January 31, 2011

Marines, a special breed

A snippet from Herman Wouk's book WAR AND REMEMBRANCE, and a tribute from Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison for those special breed of American fighting men, the marines.

The battle of Guadalcanal started slowly with a small amount of Japanese troops committed and not properly supported against American troops who were also not being supported properly and were not being reinforced. They were being bombarded by naval air bombardment, naval shelling, enemy night attacks, and malaria among the troops. The American forces were short on food and water. They lived off captured Japanese rice and they burned Japanese gasoline. The Americans had formed a perimeter around Henderson field and were defending it against wild and bloody banzai charges. But the beleaguered marines and airmen clung to the perimeter until the tide turned.

These defenders were marines, the navy's elite amphibious combat corps. The words of the American naval historian, Samuel Eliot Morison, perhaps explains all; He wrote: Lucky indeed for America that in this theater and at that juncture she depended not on boys drafted or cajoled into fighting but on "tough guys" who had volunteered to fight and who asked for nothing better than to come to grips with the sneaking enemy who had aroused all their primitive instincts.

January 30, 2011

When Johnny (Timothy, my son) comes marching home

U.S. Military Academy Band. Timothy. my son, came marching home after twenty years active service with the U.S. Army. I was glad to see that day.

Queen Victoria

Hazel's Santa Fe Chicken

This and more recipes can be found here

I saw this new product in the super market and couldn't resist it. After rummaging through my cupboards I put together this creamy chicken dish with a south-west flavor.

.3 boneless-skinless chicken breast halves, each cut into 2 or 3 strips
.oil, a little for browning chicken
.1 minced garlic clove or garlic powder
.1-1 1/2 TBLS dry taco seasoning (from Old El Paso taco seasoning mix)
.1/2 to 3/4 small (3 oz)brick original creme cheese
.1/2 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
.small can mushrooms, drained
.1/2 cup white wine
.1/2 cup milk, might need some more later to thin sauce
.1 TBLS butter

1. Sprinkle a little dry taco seasoning mix over both sides of chicken strips. Saute in oil until brown on both sides, toss garlic in with chicken for a moment or two to soften.

2. Meanwhile combine butter, both cream cheeses and mushroom soup in pan and heat and stir until smoothly blended. Add wine, milk and mushrooms and stir until heated. Pour mixture over chicken in frypan.

3. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

(You might need to add a little more milk at the end of cooking, the sauce really got thick at the table)

Optional: chopped up sun-dried tomatoes might be a good addition...

January 29, 2011

White Cat

Gertrude Abercrombe WHITE CAT


Even made of Lego's it's a great looking structure. I have never been to see it, even though it's not too far from where I am. A thought that strikes me is if I do go see it, I will undoubtedly take many pictures of it. Even though there are innumerable pictures already taken by professionals that are just that professional looking. Is it some sort of method of validating that I was there? Who would care.

January 28, 2011

Foreclosed Hope

I posted this several or more years ago when I was struck by the painting of the elderly people being 'dispossessed', and I cringed that I would ever be in that circumstance. But years have passed and it seems the word dispossessed has been replaced by another terrible word that has untold stories and ramifications behind it. The word we are all familiar with in our current affairs is 'Foreclosed'.

By Jim Kittelberger

When I have the opportunity to view paintings, rather in person, or in various media, books or the internet, I thoroughly enjoy it. One thought that occurs to me if I am taken by a painting and look at it deeply is that it’s not merely because it is enjoyable to my eyes, and touches something that I can’t explain inside of me, but I also am thinking or wishing I suppose is closer, that I would have had a modicum of the talent needed to be able to create something out of nothing on a white blank space that could move the viewer to an extent they would talk about it, or write about it, perhaps years or centuries later. And then sometimes I run across a painting that I can’t stop looking at. It digs further into my brain and I become part of the painting or want to know what happened to the subjects. In this painting by Mervin Jules 1912-1994 painted in 1937, it caused a flutter of anxiety to occur. What did these poor people do? The title of the painting is DISPOSSESSED, so it is obvious that they have entered the world of the homeless in a large city. It is also important to note the age of the subjects, and to realize that in 1937, there were no shelters that would take them in. Perhaps they have children that would take them in, but judging by their meager belongings, they were receiving no assistance from any children they may have had, so that would seem to be out. The depression was still going on at that time and President Roosevelt had not created any programs yet that would help them. The artist Mr. Jules has gone on to his reward in heaven, so we can’t explore his mind about his creations. What then do we do in situations like this where we become empathetic, but cannot reach in to help. Our minds will have to protract their dilemma onward and just hope that all turned out well. This is the power of putting a little paint on a canvas. It can move people in ways you never think about.

