Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blinky The Clown (1921-2012)

If you did not grow-up in Denver, Colorado the name Russell Scott means nothing to you. If you did the name may still mean nothing to you unless you recognize it as being the real name of Blinky The Clown. Russell Scott dies yesterday at the age of ninety-one and generations of adults who remember watching Blinky as a child or being on his show will smile in bittersweet memory of him when the read or hear the news. My sister was on his show when she was five-years-old and it is still an experience that makes her smile whenever she talks about it.

A few years ago my sister and I stopped to visit Blinky at his antiques store on South Broadway. When we got there he was sitting outside and we walked up to him, said hello, and told him how pleased we were to meet him. Then I said, "I just wanted to say...," and paused because I suddenly felt like crying. I stared at Mr. Scott and he stared back at me with a look of concern on his face. Then I finished my sentence, "...thank you."
A look of delight crossed his face followed quickly by tenderness and he smiled as he replied, "Ahhh, you are very welcome."

To give you an idea of how greatly Blinky The Clown influenced Denver children read the note below. Mr. Scott found it one morning when he opened his store.

Dear Blinky,

I was in your store a few days ago. I was coming in with the intentions of robbing you at gunpoint. But when I heard you were the real Blinky, I said to myself, 'I can't rob this person. I sat on Blinky's lap when I was 5 years old.'

In 2005 Russell Scott was inducted into the Broadcast Professionals of Colorado Hall of Fame. Below is the video used to introduce him that night.

His Denver Post obituary is here.

The official site of Blinky's Fun Club is here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Scott McKenzie (1939-2012)

Lots of girls walking around today who do not know they were named after Scott McKenzie since their mothers first heard the name McKenzie after John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas named his own daughter after him.

His recording of San Francisco became the siren song of the Sixties for a generation of teenagers.

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There's a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion, people in motion

For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a Love-in there

If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a Love-in there

Short obituary here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Now That's A Tree!

(Tree on Henry Flagler property, Palm Beach, FL)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
― Robert Louis Stevenson

The purpose of life is to stay alive. Watch any animal in nature--all it tries to do is stay alive. It doesn't care about beliefs or philosophy. Whenever any animal's behavior puts it out of touch with the realities of its existence, it becomes extinct.
― Michael Crichton

Live is meaningful only if you gave it a meaning
― T. Harv Eker

There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
― Ana├»s Nin

I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I've got.
― Hermann Hesse

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
― Albert Camus

I don't know the meaning of life. I don't know why we are here. I think life is full of anxieties and fears and tears. It has a lot of grief in it, and it can be very grim. And I do not want to be the one who tries to tell somebody else what life is all about. To me it's a complete mystery.
― Charles M. Schulz

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. … That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
― Anthony de Mello

Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
― Joseph Campbell

Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?
― Kurt Vonnegut

Whatever we are, whatever we make of ourselves, is all we will ever have – and that, in its profound simplicity, is the meaning of life.
― Philip Appleman

The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is...42!
― Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Red Door

The Kingdom of Joy was protected from all evil by red doors. Keeping the evil spirits out it also kept the good spirits in. A red door that stays closed is worse than no door at all.
-Roy in the movie Behind The Red Door (2003)

Painted my front door red a few weeks ago.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Those Who Cannot Remember The Past

are condemned to repeat it.
-George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

I got so frustrated with NBC's Olympic coverage that by the middle of last week I turned to books. I read The Dime Museum Murders the first in a series of mystery fiction books written by Daniel Stashower which have the greatest magician in the world, Harry Houdini, indulging in his believe that he is another Sherlock Holmes. Fun read.

Next I started reading The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby which looks closely at the relationship between the two brothers and its affect on their political lives. The books begins with the trip the brothers made to Viet Nam in 1951 when John F. Kennedy was a member of Congress. What I found surprising, beside the fact that the Kennedy brothers even went to Viet Nam in 1951, is that the United States was already involved in the Viet Nam War as we were providing 50% of the munitions and supplies used by the French in their fight against the Viet Min. Next is that John F. Kennedy thought our government foreign policy was wrongheaded.

