Monday, March 31, 2008

Time to Boycott?

I am a poor protest leader.  The owner of the old folks' home said "No more candy as Bingo prizes."   What.  Not even those little miniature, "bite size" quarter ounce bars?  WELL.

I said, "Let's boycott the Bingo."  Nobody went along with me.

AOL has added a restriction to making comments to blogs.  Now you have to sign in, give a password, and then make your comments.  NERTZ. I have too few comments as it is.  I don;t want to sign in to make comments in other;s journals.  I don't want folks to have to sign in to make comments in mine.

Time to boycott AOL? But a boycott by me alone would never be noticed.  I wish I were a better protest leader.

LATER;  When I came back, and when I went to visit others' journals there was no restriction.  Curious how the rules change from hour to hour.  (Cancel the boycott)

EVEN LATER:  oKAY  seems back to normal.  sorry about the tempest in a tea pot. 


Friday, March 28, 2008

Just Me and my Muzicuta

In other parts of the world, the harmonica is known as:

ruines babines ("ruins the lips") - France

fidil fhrancach (Gaelic for "French fiddle") - Ireland
moothie - Scotland

gaita (also used to refer to bagpipes and various other instruments) - various Spanish/Portuguese-speaking countries

fotzhobel (literally "mouth plane", also used to denote the panpipes) - various German-speaking countries

muzicuta - Romania

Mississippi saxophone, Louisiana saxophone - various parts of the USA
harpoon - various parts of the USA

gob iron - various parts of the UK

tin sandwich - widespread

--Dave Burke
Musicians say "I got my axe" to let others know they have their particular instrument with them.  --Chuck

Senior Shopping


   Why they let me go shopping without a leash and a "keeper" I do not know.

   I took off alone on my scooter and got to the market okay.  I began my shopping.  By now you know my shopping list as well as I: avocados, mayonnaise, soft drink, graham and soda crackers. And then, mostly finished, I realized I had not brought my wallet.  I had a check book though.

   Sheepishly I went to the courtesy counter and, looking as helpless as possible, implored: "Please, Sir.  I forgot my wallet. Would it be possible to get a check, for the amount of purchase, okayed without my identification?"

   "Sure," he said, "Come to this counter over here." My total came to $16.49. "Would you like me to write the check for you>"

   My gawd, I must look retarded as well as hopelessly aged, but, I said yes.  He wrote out the check for $16.49 and I signed it.  He tore off the top check and handed it to the cashier. There, between the first and second checks was a....TWENTY DOLLAR BILL. 

   "Oh, never mind," I said, and handed the cashier the twenty.  The courtesy clerk handed me the check and I tore it up. I got out of there as quickly as I could.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Indian Winter

   When there are some hot days in the Fall, we call it an Indian Summer.

   So I guess that the few cold days that have intruded into Spring must be an Indian Winter.  At any rate they were refreshing and stimulating.  If you went out, unwarily wearing shirt sleeves,you got a shock.  It was cold with a breeze. 

   The best thing to do was retreat hastily inside.  Spring is here.  Sort of.

Some Things Never Change

   Aristophanes wrote the first sit-com in 482 BC.  It won the first Emmy.

   It was hilarious. Lucy overhears Ricky and Fred Mertz talking about an expiring goldfish, (sick goat in the original) and she believes she is dying.  Only they weren't named Lucy, Ricky, and Fred in the original: they were Electa, Aristo, and Mellios.  Lucy (Electa) gives away her prize possessions.  When she learns that she is not really dying the fun begins. She has to negotiate their return, and has to make horrible, to her, concessions. She has to give up smoking. (drinking mead in the original) and go a week without telling a lie (the same in the original.)  You can imagine her consternation.

   Of course you probably didn't see the original, but perhaps you remember the television version. It aired in 1952, and been seen in re-runs ever since. 

   Aristophanes would be proud.

Time to Restock

   After I retired, and was poking around. looking for something to do, I decided to take a course in Beginning Harmonica at the senior center in Blue Springs, Missouri, where I had settled down.  Somehow I had managed to teafh myself to play one number, Oh, Susanna on the one harmonica I had.  I thought I ought to learn to play something else too.

   I had to buy a new harmonica' the one I had was in the wrong key. And I showed up at the class and joined the four other seniors who, like me, were neophytes. We didn't even have the skills to blow one note at a time, but could only puff a bunch of notes at once.

   The instructor was part of a performaing harmonca group, and a harmonica repair specialist, and a long time harp instructor. (Harmonicas are called "harps".) He taught us to blow one note at a time, to play a scale, and to read harmonica music.  All in six lessons.  We weren't virtuosos, but learned to play more than Oh, Susanna.

