Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Yesterday I had my semi-annual visit to the V.A. The nurse wanted to weigh me, and since I cannot stand up on my own, Cliff came in with me and got me on the scale. Yikes! I’m down to 122 fully dressed. That’s about 15 pounds below my regular weight. Fortunately my appetite has returned.

Also received my annual flu shot. This was the regular seasonal one, not the H1N1 which I will get in about a month.

Saw my physical therapist this morning, and he says he can see some (a little) improvement in my strength. I also can tell some improvement -- a little.


* I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.

* I've been in love with the same woman for 49 years. If my wife ever finds out, she'll kill me!

* Someone stole all my credit cards, but I won't be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.

* We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

* My wife was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for the estimate. She got a mudpack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

* The doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn't pay his bill, so the doctor gave him another six months.

* The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back." Mrs. Cohen answered, "So did my arthritis!"

* Doctor: "You'll live to be 60!" Patient: "I AM 60!" Doctor: "See! What did I tell you?"

* Patient: "I have a ringing in my ears." Doctor: "Don't answer!"

* A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge says, "You've been brought here for drinking." The drunk says, "Okay, let's get started."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I have two light weight electric scooters, one of which I keep in the van, and one in the driveway for local use. When fully charged, these vehicles will go about 12 miles, and there is an indicator showing how much battery power is left.

The other day I headed out to a local pharmacy, a distance of about a mile and a half, which, if my math is correct, is 3 miles round trip. On what appeared to be a fully charged scooter. Well, I barely made it back home. If this operated on gasoline, I’d say I got into the driveway on the fumes, but I don’t know what the appropriate simile would be for electricity.

At any rate, I plugged it in for recharging, and yesterday went out again for a shorter trip. And I watched the battery indicator drop precipitously! I checked my records to see when those batteries had last been replaced, and of course they are j u u s t beyond the warranty period. So this morning I phoned the repair shop to see if they could check the batteries to determine if they need to be changed. Seems the repair department is too busy to pick up the phone, and someone is supposed to call me back. I’m waiting.

Ah, just had a call back. They have the batteries in stock. Come in any time.

Some hours later: We dropped the scooter off with instructions to see if the problem is REALLY the batteries (there are two “half” batteries, as they put it), or something else. When we returned about 2 hours later, we were informed that the batteries tested good. Must be something else. They are keeping it for a day or two, and will call when ready. Thank you, gentlemen.


Watch out for this scam.

Police say that the gang usually comprises four members, one adult and three younger ones.

While the three younger ones, all appearing sweet and innocent, divert their 'mark' (or intended target) with a show of friendliness, the fourth -- the eldest -- sneaks in from behind the person's back to expertly rifle through his or her pockets and purses or bags for any valuables being carried.

The picture below was taken from CCTV shows the gang in operation.

Monday, September 28, 2009


... is one of my favorite authors. I posted a blog about her a while back, and now she is out with Book #7 in the Outlander series. This series of very long books is really one veerrry long story about 18th century scotsman Jamie Fraser and his time traveling wife Claire.

About two years ago Amalie and I learned that Ms Gabaldon was on a book tour, and would be at a bookstore here in Mountain View one particular evening. Of course we went, along with a gazillion other people. Diana is as interesting and funny in person as she is in writing, and we had a thoroughly good time.

Now she is on another book tour (I wonder when she has time to write), and once again she will be at the same bookstore in Mountain View on October 7, and I will be there!

Other fun:

There was a young maiden, a Sioux,
As tempting as fresh honeydioux.
She displayed her cute knees
As she strolled past tepees,
And the braves, they all hollered "Wioux-Wioux!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Well, a few weeks ago we got rid of the termites. Then the other day Cliff alerted me to water on the floor of the hall bath. Where was it coming from? We tried a number of things, with a great deal of no success, so I called my favorite plumber. He spent about an hour, crawling under the house, pulling up the (damp) carpet, and whatever other magic he does, and determined that in fact there were TWO problems, one of which he could fix (which he did).

Thank heaven it has been warm around here. Cliff hauled the carpet outside to dry off, and today he relaid it, and then recaulked the area where water was leaking through to the floor. Or as Shakespeare might have said, “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

More Mother’s Teachings:

~ My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

~ My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR
"Stop acting like your father!"