Along the way of their 25,00-mile trip in the fall of 1951, Bobby dutifully kept a journal in his cramped handwriting. The conclusion he and his brother reached was that nationalism was the determinant force of the age, stronger than either communism or capitalism, and that the United States was aligning itself with reactionary forces through second-rate diplomatic representation. They felt that the bipolar approach to containing communism wouldn't work because it usually meant association with discredited local despots or embattled colonial powers.

Replace the word Communism with the phrase Radical Islamic Fundamentalism and colonial powers with global corporations and we could be talking about now.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Olympic Games Day 13

I also cannot take anymore of NBC's coverage. The quality of live steam video online is getting worse with the images freezing or the screen going blank  as the download stops to rebuffer.  The TV broadcast is agonizingly frustrating what with all the human interest stories about the athletes and the
over-hyping of the events.  No, NBC, this cannot be the greatest race or match-up of the games, century, or history of the Olympics  if you have already said that about ten other events or people.

I wish the Olympic committee would give the broadcast rights to a company who understand this is a sporting event and not a two week episode of a "reality" television show.   If they cannot do that at least give it to a company who has its feet firmly planted in the 21th century and who understands that live streaming is not television of the future but television now and will not underestimate the number of people who will be trying to live stream their Olympic coverage.

Epic Fail, NBC.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympic Games Day 11

I think I've O.D. on the Olympics as I did not watch a single event yesterday. I did however find these interesting interactives at The New York Times website. All give an overview of each event since the first modern Olympics.

1. 100 meter sprint in Track and Field.

2. 100 meter freestyle in Swimming.

3. Long jump in Track and Field.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Olympic Games Day 10

 It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
-Gore Vidal

Loved this weekend what with all the medals Great Britain won. Go Britain! We American are doing pretty well, too, although I hate it when some of our athletes behave badly when they "only" win a silver or bronze medal.

McKayla Maroney's behavior toward the other medal winners after learning she had lost the gold in woman's vault was rude, unsportsmanlike, and childish. I'll give her the childish part as she is only sixteen but the other behaviors are unacceptable and her coach should have taught her that being a gracious second or third place winner is part of being a good athlete. I find the belief that gold is the only medal worth winning in the Olympics to be very mercenary and distasteful.

(McKayla Maroney on the podium after wining silver in the Women's Vault final)

But then there is Justin Gatlin shown below minutes after wining the bronze medal in the Men's 100m race.

Gatlin ran this race faster than he did when he won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics but unfortunately for him he was racing against the two fastest men in the world, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. But look at his face. You can see that he understands what the Olympics are about, doing the best you can in any given event and then reveling in the joy of winning a medal.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

And They Call It Puppy Love

You may remember I wrote a blog post about how my husband and I are fostering dogs for American Brittany Rescue. Since that post Toots has moved on to Denver and Freckles has been adopted and is now the very loved pet of a happy little boy and his family in Nebraska.

Toots and Freckles weren't our only fosters since I wrote that post, we also fostered another Brittany who had been picked up off the streets Wichita Kansas. He came to us from the Norton Correctional Facility in Norton, Kansas where he had gone through the Second Chance Homeless Pet Society dog training program. The first thing he did when he was brought into our yard was start searching for a way out. After spending a little over a week with us he also went on to a new home with loving owners.

But that wasn't the only dog we were looking out for during that time period. There were six others....but I think I'll let my husband tell you about it. Below you will find the the article that he wrote for the ABR newsletter which tell you the rest of the story.

There are many reasons to live in a small rural town in the high plains --- the quiet easy lifestyle, plenty of fields just outside of town to run our dogs and decent bird hunting 5 minutes away. However one thing that is disheartening is the livestock approach to pet ownership. It's sad to see dogs penned and chained their entire lives with no chance to run in the fields, play with other dogs or even interact much with their owners.

Sometimes I'm in a position to change some of this and this is my most recent story. Earlier this year a young couple in a ramshackle house on the edge of town decided to breed their two Brittanies most likely for the money. As the 7 pups grew and passed the 8-10 week adoption period my concern began to grow. The pups were exposed to improperly cut, very sharp chicken wire and tied up with steel cable without access to their water bowl at times. This went on during our record heat spell with days well over 100 degrees. I didn't even want to know their diet. At least one pup finally was sold.

When the 4 month period passed 2 of the pups were sold or given to a high school student and promptly showed up across the alley in a pen owned by someone else. At the point things got even worse. More 106 degree days and no water in the afternoon. Barbed wire, electrical cord and old feces throughout the pen. Once in a while the kid showed up to feed and water them but that was it. No walks, no training, no vet visits, no attention. I will never get out of my mind their wishful faces and forlorn cries for attention as they eyed us working in our yard.

So here we were, long time Brittany owners and fosters for ABR with this going on in our back yard. I knew that the pups didn't have much time left and it was time to take action. Diplomacy and consideration of others is always a good starting point. I approached the young couple with the 4 remaining pups and the kid with the 2 pups behind us. I told them of my concern for the pups and if I could help out in any way to let me know. I let them know all about ABR and how we could help. This worked for the young couple and they were happy that they could send the pups on.

These 4 pups went to Melissa Walsh, our regional coordinator, who had to worm them, get them on a good diet and give them some needed attention. She got them on a high quality grain-free diet which was sorely compromised when all 4 pups broke into her garden like a pack of juvenile delinquents and consumed many ears of corn.

The kid with the 2 pups behind me was obviously immature with no apparent empathy for his pups. He just wanted them, a trait I've seen before with people who want control over other living things. My kindly put concern for the pups went no where with him. I got the owner of the property and the chief of police involved. Luckily the chief is a dog person and told me bluntly that no dog was going to die on his watch. He strong armed the kid and I got the pups. Just in time. They went to the vet for worming, overdue shots and everything else we do for new dogs. I knew that we couldn't foster the pups for a multitude of reasons so I drove them to another ABR foster out-of-state.

When we got to the transfer point I put the pups on leashes and walked them around. Charlie, the more curious one, immediately got his head stuck in a Coke machine. I had visions of cutting him out with a reciprocating saw but fortunately I got his head out of there with no apparent damage. And that is my last and favorite memory of the pups that went on to a better life.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Olympic Games Day 7

Watching Women's 3m Springboard and Men's Trampoline this morning.   See the connection?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Olympic Games Day 6

Guess what sport I am watching this afternoon?
Answer here.

Johnny Otis

I know a cat named Way-Out Willie
Got a cool little chick named Rocking Millie
He can walk and stroll and Susie Q
And do that crazy hand jive, too.

Papa told Willie, "You'll ruin my home.
You and that hand jive have got to go."
Willie told Papa, "Don't you put me down.
They're doing that hand jive all around town."

Hand jive, hand jive, hand jive,
Doing that crazy hand jive.

Mama, mama, look at Uncle Joe
Doing the hand jive with sister Flo.
Grandma gave baby sister a dime;
Said, "Do that hand jive one more time."

Well, doctor and a lawyer and an Indian chief,
They all dig that crazy beat.
Way-Out Willie gave them all a treat
When he did that hand jive with his feet*

Hand jive, hand jive, hand jive
Doing that crazy hand jive

Well, Willie and Millie got married last fall
You know, they had a little Willie junior and that ain't all
The baby got famous in his crib you see
Doing that hand jive on T.V.

Hand jive, hand jive, hand jive,
Doing that crazy hand jive.

*Nope, illegal.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Olympic Games Day 5

Watching Handball this morning.

Not this game:

American Handball

But this game:

Team Handball

It's kind of like soccer but with a smaller ball and you use your hands instead of your feet. It's also fast paced and fun to watch.

UPDATE 7:34 PM- Watched Fencing's Men's Individual Epee and Women's Individual Saber semifinals and finals all afternoon. Another great ride and a wonderful sport.