Monday, February 28, 2005

Photo Scavenger Hunt -- Hometown

Maybe this is cheating on the scavenger hunt: a photograph of a painting on my wall.

   The painting was made for a hometown exhibit at the civic center in Merced, California, by my daughter, Kate Jackson.  It represents a couple of antique postcards from the early days of our city.  The Hotel Tioga pictured in the card is an early landmark.

   The center of town has moved away from the Hotel toward shopping malls and busier streets, but the old building still stands on its Palm lined side street location, reminding us that cities grow old and mellow like fine wine.

  Postcards from the Gateway

               Watercolor by Kate Jackson

Recuperate with me -- VII

Start of fifth day of recuperation at home

It has been suggested to me that this parading my symptoms in my journal is not wise, and merely focuses my own attention unnecessarily upon them. It is airing my dirty linen in public. Therefore, it is probably a good time to examine my motives.

We all seem to want to talk about our experiences, and illness is included. One resident of the old folks home used to come to meals and talk about the “tumor the size of a basketball that was removed from my bowels.” I think she probably meant golf ball or maybe even a baseball, but the image was gross enough to spoil the appetites of anyone who heard her. I don’t want to be like that lady.

But speaking about my symptoms, subtle and gross, is catharsis for me. The more open and stark I am about them, the better able I am to deal with them. When friends ask me how I am, I reply “fine” or “getting better” even when I am discouraged. But when I express my real feelings in my journal, and share the reasons why, I get responses of encouragement, “hang in there”, calm reason, “it is only your fourth day out of the hospital”, and camaraderie, “that happened to me, too”, “I have the same problem.”


Yesterday I called the Physician’s Assistant who works week-ends at the clinic where I go, and asked if Imodium was a proper remedy for my diarrhea considering the medications I am taking. He encouraged it, so I began using it immediately. It has helped.

I stayed in my wheel chair all day instead of going to bed. In fact I took a nap in the chair. I didn’t get into the bed because of my difficulty getting out of it. I will order a trapeze today so I can sit up in bed and then dismount.

I ate moderately small meals and requested applesauce which I have been told is good when you have diarrhea. I played cards after dinner. After cards I read journals. I particularly liked Where Life Takes You, Life without Laundry, and High Above the Courtside. My daughter IM’d me photos of two of her new paintings and they were spectacular. They were possible companion pieces to her present Waving.

I did not watch the academy awards. I took a shot of inhaler, a Tylenol PM, and went to bed at eleven. I had a delicious sleep ON MY SIDE, hallelujah, and woke at five. I had trouble sitting up but the trapeze should help. The care giver came by on his rounds to check on me, and he was able to help me into my wheel chair. He taught me to face him, put my hands on his elbows, and rise with his assistance. It is much smoother than any other way I have tried.

I went to the bathroom, and later ate a snack of peanut butter and crackers. I stayed in my chair, and here I am at six-thirty.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Recuperate with Me -- VI

Continued from entries below

Start of fourth day of recuperation at home.

Am I recuperating? I don’t feel better. Now knee and foot hurts and foot too swollen to put on shoe. Am I urinating enough? Don’t think so. Still have diarrhea. Need solid food. I am not hungry, and have to talk myself into eating. I am weak as a kitten. All I want to do is sit in front of computer and write in journal all day and read comments.

Quiet day yesterday, journaling and watching DVDs. Ate solid food, squash, rice, toast, but where has it gone. Supper was mostly liquid, minestrone of which I ate the broth and ordered more broth. I ate about half of the spinach quiche.

Played cards for an hour, grew tired. Home again, journalled, watched TV, IM’d Kate and Sara.

Wend to bed at eleven, had blissful restful sleep until three. Then diarrhea. Needed caregiver to help. Back to bed until four when coughing spell woke me. Then fitful sleep, half in and half out of bed. Body in bed and foot resting on wheel chair. Woke at six with more diarrhea. Called for caregiver, but no one came as soon as needed so I struggled and made it to bathroom by myself in time. Stayed up.

Breakfast. I ate as much solid food as I could, bacon, shredded wheat, cinnamon roll.

