Thursday, January 28, 2016


We have four horses—not quite a herd but more than a clump. We feed them. We brush them. We ride them. We move their poop around. 

We do not treat them like long lost relatives or really tall humans.

We treat them like horses. The horses prefer this, which many folks—who have only seen horses acting in the movies, or have heard about horses on Twitter—find confusing.

A horse owner I know had a neighbor call to complain about my friend’s horses. It seems they were outside—in the rain—getting wet.

It’s hard to know what to say to this kind of silly, stupi . . . er . . . um . . . it’s hard to know what to say.  So in the interest of education and knowledge, which is the solution to all modern ills, spills, and trouble, here’s a short tutorial.

Horses are outside animals.  Keeping a horse in the kitchen is problematic because when they get stuck between the refrigerator and the sink they tend to kick your house down.

Horses are wolf food, thus their talent for kicking.  Thousands of years of being hunted and eaten by toothy mountain monsters helped the horse evolve a certain “wait and see” attitude. Is that a butterfly or a saber-toothed butterfly? And since I am prey should I run away now or later?

Horses feel better when surrounded by other horses. They’re like teenage girls; they always go to the toilet in a clump.

Horses like tyranny. Equality does not exist in horse world. They want someone at the top who bites their butts and kicks their faces. That way when the saber-toothed butterflies show up, someone is always the boss and responsible for yelling, “Stampede.”

It’s called a pecking order. Alpha horses peck first and so it goes down the line. Tyranny means order, and if you’re a horse order means safety and safety makes you feel better. (Note:  Humans who respond to tyranny in this way have essentially become prey animals and should prepare to get pecked or eaten.)

Horses should not be ridden in short shorts and halter-tops. That’s just a personal fashion opinion and not really a horse fact.

Horses are one thousand pound vegetarians, which requires them to eat grass, grain, and hay ALL DAY LONG. Think about it! 

When mommy horses want to discipline their rebellious baby horses they chase them and chase them until their babies can’t breathe or until they cry, “Uncle!” and apologize. Baby horses apologize by licking their lips, paying attention, and following. Young horses are not allowed to be idiots. (Horses could teach humans a thing or two about parenting.)   

Horses are among the most noble and glorious creatures created by the hand of God, and when the Savior of the world returns he’ll be riding a white horse.  I read that somewhere. I find that image very appealing.

When our son-in-law saw one of our horses rolling around on the ground he thought it was dying. He’d never seen a horse take a dirt bath before. Our son-in-law is from Bountiful, Utah. Enough said.

Let’s recap. Horses are not tall humans. Horses are beautiful. Europeans eat horsemeat, thus making them horse eating predators or saber-toothed barbarians.

Linda (Tally Ho) Zern






Monday, January 25, 2016


It’s a new year, following the old year and just in front of the year to come. Time to disclaim.


1. The act of disclaiming; the renouncing, repudiating, or denying of a claim; disavowal.
2. A person who disclaims.
3. A statement, document, or assertion that disclaims responsibility, affiliation, etc; disavowal; denial.

1. To begin, I would like to renounce, repudiate, deny, and disavow the rumors. I am not crazy, zany, wacky, or “intense.” I don’t know how these rumors get started. I mean one person sees you wearing a king’s crown and waving a scepter—at a laundry mat—and people start talking smack about you—the rotten gossips. 

Listen! The problem is that I don’t have that voice. You know the voice: that mealy-mouthed, butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, I might have mice living in my vocal cords girl-voice. When I speak I sound taller than I am, and I come across more intimidating than a grizzly bear. Just play dead and I won’t maul you.

When I write I sound smarter than a grizzly bear. I can’t help it. I’m Irish. We have a way with words and a penchant for using words like penchant. 

I renounce the gossip. Dressing up in period costume is a time-honored way to confuse evil spirits and boring people. 

I repudiate the false narrative that meek means weak. 

I disavow any embarrassment about zumba. Zumba is a Latin based exercise. Hips and booty are involved. When I zumba, I zumba, and my hips don’t lie. I’m easy to pick out in a zumba crowd. My stuff is actually moving. It’s because I lived in the Bahamas when I was a kid, and the first “live” band I ever heard was a steel drum band. It’s in my blood. 

2. I have been writing weekly blogs for more than a decade. No one makes me—except me. Most of what I write is based loosely in reality, coated liberally with lies. I’ve won national prizes for my humorous lies . . . er . . . um . . . I mean essays. It’s true. sent me money. That’s how I know it wasn’t a lie.

3. This is my official semi-yearly, once-in-a-while, now and again disclaimer. I am not crazy. I’m confident and adamant. People hate that. I don’t suffer fools lightly. Fools hate that. 

I love words and all the dazzling things you can do with them. 

The last book I wrote, Beyond the Strandline, is a grid collapse/survival/action/adventure/romance, and it’s intense. So intense I had a couple of Beta readers let me know that they couldn’t finish it. It was too scary. At first, I thought, “Oh no! What have I done? It made people uncomfortable and worried.”

