Sunday, July 29, 2007

Brand New Oldies

That's a contradiction in terms: Brand New Oldies. How can it be an "oldie" and brand new at the same time?

When my Son-in-law, Roddy Jackson, was a teen ager, he was a "phenom" in the music world.  He was a fantastic rock and roll musician, and as such, cut some great rock and roll records for Specialty label, whose A and R specialist was Sonny Bono.  But those numbers were not recleased at the time, and the masters lay untouched for fifty years. 

Time passed, and so did Rock and Roll, but not Roddy.  He became a music teacher.  I am very proud of his work with middle school bands.  Those lucky youngsters get to perform under his direction, and his skills as a professional musician give them confidence and help them do fantastic things for a middle school band. He makes them sound their very best.  He does the same for his private music students, too. 

In fact, he even makes me, his father-in-law, sound good on harmonica when he and his step-son, my grandson, play with me at the old folks home.

Recently Ace Records aquired the rights to those long-forgotten master recordings.  Someone said, "Hey, listen to this. How come these didn't get released when Rock and Roll was at its height?"  And then they said, "Why don't WE release them now for those Rock and Roll fans who are tottering around on their walkers? It is never too late."  And so they did.

I am really proud of Roddy.  You can read his story here.  And you can even listen to a few bars of some of his brand new oldies. If you have a sentimental soft spot in your heart for Rock and Roll you can even buy one on-line.  I sure have.

Once a Week is Not Enough

I am talking about Blogging.  Once a week is not enough, and that is how long it has been since I last posted.

I have a lot to tell about... My son-in-law's new CD and my directory of the care givers at the old folks home.  I will write about both of them soon and put an un-abashed plug in for SIL's CD.

The other project, the care givers' directory is simply a sheet of photos of our care givers at the old folks home so we can know their names. But I took the pictures, and matched them to the names, and laid them out in an economical manner.  (How do you get them all on one page?)

Well, it hasn't taken me ALL week... I just lay down on my job... blogging.

I haven't even checked "our twig" this week.  It may be blooming like mad.

Back soon, with a commercial for Son-in-Law.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Drifting and Dreaming

It has been a long time since I posted any dreams in Dream Depository.  Today I posted one, then  I went back and read about past dreams.  In reading them I remembered them.  I surely would not have remembered them withouth the postings.  I think posting the dreams is valuable.

Whose is It?

A man and his son go walking, carrying their metal detector.  They find a Viking treasure trove worth millions.  Whose is it?

Theirs...they found it, with their metal detector, and no one else knew it was there.

The farmer whose field it was in.  It was his field, bought and paid for.

The English Government, it was in England.. it is a national treasure

The descendants of the fhe Vikings who buried it.

The descendants of the people who owned it when the Vikings claimed it, or stole it

Everyone... it is history, a bit of the heritage of everyone, collectively.We all own a share of it. It belongs in a museum so we can all visit it, see it, and enjoy it.

No one.  It is was made and collected by no one living, it has no owner, and no one has any right to it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Church Key

I'm in trouble.  Not BIG trouble, but "Gee, this is annoying" trouble.  I've lost my Church Key. 

Of course you know what a Church Key is... that slang term is so popular that you may not know what the real name is. Liquid Can Opener, punch type, Mark 1A. We used to call them Beer Can Openers, hence the irreverent nick-name: Church Key. Do you follow that reasoning?  Churches abjure beer drinking, people call things by their opposites for fun.  The fattest kid is called "Slim". Therefor, an opener for beer cans is called a "Church Key".

Now we drink our beer from Pop Top cans, but the Church Key open juice and stuff.  Hence my dilemma. I have lost mine.

Of course, I blame it on the housekeeper.  She has simply put it where it belongs... but where is that? It is not in the kitchen drawer, nor under the sink, nor in the refrigerator with the juice cans.  Where to look next? Under the bed? In the linen closet? Where indeed?

No tomato juice, no pineapple juice until I trudge to the market and get another.  And in the market, where are the Church Keys?  I don't recall seeing them anywhere.  Besides, buying something that used to be free is annoying.  You used to get one free with every six pack of beer. 

I have bigger problems in my life, but "Juiceless Wednesday" is one of the little frustrations that keep life interesting. How much coffee can one drink?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You CAN Fight City Hall

My scooter trip to city hall to speak before the traffic committee went well.  The matter of "curb cuts" on my route to the shopping center had been resolved before the meeting even started.  We have gone from probably never to possibly sometime.  That is progress.