Now I sit at computer, stomach growling, tired and a bit discouraged. I thought it was Monday when I woke. I was planning the things I have to do on Monday. When I got to dining room and found it was actually Sunday, my heart sank. Recuperation is going more slowly than I had hoped.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Monday Morning Question as answered on Saturday

   I am answering the Monday Morning Question on Saturday morning because I've been sick this week.  Or because the dog ate my homework, take your choice of excuses.  The question is what is your all-time favorite movie.

Big with Tom Hanks.  A thirteen year old boy is transformed by magic into an adult's body and suddenly has to cope with living in an adult world.  Silly concept, yet, just suppose....    Fantasy is the "willing suspension of disbelief".  You imagine what would happen under impossible circumstances. 

   Hanks' character, Josh Baskin,  uses his teen-agers' skill on the computer to get a job with a toy manufacturer.  Because he is actually a kid, he knows his toys, and gets promoted to executive vice-president.  He falls in love and bumbles along adolescently romancing an attractive business woman, who is charmed by his innocence. 

   But as the time comes for the magic to wear off, he has to decide whether to stay an adult, or to go back and live his adolescent life. He examines his choices and studies himself.  He makes a descision that is both happy and sad.

   But, you say, that's not a real problem.  Josh's trouble was based on a problem caused by magic.  Well, then I choose a different favorite:  Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman.  Dustin's Michael Dorsey can't get work.  Is that a real enough problem?  In his desperation he puts on women's clothes and becomes a women to get a female role in a soap opera.

   Whadda you know, he becomes a success, partly because his chauvanism makes him bristle when his female character is "put down" or belittled, or demeaned.  He stands up for women.  He learns about his own character.  In the end he says, "I learned more about being a man as a woman, than I ever did as a man.  You know what I mean?" And his girlfriend says, "No."

   Wait, I'm not done.  Another favorite was True Grit with John Wayne.  Rooster Cogburn is tough as nails as Marshall searching for a killer.  He is softened by his compulsory companion, Maddy, who is a tough as nails young lady.  The interaction between the old codger and the determined young lady changes the nature of the old boy.  But there is plenty of "Yee-Haw" action with shootin' irons, too.

Instructions for the Old Folks

   The old folks home in which I live has a sign in the library:


Recuperate with Me -- V

Dawn of third day of recuperation at home.

   Bed Rest:  Got night's sleep.  Then gasping for air at five.  Followed by diarrhea at six. 

   Those of you who have volunteered to recuperate with me, I advise you to skip the gasping and diarrhea.  They left me feeling like a rag doll that has gone through the wash by mistake.  I am left with nothing but my ability to make similies.  

   Even the weather in Merced sympathises with me: it is overcast and foggy, dreary.

   Off to start the day... better things are ahead.




Friday, February 25, 2005

The Watchers

   While I was out on my scooter deciding which almond tree to photograph for the entry below, I passed the rear of a Trans-Am. (Isn't that a Pontiac?)  I felt I was being watched. 

   I stopped and backed up.  Wow, I was being watched by a platoon of silent watchers.

Springtime -- friend or foe?

   I have been preparing a big, long metaphore comparing seasonal changes with Mother Nature conducting a symphony, calling in each plant variety for crescendo at a precise moment.  But it seem simpler to simply state that I am amazed how all the almond trees blossom at one time. While I was in the hospital for four days, all the almond trees decided to bloom AT THE SAME TIME.

   Merced is the heart of the almond growing area for the nation.  If you ate a Hershey Bar with Almonds today, you tasted a portion of Merced area, for we grew that almond. And this week millions of trees decided to bloom.  They created great fields covered with white covered trees.  Talk about your Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.  We lack only the festival, we have the flowers, in abundance, everywhere, orchards, streets, and back yards.

    Almond tree in the back yard of the old folks home

It is gorgeous, but, oh, did I forget to mention that almond blossoms are loaded with allergins?  Almond pollen fills the air with invisible misery for every soul with an allergy.  Red eyes swollen shut and runny noses are pandemic.  Kids try to do school work they cannot see.  Store keepers try to sell merchandise while wiping their runny noses.  Businessmen cough and wheeze.  And everyone is miserable for a month. There is no escape, if you have to stay in the county.  Mountains beckon, the seashore calls, but if you can't answer, you suffer for about thirty days.

   Then, look out, the Peach Trees blossom.


