Saturday, July 30, 2005

Karen says she is making plans to go, once again, to Disneyland, her favorite vacation spot.  She will probably see those happy little people, the Seven Dwarfs.

I got to wondering how the seven of them got along for so many centuries until Snow White came along. They were terrible housekeepers she discovered. They were barely hygenic, they washed in a trough outside the cabin door.  "Step up to the tub, aint no disgrace, jest scoop up some water and rub it on your face and go BRRR BRRR  BRRR."

Then I decided it was team work.  Each had his role in the Septal society.  Here is how I see them:

The Seven Dwarfs

A caricature of personalities

All: fun loving, hard working, cooperative, short, overweight. Here is their hierarchy and order of succession.

Doc: Assertive, gives the orders naturally, decisively   Tolerant, accepts the other’s whims and foibles

Grumpy: Pessimist, observes the negatives, expects them  Pleased when things go wrong so he can say “I told you so”

Happy: Optimist, expects the best, observes the best in things

Sneezy: Hypochondriac. Allergies and ailments are his specialty  The acting physician of the dwarfs

Bashful : Obsequious*, polite, shy, mediator in dwarfs’ disagreements

Sleepy : Always tired, lethargic, works with others, but slowly

Dopey : Willing, always on the go, but always scatter brained and wrong

* ob·se·qui·ous
Pronunciation: &b-'sE-kwE-&s, äb-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, compliant, from Latin obsequiosus, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to comply, from ob- toward + sequi to follow

Date: 15th century
: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

POST SCRIPT.  Honey Bea makes a comment below>> I always thought that the seven dwarfs somewhat represented all the differnt sides of our  own persinalies.
Comment from

My gosh, she's right.  Never noticed that before.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden


Meet Jerdine.  I took her picture in the rose garden for that is where I see her most.
   Jerdine had to leave her home and garden and come live in an assisted living facility because of a nasty old stroke.  Here she found there was nothing for her to do. She bought lots of house plants and they fill her room. Then she discovered the roses.
   The roses in our garden had bloomed and faded, and they would require attention before a second bloom could come.  The dead blossoms needed to be plucked so the new buds could flourish and flower. Here was something Jerdine knew exactly how to do. She set to with a will.
   “Hey,” she was told, “get out of the garden. Don’t pick the flowers.”
   Jerdine explained the best that she could, words not coming easily after her stroke, that old dead blooms had to come off before the new little buds could blossom. And despite folks grumbling, she kept preparing the roses for new blooms.
   “Look,” she told me. “They be comin’ back. See here, and here. You come back on Wednesday.  Be all beautiful.”
   And I went back on Wednesday and took my daughter to meet Jerdine because I appreciated her enthusiasm.
   “Not ready yet,” she told me, but pointed our several new buds on the stems where she had pulled off dead blooms.
   “Be ready on Saturday, sure,” she assured me.
   But that afternoon, the institutional gardeners, working on a schedule of their own, using electric loppers, CUT THEM ALL BACK TO THREE FOOT STUMPS.  Every one. Baby buds and all. 

   I haven’t seen Jerdine since. She must have discovered the mayhem by now.
  The second blooming of the roses has been postponed. Until next year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Gaggle of Goofs

Grandmother used to say, "Good news comes singly, and bad news comes in threes".  Im not so sure about that, but today acomplishments came singly and goofs came in threes, or more, vertitble gaggles.

Woke this morning at four to watch the shuttle blast off.  Had trouble finding the AOL multiple camera viewing site, and when I did it was blank, except for a notice "Facility overloaded".  Oh well, a pen pal discovered me online and IM'd me.  And that was wonderful.  We IM'd for about two hours, chatting about life, love, and the price of beans in Mexico.  Well, no, that is a figure of speech, we discussed no beans. I was so captivated in fact that I forgat all about the launch of Discovery.

We chatted until I went to breakfast, starting my chain of goofs, by leaving the computer on and on AOL.  Thus I blocked my fone line all morning long.  So when I returned I started to write an email.  Wrote a full page attached a picture, and then it vanished.  Error two.

I didn't want to do it over so started for a soothing Starbucks cooler. Took my camera to take photos for Blog.  The office manager intercepted me.  "Oh, chuck, I haven't receive your July rent."

