Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Insomnic Almanac Continued

Here I am at four a.m.  Alas.  Here at the old folks home they have started a bed-check every two hours.  The care giver opens the door, expecting to see me in bed.  Instead he sees me sitting at the computer.

"You okay, Chuck?"

"Okay, Glen."

He goes on his way.  We'll both have a nap this afternoon.  I didn't go bed until after midnight.  Lee Oskar was on David Letterman show last night.  I had to stay up to hear the foremost harmonica player around.  I have a Lee Oskar harmonica myself. He sounded great.

My talking watch grew weaker and weaker past week.  I went and bought a new battery.  I got the old battery out, but the tiny screws are just too tiny to replace after putting in the new battery.  They must have special tools when they assemble them. Since I could not get the back on, I secured the back with a clothes pin. I cannot wear it that way, so I cut the wrist band off and made a talking desk clock out of it...clothes pin and all.  Then I ordered a new talking watch online.

In fact, I ordered TEN.  I will wear one and sell the rest at cost to the others who live here.  We all need talking watches, our vision being so weak.  By ordering ten, I get them for $6.50 each.  I will soon be known as "The guy with the talking watches."  My last order was a mere six watches.  I sold them all, except the one I wore.

My first talking watch was free.  An impatient senior was frustrated with his watch because he "couldn't understand it."  The voice is a bit high pitched and nasal (although it has no nose). He threw it on the table and said, "Here.  Take it."  So I did, and wore it until its battery gave out.  The batteries last about two years, and I find, it is simpler to buy a new watch, at $6.50, than to buy a $1.95 battery and struggle to replace it. Viewed in that way, you might say the watch is $4.50 and the battery is free. I think... I have confused myself.

My talking "desk clock" is about to announce "It is five o'clock. AM" so I better get back in bed and see if I can sleep a couple more hours.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Up a Tree

Between Rain showers, I went out to the back courtyard for a breather.  It was completely deserted. Except...someone invisible said "hi". I looked around...nobody.  then  I looked UP.


There, fifty feet over my head was a tree trimmer at work with a hand saw.  He had a chain saw hanging from his belt.  At first I did not see him, but when he started down I could see him climbing down.


I used to climb trees when I was a kid.  I did it for fun.  I never thought of it as a way to make a living.  What a neat occupation.  Climb trees and get paid for it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Few More Sprouts


          A Few Days Ago                           Today, More Sprouts

A few days makes a difference in the rose bush we are watching.  A few more sprouts, mostly around the base of the bush.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Patrick's Sunday Seven - American Architecture

Patrick asks us to name our seven favorite pieces of American Architecture.

1. St. Louis Arch.  What a remarkable idea, and tricky to assemble.

2. Any of the many sports Domes.  Imagine a structure big enough to play football or baseball in.  I have never been in one.  I sure would like to.

3. Space Needle.  I have been in it.  In fact dined in it and the restaurant turned completely around.  During dinner we got views in all four directions. Beats the Top of the Mark in that way.

4. Empire State Building.  Was once the tallest building in the world.  Now they are taller, but this one has been around for over sixty years.  That makes it one of my favorites.

5.  That pointy office building in San Francisco...Occidental building? 

6.  The Golden Gate Bridge.  Another venerable stucture that has been around for some time.  Now there are longer, higher bridges, but one, and its companion the Oakland Bay Bridge are institutions.

7 Geodesic Dome houses.  Novel Idea..make houses round.

Another of Those Silly Profiles

I don’t like these silly profiles…Yet, here I am doing one. I guess they remind me of Junior High… We used to have “slam books”. They were part profile and part gossip. Anyhow here it is, and nobody “challenged” me to to do it.

1.How old will you be in five years?

2. Do you think you'll be married by then?
no way

3. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks?
George’s playing the piano. I can play my harmonica along with him. He comes twice a week, and play for a couple of hours. What a wonderful volunteer.

4. Where do you most want to travel?
Don/ want to go anywhere anymore. The trip I most regret not taking was an auto camping trip along the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis to the Pacific ocean. Historic and scenic. What a neat auto adventure. Most delightful travel I did take was an auto trip from Los Angeles to Massachusetts and back.

5. Who was the last person to call you?
My daughter. I do the calling, daily, to my Cousin Bertha…age 91, living alone. We chat for about half an hour a day.

6. Do you prefer to call or text?

7. Do you have any pets?
No longer, but have had lots of cats and one faithful Golden Retriever who went everywhere with me for fourteen years. He was a delight and kept me amused…even more than this journal.

8. What were you doing at 12am last night?
Had just gone to bed. Usually stay up week nights until 12:30 having watched David Letterman. On Letterman’s re-run nights I switch over to watch Leno.

9. Are your parents married/separated/divorced?
I am 82.…you guess.

10. When is the last time you seen/talked to your mom? Before she died. I talked…she was in a coma.

11. When was the last time you seen/talked to your dad?
1925, but I was less than a year old….didn’t say much.

Last time I talked to my step-dad was the night before he died. I told him I’d see him tomorrow.

12. How many states have you lived in?
California, Missouri, and in the Army, Kentucky

13. How many cities/towns have you lived in?
Beverley Hills, Westwood, Van Nuys, Northridge, Riverside, Topanga Canyon, Oxnard, Blue Springs Missouri, Merced. That is ten.

14. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet?
Shoes, that are pull on..light…almost like slippers.

15. What was the last thing you ate? Sausage. A friend dropped by and brought it. Just for a chat.

16. What is your favorite restaurant?
Sizzler, Chinese Buffet, Pizza Parlor, Hometown Buffet

17. What is your favorite type of food?

18. Do you like coffee?
Not particularly, but I drink it. It is the universally available beverage. I decided I’d better learn to drink it.

19. How many glasses of water a day do you drink on average?
About six, although I believe I felt better when I was drinking two quarts a day, every day.

20. What do you drink in the morning?
Coffee, orange juice, and water

21. Would you rather sleep with someone else or alone?
Would like a partner to fall asleep with…then like to be alone to sprawl and toss and turn without disturbing anyone.

22. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed?
Sleep in the middle of a twin bed nowadays.

23. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes, but a dumbed down version of rummy is what we seniors play…every single night.

24. Do you like to cuddle?
Oh, yes, but haven’t had the opportunity to do so for a long time.

25. Have you ever been to Canada?
A couple of day trips. Had to stay overnight in Vancouver when on way to Alaska

26. Do you eat out or at home more often?
Eat at the dining room of the old folks home where I live. Last dinner out was last month…Tepenyaki, Japanese cook fixes dinner right at your table and serves your dish from the grill to your plate with huge knives. The flames shoot up from the grill to the ceiling. spectacular

27. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you?
The guy who played Archie Bunker…ah..was born same day as I…August 2, 1924 Oh yes…Carroll O’Conner

28. Do you want kids?
The two I have, plus five grandchildren and one great-grandchild will do nicely, thank you.

29. Do you speak any other languages?
No, and regret it. My Grandson is a collector of languages…speaks several, mostly just for fun.

30. Have you ever gotten stitches or had surgery?
Oh yes, from the time I was a teen ager through world war II wounds, operations. Lots

31. What’s your favorite color?
Take a look at the text of this journal and guess.

32. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool?
A pool….somewhat heated, but large enough to explore. Ocean has creatures you have to share with, but I love the waves. I could body surf a tiny bit but never managed to ride a wave on a board.

I love boating, ocean or lake, but mostly stay in the boat.

33. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seats?
window seat, I like to see what we are passing through.

34. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?
That’s the way I learned. Stick shift on old 1930 seven passenger Packard. I had to transition to automatic when they first came out.

35. What is your favorite thing to spend money on?
Snacks, computer printer supplies, computer accessories. Musical gadgets and keyboards…I have three… in a two room apartment.

36. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7?
No, and though was married with a double ring ceremony, soon gave up the ring. Don’t want anything on my fingers or around my neck.

37. What is your favorite TV show?
Boston Legal, and Two and half Men. Those are the only two whose day and time I know. Everything else is whatever comes on, and make it good, because as soon as a commercial comes on, I will be off looking for another channel.

38. What is your favorite song?
Deep Purple, but I doubt you’ve ever heard of that one. Would like to listen to The In Crowd again.

39. What is the main ring tone on your phone?
Whatever came with the phone. Don’t know how to change it.

40. Do you still have anything from when you were little?
My baby book, with pictures of me as an infant and my pets and parents and such.

41. What is the color of your bedroom walls?
Institutional off-white…I think…I guess I could go look and give you a better answer. You can tell I don’t care much.

42. Do you like Winter or Autumn?
Autumn…..neither very much. Autumn means Winter is coming, and Winter days are too short. Like the long days of Summer, and I like Spring because it means Summer is coming

43. Do you sleep with your closet doors opened or closed?
Whatever they happen to be. I can’t imagine being so compulsive as to have to close or open a door before I go to sleep.

44. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
I thought about it for moment, but refuse to speculate. I don’t like this question at all. Would you rather be eaten by a shark or a tiger? It doesn’t matter

45. Do you flirt a lot?
Yes. I try to find something nice to say to the ladies. If you flirt a lot, sooner or later you will find someone who will flirt back, and if you find some who will flirt back, you will eventually find some who will respond seriously. Without flirting you would never find her.

46. What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
Honey mustard, ranch dressing, barbeque sauce. In a pinch, Ketsup will do.

47. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Don’t think so. Mostly tickets for Failure to heed signs, or unsafe lane changes. Haven’t had many in all my years of driving. Three or four at most.

48. Do you dance in the car?
I presume that question means “dance” in a car, which I suppose means screw. I have, but graduated to more civil means of making out.

49. If you could move to any state, where would you most want To move?
I live where I like best, but if I had to move…I liked Missouri, and I would like Hawaii.

50. Do you think anyone would care if you died?
I would. A lot of people would grieve briefly, but I would be soon forgotten. I am highly replaceable.

PS: Well, do you know me any better? You should also know I do not believe in any supernatural beings. I understand that there is more to life than we can know, but since we cannot know it, it is not worth worrying about. How time can be endless and how the universe started is a puzzle and what is beyond to most distant star is too.

Here on earth I try to treat animals and people the way I would like to be treated. That doesn’t mean that I don’t annoy them at all, but I regret it when I do. I eat some animals, and kill bugs just because they are bugs.

