One man's philosophy is another man's bellylaugh.

Jeff L. Howe

Jeff L. Howe
Strasburg, Pennsylvania,
April 19
Visit the website:
Jeff Howe is a bonsai enthusiast and harmonica player who has very good reason to believe that the Universe tastes like a cheap buck-fifty melon. He is a product of Walled Lake and a former Poetry Slam Champion of Milwaukee. He once shook hands with Rocky Colavito, opened for Leon Redbone and took a piss next to Mose Allison (no hands were shaken). All things considered, his best single day was July 4th, 1987 when he marched in the Marmarth, North Dakota parade in the morning, discovered a rare dinosaur skull in the afternoon, and then sat in playing harmonica with a drunken cowboy band until way past tomorrow. It's been downhill ever since. Jeff is a misemployed geologist who specializes in interpreting rock outcrops at 70 miles per hour. It's a gift. His daughter loves cows. ................................................................................................................... FOR MORE STORIES, PHOTOS AND HARMONICA RECORDINGS VISIT:


Jeff L. Howe's Links

JANUARY 1, 2012 10:28AM

If You Read Me (and/or like harmonica) Please Read This

Rate: 17 Flag

Happy New Year!

I have been working hard to fill my OS pages with rich, 14 point, Georgia* font for three years now.  It has been an honor, a pleasure, and a creative privilege to be able to do so.   In that time I have written, amongst other things, about exploding babies, idiot-but-well-meaning dogs, nudie ponds, mechanical  pens, vicious murders, Rice-A-Roni, hitting a tennis ball, picking grapes, what girls have in their pants, and the physics of little old men.   My two articles on using Metasequoia trees as bonsai have been visited by thousands world-wide and I continue to receive e-mail on them. 

If you have followed me with any regularity you may have noticed that I have been largely absent from these pages for at least the past couple of months.  There are a number of reasons for this and, if you  have the time - pull up a virtual chair and I’ll tell you about them.   

First of all, I have been working on constructing a new web site:

This, right now, is my official announcement that it is open and ready to receive visitors.  I will continue to cross-post on OS, but my goal is to flag traffic off the super-highway and direct it down the little two-rut track that leads to my site.  The site contains the following:

1.  My Blog – Why on Earth would I stop writing and commenting on the marvelous little ironies, hilarities and subtleties that I see around me everywhere, every day.  It’s the spice of my life.  I could never stop.  My first post is entitled “Ancient Wisdom of Life”.  It’s up right now…  I’ll give it a chance to fly on its own and then I’ll post it over here on OS in about a week.

2.  My Stories – One by one, I will be adding the best of my stories and essays to this site to slowly transfer my archives from other sources.  I’ll add another one every week or two, just to give you an excuse for looking in.

3.  My Music – I have been a serious student (slave) of the harmonica for 40 years now, and in that time have gathered a wealth of studio and live recordings.  I now have a way to share some of the better and more interesting pieces with you.  Go there and check out a six-harmonica studio version of the “William Tell Underature”, a jazz recording of “Stardust” and a live Poetry Slam feature entitled “Sally Goes Bowling”.  You’ll also find “The Harmonica Store”, and “Beans Taste Fine”.   (Please give me some feedback on how things are working on your side of the screen.)

4.  Creative Horticulture – Essays and photos on bonsai, growing trees from cuttings, root-over-rock and others.  This one is still being worked on and probably won’t be up until Spring, although a link will take you to my “Little Big Trees” site on

5.  Parkinson’s Disease – I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, or at least the beginning stages stages stages stages of it.  Oh well, ya know.  It is my intention to describe and write about it until I can write no more… then I will ask someone to write it down for me.  That is what writer’s do.  This is my gift.

6.  Other - There will be a page on my book about the Charlotte Whale, this is the year I publish the damn thing.  Promise.   I will share my work on “Searching For The Old Road” and have “The Geology of Special Places”.  I’ll also have a page entitled “WTF?!”, because, after all, isn’t that the essential question of life?

7.  I’m going to self-publish a POD collection of my best stories and essays this Spring.  It’s a vanity project but at least I’ll have it available when people ask… which they do from time to time.  I may also go back into the studio and finish a CD.   Details will follow…

The whole thing is probably only about 62.4% together but it’s up and it’s out there and it’s ready to be read.  There will be a butt-load of problems and changes ahead, but that’s the creative challenge and that’s the fun.   (…”but mama, that’s where the fun is…”)

I would not be so naive as to expect that my readership levels will do anything but drop into the toilet in the months to come.   OS is a comfortable, reliable, one-stop-shop for quality entertainment and information and it is extremely difficult to convince readers to click away.  It is also falsely comforting to have the built-in cushion of great readers that it provides.  But folks, I’ll be dead in 10-15 years…  it’s a little late to try and make a break from the pack but – if I’m going to do so – I must give it a shot.  

This is not good-bye.  This is hello.

Here’s my offer:  If you make the small effort to pull off the great super highway and visit my little shack, I’ll promise to give everything I post my very best effort - as always.  If you make a meaningful comment, I’ll respond in a meaningful way.  If you mosey down that two-rut track, I’ll promise to meet you at the mailbox with a cold glass of lemonade, a warm cup of coffee and/or a shot or two of smooth whiskey... your choice. 

You’ll be amongst friends.  We’ll trade stories, swap gossip, talk about OS and the good ‘ol days.  Hey, I’ve got a new tune… did you bring your guitar?

Go there now.   Don’t mind the dog, she’s friendly.

