Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - On Hold

Contrary to my change today.

My Proposed Money

The US Treasury, having failed in its effort to wean us from the penny, which costs more to produce than its face value, is now trying, again, to get us to use dollar coins which are more durable than paper dollars that must be replaced after a few months use.

The silver CARTWHEEL dollar was heavy and awkward to carry. The last of those had a picture of President Eisenhower on it. 

Then they brought out the Susie dollar.  Small and octagonal, it should have done the trick, but the public is fickle.  Susan B. Anthony was the portrait on that dollar.

When that failed to catch on, they brought out the Sacajawea dollar.  Gold and light weight, it should have become the standard and replaced the dollar bill, but it didn't.

Now the treasury has brought out the George Washington Dollar coin.  It is gold plated, larger and thinner than a quarter, and its fate is unknown.  One of these is pictured below, on the left, with a quarter, a nickle,  the long lasting penny, and a dime..

My proposal is to eliminate the penny, the nickle, and the quarter.  Make only dimes, dollars, and five dollar coins.  In in order to get people to stop using bills...quit printing bills.

My proposed coins would be as shown... concentic circles, each one made from the same blank.  They could be minted as one coin and puinched apart to make fives, ones, and dimes.  They could be coined from durable steel and last a lifetime.

Merchants would have to price things in even dime amounts, and would have to include the taxes within the price so pennies would not be needed.

There.  I have saved the government billions of dollars.  I am waiting for my thank yous.

Friday, March 30, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - Rosebud

Our rosebud is busting to be open.  Tomorrow has got to be the day.

And look at our twig.  It is a bush, and has its first blossom on the lower right.  But it is not PINK... it is red... a red, red rose

Meanwhile on a nearby bush... the first of the flowers in the garden.  Our twig did not win the derby, but it is going to be beautrful, just the same..


Ho Hum, Another Million Dollars

How can a million dollars be boring?

Attach it to another television quiz game.  Offer a million dollars to some lucky bastard if he can answer ten questions in a row.  (Don't worry...he can't.)

When Who Wants to be a Millionaire started on television, we were in awe.  A MILLION DOLLAR prize. But getting it was another story.  It was weeks before someone actually captured a million.  The questions were tricky, and hard. Getting the prize took skill, brains, and good luck.  We watched and the show was such a success that it soon had a bunch of imitators.

The race was on.  Who can give the biggest prize...and buy a larger audience.  Larger audience means costlier commercials and more loot for the producer, who can now afford to give even bigger prizes.

Quiz games used to offer prizes up to $64.  The "sixty four dollar question" became a metaphor for difficult queries.  Then television bumped it up to the "Sixty Four thousand dollar question"  That was so hard that they had to give the contestants the answers ahead of time.

Jeopardy rambles on with questions worth from one hundred to one thousand dollars each.  Contestants usually win about twenty thousand dollars. 

Deal or No Deal offers a million dollars, and a chance, should you make TWENTY FIVE correct guesses, to flip double or nothing.  I am waiting to see some idiot gamble a million dollars on the flip of a coin.

Guess which mystery guest is a rodeo clown and win a million dollars. The state lottery is on television, giving fifty million some nights. Answer trivia questions better than a panel of one hundred experts and win a million dollars. A million dollars is not what it used to be.

Poker tournaments online show players risking millions on the turn of a card.  There may be some skill involved, but the cards are still shuffled and dealt at random (I suppose)

But now there is a new million dollar game.  Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader.  Jeff Foxworthy asks selected adults to confront a fifth grade class and answer ten questions from the grade school curriculum.  Reward, the usual million dollars. 

Result: nobody can.  Last night questions were simple, and the contestants simple minded.  The hardest part of games was pretending to struggle finding the answers.  Question" How many moons does Mars have?  Contestant had to ask for help.  Answer: two.  She had guessed none, but was allowed to stay and proceed to seek the million. 

Next question: How many feet in a mile.  She had to pretend to struggle with this one..."ah ah, over five thousand...ah...two hundred eighty comes to mine..but so does two hundred twenty...ah I "lock in" 5280."  Great cheers from the audience.

It is a simple game, and fun to see if you can answer grade school questions, but lord, it is so SLOW.  Every grade school question is treated as if is the mystery of life...dragged out and discussed endlessly.  I never found out if the contestant won her million dollars, and I don't care... I went for a bath instead.  Million dollar prizes have become HO HUM.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nice Trip to the Store

The best part of going to the store yesterday was riding my scooter into this view.  What a day.