I have had a good life, and I am sorry I am closer to the end of it than to the beginning. I’d like to start over. Actually I don’t understand how I have got this old. I’ve done dangerous things and been shot at in anger. Yet, here I am.

Wekend Assignment #153 - Computer Bugs

Weekend Assignment #153: Share a story of true computer horror. Your computer blow up just before a big presentation? You forget to take down a compromising picture before the in-laws come over? Ever thought you were IMing with one person but in fact were IMing someone else? Share! You'll feel better. Really.

Extra Credit: So, ever actually hit your computer in frustration?

   Many many years ago, when computers were less complex and I was more sophisticated, and I had just up-graded my new TRS-80 Radio Shack computer from a 4 MB system to the new, grand 16 MB RAM, I noticed that from time to time I would get a missprint in my read out.

   Even though I was a better typist then than I am now, I thought maybe I was making typos and not realizing it.  So I blamed myself, not my TRS-80.  Yet, weird things happened from time to time.

   Eventually I noticed that when text scrolled past a certain spot on the screen it would change -- sometimes.  I finally pinned down that particular spot. Using a chart I figured out that a certain byte in the Screen Display was intermittent.  Further, by noting what it was changing the data FROM to TO, I was able to rationalize that the third bit of the 1653rd byte of the Screen Display was working and sometime not. 

   I took the computer back to Radio Shack and complained that "The third bit of the 1653rd byte of the Screen Display was intermittent."

   They looked at me as though I were nuts.  Nevertheless they took it back, replaced the chip with the ONE faulty transistor out of the hundreds of thousands on that chip, with a new chip.

   Case closed.

   Extra credit: Did you ever HIT your computer?  No, what I did to demonstrate that I actually knew what I was talking about was to carefully construct a sentence, which when scrolled up the faulty screen display, would prove my point by changing the text as itscrolled past the faulty transistor.

   The sentence I composed was: "On performing a vasectomy on a wealthy patient, be careful not to cut the patient's balls," said Dr. Moneybags.

   When that sentence scrolled past the faulty transistor, the text became a more honest  "On performing a vasectomy on a wealthy patient, be careful not to cut the patient's bills," said Dr. Moneybags.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I (Never) Promised You a Rose Garden

I counted.  We have sixty-five rose bushes around the old folks home.  I last showed you the last roses of summer.

Then they were pruned 'way back.  Now, all sixty-five, as though they had scheduled a reunion, have sprouted tiny little sprigs on the trimmed back stubs.

They seem to have all come out on the same day.  Isn't that something? Here's a snap of one of them, with one tiny sprig starting to grow.  Stay tuned... I will try to remember to take them regularly as they grow.  It will be the next best thing to time lapse photos of the flowering.

More Words

Attention Valerie

Here are some more fascinating words.

Obelisk.  Those tall pointy structures of which the Washington Monument is one

Anile.  The aging phenomenon in women... called "senile" in men.

Estivation.  A summer sleep of animals to escape the heat.  The opposite of Hibernation, a winter period of suspended animation.

(LOL...the spell check objected to anile and estivation.. too unusual for it, I guess.)

Some Things Never Change

When I was teaching, we teachers would gather at a nice restaurant with a bar, on Fridays after work. Our TGIF relaxation would last a couple of hours.  Then the married teachers would wend their way home for supper, and the single teachers would re group or pair off for other pleasures of the singles sort.

Now, my Grandson teaches guitar for a living.  He and his fellow music teachers gather after work on Fridays at a nearby Mexican restaurant, bringing their instruments, and have a "jam" session.  There they play for free tacos and tips. What they do after...well, it is probably the same as we did.

Some things never change.  But others do.

A real Grandfather would go an listen, but I passed.  Grandson says "You wouldn't like our kind of music."  He calls it Techno-jazz. 

His dad, my son-in-law, is a musician too, He at least knows who Cole Porter and Irving Berlin were, and he knows what pleases the "older generation."  Ah, George and Ira Gershwin, we miss you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Photo Round Robin - Something Red.

My belated entry into the Photo Round Robin: Topic "Something Red".

Herewith, my 92 year old cousin Bertha, who still has her red hair.  She doesn't color it.  She attributes its retaining its color due the the fact that she is a "vegetarian". What that has to do with hair color she does not explain.

             COUSIN BERTHA, AGE 92

Cousin Bertha lives alone and takes care of herself.  She finds life "lonely", but loves her independence.  She depends on friends to drive her to market and church.

She said this morning, "Oh I can't call myself a vegetarian anymore."  She bought a can of tuna, a can of sardines, and a can of salmon.  And she eats eggs.  A real vegetarian would not, she says.

She takes NO pills - hates them. 

Oh, I must be honest.  This picture was taken when she was a mere 88 years old.

PS...She opened the tuna and tasted it.  She didn't like it, so she put it out for the cat.   I suspect the sardines may feed the cat, too.

The Little Things

It is the LITTLE things that offend me.  Not much, but some.  And it is only because I am older.  They shouldn't bother me at all.  They are of NO consequence. But, yep, they get my goat... a little.  Not enough for me to complain out loud...except to you, right here, in confidence.

