Sunday, November 30, 2008

An infinty of little hours

As regular readers may have observed I prefer to read than watch television. Mrs. T prefers television. I make no judgements, on those with differing amusements, I only state mine.

Over the years we have reached a mutual accommodation in that whenever I pick up a book Mrs. T will ask me what I am reading. I'll tell her the name and perhaps subtitle. She really has no interest, but occasionally likes to appear interested.

Several years ago, our usual conversation occurred and I told her I was reading "An Infinity of Little Hours" Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order by Nancy Maguire. Oh it must be about David she says.

This was a story I never heard and coincidentally she said that as I was beginning a chapter about David. Turns out David is the son of Mrs T's grandmother's best friend, and now Dr. Maguire's husband.

Well I wrote to Professor Maguire and told her the story. Over time we continued to share family stories while she filled in gaps of her mother in law and I did the same from Mrs. T's family. Finally, she sent the photo above.

Look at it closely. Look very closely.

The photo was taken in Milwaukee during July 1927. The women are in furs. The gent in a summer boater. Someone did not get the memo. The woman on the left is my grandmother in law. She is the identical twin to my bonus daughter. The couple on the right are the Maguires.

An Infinity is a fascinating book of 5 men's early years in a Carthusian monastery in England in the 50's. Life in the monastery has remained virtually unchanged for the past 1000 years, as it will be 1000 years from now. It is austere, and unlike any other in religious community on earth. Infinity is also a very good read.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shopping tips for Gentlemen

Casual readers to our daily musings may not be aware that on two prior occasions (Sept 24, Oct 4) I have had the temerity to offer dating tips for gentlemen. My candid observations were met with public silence, but the private responses were in full vigor against. While deterred, I was not silenced as I offer my gentlemen readers these holiday tips.


Some of our single friends labor under the misconception that the back of church at the Christmas Eve midnight service is an appropriate venue for inviting the woman of your dreams to marry them. Nothing is farther from the truth.

If you have been fortunate enough to find and deserve the love of a good woman, and wish to marry her, any day is a suitable day to ask for her hand. However, bear this in mind.

While generally welcome, Engagement rings are not suitable Christmas presents. Nor birthday gifts for that matter.

It's lazy, its cliched, it's unbecoming. At the same time, if popping the question is on your mind, asking between Christmas and New Years is also unseemly. It appears an afterthought at best, or capitulation to palpable disappointment at worst.

If you want to ask, do it today. Christmas prizes are still required.


Friday, November 28, 2008

The first of two is home.

In all the excitement of the past several days I failed to mention that I picked up one of the two jackets I was having made. Naturally, the one I wanted most to be ready in time for Thanksgiving did not make it in time, as it turns out neither did I , so nothing lost. Gratefully, the rust herringbone is completed.

I'm still a bit put off by the sleeve length, but that will be corrected next week.

It feels and moves superbly, and already has become one of my favorite jackets.

Thanks you Kaz, the tailor.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Part Travelogue, Part Musing

Made it both ways safe and sound. Thank you very much.

While a drive across Missouri, Kansas and eastern Colorado may sound incredibly boring in fact it was not. Let me tell you a bit about it.

With most pure intentions to leave early in the morning I slept late,and didn't leave Mayberry until after 11 am. Tuesday. My first stop was Kansas City. For those unfamiliar with the territory, KC has THE finest restaurant in the world, a humble little hole in the wall known far and wide as Arthur Bryants. I have been going to Bryants for at least 45 years and although the place has grown a bit since its early days the size and quality of the portions make this a paragon of value. If you doubt me, you may remember that Mrs. Blandings held a virtual shower there for one of her friends a year or so ago. Whatever greater recommendation can there be?

Leaving Missouri is visually jarring for Missourians. Missouri is known as "The Show Me State" because of its profound adoration of the highway billboard. No vista in the state is so scenic that it cannot be improved by vertical litter. No vista in the state has ever been given the opportunity to test if this is true. On the eighth day Missourians created billboards.
Neighboring Kansas has not yet invented billboards, so as you enter the state it takes 25 miles or so before one realizes what's wrong. No billboards.

Next stop was Topeka, Kansas to visit with #1 son.
Sadly it was a hi and bye with #1 as I had miles to go before I slept, but since I don't see him as much as I would like, any visit is a good one. Mrs. T and I will be returning to visit with #1 and family in a couple of weeks.

I left Topeka to watch the sun set over Kansas, and drove straight to the lovely community of Wakeenan, Kansas.