~ My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

~ My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

~ My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

~ My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

~ My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

~ My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

~ My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

~ My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

~ My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

~ My mother taught me WISDOM .
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

~ My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.”

Friday, September 25, 2009


A few months ago I purchased an iPod Shuffle. For those of you who may not know, the unit either plays the tracks from beginning to end, or, at my option, plays tracks in a random sequence. Now I have a lot of music on my computer, and I loaded about 150 tracks onto the Shuffle. Then I learned that in shuffle mode, it played about 20 - 25 random tracks, and then started over on the same set. I wanted to find out how to get to the next random set, so I downloaded the instructions. Maybe it’s in there, but I couldn’t find it.

I let it go for a while, and then the other day I phoned Apple technical support. I explained my problem to the tech who answered, and he had me go through a rather complicated procedure that ended up deleting all the songs on my iPod, and replacing them with my entire song list. That is NOT what I wanted! But before I could complain, I was cut off. I should say, FORTUNATELY I was cut off.

So Iphoned Apple tech -- again. This time a different tech answered, and I explained the problem all over again. “Oh, that’s very simple,” he said, and proceeded to tell me how to get to the next set of tracks -- a very simple procedure, indeed. So as soon as the present random starts to repeat, I’ll try the method. Wish me luck!

( I just tried the change as described, and it worked just fine.)

I thought these were funny:

This first one comes courtesy of LynnM. If you have anything funny you'd like to share on this blog, just email them to me at Spread the joy around.

That hard-to-read caption says, "Sure wish somebody would invent something to keep the sun out of my eyes"

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I subscribe to Netflix at a very low level -- two CD’s a month, which is about all I have time for. Some while ago I had seen a BBC series that included a very lovely young lady by the name of Francesca Annis. So I looked her up (on Google, where else?) looking for other movies in which she may have played. What I turned up was another BBC series entitled “Lillie”, which was done sometime in the late ’60’s or ’70’s.

Turns out that “Lillie” was based on a true story of a young woman named Emily, but everyone called Lillie. The young woman was born and raised on Jersey, one of the English channel islands, and her father was a minister. As the story is told, Lillie felt constrained by her family, and when she turned 18, she married a reputedly wealthy young man named Edward Langtry, and, of course, moved to his estate near London. Now Francesca Annis plays Lillie, and she is gorgeous in the role.

I just finished watching the first CD, which contained the first four episodes. There are three more CD’s to go, and I am enjoying this story immensley -- more than I expected. And I don’t know if it was intended to be humorous, but there are parts that I find hilarious! For example, it turns out that Lillie’s new husband is not as rich as expected. He had inherited a large sum of money, and has been going through it as if it were water. Now he has rather large debts to cover, and must sell one of his beloved yachts. He needs more cash. Someone asks him what sort of work he might do. “Work?” Edward says. “I don’t work! I’m a gentleman!” Yeah.

Other funny -

~ My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

~ My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

~ My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

~ My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."

~ My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

~ My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

~ My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

~ My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

~ My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

~ My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

~ My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

~ My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I was looking for something to post, and ran across these photos in a folder on my computer. I don’t even know how they got there -- I didn’t take them.

That looks like the twin towers, New York, lower right.

Over Niagara Falls?

The navy cheers 'em on!

Over San Francisco. That’s the Golden Gate Bridge down there.

Over San Francisco Bay, I believe. That looks like Alcatraz at the left, near center.

Now that IS Alcatraz. Is the plane escaping?

The photo is not upside down. You can see the ground below.

Perfect formation! It has to be.

Another precise formation.

Thought I’d drop by and say “hello”.

Magnificent show!

From the sublime to the ridiculous:


A woman went to the doctor's office, where she was seen by a young, new doctor. After about 4 minutes in the examination room, the doctor told her she was pregnant. She burst out, screaming as she ran down the hall.

An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening,, he had her sit down and relax in another room.

The doctor marched down the hallway to where the first doctor was and demanded, "What's the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 59 years old, she has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?"

