Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THE proposal

Guys feel free to take the day off, or not, your choice.

The family received this email from The Fashionista.

Hello family! 

     I'm sure by now you've all heard the wonderfully exciting news but I just wanted make sure.... Chris and I are engaged!!! He proposed on Wednesday, the 17th of October at our apartment in Clayton. 

     Here's the story: Even though I knew he was going to propose, I hadn't the faintest idea of when, where, or how. He succeeded at completely throwing me off and surprising me! One of his two younger sisters, Courtney, is in her second year at Webster University as a Film major. She informed me that she had a group project for her Film 1 course, focused on lighting and sound. She asked me if Chris and I would be able to help her out by lending our apartment for an afternoon and Chris and I running a few silly lines they wrote up as well. I agreed and let her know that Wednesday would be good since it was my day off. 300+ pounds of lighting and sound equipment later..... 

Catalina's mother and I couldn't be happier.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Odds and Ends

Due to Sandy, the internet is slow so I'll be brief.

I've been hooked on This is New York, the instagram photo feed from NYC.  My favorite photo so far is:

From The hard times of Jake Long

What a way to die.

If you are in Sandy's path keep out of harms way.  This too shall pass.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Part two

Where the h did I leave the car? I knew it wasn't at the hotel, and my last memory was of a 7-11, but not one I could locate on Google.  I set out at 6 am on foot to retrace my steps, but 2 blocks away I realized I had forgotten the keys, so back to the hotel I went.

If you are ever stranded may it be in Baltimore.  Positively, the nicest, friendliest, folk on the east coast of the US reside in Baltimore.  The hotel valet took pity, and drove me around after his shift ended to all the nearby 7-11's until I found my ride, waited as I promised the manager to rid his lot of my beast quickly, and returned me to my lodgings. I felt half the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders.

And now for part two of the story.

I found our new wagon on EBAY.  95% of station wagons in the US are mom cars.  They see daily duty doing mom stuff. Hauling kids to school, going to the grocery, running errands.  Rarely are they abused, do they see horrendous weather or sustain any damage beyond a parking lot ding.  Generally they are well maintained as well. They make for great used cars.  Ours did duty in suburban Washington DC then Boston. I went to Beantown to claim it.

Mrs. T does not usually allow me to make travel arrangements.  A lifetime of life as road warrior tossed aside for one or two travel mishaps. But she was sick, so I booked my flight for early AM.  Convinced my flight was at 7AM, I was surprised to find when I arrived at the airport that it had left at 6.  The gods and United took pity (I was wearing a tie), I arrived in Boston a mere 2 hours late.

The wagon was love at first sight.  Everything was better than expected.   Within two hours I was on my way home, the car drove like a dream I was happy, traffic was light, all was well with my world.  The car broke down in Baltimore and rolled to a stop at a 7-11.  Remember that as you watch the weather headlines.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Part One

I feel it is important for a husband to regularly provide his wife the ammunition with which she will then use at her discretion to regularly remind him what an idiot she married.  I practice what I preach, and have the psychic scars to prove it.

I've been used car shopping.  It's been 3+ years since I delivered my daily driver to my youngest son and I haven't missed having a work horse until recently.  I made my case, Mrs. T and I agreed on a budget, and I set off to research the car of my dreams.

Quickly, I settled upon a most impractical motor car, a boy racer station wagon.  That the gas mileage made Camilla appear thrifty I was able to self justify, I was stumbling over why its over-complexity makes a 12 cylinder Jaguar mechanic blush, but figured no one would know but me, so I could dance around that issue if ever asked. The ever pragmatic Mrs T places automobiles in the same category as kitchen appliances.  They are expected to work always, with minimal human intervention and heaven protect a nickel and dimer and its fatuous owner.

Complex boy racer station wagons are thin on the ground. Imagine.  After looking at and rejecting one too many, it dawned on me why its less complex, less boy racer little sister was, judging by availability, a more rational option.

I found a candidate, a mom car, sold my story to my bride, then went to the dealer to exchange paper for metal, only to find it sold.  Minutes later I purchased my runner up choice, never once mentioning to the love of my life, that the car lived 1200 miles away, cost a smidge over budget and was slightly(?) different than the car we discussed over breakfast.