January 27, 2011

Athlete turns down money he did not earn

Ball player turns down 12 million dollars to retain his self respect. Whoa, what was that? An athlete says he didn't earn it so he won't take it. Read about Gil Mench and figuratively shake this guys hand.

January 26, 2011


I own a Kindle, and I really like it and could echo all the good things that have been said about it. But a library, a really good library which I have the good fortune to be connected to, well that is another world. If your library is being supported financially by your community then it is a beautiful place to visit over and over again. For the complete price of free you have access to the worlds literature. Through computers your library is connected to libraries far and near so your choice of a book is only restricted to the size of your imagination.

Libraries now have audio visual departments crammed full of videos, movies, how-to's, and history. You can for the price of a library card be able to take home Mozart on a CD or a fully orchestrated version to watch and listen to on a DVD. Magazines are subscribed to by the library and made available to anyone to read in the library or take home. For older patrons large print books are maintained, or for those of us who get lazy and don't want to make the effort at reading we can listen to someone reading to us on an audio book. Well I guess you get the idea, I am a big fan of libraries and mine in particular. Try yours if you haven't already. A Kindle is good, but even though you have to get there on your own, the library is aces with me and I am sure with you.

January 24, 2011

Official Badge


January 23, 2011

War and Remembrance

During a rereading of Herman Wouk's novel WAR AND REMEMBRANCES, he the author digresses after finishing the portion describing the battle of Midway with these words.

"The USA has been a lucky nation, and the luck held remarkably on June 4, 1942. How long it will hold in the future, only the dark Gods know who bestowed on this crass mercantile nation of mongrelized blood and cowboy culture a virgin continent with almost infinite natural resources."

Yes indeed we have been a lucky nation, so far. We have also become more crass than Mr. Wouk, who is still alive, could even imagine, and a mercantile nation by law preferring it seems moving material and product around like the world's middle man. Our days of manufacturing and creating seem to be on the wane. Wouk's use of the term mongrelized blood I don't know how to take. We built this country to lead the free world fueled with the creative genius of those from other lands and other nationalities. We championed people of all nationalities to come build our futures together. They did and we profited greatly by their presence. Our adherence to that codex is questionable in the present day. I watched a couple video's with Wouk discussing several of his books, and I am content that I am the one who does not understand about the word mongrelized blood and read too much into it.

January 22, 2011

Steve McCurry photographer

Steve McCurry, the photographer who took this famous picture for National Geographic talks about and shows some of his work.

January 21, 2011

The sadness of Alzheimer's

In my previous piece I mention how wonderful it is to relive moments and remember. This piece from a favorite Blog of mine, TIME GOES BY, relates how life shattering it is to lose the facility to recall our past.

Together Our Journey

By Linda Carmi

My Sweet Husband,

I would like to reach inside and cradle your mind that was once so sharp and soothe it with kisses – wipe away the tangles that are so distressing for you. I would like so much to do that. Oh, that I could bring you back to those precious times when your laugh came easily and the twinkle in your eyes hinted of something deliciously fun to come.

Instead, I can give you kisses that tickle your face and muss your hair. And hug - lots of hugs and kisses (minimum of seven seconds is recommended, and 17 hugs daily). And, the “I Love You’s” and “I’m so proud of you.” Lots and lots of those.

We have been living this adventure together for quite awhile now. It is absolutely true what they say, “When you see one case of Alzheimers, you have seen one.” A wry statement, but it is the truth. It is a relentless foe and the surprises keep you on your toes for sure.

My husband used to pound his head in anguish and cry out, “What is happening to me?! Something is in there, like a stone!”

I have asked him at different times, “Do you know what Alzheimer’s disease is?”

Though the word has been spoken around him, indeed a specific evaluation for Alzheimer’s disease at UCLA did not rouse his curiosity. He has never seemed to have any awareness of it.

The progression of AD continues to rob him of his memories and it doesn’t seem to matter any longer whether he knows what happens to him. There is so much that he cannot wrap his mind around, and now his ability to understand is quite simply gone.

Imagine that! Gone. Poof, just evaporated. It is difficult to even imagine how that must feel. It’s as if a heavy, soggy blanket of disease squeezes out of him the qualities that the rest of us mostly take for granted. He just cannot move from beneath the fog that started out in light patches and has advanced to be the pea soup variety with no signs of clearing.

He becomes less and less of himself with each passing day. His world becomes smaller, with me as the focal point that must remain constant for him to feel safe. I am his steady beacon of light in the world of shadows.

I miss our conversations. I comment on the beautiful mountains, the weather and his response is the same, again and again and again. It’s like his questions are playing on a loop; same words, moments apart.

Gone is his infectious spontaneity, with ideas for some bit of fun to go after. He is totally dependent on me for everything except the body’s natural functions.