Recuperate with me -- IV (continued from elow)


Second day at home recuperating from pneumonia-- after lunch

  Had the biggest meal I've had in weeks.  Couple bites of cole slaw, one whole piece of fried fish, potato wedge, stewed tomatoes, lemonade, diabetic ice cream. A veritable feast compared to my fare since I've been sick.  I had learned to live without eating, and now I have to start over. 

   A caregiver applied cortizone ointment to that part of my anatomy that was getting bedsores and needless to say a portion of me that I cannot reach for myself.

   Another caregiver attached a four inch lift to my toilet.  This morning I had to pull the emergency cord to get help to get off the toilet. Now I should be able to manage by myself.  I can't wait until I have to go again.

   I took my scooter outside (in the real air) to take some photographs for my journal.  I toured the inside of our facility checking out the new furniture that arrived while I was in the hospital.  This activity made me cough so I took a hit from my inhaler.

   Then I wrote this entry.  whew.  What a busy afternoon.

   I think I need some of that prescribed bed rest.


Recuperate with me -- III (Continuing from entries below)

   So, after I caught up on By the Way and Mavarin, I went back to my new hospital bed.  I slept with the head end high.  I slept a couple of hours but woke up gasping and clutching for air.  I struggled to get my foot on the floor and sit up, and managed.  I used my inhaler. When I caught my breath I used my grabber (I had remembered to put it in reach) to reach for the peanut butter jar, urinal, but knocked on the floor out of reach instead.  So I just sat.

   I must have slept sitting up because I woke when the caregiver checked on me on his rounds.  He retreived the jar, and brought me some water. I lay the bed flat and hoisted myself as best I could to the head.  Then I raised the head a little, and lay on my left side.  Oh, my, that is the first time in weeks that I have lay on my side.  I will know when I am cured when I can lie on my right side on a flat bed and go to sleep without coughing.  On my left side, feeling delicious, I drew my knees and .... voided gas.  I have never written about farts before this moment.  But that void relieved the bloating that has been annoying me for a week.  I am getting better, bit by bit.

   I slept on my side until coughing woke me in the morning.  I was relieved to see the sun coming up, since I meant I had made it through the night.  I sat up and thought about transferring from bed to wheel chair.   Fifteen minutes later I realized I was still planning the 18 inch move.  I chuckled when I thought "moving to the wheel chair takes more planning than a two week vacation."  Put the tissue here, put the hand rail up for gripping, set the brakes, move the jar out of the way etc.  Within half an hour I was on my way to the toilet. 

  When I had used the toilet I tried to transfer back to the wheel chair but was too weak.  I pulled the emergency cord, and the morning caregiver came.  Together we hoisted my heinie back into the wheel chair.  I rolled to the computer.  I had left it on all night so I could make entries as I thought of them.  The caregiver brought me toast and coffee.  Another resident rolled in with her coffee and we chatted and shared physical complaints. 

   She left, and I started my second day of recuperation at home with this entry. 

   Recuperate with me.  (Whew, I'll proofread this later, maybe)

Recuperate with me --- II


Midnight: first day home from hospital

After months of sleeping fitfully, a week of interupted sleep, suddenly, on my first night home sleep five hours straight without moving.  I find it a bit scarey.

I transfer to wheel chair, and head for bathroom.  Later, I wake up, in my chair, about five feet from the bathroom door.  I have no idea how long I slept there.  I almost fall asleep on the toilet.  Transfer back.   I phone the caregiver here at the old folks home and ask him to look in on his hourly rounds. I might be asleep anywhere.

I then decided to make this entry.  The caregiver did check on me and we chatted.

Next: back to bed on the new hospital bed installed in my bedroom. I am still nervous, but only one short coughing spell since I have been up.  Been awake one hour... perhaps time to try to sleep more.

(Well, just one quick look at the journals I have missed this week.)


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Recuperate with me--I

In this past week I have had about fifteen doctors.  They did not agree with one another, and that wasted valuable time and caused me great discomfort, confusion, and distrust.  But now I am better. Maybe there is safety in numbers.

(Thanks to Pauline)

I'm baaa aaa ck

This my first entry since last Saturday, 'cuz I been sick. 

