January 31, 2009

One more time for old times sake. I think I might miss seeing W do his thing, well maybe not.
Cleveland Indians, Spring Training, Trucks leave Progressive Field for Goodyear, Arizona

This is the time of year when baseball fans really start getting a little itchy to get it all going again. Spring training starts in two weeks and everything is still possible for all the major league teams. Reality won't plug in for a while yet, so between now, and then I'll prepare myself for a long season into October.
I really like steak, I don't love it, but I do like one now and again. Although I have changed my request from well done, to medium, I still rate this steak undercooked.

January 29, 2009

My remembrance of school homework. I did not excel as you might guess.

January 26, 2009

January 25, 2009

Titled: Wall Street Banquet, painted by Diego Rivera in 1928.
About the time wall street was feasting before the crash and the depression that followed.

Not unlike what is happening now, with wall street again feasting.

January 24, 2009

Ricky Skaggs and The Chieftains perform together at the Grand Ole Opry. Oh, it's so good.

January 23, 2009

Andrew Wyeth:


I think Limbaugh needs to include his brain in the ten second delay setup, giving it time to get into gear. I know he has more money than King Midas, but even for the sake of ratings he has to know that if Obama fails, as he wishes, an awful lot of us will be hurt, and for a long time to come.
Look at the hats! Click on the picture to enlarge it and see more hats. This was the days when everyone wore one. The fashion statement continued more or less until JFK gave his inauguration speech hatless. That was the beginning of the end for hats. I used to like seeing the Bogie films when everyone wore a hat with the brim pulled down. It was also the day of no personal technologies that's for sure. This crowd is standing around in Washington D.C. watching that board under the canopy, a manually operated device depicting runners on base and the current score. Different times, different people, but with one common interest, we all love (loved) baseball.

January 22, 2009

Separated at birth? Is it just me, or do actor Avery Brooks (Hawk from the old television series Spencer) and Dr. Whitley Phipps, singer of spirituals and lately the prayer service at the National Cathedral for Barack Obama look uncannily alike, that is despite going to the same barber. Dr. Phipps above, Avery Brooks below.
I was hoping someone had filmed this for You tube, and indeed they did. I was bowled over by this rendition of Amazing Grace, sung by Dr. Wintley Phipps.

On a warm summer night in Washington D.C. many years ago, my wife and I after attending some charity event and leaving a little early, happened to pass Mr. Brinkley on the sidewalk. I can attest that he was tall. That is about all I can attest to, except I think he smiled at two gawking unsophisicated country folks which we always remained.

January 21, 2009

For one day, for one hour, let us take a bow as a country. Nearly 233 years after our founding, 144 years after the close of our Civil War and 46 years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, this crazy quilt of immigrants called Americans finally elected a black man, Barack Hussein Obama, as president. Walking back from the inauguration, I saw an African-American street vendor wearing a home-stenciled T-shirt that pretty well captured the moment — and then some. It said: “Mission Accomplished.”

so wrote New York Times columnist Tom Friedman

I am struck by this presidents calm, cocksure presence, his language using words that are familiar, yet when coupled with his conviction that even the hardest problem is fixable if only we are dedicated enough, strong enough, responsible enough to take it on, sweeps me up and allows my imagination to once again think of what Americas promise to the world is. His words thus far unsullied by political defeats, can inspire, and rekindle hope and possibilities that even the older, less moved by rhetoric, citizens can feel, a reawakening of a country that's best moments are the result of the better angels in all of us working together in an unselfish way to accomplish what the founding fathers also dreamed of, a land founded on the establishment of and the protection of every citizens rights, civil, and religious, to strive for a life of our own choosing. I pray for God's blessing on our new president, and in the final analysis on us. If he succeeds we all succeed.

so wrote me.

January 20, 2009

O is president

W goes home

January 19, 2009

O's wheels.
Using imagination I would say it is a very sad good-bye scene.

The guy on the left is so boring it put the guy on the right asleep.

The guy on the right can't believe the guy on the left is so stupid.

Left young guy, very excited, has just told parent on the right that he's leaving home tomorrow.

Left guy is telling right guy about how he made this great investment, and has invested all his money in Circuit City.

January 16, 2009

I've gone from regular lenses, to regular with bifocals, to all bifocal for working with the computer. Is this the next step in my progression?
Andrew Wyeth dead at 91. Painted mainly subjects from Pennsylvania and Maine. This is entitled: Wind from the sea.

January 15, 2009

Halfway to Old

“What’re yer numbers, honey?” he cackled at me.