The resident who wears his hat in the dining room is one.  And he falls asleep at the table and his face falls into his food.  Wearing a hat indoors is his custom, and because it is not mine, should not offend me.

The fact that care givers and food servers wear JEANS on "casual Friday" is annoying.  They look me, that is.  Dress standards have changed...anyone can wear jeans now... bankers, waitresses, tv guests.  How come I cannot go with the flow?

The fact that some nice old ladies cannot leave their rooms even to stroll the halls without locking their doors and carrying their purses.  Now what earthly difference is it to me if they carry their purses.  Except is is our HOME, and they carry their purses with them to the dining room for gosh sakes.

Residents with scooters go too fast.  No one has been bumped or hurt.  Scooters stop on a dime, but I still think that anything faster than a slow walk is too fast for a scooter.  But it is none of my business.

The kitchen staff laughs and sings in the kitchen and plays the radio.  Well, it is their work place...they're stuck here eight hours a day, and they like to laugh and listen to the radio.  What difference is that to me.  And Oh, those clattering me.  and the Ice maker that whines a thousand cycle note twenty four hours a day.  Makes my hearing aids howl in resonance.  Offensive.

My table mate complains about everything...and reminds us how inadequate the food is for what we are paying.  and she argues and contradicts everything I say...even when I agree with her.  Very annoying.  She compares our old folks home with a prison.  That offends me too, because i like it here.

My it is annoying to me to be so cranky.  Never mind what things I do that may annoy others, we're talking about what annoys ME now...not the other way around. I think it is petty to be so petty

It is just, that when you are old, there are SO MANY little things.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Round Two

Another complaint about the same thing.  I complained before about the Veteran's Administraion charging my insurance co, Blue Cross, for an office visit I made for treatment of my eyes.  In 1943, in combat, I stepped on a land mine and it blew up in my face.  I lost one foot and one eye and had sand blown into the other.  That is a service connected disability. 

But now when I go for eye exam, they charge my insurance co, and ultimately me, for the visit. It doesn't seem fair.

I reported the situation to Blue Cross and the representative did not seem concerned about it.  "You had treatment.  Of course we pay for the treatment."  Oh, well.  Somebody is getting screwed, and I think it is the insurance company.

Furthermore, the Veteran's Administration has made THREE claims for the same visit.  One for "surgery", one for examination, and one for treatment.

All together the VA is getting only $36,,,but what the hey...?


Here it is: Lent

I am not a religious person, so Lent has no significant spiritual meaning, but here is a specified period of time, forty days, set aside to accomplish some purpose.  What activity could one do, or not do, for a forty day stint, that would be interesting, beneficial, healthy, or fun?

What indulgence could I "give up for Lent" that would be worth the effort?  Dessert?   I sometimes skip dessert anyway, that wold not be a special event.  Wine, Women, Song.  I could do without them for forty days, except, I already do.

Maybe joining the exercise program at the old folks home would be beneficial.... and I could endure it, if I knew it would be over in forty days.  Hmm...sounds too much like WORK.

There seems to be nothing I want to give up for forty day, and nothing I want to undertake for forty days, so this Lent will pass, like past Lents as phenomenon that other people practice.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Vice Presidents Quiz

Here’s a really, really tough history quiz. VICE PRESIDENTS. After each President’s name are the initials of his Vice President. See how many you can name.

Scoring: If you name any more than the vice-presidents who became presidents, give yourself an A+. If you take the quiz at all. give yourself an A, unless you are a history major. We hold folks who hold BA degrees in history to a higher standard. But no one who has read this far gets less than a B.

Let‘s go…

George Washington‘s Vice President was John Adams.

Adams Vice President was Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson‘s first VP was Aaron Burr

Jefferson‘s second VP was George Clinton

Madison‘s first VP was George Clinton (same guy)

Madison‘s second VP was Eldridge Gerry (Think Gerrymandering)

Monroe‘s VP was Daniel Tompkins

John Q, Adams VP was John Calhoun

Jackson‘s first VP was the same John Calhoun

Jackson‘s second VP was next Pres: Martin Van Buren.

Van Buren’s VP was Richard Johnson

Harrison’s VP for 41 days was John Tyler

Tyler’s VP was None (Gotcha)

Polk’s VP was George Dallas

Taylor’s VP was next Pres, Millard Fillmore

Fillmore had no VP

Pierce’s VP was William King

Buchanan’s VP was John Breckenridge

Lincoln’s VP was Andrew Johnson

Johnson had no VP

Grant’s first VP was Schyler Colfax

Grant’s second VP was Henry Wilson

Hayes’ VP was William Wheeler

Garfield’s VP was next Pres: Chester Arthur

Arthur had no VP

Cleveland’s VP was Thomas Hendricks

Harrison’s VP was Levi Morton

McKinley’s first VP was Garret Hobart

McKinley’s second VP was next Pres: Teddy Roosevelt

Roosevelt’s VP was Charles Fairbanks

Taft’s VP was James Sherman

Wilson’s VP was Thomas Marshall

Harding’s VP became next Pres: Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge’s VP was Charles Dawes