I want to thank OS’ers Candace Mann (aka femme forte,, Dr. Spudman, mumbletypeg and Matt Paust for their help and advice in the course of developing this project.  Please thank them for me by visiting their sites and enjoying their work.  

For general support above and beyond the call of duty, I’d like to thank Behind Blue Eyes, Cartouche, Owl_Says_Who, Will Someone Feed The Cat, scanner, Jerrimiah Horrigan, O’Really?, Tom Cordle, Laurel, Carey Krause, Walter Blevins, Crazy Jane Smithie, Kathy Riordan, fingerlakeswanderer, AtHomePilgrem, Sarah Cavanaugh, anna1liese, diannaani, Zack Lesher, Andy Heizeler, Chicago Guy, Mom, and all the others.  Sorry if I forgot you, but you know who you are.

(P.S.  My other reasons for straying from OS?  You know them, we bitch about them all the time…  no need to rehash them….)

* For some reason, the type above came out in something resembling Verdana...  this is back to Georgia.  Sheeez, go figure..

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Some of your gadget lingo seems like you write in Greek. Arabic? Jabberwocky?
I always send your 'ingles' rants to Michelle Obama's balk headed cook, Sam Kass. etc.
You write about:
Bonsai, The Art of Chinese Penjing (The book has a Bonsai on the front cover.
I always remember that you attended the U.S. National Arboretum Symposium. 2005.
You didn't get any
"free" blue bag.
You play a harmonica?
No play with hominy.
My Oh, my O, day.
You cook hominy,
hash browns, rat?
No eat rats in Pho.
Spit chicken bones.
Rats will take bone.
You a`part-Amish.
Bonsai is meditation.
Toss leaves in a bag.
Get a free blue bag.
Nothing is for free.
Grace can be free.
Happy New Year.
I Love harmonica,
banjo, and hominy.
No kiss with hominy.
Lips get very mushy.
Wow, that's a lot going on! I am new to your parade but will try to follow the confetti trail. Good luck with all that you're doing.
I don't have a GPS, so I ended up standing outside with a guitar wondering how to get to you to hear that new tune of yours.
I'll check later when I'm back from the park. There's a mature metasequoia there by the pond.
first, thank you for the mention and the links to my site and my OS blog. i will always do what i can to send readers your way - it certainly makes me look good to recommend someone who writes as well as you do, so i can be selfish and altuistic all at once! :)

btw, i sent an email to a lot of my personal friends (who come to my website but who i don't tell about femme's blog) about your new site. the harmonica section is awesome, and some musician pals will love it.

your first link to **works**. the second is a loop back to you at Open.

happy new year, new venture, new venue, new computer, new million details to work out. now get back to work. g'wan, off you go. xo
Jeff, Best of luck on your new site. I listened to your William Tell Underature tune, among others. Wow. You DO play a mean harmonica in the nicest way. I'm heading out shortly to start the New Year on a musical note ... to hear some live music, that is. It's the blues so I'm anticipating more harmonica ... cheers.
Hey there! Just checking in from somewhere else... no access to my computer... on the run. Sorry about the second link, just go directly to "". Will check back and comment when i return. Make yourself at home.
I will stop by ocassionally, but my plan is to limit my time on the Internet to work on my writing projects...we'll see how that goes.
Love your website oh eldest son of poop and slug. You are hilarious.
I look forward to getting to know you better through new writing, congratulations on this new and exciting venture!
Looks great, Jeff! Way to go. I added you to my place under sites. I will be a regular visitor.
I just got home after spending most of the day having a traditional Pennsylvania dinner in an old stone farmhouse up near Reading that has be in the same family since the early 1800's. Around these parts they eat pork and sauerkraut on Jan. 1st for "good luck". Now I'm not a native Pennsylvanian, nor do I like sauerkraut, but given the way my luck was in 2011, I decided to give it a shot. What's to lose? (The meal was superb!)

I haven't been over to the new site yet. I figured I'd stop here first and respond to comments before heading over there to see if anyone showed up. This is all very exciting.

Art: Thanks for the jabberwocky
I always trust
That its art
and you know
what you're talking about.

Jane - Just go to the fridge and grab what you want. Whisky yes. Hope you like the place (haven't met the neighbors yet.)

Phyllis45 - My fear is that the confetti trail will end just around the corner and turn into tears... But that's OK, there's a story in that. Welcome!

alsoknownas: just go straight to, the tune is in Bb. Metas are the most interesting trees on the planet!

Candace - this is gonna be a good year.

Scarlette - thanks for the shout, enjoy the music.

Mimetalker - THAT is a wise strategy. I hear ya. Get it done.

elizabethkirby - glad you caught that, it's an inside joke but true. Poop just passed away in October. Stop by when you can.

dianaani - tell you what, the best way to get to know me better is by bringing guacomole next time you come... then I'll break out some chips and we'll just have to finish them.

Doc Spud - there's a real outside chance that I may come through Idaho with my daughter next summer. We should go fishing (or prowling through old mines...)
Congratulations on doing it your way!
I will do my best to stop by there often, Jeff! I love your writing . . . and the harmonica is pretty cool, too.
Seer: It's hosted on and so far it's working out well. It's easy to use, versatile and fairly inexpensive. You might also look at iPage.
Are you getting any sense of whether people are finding your site?
Weebly provides me with daily stats. There was a spike when I posted the OS piece but it's settling out in double digits for daily unique views... not a lot of traffic but its a brand new site. Today I fleshed out the on-line site description and search engine keywords so it will be interesting to watch to see if that has any effect.