The worst part was paying 3.99 for a pound of cheese, when  the cost per pound, if I could buy FOUR pounds was only 2.25. I loaded up with tomato and pineapple juice.  Got some crackers.  Ready for late night snacks.


I Promised You a Rose Garden - Bursting at the Seams

Our rosebud, as seen through 99 cent store reading glasses, is bursting at the seams.  It can't be much longer....

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More About Alida

Remember my Great great great grandmother Alida Wyncoop? We have seen her 150 year old charcoal on parchment portrait.  She appears to be about sixty years old.

Now from my Cousin we have a photo portrait, taken in 1890 on her 90th birthday.  She is thirty years  older, but looking as proud and stern as ever.  Alas, the little half-smile she wore at age sixty is missing.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Since You Asked...

Since you asked...

Where did your great great grandmother's surname originate, Chuck?
Comment from
pharmolo - 3/27/07 4:48 PM

Alida Wyncoop born Aug 31, 1801 to JamesWynkoop and Cathalena Dunbar

James Wynkoop was born  March 8, 1759 to Jacobus Wynkoop and Alda Myers.

Jacobus Wynkoop was born March 3, 1725 to Benjamin Wynkoop and Femmetje Vanderpool

Benamin Wynkoop was born Sept 8 1673 to Cornelius Wynkoop and Maria Langedyck in Albany New York.

Cornelius Wynkoop was born in 1641 to Peter Wynkoop.

But where great great great great great great great grandfather Peter got  his surname, I do not know.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Monday, March 26, 2007

MyGreat Great Grand mother

Digitized a picture of my grandfathers grandmother for sending to family member.  So, as long as it is available, I post it for you to see. No special reason. 

Here is Alida Wynkoop of Warsaw, New York.  Date unknown but around civil war times.(Mrs. James C. Ferris)

I Promised You a Rose Garden - The Preemie

I saw my first rose today...  Not on OUR rose bush, but nearby.

It was a poor scraggly blossom of undetermined color, that was wilting as fast as it was blooming.  I expect more from OUR bush.

In fact, I scarcely knew whether to take its picture or go find an incubator for the poor little preemie.

Meanwhile in the back yard, a lilac tree is doing its best to uphold the traditions of spring.

Not germane to the garden news...but the old bus that sat in the back parking lot is gone.... I know not where.  The parking lot looks naked without the bus that has sat there for three years.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - Almost

The little bare twig I showed you first a mere month ago, is now a tall green rose bush with buds...several of them.  The first bud we viewed a week ago is beginning to split at the seams.  It show a tiny streak of color, pink I believe.

I think the first bud we saw will be the first to bloom, and it looks like it about to burst open.  Hmm...the next picture you see of this series may be a flower.  Stay tuned.

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For Whom the Bells Toll

I live in an old folks home.  It is called "assisted living"..

A short time ago, as we remember it, we were independent, real people, who earned a living, kept a house, fed ourselves and our children  our grandchildren even.  We dressed ourselves, we drove, we shopped, we went to movies, even R rated ones if we chose.

Now we merely gather three times a day and someone prepares and brings us food.  It is like magic.  We sit, and food magically appears on the table before us.  We don't have to think how that happens...usually.  What humans are back there in the kitchen serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

What if...those humans, being human, have events small or large, that prevent their coming to feed US?  What if they are busy feeding themselves or their children?  What happens to US? Alas, today we found out.

Only ONE cook and ONE servers showed up to feed the EIGHTY of us.  You know what cups remained unfilled, some people got oatmeal and some got nothing, waits were interminable.  So eighty of us, who used to take care of ourselves and others, were suddenly HELPLESS. HEAVENS! Without a waiter we may starve.

So what happened?

Some waited patiently and said nothing.  I am proud to say I was silent, though just how patient I was, I will not state.  Others grumbled and complained loudly. "That table was served, and we have nothing." And one even got up and walked into the kitchen to complain to the cook.  That did no good, complaining to the cook who DID show up, about the cook that DID NOT.  Just slowed things even more.

Eventually everyone got something to eat...I think.  But the morning adventure made me helpless we are, we who once were able to take care of ourselves and others.  We who ran the utilities, the airlines, fought the wars, governed the nation, can scarcely find our own food. 

