Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Are You Doing, New Year's Eve?

Nancy Wilson

Maybe it's much too early in the game
But I thought I'd ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?

Wonder whose arms will holds you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year's Eve

Maybe I'm crazy to suppose
I'd ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You receive

But in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?

But in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Way You Were

I think that we honor ourselves by honoring our past.

There is always one member in each family who is the keeper of the family photos. My baby sister in Denver is that person in our family. While we were there for Thanksgiving she brought out all the family photos she had managed to hang on to through the years and we sat at her dinning room table perusing them. Some I remembered, some I had forgotten about, and some I had never seen before. Our older sister was with us and became a little upset when she realized that a lot of the photos were ones she did not have- like baby photos of herself, photos of our mother when she was young, and photos she had taken herself. I suggested that I take all the photos home and scan them into my computer and then have copies make from the digital images. I told her I wasn't sure how long it would take but that I would get copies of any photos she wanted to her. What I did not tell her was I was going to copy all the photos she herself had taken and as many of the photos of our mother as I could and then put them in a photo album and give the photo album to her for Christmas.

The above photo is one of the photos I copied and it shows my mother back in either Spring or Summer of 1968 when she was thirty-nine or forty years old. This I know because she is wearing both Ken Monfort and what looks like Hubert H Humphrey campaign buttons. Monfort was running for U.S Senate and Humphrey for U.S. President that year. If it is a Humphrey button then it would be Summer, sometime after Bobby Kennedy's assassination. The woman with her is Joy Boyd. She and her husband Joe were civil rights activists but since they both were African-Americans their involvement in the civil rights movement was more dangerous than my mother's involvement. This I learned the day Joy took us to her house.

The Boyd house was your basic brick 1950's ranch with a big picture window in the living room. When we stepped into the house we found Joy's daughter standing behind a ironing board ironing a blouse. I was surprised to see she was doing so with the living room drapes closed and all the living room lights on. I wondered why she didn't just open the drapes and iron in the sunlight but did not ask. I don't remember why we were there but I do remember that my baby sister, who was seven years old at the time, was with us. I also remember her getting bored and starting to play in the drapes; weaving in and out of them or just slipping between the shear curtains near the window and the heavier drapes behind. When Joy saw what she was doing she told her, in that voice grownups use when you are doing something wrong but they understand you don't know you are doing something wrong, to stay away from the window and out of the drapes because it wasn't a safe place to be. Then I understood why Joy's daughter was ironing with the lights on. Those drapes were never open because someone may try to shoot through the window.

But let's get back to the photo. I don't know who took this but I'd guess it was at some political event and from the size and feel of the original print by a photographer with one of the Denver newspapers. I love this photo because the clothes, the hair styles, and the jewelry so evoke the Sixties for me. Both of them look so happy, comfortable being with each other, and stylish in their big sunglasses. From the way Joy is looking at my mother I am sure my mother just said something that cracked them both up. I see my mother is wearing her wedding ring, a ring she wore even after my father died. She just switched it to her other hand. I am surprised to see she is wearing a bracelet as she hardly did so since her hand and wrist were so small most bracelets just fell off when she pointed her hand toward the floor. She must have been very happy when she found that bracelet.

This is one of my favorite photos of my mother because it captures her in a way most do not since she was never comfortable getting her photo taken. I think this may be the reason why the photographer gave her a copy since it captures a moment of truth. Neither knew they were being photographed and we are seeing them as they really were at that moment. Looking at it fills me with happiness.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Year Already?

1921 - 2010

Still missing you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Snowman

I call this one, "Santa On My Mind"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more

Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then we"ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more

Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then we"ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast

(baboom baboom baboom baboom)
(baboom baboom baboom baboom)

Santa Baby,
Just slip a sable under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you'll check off my Christmas list

Santa Baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot
Been an angel all year
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need, the deed
To a platinum mine
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex, and checks
Sign your 'x' on the line
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree, with some decorations bought at Tiffanys
I really do believe in you
Lets see if you believe in me

Santa Baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean on the phone
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

The elementary school kindergartners (five-years-old) letters to Santa.

Dear Santa,
This is what I want for Christmas. I want a toy gun with darts. I think you will come though the wall since I don't have a chimney. I will leave you chocolate chip cookies and milk. Something else I want is a laptop. So good-bye. See you at Christmas.

(Santa's magical, he can come through the wall.)

Dear Santa,
How are your reindeer? Have you been busy? How are the elves? This year I would like a Lala Loopsy doll, Barbie scooter and a Barbie 4-wheeler. You should come though my door. I will leave you cookies and milk. I will also leave carrots for the reindeer. Have a Merry Christmas!

(I guess that coming through the wall thing can be a little scary.)

Dear Santa,
I'm really excited for Christmas. I'm going to leave you milk and cookies, too. We will leave the door unlocked. I'd like a pillow pet, a blanket, a toy snack, and a little game and a book to read. I would like a movie. I am happy with whatever I get.

(I know Nate, he will be happy with whatever he gets.)

Dear Santa,
How does Rudolph's nose glow? I will leave you a big sugar cookie by the fireplace, milk and a pear for the reindeer. I'm very nice. What I would like for Christmas is a sled, cowboy hat and cowgirl belt. This is what I like to do on Christmas; decorate the tree, scoop snow off the sidewalk, and cook cookies.

(Humm, I wonder if I could get Sidney to help me scoop snow off my sidewalk.)

Dear Santa,
This year I would like a hunting game for the Wii. How is Rudolph and the other reindeer? How are the elves? I will leave you chocolate chip cookies and white milk. I will be at the same place I was last year. I will leave some carrots for the reindeer. I would like a bigger saddle. I would like to have your address. I really hope I am on the nice list.

(Sweetie, you are all on the nice list.)

Dear Santa,
I want the biggest semi on earth, plus a 4-wheeler. Please come thought the door. We don't have a chimney. We will give you Doritos instead of cookies because I like Doritos.
Love, Ashton

(Doritos instead of the traditional cookies? It sounds crazy but it just might work!)

Dear Santa,
I have a chimney. My mom is going to help me leave you some carrots for the reindeer and cookies and milk for you. How do you get back to the North Pole? I want to tell you what I want. A baby doll kitchen, baby doll clothes, baby doll bottles. How is Mrs Claus? How do you ride the reindeer? How do the elves make the toys? How can you fit all the toys in one bag? Have a happy Christmas.

(Hummm, that's a lot of questions about Santa's operation. Is London planning to take over the franchise someday?)

Dear Santa,
How do you fit down the chimney? I will leave you chocolate chip cookies and milk, carrot for your reindeer. We have a magical key that only works for you to get in. How do you fit all of the toys in your sled? How is Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves? How do you pass out all of the toys in one night? How do your reindeer get ready for Christmas? I hope you and Mrs. Claus and all of your other family have a good Christmas!

(Uh oh, looks like London had some competition for that Santa job).

Dear Santa,
I am really excited for Christmas this year. I would like a baby doll, jewelry box, and My Little Pony. I will leave you chocolate cookies and strawberry milk. We will leave the front door unlocked. I would also like a new blanket. I would also like some more dresses and some earrings.

