Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

I saw this cartoon years ago, but I still think it is the funniest Halloween cartoon I've seen.

Bonus: This one is pretty funny, too.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

75 and Sunny in Manitou

1& 2. 25th & Colorado Ave. 3. Shops in Manitou 4. St. Andrews
5. Old Manitou Bank 6. Cupola 7. Six levels housing 8. Clock & Shops
9. Window Shopping 10. Avenue View 11. Waterway 12. Patsy's for 107 years

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Springs

Pikes Peak through the Aspens. Victor
A view of the mountain from the west side.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is the sort of thing that happens to me when I leave the camera lying unguarded while I'm resting.
Note the view from Sis's living room. the Peak and the Garden of the Gods are visible from the window to the right of this one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LV 21 = Teachers' Institute

Usually during the last week of October, schools all across the state closed two days for "Teachers' Institute". Teachers were expected to spend these days attending workshops which were held at various sites across the state, ostensibly to "improve the quality of instruction" in the schools. Most of the larger functions were conducted by the largest of the teachers' unions; though to be sure it was never called a "union"; nor is it to this day. Please, on with the story.

Since at the time, teachers were paid for these days, but were expected to be able to show that they had indeed attended workshops, it was important that one select a site which offered the best opportunities for "extracurricular" activities. I don't know, don't want to know, what this meant to anyone else, but to me, it was an opportunity to take the family to Ft. Wayne, home of the wife's parents and extended family. Thus the kids got to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so on, and I was able to "fit in" a couple of workshops at the old "institute." Worked for everyone.

Some years I attended sessions in Indianapolis, particularly if there was to be a high-powered (famous) speaker at the opening session. Like you, I am (was) drawn to power and fame, even if it belonged to someone else. I've pretty much outgrown that.
One year, and as Dave Barry says, I am not making this up, Eleanor Roosevelt was the keynote speaker. I know some of you youngsters are saying, "Eleanor who?" but nevertheless, the educated or older ones amongst you know that Mrs. Roosevelt was a Force. And, yes, I am name-dropping. I haven't seen that many famous people in person.*
This two-day period is now and has been for many years, simply "Fall Vacation" and thus what one does with her or his time is, well, vacation.

*I could probably tick them off on the digits of my hands, and have two thumbs left over.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Monday, October 25, 2010


On a clear day, driving from Kansas into Colorado we begin to look for "the Mountain" for the first to spot it gets to cry, Monte video!
However, on this day, we looked in vain. It was a cloudy and sometimes rainy day and no mountains were in sight.
This interesting cloud formation presented itself to the south.
Finally. we spotted the base of Pikes Peak, and as the clouds moved and shifted it was evident that it was snowing on the mountain, probably from the peak to a point below timberline.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sunflower State

Kansas is known as "The Sunflower State". Here in north-central Kansas is a field of commercial grade sunflowers ripe unto harvest. The combines are busy with the corn, but soon the husbandbandman's attention will turn to these beauties.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Of Fromage, Condensed Milk, and Cows

Whoa, I thought, as I was watching a "Laughing Cow" commercial on the telly. Borden should sue someone for stealing Elsie. Whoa, indeed. Wrong! The laughing cow logo has been in use, pretty much in its current form, since 1924. Elsie was not invented until 1936, and the current form evolved at a much later date. Who's infringing?

Read the story of Gail Borden's invention here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LV 20 = Grandparents

While we lived in Loonville, our children were blessed with an "extra" set of grandparents. Their biological grandparents lived an hour away, one set an hour north and one set an hour west. So when my co-worker, Marie, with whom I shared rides to work, met my family she immediately adopted the entire lot of us. She and her husband Orville were delighted to have the company of small children, for though they had been married thirty-three years, they had never had children of their own.

We would visit at their house, the kids sitting four abreast in the garden swing while Orville regaled them with beautiful kid-type stories. It was a shining moment in his life, for he never got to say anything when in adult company with his spouse. To say that she was the dominant force in the relationship is a bit of an understatement. In fact the household duties were his province, while she went to work to 'bring in the bacon.' They gave the appearance of being completely happy with their arrangement, and I suspect they were.

This couple even went so far as to hire me to paper, paint and do some minor remodeling in their living room. Given the level of my skills and the degree of talent I possessed in this area, one has to believe that they were doing me a favor by utilizing this service. And yet they completely managed to make it seem that they would be totally lost without me, knowing not what to do.

Good friends may be hard to find; but don't be surprised if you find one or two when you least expect it! Cherish your friends.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where's Vanilla?

