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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where's Charley?

From Mark Evanier's Blog:

One of those hard-to-see (i.e., not currently available on home video) movies is Where's Charley?, the 1952 film version of the Broadway show of the same name. In the film, Ray Bolger reprised his acclaimed performance from the stage version ... and most folks are interested in this number, which is the show's big hit, "Once in Love With Amy." On stage, the song ran much, much longer. During tryouts, Bolger started expanding it ... and he would basically stop the plot and break character to chat with the audience and lead them in a sing-along each night. It became a famous theatrical moment and a lot of folks went to see the show just to see that twenty minutes or so.

The film version, clocking in at around seven, obviously does not replicate that experience but it's all we've got. It's still kinda delightful ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U42jDn8dvA&feature=player_embedded#!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feminist, atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12. The Seattle Times is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.

13. The Paper is read only by extremely beautiful women, exceedingly handsome men, all of whom are brilliant and witty, well educated, flush financially, and successful in all that they say and do.

THE CLASS REUNION

Not the greatest rhyming or metre . . .
but, still, cute. (And accurate!)


Every five years, as summertime nears, an announcement arrives in the mail, a reunion is planned; it'll be really grand; make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met; we tried so hard to impress. we drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars, and wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair; the whole class was there. It was held at a fancy hotel. we wined, and we dined, and we acted refined, and everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first to achieve great fortune and fame. Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses and how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean, now weighed in at one-ninety-six. The jocks who were there had all lost their hair, and the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon; or poor little Jane, who's always been plain; she married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed' was serving ten years in the pen, while the one voted 'least' now was a priest; just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys who seemed to have aged the least.. Another was given to the grad who had driven the farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties. Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini; You never saw so many thighs.

At our next get-together, no one cared whether they impressed their classmates or not. The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal; by this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores; we ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans. Then most of us lay around in the shade, in our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fiftieth year, it was abundantly clear, we were definitely over the hill. Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed, and be home in time for their pill.

And now I can't wait; they've set the date; Our sixtieth is coming, I'm told. It should be a ball, they've rented a hall at the Shady Rest Home for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid; My pacemaker's been turned up on high. My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled; And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

I'm feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party I'm gonna’ dance 'til dawn's early light. It'll be lots of fun; But I just hope that there's one other person who can make it that night.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Diet Control

I had just come out of a deli with a roasted chicken, a meatball sandwich, french fries, and a 12 pack of beer.

A poor homeless man sat on the curb and said to me as I passed by, 'I've not eaten for two days'

I told him 'I wish I had your will power'

Something to think about . . .

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:
Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your private account for your use.

However, this prize has rules, just as any game has certain rules.

The first set of rules would be:
Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.
You may not simply transfer money into some other account. You may only spend it.
Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.

The second set of rules:
The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,

Its over, the game is over!

It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?
You would buy anything and everything you wanted, right?
Not only for yourself, but for all people you love, right?
Even for people you don't know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?
You would try to spend every cent, and use it all, right?

ACTUALLY, this GAME is REALITY!

Each of us is in possession of such a magical bank. We just can't seem to see it.

The MAGICAL BANK is TIME!
Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.

What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost.

Yesterday is forever gone.

Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time....WITHOUT WARNING.

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?

Aren't they worth so much more than the same amount in dollars?

Think about that, and always think of this:
Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!

Here's wishing you a wonderfully beautiful day!

A Message from Brewer . . .

The more I see of Arizona's Governor Brewer, the more impressed I am. Observe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzDlN7VLmXQ&feature=player_embedded

What's Up?

Think about it.


UP


Read until the end.....


This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word Is 'UP.' It is listed in the Dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v]. It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the
Officers UP for Election and why is it UP to the secretary to
Write UP a Report? We call UP our friends,
Brighten UP a room, polish UP the
Silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We
Lock UP the house and Fix UP the old Car.


At other times this little word has real special
Meaning. People stir UP trouble,
Line UP for Tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is
Special.

And this UP is confusing: A Drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We Open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at Night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be Knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary.. In a desk-sized Dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about Thirty definitions If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is
Clouding UP . When the sun comes out
We say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it
Soaks UP the Earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on & on, but I'll wrap It UP, for now ........my time is UP !


Oh....one more thing:
What is the first thing you
Do in the morning & the last thing you do at
Night?

U
P!

Did that one crack you UP?

Don't screw UP. Send this on to everyone you
look UP in your address book..or not...it's UP to you.

Now I'll shut UP

On Identification . . .

I am a legal American citizen and I must show my ID when:
1. Pulled over by the police.
2. Making purchases on my department store credit card.
3. When I show up for a doctor's appointment.
4. When filling out a credit card or loan application.
5. When applying for or renewing a driver's license or passport.
6. When applying for any kind of insurance.
7. When filling out college applications.
8. When donating blood.
9. When obtaining certain prescription drugs.
10. When making some debit purchases, especially if I'm from out of state.
11. When collecting a boarding pass for airline or train travel.

I'm sure there are more instances, but the point is that we citizens of the USA are required to prove who we are nearly every day!

Why should people in this country illegally, be exempt!

Why shouldn't we guard our borders as closely as every other country in the world does?

Go ARIZONA!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On a Sunday Afternoon . . .

Just got home at 3pm, Sunday afternoon.

Took a leisurely drive down to San Diego to pick up Mizz Evelyn who had flown in from Las Vegas where she attended the International Kiwanis Convention. She had a great time, saw Jay Leno, saw Cirque de Soleil, and did some Kiwanis business in between. She also walked her legs off . . . another good reason for me not to have gone. Walking is not a fun thing for me, particularly now with a bum hip.

I was quite content to sit here at my keyboard and turn out reams of copy, to feed the cats, to take the occasional nap, and to actually fix myself some rather tasty meals.

Still, it was good to have Mizz Evelyn back. I find I am much happier when she's here than when she's not.

We stopped on the way home and picked up up her youngest son, Marty, and his girl friend, Trish. They were camping at San Elijo Beach campgrounds and it was Trish's birthday so we took them to lunch at Los Ollas to celebrate. The char broiled fish tacos there are to die for! Great meal, great companionship, lots of laughs, and a great view of the ocean.

Speaking of which, we got off Hiway 5N at Manchester, headed for the Coast Hiway to reach the San Elijo campgrounds and meet up with Marty and Trish. As we rounded a turn and came up on a crest we immediately had a panoramic view of the ocean and the beaches. What a beautiful sight! Aquamarine water, breaking into lovely surf, washing up on the pristine sandy beaches, under a wonderfully warm, not hot, sun. A perfect day in San Diego County.

Life is good. Think I'll stick around awhile.

Now Available . . . Eric Idle

You can now purchase Eric Idle's concert based on The Life of Brian — Not the Messiah — in many forms. DVD's, Blu-Rays and CD's. Soon,we may be able to arrange for Eric to come to your home and sing this little number in your patio.

The CD, by the way, is actually a CD-R, meaning that when you order a copy, they make one up special. There is apparently no mass-distribution CD release so you probably won't find it in your local CD store. That is, assuming you even have a local CD store.

