Thursday, September 29, 2005

Whom are we writing for?

My cousin age ninety was too tired to go outside and hoe weeds, her usual and preferred activity. So, instead she was reading old papers. These happened to be the personal journals of her father, written some eighty years ago.

It is a miracle that these papers survive, since most families move regularly, and fires and floods take their toll on our possessions, and especially our memoirs. But here they were. Written by him, to himself, long ago.

Just whom was he writing for? Certainly for himself, for they contained lots of inspirational slogans meant to help him better himself. “Think tall, walk tall, talk tall, stand tall.” And dietary advice, “Cold peanuts daily at 4 pm.”

And they contained very personal observations about his sexual needs and desires. They were not meant for other family members, especially not his daughter.

Yet, here they were eighty years later, telling his daughter about himself, helping her understand him. But she felt they were still personal matters, even now, so she discarded them, meaning for them to be destroyed.

When I heard what she was doing I pleaded with her to stop. Save them. They are irreplaceable documents. They tell about him, and people like him, in that era. How he felt, secretly. She retrieved them.

Now what? He has unknowingly confided in us. What would he want done with the papers? Does it matter what he would want done, he is not around to be embarrassed, nor can he object? If he really did NOT want to communicate, why did he write them? Was he subconsciously writing for future generations? Was this a secret autobiography? If the answer is no, then back into the trash with them, but if the answer is yes, then what should she do with them?

Should she seek a historian or historical society to accept and preserve them? Should she archive them herself? Should she simply replace them with other family history and let her heirs make the decision? She feels that most family papers will simply be destroyed when she dies.

There seems to be no clear-cut answer, and that makes me wonder about my journals and, in fact, all our blogs. For whom are we writing ? Are they addressed to future generations? How long will they last? They are merely magnetized infinitesimal bits of iron residing were only AOL knows. Will they last when our membership runs out? When AOL merges with the next giant corporation will our blogs live on? How long? For whom are they being saved? Who will read them? Will they be around in eighty years? Perhaps some cataclysmic power surge will erase them all at once. Or will some future relative have to decide whether to trash our communications.


My Horse has gone Lame

My trusty scooter, which carries me to Sav*Mart and Staples, has gone bloooie.

I went to market, and on the way back, I noted the battery was very low, though recently charged.  I got going slower and slower. At the door of the old folks home, it died.  DEAD.

I had a piece of rope with me, carried for this very eventuality, and a friend towed me to my room.  Actually, I carried the rope because I thought I might have to tow my friend, since she forgets to charge her battery from time to time.  It was ironic, that she towed ME home instead.

The repair service is called, but until then, I am stalled. I am glad this is not the old days.  When your horse went lame, you had to shoot him.


 Imagine your family moving out of a below sea level home in New Orleans in middle off hurricane season, to a nice safe high altitude home in the San Gabriel Mountains at the start of fire season.

Prime Time Television -- Three for a dollar

   At the 99 cent store DVDs with three old time television shows, 99 cents. Rounded off, that is three for a dollar. Three George Burns and Gracie Allen shows on one DVD. They were top notch, prime time shows in the 1950s, and here they are, in the bargain basement. (Of course I bought them.)

   Not only that, I bought three detective shows, Dick Tracy, Mark Saber, and the Treasure Men. I am not through, bought Flash Gorden and a Peter Sellers black and white movie too. One dollar each (less a penny).

   Foolish me, I have three Netflix DVDs waiting to be viewed also. I am going to be busy.

   Have viewed so far only one episode of the Burns and Allen show. It was interesting to see what we television fans thought was prime-time funny in those days. They were contrived, broad, banal. So why did they still bring a chuckle? Nostalgia, I guess. What used to make me laugh out loud still makes me chuckle.

   I think the detective stories will be interesting, too, if I can tear myself away from the Law and Order reruns on cable TV.

