July 21, 2019

  • That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

    This newspaper has much wider circulation than I ever expected. The same day my article about Mother Nature was published I received a message on my phone answering machine. I was home, the phone did not ring, and all of a sudden the little message number changed from zero to one. I listened to the message. It was a husky woman’s voice saying, “So you think you’re so smart, well we’ll just see about that.” My caller-id box read “Out of area.” Basking in the glow of modern technology, I dialed star-six-nine, but only got a recording: “Mother Nature does…

  • That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

    Anyone who has ever attempted to wrest a cucumber from the clutches of Mother Nature knows the magnitude of the task. Of course the location of the garden in question makes a significant difference. In Arizona, the job is truly monumental. In the first place, the soil is so alkaline that you can use it to make soap, so adding lime is virtually unheard of. Instead you have to add sulfur to push the pH level down to neutral, and you can forget about growing anything that needs acid soil. If you do get anything to grow, there are more…

  • That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

    I was reminded the other day of an incident that happened years ago when I was a young lad, not even out of high school, working on a dairy farm. As we finished the milking one warm spring evening we realized that one of the cows was probably going to drop her calf during the night. Usually these events require no assistance on our part, but we decided that maybe we could make things a little more comfortable for her by taking her out of the stanchion and putting her outside in the barnyard where she could move around. The…

  • Catching Red Rock Fever…by James Bishop, Jr.

    Where schedules are forgotten and one becomes immersed in ancient rhythms, one begins to live.— Sigurd Olson When the moment arrives for a visitor to say farewell to Red Rock Country and its startling sunsets, timeless red rocks, and wild, undisturbed landscapes, the symptoms rarely vary – a moist eye, lump in the throat, perhaps a last look over the shoulder at shadows stealing over Bell Rock, and often a vow to return someday. To locals, this distressing condition is simply a case of Red Rock Fever with symptoms familiar to them since, for them, the fever comes and goes…

  • Passwords: Safeguards or Satanism . . . by James Bishop, Jr.

    I should hate to spend the only life I was going to have hereIn being annoyed with the time I happened to live in.–Robert Frost, Notebook Entry, 1935 Lucky chap that poet, because if passwords were inundating the citizenry in his day, he did not know it, at least his stanzas never showed it.  Indeed and to be sure, passwords, until recently, were the stuff of pulp spy novels, TV miniseries and children’s games.  In short, whatever vexation might have annoyed the sage of New England – and many there were – passwords were not it. For years, TV talking…

FEATURED SEDONA EDITION

Internet Privacy…by Will Durst

May 24, 2019

Internet privacy. Forget about it. It’s another of those oxymorons you hear so much about; like gluten- free dim sum or fully satisfied Game of Thrones fan or Donald Trump’s Modern Guide to Etiquette and Manners. You got a better chance of finding a pod of humpback whales in your office cubicle than online security. And the greatest threat in this confidentiality crisis is Facebook, the information octopus that disguises its sticky tentacles with cute kitten videos and pictures of grandmas blowing out birthday cake candles while it records your every keystroke. Every “like” of every post. Your favorite porn…

The report From Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation…by Will Durst

May 11, 2019

The eagerly awaited Report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation was finally released and cleared up the situation like a forty- pound dirtball dropped from the roof of a ten- story penthouse. Into a child’s wading pool. With children in it. Imaginary children, of course. The report was 448 pages long, only 52 short of a ream. Although both President Donald Trump and the Democratic Congress must be feeling like the full weight of a ream is banging them in the head. He, for what it said, and they, for what it didn’t. As surprising as a 420 run on…

RICH IS AS RICH DOES…by Will Durst

Mar 22, 2019

Stop the presses. Hold the phone. Call the queen. Ring a bell. Do the math. Cut the cheese. Bring the hurt. Mind the gap. Get a clue. Catch a break. Hook me up. Cancel lunch. Aid and abet. Alert the media. Blow the shofar. The cause of all this consternation? Evidence has emerged that rich people use their money to access privileges that poor folks can’t afford. I know, right? What next: the Pacific Ocean is moist? Plumbers are expensive? Landlords opposed to rent control? Couch cushions in suburban Midwestern basements soiled with beer stains?  This isn’t just about being able to…