Here's Eric leading us in song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrdEMERq8MA&feature=player_embedded#!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Topless Bar

Steve Martin's Riders and Mail Handling

A popular feature of The Smoking Gun is a library of "riders" — those special contracts in which big (and not-so-big) stars make eccentric demands of any venue in which they perform. Recently, another site uncovered the shocking demands of Steve Martin...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/25/steve-martins-leaked-tour_n_625332.html

While you're at it, check out how Steve Martin handles his mail:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/further-proof-that-steve_n_599963.html

Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Skelton . . .

Red Skelton--from his television show in 1969 WOW! Just think, he said this on his television show in 1969 and really had no clue it would ever come about. What a wonderful and worthwhile clip to watch and share with all your friends and acquaintances!

This is one that needs to be passed on to Everyone.

http://media.causes.com/604250?p_id=42563578

The Horse Whisperer

The girl riding the horse is in her 20's. Her father just died 24 days
before this performance. You can hear her dedication to him just
before her performance so turn up your speakers a bit.

Notice it is just her and the horse - no bit, no saddle. She just uses signals
and verbal cues, she's mute.

Oh yeah, this isn't even her horse. She is training it for someone else, although she obviously has a
relationship with this one.

I don't know how much you know about horseback riding, but when they go fast, her bum isn't even bouncing
off the horse like you will see with most people.

Pretty special.

Four Commercials

Gene Simmons and KISS

I've never been a big Gene Simmons or KISS fan. But they did quite a nice job for the troops in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtdIO23MKM

Turn up the sound and go full screen on the video . . .

What Three Presidents Did . . .

Three Presidents did it, yet we never hear about it

I WONDER WHY IT WAS NEVER BROUGHT UP OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS?

What did Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower have in common?

Back during The Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover ordered the
deportation of ALL illegal aliens in order to make jobs available to
American citizens that desperately needed work.

Harry Truman deported over two million Illegals after WW II
to create jobs for returning veterans.

And then again, in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower deported 13 million
Mexican Nationals! The program was called 'Operation Wetback'. It was
done so WWII and Korean Veterans would have a better chance at jobs.
It took two Years, but they deported them!

Now...if they could deport the illegals back then - they could surely do
it today.

lf you have doubts about the veracity of this information, enter Operation
Wetback into your favorite search engine and confirm it for yourself...

WHY HASN'T CONGRESS INITIATED SUCH AN ACTION THIS TIME?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Fought For You . . .

http://www.sermonspice.com/product/32960/i-fought-for-you

OK, How does he do it?

Driving in China . . .

Not gonna rent a car in China; or a bicycle. In fact, I don't wanna go to China:

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=QESfEd180rQ

You Come Right Down Here!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Baby Panda . . .

This is a red baby panda but the principle is the same: No matter how cute you are, a baby panda is cuter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-O9_Xq8ABM&feature=player_embedded

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

A woman goes to the doctor, beaten black and Blue.

The Doctor naturally inquires, "What has happened to you?”

His patient moans, "Doctor, I don't know what to do. Every time my husband comes home drunk he beats me to a pulp.”

The Doctor declares, "Why that’s absolutely, inexcusably reprehensible! I do though have a truly successful medical solution for such a problem.
When your husband comes home drunk, just take a glass of sweet tea and start swishing it in your mouth. Just swish and swish but don't swallow until he goes to bed and is asleep.”

Two weeks later the woman comes back to the doctor looking fresh and reborn.

She proclaims, "Oh Doctor, your suggestion was such a brilliant idea! Every time my husband came home drunk, I swished my mouth out with sweet tea. I swished and swished and he didn't touch me!"
Nodding his head, the Doctor answers, "You see how much keeping your mouth shut helps?"
A lady was telling her neighbor that she saw a man driving a pick-up truck down the interstate, and a dog was hanging onto the tailgate for dear life! She said if the pick-up truck driver hadn't been going so fast in the other direction, she would have tried to stop him.

A few weeks later, her neighbor saw this truck at the local Bass Pro Shop. The pick-up truck driver is a local TEXAS taxidermist with a great sense of humor! Taxidermists are a twisted lot anyway!

And it is not a dog in the first place; it is a Coyote.

Can you imagine how many people tried to stop this guy?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fair Oaks Farms

A little less than a year ago, someone sent me an email about Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. I watched the video and was absolutely amazed!

Here is this phenomenally beautiful dairy farm of 17,000 meticulously groomed acres that has 30,000 cows that are milked three times a day, that actually turns out to be about 80,000 milkings per day, and that turns out 4 million glasses of milk a day!

Immensely impressed, I called good friend, Arie de Jong, the highly successful dairy farmer who owned and operated Hollandia Dairies locally for years, before selling his business several years ago.

"Arie," I said, breathlessly, "you've just go to go to this website and read all about this dairy. It's right up your alley, Arie. With your years of dairy experience, you're gonna love this story, and this place."

"Lyle," Arie says, "I own that dairy."

Yikes!

I knew Arie was successful but this is beyond successful. This is like the Disneyland of Dairies (yes, they DO have a theme park there as well).

Good friend, long time client and columnist, occasional reviewer of restaurants and entertainment venues, Paul Van Middlesworth, is going back to Indiana on a business trip. I twisted his rather hefty arm and persuaded him to represent The Paper as a correspondent. His assignment? Visit Fair Oaks Dairy, capture the atmosphere, get the facts, get pictures, interview people, staff, visitors, the whole magilla - and then write a story about it. It will likely be a cover story in the near future.

Today I went back to the website and roamed around. As I read all about it and saw all the pictures I said to Evelyn, "Wow! I almost wish it was me going back there to do the story instead of Paul. Sounds like an exciting story to see and write about."

But Paul will have a wonderful time and write a crackerjack story about it.

One example of the many stories you'll find at Fair Oaks is this video of a cow giving birth. (The Birthing Barn is open to the public as part of the tour. About 80 calves are born every day). It appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs." Evelyn and I watched it and were were delighted with the learning session. (I come from farm country (Minnesota and Nebraska) and farm people and had never seen a calf being born).

Watch:

http://fofarms.com/news/birthing_a_cow.php

Also, take the time to visit the website of Fair Oaks. It's brilliantly done (Arie never does anything halfway. He always does things first class). Here's the website address:

www.FOFarms.com

You are in for a treat! If you ever get a chance to get back to the midwest . . . this has become a "Must See!"

lyle

A Short Story . . .

A Cow, an Ant and an Old Fart


A Cow, an Ant and an Old Fart are debating on who is the greatest of the three of them.

The Cow: I give 50 litres of milk every day and that's why I am the greatest!!

The Ant: I work day and night, summer and winter, I can carry 52 times my own weight and that's why I am the greatest!!




































Why are you scrolling down? It's your turn to say something...

Saying Goodbye to an old friend . . .

I remember Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. I sat there with my dad in the 1950's and watched Buddy Holly and the Crickets perform before an Omaha Royals professional baseball game.