“90/59.” I tell him.

“Oh, pisssssssssssssshhhhhhhh!” he spits back at me. “Ain’t nobody got a blood pressure that low unless they’re takin’ Lotrel. You takin’ Lotrel?”

“No. What’s Lotrel?”

“It’s my blood pressure meds. Got mine down 17 points on the top and 7 on the bottom. That and oatmeal. Oh, wait. The oatmeal was for my cholesterol. Or was it my diabetes? I get all my numbers mixed up.” He shakes his head at his failing memory. I see his wrinkled hand, discolored by sunspots and odd bruising, grip his cane. He slowly lifts himself from his chair and shuffles over to the counter to pick up his prescription. The leg on his elastic waist khaki pants bunches up. His diabetic socks are visible. His oversized acrylic sweater is covered in piles and gives me the impression that he is a widow.

I look around to find I am surrounded by older people waiting for their prescriptions from the pharmacy at the back of the grocery store. I am there because I am obsessed with my blood pressure. I check it at the do-it-yourself machine whenever I can. My aunt, who is a nurse, once told me that athletes can sometimes get their lower number into the low 50’s. I’ve always secretly wanted to achieve that. The people around me at the pharmacy are old. They check their blood pressure because their doctor told them to.

I catch snippets of conversation and it is apparent to me that most of those waiting have health issues. I am quietly smug. I feel young. Their deep wrinkles announce the many decades they’ve lived through. I will go for a run when I get home. They will struggle out of the store with their walkers. I have hard-to-eat corn on the cob in my cart. They have denture cleaner. I am smiling. They seem a tad crotchety.

With a subtle haughtiness only the truly ignorant can possess, I steer my cart down the frozen food aisle. There are three teenage boys repeating the word “dude” over and over quite loudly. Their oversized Rocawear jeans sit very low on their hips. Their plaid boxers are visible. Their Live Mechanics wildly printed hoodies give me the impression that they are highly irresponsible.

They can’t decide between pizza rolls or mini bagel pizzas. One of the boys accidentally knocks into my cart and his friends laugh. They are egging him on to “ask the lady”. Finally one of them turns to me and asks which product is better-the pizza rolls or the Bagel Bites.

“Well, the pizza rolls are higher in saturated fat and the Bagel Bites have a little more fiber. I’d go with the Bagel Bites.” I say with authority.

“Um……yeah. Thanks.” one of the boys mutters back. “We kinda just wanted to know which one tastes better.” They then grab a few boxes of the pizza rolls and take off. As they leave I hear one of the boys ask his friends. “What is it with old people and fiber?”

I am quietly offended. I feel old. I turn to leave and catch my reflection in the freezer doors. My stretch Levi’s are stretched a little too tight. My fat roll is visible over the waistband. My plain, mundane t-shirt gives the impression that I didn’t try very hard when I got dressed that morning. I look a bit dumpy. I look like someone’s tired mother.

I have to face the fact that the person staring back at me is no longer young. I’m nowhere near being old yet, but the aging process has begun. I don’t yet have the more serious health issues of the people at the pharmacy. However, my peers and I now speak about trans fats, carpal tunnel syndrome and which sleep aid medicine works the best. We buy anti-aging products, lite beer and reduced fat ice cream. I have friends with pre-diabetes, knee and back problems and high cholesterol levels. Some of us can’t make it through the night without getting up to pee. Crowns and root canals are common place. We like listening to the oldies radio stations. Most of us could lose a few pounds and tone up a bit. The times we do attempt to exercise we either can’t walk the next day because we’re so sore or we get some sort of weekend warrior “sports” related injury. We’re starting to fall apart. We’re starting to get old. I didn’t think it would happen so soon.

With a subtle humbleness only the aged can possess, I leave my wrinkled reflection and head to the checkout at the front of the grocery store. Waiting in line I find myself passing over the headlines on Cosmopolitan and Glamour and focusing on the covers of Good Housekeeping and Newsweek. The elderly gentleman from the pharmacy is in line in front of me. He turns to speak to me. He motions with his hands toward the teenage boys one line over who are paying for their pizza rolls and Red Bull energy drinks. “For the life of me, I’ll never understand why they don’t pull their pants up.”

I completely agree with the old man. “What is up with young kids these days?” I ask him. And with that question, I officially arrive at the inevitable age of being somewhere between young and old.

Read more from the author here.
W is still our guy for about a week yet. O will never be as funny as this guy. The shoe thing should have been a warning to the secret service: tighten up the security. Where were they?