Those of you who are living normal lives, scraping together a living, micro waving your frozen dinners, savor your independence.  Send not to know for whom the bells toll... they toll for thee. 


Thursday, March 22, 2007

When the White Elephants Come Home to Roost

I told my Granddaughter that I was giving her a "white elephant".  I even wrote a journal entry about it, suggesting that she call the car I was giving her, "Jamba" after a fictional white elephant in a fable.

When you buy a car in California you have five days to transfer the title.  Failure to transfer the title in five days may result in a fine.  Alas, she did not register the car for SIX MONTHS.  Now she has taken the car in for registration, and she was dismayed because the officer "yelled at her." 

I wonder what is going to happen?  Will she get the car registered?  Will she pay a fine? Will she go to jail?  Will I? 

Another metaphor suggests that your wayward chickens will eventually "come home to roost".  I wonder if that applies to white elephants as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Always Tinkering

I have a reputation for "tinkering".  For example, at the dinner table I noticed that the water glass was casting an image of the overhead lights on the place mat.  So I took a pocket magnifier from my pocket to use as an eyepiece and using the water glass as an objective lens I made a telescope to peer across the dining room.  It works but it is very strange to see me juggling water glass and magnifier to use it.

When I made the picture of the rose bud in the last entry in this journal, I was sorry it was out of focus.  So I took a pair of reading glasses from the 99 cent store and held them in front of the camera lens.  I took a practice shot of a nickel.  Here it is


It worked... sort of.  So I went back and took another shot of the rosebud.  It was better than the last.  But still leaves a lot to be desired.

I Promised You a Rose Garden - VI

Look, On our rose bush.... a bud.

Yes, I know I need a close-up lens.  Sorry.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Patrick's Weekender - long overdue

It's Tuesday, and I just read Patrick's Weekender.  But what the heck, here is my belated response --

1. What was your favorite animated cartoon series when you were little? Remember, when I was little there was no cartoon "series" because television wasn't invented yet.  However, I loved Pluto in Disney cartoons... and the Three Little Pigs had just come out.  I begged for a Seven Dwarfs record.

2. What was your favorite "live action" children's series when you were little? There was radio adventure series...Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy.  I followed his adventures on radio (that's television without pictures.)

3. Who is your favorite muppet character? Kermit, who tries to keep his collegues sane and on track, usually without success.  Followed by Ernie, completly madcap, a sort of Marx Brother become cartoon character.  And then there's Bert, steady, sober, in an insane world..but with a few quirks of his own.  That's me...see next question.

4. Take the quiz: What is your Sesame Street personality?  It was Bert.

5. Have you ever appeared on a locally-produced children's show, or would you have ever wanted to? Oh, yes would have wanted to.  I nagged my family into taking me to see Hollywood Barn Dance... a radio variety show.  They endured an hour's worth, but dragged me home before the second hour aired.

6. Cartoons like "The Flintstones," though animated, were really intended for adults. What's your favorite adult (non-porn) cartoon? King of the Hill.  Bill Hill tries, like Ernie of the Muppets, to make sense of the world around him, though it is madcap.  I feel like Bill Hill, living in an old folks home, with all my strange neighbors with their collection of life long quirks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Neat Little Buckets - Free

When you drink the juice from a 46 oz. can, the empty container is left.  It is a neat size, and if you take off the top and the paper label, it looks like a neat little steel bucket. 

Now if I only needed a neat little 46 oz steel bucket, I would be in clover... I have a great supply of little steel buckets available and more to come, as soon as I drink up more juice.

Help, what can I do with them?  Dr. Phil had a program devoted to people who save all their trash... newspapers, empty pill bottles and 46 oz steel buckets.  He told them they were nuts.  But he didn't call me to be on the show. (Actually he said it was a compulsion caused by a sense of "inadequacy" and could be cured by psychotherapy. So there is help for me, too.)

Oh, the State of Maine will give you a 5 cent refund on your empty can.  I could hold my buckets until California tries that...or send them to Maine.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Dumb Can You Get - II

Last time I went to the market for tomato juice and pineapple juice, I was trying to economize.  Juice is more convenient in plastic bottles than cans.  Cans have to be punched open with a can opener, and the juice has to be transferred to bottles anyway.  You cannot tell how much remains in an opened can. But juice in cans is cheaper... or so I thought.

So I bought four 46 oz cans of juice and lugged them home in my scooter.  Each can cost $2,08.

