Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Journey Home, Part 1

The Road to Heber

I saw a clip on the toob Tuesday featuring Willard Romney in a campaign swing through Colorado.  Relax, this isn't going to be political.  The scene was in downtown Craig, Colorado.   Memories came flooding into my mind and I was transported back sixty years in a flash.
Craig is in the northwestern corner of the state.

I had finished my first year of college, and I wanted to go home to Colorado Springs.  Funds were limited, of course, and I was calculating the least costly and most likely way to get there.  Hitchhiking was seriously frowned on in Washington State, and I had been told that a trooper was more than likely to run one in if he was caught thumbing it.  Worse, the same was said to be true in Oregon.

I had a friend who was driving from Seattle to Eugene.  He said he would drop me off in Portland if I chose to go that far with him.  I did, and he took me to Union Station where I bought a ticket to Boise.  (I have a couple of totally other stories involving Union Station in Portland.  But I digress.)

Once in Boise, I removed myself on foot from the train depot to the highway at the east edge of town.  Here I lofted my thumb and waved in a friendly manner to the passing motorists, "passing" being the operative term.  But no! Ere long a gentleman in a nice shiny steel-grey 1952 Plymouth stopped and picked me up.  Our trip to Pocatello was uneventful and the conversation revealed that my benefactor was a traveling salesman making a few calls in southern Idaho cities.  When we arrived at the point of his next appointment, Mr. Gould, you will allow me to call him Mr. Gould? parked the car and told me to mosey toward the south edge of town and if I was still there when he came by in an hour or so, he could haul me to Salt Lake City. At least this part of the journey was down-hill. As I stepped out of the car and turned back to thank him, I saw him take a revolver from the side of the seat on his left and place it in the glovebox.

In a bit less than an hour, along came the Plymouth.  Mr. G stopped the car, I threw my suitcase in the back seat and we were soon on our way south.  It was dark when my transportation came to an abrupt end.  I was dropped at a junction and pointed toward Colorado.  Memory does not allow me to tell you how long I waited, but eventually a man in a somewhat battered '46 Chrevolet pickup truck stopped.  The truck may have been blue, but so much of Utah was spattered all over it that one could not be sure of that.  The driver told me he could carry me as far as Heber City.  I had no more than settled into the passenger side, suitcase on my lap, when I noticed as he turned rather too far to his right to look at me as he talked that he had only the left eye.  The right one, I suppose, once occupied the empty socket on the right side of his nose.

Left hand only was on the steering wheel since his right one was busy holding the bottle.  The bottle obviously held not cola.  Congenially he extended the bottle toward me and offered me a drink.  I declined, hoping that he would not take that as an insult.  "Suit yerself," said Cyclops, as he whipped the shift lever into top gear and jammed the accelerator pedal pretty close to the floor.  Most of you have probably never driven the road to Heber, but suffice it to say that it is very mountainous country and the road, at least in 1953, was very crookedy.  And I was soon quite terrified.  Nevertheless, this hill jack knew no fear, and probably knew very little else.  But he knew the way to Heber.

(To be continued.)

Image of Heber City: Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Red Is In

The entryway is red once again.  Since the shutters were colored thus a year ago, BBBH insisted that the doors should match.  Hence to the store to buy paint.  Then to the task to spread paint.  Then to repeat task the next day.  And probably to repeat it yet again.  Have you ever tried to cover a blue door with red paint?

Anyway, we think it is looking good!

(Those trees and shrubs were perfect six years ago.  Now look what they have done.  We nurtured that conical beauty on the left from a sprout twelve years ago.  We hate to remove it, but what does one do?)

Happy Birthday to my eldest child, Ann Marie,  who was born May 30 in Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington quite some time ago!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moriarty and vanilla on the Bench

If you enter "judge lanny moriarty" into the Google search engine, you will almost instantly have access to 93,000 entries.  This number is quite possibly many hundreds of times more than you would have gotten a week ago.  This is the result of the Diane Tran case which came before this justice in Texas.  Mr. Moriarty fined Miss Tran $100 and threw her in jail for truancy.