    Television shows have become more sophisticated and complex. Some people complain that they are still contrived and banal. It is easier to see when looking back.

  That’s a lesson worth three for a dollar.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Television Review

Commander in Chief ABC Tues 9 pm

Story thus far: Geena Davis is vice president, and president has a stroke. International situation is sticky. Need the image of STRONG president. The next in line after Geena is strong arm. President’s advisors want her to resign, so ailing president may resign. President recovers enough to ask her to resign, so he can resign. Says he won’t resign until she does.


She agrees to resign. Writes speech. President becomes comatose. They come to swear her in as President according to 26th amendment.

Next commercial Quizno sub sandwich $2.99. Royal Caribbean cruises. Be sure to watch Lost next wed.

Donald Sutherland is the hateful, power hungry rival who will take presidency if she does not. They have conference in which he belittles her, her positions, and the female head of Rwanda. She is strengthened by his negative positions, so she takes office. Somewhere along the line the president dies.


She begins to assert authority. Secretary wants to resign. She prepares to meet cabinet and congressional leaders.


Presidents wife says “go girl” President Geena okays plan to save life of Rwandan female head and confronts Rwandan ambassador, who is shaken.

Commercial: watch Boston Legal next also watch alias and night stalker

Geena does not appoint husband as chief of staff. He is miffed. Later adjusts.

Geenas daughter doesn’t want to go to congress to join mother as she addresses congress. Rwandan guys seize female leader. Geena goes to congress -applause. She says

“Respect the office. People have the power. I am humbled”

Rwandan guys turn female lead over to US forces. International incident avoided. Whew.

Boston Legal comes on.

Shatner, Bergen, Spafford, Locklear, Betty White, great cast flashed by so fast cant comprehend. Tuesday is going to be a great evening for television this fall.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Patrick Throws a Curve

Patrick's sunday seven asks us to list our seven favorites from our DVD collection.  Alas, I have no collection, merely rent them as I wish to watch.  But a later Patrick entry has a game of tag.

1) Go to your journal's archives.
2) Find the 23rd post.
3) Find the 5th sentence in that post.
4) Post that sentence with these instructions.
5) Tag five more people.

Let's give it a whirl instead.

The entry was Brush with Greatness. and  the sentence was

The girls at camp were given a chance to be extras in the film

That means that my daughter, at summer camp, got to be an extra in Disney film, The Parent Trap.  That was my (her) brush with greatness.

But I don't "tag" anyone.  If you'd like to play along, welcome. No tag necessary.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pretty Petty

It is pretty petty of me to complain about gasolene prices, when the hurricane that caused them wiped out homes and businesses and killed people.  And, why should I tell YOU, you have tanks to fill too. But my Van took twenty one gallons to fill the tank.  Not bad considering I only buy gas a couple of times a year.  But, gasp, the bill.  $68.61.

And now hurricane Rita is tearing toward Texas with the intent of wiping out more gulf refineries.

Speaking of petty, how about this.  A 58 cent blunder. I bought a dozen pens at Staples for 97 cents.  Wow, what a deal.  Bought 'em on impulse because they were cheap. Opened the box, and used them, and liked them.  But what is it about a box of pens. 

You open the box and use a pen.  Then the next time you need a pen, it is nowhere to be found.  So you take another from the box, and then that one dissappears too.  Where are they going?  Like MacBeth's witches, they are "Vanished into the air, and what seemed corporal is wind."  Well, I don't remember the quote exactly, but the the pens seem to POOF.

  No problem, Back to Staples I go for a couple more boxes of pens. Aha, now they are $1.26.  So the resupply cost 58 cents more than I expected.  Compared to gasolene that is nothing. End of complaint.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Perfect for the Part

   I mentioned in recent entry that Basil Rathbone was ideal for the part of Sherlock Holmes. He looked and acted like the character that Arthur Conan Doyle described in his short stories and novels. He was clipped and terse in speech, abrupt, assured. The old films were not faithful to the Doyle stories however, and their portrayal of Dr. Watson was abysmal. Nigel Bruce played him as a bumbling fool that was more trouble to Holmes than a help. In the stories, Watson was a keen help to Holmes and a valuable back up carrying his huge service pistol when needed.

