Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Schultzie’s transistor radio started a revolt

Pocket-sized transistor radios were probably one of the first great subversive technologies. And smuggling one into a culturally hermetic community could spark a revolution.

That’s what happened when rock ‘n’ roll invaded the cloistered walls of my seminary.

Thank God.

As an eighth-grader I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. Two years later I realized that he had dialed a wrong number and I had, regrettably, answered.

I went all in: a missionary order whose Latin name translated to Society of the Divine Word (SVD).  The order had a very gothic looking building about 20 miles south of Erie, Pa., where they educated their high school recruits.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

A good Sunday morning walk to the Presa, unspoiled by the reality awaiting back in town

Horses and cattle graze where there was once water at the Presa, outside San Miguel de Allende. Chances are, the current rainy season will do its job and refill the reservoir.

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We went for a walk on Sunday.

Or maybe it was a hike. When does a walk stop being a walk and become a hike? Is it the distance? The degree of difficulty? The moment when you suddenly realize one call to Uber could end all this?

Anyhow, we went for a walk on Sunday.

Eight miles, round-trip.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

No rhyme, no reason: Randomly curated photos from the Pandemic-era

Yeah, this is how I feel every day when I open up my computer and begin reading the news. I want to scream, lash out, run for cover, then hide in the bushes for the rest of the day.

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I know “curated” does not mean “stuff left over.”

A curator searches through his or her museum’s basements, files, archives, vaults, hallways, and subterranean sanctorums in search of pieces that support an important theme or idea.

The hope is that, as a whole, a curated show will tell a story or bolster an idea. A curated show is more than a theme — say for example, pictures with something red in them.

There is no doubt that during self-isolation, we have changed. As our lives slowed down, our perception has improved. I dare say that we are all seeing, feeling, hearing, loving, fearing in ways our previously busy, noisy, distracting, and demanding lives would not permit.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Happy anniversary, ‘Jaws.’ But let me tell you the tale of my legendary duel with Moby Jaws

The summer that “Jaws” came out, I was sailing very poorly on a tiny wooden platform called a Sailfish off the coast of South Chatham on Cape Cod.  

Mind you, I had never sailed before.

We were rigged with a larger than normal sail, which under normal circumstances would have made for easy gliding on a sultry summer day.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 29: A podcast fest, shopping in-person & online, someone likes my blog, Lovett & Hiatt sing, and summer job memories

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After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.

Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.

I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.

So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

‘We arrived at the Dam in tattered cut-off jeans — covered in sweat, sawdust, and dirt’

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The modern Matson Lumber Co. looks a lot more streamlined, automated, and efficient than in my day. But stacking lumber is still the name of the game. (Photo: Matson Lumber)

“What did you do on your summer vacation?” I bet the answers in 2020 are going to be a lot different from those in 1966. 

A newsletter for ex-newspaper folks (specifically those bred in the incubator known as The San Diego Union-Tribune) recently spooled out a thread on summer jobs. The question was neutral but the recollections quickly veered toward the worst, hardest, most humiliating.

Well, those are usually the most memorable, aren’t they? Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Read it first: Origins of ‘Dark Pastry,’ the most successful horror/baking reality TV show ever

imageedit_11_5838111086A lot of you have been asking me, “Bob” you say, “how did you come up with the award-winning and fabulously successful reality TV cooking show “Dark Pastry.”

To date, my natural gift for modesty has kept me from spilling the beans on the cooking/horror reality show but so many urban legends and out-and-out lies by a very jealous POTUS have forced my hand.

Is it my fault that my reality show has been so much more-fabulously successful than his ever was?

Yes.

Yes, it is my fault. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 13: Hey, brother, can you loan me a dime for a ride into the mystic?

IMG_1672Oh, this day has begun all right — an All-Music Morning for Wednesday.

#1  “The Girl In Byakkoya,” Susumu Hirasawa,  from the animated film “Paprika.” This is the music that gets you up and moving. Check out the movie, too — anime magical surrealism at its finest. A mad enormously ballooning parade that absorbs everybody, everything — all energy  — as it progresses. Who can stop it? And how?

#2  Delbert McClinton channels his inner-Tony Bennett and sings about “San Miguel”! (Even mentions San Francisco in the first line … (Thanks for the tip, Robert Cooksey.) Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Sequestration meditation: Walk among the trees, with the thoughts of Hermann Hesse

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Text by Hermann Hesse: “Trees,” from “Wandering: Notes and Sketches”
Photographs by Robert J. Hawkins

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.

IMG_1628 And even more, I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs, the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. Continue reading

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