The story gets worse, so before you hear it from someone else, I promise to share.  Gotta let the bruises heal first.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back Tomorrow

I find myself in beautiful Old Town, Alexandria Virginia this morning, surrounded by love and happiness  filled to the brim with stories of  hardship and stupidity and the eternal gratitude for trusted friends, bursting to escape.  Hopefully, by tomorrow morn my 2 week fog of cold and allergies may lift, and with it less logrolling.

Home late tonight, shall return in full vinegar, so long as the creek don't rise.


St. Crispian's day

From the hornet

On this day in 1413, Prince Hal, Harry Monmouth became King Henry V of England. From Shakespeare’s Henry V:

This day is called the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say, ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day.
Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,

Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember├Ęd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England, now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moleskins, not always

The J. Peterman Company in their effort to compose a telling story for each of their goods writes "Moleskin trousers are what you might see on a man driving a 27 year old tractor, purring along over the velvety-green groundswells of England, lost in thought, totally unaware that soft rain has been falling on his head for a good 40 minutes."

During this past week I have found myself wearing my favorite loden moleskins, driving a 10 year old iron horse over a leafy brown forest floor in Mayberry, happily lost in thought yet fully aware of the soft rain falling on my head, and I have this to say:

Moleskins are horrible things to wear while conducting business on tractor seats.  The soft fabric is too slick for backsides on tractor seats and does not lend itself to safety as you change direction or incline.  I had the toughest workout of my week just hanging on.

When the weather gets tough wear moleskins, just not while tractoring.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Acid Test

These aren't the political pages but some things are too funny/ or sad to pass up whatever your denomination.

The US Congress works in wondrous ways. Each congressperson is entitled to sit on two committees. In earlier times they called that a make work project, but today it has become as fixed as faith, much life universal health care for legislators. With 435 Congressional members that makes for a lot of make work projects, for even congressmen come with a bell curve of aptitude. Some dumb, some dumber, with an odd gift to mankind thrown in every generation or two. In their infinite wisdom, once upon a time, congressional leadership created a committee to shelter their neanderthals in one place, The House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

My idiot congressman, a member of the Science, Space and Technology committee, Todd Akin has been in the news this campaign season for his views on legitimate rape and female reproductivity. Todd claims a doctor told him so. The doctor, Congressman Paul Broun MD from Georgia is a fellow Science, Space and Technology member.

At a campaign meeting at the Liberty Baptist Church of Hartwell, Georgia  Congressman Broun MD had this to say,

"God's word is true, I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

Let us give thanks Congressmen Broun and Akin are formulating national policy, instead of .....

Congressman Broun is running unopposed. Akin is running for Senate.


Sunday, October 21, 2012


I've a secret to reveal. During however many years the programs have been broadcast I have never, not even once, watched a single episode of any Kardasian show. Sad I know. I've been tempted, just to spare myself of the shame of making announcements like this, but I just can't. I'm unsure if this counts but the closest I've come is The Soup. Mom and the girls are just not my type. Have I missed anything important?

I didn't think so.

Seems like this time last year we were regaled by breathless revelations of Kimmy's birthday bash. If you missed it last year, check out tomorrow's paper. Kim is having another birthday bash-today, and we are most likely not invited.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jerry Orbach-cool guy

I admit to loving The Fantasticks. I blame that on Jerry Orbach. As a young man he had a face for radio, and a voice few would expect able to sing, much less lead in an off Broadway play. He became better looking as he matured, still few would expect he could sing.

Happy Birthday Jerry, wherever you are.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happiness in our house

Last night was a milestone night in our family. My bonus daughter, The Fashionista became engaged to the young gentleman she has been training since she returned from Boston. That sparkle you see, just to the right of the moon, is her mother's smile. There is much joy in Mayberry.


Monday, October 15, 2012


Four years ago we rebuilt our kitchen from top to bottom. Around Labor Day of that year we decided to get serious about replacing the kitchen hoping to have it done before the Christmas holidays. The remodel came with a thousand silly stories, including a cabinet maker who eyeballed instead of measuring (turns out he was a savant as well as illiterate).

