Hot Air: I’ve Got Plenty Of Time For Thinking

I visited Lake Monroe twice yesterday. I went there in the morning when it was still sunny and bright and ate my brown-bag, homemade breakfast. Then I went back this evening, in the rain, and did crossword puzzles until it got dark.

Image: Jeff Danielson

The geese and the squirrels at the lake must think they’ve died and gone to heaven. No huge diesel pickups towing quasi-ocean liners with engines attached that could propel them to the moon and back. No dickheads tossing beer cans off their boats after they pull out of the water. The critters are able to tend to their mates and eat to their hearts’ content w/o human interference for the most part.

There was a line of geese crossing the road near the Paynetown beach this AM. I just stopped for them, about 50 yards away, and let them waddle away. A woman jogging toward me saw me just sitting there in my car and I worried for a minute she’d think I was some kind of stranger-danger guy. But as she passed she waved and gave a knowing smile.

[MG NOTE: Really, go right now and view some of Jeff Danielson’s photography. He and his wife Marcy D. used to run the Runcible Spoon. He’s older than I am and he still plays soccer. I hate him for that but I love him for his camera work.]

The water level at the lake definitely is at flood stage. The water’s just about ready to spill over the approach to the Cutright ramp. One good rain ought to do it.

The lockdown is a shame for the people who operate businesses at the lake, like the general store and the marina. They took a giant hit last year when flooding cut the ramps off from February until July. In fact, you can still see the high water marks on the trees and picnic shelters in both Cutright and Paynetown. Now this.

Hey, we’re all taking a giant hit.

On the plus side, scads of folks are really getting into cooking their own meals these days. I wonder what the fallout from that will be. Will people swarm the restaurants when we’re given the all-clear, or will they say, You know what, I like my own cooking; I’m gonna keep doing this?

Yesterday I made a delicious lentil soup with ham and broccoli. here’s my recipe:

Lentil, Ham & Broccoli Soup


    • 32 oz. container, chicken broth
    • 3 T Olive oil
    • Chopped onion
    • Chopped broccoli
    • Chopped celery
    • Chopped carrot
    • 1 T minced garlic
    • 1 pkg (16 oz) lentils
    • * 14 oz can diced tomatoes (in juice)
    • 1 cup diced ham
    • Salt & pepper, to taste
    • Balsamic vinegar, to taste

* You can substitute a small can of tomato sauce and several tomatoes you’ve chopped yourself


Heat oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots, coating well. Sauté two minutes.

Add broth, lentils, garlic, and diced tomatoes. (Add water if you wish but be careful not to make it too liquid-y.) Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 10 minutes until carrots are softish. Stir in ham, broccoli, and S&P. Continue simmering for at least 1/2 hour, until lentils are tender.

Serve with vinegar.


All my recipes end in that one word, Eat.

A friend visited today. He pulled up in our driveway and we leaned against our respective cars, about ten feet away from each other, and simply chatted. We talked of books and state parks and his wife’s new preoccupation with making masks and when Anthony Fauci will be fired. Then we promised each other we’d do a bunch of things when the lockdown is lifted. We were like little kids, repeatedly and excitedly saying, “And then we’re gonna….”

People are getting into hobbies, if my social media feed is any indication. Some — like my friend’s wife — are even making masks for free distribution to essential workers. I’ve hauled out the old telescope and have cleaned and oiled it. I’m even drawing up a ring binder on celestial mechanics. We’re getting back to being nerds in this Era of Coronavirus. Again, I wonder how that’ll play out after this is all over.

Speaking of hobbies, I read that the CEO of Hobby Lobby, David Green, reportedly ordered his stores to remain open during this crisis because his holy roller wife got a message from god saying that’s what they should do. Natch, the internet went bonkers over that one — as it should have — and, next thing anybody knew, Green reversed himself. Apparently, god is more of a Randian capitalist than he is.

A guy I know who’s a notorious soc. med. presence (and delights in infuriating one half or the other of the populace) has come up with this idea:

Ok, how about this:

No more billionaires. None

After you reach $999 million, every red cent goes to schools and health care.

You get a trophy that says “I won capitalism” and we name a dog park after you.

Frankly, I think this is brilliant. My only quibble is we should cut things off at $100 million.

Which brings up this poser: How are our feelings about late-stage capitalism and the hoarding of wealth going to change during and after this crisis? As weeks go by and we’re stilled locked down and more and more people are going to be running out of dough, when will the tipping point arrive? When will the unemployed and the broke take to the streets? What demands will they make? And how much pressure will the moneyed classes and their legislators be able to bear?

Time — now more than ever — will tell. And we’ve got plenty of time on our hands right now.

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