Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Sunday, November 20, 2022


 The world is a beautiful place and terrible place deeds of horror are committed every minute and in the end those we love die if the screams of all the Earth’s living creatures were one scream of pain, surely it would shake the stars but we have love it may seem a frail defense against the horrors of the world but we must hold fast and believe in it for it is all that we have                                                               have

places I remember

 There are places I remember

                 all my life, though some have changed

                 some forever not for better

                  some have gone and some remain

                  all the places have their moments

                  with the lovers and friends I still can recall

                   some are dead and some are living

                   in my life I've loved them all....



                   Ray turned his car into the driveway after a morning of grocery shopping and PT exercise as he entered his house from the garage

                    I felt different somehow. The silence in his home enveloped him. His home had once been filled with noise and laughter and the sounds of family life,

                    now all the silence was deafening. It had been this way for the past year but today was the first day he noted it. His girlfriend had taken him island .and then said goodbye to him & paradise    he had some music playing on the computer more to break the silence than anything else. The loss of Barb had drained his soul. Now he had gone back to his dresser and taken out his wedding ring putting it back on' this twisting it on his finger as he sat eating his supper. Plainly he thought it unlikely that he would ever find ever again a woman to really love forever and ever again. Sheltering in place during the Covid . He slowly learned to avoid loneliness itself keep busy in the garden the often said tending his native wildflowers and then that special woman appeared on the Internet and coontacted him from Salem he asked her if she had burned any whichbut sheet took it correctly as a joke and then pointed out she lived in Oregon where his son had recently with his family had moved and miraculously there she was to love. I will be flying out from Rochester's airport to Portland to see my grandchildren and son for Christmas small world indeed and definitely not lonely is lately




Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Mrs. T

 Mrs. T was actually my wife Barb but in the blogging world on the  Internet I was Troutbirder which actually identified two of my hobbies. I had met Barb in a small town in southeastern Minnesota where she was already teaching. The guy I had replaced to teach senior social studies And history was married  with a flock of kids so Barb  not being the bashful type was told by all the single female teachers to talk to the superintendent and make sure the Next teacher of senior social studies was single. That turned out to be me. I was a well-known and in thee community for several years as having been requisitioned for the job by Barb. it turned out to be a perfect match since we both grew up in St. Paul and eventually decided on weekends when we went home to drive together. She also  that first year came up to my room telling me that another social studies teacher wouldn't loan her a filmstrip projector and she wanted I said I sure do and here it is for you to use. Actually I don't think I ever got it back but that afternoon she also mentioned that if I didn't that there was a high school basketball game piting our school against Chatfield and I said I knew nothing about it and didn't even know where Chatfield was. What ensued was our first date and as they say the rest was history we got married a year later.

57 years of live adventurous travel over Followed  I coached basketball Barb wasNot into sports much except when our boys played I encouraged her to join me in golf , tennis even bowling no way even ping-pong the way you do it at all these games she said and I responded it's  not about winning or losing it's about being together and playing nope but then she made up for it With a simple thing. we began with a tent and eventually ended uup with a camper but she loved camping all over the country even all the way to Alaska and loved the campfire and  meeting new people, doing photography, she   took the majority of all the pictures I posted for Troutbirder. There were occasional problems such as a thunderstorm which brought trees down and in Hey campground and flooded the our tent. She and the kids abandon the tent and slept in the car. And then there was the time in glacier national park where we got to the campground late and there was only one spot left. we got the tent up in the dark.  that morning after we got up we walked around the tent to see if there were any tree limbs Down and there were along with the huge metal Cage trap that was baited for grizzly bears!!! Barb thought "We all could've been killed. Any campground in the  dark she was terrified of bears as a matter of fact it 2:00 AM in the middle of the night I was often recruited to make sure she could get to the campground Toilet safely with a flashlight watching out for bears. But put a camera in her hand and it was like when Clark Kent took off his shirt and became Superman.

