Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Dale Goble and Mike Horvat came to visit this week from Oregon. At the same time Jim McLeod and his wife, Debby, rode the train up from California. Debby had won the trip at her workplace. They stayed at the Edgewater Inn where all the famous stars stay and you can fish out the window of your hotel room. Dale and Jim were high school buddies. We were joined by Dan Willott. And all of us came to know each other through science fiction fandom. We all belong to an amateur press association through which we keep in touch by monthly mailings. We hadn’t seen Jim for twenty years. He had worked for a subsidiary of Industrial Light and Magic and was involved in the art work for computer games for Lucas. We had a wonderful dinner together at the Edgewater Inn. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles have nothing on us. It’s hard to catch up on twenty years in just one evening. After dinner in a rather noisy dining room we retired to the lounge where we could hear each other. Jim is retired as are all the rest of us except Dan. It was awfully good to see Jim again. The main problem is that none of us attend sf conventions any more. But we promised to not let twenty years go by without getting together again.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Naked Came A Stranger

A funny thing happened while we were in Chilliwack, British Columbia for Don Livingstone’s funeral and memorial. I didn’t want to write about it so close after the funeral. On Friday morning we had gone to breakfast or what passes for breakfast in nearly every chain motel these days. Orange juice, muffins, cereal and milk, coffee. We finished and returned to our room. We opened the drapes and Anna said, "Your braid is a mess. I’d better re-braid it. So I sat, undid the braid, and was brushing it out. Suddenly I heard a long yell with a upward note at the end, then repeated. I thought that perhaps it was a child running in the motel’s hallway, not an uncommon thing. In fact I had heard a boy earlier in the morning doing just that. Anna exclaimed, "oh, my god!" "What?" I asked.

I looked out the window. It looked upon the parking lot of the Day’s Inn. Along came a tall skinny guy completely naked. Right on his bumper, so to speak, was a Chilliwack police car, with lights going. Within moments three more police cars pretty much surrounded the fellow. He jumped over a low concrete wall and made to run off. They calmly told him to come back to the car and put his hands on the hood. The fellow obviously had some problems but they were not great that he did not understand that four policemen had four tazers aimed at his bare body.

He came back, then knelt down at their commands. Then one of the police cuffed him. This was on the other side of the police car so we no longer could see him. The police stood around for about ten minutes, chatting. Then one of the policemen got a blanket out of his car. They got the fellow to his feet, wrapped him in the blanket and put him in one of the cars. Before long a woman constable arrived with some clothes. Evidently the man was lucid enough to give her an address. Then an ambulance arrived. The fellow was strapped to a gurney and driven off for a mental evaluation, I am quite sure. The whole scene was slightly entertaining, but at the same time left one wondering. What was in the man’s mind? What must he have thought that would make him disrobe and run through the streets? Slightly disconcerting as well. I hope he got the help he obviously needed.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Goodbye, Don Livingstone

We drove north last Thursday to say goodbye to an old friend, Don Livingstone. We met Don at a science fiction convention in Vancouver, B.C. in 1975. We seemed to hit it off right away. Over the years, whenever we would go to Vancouver for a couple of days, we would then drive to Chilliwack, about an hour’s drive, and visit with Don and Shirley. Usually Bruce and Cathy Morgan, who were mutual friends, would meet up with us also. It made for many fine evenings of meals and conversations. Don worked for the Ministry of Social Services for many years. Bruce worked under Don at one time before he moved on into a supervisory position. He has recently retired. At Don’s memorial we learned that, at a very young age, Don had one of the first open heart surgeries in Canada. That was back in 1955. He had a continuing heart problem and it finally took him away..

Don was very much a renaissance man. I met him first through science fiction. But he read all sorts of books. He had an extensive book collection. If I would mention a subject very often he would trot off and return with a book about the subject, usually a reference book. He knew film, television, opera, and classical music. I’ll miss the many talks we had about any number of things. Don and Shirley were always interested in what was happening politically down here in the states. Sometimes, he said, he just couldn’t figure out what was going on down here. All I could do was chuckle and say, me, too, Don.

