Stormy Bavarian Girl Wants Boy, Sees Ghosts—The Celtic Stallion

It had to be written—I don’t know why.

LIVING INSIDE HISTORY: That Barbarian, Bavarian 70ies story.

Katrina, 17, lives in 2000-year-old village. And yet her historical essays stink. Success comes when Katrina plagiarizes her late grandmother’s diary and the story gets run in the paper. Now the whole village is up in arms against her. There was some old dirt and a skeleton in the closet. This is only the beginning of Katrina’s adventures, because soon a real skeleton is found.

What a story! Katrina is looking for love in all the wrong places until she starts seeing ghosts. Now the Celtic Stallion is out in English! The Celtic Stallion now also rides the American plains.


St. George’s Chapel on the hill, minus the horse ghost, painted by my  grandmother Katharina

The original “Keltenschimmel” started in my Bavarian home town. There was a sensational archaeological find in the village: in the year 2000, a Celtic princess was unearthed during the renovation project of an old farm house. Imagine—she comes to life again. And imagine all the other ghosts in between. St. George’s Chapel on the hill had at least four of them: the dragon, the hound, the witch, and the white stallion.

I sat down and wrote the Celtic Stallion then, perhaps in a pursuit of preserving the “good old days.” My book of coming-of-age amidst village myths—between a Celtic burial 2000 years ago and the Comanche who roamed the area during WWII—spilled forth on the pages. I could not have turned this off. But why this urge?

Votive paintings

Votive paintings, such as these, are part of a church robbery in the story that Katrina gets blamed for

Was I processing my past? Perhaps. Back then, as a teenager, I could feel the exclusion and sublime bullying caused by my pursuit of higher education. Was I processing the present? Maybe even more so. Conglomerate farming and the insanity of modern times had knocked tradition to the ground. Nobody went to church, but everybody was at the Corn Field Party. Does this show my age? I (hypocrite) am not such a good church goer myself. And, finally, I could not handle the fact that another archaeological study was done towards clearance for a hypermarket building permit. All that was discovered there, is now buried under the sales floor of the grocery store. And even more farmland fell victim to the new commercial district.

Hen house

This could be the hen house in which Katrina dueled with her type writer against grandpa’s peening clanks

Enough of that. My story plays in a small, 70s, Bavarian village, when the world was mostly still in order. Or so Katrina, the 17-year-old high school student thought. Oh, well, not so OK for a capricious teenager. Katrina was looking for love in all the wrong places, wrote the worst essays ever, and sparred against her mute grandfather in a duel of clattering noises: he sharpening his scythes, she hacking away at her typewriter in the hen house. Needless to say, a modern girl who lives in an old-fashioned village is bound to run into trouble. And ghosts as well. The Celtic Stallion indulges you with the Otherworld or Adventureland of modern German mythology. Be entertained by Katrina’s mishaps and the devious ghosts of St. George’s Hill: the witch, the dragon, and the white stallion. They all come to life, one way or another. History never dies.

The Celtic Stallion is now available in English on Amazon.


The German reading at the Grabenmühle near my hometown was staged with love and care. We had four presenters, who practiced their stage skills. Harp music and singing, were all part of it.

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Jackie Sereno: The Medford Remains–Book Review

With The Medford Remains Jackie Sereno has put out her second “Circling Eagle Mystery,” after her debut novel “Breaking Ground.” Her second volume of the family saga tells us about the making of a murderer, a Native American boy breaking free from the foster system. This story with a real twist unfolds on two time lines. Richard Circling Eagle investigates his father’s mysterious demise and his mother’s unexplained disappearance. The Medford Remains is an incredibly rich and suspenseful murder mystery and family saga playing in Northern Wisconsin. For all of you who like Tony Hillerman stories, Jackie Sereno very well matches that in-depth research.

I had the great pleasure to help Jackie with the pictures for her Medford Trailer. Actor Cainan Thomas from Fort McDowell (AZ, Yavapai) was the model for the key pictures of the story. It was such a nice adventure to set up for the shots at my friend Renate Mousseux’s house in Fountain Hills. As his former teacher, Renate has know Cainan and his family since his childhood. Cainan is an actor who has played Native American characters in movie productions.

The pictures (below) turned out great. Here is the gist of the story: “Decades after Thomas Circling Eagle’s suicide, his wallet is discovered buried in an abandoned barn. That puzzling fact intrigues his now grown son Richard, especially because its contents contradict the suicide assumption and include a reference to mysterious human remains uncovered in the wilderness near Medford, WI.”

That sets Richard on a quest for the truth.

A long forgotten wallet with troubling clues inside.

NOW ON AMAZON: Jackie Sereno, The Medford Remains


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Re-Cycling Isn’t a Real Cycle

Do you know what’s a cycle? Not a bi-cycle. Not an orb. Not the menses. I am talking about another natural cycle. The water cycle. I found one of the best examples, which every fourth grader must know, painted on a trash can during a Scottsdale (AZ) festival season. No natural resource is more important for Arizona (and the world) than the water (and air).