Then I got to wondering how many other actors fit their parts so well. Sean Connery is the only 007 who convinced me. Other Bonds are “all right”, but not as perfect as Sean was.

Johnny Weismuller was good Tarzan, riding on elephants and wrestling crocodiles, but Buster Crabbe and followers were not nearly so suited to the part. Paul Hogan was good at wrestling crocodiles, too.

Jerry Seinfeld played a character named Jerry Seinfeld so of course he looked the part, but it took some acting skill to portray such an obsessed, self-centered individual. I am sure Jerry Seinfeld the person is not the same as Jerry Seinfeld, the character. Jason Alexander makes a good George Costanza, but not so good as the characters he played in the spin off shows that followed.

Clayton Moore was perfect Lone Ranger, and Jay Silverheels was perfect Tonto. Right, Keemosabe?

Alan Alda is good in anything he does but his Hawkeye Pierce made M*A*S*H what it was. Other actors came and went, but Alda held the 4077th together for years. I wonder if he or Jimmy Smits will be the next president on West Wing.

What actors do you feel so filled their roles that you cannot think of the character without thinking of the actor?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Sunday Seven from Patrick's Place

Every Sunday, Patrick asks us a seven part question, just to get our journalistic blogging juices going It is good when you have writers' block, to have a gentle nudge to get us going. Today he asks>>

You will be locked in a tape vault for six months and you can only have seven choices of television programs to watch.  Name the seven shows -- present or past -- that you'd want to make sure were accessible by your remote control.   Don't worry about listing them in any particular order...just pick seven you wouldn't want to be without for six months.

1. The West Wing.  Well written drama and it deals with real questions the president has to face, such as how to respond to terrorist threats, how to deal with unpopular issues.

2. Mash. I still turn on the reruns of this venerable series.

3. Seinfeld.  I've seen 'em all three or more times. I know what is coming, and I love it

4. Jeopardy. I love the challenge of the questions of all kinds, and the time pressure.  I am delighted when I know the answer

5. Do you want to be a millionaire.   same reason. Like to answer along with the game. see if I could have won a million.

6.  You'll Never get Rich with Phil Silvers as Sgt Bilko.  Alway conning somebody but then showing he has heart, and loves even hapless Pvt. Doberman

7.  Sherlock Holmes series.  Sherlock not as good as old movies' Basil Rathbone, but Dr. Watson was played as a real doctor, not as bumbling fool.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Never Promised You a RoseGarden -- II

I said that the gardeners had kept the roses from their second blooming until next year. They cut them all back to three foot stumps in July.

I was wrong.  They have come back just fine.  Jermain should be happy.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's Wednesday. Time for the Sunday Seven

I am nothing, if not prompt.  Here is the Sunday Seven.

You have to be stuck on a deserted island with the seven castaways.  Who would you most like to have as your immediate neighbors?  Rank the seven castaways with one being the person you'd most like to have as a neighbor and seven being the person you'd least like to have nearby

 My ranking 

1 Roy Hinkley, the Professor His goofy inventions would keep me occupied and entertained. He knew a little science and that would help us survive.

2 and 3 The girls. Mary Anne Summers, the Farm Girl, and Ginger Grant, the Movie Star. I would like female companionship. Both beautiful but Ginger more wrapped up in herself.

4 Jonas Grumby, the Skipper. A take command guy who would best take care of me, tell me what to do.

5 Thurston Howell III, the Millionaire even though his money was no good on the island, he would be a reasonable friend and able to take care of himself.

6 But Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, his Wife would need to be taken care of. Of course, you would need to keep busy, and she would keep you busy.