(I think Santa will appreciate that strawberry milk after a long night of drinking white or chocolate.)

Dear Santa,
Please bring me a toy for Christmas. I want an iPod, candy, $1,000,000,000, cellphone, make-up for my sisters, fish tank with a fish in it, Nintendo DS, iPad, a monkey and a zebra.

(I guess that one million dollars doesn't sound so out of line after finding out Ian also he want a monkey and a zebra. The upkeep on them can be very expensive.)

May all their Christmas wishes, well, within reason, come true.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011

I have news for you
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone
Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course
The sea running high
Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
Cold has seized the birds' wings
Season of ice, this is my news

-9th century Irish

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Turn That Frown Upside Down

What a difference a few degrees of moisture makes in a house.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mr Chewy Never Learns

Abandoned and left to freeze to death after a play date with Little Sally Pumpkinhead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even More Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas, Saint Nick
(Christmas comes this time each year)

Well way up north where the air gets cold
There's a tale about Christmas
That you've all been told
And a real famous cat all dressed up in red
All he spends the whole year workin' out on his sled

It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)
It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)

Just a little bobsled we call the old Saint Nick
But she'll walk a toboggan with a four speed stick
She's candy apple red with a ski for a wheel
And when Santa hits the gas man just watch her peel

It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)
It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)

Run run reindeer
Run run reindeer
Run run reindeer
Run run reindeer
He don't miss no one

And haulin' through the snow at a frightening speed
With a half a dozen deer with Rudy to lead
He's got to wear his goggles cause the snow really flies
And he's cruisin' every path with a little surprise

It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)
It's the little Saint Nick
(Little Saint Nick)

Merry Christmas, Saint Nick
(Christmas comes this time each year)

Merry Christmas, Saint Nick
(Christmas comes this time each year)

Merry Christmas, Saint Nick
(Christmas comes this time each year)

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Christmas Spirit

Darlene Love singing Winter Wonderland
(My husband's favorite version of this song.)

Sleigh bells ring are you listenin'?
In the lane snow is glistenin'
A beautiful sight we're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the blue bird
In his place is the new bird
He's singing love's song as we go along
He's walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadows we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say, "Are you married?" we'll say, "No man."
"But you can do the job when you're in town."

Later on we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid the plans that we made
Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadows we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with Mr.Snowman
Until the other kiddies knock him down

When it snows, ain't it thrillin'
Though you know, kids are chillin'
We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way
(Walking in a winter wonderland)
Whoa, oh, oh, yeah
(Walking in a winter wonderland)
Whoa, oh, oh, yeah
(Walking in a winter wonderland)
Whoa, oh, oh, ohh)
(Walking in a winter wonderland)
Whoa, oh, oh, ohh)
Walking in a winter wonderland)
Whoa, oh, oh.......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So That's How It's Done!

Transporting Knowledge, 2010 by Paco Pomet

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit

Darlene Love singing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

The snow's coming down
I'm watching it fall
Lots of people around
Baby, please come home

The church bells in town
All ringing in song
Full of happy sounds
Baby, please come home

They're singing "Deck The Halls"
But it's not like Christmas at all
'Cause I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

Pretty lights on the tree
I'm watching them shine
You should be here with me
Baby, please come home

(Instrumental interlude)

They're singing "Deck The Halls"
But it's not like Christmas at all
'Cause I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

If there was a way
I'd hold back this tear
But it's Christmas day
Baby, please come home

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Go West Young Man And Woman!

I signed-up with last month and have been digging into my past again. I usually sign-up for a month, work frantically, and then wait another six months to sign-up again. This time I only waited about four months and signed-up for a three month stretch. I hit them at a good time as they have added a great amount of new records to their site. I had reached a dead end on my mother's side but was delighted to fine that baptismal and death records for New Jersey had been added and that other family trees had posted additional information which led me to other records.

What has been most interesting for me is finding the links between seemingly unsubstantiated bits of information. For example, I managed to track my father's grandfather's (Samuel L. Ramsey) migration westward from where he was born to Illinois using the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census. In 1860 he was 16 years-old, still living in West Virgina and working on the family farm. Sometime between 1860 and 1870 he, his parents, and his siblings, moved to Illinois and the census for 1870 shows the family still farming. In 1873 he married Alice Virgin and by 1880 they had two daughter and were living in Wichita, Kansas where he worked as a dray driver.

While searching the Illinois State Archives Death Records I discovered the family had moved back to Illinois by 1844 1884 as that is where and when Alice Virgin Ramsey died at age twenty-eight. In 1889, at age 45, Samuel married my great-grandmother, Lela Mick, in Murrayville, Illinois. The 1900 census shows both, along with their three children and Lela's sister, living in Murrayville and Samuel either owning or working in a livery stable. In 1910 the Ramsey family, minus Lela's sister, is still living in Murrayville where Samuel owns a Livery and Feed Barn, Lela works as a telephone operator, and my grandmother works as a bookkeeper in a bank.

By 1920 my great-grandfather is no longer living with his family but living with his great-niece in West Virgina. My great-grandmother was still living in Murrayville with her youngest child and has been promoted to a telephone manger at the telephone company. The last piece of information I had on my great-grandfather was from other family trees. According to the other trees my great-grandfather died in 1931 at age 88 in Devils Lake, North Dakota but is this true? If so, how in the world did he end up dying in North Dakota?

This is where I left off back in July as I could not find anything that connected any family to North Dakota. For some reason I had never looked up records for any of my great-grandfather's daughters from his first marriage. Tracking women relatives is always frustrating if you do not have their married names but if the women you are looking for has an unusual first name it becomes easier. My great-aunt's name was Zella May and on Sunday I finally got around to searching for her. Imagine my excitement when I found a 1930 census record for a Zella May Cunningham who lived with her husband Edgar in Devils Lake, North Dakota. But was it my Zella May? I then found other family trees that confirmed Zella was my great-grandfather's daughter.

At this point I thought I was done with Zella May but something told me to type her name into the Google search box. I don't usually do this because I've found in the past that it turns up nothing. This time I was surprised to find that doing so led me to and a book called Women's Who's Who In America from 1914-1915. There on page 222 was a listing for my great-aunt:

CUNNINGHAM, Zella May (Mrs. Edgar Wright Cunningham), Larimore, N. Dak. Club pres.; b. Fairbury, Ill., Aug. 9, 1875; dau. Samuel Lazzell and Alice (Vergin) Ramsey; ed. Jacksonville (Ill.) Female Coll., '93; m. Jacksonville, Ill., Dec. 30, 1896, Edgar Wright Cunningham; one son: Emory Lazzell. Identified with Presbyterian church work. Favors woman suffrage. Republican. Mem. Order of Eastern Star. Pres. Tuesday Club, Larimore, N.D.; chairman Conservation Com., N.D. Federation of Women's Clubs. Mem. Civic League of Larimore. Resident of N.D. from 1905.
(Woman's Who's Who of America (1914-1915). New York: American Commonwealth Co., 1914.)
I like the fact that my great-aunt was a lady suffragette and that she may have been the one whispering in my ear. I also find it amusing that her mother's maiden name is spelled wrong,  it should be Virgin and not Vergin.  Typo or deliberate?

