April 30, 2009

Robert Griffing 1940 THUNDERING WATER ne-ha-ga (Niagara Falls)

"Why don't we visit the souvenir shop, pick up a few trinkets, and try to think up a good story about how we lost our canoe's, and start walking home."
By Albert Herter 1871-1950

1942 a novel

1942 a novel by Robert Conroy is the first what if book I've read to completion. It might spoil me for other books in this genre because I think it's better than most. It assumes that the Japanese have conquered Hawaii. Instead of retiring after two attacks on the fleet, they decided since they had such good success, why not try a third attack and destroy our oil supplies. This they did. The next 358 pages are nitty gritty war scene and human beings trying to live under Japanese rule. The scenes involving the kempetei, the military police, are probably almost too real to read. Japan operated under the dictums of bushido which believed that anyone who did not die defending their country were less than human and should be treated accordingly.

I thoughly enjoyed the book. This is Mr. Conroy's fourth what-if book. The other three are: 1901, 1862 and 1945. I will try another.

Newt Gingrich has also written a what-if book about Pearl Harbor that I will, after reading Conroy's version of what -if, take a look at. Gingrich's version with him being a politician and a student of history might be more heavy on past history. I'll see.

April 29, 2009

Just finished Oh Johnny by PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer and like a Robert B. Parker book it is a quick read about one of my favorite genres, the forties. It's a story about a young marine Johnny who is enroute to California, from there overseas. He is as yet innocent in the ways of love, a situation he wants to remedy. He gets off the train on a short stopover at a cookie and cigarette canteen run by the local doughnut dollies in Kansas. He remedies his innocence situation and falls immediately in love with the object of his affections. One problem arises, he does not know her name.

The book follows Johnny through the war and he does not forget the girl. She is his good luck charm, he thinks, that protects him from harm. It continues after the war, and does not leave any unanswered questions at the end. I liked the book and recommend it.

The video of the doughnut dollies of North Platte Nebraska is what I think Johnny's rail side canteen looked a lot like.

April 28, 2009

Now was that from Revelations, or Genesis part Two or...

Losing Mum and Pup, a memoir of William and Patricia Buckley.

A new book written by Christopher Buckley about his mother and father Patricia and William Buckley and titled: Losing Mum and Pup, a memoir of his parents is being released. The New York Times has a nine part synopsis of the book which I have read. I liked William Buckleys fiction books about spies, and I am pleasantly surprised from reading about him that he was a very nice guy and good company if you were so honored to be his friend.

The nine parts from the NYT is good reading and what will strike you as it did me is that family relationships are the same with the haves as with the rest of us, perhaps the arguments are carried out more properly linguistically, but it all comes out the same. Arguments, refusals to talk as a penalty, sons thinking that their parents are sometimes intolerable, cruelties foistered upon each other and forgivenesses given.

All in all they are, or were a very civilized, loving family with moments of common discourse between them. I thought I liked Bill Buckley before this personal account and nothing in this account changes my feelings. It has illustrated that families must suffer through bad manners over a lifetime living together and sometimes it isn't always pretty.

It covers the heartbreak of failing health and finally death and the enormous grief that cannot be avoided.

Christopher Buckley is a good writer and it seems his father was proud of him, which was important to him, as it would be to most of us. I will look for the book in my library.

April 27, 2009

Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory and a cartoon (one of thousands) based on the painting.

The original idea of this painting came to Dalí on a hot summer's day. He was at home with a headache while Gala was out shopping. After his meal he noticed some half eaten Camembert cheese and how runny it had become on account of the heat of the sunny day. That night, while he had been searching his soul for something to paint, he had a dream of clocks melting on a landscape. He went back to the unfinished painting he had been working on, which had a plain landscape with rocky cliffs in the background and a tree on a platform. Over two or three hours he added in the melting pocket watches which made this the iconic image it is today.

There is a broken sundial on a wall facing Dalí's house in Port Lligat. The gnomon, protruding from the wall, has long since broken off. It is less than fifty feet from the door of Dalí's house. It is pale blue in colour, and today, the paint is fading. The watches in The Persistence of Memory are also a pale blue. The numbers on the sundial are on the bottom of the square sundial, giving the appearance of the numbers having "melted" into place.