Here is a very well written summary of Rosenblatt Stadium, the College World Series and this here game of . . . baseball:

By Steven Pivovar
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Skip Bertman felt the first hint of a wind of change on a June evening in 1991.
Bertman had been coming to the College World Series since 1977, first as an assistant coach with Miami and then as Louisiana State's coach. When he returned in 1991, he remembered thinking how the event hadn't changed all that much since his first trip to Rosenblatt Stadium.

But as he sat in the stands that June night, watching Creighton and Wichita State battle it out in what would become an instant classic, Bertman sensed something different.

When Wichita State center fielder Jim Audley threw out the tying run at home in the 12th inning, “the stadium shook,'' Bertman said. “I had never felt anything like that before in Omaha.''

Bertman's team left town that year with a national championship. He left with the feeling that the CWS was on the brink of bigger and better things.

Bertman returned to win four more titles. Each time, the crowds were larger, the excitement more intense, the atmosphere in and around the stadium more festive. Once Omaha's quaint little baseball tournament, the CWS has evolved during the past two decades into a sporting event of national significance.

But growth can come at a cost.

In this case, it would be the stadium that has served as its home for 60 years.

In 1950, Omaha's stadium was new. Now it is creaky. It lacks modern touches like open concourses and wide aisles and seats. It sits mostly empty for much of the year.

But none of that touches on the real reason that the 2010 CWS will be the last at Rosenblatt. Here's the real reason: The event that the grand old stadium nurtured to maturity ended up eating Rosenblatt.

It's easy to forget that the CWS wasn't always one of the NCAA's headlining events. In 1950, when the tournament was looking for a home and found it in a grand stadium in Omaha, the CWS was a balance sheet loser.

Now it's part of the tournament that produces more revenue for the NCAA than any except the men's basketball tournament.

And for all those saddened by the CWS' move in 2011 to Omaha's new $128 million stadium downtown, a question must be asked: Wouldn't it be sadder if there were no need to move?

“This is being done for all the right reasons,'' said Mike Fahey, who was mayor when the decision was made to build downtown rather than renovate Rosenblatt again. “The people of Omaha and the surrounding areas have helped make the series what it is today.

“If it weren't for them and the Diesings and all the other volunteers, this thing might not be in the city of Omaha, and it might not be the success it is. And we might not have been in position to secure the series for an extended period.''

That was the tradeoff. In exchange for a new home, the NCAA has agreed to keep the CWS in Omaha for the next 25 years. And if the price to be paid is Rosenblatt's demise, Texas coach Augie Garrido said, so be it.

Garrido, like many of his peers, loves Rosenblatt. He played there in 1959. He's won five national championships there. He'll come back this year, even though his team did not qualify, to say goodbye to an old friend.

“But this event is not just about the facility,'' Garrido said. “If you're a sports fan, you need to attend the College World Series because of the festival that it is. It's right up there with the Kentucky Derby or anything else you can name. It's pretty damn special.

“And the fact that it is staying in Omaha for a long time overshadows the loss of Rosenblatt. That's the saving grace in this. We'll all shed a tear for Rosenblatt, because it has meant so much to so many. But at the end of the day, we can be happy because we'll still be coming to Omaha.''

When Garrido played here with Fresno State, the CWS drew 33,607 fans, an average of 3,361 for its 10 sessions. By 1967, when Mark Marquess made his first trip here with Stanford, attendance had jumped to 63,906, a figure that had local organizers giddy.

The CWS drew 260,091 in 2003, when Marquess' team played for a national championship. Attendance cracked the 300,000 mark in 2006, and last year's CWS drew a record 336,076.

Such numbers boggle the mind of Marquess, who has made 15 trips to Omaha as a player and coach.

“The event has really taken off since I played there,'' he said. “Back then, you hoped it would someday become the event that it has, but I think that was more a dream than anything.

“What's happening in Omaha reflects what's happening everywhere else. The college game has never been healthier. People are building million-dollar stadiums all over the country. We're getting more exposure than we ever have.''

Marquess said he will miss Rosenblatt, but he points out that the stadium today is much different from the one in which he played in 1967. Omaha has pumped millions of dollars into renovating the facility. Its seating capacity has been expanded from about 13,000 in 1967 to more than 23,000 today.

Omaha's new stadium will seat more than 24,000. It will have wide concourses and easily accessible concession stands. The seats will be more spacious, the aisles more navigable.

It will provide a bright and sparkling future home for the event that basically outgrew a stadium that has served it so well for six decades.

“When you want to take an event to the next level, sometimes the bricks and mortar get in the way,'' Fahey said. “That's kind of what happened here.''

One of Bertman's final projects at LSU before he retired as athletic director was overseeing the construction of a new baseball stadium. Tiger fans loved Alex Box Stadium, but like Rosenblatt, it was cramped and creaky.

LSU just finished playing its second season at the new Box Stadium, a state-of-the-art, 10,000-seat facility with all the amenities that make a fan's visit pleasurable.

“When I go to games there now, I've never had anyone come up to me and say, ‘I miss the old Box,''' Bertman said. “They'll come up and say, ‘Hey, remember when we beat USC?' or remember when we did this or that.

“I think the same thing is going to happen with Rosenblatt. They're going to enjoy the new stadium, and they'll make new memories there. Memories aren't about wood and steel. And the thing is, they'll get to make those memories in seats that are a little wider.''

Contact the writer: 679-2298, steve.pivovar@owh.com

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let's See You Figure This One Out!

Dogs are the absolute best!

The pics with the babies and big dogs will make you laugh out loud!
Great stuff:

http://www.dogwork.com/feeling/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flying Eagles

Let's Go Fishin'

Computer Smarts

I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Richard, the 11 year old next door whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over.

Richard clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong?



He replied, 'It was an ID ten T error.' I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, 'An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Richard grinned. 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before ?"

"No." I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote down: I D 1 0 T

I used to like the little shit.

Wow! And Such a Little Pup!

The Robotic Dog

http://www.tvkim.com/watch/229/kims-picks-meet-the-littledog-robot

Gotcha!

The Tango!

Keeping a Straight Face . . .

I'm not much good at keeping a straight face.

I can think of all kinds of gags and jokes to play on someone . . . but then I give it away because I think how funny it's going to be and I start to smile . . . and then chuckling . . . and then downright laughing.

Happened today at lunch. I was trying to pull Evelyn's leg and, sure enough, I started to smile . . . and she saw right away that I was up to no good . . . the more she became aware, the funnier I found it . . . and I broke out laughing.

Reminded me of the time Bill Lamb and his wife, Barbara, came out from Hamburg, Iowa to visit us. We, my ex-wife, Mary, and I, picked them up at the airport and I decided to have some fun with them.

"Wow! It's great to see you guys! You look great!

Listen, we'll take a little sightseeing tour and head up the coast. It works out fine for us because, you see, Mary and I belong to this Hare Krishna Ashram in La Jolla, and we'll stop in there and introduce you around. It's a fascinating culture that I'm sure you'll just love. Oh, it's a bit different from Iowa . . . but great.