Monday, December 12, 2011

We Are Family

I got a phone call this morning from an older relative of my husband while he was out hunting with the dogs. She confused the heck out of me by asking me if I knew the name and phone number of the girl that my husband's aunt had adopted. Very quickly a number of questions swirled around in my head.

My husband's aunt had adopted a girl? When did that happened and why hadn't I been told about? Was it one of those overseas adoptions where you send money to help support a child and her village?

Then I knew, and ask if she was talking about my husband's cousin. Yes, she was, and she had confused me because I never thought of my husband's cousin as being his adopted cousin. She was just his cousin, the person who was the daughter of his mother's sister. His cousin, the one getting taller each year along with her brother, my husband, his sister and his brother in the family Christmas photos. His cousin, the one he played with each summer when he was a child and went out to Kansas to stay with their grandparents.

The fact that she saw my husband's cousin as not really a part of the family disappointed me but did not surprise me as this seems to be the thinking of  many people of that generation. I run into older people in town who will always identify someone as being a person's adopted son or daughter instead of just describing them as being that person's child. When I first moved here I heard a story about a man who was dying and wanted to keep his money " in the family." He decided the best way to do this was to ask his adopted children marry each other.

Then you have my niece whose parents may have divorced and married other people but still understands what family means. At her mother's wedding I stood next to her stepmother as my niece gave a toast to her mother and her new stepfather. She ended her toast by saying she already had two mothers and now she had two fathers. Her stepmother started to applaud along with the rest of us and then stopped and gasped. She teared up and said, "I just realized, she's talking about me!"

German philosopher Johann Schiller once wrote, "It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." It is also not flesh and blood but what is in our hearts that makes us family.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle! (part 5)

In July of 1936 20th Century Fox released Poor Little Rich Girl. This was the twelfth movie eight-year-old Shirley Temple had made since Stand Up And Cheer a little over two years earlier. This movie is about when I became disappointed with Shirley Temple movies. This was because by this point Shirley Temple was no longer a real child in her movies but an adult's version of what a child should be- which seems to be a miniature adult. That's not her fault but the fault of the studio and the people around her. The song she sings with Alice Faye and Jack (The Tin Man) Haley, But Definitely, is an example of  this troubling to me trend.

But Definitely from Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)

But this movie wasn't as bad as the movies after it. I did not like Wee Willie Winkie (1937), I did not like Heidi (1937), I did not like Rebecca Of Sunnybook Farm (1938), and I especially did not like The Blue Bird (1940). Then one night I watched The Bachelor And The Bobby-Soxer (1947) and there she was, the Shirley Temple I loved in Little Miss Marker. In The Bachelor And The Bobby-Soxer Shirley played a teenager who develops a crush on an artist played by Cary Grant.

Not one false note in the whole movie.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle! (part 4)

In July of 1935 when Shirley Temple was seven Fox released Curly Top. She was truly a star by now and the movie reflected this fact by including lots of close-up of her face including the opening scene where the camera stays on her face for over a minute. I find this interesting as by now the naturalness of Shirley's movie style is starting to disappear. It seems her mother mapped out every move her daughter made; how to walk, talk, sit, run, how to say her lines, and what facial expressions to use. This explains why she uses a frowny face so much in this movie, someone must have found it adorable. Even with interference from her mother Shirley's natural cuteness and charm cannot be repressed and still shines though. This film introduced the other song most closely identified with Shirley, Animal Crackers In My Soup.

Animal Crackers In My Soup from Curly Top (1935)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle! (part 3)

In December of 1934 Fox Film Corporation released Bright Eyes, the first film that gave Shirley Temple top billing. It also introduced her first big hit song. This was the tenth and last film Shirley made in 1934 and the fourth one after Little Miss Marker. With all that camera time under her belt it is no wonder that she moves with such confidence and poise. At at the same time you can tell that she is only a six-year-old child. A talented six-year-old child but a child just the same. Below is Shirley's big musical number, On The Good Ship Lollipop. Alongside her is her old friend James Dunn. The other men are supposedly members of the University of California football team.

The Good Ship Lollipop from Bright Eyes (1934)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle! (part 2)

One month after the release of Stand Up And Cheer Paramount Pictures released Little Miss Marker(1934), which was based on the Damon Runyon short story of the same name. Shirley has a bigger role in this movie than she did in Stand Up And Cheer and her billing had jumped from seventh to fourth. As I said before this is my favorite Shirley Temple movie with the five or six-year-old playing a little girl who becomes cynical and "tough" after hanging around Broadway gamblers and gangsters . Below is the only song Shirley sings in the movie, Laugh You Son Of A Gun. The woman singing with her is nineteen-year-old Dorothy Dell. Dell was scheduled to star in another movie with Shirley Temple right after this one (Now And Forever, 1934) but was killed in a car accident a few days after Little Miss Marker reached the theaters.

Laugh You Son Of A Gun from Little Miss Marker (1934)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle!

I was waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store when I happened to glance at a display of DVDs standing just to the right of me. I ignore it most of the time since it is usually filled with DVDs of movie movies that never made it to any movie theater and collections of old television westerns from the 1950's but this time a pink case caught my eye. When I looked closer I saw it was a DVD from a Shirley Temple box set containing the movies Little Miss Marker (1934) and Now And Forever (1934). I grew-up watching Shirley Temple movies on Denver's channel 2 (KWGN) every Sunday afternoon and since Little Miss Marker happens to be one of my favorite Shirley Temple movies, I tossed it in my cart.

I watched it this weekend and realized why I enjoy it so much. It is because it isn't really a Shirley Temple movie, it was a movie with Shirley Temple in it. I have nothing against Shirley Temple, you only have to watch one of her movies to see how talented she was and how much the camera loved her. I just prefer her earlier movies since she is more natural in them. It is almost supernatural how quickly she learned to do just what her mother always told her to do right before she stepped in front of a motion picture camera- she sparkles. Below is a musical number from the movie Stand Up And Cheer (1934). Shirley Temple is five-years-old here and dancing with actor James Dunn.

Baby Take a Bow from Stand Up And Cheer (1934)

Friday, December 02, 2011

"HIV Postive Boy Denied Admission To School"

-Reuters News, Dec 1, 2011

Ryan White (1971-1990) is up in heaven shaking his head in disbelief.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Street Scene

Driving down Main Street to the hardware store the other day I spied a teenage boy slowing walking down the sidewalk with his face buried in a red cloth wrapped book. His presence only slightly registered on my brain at the time but when I was driving back home I spotted him again three blocks away from where I first saw him. He still had his face in the book and was walking even slower. As I drove by him he looked up, gave me a big smile of recognition, and waved. I smiled in delight at his reaction to seeing me and waved back. That small spark of human connection warmed the cockles of my heart for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Damn, Migraine This Morning

(Illustration Dave Cutler)

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Book Of Rules

Singer-songwriter Barry Llewellyn of The Heptones died a few days ago. He along with Leroy Sibbles formed the group in 1965 and made the change from rock steady to reggae without missing a beat. Leroy Sibbles usually sang lead for the group but Barry Llewellyn sang lead on their 1973 hit Book of Rules, which is the reason why I picked it even though it is not a Llewellyn song. Plus, I like it.