   Step two.  My cousin and her husband, Paul, came to visit.  Paul was a long time harp enthusiast and was intrigued with my progress. We played a tune or two together, since he always had a harmonica with him. I became his protoge and be sponsored my next adventure.  He sent me a Chromatic harmonica as a gift.  A Chromatic harmonica has a shift key on it, that enables you to play "half notes', sharps and flats, as well as the whole notes that the simple diatonic harmonica plays.

   I fiddled and tootled with that, and that led me to the next step.  I began buying harmonicas. At first it was a couple in the popular keys that a player might need. Harmonicas are tuned to one of the twelve musical keys and you need to select the harmnica to play in the key that the particular musical piece is wtitten in.  But before long I had bought a whole set of harmonicas, one in each of the twelve keys possible  And then a "back up" set. 

   By now, you see, I was hooked.  I was a harp jjnkie, an addict.  By fooling around, I found that you could accompany other musicans by playing three common chords. Blow into the harmonica and you get the major chord. Draw, inhale, into the upper end and you get the second common chord, and draw into the lower end and you get the third chord you need to play most music.  I began to "sit in" with the visiting musical groups that came to play at the old folks' home.

   Now, I began to teach seniors to play, just as I was taught at a senior center. I was not an acomplished player myself, but I knew a few tricks that I could share, enotgh so others could enjoy what I enjoyed.

   And I began to promote harp playing.  I bought a dozen basic harmonicas so that I could give a harp to anyone who showed an interest.  And I did. I gave to seniors and nephews and grand children and grand kids of fellow residents. I bought a dozen more, and then another dozen. I became a promoter.

   Recently we had a great Easter Egg hunt for kids at the old folks home and I gave away my complete supply of promotional harmonicas.  The kids left happily tootling. 

   Tme to restock.

How to Win an Argument at the Old Folks' Home

   Next to Bingo, arguing is the national old folks' pastime.

ETHEL: It's Monday, Right?

LYDIA: Right.

   It was Wednesday, but I didn't say anything. The way to win an argument at the old folks' home, is to say nothing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Do They Call It?

   There's probably a name for it.  The opposite of insomnia.  I slept all night, but have awakened unrested. 

   How can you sleep all night and not wake up feeling alert and ready to go?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Entertainment Costs are Soaring

   You may recall, I use the 99 cent store as a form of entertainment. It costs less to shop there than it does to spend the same amount of time drinking in a bar, watching a movie, or even listening to a street musician. And you come home with a basket full of stuff you may or may not need. (Most likely you did NOT need it.)

My last trip (<- Story link) I got by for about ten dollars and hour. This trip cost me nearly nineteen. The reason it cost extra was two fold. I had been away and needed to get “caught up” on my junk purchases, and I went nuts in the sea food section.

Ninety nine cent sea food is a weakness of mine. Sardines especially. I bought four, count ‘em, four, varieties of Sardines. Sunny Sea sardines in oil from Thailand, Majestica Sardines in mustard also from Thailand, Smiling Sea Lightly smoked sardines, skinless and boneless, in 10% olive oil (90% soybean oil) also from Thailand, and two cans of Smiling Sea sardines in tomato sauce, and you’re right they’re from Thailand too. When did all the sardines migrate to Thailand? I don’t know. Iceland and the Baltic Sea may be fished out.

Actually, the Baltic Sea countries have a strict treaty regarding fishing. You cannot put a new fishing boat into the Baltic Sea unless you remove one of the same capacity.

That’s not all. I bought a packet of Majestica Lightly Smoked scallops in oil. That will be nice, but I made a mistake. I read “scallops” and I was thinking “mussels:. No matter. I’ll bet I enjoy them . I bought two cans of smoked mussels pieces, too

In the spirit of experimentation I bought a can of Rolled fillets of anchovies in pure Olive Oil .

. And there is Majestica skinless and boneless Salmon in Brine. I hope to get some bagels and cream cheese to go with that. That will be a sort of poor man’s Lox and Bagels.

To top off the fish purchase there were two cans of Bumble Bee spicytuna chili seasoned tuna medley. Ought to be good on crackers. And two cans of plain old Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in water. I bought them because they were less than 99 cents…only 79. But I seem to remember I bought the same thing at the market for 69 cents.

As a counter balance for all that fish I bought one can of corned beef hash. That is fourteen cans of fish to one can of beef. That seems an appropriate ratio for me.

Leaving the food department I bought a back pack to strap on my scooter. The one that is there needs replacing. I bought a couple of note books, and a few frames for photos. I bought page protectors. They’re good for hanging silly slogans on my apartment door. Neighbors have come to expect some silly or impertinent slogan on my door. I bought a couple of bottles of seven up.