What we do, see, is when we get to the Ashram, we all take all of our clothes off and then enter the bathing pool . . . then, before we put our clothes back on, we all join in a circle and dance around a table laden with fruit and vegetables. We clap our hands and sing a mantra . . . just anything that comes into your minds. That's fine. It's the free flowing spirit, y'see."


At least that's how it was supposed to play out.

I got as far as describing the taking off of all our clothes and entering the bathing pool and I made the mistake of looking in the rear view mirror and I saw Bill looking at Barb with this quizzical, look of consternation, and I knew he was wondering . . ."what in the hell have we gotten ourselves into?"

And that was when I lost it and started laughing. A great gag and I couldn't pull it off.

Such is the difficult life I lead. Or led.

Naturally, I'm much more mature now.

I would never tell a tall tale like that today.

'Did I happen to ever tell you about how I went through Viking training while visiting in Norway . . . .?"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cheyenne

CHEYENNE
By Catherine Moore

'Watch out! You nearly broadsided that car!' My father yelled at me. 'Can't you do anything right?' Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

'I saw the car, Dad.. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.' My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then, turned away and settled back. At home, I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day, I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned and then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon, I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session, he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day, I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, 'I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.' I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one, but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen, a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. 'Can you tell me about him?' The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement..

'He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him; that was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.' He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in, I turned to the man in horror. 'You mean you're going to kill him?'

'Ma'am,' he said gently, 'that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog.'

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. 'I'll take him,' I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

'Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!' I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. 'If I had wanted a dog, I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it' Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

'You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!' Dad ignored me.. 'Did you hear me, Dad?' I screamed. At those words, Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when, suddenly, the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him.. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.. Then, Dad was on his knees, hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together, he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then, late one night, I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe, and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later, my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned, overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And, then, the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.'

'I've often thanked God for sending that angel,' he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article.

Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter, his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father, and the proximity of their deaths. And, suddenly, I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly, and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.

And if you don't send this to at least 4 people - who cares? But do share this with someone... Lost time can never be found.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday Musings

That fella, Allen Jones, better be careful. He's about to lose a wager.

Evelyn and I finally got off our duffs and joined a gym. Two weeks and I've lost 1.5 lbs. Evelyn, the big show-off, has lost 3 lbs.

Allen suggested a wager where we compare torsos in one year when we meet for the 55th reunion. He who has lost the most proportional weight wins. I don't remember what the prize was, or is, but I'm gonna win it! Jes' you wait and see!

Unfortunately, there are side effects to working out. You tend to pull muscles. I pulled a flexor muscle in my left hip and am having a bit of trouble walking without looking like Walter Brennan in "The Real McCoys." Had some chiropractic adjustments and he told me to lay off leg exercises for about a week to give the muscle a chance, and time, to heal. That means not as much cardio exercise as I would like. Today, I got a little overambitious and put too much weight on a couple of machines and strained my right latissmus. It's a minor pull and will go away. We shall keep plugging away.

My contemporaries are passing away. My younger brother about three weeks ago, my former secretary Kay, last Saturday, and now I'm going to have to let one of my drivers go because she's so damned sick she doubles over in pain and she's looney from her medication; plus, her driver's license has expired. I can't have her out driving around for my company with an expired license, loaded up on medication, and not thinking straight. She could hit some little kid and kill or badly injure him . . . or even property damage . . . and the snaggletoothed lawyers would be looking at evelyn and me with great big, greedy grins.

Even Troy, my art director, is at death's door. He has a urinary tract infection, a middle ear infection, and some type of throat infection. So, I've had to call in another graphics person and told Troy to drink lots of liquids and cover himself with lots of blankets.

So . . . time for evelyn and me to try and get back into shape.

Rather daunting to see some of these gym rats (mostly women) running the ellipticals full speed for 20 minutes at a time, or running on the treadmill for up to an hour. I'm trying to make it to five minutes . . . but I'll get there. Eventually.

A week from Thursday evelyn will leave me for four days and attend the international Kiwanis Convention in Las Vegas. I'm not going. I didn't lose anything in Vegas, don't like it, don't like the heavy heat . . . don't like to gamble and the food is way too tempting.

The featured speaker is Colin Powell, whom I admire a great deal . . . but not enough to go to Vegas. Jay Leno's show is sold out; not sure if evelyn has tickets or not. I'm sure she'll have a good time. She likes conventions and banquets and all. I hate 'em.

A mostly relaxing Sunday today. Just got back from our workout . . . just have things to write and assemble. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And now . . . back to work!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Flowery Story . . .

Two friars are having trouble paying off the belfry, so they open a florist shop. Everyone wants to buy flowers from the men of God so business is quickly booming.

The florist across town sees a huge drop in sales and asks the two friars to close their shop, but they refuse. A month later the florist begs the friars to close because he's having trouble feeding his family.

Again, they refuse, so the florist hires Hugh McTaggert. Hugh is the roughest, toughest thug in town and is hired to "persuade" the friars to close. Hugh asks the friars to close their florist shop. When they refuse, he threatens to beat the crap out of them and wreck their shop every day they remain open, so they close.


This proves once again that Hugh and only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Shall We Dance?

One Person's View of the Mide East . . .

A bit long, but fascinating discussion of the mid-East - Israel/Gaza/Turkey

Volume 6 - Special Edition
June 3, 2010

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion
By George Friedman


This week, we've seen a barrage of news and opinion pieces on Israel's attack on the Turkish aid flotilla headed for the Gaza strip. In the midst of myriad media discussions concerning the moral and strategic angles, my friend George Friedman from STRATFOR brings up an interesting point: "[The Israelis] seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard?"

George puts the entire situation into the perspective of a war of public perception, which gives us a much more accurate idea of what may come of all of this. Give his article a read, and then join STRATFOR's free email list to receive more intelligence of this sort--they will keep you in the know like no one else can.

John Mauldin
Editor, Outside the Box






Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion


May 31, 2010

By George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation's planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The 'Exodus' Scenario
In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called "Exodus." Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British - who controlled Palestine, as it was then known - maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews - mostly children - from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn't particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn't exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics' wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists' ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine - to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue - shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza
The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel's increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel
It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel's enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States - by far the most important in the equation - might shift to a "plague-on-both-your-houses" position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel's isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla's narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel's enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel's public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.


John F. Mauldin
johnmauldin@investorsinsight.com

Jimmy Dean Dies at age 81

Singer, sausage businessman Jimmy Dean dies at 81

By DENA POTTER (AP) – 1 hour ago

RICHMOND, Va. — Jimmy Dean, a country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand, died on Sunday. He was 81.

His wife, Donna Meade Dean, said her husband died at their Henrico County, Va., home.

She told The Associated Press that he had some health problems but was still functioning well, so his death came as a shock. She said he was eating in front of the television. She left the room for a time and came back and he was unresponsive. She said he was pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m.

"He was amazing," she said. "He had a lot of talents."

Born in 1928, Dean was raised in poverty in Plainview, Texas, and dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. He went on to a successful entertainment career in the 1950s and '60s that included the nationally televised "The Jimmy Dean Show."

