I woke up on the wrong side of the bedroll this morning or at least I made the mistake of reading Twitter before climbing out to look at blue sky, rustle Cowboy’s breakfast and make myself a pot of coffee.

Someone had complained about Serena Williams’s conduct at the U.S. Open in her title match Saturday with Naomi Osaka. I didn’t get to see the match, but in the middle of the night I had read (click here) Sally Jenkins’s sharp piece about unequal treatment of male and female players.  I shared it on Twitter for friends. Someone commented on my site, “Tired of her,” apparently meaning Williams.

I am not tired of Williams. I have followed her career since that first big story about Serena and her sister, Venus, being taught to play by their father on a public court in Compton. She’s already a champion, but I hope she still has a long way to go.

Just by comparing Williams’s behavior Saturday with examples of male player conduct and their treatment by court officials, Jenkins convinced me that chair umpire Carlos Ramos needed to be called out.


(Robert Deutsch/Usa Today Sports)

So, that got me started. Or maybe it’s that one of my neighbors — an intrepid writer, editor and high-desert gardener — keeps jarring me by posting photos of rattlesnakes. I admit that I looked at Facebook too early, too, and I know she only posts them cheerfully for friends.

Still small-minded before my morning walk — and avoiding my neighbor’s place — I began compiling a list of things I can live without.

And before I rebooted with gorgeous white clouds in blue sky and a big cup of black coffee, the list got this far.

Things I can live without:

1. Murder as a plot subject

2. Luxury cars

3. Meatloaf.

I’ve been wanting to take the shot at meatloaf ever since two of my favorite journalists, Jennifer Steinhauer and Frank Bruni, disappointed me by applying their huge talents to a book titled, “A Meatloaf in Every Oven.” In my book, no matter how much you fancy it up, it’s still cardboard with gravy.

I like the unfussy reliability and room of my old Dodge pickup and nearly as old Honda Element.

And every time I set out to write a commercial success, or watch a BBC mystery on Sunday night, I question why homicide seems to be such a requisite theme. I mean, is Oxford, England, really the murder capital of the world?

Curiously, rattlesnakes did not make my list before I changed my morning tune. I guess they are just part of the New Mexico drill, and I like my neighbor, who treats them so thoughtfully. As for the apparently short-tempered chair ump, I urge him to wake up and smell the coffee.

Version 2

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