Hoover’s VP was Charles Curtis

Roosevelt’s first was John Garner

Roosevelt’s second was Henry Wallace

Roosevelt’s third became next Pres: Harry Truman

Truman’s VP was Alben Barkley

Eisenhower’s VP was Richard Nixon

Kennedy’s VP was Lyndon Johnson

Johnson’s VP was Hubert Humphrey

Nixon’s first VP resigned: Spiro Agnew

Nixon appointed VP Gerald Ford

Ford appointed VP Nelson Rockefeller

Carter’s VP was Walter Mondale

Reagan’s VP was next Pres: George H. Bush

Bush’s VP was Dan Quayle

Clinton’s VP was Al Gore

George W. Bush’s VP is Dick Cheyney

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Little Known Presidential Facts -- or Fiction

Some people are doubting the veracity of my presidentail facts in the entry below.  Hmmm.  Here are some more, and you can vote for yourselves...fact or fiction.

Martha Washington once refused to spend a night in the White House because they wouldn't let her stay in the Lincoln Bedroom. Fact or Fiction? Answer drag your cursor over this space >> Fiction, she refused to stay overnight in the White House because the curtains looked like table cloths.

President Ford rode to his inauguration in a Lincoln and President Lincoln rode to his inauguration in a Ford (a carriage built by Henry Ford's grandfather.)  Fact or Fiction?  Answer drag your cursor over this space >> Fiction. President Ford drove a Chevy.

George Washington called the Washigton Monument "An Ugly Obelisk".  Fact or Fiction.Answer drag your cursor over this space >>  Fiction.  He thought it was beautiful.

Happy Presidents' Day

Little known facts for Presidents' Day.

Although President Taft weighed 350 pounds, he never ate more than two pancakes for breakfast.



President Buchanan, the only bachelor president, used to have Under Secretary of State Seward sew buttons on his shirts.  They later became known as Seward's Follies.

Zachary Taylor, 12th president, was youngest of 13 children named in succeeding alphabetical order starting with Nate (Nathaniel) and Olivia.  When they reached the end of the alphabet, his parents decided to stop having children.

Although they were dirt poor during his childhood, Lincoln's family owned a slave named Bill.  Bill used to split rails for the family.  Bill was disgusted when Abe took credit for all the split rails, calling himself the "Rail Splitter", dropped his axe and took off for the free states.  Lincoln hated slavery from that day on, and became a champion for emancipation.

Grover Cleveland, a president who was 22nd and 24th president, used the four years between his terms tatting afghans. He said it relaxed him and steadied his nerves.  The sale of autographed afghans helped finance his run for a second term, which succeeded.

President Franklin Roosevelt installed an indoor swimming pool in the White House.  He and Winston Churchill used to "skinny dip" together. That is how the United States got involved in WWII. Their most important swim was called "HT-day" (Hot Tub Day) when they planned D-day together.

Bill and Hilliary Clinton used to sun bathe in a roof top garden on top of the White House.  Secret Service men used to draw lots to see who would get Solarium Service

William Jennings Bryan ran for president eleven times because he said, "It was fun."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More Hash

I have been asked what "Hash" is.  Since I love it so, I am elected its spokesman.

The Hash I love is corned beef, potatoes, onions, pulverized and cooked on griddle together.  But the term "hash" is geneally applied to any mixture of left-overs, tossed together,and cooked for breakfast.

And "hash-browns" are potato bits fried to a toasty brown and served with eggs and bacon and sausage.  Toast or French Toast go well with hash too.

Speaking of breakfast, how do you like Eggs Benedict?  Served with champagne they make a wonderful Sunday morning brunch.

In fact, it is hard to beat eggs in any form for breakfast.  They come fried, either up or over, scrambled, omelet, shirred, soft-boiled, Benedict, and poached.  I am told that duck eggs, turtle eggs, and ostrich eggs are good too, but excuse me, I will pass.  Does anyone eat turkey eggs?

Presidents' Day Quiz

Here’s a quiz for President’s Day. Name the Forty Three presidents. I have given you a hint for each, and even left a couple of landmarks to help you get the right order. Drag your cursor over the blank space to show the name if you get stuck.

1 WASHINGTON       First President

2 ADAMS                Father of 6th Presdident

3 JEFFERSON          Louisana Purchase

4 MADISON           War with England

5 MONROE            Doctrine

6 J.Q. ADAMS       Son of 2nd President

7 JACKSON           Stonewall

8 VAN BUREN      Self educated

9 HARRISON      41 days in office

10 TYLER          Tippicanoe, #10 Too

11 POLK           Gold Rush days

12 TAYLOR      Died in office

13 FILLMORE   Last of 4 Whig pres.

14 PIERCE       Gadsden purchase

15 BUCHANAN Only Bachelor

16 LINCOLN     Emancipated slaves

17 JOHNSON    Was impeached

18 GRANT       Civil war general

19 HAYES       “Stole” election 1876

20 GARFIELD  Assassinated

21 ARTHUR    Took over for #20

22 CLEVELAND Non-consecutive terms

23 HARRISON       Same name as #9

24 CLEVELAND     Same as #22

25 McKINLEY       Assassinated

26 ROOSEVELT    Bully Rough Rider

27 TAFT             Weighed 350 pounds

28 WILSON        World War I

29 HARDING      VP when #28 died

30 COOLIDGE     Silent Cal

31 HOOVER        Depression started

32 ROOSEVELT   Elected four times

33 TRUMAN       Fired Gen MacArthur

34 EISENHOWER      WWII general

35 KENNEDY           Assassinated

36 JOHNSON         VP when #35 died

37 NIXON              Resigned

38 FORD               Appointed President

39 CARTER            Peanut farmer

40 REAGAN          Movie actor

41 BUSH            Father of President

42 CLINTON         Impeached

43 BUSH             Son of #41

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six - game shows


Patric asks: (<-< Link)