The painting was first exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Pierre Colle in 1931, where it was purchased by the New York gallerist Julien Levy for $250. In 1933 it was sold to Mrs. Stanley B. Resor, who donated the piece anonymously to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1934..


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The heat of the day lingers, darting, erratic flying
creatures of the night are drawn to their death
by the artificial light unwilling to the end to rest
in the shadows. As the midnight music begins; crickets break the silence with
their discordant yet familiar and welcome sounds; birds, sensible
for once occupy their nests and rest, their songs silent until
the morn; the human animals tired from their daily routines asleep
in their beds dream of a better tomorrow and more after that, eternal
optimists safe for another day.

April 26, 2009


April 25, 2009

Roy Lichtenstein painted this in 1982, and he called it I LOVE LIBERTY.

Now what liberty he liked in particular I don't know. But, I can tell you what kind of liberty I like. Like may be too small a word, maybe love would be more apt.

I love the liberty to be able to write (sometimes) stupid words and have it sent to all parts of the world, without any fear of someone knocking on my door in the middle of the night. This should not be taken for granted, its a big one.

I like the idea that I can move freely through all our fifty states, or for that matter most of the world without explaining the whys and wherefores of it.

I like being able to act or say stupid things without being locked away because of my ignorance. We tolerate stupidity in this country, actually sometimes we celebrate it.

I appreciate the freedom to smoke myself to death, or to suck whiskey until I turn blue, although neither appeal to me and I surrender my rights to do so, but I could if I saw fit to do it.

What Lichtenstein loved about liberty I don't know, but I suppose the right to paint a canvas all black and tell us it was a red bus at night might be part of it.

We all should love liberty, or at least appreciate what millions of people through time gave their lives for so we could enjoy it.

April 24, 2009

April 23, 2009

Shep goes off the subject and says what he thinks. Wow, O.K. Shep. I may look in on Fox occasionally. Naw, probably not.

This picture is dying for a funny caption, but I can't think of one.

Hazel watched a portion of this movie; only a portion, enough said?

April 22, 2009

In the interest of science, the conceiving and the delivery of a baby is documented. You've been warned. The video is in documentary fashion but still parents with young children, be warned. Here is the video.
Travels with Charley There are many Steinbecks I have read, but there are many I have not, just because I can't read fast enough. This review is from a reader from Bluerectangle, a video review.

April 21, 2009


This is the only clip I could find on Doc Blanchard who died today. He and Glen Davis were Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside of the undefeated Army teams of the forties. They were the idols of our sandlot football games and received the kids ultimate accolade when we played: "I wanna be blanchard or I wanna be davis." RIP Doc.

Released here first: Seamy thoughts laid bare with no censorship for those who need to know.

Famous scene of Monroe for the movie SEVEN YEAR ITCH. The scene was shot on Lexington avenue in New York and again on a sound stage in Hollywood. The man is Tom Ewell who starred in the Broadway play and also the movie.

April 20, 2009


T' was almost a week-end of joy and frolic when the hated gladiators of New York town came close to losing three out of four to their country brethren from the countryside of Ohio, the Cleveland bunch who came neigh to bursting their buttons when their pent up offensiveness launched Spaldings into the sky and out of the arena time after time. The royal enclosure where sitteth George the most royal of all baseballdoms royals was in peril of oral overloads from the royaldom his self when his majestic jesters and others who hold together the dominion were not forthcoming with logical oration about how all the taxes gathered from the realm's most needy could not be relied upon to discover and enlist magical launchers of the white sheres at a speed and exotic revolutions to blind the rural cousins from the land by Lake Erie.

But rightness and justice are not always served equally between the city bought for 24 dollars and some shiny beads and the land of rust and dwindling hopes. And this patch of history is like much of history past with the Indians of Ohio returning to their wigwams in the village founded by Mr. Cleveland, once again having come close to humbling the striped suited, but alas returning to a less affluent dominion to dream of what might have been. Two contests for the New Yorkers and two contests for the Clevelanders of Ohio.

April 19, 2009

A few dollars here, a few benjamin's there, and by obama I think we might have it solved.