There was an Easter Close Out department.,.. This is the week after Easter. From the close out department, I bought at half price a couple of coffee cups because I don‘t like drinking from the mugs supplied in the dining room. The coffee cups are fine…they were half price because they are decorated with Easter bunnies. If you don’t mind drinking from bunny cups, it is a bargain.

When I was done I found I had spent eighteen dollars for an hour’s entertainment, and I had three giant plastic bags of stuff.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Excitement of Bingo

We old folks were playing the national old folks' pastime.

"Bingo," someone said.  I was startled. She read her numbers.

"Wait a minute," I objected. "B thirteen was not called,"

Everyone hooted at me.

I had slept through part of one game and all of the next.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Where I Belong

   It is three am, and I am where I belong  At the keyboard.

   Or at least I have begun to think that is where  belong. I remember shutting off the television at 11:30, part way through a Law and Order. I will never know how it came out.  What happened to the juvenile offender?  I left him in an adult jail, but that didn't seem right, and it was too late to stay up to find out what was going to happen to him.

   I slept three hours, but then grew restless.  I could go out and view the full moon.  It is no doubt beautiful right now. It is Easter morning.  I remember sunrise service we once went to in the mountains.  That night. too, a group of us stayed up late, then drove to the San Gabriel Mountains to greet the sunrise and hold a brief outdoor service.  (Then we drove home and went to bed.)

   The thing that I reflect on this morning, is that I am anywhere.  A few weeks ago, I was slowly bleeding to death, though I did not know it.  Doctors using skills and instruments unknown when I was born, explored my insides, removed part of my gut, sewed the ends together, and and got me back on my feet... well, back in my wheelchair. That's a miracle.

   And why?  So I could write Dribble?  There must be more than that.  My dozen readers, as loyal as they are, don't really need me. I am glad they follow my adventures shopping, reminiscing, and musing the night away, but there must be a reason for my being here.

   There must be some purpose for my, and all of us, being here, for our lives.

   Meanwhile, just being alive is pretty wonderful.

   Now, back to bed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Social Hour

Six of us seniors meet every evening, seven days a week after supper to play Rummy for about an hour.  At least it was Rummy when we started five years ago.  We kept simplifying it so we seniors could manage.  We "dumbed down" a children's card game so we could cope with it.

The idea was to socialize for a while every day. But "socializing" means talking doesn't it? Tonight, and most nights, we sit in silence taking our turns and playing our hands in dead silence.

Tonight I grew impatient with this unsocial way of socializing.  I tried opening conversation several times.

ME: Wasn't it fun to see all the kids at the Easter Egg hunt this afternoon.

Dead silence. Jim plays an ace on a king.

ME: I gave out harmonicas and a couple of Kazoos to the kids.

Dead silence.  Thelma silently lays down a seven, eight, nine of hearts.

ME: (Desperate to break through the silence, with a complete non-sequitur.) Ten thousand mosquitoes flew over Niagara Falls.

Dead Silence. 

WILMA (plays three tens and then quietly says) I thought it was nine thousand.

Someone was listening, after all.


Tags: , senior chit-chat

Never Worked So Hard...

...for an unsatisfactory picture

          Not Worth the Effort

I got up at six am and went out to look at the sky. It was dark, and wow, there in the west, just setting was a round, full moon.

As I remember, Easter, tomorrow, falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Vernal Equinox.  So that setting moon is the Easter moon.  It was beautiful.

I went back inside and told Jeanie, one of our early rising residents, about the Easter moon.  She asked, "Did you take a picture?"

Welll no, I hadn't even considered it. With my snapshot camera a picture of the moon would be nothing but a tiny dot on a black background. But then I considered... a shot through the trees might be okay.  So I went and fetched the camera.

Out I went. I framed the picture of the moon through the trees. BUT.... I got a low battery indicator instead of a picture. Back inside I went and located some batteries.  BUT the batteries are in a plastic package.  Have you any luck opening those molded plastic packages? Not I.  I struggled with package.  I finally asked one the caregibers to open the package for me.

I loaded the batteries and turned on the camera.  Now, all the settings need to be re-set. Fiddle fiddle.  I finally ignored the settings... the camera will record that I took the picture 1/1/2000 and 0001 am, but never mind that, get the picture

Out I went...BUT the sky was growing lght and the moon had set below the horizon. So I found a new location, which was not very good, being far from my original site. ..

There is the unsatisfactory picture up there.  Not worth the effort.  Time required to take an post the picture: One hour and forty five minutes. 