We were touring the Teton national Park in Wyoming area on the back road in the middle of nowhere and there was a part of
a car house blocking the road with the door open. I had encountered that experience before in our town when there was a citywide garage sale. Looking about carefully I saw a guy walking through the tall grass to the left sort of half leaning forward and looking again noted that  there was a very large grizzly bears doing about the same thing as the guy was with his camera leaning forward and walking slowly through the tall grass the back door slammed and Mrs. T camera in hand was moving quickly to catch up and follow the guy with the camera my brother and I juumped out of the car and both fields stop to no avail this is T was using selective hearing at this point okay I'll admit it I didn't rush out afterword for a rescue maneuver. It looked worse when the bear reached ace small wooded area he kept going my wife afraid of the deep dark woods stopped turned around and came back someplace in this computer and a vast file of bare pictures of all kinds is one of the rear end of a very large bear going into the woods. It's listed in the file as Teton bear and Mrs. T showing some common sense.

And then she invited a bunch of bears into our home. Actually there were a few of the many different Christmas presents for young kids' might not get any acording toThe county anyway Mrs. T was both fearless and foolish when it came to wild animals and her camera. somehow she survived for this activity for years her specialty however was not bears but alligators. in Florida particularly the ones that were somewhat curled up they\ could straighten out instantaneously and their jaws would go from being 10 feet away from my wife to about 2 feet those days were when I unfortunately developed a heart condition probably do to a number of vessel Scares when my fear Quota  grew over the top. I saw  kinderrgarten class once As the teachers had them all walking tied together with a rope I could  and should I'd done that myself with my wife And her
camera in the wild but when she came to me she was again  Fearless

 I bravely took this picture



Monday, July 25, 2022

Madison's gift five partnerships that built America by David O Stewart


Madison’s gift  -five partnerships that built America by David O Stewart

this one is a gem folks. Published in 2015 you put the title and author on your search engineAnd can get the book for five bucks. I found mine for two bucks at the goodwill in Rochester Minnesota also if you have a big enough local library they might have it still for free.

In a popularity and awareness ranking of the well-known names of the founding fathers of our Republic James Madison would likely be at the bottom of the list. He was quite short bald and certainly not the tall Studley athletic military man that George Washington was. Nor a powerful orator and debater Like Hamilton . It was Jefferson  the brilliant, writer politician and who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The fourth partner was another military man, friend and sometime opponent James Monroe who had Madison’s back when a defenseless, broke &  not very united group of states  took on the mighty English  Monarchy for a second time. Madison was president and when the English  destroyed the new American capital city including White House and burned the new capital building down to the ground  in the war of 1812.  In the history texts on that war Madison gets much of the blame for all the defeats as he was not much of a military leader but instead it was his late to marry widowed Dolly Todd who gets the positive notice. Nor amazing persona like his wife Dolly lit up everyone came into her presence and could influence crowds of people . IA beautiful talented and amazing woman the author gives Dolly Madison In an  extra chapter His account of her partnership and support of James

 In a nutshell what made this small modest not very visible man so important?  It was his brain and his ability to pair with the more Outgoing men and one woman aforementioned To   discuss advise suggest and help them use their skills and his insights and organize a bunch of bickering former colonies/states into the only Republic I. E. Democracy existing at that time in a world run by kings and queens. To Find A Republic one would have to go back to that of Rome and for democracy to the ancient Greeks in Athens.

As I write this introduction and review I wondered to myself what it was that brought me to pluck this particular history book off the  shelves at the goodwill. The books aren’t categorized there particularly but there’s usually a lot of my favorite escape reading which would be fiction specifically mystery detectives stories. The author of the Madison’s gift David Stewart was unknown to me. Of course a former history teacher I knew the names of Many of the good Historians. The American Revolution and the founding of our Republic is a fascinating subject to say the least Republic, democracy destroying our national capital all of the above are in the news these days and under threat. It was then that I wondered what James Madison had to say about these issues as he debated what form a stronger more viable American system would require to survive and prosper. The pros and cons were debated at the convention in Philadelphia, Just as they are now.  the Constitution was developed and sent to the various states be approved or turned down Washington presided to keep order . Each state had a choice to make And the approval of a strong constitution became a fierce political debate. Lincoln's words before the Civil War were appropriate here  With " a house divided A nation cannot stand"

