Friday, December 30, 2005


If you watch Disney's Dumbo from the beginning, you find that the cute little flying elephant's name is actually, Jumbo, Jr.  When he is born, his mother proudly shows him off to the other elephants and introduces him by name.  But suddenly, baby sneezes and his huge abnormal ears flop out into plain view. The elephants react in horror and one matriarch sneers, "Jumbo, Jr.? His name should be Dumbo."  And that horrid nick-name stuck.

But Dumbo, as he is called, rises above that epithet to become the star attraction, and saves the failing circus with his flying elephant act.

George, the piano player at our old folks home, dutifully plays Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer at Christmas time because other people like it so, but he hates it.  Why? Because all the other reindeer shun and isolate Rudolf until they need him to guide the sleigh.  Then they accept him, when they need him. George feels that is very unfair.

When I began teaching high school back in 1950, it was the custom of the high school I started my career in, for the senior class to name the incoming sophomore class with a name as demeaning as possible. The object of this offically approved hazing was to inspire the Sophomores to accept the epithet and rise above it, and make it something to be proud of.

And guess what.  It worked. The class usually accepted the ridiculous name and carried it proudly through their three years at Polytechnic High in Riverside, CA.  I wonder if that tradition still survives in this more politically correct society. 

During my tenure there, the classes were serially named the Geeks, the Slurps, the Burbots.  The Geeks and the Slurps proudly graduated while I  was there and the Burbots remained to name the next class I know not what gross name.

I am not sure what started me on this memoir, but the message seems to be: by proud of who you are, and not what others try to make of you.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

On Dressing in the Dark and Living Alone

I don't need a night light.  There are street lights outside my window that give me light enough to move about my room at night. But these winter nights are long, and the street lights are on a clock.  So when the clock tells the street light to go off, it is still dark outside, and there goes my night light. 

Suddently the room is lighted only by the glow from Starbucks, a whole parking lot away.  I imagine that their light is always on, I don't know why.  When I rose this morning it was very dark.  I found my shirt by feel, and pulled it on.  I transferred, pantsless, to the wheel chair, and rolled through the gloom to the computer.

A pilot light shows me where to turn it on, and now my room is lighted by the glow from the monitor.  That light shows a fat man partly bare sitting in a dark room staring at his journal.  And that is okay for who needs pants when he lives alone?

And living alone give you time to contemplate such wierd issues as living semi-nude in the semi-dark. Is that a normal life style?  I hope someone reads this entry a hundred years from now.  What will he think?  "What a strange way to exist, half dressed and half lit."  More likely he will ask "Turn ON the computer? Why was it off? He was disconnected from the web all night? How did they survive back then, disconnected from the world half the time?"

Go ahead, laugh at the image of me, wearing a pull-over shirt only, in my dark room, at my computer.  Or maybe you can't, 'cause you're at your computer too, dressed as you are.  Welcome to my party.  It's come-as-you-are, but, puhleez, don't turn on the light.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chuck, Style Consultant

Of the twelve dress styles chosen by In Style as being the most beautiful of the year, all but two dragged on the floor. 

Of the two that did  not drag unsanitarily along the ground, only one hung freely, was not Hitched up unnaturally. That was Oscar De La Rento's.

Congratulations, Oscar, you got my vote.  Too bad the style I chose as attractive and practical came in tenth in the voting.

So much for my career as fashion consultant.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rules is Rules

   Dorothy, age 83, lived with her husband, Louis, 93, in their fifth-wheel mobile home in a trailer park in the California mountains.  That was their world, 40 feet by 8 feet, except for the crank out living room, 12 feet wide.
   For years they had traveled contentedly, following the nice weather, Canada to Mexico. About ten years ago, they parked in the Sierra Nevadas, and stayed put. They settled down.
   Last month Louis fell and broke his hip.  They brought him to Merced where surgeons put pins in his hip, and put him in a nursing home.  Dorothy came with him, with just the clothes on her back.  Her family brought her to the old folks home where I live and moved her in, as is, come as you are.
   She misses Louis terribly, but can call when she wishes and can visit him when she can arrange transportation.  She anticipates moving him here with her as soon as possible.
   Without her permission, her grandchildren moved into the mobil home, and she feels pretty upset about that.  She is removed from her husband, plunked down into an institution, and her home is usurped.
   She is barely used to our routines here, has little time to consider the rules and routines. She is barely aware that there are assigned places in the dining room.
  Then this morning she had a dream that her husband had died.  She was scared and called him right away.  He said he was all right, but has pneumonia.  She came to breakfast pretty well shook up.
   I could see she was distraught, and I know she likes hugs so I said, "I need a hug."  We hugged.
   Her assigned table was empty, the residents having gone already.  I asked if she wanted to join me in Jim's empty chair.  He never comes to breakfast, and besides is gone to be with family for holidays.  She started to join me.
   Then the waitress came and said, "Oh, no, I have to seat her in her own seat. I'd be in trouble otherwise."  She led Dorothy, upset and distraught, to her empty table.
   Rules is rules.
   Well, not to me.  I rolled over and joined Dorothy.  They brought her breakfast, but she did not eat.  She was content just having a friend to talk to.  We  talked for some time, and finally she took a bite or two out of duty... being diabetic, she needs regular meals. She was certainly not feeling hungry.
   Made me wonder... are rules more important than compassion? 

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Dream

Merry Christmas...
More about dreams... My Christmas Eve dream. 
The influences of my daily experiences impinged themselves into my dream. Here is what I dreamed, and what probably made me dream it.
I went to a musical conference.
(I had spent the afternoon at my keyboard with new musical book which was gift from family, and then spent Christmas Eve with George, our piano playing volunteer at the old folks home.)

There was a scheduling mix-up at the conference and all the residential sleeping arrangements were canceled and we had to go nearby town for sleeping.
(I have been seriously irritated by the consistent mix-ups this season by our activity director who had made arrangements forgotten them so that artists appear unannounced, double booked, neglected the artists who do appear, and delayed an honorarium check,)
The nearby town had no accommodations and we had to stay in a bunk house with planks to sleep on.
(There have been several television shows in last two days about the nativity story and there being "no room at the inn".)
I didn't have enough cash to pay the exorbitant twenty dollar charge we each had to pay to stay at this overcrowded ill-equipped bunk house. I paid by credit card, first having trouble finding one, and then having to pay two dollars extra for using it.
(A normal concern of mine: will I have enough cash with me to cover expenses. )
Then I had trouble sleeping on the planks that made up the bunks.
(At this point, my dream merged with real life and I was having trouble getting comfortable in my own bed.)
I resolved the whole issue by waking up and writing this.
...and Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Weekend Assignment - Tell about a Memorable Christmas

Christmas 1944, Germany

On Christmas eve, 1944, our squad walked single file, under the cover of darkness, being careful not to step off the path through the snow, forward to a captured pill box on the Siegfried Line in Germany.  Actually the pill box faced France, toward the rear, so we went around the rear, knocked on the steel door and we let in by the squad on duty. 