The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, "Does she still have the hiccups?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Alison’s posting about a small world reminded me of a couple of instances, one of which I entered on her blog.
Here is the other one:

One summer a while back, Amalie and I had decided on a trip to Europe. Our itinerary included England, Norway and Denmark. We first landed at Heathrow Airport, London on a very hot day. We, along with several other people, were loaded onto a small bus headed into town. About 4 or 5 of us were near the back of the bus, and it turned out that we were all tourists. “Where are you from?” was by far the most common question asked, and in this group that had originally boarded at JFK in New York, were from various parts of the U.S. Finally the question was asked of a single gentleman. “I’m from California,” he said. “What part?” asked my wife. “Northern California”, he said. Well, I had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life, but we had not yet revealed that. “Where in Northern California?” Amalie persisted. “Oh, a little town you’ve never heard of,” he said. “What town?” my insistent wife asked. “You’ve likely never heard of it, but it’s the town of Los Gatos,” he finally confessed. “I teach there,” said Amalie. Small World!


An Irishman was in New York. He was patiently waiting, and watching the traffic cop on a busy street-crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, "Okay, pedestrians!" Then he'd allow the traffic to pass. He'd done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk. After the cop had shouted "Pedestrians!" for the tenth time, Paddy went over to him and said, "Is it not about time ye let the Catholics across?"

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yesterday (Sunday) Cliff and I went to see a stage play version of Robert Louis Stevens’ classic story, Treasure Island. The theater is a small one -- probably holds 200 patrons, or less, but they have been around for many years. Yes, I know what the sign says, but that's not the way they answer the phone.

It’s called Bus Barn Stage Company because the building used to be a barn for busses. Sometimes their productions are good, and sometimes not so good. This was one of the better ones. This is a photo of the set before the play began.

It started off with a bang, with pirates running down the aisle right next to me, yelling and screaming, as they took to the stage, and continued their fight. Most realistic. The pirates were all filthy dirty, and yelled, threatened, and brandished swords and other weapons. The “Captain” was stabbed in the back right there in the very first scene!

By and large the casting was quite good. The cast even included a live bird. It was in a cage, and was not a full size parrot, but it was a member of the psitticine family. The fellow who played Long John Silver was most realistic, clomping around on the stage on his pegleg. I suspect that his right leg, in a boot, was built up in order to keep him straight, for he was quite tall, as you can see here. I was hoping to get more photos, but Long John was the only one who stood still long enough for me to get a shot. And a good time was had by all!


A restaurant posts a sign that says “$500 if we fail to fill your order.” A customer decides to put it to a test by ordering “elephant ears on rye”. The waitress takes the order, and a few moments later the owner comes fuming out of the kitchen, and slams five one hundred dollar bills down on the customer’s table. “You got me!” he tells the customer. “But this is the first time in ten years that we’ve been out of rye bread.”

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The flowers around here are starting to wither, Fall is in the air, and now the San Francisco Bay Area is getting what we natives refer to as Indian Summer. Don't know why. Haven't heard any Indian war whoops. However, what is happening is the weather is heating up. Yesterday we in Mountain View had a high of 91, and there were higher temps in surrounding areas. Out in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys the mercury climbed to over 100 degrees F. And the forecast is for the heat to remain for the next several days. My fervent hope is that we don't get any power failures.

Cliff and I can manage here at home. The water cooler on the roof is quite efficient, and if things do get nasty, there is an air conditioner here in the den.

Tomorrow Cliff and I are going to the theater. A local group is staging TREASURE ISLAND. I'll let you know how many "Aarrrgh's" and "Make 'em walk the plank's" we hear.

Today's humor comes to you courtesy of LynnM. Thank you, Lynn:

Friday, September 18, 2009


About a week ago I mentioned that I'd discovered a small enclave of homes just down the street from me. Well, yesterday I finally got around to taking some photos.

Private, huh? Just how private?

Well, that turned out to not be so, as we shall see later.

A look down Tami Way. Looks quiet and peaceful.

A bit further in. It's so private, I didn't see anyone...

Boy, they sure want their privacy! Sorry for the somewhat out-of-focus pic.

A private park. Aha! that is someone on the left side of the photo. I think it was a woman holding a small child.

