March 31, 2008


A tribute to my two sons who stood up and served their time in the U.S. military. I thank them for doing what they saw as their duty to all of us by giving a portion of their lifes to the necessary work of defending our good country.

I am eternally grateful to God that I was able to see them come home again all in one piece and be able to tell them Thank you for going and more importantly, to a lot of concerned people, coming back. My first son served ten years in the U.S Air Force and my second son retired from the U.S Army, after two tours in Iraq. Both had done their duty and a whole lot more.

They both made up for their fathers less than illustrious career in the military. I was rated somewhere between Sad Sack, the lifetime private, and Beetle Baily, the sargents all the time nemesis. I sometimes enjoyed my lackluster military career, but no one stood in my way trying to get me to re-enlist, try to figure.

My sons though did themselves proud and their mother and I applaud them for it.

With Love,

Your parents

For your enjoyment we arranged a little musical concert in your honor....they're a little late, but I think I hear them coming...Enjoy.

March 30, 2008

Listening to the WRITERS ALMANAC with Garrison Keillor, I was treated with this poem by Kate Dicamillo. I really like it because it's touching number one, and secondly, and sorta secretly (from whom I don't know) I would like to have a dog like Aldo that could be a friend. Truth be known, I'm too old and getting too fussy to have to tend to a dog anymore I am sorry to say.

Snow, Aldo

Once, I was in New York,
in Central Park, and I saw
an old man in a black overcoat walking
a black dog. This was springtime
and the trees were still
bare and the sky was
gray and low and it began, suddenly,
to snow:
big fat flakes
that twirled and landed on the
black of the man's overcoat and
the black dog's fur. The dog
lifted his face and stared
up at the sky. The man looked
up, too. "Snow, Aldo," he said to the dog,
"snow." And he laughed.
The dog looked
at him and wagged his tail.

If I was in charge of making
snow globes, this is what I would put inside:
the old man in the black overcoat,
the black dog,
two friends with their faces turned up to the sky
as if they were receiving a blessing,
as if they were being blessed together
by something
as simple as snow
in March.
When you think you're having a bad day at the workplace, just look at how the other half, or hopefully a much smaller amount go about their daily business.

March 28, 2008

WII put out by Nintendo has found an unexpected market in senior citizens. Nursing homes and the like have found they are very popular taking the place of standard exercising and making it fun. Here is a small video showing it in action and you can see the amount of movement they use and how good it would be for the elderly. They include five sports: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing.

March 27, 2008

First Edition

My hometown is a medium sized town of approximately 55,000 people, located in the north central section of Ohio. The name of the town is Mansfield, named after Jared Mansfield, the surveyor general in 1808. It is located geographically in the western foothills of the Allegheny Plateau in the county of Richland, named literally because of it rich fertile soil.

When I arrived on the scene in the thirties, Mansfield was a manufacturing center with many heavy industries thriving, the biggest being Westinghouse corporation and Tappan Stove company among many others. The town thrived until sometime in the seventies when the steel recession caused many of the industries to move to other countries or to the south because of cost incentives. They never returned and Mansfielders had to become somewhat innovative and change from a manufacturing base to a service based economy.

I too left my hometown in the fifties, but returned in the early seventies. We may leave our hometowns for economic gain, but that feeling for the place of our birth and the simple life instilled right or wrong in our brains seems somehow to draw us back. The moves back are highly personal in each case and sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't. In my case it was a right move.

March 25, 2008

Now that Spring is officially here even though it doesn't look like it just yet, the school kids are looking at having to pay back for all those snow days off school they accumulated during the past winter. They will have to go a little longer into the Spring so everything comes out even for school accountibility.

But as I remember it was all worth it. I wrote this a while ago while I was remembering those good old snow days.


I was not then, nor am I now an avid fan of winter.

Except, ahh, except for the exhilaration of joy I often felt upon awakening after a crisp coldness had descended upon us overnight.

The morning sun breaking through the gray snow sky revealing an unscarred layer of whiteness covering earth’s imperfections was almost my first awareness of what beauty is. The crisp coldness caused the newly fallen snow to sparkle like diamonds, free for the picking. A stirring from deep inside made me spring out of my warm cozy bed onto the cold morning floor immune to the discomfort, and fully aware of what could lie ahead as a result of Mother Nature’s overnight gift to a boy of ten years. Young yes; a scholar, no; a snow day? Yes! Yes! Maybe.