A few days ago we posted a persimmon story. Today we continue with the kitchen saga. BBBH has been putting up produce, witness these lovely jars of crab apple jelly. A by-product of this endeavor was a very nice bowlful of crab applesauce. It is fantabulous! How likely is it that someone who really likes persimmons will also enjoy crab applesauce? Very.

Nor have I forsaken the kitchen. I am still processing persimmons. I also took time to pickle the hot peppers which I stripped from the bushes as I pulled them. I grow serranos, a somewhat smaller version of jalapeno.

All this kitchen palaver leads me down the Road of Reminiscences. We do these things primarily for fun, though to be sure we will enjoy the fruits of our labor at a later date. But my parents did these things and on a large scale as a matter of survival. Were it not for the gardens Dad raised and the produce Mom "put up" we would have had a much less satisfactory childhood.

Dad would dig a storage pit for root vegetables, cabbages, certain fruits and other stuff. He would layer the goodies with straw between the layers. Too, the crock processed cabbage for kraut.

Meanwhile, Mom canned literally hundreds of quarts of fruits and vegetables, as well as some meat. She did this with a nine-quart (I believe) pressure cooker on a wood-fired kitchen range. She lived in constant terror-- that the thing would blow up! It never did. (A few years after Mom died, I saw that pressure canner out by the barrel for the trash hauler.)

We didn't have a lot of money or a lot of "things" and we were taught that "patches are no shame, but being dirty is." But, we always ate well!

Where's Vanilla? That would be the tallest bottle in the cabinet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Decadent: Language Rant Continues

DECADENT: corrupt, decayed, rotten, spoiled, weak, limp, faint, putrid, foul, bad, nasty, vile, refuse, unsound, unhealthy, bad, faulty, ruins, depraved, backward.

Many food products , not just the one used here for illustration, are being advertised as Decadent! treats. Above are a few of the synonyms we found, thanks to Merriam-Webster.

So, Why would anyone buy, use, eat a product that is corrupt, decayed, rotten, spoiled, putrid, nasty, vile ... ?

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! --Isaiah 5:20

Saturday, October 16, 2010


caramel. Look it up; listen and be wise.

I'm off on one of my language rants today. Yes, I know I live in a glass house, but I'm throwing these stones anyway. I have been known to seethe over language abuses. This annoyance is particularly egregious. The advertisers of the product should know what it is that they are purveying. The whole thing smacks of a sort of faux elitism that I find especially grating.

Did you grow up in an environment in which the word was pronounced "care-uh-mel"? No, you did not. I know how the word is spelled, you know how the word is spelled. So pronounce it correctly, too.

Dang. Too much TV.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Second Anniversary

Two years ago today, it was a dark and rainy night somewhere in south-central Missouri. The first-ever issue of "String Too Short to Tie" was created and posted on blogger. A year later, I posted a review which included links to some of my personal favorites.

Here is a look at some of my favorites for the second year.

First, I have enjoyed sharing the series "Loonville Vignettes". To date, there are nineteen of these posts, starting with this one. The most recent one was just three days ago. Most of them were posted on Tuesdays. A quicker way to access all the Loonville posts is to go to my blog "Retrotechnocracy" where there are fewer posts to wade through, and no pretty pictures to distract you from reading.

"Boy and Turtle with Wagon" is essentially a tale of the writer's beginning school experiences, and from it we follow the Boy through his first eight grades of school. The posts are scattered here and there.

The post that has received the most hits during the life of this blog is "Desert Pete". This story has been around a long time, certainly not original with me. I cannot provide attribution, because the author is not known to me. I do know that I heard my Dad tell the story from the pulpit as an illustration when I was but a lad.

As I have indicated before, if the post is in "String Too Short to Tie" it is because the topic interested me, at least at the time it was posted!
This is 683rd post, if count is correct.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

TR Again This Week

"Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet - there is where the bullet went through - and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best. "

So began Theodore Roosevelt's address at Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 14, 1912 after being shot by John Schrank. The bullet penetrated Roosevelt's glasses case and the manuscript of the speech, which, it is said, was fifty pages long. The lead then lodged in his chest, where it remained until his death in 1919.

As a third-party candidate, Roosevelt outpolled his republican rival, but democrat Wilson won the presidency.*

Schrank was judged insane and spent the rest of his life in Wisconsin asylums. He died in 1943, and it is said that he never had a visitor during his incarceration.