Many news services have reported this case, and hundreds of bloggers have addressed the issue.  Read about it via your own search.

I am not about to address the issue of idiocy vs. industry.  What I will address is the issue of enforcement of rules, the twine that binds Gulliver to immobility.

It is a given that no public school, nor any other school for that matter, can function without rules.  It is the case that common sense, discernment, and judgment are often inhibited in the enforcement of the rules by "zero tolerance" mindsets.

Many years ago there was a student, a junior in high school, who was suspended a semester for violation of the school's attendance policy.  This punishment and the steps leading up to it were clearly spelled out and ignorance of the rule as excuse is not even a consideration.  I became involved when the parent of the child appealed the ruling and the process had arrived at the point of consideration by a hearing officer.  I was appointed hearing officer.

I had strong personal feelings about the rule. One of my own children had fallen victim to the rule and suffered the same punishment.  But that is not why I found the rule entirely too rigid and objectionable on its face.  My position was, and is, that suspension for truancy and/or habitual tardiness is on its face to give the child exactly what he wants, which is to be not in school.  How stupid is that?

I was charged with the responsibility of hearing the appeal of the parent and the child vis a vis the alleged violation of the rule.  There was no question of the violation.  There was no question about the clarity of the rule.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day, 2012

In honor of those who served; in memory of those who gave their all.

Photo, Memorial Day 1938 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God's Book of Remembrance

 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Malachi 3:16,17

In the constitution of being, the brain and the mind record the events of life. Science tells us that memory never loses a thing. Everything is retained and may be recalled when the right trigger is touched. Life’s events reappear, good or bad.

The pride, profits and pleasures of life may veneer its events to the point that a person actually may think that memory loses a portion of life’s events. One might consider, for example a person who in delirium forsakes her family. How else to account for such an unlikely event but that a part of her life was lost to memory. Yet. Yet it is all there; the right conditions will evoke the missing memory.

Did you ever revisit some scene of early life?  That is to say after many intervening years have you returned to the site of some place where your experiences there come flooding back as you visually peruse the scene about you?

As the poet said,
“The things that were as dead things came floating before my sight
They are now alive, alive with a terrible might.”

The past spontaneously rushes back upon the hinges of memory. Vivid recollection.

In seasons of sorrow the past utters its voice. No handwriting is needed. We review the choices we have made.

The thing that interests us most of all is that moment when death shall pass the book of memory over into the hand of the Registrar of Eternity.

Memory is the Prime Minister of God’s retributive justice.

The prospects of the book of memory being brought to light should create vigilance in the choices we make and in the way we live.  The life we live will meet us as a resurrection of forgotten acts.

It is within our power to see to it that our forgotten acts are complementary to our future well being through the exercise of right choices made within the context of our free moral agency.

The Revelator said, “I saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books were opened--and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” --Revelation 20:12

The book of memory is written by us, but preserved of God.

Imagine the abandoned sinner in the presence of God with the amassed, concentrated wicked deeds of his life between him and God’s Holiness.

When I think of memory with its vast power, it seems no wonder that men are either afraid or ashamed to meet God.
If one lives a misspent life and rejects the Savior, memory will tell that individual that he chose to be a wild vine.

If we choose to carry about a double heart, suffering from divided affection by attempting to serve both God and mammon, we shall be a well without water, clouds carried by a tempest. (2 Peter 2:17)

Should we choose to worship the creature above the Creator, our memory of the rejection of salvation will be vivid in our minds. (Romans 1:25)

In Luke, chapter sixteen, we read of the rich man in hell who lifted his eyes in torment. He was alive, conscious, in full exercise of his faculties, his memory functioning.

© 2005 David W. Lacy
This work is a reconstruction of a sermon by D. W. Lacy working from his outline.  The delivery cannot be reconstructed.; but these words are faithful to the intent of the message.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Six feet, three inches in height; one hundred sixty-five pounds.  Fifteen hundred miles from home, one tin suitcase and the clothes on his back.  Don't recall the exact contents of the billfold, but other than a driver's license and a picture of Mary, I am sure it contained very little in terms of negotiable tender.