At home I opened one can of tomato juice and poured it into an empty juice bottle for storage.  Hmm.  A can of juice doesn't fill the empty bottle.  Aha... the bottles are two quart bottles.

Two quarts of juice costs $2.49.  I had passed on the more costly juice, but there is more of it in a bottle than a can.

I had outsmarted myself again.  I had bought the less convenient cans to save a few cents, but the juice is CHEAPER in the handy bottles that I had really wanted.

How dumb can you get?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

How Dumb Can You Get?

My Polaroid digital camera quit working.  I changed the batteries.  No luck.  Still dead. 

I went and bought new batteries... the $8.00 kind even though the "regular" kind was on sale for $3.00.  I put them in, being very careful to get the polarity just right.  Still dead.

I checked out new digital cameras to replace it.  There was a nice Fuji $199 model  on close out for only $133.  That's a bargain.  But I am losing my cool.  I was hesitant to buy it.  Why?  I needed a camera. But, no, I passed.  I took my dead Polaroid home.

At home I took out the new batteries, to save them.  No need to throw out new batteries with the old camera.  Then, on a whim, I put the batteries back in the camera WITH REVERSED POLARITY.  Can't hurt the camera is shot anyway.

Well, of worked.  The camera came on just fine.  In spite of the fact that I had taken special pains to do it right, I had put the batteries in backwards.  I nearly threw the old camera away.

How dumb can you get?

It's a Long Time from Saturday to Saturday

Every Saturday we have corned beef hash for breakfast.  Every Saturday my tablemate says, "I think I will try that hash you are raving about." 

Every Saturday she eats two tiny bites, shudders, and leaves the rest. 

Poor dear has short term memory loss.  What happened years ago she can relate...word for word who said what and whether it was with a smile or sneer.  But who helped her dress this morning, who won the rummy game last night, nor what she ate last Saturday is forgotten.

I long to tell her, "You had hash last Saturday, and you didn't like it.  Nor the three Saturdays before that."  But that would only distress her, and when she is distressed, look out.  She snarls.  That tiny lady can cut you to the quick with a single phrase. 

That tiny lady also orders TWO PANCAKES every pancake day.  It is something she used to do, years ago, order two cakes.  But now, she nibbles the edge of both and is done.  One pancake is enough for most of us seniors.

I shouldn't care.  She has paid for hash and for two pancakes... if she wants to nibble instead of devour them, that is none of my business.  But feel bad to see the food wasted.... week after week.

I am told she has Alzheimers.  Things will only get worse.  She will remember more and more of the past, and less of what is going on around her.

One day she borrowed twenty dollars for a hair dressing.  I passed the money to her and said a silent "goodbye" to it.  But lo and behold, later that week she dropped by and asked, "Do I owe you some money?"  I said she did, and she paid me back.  Wonders never cease.  Her heart's in the right place... it is the memory that falters.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Promised you a Rose Garden - V

What a time for my Polaroid camera to give up... just when the rose bush is flourishing.  Had to get out my back up Largan Chameleon... ancient by digital camera standards.  Here is the rose bush today.. three days since last snap.

I see no buds, but it is full and ready to bloom.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


AOL HEADLINE: "Who Could Do Better Than Him?"

Please, AOL, "Who could do better than he?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This is your Morning Wake Up Call

At 5:30 this morning, I stretched and knocked the telephone off the night stand onto the floor.  CRASH... I was awake.

After restoring order, I lay back and thought about my dreams for a while.  (I have put them in Dream Depository). After about fifteen minutes I decided I might as well get up.

I woke up with a bit of a cold...or maybe allergies.  Runny nose and slight sore throat.  This frustrates me.  Everything else is going so well.  I am off one of my hyper tension medications - after twenty five years. The weather is turning nice, although most of U.S. is suffering a lingering winter.  Flowers are beginning to bloom and the grass is green. And I am coming down with a cold...doesn't seem fair.

Curious to note...I posted a picture on my saw it yourselves..below..rows and rows of walking men.  I thought ir was amusing, even charming.  Yet, someone turned it face to the wall. Hmm? Who would mess with my door decorations? And WHY? What was offensive about my little marching men?