Sometimes you have to search for mirth, especially on a solitary drive and I found it in spades in Wakeenan. Finally around 8:30pm I stopped, and pulled into a next to the highway motel. As I drove through the lot I noticed a young couple making out on a sofa in the lobby. Seemed like a nice place. I got out, the young woman straightened herself out, and walked behind the official counter. I suggested that perhaps they needed a room more than I, but the young paramour said no, they were used to being disturbed. She then proceeded to ask a number of inpertinant questions. name, address, phone, length of stay, did I have a AAA card, etc.

I was tired and not on my game so I answered he queries without humor, and then she turned the tables on me and attempted to play stump the chump.

My dear friend Jim Bob's sainted father spent a great deal of time in our young adulthood attempting to teach us, how if we did not take advantage of fools when they unexpectedly arrived, the gods would presume we didn't want to play and wouldn't send us any more. That would lead to a sad and boring life. We have honored his lessons throughout our lives.

After getting me to initial and sign, and provide other assurances the hotel matron stares at me coldly and asks, "in case of emergency would I need assistance?" I rose to the bait, like trout to a fly.

What kind of emergency?

I don't know, we aren't expecting any.

Since one rarely expects emergencies, isn't an emergency by definition, unexpected?

Huh? Please sir, yes or no.

Maybe, I said. Depends.

I got the worst room in the place, and she and boyfriend were back at it, by the time I retrieved my bag.


Western Kansas is beautiful in its own austere way. I greatly admire the people who make their living there, and can only imagine at how satellite TV, cell phone and the Internet have changed farm life positively. The one thought I couldn't get out of my head though, was how fragile life in these small farm towns could be. For instance, suppose in a generation, a disproportionate number of children of one sex were born. Within the children's generation a community could be wiped out. Probably doesn't happen, but ...

Arrived in Denver and had a wonderful visit and Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter and son in law.

Thursday afternoon they delivered me to a virtually empty Denver airport and a very full flight home.

Its good to go, its far better to arrive home safely.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One good deed deserves...

Dear Friends: Meg of Pigtown Design and I were discussing Karma recently, and she most correctly pointed out that Karma is best served up front, I couldn't agree more. Perhaps that is why my big mouth and I continue to get into warm water occasionally. Yesterday I volunteered to help a friend in need, and darned if he didn't take me up on it.

So Tuedsay, I am driving from Mayberry to Denver to deliver friend in needs car to my lovely daughter and her husband who will then drive it to its home in Seattle. I did offer to drive the whole route, but through good karma & divine intervention I was saved this time.

Sadly, I'll be out of touch for a couple of days, but I will have lovely stories about domestic air travel on the busiest weekend of the year, and fantastic photos of the great midwest when I return. Have a lovely and safe holiday. Save me some dark meat. I'll return Friday as usual.


Remember babysitting?

Remember how you disliked babysitting? Maybe not as a kid, but as an adult, watching your friends and neighbors kids? Especially, when you already had kids of your own and had some idea how it was done? Never really liked it did you?

Last weekend Mrs. T got a similar but as dreaded an offer. "Nana, wanna watch my dog next week, while my family and I go to Disney World?", asked our 9 year old grandson.
What ya got enough money to go, but not enough to afford a kennel. It is after all your 15th trip there.

So, early Sunday morning, the little beast shows up. Generally, I like dogs, this one, no. It is mean, destructive, and never a brow has been furrowed in thought concerning the most rudimentary training for this monster. Won't come, isn't housebroken, bites. Naturally, at its home, the sun rises and sets around this dog.

Wouldn't you know it too, it came with two single spaced typed pages of its needs and wants, which we lost before they were out of the driveway.

Fortunately, we have a trick up our sleeve and they know it. We put a leash on the beast, and pull the handle through Ted the Wonder Dog's collar, That way, Ted has to watch it, we know Ted won't run away, and the little beast is out of sight and out of mind.

God only knows how we'll have to make it up to Ted, but pay we will.


PS: Before you call the ASPCA, PETA or the sheriff be aware of two facts regarding this case.

1. Everyone involved knows that Mrs. T is dangerously allergic to many breeds of dog.
2. Although Mrs. T said yes, this naturally becomes my problem for a week. If you need me I'll be at home.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Report Day

With little to do and much time to do it this past week, I spent many a pre and post nap hour with a book in my hand. In an effort to provide timely advice I offer my picks and pans.

CALL ME TED, an autobiography of Ted Turner

I have mixed emotions about Ted. I've had the honor of meeting him twice in circumstances that were very enjoyable. He is larger than life, and one of the world's great salesmen. My twin cousin was a lobbyist for Turner Broadcasting in the early days and has very little good to say about him. Let's say the jury is out.

Call me Ted is a hymn to the converted. Ted sees himself as a hard working guy who has done his best for his company and country. This is undeniable. That he is an honest, straight shooter in business I cannot say. His friends like him, his children have come to like him and all his many wives and girlfriends are still in touch. Self praise at the highest level.