He had completed high school and three months of summer work, enough to convince him that evading college would be unwise.  He had not made contact with the college of his choice, which is to say he not only had not been admitted, the school had no idea he existed.  The lad showed up at the registrar's office where he learned that admission might be possible, but it would be dependent upon a battery of tests, the sitting for which would begin promptly at eight o'clock the following morning.

 Basically, apart from a personality inventory of the sort that everyone is subjected to from time to time during his lifetime, the tests consisted of the ACT battery.  I will not tell you that he aced these tests, but the scores were quite respectable, and within the week the boy was a college freshman!

To determine your track, said the Registrar, what do you hope to major in?  The youngster had heard of Plato and Kant, and he had read some of Schopenhauer.  Philosophy, he said.  I am majoring in philosophy.

The course of one's life, amazingly, is often determined by choices no more thought-through than this.  Split-second determinations, perhaps occasionally a moment's hesitation, and the die is cast.
The off-campus basement apartment, cost-shared, the shopping at Pike Place Market, scrimping on nickels and dimes, a kindly bursar who was willing to "bet on the come," a twenty-eight hour per week construction job, and the youngster was set to pursue his first sixteen quarter-hours of college credit.

Parents of today's teens, or the teens themselves, will have found this tale so far to be incredible, perhaps even to the point that they doubt the possibility.  Yet it is true.  They may find even more incredible the fact that the tuition for a full load was $600 per quarter, that is eighteen hundred dollars a year.  (I am listening as I write this to a report that student-loan indebtedness now exceeds one trillion dollars.)  When he completed the B.A. degree, the young scholar still owed the school just under six hundred dollars, or one quarter's tuition.  The school had their money within the year.

Small wonder that we ruminate about "the good old days."

Now I need to figure out why I am writing this. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mounds in May

Tiny little guy decorated the side of the RV for a short while.

May 2012, Mounds State Park. The weather was perfect, the company congenial. The fire burned clean and the brats were tasty.

Yet all good things must end.

We are safely home once again

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Pretty Picture and Musings

BBBH and I are off this week doing stuff.  We hope it will be sufficiently memorable to warrant reports here.  Meanwhile, I have raided the archives from three or four years ago.  This is reworked for a re-post.

Memory and History

We know that nostalgia is an unreasonable yearning for something in the past, something that cannot be. But what we don't often think about is that everything is past. What we recall, we may hold so long as we can remember. What we record is history.

Imagine a movie being played reel-to-reel. (We have to go retrotech here for the imagery.) The top reel is the future, the lower reel, the past. As the film flicks by the lens the present is revealed, in this case 1/24th of a second for each frame. But the present can actually be defined by infinitely smaller units: nanoseconds. Nay, even less for instantly the "present" is the past. We cannot see the future. We may anticipate it, contemplate it, fantasize about it or even plan for it. But we cannot live it. Only the briefest of instants compose our present experience.

We cannot live in the past; it is gone. But we may remember it, recall it, relate it, thereby relegating yet more of our "present" to the past. What is your life without memory?

For all that philosophers and physicists may expound on this "time" we have, it is just as simple as we have limned it herein and just as complex as our memories allow.

Are you making any memories? Are you making history?

Is your hand in the hand of the Eternal Guide?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
--Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in John 5:11-15, KJV

Saturday, May 19, 2012

James C. Lehrer

Today is Jim Lehrer’s seventy-eighth birthday. 1934 was a very good year. I know Mr. Lehrer in the same way that most people know him. I have never met him, but he seems a friend. My introduction to him was by way of the McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. Over time it became PBS NewsHour hosted by Jim Lehrer. Then I read one of his memoirs, I think A Bus of My Own. I graduated to his fiction and sailed through numerous stories created by his fertile mind. I believe he has published twenty or more novels. I think, though, that he would consider himself a serious journalist first, and a novelist by avocation.

 Then certainly everyone who cares a whit about our country and its leadership has seen Mr. Lehrer in his role as moderator of Presidential debates, for he has become the constant in those interchanges, and he has been called the Dean of Moderators.
  He seems a fair-minded man.