April 18, 2009


Spring has sprung, the temps are rising, and we ventured into the woods. It is ideal this early because there are no bugs flying at your face, and new sprouts are everywhere. Hazel, my significant other (I'm just showing off my being current lingo; she is also my wife, and before that my girl friend) showed off her good eye by snapping this pic of newly emerging water flowers. I would tell you what they are called, but I haven't the foggiest.

Today with one more beautiful day promised, the program will turn to work. The lawn is in an after-winter mess. The grass is growing and the mower will have to try and show it who is boss. We all know that answer, nature is the ruler, but I will take a whack at it just so I can stay inside of all the city ordinances. Of course, all this is premised upon the old reliable mower starting up after a long winters sleep in the barn. I stopped at the gas station yesterday to get the gas can filled up and that caused a momentary grrr to come out of my mouth. The cost of filling my gas can used to be an insignificant cost, but now..oh well we've been over all that. Enjoy the picture and I will ready myself for the experience ahead.

April 17, 2009

Celebrity houses, always good to see extravagance in action.

"On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting."

— Jackson Pollock
Carol Ohmart, model for Cooper Calhoun a comic strip character in Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff 1947

April 16, 2009

The evil spreads:

Where Have I Been. Denim (Blue Jeans) is Underfire. Do I agree?

For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule:
If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute
Grace Kelly. - George F. Will

Why Jeans Are Evil

(Newser) – Across America, men, women, and children are wearing the same pants: jeans. Not only a sartorial crime, the trend is an “obnoxious misuse of freedom,” rails George Will of the Washington Post. Levi Strauss set out to make tough pants for 49ers who spent all day in the mud, and “it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags into golf carts to go around dressed for driving steers.”

Today’s denim is a “carefully calculated costume,” designed to look casual, indifferent, exactly as slovenly as the next guy. Actually dressing well “would be to commit the sin of lookism—of believing that appearance matters,” Will explains. “That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.”
Source: Washington Post

..and then there is this:

Down With Denim


If there is a silver lining to a financial crisis that threatens to leave the entire country dressed only in a barrel, it is this: At least we won't be wearing denim.

Never has a single fabric done so little for so many. Denim is hot, uncomfortable and uniquely unsuited to people who spend most of their waking hours punching keys instead of cows. It looks bad on almost everyone who isn't thin, yet has somehow made itself the unofficial uniform of the fattest people in the world.

It's time denim was called on the carpet, for its crimes are legion. Denim, for instance, is an essential co-conspirator in the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby no matter what the occasion. Despite its air of innocence, no fabric has ever been so insidiously effective at undermining national discipline.
[strauss] Associated Press

Did Levi Strauss realize the havoc his creation would wreak on the modern world?

If hypocrisy had a flag, it would be cut from denim, for it is in denim that we invest our most nostalgic and destructive agrarian longings -- the ones that prompted all those exurban McMansions now sliding off their manicured lawns and into foreclosure, dragging down the global financial system with them. Denim is the SUV of fabrics, the wardrobe equivalent of driving a hulking Land Rover to the Whole Foods Market. Our fussily tailored blue jeans, prewashed and acid-treated to look not just old but even dirty, are really a sad disguise. They're like Mao jackets, an unusually dreary form of sartorial conformity by means of which we reassure one another of our purity and good intentions.

There was a time, of course, when not everyone wore denim. In the 1950s, Bing Crosby was even refused entry to a Los Angeles hotel because he was wearing the stuff. (Levi Strauss obligingly ran him up a custom denim tuxedo so he wouldn't have that problem again.) By then denim was a symbol of youthful defiance, embraced by Marlon Brando, James Dean and -- well, just about every self-respecting rebel without a cause. Even Elvis, who didn't often wear denim in public during the early part of his career (like many Southerners, he associated it with rural poverty), eventually succumbed. Now we're all rebels, even a billionaire CEO like Steve Jobs, who wears blue jeans and a black turtleneck whenever unveiling new Apple Computer products.