7 And lastly poor old goofy Willie Gilligan, his First Mate. He was amiable and easiest to get along with, but we're talking survival here and his bumbling would be costly and dangerous.  I'd rather be marooned with Dopey of the seven dwarfs. He was just as amiable, just as goofy, but less dangerous to himself and me.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Krissy tagged Valerie and six more folks. Valerie tagged me and six more folks. I am supposed to tag seven of my friends. Each person tagged, tags seven. Wow, growing at the power of seven rate, within a month we will have tagged everyone on AOL. This game will spread faster than a computer virus.

Soon we will have tagged everyone who speaks English and have to translate it into all the languages of the globe. Then it will really take off. A month later we will run out of people on earth and have to tag Martians, Uranians, Plutonians. Thank goodness, there are billions of stars in our galaxy, and billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each. This is bigger than the big bang.

The games is simple by Earth standards. (Who knows what Aliens like to play.) You give seven answers to seven questions, and post them in your journal so other folks can learn about your likes, dislikes, and quirky whims. Sound like fun? Here are the questions:

Name seven things I plan to do before I die

Name seven things I can do

Name seven things I can’t do

Name seven things that attract me to the opposite sex

Name seven things I say most

Name seven celebrity crushes

Name seven people I want to do this

Here are some attempts at answers, and I don’t know yet whether they are going to be serious or whimsical, along with the answer that Valerie gave that I consider the most intriguing.

7 Things I plan to do before I die:

Valerie: Make my own drum

Me: Now what do you suppose is stopping Valerie from making her own drum? Why does she include it in the fanciful future? Hell, Valerie, make your drum and stop dreaming about it.

As for me, I have no long lost dreams. Give me a million dollars today to make some dream come true and I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

7 Things I can do:

Valerie: Take a good photograph
Me, I used to take good photographs, but what I do best now is write whimsical items for my journal. I can see the funny side of just about anything.

7 Things I can't do:

Valerie: Have too much energy

Me: Valerie is limited by her physical condition but she doesn’t dwell on it. Good for you, Val. I can’t see out of a plastic eye, nor walk more than fifteen feet. I guess that best expresses what I can’t do.

7 Things that attract me to the opposite sex:
Valerie: (among others…) Hands.

Me: She put personality traits above hands, however. I just have never known anyone who rated hands as erotic elements. Hands are just tools appended to our arms. But everyone to his own taste. I go with her on the personality issue though. A happy, optimistic person is certainly more attractive than a gloomy gus that has forgotten how to smile. Since we are allowed seven, a nice figure would certainly make the list.

7 Things I say most often:

Valerie I can't remember.

Me: What did I come in here after?

7 Celebrity Crushes:

Valerie: Johnny Depp

Me: Most of hers I don’t even know. That’s all right she won’t know mine: Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, Diana Lynn.

7 People I want to do this:

Valerie put me and some others, but I am not sending this to anyone else… for the reasons I stated at the top of this entry. It is too much like the Big Bang

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Early Morning Email

Eighty-one year old bachelor complains to his online girl friend by email >>

Sweet 'mater,  

   Here am I, at 5:30 Saturday morning.  Went to bed at 11. Slept the night through, I felt, and woke at 2:20, ready to get up. Persuaded myself to go back to bed.   

   Up again at 5:00, and turned on computer. I have been messing with monitor controls, trying to figure them out, and then messing with tool bar, finally getting it back in place. I like it at bottom of the screen.   

   It is dark outside.  The Autumnal equinox is near, so nights are lasting longer, nearly as long as days.   

   I went out for supper yesterday, so was spared the indignity of Old folks home Saturday Supper. Saturday supper, Sunday breakfast, and Sunday supper at the old folks home are "throw away" meals.  That's my term. They seem to be planned to be unappealing for some reason. Breakfast is sweet roll, shipped in and reheated, period. Supper is something like quiche, macaroni and cheese, ersatz sea food salad, in other words faux foods, things you are not expected to eat, only pick at.   