The furnace’s morning stoking and poking and fueling with an ample supply of coal was returning the favor by filling my moms kitchen with its unforgettable and pleasant aroma and heat. The smell of perking coffee, and the sight of the newly buttered toast enhanced those aromatic pleasures. On mornings like these, my mother, a true believer in the medicinal values of food would also prepare oatmeal for me. A properly nourished body, she would always say, is the proper way to begin a day. Oh God, What a great day this is going to be, the word had just come over the radio, “SCHOOL WAS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE BEAUTIFUL SNOW”.

On mornings such as these, when the fates had smiled on us and piled drifts of snow in our driveways and against our backdoors, I could not wait to get out into it. Of course, my moms job would not be done until she made sure I was covered with seventeen layers of protective clothing, or at least it seemed that many. Then I was sprung loose into a world of boys and sleds and imagination.

Boys, little boys, young boys, evidently don’t have a built in device running from their bodies to their brains telling them they were getting mighty cold now. They just continued on and on and on, like the energizer bunny until, in the method of the day, their mothers would open the door and yell for them to come home for lunch. How I wonder, no matter how far away we were, we always seemed to hear them.

I would arrive at the back door which led into the kitchen, and after working to remove my frozen boots from my frozen feet with my frozen hands, I would stand on the floor register, and let the glorious coal heat cover my body with its thawing, life restoring warmth. How I and my boyhood chums did not lose fingers or toes from frostbite, I’ll never know, because after a short time standing on the register, my feet would begin to hurt and sting.

But soon a bowl of soup and maybe a sandwich would appear, the radio would be broadcasting a soap opera, and everything would be right. In my mind today, almost sixty years later, I can still feel the discomfort of the snow, but the comfort I feel from remembering those days and that kitchen and that time diminishes mere physical pain.

I will always have that kitchen, and those glorious snow days, and that caring mom with me as comfort and remembrance to call upon when age begins to lay heavily on me.

Re-watched a 1941 movie titled: THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER starring Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, James Craig, Ann Harding and the actress who made a very good living playing mothers in some very good movies, Jane Darwell. One of her more memorible mother roles was as Ma Joad in GRAPES OF WRATH.

I really enjoy this movie. It is a morality tale set in New England about a farmer who in a moment of despair says he would sell his soul to the devil for two cents. The devil, Huston, takes him up on it, and the rest of the movie is him enjoying the fruits of his unthinking bargain with the devil until it comes time to pay up.

A good movie in black and white with other character actors you may recognize. Simone Simon plays a woman who also has sold her soul to the devil and has been brought back from the depths to tempt James Craig in his downfall, as if he needed any help.

If I have a choice of a good colored film or a black and white film, I will always take the non-colored film. The finished product always seems more intimate and it seems to take the viewer deeper into the action. (Now that sounds really convuluted and bogus, but I know what I mean, I just can't seem to be able to spit it out). If you're a film fan I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

March 24, 2008

Recently I viewed a recording of AFI (American Film Institutes) top 100 films of all time. Now I agreed with most of the picks. Most were just great films, and some were controversial at the time, but all were darn good. I'm not belaboring any of the picks, but I would like to add a few more rather elderly films which I think are as good now many years after their premiers as they were new.

The oldest film is METROPOLIS 1926. A really great silent film that has moments that are memorable. The picture is a look at the future where the rich live above ground and enjoy life in the sun; and the workers live below ground in their own world. One of the scenes I remember vividly is the shift change when the workers line up not unlike robots in formation and enter and exit elevators that take them to their homes and/or workplace. It is dramatic and unforgettable.

ON BORROWED TIME 1939, a film with the great actor Lionel Barrymore and a kid actor with the great name Bobs Watson who lives with his grandparents because his parents were killed in an accident. Sir Cedrick Hardwick who plays Mr. Death comes to take grandpa Lionel to heaven which would devistate Bobs the grandchild so they devise a plan to trap Mr. Death in a tree so his beloved grandpa will not have to go without him. I won't tell you anymore, but I loved the film and now have it on disk for another viewing when I'm in the mood.

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER 1940, another film that I think is absolutely great, stars James Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, Frank Morgan and an actor with an amusing voice William Tracy.
It takes place in a notions shop in Budapest and the main plot is about two people, Jimmy and Margaret who are lonely and are corresponding with people they have never seen. Of course they end up with each other, but it takes a while to get to that ending, and getting there is sheer joy, at least for me. The actors are great, the story is gentle, almost a fairy tale rendering. Of course Jimmy Stewart never did put on a bad performance that I can remember.