Although a powerful force for evil, denim has achieved a status that will come as no surprise to fashion historians. Like camouflage fabric, aviator sunglasses and work boots, blue jeans were probably destined for ubiquity thanks to an iron-clad rule of attire adoption. "The sort of garments that become fashionable most rapidly and most completely," Alison Lurie reminds us in "The Language of Clothes," "are those which were originally designed for warfare, dangerous work or strenuous sports."

I can only hope the Obama administration sees denim for what it is: a ghastly but potentially lucrative source of much-needed revenue. Let's waste no time in imposing a hefty sumptuary tax on the stuff. It's a great example of "soft paternalism" (especially if the pants are pre-washed). We can close the budget deficit at the same time we eradicate the fashion deficit. All we've got to do is impose a federal levy on Levi's.

Mr. Akst is a writer in New York's Hudson Valley.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page W11

April 15, 2009


Webb has started the ball rolling on a study that will eventually he hopes change our penal system. Ours is broken as everyone by now certainly knows. What would work? A congressional study might start to find out. Obviously the idea of rehabilitation has to be the main outcome of a new plan. Inmates come out meaner than when they went in, and more proficient in their criminal speciality.

There has to be someway to enable the felon with some form of legal occupations when they return to society. There must be a way to infuse some element of hope that there is a better way to live. Any success that is achieved is a success for the individual and for our country in so many ways.
Rush Limbaugh utterances.

April 14, 2009

Metro Goldwyn Mayer used the tag for this photo of 'More stars than in the heavens' I posted this many moons ago, but I didn't have all the names of the stars. I do now.

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Front L-R Lionel Barrymore, June Allyson, Leon Ames, Fred Astaire, Edward Arnold, Lassie, Mary Astor, Ethyl Barrymore, Spring Byington, James Craig, Arlene Dahl
2nd. Gloria DeHaven, Tom Drake, Jimmy Durante, Vera-Ellen, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Betty Garrett, Edmund Gween, Kathryn Grayson, Van Heflin
3rd. Kathryn Hepburn, John Hodiak, Claude Jarman Jr., Van Johnson, Jennifer Jones, Louis Jourdan, Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, Alf Kjellin, Angela Landsbury, Mario Lanza, Janet Leigh
4th. Peter Lawford, Jeanette McDonald, Ann Miller, Richardo Montalban, Jules Munshin, George Murphy, Reginald Owen, Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell, Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton
Back. Alexis Smith, Ann Southern, J. Carroll Naish, Dean Stockwell, Louis Stone, Clinton Sundberg, Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter, Spencer Tracy, Esther Williams, Keenan Wynn
A bigger than life drawing of Cary Grant, who in his acting life was just that. The movie that they reference is NORTH BY NORTHWEST. A movie of an innocent man being accused of doing many bad things, which of course he did not do. He is being chased here and there, and eventually on to a train where he meets EVA MARIE SAINT, where they in record time relocate to her room. It has some very sophisticated and sexy dialogue for that day. It is a really good movie and Grant hardly breaks a sweat.

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April 13, 2009

Yeah I do have a sore back today, how'd you guess?

April 11, 2009


I love it when I watch a movie expecting nothing and getting back a really good, enjoyable flick. That was the case with MILLION DOLLAR BABY. I had rejected looking at the movie because I thought the premise was pretty lame. Also I'm not into boxing movies in general and women's boxing in particular. But the time was right, the president didn't need me for anything at that particular moment and I had just gotten comfortably seated, and the choices boiled down to the 'baby' or watching another discussion about the bad economy. A no brainer as they say.

I should have known with a cast that includes EASTWOOD, FREEMAN, AND SWANK, it had to be good. It was. The talent of those three award winning actors flew out of the little screen and lit up my room. Eastwood was Eastwood. I thought, when the picture was coming to an end how old he is and I am going to really miss his acting, directing, and his continued vitality and contributions to show business in general. Morgan Freeman is multi-talented and can't seem to make a bad choice these days. He too is getting up there a bit in age and I put him along with Eastwood in the enjoy them now while you can category.

