Monday, June 30, 2008

What's The Date?

I guess knowing the date of the month on its specific day is just not that important to me. If I really need to know what day of the month it is I can always ask someone. Now I'm not totally clueless all of the time, there are a few days during the year when I do not have to ask a single soul for the date. For example, December 24th and 25th- the Christmas shopping countdown keeps me informed on these two days. October 31st- no child in my neighborhood is going to let me forget this date. December 31st- every drunk in the world is going to wish me a Happy New Year on this date. March 17th- every drunk in the world is going to wish me a Happy St. Patrick's Day on this date. July 4th-every drunk in the country is going to be setting off fireworks on this date.

And then there is June 27th. June 27th, you question. Why would anyone remember June 27th? Because my friends, that is the day fireworks go on sale in our little town. From this date until July 5th fireworks can legally be set off inside the town limits.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Give Them Enough Rope...

And they’ll skip.
-Dody Goodman

Dody Goodman in 1958.

The announcement of the passing of of the great comedian George Carlin on the same day as Dody Goodman's death caused hers to be missed by some people. Then again she was one of those celebrities whose name is not readily known. But once people are remind just why her death is worthy of all this attention they smile and say, "Oh, her."

Dody Goodman first became famous by appearing on early episodes of the Jack Paar Show in the late 1950's. Her ditsy, scatterbrained humor was a big hit with the audiences and Paar was not sure if it she was all she seemed to be. In his book he wrote about the time he asked her if she was putting him on:
"Look honey", I finally interrupted. "Just answer me one question. Are you for real? Or are you putting it on?"

She twisted her mouth, patted the top of her pink hair, widened her eyes, and said, "A little."

He then went on to say:
She was, it soon became apparent, indeed real, and the more she talked the more obvious it became that no one could have made up Dody Goodman. She came on the show my second night, and soon millions of TV viewers were asking each other whether this seemingly dumb blonde was actually real. Her hesitant delivery gave the impression that her picture tube was on but her sound wasn't. Dody never seemed to try to be funny; she just stumbled into it. The things she said really weren't particularly funny, but as she talked, fidgeting, fluttering her hands and smiling happily, she achieved a wackily endearing quality.

If you think you pick up a slight whiff of envy in this paragraph you would not be wrong. Paar dropped her after a year saying he, "felt like the announcer on ‘The Dody Goodman Show'."

Most people's "Oh, her" moment comes where they find out she was the mother in the cult television series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman That is also her voice at the opening of the show calling, "Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!."

Or their "Oh, her" moment comes when they find out she played the school secretary and assistant, Blanche, to Principal McGee in the movie Grease. I cannot help smiling right now just thinking about her goofiness in that movie.

She was one in a long line of quirky comediennes; people like Za Zu Pitts, Gracie Allen, and Judy Holiday. We really don't make them like that anymore.

You can read her obituary here.

Her website is here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Men In The Game Are Blind To What Men Looking On See Clearly


I once had a boyfriend scorn my love of animation because, he explained, "Cartoons are not real." He said this to me as we sat in a movie theater waiting for the new Star Wars* movie to start.

*It was the one with Yoda.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

I have been reading a little about rational emotive behavioral therapy.

-What can I say, Google can take you to places you have never been before so quickly.-

So, what is REBT? REBT has evolved into what is know as cognitive-behavior therapy which seems to go something like this:

REBT was invented by Dr. Albert Ellis and you can read more about him here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wild Kingdom

The reptiles have been on the move the last two weeks. The other day I saw a snake that had been run over lying dead in the middle of the street on my way to the post office to pick up the mail. Then the other night I heard Duke barking outside and since it sounded like his "there is a dog out here so I am going to bark at him" bark I ignored him. Then I noticed he was barking longer and louder than normal so I looked out the kitchen window.

Duke was standing under the ornamental pear barking at what seemed to be something in the yard. Hoping it was not a skunk I went into the garage and opened the outer door. By the time I got the door up Duke had moved to the far side of the driveway and was now barking at a point just to the right of where I was standing. I looked down and about one foot over and two feet up from me lay a coiled Rattlesnake with its head up, fangs bared, and tail vibrating. This snake was huge with a middle section about double the thickness of a garden hose.

Duke was keeping his distance from the snake and at that moment I wished I had too. As I stared at him a number of thoughts raced though my brain,
If I move will it strike What about Duke If I don't move will Duke try to get closer to it What if it crawls into the garage What if it crawls back into the grass It will be harder to find if it does so Can I get past it without it striking me and get to Duke to put him in the house (Bob, there's a rattlesnake out here!) What if I don't move Is it close enough to hit me if it does decides to strike?