1. Take the quiz: What game show host are you?

The quiz said Alec Trebek.  He is one my favorites.  I like Howie Mandel best right now. He is calm and fair. He doesn't belittle contestants, but you know he must be thinking, "Take the deal, you idiot. You're betting twenty thousand real dollars on a long shot. How can you do that? You came in here poor, and you're gambling away a fortune."

2. What game show do you think you would be best as playing? Jeopardy, but that doesn't mean I would be any good at it.  I rarely beat the contestants, though I often know the answers...just can call em up that fast.

3. What game show do you think you would be worst at playing? Deal or No Deal.  I could not bet any real money on those long-shots.

4. Have you ever applied or auditioned as a contestant for any game show? If so, which one? My family and I went to an audition for Family Feud.  It was fun.  We played a practice game against another family. But I got so rattled I gave silly answers, even about my job.  Also I forgot that you were supposed to give the most popular answer to simple questions...not your own personal opinion.  For example the question was "If you could sleep as late as you wanted, what time would you get up?"  I thought "I can sleep as late as I want and I get up at six" so I said "six".  Dumb dumb...the most popular answer was something like nine or ten.

5. If you had to apply or audition for a game show, which one would you most likely choose? Deal or No Deal... and if I got on I would grab the first suitcase of money and quit.  One Against One Hundred would not do for me.  They ask questions about popular songs or current celebrities and I would have no idea.

6. If you found out you had to host a game show, which one would do you know well enough that you could actually host? Not One Against One Hundred...the rules are too complicated.  Deal or No deal has easiest rules...but I might blurt out advice..."take the money and run, Numbnuts." 

Corn Flake Saturday

A sign upon the Breakfast hall,

Says there is no Hash at all.

What always makes my spirits crash?

No Hash



Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Tug of War with an Elephant

I used to work summers as a ticket taker for the Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles.  During breaks and lunch we had time to stroll through the zoo and get acquainted with the animals.

Joyce was a nice old lady who happened to be an Indian Elephant.  Joyce is not an Indian name I know and I wonder how she got it. The animals were separated from the public by a high chainlink fence. Later the zoo was modernized and Joyce and friends got a nice fence-free compound.  But in those days Joyce used to drape her trunk over the high fence and wait for visitors to offer her peanuts.

My zoo uniform included a Safari type pith sun helmet which made us look like Frank Buck in old Sepia toned travelogues of India and Africa.  So, dressed in the Safari mode I strolled one day by the elephant compound, Joyce held her trunk over the fence and said, "Hey, Chuck, are you going to eat all those peanuts by yourself, or are going to share with a starving elephant?" 

What could I do?  I emptied my bag of peanuts into the helmet and held it high so Joyce could reach it with her trunk.

WHOOSH.  The peanuts disappeard into Joyce with her first inhale.  Then with the prehensile finger on the end of her trunk, Joyce grabbed the lining of the helmet.  She had decided she wanted a taste of pith helmet too.

Now I was engaged in a tug of war with an elephant. I clutched my hat, and so did the elephant.  Guess who was stronger.  Joyce would not let go, nor did I,  I would have ended up in the elephant compound if the lining of the helmet had not come loose. 

I returned to work with a tattered hat.  What Joyce did with her trophy I do not know.  Ate it perhaps.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Curous Coincidence

On 2/14 I weighed 214.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Growing Up

The San Fernando Valley, a suburb or Los Angeles, CA, was a good place to grow up.  Summers were hot and we could spend our vacations barefooted in old cords or gym shorts.  It was just rural enough so we lived on 3 acres.  There was plenty of room to dig holes, make forts, ride bikes.

We were close enugh to the beach to make several trips per summer.  In fact, we camped at the beach for several weeks one summer, our parents taking turns spending a week each with us. The Valley was close enough to do that.

We were close enough to Hollywood to go the movies the famous Grauman's Chinese theater; the one with the stars footprints in the cement. Our football team played Hollywood High.  A few movie stars lived in the valley and you saw a celebrity from time to time.  We had to idle the car while Liberachi crossed the street in the pedestrian zone. Larraine Day and Leo Durocher came to our house looking for their lost dog. We drove past Ruby Keeler's and Paul Muni's houses daily. (Remember them? They were celebrities in those days.)

Alas we had no pool, but the "plunge" was within walking distance. And we could fill a hole in the back yard with water and play in the mud puddle resulting. There was a row on chicken houses, and when there were no chickens in them, they made neat play houses for cops and robbers using rubber band shooting hand guns.  "Now, be careful, you could put someone's eye out," said Grandmother.  Getting hit with a rubber band, made out of old inner tube was like a slap in the face, but no one lost an eye.