 Happy birthday, Sir. You have shared your talents with us, and we appreciate your efforts.
Image, Wikipedia

Friday, May 18, 2012


 Pearl said even limited to tomatoes I am still a farmer.  I guess so.
As you see in the photo above, we have some roses that have reverted to their rootstock.  Most farmers or rose enthusiasts would uproot this plant to make room for a new hybrid or tea rose.  Personally, I rather think this is a beautiful rose just as you see it.  I do my own thing, with nature's help.

I thought I had run dry, so far as ideas for blogposts, and maybe this post is evidence that I have done.  I reviewed in my mind some of the places we have been on String Too Short to Tie Nostalgia.  Lately I have been pushing that pretty hard.  Historical and biographical potpourri.  I do that when some item or person particularly appeals at a particular moment for whatever reasons I may have.
Politics.  I pretty much try to confine my rants in this domain to a different blog.

The personal daily lives of the residents in this household.  Most readers want only so much of the preview of what it's like to get old.  Humor.  I would love to do a humor blog, but I'm simply not that funny.  Besides, the above mentioned Pearl has that covered extremely well!

Short stories as in Tales to Be Told or School Tales.  I enjoy doing these very much, but ideas, creativity and execution are much needed.  And sometimes in short supply.

Faith and spiritual life.  This is a very important area of concern and I  include observations  or scriptures that might be helpful or uplifting, or at any rate some that have been helpful to me.  Yet while I don't limit these strictly to Sundays, that is where they are most likely to appear.

I'm not even sure how my other stuff might be categorized, so that's what I'll call it.  Stuff.
As it turns out, today's post is just stuff.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mini Mini-gardening

That's it.  That's my vegetable garden.  For a guy who used to maintain close to a thousand square feet in vegetables, composting all the vegetable detritus produced on the place, picking, plucking, peeling, paring, canning-- well, you know, gardening, I've fallen into a sorry state. 

The little garden boasts four Better Boy, four Roma, four sweet bell peppers and four jalapenos.  The jalapenos are near the front door where I can conveniently pluck a pepper whenever the mood strikes.
I would be much more apologetic for this sorry agricultural display were it not for the fact that it took me all morning and a good bit of the afternoon to accomplish this much.  Imagine what real gardening might look like.  Why, the frost would settle on some of the seedlings, it would take so long to get the planting done.

However, when I note that  a single butternut squash in the grocery store can cost as much as a gallon of gas, I wonder.  If I am not growing my vegetables, just what the heck will I be able to afford to eat?  Oh, Friends, if getting old has its perks, it has its compensatory factors, too.  Or as someone notably said, It ain't all beer and skittles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Good Evening, Hometown


Shortly after we were married, Beautiful found herself ensconced in new surroundings.  She had only recently retired and had moved to a new community.  It does not require a stretch of the imagination to picture her need to find satisfying activities.  I mean other than pleasing and entertaining me. 

We had occasion to meet the manager/producer for the one-man Hometown Television operation.  Jim and Beautiful hit it off and the upshot was that she became the hostess for a variety program which would air once a week.  There were promises of a new set and who knows whatever else, because I stood around in the background and paid them no nevermind.

Now for a period of weeks, finding interesting and talented guests who were willing to go for their fifteen thirty minutes of very limited fame was not a difficult task.  Please understand that in addition to finding the guests and hosting the program while remaining upbeat there was no stipend involved, and other than operating the camera when the program was taped, Jim provided no assistance to speak of.  In fact, when the spouse requested assistance from the "producer" in locating guests for future programs since the hostess herself was not well-acquainted with the community, it was made clear to her that it was her responsibility to locate and secure guests.

Then, too, when our living room became the rent-free studio and vanilla had to repair to his den while the house was invaded by boy-band or pipe organ builder it became evident that someone was giving more than she was getting.

Clearly, this was not going to work long-term.

BBBH loves performing, and being in the public eye is nourishment to her spirit.  But even with that being on her plate, she could not continue to devote the unreimbursed time to do what she felt she could not do unassisted.  The community had the pleasure of viewing several programs, and quite interesting they were, too, but it had to end.