My husband was in the bathroom and had just stepped out of the shower when I yelled at him. He yelled back to get Duke away from the snake just as I started making a wide circle around the snake on my way to Duke. When I tried to pull Duke away by his collar he would not let me and stood his ground focused intently on the snake. I finally had to pick him up around the middle and carry him to back into the house and shut him in. My husband yelled out the bathroom window again telling me to get the lid off the garbage can we used to store birdseed in and drop it on top of the snake.

OK, that was the last thing I wanted to do and I said I would wait for him. No, he insisted I do it before the snake moved back into the grass. I wasn't worried about the snake moving back into the grass, I was worried about the snake coming into the garage after me. I stood rooted in indecision for a few seconds and then turned and walked over to the birdseed can and removed the lid from it. Turning my back on the snake had been agony and when I turned around again I was almost relieved to find the snake in the same spot.

I held the lid in front of me, "How do I do this," I yelled.

"Just keep the lid between you and the snake and then drop it on him," my husband yelled back.

Keeping the lid as far out in front of me as I could I moved toward the snake. Trying to do something that my brain was telling me was very dangerous was hell. As I moved forward I could feel my muscles resisting the forward movement of my body. I had to force myself to overcome the resistance my brain's fear was creating. Finally I knew I was close enough to drop the lid on the snake and I kind of pushed the lid out as I let go of it. It landed on top of the snake and made a banging noise as it came in contact with the cement. The snake was not happy under the lid and banged against it but could not lift it, thank god. That is when my husband showed up and I told him that as I let go of the trashcan lid I saw the snake's tail and thought it might be a Bullsnake.

Bullsnakes are nonpoisonous snakes which look enough like Rattlesnakes to be mistaken for them. They also pretend to be Rattlesnakes by vibrating their tails and making a hissing noise with their mouth. That hissing sound is very much like the sound a Rattlesnake's tail makes. My husband decided to treat the snake as if it was a Rattler until we were sure and got a broom and the empty birdseed trashcan. He laid the can on its side and then removed the lid from the snake.

That was one mad snake. When my husband moved the broom close to the snake it threw its body and head forward and then coiled back up. Using the broom, my husband pushed the snake into the trash can and then stood the can back up and put the lid on. By that time he had got a good look at the snake's tail and agreed that it was a Bullsnake. He then put the trashcan in the back of our truck and took the snake out of town and let it go.

I felt kind of foolish being terrified by a Bullsnake but at the same time I knew it was safer to treat it as something dangerous that to assume it was not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Does Anyone Still Wear A Hat?

I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality. Why be just yourself?
-Author Margaret Atwood

Our library has a multipurpose room that is used for story hour, baby showers, free tax preparation in February, and meetings. Its walls are also used to display artwork and other things brought in by citizens of the county. This month we are presenting hats. These hats are the personal hats of a local woman who died this year. Her children were going though her things and found six plastic bins filled with women's hats. This was not that surprising to them since they knew she loved hats. They just did not know she had saved each one. The library is showing the contents of one of the bins. This turned out to be forty hats. If only they could talk.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Brownie, You're Doing A Heck Of A Job"

-George Bush to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Micheal Brown during the Hurricane Katrina fiasco.

My husband and I have been watching CNN report on the many levees being breeched along the Mississippi. They have also reported that some people living in the flood zones did not have flood insurance because their local officials (and FEMA) assured them that the levees could withstand a hundred year flood.

Fifteen minutes ago CNN took us to a FEMA news briefing where a FEMA official was waiting to make a statement. As he opened his mouth to speak my husband spoke for him, "We only found out about the flooding yesterday."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Neighbor's Son's Funeral Was Today

You can shed tears that he is gone or you can smile because he has lived.

We did both.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Number, Please

When you grow up without a so called normal childhood you really don't know this until later in life when you learn just what normal is from other people. Each family is an island and until you leave your own island and visit other islands out there in the vast ocean of life you haven't a clue to just what the word normal means to the rest of the world.

For example, during a short period in my teen years my mother would sometimes answer the phone, listen without comment to the person on the other end, put the receiver down, pick up her purse and cigarettes and head out the front door saying, "I'll be back in a few minutes. I have to make a phone call."

This was done because our phone was tapped. By whom I'm not sure. It could have been the Denver police or it could have been the FBI or it could have been both. Our phone was tapped because of the people my mother knew and dated. She knew state politicians, Government officials, and members of the Secret Service. She also knew civil rights activists and members of the Black Panthers. She knew the men and women who kept Denver from burning when Martin Luther King was assassinated.