With Pneumonia.  Five days in hospital. The first 21 HOURS were spent on a gurney in the Emergency Room.  There were tests and retests...evaluation after evaluatiion...conflicting diagnosis...unavoidable delays... and lots of goofing and inconsideration for old sick people.  The last six hours no one even looked in on me. 

Miss me?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Take this job and .....

Penguine4050 asks, "Do people even really want to work?" 

She's a store manager and her salespeople seem less than enthusiastic about their jobs.

I said, "Of course they don't want to work.  That's because it is work."

Some of us do really love our jobs.  So what makes it a good job? 

The jobs that I have had that are really fun are ones where people are working together on some obtainable, observable goal.  These are usually volunteer jobs where I have something to offer, or some way to help other people achieve a goal.  For me it involves writing, drawing, or driving.  That's what I do. 

What could Penguine do get her folks working together.  What in her community needs doing.  Sponsor a little league team, have a monthly pizza feed on skid row, set up a youth blogging station in the store?

What has made your work fun in the past?  Could she use it?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Meet Cousin George

In the comments in an entry below a fellow journaller joked, "Have you settled your case with the Ferris Wheel people?"  He was light heartedly noting that I bear a famous name: Ferris.  I used to cringe at Ferris Wheel jokes, but then realized, "Hey, I am a member of a famous family.  Relish it and enjoy it." So I answer the joke by saying, "Hey I don't sue family members, and George Washington Gale Ferris is a cousin of mine."

His placeement on the Ferris geneological chart is 5,1,1,5,4,9,9 and mine is  That makes us SIXTH Cousins THRICE removed.

George invented the Ferris Wheel for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. All modern Ferris wheels from kiddie rides at the carnival on your street corner to the Giant wheel looming over London today trace their geneology to his creation, and like George and I, are cousins.

George and I are both descendants of Jeffery Ferris who came to America from England. 

You number your cousins, first, second, sixth, by counting the generations back to your common ancestor and subtracting two.  In other words, if your cousin and you have a common grandparent, you're third generation or First cousins.  George is 8 generations removed from Jefferey.  I am 11 generations removed, so we are three generation different, thus we are sixth cousins thrice (3 times) removed.  Simple?

And this final note is ironic:  I hate Ferris wheels and will not ride on them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Just been on a photo assignment.  It has been a l-o-n-g time since anyone needed me. I felt important.  It was for a friend so it was not a paid assignment, but I treated it like one.  I was a professional photographer for couple of months, right after WWII.  I had three assignments.  One for an attorney got me a compliment, but the other two were washouts.  I didn't get fired, exactly, but there were no call backs.  One was to make record shots of two champion pekenese.  I thought they were pretty good, but those little buggers did not sit still for their portraits. For the other job I was to go to the greyhound bus depot and pick up film shot by a touring press agent, process it and make 8 x 10 publicity stills, return them by bus to the agent.  It was a hassle, all that meeting busses on schedule and rushing the prints.  I was glad when she decided my equipment wasn't up to the standard needed to make the qualtiy she required. After two months experience in photography I went to U.C.L.A. and took up teaching.  Teaching was good, but I miss my photos.

Todays assignment was to make a photo record of the graffitti that covers the wall and fence of my friends house.  I don't know if the record is to help catch the offenders by identifying their "tags" but my friend wanted a record.  I was surprised to find 26 eight foot panels covered with spray painting.  That is over two hundred feet of unwanted junk on his house and fence. 

Here is just one of the twenty-six record shots.  I hope it helps.

How would you like that on your house?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A quiz game about me

Take my Quiz on

Thanks to Valerie

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday Six

Patrick's Place features the Saturday Six topics as discussion starters.  Why don't you join in?