   Aha, I have in my refrigerator left over burrito, and two slices of apple pie.  I have a microwave. I will have a real supper tonight, probably after cards.  I have skipped cards two nights in a row. Hoo ray.   

   And cards!  Dumbed down rummy, night after night.  We tried alternating UNO with rummy, but it didn't go well.  We could probably manage it if we could dumb itdown a little, but there is a purist among the players who insists on a rule that the rest of us hate, so we just don't play that game. Well, he may have a point, the game is named uno, because when your hand reaches one card, you proclaim "uno", and if you don't you are penalized four cards. It is not the penalty, or the rule, it's the attitude of Mr. Purist, who points his finger and says, "You didn't say Uno, so take four cards." At this juncture I'd rather be watching television, or even listening to the activity director read to us out of a book.  That's the alternative to cards. We haven't played Uno in months.   

This email has grown to the proportions of a journal entry.  I may just save it and paste it in my journal.



PS  **Sweet 'Mater = Dear Hot Tomato

          Toodle-ump = Sugar lump

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More Consumer News

Beer per twelve ounce can including tax and can deposit:  87 cents

Gasolene per twelve ounce can highway tax but no deposit  30 cents.

Wheat crackers. 8 cents each

Avocados   $1.69 each. 

Friday, September 9, 2005

Today's Main Sin

Today it was SLOTH.

I couldn't get myself in gear, even low. When I was a kid the family had an old Packard, 1930 model, that had a low-low gear. We called it "granny low", and the old straight-eight cylinders in granny low could have pulled a box car up Tehachapi Pass. But it was s-l-o-w.

Today I couldn't even get myself in slow, old, granny low. I went back to bed and ignored breakfast.  Well, it is lunch time, and maybe the afternoon will be better. 

After my nap, that is.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Assignment #76 -- That's what I like about the South

Grits.  Pronounced "gree-uts", two syllables. For breakfast, with butter. We Yankees have our cream of wheat, all right, but Dixiecrats eat grits.  Johnny Reb faced the northern army with only a pocket full of parched corn for rations. That is true grit.

And a girl friend in Alabama to email every day.

And Phil Harris to sing "That's what I like about the South" and a place called "Doo Wah Diddy, ain't no town and it aint no city."

Post Script: According to comments posted thus far, 9/11, the score is GRITS YAY 2, GRITS NAY 3

Mystery solved

My friend Anita asked, "Did you hear that plane that almost took the roof off last night."

"I sure did.  I wrote about it in my journal."

"It was spraying for mosquitos in this neighborhood. There has been an outbreak of West Nile Virus."

I am glad they are spraying, and glad to know what that plane was doing last night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005


Earlier this evening, while I sat reading blogs, a single engine plane roared over the old folks home. I ducked.  It sounded like he was going to take the roof off.

A few minutes later he was back, but not quite so close. I jumped on my scooter and went out to find a spot with a clear view of the sky. No plane was visible, but the Moon and Venus shone placidly down. No sign of Jupiter which was supposed to be nearby. It was still twilight and Venus was the only star in the sky.

Later online IM with daughter I reported my negative findings, and she responded with, "You're one of those weird people who run toward the sound of gun fire."

Well not ordinarily, but I have to admit that low flying airplanes make me curious.  I recalled once years ago near San Fernando Airport I saw a light plane making unusual approaches. I left the airport building and walked out to the flight line.

A friend hailed me, "What are you doing out here at this time?"

I replied, "I came to see the crash."

"What crash?"

"The one that is about to happen."

"Oh, that is just Willis.  He just bought that plane and he is checking it out."

At that moment, here came Willis in his newly purchased old plane, about twenty feet too high, stalled, dived nose first into the runway. CRUNCH. He crashed right in front of us.

