Selling a house without burying Joseph

When we were getting ready to put our house on the market a few weeks ago, the topic of St. Joseph came up again and again.


The Dream of St. Joseph
Wikimedia Commons

He has always been one of my favorite saints, second only to Bernard (BER-nerd, the scholarly saint, and not Ber-NARD, the courageous canine). I also happen to be named after both holy men, Saints B and J.

Maybe this helps explain, beyond the perfectly obvious silly superstition factor, why I resisted the advice from so many friends to bury a statue of Joseph upside down in the front yard. Supposedly this, when combined with prayers, quickly brings buyers your way.

I read somewhere that the practice has its roots in extortion, whereby the homeowner would bury St. Joseph’s likeness and threaten to keep him buried until he pulled whatever spiritual strings it took to get the property sold. To me, that just seems like asking for trouble.

We chose not to bury the patron saint of fathers, expectant mothers, carpenters, grave diggers and others, and we sold the house in a week.

Now we have a condo, and of course the makers and distributors of St. Joseph statues advise condo owners to bury him in a pot when it’s time to sell. Upside down, facing the front entrance.

No way in hell.

Free Poe? The horror of it all

A disturbingly deep melancholy came upon me when I learned in an online writing group that a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s work could be obtained for nothing.

edgar_allan_poe_cropI hesitate to say where lest I inadvertently encourage someone to take advantage of the unspeakable offer.

My mood darkened further when I read the moronic reviews from unappreciative, ignorant readers who dared to offer their critiques:

“…this book is well worth downloading (especially since it is offered for free).”

“Disappointing and verbose.”

“I guess it’s alright for something to kill time.”

“hard to read”

I can’t go on.

Poe priced no more than so much hideous crap that fouls the book market of today?


Best Des Moines crime novel of 2015?

OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and flat out claim that Blood Solutions was by far 2015’s best crime novel set in Des Moines, Iowa.

Full disclosure: Yeah, I wrote it. Can you name a better crime novel set in Des Moines that was published last year? Was there another one?

Des Moines is cool now? Art, food, politics and crime fiction

So Des Moines started getting cool a few short years after the Smiths moved to the starkly less cool Cedar Rapids? Sheer coincidence.

For what it’s worth, I thought my home town was always pretty cool, if not as slick as those snooty Twin Cities we supposedly looked up to back in the day.

Politico’s new story of how Des Moines went from “totally dysfunctional” to cool is an interesting read anyway. I haven’t thought about scooping the loop in years and had no idea that it was considered “a menace to society,” as columnist Rekha Basu says in the story.

I thought the menace was Roosevelt H.S. guys wanting to beat me up at the bus stop, or the guy on an inner-city street corner who wanted to kill me and a friend on our way to Dowling one morning. (We talked him out of it and walked away.)

Des Moines (4)Des Moines was also cool enough that it inspired me to write what has been called “a compelling, gut-wrenching thriller,” which takes place on those formerly mean, now-cool streets.

In one of my favorite parts of the story, Detective Red Shaw meets another key character in a sculpture park that wasn’t even there when we last lived in Des Moines.

Another takes place where caucus-covering reporters used to stay, and I suppose some still do:

“The Savery Hotel had been the Harrises’ favorite hangout since the days when its bar was crowded with reporters from across the country who were covering the Iowa caucuses. The newer Coda and BOS were OK, but Maura missed the old atmosphere.”

Sometimes I miss it a little, too, and it’s fun to visit family and friends in Iowa when we get the chance. Even Cedar Rapids is getting pretty cool, a trend that actually started before the Smiths went west.


The real definition of insanity

Don’t ever tell me that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

That is both trite and untrue.

I looked it up:

Definition of insanity

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is more like the definition of playing Powerball.

On Sundays Bloody Sundays and car bombs

How about a little history with that beer?


Wikimedia image from a 2007 Bloody Sunday memorial march.

A couple of months back I was emailing a cousin about the St. Vrain Chain Gang Radler, an ale made here in Longmont and named for a cycling group that the brewer sponsors. (I’ve seen radler translated as cyclist, pedal pushers and shandy but it usually brings to my mind the English phrase, “No, thanks.”)

Something else on the brewer’s tap menu caught my eye. A concoction called Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Instantly, the U2 song by that name started up in my head. Being of Irish descent, my first thought was of the Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland in 1972. There are other Bloody Sundays, so named for obvious reasons.

On the 300 Suns Facebook page, I asked about the decision to use the name and had a polite exchange with whoever it was that responded. Word was that they had considered the history and ultimately decided to use the name as a nod to the pop-culture nature of the song, not the Bogside Massacre. No offense intended, none taken, and I complimented the chef on the fabulous grilled cheese I’d had recently.

I did say I would be no more likely to order a Sunday Bloody Sunday when I wanted to enjoy a craft beer than I would be to order an Irish Car Bomb under any circumstances.

The post that I began drafting that day sat unfinished until just now. Some things are best left to simmer for a while. When I checked this afternoon, the Sunday Bloody Sunday was still there. Sad.



We’re doomed: Clickbait Robot liked my tweet!

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this is rather funny.


While trying to wake up this morning to write some real stuff, I let myself get distracted and felt I had to comment on this thing on Medium.

Enough of that for today, and tomorrow …

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