PEACHES: THE WALL . . . by Will Durst

Feb 21, 2019

President Donald Trump loves him some wall. Not the wall of corruption he’s surrounded himself with. Not that karmic wall of wasting all his political capital sucking up to superstitious xenophobes. Nor the huge self- erected wall that keeps him from learning or uttering or even caring about the truth. No, not those thick as a brick walls. We’re talking about his obsession with a physical structure on our Southern border. Which he’s variously described as being “big and beautiful, see- through, transparent, steel slats, concrete, fences, barriers, whatever you want to call it, you can call it Peaches.” So…

AFTER XMAS GIFT WISH LIST…by Will Durst

Jan 21, 2019

Way past time to congratulate the baby Jesus on the anniversary of his birth but especially for blessedly ending all those annoying unending ads for the Christmas sales only to be replaced by all those annoying unending ads for the after- Christmas sales. A major difference being- much fewer jingle bells on the soundtracks. It’s also a relief to have the traditional holiday music stuffed back into the poisonous mistletoe vault, meaning we’ll have to wait nine whole months to hear the same thirty songs sung by the same thirty dead white men. And Nat King Cole. As we throw…

TOP TEN COMEDIC NEWS STORIES OF 2018

Dec 22, 2018

Sit the kids down. Let the dogs out. Prop the grandparents up. The nation’s patience has been richly rewarded, because the eagerly awaited list of the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2018 has been officially released. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year. But first a caution: please do not confuse this list with the top ten legitimate news stories of 2018. No. No. No. They are as different as charcoal sketches of historic steam engines and a bucket of compost. Like golden- stitched, sequined blue jean jackets are to chocolate brownies. Bow ties and dirt…

GIVING THANKS 2018…by Will Durst

Nov 22, 2018

One thing we should all be grateful for this year, is that Thanksgiving is making its annual appearance at the earliest possible point on the 22nd. And it could not come at a better time, conveniently laying down a soft muffling blanket of brightly colored leaves over the scorched ruts of one of the most contentious elections in our nation’s history and 712 days before the next most contentious election in our nation’s history. One that officially kicked off on Wednesday November 7. The Fourth Thursday of November is the best of American holidays, a non- denominational feast of friends,…

Choreographed Twitching…by Will Durst

Nov 20, 2017

Sadly fascinating to endure another predictable dance performed on the national stage by our elected politicians in response to the recent horrendous concert shooting in Las Vegas. Well, not a dance, really, more like the choreographed twitching of an unruly mob. Both parties retired to their respective corners while spasmodically jerking and mumbling hushed gobbledygook that even first graders could recite verbatim in a show and tell version of Hypocritical Clichés. As surprising as milk- soaked hay after a missile strike on a dairy farm, Republicans slowly shook their heads somberly intoning that in the wake of such a tragic…

F’ing Chutes and Ladders…by Will Durst

Oct 23, 2017

Here’s the deal: You don’t start out by calling someone an “f’ing moron.” That’s a final exclamatory heave after exhausting all other slanders. Fool. Jerk. Pinhead. Nitwit. Idiot. Nincompoop. Moron. Until finally… f’ing moron. It doesn’t quite scale the heights of “total f’ing moron” or “banana faced monkey dribbler,” but it’s close. So Rex Tillerson must have been at the end of his rope when he flung that particular phrase of scorn and contempt at Donald Trump. Sounds like a spontaneous human explosion stemming from a well of frustration so deep it echoes. The sort of expletive one blurts out…

Hateful Haters Hating Hate…by Will Durst

Sep 23, 2017

Someone please tell the radical left to stop getting their panties in a bundle and quit calling our president a Nazi. Donald Trump proved himself a great friend of freedom when he promoted equivalency between the organized hate movement and people disgusted by them. Anyone who hates haters is equally responsible for hateful hating. That is obvious. After a riot broke out during a Unite the Right March in Charlottesville, Virginia, there was, according to President Trump, violence “on many sides.” He then sagely observed there are two sides to every story. Which is true. There are two sides to…

Thermonuclear Chicken…by Will Durst

Aug 20, 2017

Time to dig a bomb shelter. Stockpile some Kool- Aid. Nibble some Tootsie Rolls while catching a double feature at the drive- in. Pull out your pedal pushers and Hula- hoops. Stick a transistor radio in a front shirt pocket and Twist yourself into the ground replicating the gyrations of Elvis. Presley. Not Costello. Hipsters with clunky glasses and skinny ties should feel right at home as the world sinks back into the Eisenhower Era, with a new Missile Crisis currently and clumsily unfolding before our very eyes. It’s a knock- down, drag- out battle of incendiary rhetoric between the…