An old adage is "Any landing is a good landing if you can walk away from it."  Willis walked away from that landing, but his plane had to be hauled home.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

No More Squinting

         BEFORE                                  AFTER

                My new 19" Samsung monitor

Monday, September 5, 2005

Sunday Seven? What is a Sunday Seven?

Patrick of Patrick’s Place has come up with a new weekly exercise for his journal keeping followers. You check out his Sunday Seven question, work out the answer, write about it in your journal, and then post a link to your entry in his journal.


.THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Rank the Seven Deadly Sins in the order that you most often commit them, one being the sin you're usually most guilty of, seven being the sin you're usually least guilty of.

Here, in alphabetical order, are The Seven Deadly Sins:

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work

And here is the way I ranked myself.


Pride I am proud of my journal, my status at the Park, my intelligence, my activities. I think I do better than my peers in most respects. I am a show off.

Sloth I am lazy, a procrastinator. I often get help for things I can do myself

Lust I am a flirt, and I enjoy it.

Gluttony I keep a car I do not need, I cannot part with my “things”, even hiring a storage shed to keep things I no longer use.

Anger I have petty resentments at the landlord, my fellow residents, the managers, the State and National politicians

Greed I have enough, but rarely part with it, except to family. I support few charities.

Envy Mostly like who I am and what I have, but sometimes wish I could do this or have that.

I liked this little exercise into self analysis.

Age of Miracles

Is this a great age, or isn't it?  Soon I will be composing my journal and reading your comments on a NINETEEN INCH FLAT MONITOR. Bought it today and will be setting it up soon.

I first wrote Dribble in a high school newspaper, sixty four years ago. Now, here it is, in color, with pictures, available instantly around the world. Progress is wonderful.

My readership is about the same though.



The good part about operating an old folks home is that you can promise them anything, and being old, they will forget what you offered.

For example, we were told there would be a Labor Day Barbecue. Well, Labor Day is here, and what was dinner?  Steak? Ribs? Corn on the cob?

Well, no.

We were offered a choice of hamburgers or hot dogs, cooked in the kitchen. There was potato salad though. It was pretty much like every other day.

I shouldn't complain. Katrina survivors would probably have been very happy to have dined here today.

And I am old.  By tomorrow I will have fogetten what we were promised.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Cribbage and Pinochle

Cribbage and Pinochle are games for agile minds.  You have to add points in various configuations.

Nobody over the age of eighty should be allowed to play those games.

Friends tried to teach me Pinochle this evening, and it made my head hurt.  

Here at the old folks home we have taken a kids game, rummy, and dumbed it down until old folks, most of them, can play it.

Doesn't it get boring, playing a dumbed down kids game night after night? 

Oh, my Lord, yes.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Sam, the Giant

The United States is a slow moving giant, that can do anything, or crush anybody. But not quickly.

We put a man on the  moon, we overcame the awesome powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan combined, we ousted Hussein. But not quickly.  It took time.

We will relocate a whole cityful of people, house, and reestablish their way of life.  But not overnight.  Overnight we cannot even rescue them from the Superdome.

Maybe it is a good thing that we do not fly off in all directions when something bad happens.  After 9/11 we wanted to bomb SOMEBODY. Anybody would do. But big slow, moving Uncle Sam took his time, and then we annihilated Afghanistan.

But it would be helpful if we could move faster to help people with immediate needs. Katrina is not the last disaster we will experience. I am sure we will develop a disaster response plan.  But it will take time.

Irresponsible Media

I am curious about the televison networks. Last night regular programming was on. A whole city evacuating, tens of thousands homeless wandering looking for help, dozens, maybe hundreds, dead, and regular television scheduled?

They used to pre-empt the schedule to bring results of a local football game, but now, if you want to know what is going on, turn to  cable TV for CNN, or even C-SPAN.

The most powerful media, the networks, could be getting lost people together, directing rescue efforts, calming the paniced populace, reassuring, guiding.

Things have changed.