Happy Easter Moon

Post Script.....  first attempt at uploading failed. "Your file could not be uploaded. " (No reason stated... it is just that this photo is jinxed.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Busy Day for the Dribblist

   What a fantastic day.  I started the day by playing my keyboard for the exercise class at the old folks home.  We do our senior calisthenics, such as they are, in a huge circle in the parlor.  We do exciting things like balloon toss and catch, stretching, and exercise the lungs and make sure we are all breathing.

   I took my Casio keyboard, selected some of the automatic rhythms and played background music for the exercises, even actually playing the "Hokey Pokey" for our routines.

   Next I took photos of staff members and put finishing touches on a photo idetification sheet of the entire staff/

   In the afternoon a Physical Therapist came to my apartment and made me do some actual work.  I haven't walked in years, relying on a wheel chair to get around.  The Therapist got me on my feet with my walker and I actually walked... fifteen feet on one jaunt, and ten feet on another.  He prescribed stretching exercises to get my feet under me again. Several years of disuse have made it painful to straighten my legs.  That was good too.

   But the most exciting was a two hour visit from my friend Wandering Dave Burke, the fellow who spent a year on a driving tour of the perimeter of the United States, visiting with senior citizens the nation over. He was upbeat and excited about his plans for Senior Development Corp, and his strategies to help people in senior centers keep mentally active. His enthusiasm was catching.

   He had me excited about writing more and expanding Dribble.  He is a fan, and very complimentary. He pointed out that Dribble follows several themes that are catchy and amusing.  (I call it droll, but he called in interesting.)  He pointed out that I find charm in shopping on my scooter.  He laughed about my adventures finding Sardines for more than half off, limes for a dime, avocados four for a dollar. Remember the four for a dollar avocados...they were rotten. 

   Other themes include life in the old folks home.  It is really an Assisted Living Facility, but I refuse to call it me it is "the old folks home."  Senior citizens develop peculiar quirks, and that is funny...if you look at it from a detached point of view.  For instance this evening one lady, in her eighties, was trying to phone her grandparents.  That is sad and sweet at the same time.

   The state of my health is another theme.  People are kind and follow my health issues with polite concern.  Maybe it is a help to other seniors, who themselves are suffering bad backs, ulcers, and insomnia.  Insomnia is a recurring theme since I write most of my entries in the middle of the night. I tell about my scooter adventures, my handicaps, and especially about my super-expensive new hearing aids. Nothing is unmentionable...not even when I report such mundane horrors as wetting my pants. (Are there any seniors who never do?}

   And reminiscences make up many of my entries.  I have had lots of adventures in eighty three years. I have been a soldier, a pilot, a boater, a driver, a radio operator, a community videographer.  I was cameraman for the Oxnard City, CA, city council and produced the civic broadcasts for city meetings... manning three cameras and the graphics generator. I was the cameraman (men),the director, and the producer.

   All of this, according to Dave, makes interesting reading and he has me excited about it.

   Stay tuned

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Photoshoot - subject: Phtographer's Choice

For the Photoshoot, we have our choice of subjects.  I searched the Photobucket and chose my Albin cabin cruiser, because it brought me such pleasure when I lived at the marina.

I had it for several years and cruised in the Pacific many days. I stayed on the boat overnight only at the dock. I didn't trust my ability to safely anchor, but it made a nice spare bedroom when I had overnght guests.  I stayed aboard and the guests stayed in the apartment.

My longest cruises were from Oxnard to Ventura, CA, a couple of hours away, and to the channel island Anacapa, and Santa Cruz  That was really "out there" in the Pacific, several hours off the coast...directly toward Japan.

The Cruiser was called Sybarite.  A sybarite is a lover of comfort and luxury. My dog Griff used to go with me until one time he got sea sick.  After that he refused to get aboard, but would hide when we boarded.  He was always waiting at the dock when we returned though.

I Must Have Slept Some...'s just that I don't remember.  I do remember staring at the digital clock, hour after hour, and noting how slowly it changes.

   I do remember thinking about things in my life.  At least there were pleasant things.  The night time hours are so long.  It was like lying in the re-hab hospital night after night, passing time.

   I do remember getting  up to go to the bathroom...

and getting up to go to the bathroom...

and getting up to go to the bathroom.  Well, I am a male, eighty-three years old and that's what we do.

   Is this insomnia, or do I just not notice when I have slept? Oh, it is nice to have so many wonderful things to think about.

   But I'd rather sleep.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Griff and Me in a Hitchcock Film

I was recently reminiscing about what a great companion my dog, Griff, was.  That does not mean he never created any anxiety in me.