March 22, 2008

Some people are so clever. I found this site accidentally like I do a lot of sites. I couldn't resist sticking my ugly mug on one of those pages. The picture was taken at Malabar State park, a favorite place of my wife and I.

Computers are great company and can be a lot of fun.

Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at

Discount Magazine Subscriptions - Save big!

Spring arrived here in Ohio a couple days ago along with newly emerging daffodils. But Spring being Spring, especially in Ohio, we now have snow back on the ground. My wife assures me that even though it does not look like spring, the sun is higher in the sky and a little warmth eminates from it, so patience is the keyword for winter-weary Buckeyes. A little Cat Stevens music and a video of what we will see soon will have to suffice for now. Enjoy.

March 21, 2008

Do I love this story?
You bet I do. It just seems too right though to be something that could actually come to pass.

But with Buffet buying up stock you have to know it might be a serious story. Read the article, it touches on all the reasons why it is the right thing to do. The number one thing that I immediately thought of was fuel efficiency. It's about time someone put their money where their mouth is.

The government for years has had a hand in our national transit system Amtrac and have done nothing more about it, while the oil cartels in the Mid-East gouge us more each week, and our pols (stated with a sneer) talk about us regaining our oil independence from OPEC with words that have not one lick of credibility.

Starting rail systems to handle some of our commuting would rid the street of a lot of traffic and conversely a lot of gas consumption. My state of Ohio governor Strickland has stated he would like to consider establishing a high-speed rail system throughout the state. Sounds fantastic to me on one hand, but being a political realist, I know this won't ever happen. What really ticks me is not so much that the weak link is money raising, but the sneaking suspicion that the pols don't mean a word of it.

It would help solve too many current problems to have any chance of succeeding.
These two moments from two of America's best, where it seemed that they were thinking and talking on the same subjects in the 1950's. It seems rather prophetic about events that took place here in my country in the first decade of the twenty first century.

Along with that, Senator Hagel this week is coming to the conclusion that perhaps it is the time for a third party, a party for men and women of more independent thinking to be thought of more seriously than ever before. Here is the piece from Google video:

March 19, 2008

Where have I heard that music before?

March 17, 2008

Weather-wise things are pretty much back to normal. The snow is still visible in patches in our yards. Here in my hometown the snow set a record at 19 inches. In my backyard and driveway the yardstick registered 21 inches. Way deep enough and way cold enough, to paraphrase our hippie friends, and way miserable enough to last me for a long time.

I was reminded of this little piece I wrote some years back:


The door slams behind me, loud in the quiet night,

Winter moonlight bathes the tundra

Work boots crunch a frigid cadence

Diamonds in the snow sparkle its fools gold

Do not linger

Silent eternity awaits the foolish

The cold invades my clothing

Quicker the crunching sound

I must hurry; I must hurry

The wind arrives unexpected as death

Snow swirling, envelopes me in white sheets

I’ve lost my way, make a quick back track while I may

Tears spring unbidden from my eyes and turn to ice

I must hurry

My tracks are being covered, but I know it’s this way

Yes I know I’m right

Crunch; crunch

Quickly, the enemy panic arrives

Faster; faster

I can’t see, should I go ahead, or back or

Oh God, help me

I’m so tired

There, under that tree I’ll wait

I’ll wait and think

It has to stop soon

I’ll rest and wait

I hope my love will forgive me for being late

I’ll just close my eyes for a moment

When you retire you won't see this person looking back at you from the mirror. Everyday is Saturday and seventy degrees.

March 15, 2008

Click this and try to find W.

March 14, 2008

March 13, 2008

I tend to believe this snapshot of polled information. My reasoning for believing it is that kids today are born into the computer culture and don't have any thresholds to cross over before they become comfortable with the electronic wonder. They use it as soon as they can understand if you punch a button the following will happen in games. They use computers from kindergarten on.

We older folks at first had to understand that if we pushed the wrong button, the world would not explode, and then it's a slow transition to feeling comfortable with the whole concept. Not to say that older folks cannot become computer nerds, but for kids they're born into it and absorb it like sponges.

It's been a while since I've listened to this Dave Brubeck classic so todays the day. Here's a little history:

Dave Brubeck is one of the most well-known jazz pianists of all time. The classic Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond's liquid saxophone lasted for 17 years, during which time they produced the first ever million-selling jazz tune (Take Five), toured the world many times, and introduced enormous numbers of people to the jazz sound. But Brubeck is not one to get stuck in a rut, and since the original quartet disbanded over thirty six years ago, he has continued to develop as a musician, exploring new avenues in composition and performance. He is still touring, and still releasing albums, at the age of 84.