Pretty foliage appears to be the norm.

Well, Tami Way may dead-end, but here is a right turn into another street.

A resident or interloper?

And this guy was up on a fence. Didn't seem to appreciate my presence.

Tiana Lane ended at this street (where the car is), which leads right back to Sylvan Ave. So one could drive through, though it's not a shortcut to anywhere.



Dogs have Owners, Cats have Staff.

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.

As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.

Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later

Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.

People that hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life.

There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats.

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.

Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.

Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well.

You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I saw four different doctors over the past two days. Each had something positive to say or do. My cardiologist was just delighted with my cholesterol levels -- HDL 52; LDL 52. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” he told me.

My MD removed the staples from my scalp, and said there were no problems. I have now been, um, destapilized.

My physical therapist, on watching me do some exercises, said that I appeared to be getting a bit stronger.

And finally my chiropractor, in checking out the various places where I generally have kinks and sore spots, only found some “popcorn” in my neck. “Popcorn” is the term I use when he cracks my neck, and it sounds like corn popping.

All of which leads to some humor:


ON TURNING 70 "You still chase women, but only downhill".

ON TURNING 80 "That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing."

ON TURNING 90 "You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake."

ON TURNING 100 " I don't feel old. In fact I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap."

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING "I ruined my hands in the ring ... the referee kept stepping on them."

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR "Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'."

ON GOLF "Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees."

ON PRESIDENTS " I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six."

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER " When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, 'Congratulations. You have an eight-pound ham'."

ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL "I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it."

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY "Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother."

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS "That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom."

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES " I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the stuff the audience threw at me."

ON GOING TO HEAVEN "I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


That’s the title of a book by Paul Corey. I just finished reading it, and found it intriguing. Not once in the book does the author say he owned cats -- it was always “cats who lived with him”. He makes the argument that although scientific method cannot demonstrate whether or not cats think, his own critical observations over many years leads him to conclude that the possibility is certainly there.

That led me to thinking about a Siamese “who lived with me” many years ago. A friend and I lived in an apartment in San Francisco that allowed pets. Honey (so named because of her dark honey color) was a sweet animal who, like other cats, loved to have her ears and tummy rubbed. She also had a little game she would play with me, and this was strictly her idea. The apartment was laid out so that it was necessary to walk through the living room to get to the kitchen. Honey would hide on one side of the living room, and when I walked through, she would race across my path to the other side. Great fun, or something. One day I anticipated her dash in front of me, and as I walked through, I reached down and, much to her surprise, I scooped her up. Ha! Caught you.

Do cats think? Consider this: the next time I walked through and bent down to catch her, she leaped over my outstretched arm. Ha! You missed!

Fun time:

A man goes to his doctor and hands him a note that says, “I can’t talk. Help me”
“Okay”, says the doctor, and instructs the man to put his thumb on the table. The man doesn’t know how that will help, but he does as instructed. The doctor picks up a huge book and drops it on the man’s thumb.
“AAAAAAAAA,” screams the man.
“Very good,” says the doctor. “Come back tomorrow and we’ll work on B.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fascinating art work

I did not take these photos; they were sent to me by email. I thought you might enjoy them.
The photos are murals painted on the sides of buildings by Trompe Lóeil (trick-of-the-eye) artist John Pugh. Three of the four are local -- San Jose, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz. Chico is north of San Francisco.

This mural at the Cafe Trompe Loeil, San Jose, California, is entitled “Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating Life”. The customer never leaves.

Taylor Hall, Chico State University State University, Chico, California. The Doric style columns
are actually nothing but paint.

Main Street, Los Gatos, California. Even the woman peering into the ruin is part of the mural.

Bay in a Bottle, Santa Cruz, California. The passerby is part of the mural.



A father comes out of work a little late, and on his way home he remembers it's his daughter's birthday and he hasn't bought a gift. He parks his car in front of a toy store, and asks the sales person, "How much is the Barbie in the window?"