We used to live on the Oxnard, California, Marina.  We had a deck and a dock.  In the mornings we would get in my rowboat, The Liberty Belle, which I had bought on the Fourth of July, and go for a morning's adventure.

I would row to the end of the channel, Griff sitting ahead of me, and beach the boat near the sand dunes.  Griff would leap out and take his morning constitutional in the dunes, chasing rabbits, or whatever he did to amuse himself.  Soon he would return, get in the boat and I would row home.  Usually.

Sometimes however he would stay longer than I cared to idle at the shore.  I would call and whistle, and if he wanted to, he would come. I remember one time he did not return at my call. I waited and waited and no Griff.  Then I felt terrible.  I had to row home without him.  I worried about what he would do when he returned and found no boat.  He would feel terrible, but not as terrible as I.

As soon as I got home I rushed to the car and drove to the sand dunes. I found him looking lost.  He was glad to see me.  I guess he forgave me, for we went rowing on other days.

But the most dramatic scare he gave me was the time he found a baby hatchling sea gull in the shallows close to shore.  Being a bird dog, he retrieved it, and it died.  Horrors.  The mother sea gull was distraut, and what followed was like a scene from Hitchcock's Birds.  The mother sea gull whirled around over our heads.  She was joined by other wildly squawking gulls.  They lined the channel, watching us and following our progress.  They stayed high on the buildings lining the waterway, scolding. They followed us all the way to our dock.

I was glad to tie  up the boat and retreat inside.  It was days before I ventured out in the row boat again.

All Together Now, "Hooray for Techspec"

TECHSPEC® BeamX™ Laser Beam Expanders test the wavefront at the design wavelengths: 532nm, 785nm and even 1064nm, not just at 633nm. Plus, they're damaged threshold tested for higher power applications.
   You can't beat that for service.

One Alarm Fire

   The friend of a friend, a retired single lady who likes to "get along" and not make waves, likes to live in a quiet neighborhood, awoke one night to smell smoke.  She discovered a smoldering couch.  She used her cell phone to call the Fire Department.

   "Tell me what I can do about a smoldering couch,"

   "Just give us the address and we will be there immediately."

   "Well, no, wait a bit.  This is a quiet neighborhood.  If your fire trucks come roaring up, there will be bedlam and all the neighbors will be out on their lawns gawking and talking and whispering.  I just need to know what to do to put out the fire in a couch."

   "Please, Lady. Give us the address and let us do our job."

   "I'll call you back."  She hung up and tried to put out the smoldering couch with a pitcher of water. It simply smoked more and burned on internally. She called back.

   "Please, I need help with this couch, but, if you could, no sirens."

   "All right, just give us the address." So she gave the address..

   Shortly there was a gentle tap, tap, tap, at her door.  She opened the door, and two firemen  tiptoed in, carried the smoking couch outdoors.

   There they ripped the couch to shreds and put out the fire without a word.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fish Out of Water

Once I orderedd something from Edmund Scientific company.  I cannot imagine what.  Since then I have been getting advertisements for things that I do not know what they are even.  Look at these bargains... do you even know what they do?


TECHSPEC® BeamX™ Laser Beam Expanders
"BeamX™ is one of my favorite products because we test the wavefront at the design wavelengths: 532nm, 785nm and even 1064nm, not just at 633nm. Plus, they're damaged threshold tested for higher power applications."
— Project Manager

TECHSPEC® UV Fused Silica Corner Cubes
"I recommend UV Fused Silica Corner Cubes any time I speak with a customer who needs a retroreflector with high efficiency over a long bandwidth. The low coefficient of thermal expansion of the fused silica substrate is a great choice for an application where temperature is a variable."
— Applications Engineer

TECHSPEC® Aspherized Achromats
"I love the value of our aspherized achromats. $75 for a color-corrected asphere!?! You can't beat that!"
— Business Unit Manager

ReflX™ Objectives
"I like to recommend ReflX™ Objectives because this product is great for applications that demand zero chromatic aberration across a broad spectral range."

Monday, March 17, 2008




My dear old Griff was a constant companion from age seven months until he collapsed on his morning walk fourteen years later. Where I went, he went, motor boating, rowing, driving, walking.

When we were out he was partial to Whoppers and we would seek out Burger King while driving across country so he could have his Whopper. We would pull into the Burger King and I would order two Whoppers. When we would get to the window the server would ask, "Do you want ketchup with that?"

I would turn to Griff and ask, "Do you want ketchup?" Of course he would stare straight ahead. I would turn to the attendant and say, "One ketchup." Cracked me up every time and slightly amused Burger King employees across the country.

He would eat his Whopper completely before I could get mine unwrapped.