Water cycle painted on trash can in Scottsdale, AZ

Isn’t this a fabulous illustration? And it’s painted on a recycling can. So much more meaningful as an invitation for recycling. These images are fairly old, but I fell in love with the educational art and kept the snapshots for a reason.

The water cycle goes round and round, no saying where the start is: precipitation, collection, evaporation, condensation, precipitation . . . back to the beginning. The water has an infinite loop. Nothing gets lost.

Not so re-cycling (what’s in the blue trash can, not what’s painted on it). As I am spending time in a recycling-bound country, Germany, an idea popped into my head: as hard as we may try, recycling is not a true cycle. At best, it’s a loop. Why?

Plastic bottlesTake plastic, for example. First we pump mineral oil out of a well from the earth. This goes to a refinery, to a plastic factory, which makes the plastic bottle. From there, the plastic bottle goes to the beverage manufacturer (maybe as throw-away water bottle), to the distributor, to the store, to the consumer (us), to the blue barrel, to the sorting & recycling company, to the shredder, to the melter . . .  and then WHAT?

We can’t put that darn plastic back into the ground, not as a liquid anyway, maybe bury it in a dump. We can’t pump the oil back down there. The Jack is out of the box. And, no way, Mike Wisausky, we can’t “put that thing back where it came from.”

Duh. What’s new. We know that already, you may say.

But the plastic has a re-cycle, right? Let’s take a look. Where does the recycled plastic go? Melted into some other containers. Again and again. How long? Hard to say. Until it floats in the ocean as either bottles or micro beads and enters the unavoidable process of the food chain. It’s been said, how sad, we all eat plastic now. Eat your plastic, kid!

Reutberger BierRecycling, is not a true cycle, but it is still the best we can do. We humans are ignoring the Sorcerer’s Apprentice problem all too often. We do things just because we can. And for the money. We say, let’s deal with the consequences (of plastic) later, or not at all? Let the kids deal with it?

Avoid the plastic where you can and recycle the rest. America has much room for improvement recycling-wise. In Germany, most beverage bottles (plastic & glass with a deposit) go straight back to the store. Any other glass (wine bottles, jars, etc.) must be dropped at the glass collection station sorted by color. German beverages, in the first place, come in crates (12 or 20 bottles), also with a deposit on them. These bottles are washed and refilled.

How about that, America? Put that thing back where it came from. At least return all your bottles to the store. The merchants have to take them back! They made money off of them. Ditto! The bottles are their responsibility.

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Helmut Buchner’s New Sculptures

There is something in everything, depending on how you look at it

Photos by Joe Jaworski & Edda Buchner

What’s behind a rock, a root, a shell, or a time-proven fence post? Maybe nothing. But you can always make it “something.” Just by looking and thinking. Art objects are all around us. Nobody knows that better than silversmith and “Macher” (maker) Helmut Buchner from the Bat Cave Ranch by San Antonio.

Helmut has a very deliberate way of talking. Each sentence, no matter how obvious the content, clearly captures a deep thought. And that also applies to the stories behind his sculpture park on his ranch, which grows steadily. I will try my best to do our conversation justice with my English interpretation of some of his new, money-free objet d’art.

Mona Lisa came together just for fun. There was a river rock laying around for years. It had the shapes of a beautifully formed woman, no relations to the Kardashians (maybe Picasso or Gaugin). And then there was also the tree stump of an old cedar tree. That tree had been in conflict with an oak. Every time when I have to cut down a tree, I leave a stump as a memorial. It could be used for something later. That tree offered itself to install something on it. The other two things had been waiting in the grass for a while. So I put all three together, set the rock on the stump, and installed the metal frame around it. The stone, steel, and wood enhanced each other quite naturally.”

Covid-19 Man: “I made that at the beginning, when we started to realize how threatening and aggressive Covid-19 was. For the first time it happened in my long life that we had such a worldwide epidemic. For me, the woodblock face demonstrates the anguish of a patient screaming from pain and terror. We’ve had the ball made of sea shells for a long time and it offered itself as a Covid virus symbol encompassing the entire globe.”

Bird Happiness: Helmut stands at the bottom of 40-foot-tall bamboo pole. It has a weather vane at the top, a bird with a long ribbon tail. The “Windvogel” sways in all directions, depending on how the wind blows. Unfortunately, storms repeatedly tore the sculpture off its mount. Helmut’s solution? He made a bamboo man to help support the structure. “The golden-haired bamboo guy holds up the pole so that the bird won’t fly away,” Helmut says. So how is this working out? Time will tell.

Himmelsleiter-Stairway to Heaven: A bicycle without a saddle is parked at the bottom of a bamboo ladder leading up into the air to who-knows-where? This sculpture, one of Helmut’s oldest, is thoroughly weathered. Visitors are fascinated by it, a stairway to heaven. “I figured that the ladder alone won’t get you to heaven, but I had a lot of people thinking that it might,” Helmut says with a wry smile on his face.