With an authoritative voice, the sales person replies, "Well, we have:

"Barbie goes to the Gym" for $19.95

"Barbie plays Volley Ball" for $19.95

"Barbie goes Shopping" for $19.95

"Barbie goes to the Beach" for $19.95

"Barbie goes Dancing" for $19.95

"Divorced Barbie" for $265.95"

The surprised man questions, "Ah!? Why does the Divorced Barbie cost $265.95 when the rest are only 19.95?"

Taking a deep breath, the sales person responds: "Sir... the ‘Divorced Barbie’ comes with Ken's car, Ken's house, Ken's boat, Ken's furniture, Ken's computer, and one of Ken's friends."

Monday, September 14, 2009


Some days ago I mentioned a small enclave of houses I didn’t know about that is just down the street from me. I’ve been intending to go back and take some photos, but between feeling under the weather (like everyone else), and the weather being a bit drippy, I haven’t been there yet. It’s supposed to warm up this week.

Time for me to catch up on a bit of "correspondence". I appear to have a couple of regular commenters, and lately a few others have chimed in. So allow me to respond.

To Donna in Ely (Nevada, that is): I'm delighted to have your comments, and happy that you liked seeing your name "in lights".

To Lynn, late of Ely (Cardiff, that is): Methinks the two Ely's are a few miles apart, with a bit of water between.

To AlisonH, late for ice cream: Anyone else you want to wave to? Be my guest.

To Diana Troldahl and knitalot3: Thanks to you both for your kind comments regarding the loss of my longtime friend.

To all who read this blog: Rest assured that I will continue with the humor as long as the jokes last.

And so saying, how about sumpin' funny:

Well, anyway that’s their story

Why do golf courses have 18 holes -- not 20 or 10 or an even dozen?

During a discussion among the club’s membership board at St. Andrews in 1858, a senior member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of Scotch per hole, the Scot figured a round of golf was finished when the Scotch ran out.

...and -

An Oklahoma State Trooper pulls over a pick-up truck on I-40 and says to the driver,"Got any ID?" The Driver says, "Bout what?"

Saturday, September 12, 2009


My thanks to all of you who were concerned about my fall. The advice from everyone -- blog comments, friends and doctors -- was all the same: DON’T FALL DOWN! Ok, I hear you. I’m trying. Sometimes I’m very trying!

My chiropractor gave my head a laser treatment, and then loaned me the unit to take home for a week. The staples come out Monday morning.

My physical therapist added some more exercises to my regime, so now I’m up to about a dozen and a half ... and counting. I asked him if there was any way to know if or when I would be able to stand on my own, and he gave me the only honest answer possible -- no way to tell, but exercise is the way to get there. No shortcuts. Such is life.

To Donna in Ely: Thanks for the comment. Glad to have you aboard.

Okay, let’s find something funny:

Honey, would you get the car out of the garage, please?

How about UNauthorized personnel?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I really didn’t know this. That Las Vegas Churches accept gambling chips.

This may come as a surprise to you, if you don’t live in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic churches than casinos. Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday Services will give casino chips rather than cash when the collection plate is passed.

Since they get chips fom many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to convert the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastary for sorting, and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in. This is done by

the Chip Monks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I had a phone call a couple of days ago that a dear friend of mine had passed away suddenly. It wasn’t a complete shock to me for I knew she had had some health problems. Nonetheless, I was sorry to hear that she was gone.

Joline and I became friends nearly 50 years ago. We had supported one another as friends do when it was necessary, and we had shared many laughs and good times together. I don’t think she had a nasty bone in her body. She might have been unhappy with one situation or another, but I’d never seen her clench her teeth or ball up her fist in anger.

Over the past several years we chatted on the phone, and one day, about, oh 10 years ago, she started to tell me about this wonderful book she was reading. Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t paying much attention that day. The next time we talked, she again went on and on about this same book. (My Heavens! How long was this story? Over a thousand pages, as it turned out. And that was just the first of some half dozen books that turned out to be one verrry long story). She kept telling me about this series (as it turned out to be) over several more phone calls, and then one day my doorbell rang, and there she was, book in hand. “Here! Read!” And so I did. In fact I ended up up buying the series up to that point -- about 4 long books, and the two more that have come out since. Today I learned thad book seven is due out later this month, but Joline won’t get to read this one. Or maybe she will.

She was a true friend, and I shall miss her.