Each chapter in the book is based upon one of the five partnerships that Madison made with the leaders that built America. Which is to say the Constitution that is under attack  by A  Recent former president Ext president and White extremist groups that lead the charge I can’t stress this enough that reading this book would be well worth your time  Two of the founding fathers wrote  serious of editorials called the Federalist papers which Advocated ratification of the new Constitution. They were Madison and Hamilton. The House stood and still does.  slaveowner Madison predicted that a crisis in the future would eventually them merge as political parties did and sectional differences over the issue of slaveryThere are a number of quotes from Madison's speeches and letters in this fascinating book. I think many of them are relevant to today's political divisions in . For those reasons this excellent history is well worth your time.  Make the effort tto find it in your public library and on the Internet

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Picture perfect


Ok its another golden oldie and one of my favorite authors Jodi picoult.

one of my favorite all-time authors . The title is picture perfect.

 Jodi often describes human interrelationships involving difficult moral or societal choices. Like any good mystery they are usually resolved at the end.  and most of the events in the this story actually reflected the headlines recently  practically word for word. It was all there and I found that amazing to say the least. The book was written some years ago. The headlines are current  In that they focused around a famous  celebrity  husband who may have been physically abusing a less famous Woman He charged the woman with slander and his reputation. According to some reports woman didn’t fit the image of a helpless woman and he the celebrity  star was very popular he won a slander lawsuit apparently based on his popularity on television. Jodi’s book was published in its paperback form which  in 1995. Her story was centered around a super famous handsome movie star who abused his wife Cassie who he loved beyond all boundaries.

Cassie the protagonist is a lower ranking teacher in the graduate school at UCLA. As the story begins she awakens in a Los Angeles graveyard her hair crusted with blood and suffering from amnesia. A Sioux Indian policeman from a reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota has fled that reservation and obtained a job as a policeman in the Los Angeles. William Flying Horse, a new  to the city  and about to start a job with the LAPD, finds her and takes her in. Days later, when her husband comes to claim her at the police station, no one is more stunned than Cassie Barrett to learn that not only is she a renowned anthropologist, but she is married to Hollywood’s leading man, Alex Rivers.

Perhaps it might all seem like one of those Harlequin books with a Studly  looking man and scantily covered women on the cover men on the cover and women but it’s not both Cassie and Alex had  very traumatic childhood’s with flawed parents and this leads to difficulties for  both of them. When she makes a mistake he loses his temper and beats her and she loves him as he does her and doesn’t know how to handle it. Like any good mystery writer write does the author draws you into the plot. It all seems like the perfect marriage each one has their good points. Cassie seems to have it all: a romantic Bel-Air mansion, a husband nominated for a long list of Academy Awards, and a celebrated career of her own. It’s the picture of a perfect marriage. But as Cassie regains her memory and settles back into her glamorous life, after   recovering most of her memory she learned some frightening things.  A frightening pattern of hurt, denial, and broken promises. Torn between fear and love. Cassie wrestles with the he loves her he he loves her not, but he really does love her but over the top. Really does he loves her not she loves him too much and I couldn’t wait to see how this low worked out at and ultimate questions: How can she leave? Then again, how can she stay? I don’t usually do this but I stayed up till three in the morning to see how this mess turned out.     Alex with   baby whose life was threatened when she was pregnant  beat her again. Cassie fled to finally but feared that her husband would with all his money would be able to find her. She finds a safe place in South Dakota the Indian reservation of the Sioux nation where an Indian massacre took place in my lifetime’and the story continues from there. Picture-perfect Some of you may remember being a history teacher I prefer straight chronology in stories. Picture-perfect jumps around a bit but there are not a ton of characters and the call always makes them stand out and are memorable. It’s perhaps one of America’s best mystery writers best novels and it would be worth your time to go to your library and see if they still have it some years after it was published.