*If you catch me in future capitalizing either "democrat" or "republican" in reference to an American political party, you may reach through the ether and smack me upside the head. Unless the word begins a sentence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Persimmon Season, Recipe Included

Persimmon pudding is a favorite of mine. But then, I like persimmons. I will pick them off the ground under the tree, brush off the twigs and the leaves and pop them into my mouth. The perennial problem has been locating a producing tree. Until recently, I knew of only one in the area, and it had been "off limits" since the property changed hands a dozen years ago. Imagine my delight when in casual conversation with my Pastor I mentioned that I sure would like to obtain some persimmons, and he responded that they had a 'simmon tree in their backyard. Moreover, they considered it a nuisance since they had to rake the fruit and dispose of it. I would be welcome to all I wanted! Thank you, Mark.

I have been in their backyard several times since that conversation. I have pureed many pints of pulp. And I have made this household's first persimmon pudding of the season. It is fantastic! No, it will not pucker your drawstring. But it does have just exactly the right amount of astringency in just exactly the right consistency. This may be the first, but it won't be the last!

I found several recipes, but my daughter-in-law, Patty, sent me her mother's recipe. It is the one I chose to use. Thanks, Georgia Dee.
Georgia Dee's Persimmon Pudding.

Mix together two cups persimmon pulp, two eggs, two cups sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt. Add two cups flour and two cups milk, a bit at a time, alternating milk and flour. Add four tsps. baking powder. Add in two Tbsp. melted butter and three tsp. cinnamon (or two tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. nutmeg if you wish). Butter (or Pam) a 9 x 13 pan, or as I did, use two 8 x 8 baking dishes. Put batter in containers and bake 50 - 55 minutes in oven preheated to 375.

The pudding may be soft when done and should end up being semi-firm, not jiggly, when cooled.Refrigerate after first day, but consume at room temperature.

For some, persimmon pudding is love at first bite. For others, it is an acquired taste. It is recommended that novices slather their portions generously with whipped cream!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LV 19 = Not a Dime

Tuesday evening. I stepped out of the drugstore with the PediaCare for which I had just spent my last dollar. Russell Reston had just pulled up to the curb in a spankin' new Olds "98" which still had the dealer-issue temporary cardboard plate in the rear window. Russ exited the vehicle, and we stood visiting a bit there on the sidewalk. Cars, crops, the economy in general; then Russ said, "You teachers got it made. Paycheck every two weeks. You got no idea what 'tough' is. Try bein' a farmer! I didn't make a dime this year. Not a dime!"

Sometimes enough is enough.

I said, "Russ, you maintained that beautiful home where you live, heated it, fed your family, bought the seed for next year's crop, and bought a new "98" and you don't have anything left. If I accounted for my income the way you do, I'd have to say I didn't make a dime, either. And it is three days until pay day and I don't have a dime."

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Campout Season Finale

A few of the crowd.

This placard (not bad photography; worn placard) tells us that a National Youth Administration Camp was established at Mounds State Park in 1940. Further, we read that the young men at the camp earned $30 per month, of which $20 went to their keep (board and room). They received $10 for their own personal use.

Mounds is an arborists delight. It is heavily forested and a beautiful spot on this great, green earth.
The dog and I were both a bit fixated on gnarly trees, as we saw some very interesting formations.

An interesting discovery was wifi access in the park. Mounds State Park is on the outskirts of the City of Anderson which provides free wifi to its inhabitants. I was surprised that reception extended this far into the fringe area. But fun!

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Junior High

Recess, as had always been so during my schooling, was the best time of the day. In addition to a basketball hoop on a gravel lot, there were soccer games on the same gravel lot. But the best part was the horseshoe pits off to the south side of the playground. I was able to hone some skills here, and thought I was pretty good at pitchin' 'em. Of course, with no instruction, I learned the wrong technique, a habit I've never been able to break, so I still do it "wrong."

Fortunately for me, there was an outside exit next to my seat in the back of the room, an egress I utilized on occasion when the day got just too grueling. This was most likely to transpire on a Friday afternoon shortly after lunch. I mistakenly believed, could not disabuse myself of the notion in spite of outcomes to the contrary, that Miss Stetson would not recall on Monday morning that I was absent for a good chunk of the day on Friday. I paid a dear price on Monday for my Friday afternoon freedom. Oh, well. Live and learn. Or live, anyway.
Mr. Ogden was the caretaker of the buildings and grounds; and as well, he supervised kids at play on the playground. That is, he interfered whenever fun was about to break out. Or, he would catch me shooting baskets with my glasses on and send me inside, cancelling the rest of my recess. Well, shoot blind, you nitwit.
And we haven't even gotten to chapel services and prayer meetings.