For the life of me I cannot understand why I spend the time I do reading autobiographies and biographies of recently dead celebrities. I have yet to read an autobiography that proclaims the subject to be a sniveling ass who hates children and should be arrested and locked away for his crimes against humanity. (Hope springs eternal since I will read W's book in hope of the truth).

Mr Plimpton's life is told in fragments by his many friends and enemies. If the subject interests you at all, you may know many of the more famous stories, his interests in sports and fireworks, his wide interests and many friends among the beau monde of the literary universe. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Plimpton you could give this pass and live to tell the tale.

I though he came off an insufferable ass.


I tend to exit colds by becoming ravished, and since this is not a cooking program, this may be one of only two recipes you will ever see here. In fact I know my way around a kitchen pretty well. I may not be a really good eater, but I can cook up a storm.

This is the a recipe for one of my favorite pies which I adapted from one publish in the NYT several years ago.I believe it is trademarked under the name Derby Pie. Suitable copies are known as Dixie Pies.

For the uninitiated it is a pecan pie with chocolate chips. Best served slightly warm, late Thanksgiving night with an Irish Coffee or an Irish Creme and a cup of strong coffee.
The pie itself is so sweet as to make your teeth ache. Enjoy in moderation.


1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (use pecans if you're a purist)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crust on pie plate and prick bottom with a fork. Cover lightly with a sheet of foil. Bake for 10 minutes then remove foil and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine the butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the brown sugar and flour and mix thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter into the crust. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

I am back to health, and thank all for their well wishes.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Katy Day

My father died almost 25 years ago, and hardly a day goes by that I don't think of a question I'd like to ask him. With that in mind shortly before her death I asked my mother how my youngest brother got his name. Her reply stunned me.

"Your father was a Notre Dame football fan." I knew the man 30 something years and this was news to me. And, I asked? Your brother was named for ND's then football coach.

I chewed on that for a while, and imagined saying to my children's mother, "I want to name our first born Parseghian". I'll bite says she, Why? Because that is the name of ND's football coach.

To this day I'm unsure as to whether that would lead to a very short conversation, or a very long monologue. Either way it would undoubtedly be poor for my self esteem.

I wish I had known this some years before.

Once upon a time, Notre Dame had a very good football team. In fact they were undefeated going into a Thanksgiving Day game against the Air Force Academy. The game was to be nationally televised in the afternoon.

Around noon on Thanksgiving my wife said it was time to go to the hospital NOW! Our first born to be was well done and wanted to greet the world.

Naturally, the mom to be's OB was a ND grad. He had the day off, and a houseful of guests gathered to celebrate the holiday feast with a historic football party. His partner was on call.

By mid afternoon the backup had 4 moms waiting, and he needed help. Dr.ND was called and showed up just in time to deliver my darling daughter, Katy, and miss a historic game. He was pissed and let everyone know. We were ecstatic, and still are. That's why today and every year on this date we celebrate Katy day.

Happy Birthday Dahlink


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Truth is strange

If you let yourself lie about for several days, the darnedest things will cross your path.

The first is the photo above, which was taken by Robert S. Van Fleet and showing the November 1958 fire at Silliman Hall at Northfield Mount Hermon School. It was the AP 1958 sports photograph of the year.

The second still on a football theme demonstrates how truth is much stranger than fiction.

According to wire service sources yesterday, the nations only blind marching band, from the Ohio State School for the Blind will march in the 2010 Rose Bowl Parade. Fair enough.

The Marching Band was created in 2005 when a neighboring school, The Ohio School of the Deaf was looking for a band to play at its football games. Even I couldn't make this up.

They need about $30,000 to cover expenses. If you can help give them a call.

Recovery is taking longer than I want, but I'll return in full vigor soon.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beaujolais Nouveau

One of the great marketing coups in the world was continued this morning when at 12:01 Paris time as the 2008 vintage Beaujolais, the first wine from the new harvest, was released to an undeserving public. In the days of the Concorde trendy New York restaurants would have it available for luncheon. Now it may take until dinner, and certainly by Saturday it will be in your local grocery store.
If you have trendy or sophisticated friends you may be invited to a Beaujolais Nouveau party this weekend. I beg you to reconsider going, or at least to take proper precautions.
I think the British say it best. This is plonk. Before you take that first sip remember that these grapes were on the vine in September. Many of the less fastidious amongst us will quietly admit to having grape juice in the fridge older than this wine. Our more experienced readers will recall that Boone's Farm aged longer, since it was aged in transit, typically by truck from far away.
If you must go, I suggest the following. Ladies bring a large purse carrying a bottle of good stuff. You'll thank yourself in the morning, as this has an aftertaste which is not readily dissolved. Gentlemen, this would be a great opportunity to bring a flask.
You have been warned, and well advised.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm sick.