A counselor has come to the old folks home and offered his counseling services.  Maybe someone here needs it.  (Yes, I know I do..but not about the little marching men. More likely about what goals I have for myself now that I am 82, and how to cope with loss of abilities and possessions and individual dignity.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Remembering Griff

Nothing much...just a salute to my good old dog Griff.  He was my companion for about fifteen years.  He went everywhere with me riding proudly by my side, making other drivers laugh because it looked like he was driving.

I got him at seven months of age, and he stayed with me until he collapsed on one of our daily walks.


                   Doesn't he look proud there?

I Promised You a Rose Garden - IV

Following our special little rose bush.


       Today - Monday                          Three days ago - Friday

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Forward March - A Doodle

In every crowd there is a stand out.  There is one individual who marches to the beat of a different drummer.  Here is a doodle that proves it.

This doodle also appears in my paint program.

Love Apples

I cannot believe it.  I bought V8, pineapple juice, and tomato juice yesterday.  At 4 pm I opened a two quart bottle of tomato juice.  Now, at 4 am, it is almost all gone. I have drunk almost the whole 12 hours.  I must have been starved for tomato juice.  It has been a long time since I had any.

Grandfather told me that when he was young, just over a hundred years ago, tomatoes were called "love apples" and were considered poisonous. Now they are a treat, and their juice, to me, is addictive, I guess.

I am looking forward to the V8 and the pineapple juice.  Hopefully they will last more than a day.

Friday, March 9, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - III

Spring has sprung,  The grass has riz  This is where  The blossoms is.


First picture, a peach tree in our court yard with beautiful pink blossoms.  Prettier even than the almond blosoms we went to see last week.


This bush, whatever it is, popped out with beautiful flowers almost overnight.


Here is the most recent picture of the little rose bush we have been following. 




                                       Last Week


                                       Week Before Last

Richest Man in the World

The richest man n the world according to Forbes Magazine is still, my idol, Bill Gates.  I am glad.  I am proud of him. We have a common interest: we both read and liked Carl and Jerry stories in Popular Electronics.  That makes us soul brothers, in some small way.

But he is losing ground to a Mexican media Mogul who is only a few billion dollars behind him.  Alas, Bill, go, go, go.

I am not sure I would want to be the richest man in the world, nor even the second richest.  I could use a few bucks more to support my obsessions though.

State Symbols

Each state, and our country too, has a state flower, a state bird, and a state animal.  California has the Poppy, the quail, and the bear.  I think we need a state aquatic mammal too the California Sea Lion.

Sea Lions used to play about my boat, lounge on marker buoys, and even swim past my dock from time to time.  A Sea Lion passing by would alert my dog, Griff, and he would let me know. We once tried to follow a Sea Lion up our channel in our boat, but he eluded us.

Some states have a state reptile...the iguana.  The armadillo is a state animal somewhere.  Whatever is indigenous to a state is a good candidate.  Grizzly bears, timber wolves, foxes, ground hogs all qualify as state animals somewhere.

What other state symbols might we adopt?  California has a state mineral: gold. We may have a state tree too: the redwood  New Hampshire has a state geologic formation: the great stone face, although his chin fell off recently.

Vermont may have a state syrup: maple.  Louisiana the state crustacean: the craw dad.

Let's hear it...what is your state quadruped, insect, fruit, prehistoric creature.  What state wants the Mastodon, the Sperm Whale, the Minotaur?

PS...Garnett writes to tell me Pennsylvania has gone me one better. Tthey even have a state folk dance (The Square Dance) a state Railroad bridge, a state Pop's Orchestra, a state trolley museum, and a state cookie..(Chocolate Chip).

Trash Trucks

How come trash trucks make their pick ups in the middle of the night?  The trucks picking up the Starbucks' residue came early this morning.  They usually make their wake-up call at four am but this morning they came at three.

That was all right.  I had gone to bed at ten thirty.  I only needed an excuse to get up and Blog a bit.  But, my, I could use a snack about now. Some Starbucks would be good. Too bad they don't stay open twenty four hours.  I could scooter over in my jammies for a biscuit and a cup o' Joe. I wonder when they do open.

Hmm, I hear the trash trucks what was that racket an hour ago? 


Newt Gingrich

If I weren't a democrat for Hillary, I'd have to be a democrat for Newt.  He's the only republican who could make me waver in my party line.  I have listened to his lectures on economic policy and government, and they made real sense to me.

He sees how the government can streamline and enter the twenty first century.  He cites how businesses like UPS and DHL move packages and goods more effectively than the Postal Service using computers. How they make business decisions via teleconferencing.  He understands the "flat world" economics.