She was politically involved when doing so was a serious threat to the white men, and they were almost exclusively white men, in charge. Anyway, because of this our phone was tapped and my mother would leave the house whenever she needed to talk to someone without the police or FBI listening in.

Since we were children of a politically active mother we were involved in our own way. Mostly by attending rallies with her, or painting signs during political campaigns, or by going with her when she went to the state Capitol to observe political change in action. Because of our mother we always sat on the State Senate or House floors and never in the balcony. But we also had our own little way of "sticking it to the man."

The phone being tapped was fascinating to us and we were always picking up the receiver to listen to the way our phone did not work like other phones. With an untapped phone when you picked up the receiver you instantaneously heard a dial tone. With our phone you would first heard silence and then the dial tone along with bunch of clicks and a whirling noise. Then if you pushed the disconnect button, but did not take the phone from your ear, you would hear a loud click as if someone was hanging up an extension.

After awhile the thrill of listening to the police/FBI listening to us wore off so we decided to do something else. Once a day, sometimes more, we would dial time/temperature and then throw the phone down the wooden basement steps of our house. It would make a wonderfully loud banging and clanging sound whenever the metal base of the phone hit a step. We varied the time of day we would do this and we varied the moment during the call that we did this. Sometimes we threw it while we were still dialing, sometimes we threw as the line was ringing, sometimes we sent it sailing just as the called connected, sometimes we didn't throw it at all and would just hang up. As we did so we would visualize some agent yanking a set of earphones off his head and swearing as his ears were bombarded with noise or we visualized him yanking the earphones off in anticipation of our throwing the phone when we didn't send it sailing. Our little contribution to the cause.

I did not realize how this little ceremony had turned into a ritual for us until the day I threw the phone down the steps, greatly enjoying the cacophony of noise it made, and then went to get it and set it back on the living room table. Five minutes later my brother walk through the front door, picked up the phone, dialed, walked over to the basement door, opened it, flung the phone it, and then continued on his way through the kitchen and out the back door.

Right fist raised to the sky, "Power to the people."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For Cody

Sometimes life gives you a swift kick in the gut. About two hours ago my next door neighbor's son died suddenly at age twenty-two. It is not known yet why he died but his doctor thinks something catastrophic happen to his body. He had been sick for about a week but a virus has been going around town so the fact that he had not been feeling well did not seem threatening in any way. He was at his parents house when he vomited and then collapsed. By the time the ambulance got there he was no longer breathing and they put him on a respirator for the ride to the hospital. Although they did the best they could it was too late.

My husband and I were coming home from the airport when we saw the ambulance pulling away from the front of our neighbor's house followed by my neighbor in her van. As we were getting out of our truck my neighbor's sister, who lives across the street from us, was coming out of her house and my husband asked what was going on. She burst into tears and said it was Cody. We went inside our house hoping everything would be alright. About an hour ago I went to the door to let Duke inside and saw people standing in my neighbors front yard. I knew this was not a good sign and walked over to find out what was going on. Cody's younger sister was sitting on the front steps crying as a friend tried to console her. Hoping things were not as bad as I thought, I ask one of the women leaning against the fence if Cody was OK. She hesitated and then told me Cody had died.

His parents are still in shock as is most everyone who knows them and Cody. Since I heard the news I have been thinking about the sweet little boy who would come over to play with my dogs and the shy, strong, handsome young man who did not hesitate to lend a hand when needed. And I have been thinking about his brother, sister, and parents. It's not fair, it's not fair.

I hate it when bad things happen to good people. I hate the pain that Cody's family is going through right now and the days of grief that are ahead for them. I hate the fact that there is nothing any of us can really do to take that pain away.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W. H. Auden

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pulling The Trigger

Sorry I have been MIA for the last few days. On Monday I thought that my cycle of migraines had been caused by the single glass of red wine I had consumer each night the three previous nights. On Tuesday I was wiped out and spent the day taking naps. Wednesday I worked at the library again, same as I did on Monday, and damned if I did not start getting an aura. That is when I realized that the migraines on Monday had also started when I was in the library.

I looked up at the bank of florescent lights above me and wondered if they could be causing my migraines. Then I wondered how many florescent bulbs were actually in the building. Let's see, each light panel has four florescent tube bulbs and there are....I stopped counting panels after I reached the number forty-four. That means there are at least 176 bulbs in the main room of the library alone. Some of those 176 bulbs were out, some of those 176 bulbs were flickering, and some of those 176 were out but still buzzing.