January 14, 2009

Wooster meets Jeeves and visa versa. The start of a beautiful friendship, to steal a line from Casablanca. Two very talented men Hugh Laurie, whom we all know as House, the doctor with terrible bedside manners; and Stephen Fry who has gone on to many things. He is an author of many books and produces and appears on many BBC productions. He also has a website and a podcast which I really enjoy. I listened to Fry for a half hour last night relating how he absolutely hates dancing. He is such a master of the English language and he is uber intelligent, and funny. Go to Itunes-podcasts-and type in Stephen Fry and you won't be sorry.

January 13, 2009

What a beauty, and I'm not even a car buff. It is a 1951 Chrysler K310. I wonder what it cost then and what it's worth now.
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net


Half woman, half goddess leads the way for the French people in their fight for liberty. Delacroix who did not fight with the people wanted to do something for the cause and this is what he did. The painting is filled with symbolism. Continue reading here for a more illuminating text.
Painting by Currier and Ives 1881


In my adult life I seem to be engaged in an on and off again relationship with coffee. I picked up the quasi-habit when I entered the military. I remember I preferred it black because I did not like the taste when I added canned evaporated milk to it, and that's all they offered. It wasn't a coffeehouse. (It just occurred to me; isn't evaporated milk a sort of oxy-moron? If milk is evaporated then there is nothing there? Oh well that's something for later maybe.) Later whenever I ordered it out on the economy as we used to say, I would receive strong coffee, weak coffee and sometimes great coffee. After a while I became confused (easy to do) and just decided to switch to tea. I stayed with tea, well forever, but in recent times I have also redeveloped a taste for coffee. I never have gotten into the Starbuck, double this, add that fad. I may be a little too dumb to remember all the slang and buzz words, so I just stick to the standard stuff and add a little coffee-mate and a small amount of sugar. Now I know that would set 'real coffee drinkers' into shivers of repulsion but to each his own I guess. My wife has found a couple brands I like better than the others. Two of my favorites are Bob Evans coffee, and Duncan donut coffee, yes they sell it by the package to take home. I still drink tea also, so I guess I will go through life swerving back and forth from the coffee lane to the tea lane. It could be worse, it's not alcoholic or very expensive.

January 12, 2009

This piece from the Glenn Miller Story seems so true that it almost gives you shivers if you are of a certain age. The forties and Miller are synonymous and even though the cut lip part is not true, who cares? I don't. According to a member of the Glenn MIller organization it was changed to a clarinet lead because it was too tiring to have the trumpet lead. I don't know exactly what he is talking about, but I buy it. Regardless it was the best part of the movie. I may have to break out my video of it and watch it one more time.

We base much of our opinion of something or someone on their appearance. A good looking woman interviewing for a job as a receptionist has a better chance of landing the job than an ordinary looking woman. Fair? no. True? probably, but there is always hope that things will change.

The same applies in the flower world, at least in the rose category. We have been raising a Queen Elizabeth rose bush for 35 years. It is beautiful and just keeps blooming year after year. People ooh and aah over its beauty. It has a lovely name, beautiful visage, but its disposition is mean. Don't touch her, she will bite you with those thorns no matter how careful you tread around her. She is a look, don't touch kind of woman. I believe it, you better also.

(check out those thorns. They are lethal, take it from me. I have felt their lethal-ness several times.

January 11, 2009

OPEN LETTER received after she read my thoughts on the new book DEAF SENTENCE. I post it with her permission.

Good Morning,

Know that you all are in the middle of a major storm so whatever stay safe and warm.

I will be anxious to read "Deaf Sentence" as I to am coming to the realization that I am becoming more profoundly deaf all the time in spite of my hearing devices. I also realize that I miss a lot of things simply because I don't hear well and instead of bringing attention to it I just smile and engaged in some thing else that takes me out of an uncomfortable situation. Funny, no one in spite of rather intense medical scrutiny over this past year has ever given me a medical reason. I saw an ENT specialist a few years ago, who talked about everything else, but my deafness. That is because there is no clinical reason for it. It is just a product of genes and (the dirty word) AGE!!!! I know that being in my own world where I don't have to hear has become more and more comfortable for me. In that environment I am in charge and can hear my own thoughts loud and clear.

I know that my deafness is quite noticeable by other people and here I thought I was fooling people. The gig is up - I have a rather severe hearing problem and it does disadvantage me and I waste vast amounts of energy trying to compensate and pretend I hear when I don't. Then I have to scramble to make sure I haven't missed something important.