Avocados are a wonderful fruit.  They are lush, meaty, good looking.  But they are an acquired taste.  You have to learn to like 'em, but when you do, there is nothing else like them. 

Large avocados have reached the price of $2.00 each. That is their drawback, their cost. 

But picture this. On the coastal plains of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, California, grow miles and miles of avocado orchards, and the streets and roadways wind their way right through the groves of trees, with expensive, round, ripe avocados within reach dangling temptingly from the branches.  Oh, how beautiful they look. One could reach out and touch a thousand salads, a bucketful of guacamole, a platter full of sandwiches, just while driving down the street.

But don't do it.  Avocado growers are aware of the value of their fruit, even while it is still on the trees.  They know the temptations their bounty offers.  While they might let a passer-by sample one of their wonderful treats, they have to draw the line, because "poachers" have an easy mark. A poacher with an open car can gather enough avocados in a few minutes to pay for many a supper out.  The rancher cannot be everywhere at once to guard his crop.

It is strange to see such lavish fruit hanging openly by the roadside, and very tempting, but unless you have hopped up escape vehicle, don't pick your avocados from the tree. You might just happen to be in view of a jealous orchard owner, and the law is on his side... and he protects his rights... he has to, it is just too easy to grab and run.

My wife's aunt had a full grown tree in her yard. Oh, how we loved our visits there.  But she too, had to guard her avocados, even though they grew in her own back yard.

Do you ever wish for a money tree in your yard? Plant avocados. 

Story about avocado theft.

It is

Geographically Impaired

In my last entry, I avered that my wife's ancestors came from Farallon Islands, Ireland.  Actually, the Farallon Islands are 27 miles west of ...  San Francisco.

Nevertheless, family tradition states that the family is, indeed, from Ireland, regardless of what those of us who have "married into:" the family may claim.

AND I think Great-Grandfather O'Fallon is pretty impressive and very Irish.


                      Great Grandfather O'Fallon

Link to Farallon Islands

Same Silly Argument

Up at three am - again.  And I ask the same silly question. Am I "up early" or am I "up in the middle of the night"?

It doesn't matter, it is just a question of wording, and I am the only person here. I will probably argue with myself for a while, there is little else to do.

Sunday evening television is so boring that I go to bed early, and thence wake up early. I watched mostly cartoon shows...cartoons for adults: Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, and a couple of others whose names I do not even remember. (Oh, what has television become?)

I guess I am "up early" since I am fully dressed. I am wearing green, the only green article of clothing I have, a tee-shirt, for Saint Patrick's day. I laughed to myself that I didn't think Saint Patrick was even "up yet".

I'm glad we have made an icon of shamrocks and Jolly Green Giant, St. Patrick. It gives my daughter a chance to celebrate her Irish heritage. Her mom was descended from the O'Fallons, presumably from the Faralon Islands , and you can't be more Irish than that unless you can dance an actual jig.

Happy Shamrocks, everyone, and if you're not wearing green, May the whisky in your coffee be as smooth as an Irish lullaby, anyway.

   Daughter's Great-Grandfather O'Fallon

(Just because you can't be more Irish than he)


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cheeio -- All Over the Place

When checking out of the market yesterday, I noticed a box of Cheerios in my cart.  "Those are not mine," I protested. "I ddn't buy any Cheerios."

"They are free," the clerk said.  "Everybody gets Cheerios free."  So I took them.  After all, they are free.

After supper, late, I thought it would be nice to have a handful of dry Cheerios to munch.  I opened the box, and then tackled the plastic bag inside.  The plasic bag fought back.  It didn't want to be opened.  I gave the inner bag a BIG tug, and it came open ALL AT ONCE, sprewing Cheerios all over the room.  There was a Cheerios explosion, and Cheerios flew everywhere looking like a late Winter snowstorm.  The floor was covered.

I borrowed an old fashioned carpet sweeper from the caregivers and becan sweeping.  The trouble with carpet sweepers is that when they pick up three Cheerios, they put back two.  From my wheelchair I swept like mad.  And when I swept as many as I could reach, I used a lint lifter to get more. 

There I was late at night, leaning from my whelchair rolling a lint lifter all over the floor.  I didn't enjoy my free Cheerios at all.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nasty Tweak

I took my first trip outside today.  I went to the market for an avocado, peanut butter, tomato juice, flashlight batteries, cappuchino, and a taste of chocolate candy.

And ouch.  Pardon me for being so candid, but I am still weating a of thos bags that attaches to the most intimate part of your anatomy. My scooter has solid rubber tires. I felt every crack in the sidewalk, every seed from every tree that had fallen on the sidewalk, every pebble, as a tweak in the most delicate part of me.