Aging aside, these actors are brilliant in this movie, along with an actor Hillary Swank that I think is in the Meryl Streep can't miss category. She is like Streep an extraordinary talent that can take any role and make it her own. She is so young compared to her fellow cast members and one can only imagine the awards she will continue to pile up. I knew she was good, but was late coming to the realization she is great. I won't be late from now on, I will be expecting a great performance, which is the responsibility of a star, to excel. I have no doubt she will. She has earned a seat beside Streep at the head table.

Watch the movie, it's all over the tv these days. It is a good one.

April 10, 2009

Tom Braden, the founder and co-host of crossfire with one of his co-hosts Robert Novak many years ago. Braden died this week, and Novak is terminally ill with brain cancer. Braden was also the writer of the book that spawned the television series Eight is Enough, about his real family.

READING:A SWEET PASTIME (a passing thought)

I find reading about as sweet a pastime a person could indulge in. Reading really is a sweet pleasure. It gins up your imagination and you can be taken out of yourself and into the mountains as I was last week when I read a paperback novel about mountain men. It was light, it was good. You have hero's and villains to root for and to hiss at.

1942 was a momentous year, and we all know what happened at Pearl Harbor, but through this new novel by Robert Conroy I am taken back there and am imagining what it might have been like had the Japanese made another air attack after the blow against our battleships. What would it be like if they had come back and destroyed the oil resources? It would have crippled the U.S. Navy's capabilities to keep what ships we had left, in the water. Japan conquers Hawaii, what next?

Good stuff, the mind reels with the possibilities before the author even gets us there.

Re-reading a favorite book I find is always a pleasure. I usually pick up a new or different insight on a character or the authors plot. Reading a book that you have liked well enough to give it another go is like returning home after a long trip away, comfortable and friendly.

Maybe a little digression here. I am thinking I could relieve some of my book overcrowding by donating some to my local library to be sold at their monthly book sale. It seems appropriate that as much as I enjoy my library, perhaps knowing someone else may enjoy the books at a next to nothing price seems right. Books are great travelers; as Ernest Hemingway said, a movable feast.

I love books, I have too many of them. As you can see these two bookcases are overcrowded and have turned into sloppy messes. I'll get to that soon, I say to myself.

April 9, 2009

I know that this is the start of a television series, I know it's the seventies, I know it's make believe, but look at the clothes the actors are wearing. Is it being unrealistic or did they really dress like that. Everyone is preppy, certainly nothing wrong with that, I liked preppy. I don't want to beat on our current kids but our kids seem to embrace salvation army and prison garb. Economics aside, and our egalitarian tendencies, I present another side. Since high school is the first step in the success ladder, should it not also not be the first step psychologically by trying to look your best, instead of trying to look as grungy as you can get by with.

I know that I'm old and am forgetting that rebellion for rebellion's sake is the norm for kids of that age. But I think that striving for a better life, which includes being better dressed is part of that, and I also know that being happy with targeting the worst instead of the best is a tad perverted and topsy turvy.

April 8, 2009

He was so good when he was so bad. Richard Widmark died last year at age 93.

April 7, 2009

FROM THE BLOG-SCOUTING NEW YORK. Sculptures and story are very moving. Clicking on the title Lost at Sea will take you to his blog.


One of my favorite public art pieces in New York City is probably familiar to anyone who has ever waited in line for the Liberty Island Ferry. Located on the west side of Battery Park, the American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial is a haunting tribute to commercial seamen who lost their lives, for whatever reason, on the water.

The memorial, designed by artist Marisol, was based on a true event during World War II, in which a Nazi U-boat attacked an American merchant marine vessel. While the marines held on to their sinking vessel, the Nazis photographed the victims, then left. The memorial is directly inspired by one of those photographs.

Mariners 01

As you can see above, two men are desperately crying for help while a third tries to pull a victim from the water. I can’t tell you how moving this is at high tide, when the water laps at the man.

Mariners 02

Mariners 03

Mariners 04

Mariners 05

There is an unbelievable desperation in the piece, as the man struggles, veins practically bursting out of his arm, to grab hold of the seaman above and salvation as the merciless ocean tries to drag him down.

It’s all the more disturbing when you read the final line of the memorial’s plaque: “Left to the perils of the sea, the survivors later perished.” Despite their valiant efforts, they were dead from the start.