Make America Jurassic Again…by Will durst

Jun 20, 2017

President Donald Trump possesses a style described by friends as virile and intuitive and by foes as oafish and oblivious. Some see him a breath of fresh air, with a disarming directness and others consider him a blustering bully with the grace of a pile of crumbling cement blocks cascading off a flatbed truck. Passionate versus fool-hardy. Eager slash hasty. Swift or rash. But these are principally domestic arguments. The international community is not so divided. They view our new Chief Executive as a brutish barbarian whose goal is to antagonize the rest of the planet. Not just the other…

Family Reunions

Jun 20, 2017

Guess what? It’s time to start planning for that event that strikes a chill in the heart of every true guy. The dreaded Arizona Family Reunion! WOW, what a thrill. Here we go again, or do we? Remember last year when the kids had the famous lemonade fight in the back seat of the car? How about the time you took the wrong turn because your wife was holding the map upside down and you ended up in the middle of the desert? All those memories pale in comparison to the time you waited in a three-hour detour in 100-degree…

Gubernatorial Candidate

Jun 20, 2017

POLITICAL NEWS: In Minnesota, anyone who pays the $300 filing fee can get on the gubernatorial ballot. This year, Jonathon Sharkey, a blood-drinking satanic priest, who supports the impaling of terrorists, rapists, drug dealers and other criminals, and whose platform includes an emphasis on education, tax breaks for farmers and better benefits for veterans has thrown his kamelaukion in the ring. SAFE SEX NEWS: A Tulua, Colombia councilman wants to require everyone in town 14 or older to carry a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease, outraging local priests. William Pena said he will present a proposal to force all…

An Arizona Summer

Jun 20, 2017

The birds need oven mitts just to sit on a wire. The trees are whistling for the dogs for a little relief. The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance from store. Hot water now comes out of both taps. Ranchers are feeding chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs. You can make sun tea instantly, in the shade. You learn that a seat belt buckle makes for a pretty good branding iron. Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, “What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and…

Exorcism on Robin Hood’s Grave

Jun 20, 2017

Q: I read recently that a malefic force was emanating from the grave of Robin Hood, in a secluded woodland on the grounds of Kirklees Hall near Brighouse, West Yorkshire, England. Rumors of hauntings prompted a group of psychic experts to conduct a full scale exorcism at the grave in April, 2005. Could Robin Hood’s spirit really have turned evil? A: My guess is the people who were spooked by his essence were probably the descendants of the Sheriff of Nottingham or the Bishop of Hereford. Q: I just took a course on scrying, the ancient act of divination for the purpose…

Cornville Anniversary Gifts

Jun 20, 2017

Year 1 – Paper…Copy of your pre-nup claiming sheep possession Year 2 – Cotton…A small, wet t-shirt Year 3 – Leather…A loin cloth made with real loin Year 4 – Book…A checkbook balanced by a visiting relative Year 5 – Clock…A printout of her biological clock Year 6 – Iron…A seasoned frying pan Year 7 – Copper…Seven shiny pennies Year 8 – Bronze…A framed picture of you and your sheep Year 9 – Pottery…A cremation urn Year 10 – Tin…Beer cans saved from wedding limo Year 11 – Steel…A box of steel wool you stole Year 12 – Linen…A bag…

The Curse of 2611 West Highway 89A

Jun 20, 2017

View of Thunder Mountain from 2611 W. Highway 89A The Word Around Town Asking about Thai Spices restaurant moving from its previous location to 2611 West Highway 89A causes many people to just shake their head. “I don’t know what it is about that location,” you hear time and again, “but no restaurant ever seems to make it there.” Then the litany of restaurants that have occupied the single story building with views of Thunder Mountain begins: the old Osho Cafe, Savannah’s, Wild Orchid and, most recently, a French restaurant that only lasted about three weeks. Various reasons are then…

Strange & Cool Sedona Stuff

Jun 20, 2017

Painting My World: Gambel Quails and Swirling Skies Fri, 21 Jun 2013 We were pleasantly surprised by the Gambel Quail family that showed up while we had our morning coffee. First daddy quail came into view to check it out. We had out down some seed. Then he called for mommy and over she scooted with about 15 babies in tow … Gazing from the Vortex – Braco Live Stream Parties in Sedona Wed, 19 Jun 2013 Our first live stream party was when they were live streaming from Zagreb for Braco’s birthday from 8pm to 8am Sedona time. At…

