Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bunky's Birthday

There are any number of communities in America where it is required, for your own happiness and sense of self, to drink the local Kool Aid prior to visiting. Thirsty Outsiders stand out, pitied warily by the the locals. Consuming the local Aid in one such community, isn't a safe passage guarantee for entry to your next port of call. It's best to phone ahead.

My youngest son, knew early that he was meant to be a Portlandian, and drank a deep draught of the local the first chance he got. How/why I don't know. Prior to his move I'd never heard of anyone going there, and could offer no assistance. Portland, I suspect, was far enough from home, that his car would make it, and he wouldn't be much troubled by mom or dad. He's right. Ever the free spirit he fit in immediately and never looked back. It's been almost 13 years.

This is the first summer in 10 that he hasn't been a forest fire fighter. Due to the love and support of a good woman he may have finally found his calling. Soon Nursing School beckons, but first we need to celebrate his birthday today.

I am very proud of him. A young man of firm convictions and sense of purpose, it may have taken him longer to find his path, than his father would have hoped, but he did, and did it is his way. I love him dearly and am very proud of him.

Happy Birthday Bunky.

Love, OO

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Mr. Gere wearing my new specs

Heresy alert

Richard Tiffany Gere is not a name that inspires me to rush to the box office. It took almost a year to recover from Nights in Rodanthe, the second worst movie experience of our Friday Night Date Night extravaganzas. I was sore disappointed to find it wasn't a 50's style Japanese Sci-fi monster movie, in which the monster ate Gere.

None the less tomorrow is Richard 62nd. Happy Birthday Richard, go home, have a good meal. We should all look so good at 62.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Angie - one of the cool guys

Tomorrow is the 90th birthday of Angelo Dundee, the man forever linked with Mohammad Ali. He was Ali's trainer, counselor, confident and minder.

Angelo always knows best. Credited with refusing the then Cassius Clay's demand to cut his gloves off in his first fight with Sonny Liston, when Clay believed Liston's gloves were tainted with a substance which caused his eyes to burn, the fight in which Clay won his first world championship, Angie is also given his due for saving Ali's life when he stopped the aging warrior's penultimate fight, against Larry Holmes.

In 50 plus years at the top of his profession, Angie has trained 15 of boxing's world champions, and continues to show up daily at his 5th street gym in Miami's South Beach, to train his roster of youngsters. Ever the gentleman in a rough business, dedicated to hard work and generous with his time, Mr. Dundee is a throwback. I hope he lives in good health forever.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

A too simplistic look at men's suits

It's a cheap shot for men to criticize how women's fashion changes from season to season, while their clothing doesn't change so much as glacially evolve. Friday's trip through The New York Social Diary made that abundantly clear.

Let's take a walk.

The photo below is of President Calvin Coolidge and his family in June 1924. The Coolidge's dressed in their conservative best, a tad dowdy for the age, yet a fair representation of their status and class.

Mom's dress, in high style at the time, the men's high buttoning coats, with summer vests so right for pre air conditioned Washington DC.

Six years later men's and women's fashion had changed completely. Brooks Brothers had introduced the Odd Jacket, or sport coat a few years earlier. Before the odd jacket, gentlemen wore contrasting suit coats with summer flannels to achieve a sporting look, as are the two men below on the right. The photo below, taken in Havana in Feb, 1930 shows how much fashion for men and women had changed in only 6 years.

But look closely to the men on the right, especially the sport in the white suit. Unlike the women, would he look out of place today?

Next, taken a year later in Palm Beach. We may not choose the same material today, but the style is virtually unchanged over time.

I've reached the conclusion that men's clothing doesn't change so much as its sense of purpose evolves. With only moderate changes to lapel width, and drape, men's suiting hasn't appreciably changed in 80 years. The best give-a-ways to a photo's age are shirt colors and his ties.

Cocoanuts Party, Palm Beach 1927

Baltimore 2011

Hope by now you are safe and out of harms way.

(all photos save the first and last are from NYSD)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Please be careful

It's not a weekend for mirth on the US eastern shore, so I'll save it. Be careful friends, be safe. D bring the umbrellas and patio furniture in.