We’ll stay in touch with Shirley, Don's wife, and with Bruce and Cathy, too. But we’ll sure miss Don.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Soccer Story

Thank you, ESPN2, for giving us a soccer game once a week. These games are chosen from the Premier League in England with such sterling teams as Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United. I happen to like soccer and I like Manchester United, primarily because I saw a game they played in Seattle a couple of summers ago. This week the game was Manchester United vs. Norwich City. Norwich City is a town in the Norfolk Broads in the eastern part of England. And of course Manchester is a large city in the industrial north of England.

British soccer leagues, and there are many, have a system of promotion and relegation. The bottom two or three teams at season’s end are sent down to the next lower league the following year; they are relegated. At the same time the top two or three teams from the lower league are promoted. Quite often this works out that they only stay for one year and are relegated back down at season’s end.

I watched Norwich City claw their way to the top of theChampionship League last year and they were promoted to the Premier League. They are currently standing in last place in the Premier League, the 20th position. Manchester United is in 3rd place. This was a game of David vs. Goliath. The Canaries, that’s Norwich City, won the match 2-0. The last 20 minutes of the match were marvelous, with Manchester throwing everything they had at Norwich and the Canaries defending furiously. In spite of my liking Manchester United I couldn’t help but cheer for Norwich. The city is a lot smaller than Manchester. They don’t have nearly as much money to spend on players. They probably still won’t stay at the Premier level, but for one glorious afternoon, in front of a hometown crowd that was delirious with the win, they challenged the big boys and came away winners. Way to go, Canaries.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Weekend at the Cabin

We spent the weekend at our cabin near Mt. Rainier. It was a pretty laid back weekend. I worked on my contribution to an Amateur Press Association. I read two books, Margery Allingham’s Pearls Before Swine (Coroner's Pidgin) and Rex Stout’s The Silent Speaker. It was nice to spend some time with Albert Campion, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin again. I also started Raymond E. Feist’s Talon of the Silver Hawk. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Feist book. So far it’s going very well. We took a couple of short walks. We listened to some episodes of Chickenman, that zany commute show out of Chicago probably twenty years or more ago. We also listened to a recently acquired CD of Stan Kenton’s Latin American band, Cuban Fire. It was recorded in 1956. This was the Kenton band that played in the University of Puget Sound Fieldhouse a few years after I graduated from that august institution. And we attended that concert with its congas and timbales and bongos and lots of brass. Anna played solitaire a lot and listened to The Bookman’s Wake by John Dunning on tape.

There wasn’t much wildlife around. No squirrels and no Stellar’s jays. But we did see slate-colored juncos, winter wrens, crows and ravens. While we were walking down by the Nisqually River one evening a couple of Canada geese, flying low and hard to see against the background of the surrounding hills, flew up the river, honking as they went. There were quite a few trilliums in bloom, a rather rare plant that will only grow in certain habitats. And if you are a fan of banana slugs, which are a feature of the Northwest, I saw several fat ones. A nice relaxing weekend, even though it cost $2.35 a gallon for the gas to get here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Intelligent Afghanis

I was watching a show on PBS the other night. At first it was about the two Buddhist statues that were blown up by the Taliban. I was interested in that because they were so ancient. There has been some talk of rebuilding them, but even so they would not be same. A French archaeologist is working on an seperate excavation. He is sure there is a 'sleeping Buddha', a statue of a Buddha lying down, buried somewhere near where there once was a Buddhist monastery. By the end of the show and the end of the season when they could dig, it looke4d as if they had found the feet of a huge statue.

The other part of the show was about Afghanistan's National Film Library. The Taliban ordered that all of the films be burned. There was footage of lots of film being burned. The men who were in charge of the library were not exactly dumb. They were burning copies. The originals were in a room which they hid by taking out the door and covering it with wallboard and painting it over. Time and time again Taliban inspectors would come and search the building for more film. They never discovered the room which had no door.

The Taliban seems to have lost pretty much all of its importance in Afghanistan. I hope the people of Afghanistan remember this well if they try to resume power again.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Some Good News and Some Bad News

Bad news out of Canada. A friend e-mailed me today that a mutual friend is in the hospital. He is not expected to live. They give him two to six months, but I suspect that his death could come sooner. So tomorrow we're going to drive up to visit him in the hospital. This is getting to be old. I've lost five good friends and former colleagues in the last couple of months. This does not make me happy.

On the other hand, I have a young friend, an Indian, who is beginning his vision quest tomorrow. I hope all goes well with him and will be thinking of him and sending prayers his way for the next five days.