We posted look outs, and settled into the concrete interior, lit by candles. When the doors were opened we had to cover the candles so no light shone. The concrete interior was warmed by our bodies and a small stove burning charcoal bricks.  The squad we relieved then left, and followed the trail back to the French farm house from which we had come.

For the rest of the night and the next day Christmas, we took turns standing lookout in the snow, facing East, watching and listening, and reporting by telephone anything that indicated enemy activity. I do not remember any, but I remember reporting several "buzz bombs", V1 flying bombs. We gave the directions from which they had come, so that supposedly intelligence could follow the trail back and determine their source.

Nothing happened on that watch, but later a sniper caught one our lookouts unaware and a bullet creased his scalp.  He sat down kerplunk, and when the medics were treating him, he said in amazement, "The bastards are using live ammunition." Training at Camp Kilmer with blanks was over. Reality had set in.

On Christmas night, another squad moved forward and knocked on our door, and we gladly let them in, and prepared to move out. We took the same narrow path back to the farm house where the company was housed.

And there, we had Christmas dinner.  With trimmings. I remember enjoying a turkey leg, drumstick. How the Army managed to fix a Christmas dinner with roast turkey, and mashed potatoes and gravy, so far from home I cannot imagine, but they did. Christmas dinner in a mess kit, and coffee from a canteen cup, is unusual, but welcome. If the mashed potatoes were dehydrated potatoes, at least the turkey was real, and reminded us of home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Brush with Greatness -- Big Ape

King Kong comes out this month.  That is King Kong number three.  The first King Kong was in 1933.

I lived next door to the family of Willis O'Brien, creator of the big ape movie.  O'Brien's ex-wife and two kids lived there.  The kids were teen-agers, Willis (Jr) and Bill.  Bill was blind from an early age.  My grand father and Bill used to play chess.  Bill would bring his special chess board with raised squares and peg holes, and his special chess men, with pegs that fit into holes to hold the men upright.  The white men had tops ground down at an angle so you could tell the white men from the black men by touch.  Bill and grandfather would play, and Bill would make his moves by touching the pieces gently and figuring the moves in his head.  I think that is brilliant.

   Willis, called "Weeks", was considered a juvenile dilinquent by his family, but his escapades seem rather more capricious than violent.  He went swimming in the Hollywood reservoir. Horrors, what a crime, in 1933.

   Anyway O'Brien produced King Kong while his family was living next door.  He was already known for an animated feature called "The Lost World", made with miniatures, which were painstakingly photographed one frame at a time. We knew that there was one full sized Kong head, one foot, and one hand.  All the rest of Kong was miniature. And I got to see and hold, a miniature Fay Wray, smaller than a present day Barbie. 

   Miniature Fay Wray was photographed in miniature Kong's hand, and then the scene shifted to full sized, real Fay Wray in Giant size Kong's hand. Real Fay Wray let out some full sized screams and the illusion was perfect. What you saw was a giant ape holding a terrified woman.  Special effects were not as sophisticated then, but neither were audiences.  The effect was paralyzing.

   I am not sure I was allowed to see such a horror film at age nine.  But I have seen it many times since, and of course, it is my favorite version.


1. Took a tour around the old folks home.  Looks very festive with the red stockings hung by the doors, garlands, and pictures covered to look like presents. It beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

2. AOL can store all of your email forever.  Amazing.  Where?  Where did those billions of transitors needed come from? AND why would you want to?

3. Just viewed three films from Netflix. John Travolta in Lucky Numbers, Craig Ferguson in Saving Grace, and Robert Downey and Reece Witherspoon in The Election.  Gave them all a very good rating... that is four stars out of a possible five. Not worth revieweing here actually.

4. Three more from Netflix to be viewed soon: Tim Robbins in Mission to Mars, Lightning in a Bottle, with B.B. King and Bonnie Rait (Not sure if documentary or concert DVD) and Reindeer Games with Ben Affleck.--sounds seasonal.  Will report unless you comment and tell me to forget it, not worth watching.

P.S. I agree with Deb (comments below), very bloody and violent, but with ingenious plot with twists and turns galore. Grizzley and certainly not boring. Not recommended by me. (Two stars out of five.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quirky things About Me -- Fear of Heights

Continuing the "I Dare You" series -- see Tag entry below. Tell five quirky things about you. Numer one: Akrophobia

Yes, I am afraid of heights. Nothing too quirky about that except I loved flying my own airplane.  I am afraid to stand too near a balcony. I fear I will fall or jump off. Even pictures looking straight down from high places as seen on television give me a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I could not watch the Sylvester Stallone movie about rock climbing. People hanging from cables high in the air scared me, and I shut it off, took the tape out of the vcr and sent it away, pronto.

I cannot watch Fear Factor when they send contestanta to high places and have them walk wires or collect flags hanging from cargo nets.  Those contestants have safety harnesses, yet I cannot bear the thought of their falling. I am there with them virtually and that is enough to spook me.

But look at this: that is me, at the controls of my airplane, in the air, flying. And I loved it.  I have nearly two thousand hours of time in my log book high in the air.  Highest I ever flew in coupe was over seven thousand feet, and I was comfortable cruising along one thousand feet above the ground.

I dined comfortably in the Space Needle in Seattle. That is pretty high.

So dining in Space and flying my own plane, though I have akrophobia. That is a quirky thing about me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Things that Make Me Happy -- Flying my Own Airplane

After I learned to fly, I was an aircraft renter for while, and a flying club member. A friend and I decided we should own our own airplane. We used the club plane to take us from airport to airport checking airplanes for sale.

Finally we settled upon an Ercoupe. Barely twenty seven years old, it was, nicely restored and in our price range. Ercoupes are two-place, low winged monoplanes, built in 1946, featuring easy to fly two-control rudder pedalless open cockpits and powerful seventy-five horse power engines.

Neither of us had ever flown one, so AFTER we bought it, we looked around for an instructor, who took us each around the pattern three times on qualification flights. So, game and confident, we flew home, he in our new Ercoupe, and I in the club plane.

   The coupe was fun.  You could slide the canopy down into the fuselage, and fly along open cockpit with your elbow on the window sill, like a sports car in the sky.


   John Travola's first airplane was an Ercoupe. I met him one day  at a rural airport when he was flying with his instructor. We had a hamburger and talked about Ercoupes.      Fred Weick invented the Ercoupe way back in 1937, for people who were willing to study, who would enjoy flying, but needed a reliable, cheap to fly, plane to learn in.  They didn't really get into production until 1946 when they turned out thousands.  Ercoupes were sold in department stores, given away at gas station drawings. Soon they became available as cheap used aircraft.  My partner and I bought our 27 year old airplane for $3400, and flew it for years.


I have been demoted from santa claus to fourth reindeer on the right in the christmas parade. Instead of santa hat, I will wear antlers.  However, there are no small parts, only small actors, so I will do my part magnificently, prancing and dancing with tiny feet upon whatever rooftop I am assigned. 