The caption on the picture is a little small. Here is what it says:

Phyllis Brown and Gerald Ford posed for illustrator Bradshaw Crandall, Cosmopolitan, April 1942

Jerry played football for Michigan, was a Navy officer, married a top model Betty, became a congressman and our 38th President. Good resume, good man. RIP Mr. President.

April 6, 2009

Today is the start of the new baseball season for most of baseball. The princeliest realm in all the baseball world will be once again in the spotlight. A new baseball castle paid for by the serfs of the realm will be opened for all to inspect and gush over. The anointed princes shall enter the field of combat adorned in their pinstriped working clothes, leaving their fully packed wallets in their personal safes located next to their room size lockers. A team comprised of the best money can buy will proudly enter the arena that is not the house that Ruth built but the jewel of the Bronx to be sure.

But the world of baseball is not always respectful of pomp and splendor. Denizens of the baseball world know the uncertainties that may befall even the mighty. The season is long and danger lurks around all the base paths. So when the days become cooler and shorter, whomever stands atop the baseball world is not always the richest of the rich.

All of which instills in all the rest of us the hope that the Gods of baseball sometimes grant all the laurels to a valiant lot, who caught all the breaks and all it's combatants stayed healthy to the end to stand tall and alone, the champions.

I, of course, know who that lot is, but in order not to spoil it for all of you I shall remain mute and smile knowingly to myself as the intricate game of baseball plays on.

Let the games begin.

April 5, 2009

re: Bones

I wrote Bones, obviously for young children, or for a parent to read to them would be best. I am going to add a few more sound effects which kids seem to like, heck so do I. The sound effects are hyperlinks with a line under a word. It was written as pure fun for me and I hope for your children.


By Jim Kittelberger-A hands on story

After finishing off the last chicken leg and last dab of potato , Grandpa said he was raring to go. He and Grandma, hand in hand with their grandchildren, headed for an area they called `the nature walk'.

Their son and daughter-in-laws' recently purchased house was located at the end of a lane, next to a small, very old cemetery, and it was very private. Since they bought the house in the winter, the `nature walk' was not discovered until springtime. It sat at the foot of the west lawn. The long sloping west lawn ran downward from the house until it leveled out, and changed from well-manicured lawn to thick overgrown brush and reeds.

It was so thick it was impossible to push the growth aside and look in. When you entered, through a barely noticeable footpath, you entered a completely natural world. It was the size of four football fields squared, and was kept in its natural state by its owner who the neighborhood kids called the hermit. In the early days in our state he would have been known as a solitary, a person comfortable around things of nature but not people. The rumors about the hermit were many. Some believed he kept the preserve as a home for various species of wild birds and small animals. Some say it was a natural habitat for plant life. That's what most people thought, but the neighborhood children thought much differently. The list of what they thought included, a home for a creature he had created in his basement, a secret burial ground for his one untrue love, who maybe, had threatened to leave him, or a place to grow a secret elixir that kept him young forever. The estimated guesses of the age of the hermit ranged from sixty, an age considered ancient by the very young, to one hundred and fifty.

Today the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was hovering around seventy, as nice a day as you could hope for. The two boys, Jack age five and his brother Paul, three, were, as usual, chattering like playful squirrels. Even though there were two years separating them, they got along uncommonly well. The third child, Caitlin, the first-born, possessed a private personality. She could be open and sociable one moment, then in the blink of an eye retreat into her private world. Her mood swings were sometimes confusing even to herself during this last year of 'childhood', before she entered into the world of the teen-ager, a time when children begin to get feelings of loneliness, even around family members. A time when they want to be with their friends, instead of their parents. That difficult time of maturing.

With Caitlyn leading the way, the five entered the preserve.

Waving grass as high as their shoulders immediately encircled them. As they pushed through, the grasses finally gave way to a path created by previous explorers. Finally they got through the high grasses and it's suffocating heat. A cooling breeze dried some of the perspiration that ran down their faces. WOW, that was some kind of breeze. Suddenly, they heard a screeching sound that caused all of them to stop in their tracks. Right in front of them, from out of the sky, appeared a large blue heron, landing not twenty feet in front of them in a marsh dead ahead. The boy's, Jack and Paul, grabbed their grandparent's hand and wrapped themselves up against their legs.