Me: what?  Of course you have, in June.  But a check of my records shows I didn't pay rent.  So I go pay rent with late fee added on.  Error three.

So on I go to Starbucks and get my pallative.  I take it to the lawn and the shade of large tree.  There I sip and there I decide to take a picture.  What?  No camera.  Oh well, error four.

Now I return to my room and look for camera. Cannot find it.  Oh, here it is, in my pocket, I had it all the time.  Error five.

Bad news doesn't necessarily come in threes, Grandmother.  Sometimes it comes in fives, or whole gaggles.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Karen wrote and said she was not sure she would have liked seeing a minutes old calf.  I responded:

Oh no, you would have loved the newborn calf.  It was wonderful and heart warming to see him come to life.  He was so in awe of the new world. Sort of stunned. Within a few minutes of being born he (or she, we hadn't found out yet) was sitting up and looking around.  Mother was nuzzling and licking him.  He was sort of dazed.  Well, who wouldn't be?

Within a few minutes more he was trying to get up.  He got his front feet under him but then toppled over.  Mother licked him some more.

  We left before he was on his feet, but we could see he was ready to rise and nurse.       I recently learned that the term for that innate behavior is genomic.  It is behavior in the genes, just like physical traits are in genes, eye color and such.    I had said that I was sorry I hadn't taken a camera. Maybe it was better just to watch and appreciate the process.  Photographing it would have been superfluous and put a gap between me and what was going on.    Other species have genomes too. The baby swallows, in their eggs, under the bridge on La Paloma Road in Merced, have a genome in them that tells the baby swallows to learn to fly, and on September 6th (or some such exact date)  to fly to a certain bridge or building in SOUTH AMERICA and build a nest, etc.    Incredible. And they do it without maps or calendars.  

Scrabble Note

Do you know why a Q in Scrabble is worth ten whole points? Because you can rarely use it without a U, and there are only four U's in the set.

If your opponent has the Q, and if you can play this word on the top row, you got him.  Do you know the word?


To see the answer double click on it.

Remember, you don't have to know what it is, just that it is a word.

Friday, July 22, 2005

County Fair

I went to the County Fair today, but I did not take my camera with me.  Big mistake.

On the old folks home bus were three residents, and three staff.  We were met at the fair but three 4H youth as guides.  Our party of nine was just the right size.  We toured the Pavilions with the fine art and the home arts, including the quilting and the baking.

We viewed people's collections of toys, miniatures, memoribilia. Two of us got to milk a cow, but I declined.  I have never milked a cow and was not about to start today.  Farther on a Gurnsey was giving birth and we arrived a few minutes after it had calved.  We watched the calf pull himself together, and make his first efforts to stand up.  (No one actually knew whether it was a male or female.  The staff was letting the mother bond with it without their coming near it.  What is the term?)

All of this and hamburgers too.  It was a great day with souveniers, but no picturres.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Geriatric Teenager

I am a young man, looking for romance.  I spend a lot of time playing word games with my little girl. And yet I have every ailment that men of 80 have. My body acts its age but my thinker does not. I think I can eat or sleep like a boy scout.

Our old folks home has put one of its old computers in the card room for the residents to use.  It needs a new mouse though.  I searched through all my electronic junk boxes looking for a mouse.  I know I have one, but I cannot find it.  It must be in storage. Ah well, I will buy a cheap one and donate it, just to get the computer running.

I need paper for the printer, since I am nearly out.  I made a run to the Staples on my scooter.  They have a special on paper so I bought three reams.  I bought a cheap mouse.

When I returned, I opened the storage drawer to put the paper away, and LO, and BEHOLD.  There is already packaged paper in there. I have plenty after all.  Now I have plenty plenty plenty.  And next to the plenty extra paper is THE EXTRA MOUSE. Now I have plenty extra mouse too. 

So my active teen age mind is acting like a normal 80 year old brain. My little girl has passed the half century mark, and beats her Dad fourteen out of fifteen times.

So how old am I, anyway?


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cousin Bertha Plays the Spoons

... and I join in.

Cousin Bertha turns 90 in a couple of weeks, and this surprizes her.  Her bright red hair is streaked with gray and that gives it a sort of silvery coppery hue.  My friends here at the old folks home who are 90 all have white hair.  Maybe it is her lifetime vegetarianism, or maybe her genes, or her quiet lifestyle that helps her age so well.