When I got older, one chicken house was converted to a dark room and I learned photography there.  There was a huge fig tree outside my bedroom window, and I used to slip out my window at night and climb the fig tree in my birthday suit.

We never saw snow nor threw a snowball unless we drove for hours to the mountains.  But we had rain...and floods...and an earthquake or two.  Our high school was large...well, the junior and high were both on one campus.  Most of us rode bikes or walked, or took the bus.  A lucky few, very few had cars.  No one used a skateboard. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell and Bob Waterfield went to that high school.  Jane Russell was in a senior class play.  Waterfield went on the play a bit of pro football, I believe.  Marilyn Monroe's first husband was the student body president. 

In WWII we "blacked out" at night so there would be no glow in the sky to show Japanese submarines or aircraft where the city was nor illuminate the friendly cargo ships just off the coast. Our senior prom was held in the afternoon so everyone could be home before dark. Grandfather was an air raid warden and the counsel for the draft board. Grandmother went regularly to a closed room in city hall that connected with all the aircraft spotters stationed around the valley.  No enemy planes were ever spotted, but at least, we were ready. The famous P-38 fighter planes were first tested over the Valley from Van Nuys airport.  We watched the secret F-80s, the first fighter jets, being trucked, covered with tarps, past our front door from the Lockheed factory to Van Nuys airport. 

I was reared in the valley and lived most of my life in the valley. I am not sorry a bit that I am not an urbane New Yorker or Chicagan.  Washington DC ruled us and Detroit sent us our cars but we had room to learn to drive 'em in the back roads of the valley.

Did I mention we had orange trees in the front yard.  You wanted an orange, you went out and PICKED IT OFF THE TREE.

What's the Big Idea? Doodles?

Here's an idea.  When I have no idea for my journal, just print one of my doodles.  Here are some past examples, starting with "Imp" from yesterday.



Your Artistic Blogger,  Chuck.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another Doodle --Imp

Just another one of my doodles.  No particular story.

More About Valentine Candy Hearts

I was sitting across the table from two genteel and proper ladies at a church social.  One picked up one of the valentine candy hearts and read the slogan.  She gasped and turned to her friend. 

"This has got to be a misprint, don't you think?"

The other lady read the slogan, giggled and said, "Oh, MY, yes," and popped it in her mouth.

None of the rest of us got to see what the embarrassing candy said.

Patrick's Sunday Seven -- Candy Hearts

Come up with seven messages, naughty or nice (but not too naughty!), that you'd like to see printed on those heart-shaped Valentine's Day candies.








Saturday, February 10, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six

Patrick asks us....(<- Link)

1. A friend arrives from out of town and wants to go to dinner at a nice locally-owned restaurant: where would you take her? One of the chains, say Applebee's or House of Pies, or a special treat would be the Chinese restaurant featuring Japanese cuisine cooked right at your table, with flames jumping to the ceiling, and the chef weilding knives and serving your plate right from the large grill in front of you... called Tepenyaki.  Benihana's does Tepenyaki

2. Your friend then says he wants to learn something about the history of your city: where would you take him first? Out to the lake to see the walls built by Chinese manual labor over a hundred years ago.  They still mark the boundaries of old estates.  And the bridge under which the swallows come to nest each year... on the same specific date.  How do they know that?

3. Does your current hometown have any specific kind of weather threats (i.e., tornado alley, etc.) or natural disaster threats (i.e., earthquake faults, volcanic activity) that concerns you? All of Califonia is riddled with earthquake faults.  We live near the famous San Andreas fault, the caused the San Francisco quake and fire.  I might run a friend over to see remnants of thoses quakes.

4. Take the quiz: What city shares your personality? Boston... well, why not.  I loved it.

5. Have you ever visited this city or lived there before? Yes, visited.  Loved the historic flavor.  Liked walking where John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Paul Revere walked.

6. Based on what you know about that city, either firsthand or from others, do you think it would be a good fit for you? Do you think it would be a better fit than the

city in which you now live? No, not likely.  I am a California boy.  New England would not be to my liking.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

On Sale -- Fpr Rea;

Most "sales" aren't really bargains.  Merchants knock off a little bit of their profit margin and call it a "sale".  Sometimes they merely bring prices down to what they ought to be from their ghastly inflated prices.

Today the local Merwyns had a real sale.  Prices were down to a quarter or less of the usual mark.  So I scooted to the mall (between rain showers).  Trouble is, I wasn't the only one who knew about that sale.  Everyone in town was there, loading up with all they could carry.  On my scooter I could barely get through the crowds, and I couldn't get near the counters piled high with goods.  I finally found one shirt my size that I would have liked.  It was a $24 dollar shirt marked down to $6.  I could have saved $18,  Wow.

But the line at the cashier was so long that I decided not to wait.  How long would you stand in line if they were PAYING you $18, I asked myself. So, even though I sit (on my scooter) while I am "standing" in line, I decided not to buy.  I laid the shirt on a nearby counter and scooted out.  "I didn't want that shirt, anyway," I told myself.

As long as I was there, I thought I might as well go to the drug store for sardines, diet seven-up, and "c" cells.  Alas, they were out of sardines in oil, seven-up was no less than the local market, and C cells were over two dollars each.  I left empty handed.