"Jeeze, that scared me", Jack said. "What the heck was that?"

Grandpa, who really didn't know much about birds, guessed correctly that it was a Blue Heron, taking a rest before flying on.
Luckily, a kind of path was visible and they decided that it made good sense to stay on it for a while, or they could easily get lost and probably walk right into the marsh. Marsh grasses and reeds replaced the tall wavy grass they had just walked through; Long stemmed teasels along the banks of the marsh seemed to dare you to come closer. If you dared, the sharp spines could cause a painful scratch, so we steered clear of them. Caitlyn walking ahead of us, and serving as our guide and scout, discovered another path angling off the straight path. She decided to go off on her own and explore, but stopped every few yards to sample some blackberries she discovered growing wild, but ripe and ready to eat.

After continuing on for about twenty yards she came to a clearing. After taking two steps into the clearing, she stopped, and felt her stomach turn over. Lying at the edge of the clearing was what remained of a deer, at least she thought it was, but now it was only some ribs and a little bit of fur. It appeared that the deer had been dead for long time. In the center of the clearing were the remains of a campfire. The ground was littered with bleached bones. There were jawbones, leg bones, and other bones that she could not identify. She screamed for us to hurry up and see what she had found. We caught up with her and the five of us stood there with our mouths open, not knowing exactly what we were looking at.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Caitlyn said, looking a little green around the gills.

"Oh Grandma, that really scares me." little Paul said. "Are you scared Grandma?" he asked, not leaving her side.

"No, Paulie," she said. "Bones don't scare Grandma," hoping that was the right thing to say.

"No, it doesn't scare me either Grandma," shot back Paulie, but hanging close.

"What should we do about this Grandpa?" they all asked at the same time.

"Please, one at a time," said Grandpa

"We'll have to make sure we tell your parents about this," he added, not really sure what had occurred here.

Just then, to add to the scariness and mystery of the find, the sky turned dark and the heavens let out a loud clap of thunder.

Then before they could even start for home, the rains came.

They were soaked to the skin before they had gone ten feet. At least it took their minds off what they had just seen. Now all they wanted to do was get home where it was dry.

That night in bed Caitlyn could not keep her mind from the bones they had seen that day. "Why were so many bones strewn all around the campfire site?" she thought.

Was it some homeless people that cooked the deer and ate it? Maybe devil worshippers? Maybe they used animals as sacrifices? Maybe they weren't all animal bones.

All these thoughts and more were flying around in her mind, until finally she became exhausted thinking about it and fell into a troubled sleep. When morning came, she awakened feeling tired. She descended the stairs deep in thought. As she was eating a bowl of cereal the phone rang.
It was her girl friend, Hillary. "Hi Cate, what do you want to do today?" she asked.

"Hill, I'm glad you called. The most neat-o thing has happened."

Later that day Cate explained to Hill what she had seen, and they hatched a plan. That night they each told their respective parents that they were staying at the others house overnight so they could be free to investigate the clearing at night and maybe see what was really happening.

The girls found out that the preserve was a much different place in the dark of night. They sat very close together under a large tree wondering aloud if this was such a good idea. Cate waited for Hill to make the first move, but Hill had no intention of moving from where she sat. Every sound was magnified and they seemed surrounded by whatever scary thing lived in here.

The sound of the high grass in the breeze seemed to be talking to them. It seemed to be saying, "BeeeWare, BeeeWare."

A bug landed on Cates face and she almost screamed, but knew she couldn't make a sound. She looked around about her, but could see nobody but Hill and she wasn't moving. Just then something scampered across the ground in front of them, and an owl from a nearby tree made a sound that sounded like, 'you, you." Was it telling them something?
Deciding that someone had to lead or there was no use to be here, Cate stood up, "O.K. let's go", she whispered. They started off down the path by the marsh. Their nerves were really on edge, so when a frog sitting on the path in front of them jumped into the marsh, they almost took off running.

"Now we have to calm down", Cate said.

"Yeah sure", whispered Hill. "I'm thinking this was a really bad idea, and I'm not certain I care what's happening down here. I'm thinking maybe we should just leave whatever is happening, just happen, and we should go home, take a bath and listen to some music."