She lives with son and daughter in law, and two great grandchildren in Texas for now, but hopes to return to live in her home in California in the high desert.  She may well accomplish this.  She will miss the family, especially the great grandchildren, but she likes her independence.  She likes to get out of the house at sun up and "scuffle" weeds in the garden before it gets hot. There is a path around the perimeter of her one acre lot and she makes the circle two or three times a day. 

She reads a lot and visits with friends a lot.  She studies her Bible lessons.  Very rarely watches television, but she did turn it on to watch Reagan's funeral, though I doubt it has been on since.  She writes a lot on her computer.  She often gets up at 3 am to write in her journal or write letters. She reviews her life and her letters and pictures.  She reads her letters from Cousin Charles, me, and answers.  She crochets and plinks away on the piano.

And, Oh, she draws.  She likes to illustrate the edges of her letters with drawings of plants, butterflies, birds and people.

She makes people by taking a spoon, tracing around it, and then adding facial features to it.  She costumes her people and gives them fanciful names.  Here for instance is Hulda.



I took some of her drawings and scanned them, and printed them one per page and told her she has to make up stories about them.  Her great grandchildren will love them.

To get her started, I took one drawing, and wrote a fanciful little profile, and here it is.  I hope she takes the hint and does something with her drawings.



Beautiful, wide eyed, blond Prella, whose hair is brushed back and down and clings to her slender neck. One of the “middle children” of the Hulta family she is perhaps the most clever. She collects butterflies, but cannot bear to harm them. She could never kill them and mount them. She nutures them and lets them go.

Her happiest moment was when she found a chrysalis and sheltered it until the butterfly emerged. She squealed with joy as it spread its wings, and cried when it flew away.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Skuttlebut -- Pogrom

"When you own the business, you can do what you want," said Wilma, in reference to the pogrom.

The "pogrom" was the unexpected discharge of three of the four food servers.  No, we don't know why.  We are just the paying customers of the old folks home.  We don't have to know.  No matter that we have several years of relationship with our servers, no matter how well they learn to deal with our idiosyncracies, no matter how tolerant they are of our grumpiness, they can be dumped without notice to us.

I didn't agree with Wilma.  I feel that people have a vested interest in their jobs.  I was a teacher with "tenure".  Tenure meant I could only be let go "for a reason".  I was better able to do my job when I had no fear of losing my job on the whim of the administrator.  I feel everyone should have tenure.  If you do a job well, I see no reason you should lose it when the administration changes.  That is what happened here.  There was a change in administration, and within two weeks a 75% turn over in dining room staff.

The new folks seem friendly and efficient enough, but I better not get attached to them.  Any day, "pfft" and they are gone.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Whistle Blowers -- Protecting Our Penny Candy

"She steals," said Wilma, nodding in the direction of Peggy.

"Who steals? Steals what?"

"She does.  When she won at Bingo she took two pieces of candy."

Peggy has a bit of trouble at Bingo keeping track of what the winning combination is, finding the numbers when they are called. Even so, with a little help from her friends, she wins from time to time.  A basket of candy is passed to her, the winner.  The candy is the smallest candy bars available, the kind you buy in bags to give to Trick or Treaters on Halloween. And Peggy took an extra one.

"Several of us called her on that.  She was upset," continued Wilma.

"What?" I exploded. "You actually blew the whistle on that old lady because she took an extra nickle's worth of candy?"  Expressed that way, Wilma saw the funny side of her indignation. 

"The candy police and I got her,"  Wilma laughed.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Mac and Wil DID come today.

Mac and Wil did come today with their country music and corny humor.  They had three friends with them.

   Among them were autoharp, two guitars, steel guitar, two mandolins, two banjos, fiddle, harmonica, tambourine, and a gut-bucket. They dressed in farm work clothes, jeans, bib overalls, bandanas and hats, but come to think of it, that may not have been costume, it may have been their street clothes.  They are pretty rustic.

   They are volunteers.  They played as long as anyone would listen, over two hours.  We clapped and had a good time right along with them. 

   By the way, there is a site that will play the melody of just about anything you name, or even whistle a few bars of.  It is called Musipedia Melody Search, and this is the link.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Jokes Notwithsanding...