For the past three days I have had the flu/cold combo that is making the rounds. I didn't ask for it. I don't want it. I wish I didn't have it.

But we can't always get what we want. So here is how I am dealing with it.

First of all I am grateful that I don't work or have young children around. That would really crimp my style. I just want to sleep.

My sick routine is to sleep till noon, have breakfast, take a couple of benedryl, go back to bed wake up around 3, take some Comtrex Cough and Cold, read and then back to bed.

Repeat every 3 hours as necessary. Until bedtime.

Comtrex has been my saviour and I recommend it to everyone suffering the stuffy sinus, cough, headache, sore throat, blahs. Within a few minutes the symptoms go away. The benedryl kicks in, and its good night Irene.

I'll be back in form soon, till then keep the shiny side up.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Favorite soundtrack?

Our friend Giuseppe, at an Affordable Wardrobe ttp:// has challenged us to name our favorite movie soundtrack.

Since this is not a knife fight, and if Giuseppe is amenable I propose several rules. Feel free to violate them at your leisure, although they will earn no points.

Rule 1: Musicals are off limits. Absolutely no, Oklahoma. Was FM a musical? A Hard Days Night?
Rule 2: Concert films are out, except perhaps Cream at the Albert Hall. Woodstock although not really a concert, may not make the cut, the jury is out.

Rule 3: Although no one holds them in higher esteem than I, no biographies. No Night and Day, no Benny Goodman story.

Leading off today's discussion is Giuseppe, with his nomination of "A Man and a Woman"

My response to G was that he was too young. Take all challenges seriously. I'll offer my suggestion up at the end.


My dog is smarter than....

I am ashamed to admit this but Ted the Wonder Dog has a better memory than I.

Ted and I are creatures of routine. He's is pretty hard to rattle, but generally he likes and gets things his way.

Let me provide an example. I am an unapologetic cigar smoker. I only smoke outside, at home. Mrs. T says she likes the smell of cigars in the house, but I know that's a lie. I don't like the smell, so outside it is. So of an evening Ted and I take our cigars and a tipple, head to the rockers on the veranda and spend an hour or so swapping lies, and catching up on each other's day. We have been doing this rain or shine, hot or cold for years. We enjoy the time together.

Another part of our routine is thus. When it is cold out, I always wear an old Barbour Beaufort jacket, and in the handwarmer pocket I keep 2 dog bones. (After his smoke, Ted enjoys a bone). When I put the jacket on, Ted becomes a different dog. He's awake, his animated, he's helpful and will do whatever I tell him, at least until he gets the bones.

Saturday evening was cold, and for the first time this season I wore the old warhorse green jacket. Ted went nuts and I couldn't figure out why. Finally, I caught on. Apparently, I'm not well dressed until I put a couple of bones in my pocket.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

A follow up

A funny follow up to yesterdays post.

Saturday morning Ted the Wonder Dog was awake far earlier than usual and in full watch dog mode. Over the years we have come to respect that side of him, and take it seriously. I got up, looked out the window and saw a police car stopped in the drive.

Since the kids have left home we have studiously avoided waking to cops in the drive.

After the usual courtesies, he asked if we had heard gunshots. NO!

Well, they had reports of hunters in the area and he was on the lookout. We made certain Ted was in the house, and went back to bed.

As soon as I was under the covers I heard BANG, BANG.

Five minutes later Ted was up with a vengeance. Looked out again and three trucks from the local electric company were heading down the service drive. The gunfire must have been a transformer coming undone.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fred Astaire

Upon the recommendation of our friend Anon of NY I picked up a copy of Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein at the local library.

There are three things of note in Fred's life.

He was a very private man and a perectionist in his craft. You have never heard a whiff of scandal about his life

Wasn't a bad singer. Many of the leading song writers of the 20th century wrote some of their best work for him.

He could dance a bit on stage. Never socially.

I just saved you an hour and a half. A much better use of that hour and half would be to catch several of the Fred and Gingers on TCM this week.


Deer Season

Deer season for firearms opens in Missouri today. In Mayberry, you could tell it was coming all week. Increased booze and outdoor related advertising are the early harbingers of sporting season.

Unexpectedly, Mayberry homeowners and their representatives who pass a number of if/then tests may bow hunt deer in their own backyard. I don't hunt and while I may like to crab about the giants rats, they do add a certain something to the area, so we do not allow hunting at The Park. The giant rats have found out and have been congregating at our house for the past week
All in all I have nothing against deer or deer hunters, but it does lead to an annual hassle. The fight to find a contractor.
We have been trying to have our driveway repaired for the past month. In desperation I'd posted a please help me to Craigslist. Within hours 4 different companies called to say how happy they would be solve my problem. Each made appointments. None showed.