I guess what BBBH got in the long-run was the ability to say truthfully, "When I had my TV show..."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oldies But Goodies

 About time for another car post.  The Volkswagen van belongs to a resident in our Park in Rockport.  I snapped pictures especially for my friend, Heide, who owned just such a van for many years.  Hers was the same color as this one!
 This car is parked daily in our downtown lot.  It brings back memories.  This is a Studebaker Lark, I believe 1962.  I particularly like that it is not restored to show car condition, but it is very nice.  It is used daily as a driver.  That is what should be done with good old cars, imo.  The tires are not original but rather are updated for proper highway use today.
The memories are of my days in Seattle, long ago.  I was driving home one day when just north of 45th on Roosevelt Way I saw a new Lark being unloaded at the dealership.  So I stopped.  The Lark was introduced by Studebaker in the '59 model year, so this little red gem I stopped to look at was new to the market.  Very eye-catching.  I fell into conversation with the dealer, and the upshot was that he suggested that I join him on the lot and engage in the selling of automobiles.
Salesmanship of the sort needed to persuade someone to buy an auto is not one of my skills.  I was useful on the lot, though, performing such tasks as sweeping, buffing, and collecting the exterior chrome pieces from the floor-boards of the cars. When the assemblers where unable to keep pace with the assembly line they apparently opened the door and chucked the pieces into the car, leaving the completion of the assembly to the dealer.  I gained a new understanding of the sticker line that read "Dealer prep."

Fortunately for my wife and child I had not quit my night job.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Historical Note

The State of Israel, established May 14, 1948.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sanctity of Marriage

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,  and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”--Jesus of Nazareth

Happy Mothers' Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Once and Future Matron

This picture is old, but not as old as it is supposed to look.  It was not taken in the nineteenth century, but rather c. 1990.  The lady is my BBBH and the gentleman is her late husband, Jim.  Now, you might ask, why am I going through the dusty old personal archives to post a picture of my spouse with her first spouse.  Well, I do stuff like that.

And here is the crux of the matter.  You might infer from this photo that the couple knew how to have fun.  You would be right.  I, on the other hand, not so much, which has necessitated a life-style adjustment for the lady.

Not that I've not had to make adjustments of my own.

Jim and JoAnn where high school sweethearts.  They were married when he was nineteen and she seventeen.  They grew up together, and thus it was that they developed a sense of fun centered on things they chose to do together.  They had five beautiful children, all of whom they raised to adulthood.

I had travelled a much different road, developing my own set of preferences; and I was already sixty-five years old when Beautiful and I were wed.

Yet I am happy to announce neither of us has killed the other, and we are still together more than twelve years later!  Now that is an accomplishment.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Classical Secondary Education

Helen attended school during the second decade of the twentieth century. She had very strong opinions regarding what constituted a proper secondary education. This was formed by her own experiences as a student at Hunter College High School. There she studied Latin all four years, and as a result she could talk on and on about Julius Caesar, and Horace, and Vergil, and so on and so on. Among her learning experiences was her trip to and from school each day. She made this trip from 135th and Lennox Avenue to East 94th Street where the school was located by trolley or by shanks' mare.

This early training translated itself into a love of language, and the daily crossword puzzle in the local paper was a standard part of her day well into her nineties. She did not relish "getting stuck" and rarely asked for my input, but when she did, I knew that she was upset with herself, and that she was showing me the highest degree of respect by asking.

Mother, as I came to call her, which is okay because my own mother was "Mama," was fiercely independent and did not like to depend on others for anything she thought she should be able to do for herself.  She had, since she was widowed at the age of 75, always done her own budgeting and accounting.  She became extremely frustrated as she neared ninety to find that the numbers didn't behave properly sometimes when she was attempting to balance her checkbook.  Again, with reluctance, she turned to me for assistance.  Sometimes things were easily resolved, but sometimes things had gotten into such a state that, though I could straighten it out, she couldn't grasp the root of the problem.  Ironically, just a few years later, my father who was only a few years younger than she, began to have the same sort of difficulty.  As I was working on his bank balances, I was thinking, "What is it with these old people that they cannot deal with something so simple as reconciling a bank statement?"