In 1969, Dean went into the sausage business, starting the Jimmy Dean Meat Co. in his hometown. He sold the company to Sara Lee Corp. in 1984.

Dean lived in semiretirement with his wife, who is a songwriter and recording artist, on their 200-acre estate just outside Richmond, where he enjoyed investing, boating and watching the sun set over the James River.

In 2009 a fire gutted their home, but his Grammy for "Big Bad John," a puppet made by Muppets creator Jim Henson, a clock that had belonged to Prince Charles and Princess Diana and other valuables were saved. Lost were a collection of celebrity-autographed books, posters of Dean with Elvis Presley and other prized possessions.

Donna Meade Dean said the couple had just moved back into their reconstructed home.

With his drawled wisecracks and quick wit, Dean charmed many fans. But in both entertainment and business circles, he was also known for his tough hide. He fired bandmate Roy Clark, who went onto "Hee Haw" fame, for showing up late for gigs.

More recently, a scrap with Sara Lee led to national headlines.

The Chicago-based company let him go as spokesman in 2003, inciting Dean's wrath. He issued a statement titled "Somebody doesn't like Sara Lee," claiming he was dumped because he got old.

"The company told me that they were trying to attract the younger housewife, and they didn't think I was the one to do that," Dean told The Associated Press in January 2004. "I think it's the dumbest thing. But you know, what do I know?"

Sara Lee has said that it chose not to renew Dean's contract because the "brand was going in a new direction" that demanded a shift in marketing.

Dean grew up in a musical household. His mother showed him how to play his first chord on the piano. His father, who left the family, was a songwriter and singer. Dean taught himself to play the accordion and the harmonica.

His start in the music business came as an accordionist at a tavern near Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., where he was stationed in the 1940s. After leaving the Air Force in 1948, he fronted his band, the Texas Wildcats, and drew a strong local following through appearances on Washington-area radio.

By the early 1950s, Dean's band had its first national hit in "Bummin' Around."

"Big Bad John," which is about a coal miner who saves fellow workers when a mine roof collapses, became a big hit in 1961 and won a Grammy. The star wrote it in less than two hours.

His fame led him to a string of television shows, including "The Jimmy Dean Show" on CBS. Dean's last big TV stint was ABC's version of "The Jimmy Dean Show" from 1963 to 1966.

Dean in February was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was to be inducted in October and his wife said she thinks he was looking forward to it.

Dean became a headliner at venues like Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and became the first country star to play on the Las Vegas strip. He was the first guest host on "The Tonight Show," and also was an actor with parts in television and the movies, including the role of James Bond's ally Willard Whyte in the 1971 film "Diamonds Are Forever."

Besides his wife, Dean is survived by three children and two grandchildren, Donna Meade Dean said. Arrangements have not be made, but it will be a private service, she said.

In the late '60s, Dean entered the hog business — something he knew well. His family had butchered hogs, with the young Dean whacking them over the head with the blunt end of an ax. The Dean brothers — Jimmy and Don — ground the meat and their mother seasoned it.

The Jimmy Dean Meat Co. opened with a plant in Plainview. After six months, the company was profitable.

His fortune was estimated at $75 million in the early '90s.

Having watched other stars fritter away their fortunes, Dean said he learned to be careful with his money.

"I've seen so many people in this business that made a fortune," he told the AP. "They get old and broke and can't make any money. ... I tell you something, ... no one's going to play a benefit for Jimmy Dean."

Dean said then that he was at peace at his estate and that he had picked a spot near the river where he wanted to be buried.

"It's the sweetest piece of property in the world, we think," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "It sure is peaceful here."

AP Entertainment Writer Chris Talbott in Nashville contributed to this report.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Let's Meet at the Coffee House . . .

This is my lucky day . . .

I'd rather be lucky than good . . .

http://www.flixxy.com/lucky-day.htm
A fascinating post from Greg Evanier's blog (newsfrome.com)

This is video of an astounding segment from one of those "World's Wildest Police Video Car Chase" thingies...or at least, I think it's astounding. It might just be astounding editing.

I briefly (very briefly) got hooked on TiVoing and watching these shows a few years ago until it hit me how utterly phony they were with their editing and especially their audio. This is supposed to be a "reality" show but I wonder how many viewers understood that every bit of the audio — narration, sirens, crashes, squealing tires, gunshots, etc. — was created in a studio somewhere long after the event. Even the words of the on-the-scene helicopter reporter were written and recorded later. (On the series this clip was taken from, they'd show a car chase in Miami and follow it with a car chase in Portland...and it would be the same reporter's voice. Betcha some folks never noticed.)

Once you're conscious of how the audio is unreal, it gets you naturally to wondering about the video. How honestly did they chop a much longer chase down to four minutes?

I'm not sure why anyone (myself included) watched this show. There's something compelling about following a live car chase on live TV. No one, but no one knows what's going to happen and no one's manipulating what you're seeing and you're as much a participant as anyone watching. But I think one of the reasons that certain kinds of "reality" shows like the one that aired this clip have died out is that viewers finally began to feel like they weren't getting reality. Does this clip show us something that really occurred? Probably to some extent but between the editing and the bogus audio, it might as well be fiction. And as fiction, it's too impersonal to be interesting...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3NKlzZmgl0&feature=player_embedded

Why everyone should have a dog . . .

Huskers Moving to the Big 10

Here's a commentary on this move from good friend, Don Stuhldreir, a fellow classmate of mine from Omaha's Benson High School. Don now lives in Maine:

It's a light day in the mailbox, so let's talk about Husker Football. By now everyone probably knows that NU is leaving the Big 12 (pending approval), but it hasn't been determined when they will begin play in their new Conference, the Big Ten. The Big Ten conference officials stated that before a school was invited to join them, they had to academically compatible. An economics Professor at Smith College stated yesterday that if that was really true, they would not be inviting Nebraska, whose academics didn't compare to a Michigan, or Ohio State. Excuse me? What University has had the most Academic All-Americans, and with a fairly large lead over 2nd Place Notre Dame? Oh yeah! It's Nebraska! NU is also considered one of the premier research schools in the country. And they are moving to the Big Ten conference, that has had 11 teams for several years, since they added Penn State. If they can't count they should change their name to the Big "?" Conference.
5 of the 6 Schools in the South Division of the Big 12, are considering a move to the Pac 10. Colorado has already made that move, so it appears that in a year or two, the Big 12 will be a thing of the past. New border wars with Iowa, and Minnesota, are in the foreseeable future. If, and when, my wife and I move back to our home in Ohio, we will be fairly close to both Ohio State, and Michigan Universities, so if tickets are available, look for us on TV at the Big House (Michigan) or the Horseshoe (Ohio State). We'll be wearing RED!
Oh CRAP! I just remembered. My wife was born and raised in Indiana, who is also a member of the Big Ten, or Eleven, or Something. To make matters worse, Indiana's colors are Red and White.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Kay Passed Away at 7 this Morning . . ."

"Kay passed away at 7 this morning . . ."