"Come on Hill", said Cate, "we're here and we might as well stick it out."

"Well O.K.", Hill said, "but being down here in the dark is darn spooky."

Just as they got their courage back, they heard flapping. Looking up they saw a tree filled with bats that were spooked by all the noise the girls were making and flew off into the air. Bats fly erratically and they were going in all directions.

Several decided to swoop down towards the ground and the girls. They could no longer stay quiet as the bats flew at their faces, and they started to scream.


Both girls were flailing their arms trying to keep the bats away from them, as their courage broke, and turning around they raced each other to see who could get out of there the quickest. As they ran, branches slapped at their faces. They didn't notice the pain at all until they got out of there, and were sitting down, catching their breaths.
They looked at each other and saw the red welts on their faces and their hair going every which way. Even though they were tired and hurt, they started giggling because they knew they were safe. They couldn't stop giggling until finally they were rolling on the ground.

After they calmed down, they sat up and decided that their investigation would have to wait for another time, or at least until it was daylight. Right now, a bath and maybe a midnight snack sounded real good.

(C) Copyright 2001 Jim Kittelberger. All Rights Reserved.

April 4, 2009


Following the everyday something new technology market is kind of a fun thing to do. I'm not really a techie, or a geek, or a nerd, or whatever the current terms to know are. But some of this stuff sounds really kind of fun. I would not be able to afford many of the apps (a inside term I just had to throw in) that come available, but I can visualize what it might be like to own some of them. This one that I discovered today sounds very good. I was growing up when the first 3D films came out in the theaters, I was un-thrilled about the experience, but today I am old and the thought of watching 3D in the palm of my hand via my Ipod sounds, how should I say it, cool. Do you agree? Well how could you say without looking at the news release first. Look here.

Could we possibly really be on the path to another 'great depression'? The New York Times is chronicling people who lived through the first and who fear we may be on the verge of another. In fairness there are two conversations, one with a man, the other a woman.

April 3, 2009

Today in 1860 the pony express was inaugurated with its first mail delivery from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.

Today a stamp costs $.42 to send a letter, or e-mail for zip. Well considering the costs of the computer, etc. etc. I'm not sure what it might end up costing.

April 2, 2009


In her April 1 column, Ann Coulter fell for a fake April Fools' Day article by Car and Driver magazine that claimed that President Obama has ordered General Motors and Chrysler to cease their participation in NASCAR because it is an "unnecessary expenditure." Coulter wrote, "If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an 'unnecessary expenditure,' isn't having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan 'jihads' also an 'unnecessary expenditure'?" Car and Driver originally posted an April 1 story online -- since removed -- with the headline, "Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out Of NASCAR," and the text, "With their racing budgets deemed 'unnecessary expenditures,' GM and Chrysler are ordered to cease racing operations at the end of the season." However, Car and Driver later clarified that the story was an April Fools' Day joke, then removed the story from its website.
"We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow."-Fulton Oursler, American journalist and author 1893-1952 wrote this and as you age and have more history behind you then you have ahead of you what he says is right on target.

If we have lived a fairly decent life as most of us have tried to do, what we regret from all our yesterdays is probably pumped up by time and our imaginings. People we have wronged, and we regret doing it, most likely don't remember the incident or us for that matter. If you remember those times as I do, then you and I are putting ourselves through unnecessary turmoil. What say we forgive ourselves. Good! As for the fear of the future, what is it we fear? Is it eternity or the door we have to go through to get there? I don't know either, so I am going to try hard to not dwell on it and enjoy the rest of the journey only using the calender to make notes of appointments and fun things to fill my days.

April 1, 2009

The boys of the senate, grassley and conrad, getting down and a tad dirty. Sounds like a couple of us regular guys snapping jokes over a couple beers.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY,from my daily newspaper. (I'm not sure if it's suppose to be funny, I'm not into Spanish humor but here it is:

Si mi abuela tuviera ruedas seria una bicicleta." (If my grandmother had wheels, she's be a bicycle.)-Spanish proverb.

Detail of Number 8 1949 by JACKSON POLLOCK