We look forward to hearing your stories over the next several days, just please, don't count your unhatched chickens.


Friday, August 26, 2011

my next suit?

Perhaps you saw Maxminimus's photo earlier this week of Gen George C. Marshall. I've worn out my new glasses looking at it. There is enough inspiration for several life times in that photo.

Maxminimus photo

I refuse to face that the end of summer is near. I have lived in comfy oxford cloth pants and shorts, seersucker and linen since the weather warmed. Mr. Wm King of Wm King Clothiers in Bristol Tennessee put me onto the good folks at Castaway Clothing in Nantucket early in the spring. "Put their oxford cloth pants on, you won't take them off", he said. Very near right.

Castaways photo

General Marshall got me wondering. Why have I never seen white Oxford Cloth pants? A need for lining? Am I missing something, shopping the wrong stores? I wrote to Castaways suggesting that next spring they expand the color range, add long white OC and while you are at it, add pink too. Marketing patted me on the head.

As much as I may wish otherwise, I am rumpled, my body is rumpled, my clothes, taking on my my shape are rumpled. In the hotter months I wear rumpled linen and OC, a lot. Seeing me neat and pressed after Memorial Day would offend those who know me too well.

One evening, beside the pool, the gin talking, I invented the an outfit so self indulgent, if it doesn't exist I'll create it. A white OC suit, as a lighter weight alternative to linen?

In a gin addled state, drunk on limes, it made perfect sense. As cheap as the fabric would be, the cost per wear would be astronomical, even if worn daily. My alchemist would plead to make it in Super 160's, but I'll put my foot down. Someone in South Carolina must still grow suitable OC fabric.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve's Porsche 911S

Remember the opening scene of the movie "Le Mans" starring Steve McQueen? Steve opens the movie driving through the French countryside in his personal Porsche 911 S, reliving his tragic accident in the race the year before.

Last weekend Steve's car was auctioned at Pebble Beach. As my dad would have said, they were only looking for 2 (bidders). Steve's ownership coupled with the lingering scent of Ali MacGraw's cologne in the passenger seat drove 2 hungry oligarchs to play chicken at an auction. The prior owner won.

Steve's 911 S, changed hands for US $1,350,000. A record for 911's. Anyone else's 911S wouldn't make $50,000.

With thanks to The Hornet

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

mindset list- class of 2015

Each year Beloit College, in Beloit, Wisconsin publishes for their staff and faculty a list of of the touchstones in the lives of the incoming freshman class. It's a set of reference points for teachers, things we tend to forget about as we age. The Mindset List for the class of 2015 has just been published. I find it fascinating. Monty this one's for you. Please Enjoy.

From Beloit College I present the Mindset List, Class of 2015 edition

The Mindset List for the Class of 2015

Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

  1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
  2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
  3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
  4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
  5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
  6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
  7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
  9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
  10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
  11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
  12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
  13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.
  14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
  15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
  16. Women have never been too old to have children.
  17. Japan has always been importing rice.
  18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
  19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
  20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
  21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
  22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.
  23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.
  24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
  25. Video games have always had ratings.
  26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.
  27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
  28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
  29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.
  30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
  31. Women have always been kissing women on television.
  32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
  33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.
  34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”
  35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.
  36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
  37. Music has always been available via free downloads.
  38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
  39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
  40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
  41. The United States has always been shedding fur.
  42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
  43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.
  44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
  45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.
  46. Russian courts have always had juries.
  47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.
  48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
  49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
  50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
  51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
  52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
  53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.
  54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.
  55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.
  56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
  57. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
  58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.
  59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.
  60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.
  61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.
  62. Nurses have always been in short supply.
  63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
  64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.
  65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.
  66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.
  67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.
  68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.
  69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.
  70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.
  71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
  72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.
  73. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.
  74. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
  75. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

Copyright© 2011 Beloit College
Mindset List
is a registered trademark

Boldface is my contribution.


Paige's Dad

Today is Paige's dad, my #1 Son's birthday.