At this point in time I'm not sure if the lights caused my migraines, or if the wine cause my migraines, or if the combination of the two things together caused my migraines. I do know I still feel like crap and I that am taking the rest of the week off. See you all Monday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Get Your Choo Choo On

Midwest Living, May/June 2008

Love this graphic but they have ruined the layout of this ad by cramming all that small print into the space at the bottom. Times have certainly changed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Soul Food To Go

Today is my birthday and I woke up with these lyrics on my mind:

My, oh my, oh the feelin', of the sound
Precious and real...

Manhattan Transfer- Soul Food To Go

My, oh my, oh the feelin' of the sound
Precious and real and ooh that's nice
Whip up some steamin' jazz
The pot is on the stove it's cookin'

Want some more we always save some
Art nouveau for special patrons
You look nice do you believe in jazz?

Kansas City to Brazil
It even gets you hot in your home
Kansas City to Brazil
I say blow your top blow your own

Ooo ooo ah
This Be-bop's too much
I know you know Hip Hop never stops
I'll pour you tasty funk
We got cool and hot just for you
The pleasures of the soul
Come on come in and check it out
Ooo c'est si bon

Ooo ooo ah
This Be-bop's too much
I know you know Hip hop never stop
I'll pour you tasty funk
We got cool and hot just for you
The pleasures of the soul
Come on come in and check it out
Soul food to go

My, oh my, oh the feelin' of the sound
Precious and real and ooh that's nice
Whip up some steamin' jazz
The pot is on the stove it's cookin'

Want some more we always save some
Art nouveau for special patrons
You look nice do you believe in jazz?

Kansas City to Brazil
It even gets you hot in your home
Kansas City to Brazil
I say blow your top blow your own

Ooo ooo ah
This Be-bop's too much
I know you know Hip Hop never stops
I'll pour you tasty funk
We got cool and hot just for you
The pleasures of the soul
Come on come in and check it out
Ooo c'est si bon

Ooo ooo ah
This Be-bop's too much
I know you know Hip Hop never stop
I'll pour you tasty funk
We got cool and hot just for you
The pleasures of the soul
Come on come in and check it out
Soul food to go

Yeah, yeah yeah...

And Planes

Time, January 24, 1955

What is most interesting about his ad is that the three companies mentioned it it no longer exist. Capital Airlines was bought out by United Airlines in 1961, Vicker Aircraft was merged into BAC (British Aircraft Corporation) in 1960, and Collins Radio was bought out by Rockwell International in nineteen seventy three.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Kansas Rectangle

(Illustration from The Onion: America's finest news source)

This mysterious region has, according to some accounts, swallowed thousands of potentially interesting and active lives. Including mine.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And Boats

Time, January 3, 1955

The French Line has been operating in one form or another since 1851. This drawing is most likely of the SS Ile De France. The French Line's greatest ship was the SS Normandie, a ship the US Navy accidentally set fire to and then capsized in 1942.

History and ships of the French Line here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Reason Why The Rest Of The World Hates Us

This is a photo of the Newell Motor Coach towing a Hummer2 that was parked almost outside my house on Saturday. Tiny, isn't it? The damn thing took up over a quarter of the block.

This motor coach holds over 200 gallons of diesel and burns fuel at a rate of 7.0 to 4.9 MPG (miles per gallon). The miles per gallon drop if you are towing something and that decrease in MPG is based on the weight of what you are towing at the time.

The Hummer2 (vehicle plus gas) weights in at 6,614 pounds and has a fuel rating of 10 MPG. The Hummer MPG rating is not listed at the Hummer website, this MPG is based on customer experience.

It is not surprising that the USA is the number one oil consumer of the world gulping down 20,697.53 billion barrels of petroleum in 2007. Our closest competitor was China who used about two-thirds less than we did during that same time period. They consumed 7,201 billion barrels.

We are oil pigs and misguided souls who think our "right" to travel anywhere in our own personal cocoons of steel and rubber is more important than any damage we are doing to our planet. It's time to bite the bullet and admit that the only way this is going to get better is if we reallocate a larger percentage of our taxes toward this problem and invest in clean, energy efficient, public transportation along with renewable energy sources. This may also mean a increase in our taxes but it is time to realize that when it comes to government services you get what you do or don't pay for.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Time, 1955

Back when trains were still the dominant means of cross country travel, although the railroads must have known the end was coming.

The Union Pacific Railroad has been operating since 1862. You will find a present day UPRR system map here.