Isn't it strange how princesses and kings
And clowns that'll caper in sawdust rings
Just while common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

Each must make his life as flowing in
Tumbling block or a stepping stone
Just while common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

Look when the rain has fallen from the sky
I know the sun will be only missing for a while
I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules
Rest in Peace, Barry Llewellyn.

-Barry Llywellyn's obituary in the Jamaica Observer here.

-A short history of Jamaican music from 1953-1973 here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Found My Thrill...

So, how many besides me woke up with a Turkey Hangover this morning? Love, love, love the turkey holiday. My holiday started on Wednesday when we drove to Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with one of my sisters and her family. For that long drive in I brought along Sing Cowboy Sing: The Gene Autry Collection which contains eighty-six songs on three CDs. If you are not a big fan of  Gene Autry it is not a good idea to listen to what seems like every single song he ever recorded in one sitting. Sometimes it got a little painful.

This collection includes his hit songs, That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine, Sioux City Sue, Here Comes Santa Claus, South of the Border, Rudolph The Red Nose-Reindeer, and Back in the Saddle Again, but it also includes songs from his radio show Melody Ranch which was on the air for sixteen years (1940-1956). Since new songs had to be written for each show there are some clunkers that have not aged that well mixed in with ones that are a total surprise:

Yep, Gene Autry recorded a hit version of Blueberry Hill back in 1941. I associate Blueberry Hill with Fats Domino so listening to a version that was recorded 15 years before Domino's hit recording was a revelation. It turns out that Blueberry Hill was written by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis, and Larry Stock in 1940 and recorded by six big bands including the Glenn Miller Band, the Kay Kyser Orchestra, Gene Krupa and his Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. The first band to release a recording of the song in 1940 was the Sammy Kaye Orchestra with vocalist Tommy Ryan so that is the version I have below (Since this is an orchestra, Tommy Ryan doesn't begin to sing until 1:30 into the recording.):

But let's end this post with the definitive recording of Blueberry Hill. The one Richie Cunningham is thinking of every time he sings the lyric, " I found my thrill," in the television show Happy Days.

Domino's version is always a rocking good time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Umbrella Man

"In historical research there may be a dimension similar to the quantum dimension in physical reality."
-John Updike


On the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated a man holding an umbrella was filmed opening his umbrella at the exact spot and instant President Kennedy was hit by Oswald's second bullet.  He then closed his umbrella and walked away. Josiah Thompson, philosopher and author of one of the first Kennedy assassination conspiracy books, Six Seconds In Dallas (1963), discusses how quickly historical research can jump down the rabbit hole in this six minute film by Errol Morris.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Old Geezers Laments

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
-Socrates (around 390 BCE)

"In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older then themselves the full benefits of their inexperience."
-Oscar Wilde (last quarter of 19th century)

"You know, you see these bums, ya know, blowing up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses are the luckiest people in the world."
-Richard Nixon (1969)

"Respect my authority!"
-Eric Cartman, old geezer trapped in a little boy's body. (1998)

"All the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something by saying to them, 'Go get a job right after you take a bath."
-Newt Gingrich  (2011)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digging In The Past Again 2

My great-great grandparents on my father's side. I can see my father in my great-great grandmother's face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Digging In The Past Again

Name: Elizabeth Collins
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 23 Sep 1865
Birth Place: Newark, Essex, New Jersey
Christening Date: 26 Sep 1865
Christening Place: Saint Patricks Pro-Cathedral-Catholic, Newark, Essex, New Jersey 

Father's Name: Patrick Collins
Mother's Name: Bridget McCormick

My great-great grandmother on my mother's side.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Failing Our Children

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
-Albert Einstein

Two news stories caught my eye this morning:

1. This one, the latest development in the Penn State scandal which concerns the sexual abuse of several young boys, some in the Penn State Lasch Football Building showers, by a former assistant Penn State football coach named Jerry Sandusky and the school's failure to stop it. Sandusky says he did not do it. Current assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was a graduate student back in 2001 when he saw Sandusky rape a young boy, did nothing to stop it, and failed to call the police, says he didn't just walk away back then.

2. This one from Greeley, Colorado is about a children's store carrying crotchless panties. In this instance, the store owner failed to see why trying to sell crotchless panties to young girls is bad idea.

What is happening,  have we turned into a morality bankrupt society which willing puts greed above protecting our children?  Penn State did not want to hear or do anything about Sandusky since doing so would affect their biggest money making program, the football team. In a way, I understand this as covering up any wrong doing seems to be normal procedure in large organizations be they governmental or private. Penn State won't walk away from this unpunished.

What I find more disturbing is the Greeley story. The owner of the store said that they "had only been in business for two weeks and were still trying to figure out what to include as merchandise."
Really? Have we sexualized young girls to the point where a business owner sees crotchless panties for girls in a catalog and doesn't react with an "Ewwwww!" but actually thinks she can make money selling them? I weep for us as a people.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Dog's Goofier Than Your Dog

Little Sally Pumpkinhead relaxing

Getting the books out from the behind the bookcase is going to be fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

-The Andrews Sisters

He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, a-blowin' reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
It really brought him down because he couldn't jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the Cap' went out and drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddel-yada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playin' with 'im
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He was ah boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
And when he plays the boogie woogie bugle he was busy as a "bzzz" bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight-to-the-bar
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Toot toot toot-diddel-yada, Toot-diddel-yada, toot-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with 'im
Ha-ha-hand the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B


He puts the boys to sleep with boogie every night
And wakes 'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stamp their feet
Because they know how he plays when someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-da
Ha-ha-hand the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce, American author (1842-?), from his book, The Devil's Dictionary

There was another Republican Presidential Debate last night. What was it, number three hundred and twenty-two? Anyway, political rhetoric was flying every which way and as I looked at all those smiling faces behind that row of lecture stands all I could think of were the lyrics to that old The Undisputed Truth song, Smiling Faces.
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Today, as a public service, I am giving you the link to a website called PolitiFact. PolitiFact  fact-checks the truthfulness of statements made by politicians. Finding a quick way to ferret out what is true and what is not inside the hyperbole of political campaigning is something we can all use in an election year crowed with contenders. If you are interested you can find last night's Republican debate fact checks here.  Don't be fooled by the smiling faces.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


The state of Mississippi ranks 49th out of 50 states on the Best Educated Index.  It ranks 40th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has  finished high school.  It ranks 49th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has completed a Bachelor's degree program  and it ranks 47th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has completed an advanced degree. So, even though Mississippians  are not that well educated,  they do know that a fertilized human egg is not a person.  Thank you, Mississippi, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Joe Frazier 1944-2011

"Ali always said I would be nothing without him. But who would he have been without me?
-Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier had the misfortune of being a great boxer during the same time period as Muhammad Ali. He was a 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist and the undisputed Heavyweight Champion from 1971 to 1975. In his career he won 32 fights (27 by knock out) and lost 4 (twice to both Muhammad Ali and George Foreman). Below is video of the last round of the first of three championship fights between Ali and Frazier in which Frazier stunned the world by knocking Ali down and winning the fight. Ali made the mistake of calling Frazier ignorant, a gorilla, and a white man's lackey, which fueled Frazier desire to beat him.