He takes great pleasure in a daily car ride, so I have made this “our date.” I talk it up to make the same places sound new and exciting. We load up the car to go and my sweet darling asks me half a dozen times before we reach the end of the block, “Where we go?”

I patiently explain that we are going on our date, wherever that may be for the day. That seems to satisfy him.

We go to one of our favorite places where the service people all seem to know us and offer him attention as they help with the wheelchair. He is quite handsome with his white hair, blue eyes and always a “thank you” on his lips.

Very often I get a tender kiss on my hand, along with “Baba, if you would only know how I love you.” I’d say it is a good exchange.

Remembering the good times

I wish I could give this picture attribution, but I can't. I don't know who took it or where I saw it, but I love it. It reminds me so much of the way it physically looked in my growing up years. Gravel roads through (in my case) Ohio countryside. I traveled over those roads on bicycles and later on my motor scooter in those absolutely carefree years intermingled with vacant lot baseball, comic book trading, and dreaming and wondering what was ahead. I remember those times and I love the remembering.

January 20, 2011

State of the Union and Social Security

President Obama's state of the union address is approaching and he will discuss social security. I am unsure where he will come down on the issue. His political history and his presidential promises say he will recommend hands off. But he also made other promises which he is not standing by so this letter to the president from independent Senator Bernard Sanders from Vermont is mandatory reading. Take a look and pass along your feelings to the President if Sanders has convinced you.

BibliOZ.com Birthday Best Sellers

Type in your birthdate and see what people were reading on that date. Gone with the wind was a biggie when I made the scene.

BibliOZ.com Birthday Best Sellers

January 19, 2011

A photographer and an architect compliment each other

A crisp Lautman photo of a minimalist Jacobsen house in Nashville, Tennessee, exemplifies their complementary styles.

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architects/features/2011/02/perfect_match_slideshow#ixzz1BV1Odl5K

January 18, 2011

LBJ sounds like a character from BLAZING SADDLES.

I ran across this video today. It is former president Lyndon Baines Johnson ordering some pants from the Haggar family for his personal use. All telephone calls were recorded (even after Nixon's watergate experience) and unluckily for LBJ this was included. The blogger from PUTTHISON had it animated, but he says the tape recording was factual.

To quote Richard Russo, the author or Straight Man in the prologue to that book, "...it's hard to remain distinguished among people who know you." I think maybe we are getting to know LBJ too well.

Poem by Billy Collins

Questions About Angels

by Billy Collins

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance of the regular mailman and
whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.
The only question you ever hear is about
the little dance floor on the head of a pin
where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

Freakonomics and Bacteria

Freakonomics discusses bacteria and reusable grocery bags.
Freakonomics discusses bacteria laden ATM machines.

January 17, 2011

LOL From the New Yorker

laughing happyface

America is falling

This picture is from the Financial Times, where it claims China has taken the lead in shaping the world. The dragon is pretty scary looking indeed. Is this the result of shipping mega billion dollars of business off-shore? I don't know but in my small brain it seems to follow if you send our manufacturing jobs away so it can be made more cheaply elsewhere and make tycoons richer than they already are with no thought or care for the American work force and you do it often enough this is what will inevitably follow. Has it been a successful plan for the tycoon, the banker, the manufacturer? Oh yes, fantastically so, and in a very short span of time. But in that span of time we have gone from the most financially secure country to number two and still falling? It's obvious, even to us non economics majors that NAFTA is making everybody except the USA rich. We lose jobs. We have a staggering number of people who will probably never make a decent wage again. It would seem that this could not go on forever. Although we have a exceedingly large group of sweet talking politicians who will convince us that we are just going through a period of adjustment. Shame on them and shame on whomever got us into this and shame on them for not seeming to care.

January 15, 2011

January 14, 2011

Cheney and Scalia, Brothers of a sort?

This is so superficial, so uncredentialed, so without purpose that I wonder why I don't just pitch the whole thing. After all this piece is really just about appearances and nothing more. It is sort of like that separated at birth game we sometimes like to play. The two men I speak of are without doubt extremely competent and able and sometimes I think brilliant people. But I will not go into that because as I said previously I am not competent to do so. All I can comment on is appearances, and these two men seem to be very dour, very unpleasant, serious non-humorous type guys. Important, oh lord yes, that they are. Political, oh yeah. Likeable, I suppose to their families they are but when I see or read about one, I think of the other. One is in ill health, which sometimes solicits warmer feelings from other people, but this guy seems like he wouldn't want anyone's solicitations. The other guy is so conservative that he makes William Buckley seem Kennedyish in his beliefs. Well I could go on throwing out smart alecky remarks about both but all I set out to do is mention that the two fall into one category and when I think of one, I think of the other, one of those people who are so sure of their convictions that you could be sure your ideas on a subject would be ridiculed without mercy. These two dourful chaps are former vice-president Cheney and supreme court justice Scalia.