Nothing is accidental about Helmut’s sculptures. They are built on careful observation, selection, and artistic vision. A lot of thought goes into them. Helmut’s next sculpture could take a while or happen spontaneously. It starts with the idea, then the collection of materials, and finally comes the technical problem solving. The organic part is undeniable. These sculptures, exposed to the elements, change and mature over time—intentionally. They are in constant dialog with the maker and spectator. And nature.

“I don’t want to convert people to anything. Everybody should make up his or her own interpretation. Friends brought visitors over to show them the sculptures. I am always surprised about their comments. Everybody gets to think what they want. And that is the way it should be.”

Another piece is in the works, called Kama Sutra, aka a bunch of large, gnarly cedar roots arranged together. “At this time, I am working on the enlightened lovers,” Helmut says.

What will people think about that?

Whatever they want. Like me. Mea culpa, Helmut! I had thought that man with the sea shells was playing beach volleyball: shells = beach, white ball, get it? Perhaps some wishful thinking there. We all could have done so much better without the Covid.

Maybe some objects are also crying out to you for the art inside of them? Just look around! Elevate your vision for the not-so-ordinary.

There is more. Helmut is also an excellent silversmith-jewelry maker. His life partner Edda Buchner will be showcasing his jewelry together with the sculptures in a book. Helmut has also built a Zen garden, a labyrinth, and a tipi on his Texas home turf.

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The War on Plastic

War on Crime, War on Drugs, War on Poverty, Star Wars, Price Wars,  –  Why not have a War on Plastic—NOW? We need one more good war!

We splurge in unnecessary plastic all the time. Where does the waste go?

Refuse, reduce, recycle that plastic!

I confess, I use plastic still too much. Most of it is totally avoidable.

Regardless how judicious you may be, you will have committed one of these 10 Plastic Cardinal Sins. Aren’t we lazy! (Or is it short-term memory loss?). So, let’s restart.

The 10 Cardinal Plastic Sins

  1. Single-use water bottle: It should have been legally restricted or taxed by now. Some schools and organizations have banned them. Bring your own refillable water bottle. Water in tin bottles available now.
  2. Plastic shopping bags: Yeah, what’s your problem? Bring your own bags, or a basket. Ask for paper bags. Don’t trust the “recycling” of plastic bags in the stores. Or hopefully the store makes you pay for a plastic bag.
  3. Take out containers: In the US, it’s still a world of plastic and Styrofoam. Avoid restaurants that serve you tubs of plastic that could be aluminum or paper. Plastic take-out containers were banned in some European countries.
  4. Online purchases: Hell, no! Get your items from the store, because the shipping material refuse is insane. Peanuts and bubble wrap galore. Leave that stuff to Santa!
  5. Beverage bottles: Get your drinks in a can, glass bottle, or from the faucet, not plastic! This would be my NEW LAW: Stores must recycle plastic bottles, return them to the manufacturer. Let the Coca Cola deal with the plastic!
  6. Liquid detergent: The utmost insanity of all! Haven’t we always used washing powder? It gives you the same results. Listen up, Tide & Co.: Take your jugs off the shelves right now! We can shake up our own soapy sauce.
  7. Body wash & hair shampoo: Just use bar soap. Even hair shampoo and conditioner are available as solid bars these days.
  8. Body lotion: Easy fix. Use fragrant, essential, natural oils—in glass bottles. Oils have fewer ingredients than lotions and may be more beneficial than lotions overall.
  9. Juice & milk jugs: Tropicana switched to plastic carafes. Why?? Other juices still come in cartons. Buy those! One gallon milk jugs can still be recycled in our town. But you may just as well get milk in 1/2 gallon packs.
  10. Egg “cartons” ???: Why should plastic egg “cartons” even exist?

Our municipal authority, the City of Mesa, has basically given up on recycling. Only about 5 item categories will be accepted, forget about washing out yogurt cups. Since China does not take our American trash any more, the dumps on the Salt River Reservation and the other one by the Florence prison are growing at horrid rates.

ONE MORE EXAMPLE OF ILL-FATED PLASTIC LOGIC: In my college days I met a lady who had a big heart for animals. She cut up the plastic rings from the soda six-packs. Why? So that no sea-life should be caught in it. WHY would our plastic end up in the ocean in the first place? This was some 30 years ago, and ongoing.

At any rate, plastic should carry a Surgeon General’s warning, just like cigarettes:

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Plastic Causes Piles of Trash, Harmful Inertia, Intrusion into the Food Cycle, Death of Sea Life, and various types of Cancer. Plastic Overuse by any Human Has Been Shown to Result in Global Pollution, Toxicity in the Food Chain, and the Increase in Morbidity in Humans on All Continents.


Environmental change: California’s new plastics law could force the rest of the nation to cut down on its polluting materials. The legislation mandates, among other things, a reduction in the single-use plastics sold in the state. It also requires 65 percent of plastics to be recycled within a decade—an ambitious goal. Plastics makers will have to foot the bill for recycling. The law could have ripple effects across the nation, but not all recycling proponents are pleased, Laura Parker reports.

Read the full story. (Pictured above, one million plastic beverage bottles are purchased every minute worldwide.)


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