   I know how my Godfather, Richard Arlen, must have felt late in his career. once the most highly paid actor in Hollywood, having to take roles as the behind-the-lines General, backing up the likes of Gary Cooper and John Wayne on the battlefield.  If he had been asked to wear antlers, he would have worn them proudly. (He must have been proud... never played the "heavy", the villian, until he was Donovan and had his brain stolen. Then his being "bad" was not the character's fault, he had, in fact, someone else's brain.  How's that for acting, a good guy with a bad guys brain?)   

   Who, in fact was the fourth reindeer on the right? Blitzen.  Blitzen means "lightning".  I can do that. Proud reindeer holding his antlers high like lightning rods. Gathering his flying power from the sky.  I wonder if my scooter is up to the task?

Tag According to Hoyle

Official rules for "tag":
1. After supper ask your mother for permission to go out and play.
2. Go find the gang at the vacent lot next to Jimmy's.
3. Join the discussion "How you make a baby"
4. Suddently whallop someone and say, "Tag. You're IT."
5. "IT" is it until he tags someone else, but by now everyone has scattered.
6. When "it" tags someone else, that kid is "it" until he tags someone.
7. The game continues until someone gets tagged too hard and starts to cry.
8. In the unlikely event that no one cries, the game is called when the street lights come on and everyone has to go home.
Variation: Regular tag gets boring in about four minutes, so an alternative is "touch tag" wherein "it" has to hold his hand on the spot where he was tagged. It is great fun to see "it" running around with his hand on his butt where he was tagged, trying to tag someone with his one free hand
(Rules copyright by Hoyle, Inc.)
Official Rules for Blog-tag.
Blog-tag is more like "Truth or Dare" or "I Double Dare You" than kid's tag. In Blog-tag, darers go first. 
1. Think of some kind of list of personal questions that will reveal something about a person. If it is just a little risque, that is all right. That adds to the "fun". Asking the most public place you ever made love is all right.  Asking which hand you wipe with is NOT.
2. Since "Darers go first", list your questions and answer them in your Blog.
3. Now, publicly name a Blogger you know and "tag" him.
4. Send the victim an email saying, "Tag, you're IT".
(Rules of Blog-tag submitted to Hoyle, but ignored.)
Karen has tagged me and sent me two dares. Since she answered the questions in her journal, I am officially challenged. Her challenges
1. List ten things that make you happy.
2. List five "quirky" things about yourself.
You can read her answers in her journal.(Link)
The rules do not say I have to do them all at once. Sounds like enough material here for a whole series of entries. So watch this journal for answers in the future. The first will be the next entry, Called Things that make me happy -- Flying my Own Airplane

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Answering my own questions

Answering my own questions...see entry below

Your lattitude and longitude? 121 W 37.5 N

Where on Earth it is midnight, right now while you are reading this? Easy, it was ten pm here and midnight in, say, Alabama, CST

When the International Space Station was last directly over your head? About midnight in Eastern U.S. Went from Texas northeast over New York.  Right now in South Pacific

Your age in hexadecimals? 51.  I had to make a chart. I am 81

What kangaroos eat mostly? Grass and small plants

How John Scalzi spells the name of his cat "Fluffy"? Ghlaghghee Scalzi exactly.(offical)

Your congressman's name? I am still racking my brain.  I know him, met him, but can't recall his name.  But I know how to look it up.( is Dennis Cardoza.  I got an email from him, so THEN I remembered.)

How your city or state got its name? Merced... Mercy. California was name of literary Utopia, but I don't know in what literature.

Your diivers license number? I have it memorized but I shouldn't print it here. More recent licenses carry the driver's social security number instead.

Your maternal grandmother's maiden name? Robinson

I give myself a pat on the back.  The questions were the most obscure I could think of, and it was all in fun. Thanks for playing along.

Just Wondering


Your lattitude and longitude?

Where on Earth it is midnight, right now while you are reading this?

When the International Space Station was last directly over your head?

Your age in hexadecimals?

What kangaroos eat mostly?

How John Scalzi spells the name of his cat "Fluffy"?

Your congressman's name?

How your city or state got its name?

Your diivers license number?

Your maternal grandmother's maiden name?





Your Favorite Picture from 2005 -- Monday Photo Assignment

My favorite photo from 2005 was this one of scooter tracks in a mud puddle.  I like it because it reminds me that for several weeks, I enjoyed my morning scoot by practicing a new art form I made up.

I would steer my scooter through mudpuddles in the parking lot, and make different patterns with tracks. Then I would snap a picture, and name it for whatever the design most reminded me.

Herewith: Gettything.

Monday, December 5, 2005


Dear Dream Depository: A new phenomenon to report. Not a dream, because I lay awale this night. A note about the monologue that goes on in my head as I lie awake... The monologue was going on as usual but I wasn't listening. What? I wasn't listening to the voice that goes on inside my head. It was talking and I was thinking about something else.

Sounds like a joke, "What if you talked to yourself and nobody was listening."  Well, it really happened last night.

Later, I heard my talking watch say, "It's three o'clock am". When I had tossed and turned enough I got up and turned on the computer. I noticed that Mavarin, Karen, was online.  She must be up too, probably writing, and just how does she do that, She has to go to work in the morning.

I am glad I do not have to work for I would be a wreck without sleep.  As it is now, I have insomnia, so what? Take a longer nap tomorrow.

As a soldier I got used to sleeping anywhere. Cots were fine, but overseas we would throw a blanket on the ground and sleep.  I have slept on the ground, in a hole, in a pup tent, on a concrete floor of a captured German pill box, and most often on the floor of some building we had occupied. I have slept sitting up in a jeep, in an armored car. Once I went to sleep sitting up in a troop train and fell on the floor.  My buddies picked me up and put me back on my seat without my waking up.

That was then.  Now I can't get comfortable if the bed is too soft or too hard, or the pillow is too high or too low. I have been known to get out of bed and sleep on the floor. Don't do that anymore, too hard to get up off the floor. I try turning around and sleeping with my head where my feet should be.  Sometimes works.

I am glad the computer is always available.  If I can't sleep I can turn on the H-P, fire up AOL and read journals, and like now, write in mine.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Color Sound Movies -- Weekend Assignment 88

John Scalzi asks us to tell him about something we wished we had in the good old days, when we were kids, that we do have now, in the Good New Days.

I used my first pay check ever to buy a Keystone 8mm movie camera.  I was hired to clean the office of the Valley Escrow Company, a family business.  Each day, after breakfast and before school, I used to ride my bicycle to the office, use my key, enter and clean the office by dusting, emptying waste baskets, sweeping, and cleaning the restroom. Then I locked it up and went to Van Nuys High School. On Saturdays, I repeated that routine plus mopping and washing the store front window inside and out.