1. What one song or melody can make you smile even when you're having a rotten day? Used to be Heartaches by Ted Weems orchestra with Elmo Tanner whistling. Was a sure cure for my blues.
2. What are your plans for the day?  How much of it do you think you'll actually accomplish? I had planned to mail a business letter and do my laundry.  Didn't get either one of them done.  Ho Hum.
3. What television show do you most enjoy watching when you're all alone and can devote your complete attention to it?
Monk.  That silly detective with OCD is a panic.  How can anyone so psycho solve such complicated problems.  Well, his OCD which makes it impossible for him to ignore details, works to his advantage in solving crimes.
4. What was the last thing you remember arguing with someone about?
Thankfully my memories of whatever argument it was are "blocked".  Thank goodness we have good forgetters as well as good memoies.
5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #45 from Bud:  Inspired by this article on cell phone technology, he asks, "What is your most aggravating public experience with a cell-phone user?" Just after the stage manager of a community playhouse asked us to turn off our cell phones, his started ringing.  Hilarious.  I wonder if it was a put up job.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #46 from Stacy:  Did you watch the Super Bowl and if you did, do you like the commercials, the half-time show OR the ceremony following the game the best? That's goofy.  I have heard a lot of folks say they watched the Superbowl for the commercials. I was normal...I turned the sound off when the commercials come on....just like always.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Weekend assignment

John Scalzi asks "Who was your teen-age crush?"

That would be Ginger Rogers. She was demure, she was gorgeous, she was a babe.  Her hair was long and turned under in a page-boy style. 

Barbara Stanwyck was not bad either. 

I once wrote Diana Lynn a fan letter after I saw her in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, and I got an answer!

There were plenty of stars and starlets to get a crush on in the 1930's and 1940's.


Here I go again...

Here I go again

“falling in love with love again”? No.

Adapting myself to hearing aids. I started in 1989 with a pair of analog aids, and wore them assiduously for a day or two, but then less and less. And finally gave them up.

“Try digital aids” my friends said. “You’ll understand speech better and you’ll wear them more.” And I did for a day or two, and then less and less.

“Those behind the ear aids are cumbersome, try in-the-ear buttons,” I heard. So I did and I wore them daily for a day or two, then less and less.

“You’re not wearing your aids because they block your ears and make your own speech sound funny”, I was told. So, here I go again with aids without ear molds. A new design. I am determined to wear them all day every day. Stay tuned.

This is the start of Lent. If I wear them for all of lent, forty days, maybe I will actually get used to them. I hope so, for each successive set of aids has become more expensive: geometrically.

The first set was about $750 for two. This set is SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR TWO. EGAD.

(That is $3000-a-day if I wear them only two days.)

Thursday, February 10, 2005










© WHEN IN ROME ©    © YES ©











Wednesday, February 9, 2005






























































































Last Lines

Each of these is the last line of a song.

Can you name it?

             Answers follow

The home of the brave

From sea to shining sea

His truth is marching on

That I overlooked before

Let freedom ring

And the band played on

My home sweet home

I owe my soul to the company store

With my banjo on my knee

So I lost my Clementine

We will kill the old red rooster when she comes

Ours will still be hot

Betrayed by a maid in her teens

On our golden wedding day

Strummin' on the old banjo

Love my baby, Deed I do

Truly, Dear

Tell ya boys don't we have fun

I do hope that doggie's for sale

Put them turnips in my soup

So If she's the one, don't let her run away

I'd lay me down and dee (die)

Spend a little time with me

Without a love of my own

Wont you please come home?

King of the wild frontier

Wont you choo choo me home?

Just waiting for you

Makes the world taste good

Hear the wind blow

Disturb not my slumbering fair

Has anybody seen my gal

The old graygoose is dead

Learning about you day by day

And I'll give it right back to you

I'll be there ere long

O'er the deep blue sea

I hope you're satisfied you rascal you

The skies are not cloudy all day

Your golden sun will shine for me

Deed I do

None other has ever known

You oughta see me do my stuff

Waiting to find a little blue bird in vain

You aint no friend of mine

My knapsack on my back

I'll be waiting at the k k k kitchen door

And you'll be my queen

Meet me at the fair

A word that means the world to me

Listen to the Jazz come out

It's a grand old name

The One day I need a little rest Every things going my way


Many long years ago

Why, oh why, can't I

Come make your home in my heart

Make it mine, make it mine make it

Like a diamond in the sky

I'll be there

Baa Baa Baa

I'll tell you mine

Wonderful feeling, wonderful day

All the years are met in thee tonight


The home of the brave STAR SPANGLED BANNER

From sea to shining sea AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

His truth is marching on BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

That I overlooked before FOUR CLEAF CLOVER

Let freedom ring AMERICA

And the band played on STRAWBERRYBLOND

My home sweet home GOD BLESS AMERICA

I owe my soul to the company store SIXTEEN TONS  (thanks Karen and Jennifer)