The kitchen is one of the few projects we have undertaken which met all our expectations, and there is nothing we would have done differently. Except...

Last Christmas the quartz countertop to the island cracked, and the manufacturer wouldn't honor their warranty. They have lost a customer forever, and today a replacement granite top is being installed.

Have you ever gone to a fabricator to select granite on the hoof? It is an amazing experience. A huge room of slab upon slab of 1000 pound rocks, from which you get to select your very own piece. The experience ought to include marriage counseling, as the opportunity for disagreement is endless.

With luck the new top will outlive me.

One of us flunked the test

Dr. Doogie put me to the test.  His minions poked, prodded, leached and stabbed me so often I felt like Sunday dinner on the African Queen. Saturday, I received the results of the tests and came away verily perplexed. HIPPA be damned I'll share parts of his letter to me:

"Your electrolytes, kidney function,blood sugar,thyroid hormone,urine and liver function tests were within normal limits.

"Your total cholesterol was 164 normal is less than 200. Your triglyceride result was 113 (normal <150). Your HDL was 35 (normal >45) LDL was 106. The desired LDL level is below 130.

"I would like you to start taking X (a generic statin) daily for your cholesterol.  The statin group of medicines have been shown to prevent cardiovascular events in people with high LDL cholesterol."

My response was short, direct and referenced his horse. As I wrote earlier my expectations were low.  I'm willing to trade smarts now for smarts later, but Doogie may have to go. We are visiting later in the week.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy Birthday

We owe today's birthday boy a great deal of thanks.  Although he can neither draw nor sew, his intuitive sense of style and taste have combined to create the aspirational Ralph's world. Without Ralph, too many iconic pieces of menswear would have been consigned to the dustbin of  costume or history.

Ralph's is truly an American story; a rags to riches embodiment of Gatsby himself.  The pony may be ubiquitous, but most men's wardrobes look decidedly better when they wear a bit of Ralph. Frankly, I'll love Ralph forever for creating the women's cologne Lauren.

Happy Birthday sir.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Odds and Ends

Too bad I found this after visiting Doogie.

Michaels came through.  They did a great job, faster than promised, I happy with the end product, yet still feel screwed. I'll get over myself soon.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doogie Howser at 9 AM

Once upon a time I made mention of my MD's eminent retirement.    I'm taking it badly.  Last spring I wrote

"I want to find an MD finishing his/her residency this spring, and become their first patient. The likelihood of them knowing anything useful now is slim, but I don't ask for much now. Down the road, when they are smarter, and I'm sicker, they'll be so grateful for my being their first patient and sticking with them, they'll work extra hard to keep me alive."

At a family gathering I mentioned to the brain trust, my need for a new doctor, Mrs. T's cousin, one of the premier medical authorities in the nation, told me to see Doogie Howser MD.  How could I not?  

I saw Doogie this week. He looks so young. How can anyone so young know anything useful, I wondered. Then I remembered that I put myself into this mess, and I wasn't asking for much, up front.  My payback comes later.  He was late, he was harried, I was getting the bums rush until I mentioned who recommended him.  From then on, it was peaches and cream.

We had a nice chat, he asked pertinent questions and silently accepted my unwillingness to become a cog in the medical machine.  Doogie's probably workable, we'll know when the test results come back.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amy Day

Several of my favorite women are so hard to photograph that I've come to embrace their choice of "no graven images".  That same coterie takes Jack Benny's approach to birthdays a step further.  Never heard of birthdays, won't have one...

If granddaughter Liz was born of woman, that woman would celebrate her birthday today.  My daughter in law Amy is not having a birthday this year so we won't mention it. I recommend you ignore it too if you happen to see her. I, however, am unlikely to see her today so I can and will mention it.

We love you Amy, Happy Birthday!!!

Amy is so hard to photograph that the snap above was taken some years ago at a bookstore during a midnight release of a Harry Potter book party.  Liz is in costume.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lennon Day

I suspect that more parents share birthdays with one or more of their children than I'd care to admit.  Many of those few I know are happy as clams to share their b-day, since their big day is lost in their child's celebration.  Some haven't had birthdays in 30 years or more.