I watched my mother as hearing rapidly began declining and being totally deaf at the end. How much she had missed just because she couldn't hear and would not admit to it. We got her special ear phones for her to watch TV with, but she wouldn't wear them because they messed up her hair. I think it was because she couldn't hear any better with them.

Asking people to repeat things is annoying and even I become impatient with my husband who is also losing his hearing and compensates as I do and pretends he hears when he doesn't. We miss so much.

Okay enough whining, I am grateful for my life and the many blessings I have. So one more adjustment in this journey called aging. I AM VERY HARD OF HEARING SO BEAR WITH ME, IT IS PROBABLY GOING TO GET WORSE.

I am alive, well, blessed, warm, well fed, etc. and tell myself - "JUST GET ON WITH IT". Thank you God for everything.

Love to all

January 10, 2009


Yesterday we went to our friendly druggist and paid three or four times what we normally pay. Curses on the January deductibles.

January 9, 2009

Just today watched Bacall and Bogie in Key Largo. What a great long career. Check out the date on the magazine. Yes, 65 years ago.

I'm reading the new novel by David Lodge, titled Deaf Sentence. I'm only about a third through but I find it really enjoyable if that is the proper word to use.

The principle character has retired and is losing his hearing. He wears hearing aids, but it is getting worse. He has a father who is a widower whom he visits once a week and has terrible guilt feelings about it because he feels great relief when the visit is over. There is much more story to go, and even though I like the book thus far, I must tell you I empathize with this character far too closely.

I have traveled down that same road watching four parents age and die suffering through the same feelings of this character. Adding to the mix, I too am wearing hearing devices as we modern folks now call them.

Lodge I think must also have a problem hearing unaided, because his scenes though sometimes funny are also right on correct and uncomfortable to read. I don't know where the story will take me and even though I am sometimes a reluctant reader because of the content, I am anxious to continue.

A portion of one page that is in a way humorous, but not really:

I got up this morning before Fred (short for Winifred) and was having my breakfast when she came into the kitchen in her dressing gown. She said 'Good morning, darling', and then, going over to the stove, said something else which I didn't catch because I wasn't wearing my hearing aid; I took it out last night in the family bathroom, which is my bathroom when there are no family or other guests in the house, before going to bed, and it was still there. I said 'What?' and she repeated the utterance, but I still didn't get it. She was opening and shutting drawers and cupboards as she spoke, which didn't help. 'Sorry', I said, 'I haven't got my hearing aid in - it's upstairs.' she turned to face me and said more loudly what sounded like 'long stick'. I said, 'What do you want a long stick for?' My mind was already considering the possibilites - to recover something that had rolled under the bed? Or fallen down the back of a chest of drawers? She came closer and said, 'Saucepan. Long-stick saucepan.' 'What's a long-stick saucepan?' I said. 'You mean a long-handled saucepan?' She raised her eyes to the heavens in despair, and went back to the stove. I thought about it for a minute or two, and then the penny dropped. 'Oh, you mean non-stick saucepan! It's in the top right-hand cupboard.' But I was too late: she was already making her porridge in a stainless steel saucepan which would be much more trouble to clean afterwards. And it was my fault for putting the non-stick one away yesterday in the wrong place.

January 7, 2009

White birches are difficult to grow these days for what reason I do not know. We had a couple and they died along with many others in our town. They are beautiful and I wish they were more hardy, but so it is. Poet Robert Frost wrote a wonderful poem about Birches from a boys point of view. I found the picture at this site, and Robert Frost's poems are all over the internet.

Birches, by Robert Frost

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree~
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

- By Robert Frost

Why is President Carter always a little right of the other Presidents? Shouldn't he be on the other side, maybe a little left of the other Presidents?


I'm not a great fan of pun's, and it's about a week late, but I thought it was clever and the wish is genuine. It might take a little more effort on our parts to make it so, but I'm for giving it a shot.

January 6, 2009

It is only January, but it is starting to get very interesting for the team that plays at the Jake, now known as Progressive field. The team that plays at the Jake/Progressive field is one of those burdened with trying to obtain players within a budget that runs about two plus times less than the big guys. The big guys are those who play in stadiums on the coasts, the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers from Los Angeles, and a few more assorted teams that seem to have pockets full of an unending amount of money. My team belongs to that un-illustrious group of teams that come from what is called small market areas. But for what they lack in money to buy whomever they wish, they can make up in fan loyalty. The fans love their team and you have to love the fans for their devotion to the team who runs hot and cold depending, of course you know, how much money they have to spend.