That's the message I got from Scott, my eldest son, who called me, in tears, at about noon today.

The Kay he was referring to was Kay Calland, one of the most beautiful, most caring, most loving women I have ever known.

I knew she was under hospice care but, even so, it came as a shock.

I asked Scott how mom was doing. "She's a basket case," he wept.

"I'll be right over," I said.

In 10 minutes I was at the home of my ex-wife, Mary. She and Scott and I held each other and had a good cry. We were all hurting . . . all feeling the same sense of loss at Kay's passing.

Even after our divorce, Kay and Mary had remained good friends, talking on the phone daily. Kay would often call me as well . . . and she always sent a birthday card a day or two before my birthday. Mary would keep me posted on Kay's condition . . . for Mary and I had also remained very close friends, in spite of the divorce.

The three of us all had a good cry . . . and a few laughs, and then we'd cry some more. We remembered the happy times with Kay . . . how she could cheer each of us up so easily. We recalled how she never spoke ill of anyone. Not one single soul did I ever hear Kay speak badly about.

I was privileged to have had Kay as my secretary when I managed KOWN Radio in Escondido, California from 1970-1977.

Kay was that rare breed of person who always thought positive, always spoke positive, was always bright, bubbly, always smiling . . . and never complained. She should have had her own Public Relations Agency, she was that good at making people feel great.

On those rare occasions when I would come into the office with my Mr. Grumpy Face on . . . perhaps I had a squabble with my wife that morning . . . perhaps someone cut me off at an intersection . . or for whatever reason, if I was in a bad mood, Kay would fix that right quick. She'd have a cup of coffee on my desk, and chat with me. Within five minutes everything was all better and she had me smiling, if not laughing.

After I left KOWN, Kay and stayed in touch. Ours was much more than an employer/employee relationship. She was my friend. My dear friend. We were pals. Close pals.

Kay developed severe rheumatoid arthritis and it got progressively worse over the years. More and more pain, more and more her body became contorted. In all the years she suffered from this painful malady I never heard her complain. Not once.

For the past year she was on a morphine drip. She didn't make a big deal about it. It was simply a medical procedure. When I'd ask her how she was feeling she'd say . . . "I'm doing just fine. I have some good days and some bad days, but today's a good day." She would say that, of course, even if she was having a bad day.

Because I knew how much pain she was in I didn't call her as often as I would like to have. I didn't want to be a burden to her . . . calling her on one of her bad days . . . and I knew she would never tell me if she was having a bad day.

Her loving and caring husband, Gary, took care of Kay all those years. Sometimes, Mary would come over and spend a couple of days with Kay so Gary could get a break and get away from being the constant caregiver. There is an immense amount of pressure on a caregiver, often more than that of the patient. And Gary never once complained. Kay was his wife and he was going to take care of her and that was that. And he did. Magnificently.

So, there are a lot of us that knew and loved Kay who are a bit down in the dumps now. Of course we are all relieved that Kay no longer has to suffer the tormenting pain she endured - but still, we know we had someone very precious in our lives, that each of us is richer for it . . . and we also know she's no longer with us.

That's what hurts.

"Kay passed away at 7 this morning . . ."

Student explains budget cuts ONLY 1 MIN 38 SEC.

Everyone needs to understand this. This is not political, per se, but is the best illustration of economics I have seen as to what we can, and cannot, cut from the national budget, and how to illustrate the significance of what is proposed.

A college student "explains our Federal Budget" and the portion that must be borrowed in simple terms for everyone, plus his visual aid example easily demonstrates the $100 million cut that the President promised as savings.

Click on this link and be amazed. Watch it twice to enjoy the simplicity. When they say "Do the Math" most people are clueless. Then decide if it is time to write and call your Senator for a stop to deficit spending.

http://www.wimp.com/budgetcuts/

Buying American Pie . . .

Ave Maria

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Glimpse of History

The last line is very scary. How much is taught to our young people?


Return to Tarawa/Ex-Marines chase phantoms at battle site

TOM HENNESSY Knight-Ridder Newspapers
SUN HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Section A, Page 35, 2 STAR Edition

BETIO, Republic of Kiribati - The chartered plane, a British Aerospace 748, rumbled toward the island with determination, as if on a bombing run. Inside the cabin, gray-haired men peered through the windows at a lagoon. It was lime-colored on this Friday afternoon in November. But they remembered a time, 66 years ago, when it was pink with the blood of their Marine buddies. The men on the plane were survivors; returning to a place that meant terror and sorrow in the dark autumn of 1943.

Returning to Tarawa.

There were 27 of them aboard the plane. They came to this atoll 6,000 miles from California to dedicate a monument. And to chase phantoms.

"Buddies told me if I went back to Tarawa, I should watch for ghosts," said Pat Didlake of Glendora, Miss. "You might even see yourself there," they said. "In a way, a lot of us do think we're still there. There aren't too many days when you don't think about Tarawa."

Most of them were 18 and 19 when they fought at Tarawa, then part of the Gilbert Islands and now belonging to the nine-year-old nation of Kiribati.

Today, the Marines of Tarawa are grandfathers, several of whom brought their wives to see the place that made headlines in 1943.

"The wives are looking for a lot of answers," said Dorothy Pavel of Captiva Island, Fla. "Over the years, every wife I've talked to - their husbands have gone through the same thing - nightmares, screaming at night."

The battle was a 76-hour hell, the first American amphibious assault on a heavily fortified island. During it, 1,113 Marines were killed, 2,290 wounded. Of the 4,832 Japanese defenders, only 17 survived.

The trip to Tarawa was arranged by Bob Reynolds, whose Sausalito, Calif., travel agency, Valor Tours, has returned nearly 5,000 veterans to World War II battlegrounds, to places of sometimes terrifying memory. For almost all of them, said Reynolds, the trips are therapeutic.

"After them, we find wives and sons and daughters are hearing Dad speak (about combat) for the first time. For the (postwar) years, these guys were silent, inarticulate. `Dad doesn't talk about the war."'

At first, the Marines showed little emotion at seeing their old battleground, mostly because they did not recognize it.

When they left 65 years ago, Betio, the two-mile coral strand on which the battle took place, was an island with no native population, no structures save for Japanese bunkers, and no vegetation, all of the latter having been destroyed by shell fire.

But Betio (pronounced BESS-i-o) is now a lush island home for about 9,000 natives, which makes it something of a metropolis by Pacific Island standards.

"This is just not the same island we landed on 66 years ago," said Pete Pavel.

As the Sunday monument dedication ceremony concluded with a floral wreath thrown into the sea and the playing of taps, 66 years suddenly collapsed for the visiting Marines. Many wept openly for fallen friends, for their own youth lost to war, for years of nightmares and pain.

"As I looked out on the water, I did not see the wreath," said Paul Du Pre, a retired Marine colonel from Port Hueneme, Calif. "Instead, my mind's eye saw the floating bodies of my friends, the floating bodies I had seen in that very same area 60 years ago."

Before leaving, the survivors sought out the places on Betio that held the poignant individual memories.