When I got my first pay, I used it to buy the hand held, wind-up movie camera.  With it I filmed the Van Nuys High School Newsreel. One issue featured the football game with San Fernando, the marching of the R.O.T.C, company, noon activities, the student body elections, and a feature showing how the school paper was published.

Each roll of film lasted two minutes, and then turned, lasted two more. Each issue of the Newsreel took five rolls of film and ten camera loads to complete. At first I shot in black and white, with one feature article in color. The movie was silent.  My friends and I expericmented with a separate recording with sound and music, but it was hard to synchonize the two.

What I wished for was a camera which would take more than two minutes of movie, in fifteen seconds per hand wound segments, with an unlimited supply of film, with sound, and color. Alas, my hand held Keystone was state of the art in home movies.

Fast-forward many, many years.  I was making home movies with my Sears VHS cam-corder, capturing color pictures with sound on cheap, reusable, two-hour cartridges.  I thought, "Wow, what a wonderful Newsreel I could have produced in 1939 with this baby." 

It was my boyhood dream, come true.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Dream Depository

My entrybelow, called Nightmare, stirred a little interest in dreams.  I wonder if, somewhere on the internet there is a Dream Depository.

Is there a place you can drop in on a morning and relate your dreams. I think it is fun to share mine. It would be fun to read each morning what people dreamed about last night. It could be arranged so that screen names did not appear, and only "Dreamname" would identify contributors.

I think  I would start one if I knew how.

--Chuck, looking forward to a Dream Depository

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I had a horrible night. Slept in short segments and had an awful dream.  At least I was walking. I was on a middle eastern tour doing what, I know not, but the United States did something to irritate the Arabs whose country it was, and they interned us all, along with Arab civilians in an Arabian prision.    They insisted on Arabian customs which we Americans did not know nor appreciate. It was miserable sleeping on straw on cement floors. (My bed is uncomfortable, no wonder I dreamed that.) They herded us around, threatening to shoot us at any time. My only escape was to wake up, and leave the others behind. Hope they woke up soon.

Later: Anna, from Pittsburgh, comments below that she would like an Arabian dream, with some great Middle Eastern food, but that I probably didn't have any of that.  I sent her an email saying ...

 Dear Anna,

   You are right, there was no food in my nightmare. Only crowded accomodations, hard floors, and strange customs.  Of course, the customs were not really Arabian customs, only my imaginary ones. In fact, the fact that we were all hered together, men, women, American and Arabian, sleeping in common quarters, seems pretty unlikely. There was lots of intimidation, but no violence, and I am sure that was influenced by news broadcasts I have seen.  The horrible sleeping arrangements were no doubt influenced by my discomfort last night. I wasn't able to snuggle down and enjoy my bed at all for some reason. My tablemate at breakfast, in our old folks home, commented, "My gosh, what did you eat before you went to bed?"

   I don't remember eating anything, but something bothered me.  Diet cola in the evening is NOT a good nightcap.    And I itch this morning.  Maybe it is all an allergy? Chuck

   Another postscript: Even more about dreams to Anna and Firestormkid (whose comment is below also)  Yes, I have had recurring dreams, remembering one dream in a later one  In fact, I have even "harnessed" that phenomenon and willed myself to dream pleasant experiences again.

   Dreams are fascinating, and I feel sorry for people who say that they either do not dream or forget them as soon as they wake.    When I have a pleasant dream I usually write it down as soon as I can, or tell someone, so I can remember it.  I will probalby remember the unpleasant dream I had last night because I wrote about it in my journal. That was not a good idea, for I may dream it again because of that.    And I believe that dreams can tell us about feelings and concerns that we are consciously trying to supress, but they are so weird that we have trouble figuring out what they mean.  As for standard dream interpreation symbots and plots, I have no faith in those.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bye bye CD

I have just read a newspaper column that says CDs are thing of the past.  They will soon be useless as eight track stereos or LP players.  Ipod, MP3 players, satellite radio, and internet radio will take their place.

A bit before my time, music was available on Edison cylinders. Caruso recorded on cylinders and his remarkable voice was preseved for the ages so that future generations, we, could hear him. But Berliner invented flat "records" that spun along at 80 RPM.  But the industry replaced those records with recordings at 78 rpm. 

   Gramophones were replaced my 78s, but at least they were compatible.  Playing an eighty at seventy-eight even made it a bit mellower.  Seventy eights, 10 and 12 inch, lasted a long time, but were replaced 45's.  What an improvement that was. Records went from ten to cute little 7 inch discs.  But they provided just a few minutes of recording per disc.  So...

   Along came LPs, turning at a leisurely 33 and a third rpm.  Nice long works of music, whole concerts, on one disc, now expanded to 12 inches again.  But that didn't last.  Inventors put stereo recordings on the same disk.  At least they were compatible. Your New stereo player could play your stockpile of LPs. LP incidentally stood for Long Play.

   But your tape recorder, with seven inch reels of tape could not play stereo discs.  And your eight track cassettes could not play your tapes. And your cassette recorders could not play your eight track cartridges. And then the cassette recorders could not play your compact disk, the CD.

   And now, soon, the CD will be a Dodo, like cylinders, 80s, 78s, 45s, LPs, Stereos, tapes, cartidges, cassettes.

   Should I get an Ipod, MP3, player or wait for the next inovation? Won't be long, whatever it is.

Flood of DVD Ads

What is with this flood of DVD ads?

Suddenly my email is filled with ads for collections of movies and old television shows on DVD.  Someone must have broken into the vaults of some movie studios, or the files of some defunct "air check" company.

Suddenly all those B-movies are considered worthy of DVD treatment.  B-movies were those low budget productions made to fill the play list in Double Feature movie houses. Shot on public land, or borrowed sets, the rent was cheap.  The talent was too, featuring one fading star on his way down and aspiring young talent just off the list of extras hopefully on their way up.  The shooting schedule was, let's say, parsimonious.  If nobody blew his lines, "That's a take. Next set up."

Television too.  The schedule had to be filled. Something had to be made to appear on the other channels, even when we were all tuned to Lucy. Pity the poor producer who had to film a series or sit-com to run opposite Father Knows Best.  Produce it on a shoe string, sell it to a soap company for sponsorship, run it in an unpopular time slot, store it in a film library, move on to the next project. 

And there they lie, waiting to be discovered by the DVD industry.

But why now, all of a sudden?  Have the copyrights expired, now after fifty years? Did the film libraries burst a seam and the goods spilled out?

Well, I will enjoy this bonanza while it lasts.  I just bought thirty-nine episodes of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the complete series for $12.99.  I remember I liked that series way back when. The actor who played Sherlock was no Basil Rathbone, but the character of Dr. Watson was sensible and an improvement over the movie versions.  (I'll bet the Basil Rathbone movies will be on DVD too.)

I'll be able to buy movies featuring my own Godfather, Richard Arlen, in his later low-budget years.  I will enjoy those. Fifty movies boxed in a set of 13 DVDs for $22,95.