I was barely able to concentrate on the beautiful sky, the wonderful gathering cumulus clouds, the clear air.  My attention was rivited around my middle. 

It was a gorgeous trip, but I am glad to be home seated on a cushion


Obstreperous Polo Ponies

I observed a large multi-horse trailer turning around in the back parking lot of the old folks home.  You need a large area to turn such a large trailer, and the parking lot was perfect.

But I wondered, which of our residents has a string of polo ponies.  The trailer was the type that transports the whole string, six or eight horses. Curious, I drew near.

Wham, crash, what a thrashing around...those horses will kill each other crashing around like that.  I was worried. Then from the trailer came a plaintive, "Moo."


Up Beat

   I took my portable keyboard to exercise class this morning.  I chose simple thythms and played them as we excecised.

   I tried to suit the rhythm to the particular exercise, and even though it was the first time we did not do a bad job.

   In fact, one person said, "That's the most fun we have had at exercise clas."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Four AM

Woke up at four AM.  I was invention was awarded a patent.  Then I realized that a patent was worthless.  I had to collect the royalties that were due. 

I am like the guy who invented the time delay windshieild wiper... great idea.. and every car used the idea..but nobody paid him.  He spent the rest of his life trying to  collect royalties.  Critics and friends alike told him to forget it...invent something else, but no.  He wanted crediti for his invention, and spent a forturne and a lifetime seeking it.

So I woke up frustrated.  My idea was granted a patent, but I was cold.  I still had to get up and turn on the furnace. So the great inventor rose.  Was I up in the middle of the night, or just up early? I guess that depends on whether I go back to bed or not.

I haven't decided.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Old Folks Home

I was out in the patio watering my minature Lime tree. 

I noticed that my neighbor, a 92 year old lady, was out tending to the flowers by her door.

I like living here.

Sucess Story

One one my high school classmates became a sucessful farmer. Part of his success was due  tte clever name he chose for his chief product.

   Bunny Love Carrots.

It all began about 16 years ago when Mike Yurosek of Newhall, Calif., got tired of seeing 400 tons of carrots a day drop down the cull shoot at his packing plant in Bakersfield. Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent or broken to sell. In some loads, as many as 70% of carrots were tossed. And there are only so many discarded carrots you can feed to a pig or a steer, says Yurosek, now 82 and retired. "After that, their fat turns orange," he says.

Yurosek has always been a "think outside the carrot patch" guy. In the 1960s, Yurosek and Sons was selling carrots in plastic bags with a Bunny-Luv logo, a cartoon that got the farmers in trouble with Warner Bros., which was protective of its Bugs Bunny brand.

Instead of bringing in lawyers and spending a fortune, Yurosek recalls, "I said to my wife — she's a pretty good drawer — 'Hey, draw me up about 50 bunnies, would you? Then we'll send 'em to Warner Bros. and ask them to tell us which ones we can use.' "

The entertainment giant picked one, and Bunny-Luv lived on for the price of a pencil.

The farmer continued growing carrots — and throwing them out — for decades. But in 1986, Yurosek had the idea that would change American munching habits.

California's Central Valley is dotted with farms, fruit and vegetable processors, and freezing plants. Yurosek knew full well that freezers routinely cut up his long, well-shaped carrots into cubes, coins and mini-carrots. "If they can do that, why can't we, and pack 'em fresh?" he wondered.

First he had to cut the culls into something small enough to make use of their straight parts. "The first batch we did, we did in a potato peeler and cut them by hand," Yurosek says. Then he found a frozen-food company that was going out of business and bought an industrial green-bean cutter, which just happened to cut things into 2-inch pieces. Thus was born the standard size for a baby carrot.

Next, Yurosek sent one of his workers to a packing plant and loaded the cut-up carrots into an industrial potato peeler to take off the peel and smooth down the edges. What he ended up with was a little rough but still recognizable as the baby carrot of today.

After a bit of practice and an investment in some bagging machinery, he called one of his best customers, a Vons supermarket in Los Angeles. "I said, 'I'm sending you some carrots to see what you think.' Next day they called and said, 'We only want those.' "

The babies were an economic powerhouse. Stores paid 10 cents a bag for whole carrots and sold them for 17 cents. They paid 50 cents for a 1-pound package of baby carrots and sold them for $1. By 1989, more markets were on board, and the baby-carrot juggernaut had begun.

Fron Lifestryle USA Today


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Food Fare Straight from the Movies

In a recent thriller, a guy and a girl have to run from the "bad guys".  hey have many narrow escapes, including on in an ice boat on a frozen lake.