Friday, May 27, 2022

North West Angle

 Visiting Rochester Minnesota for my anual physical at W.FM.C. (World famous Mayo Clinic  And was informed at age Eighty my "vitals" were all very good, I decided to head to  the nearby Goodwill store and find some bargain books . If it were tapes or even sheet music they  would be "golden oldies". Now I would be look for famous Authors  of best sellers I may have missed in the past. Hard covers for 2 dollars per, Paperbacks  at a buck, "bodice rippers A.K.A Harlequin. Fifty cents. 

    Putting my glasses on as if walked along the hard cover novel shelves I spotted the Wiliam Kent Krueger. Perhaps Minnesota most revered best selling mystery writers. I had met him severa years previously when he  was touring small town rural libraries  giving book talks. I was quite sure I had read all of the series of books featuring sheriff Cork'OConner but not judging a book by its cover I turn to a random page and rea it not recognizing a single thing.....oops Mrs. Troutbirder MY English TEACHER WIFE AND FORMER EDITOR now residing HEAVEN  WOULD NOT APPROVE.

     Cork O'CONNER obviously Irish but also native American  has retired from his job as county  Sheriff  in the wildernesses of far northern Minnesota's canoe country including its  lakes, the Canadian border, and gigantic lake Superior. as a PI now he an and his grown daughter, Jenny, get stranded by a gale on an island in Minnesota's Northwest Angle, an area of the state cut off from the U.S. by 60 miles of Canadian wilderness and the vast Lake of the Woods. 

Having left the rest of his extended family on their rented houseboat, Cork andJenny are exploring one of the islands in the Lake of the Woods along the US/Canada border when a derecho — a weather phenomenon that packs hurricane-force winds — suddenly strikes them. Seeking shelter, they discover a cabin in which a young woman has been brutally tortured and murdered. Once the storm passes, they hear the weak cries of a baby outside, apparently the dead woman's son, now abandoned. But before they can be rescued, a man with a rifle circles the island in a cigarette boat. Cork implicitly understands this is not a friendly visit, and arranges to move Jenny and the boy to a nearby island for their safety. They are eventually reunited with their family, but it's clear the baby boy is important to someone — and that someone won't hesitate to kill to get him back. All the while Jenny bonds with the baby and does everything  she can to try and keep him  safe. This part is basically a survival story with the likely murderer stalking them with a rifle . I know this area very well taking my sons there many times on canoe fishing adventures adventures 


Northwest Angle is, simply  a great  novel of suspense. There is some mystery of course as we[[ since a rather strange ultra right wing religious group is up to something suspicious s in ther barricaded fortress like church. The characters, the setting, the danger — real and imagined — are in perfect order here. This is not a whodunit in the traditional sense, but a "how is it going to play out"-type of mystery. par that was a bvit teioud was Jenny ponder her relationship with her boyfriend  and her potential for beina a moe.  one were to find fault here, it might be in the pacing, which at times tends to be overly introspective — in particular, Jenny pondering her relationship with her boyfriend and her potential for being a mother — 

The wisdom of Henry Meloux is on display in several exceptionally well-written scenes, and is one of the hallmarks of this series. 

This fine series just keeps getting better. Inspired I think I might head back up there this summer after seeing if my new girlfriend wants to go walleye fishing with me :)

For some great reviews click on the follow lin to my friend Barry Sumy first Weds of the month  BOOK CLUBS, SHE EVE PUTS MY REVES UP AS WE IN SPITE OF MY BAD GRAMAR YOU KNOW i MISS BARBS EDITINT FOR ME............

Friday, April 29, 2022

Ukraine exchange student

 Anna cam to the high school where I taught for 25  years in 217.  She stayed with our friends John and Joanne  who had dairy farm/ Often on Saturday morning Mrs. T and I would meet them for breakfast at a café in a nearby small town. Anna smart beautiful and articulate in English charmed everyone.

