August 16, 2007

King Harry has them all fired up. From Henry V, Shakespeares words in the cold morning air are inspiring.

August 11, 2007

A few days ago I discovered, and listed in my little piece about becoming a septuagenarian, a list of twenty things to do while you are still alive. I kind of enjoyed listing them. As I recall I had not done any of them and only regretted not doing one of them. I am looking at another mag, this time the Atlantic mag, and on their inside cover they have another list of twenty that I should not miss. I will list them and see how I do this time:

Go to the NFL Pro Bowl

Walk the red carpet at a movie premier

Master Japanese cooking

Stomp grapes

See the Tony Awards, live

Spend Christmas on a tropical island

Fly around the world

Go camping and live off the land

Own a room with a view

Go on a safari

Visit an active volcano

Pay the toll for the car behind you

Test-drive a supercar

See the Terracotta Warriors

Shave your head

Drive across the Seven Mile Bridge

Discover a planet

Get a degree in enology

Spend a weekend in Las Vegas like a high roller

Go to the Olympic Games

Again I strike out on all of the above. In this list though there are a couple I might like to do. They are 'go on a safari', and the other is 'see the Terricotta Warriors' in China. Lord, Lord, what is it I wonder would I include on my personal list of things to do while I'm still here and in decent enough shape to do them? Anyways, take out a Visa card and demand a big credit line and the card company will be happy, in case you get the Jonseys to do one on the list.

Before the girl on the right and I started to hang out together, she spent a lot of time with the girl on her left, her sister. I met her thirteen years later and we're still spending a bit of time together fifty-one years and a bunch of months later. My point is, time sure does fly, doesn't it? We have laughed a lot through the years, a lot of it directed at ourselves.

August 8, 2007

We have a butterfly bush in our backyard and other flowering beauties that right now are outdoing themselves in the midst of an oppressing heat wave (up to 98 forecast for this week). The butterflies of many species are flittering all over the place. To get to my garage I must walk close to the bush that is now full of blooms and butterflies. They show no fear of people and it is a hoot walking throught them. It reminded me of a short little nothing poem I wrote several years ago about one of the main visitors, an eastern tiger swallowtail.

(the flight of the eastern tiger swallowtail)

It slews,

it yaws,

it sideslips

It meanders

In a less than straight

Path to the nectar

It’s beauty, it’s grace,
It’s vulnerability

Straight to my heart.
I like to listen to interviews and I like a good song. I ran into a site that combines both in short nicely done pieces that are a pleasure to listen to. It's a part of the NPR family called American Routes. I feel fortunate to have discovered it. Only this morning I listened in on and learned some things I didn't know about the personalities and their music life. I listened to people with backgrounds as diverse as Nancy Wilson, Studs Terkel, and Bonnie Raitt, to Johnny Cash. All very different, but for this show, with music as the lynchpin. Check out their archives.

August 7, 2007


Well I went and did it. I became, without any fanfare, a septuagenarian. It's the first decade I have entered where it occurs to me that I might not be around for the next. I herewith paraphrase something I read recently, I have used up all the time allotted me and will embark upon borrowed time. Sometime this decade I and my septuagenarian body will coincide with that table that insurance companies spend so much time compiling. What, me worry? Of course not. That's a lie. Of course it concerns me. If I thought it would do any good I would spend an allotted time each day considering it, but it won't. Instead I will forget about something that's way out of my hands and instead perhaps go over the imaginary list of things I want to do before I depart this premises. Which reminds me of an ad I saw in a magazine just a day or two ago. Now if I still have it....Yes I do. It's an ad in Harpers mag right on the inside cover for Visa credit card. Apropos because you would need lots of bucks to fund this list. Maybe that's the idea. You think so? Duh. I still like to say that. Sorry.