Finally they take refuge in a resort home, closed for the winter.  Alas, all they can find to eat is sardines and crackers.  Poor dears.  But, beause they are falling in love, they enjoy the sardines and crackers, and say, because they are having them together, that they are the finest cuisine.  Love can do that.

The is exactly what I ah having for a late lunch.  Sardines and crackerrs.

Im not on the run, exactly, but I am out of sync with the rest of the old folks home.  But Sardines and crackers will doo nicely, thank you..

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Amused my Family

When I was coming out to the anesthetic following surgery, I got the impression I was on stage at American Idol.  And was I indignant.  They kept asking me what song  I was going to sing, and I thought they should be asking me how the surgery went.

"Why do they keep asking me what song I am going to sing?"

My familty thought that was hilarious.

Another LONG night

Post operative nights are l-o-n-g. But this post operative night is going faster that previous ones....because I am HOME.

It is five-thirty am.  I am up already. Oh, I had a nice sleep several hours long. But I did not have to lie in a hospital bed and turn and toss this night. I got up, sat in a reclining chair and watched late night television.

And when I got bored with that, I turned on the computer and fired up "Dribble". 

Dribble started when I was in junior high school.  It was a simple little gossip column in a mimeographed newspaper.  You know... "Who was seen following Marisha Thompson around the quadrangle at lunch? Well, if you ask Jeff J. who it was, he will tell you about his new crush."  Stuff like that.  The editor thought my column was drivel, and so named it Dribble...and the name stuck.

Later, when I became editor of the high school newspaper, I used the name for my editorial commentary

When blogging became possible, I revived Dribble and used it as a platform for all kinds of commentaryMy range is wide, and I explore science, art, politics with equal amounts of whimsy.  When a game occurs to me, I include it.  If Hillary appeals to me, I endorse her.If the world needs changing I promote it.

I pour out my personal feelings too. I am sometimes taken to task for revealing too much of myself and my family;s personal stuff in this too public arena.  For instance: All my life I have ridiculed dignity. I said and did things that polite society just "does not do".  And have been in trouble for it.  Now, after my recent health crisis, I no longer want to be the butt of my own undignified humor.  I want to be proper.  I want to regain my lost dignity and make my exit "stage right", not tumbling over the footlights into the orchestra pit to get a laugh.

Once when I was a kid, I took my dog, King, to a pet show at the movie house. I led the dignified old Irish Setter on stage and he got a smattering of applause, except, I led him too close to the footlights, and blinded, he fell into the orchestra pit.  It took the manager and an usher to lift him out.  When they called for a vote again, the "poor dog who fell into the orchestra pit:" got enough sympathy votes that we brought home a prize. (Fourth place I seem to remember)

Oh, well, If I get the sympathy vote, on the stage of life, that will be okay. I made em laugh, I made em cry.  Curtain.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lookijg Back...

...Looking back, it doesn't seem so long.... but while I was going through it, it seemed forever.

   On Friday, February 15 I stopped by myDoctor's office.  I was bothered by what I thought was gout, an inflammation of .the knees. "By the way," I added casually, "my blood count has been a little low, lately.  What's going on?"

   That's all I said. The doctor took the reins in his teeth and ran away, so to speak.  He ordered me th the NOT pass GO, Go directly to the hhospital. Then and there there the process began.  A day's preparation, and a "lower GI" exam. The doctor who looked inside found a bleeding tumor.

   He took pictures.  He scheduled an operation....  No more talk of gout.  My knee was the least of my worries.

   Then the surgeon took over and put me "under" and took out a malignant tumor

   Then it was recuperation, and then off to a different hhospital for rehab.  Then LONG hours of resting and struggling in bed to reach the bed controls, the tv controls, and some way to forcer yourself to lie still on your back for days.

   When I could get to the toilet by myself, I struggled to be independent again.  And then I had to do battle with the powers that be who control our release.

   Looking back, it was not so long...but in the midst of it all, it seemed forever. 

   I am back, weak, being vy careful, typing the best I can, struggling with the typos.

   and OH, how the Big C has changed me and my outlook on life.  New things seem important.  How wonderful it is to have friends to greet me online and wish me well.  Thank you thank you.

   Everything seems more important...don't sweat the small things/ Not even all the typos I made writing this.





   It has been a month.... I have been away in the hospital.  But here I am,  I am home just three hours..  I am resting and recuperating.  Just give me a little time ane AI"ll tell yo all about it.

   I have to ease into this Dribbline in little baby steps. My head is in a whirl.  It is not as easy to get foing as I thought it was going to be.

   Thanks, daughter Kate for filling in for me while I was gone.  It was so nice to get all hose wonderful comments you poseted on the site while I was gojng.  You're my best threapy.  Believe me.


   Stay turned...I am back.