Whatever sense of the absurd I have, I've inherited from him. This past year has been a good year for the lad. His family is well, decorating and landscaping their new house is taking its usual toll (long live Justin) but as long as Justin B remains popular the girls rooms are set.

Paige's room

The stars have aligned to provide an abundance of family, health, home, friends and work. I'm very proud of him, and his family.

Now everyone sing like this, or hum along, please.


No cake!

Love Dad

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

christopher robin

Christopher Milne and Edward

However was I to know Christopher Robin was a real boy? I presumed he was merely a character, in a book, a book I loved, Winnie the Pooh. Childhood is such bliss.

It was later I learned he was a real boy, one with his mothers gift for working with his hands and his father's love of words, mathematics and passion for cricket.

Christopher had a near idyllic childhood at the family's Cotchford Farm, and surrounding countryside, the 100 Aker Wood, the 6 Pine Trees, places near and dear to any fan of Winnie. An only child, in between the wars England his earliest memories were of his beloved nanny. Near nine years old, he began to spend time with his parents, first mother, then his father, only rarely all together. With this father, he enjoyed making up stories.

"It is difficult to say which came first. Did I do something and did my father then write a story around it? Or was it the other way about, and did the story come first? Certainly my father was on the look-out for ideas; but so too was I. He wanted ideas for his stories, I wanted them for my games, and each looked towards the other for inspiration. But in the end it was all the same: the stories became a part of our lives; we lived them, thought them, spoke them. And so, possibly before, but certainly after that particular story, we used to stand on Pooh-sticks Bridge throwing sticks into the water and watching them float away out of sight until they re-emerged on the other side." (The Enchanted Places, 58)

The magical childhood spell was broken when he went away to school. Taunted and bullied by the older boys, forever teased for being Christopher Robin, something he had no hand in. A shy and sensitive child, Christopher began to resent his father's building his career on the shoulders of a little boy. The wounds were deep.

After the war father and son each found the world they had known had changed. Father's books, poems and plays were no longer fashionable and publishers were frequently out of office when he would phone or stop in. The son had a difficult time finding his niche in the world. The boys festering resentment grew along with his own career frustrations.

In 1948, against his parents strong objections, he married a cousin on his mother's side. Christopher's mother had not spoken to her brother, the brides father, in over 35 years, and made no plans to begin, and gave their only child's wedding a miss.

Unable to find suitable work, as well as escape his parent's disapproval of his wife, the young Milne's made the unusual choice of leaving London, to open The Harbour Bookshop in Dartmouth. For 21 years the couple lived solely on the profits of the store.

AA Milne died in 1956, his wife in 1971, the son and parents never reconciled. Cotchford Farm was sold to Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones, who died (was murdered?) in the swimming pool soon after purchase.

Jones and Christopher Robin statue at Cotchford Farm

Christopher Milne wrote 3 volumes of memoirs, each an attempt to tell his story and to answer many of the questions he had been asked and avoided all his life. The irony of his finally writing about his father was not lost. You may skip vol. 3, The Hollow on the Hill.

Christopher died in 1996, selling the bookstore shortly before his retirement in 1983. For 61 years it has been a going concern. Changes in the neighborhood, how people read and changes within the publishing industry are now forcing Christopher Milne's bookstore to close for good at the end of September.

The end of an era.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The original suspect

I'm not what the marketing types refer to as an early adopter. Slow to pick up, maybe I'll catch up. It was the same with blogs, late to the party. Once upon a time, meeting friends for lunch in KC and I was charged with finding somewhere to meet so I Googled my old neighborhood, searching for ideas.

First up was Mrs. Blandings blog. Having no idea what a blog was, I read, and was instantly captivated. I read her neighbors and friends, I read her archives. An hour later I forgot why I came. The next day I returned, and read not only Mrs. Blanding's post but her friends posts as well, and so it's been ever since.

Patricia Shackelford

Over the years Patricia and I have traded emails, I've picked her brain, teased, been counseled, and posted about her but had never had the honor of meeting her. Until this summer. Once again in KC, I emailed asking for a date. Well aware of my history of standing up attractive women she agreed, fully expecting I wouldn't show. I picked the neighborhood, she the place and time.

