Life at the Lake

a diary of living at a small lowland lake


Early moonrise over Lake Ketchum

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What matters is how you announce the game

On this the eve of the NCAA playoffs, it seems only appropriate to publish our Lexicon on Modern Basketball Talk, as promulgated by sports announcers. In other words, we've wasted too much time watching kids play a game they love but benefits the watcher not one iota.

"Flat out" is a modifier that translates, "really" or "very much." Derived from racecar sport.

"Half-court game" means to woo without serious intent.

"Full-court press" is to try to get her into bed with intent that may be serious and includes express body action.

"Free throw" will cost you points, but only if you miss.

"Three-pointer" is a derisive term for a ball hog or a show-off. Indicates a greedy player and one who is perhaps insincere in his attitude toward sharing.

"Put back" means you stole something and were caught. Restitution is the sole punishment here.

"Pass" lets you out of study hall to practice the game. Also, as a verb, enables you to get rid of the ball and not get fouled and possibly hurt by whoever is guarding you.

"Penetrating the key." Sounds impossible, doesn't it? And it often is.

Hope you find these definitions useful.

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Two of six returnees pictured


The wood ducks have returned!

A month late, suddenly six of them showed up at our beach—four gaudy males and two drab hens.

It was my wife who spotted them first. Norma buzzed me on the intercom excitedly and I dashed to the downstairs window, not knowing what exactly to expect.

At times like these, we always turn to face the lake. Rarely does it disappoint us.

And there they were.

Quick, to the feeder on the upstairs porch rail and the special blend of bird feed we have expressly for them. And—sure enough—half an hour later, there was the dark shape moving overhead at my window to signify that one of them, at least, was headed to the porch rail.

Norma told me that it was first a female, then a male, that arrived. As of old, he stood mock-guard as she pecked at the food. Maybe he himself fed later (she didn't tell me), but in the past he often didn't. (Such altruism!)

In the afternoon I walked down to the dock to check on my fishing line.
I didn't see the ducks along the shoreline, in among the dead cattails. But they saw me. I slowed my gait, hoping not to flush them, and was partly successful; instead of flying off, with a noisy protest, they simply swam rapidly off to a distance of, say, a hundred yards. And they peeped annoyance, all the while.

The fact that they didn't take wing was a minor triumph.

I returned to the house loudly announcing in my best phony voice: "Hey, Norma, they remembered me." That and the fact that I was walking real slow.

Funny how important some small thing like this is to one's sense of continuity.

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Morning rainbow over Lake Ketchum


All good blogs are phony, you know. What they tell you isn't the truth of what is happening, not if they are any good. Oh, sure, there are blogs in which some college freshman (usually a girl) confides her deepest feelings about her classes, roommate, teachers, ad nauseam. But then I said "good" blogs. (We strive, but don't always make the grade.)

A blog ought to be selective. It is not reporting some debatable "truth; it is simply giving you a worm's-eye view of some narrow event that is going on in a world that is conventionally small, as most of ours are, or is. That's all.

But that may be quite a bit, depending on how that view is seen and expressed. has both kinds of blogs in its totally democratic collection of web logs. They come and they go. (Many never get past the "test post" stage. Few last more than a year. A number "die on the vine," as it were.) It is up to the interested reader to sort them out for him- or herself, and discard what is, ahem, not beneficial.

Of course that includes us.

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