March 12, 2008

"Life isn't about how to survive the storm,
but how to dance in the rain."
I received this from my friend Fred. What it proves to me is that we cannot take much credit for how we look to others, and more importantly snap judgements from strangers are usually wrong.


Captain Kangaroo passed away on January 23, 2004 at age 76 , which is odd, because he always looked to be 76. (DOB: 6/27/27 ) His death reminded me of the following story.

Some people have been a bit offended that the actor, Lee Marvin, is buried in a grave alongside 3 and 4 star generals at Arlington National Cemetery . His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC). Nothing else. Here's a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time, why the heck does he rate burial with these guys? Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but didn't know the extent of his Corps experiences.

In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces often in rear echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima There is only one higher Naval award... the Medal Of Honor

If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery.

Dialog from "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson": His guest was Lee Marvin Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ..and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."

"Yeah, yeah... I got shot square in the bottom and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi.

Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys getting' shot hauling you down. But,Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew... We both got the cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. That dumb guy actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. Bullets flying by, with mortar rounds landing everywhere and he stood there as the main target of gunfire so that he could get his men to safety. He did this on more than one occasion because his men's safety was more important than his own life.

That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter and said, where'd they get you Lee?' Well Bob... if you make it home be fore me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!"

Johnny, I'm not lying, Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew.

The Sergeant's name is Bob Keeshan. You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."

On another note, there was this man (who just passed away) on PBS, a gentle and quiet man. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he now portrays to our youth. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeved sweater on TV, to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. He was a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat

After the war Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister and therefore a pacifist. Vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life. He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.

March 11, 2008

One of the many great things about being retired is you don't have to wait until lunch time to start snacking. One of the bad things about being retired is you don't have to wait until lunch time to start snacking.

Did I make my point?

That's me in the blue shirt. I cannot resist King Dons or Pinwheels, and when they still manufactured them, Mallomars.

March 10, 2008

What it's called is The Internet

Well that's pretty interesting, I'm thinking it would be a good way to pass along messages...maybe we could call it intermail, or maybe I've got, sure that's it.


March 9, 2008

Snow in the driveway update:

After spouting off about waiting until the snow was over and then doing one snowblowing action was the way to do it...wrong.

Holy Toledo I stuck the yardstick into the snow and it stopped at 21 inches deep. I confidently rammed the machine into the pile and whoa it went in about six inches, I pushed a little harder, another six. My pea brain went into action, this is going to be a big stinking job. I cleared out maybe one third, but probably that's wishful thinking and headed for the house, tired, in a foul mood and hungry. I am re-marshalling my confidence that I can do this job. As Obama says I can do it. Well realistically I will do it, but not after much time and many breaks. One note on my side, the sun is shining brightly. I don't know how much heat is coming out of it, but I'm sure it will help some.

Moral of the story. If a big snow is in progress, don't wait too long before you have a go at the job. A couple times, or three times is better than the job facing me. Well you live and learn even when you are a hundred years old like me.

This is so true. My wife and I are crossword players of long standing and I can't tell you how many times I have tried to erase an incorrect answer and instead of erasing, it creates a great black smudge. As the cartoon suggests the answer must be that it is more profitable for the pencil company to stick that unidentified piece of whatever on the end of their pencils. I wish I could remember that latin phrase for consumers beware.

March 8, 2008

A sort of PS to the previous post, author unknown but certainly an Ohio resident in good standing.

Ohio Poem

It's winter in Ohio
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love Ohio
When the snow's up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around
I could never leave Ohio
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground
Good morning from Ohio, the snow capital of the country this time around. It has been snowing non-stop since yesterday morning. It descends upon us in various styles, steady, or sometimes blowing, sometimes swirling, but always accumulating.
The weatherman says the real snow will come today with a blizzard as the topper.

The dictionary defines a blizzard as:

Quick definitions (blizzard)

noun: a storm with widespread snowfall accompanied by strong winds

noun: a series of unexpected and unpleasant occurrences

I have to smile at the last definition. Unexpected? not really, this is March and I live in Ohio. We always expect the worse kind of weather during this month. Unpleasant? Well certainly if I had to try and navigate somewhere, but we knew it was coming so we stocked up on things we would need such as desserts and other essentials.