Joe Frazier died yesterday of liver cancer and in the NY Times obituary Frazier's name in mentioned 78 times while Muhammad Ali's name is mentioned 62 times. Joe Frazier may have been right when he asked who Ali would have been without him. Their names will always be linked together as Frazier was the man who proved to the boxing world that Ali was not invincible.

You can find Frazier's NY Times obituary here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Cain Mutiny

In a kill the message move, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain is threatening to sue the political news website Politico but just what for has not been decided yetPolitio is the news organization that first broke the story about the sexual harassment lawsuit settlement  made on Herman Cain's behalf by the National Restaurant Association back in the late nineteen-nineties. His lawsuit threat is another example of Cain and his people lashing out in anger and blaming others instead of just admitting their man behaved inappropriately at the time, learned his lesson, is apologizing for it, and would just like to move on.

After watching Herman Cain's multiple TV interviews I don't think he is capable of doing this, even if doing so would guarantee him the Republican Party nomination. His anger at having to deal with this incident from his past is palpable. His scorn for the women who accused him of sexual harassment and the media who dare to bring this subject up causes his upper lip to curl in disdain and his face to assume the look of a man who has just smelled something disgusting. I find his behavior now almost as disturbing as his behavior then.

This is a man who cannot disguise his feelings let alone control them. That alone should disqualify him for the presidency. I expect the president of the United States not only to be a leader but to be a diplomat, especially at a time when the world is a political tinder box. The last thing we need is a man whose shows signs of having an explosive temperament. Hotheads need not apply.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Blame Game!

Herman, Herman, bo Berman
Bonana fanna fo, Ferman
Fee fi mo, Merman, Herman!

Come on everybody!
I say, now let's play a game
I betcha I can always find, someone else to blame!

Media, Media, bo Bedia,
Bonana fanna fo Fedia
Fee fi mo, Edia, Media!

Everybody do Anger!
Anger, Anger, bo Banger
Bonana fanna fo, Fanger
Fee fi mo, Manger, Anger!

Memory, Memory, bo Bemory
Bonana fanna fo, Femory
Fee fi mo, Emory, Memory!

Pretty good, let's do, the Women!
Women, Women, bo Bomen
Bonana fanna fo, Fomen
Fee fi mo, Momen, Women!

Talk Shows!
Talk shows, Talk shows, bo Balk Shows
Bonana fanna fo, Falk Shows
Fe fi mo, Mock Shows, Talk Shows!

Very good, let's do Lies!
Lies, Lies, bo, Bies
Bonana fanna fo, Fies
Fe fi mo, Mies, Lies!

A little trick with Rick!
Perry, Perry, bo Berry
Bonana fanna fo, Ferry
Fe fi mo, Merry, Perry!

The blame game!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Everything Old Is New Again

-Marvin Gaye , Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), 1971

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on, the have nots
Money, we make it
'Fore we see it, you take it

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life, (Yeah)
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

This ain't livin', this ain't livin'
No, no,baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no, no

Inflation, no chance
To increase, finance
Bills pile up, sky high
Send that boy off, to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life (Oh yeah)

(Instrumental Interlude)

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural,fact is
Oh. honey that I can't pay my, taxes

Oh, it make me wanna holler
Throw up both my hands
Yeah, it make me wanna holler
Throw up both my hands

Crime is, increasing
Trigger happy, policing
Panic, is spreading
God knows where, we're heading

(Instrumental interlude)

Mother, Mother, Mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong (Mother)
Who are they to judge us? (Mother, Mother)
Simply 'cause we wear our hair long? (Mother)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

The goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

The Skeleton Dance (1929), a Silly Symphonies Cartoon

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Last Friday I looked out the front window when I hear the dogs barking and found Duke running back and forth along the fence with a basset hound doing the same thing on the sidewalk side. I recognized the basset hound as one belonging to a family who lived a block and a half to the North of me and went to the front door and opened it. By then the dogs had tired of the game and the basset was trotting down the sidewalk. I called out, "Copper!"
The dog turned around and started walking back toward my house with his tail wagging. I shut my dogs inside the house and let Copper into the yard. I knew the owner worked at the Police station and would be at work so I called there and asked for her. I was told she was home sick that day. I told the person on the other end of the line that Copper was at my house and he said he would call the owner and let her know her dog was at my house.

After an hour I decided Copper's owner was not able to come get him so I walked him back to his house. When I got there his owner came to to door, looked down at him, and said, "That's not Copper."
I was surprised as the dog had been answering to Copper and looked exactly like Copper. She admitted he resembled Copper but said their Copper was a smaller dog.  In fact, he was in her backyard right then. She then said she thought this basset hound belonged to someone she worked with and that his name was Bobo. I looked down at not-Copper and asked, "Are you Bobo?"
He started wagging his tail.  Confirming that, indeed, he was Bobo, so we said goodbye and walked back to my house.

After putting him back in my yard I called the number I had called earlier. The same person answered the phone and I told them I had Bobo not Copper and he said he would contact Bobo's owner and that the owner should be over shortly to get his dog. Two hours later I still had Bobo and I needed him to go home as I had my dogs quarantined inside my house since he first came in the yard. I was doing this because I wasn't sure how Duke would react to Bobo being on his property. He has been uncharacteristically aggressive toward other dogs ever since he had been attacked by a black lab while we were walking the dogs 2 months ago. I called the owner's work number again and again talked to the same person. After telling him Bobo was still at my house and that I need him to go home now I was told an officer would be there right away.

Thirty minutes later a patrol car rolled up in front of my house while I was outside doing some yard work, Bobo at my side. The office got out of the car, looked at Bobo and said, "That's not Bobo."
I looked down at the dog and said,  "You're not Bobo, are you?"
Not-Bobo started wagging his tail and I finally understood that what his tail wag meant. It said, "I'm anyone you want me to be."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Raining

-Irma Thomas

It's raining so hard
Looks like it's going to rain all night
And this is the time I'd love to be holding you tight
But I guess I'll have to accept the fact that you are not here
I wish tonight would hurry up and end, my dear

It's raining so hard
It's really coming down
Sittin' by my window watchin' the rain fall to the ground
This is the time I'd love to be holding you tight
I guess I'll just go crazy tonight

It's raining so hard
Brings back memories
Of the times when you were here with me
Counting every drop about to blow my top
I wish this rain would hurry up and stop

I've got the blues so bad I can hardly catch my breath
The harder it rains the worst it get
This is the time I'd love to be holding you tight
I guess I'll just go crazy tonight

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dirty Rotten Money

I went up to the little store on the hill Saturday and found a subdued grocery store owner behind the counter.  As I gave him a 20 dollar bill I ask him if everything was all right.  As he handed back my change he said everything was all right, he just hadn't been feeling well the last few days.  Sunday I went to the bigger grocery store on Main Street and as the checker there was handing me back my change she said she wasn't really supposed to be there because she had been sick but they were short handed.