Mrs. T warned me not to go, reminding me of Faulkner, then suggesting we'd have nothing to talk about while warning that Mrs. B may be a serial killer. To Patricia's everlasting chagrin, I showed.

I chose the 'hood I lived in as a boy. I had walked to the school down the street, played in its creeks and byways, my memories preserved in amber. When Mrs. B arrived, I aped Ebenezer, cavorting with the ghost of Christmas past, regaling this wonderful woman with neighborhood stories from 20 years before her birth. I was a babbling schoolboy, she, ever so charming, captivated all over again. In real life Patricia is Mrs. Blandings, only more delightfully so. I enjoyed our time together immensely. Patricia now holds the dubious double distinction of being the first blogger I ever met as well as author of the first blog I ever read.

A month or so after my discovery of Mrs. Blandings blog, I took fingers to keyboard and began the pages you find buried in these archives. I wrote for my children, spread across the continent, filling them with stories of their family past, stories they may never hear otherwise. Somehow word spread, with encouragement from Patricia, and others, and now you're here.

Today, we begin year 4 together. Thank You from the bottom of my heart. Your visits, friendship, comments and raspberries enrich my life. I hope in some way I'm able to repay your kindness, and promise to continue to incite, inform, amuse, brighten or enlighten your day. Onward!

Photos and header: Mrs. Blandings

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Maybe-Maybe Not

One of Mrs T's girlfriends sent me this. In an imperfect world, it makes perfect sense.


Friday, August 19, 2011

King of the Flies

Once upon a time, ADG and I had kicked around the idea of starting our own country on a secluded atoll in international waters, kissing the rest of the planet goodbye. Our plans (pipe dreams perhaps) came to naught, as we were too dependent upon others to do the heavy lifting. Well, good things happen to those who wait, and now the stars have aligned, filling in all the missing links to our previous plan, heavy lifting by others included.

Today, let us give thanks for the ingenuity and creativity of Pay Pal founder and Facebook angel investor Mr. Paul Thiel, who has created Seasteading, the building of personalized islands, brand new, sovereign countries built to spec, using what are essentially oil drilling rigs in international waters. You buy it, tell Paul where you want it, wire the necessary funds and off you go. A genuine, customized, Lord of the Flies world, created just for you.

Not long ago, I mentioned a move to a sunnier clime may be in order. The entire planet has just become my oyster. ADG, you in?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The answer is

Once you get the questions right, the answer is often obvious.

In spite of my malaise I needed to repair the iron horse. Our grass, cut maybe 4 times a season, needed to be cut before we left for Boston and it's worse now, only the mower is not working well.

The iron horse is dependent upon a belt to drive the blades, and the belt kept falling off. Replacing it isn't difficult, merely time consuming, and since I had to go to the trouble of installing I chose to replace the belt with a new one. Half a dozen installs, reinstalls, coupled with rough words later, I referred to the teachings of one of the brightest men I ever worked for.

An engineer by trade, he taught all the youngsters working for him to do 3 things whenever effecting a repair. 1. Observe first second and third before picking up any tool or making any decision. 2. Do what doctors do, first do no harm. Make certain you don't break one thing while repairing another. 3. Solve the problem not the symptom.

That advice has become second nature to me except for when I KNOW what's wrong. (reread the third para) So today I sat in my observing chair, simply staring at the mower deck.

I visualized its operation. I compared one side to the other looking for differences. There it was staring back at me all along.

Why was the top of one pulley shiny and the other not? Somehow it worked lose, spinning freely until it became out of round. A few dollars and half an hour later all was well, until next time, and another lesson reinforced and probably soon forgotten.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer is hot, Winter is long

I'm fighting a bug. Long winter stays in bed are delightful, but in August? Most certainly not. There's no reason to turn on the telly, the only interesting bits are daily News of the World revelations, hardly enough to keep one under the covers. Thank goodness for my Google Reader.