Agree or disagree? It doesn't matter, so they're dour, so what, after all this is America.

January 13, 2011

A cat acting like a cat

Nothing like The Funniest Video, but just like a cat. You have to love them if you can take their independence. Nobody owns a cat, they will not allow it. But occasionally you can pet him if he allows it. This is a video that shows the cats nature. Plays with the mat until he is bored with it and walks away head up and is probably thinking, 'yes so what'.

a holiday touch

photo by Hazel

January 12, 2011

Sentimental Journey's



When I daydream,
I oft times dream in black and white.
Of sitting in a dining car on a speeding train,
smoking, and listening to the different conversations all around me.

Have you heard the latest Miller tune?
Jeepers, it's keen.

My son is in the Pacific somewhere,
I worry about him so.

Mrs. Roosevelt says in the Saturday Evening Post that many things will be different when this is all over.

Please marry me
I may not come back.

I used all my ration stamps
and bought a big steak.

Make sure you read part of my letters to the kids so they don't forget me.

Did you see the picture in Photoplay
of Gable in his uniform? He's so dreamy.

I hardly have enough gas to go anywhere,
darn war.

I understand there's no more sleeping space available, we'll just have to sit here and talk all night.

My dad got killed at Guadalcanal.
Gosh, I miss him.

January 11, 2011

Current topics

We could also try rock, paper, scissors and if that doesn't work we can poll the lobbyists. Yeah that might be the best way, they know what's best for the American people.

I am a Kindle owner and I love it. The font is easy on the eyes and low cost and free books are readily available.

A Touch of the Sea

January 10, 2011


FROM: http://www.artinconnu.com/
A site that features little known, or under appreciated art and artists.

January 9, 2011

Charles Demuth 1883-1935

Charles Demuth (November 8, 1883 - October 23, 1935) was an American water-colourist who turned to oils late in his career, developing a style of painting known as Precisionism. Demuth suffered either an injury when he was four years old or may have had polio or tuberculosis of the hip that left him with a marked limp and required him to use a cane. He later developed diabetes and was one of the first people in the United States to receive insulin. He spent most of his life in frail health, and he died in Lancaster at the age 51 of complications from diabetes.

This painting pays homage to a poem by William Carlos Williams. Williams' poem The Great Figure describes the experience of seeing a red fire engine with the number five painted on it racing through the city streets. While Demuth’s painting is not an illustration of Williams’ poem, we can certainly sense its "rain and lights" and the "gong clangs, siren howls, and wheels rumbling." The bold 5 both rapidly recedes and races forward in space, and the round forms of the number, the lights, the street lamp, and the arcs at the lower left and upper right are played against the straight lines of the fire engine, the buildings, and the rays of light, infusing the picture with a rushing energy that perfectly expresses the spirit of the poem.

The Great Figure

AMONG the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
moving tense
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

William Carlos Williams

Men and Wheat 1939

MEN AND WHEAT Joe Jones 1939

January 7, 2011

Halong Bay Vietnam

Courtesy of JLKI a photo shopped photo of Halong Bay Vietnam

Ian Fleming tells where he got the name James Bond

Ian Fleming tells where he got the name James Bond, from a birdwatcher?

Retiring of the U2

From the New York Times: If you were around in 1960 the silhouette above would be readily known to you. It is of course the U2 reconnaissance plane, one of which the Russians shot down for spying over their territory. The story tells us that the venerable airplane is going to be retired. The author is a current pilot of the aircraft and her words betray her love of the machine and flying in general. Fliers are of course aware of the danger of flying, but have full faith in their aircraft and their ability to get out of any difficulty. They are a special breed for sure.

January 1, 2011

Spring training in One and half months.

One and half months from now spring training will open in Arizona and Florida. That's only 45 days from now. Whew, spring is in the air.

A Flaw in our Character?

Painting by: Frederick Rondel (1826 – 1892)

Opinion by Jim Kittelberger

Thus starts the new year 2011, two hundred and thirty four years after America started it's fight for freedom from England. Upon winning the war it put out a welcome to those wretched masses striving to be free to come to our free shores, to work, to succeed, to contribute. Millions have and through their contributions America has become the leader of the world. But something has changed recently. Our character has changed and it seems apparent that our open welcome proclaimed to the world by that symbol in New York harbor now has exceptions, requirements, small print attached to it.

I truly hope that our character is being put to the test by bad economic times and not the belief that the millions that still flock to our shores are inferior human beings whose only reason for coming here is to take away the standard of life we have become accustomed to. I do not want to believe that America now wants to become a closed society, a society that believes that all immigrants are only here to take what is ours, forgetting from whence we came.