I have not been able to balance a checkbook for five years now.  And I am not yet eighty.  You just wait.  You are getting older every day!
Helen took up painting at the age of 65.  She had never had an art lesson, but she took her new hobby seriously.  She enrolled in art classes and produced many dozens of oil paintings over the next 25 years.  This one she presented to me personally because I had admired it.  I am presently in possession of a number of her paintings.  One of her large paintings hangs prominently in a hallway at IU Health Tipton Hospital.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jurisprudence Trumps Science

On May 10, 1893, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a lower court decision and declared the tomato to be a vegetable, not a fruit.

 Notwithstanding testimony to the contrary, and much reading from dictionaries by both parties to the dispute, ultimately Justice Horace Gray wrote the opinion for the court in which he essentially said that notwithstanding that all botanical references did seem to support its status as a fruit, because of its historical place on the dinner-table,  eaten with the main course, not as a dessert, the tomato is a vegetable.   

Some background might shed some light on this astounding turn of events. Under the Tariff Act of 1883, fruit were admitted duty free, whereas vegetables were not. The plaintiff had been paying, under protest, tariff on tomatoes and was therefore suing to recover said payments from the Collector of the Port of New York and to require such collections to cease.

 Does it take a genius to figure out what is about to go down? Merchant vs. Government of the United States, essentially, though that is not the name of the case. What duly appointed and honest justice is going to rule contrary to the interpretation of the government?  If the government says the tomato is a vegetable, the tomato is a vegetable. Case closed.

Case is Nix vs. Hedden, 1893.
Image:  Wikipedia Commons

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wake Up Call

The bedroom window is open, for it is that time of year.  Sleep and fresh air go very nicely together.  The crabapple tree is right next to the house, and its branches virtually touch the window.  Just before four in the morning, the cardinal in the tree alerts us to the impending dawn.  I listen to a couple of riffs, roll over and go back to sleep.  The next thing I know, BBBH rolls out her side of the bed, stands in front of the window and shouts, "Shoo!  Get out of here!  Go away."  Well, that worked.  The cardinal left his post, and I was now wide awake!

 (I did not record the bird.  I found this clip on Youtube)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monsieur Lavoisier, Meet Mme. G

In chemistry class Miss Phelps taught me that Antoine Lavoisier, French scientist, was the “father of modern chemistry.” His accomplishments were many and he will be long remembered for his contribution to the sciences.

 Lavoisier named “oxygen” and “nitrogen.” He established the fact that sulfur is an element and he was instrumental in the development of the metric system. He also discovered that whatever its state, matter always remains the same mass.

 On this date in 1794, his head fell into the basket beneath the blade of the guillotine. He was accused of selling watered-down tobacco. However, it was his position as tax collector which was the cause of his demise, for all such persons had a date with Madame la Guillotine. They did not teach me that in high school.

 And, we suppose, the needles of Madame Defarge kept clicking.

 Antoine Lavoisier 1743 - 1794 RIP

Image:  wikipedia

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green, Green, Green

 Help! Sharkbytes.  Not actually asking you to help pull weeds, but tell me what the heck this is.This deceptively attractive creature has invaded our wildflower garden and our day lily beds with a vengeance.  Don't recall having this in previous years, but we have it now.

The leaves are in pinwheel formation and up to an inch in length.  The flowers are tiny, a couple of millimeters, some singles, some in clusters of up to a half-dozen.  It is easy to pull, but it is sticky, almost as though putting ones fingers in a paste-pot.

Sharkbytes, or Sharkey, or Shark is a naturalist par excellence.   If this plant is  native to her bailiwick, she will know its name, and much more.  These plants provided me with a good bit of Saturday afternoon entertainment, as I pulled, and pulled.  Much more difficult to pull were the thistle which we have every year.  The thistle produces a lovely  lavender flower which the butterflies like.  We don't mind a few, for we can usually behead them before they strew their seeds, but too many is more than enough.
Gardening is so much fun!  Wish I had the energy for it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday School Lesson

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  John 6:28-35

Image: Christ Walking on the Waters by von Klever

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Handicapping the Horses

The first Saturday in May. The horses go to the post at Churchill Downs this afternoon. For those of you who care, it looks as though Baffert may have another winner on his hands. So I am told. I rather favor a horse named "Hansen" and not because I know a thing about the horse, the trainer, the rider, or horse-racing in general, for that matter.