There is also a stack of catalogs, although I'm unlikely to ever mentally adjust to a retailers-or publishers-calendar. I have no wish to consider tweeds and corduroy as options yet, and silently curse those that do. Tweed weather, while not for another 6+ weeks in Mayberry, seems never to go away. Enjoy the hot, humid, sticky summer while it's here. Lots of good end of season sales on though.

See you tomorrow by which time I will have taken the cure.


Monday, August 15, 2011

what i learned

Best traveling companion ever- Bonus Daughter Mindy

Driving from Mayberry to Boston and back with my bonus daughter this week was eye opening. Not for money would I care to relive my 20's. Regrets I have a few, but I am quite content.

I am a suburban boy who has spent too much time away from urban centers. Many lessons I have learned this week reinform what I learned long ago, other are needed tools for the future. I have come to learn that:

I love bloggers, and the people that read them, whether they be new or old friends, or simply friends I have not met yet.

I learned while in Boston that digital cameras can't swim, and automobile horns serve very little societal value. Horn usage is rare in Mayberry, and probably should be everywhere.

I am awed by the many shades of black and gray fabric available, but am unwilling to heed the pontifications of clothing and fashion writers, breathless about what's new for the upcoming season, so attired.

An eye for the beauty of urban landscapes needs regular reinforcement.

Left to themselves, most people will figure out what to do and do the right thing.

Never book a coven of witches and an Army unit reunion in the same small inn at the same time. Our inn in Brookline learned this the hard way.

I am, at heart, a people watcher, often caught out wondering, "where do you come from where that is acceptable behavior?". Not much I can do about this one.

I am a very lucky and happy boy. Happiest at home amongst kith, kin, our dogs and my toys. I'm glad to be back.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Storyteller

I descend from a long line of shanty Irish, each of us capable of crying over a good steak. There are events, people and places in my life, the memory of which causes me to well up, often to the bafflement of those around me. Tuesday's get together with ADG, formerly of Maxminus will forever be one of those occasions.

I did not, even a second, consider or attempt to talk him into returning to the fray. He stopped for the same reasons you will. When I retired he hounded me back, and I won't return the favor. Nor will I stop, for fear of his promise to hound me back again. He does know of, misses, appreciates, and returns the love and depth of feeling of his many readers.

Should you be interested, you can peek here to see what he is up to on Tumblr.

So what did we talk about? Family, kids, holes in our library shelves, mine you will notice were filled in by the pile of books in my arms.

Then he bowled me over with a feather. "You need this", he said and handed over a small box.

Wm Hocker is an architect turned tin model soldier maker. This is one set of a very limited edition called The Storyteller which includes Mark Twain and some of his creations.

Tom and Huck

The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Man in White

I have tears in my eyes writing this. Meeting the likes of ADG is why I show up here most days. It was one of the highlights of my life.

the white suit is from Perlis, in NOLA. The tie is Ellie Stager's

Saturday, August 13, 2011


In this world there are far too few people with the innate goodness to be able to charm the birds out of a tree. Meg Fairfax Fielding, television star and doyen of Pigtown Design, is one of the special ones with that ability. I was honored to finally make her acquaintance this week.

Last time I made arrangements to visit her I stood her up and have hung my head in shame since. With bonus daughter in tow I vowed to never do that again.

"Let's meet at Petite Louis", she purred when I asked for a second chance. It's close to my office, and if we stay too late I can walk home. (click the link and read the menu, it's too die for)

The car guys may get a kick out of Louis's tres French van

We may have stayed too late. Sadly we had another 500 miles to drive that day and could not stay as long as I would have liked, but I'm already planning our return.

Should you have the opportunity to visit Baltimore, please consult with Meg about what to do and see. She has her thumb on the pulse of every bit of her hometown.

Once again than you Meg!!!!


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Glorious 12th

For 180 + years August 12, The Glorious Twelfth, has marked the opening of grouse hunting season in the UK. It's big business, not only for the landed gentry whose grand estates provide game and lodging to hunters from around the world but to the finer restaurants around Britain as well.

Roald Dahl, in My Uncle Oswald says it best:

“That’s all right, then,” I said.

