My three published novels:Plus new short fiction available now on amazon kindle!

My three published novels:Plus new short fiction available now on amazon kindle!
My three hardcover novels are available now for your Amazon Kindle device. Also find additional ebooks of fiction, and a two-volume photo book of Cuba's Classic Cars. Click on the book covers above.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fletcher The Dog

I've gotten a new roommate, courtesy of Russell Rescue, Inc. As roommates go, you couldn't ask for much more. He's respectful of my property, housebroken, crate trained, neutered, and microchipped. Best of all, Fletcher is not aggressive with other dogs. Terriers do have to be outwitted from time to time, but it's clear that he's a good one.


And here he is in action, star of The Fletcher The Dog Show, Fletcher the dog:

Friday, July 6, 2012

In Scotland

I was recently reading the journal/diary my that my grandfather kept when he enlisted in the navy in World War 1. He wasn't very educated or sophisticated,  or travelled, and most of the entries just listed the drudgery of military routine - standing watch, washing his laundry, receiving letters from home, but rarely revealing their contents. Now and then, a detail cropped up that was intriguing, perhaps because the specifics were so lacking:

--On Lake Michigan, at the Great Lakes Naval station, he saw snow falling for the first time. He was 25 years old.

--An officer in one of the Great Lakes barracks went insane, and had to be restrained and taken away.

--Theodore Roosevelt addressed the assembled troops on the parade ground. But he was too far away for my grandfather to photograph him clearly.

--The sailor running the ship store was caught stealing, and was put in the brig on a ration of bread and water.

--On the Atlantic, homeward bound, escaping the crowded hammocks and stuffy air below, he slept on the deck of his battleship, the USS Delaware. During the crossing, he spotted a two-masted schooner, and a whale.

--While overseas, the ship and crew of the Delaware were inspected by the king of England.

Queen Elizabeth's grandfather

The one incident I could picture clearly was when he was granted a twelve-hour shore leave off the coast of Scotland, while the Delaware was at anchor in the Firth of Forth. He decided with his brother, who was assigned to the same ship, to walk three miles into the town of Dumfermline. On the way, the two of them  were caught in the open in a sudden rainfall. They took shelter beneath a bridge, and talked to each other for a couple of hours, about the folks back home, about their shipmates, how lucky they were not to be in the trenches, and all the events that had brought them to this place.

When the rain cleared enough to continue their walk, they bought post cards and tobacco, and found a photo studio where they had their portraits done in traditional Scottish garb.

my grandfather

my great uncle

They found the local YMCA, where they were given doughnuts and coffee. My grandfather, the one in the upper photo, played the piano there until it was time to make the walk back to the Delaware.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I stopped near Smithville on a drive from Austin to Houston yesterday. This is an overpass over the Colorado River. Too many swallow nests to count. They line the concrete, protected from the elements by the overhang. Laid end to end, both sides of the two overpasses would probably stretch for a mile, at least. Nice engineering on each nest, too.

Let's say each foot of concrete has five nests, packed with mud and grass like adobe. 5280 feet times 5 is 26,400 nests. Each nests will hatch 4 to 7 eggs. Call it 5 hatches. Two adults plus five hatchlings comes to 158,000 birds.

And then you come to the next overpass, less than a mile away.

(click to enlarge)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The most recent short film I worked on has been posted on line. Nice little production, which I attribute to the writer/director Kael Elliott.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winnipeg, Manitoba

I worked on a music video recently - "Winnipeg, Manitoba," by The Guns of Navarone. They wanted a Grandpa type. See it at:

Not a bad band, them Guns
Also, look way in the background behind Meat Loaf and Edward Norton in the photo from Fight Club below.
That's yours truly in the support group scene. Six days hugging each other was enough, thank you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Few, The Proud, The Loud

I had an opportunity to speak with a representative of the Marine Corps earlier today. I tape recorded the conversation.
--Good afternoon. R.O.T.C.

(MZ)Hello. Are you involved with the group doing calesthenics in Pease Park this morning?

--Yes, we have Marine ROTC here. Yes, I do believe they were out at Pease Park this morning.

(MZ) I went outside during the drills this morning at about a quarter to six. And, non-confrontationally, I said, “You know, people are trying to sleep here.” And one guy got up in my face screaming, “We have provided the freedom that allows you to sleep. I suggest you get back in your house.” Now, this is not the kind of behavior that I think appropriate in dealing with the public.

--Mm hmm.

(MZ) Do you know who is involved in that at all? Is there someone around who is in charge of that exercise drill?

--Um, yes. What is your name, sir?

(MZ) Michael Zagst.

--Just a moment.

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto played while I was on hold.

--Hello, sir? Thanks for holding. I’m going to transfer you to Major Kopke, and he can help you now.

(MZ) Major who?


(MZ) Thanks.


(Major Kopke) Good morning. This is Kopke.

(MZ) Hi, Major. This is Michael Zagst. I live across the street where the Marine R.O.T.C. has been doing their morning calesthenics. Do you know anything about them being out there this morning?

(Major K.) I do, sir. I know that they were out there this morning.

(MZ) I went out there about six, after they had been out there awhile, and just wanted to, I don’t know, to see who they were, for one thing. What I said was, not confrontationally, to one person was, you know, people are trying to sleep here. He got inches away from my face, shouting, “We provide the freedom for you to be able to sleep. I suggest you get back in your house.” And they were all carrying assault rifles, and I thought, I don’t want to be arguing with this guy out here. I just don’t think that’s appropriate behavior in dealing with the public, and wanted to see if y’all are going to continue to exercise out there, or what the deal is.

(Major K.) I agree with you one hundred percent, sir, and that’s been tended to this morning, after the fact. You’re right. It’s inappropriate. We do plan to continue out there infrequently. I think we probably exercise out there once or twice a semester.

(MZ) It’s been three times in the last six days.

(Major K.) Three times in the last six days? Really?

(MZ) Last Thursday and Friday, and this morning, Thursday. So, eight days.

(Major K.) That’s news to me.

(MZ) I just wanted to see…I don’t understand, really. I could have been a veteran of Hill 935 in Vietnam, but why even argue the point? Why bring it up? I could have been nobody. I could have been a janitor for the past fifty years. It shouldn’t matter.

(Major K.) Sir, absolutely.

(MZ) So, I hope you take appropriate measures to where it doesn’t disturb the neighborhood, at least.

(Major K.) I don’t think that’s going to happen again. I met this morning, and we’ve definitely dealt with that. And I absolutely understand your concerns. You are one hundred percent right. That’s not supposed to happen, and that’s not the right way to handle business.

(MZ) Thanks for letting me know.

(Major K.) Oh, absolutely. And if there’s anything else you need, please give us a call.

(MZ) I will. Thanks.

(Major K.) Have a good day. Bye-bye.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Michele Bachmann Turns Into Pillar of Salt!

After claiming her run for the Republican nomination was on instructions from God, Michele Bachmann has pulled herself from the race. She thanked her supporters and staff, stepped outside into the fresh Iowa air, and promptly turned into a pillar of salt.

Rick Perry, finishing just ahead of Bachmann in the Iowa caucus, and also claiming to be God's candidate, has decided after witnessing Bachmann's divine punishment, that fifth place was strong enough to continue on to South Carolina.