Carroll Strider of Tryon, N.C., found the beach designated "Red Beach 3" during the invasion. "That's where I landed in the second wave. I started remembering that day and looked for where we went inland. And what I saw instead were houses and little children and families."

John Downing of Long Beach, Calif., waded into the Tarawa 's lagoon, looking for his tank. The last time he saw it, on Nov. 20, 1943, it was tumbling from a bombed landing craft and plunging, upside down, into the sea. After an afternoon's search, Downing failed to locate it, but did find a wrecked tank that belonged to his battalion.

Angelo Pace of Riverside, Calif., strolled the beach where he had been wounded and was stopped by a native offering a gift, a canteen. The man obviously had saved the war relic for years. "But when he put it in my hands," says Pace, "I immediately felt hostile. I couldn't accept it. It was a Japanese canteen."

On a plane taking the Marines back to the United States, a flight attendant in her early 20s sat down beside a passenger. She was curious about the group of gray-haired men on board.

"They are Marines," she was told. "They fought at the Battle of Tarawa in 1943 at other battles in World War II."

"Who were they fighting?"

"The Japanese."

She weighed that information momentarily, then asked: "Who won?"

Sniper Rifle Ricochet

Read below prior to watching the video

Turn the sound up... you can hear
the bullet head back. Watch in full screen to see it better. This is a very, very lucky sportsman.

The guy is shooting a 50 CAL Sniper rifle. Watch the dust when he fires...
the target, a steel plate, was 1000 yards away. You can hear the ping
of the hit, and then the bullet ricochets back and hits his earmuffs.

The footage is amazing. You can hear the bullet as it tumbles through the air on its course back toward the shooter.

He's lucky it hit the dirt first. He is okay, and obviously very lucky.

The bullet grazed his temple. What a difference a half an inch makes!

Sniper Rifle Ricochet

Read below prior to watching the video

Turn the sound up... you can hear
the bullet head back. Watch in full screen to see it better. This is a very, very lucky sportsman.

The guy is shooting a 50 CAL Sniper rifle. Watch the dust when he fires...
the target, a steel plate, was 1000 yards away. You can hear the ping
of the hit, and then the bullet ricochets back and hits his earmuffs.

The footage is amazing. You can hear the bullet as it tumbles through the air on its course back toward the shooter.

He's lucky it hit the dirt first. He is okay, and obviously very lucky.

The bullet grazed his temple. What a difference a half an inch makes!

BP Spills Again . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM&feature=player_embedded#!

Enough With Stupid Names!

Federal Judge: Enough With the Stupid Names
Posted on March 2, 2008 by thepeoplesnews

By Bill Matthews


After Judge Cabrera’s historic ruling, little Clitoria Jackson will likely undergo a name change.

(DETROIT) In a decision that’s expected to send shockwaves through the African-American community—and yet, give much relief to teachers everywhere—a federal judge ruled today that black women no longer have independent naming rights for their children. Too many black children—and many adults—bear names that border on not even being words, he said.

“I am simply tired of these ridiculous names black women are giving their children,” said U.S. Federal Judge Ryan Cabrera before rendering his decision. “Someone had to put a stop to it.”

The rule applies to all black women, but Cabrera singled out impoverished mothers.

“They are the worst perpetrators,” he said. “They put in apostrophes where none are needed. They think a ‘Q’ is a must. There was a time when Shaniqua and Tawanda were names you dreaded. Now, if you’re a black girl, you hope you get a name as sensible as one of those.”

Few stepped forward to defend black women—and black women themselves seemed relieved.

“It’s so hard to keep coming up with something unique,” said Uneeqqi Jenkins, 22, an African-American mother of seven who survives on public assistance. Her children are named Daryl, Q’Antity, Uhlleejsha, Cray-Ig, Fellisittee, Tay’Sh’awn and Day’Shawndra.

Beginning in one week, at least three white people must agree with the name before a black mother can name her child.

“Hopefully we can see a lot more black children with sensible names like Jake and Connor,” Cabrera said.

His ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by a 13-year-old girl whose mother created her name using Incan hieroglyphics.

“She said it would make me stand out,” said the girl, whose name can’t be reproduced by The Peoples News’ technology. “But it’s really just stupid.”

The National Association of Elementary School Teachers celebrated Cabrera’s decision.

“Oh my God, the first day of school you’d be standing there sweating, looking at the list of names wondering ‘How do I pronounce Q’J’Q’Sha.’?” said Joyce Harmon, NAEST spokeswoman. “Is this even English?”

The practice of giving black children outlandish names began in the 1960s, when blacks were getting in touch with their African roots, said historian Corlione Vest. But even he admits it got out of hand.

“I have a niece who’s six. I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even pronounce her name,” said Vest, a professor at Princeton University. “Whenever I want to talk to her, I just wait until she looks at me and then I wave her over.”

Cabrera’s ruling exempted black men because so few of them are actually involved in their children’s lives.

Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The Peoples News. It’s not real, but we hope it made you think.

© 2008 The Peoples News

America - A Loss of Dignity

We've had a lot of anti-Obama email cross our desk. Kinda nice for a change to have a simple op/ed piece that doesn't try to throw thunder and lighting with every sentence.

My brother sent this to me. I found it rather interesting reading.

I generally agree with his viewpoint . . . civility has been shunted aside in political discussion and actions. It's time to mind our manners, both ours and the politicos.

If we do that, our nation will be a better place. So will our world.

lyle



Op-Ed Columnist
In Search of Dignity
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: July 6, 2009

When George Washington was a young man, he copied out a list of 110
“Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Some
of the rules in his list dealt with the niceties of going to a dinner
party or meeting somebody on the street.

“Lean not upon anyone,” was one of the rules. “Read no letter, books or
papers in company,” was another. “If any one come to speak to you while
you are sitting, stand up,” was a third.

But, as the biographer Richard Brookhiser has noted, these rules, which
Washington derived from a 16th-century guidebook, were not just etiquette
tips. They were designed to improve inner morals by shaping the outward
man. Washington took them very seriously. He worked hard to follow them.
Throughout his life, he remained acutely conscious of his own rectitude.

In so doing, he turned himself into a new kind of hero. He wasn’t
primarily a military hero or a political hero. As the historian Gordon
Wood has written, “Washington became a great man and was acclaimed as a
classical hero because of the way he conducted himself during times of
temptation. It was his moral character that set him off from other men.”

Washington absorbed, and later came to personify what you might call the
dignity code. The code was based on the same premise as the nation’s
Constitution — that human beings are flawed creatures who live in
constant peril of falling into disasters caused by their own passions.
Artificial systems have to be created to balance and restrain their
desires.

The dignity code commanded its followers to be disinterested — to
endeavor to put national interests above personal interests. It commanded
its followers to be reticent — to never degrade intimate emotions by
parading them in public. It also commanded its followers to be
dispassionate — to distrust rashness, zealotry, fury and political
enthusiasm.