Very early Monday morning I  rolled over in my sleep and then half-awoke when doing so sent the room spinning.  It happened three more time before daybreak.  When I woke up completely my sinuses were stuffed up and my right ear felt full.  I turned my head in that direction and it was as if a giant had grabbed me by my ankles and yanked me up into the air.  Once I got up I went to the couch and stayed there the rest of the day watching TV, drinking liquids and swallowing decongestants.  The intense vertigo I was suffering lessened as the decongestants kicked in but every time I turned my head to the right that giant was there waiting to jerk me upside down. Last night, before I went to sleep,  I told myself not to roll over to my right side as I knew that damn  colossus was standing at the end of my bed waiting for me to do so.

Today I feel better, less vertigo, and I do not really blame the two people in the grocery stores  for me falling ill.  Some times people do have to go to work sick and I live in a small town.   When it comes to illness, living in a small town its like living in a Petri dish.   When a virus is put into a Petri dish it will multiply quickly and spread  across the dish.  When a virus is introduced into a small town it also spreads quickly across the town. The Six Degrees of Separation theory in action.   Nothing you can do about, it's just a fact of life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Arab Spring

"This just in. Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead."
-Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live

Looks like Muammar Gaddafi is still dead, too.  After 42 years of inflicting untold suffering upon his own people he was shot in the street like a rapid dog.  As usual western society can only see this action from their own  point of view and are calling for an investigation into his death since "proper judicial procedures" were not  followed. Well, Western style proper judicial procedures weren't  followed but I don't know what proper judicial procedure is in Libya when it comes to mass-murdering despots.

What began in Tunisia back in December of 2010 led to the ouster of Tunisian president Zine El Ben Ali and  to the ouster of Egyptian president Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak.  The protests spread into other Middle East and Northern Africa countries leading to some social and/or  political changes in Algeria,  Lebanon,  Jordon,  Sudan, Oman,  Saudi Arabia, Yemen,  Iraq,  Bahrain,  Kuwait,  Morocco, and Syria.  Libya's uprising began in February and ended yesterday with the death of Gaddafi.

But what happens next in these countries? The massacre in Egypt two weeks ago is evidence that just because the head has been chopped off does not mean the snake had died. In Egypt the military that was part of  Mubarak's government is still in place and still had much power.  Iraq has shown that just because a dictator has been overthrown does not mean the fight is over if other radical groups will kill to ensure they are the ones to fill the gap left by the destruction of the previous regime.

The Arab States are slowly moving from dictatorship (some disguised as  monarchies) toward democracy but, as  CNN's Tim Lister writes,  "If the Arab Spring were on a calendar, we would still be in the first week."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Animal Planet

If people were superior to animals, they'd take better care of the world.
-A.A. Milne

A man who kept over 50 exotic animals in a private zoo near the town of Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, about 60 miles east of the city of Columbus, released them yesterday and then committed suicide. Deputies from the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office started tracking the freed Black bears, Grizzly bears, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and wolves in the rain as dusk approached. Since they did not have tranquilizer guns and the Sheriff feared the animals would reach more populated areas if not caught before dark, the deputies were told to kill every wild animal they found. Harsh? Maybe, unless you are the unlucky man, woman, or child who stumbled into the path of one of these creatures.

The problem here isn't the deputies killing wild animals roaming  the countryside. The problem is letting a man keep wild animals anywhere near a populated area. The state of Ohio and the federal government have no laws that regulate the kind of operation Terry Thompson had on his farm. Ohio law only regulates native species (Black bears for one.) while the Department of Agriculture rules only cover exhibitors and breeders, and Terry Thompson was neither a exhibitor nor a breeder.

The slaughter of up to 50 animals may not pass unacknowledged in Ohio. State lawmakers are finally serious about implementing laws that close the non-native animals loophole.  I don't think any private individual should own any exotic animal but let's hope one of the requirements of the Ohio state legislature is that all animal owners be mentally stable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Out Of The Loop

Photo by RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

This image,  taken in Denver's Civic Center Park  near the Greek amphitheater, was in yesterday's Denver Post.  This soon-to-be bride brought her wedding party down to the amphitheater to take photos not knowing Occupy Denver protestors were there.  Or it could be she did not understand that when the police cleared them out of the park early last Friday morning for camping illigally it did not mean they could not gather when it was open during the day.  I love the incongriuity of this situation.

Wait, what is that in the lower left corner?

Monday, October 17, 2011


I hate facebookfacebook's not for me
The drastic changes they have make is why it's not, you see
But I fool  facebook,  I'm there less frequently
A detriment to facebook,  less data mined from me

Friday, October 14, 2011

Healthcare Reform For Beginners

Politicians and pundits will be talking to you as if you have no idea what's in that 1,000 page law. But by watching this you're on your way to being informed.
-Narrator of Health Reform Hits Main Street

Healthcare reform video by  the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation .   It explains the who, what, where, when, and how of the new law in a concise and easy to understand way.

(Via Darlene over at Darlene's Hodgepodge )

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Men Allowed

Dr Pepper has come up with an advertising campaign for its new diet soda, Dr Pepper 10, that is causing quite a ruckus. Dr. Pepper 10 was created for the male consumer, a group Dr Pepper believes will not drink regular diet soda because they think it is too "girly."  Dr. Pepper has decided the only way to overcome this perceived prejudice is to market Dr. Pepper 10 as a manly, It's Not For Women, soda.

Some people believe this approach is sexist but this commercial reminds me a lot of the Old Spice advertisements which make fun of the fantasy man that women supposedly dream about every night.

If there is any stereotyping going on in commercials aimed at men, this stereotyping is directed right at them.  Below is a collection of commercials from last years Super Bowl. The first one includes a little boy acting like a little boy. The rest contain men acting childishly, immaturely, selfishly, irresponsible, and sometimes down right moronic.

Why aren't men outraged by this view of themselves?   Do they really see themselves as a bunch of idiots? Guys?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday, Art Clokey!

We've been framed. Never trust animated people.

I don't know, Davey...

Art Clokey was a big influence on my life when I was a little girl  although I did not know it at the time.  He was the man who created two of the most bizarre, sickly sweet children's stop-motion  animation programs of all time, Gumby and Davey and Goliath.   Gumby was broadcast on Denver's KWGN on weekday afternoons while Davey and Goliath was shown on Sunday mornings.

Gumby was a green rectangular-shaped clay boy who friends included other clay figures; a  red horse, Pokey;  a blue mermaid, Goo;  and  a yellow dinosaur, Prickle.  His main enemies were two red-clay boys known as The Blockheads.  The Gumby series came out of  Clokey's 1955 clay animation student film called Gumbasia which, thanks to YouTube, you can watch below.