I've no idea how this exists on line, but if you've a taste for the randier side of Dahl, My Uncle Oswald is available to read here. Not suitable for Puritan's though.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How do I...

Friends: I am soon locked in a car with 23 yo bonus daughter, driving straight from Beantown to Mayberry. With luck I'll be home Thursday evening, at which time no one may talk to me until Saturday morning. My ears are tired, and we haven't left. I will be able to fill in the blanks hopefully Thursday night.

In the mean time can anyone share how to add a comment now link to the bottom of a post in Google reader. Something along the same line as email this, digg this, etc.

Many thanks in advance


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where has the time gone?

Occasionally, we check in on the wild rantings of television producer Chuck Lorre, known throughout the kingdom for such classics as Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Dharma and Greg and others. At the end of each program Chuck airs a vanity card. You think it's a legal warning of some kind, since it scrolls so quickly, yet it's not. What it is, is a brief musing, an observation, a look at what is on his mind. Lately, Chuck has had a hard go of it, so naturally there's been a lot on his mind. Since we last looked, an entire television year has come and gone. It's time we checked in. We left him at 296.


The Wannabe Prayer

Oh Lord, let me look upon your children and, in their eyes, see my reflection. Let my name, for good or evil, be incessantly chatted and blogged about by those who are not themselves worthy of being chatted and blogged about. If it be thy will, grant me a cable reality show because my life is just so ca-razy! If that's not thy will, then how about arranging for me to fornicate with a famous person so I can casually say to my friends, "Guess who I'm banging?" Whatever, just free me from the bondage of anonymity so I might be recognized in a nightclub, or trendy eatery, or courtroom, or on line at the DMV. For in that recognition lies my salvation. My eternal reward for looking heavenward and proclaiming, "I have no actual skills, nor the time, talent or patience to learn one, but people still have to look at me when I walk in the room and murmur, 'Hey, isn't that somebody?'" Amen.

More recent ravings may be found here.


Monday, August 8, 2011

VJ Day

Alabama Civil War Veterans Home

Wars are good for 2 things in the US, creating taxes and holidays.

Personal Federal taxes began as a funding mechanism to help pay for the War of Union Aggression. When they saw what a great job it did for the US treasury, states got in on the game too. Often once the war was paid off, the money quietly slipped into another pocket, and the show went on. For instance, the State of Alabama in 2011 continues to collect a tax which funds its Civil War Veterans Retirement Home. That the home closed 72 years ago, and the last southern veteran died in 1951, is irrelevant. The tax receipts are not.


Victory Day: Were you aware that Rhode Island is the only state that still celebrates the World War II surrender of Japan? Formerly known as Victory Over Japan or VJ Day, the name has been shortened to reflect modern sensitivities. State and municipal offices are closed, and it's a paid holiday for employees of many Rhode Island businesses.

(While VJ Day is August 14, RI celebrates on the first Monday after the first Tuesday of the August- today)

Bonus daughter and I will be on the road 'till Friday. We hope you won't mind if we stop by to use your bathroom and refill our canteens. We'll try to be neat. I may be a bit slower than normal on the uptake. It's a cross we'll all have to bear.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's a little quiet around here

Friends: my muse has been bound, gagged and silenced. One of the many recent upgrades to Blogger has left her unable to speak, comment, harangue, lecture, hector, amuse, cajole and/or elucidate. Blogger has left her mute, and we are not amused.

I know she is not alone, nor is she suffering in silence, however if you have suffered the same indignity, have a useful suggestion beyond publicly commenting on how peaceful things have been lately, SHARE, please, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's spitting daggers.

I miss her, although I have saved a fortune in impulse buys, and it has been rather quiet...


Saturday, August 6, 2011


In our family there are 3 Kate's. I've a daughter Katy, Mrs. T has a daughter Katie, and we have a granddaughter Kate. To keep them straight we tried several systems beginning with a numbering plan, oldest to youngest we called them 1, 2 then 3. That may have worked, but 3 vociferously defended the fact that she was not 3 she was 7, and so she has been ever since.

It's now 12 years on and still she is 7. I know that because yesterday was her birthday.