I choose Hansen because I once knew a girl whose surname was Hansen with an "e" and the last time (and only time) I wagered on a horse it was called "Wendy" and I once knew a girl named Wendy. Won, too.

Then, too, I am partial to greys.  Maybe I oughta...


Folderol.  Don't take my word for it; read it in Discover Magazine.
If you had read none of the hype, nor listened to any astrologers, you  would not be able by eyeballing it to discern any difference between this full moon and any other.  Take a look to the east just after sunset.  See for yourself.

And, no.  It is not a harbinger of any disaster, nor will it cause one.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Helen Continues Her Story

I always felt a little sorry for my father.  It seemed my mother never warmed to his family, and I only recall two occasions on which she visited any of his family with him.  Dad's sister, Clara, married Uncle Ned.  He had a yacht and Mother and Father went to Long Island once to cruise on his yacht.  Later when he retired, Uncle Ned bought a farm in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and I believe my parents visited there once.

My father's sister Julia married Uncle Clifford.  They had two sons, Clifford, Jr. and Herbert.  Herbert went to college and was involved in a fraternity hazing incident and had to be committed to a mental hospital where he remained until his death.
Uncle Clifford had an optical supply store1 and after he died Clifford Junior managed his mother's affairs, and my father bought the business of them.  Later, when Father got out of the business, he sold to a gentleman who had been a long-time employee of Uncle Clifford and himself.
Clifford the Younger later ran afoul of the government.  I don't know that he was culpable of any criminal intent, but he committed suicide.  His children, who were our cousins, rather dropped out of sight.  I think one or two of them moved to Michigan and we lost contact.

I knew Uncle Steve quite well as he maintained a room on Grandma's floor in our house where he frequently stayed.  He never divorced his wife, but he had a long-term mistress by whom I believe he had children.  He used to receive mail at our house addressed to Mr. Olsomer.2  I don't know if that was the name of the woman with whom he lived or if it was perhaps just another name he used.
Helen's daughter Ellie remembered Uncle Steve, too, as he boarded with her parents when Ellie was quite young.  This was before Dick was born, and when the baby arrived they needed the extra room for him, and Steve moved out.  Ellie remembered Uncle Steve's little white moustache, his psyllium seed on his cereal which got her into a fine fix once,3 and his magnificent chess set, which he wouldn't let her touch.

1Both the optical supply store and the Knapp family home were located in Harlem.  The time frame is the first two decades of the twentieth century.
2Looking at some family history in later years, I discovered what I believe to be evidence that the woman Steve lived with was named Olsomer.
3Ellie, at breakfast, once insisted that she should have psyllium on her cereal, too.  Her mother assured her she did not want it, that she would not like it; forget it.  The child insisted, mother gave in and sprinkled the stuff on the child's cereal.  Then the real conflict began upon the taking of the first taste.  Ellie was still sitting at table well past lunch time.

Helen is mother of Ellie, my late second wife.  Helen's stories begin here

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Buick Redux

I was as surprised as anyone when I logged onto String Too Short to Tie this morning and found that there was no new post. For anyone who made a return trip, here, accept this repost for today. Will try to have something for tomorrow!

 I have never owned a Buick, but yesterday's post and the comments thereon suggest that a sequel is in order. A few days ago, I saw this 1939 phaeton model Buick parked on a downtown street. It evoked memories. I saw this same car yesterday as it drove down the street.

One pleasant day somewhere in the early fifties, a bunch of us drove from the Springs to Denver in a 1939 Buick. It belonged to the parents of one of the girls in the group and was driven by her boyfriend, who was a wildman behind the wheel. But we survived without incident. The purpose of the trip was to spend a day at Elitch Gardens, Denver's "fun park." The old wooden roller coaster, The Wildcat, got well used that day. I suspect that it met its demise decades ago. Given a car full of teenagers and the freedom of choice they had, it hardly needs to be told that we arrived back home very, very late at night.