Film producer Samuel G. Engel saw the film and thought Art Clokey would be the perfect person to create  a new cartoon program for children and in 1956 Gumby was born. Below is an early episode where Gumby first meets his soon to be best friend Pokey.  The Blockhead are also in this one.

In 1958 Franklin Clark Fry, president of  the United Lutheran Church in America, contacted Art Clokey about creating a new cartoon series that would  teach children religious and moral values.   Davey and Goliath, which stared a young boy named Davey and his talking dog Goliath,  went on the air in nineteen sixty-one.  Below is a 1963 episode in which Davey learns forgiveness.

I don't know, I still find both these shows endearingly awkward and goofy.  Thanks for the memories, Art.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let Me Eat Steak!

Politics had divided the nation, like Gaul, into three parts-- Liberals, Conservatives, and hypocrites.
-Colleen Shannon
(Original quote made about Prohibition by Florence Sabin)

Occupy Wall Street a protest movement that began in New York City has spread across the country . The protest was started by young Americans "who will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%". The top one percent being the rich (i.e. "the job creators" as they are being called by the Republicans), large corporations, and banks. Some people have tried to marginalize the movement so last Wednesday Jon Stewart, on his show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, took on the hypocrisy of certain news channels, politicians, and political parties.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Parks and Demonstration
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, October 07, 2011


Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground.  Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices. 
-Shana Alexander  (1925 – 2005)

After many years of having short hair I am in the process of growing it longer.  Seven months ago I decided I would grow it out no matter how shapeless and overgrown it looked.   I stayed away from my hairdressing until last month and let me tell you it wasn't easy.  I did do a little home trimming to keep my hair out of my eyes but I ignored the curly  mullet that was growing at the back of my head and I ignored the way my hair poofed out in a frizzy halo that  framed and at the same time hid my face.  Knowing that the mullet was proof of the fact that hair grows more quickly at the base of your skull and knowing that curly/wavy hair has more volume than straight hair and can overwhelm a small head did not make the growing out period any less emotionally painful. Every time I looked at myself in a mirror I had to stifle the urge to run, not walk, to the nearest hair salon to have my hair cut short, short, short. Why do I want my hair longer?  I don't know, it just seems the right time to do it.  I do know that anytime I cut my hair short after having it long usually meant I was ready for some kind of change in my life either emotionally or mentally.  Maybe the same thing is going on now.

The interesting thing about a woman with short hair  is the assumptions others make about her.  One boyfriend was very disappointed with me after I cut my hair saying a woman was sexier with long hair.  A college friend was shocked when I showed up at school with short hair blurting out that now I was old since only old people (i.e. women) wore their hair short.  I've also had people tell me I must be gay since I wore my hair short.  Why is long hair on a man (not the norm) seen as a sign of rebellion while short hair (not the norm) on a women is seen as some sort of defect? * Shana Alexander was right, hair is a tangle of mysterious prejudices.

*I am not saying being gay is a defect, I am saying some people in our society see it as a defect.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Death Notices

1. Sarah Palin's presidential dreams:
"After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decide that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States."

My husband's reaction to this news:
"Maybe she just wants to sit on her porch and stare at Russia."

My niece's reaction to this news:
"I like that even God told her not to run for president."

2.Herman Cain's presidential street cred after the politically stupid remarks he made about the Occupy Wall Street protesters:
"I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed."

3. Arthur C. Neilsen Jr. , the man who's market research savvy  influenced the  programing decisions at all the major television networks for 60 years.  The Neilsen Family, a small sampling of television viewers who kept a TV diary that recorded their television watching habits,  was the engine used to used to decide which programs were popular and therefore profitable.

My husband and I were members of the Neilsen Family  in the early 1990's.  By that time the Neilson company had developed a box that electronically kept track of  the times when the television set was actually on.   My faith in the Neilsen system was drastically undercut one day when my husband walked into the living room and found the television set on and only the dog watching it. He called the Neilsen company and asked whether or not he had to record the fact that the dog was watching TV in our TV diary.  The person on the line said yes since we were obligated to write down any program anyone was watching when the TV was on.   Arthur is probably rolling over in his grave after reading this bit of insanity.

4.  Steve Jobs , the face and co-founder of Apple Computers.   A lot of outpouring online about his death.  I was shocked to hear he died since he was only in his mid-fifties but my feelings about his death do not seem to be in line with that of the public. In the future, will he be remembered the way Alexander Graham Bell  is or forgotten the way Philo T. Farnsworth  has been?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


The local  library partnered with the Kansas Humanities Council to bring its programTalk: Talk About Literature In Kansas Book Discussions, to our library last month.  Each month the Council sends our library copies of that month's book and then, after a certain number of weeks, sends a person to lead a discussion about the book we have just finished reading.  Last month the book was English woman Isabella L. Bird's,  A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains.*  The book  is a collection of  letters Isabella wrote to her sister during her 1873 journey to the Eastern slope of the Colorado Rockies.  The book was especially enjoyable for me since she was writing about places I've been to and  about people who's names I mainly know as streets, schools and  buildings in Denver.  

Although, as an uperclass English women, Isabella got to meet some of the more important citizens and figures from Colorado's past,  I was more interested in her stories of the "common" people since their stories make up the real history of Colorado.  Actually, the stories of common people everywhere make up the history of the world. Which brings me to the second book in the series, A Scattered People: An American Family Moves West.**   It begins on the East coast with the family's arrival from England in 1630 and ends in California with the birth of one of their descendants at the beginning of the 20th century.  Imagine my surprise when I read in the introduction that the author believes by telling the story of his family he was telling the story and history of the United States of America.   I think I'm going to like reading this book, too. 

* A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains is online and can be found here.  
** If you want to read A Scattered People you will have to buy it or get it through your own library.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Prohibition Has Made Nothing But Trouble

-Al Capone (1899 – 1947)

Some days, blogging is the last thing I want to do and yesterday turned into one of those days.  I have found other things to fill my time including  watching Ken Burns' new documentary, Prohibition,  on PBS.  Burns does a great job and goes back 100 years to explain just how and why a people would vote for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that created a federal law which banned the manufacturing and sale of intoxicating beverages while at the same ignoring said law.  Burns tells the story of Prohibition by telling the stories of the people involved in creating the law, enforcing the law, breaking the law, and repealing the law.  For more information go to the link below.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 5)

October 26, 2001
Arzua- Santiago de Compostela (sunny/cool)
24.0m/38.4km - 467.6m/748.2km

Santiago draws us like a magnet. We were going to walk as far as Arca today but when we get to where the Camino crosses the N547 near Santa Irene we see our first road directional sign that says Santiago. It is so intoxicating that we don't stop at Arca but keep going.

We are so giddy with the thought of being closer and closer to Santiago that we get a little goofy. J puts his right fist up as if he is holding a microphone and interviews me. I answer in a high pitched hesitant voice.

J: How do you feel, knowing the walk is almost over?
Me: Umm, OK.

J: Are you going to ask for absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: Are you happy you will receive absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: So, how many sins do you need absolution for?
Me: Umm, I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet.