My problem is time.  When will I find time to watch all these movies. After all, I have the contemporary television to watch, all hundred channels.  I already have DVDs lying about unwatched. I bought some at the 99 cent store.

All this entertainment. And I still like to read.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Assignment #87 - Musical Questions

Weekend Assignment #87: Answer one or more of the following musical conundrums:

1. Who let the dogs out?
Where Oh Where has my little dog gone?
You'll Never Know
Talk to the Animals
Around the world I searched for you
2. Why do fools fall in love?
Just One of those Things
That old Black Magic
This can't be Love
3. If birds can fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why, can't I?
You're Either too Young or Too Old
Imposible Dream
These Foolish Things
4. Do you hear what I hear?
An Echo in the Valley
There Goes that Song Again
5. How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Put the Blame on Mame
It's Just One of those things
6. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
If I Knowed you was comin' I'd baked a Cake
7. Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
I Know that You Know
That's My Desire
8. How long has this been going on?
Forever and a Day
Now is the Hour
June, in January
9. I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
April Showers
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
10. Does anybody really know what time it is?
Now is the hour
There's No Tomorrow
Time on my Hands
Turn Back the Hands of Time
I'm Bidin' My Time

(Yes, you can have silly answers. In fact, I encourage them!)
Thanks a Million

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A journal that self corrects... what I need.

I make lots of mistakes in my journal, like the number of teeth in a full adult set...and often in the lead sentence or question.  There are 32 teeth in a full adult set, not 28. The irony is that I was corrected by a reader who was born with eleven fingers. (How many fingers on a full set of two hands? Don't answer that, you may not be speaking to the right person.)

Anyway, journaling is fun, even if you are poor at research.  Because in this J-land there are people who DO know.  Everything.  And it is easy to comment.  And it is fun to get comments. And it is easy to go back to your entries and correct errors.

And, oh, my spelling.  I see a Spell Check option in upper right corner of the tool bar.  At last, hoo-ray.

I like Wikipaedia, an encyclopaedia that you can make additions to. Seems like a good way to keep up to the minute, have people add data to your encyclopaedia with information they have.  And if they make a mistake, no problem, someone will come along and correct that shortly.

Harry Morgan played Pete on Pete and Gladys AFTER he played Joe Gannon on Dragnet, and BEFORE he played Colonel Potter on Mash. (By the way, that is M.A.S.H., not Mash.)

William Boyd played Hopalong Cassidy whose horse was NOT Champion, but Topper. Champion was Gene Autry's horse and Alan Autry (Bubba in The heat of the night) is mayor of Fresno, CA, and if he had a horse, I do not know about it.  These things get straightened out sooner of later. Cosmo Topper was a character in Topper, and did not have a horse.

So when I decided to do an entry on artificial sweeteners, I thought I would call on J-land to gather my data.  Here's what I know about sweeteners:

Artificial sweeteners

Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)

Aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal)

Sucralose (Splenda)

D-Tagatose (Sugaree)

Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low) ,


Are there others? What about Sucrose, Dextrose, and Fructose? Are they sweeteners too, and are they artificial? Waiting to hear from you, my experts.


ALL of society depends on the food producers, the farmers, the fishermen, the hunters to provide more food than they can eat.

The whole system is like a huge upside down pyramid, balanced on the tip, the farmer and the fisherman.  Compare the number of people eating with the number producing the basic food and you see the enormous number of people each producer supports. 

There would be no religion, no drama, no music, no television, no cars, no government, no armies, no teachers, no ANYBODY without the farmer, fisherman. What if every day we had to go raise or harvest our own food for the day.  There would be no time for anything else.

Who is the most important person to society? The president, the head of state, the Pope, the spiritual leaders, Arnold Swartzenegger? They don't give us a bite to eat. Yet, they run things.

The real rulers of the world ought to be the guys in the hip boots and the bib overalls. They have us all where it hurts, the throat. If they shut off the food, we must beg them to help us.

Bill Gates the richest man in the country?  What does he do for me? He controls the companies that control the companies that make and run my computer. Thanks, Bill, but at supper time, I shut off the computer and go to the dining room, and, what do I do? Write a journal? NO.  I EAT. Real food. Fruit, grain, meat, fish. Not from Bill Gates, but from Mike Yurosek, who plants carrots enough for everyone who likes those yuccky things, and Chuck Gronish, almond grower.

Never heard of Mike Yurosek or Chuck Gronish? Of all he people I know, of all the people I have known in this lifetime, they are the only farmers I can think of that I have known.  That's upside down, isn't it?

Personal note: I just remembered. Mark, down the hall, is a retired farmer. I must go and thank him. He will wonder what for.  

Monday, November 21, 2005

Five, Six, and Seven

Not playing the game. Here are the questions from Robins Five, Saturday Six, Sunday Seven. And I am cheating. I am using the questions but I am not posting a link in their journals. It is just because I am "caching up". I like the games and I like the relationships that "linking" brings. Next time, I will.

Sunday Seven
Name the top seven stores where you are most likely to do the majority of your Christmas shopping this year. If you can't name seven, name as many up to seven as you can. You can also include online retailers, too
My answers:

Wal-Mart. -- I have been urged to boycott Wal-Mart because of their unfair labor practices. I am pro-labor, and yet, they have so much merchandise, and it is convenient.

Long;s Drug store. -- Talk about convenience, it is scooterable. I can cruise up and down aisles and they are packed with great gifts.

Target -- I am always in awe at Target. They have things that I didn't even know were invented yet.

Barnes and Noble -- Books are easy gifts, and shopping there is like a trip to the library. You spend more time browsing than buying, and you buy more stuff for yourself than you do for gifts.

OSH hardware -- For Christmas lights and tools.

Staples -- If I owned a store, I would want it to be a stationery store. They fascinate me and fill me with ideas of projects I could create. Staples is closer than Office Max.

Robin's Friday Five !
What is the one thing on your Thanksgiving table that you will NOT eat? Anything on the table is okay with me, though I prefer some things to others. I'd rather have pumpkin pie than the traditional pecan. At the old folks home, turkey is a stapleƂ¦ we have a lot of it on ordinary days, so when feast days come, turkey looks pretty tired and If ham or beef is available I will choose that instead.

Did you ever play in a pile of leaves as a kid? Yes, sure did. Would rather play in them than rake them

When you think of Fall what are the three things that come to mind? Back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving.

When was the last time you had pumpkin pie? Was it last year or have you already had some this year? Have it regularly, and this year we had pumpkin cheesecake, with chocolate crust. Wow

Tell us something really nice about the last person you read an email from.. Just had a nice email from Michael, the "madman with ADD, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder." He writes so clearly and succinctly, you cannot believe it is a struggle for him to concentrate. What is so great is that he has learned to cope with the distractions, forces himself to focus, is earning a PhD and is a professor. He takes time to write a journal, study himself and his disorder, and yet had time to write to me. I am impressed.