But she would insist I keep up the humor:

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?" "Just water," says the priest. The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?" The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WE WON! WE WON! (Concluded)

In those days there were no direct flights from the mainland to Maui, our first destination. And of course when we landed in Oahu we had long since missed our connecting flight. We checked with the inter-island carrier and learned that there was only one more flight to Maui that day, and there was only one seat available. I suggested that Amalie take it, and I would catch up when I could. And we wondered where our luggage was. We had to wait around quite a while for that last flight, and at the last minute they squeezed me in. By the time we landed at the Maui airport, it was dark, and the airport itself was dark. We had no idea where our bags might be, but as we rounded the corner of the tiny building, there were our two pieces of luggage patiently waiting for us.

Maui is shaped somewhat like a figure 8, with mountains in the center of the 0’s, and its airport is located in the center of the 8. We had ordered a rental car, and when we picked it up, discovered it was one of the Japanese makes. Okay. Our Sheraton Hotel was at the Lahaina side of the island, and we were going to have to drive around along the coast to get there. We hoped we could find it. Well, there was only one main road, so I followed that. It was pitch black out, and I hunted in vain for the high beams on the headlights. We finally arrived at our hotel, rather late for dinner, but we were treated most kindly. We were served dinner, and watched the remainder of the Hawaiian version of Christmas holiday entertainment. The next day one of the hotel personnel showed me where to find the high beam switch.

On Maui we rented a plane ride that took us up and around the island, and right into Haliakala Crater, where the astronauts had trained for their moonwalk. After exploring Maui, we flew to the Hilo side of the big island of Hawaii, explored there, and then, with a rental car, drove around to the Kona side for a couple of days. Our next stop was Kauai, and there we rented a helicopter ride around the island.

Their last stop was the Sheraton Pink Palace at Waikiki on Oahu. When I went to check out on the last day, the cashier asked rather suspiciously, “Who is this Mr. Thompson?” (The ad agency was picking up the tab.) Since J. Walter Thompson had an office in Honolulu, I suggested the cashier phone them. The clerk came back a short time later with a scowl on his face, and admitted that the ad agency was paying the bill. The flight home was uneventful -- thank Heaven! Until we landed at Oakland Airport -- not San Jose. Turned out not to be a problem. The flight attendant explained we had landed briefly at Oakland to let off a few passengers, and that during the seven minute flight from Oakland to San Jose, they would be serving an 8 course meal, and the in-flight movie would be Dostoievsky’s “War and Peace”.

Funny signs:

Must what?

hwo to do taht?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


In December, 1970, when Amalie was grocery shopping, she noticed that 7-Up was having a drawing, the grand prize for which was a week long trip for two to the Hawaiian Islands, air by Western Airlines, and accommodations by Sheraton. All one had to do was mail in 7-Up bottle caps. There was no limit as to the number of times one could enter, nor were there any restrictions as to the time of year one could take the trip. The drawing was being handled by 7-Up’s ad agency, J.Walter Thompson (one of the largest American agencies).

A month or so later Amalie was notified that she had won! She was teaching at the time, and the only time available was over the next Christmas holiday. She so notified 7-Up, and then the fun began.

Western Airlines had no trouble with the reservations, but then we received a letter from Sheraton saying that they were already booked up over the Christmas holiday. Besides, the letter went on, they couldn’t possibly honor the request for free rooms as it would (their exact phrase)” hurt their profitability index”. This was the same year that San Diego was hosting the Republican National Convention, and Sheraton was giving special rates to the delegates. Profitability index, indeed!

It so happened that Amalie had to be in New York that summer, and on a whim, stopped in at a Sheraton to inquire about space availability in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday. “Sure,”she was told. “when would you like to go, and to what islands” (or words to that effect) When she returned home, she phoned 7-Up to complain, and was told that if Sheraton wouldn’t pay for the space, 7-Up would. We decided that we wanted to visit several islands, adding a couple of days to our trip. We made arrangements through 7-Up to leave San Jose Airport at 9 a.m. December 24, as well as reservations to stay at Sheraton hotels starting in Maui, then the Big island of Hawaii, Kauai, and finishing up at the Pink Palace on Oahu. We made our own inter-island flight arrangements. So well before 9 a.m. on Christmas eve, having checked our luggage, we were at the Western ticket counter in San Jose. Boarding time came and went, 9 a.m. came and went, 10 a.m. came and went, and we were getting antsy. After all, we had an inter island flight to catch. Finally the group of travelers were told that there was something wrong with the aircraft, and the flight was being cancelled. Oh, good grief!