The list goes like this:


Go to the Olympic Games
Tour MoMa with a personal guide
Visit an uninhabited island
Write a screenplay
Run with the bulls in Pamplona
Go scuba diving in Belize
Take your parents on a vacation
Experience Mongolia's Naadam Festival
Bungee Jump
Read and finish Moby Dick
Swim in all five oceans
Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Ride the Orient Express
Visit the Taj Mahal
Drive on the autobahn
See Iguazu Falls
Heli-ski in British Columbia
Play Pinehurst No. 2
Ski first tracks at Deer Valley
Go to the Super Bowl
Find peace, love and understanding

O.K. there's the list, obviously for the A-List folks, the elite among us. Have I done any of them. No sir, not one. Matter of fact, there is only one I would like to do, and that is Ride the Orient Express. Maybe while I was on the trip I could read a little Agatha Christie to add that little touch. It would be fun either way.

So to the point of this little essay. I've turned seventy, is it more significant than any of the others? No, not really. It's certainly no more fun than turning sixteen and getting my drivers license, a big birthday for guys. Or turning 21 and being able to do something adults can legally do, a touchstone of a guys life, being able to drink alcoholic drinks. Now that was really an anticlimax for me, I didn't then and still don't much care for the hard stuff, no loss. One day in December 1955 was probably my luckiest day, I married a girl who became a fine lady and who helped me grow up somewhat. I shared my birthday for a long time with my mother-in-law who liked me a little bit, that was fortunate. We shared a liking for chocolate covered jellied candy, and we also shared a birthday cake for many years. Birthdays are fun usually, but their prime function is not being the opportunity to consume vast quantities of chocolate cake, but the marking of the passage of time. Like all commodities, scarcity makes them more valuable. As the September Song says, the days dwindle down to a precious few and certainly Hogey must certainly have been correct. So becoming a Septuagenarian is nothing significant but worth marking, so now I will hopefully blunder my way as I seem able to do to the day I will wake up happy to have become overnight an Octogenarian, and wonder if I could possibly survive into my nineties. It's the way of the humans, we almost all of us think this way.

August 6, 2007

I saw this headline in the New York Times this morning.

Bush Signs Law to Widen Legal Reach for Wiretapping

I know it is a sign of the times. I don't know if I'm for or against such a measure. On the face of it and considering my political leanings I am firmly against it as it curbs our constitutional freedoms.

But has the wiretapping to date been effective in keeping the 'terrorists' in check? My problem and I'm only speaking for me is that I no longer trust what the politicians tell us are the facts or their interpretation on those facts, especially a government under siege by politicians blowing hot air this way and that way, none of which I truly believe. It makes the government under siege look cold and unapproachable. They are saying we are right, you are wrong, and this is what we will do like it or not.

Woe is me, woe to all of us. I love this country and its freedoms. We need a savior to ride up on a white horse, and be someone who would talk truthspeak, but I think they are in short supply, at least it appears so at the moment.

P.S. Would we even believe the truthspeaker? You can only spread out the fertilizer so often and only so thick and everyone stops listening and believing.

August 5, 2007

A hut set on the FOUNDATION of a FORD in 1936.

Several years ago I wrote a letter to the Ford Foundation about the possibility of them funding the restoration of Hannibal Missouri ala the work the Rockefeller foundation did for Williamsburg Virginia many years ago. I think Sam Clements (Mark Twain) is the epitome of Americana and a great figurehead for what a person can become in this country. Hannibal is a great dissapointment for anyone visiting there expecting to see some vestige of Aunt Polly or old Huck and his pal Tom. It is mostly a run down town with a few souvineer shops. I thought it would be a project worthy of a foundation with deep pockets to take on to bring the town back to what it may have looked like in the days of Mark Twains youth. Well I did send the letter and I did get an answer. Yeah you're right; thanks but no thanks.

I just discovered the reason on Shorpy's site. Perhaps I sent it to the wrong Ford Foundation.

This is for all those who want to travel, but don't want to leave the comfort of their homes, and what video on the internet was made for.