Saturday Six - Episode 84
What was the last movie you watched at a theater completely alone? Would you have enjoyed it more or less if you had gone with someone to see it? It was Wallace and Grommet in the Great Wererwolf Hunt. I would rather have had someone with me to enjoy the jokes and the clever satire.

What was the last non-sexual thing you did around the house completely naked? Took a nap sprawled on top of bed, then showered, and still bare, went to computer and played games, wrote in my journal and read others. Finally had to dress to go to supper.

How well do you know your neighbors? Would you like to know them better or not know them? Living in old folks home, I have lots of neighbors and know them all well. Sometimes we are too close.

Take the conspiracy quiz: How much of a conspiracy nut are you? Took the quiz and it said I trusted everybody and believed everything people tell me..

Of the "conspiracies" mentioned in that quiz, which single one would you most like the "truth" about and why? Since I don't believe there are any big conspiracies, I don't need to delve into any.

If you had to create a slogan that defined your life, what would it be? "The Creative Person is pretty sloppy: Ever see an artist's palette?" Trouble is, that slogan wouldn't help me organize my life, but would only encourage me to further disorder.

How Many


(Drag your cursor over the answers to see which is correct)


Teeth in a full adult set

24, 28, 32, 36 28


Red stripes on the American flag

5, 7, 13, 50 7


Stars on the American Flag

13, 48, 50, 52 50


Inches in a yard

12, 36, 100, 144 36


Pints in a gallon

2, 8, 16, 32 8


Feet in a mile

1,760, 5,290, 10,000, 1,000,000 5,280


Feet in a fathom

6, 16, 60, 66   6


Miles per hour is Mach 1

100, 570, 1,000, 186,000 570


Furlongs in a mile

2, 6, 8, 12 8


Yards in a furlong

6, 100, 220, 1500 220


Miles around the equator is Earth

1,000, 25,000, 100,000, 1,000,000 25,000


Years in a s score

10, 20, 200, 1000 20


Years in a century

10, 20, 100, 1000 100


Years in a millennium

10, 20, 100, 1000 1000


Years is "four score and seven"

40, 80, 87, 167 87


Sheets of paper in a ream

10, 24, 200, 500 500


Stencils in a quire

10, 24, 200, 500 24


Buns in a Baker's Dozen

12, 13, 15, 50 13


Three cent stamps in a dozen

3, 4, 12, 36 12


Pennies in a roll

25, 40, 50, 100 50


Miles does light travel in a second

560, 186,000, 1,000,000, More than a million 186,000


Miles away is the moon

Less than a million. one million. more than one million. one light year LESS THAN


Miles away is the sun

Less than a million. one million. more than one million. one light year MORE THAN


Keys on a piano

64, 88, 126, none of the above 88


Notes in an octave

3, 8, 12, 88 8


Rows of kernels on an ear of corn most nearly

7 13 25 57 13


Seconds in five minutes

60 300 1244 7640 300


Years old was Methusela

Four score and seven, three score and ten, 100, 969 969


Toes has a horse

None 1 4 40  4  ONE ON EACH FOOT


Sunday, November 20, 2005

One of a Kind

Going through the holiday food ads, and using our Handy-Dandy Pocket Calculators, we can find the price of ONE of the items that come packaged in boxes or packs. Since we so rarely buy  just one, we may forget what one most nearly costs. Here are a few from the specials found in my junk mail.  Slide your cursor over the answer to reveal it.

One Kellogs  strawberry pop tart from a package 
One Pound of Maxwell House coffee in 3 pound can  $

One Holiday paper plate
10 cents
One Thomas English muffin 
One candy cane
One 8 ounce serving of Pepsi in 2 liter bottle
One Hershey chocolate kiss 
One Duracell AA battery (at Albertsons)
One Rayovac AA battery (at Big Lots) 
One shot (2 oz) of Seagram Seven 
One glass (6 oz) of Coke
One Hi-ball, coke and Seagram Seven, is,
Order on from a bar and you pay
Cents, I don't remember.
One color print from your film, when you buy fifty,
One exposure on Fuji Quicksnap camera
Making each picture
To celebrate, one glass champagne, (6 oz),
(That must be the "good stuff")

Monday, November 14, 2005

My Most Wonderful Monday

Monday BLAHS? No, way. This is the start of a new week and that should be the promise of good things to come.

What's the very BEST thing that could happen to you today?

If you'd care to comment below, I will copy it and post it in this entry. There'll be no Monday BLAHS here. Life could be more fun this week. It might take less than you think to make you happier.

CHUCK: That's me, and I didn't know what my answer would be when I chose the topic for this entry. I will join the fun and think happy thoughts right along with you.

Win the lottery? That would be nice, but I have enough money for my room and board. World peace break out. Well, sure, but that's a dream for everybody. What would please me the most? Maybe the next resident to move into the old folks home will be a gorgeous widow my age.

I guess if I decided to stand up and walk, and found that it didn't hurt will be my choice. I love my scooter, and even went to Starbucks on it yesterday. But when I moved into the old folks home, I was walking, and that was nice and I felt independent. That would be one wonderful thing that could happen.

DEB:  Its snowing here on a monday  :)

BECKY:  A major pharmaceutical company announces FDA approval of their new weight loss pill. It helps the body burn fat faster.  Yeah. That would be GREAT.

MARY: My husband who is currently working out of town to surprise me.. a thoughtful gift.. flowers.. meaningful words, a card or even a quick visit home, something.. ANYTHING.  That would make this the best week.

KAREN:  Well, a semi-wonderful thing did happen.  I came home at lunch, and the roofers were here.  Turns out they weren't going to leave our roof unfinished after all! (We thought they forgot us.)

JACKIE: 'Doorbell ringing'   I answer and there is a crowd of people and someone handing me one of those HUGE checks (along with a real one) from Publishers Clearing House with a considerable amount of money writtien on it!  Look out world, here I come!!  

BAMBI:  To wake up and not have to take meds for my arrhythmia problem ever again would be on my list

JOYCE:  What is the best thing that can happen for a UCLA Bruin football fan?  A Fresno State Bulldog win against USC on Saturday, November 19th!  We've done it before!

What about you?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"Saturday Six"

It is Sunday, so here is the Saturday Six.

1. You are invited to spend a night, alone, in a large house that is believed to be haunted.  A close friend of yours whom you trust tells you of his or her own experience, and you have sufficient reason to believe that there may be a genuine haunting going on there.  Without promise of any kind of reward for staying the night, would you agree to do so?

No way, man. I am not superstitious, but I am "chicken". I do not wish to confront "gettythings" of any origin.

2. What do you most enjoy about your job?

I am long retired, but what I liked best about my job was experimenting and finding the best way to teach something in a new way to pupils who lost the abiltiy to learn the usual way.

3. Who was the last person you had a conversation with?  What was the main topic of the conversation?

Wilma, my tablemate at the old folks home. After we settled the matter of what day it was, Sunday, we talked about travel, and Wilma, in her wheelchair wanted to go to Italy, home of her ancestors.