With my banjo on my knee OH SUSANA

So I lost my Clementine CLEMENTINE

We will kill the old red rooster when she comes SHELL BE COMING ROUND THE MOUNTAIN

Ours will still be hot FRIENDSHIP

Betrayed by a maid in her teens DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE

On our golden wedding day PUT ON YOUR OLD GRAY BONNET

Strummin' on the old banjo WORKING ON THE RAILROAD

Love my baby, Deed I do FIVE FOOT TWO


Tell ya boys don't we have fun LITTLE BROWN JUG

I do hope that doggie's for sale HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW

Put them turnips in my soup TRICK QUESTION NO SUCH SONG

So If she's the one, don't let her run away I WANT A GIRL JUST LIKE THE GIRL

I'd lay me down and dee (die) ANNIE LAURIE

Spend a little time with me HEY GOOD LOOKIN

Without a love of my own BLUE MOON

Wont you please come home? BILL BAILY

King of the wild frontier DAVY CROCKETT

Wont you choo choo me home? CHATENOOGA CHOO CHOO

Just waiting for you (I forget wha this one was...sorry)

Makes the world taste good CANDY MAN

Hear the wind blow TOM DOOLEY

Disturb not my slumbering fair FLOW GENTLY SWEEET AFTON

Has anybody seen my gal FIVE FOOT TWO

The old gray goose is dead GO TELL AUNT RHODY

Learning about you day by dayGETTING TO KNOW YOU (Thanks elleme2)

And I'll give it right back to you GIMMIE A LITTLE KISS

I'll be there ere long GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY

O'er the deep blue sea GOOD NIGHT LADIES

I hope you're satisfied you rascal you GOODY GOODY

The skies are not cloudy all day HOME ON THE RANGE

Your golden sun will shine for me SAN FRANCISCO


None other has ever known IN THE GARDEN

You oughta see me do my stuff I'M A DING DONG DADDY FROM DUMAS

Waiting to find a little blue bird in vain I'M ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS

You aint no friend of mine HOUND DOG

My knapsack on my back THE HAPPY WANDERER

I'll be waiting at the k k k kitchen door…K K K KATY

And you'll be my queenLAVENDER BLUE

Meet me at the fair MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, LOUIS

A word that means the world to me MOTHER

Listen to the Jazz come out MUSIC GOES ROUND AND ROUND

It's a grand old name MARY ISA GRAND OLD NAME

The One day I need a little rest NEVER ON SUNDAY

Everything's going my way OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING


Many long years ago THE OLD GRAY MARE

Why, oh why, can't I? OVER THE RAINBOW

Come make your home in my heart PEG O MY HEART

Make it mine, make it mine make it mine THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN

Like a diamond in the sky TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR



I'll tell you mine YOU TELL ME YOUR DREAM

Wonderful feeling, wonderful day ZIP A DE DOO DAH

All the years are met in thee tonight O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHAM

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Strange Vehicle

            Strange Vehicle       How it is used


Clange Bang Over my head.  I awake.  What is that racket. Then I see, passing my window, the strange vehicle on the left.  I dressed and took my scooter outside.  By this time the vehicle was parked by my apartment. 

Roofers use the rented lifter to raise them to roof level with the tiles they are using to repair the roof.  Not a mystery.  Not a new item.  Just amusing.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Weekend assignment (ON MONDAY MORNING)

John Scalzi asked us to make a rule or two to apply to superbowl football.  Well, I watched the game, and this occured to me this morning, a bit late.

Here's a real late thought:  The game hasn't been the same since the forward pass was introduced.  It has become merely a game of kid's keep-away.  Send a man over the goal and throw the ball to him.  If he catches it, he scores.  Ho-hum.  Even his victory dance doesn't create much excitemnet.
Also the unlimited substitution rule.  Years ago. eleven men went out and matched their metle against one another.  When you left the game, you were OUT, like baseball.  Now there are offensive teams and defensive teams and special kicking teams and place-kickers, and even punt returners.  So who is playing whom? Unlimited substitutions has ruined football, just as it would ruin baseball.  What if you could call in a third strike specialist pitcher whenever the count favored the batter.  Then put the regular pitcher back in when the count went the other way.
And time outs for beer commercials?  How about one time out per quarter--period.  And why quarters? One potty break at half-time ought to be enough, especially if you limit spectators to one beer per half.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Birds Birds Birds

Wow, this morning I see hundreds of birds outside my window.  they are dashing back and forth from tree to tree busily doing their birdlike duties.  They appeared Yesterday, suddenly.