  When the unprovoked attack by the Russians against the Ukraine first happened  Anna was in the Univerity at the capitol of  Kyiv. As the bombs grew closer she and many other students sheltered in the basement finally making Molotov cocktail bombs to hold off the Russian tanks. Finally after several weeks as her volunteer father fought as a soldier in the bombs grew closer and closer on I made a decision to leave Ukraine with her mother and younger brother. By train. They fled to the Czech Republic. There she once again she ended up living as a refugee in a farmstead much like her experience in Minnesota. They are now in a small town north of Bratislava, Slovakia Anna and her family have their own space, living on the second floor of the farmhouse and it's really quite wonderful she says there is also now a large population of displaced Ukrainians in the nearby village she noted that they had all gotten together to make Ukrainian Easter eggs and thought it was good for them all to connect talk and do something positive together

   Anna knows that one set of her grand parents lives in a village overrun by the Russians apparently according to her father their apartment is still standing, others are rubble.

Anna asked to say a big thank you to those dear people of Minnesota  who remembered her, and were praying and thinking of her, and her country she noted it. She noted it is an awesome thing to be cared for by people on the other side of the world an!!!Anna's final semester of college has started and will be entirely online. Her classmates are literally her classmates are literally scattered across Europe/ she never seems discouraged in spite of the Russians deliberately bombing civilians she wrote it's always been that way we have always been invaded, or to keep Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. That goes back a long time ago. We do have something everybody needs, the capacity to grow food Stalin said it, can be no Russia, without the food of the Ukraine. And why now? And now Putin wants   to the country of Russia into the Empire of Russia. And he turns the terrible methods of his idol, Stalin, from mass civilian murder, to the forced relocation of people to the north of Russia. Ukrainians have been through this all before.

One of the many things that I have learned and the word has learned is that nothing comes out of Moscow that should ever be believed. Words just by time for what is a really happening underneath was One again Anna reported  "everyone I met in America so kind that is why I do not despair. As to her future plans Anna said our next move will be back to Kyiv brave young brave brave young college student returns to her school hometown and country where men and women young and old are standing together to defend a nation and its democracy against authoritarianism 'because of the war in a faraway Ukraine has become personal because of Anna. But............There is something else in my own  country different in detail but very similar in potential   consequences A political party whose base cult like believes a lie that the recent presidential election was stolen. There was a attack on our national capitol     instigated and  the cult leader of former president. Policemen were murdered and a vice president and leader of the house were threatened to be killed. Democracy came very close to being over throat by a Dr. Goebbels Hitler's Minister of propaganda showed repeatedly that a bald live repeated often enough and loud enough can work to create a fascist totalitarian system


Monday, April 18, 2022

The investigator


Well it seems my two favorite Minnesota best-selling mystery writers have finally crossed paths on the issue of migrants crossing southern American borders illegally. First some years ago William Kent Krueger wrote about that controversial issue in… Sulfur Springs ………... and more recently there is a introductory letty Davenport novel titled the investigator. By John Sanford

 This time around Sanford wrote a spinoff series featuring Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty. She's been working for Senator Christopher Colles (R-Florida) but is getting bored and resigns. As the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Office, Colles decides to enlist her as an investigator for the Homeland Inspector Inspector General and sends her to Texas, along with DHS agent John Kaiser, to look into the suspicion that crude oil thefts in Texas may be a fundraising effort on the part of far right militia groups solve so-called border problem in a manner far more violent manner than building the wall that Mexico would pay for according to one of Trump lying fantasies.

As a long time fan of all of Sanford's protagonist be they detectives Lucas Davenport, Virgil flowers, Letty various phase is a chip off the old block of all of them. Sanford's writing is always well plotted, funny and sharp sometimes over the top in like William Kent Krueger he can draw you into the character often so you'll wonder whether he or she the protagonists will even survive. Of course all of his characters show up and most of his stories even if only briefly but once addicted as I have been it's almost as if they have become family yes talk between cops and their kind is often gritty and even profane but but it seems very real and like me you may stay up far too late at night to see how it all turns out in the end