The city officials were very courteous and helpful.  I did not have to give my "speech", merely stating who I was and why I had come.

They did warn me that the city wheels turn slowly and I should not expect to see the curb cut soon. 


Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot

John Scalzi invites us to put a photo in our journals involving a shadow.  This is a re-run, but shadow it is... of me.  It was part of my Mudpuddle Art series, in which I make artistic "tracks" with my scooter.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Listen to the Mocking Bird

For the past few weeks I have become intrigued by the song of a particular Mocking Bird who sings in the trees surrounding the old folks home.

It is said that the Mocking Bird lures other birds to his domain so he can prey upon them by imitating their calls.  This may be so, I cannot tell.  But I do know his particular song has a pattern and meaning of its own.

He has chirps and trills and warbles that are fascinating. To me they sound like words, and the words vary and make sentences.  He will repeat certain words three or five times and switch instantly to seven or eight trills, and then a few warbles, and a chirp or two and then something else.

It all goes too fast for me to count.  It sounds, at first, random, and yet, it sounds like a sentence of some sort.  One of my friends and I speculate on what he is saying.  We ponder is it "Come on over, Darlings, I have a nice nest ready," or is it "This is MY territory, Other birds Keep Out."

My vote was for the territorial claim, since other animals "mark" their territories with scent and offal.  I think he is staking out his claim.  My friend is more romantic.  She thinks he is attracting a female to come and move in with him.  That sounds reasonable, too, since other species do that...notably humans.

I have tried to record segments of his song to see if I can identify certain words or sentences, but my recorder is not sensitive nor versatile enough to make a good sample to study.  One would need parabolic microphones, and variable speed tapes to slow down the cheeps and warbles to human speed. 

I'm sure someone, sometime, has done this, and it may even be online somewhere.  I hope to find it soon.

With the right recorders and transducers perhaps someone could communicate with the birds.  I know when I played certain sounds on my keyboard when I had it outside can connected to the public address system at our Fourth of July party, I attracted several birds who came close to listen and answer my random notes.  If I just knew some Mocking Bird phrases, I could warble and chirp back to them, and say "Good Morning.  I love your singing...but this is MY TERRITORY."

Friday, July 13, 2007

State of the Art -- the telephone

My daughter and son-in-law from out of town dropped in Yesterday.  It was a surprise visit and I loved it. We went to dinner. 

I asked about my great-grandson, and she replied, "He's crawling now."  Then she casually took her telephone out of her purse and opened it, touched the screen, and showed me a SOUND, COLOR, MOTION PICTURE of great-grandson crawling, cooing, and starting to climb furniture. 

It was AWESOME. Not the cooing and crawling..all babies do that..but the fact that daughter was carrying sound, color, movies in her purse as casually as we used to carry snapshots. 

What a world we live in...I guess all grandmothers will do that eventually.

Perhaps I was awed by the wrong miracle.  The miracle of baby's growth and learning over-shadowed by the miracle of technology.

Wake up, Chuck, this IS 2007, after all. Digital photography was invented, what..ah.. twenty years ago?  What did you expect? Old fashioned Polaroid snapshots?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Promised You a Rose Garden - ad infinitem

Here we are well into July and our twig turned rose bush is still blooming beautifully.  There are three clusters of blossoms, which contrast with the pale single flowers on the bush beyond.  And there is a tall green shoot, behind the middle cluster, standing tall and promising some late blooms, taller and higher than the ones we have had so far.


I will be watching, camera ready, for those tall shoots to bear.


Acetate becomes Invisible

I had an acetate page protector in my hand.  It was 8.5" x 11" and was punched at the top so I could hang it on my door. 

I decided to print a silly poem to hang on my apartment door and amuse passers-by. 

I typed the poem and printed it.  That took maybe five minutes.  I DID NOT MOVE from my chair in front of the computer.

I reached for the acetate to insert the poem.  IT WAS GONE. It is nowhere to be seen.  I have searched the room. 

This has happened a lot in my 82 years.  And that is the trouble.  I am 82.

It happens even more nowadays

Next day.. I found the acetate.  It was sitting on top of my arm's reach away.  It was disguised as a piece of scratch paper.  It was in plain sight... I simply overlooked it, it's being clear and invisible, so to speak. .

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot - On Tuesday

John Scalzi asks us to photograph something "geometric".  This not a photo, but it is as geometric as I get.

Information Age

This is the "information age", but just how much data do we need.

For instance: there is a packet of Cocoa Mix on the kitchen counter.  I need to know how much hot water to mix it in, but do I need all this other information on the packet?