He'd be my choice.... if Hillary weren't.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

By Jove

After our evening card game, I went out into the back garden.  The main floodlight was out, and I was glad.  I am not going to report it because I like the dark...I can see the stars.

I looked west, and there was Venus in her place. I looked East for Jupiter, Jove, and whoa, he was not to be seen. There was over part of the sky a cloud cover.  Jupiter was hidden.

Daylight savings time starts nest week.  Less time for star gazing. 

Freeze Plugs

Freeze Plugs?  Cars still have freeze plugs?  In my whole life I have only had to have freeze plugs replaced one other time. 

I think I remember that "freeze" plugs are not really for freezing protection... they are there because of the casting process.  They are called freeze plugs because they CAN pop out when the water in the block freezes. But with anti=freeze coolant, whose block freezes solid anymore?

Anyway a couple have corroded in my chevy van and let the coolant escape.  So they have to be replaced. And the service manager says, "We recommend replacing them ALL at this tune,:  Well, sure he does.

So, my van, that mostly just SITS is getting a new set of freeze plugs.  Hooray, bring on the blizzards, back to central California...oh yeah.

Did I mention that the repair job is VERY expensive...more than a whole engine replacement used to cost. Thank goodness,  I am made of money. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Tell me about "tags" someone, please. I haven't been using them...but it sounds like a good idea.  I just forget to add them when I finish an entry.

Has anyone used the few tags I have used to find me?

And how do I use tags to find other blogs that might interest me?

PS...thanks to comment by Mary (Hunybee) below I found I could go to technorati and enter a word and get links to anyone who has used that word in his blog.  It was fast and spectacular... 18000 links from one word. Roses.  And fast... it lists the link according to recency... as recent as eighteen minutes old. I haven't learned much about it yet, but it led me to interesting blogs.  I could spend a whole day following he trail of links.  Thanks Mary and others

Monday, March 5, 2007

Anniversary -- of sorts

I almost forgot. I don't know how I could.  but it was on March 5, 1945, I stepped on a land mine.

It was a German Shue mine.  It was designed, not to kill, but to take off a foot.  It did.  If you kill an enemy soldier you take him out of service, but if you maim him, you take him out, and three or four others who have to care for him.

And here is the irony.  It wasn't even covered.  In their haste, the enemy had started to lay down mines, but had to flee at our approach. I stepped on an uncovered mine.  And here is the greater irony.  What distracted me at the crucial moment? A civilian woman who was shouting from a nearby window, apparently trying to warn us about the mines. In trying to warn me, she diverted my attention for a couple of seconds...the exact wrong couple of seconds for me.

And here is the greatest irony of the whole trying to warn me, she distracted me so that I set off the bomb, and SHE WAS WOUNDED TOO. Go figure.

I don't know the name of the town.  I don't know the name of the woman who tried to help.  I don't know whatever happened to her with her wounds. I wonder if she ever thinks of me.  I must have been a sight...flung into the air and coming down with a thump. That fall hurt worst of all for a few seconds... the blast had not registered with me yet

My thoughts at the time.  I looked down at the instant my foot touched the mine. I saw my foot on the mine. I was surrounded by noise...enveloped in it. "It went off," I thought, and then thump, I landed on my bottom.  I must have flown six feet in the air, it was a proper bump.

That was fifty-twoyears ago.  I thought I would never forget it.  But I did.

Weekend Assignment #154 -- Car or Computer: Your Choice

John Scalzi in By the Way asks us to choose: If we could have only one, car OR computer, which would it be?

In my case the choice is easy.  My car sits mostly, but my computer is in use eighteen hours a day... and sometimes in the middle of the night.


My current computer                           My current car

For extra credit he asks which cost more: your first car or your most recent computer.  I laughed.  they cost the same. $800.  But $800 was harder to come by in 1943 than is was in 2005

Waitin' for my Porridge

While waiting for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) I often take a spoon, lay it on the paper placemat and trace around it.  I add a facial feature or two.  And Voila, meet the Spoon People.


                              The Spooner Family

I also have the Forkers, the Blades (knives),  and creatures from salt shakers, butter dishes, keys (from my pocket) and assorted found objects.

These and other doodles can be found in my Paint Blog.  (<<<link)

Sunday, March 4, 2007


My step-dad longed for a boat.  He talked often about owning a boat.  As a young man he had worked as a crewman on yacht. He worked in ship yard building boats. During WWII he joined the merchant marine and carried goods around the world.

