Friday, May 28, 2004

Most fascinating drive I (n)ever made

The Most Fascinating Drive I Never Made

I enjoy historic places, so I am sorry I never took a car, camper, or motor home on the Lewis and Clark Trail from Saint Louis to the Pacific. I used to be in awe when I crossed that trail near Kansas City. I would tell myself that I am standing where Lewis and Clark and their band of explorers stood two hundred years ago. A trip that took 45 brave men (and one woman) 554 days to make in the nineteenth century would make an exciting three week adventure in the twenty-first.

The Most Fascinating Drive I Ever Made

I have driven the streets of Subtropolis, an entire underground city. Developers took an old mine near Kansas City, and used its dozens of underground passageways and chambers for streets and businesses. Businesses who need the advantage of controlled and constant humidity and temperature settle there. The United States Postal Service stores and distributes stamps from there. A candy maker makes his confections there. There is a restaurant to serve the hundreds of workers who spend their days there, and a parking lot for their cars. Eighteen wheelers drive from the highway right into the underground passages to the doors of their clients. There is even a railway under the mountain. All the streets look alike and it would be easy to become lost, but the walls are painted with huge arrows that point to exits. Subtropolis is not for the claustrophobic.

Friday, May 21, 2004

High Power Kids

One of the things my chums and I did as kids was go to the library, get books, and read to each other. That amazes me, Kids reading to each other.

One of this group of chums, Ken, went on to become a marine biologist, a curator of Marineland of the Pacific, and a specialist in whales and dolphins. He wrote several books about porpoises. He swam with dolphins and helped develop commercial fishing techniques that let dolphins escape the nets of the tuna boats. His study has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of dolphins.

Another of my chums, Bob, Ken’s brother, became a Geologist. He became a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and has written several books on the Geology of California and its off-shore islands.

Chum Chuck became a teacher but kept on studying school administration. He became a counselor, a principal, and an area superintendent in the Los Angeles City Schools. If he wrote a book, he hasn’t told me.

Friend Walt married my wife’s sister. I see him at family affairs. Our kids are cousins. He had a successful career at Convair Aviation in San Diego.

And I, the weak link in the chain of professionals, became a radio operator in WWII, continued my interest in electronics, which led to computers. At least, I am the only one of this high power group to have a blog.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

More Contemporary Quotes

Got any cheese -- Steve Urkel

I am a wee bit psychic -- Daphne Moon

I am the master of my domain -- George Costanza

I’m king of the world -- Leonardo DiCaprio

You had me at ‘hello’ -- Renee Zellweger

There’s no crying in baseball -- Tom Hanks

When is the next swan due?-- Leo Slezak as Lohengrin

Include me out -- Samuel Goldwyn

That’s a shame -- Jerry Seinfeld

The Dr. is in 5¢ -- Lucy

Fasten Your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night -- Bette Davis

Come up and see me some time  --  Mae West

You can't cheat an honest man  --  W.C. Fields (?)

You can’t handle the truth -- Jack Nicholson

You’re Fired -- Donald Trump

I tot I taw a puddy tat --  Tweetie  (from Ckays1967)

Monday, May 17, 2004

My Brush with Greatness (3)

This is my third contribution to the celebrities game. But it is my daughter's.

When she was about thirteen she went to Girl Scout summer camp.  Disney was filming Parent Trap with Haley Mills.  The girls at camp were given a chance to be extras in the film.  They played games for background scenes mostly, but in one scene Haley and her double, for she played twins in that movie, were marched to an isolation punishment cabin.  All the girls marching in a column swinging their arms and whistling Colonel Bowie March.

When I saw the film, I was delighted to see Kate right up front. 

"How'd you get to be up front," I asked.

"Well," she answered with a bit of a smirk, "some of us did it better than the others."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Romance by Wire

My sweetheart is eighty-seven years old. That’s all right. I am seventy-nine. Our romance is carried on by long distance telephone. It is very chaste. But we talk for an hour a day on the phone.

At first my phone bill was staggering. I changed phone companies five times in two years chasing the best long distance deals.  I had it down to manageable size even though we were 800 miles apart. But at least we were in the same time zone. At Seven AM every morning I called and we chatted, mostly about nothing, for an hour. We both depend on our morning calls.

Now she has moved to Texas, 2000 miles and two time zones away. It’s the time difference that makes the problem.

I found a message on my machine at 5:30 PM, “Sorry I missed you. I was sure you’d be in your room at 9:15.” Poor dear, she added two hours instead of subtracting. She had called at 7:15 in Texas time.

I called her back and we chatted and laughed about the mix up.

This morning at five am the phone by the head of my bed rang.

“Hello.” (Groggy)

“Good morning,” (Bright and cheerfully) , “Isn’t it a beautiful morning.”

“I don’t know. It is still dark outside.”

It will all work out.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

My Brush with Greatness-- Part two

I just remembered an earlier meeting with a celebrity.  I will win the Old Timers award for this one... it happened in 1928, when I was four.  I don't remember, but I've been told.

   Up the street, at the corner of Alpine Drive and Elevado in Beverly Hills lived silent screen star, famous as a "vamp", Theda Bara. Bara used to dismount from her limosine a block from home, and walk the rest of the way followed slowly by her chauffer in the car.

   Little Charles, on his tricycle, spoke up, "You're Theda Bara."

   She stopped and patted me on the head and said, "The little ROSCAL knows my name.."

   She was a silent screen star, so having an accent didn't hinder her career at all.

Friday, May 14, 2004

My Brushwith Greatness

A friend and I took our lady friends flying in our Ercoupes. Ercoupes are antique, low wing monoplanes. We cruised a bit, then landed for lunch at the café at Agua Dulce Airport near Vasquez Rocks, California.

As we ate we noticed another Ercoupe circling and making touch and go landings, and commented that we seemed to be having a convention of ‘coupes. Soon the other plane landed and a flying instructor, Dix Logan, whom we knew, and his student, JOHN TRAVOLTA, who owned the little plane, came in. In those days, Travolta owned only one plane.

I shouted, “Ercoupe pilots, over here,” and they joined us.

We chatted about our planes and their flying characteristics. My lady friend was in awe, and tried to edge the menu closer for an autograph, but I said, “No, you don’t. We’re all just Ercoupe pilots here.” And Travolta said, “That’s right.”

I had commented on the Ercoupe’s special ability to handle cross-wind landings, and Travolta asked why that is. I said, “It‘s the sturdy landing gear. Have you noticed, it is built like brick outhouse.” Except, I used a more common scatological term for outhouse. My lady went into shock. How could I use language like that with John Travolta?

Asked if it were true that he was not allowed to fly while in New York filming Saturday Night Fever. He said “Yes, because so many peoples’ jobs depend on your safety .” But he confided that he had been able to get over to New Jersey for some flying.

Nowadays, Travolta flies his own jet worldwide, and I pilot my electric scooter closer to ground.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Signs on my Apartment Door

Seen on my door .  Recent series: Sayings from movies or TV

You're Fired --  Donald Trump

Kiss My Grits --  Flo (in Alice)

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn --  Rhett Butler

It was beauty killed the beast --  Denham  (King Kong)

I'll be back --Terminator

Tora! Tora! Tora! --  Yamamoto

Sorry about that! --  Agent 86

Life is like a box of chocolates.  You Never know what you are going to get --  Forrest Gump

Me, Tarzan.  You, Jane -- Johnny Weismuller

If you build it, they will come  --  Field of Dreams

Blondie! --  Dagwood Bumstead

They're ba-ack! -- Little Susie

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto -- Dorothy Gale

George, tell me about the rabbits, George --  Lenny Small

I was a better man as a woman, than I ever was as a man -- Michael Dorsey, Tootsie

Bring me an empty horse -- Samuel Goldwyn

Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille -- Old Joke

Make them an offer they can't refuse -- The Godfather

One night I shot an elephant in my pajamas.  How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know --  Groucho

I want to be alone --  Greta Garbo

Go ahead, Make my day -- Dirty Harry

Elementary, My dear Watson -- sherlock Holmes

Win one for the Gipper --Knute Rockne

Phone Home --  E.T.

If you want me, just whistle.  You do know how to whistle, don'tyou? --  Lauren Bacall

What would you add?

Snootchy bootches ----- Jay & Silent Bob,  From Bassjock

This is the begining of a beautiful friendship - Humphrey Bogart from Jeffcomedy

""Did I do that?"     --Steve Urkel from mgraves6033

Boldly go where no one has gone before  --Star Trek  from camaroisle050856

"Doh"  -- Homer Simpson  from KateH2Ocolorart

"Where's the Beef?"  --TV commercial  (Wendy's) from KateH2Ocolorart

"You never met a bad guy like me.  Make way for the bad guy."  -- Al Pacino, Scarface from lizardking6613




Sunday, May 9, 2004

A Ride in the Goodyear Blimp

On my eighth birthday, in 1932, my grandparents bought me a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, Volunteer.  It was one of four in those days.  It had a landing field at LaCieniga and Wilshire in Los Angeles.  I have no idea what it cost.  We lifted off and flew west to Beverly Hills.  By craning and straining we could see on west and could even make out our house in Westwood.

At age forty I learned to fly a plane, and was reminded of my first adventure in the air, in the Blimp.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto

One of the residents of the “old folks home” I live in wandered off yesterday. I went on my “scooter” and searched the parking lots for her. Meanwhile, a concerned neighbor found her wandering and drove her home. That made me look into the future.

I see a future in which we all wear GPS locators. Global Positioning Systems are already so sophisticated that they can pin-point our location on the face of the earth within a few feet. Imagine a world with no more lost children or senior citizens. No more getting lost on the way to a friend’s new house. No more abductions, kidnappings, or escapes. A huge computer would track each and every one of us.

When Big Brother is always watching us, we will want him to be like an actual brother, looking after our welfare, not secret police or a political leader seeing that we behave. I think I’d like my GPS to have an optional “off” switch, so I could be lost if I wanted to.