember those time times that were different and exciting or a time when we met someone special
     The horseman was one of those special moments in my childhood.  He was a tall lanky man with a haphazard short cropped beard and I was pretty sure his nick name was something like “Slim”.  It wasn’t.  It was “The Horseman”.  Naturally I assumed he rode horses.

     Of course the residents in the small Southern Utah never uttered the direct article “The”.  They simply said, “Horseman, how the hell are ya”, “Horseman, how the hell is old ‘Cabby’ doin” or “Hey Hoss, goin fishin today?”

      But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I was with my mom and dad sitting in one of the three booths at Judy’s Café when he walked in.  He nodded at my parents and squeezed my shoulder.

     He was a pleasant man with a warm smile that divulged a couple of missing teeth.  Judy had his breakfast ready as he slid onto one of the four stools at the counter.  He bantered back and forth with four road workers sitting at the booth behind us.  He drank a full cup of black hot coffee before he started on his ham and eggs with a side of hotcakes
     He didn’t waste any time with his breakfast.  He made small talk while he still had food in his mouth.  I was sure my mom was going to say something because she always did when I talked with my mouth full but she just looked the other way.  I knew his bad table manners would be a topic that I would hear about the next time we sat down to eat.  Also I noticed that he didn’t remove his hat when he sat down to eat.  In fact, nobody did except me and my dad.  ‘No hats at the table” was a rule at our house and it was strictly obeyed.  I decided that I was going to be real happy when I could enjoy a meal like they did.

     The tall man left just before we did.  As I walked out the door I heard him say, “Come on Cabby lets head for home.”

     The horse was nibbling grass next to the café.  It wasn’t tied to anything.  It didn’t even have a halter on.  I waited for the tall man to get a saddle and halter and put it on the horse but he didn’t.  He just started walking up the street and the horse turned and walked along beside him.

     One of the road hands walked out of the café and my dad asked him why the tall man didn’t ride the horse.

     “Old Hoss?” he answered. “Hell he’s never ridden a horse.  Says it’s cruel.  That old horse Cabby is his pet.  Just like a damned dog.  Follows him wherever he goes.  Some folks swear that they even sleep together but I don’t believe that.

     We call him the horseman because of old Cabby being a pet.  You know he lives 5 miles back up in that canyon.  He walks down here 6 days a week for breakfast.  Figger he has to leave about six A.M. to get here by eight.  Says the horse needs the exercise.

     Walks to church on Sundays and that’s near seven miles one way and that damn horse walks with him.  When he gets to church he sits in the back by a window and Cabby stands outside with his head in the window.  Folks say that old horse hears every word the preachers says and even laughs when the preacher comes up with a good joke.  And that ain’t the best of it.  When the preacher prays, folks say the horse says amen.  Now doesn’t that beat all.  Course I never heard him say amen because I don’t go to church but I’ve been tempted just to hear that horse talk.”

     By the time the road worker was through with his story, the Horseman and Cabby had walked clean out of sight.

     “Is that a true story?” I asked my dad.

     “Beats me,” my dad said.  “But I’ll never call a man a liar unless I know for sure.  What do you think?”

     “I don’t know,” I replied.  “But I sure would like to hear that horse say amen.”


My Home Town

Beneath a mountain
                above a lake
lies the town
               I chose to forsake
It has left my life
       But not my heart
Nor my mind
I dream
Of the small streets
Filled with love
Old friends of mine
They stop and say hello
How are you doing
How’s your uncle Joe
The words were real
Their hearts were true
When I think of what I left
My heart feels a little blue



whence cometh thou
Is it through
my eyes, my touch, my heart, my ears, my mind
 another dimension
 all dimensions

you cannot just be
how can I know thee

I must be you
I must let you be me
I must
climb for you…sweat for you
Feel your dirt…your rocks…your cold…your warmth
hear your winds sing the songs of life and love
hear your birds praise the universe above
hear your waters caress the earth below
 rise to the sky and let it wrap round me
climb your mountains and make them me
lie in your valleys and feel them caress your skies

You must
my aches…my pains…my breath
my eyes, my ears, my mind, my heart, my soul

I will be yours
 wherever you are, whatever you are
I will
see you, hear you, feel you, be you

you will be me, I will be you
We will belong

 to the earth, the wind, the clouds, the moon, the sun and the stars,
The stars, the sun, the moon, the clouds, the wind, the earth,
 will belong to us.