Remnants of the dignity code lasted for decades. For most of American
history, politicians did not publicly campaign for president. It was
thought that the act of publicly promoting oneself was ruinously
corrupting. For most of American history, memoirists passed over the
intimacies of private life. Even in the 19th century, people were
appalled that journalists might pollute a wedding by covering it in the
press.

Today, Americans still lavishly admire people who are naturally
dignified, whether they are in sports (Joe DiMaggio and Tom Landry),
entertainment (Lauren Bacall and Tom Hanks) or politics (Ronald Reagan
and Martin Luther King Jr.).

But the dignity code itself has been completely obliterated. The rules
that guided Washington and generations of people after him are simply
gone.

We can all list the causes of its demise. First, there is capitalism. We
are all encouraged to become managers of our own brand, to do
self-promoting end zone dances to broadcast our own talents. Second,
there is the cult of naturalism. We are all encouraged to discard
artifice and repression and to instead liberate our own feelings. Third,
there is charismatic evangelism with its penchant for public confession.
Fourth, there is radical egalitarianism and its hostility to aristocratic
manners.

The old dignity code has not survived modern life. The costs of its
demise are there for all to see. Every week there are new scandals
featuring people who simply do not know how to act. For example, during
the first few weeks of summer, three stories have dominated public
conversation, and each one exemplifies another branch of indignity.

First, there was Mark Sanford’s press conference. Here was a guy utterly
lacking in any sense of reticence, who was given to rambling
self-exposure even in his moment of disgrace. Then there was the death of
Michael Jackson and the discussion of his life. Here was a guy who was
apparently untouched by any pressure to live according to the rules and
restraints of adulthood. Then there was Sarah Palin’s press conference.
Here was a woman who aspires to a high public role but is unfamiliar with
the traits of equipoise and constancy, which are the sources of authority
and trust.

In each of these events, one sees people who simply have no social norms
to guide them as they try to navigate the currents of their own passions.

Americans still admire dignity. But the word has become unmoored from any
larger set of rules or ethical system.

But it’s not right to end on a note of cultural pessimism because there
is the fact of President Obama. Whatever policy differences people may
have with him, we can all agree that he exemplifies reticence, dispassion
and the other traits associated with dignity. The cultural effects of his
presidency are not yet clear, but they may surpass his policy impact. He
may revitalize the concept of dignity for a new generation and embody a
new set of rules for self-mastery.
____________________________________________________________

Growing older . . .

Two elderly ladies are sitting on the front porch in Bonita Springs , doing nothing.
One lady turns and asks, 'Do you still get horny?'
The other replies, 'Oh sure I do.'
The first old lady asks, 'What do you do about it?'
The second old lady replies, 'I suck a lifesaver.'
After a few moments, the first old lady asks, 'Who drives you to the beach?'

**********************************************************

Three old ladies were sitting side by side in their retirement home in Ft. Lauderdale reminiscing. The first lady recalled shopping at the green grocers and demonstrated with her hands, the length and thickness of a cucumber she could buy for a penny.

The second old lady nodded, adding that onions used to be much bigger and cheaper also, and demonstrated the size of two big onions she could buy for a penny a piece.

The third old lady remarked, 'I can't hear a word you're saying, but I remember the guy you're talking about.

**********************************************************
A little old lady was sitting on a park bench in The Villages, a Florida Adult community. A man walked over and sits down on the other end of the bench. After a few moments, the woman asks, 'Are you a stranger here?'
He replies, 'I lived here years ago.'
'So, where were you all these years?'
'In prison,' he says.
'Why did they put you in prison?'
He looked at her, and very quietly said, 'I killed my wife.'
'Oh!' said the woman. 'So you're single...?!'

**********************************************************
Two elderly people living in Ft. Myers , he was a widower and she a widow, had known each other for a number of years. One evening there was a community supper in the big arena in the Clubhouse.

The two were at the same table, across from one another. As the meal went on, he took a few admiring glances at her and finally gathered the courage to ask her, 'Will you marry me?'

After about six seconds of 'careful consideration,' she answered 'Yes. Yes, I will!'

The meal ended and, with a few more pleasant exchanges, they went to their respective places. Next morning, he was troubled. 'Did she say 'yes' or did she say 'no'?'

He couldn't remember. Try as he might, he just could not recall. Not even a faint memory. With trepidation, he went to the telephone and called her.

First, he explained that he didn't remember as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the lovely evening past.. As he gained a little more courage, he inquired, 'When I asked if you would marry me, did you say ' Yes' or did you say 'No'?'

He was delighted to hear her say, 'Why, I said, 'Yes, yes I will' and I meant it with all my heart.' Then she continued, 'And I am so glad that you called, because I couldn't remember who had asked me.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A man was telling his neighbor in Miami , 'I just bought a new hearing aid.. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect..'

'Really,' answered the neighbor. 'What kind is it?'

'Twelve thirty.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor in Estero to get a physical.. A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.

A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, 'You're really doing great, aren't you?'

'Just doing what you said, Doc : 'Get a hot mamma' and 'be cheerful.'',Morris replied.

To which doctor said, 'I didn't say that, Morris. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur, be careful!'
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A little old man shuffled slowly into the 'Orange Dipper', an ice cream parlor in Naples , and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool.

After catching his breath he ordered a banana split.

The waitress asked kindly, 'Crushed nuts?'

'No,' he replied, 'hemorrhoids

The Duck Pond

Okay, okay .. . enough oil spills, enough war stories . . . time for a little break. Why can't the networks show stories like this once in a while?

Musings on Mr. Rogers . . .

Doing some channel surfing recently and, several times, have come across the late Fred Rogers, he of the kiddie tv show on PBS.

I'm not sure my kids watched Mr. Rogers all that much when they were growing up. I don't think I've ever watched one of his shows from beginning to end . . . but I've caught snippets here and there. I remember thinking, "What a genuine man this guy is. What a kind, gentle person. What a communicator to kids." Clearly, he cared about kids and did not talk down to them. His videos of visits to factories, to see how things were made, his visiting "guests," artists, musicians, etc., were informative and educational. (Though I didn't care much for his puppet shows with the King and his castle. That's when I would hit the remote and move to another channel).

I remember having a deep sense of loss when he died. I really liked the guy. Still do.

What got me to thinking about him again was, again, channel surfing this afternoon between football games. PBS had a special program called "Speedy Delivery," which focused on Mr. McFeeley (I believe his name was. I believe I read somewhere that Mr. McFeeley was named after Fred Rogers' father-in-law). He was also known as "Speedy Delivery," and it became his catch phrase.)
I think his real name is David Newell.

I just caught bits and pieces of it but found it to be quite interesting, this chronical of who Mr. McFeeley really was and how it all came to be.

This was a another very kind and gentle soul who clearly loved kids and loved his job of communicating with kids. The interaction between Mr. McFeeley and Fred Rogers was genuine. There was a warm bond of friendship there, both in-character and off screen.

I wonder how many children from our era watched Mr. Rogers . . . and genuinely cared about him, every bit as much as Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

I hope television will continue to find time and space for the kind and gentle souls like Fred Rogers and Mr. McFeeley.

We need more folks like this and less of the rabble-rousers and negative people.