...Edith the miniature horse was a very popular attraction on pet visit day.

   Residents got to stroke and feed the gentle miniature palomino.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Current Events in the Old Folks Home

As a sales tool, an activity calendar crammed full of events for the residents is invaluable.  Prospective clients passing by think "How busy life here would be.  Just look at this schedule."

The secret is, the management fills the schedule all right, but with imaginary activities.  Visit the activity room at the appointed time for "UNO CARD GAME", and you'll be alone.  Solitaire Uno is no fun. Wil and Mac may not show up for their gig.  Nor the Blue Grass Silver. 

Thank goodness for George who comes weekly and plays the piano for two and half hours.  Larry comes monthly and plays his electronic keyboard.  The Menonite Choir comes regularly.  We love our volunteers.

But "current events"?  The director announces "Me and Anthony (her eleven year old son) will read the newspaper to you."  Whoopee. How about having the mayor or the city council person come and tell us about local politics.  How about a college professor to tell how the new State Universtiy in town is going to choose it's professors?  How about a history of the Space Program?  What if a spokesman for NASA answered our questions, like "Is there anyone living in the ICC space station right now? How did they get there?" I'd like to know.

Whee, a miniature horse is coming tomorrow on pet visitation day..  "Invite your family and friends" says the activity director. 

Gosh, I hope the Senior Pet Dog doesn't mount the miniature horse.  That might be more activity than would fit into the calendar..


Mudpuddle Art -- Conclusion


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Even More Mudpuddle Art





Flap in the Old Fplks Home

3:30 AM.  Seems I have been in bed forever.  Oh, dear, it is not even a little bit light outside yet.  Who can sleep in these exciting times?

First, it was so hot that mudpuddle art making was difficult.  There were few puddles to muddle, and when I made tracks in them, they dried up before I could take their picture. 

Second, meals were interminally slow.  Anita, who used to own a restaurant, and has a propritary interest in every kitchen, became frustrated with cook Jason, who last year at this time was second assistant to the maintenance man, (not even first-assistant), went into the kitchen, against specific rules, to see what the matter was. She stuck an inquiring finger into the salad and infuriated Jason, who now claims the title of Kitchen Supervisor, pulled rank on her, and refused to serve the "contaminated" salad.  This meant that supper, meager enough to begin with, was served as a cup of black eyed pea soup, a single cube of corn bread about one-and-a half inches on a side, and a cup of fruit pieces with a dollop of whipped cream on them for dessert.

Third, a meeting between the new administrator and a couple of residents scheduled for tomorrow morning, has swollen to a full scale spontaneous protest rally.  (I will not try to explain how a scheduled meeting can be termed "spontaneous".)

Fourth, the light-hearted banter at the evening card game caused hurt feelings and tears.  Oh, my, who should apologise to whom first? Or will this long night soothd ruffled feathers?

Who can sleep on these hot nights?  It's going to be one hundred degrees tomorrow, in more ways than one.  Bette Davis said it best in a movie:  Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

More Mudpuddle Art

The Flower Pot                    Capital =C= Calligraphy

Design from my Morning St/roll


Saturday, July 9, 2005

Will the REAL Starbucks Please Stand Up

When you finish your Starbucks Frappachino save the plastic glass and the ten inch straw.  On the next hot day, take the glass to the kitchen and fill it with ice.  Next add a Pepsi Cola.  That is 23 cents including tax and deposit if you buy it on sale. Add a spoonful of Cool Whip, say 2 cents worth, to the top, and you have a tall, cool drink for 25 cents that looks just like this $4.25 Frappachino. When someone asks you what you have, gurgle the straw a bit as you say "It's a Frappacheapo." 

 Frappacheapo, or the Real Thing?

Only you can tell the difference.

Sixteen, going on Ninety

That's me today: sixteen going on ninety.  It is a clear and warm Saturday morning.  I mount my scooter and leave my room.

Mac and Wil are supposed to be in the parlor bringing us their homespun humor and mountain music.  No show.  A lot of entertainers who schedule for the old folks home fail to show.