It contain 8.52 ounces of the product...that is 15 grams. It contain 120 mg of natural antioxidants and suppolies me with 50 calories, but none from fat. It has 180 mg of sodium, and one whole gram of dietary fiber...that is 3%.  It contain 8 grams of sugar from lactose (milk sugar) and 3 grams of protein. 

It profides me with none of my vitamin A or C, but 30% of my Calcium and 2% of my daily needed Iron.

The UPC code is 5000023613 and the package is number 703258803P/  It is packet style 269221-B and is copyrighted by Nestle (founded 1866).

Any questions?  call them at 1-800-288-8682 8AM to 6PM Central Timeor check their website

Ingredients are dairy product solids, notfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, calcium carbonate, cellulose gum, and less than 2% of partially hydroginated canola oil.which adds a trivial amount of transfat, salt, artificial flavor sodium caseinate, sucralose, sodium phosphate, acesulfame potassium.

It doesn't say where it was packaged... but I suspect China...seems like everything comes from China these days.  Of course I could call that number, it is between 8AM and 5 PM Central time, and ask.

How much data do we really need?


Traffic Commission

I am a little nervous.  I plan to go before the city traffic commission today and appeal for a "curb cut" at an intersection on my route to the shopping center.

The Traffic Commission calls curb cuts "wheeled vehicle ramps" because they enable wheel chair users to reach the sidewalk from the street.  On my route to the shopping center on my scooter, I have to run in the street for half a block because I cannot reach the sidewalk.  I am asking the city to make a curb cut at the one corner where, for some reason, one has never been installed.

The Traffic Commission is comprised of the City Engineer, the Police Chief, the Fire Chief.  That is a pretty daunting array, though I suspect each will have sent an underling to represent him. Nevertheless, speaking before the commission is nerve wracking.

With a little bit of luck, I will survive.  Maybe I will even convince them to make a curb cut.


PS - Meeting postponed.


Fools Rush In...

,,,where angels fear to tread.

I was waiting on my scooter for the light to change at Merced's busiest corner: M and Olive. I looked up and couldn't believe my eyes.

Here came a man on a bicycle, crossing Olive, against the light.  Cars whizzed by him in both directions while he waited, then pedaled across traffic.

As he passed me, I said, "You have a death wish."

He replied, "Huh?"  He didn't even know what he had done.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weekend Assignment -- Tell a Joke

Customer:  Waiter, I'll have coffee without cream or sugar.

Waiter:  I am sorry, Sir, we are all out of cream.  You'll have to have it without milk.

Not much of a joke, but one I adapt over and over to everyday life. By the way, I don't like "jokes" very much.  I like to see the humor in everyday situations, but tales structured as "jokes" usually bore me.

For extra credit: Have you ever been to Kansas City. Yep, KC MO and KC KS, both.  Dined there on ribs, gambled there on riverboat, recuperated from heart attack there. I enjoy the place and appreciate their medical up-to-date-ness. 

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Today the Umpire is -- Johnny Five

Was watching tennis from Wimbleton today. At one point the judge called a ball "out" and gave the point to the defender.  The server appealed the decision.

A computer then displayed the shot, in slow motion, tracking the flight of the ball, and showing that the ball actually touched the chalk line.  The decision was reversed..and the server got the point.

Wow.  I have seen football games delayed while referees viewed a slow motion replay, and have seen critical callss reversed.  But in tennis, that was new to me.

I can hardly wait until big league umpires are replaced by computer and video cameras and the balls and strikes are called automatically and incontrovertably. 

Pity the poor manager whose heavy hitter has been called "out" on strikes, and who has no umpire whose shoes he can spit on.  The manager who used to bait the umpire and get thrown out of the game in order to excite and inspire his players is out of luck. 

Fans will no longer shout "kill the umpire".  All they can do is whimper a plaintive "reprogram the needs new glasses."

It will take some of the romance out of going to a ball game, but so did the "designated hitter" rule.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Seven- Seven- Oh- Seven

Tomorrow is 7/7/07.  That is an auspicious date.  I must do something really


tomorrow.  Ah, what shall it be?

Note: Babies born tomorrow will be 77 years old on 7/7/77. I wonder what the country, the world, will be like then.

Later:  Oh oh.  Silk (see comment below) caught me.  Bad arithmetic....2007 plus 77 is 2084.  Oh, well, the world may not change much between 2077 and 2084...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hotter than a Firecracker

I went to Rite Aid and bought a new card shuffler for our Senior Rummy Game.  It is so hot that the scooter slowed down and battery indicator showed yellow.   I got home and installed a battery in the new shuffler.