Having my Baby

It has occurred to me that writing is just another form of creating a baby.

Every time we write something new, we have sired another baby or child.  True to actual life, a lot these children are created and then abandoned.

An idea, a child, is created and then because the creator, the writer, has created more than he or she can deal with, the fetus is aborted.

We write half a page, half a chapter, half a book and then because we haven't planned properly or prepared ourselves properly, we are not fit to be the parents of what we have created.  We lament that the child is not doing well.  The child is not what we had hoped for but that is not his or her fault. (is the gender of an unborn article male of female?)
The fault lies in our inability to be master creators.  We would like to be gods in the world of writing but alas, most of us are not
If, by some quirk of fate we are actually able to create a story or a book in its entirety, we are then left with the responsibility of raising our creation.

 But as in human children, we need help.  Someone has to clean up the poop.  By "clean up the poop" I mean the story needs to be edited and proofed.  Editing and proofing is like picking up the poop in your back yard.  No matter hard hard I try I always miss a pile and it's the same way with writing.

When we write we know what we mean to say and it is easy to leave out words or use the wrong word in the wrong places and when we reread what we wrote our eyes see what we think is there
Have you seen the email that goes around where all the words are misspelled?  It is very easy to read what is written and that is what we do with our own gibberish.

It is wise if you can beg or pay someone else to do the poop picking.

Once the poop is taken care, hopefully our child will move from grade school to high school where editors and agents may be lurking to grab the little bugger and make sure he or she (there's that gender thing again) stays on the straight and narrow.

If, and that is one big frigging if, (I have a love-hate relationship with the word frigging) it makes it with an agent and then a publisher, it may graduate from college and go on to bigger and better things.

Bigger and better making money to support us in our old age.


Nanny State

It has to make one proud to be part of a state that leads all other states in the creation of new laws

I live in the Nanny State (California) and our latest endeavor is to crack down on the populace for eating and driving.

That’s right…eating and driving!

The Nanny State can and will give you a ticket for eating and driving.  That is the CHP  (California Highway Patrol) has decided that eating while driving in the Golden State between 6 a.m. Friday December 30, 2011 and 6 a.m. Saturday December 31, 2011 could mean as much as a $1,000 fine if it impairs a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

While there is no law saying someone can't eat while driving, a distracted driver is in violation of the law.  Under California's vehicle code, a driver can be ticketed $145 to $1,000 for having "wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."

There are a couple of things that grab my attention.

The first is the reference to “the Golden State”.  That is the official Nickname of California (since 1968) and I think it refers back to the California gold rush of 1849.  However I have been told that it may refer to the fields of Golden Poppies that cover the state each spring .(I have lived here 40 years and never seen a golden poppy…I guess they are something you have to go out and look for.)

I have to believe that while we may prefer to call ourselves as the “Golden State” others may prefer the name I have chosen for this article.  Maybe we can keep our nickname by saying it comes from all the gold that state extracts from its citizens.

The second item that grabbed my attention is the date that the CHP chose to impose its food crack down.  Why did they choose the day before New Years?  I can only guess.  I assume it’s because they feel they will be too busy with drunk drivers to worry about arresting or ticketing drivers that are caught eating but as I said, it’s an assumption.

If you should decide to spend some time in the Nanny State please be aware of our Golden rules:

  ·         Do not drink and drive
·         Do not text and drive
       ·         Cell phone hands free only
·         Do not eat and drive

I must confess that I am not sure whether the eating rule includes coffee and sunflower seeds.  I guess it would depend on the whim of the CHPofficer.  

You would be wise not to flip them off.

About Me

My photo
So Cal, United States
I am an apprentice writer of short stories and I also attempt a little poetry.