Friday, April 1, 2022

Mark Twain autobiography


The new Autobiography of Mark Twain is a whopper. It weighs a ton. All 800 pages..... but in any case the subject was known for telling whoppers. And a wonderfully skewed and satirical sense of humor.
As you may know, Twain wanted his writings on his own life to be unpublished for a hundred years after his death. The team of "friends," that published this monster, took numerous pages to explain Twains complicated reasoning for his 'don't publish till death wish." Then, on top of all this, Twain did not believe a chronological life story was the way to go. Another fifty pages by the editors, were required to unravel this convoluted reasoning . Then there were the several authors whose previous biographies of Twain violated his wishes on this subject and using his voluminous notes and discarded autobiographical attempts published anyway. The editors of the current biography required much tut tuting and footnotes to show why the previous authors had screwed up. I figure about half the book is comprised of this kind of editorial gobbledegook. All of that might possibly appeal to those in depth literary experts and analysts who make a career of deciphering hieroglyphics and the like. Not for me though. I ended up skipping thru most of it.

Now as to what Twain actually wrote himself, it's as you might expect wonderfully interesting. I had to laugh out loud (lol) many times and then read it to my spouse who kept on giving me that "so what’s so funny look." There is much here in the way of little anecdotes and short sketches of people, famous and not so famous, that the author knew. Is the book worth purchasing? For the average reader, like myself, probably not. The parts that I read and really enjoyed I got from the book which was obtained at the public library. I reasons why I skipped about half of this book , I’ve already explained. I think Mark Twain might have chuckled at that.....

Sunday, March 27, 2022


 On Saturday Mornings Barb & I met friends for breakfast for years at the Gateway in Wykoff . I continue that tradition . On past Saturday John and Joanne Glady had some really good news. ANNA  their former exchange student from the Ukraine had managed to flee from Kiev the capitol with her mom, little  brother and Grandma to Czechoslovakia.  Her Dad and older brother in college remained behind to fight the Russians.  I met ANNA MANY TIMES both as a teacher in our high school and for  breakfast on Saturday mornings.  We often  TALKED  ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL EVENTS,  HER COUNTRY AND HER PLANS FOR THE FUTURE. What a sweetie she was and is. It is clear the U.S.   and the democracies of Europe will stand with Ukraine But for me now this god-awful war Russian aggression  has become personal for me. I prayed last night for ANNA and her families' safety .

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Minnesota politics


BREAKING: It was just leaked that GOP candidate for MN Attorney General Doug Wardlow is planning to host a private fundraising event with Mike “The MyPillow Guy” Lindell this month.

Raymond, Mike Lindell has done more than almost any American to push Donald Trump’s Big Lie and undermine faith in American democracy. His reckless false claims about the 2020 election have even earned him a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit. But apparently, for Republicans in 2022, that’s an asset, not a liability.

The fact that Wardlow would host a fundraising event alongside Lindell, an honest-to-goodness traitor to American democracy, should completely disqualify him from serving as Attorney General. 

Before we are Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans, and the sanctity of our democracy must be above partisan politics. If you agree, pitch in right now to help us make sure Wardlow never comes anywhere near the Attorney General’s

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Big Island in Hawaii

So here Prof. Jean and I are on the big Island in Hawaii  in volcanoes national Park above a crater. What fun we had! Dry sunny and warm jeans sisters home sat high above the Pacific ocean on a volcanic mountainside overlooking the city of Kona. The homes were crowded and very close but with large palm trees and other big shrubs each home seemed hidden away as if in a desert setting.

  When we took a day trip to then national Park near Hilo in the North the desert turned into a jungle like appearance with lots of rain and fog and cooler temperatures. There were active volcanoes but throughout the island they didn't seem to blow their tops like Mount Saint Helens did on the mainland there a lot of leaked out the sides and in the long run the lava flows to the sea and the big Island gets bigger yet as it hardens on the land or in the ocean.

  Unfortunately my camera failed me and the above picture was taken by Colleen Jean's sister.

Returning to Minnesota instead of taking American airline back to Phoenix and then on to Minneapolis-St. Paul, we took Delta to Seattle and then a Delta redeye flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul. We were late for our connection, had to wait in Seattle for another plane. Just because you're flying at night certainly proved to be not a good way to get some sleep😝

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Warming UP