About the same time in history, I had a friend whose father owned a 1951 Buick Roadmaster. This beast was a beautiful bronze color and was equipped with "Dynaflow" transmission. I vividly remember the "winding up" as one attempted to accelerate from a stoplight. The auto had a quite powerful engine, a 320 ci straight eight, and once you got it going, the car would cruise at exhilirating speeds. But the Dynaflow was not designed to win any drag races!

I was talking with my sister yesterday who just the day before had had a conversation with the friend mentioned.  Reminded me of this post.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

King James Authorized Version #T

The first English translations of the Holy Scriptures were undertaken in the fifteenth century. The Wycliffe Bible pre-dated the printing press (Gutenberg, c. 1440) but nevertheless had a wide circulation by way of manuscript production.

The work of William Tyndale in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, along with the work of Myles Coverdale resulted in the Great Bible of 1539 and under the auspices of Henry VIII became the standard for use in the Church of England. When Mary I ascended to the throne in 1553 she returned the Church to the fold of the Roman communion. Many of the English reformers left the country. Geneva, under John Calvin, became the center of Latin biblical scholarship, and the English amongst the followers of the reformed faith developed the Geneva translation of the Bible. It was a revision of previous English Bibles based on comparative studies of the original languages.

When Elizabeth I came to the throne the Church of England was reestablished as the church in England. It was determined that both the Great Bible and the Geneva Bible failed to conform to the ecclesiology and episcopacy favored by the Church of England, particularly with regard to its stance on the ordination of the clergy. Thus in 1568 a revision known as the Bishops’ Bible was introduced for use in the church. However, the Geneva Bible continued to be much more widely read, since it was more readily available in inexpensive copies.

When James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne as James I he convened the Hampton Conference in 1604. His Majesty ordered that a new translation of the Holy Scriptures be made, and he gave specific instructions that certain words in the original languages would be translated in such a way as to conform to the structure of the Church of England.*  For example, “ecclesia” should be translated as “church” and never as “congregation.” The official Authorized King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible was published by the King’s printer, Robert Barker, on May 2, 1611.

Thus ends the necessary historical background which must precede my own observations. Or, as everyone says these days, “That being said...” (*growl*) I grew up reading the KJV, and I still find it the most satisfying. Although I read from many other translations and paraphrases of scripture, I suspect that I shall always prefer the King James. Or, as the old saw goes, “If the King James was good enough for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.” There are those, I must say, who carry their preference for the King James to the extreme, going so far as to castigate and vilify other translations and translators. Say what one might about paraphrases, translators in prayerful good conscience make every effort to convey the original intent in language that the reader is familiar with. I have one friend who refers to the KJV as the “King Jesus Version.” Excuse me if I find this a bit extreme. After all, Jesus spoke and read Aramaic, and billions of people today read no English at all!)

What is important in all of this is that the Word of God (The Holy Bible) should be available, accessible, and read by all, for in it are the Words of eternal life!

*There is little doubt that James's efforts in this as in all his actions were designed to ensure his continued reign in England.  He famously said, "No bishop, no king."  On the matter of the Puritans' desire to reduce or eliminate certain conventions and ceremonies within the church, he is quoted as saying, " Shoes were worn when England was Catholic, so why don't Puritans go barefoot?"

1.  Grimm, Harold J.  The Reformation Era.  The Macmillan Company, New York, 1954.
2.  Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


 The faithful old Canon PowerShot A520 served me well for a lot of years and took hundreds of pictures.  It still works, evidence pictures below, but it is getting a bit stubborn about reviewing shots and often one has to turn it off completely and restart in order to review.  So I have been thinking for seven or eight months about new equipment.

And as I was spending money in an electronics shop the other day, this "on sale" item caught my eye.  It is a bit smaller, has a bit larger viewing area, and has seriously higher resolution.  I hope I am going to like it.

The upper two pictures were taken with the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS, and its "portraits" were snapped with the old camera.  Can you see any difference?  The objects were posed identically and the A520 defaulted to flash.  The A4000 IS used available light.