It doesn't work. I am sure they will give me my money back.but it is too hot to go back and ask.

It is hotter than a firecracker out there.  And so am I, in here.

(Anyway, speaking of firecrackers, we had a great Fourth of July.  The fireworks are getting better every year.  They last longer, they are spectacular, and they pop, sizzle and BANG like firecrackers --which are banned-- used to, The manager of the old folks home didn't provide any fireworks this year, but some of us donated, and we got our money's worth.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July

As seen in Flicker

Monday, July 2, 2007

Susan B. Anthony, Where Are You?

Life at the old folks home is unsettled.  We had a large screen television in our lounge, large enough to entertain a room full of old folks.  On Wednesday evening, someone dropped in, and walked out with our giant TV. 

Imagine the guts of that thief. (Well, thieves, actually. It was too big for one man to carry.) They dropped in, looked around, saw no one in the lobby, crossed the parlor to the lounge, and carried off the console, the dvd, the tape player, and I suppose, the remote. (What good is a tv without a remote?)

To say that our senior world is shaken is an understatement.  We are geriatrically spooked out of our white-haired old skulls. The old ladies, and even the old men, are locking their doors at night. Who, we ask, would steal a TV from his grandmother? Who was cruel enough to sever our life-line to the outside world, our TV?

By checking the computer connected to the call system, the police ascertained that the thieves entered at 9:31 p.m. We don't know how long it took to carry out the loot, they left the door open, so their exit was not recorded. At  9:30 everyone was in his room, and no one noticed two, or more, burglars, struggling to carry out a console television.  That's tough to do when you are laughing hysterically at your own chutspa.

These cat burglars didn't even have to stay out late at night.  By 11:30 they were home watching David Letterman on our TV.

This theft made me reflect, have I ever had anything stolen from me?  Each of my daughters has had a car stolen. One had the same car stolen twice.  It was stolen, recovered, and stolen again.

I have had burglars carry off small items, such as a flute, and once before, a television.  But what I grieve losing was a family heirloom, a hand written lefter from Susan B. Anthony to my great-aunt May. 

Great Aunt May was one of the first female physicians in Ohio, and as a pioneer in the women's rights movement, was a supporter of Susan B. Anthony.  The letter in question was a note in Susan B. Anthony's hand regarding a contribution that had gone astray in the mail. Anthony was asking Aunt May to check with her postmaster to see if the Money Order had been cashed.  The sum?  Five dollars. In those days, five dollars was worth enough to warrant Anthony's taking time to hand write a note asking for a follow up.

The letter had been saved by my great grandmother, then my grandmother, and then by me.... and I, careless custodian, had it stolen.  It was in a book, a book of foreign coins, in fact, that I was also caregiver of, a memiento of my mother-in-law's trip around the world. The thief took the book of coins, probably not realising that the real treasure was the letter inside.

Someday, on Ebay, you may see a book of foreign coins advertised.  If you do, grab it.  The real treasure is concealed inside.


U X B = Unexploded Bomb.  How strange a world we live in, that requires that we have a term for such an evil device.

Another random thought: what if there is a planet somewhere in this universe that has intelligent life, and only two species of life... the eaters and the eaten.  The eaten take their nourishment from the atmosphere and the eaters take their nourishment from the eaten. Our planet seems rich by comparison.

What strange thoughts I wake up to when I sleep the whole night through.  

Sunday, July 1, 2007

It's Saturday Night

It's Saturday Night!  Well, actually five a.m. Sunday morning.  Up at three... reading journals, checking on Traveling Dave,

Took a drink of pineapple juice, right out of the bottle, standing at the fridge.  Bachelors can do that. Opened the hall door and let it stand open as I type.  Night caregiver stopped to see why I was up.  "Just felt like writing."

I speculate on how much of the population lives in communal buildings with halls, voices in the hall at night making one curious, and the noises of neighbors stirring at night, and how much live in houses with yards and fences and cats yowling and dogs barking.

There is usually a trash truck picking up containers at four am, but not this morning.  I wonder why.  Will Starbucks have a place to throw their used cups if yesterday's detritus is still around.

The night is full of adventure whether you are rural or urban. 

There is lots to read, and probably even people to chat with if I feel like it.

Oh, I am going to feel sleepy tomorrow, having spent hours out of bed...but tomorrow (today actually) is Sunday, and I can sleep then.  Curious upside down life, isn't it.