I check the other scooter owners to see who wants to go where.  The Zoo is twenty minutes in one direction and the Mall if ten in the other.  The market and any number of fast food places are within five minutes.  Starbucks is next door.  Wilma is watching Tom Selleck and cannot come.  Emma is still in bed.  Discouraged I pass on the other four electric chair and scooter owners.  One day I will get us organized.

I cruise by myself thinking, what would I be doing if I had my absolute choice.  Answer:  Rowing.  Rowing was great.  If you felt energetic you rowed around the Island in the Marina.  If you were lazy and merely wanted to relax, you drifted.  There were plenty of boats to watch in either mode. If I really were sixteen, I'd be rowing or at the beach.


In my middle years I flew.  My little two place low wing monoplane, an Ercoupe, gave me hours of pleasure.  It had a sliding canopy so you were open cockpit in nice weather.  You put your elbow on the window sill, and drove your convertible through the sky.  I was part of the 'jet set'.  Breakfast in Corona, Lunch in Long Beach, and home to Van Nuys for supper.  I have seen Disneyland and the Queen Mary both from the air in the same day.  I have landed at the "Airport in the Sky" at Catalina Island.  To take off you do not climb.  You fly level right from the runway to the sky.

In other years I drove.  The San Gabriel Mountains are a delight.  You climb from Los Angeles high to Mount Wilson, or Lake Arrowhead, or Big Bear looking back out over thePacific Ocean. Then you pass over the crest and down into the desert among the Joshua trees and the sage brush. 

So today I went around the block in Merced and came back to my room in the old folks home and wrote in my journal.  Eighty has its charms too, I guess.

Losing touch with an old friend, Pinky

.One of the problems with getting old is losing touch with old friends, namely my toes.

Been a long time since I had close visit with my toes. In fact, I even have professional help in trimming my toenails.

The Podiatrist comes to visit the old folks home quarterly. Then I, and other folks whose feet are out of our reach, line up in the activity room, baring our feet. The doctor sits in a chair in front of us and slides along, examining feet, trimming toenails, checking foot health, and accepting a twenty dollar bill. The twenty he pockets, literally, in his left hand pants pocket. Sounds a little suspicious, doesn’t it. A doctor accepting actual CASH from the PATIENT as the service is RENDERED.

It is a convenient service for us. We can go to his office a block away, wait to see him, and let Medicare pay the bill. But here is a doctor who does make house calls That is worth the twenty, I believe.

I have only one foot, having been wounded in WWII. I should have to pay half price, but he has not offered, and I do not negotiate with terrorists or medical doctors.

As he was sliding toward me I asked, “Have you ever treated any patients with six toes?” He had, but it was very rare. In fact “I have removed a sixth toe.”

When he reached me he looked at my toenails and when he reached my pinky he asked this wonderous question: “What happened to this toenail? It is gone.”

GONE? Gone where?

“Looks like it has been torn off.”

Torn off? Wouldn’t I have noticed?

I can see the note that will go out in the junk mail

--Have you seen me? Toenail missing in California since July 8, 2005. Answers to the name of Pinky--

He put on Betadine and a Band Aid, trimmed my remaining nails, and cautioned me to “watch that toe” as he pocketed my twenty.

Watch it? I can barely see it. I guess I will ask the caregivers to be ‘toe sitters’ for me.

But the question in my mind is: Where is it? I haven’t been barefoot anywhere but in my apartment. “The missing toenail is right in this room,” I hear Ellery Queen saying.

Was I ravished in my sleep by a toenail terrorist? I don’t sleep that soundly. Perhaps, disheartened by my lack of attention, the toenail quit the premises. “So long, fellows. Better luck with Chuck than I had.”

What seems to be the truth: I am falling apart, literally.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Sparklers in the Sunlight

   At the old folks home, we voted to have our fireworks at eight PM.  They were afraid that the olf folks wouldn't stay up until dark at nine PM.  Actually that was a compromise.  They proposed six, and I proposed nine, and we compromised at eight.  That is not really a compromise, because it is still daylight at eight.  Even then the caregivers fudged and started lighting them off at 7:45.

   It was all right though.  Fireworks nowadays are spectacular.  They burn long and bright and leap and flash and bang and whstle.  They cast out sparkles of green, gold, red, and blue.  I was impressed, daylight or no, because I was raised on  roman candles that you had to shake, sometimes exploded in your hand, and fizzled out after eight shots at most.  Anyway, it all worked out.