Mark my words, sometime Wednesday or Thursday the phone will ring. Each conversation will begin, "Remember me?" My heart says no I don't, my head says hell yes, where have you been, but I know.
The sad part of hunting season comes at the end of duck season, which is just before Christmas. That's when you can find a great deal on a well loved hunting dog.
Keep the dogs inside, wear bright colors.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of us was wrong

So I jumped out of bed this morning, got dressed and was at the tailor just about as early in the morning as I'm ever likely to show up anywhere.

Tried on jacket one. It felt like pj's. Heaven

Tried on jacket two. A bit heavier but again it felt a light as skin.

Then I looked in the mirror. The skirt of each jacket was about two inches past my hand. Looked like a zoot suit. After minor discussions regarding my height and his eyesight I agreed to return next Friday. Until then, we wait.


Welcome to all our new friends

A most generous thank you to Mrs. Blandings for sharing her audience with me. I hope you enjoy your visits, and I look forward to your comments. It has taken a bit to find my voice so trample through the archives, some of our current stories begin in the past.

I've a pretty good chin so feel free to put me in my place as needed.

Also please feel free to share our humble blog with your friends as well. I hope to earn your trust.


The Sportcoats are here!!!!!

Today is the day my two sportcoats are ready to be picked up. I'll post photos later this afternoon.

Until then, have a great weekend, come back next week as we consider the upcoming holidays.


In Praise of Oreck

While Mrs. T was away I broke our Oreck Vacuum.

My general style is to admit my sins, take my beating and go on, and so it was when she came home to find the vac in the back seat of the car.

When ask why I took the vac for a drive, I fessed up and told her how I attempted to get it fixed on my way to the airport, they were closed and now I'm had.

Next morning I was about considering a return trip to the Oreck folks, but Mrs. T allowed how this was women's work and she'd handle it.

You know the empty feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you go to a repair shop. You know it will cost a fortune to repair, and probably take 3 weeks, and you just know you're about to be had? Mrs. T's experience was quite different.

She dragged it in, told them the problem. The Oreck response was that will be $5 and take 3 minutes. When the job was finished the clerk carried it to the car. "That's the Oreck way, ma'am".

They now have a customer for life.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's going to be a long year

Unlike Mrs. T, I am not much of a gambler. I am more than happy to stay home while she does battle with a poker machine. I do have one gambling vice though. I bet against the University of Kansas basketball team.

#1 son and I have a routine. He gets Kansas, I get points. We wager a million dollars a game double or nothing on most games. Usually we even out at the end of the season because KU chokes in March. Writing the check for $192 million last April did hurt a bit, but it won't happen again for another 10-12 years.

So it must be getting near that time again. Tuesay night I get a phone call. How many points do you want? KU is playing the Little Sisters of the Poor right now. I passed. I gotta have a team with at least one 3 point shooter to get interested.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Linens n Things RIP

OK, this is probably a girl thing that I am not meant to understand, but try me anyway.

As you are all aware LNT is shutting down. It is currently in the hands of a liquidator, so you can throw away all your old coupons, because they are no longer accepted, not even at BB&B. Don't yet fall for the come on signs outside 20-40% off. There are no bargains to be had ...yet.

So my question is, Why did LNT fail, while Bed Bath and Beyond is succeeding beyond their own expectations? To my untrained eye they appear to be the same store, although I never understood their mutually assured to fail concept that only males pay retail.

What did I miss?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am drop dead gobsmacked

I was taking my morning walk around blog world this morning, spending longer than usual at Bunny's blog. The pictures of the Mary Jane candies took me back to my mother. They were her favorite treats.
Otherwise, Ms. Tomerlin's eye this morning was dead on as usual.
Ever click on the pictures in the left margin? They are "cool links to click on". Randomly, since I am wearing my cartridge belt, I clicked the photo above, and ended up back here. Go figure.
Thank you for the unexpected surprise, it made my day.

What's your favorite movie?

Peterman's Eye started this last week, by telling the story of the play, later movie Harvey. I've enjoyed this movie since I was a child, and know it by heart. Isn't that sick?
Which got me to thinking, what's my favorite movie? How does one chose?

There are a lot of old movies that I am more accustomed to seeing on broadcast TV, rather than on DVD or cable. Perhaps I had them on VHS or they just appear in my memory on TV. You have them rummaging around your anxiety closet too.
Ever see a movie that you think you know because you have seen it on broadcast, and then see the original sometime later. It's really disconcerting.
In the past week, since I have had a free evening or two I have caught bits of Blazing Saddles, The Blue Brothers and Young Frankenstein. None of which were the movies I remember.