There were no other flights to the islands out of San Jose that day, but Western was checking with Oakland and San Francisco airports for space that Western would pay for. As luck would have it, there was some space aboard a United flight leaving San Francisco airport at noon. We opted for that. Since the bags had been checked, I had to uncheck them, and in the process, gave up my luggage tags. Time was growing short. We were piled into a taxi, along with a couple of other travelers, and took off for SFO. Time was running very short as we dragged our bags to the United ticket counter, and the last I saw of those bags was as they disappeared down the baggage chute. And off we ran to catch the plane. We did, but our seats were at the front of the coach section, right up against the bulkhead. Oh, my aching legs!

(To be continued tomorrow)



We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot more information in our heads. So I’m not fat; just really intelligent, and my head couldn’t hold any more, so it started fillling up the rest of me.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday (Sunday) Cliff, Boyd and I went to a Red Lobster for dinner, and had a great time and a great meal. When we came home, Boyd visited a while, and after he left, I wanted to go to the recliner chair in the living room to read a while. But I never quiiite got there. As I started to turn to get ready to sit, I lost my balance, fell, and cracked my head on the edge of the coffee table. Cliff said "You're bleeding," and after putting an ice pack on my head, called 911.

The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter, and the medics said I needed stitching up. So they hauled me off to Emergency. I dread going there because it generally takes so long for anything to get done. But the nurses were on me immediately, cleaning the wound. The doctor came in, took a look, and ordered, not stitches, but staples, which a nurse took care of. I was out of there (Cliff drove me home) in slightly under 2 hours, which I thought was remarkable.

Today I'm a bit groggy, but otherwise alive. I get the staples removed in a week.

Something funny:

A wonderful bird is the pelican;
Its beak can hold more than its belly can.
It can hold in its beak
Enough food for a week.
I’m darned if I know how the hell he can.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


A friend emailed me to say that I seemed to be living several different lives. For example, there is Coach Don Meyer, who is the winningest college basket ball coach. In 37 years, he has won 910 games, compared to Bobby Knight, who has won 902 games in 41 years. Coach Meyer coaches for the Northern State University, Aberdeen South Dakota Wolves.

My friend went on to say “Didn't know you even knew how to play basketball.” Well, I know how, but it’s been a long time.

Then said friend emailed me the following day to point out that Don Meyer is manager of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum blog. The Mid-Continent Railway Museum is located in North Freedom, Wisconsin. The museum grounds at Mid-Continent are intended to provide a turn-of-the-century atmosphere.



1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. You don’t stay in touch with friends and family because they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every tv commercial has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone,(God forbid!) which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

9. You get up in the morning and go on-line before getting your coffee.

10. You consider waking up in the morning "rebooting", blink your eyes "refreshing your screen".

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :-)

Friday, September 4, 2009


...and other topics.

It's been quite hot around here -- upper 80's and lower 90's -- but today it cooled down into the mid 70's, with a bit of a breeze, so I went out for a scooter ride. Just up the block I discovered a whole group of fairly new homes tucked away in a little cul-de-sac, and one day I'll go back and take some pictures.

On the health front, I've been keeping up with my exercises, and last Wednesday, the therapist added four more. Okay, I can do that.

Going through some old computer files, I found a rather lengthy story of a trip that Amalie and I took many years ago. I'll get it in shape for posting soon.


A man had 50-yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sits down, a man comes along and asks the man if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him. "No", he says, "the seat is empty". "This is incredible," says the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sport event in the world, and not use it?" Somberly, the man says, "Well... the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we have not been together since we got married in 1967." "Oh I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else--a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?" The man shakes his head, "No. They're all at her funeral."