I told her bluntly that she was "too old" and she'd better settle for San Francisco.  She said "okay" and wanted to know when we were going.

4. Take this
quiz:   What kind of "smart" are you?

Without taking the quiz I'd say I am "imaginative smart". I like looking to see if there are solutions "outside the box". Anything NEW catches my attention. For instance, I am considering buying a "roll up piano" just because I have never seen one, not because I can play one. ("Carry 16 instruments in your backpack and play them anywhere anytime." $49.99 at

(sorry, the link apparently doesn't work... perhaps you can type it in.)

5. What was the last food that you totally ruined -- to the point that it was inedible -- when trying to cook?

As part of the committee to Save San Fernando Airport, we each took a couple of shoulder clod roasts home to par-boil before the benefit barbecue. It took hours, and when it was nicely done, I put it in a plastic picnic container to take to the barbecue. Somehow, I don't know why yet, the plastic container spoiled the meat and both had to be thrown away. I wasn't the only goof-ball, and when people who bought tickets to the "barbecue and cole slaw feast", were served boiled beef and sliced cabbage, they were upset.

6. STRANGELY-OBSCURE QUESTION #1:  If you had to do over again, would you change anything?

A lot of things: knowing what I know now, I would still be happily married, nearing my sixtieth wedding anniversary. My fault, my dear, but that is water under the bridge.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pie? Oh, my.

    I, who often says, "No dessert, thank you," had TWO pieces of pie for dessert last night. One was cherry and the other was apple. And the part I liked best was the little crimped end of the crust. Clella, my tablemate, left the little crimped end on the plate, like so many folks do.

    "Oh, Clella," I said, "You're leaving the best part on the plate. That crust is especially delicious tonight."  Clella smiled and said something but did not eat the crust.  Clella is old and frail, and I usually do not understand what she says, but she smiled and was agreeable, so she was not offended by my advice on what to eat. So I smiled in return and nodded in agreement.

    I did not offer to finish the crust on her plate. It was tasty, but two were enough.

    I do not know why I am a "skip the dessert cart" person ordinarily, nor why I was not last evening. I am old, and I have the right to change my mind.

    In the mornings we have a "choice of juice" on the breakfast menu, but, in fact, the choice is made for us by the waiter who fills our glass before we come in with what we had the last time he served us.

    My this is drivel.  I have become what I hate, gushy.

   Erase this entry.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

My Spokesman, Captain Kirk

Last night, on Boston Legal, William Shatner, playing Denny Crain, an egocentric excentric who got himself into trouble, and then out of it, all in the same episode, said something that expressed my own situation. Earlier yesterday I had substituted as chairman of the resident's committee at the old folks home.

I ran the meeting, not with an iron hand, but with a closed mouth. I let the spouters and the ranters entangle themselves in parlimentry fol-de-rol and sat silently. When they had spewed themselves dry it was quiet.  They looked at me and said, "Well, what are you waitin for?"

I said, "Waiting for a motion."  Nobody said anything, so I said, "Meeting adjourned."  I rolled out.  There was a stunned silence, then they exploded. Now everyone talked, and all at once.

"Nothing happened", "We didn't DO anything", "The reason I voted ....".  I said, "Don't tell me, the meeting is over."

I am in the doghouse with the residents, and I think it is hilarious.  I hid out in my room for the rest of the day. I got more interest in our committee in fifteen minutes than they have shown in five months. And all by being quiet when they expected bluster and words.

William Shatner, speaking as Denny Crain, said, "It's fun being me."

Monday, November 7, 2005

Lucky Ten Thousandth Visitor

Someone reading this entry is going to be my ten thousandth visitor.

Just take a look at the that counter over there in the left hand column. It may be YOU. Alas there is no prize, but you will earn my undying gratitude. I would never have believed it possible. Ten thousand readers, imagine.

Well, there are a few mitigating facts.  It counts everytime I check in to read your comments, and it counts each time I make corrections on my entry, and I do a lot of that..

If you are number ten thousand, I hope you will leave your name in the comments.  I'd like to say thanks in an email.

I have made a lot of friends online and I love you all. All I can say is


PS. Number 10000 read the journal at 11 pm EST, and did not leave a comment.  Thank you, everyone...chuck

Before and After - Monday Photo Shoot

For our Monday Photo John Scalzi asks for before and after photos.

Here's a pair with sixty three years intervening. 


Me with mother, my age 16          Me alone age 79

Here's another pair, Before and after installation of flat monitor. Repeat from a couple of months ago.

                  Before                                                    After

                          Makes blogging easier.

Stolen Limerick

They asked us to post a note saying what we are thankful for. So I stole a limerick by Gillette Burgess. Surely the copyright has expired by now, it is over a hundred years old. I tweaked it bit too.

I'm thankful for fingers and toes.

I'm thankful for ears and a nose.

As for my hair

I'm glad it's all there

I'll be awfully sad when it goes.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Weekend assignment

John Scalzi has posted a picture in his journal, By The Way, and asked us to explain it in our journals.

It is easy, John, you keep going to those Science Fiction seminars, and sooner or later, someone will follow you home.

Frustration - so what else is new?

I spent an hour on an entry to the journal. Then I minimized it while I looked up an address to link. But I could never find it again. Some people never learn to "save" while they are working.  Why is that?

I decided NOT to recreate it. It was about the word oeuvre. Wauldn't that have been nice?

Thursday, November 3, 2005

See the USA and other Acronyms

Oh, how we love our acronyms here in the USA. >United States of America<. We’d love to see the USA >see above< in our Chevrolet and let our GPS >Global Positioning System< estimate our ETA .>estimated time of arrival< for us. The AAA >American Automobile Association< will supply the maps.

I learned my first acronyms with FDR >Franklin Delano Roosevelt< and his “new deal” when he created the NRA >National Recovery Act< and gave it the slogan “we serve” long before WWII >World War Two<.

I’ll bet you know a lot yourselves. Drag your cursor over the acronym to see what it represents.


GM cars and trucks GENERAL MOTORS

GM food stuffs GENERAL MILLS

GM on teletype or in email GOOD MORNING

CHP will give you a ticket for speeding in my state, but yours would be different CALIFONIA HIGHWAY PATROL


USS precedes the names of vessels UNITED STATES STEAMSHIP

USS makes the stuff they are made of UNITED STATES STEEL

USCG tells them where to go UNITED STATES COAST GUARD

SOS sometimes means SAVE OUR SHIP


UN monitors the results UNITED NATIONS

FDA checks purity of edibles FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION



MSRP is what you could pay for your new car MANUFACTORERS SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE.



Wednesday, November 2, 2005

One single flower

I looked out my window in the morning and I could see, one, count 'em, one, lone flower. Brave blossom, thanks for being there.

That was worth a pre-breakfast scoot to view from the other direction, looking toward the window. No easy task for the scooter over the wet grass.