Favorite, movies change depending upon mood, season or company. Some are forever on the list, some are fluid. This summer I has hooked on A Good Year, but I am hoping that passes soon.
I'll share several of mine if you'll share several of yours. TV movies don't count. Fair?

All time top 3

Lawrence of Arabia Makes Mrs. T's skin crawl. All I have to do is Acaba and she is out the door. I remember seeing this the weekend it was first released, I became a T.E. Lawrence fan immediately. His real story is far more interesting than the movie.

Most of the Fred and Gingers. The best part of these was Edward Everett Horton. Best remembered via the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Chose your favorite, I am not picky.
Casablanca: The ending is still a surprise to me every time I see it.
Holiday Movies
A Christmas Story, of course. Poor Schwartz.
Love Affair/ An Affair to Remember Deep down I hate this schmaltzy mess, but every Christmas Eve Eve two local tv stations coordinate their schedules to run these two flix simultaneously, which is really swarmy. For those too young to remember, Love Affair was the original. AATR is a line by line remake with more famous actors. Favorite line" if you can call that painting I can call this walking"

Tomorrow I'll have a different list. I am hooked on old movies. The Topper series, Charlie Chan, a lot of the Cary Grant, before he became CG stuff., David Niven, Terry Thomas the list is endless.
Ps: The original commeration of Remembrence Day was November 11 at 11 am. Thank a vet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tie Crocs?

Dare Ya. Double Dog Dare Ya, but don't tke me down with you

An honest merchant?

I was chatting with #1 son yesterday about all the new and exciting holiday doings at his work when he pointed me to his company web site.

I was greeted by this message.

Welcome to {hisemployer}.com!
We've temporarily closed our store. We're working hard to improve your shopping experience at {hisemployer}.com. Please try again later. Thanks for your patience!

Frankly, I think more companies would improve my shopping experience by shutting down their on line presence.

I found the message funny for two reasons. First, #1 runs this department and clearly didn't know about this when he pointed me there. Secondly, #1 took it so hard and personally.

Things are back to normal now, so please shop here. He loves and needs the job.


Brer Rabbit part deux

After our recent Brer Rabbit escapade, I became curious. Were the Uncle Remus stories in fact racist, or was it the setting and other baggage that tainted our memory and had made them so?

I don't know that I have ever read Uncle Remus before now. I well remember my Golden Book of Uncle Remus, but I doubt I was able to read it. It was a frequent bed time story, but probably not much after I turned 4 or 5. I saw the Disney released Song of the South, and once in VHS. The movie was fifty something years ago. The world is much changed.

So, I went to the library and pulled Uncle Remus, The Complete Tales, by Julius Lester off the shelf. 700 pages neatly hidden in the Black Experience section. The purists amongst us will remember that the Uncle Remus stories were written by Joel Chandler Harris between 1876 and 1918 in what was believed by Mr. Harris to be the familiar slave dialect in his part of the south.

Mr. Lester's work is a modern retelling of the old classics. It is his opinion that the originals were written in such a dialect as to be near impossible to decipher for a modern reader. His belief, is that the only way for the stories to live was to retell them in a way 21st century readers would understand. He expected the stories to be rewritten in another couple of generations in a way understandable to people of that time.
Frankly he succeeded.

At their heart, the Uncle Remus stories are black folktales. Folktales from all cultures are stories originally told by and to adults, which if the children were quiet they may be allowed to listen to. As such they have important messages to convey. Folk messages translate into all cultures.

Mr. Lester's work tells the stories, without the unnecessary backstory in a mix of modern white and black English. Their cadence is distinctly black, the stories feel modern. Yes the original tales as told by Joel Chandler Harris stories are racist to our ears. The Uncle Remus stories conveyed by Mr. Lester are not.

As I was reading the book I was thinking constantly of Ms. Mindless's class of Washington DC first graders. They would love the stories. A great story teller would have her class mesmerized.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

I love Bunny, but

As I may have pointed out in the past, one of the great dangers involved with reading blogs, is you find yourself several hours older, and very much wiser.

I love Bunny. The poor woman must be black and blue from being tagged by so many of us. Mercifully she holds herself above the fray. I would love to meet her. Cocktails by the pool would be divine. I'd insist David come.

This time, her meticulous sense of style let her down. I saw the post, I bit. $10 to Alibris and 3 days later it arrived. God it's awful.

I still can't wait for tomorrows' post.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Moms do play favorites

Everyone in Mrs. T's sphere of influence pretty well knows how they stack up. Her middle kid (youngest son) is #1 and can do no wrong. Any attempt to oust him would result in humiliation. Since she lost her dog over the summer I have been elevated to #3. That's just how things work.