And then I thought, “Oh no! What have I done? I was able—through the power of pen and word—to move people to FEEL uncomfortable and worried. Interesting.” The tips of the writer’s fingers beat a contemplative rhythm against each other as she smiled evilly.

I’m not bad. I’m good.

Linda (Sound Off) Zern 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Can’t read the headlines lately without seeing another rock-n-roller bite the dust, and they’re not that much older than me, and that’s got me to thinking, and when I think I write. Writing saves wear and tear on my fifty shades of gray matter. So, there you go. 

My funeral will be a free-for-all, knowing my family, unless I put my foot down now while I still can. NOTE: A free-for-all is a disorganized or unrestricted situation or event in which everyone may take part, especially a fight, discussion, or trading market.


First of all, I want a closed casket; I do not believe in people looking at me when I can’t look back or am ubable to make a smart aleck comment or two. 

But more importantly, during the memorial service the following subjects will be OFF LIMITS:

MY DENIM BUTTONS: I like to wear vests for a variety of reasons; especially vests with large, spacious pockets. Pockets are the most important invention known to man, in my opinion. Seriously! When you’re vacuuming and you come across ten dollars in dimes under the couch, left there by the darling grandchildren who forgot they were stealing the dimes from Poppy’s change jar, you can stuff the dimes in your vest pockets instead of tossing them in the potted palm pot. I like pockets. You can put eggs in your pockets. That’s very helpful. 

I had one vest that I wore until it rotted off my body. It has denim buttons, which did not rot. Their molecular cohesion continues to this very day. My children mock my denim buttons, my vests, and the fact that when I am wearing a vest I do not have to wear a bra. True story.

MY COOKING: I hate cooking. I’m too short to cook. Because I’m short I’m too close to the fire for safety, and the sparks get in my eyes and set my hair ablaze. Sure. Sure. That’s all true. I don’t want them talking about my cooking. It’s not my fault they liked to eat and would eat anything—even if I hated cooking it.

PREPPING, PARANOIA, AND THE POSSIBILITY I HAVE BUILT A SAFE ROOM UNDER THE BARN: I believe strongly in number ten cans of dehydrated sausage, and in the world ending badly. I believe strongly in the other shoe dropping. I’m Irish, after all.

OTHER ITEMS NOT TO BE DISCUSSED AT MY FUNERAL: My being a hermit; my bohemian decorating style; my hobo pots and pans; my dewlap. 

Which brings me to Conner, my oldest grandson, who is absolutely forbidden to speak of my double chin. He calls it my dewlap . . . you know . . . just like a lizard’s, another good reason to keep that coffin lid down.

I’m sure there’s more to forbid, but I think I’ve got a few days yet. I’ll think on it. 

Oh, and there is the working theory that I’ll never die, according to my son-in-law, Phillip. 

This being his greatest fear.

Linda (Good as Gone) Zern 

Saturday, January 9, 2016


It’s the twenty-first century. Not a headline, I know, but the world is wildly new and—at the same time—endlessly the same.

Part of the newness is that our phones follow us around in our pants. Satellites beam endless cute cat videos straight into our back pockets. It’s like a new day has dawned in our pants controlled by cats and their god.

And a lot hasn’t changed—not one small bit:  cats and dogs still fight, the wind still blows, and sand still gets in the cracks.

At our house it’s more and more and more about telecommuting and “the conference call.”

Why go all the way to Greece just to have a bunch of Monty Python style protestors who jump on public transportation to travel downtown to throw Molotov Cocktails at government buildings AND YOUR HOTEL, when you can sit at home and be invaded by goats? It’s a great question for a great twenty-first century.

At one point in my husband’s career, when people asked me what he did for a living, I would say, “He tapes receipts to paper.”  That’s what I saw him do after he traveled to the ends of the earth to help foreign governments get the computers going, to send the bills, to charge the people, for having the phones in their back pockets downloading cat videos.

He stays home a little more now and telecommutes. This is a method of doing business that requires a home office, headsets, and the finger point. The headsets let him talk to foreign geeks in ancient Babylonia letter-speak via satellites. The finger point is to shut me up when I come in to request his help putting out the grease fire in the kitchen.

“Sherwood, the flames are taller than—”

He twirled in his office chair, stabbed one finger at the general direction of my voice while saying, “That will never work with the QPTTS-R49-7TMMR.”  He pointed repeatedly to the headsets on his head with one finger as he spun away from me in his office chair. He returned to tapping wildly on his keyboard. The conference call went on.

The kitchen burned down.  NO. I’M KIDDING. But it’s a lot like that.

Yesterday, my husband was on a conference call when our three goats busted into his office and started snorting around looking for goat nibbles. I saw them wander in and went to help. Sherwood the husband spun around in his chair attempting to stab a manly finger at the goats. Tramp the ram sniffed his finger. The conference call went on. Tramp started to sample paper, pencils, wires, headsets, and electrical outlets.

 I closed the door—softly.

It’s all new, business transacted around an entire planet through air and space. And it’s all old; goats will still go anywhere, trying to eat everything.

Linda (Call Me) Zern


Monday, January 4, 2016

BOOK NEWS - 2016

The story continues in Following the Strandline - 2016

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