   Something about the summer weather fries the brains makes it seem all right to do weird things with fire works.  Like Roman Candles.  It says right on the candle DO NOT HOLD IN HAND.  Do you know anyone who shoots a roman candle in any other way? What could that be? Stuck in the ground?  Held in the teeth?  My Uncle Kenneth had one explode just beneath the spot he was gripping.  He was lucky, he did not lose any fingers. Did he light another right away?  Of course, the summer weather had fried his brain too. 

   The summer weather fried the brain of the Santa Monica, CA, City Council too.  About twenty years ago, they decided that the fireworks on the pier caused too much traffic and was a hazard to the city.  How did they solve this problem?  They scheduled the fireworks for five AM.   At least that was before daylight.  They "reasoned" that fewer people would come at five am, and therefore there would not be a traffic jam. It may have worked.  My friends and I solved the traffic jam problem another way.

   We spent the evening before the fourth on my cabin cruiser at Marina del Rey.  We partied and laughed and joked and visited from boat to boat.  At one am we cast off and cruised along the shore to Santa Monica.  The night was beautiful and guests asked me about one particularly bright star.  I got to show off my astronomical knowledge that night.  It happened, that on that particular night, due to some combination of circumstances of luminosity, and nearness, Mars was the brightest that it would appear during our life time and several lifetimes to come.  I pointed that out, and I got the credit for producing a gorgeous star for their entertainment.

   We got to Santa Monica and shut off the engine and drifted.  There was sort of a traffic jam there in the ocean, but that was no concern of the city council.  The fireworks went off on schedule and were beautiful.  After the fireworks we motored home in the dawn.  We docked and went home to bed. 

   I love the fourth of July. 


Friday, July 1, 2005

Book Review -- Fluke

Fluke, by Christopher Moore, caught me unaware.

I had just recently finished Lamb by Moore and was captivated by its slangy contemporary view of Jesus' life as a youth.  It was a slightly irreverant view of a serious topic: how did Jesus become the man he was. Just how does one prepare himself to be the messiah?

So I dug into Fluke with a will in high expectations.  Here was a scientific mystery story searching an honest biologic qauestion: Why do Blue whales sing?  Their low pitched songs can be heard for an honest thousand underwater miles. The protagonists, Clay and Nate use their years of experience in ceteology and the best scientific methods to search for the answer.  Fascinating study, no?

Then suddenly, 37.8% of the way through (I actually measured later) the genre flips, and it becomes a book of magic, with an approach that Harry Potter would understand.  I threw the book down in disappointment.

Days later, I picked up the story again, accepting the fact that it was a fantasy.  As a fantasy I slogged on to the finish. 

As a fantasy it is so-so.  However, it brought up some philosophical questions that I enjoyed exploring. It even inspired me to write a self-examination for my blog.  It got me to wondering what my purpose in life is, in the fantasy I call my life.  Clay and Nate solve the question of the Blue Whale song, and it leads them into a program to conserve the whales and help protect them from extinction.

   At the conclusion of the narrative, Moore explains which parts of his tale are magic and which are science.  Had I read this first I might have made the transition from one genre to the other easier.  On the other hand, I probably would not have read the book at all.

If you like Magical tales and you like scientific discovery tales, and you like them mixed, it is Fluke, or I know why the winged whale sings by Christopher Moore, Perennial, a division of Harpers.

Cool Hand Chuck

So I cut my afternoon nap short because I don't want to miss the "Root Beer Floats Time" in the Bingo room.  But when I get there I am told that the activity director went home ill. It's about a hundred degrees today.  Root beers floats are cancelled.

Doesn't bother Cool Hand Chuck, he has a scooter and Starbucks is just across the parking lot.  So off I fly.

At Starbucks I order a "tall mocha Frappechino," their special iced coffee.  "Three dollars," says the clerk.  I hand it over.

"Three dollars?" I think.  "Last time I paid $4.25, and the time before that I paid $3.95.  Never the same price."

Then I was handed my one quart Frappechino in a one PINT container.  When I said tall, the clerk heard small.  Oh, well, better luck next time.

I scooted home with my tiny iced coffee.  There on my desk was a printed slogan from Cool Hand Luke.

"What we have here is a failure to communicate"