We reach the airport and then the stone signpost that marks the outer edge of greater Santiago. We reach Monte de Goz, over looking the city. We can see the towers of the Cathedral. It is after 700P when we reach Santiago proper, to late to get our passports stamped but we head for the Cathedral anyway. We feel our walk is not over until we step into the church. We walk through the city and then pass through the Puerta del Camino into the old city. We walk through the maze of streets in the old city to the Cathedral.

When we reach the Plaza de Inmaculada outside the Cathedral, J give a big yell and rushes toward the side door into the church. B has been walking a little ahead and she yells after him that we should walk in through the main doors but by then J has gone through the side door. I tell B I will walk with her to the main doors but she says we should stick together and we walk to the door J disappeared through. When we get inside the church it is quiet, cool and dark. We drop our packs next to J's against a large pillar. I walk over to a pew, kneel down, and say a prayer. We have been in a lot of churches during our walk and this is the first one that has a spiritual feel to it. All the other churches were like being in an empty barn but this one is different. It is filled spiritual power.

After my prayer I get up and go look for the Tree of Jesse. When we find it there are two women standing at it. One is touching the marble column, while the other one waits to be next. We get in line behind her. When it is my turn I walk up and, when I am close enough, reach out my hand. At the same time I reach my hand out I see a spirit hand and forearm floating above my hand and forearm reaching out too. When my fingers are a hand's length away from column, the spirit arm moves forward and touches the column and it's fingers slide into the finger holes in the marble. When this happens I hesitate and stand with my hand in the air because I know that to touch the marble column I will have to put my hand through the spirit hand.

Then I am horrified by the realization that the spirit hand is not the only one. There are hundreds of hands and to touch the column I will have to put my hand through those hands too. I know I need to put my fingers in the finger marks. This is what I came here to do. I move my hand forward and it feels like I am putting my hand in a glove made of flesh. The instant my fingers touch the marble, the hands disappear. I stand there with my forehead against the marble, my hand resting on the column, my finger deep in the holes and wait for something miraculous to happen. You know, the sound of harp music, angels singing, a celestial beam of light illuminating me, but nothing happens. I stand there oblivious to the fact that what has just happened is miraculous. I am so naive.

After we leave the church we walk through the tunnel that leads to Plaza de Obradoiro and the front of the Cathedral. As we walk we look up at the Cathedral. It is so majestic. We need to find places to stay and none of us want to stay at the refugio. B has read about an inexpensive hostel off the Plaza on Rue Raxoi so we head over there to see if there is a room available. J and I sit and wait for her on the steps outside the hostel as she goes inside to check. While we are sitting there I pull my whistle out and start playing a song. It is Ode to Joy and when I finish J asks if I had planned all along to play that when I got to Santiago. I say no and start playing it again.

When B comes back out she hums along and then says she is all checked in. Now J and I have to find rooms. We make plans to come back and get B for dinner after we have all rested, showered, and changed clothes. J and I walk down another street that is just off the Plaza and look for hotel signs. We find one that looks good, is not too expensive, has rooms with their own baths, and check in. No more sharing for me. After we check in we walk up four flights of stairs to our rooms and the first thing I do after putting my pack down is fall face up on my bed. I have done it. I walked across Spain and lived to tell the tale.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 4)

October 13, 2001
Sahagun- Religos (cloudy/humid)
18.9m/30.2km - 256.7m/421.8km

I found out two things last night that made me happy. First, 7.8m/12.5km after we left Carrion de los Condes we officially reached the half way mark between St. Jean and Santiago. Second, T is here. When I came out from the showers I found T sitting at the table in the kitchen area. I was so happy to see her I gave her a big hug. We all started out walking the Camino together but we kind of lost T after Granon. I think she decided to do most of the walk alone at that point, which is OK, but I do miss walking with her. I was delighted to hear she is sleeping in the same cubicle as us. Just like the good old days.

This morning I'm not sure if I want to go on, yesterday took a lot out of me. We are walking through the streets of Sahagun and I am agonizing about whether or not to keep going or to quit. In my head I plead for someone to tell me what to do. Do I go on or do I stop? A couple of minutes later, on the back of a stop sign, I see a yellow arrow pointing up with the initials of my name written underneath it. I take this as a sign to keep going.

Today we go slow and make sure to eat at all major stops. I still hate this plain we are walking through. No matter how long you walk it feels like you have not made any progress. The path we are walking has benches lined up along it and they are spaced so far apart it looks someone put a bench out in the middle of nowhere for reasons know only to them. At one rest stop we are sitting on one of these benches when I glance up the path and see a man about three city blocks away walking toward us.

When he gets closer I see is a big man. He is wearing a pilgrim's hat (a black wide brim hat with the front of the brim folded up and fastened to the crown by a cockleshell pin), a dirty "I walked the Camino and only got...." type of souvenir T-shirt that stretches tightly across his belly, a pair of shorts, and sandals. He is not wearing a backpack but he is carrying a shepherd's staff with hourglass shaped gourd (used for carrying water) hanging from it, in his right hand. He is also surrounded by a yellow glow that shimmers around him like heat coming off a stove. I also "see" sparks shooting off him in all directions like a lit sparkler. As he gets closer I mentally beg J over and over not to talk to him. The look on this man's face is one of either extreme bliss or craziness. J is very gregarious and loves to talk to people but I do not want anything or anyone stopping this man.

When he reaches us he looks nine feet tall to me and I glance down at his feet to make sure they are touching the ground. He walks past us with his eyes focused off in the distance and without saying a word. Whatever he is looking at we can't see. I don't think he even knows we are here. As I watch him walking away from us I know he is walking all the way back to St. Jean and that when he gets there he will turn around a start walking back to Santiago. He will never stop walking. I look at J and B and see that he has disturbed them too but I don't say anything about what I saw because I am not sure what they will think. I haven't told them anything about yesterday for the same reason.

Later, when we take another break, we hear a train whistle and then see a train streaking across the plain off to our right. We know there is a town up ahead so we climb up on the bench to see if we can tell how close the town is by watching the train. Maybe the train is going to the town. Maybe we are closer to the town than we think we are. No such luck. The train just keeps traveling across the plain until it is no longer in our sight.

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. When is this torture going to end? I am turning into the Glowing Man and will be walking in this nothingness for eternity.

Another rest break at a bridge over a small creek that has widened into a pool. I lean over the bridge and look at the water, I am sure I can see tiny fish. I spit and watch as the spit droplets hit the water. I create a tiny fish feeding frenzy. I tell B and J there are fish in the water and they drop small rocks and pieces of gravel in. Each time they do the fish come up and check to see if what hit the water is food. B goes down to the pool, finds a stick, and starts poking it into the mud. J follows her and starts chucking big rocks into the water to see how big a splash he can make and I keep spitting off the bridge and watching the fish react. We have a great time acting like kids for ten minutes and then reluctantly put our packs on and start walking again.

We finally reach the Refugio in Reliegos where we are rewarded for our perseverance. We have a room that sleeps 26 to ourselves. Tomorrow we will be in Leon.