After the war he stayed on land, became a finisH carpenter and the assistant to a contractor...but his heart was still at sea.  He wanted a boat...but  did   not   get one.

When I inherited his money.  I GOT A BOAT.

I bought a twenty five foot Albin cabin cruiser with a little diesel engine that would cruise, full speed, at a merry six and half knots per hour. It took two hours to reach the channel islands.  It took an hour to go to the nearest marina...from Oxnard to Ventura...six miles up the coast.  I could have bicycled faster.

But leisure was my pleasure.  I often motored out and anchored behind the breakwater, and just lolled in the sun and breeze.  I watched other, bigger, fancier yachts go by.  I joined the Power Squadron, a group of power boat owners.  We did civic projects around the harbor and motor boated locally on weekends.  We taught boating safety.  There was always something to do.

     My Albin Cabin Cruiser                         Captain Chuck in 1990

At Christmas we decorated someone's boat and entered the Parade of Lights around the harbor. My apartment had a deck and dock and my boat was moored by my doorstep.  I had only to step out my door, onto my boat and go on a merry cruise around the harbor. A typical cruise would be from my dock to the ocean, out to circle a freighter anchored waiting to enter Port Hueneme, back to a restaurant for breakfast, and then home.

The Sybarite made a neat guest bedroom.  When overnight guest came to stay, I would give them my room and sleep on the boat, gently rocking in the main cabin.  The Albin had an aft cabin, too, that could sleep one or two folks.

There was more to my fleet.  I had a row boat with an outboard motor, and a two man sailboat.  I was very nautical.


Saturday, March 3, 2007

When It's Almond Blossom Time

All the almond trees in Merced County, CA, started blooming at the same time.  The old folks from our home climbed aboard the bus and took a two hour tour of the groves, just to view the blooms.

There were mles and miles of almond groves.  More of the almonds you have eaten have come from Merced County than from anywhere else.

We stopped and a few people got out to pose with the flowers.

Almond Blossoms make our Activity Director sing and dance.


There is going to be an eclipse of the moon tonight.  The amazing thing is that it can be predicted right down to the minute (second, even) And...the prediction was made years ago.  And the next eclipse in six months or so...and so on...for years to come. 

Who does the math on this stuff?  And how did they do it before computers?

My grandfather told me that when he was in college in the 1890's, a new comet was discovered.  All the undergraduates in astronomy  gathered at the observatory and as soon as it's position had been plotted by three observations...they all went to work and plotted it's orbit around the sun.  How that works I cannot fathom....but, oh, my,  how they could have used one of our simplest lap tops.

I won't see the eclipse tonight.  It will be over by the time the moon rises over the Sierrra Nevadas.  Unlike a solar eclipse, when the moon blocks the light from the sun, it can be observed by anyone who can see the moon.  A solar eclipse can be observed only from a narrow path that the moon's shadow makes over the face of the earth. 

Why?  Because the moon is smaller than the earth, you see.  (You don't see?  Ah, well.)

Anyway, I am up at five am..which is all right because I went to bed at ten pm.  That is seven hours sleep, and with an afternoon nap, I will be all right. Our fellow-b logger, Karen, (Mavarin) seems to get by on no sleep.  I don't know how she does it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - Continued

As of today --  Lookie....Leaves.

Dumb Ass Quiz

Read the question, take a flyer at the answer, run your cursor over the answer, kick yourself.  In that order.

How many of the United States names have a vowel in them?  Fifty, and I am surprised how many people think there are fifty-two states.

If  plane flying from Canada to the United States crashes on the border, where do you bury the survivors?  Nowhere.  Survivors get very upset if you try to bury them.

How many three cent stamps in a dozen.  Twelve of anything in a dozen.

How many red stripes in the US flag?  Seven, and six white ones for a total of thirteen stripes.

If a rooster lays an egg on the continental divide, do the eggs roll east west, north, or south?  Roosters don't lay eggs...hens do.

If you call his tail a leg, how many legs has a mule?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

Can they hang a man with a wooden leg in Texas?  You cannot hang anybody anywhere with a wooden leg.  You have to use a rope.

Conversation at the Old Folks Home

Tablemate:  How come we don't have conversation at our table anymore?

Me:  Because you contradict everything I say.

Tablemate:  I do not.