I love to watch their antics.  I wish I were enough of a "birder" to call their names.  Starlings, I am told, but have no idea. My cousin in Hesperia has finches, dozens of finches.

Regularly I go to a back road that has bridge over a canal where the swallows nest each season.  They arrive on schedule, March 23, every year, having flown from South America.  A few scouts come a day or two early and "case the joint".  Then on the appointed day they arrive enmass and set up housekeeping under the bridge. 

They build their nests of mud that they gather from selected puddles along the canal.  Only certain puddles will do and they flock there, squabbling and scrabbling for mud rights. I cannot see the nests because there is no way to get under the low bridge.

From March until September there is a great swirl of birds that dash out from under the bridge, up into the air, turning and diving, and then swooping back under the bridge.

When the fledglings have hatched and have learned to fly, the sky is just filled with clouds of swallows practicing for their migration.  Then one day in September you go to the bridge and find they have gone.  All gone, including the babies a couple of months old, on their way to Chile.

In Chile, they raise another crop of swallows.  Then Grand parents, new parents, and their two month old swallows come back to Merced. That's a hell of a trip for a two month old.

The swallows that go to Capistrano have the best press agents and get all the publicity, but I like our Merced swallows just as well.  Every Southern California community has its own swallows.  I believe that the same swallows come to the same nesting sites each year, but I cannot tell for sure because their license plates get lost on the trip.

It is hard to get pictures of them because you cant get close to them.  Maybe, this year with my  binoculars with the built in digital camera.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Patrick's Saturday six on Wednesday

Patrick posts his Saturday Six thought provoking questions and I respond on Wednesday:

1. Who is the first celebrity you recall having a crush on?

Barbara Stanwick, although Ginger Rogers turned me on too.

I actually wrote a fan letter to Diana Lynn, and I got an answer.
2. What was your favorite amusement park ride when you were young?

The Merry go round.  If you sat on the outside horse you could lean way out and grab a ring from a mechanical hand.  If the ring was GOLD you could stay right on your horse and get a free ride. 

Chute the chutes was great too.  You get hauled up a tower in a boat and then it is allowed to hurtle down the slide into the water with great splashing and screaming.  If you sat in the front seat it seemed even faster, and was certainly wetter.
3. If you could change your name (first or middle but the name you go by), would you, and if so, what would you change it to?

As a kid I wanted something more masculine than Charles.  Maybe a more teutonic Karl or Max would have suited me. I never knew any kid who liked his middle name.  Mine was a family surname.  Soon I learned to be proud of my names, first and middle and wouldn't change them if I could.  (Well, I can, in fact, but I don't.)  That tells me something.

4. Go to and take the "First Name Analysis" test.  Do you agree with what the site comes up with?

By the time I got to try it the free name analysis was not available.  So I decided to analyse theirs: Kabalarians.  Cabal, an association of clandestine operatives, arians, participants in.  Therefor I analyse them as Participants in a nepharious scheme.
5. Other than Johnny Carson, which former talk show host's tape archives would you most like to visit, and why?

I forget his name.  Small blond intense man who ran hour long interviews late night on educational channel.  Interviews were deeper and serious, not rigged to get laughs.  (Dick Cavett...thank you Karen)

Oh, well, since I cannot remember his name, I choose Jack Paar.  His interviews were shallow but fun, and introduced such characters as Dodie Goodman, Jose Jimenes, Coochie coochie Charo.  (My name recall device is not as good on Wednesday as it is on Saturday.)(Thanks to Karen)

Jessie:   If you were in good health, would you donate a kidney to a friend who's dying regardless of what your family's opinion are and if yes or no, why or why not?

I would want to, but my fear of operations would outweigh my good intentions.  Sorry, Pal, you'll have to go on dialysis instead of getting my kidney.