Frosty No More

Jun 20, 2017

The Excentric World Special Task Force takes at look at the effects of climate change. While many politicians deny that climate change even exists, and others find no correlation between the deterioration of the protective ozone layer and pollutant emissions from the tools of humans, scientists have declared a potential state of emergency. A look at major cities around the world should be evidence enough that we are choking ourselves to death, never mind the dramatic rise in cases of basal cell skin carcinomas. Combustible automobile and truck engines, gas powered mowers and blowers contribute greatly to harmful particulates floating in…

That Really Bunches My Panties

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

This newspaper has much wider circulation than I ever expected. The same day my article about Mother Nature was published I received a message on my phone answering machine. I was home, the phone did not ring, and all of a sudden the little message number changed from zero to one. I listened to the message. It was a husky woman’s voice saying, “So you think you’re so smart, well we’ll just see about that.” My caller-id box read “Out of area.” Basking in the glow of modern technology, I dialed star-six-nine, but only got a recording: “Mother Nature does…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

Anyone who has ever attempted to wrest a cucumber from the clutches of Mother Nature knows the magnitude of the task. Of course the location of the garden in question makes a significant difference. In Arizona, the job is truly monumental. In the first place, the soil is so alkaline that you can use it to make soap, so adding lime is virtually unheard of. Instead you have to add sulfur to push the pH level down to neutral, and you can forget about growing anything that needs acid soil. If you do get anything to grow, there are more…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

I was reminded the other day of an incident that happened years ago when I was a young lad, not even out of high school, working on a dairy farm. As we finished the milking one warm spring evening we realized that one of the cows was probably going to drop her calf during the night. Usually these events require no assistance on our part, but we decided that maybe we could make things a little more comfortable for her by taking her out of the stanchion and putting her outside in the barnyard where she could move around. The…

That Really Bunches My Panties . . . by Brendon Marks

Now don’t shoot the messenger, but I read somewhere that the average woman speaks 30,000 words a day. It was not clear how that compares to the average man, or even whether this is excessive. Considering the fact that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and most women sleep at least four hours; calculations show approximately one word every two seconds. I believe those are old figures, I don’t know when they were gathered, but they must pre-date the cell phone by at least ten years. If this is true, I think something should be done about it. Maybe…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

Anybody with an active imagination can think of at least a dozen inventions they’d like to own. Once you get past the number one item on any guy’s list (x-ray glasses), some have real merit. For example, who wouldn’t want a cell phone jammer? It could be a small battery-operated device that jams any cell phone within visual range. I know the technology exists for larger devices that are illegal in most states, but I’m talking about a portable unit. You carry it in your pocket, and when that guy at the next table in the restaurant starts yammering away,…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

As a writer I have had it up to here with political correctness, but one problem in particular is trying to decide what to use in place of ‘he’ when there is an equal possibility of meaning ‘he’ or ‘she’. I acknowledge use of ‘he’ where a reference could just as easily be referring to a ‘she’ does seem unfair. Ignoring the fact that whoever said life was fair, was wrong, let’s explore alternatives. In most cases, using ‘he or she’ is acceptable, but is clumsy and using three words where one should suffice is wasteful. It might be better…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

Recently one of my siblings (we call him 3-of-6, except our sister, 1-of-6, who calls him 2-of-5) took to social media with a rant regarding package delivery services. Apparently after delivering a package to 3-of-6’s front stoop the miscreant sneaked off without ringing the doorbell or knocking, leaving the package unattended to the delight of stoop thieves who have been ramping up activities as the holidays approach. Even though 3-of-6 was able to retrieve the package before any absconding took place, he wondered when the policy had changed. Many of 3-of-6’s followers reinforced his frustration and one in particular wondered…

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

I’d like to introduce you to a new term. The term is “scope creep.” This is not an obnoxious guy hooked on mouthwash; it has to do with the way projects are handled. Husbands should be very aware of this concept, because wives have a natural instinct for it. Wives ask husbands to do a project, husbands agree and start on the project, but long before it is completed, the project starts to grow arms and legs. This is “scope creep,” the “scope” of the project is “creeping” outward in every direction. An example will illustrate this concept. The week…