         Looking out                               Looking In

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Three Thoughts for November First

First thought: Was thinking about journal.  I have about twenty-five readers a day. If I compare my journal with a newpaper 'column', that is not much.  If I compare my journal with a multiple-copy newsletter, that is so-so. If I compare my journal with a letter to pen-pals, that is a lot. If I consider the journal as a personal note pad on which I store my thoughts, that is enormous. Just what is my journal?    

Second thought: I have always been puzzled about party games for children. What kind of game could you play where there is no loser or no "you're out". What kind of a game could I devise where everyone wins? Can you, in fact, have "winners" without "losers". What game relies on cooperation instead of competion? What would vollyball be like if the goal were not to spike the ball onto he other's playing field, but instead to see how long the ball could be kept in the air? I will continue to ponder.

   Third thought: Today is all saints day. Can we add to the pantheon of saints, Saint Wizard, who kept a ball in play in pinball so long it was considered a miracle. He went off the top of the pinball scale with sixty gazillion points, while getting only 100 points per bounce on the bumpers. Or what about St. Wapnicl, the mnemonic genius who remembered all the Presidents in order, with their birtdays, wives names, vice-presidents, and their dogs and cats. If that wasn't a miracle, is was next thing to it. And remember the triplet saints Leandro, Jose, and Francisco who, wth their big golden bear, Babe, dug a miles-long hole in the earth near the Pacific Ocean and filled it with sea water using only a huge sponge named Al Catraz.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Chewing Gum Day

I remember that November 1 was notable because, as a school teacher, I had to confiscate chewing gum all day long.


They say I have lost my Halloween spirit just because I didn't streak the old folks home this year.

Nonsense.  Behold.


A friend suggests the following:

And then, there is tomorrow..... I think Novemeber 1 should be a legal holiday.  Let the kids stay home and the parents deal with their sugar-induced high strung whining....

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shall We Dance - Movie Review

Shall We Dance, 2004, with Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and Jennifer Lopez, astounded me.  I thought I would hate it.  A businessman has a mid-life crisis -- so who cares.  And he solves it by learning to ballroom dance -- oh, come on.
But it is fascinating, yes, even the dancing. It reminded me that I was a good dancer, once, in high school, before W.W.II. I even had the ambition to at some time in my life, go to a dance in full formal, not just tux, full formal tails, pure white, like Fred Astaire. (That's laughable now, but back then, well...)
Susan has a line that brought me up short, woke me up.  She says, "We each need a witness to our lives."  We need someone to watch our successes and crises.  Wow, I thought, that's why we pair off in daily lives and online.  We need someone to be a witness to the things we are proud of, and even the pains we bear. How come I hadn't thought of that before?
Oh, and Jennifer Lopez wears a dress in the last scene that rivals the one that brought her to our attention at the Oscars or Emmys a few years back, the one that made Time and AOL pages.  And little J-Lo can act with the likes of Gere and Sarandon.
A happy surprise on a Saturday afternoon. 

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Let’s make up a game together.

Think of common expressions and products with proper names in them. . List them in comments. I’ll compile them into a super-game of  “fill in the proper name”

Here are some starters: (Drag your cursor over the blanks to see the answers.)

Jack Frost

John Doe

Jane Doe (girl)

John Q. Public

Uncle Sam

G.I. Joe

Sheriff John

Charlie’s Dead (“Your fly is open”)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Colonel Sanders Chicken

Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix

Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup

Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish

Johnny Reb

Dr. Scholl’s Cornplaster

Hitch old Dobbin to the Sleigh

Elleme2 adds:

A cup of Joe (coffee)

Porta-John public potty

Sara Lee cheesecake That nobody doesn't like  

Mrs. Smith's pies;  

Jim Beam whiskey brewed in a dry county so cant drink it where it is made;

   Johnny Come Lately;

   Harvey Wallbanger (mixed drink--alcoholic);  

Shirley Temple (do theystill serve those non-alcoholic drinks anywhere?-

Oscar,  Best movie award

   Emmy, Best Television award

   Edgar Best mystery writer named for author of Tell Tale Heart

Dr.  Dentons (footed pajamas);  

Roger Wilco Message received (as a WWII vet, you know that one)  

There are zillions!  Comment from elleme2 - 10/27/05 1:37 PM

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Breakfast at the Old Folks Home

When you are stuck for an entry, tell about breakfast.

I skipped the so-called pancakes. Jason, the good pancake maker, seems to be off duty today. I skipped Farina. Who eats Farina? They don't serve plain old grits anywhere west of the Mississippi or north of Dixie.

I skipped the so-called omelet they bake in a pan like a quiche and call an omelet, and they never put out enough muffins to serve everyone.  The bacon and sausage are good-- but not good for me. 

Bless me, I had orange juice, extra large, and toast - plain old toast with jam and cocoa.  The cocoa is wonderful.  Comes from a machine that whips it and serves it hot, and no one can screw it up.  The orange juice and coffee come from a machine too; this is the machine age. Juice good, coffee so-so.

I had to hunt through twenty little packages of jam to find the lone blackberry serving. One packet of blackberry and one packet of strawberry and I got 'em both. There are lots of grape and mixed fruit packets for the next guy. How come everyone skips the grape and mixed fruit?

With a little diligence one can get a good breakfast, even in an old folks home.

Then this afternoon, had a l-o-n-g nap from one to three-thirty.  Still groggy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wright Brothers

What do you know about the Wright Brothers, inventors of the airplane. Here are some multiple choice questions about them and their airplane. Dragging your cursor over the questions will show you the correct answer…. As if you needed the help.

Orville was older ________________________

Wilbur was older_________________________correct

They were twins__________________________

The “brothers” were actually cousins _________


Orville made the first flight________________CORRECT

Wilbur made the first flight________________

A chimpanzee made the first flight__________

Glenn Curtis made the first flight___________


Orville died in an airplane crash____________

Wilbur died in an airplane crash____________

Orville lived to see jet planes fly____________CORRECT

Wilbur lived to see jet planes fly____________


The first flight was in North Carolina________CORRECT

The first flight was in South Dakota_________

The first flight was in West Virginia_________

The first flight was in Akron, Ohio__________


The Wright Flyer never flew again__________

The Wright Flyer is in the Smithsonian______CORRECT

The Wright Flyer was named the Spirit of Saint Louis


The Wright Flyer crashed and burned in 1912                                            _________


The first flight was over a mile_____________

The first flight was just under a mile_________

The first flight was half a mile______________

The first flight was 120 feet________________CORRECT


Orville was 32 when he made the first flight___CORRECT

Wilbur was 67 when he made the first flight___

The brothers were 22 on date of first fight_____

Wilbur lived to age 81____________________


Here are the facts>>>Wright brothers—Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948)—invented and built the first successful airplane. On Dec. 17, 1903, they made the world's first flight in a power-driven, heavier-than-air machine near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. With Orville at the controls, the plane flew 120 feet (37 meters) and was in the air 12 seconds. The brothers made three more flights that day. The longest, by Wilbur, was 852 feet (260 meters) in 59 seconds.