The photo is not very current but its special to me and the one I keep on my desk. I'm certain to hear about that later.

Until then Happy Birthday darling, keep smiling and have a wonderful day, everyday.


Friday, August 5, 2011

white linen night

Should you find yourself in or around the Crescent City tomorrow evening don't forget to participate in one of New Orleans's newer summer traditions, White Linen Night. Held in the Warehouse District (400 Julia Street) along Gallery Row, White Linen Night is a combination block party, art walk and fund raiser for the contemporary Arts Center. 20,000 or so are expected, so dress up, bring a bit of cash to help a worthy cause and eat and drink the evening away with kindred souls.

Should you attend, take lots of photos and SHARE them here, please.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Serial Killers

Al Alvarez's home office from the Guardian

Are all bloggers serial killers? Some of you? Most of you? Your propensity to kill has become an issue in our happy home.

I've met several bloggers over the past few weeks. My bride, wonders why I'd bother.

"Whatever could you possibly have to talk about?", she, who has never read a blog,asks. "Why are you waking early, in unfamiliar cities to visit with people you don't know? She's normally not such a misanthrope.

UVa Photo

Remember Faulkner's response to President Kennedy's invitation, "It's too far to travel to eat with strangers" ?"

Naturally my reply "that I've come to love those people who's blogs I read or who show up here", holds no water.

"For all you know they're serial killers."

What I've found is a group of curious, informed, inspiring and enthusiastic people, each with a strong dose of willingness to share. A more engaging group would be hard to find.

I've raised Mrs T's issue with those I've met. Mostly, their spouses never read their works, and many feel like Mrs. T. I wonder why. No one yet has admitted to murder.

Hardee's Fried Bologna Biscuit

I'm heading back on the road next week. I hope to meet a few pen pals, share a tipple or three, gag down a limited edition Hardee's Fried Bologna Biscuit and come home inspired by the wonders beyond my own back yard. In the mean time my daughter has been visiting this week, her husband arrives tonight and the rest of the relatives show up for a day at the pool Friday. Pray for surf.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Marriage for love is truly a modern contrivance. Pre-television era Celts, believed one spouse was pretty much as good as another (the breathing or still warm approach), so marriages were simplified by the practice of Handfasting.

The logistics were simple. Each year at the Lughnasadh festival, men would line up on one side of a high wall, women on the other. At a gate was a space large enough for a hand to pass through. One by one, a hand went in one side, on the other, a hand held on, sight unseen (supposedly). The newly joined couple then tied a ribbon around their wrists (origin of tying the knot). The couple then were considered married and would live together for a year and a day, to see if they were compatible. If all was well - fine, if they found themselves incompatable they arrived at the next year's festival stood back to back and walked away from each other, signifying their marriage was over. Each was then free to get back in line and try again.

As the christian church reached Ireland it worked overtime to eradicate this practice. It must not have been easy, as for over 600 years various church councils, synods and ruling bodies condemned the practice.

Handfasting was legally practiced in Britain until 1753, Scotland and the Channel Islands allowed handfasting until the Revised Marriage (Scottish) Act of 1939.


Monday, August 1, 2011


And The Roman Senate decreed:

"Whereas the Emperor Augustus Caesar, in the month of Sextilis*, was first admitted to the consulate, and thrice entered the city in triumph, and in the same month the legions, from the Janiculum, placed themselves under his auspices, and in the same month Egypt was brought under the authority of the Roman people, and in the same month an end was put to the civil wars; and whereas for these reasons the said month is, and has been, most fortunate to this empire, it is hereby decreed by the senate that the said month shall be called Augustus."

*Those keeping track remember that August was the 6th month of the original 10 month Roman calendar year.

The Celts knew that August 1st. was time for the festival of Lughnasadh, from the Irish god Lugh, it's the first harvest festival. Lugh dedicated the festival to his foster mother,Tailtiu. On her deathbed Tailtiu promised that if funeral games were held in her honor, the Irish would never be without song. Both sides have kept their end of the bargain.

The ancient Lughnasadh festival is responsible for creating the wedding custom of "tying the knot." More on that tomorrow.