Mrs. T is also a gambler. She is a pretty good poker player and a very skilled video poker aficionado. Her level and frequency of play means she rarely has to reach for her purse inside a casino property, except perhaps to feed the kitty.

So several weeks ago, #1 called and asked mom if she could get him a free room in Las Vegas for this weekend. She called made reservations and off he went. Check in went well, he got a lovely suite, the fruit basket, complementary meal vouchers, show tickets the whole nine yards.
On his second morning he noticed the room wasn't being comped and the bill was huge. Mid day 2 he gets a call asking Mrs. T to make her presence known, as they had a $300 gift card for her.

So that is why as I write this Mrs. T is cooling her heels in the Atlanta airport. If anyone else tried this stunt they would be creamed, but not #1.

If you care to meet her, she will be making a return engagement Tuesday afternoon. Look her up and say hi.
Part 2

Mrs. T flies cheap not conveniently. Last night booking her trip from Mayberry to LV she had the option of changing planes in ATL or Phoenix. Why not go east to go west I always say. I love her madly, but she can be exasperating at times. Anyway, I'm batching it.


I hate our coffee pot!!!

Can anyone recommend a suitable replacement? We've tried the Gevalia, Braun, Black and Decker and a host of others. It can't be that hard to make a great coffee pot,but it must be.

I'm looking for something that works fairly quickly, keeps a pot warm, and doesn't spill half the contents down the side of the pot when I pour.

Wish list includes:
Stainless steel
auto-shut off
10-12 cup capacity
under $150

I am jealous because each of you has a better pot than I. What do you recommend, what to avoid??



Friday, November 7, 2008

Why they call it Fall

For those of you who do not live in a 4 season climate, let me tell you about fall in Mayberry and how fall got it's name.

It has been a beautiful Autumn in Mayberry, although unusually dry. For the past week its been near 80 every day, which is unheard of. I took the photo above Sunday afternoon. It took forever but the leaf color finally peaked. The view was positively glorious.

Several months ago,we scrapped the push mower,(yes a push mower for 4 acres) and replaced it with a rider. So every couple of days I mount the iron horse, and do battle with whatever leaves have fallen. I find it like painting or window washing. Instant gratification is my thing, and I kinda enjoy it.

I spent several hours Monday mulching and raking, and did a fine job if I do say so. Tuesday morning we couldn't see the ground. Fortunately, I was busy all day, and didn't let it bother me too much. Wednesday we couldn't open the front door for all the leaves.
Back on the IH, and a two tanks of gas later the yard was clear. As soon as I finished the wind began blowing. Hard. By dinner it occured to me that I shouldn't have bothered.

This photo was taken Thursday morning. Overnight it began to rain, and we awoke to a stiff breeze. I wanted to get back on the tractor, but there is no point.

Can't wait for tomorrow. One day you have leaves, the next day they fall down.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by.


Adidas Saddles

These are Adidas saddles expected to be released in February. They also be available in cream/blue.

Certainly the strings are wrong, but what do you think? I am going to pass, but a penny for your thoughts.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bow Ties

Photo courtesy of Ben Silver, Charleston

I love bow ties so much that I have not worn a long tie in 8 years. It's Mrs. T's fault.
In fall Y2K her brother's wedding was on the horizon, and in anticipation of the blessed nuptials I refreshed my wardrobe. When time came to pick up the altered goods I make the worst mistake a man can make, as concerns his appearance. I brought the wife.

Adults should dress themselves. Every lazy man deserves every fate which befalls him who takes his wife shopping.

While in the shop she asks what are you wearing to the wedding? I replied and then she handed me this tie. It would look lovely said she.

I protested, I wept, I cried, I wore it. After the wedding I tried to take it back, but the merchant had had a party when they finally got rid of that tie, and wouldn't hear of it.

Slowly at first , then quickly, I rid myself of all my long ties, save 3, which I keep around as an aide memoir, and went the bow route, never once asking my brides opinion.

Bow ties are somewhat subversive. So few men wear them that its rare not to get a reaction when wearing one. Stereotypes run wild. I love it, much the way Tom Wolfe loves his white suits. Its a stick in the eye to portentousness.

Bows are found in the dusty bins in back of most haberdasheries. Ben Silver in Charleston, and Southern Proper make my favorites. Now if only I could arrange a trip to Bristol Tennesse, Wm King has my next favorite of tie.

In the mean time, thanks for reading. Stop in and say hello.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

South Park

Did anyone happen to catch South Park this evening? It wasn't terribly funny, but they had to have made the show this afternoon.

The Discovery of France

For those who may have forgotten, today is MOTR's 29th birthday, although I understand from her family and friends that she is still carded when she and the very fortunate DOTR are out for an evening. Happy Birthday, and may your dream soon come true!

You may get to know her better here.