It was a good to get out for a while.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot -- Someone's Eyes

John Scalzi in By the Way asks us to shoot someone's eyes, put them in our journal and post a link in his blog.

Here are my eyes.  One real and one prosthetic.  I'm not telling which is which.  The prosthesis was one of the best  had ever had and was made by the technician at Vetran's Administration in San Francisco -- a real artist.

Eventually my physiology changed and it had to be replaced.  The replacement lacks expression and reality, but I am not showing that one.

Your Blogger Has a "Senior" Moment

ME:  (All friendly cordiality and friendly foo-fa-raw to new male resident.) Hi, Tony, my name is Chuck.

RESIDENT: (Shaking my hand) Call me Gerry.

Gerry is a female, and has lived here for about three years. 

Monday, February 5, 2007

Rap Song of Residents' Names


1. I went around an copied the names of all 93 residents off door plates.

2. I made a list of first names

3. I sorted first names by number of syllables

4. I sorted each list by which syllable was accented

5. I sorted each accented list by sound of final consonant

6. I put the sorted names into a song

7. I checked the song to see that everyone was included…once.

8. I selected music for the song

9. I played music, and sang the song

10. I recorded the song

11. I played the recording for residents

12. Nobody cared.

Rap song of residents' names...a work in progress.

Who Lives Here

Margaret, Margaret, Margaret, Margaret, Margaret, Margaret

Lorene, Loraine, Loraine, Loraine,

Colleen, Nadine, Gordon, Helen, Byron, Herman, John, John

Agnes, Annis, Ardis, Doris, Lois, Louis, Lucy, Iris, Inis, Grace, Grace

Anna, Darla, Clara, Donna, Edna, Emma Ilah, Inga, Myrla, Thelma, Vera

Lydia, Wilma, Wilma, Paulina. Heidi, Mary, Mary, Maurice,

Betty, Minnie, Tony, Tony, Shirley, Frankie, Jennie, Gerry, Peggy

Chuck, Frank, Mark, Jim, Kay, Kay, Fay

Earl, Pearl, Blanche, Ruth, Ruth, Ted, Bob

Rachel, Gertrude, Ethel, Esther, Elbert, Charlotte, Charles

Barbara, Dorothy, Dorothy, Eleanor, Anita, Alvira, Eugenia

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Photo Round Robin -- Topic: COLD

Photo Round Robin.

I saw some birds flitting around the bare trees.  They were wild and crazy, so I thought it must be courting time.  Since there was no place to hide, I think Ms. Bird got impregnated, so that, as Mrs Bird she would soon be building a nest...a tough chore when you are pregnant.  So Sprng has reached Merced, same as Puncsutawny, PA.

But while the rest of you are suffering in the cold, the only way I can photo shoot some "cold", is by going. (through the rain) to Starbucks, for an iced treat.

Topic:  COLD

Trivia Contest

If you'd like to enter a really tough trivia contest, the tournament by Kellen O'Grady  (<<link) may be for you. It will start Feb 20, 2007, but you have to register beforehand.

I think I knew ONE of the Twenty questions in the last contest, and was able to look up or Google a couple of others.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six - Superbowl

Patrick asks us to answer the questions and post a link at his site.
1. Who's going to win the Super Bowl?
2. Have you been invited to any Super Bowl parties? (Or are you throwing your own?) Yep, right here at the old folks home.  With snacks.  I even made up some team songs...stole the tunes from college teams.

3. If you were invited, would you go, even if you hate football? I may go.

4. Have you ever thrown a party focused on a television program? No but we used to pause parties to watch George Gobel (remember him) when he was "hot".

5. If you were given free tickets to the Super Bowl, would you attend? Why or why not? Sure, if it was held here in my town.

6. Do you worry about security at such an event? Would those worries prevent you from attending or in any way make you less likely to attend? No, can't let terrorists stop us from living.... but if there were warnings from local law enforcement...that would be different

Thursday, February 1, 2007

XLI According to SI


Sports Illustrated has a curious point of view about the Superbowl game coming up.  They feature it as a personal contest between Bears defensive linebacker Brian Urlacher and Colts quarterback Payton Manning.

No mention that when the Bears have the ball, the same confrontation will occur between their quarterback and the Colts defensive linebacker, whomever they may be.  Their names are not mentioned, nor is it suggested that their contributions may be important.

Because of this curious coverage, I will be watching with special interest when the Bears have the ball.

Sunday, about dinner time in California.

National Holiday - Tomorrow

Pay attention:  All eyes on Western Pennsyvania tomorrow, Feb 2, 2007.  Panic, PA,? No. Desire, Harmony, Stump Creek, no. Ugly Run creek? No.

Punxsutawny.  The groundhog comes out of his hibernation.  (Is dragged out, actually.) According to traditon, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he does not, presumably there will be mild weather until Spring.

This grand event  (<<Link) will be webcast at SEVEN AM, (EST). The sun doesn't come up until 7:15, so they will be dragging poor Phil, the groundhog, out of his burrow before dawn.  That is four AM in California...I may miss the event, alas.

I love Groundhog Day.  I will join you later.