But this year it is shaping up as a good collection of former star players who because of injuries cannot demand big money, so they come to our team for less money and a chance to showcase their talents. Hopefully to do so successfully and again be able to ask for the big bucks.

We also seem to be a team that handles young players well in their learning years, as they progress in their talent until they reach that magic year when their talent becomes marketable and free agency beckons. Then we lose them to those dreaded coast teams and start the whole process over. The young players never sign with us because the money being offered is so great and we cannot compete. We just lost CC Sabathia to the Yankees who gave him 161 million dollars. It's happened many times before with Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. We expect it, we don't like it, but that's the way it is.

Our General Manager is a crafty dude and gets pretty good value for the amount of money he can spend, and this winter he seems to be amassing a group that if they can grab the gold ring one more time will make a really interesting season for us fans on the north coast.

If course we will need a little help on the medical side of our former big bopper who used to hit baseballs out of the stadium with regularity, but his big body has failed him. This year he says he feels good and the body is being carefully monitored by illustrious doctors preparing him for what could be his last hurrah. A lot of fans are praying for him, and the collection of ex stars that are being accumulated for one last collective shot at the elusive post season play.

January 5, 2009

Is it possible to see a squeak?
Sorry to hear about this. I liked the guy.

Richardson Camp Mum to Vetters on Pay-to-Play
Posted 20 minutes ago in Politics

(Newser) – Bill Richardson’s sudden exit from the prospective Obama Cabinet is causing some Democrats to question the transition team’s vetting process. Sources tell Politico that Richardson evaded the team’s questions about the “pay-to-play” investigation he cited as his reason for backing out. The investigation has been public since August. “Those guys were pressed for information,” the source said, “and they gave nothing.”

Richardson’s departure leaves Obama without his highest-ranking Hispanic secretary, but also removes a potential headache. Richardson said yesterday that he feared the investigation would lead to a tough confirmation hearing, and some believe Obama wanted to avoid the distraction of a second Blagojevich-esque office-peddling scandal. Transition officials say Richardson wasn’t pressured to resign, but neither was the timing terrible. “Better to rip the bandage off now,” says one Obama ally.

Source Politico

Is this how it works?

January 4, 2009

In February the map of the USA changes in a lot of peoples minds to this:

January 3, 2009

HOLY MACKEREL, Nobody told me. Check out this story from Russia. We're breaking up and being dispersed to this and that country or area. I was distressed of course when I read it, but then I saw where my area of the country will be taken over by Canada. Well now, that's not too bad. They speak the same language, I won't have to travel by airplane or ship, that's cool. I think their diet is about the same. I watch some Canadian TV shows and podcasts.

I found all this inside information from MSNBC, and didn't have to rely on the AREA 51 TIMES GAZETTE delivery this morning.

It just occurred to me that a couple friends of mine who live in California will be living in China. I don't think they know the language and are not fans of Chinese food. "Oh my, stuff happens", so they say.

My thoughts this morning are running along the lines of little guy (me) versus big government, big business, (them).

I was thinking of the possibility of nationalization of the oil industry by the government and having the government set gasoline prices. That felt good to me for a moment or two, but then as the thoughts were coming around the turn in my brain for the second or third time it occurred to me that I was stepping into that realm of 'a little pregnant',an impossible situation.

The government running any business is more frightening than the greedy capitalists, and where would you stop once you got into the nationalization business? You could, I suppose take over the hamburger stand business, take them over because we their clients were becoming agitated by the size of the burger, throw them out, take over the hamburger stands.

I am visualizing a scene from Evita, oh my it gets worse. So my grand solution for price gouging, the nationalization of the oil industry will go down as a bad idea, too banana republic I think. I like being free, always have. The answer to lower gas prices is cars that don't guzzle it up. Perhaps the car companies that survive will have learned the lesson of GM, Ford and Chrysler, or not. It is a shame though, I hate seeing less manufacturing in the USA.

January 2, 2009

We're now into January. Snow and ice are becoming the norm, and will remain so for the next three months. Time for the winter dweller (me) to spark up the imagination and remember how the sun looked and felt and then store that memory away and persevere for just a little longer.

#10 Best Beaches / Relaxation Minute: Maui, Hawaii from Greg Voevodsky on Vimeo.

January 1, 2009

This is the fastest-growing sport in Norway right now. From my best contributor, cousin Sondra. From a direct quote from me: "there ain't no way". The english is not too good, but you can surely believe it when I repeat, no way, not me.
Click on the video at the left bottom.