Today is the shared birthday of the Lennon boys, Sean and John. Happy Birthday to Sean and to his happy shared birthday memories.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Wabash Frisco and Pacific RR 2

Sunday in Mayberry included a  bright, beautiful if somewhat cool fall afternoon.  A good one for raking the leaves or building a fire and watching the test pattern on TV.  Instead Mrs. T, my bestest buds Peter, who turns 5 next Sunday and Tristan who will be 3 for a while, and I went for a ride on the Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad.



Mrs. T and Mr. Conductor

Our train

The WF&P have a pretty good gig going.  The RR runs every Sunday spring 'till November rain or shine.  Granted in the heat of summer, and the occasional rainy day may hold down the crowd, but the several times we've gone there is always a respectable size crowd. Sunday was no exception.

Our two mile, half hour trip along the Meramec River went through the woods and over several bridges, no tunnels though nor did we spot any lions, tigers, bears or BBW's for which we are eternally grateful.

The boys appeared to have a good time, even in the cold.  Watching them jump every time the whistle blew, or the engineer released a bit of steam was worth the price of admission.

Should you find yourself in the area give it a go.  The WF&P is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

What's the point of riding the rails if you don't have the proper gear. Everyone needs a hat.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

This is the view out my office window most afternoons. I've become rather fond of my new pet raccoon, although the lion dogs don't much cotton to him. Watching him reminded me of a Jerry Clower story. Jerry, for those unfamiliar with him, was an old time country comedian who specialized in telling tales of the south. As a kid I couldn't stand to hear him. Now, I understand better.

You may enjoy his coon hunting story.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wabash Frisco and Pacific

Should the gods smile and you find yourself in Mayberry on a Sunday, especially with kids in tow, mosey over to the Wabash Frisco and Pacific RR. For over 70 years the RR has spent Sundays offering rides on their fabulous 12 inch railroad through the Meramec River bottom.

Sunday, I am taking Joe the Chick Magnet's 2 big brothers (3 and 4) for the excursion of their lives. They are somewhat apprehensive because I warned them we are riding through the forest and they have to be on the lookout for lions, tigers, bears and BBW (big bad wolf). Who's afraid of BBW? They are.

A short distance from the WFP RR is the Museum of Transportation which has a collection of old cars and trains. Just maybe, if there is time we might get to both. I'll have to ask mom if they are old enough.

Hope springs.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lawrence of Arabia

Change whatever plans you have for Thursday.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the greatest movie, bar none, of all films ever released, Lawrence of Arabia- two special screenings are being held, Thursday only,  in select theatres around the world of the newly remastered and redigitized version of the film.  According to Sunday's New York Times the latest remaster is being shown at 4 times BluRay quality.

It's a must see. I trust you'll be there.  I'll be at the early show.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More Madness

To continue my journey through Anthony Powell's "Dance" required a bit of  shopping.  My local independent bookstore did not have what I was looking for so I turned to the ether mall.  Finding a copy in Georgia, at a price I was willing to pay which included free shipping ,I snatched it up.  Several days later I received an email saying my book had shipped along with a  tracking number, with that I could watch it being lost.

Things are done differently in Georgia than in Mayberry.  I've no idea what percentage of my chosen book store goods are shipped, and since I didn't directly pay for shipping I hardly care, but here is how the shipping went down.

Bookstore shipped via DHL a most excellent and expeditious international package delivery company.  DHL took it to the US post office.  The US Postal Service delivered the book to me.

Semi-capitalist that I am, I am all in favor of everyone making a living, in any way they can, but surely DHL was paid more than the cost of a stamp.  For what?  The PO picks up for free.


Monday, October 1, 2012

breast cancer awareness month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It's not a woman's disease.  It's a family disease that, according to the Centers For Disease Control, directly affects 190,000 women and their families per year.

Including mine.

Early detection is the best medicine.  Monthly self exams, mammograms as prescribed, and replacing bad habits may save your life.

Take good care of your self, if not for you, then for me.  I like having you around.

Support the good work of the National Cancer Institute