The only essential thing I will have to do is when it finally decides to stop is: I and my immediate neighbors on either side of me will have to fire up the snow blowers and try to locate and clear our driveways. The seriousness of the snowfall is symbolized by the lack of the sound of snow blowers since it started. Usually we will blow the snow midway through a snow event and then again at the end, but this time the lack of snow blower engines struggling through the copious amounts piling up is kind of eerie. We are all of one mind I guess, wait it out and let it do it's worst and then we will fire them up and try our best to make a path to the street. Fortunately for my wife and I we don't have any place we have to be and as long as the power does not go off we are fine.

Actually as the wind which is still rather dormant, but every once in a while generates a good blow and whips the snow off the roofs and swirls it in great gusts and performs the magic of white outs, it begins to click in that this may be one of those snow events we will remember for years to come.

If the blizzard like winds do kick up and the snow starts blowing in four directions at once, I intend to make a short video (short because I'm not crazy yet and who wants to stay out in the middle of it for too long) which I will post here.

But until then, I will put on a fresh pot of coffee and watch my world turn completely white and know that soon, very soon although it seems crazy, all the snow will disappear to be replaced by new green growths and I can get to work laying more bricks down on my ever expanding patio. Later.....

March 7, 2008

I found this posted on Ivan Shreve's blog

and could really relate to Aunt (I have forgotten her name) in the Nancy comic strip. One or two of you out there may have run into the 'I forget' action as we start aging. It isn't funny, but the strip is.

I saw a fill-in piece on my local news recently about illiterate adults. These illiterate adults though were soon to be, or already were now literate. The first step to becoming literate when you're an adult is of course admitting it to yourself and coming to the realization you live in an alien world. The feel good part of the piece was the teachers and the look on the faces of the former illiterate after reading from a book for the camera. I would think it would be the equivalent of fighting off alcoholism and seeing the world with clear eyes after being in a fog for a long time.

In my imagining I would think like anything new you would want to use it a lot, so they would avail themselves to a library. When they opened those doors for the first time a new world, millions of new worlds will be theirs to devour through their newfound abilities. I get excited thinking about all the worlds available, and the wonders they will experience. I have been using libraries for my whole life of seven decades now and haven't even touched the surface so to speak.

I remember some books I read sixty years ago, some very clearly. I was an only child, I'm not complaining, and I read all the books in a series about a teenager in high school named Chip Hilton. To me he was a big brother I could learn from. I remember him fondly.

I always have a couple books I am reading and always will I suppose. They are friends that live a much more active life than I do now, but that's what they're supposed to do. They spark our imaginations and transport us to land we will never visit, do things we will never do, make us think of good or terrible things. Books can put our minds into overdrive or act as a sedative and calm us down and mellow us out, to borrow a phrase from the sixties, which you can read about also.

Books are cool, they are great, they are a gift and a companion through all our lives.

Funny Videos

If you have ever owned? a cat, you'll recognize some of his antics.

March 6, 2008

Awaken your imagination, READ.

Thomas Hart Benton

March 5, 2008

I am not a ultra-conservative, I am not an admirer of ultra-conservatives just as I am not an admirer of the ultra lefties. Although I bet I believe a lot of what both lefties and righties believe in. Me, being rather shallow in the sense that I am a headline reader versus the in-depth discussion pieces that I probably should read indicates that I am at the mercy of commentators who, of course, have their own personal political axes they like to grind. The right has the best of the bunch. They are the ones we love to hate, but boy are they good at what they do. Which brings me to what I wanted to say in the first place.

William F. Buckley, as we all know by now died this week. He was the godfather of conservatism. He was its voice, a voice who spouted words that would send me scurrying to find a dictionary. I loved to watch his television show and watch him refer to his clipboard and with his nose in the air throw out some words that I was always surprised that the interviewed person seemed to understand, or did he?

I read today's George Will's, another conservative, very moving good-bye to someone he obviously liked and admired. In the piece Mr. Will quotes one of Mr. Buckley's favorite quotes from Harold Nicolson that I had never heard before but which I will repeat here:

"Only one person in a thousand is a bore, and he is interesting because he is one person in a thousand."

That he liked and repeated the quote tells me a lot about his character.

He wrote many books, some of which were a series of spy novels. I figure if he could write spy novels in between his more erudite writings he had to be a good guy. I think he was.

March 3, 2008

The picture above is Niagara Falls frozen solid in 1932, the only time that ever happened.

We visited the falls a while ago and were much impressed. It's one of those places storied for a honeymoon destination and also as a setting for a Marilyn Monroe movie called strangely enough, Niagara.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the falls, do it. I would even like someday to revisit.