September 23, 2007

September 22, 2007


We're born into a world of promise, but without guarantees. It is left to you to seek what is important in your personal life. If you have an open mind and an eye for the beauty all around us, no boundaries exist. You cannot look upon the bright new morning sun just beginning to illuminate the tall trees from top to bottom, and not believe that that is God's renewal of a promise from on high to those of us on the earth to open our eyes and our hearts and fulfillment will be ours.

September 18, 2007

I found this painting and accompanying article by Mr. Butler. I like Hemingway history. He was almost as big a story as his stories. This seems to fit right in. Find the rest of Mr. Butler's story here:

Hemingway's Greatest Love Was a Painting in the Prado by Ron Butler MADRID, Spain

Author Ernest Hemingway was well known as a hot-tempered brawler, a barroom fighter, horseplayer and a hard drinker. His was a world of bullfights, deep-sea fishing and big-game hunting.So it's difficult to imagine his becoming smitten with a painting on a museum wall of a beautiful woman.Think again.Hemingway's favorite city was Madrid. And one of his favorite hangouts there was the Prado museum."Hemingway loved the Prado," says his biographer A. E. Hotchner. "He entered it as he entered cathedrals."His favorite Prado painting was Andrea del Sarto's Portrait of a Woman. According to Mr. Hotchner, "She was the girl whom he had loved longer than any other woman in his life."

I like electrical gadgets. I have a vcr, a dvd recorder/player, a computer, (of course,) and a portable cd player, portable dvd player, mp3 player, and now I have an Ipod. I always think that the one I am purchasing is the end to end all and certainly there can't be anything better. There always is, or at least the hype is enough for me to buy in.
I waited a long time justifying to myself the purchase of the ipod. I said I don't want this, then I don't need this, but then being able to download all that free stuff and listen to it in any part of the house and/or take it with me wherever I would go kind of got to me. I liked what I heard about podcasts, and that is what sold me. Now here is what has surprised me a little. I had little or no interest in accumulating music on the little gadget. It said I can put 65,000 or 45,000 or maybe 25,000 songs, anyway a lot on there. (I really have to read my specifications a little closer) Nice, I thought, but so what. Well me being an old duck, three fourths of what I have on the thing is something nostalgic, what else would it be since most of my breathing time is behind me, it follows that most of my thoughts are just that, memories. But surprise to me. I put some music on the thing and went about my fall chores of painting and digging and hoeing, (that's hoe with an ing on the end, not the current joke) and stuck the pods in my ears. Absolutely great. The time went by a lot quicker and easier as each song brought back a moment in time. I actually enjoyed the work. So now I am loading the gizmo up with more songs of my past. It is becoming a virtual time machine dishing up music from the forties to the seventies when I think they stopped writing music and went to drug-spiked lyrics coupled with offending percussive noises. Did my ancestors say the same thing about the music I like? Very probably, they did. Anyway it's my gizmo and I will pick the time warp I want to wallow in.

September 17, 2007


During my years of military duty way back in the fifties, I was not generally a very happy camper. I was not a soldier that would be exemplified as 'todays soldier' or have my likeness put on a poster for recruitment purposes. Although it was not altogether a bad experience. I got to travel to places I would not have visited otherwise. I met some people I wish I had kept in contact with. (a regret obviously) But, for this piece what is most important to the rest of my life was the military contribution to my eating habits.

I love to eat, but that is not the way it always was. I was, as I think an awful lot of young people are or at least were, picky or snoopy eaters, with a small range of likes and a large range of do not likes. Well the military cured me of that. I can still remember the incident. I was in basic training and working harder than I ever had in my young life. During breakfast in a huge, huge dining hall, or mess hall as it was called, maybe because it more accurately reflected what was prepared and served to its young heroes in the making, I was going through the serving line with my empty tray outstretched for some familiar breakfast fare. Maybe some eggs, bacon, oatmeal, pancakes, all of which were familiar to me because my mom served me one of the above all my life. But no, not today, because today my life would change. I pulled my outstretched tray back and it was filled with two pieces of toast covered with a mixture of hamburger in a white sauce of some kind. I remember asking my table partner who I thought had a little more worldly experience, jeeze everyone in the building had more worldly experience than I did, what the devil was that lying in a puddle on my tray. He explained in a succinct phrase, it's shit on a shingle. Oh, of course it is I thought. Well it was very early in the morning and we had already been at it for over an hour with a long day ahead of us, and I was starving. I had to eat something and even though the unappetizing offering with the unappetizing name was the only thing in front of me, I balked. I balked, but not for long, survival dictated I eat something and this was it. I started slowly, but found out I really liked this stuff. My mom didn't make it, but perhaps there are other entrees out in the world that I would like also. Thus opened my new world of trying different cuisine's made by someone other than my mom, whom I discovered was not intellectually curious when it came to food preparation. But it was one of those little things that changed my life, at least my appreciation of food, all the different types and origins, prepared by cooks far and wide.

But now after all these years of eating many different foods, and a daily diet prepared by the woman I married who is a very good cook, I still think the two best things to eat are a good old American hamburger, embellished with whatever your mind can imagine, and something chocolate for dessert. But I do thank the American military for opening my mind and stomach to all that is different and sometimes delicious.

Well I still have a prejudice against trying limburger cheese. I just can't get it that close to my nose.

September 16, 2007

I think television programming is 'the vast wasteland' in spades. I also think some sinister plot is afoot. There doesn't seem to be any writers worth their salt plying their trade in that depository of mediocrity. It's easier and certainly cheaper to just stick a camera on the street or in a persons house and wait for someone to walk by, compile many hours of this, and stick it on the networks as the latest realism show. There are still two things television does well. That is showing sports of all types, I like the baseball games, and running old movies.

But every so often a little show pops up that's fun to watch and is cleverly written. The one I'm leading up to is a Canadian comedy that's been running on Canadian television for four years and has just now made it's way to the U.S. It's titled CORNER GAS. It can be seen on the Chicago station WGN. It's a group of small town people living in the Canadian countryside running a gas station. Exciting huh? But it is the writing by a comedian who is brave enough to retain his own name Brian Butt that makes it fun, clever, and a joy to watch. Take a look, as you can tell I liked it.

September 15, 2007

I have taken a little time off contemplating whether to continue or not with the blog. The result of my contemplation is of absolutley no consequence to anyone. That I understand. But the blog never was for anyone else's amusement except as an accidental meeting of eye and/or thought of the days proferred content. It was always, and is, a selfish or personal endeavor that I devote a period of time to each day. A time set aside to direct my endeavors toward something that interests me and of which I have absolutely no problem sharing with anyone else who happens by.

Basically it gets my mind in gear early in the morning when old people seem to rattle around. (a phenomonon that is a medical curiosity, rising when it is still dark or at sunrise when you don't have to. Strange.) I have many things to keep me occupied, but this is a personal intellectual exercise to start my day. If I take too many days off without spinning something off into the digital silt field, I feel at loose ends; so I shall continue.

My relatives who drop in from time to time know that it is not unlike a webcam without the video. If I have updated the blog they know I still breathe.

September 13, 2007

Two photographs by Ansel Adams currently being shown at the Corcoran gallery in Washington D.C. from a collection not seen in a while.

September 1, 2007

After writing the piece about my favorite uncle and thinking about baseball played by kids, I ran across this youtube piece and I loved it. No uniforms, not enough boys or girls to make a proper team, and no talent except in their imaginations. Great, the stuff childhood should be made of.
A sketch of one of the good guys.

As an old guy looking back at the roster of other guys that have popped up in my life along the way, I am struck by the shortness of the list. That either means my criteria for getting on the list is harsh or maybe being a man that other men or boys admire is not an easy task to take on. They are picked certainly subjectively, that's only human, and on a very small sampling of their humanity, a moment or two in time as it were. Also being judged by a critically flawed guy should tend to take the pressure off those judged more harshly, as if they cared then or now.

A good guy whom I only remember fondly is an uncle who was a busy man, but like most busy men would find the time for a small bashful boy residing temporarily in a house amongst women. Still too young to hide in books or think much for myself, a boy at loose ends it could be said. As if he read my mind he found a moment to involve me in the one game I found enjoyment in and perhaps in retrospect he also found enjoyment in, as he also resided in a house of women, nice women to be sure, loved and cared for women, but not guys who indulged in guy stuff. I was the only other guy on the premises, albeit temporarily; small, scrawny, freckle faced, and bashful as I was, I was it. So on a bright and hot day my uncle appears tie-less and up for a good game of catch (no more than tossing the baseball back and forth) but a wonderful game to jump start a boys imagination of improving to such a degree that the major league scouts would come knocking at the door. Boys can dream like that.

As the game progressed and sweat was running down my face, I don't think I was exactly pushing my uncle but we were enjoying the moment and my imagination by that time was in high gear when all of the sudden he throws a fast one right at my head, instictively I raise my ballglove in front of my face, surprisingly, the ball he returned to me exploded as it hit the glove in a tomatoey splat. He had subsituted a bright red, very ripe tomato for the baseball and I ,in my mind filled with becoming a baseball legend, did not even see it coming. The tomato hit the webbing of my glove and the resulting explosion expelled tomato juice and pulp into a very, very surprised boys face. Through all these years I have always wondered how my face looked when my thoughts of being the next Babe Ruth were all of the sudden immersed in a very nice tomato surprise salad