In honor of MOTR's natal day, today is book report day. Our featured book, The Discovery of France by Graham Robb.

I love the French. Their stereotypical surliness and supercilliousness is to be embraced by all freedom loving people. Any culture that refuses to suffer fools willingly is to my mind the bedrock of gracious living.

While I have never been to France,and do not anticipate be going soon, I have had my nose in French related books for the past several weeks. It seems, like most of what we know of history, our own, or anyone else's, most of what we know of French history is mostly wrong.

The Discovery of France, focuses on the unification of France through language. Allegedly, until early in the 20th century only 20% of the population of what we know of as France, spoke French.

Most citizens were unmechanized farmers, whose entire life was spent within 5 miles of home. As in all insular localities, suspicion of outsiders was rampant, and intermarriage amongst few families was rife. To keep outsiders at bay, in each village a local patois developed. Within a region of 50 miles or so, people could understand each other, but few spoke the same language. This was repeated for virtually every 10 square mile area of France. The French language we know was the local patois of Paris, and didn't spread ompletely until near the First World War..

It wasn't until modern communications, and transportation systems were in place that this began to change. There are still more of a varieties of languages in France than cheeses.

I enjoyed it, learn a lot, and hope you do too.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obviously, I am making too much out of nothing, but here goes.

Have you ever heard of Its a postage service which allows you to upload an image which they will then turn into US legal stamps, with your pictures for a nominal fee. It's a pretty cool idea for a wedding invite, or perhaps something special.

So what you say.

Several days ago I ordered a catalog. The fulfillment house which mailed the catalog, obviously has a deal with the people and put these stamps on the envelope enclosing the catalog. The photos have nothing directly related to the products offered, which leave me to wonder why bother? And if you're going to bother why do it so sloppily? My suspicion is that the sloppiness makes you notice the stamps more, but I leave that to you marketeers.

Please vote, there is a lot riding on your contribution to democracy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote, please

Let's put the rhetoric aside for awhile. May we agree, that the vast majority of candidates for public office are people of good will? America has had lousy and exemplary politicians in the course of its history and has survived to tell the tale.

There is a great deal more at stake on each of our ballots than the top of the ticket. Important issues that locally mean a lot. A wide variety of choices await us regarding school funding, local bonds, tax rates, state constitutional issues, animal rights, judges, sheriffs and library board members.

Its tough to get rich as a politician anymore. Our choices may not win, but the winner deserves our respect and support. As Mark Twain wrote, "Americans get the politicians they deserve".

So I urge you to get dressed up tomorrow, appear at your local polling place as someone doing an important job. Vote early, (and often). And may America win.

I guarantee that nowhere in America tomorrow or Wednesday will tanks roll to keep an incumbent in place. That is not true everywhere.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Garden and Gun

I've become a fan of Garden and Gun magazine this year, in spite of its growing pains. Unfortunately, I came to the party several issues too late. I'm trying to catch up, but they haven't made it easy on me.

I've called the back issue people to no avail, have EBAYed, but still no luck.

Should you come across any of the pre-holiday 2007 issues or March 2008, I would love to hear from you. If you find one laying around your barbers, or doctors office or... arrange to take it off their hands. I'll happily reimburse you.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Día de los Muertos

I'm not certin that there is even a very small Hispanic community in Mayberry, but since it would be my parents 60th wedding anniversary, I will share two Day of the Dead stories with you.

The second funeral I ever attended was three days after the first. It was the summer I turned 16, and it was my grandfather's, a man I was never close to and generally feared.

Fortunately, for us, funeral customs has evolved since then. In the old days wakes were 3 long days and nights, followed by the funeral and burial. By the end of the ordeal you were glad to see your loved ones go. There is only so much family you can take at one sitting.

So, finally we got to the burial site, and old Catholic cemetary, in an old portion of St. Louis. Along with my immediate family was my then girlfriend, later wife.

I remember a sunny, hot, humid day. I was easily distracted since I was new to cemetaries, and was concentrating more on the surroundings than on the service. So looking down the family plot at the graves of people, long dead, of whom I had never heard of I'm suddenly double gobsmacked.

At the far end of the family plot, is what appeared to be my girlfriend's family plot. What are the odds? After a bit of research we learned that buried side by side is a distant grandmother of mine, and a distant grandmother of hers. We were the first generation to have a suitable boy/girl combo in our respective families for several generations.

If you believe in marriages made in heaven, it was pretty weird.

The second smack? Did you ever see a tombstone with your exact name on it? Disconcerting, at best. Next to grandfather is a stone with my name on it, only its not me. My parents had a child who died in infancy. They gave me his exact name. Now that's weird.

Enjoy your candy, we've got a lot of heavy lifting to do later in the week.