Thursday, September 3, 2009


My eldest sister Fran was a great story teller. She would regale the family with stories of events that had happened, and she also told great jokes. Her son Jack (one of my nephews) picked up the knack. He was telling us one time how, when at work, he and some of his work buddies would brown bag it, sit on the loading dock, and swap jokes. And when Jack told one, especially if it was a bit on the risque side, he would be asked, "Where did you hear that one?" Jack would often reply, "Oh, my mother told me that one." And his buddies would be amazed that a mother, of all people, would tell such stories.

My mother, on the other hand, was a very quiet woman. Her father had brought her to the States from Russia in the late 1890's or early 1900's, when she was only 7 or 8 years old, and she never did get a proper education. Not that she wasn't intelligent -- she certainly was, and she had both a proper sense of right and wrong, and a practical sense of what to do in a difficult situation.

Well, one day, Jack told us, he told a joke to his buddies, and they asked, "Where did you hear that one?" Said Jack, "Oh, my grandmother told me that one!" That pretty much floored them.

So what was this joke that my very sedate mother told?

There were two squirrels up in a tree making love, when suddenly the little boy squirrel slipped and fell to the ground. The little girl squirrel came running down the tree, and hollering, "Are you okay? Are you okay?" "Yeah, I'm all right," said the little boy squirrel, as he dusted himself off, "but making love in the trees is for the birds!"


Now I have no idea where my mother heard that -- I don't think we asked -- but I never heard her tell another.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Ten years ago the newly built, modern Mountain View Library opened. Many innovations were added, and even more have been installed since then. The entire area is light and airy, and there is plenty of light in between the stacks.

This is the main lobby. To the left one may check out books and other materials automatically, and if one cannot figure out how to operate the equipment, there is always someone there to help. I’m getting pretty good at by now.

On the right (out of the photo) is an information desk where one may apply for a card, inquire about the availability of titles, and other information. I’ve even had them offer to go to the stacks to obtain a book I wanted to borrow.

The library has a number of movies and DVD’s that may be checked out. Farther down this aisle is the children’s area.

There are a number of computers available for use. These shown are to check the catalog.

There are several comfortable areas where one may sit and read. This one is on the first floor.

These are the second floor stacks.

Second floor reading area.

And of course plenty of magazines.

Fun time:


Two sisters inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull from the stockyard in a far town so that they can breed their own stock. They only have $600 left. The older sister is the one who will travel. Upon leaving, she says, "When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home."

The sister arrives at the stockyard, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599--no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the telegraph office, and says, "I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive it

here so we can haul it home." The telegraph operator explains that he'll be glad to help her, then adds, "It's just 99 cents a word."

Well, after paying for the bull, the sister only has $1 left. She realizes that she'll only be able to send one word. After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, "I want you to send her the word 'comfortable'."

The operator shakes his head. "How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word 'comfortable'?"

She explains: "My sister is a very poor reader. The word's big. She'll read it very slowly......... com-for-da-bull".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The Friendship That Won the Civil War
A true story by Charles Flood.

There have been many books written about the Civil War, as well as about Ulysses S. Grant and about William T. Sherman. But this is the first volume about both men -- how well they worked together and understood each other. The author describes them “as brothers who always backed up one another”. When early in the war Grant considered resigning again, Sherman talked him out of it, even though Sherman likely would have moved up the chain of command. Grant, for his part, worked hard to insure that Sherman received the promotions he deserved. The author says, “Each saw in the other a friendly trusted partner who quickly grasped the others ideas and made it possible to implement them for their mutual benefit and for the success of the cause to which they were dedicated.”

Both men were West Point graduates, the two years older Sherman graduating before Grant. Grant saw action in the Mexican-American war in the 1850’s, though Sherman did not. Before the Civil War began, both resigned their commissions. Sherman, who wanted to earn his own fortune, resigned to become the manager of the San Francisco branch of a St. Louis bank. Grant resigned rather than be court martialed for drunkeness. Both were considered failures in the few years before the Civil War.

This remarkable story is very well written, describing in detail not only how well they worked together, but also how their battle plans were carried out. It also tells the political side of the story, where at times political considerations worked against battle plans.

I heartily recommend this book for those who love history. I found it to be a quick read, a page turner, if you will, and raced through it in three days.

Something funny: