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Sunday, January 15, 2012


It's been an unseasonably warm winter here in little ol' Escondido, California.

(Escondido - "Hidden" in Spanish. We live in a Hidden Valley, thus the name).

Temps have been in the 80's for about a week and a half. It's fooling Mother Nature herself. We have flowers blooming already in the front yard . . . we quite often hear Mockingbirds singing to attract a mate. I think it's gonna be unrequited love as I'm pretty sure the female mockingbirds won't respond until the real spring arrives . . . but, then, I could be wrong. If a guy mockingbird is a good whistler ... you just never know.

A few of the trees have had their leaves blown off by the late summer and early fall winds. I noticed this morning, during Trixie's walk, that a lot of those trees have big clumps of mistletoe. If I were a young, athletic, and enterprising kid, I'd climb those trees with a pair of nippers, shear the mistletoe bunches off and drop them to the ground, then bag them up, put them in a cooler and save them till late November, early December, then put them in cellophane packages and sell them for $2 a bag. I'd make $15,000-$20,000 in one month.

I'd be doing a great favor for the owners of those trees as mistletoe is a parasite. Cutting them off the trees would make the trees healthier. Too many mistletoe, draining the sap of a tree, can kill it. We had mistletoe back in Omaha, where I grew up . . . but nowhere near the volume we have here in California.

But, I'm no longer young and athletic and I don't climb trees much any more. It seems I have grown older and we old folks have no business climbing trees. Besides, I have taken a solemn and sacred vow to avoid anything that closely resembles work.

I write. That is my work. Some might say . . "work? Writing is work?"

Yup. I often work 12-18 hours a day. Writing is not a 9 to 5 job. Granted, some writing jobs, with advertising agencies, newspapers, etc., are 9 to 5. Mine isn't. I sometimes, often, in fact, write at 3, 4, 5 am. When ideas for a story, essay or commentary come to you, you have to write it. Now, lest you forget it come morning, upon awakening.

Not complaining. Not at all. I love to write.

I can't do anything else. I'm all thumbs when it comes to repairing anything. A frozen right shoulder due to arthritis limits what I can do around the house. I'm not interested at all in gardening or yard care. Have lost my desire to travel. We'll be going to New Orleans in June for the International Kiwanis Convention. Love New Orleans! We're got someone to look after Trixie that we really trust, so we should be able to relax and enjoy ourselves. I hate conventions. They bore me. But I'll tolerate one to get a trip to New Orleans.

But to "retire" and travel a lot? Nope. Not for me. But I have no idea what I'd do if I sold the paper . . . or if health issues would interfere with my ability to read and to write. I'd be bored silly. I'm not the type to sit on the front porch rocking chair. I like to raise hell now and then . . . and do.

So, I write. And seeing as how it is now time to bring the current issue of The Paper up to date and get ready for this coming week's issue . . . I bid you adieu.

For now.

I'll be back to pester you later.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spring Awakening

Took in a musical tonight. Well, we stayed till intermission.

A good friend had invited us to see "Spring Awakening, A New Musical," staged by the California Youth Conservatory Theatre at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre, near Escondido.

We've been to the Welk many times before. Almost always enjoyed ourselves.

My good friend has a daughter, a high school junior, in the musical. While I didn't feel like going to a musical or play I didn't want to let my good friend down and I wanted to support his daughter's efforts.

He, Evelyn, and I, all three got quite an education.

The musical, billed as an 8-time Tony Award winning musical, left me cold. Almost shivering, in fact.

We were prepared to accept and understand that there was adult language and an adult theme. I have heard adult language . . . on rare occasions, I may have even used it myself. I have also read books, and seen movies . . . with adult themes. Somehow, I survived. They did post a disclaimer:

ADVISORY: SPRING AWAKENING contains mature themes, sexual situations and strong language. This production is in no way affiliated with or produced by the Welk Theatre and Welk assumes no responsibility for content.

Well, wait a minute. How can Welk assume no responsibility for content? The Welk organization has built an outstanding reputation for presenting family fare, music and plays you would not be ashamed or embarrassed to take your family members to see.
Did anyone from the Welk Organization read the book or the score? If so, I'm surprised they agreed to rent the theatre to the Youth Conservancy. I would think, in order to not tarnish the Welk reputation, they would have repudiated this musical and declined to rent.

In my judgment, and I'm far from being a prude, the musical was totally inappropriate for the venue of The Welk Theatre.

Several of the scenes give pause to a theatre patron:

a. One scene where one of the male actor simulates masturbation. (At least I THINK he was simulating)!
b. Another scene where the male and female lead simulate copulation on the stage (At least I THINK it was simulated)!

The theme of the musical has to do with the "timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers."

Those elite theatre-going folks back east in New York City . . . on Broadway, seem to think this is the cat's pajamas. Rave reviews.

This little ol' farm boy from Nebraska will not give a rave review. Those who know me know I am anything but a prude. The musical might be okay in a proper venue. An avant-garde' theatre, for example. But at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre? Nope. Totally inappropriate.

I would not take a family member of mine to see "Spring Awakening," not even at another venue. Indeed, by intermission Evelyn and I had seen and heard enough. We took leave.

My friend who had invited us, met us as we headed toward the lobby at intermission. He was flabbergasted. "I had no idea this was the theme or dialogue of the show. The only issue I had with my daughter is she was rehearsing for the last three months and I thought that was too much, taking away from her other school work and activities. I never really knew what the musical was about. Now I have to figure out how to address this situation with her." He was clearly uncomfortable.

While I told him we did not care for the musical, it wasn't 'our cup of tea,' we also told him we thought his daughter did an excellent job of singing and dancing, which she did.

Being sophisticated patrons of the arts and used to fine dining . . . we went to IHOP for a late night dinner of Belgian Waffles with two eggs, over medium well, and blueberry syrup. Evelyn had some hash-brown potatoes with scrambled eggs on top.
I believe these food items are what sophisticated theatre patrons order routinely.

So much for my foray into the world of theatre arts. Broadway can keep this one. Not for me, thank you very much.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Telephone Poles

There was a Midwestern phone company that was going to hire one team of telephone

pole installers, and the boss had to choose between a team of two Norwegian guys

and a team of two Irish guys.. So the boss met with both teams and said: "Here's

what we'll do. Each team will be installing poles out on the new road for a day.

The team that installs the most phone poles gets the job."

Both teams headed right out. At end of the shift, Pat and Mike, the Irish guys,

came back and the boss asked them how many they had installed. They said that it

was tough going, but they'd put in twelve.

Forty-five minutes later, Ole and Sven, the Norwegian guys came back in and they

were totally exhausted. The boss asked, "Well, how many poles did you guys


Ole, the team leader wiped his brow and sighed, "Sven and me, we got three in."

The boss gasped, "Three? Those two Irish guys put in twelve!"

"Yeah," said Ole, "but you should see how much they left stickin' out of the


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Evening

Our Kiwanis Club held its second annual "garage sale" yesterday; actually, the sale is on a parking lot adjacent to a heavily traveled street. A local guy donates a storage van and folks are invited to bring in the trash/treasure to be sold, profits going to the Kiwanis General Fund. I signed up for the early shift, 6:30am to 9am, so did Evelyn, but she stayed all morning, not leaving till noon. I left early because I had a meeting with a client and my sales manager. Last I heard, we made about $1,000, perhaps more.

At one point, Kevin Camperell, a local CPA and fellow Kiwanian, was chatting with two Mexican lady shoppers. "See that grey haired fella sitting over there, with the sun glasses? $2." Without batting an eye, the Mexican lady said, "$1." So I had my value set.

However, later in the morning two other Mexican ladies came by and I pointed to myself, saying, "Soy muy baratto . . Cinco dollares!" (I'm a very good bargain, Five dollars). She laughed and said, "I would pay $10." So I multiplied my value 10-fold in the space of a couple hours.

When I got back about 3pm from my client meeting, Evelyn was sound asleep. She slept for about two hours, completely exhausted from the long morning in the hot sun. I learned later she had bought the white easy chair I had been sitting in (for $30. A steal!) . . . but today I found about four or five boxes full of things she just couldn't resist. I told her when we hold the garage sale next year I was going to prohibit her from attending.

Today we went to a Collectibles Show at the Center for the Arts. Not something that really excites me, just went out of curiousity and a possible story for the paper. The only thing I found of interest was a rawhide bullwhip. I fingered it gently and looked at Evelyn and said . . ."Hmm, I just may have a use for this . . ." She glared at me and I put the whip down. Besides, they wanted $30. $15, maybe I would have bought it. For disciplinary reasons, you understand.

Taking Trixie for a walk this morning on the front lawn and looked down to see a tail and some innards from some type of animal. At first I thought the tail was that of a large rat . . but I think now it was more likely an opposum. I'm thinking an owl swooped down and got it . . . but owls, I believe, tend to swallow their prey whole. I've seen them on video swallowing a whole rabbit and a whole opposum.
This animal had been torn apart and eaten . . . something I would think more likely of a hawk or eagle, both of which we have around here.

We thought the owls had left. Evelyn used to hear them screech every evening as soon as it got dark. She'd notice them when she'd walk Trixie. Lately, she has not heard them screech so we figured they had moved on. I haven't checked the pile of owl poop at the base of their house so don't know if it's gotten larger or stayed the same. Given this mornings discovery, perhaps they are still here.

I was taking Trixie for a walk tonight and Evelyn came down the street, returning from shopping at Costco, and turned the corner toward our home. Trixie recognizes her car and the second she saw mommy coming home she belted off after the car to see her mommy. That little pup pulls me like a sled dog. I'm 235 lbs, she's, perhaps, 15 . . . but she can pull me along to where I have to run to keep up with her . . . then I start laughing at what must be a comical sight to the neighbors . . . this little bitty dog pulling this somewhat beefy man in the direction of a dark blue Hyundai . . . with the man laughing. The more I pictured this image, the harder I laughed.

Then, of course, the minute Trixie reaches mommy she sniffs her once or twice and then goes exploring again.

She is smart, that Trixie. She can spell. It's gotten so when I ask Evelyn if we should take "her for a R-I-D-E," she jumps up and twirls round and round; we ain't fooling her. And Heaven help me if I dare say, before Ms. Evelyn is ready, "does Trixie wanna go for a CAR RIDE?" . . . Again, she goes nuts. And Evelyn glares at me cause she hasn't put her face on or combed her hair or changed her shoes. I have learned to keep mum until I know mommy is ready to go, for sure. We just can't get the pup too excited.

Once in the car she settles down on my left thigh and looks out the window, the perfect little lady. She absolutely loves to go for car rides. It's getting so bad I start to feel guilty every time I leave the house and we have to leave her home.

I think Trixie has mommy and daddy trained pretty well.

More tomorrow, perhaps. For now, nighty-night.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Take the Test!

The fact that so few people pass this test is a pure example of how bad our education system is regarding important things. We assume we know a lot about government, but when it comes to pin-pointing what the items are, we slip. I know - its been a long time since some of us studied government.

It takes 70% to pass. The average is 55%. I got 81.82%

Try it yourself: Good luck.

How the Internet Really Began . . .

> How the Internet Really Began
> In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot.
> And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg.
> Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.
> And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?" And Abraham did look at her - as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load - but simply said,
> "How, dear?"
> And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."
> Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. The drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.
> To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures: Hebrew To The People (HTTP).
> But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham's business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted for insider trading.
> And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.
> And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drum heads and drumsticks.
> Lo, Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others!" And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known, he said, "We need a name that reflects what we are." And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." “YAHOO!," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.
> Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).
> And that is how it all began. Honest to God!
> =

The Green Bay Packers . .

After the Packers / Bills game, Buffalo released quarterback Trent Edwards.

During the Packers / Eagles game, the Packers injured Philadelphia quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Philadelphia then had to play backup quarterback Michael Vick.

During a playoff game against the Eagles, the Packers injured Michael Vick and another backup was needed.

After the Packers / Cowboys game, Dallas fired Wade Phillips.

After the Packers / Vikings game, Minnesota fired Brad Childress.

Four weeks after losing to the Packers, the 49er's coach Mike Singletary was fired and replaced.

During the Bears Playoff game, the Packers injured Jay Cutler and backup Todd Collins.
forcing the Bears to go with 3rd string quarterback Caleb Hanie.

Question: Is it just me, or did the Packers create more jobs than Obama last year?