I've not been feeling well the past couple of days, so yesterday afternoon I called my doctor's office. I wanted to find out when I might possibly get in, when Surprise, Surprise, I was given an appointment one hour later. No, I don't have the flu -- H1N1, or any other variety. Dr. M said I had a bacterial infection, and prescribed an antibiotic. I started the pills last evening, and went to bed early. Slept nearly 10 hours, and felt half decent this morning. Then a few hours later, I started feeling ratty again, and slept several more hours. Feeling a bit better now, but ve shall zee vot ve shall zee.
Two infants were born on the same day. Antonio Secola was born in Florence, Italy, and Michael O’Hara was born in Dublin, Ireland. These two children had remarkably similar upbringings. Both attended Catholic school; both did very well in school, finishing at or near the tops of their respective classes. Both attended Catholic seminaries where they both did extremely well, and became Catholic priests. Because of their obvious intelligence, and their understanding of their religion, they both rose quickly in the church hierarchy and both became Cardinals at about the same time.
Several years later, the Pope passed away, and it seemed rather obvious that either Antonio Secola or Michael O’Hara should be chosen to replace the deceased Pontiff. If there was any difference between the two it was that Antonio was just a very little bit more intelligent than Michael.
And so the waiting began. Both Michael and Antonio were at the Vatican awaiting the results, but Antonio really expected that he would be elected. Days passed without a decision. Everyone was getting fidgety, when suddenly the signal came that a new Pope had been chosen. The announcement was that Michael O’Hara had been chosen to be the new leader of the Catholic church.
Antonio was stunned! Actually, he was furious! He knew he was the better of the two. He took matters into his own hands by storming into the room where the electing Cardinals were still gathered, and demanded to know why he had not been chosen. There was dead silence in the room. Antonio once again demanded an answer. Once more there was silence until finally a very old Cardinal stood and said in a quavering voice, “We understand your disappointment. We know that you are a bit more qualified than O’Hara. But we argued the point for many days. Despite your obvious advantage, we could not elect someone who would be known as Pope Secola.”
I was going to write that you shouldn’t get too excited about my being able to get up from my scooter. It was a first for me, and I was excited about it, but I realized that the seat of the scooter sits up higher than a normal chair, and that made a difference. However, today there was a difference. I was on my bed doing my exercises, and when I finished, I tried to stand. Up I went, to my total amazement. Now the bed is a couple of inches higher than most chairs, but is lower than the scooter. I just keep trying.
My posting of photos of the Golden Gate Bridge prompted a couple of comments. One regarded the 50th anniversary of the opening of that bridge, which prompted me to remember this true story:
I was only seven years old when the Golden Gate Bridge was first opened to traffic. My dad insisted we should go and ride across this magnificent structure. This didn’t seem like a difficult thing to do since we lived in San Francisco, so off we went. My eldest sister’s husband drove, and when we got near the approach to the bridge, we could see that ninety gazillion other people had the same idea. Traffic was at a crawl. When we finally got up on the span itself, cars were nearly completely stopped. My dad, who was in his bedroom slippers, said he wanted to get out and walk. We would pick him up on the way back. So off he went, midst all the other pedestrians.
I certainly don’t recall how long it took us to cross the bridge, turn around and come back, but it was quite some time. And as we crept along, we kept an eye out for Pop. Ha! No luck. And we had to keep going. The off ramp had places to pull off in case of emergency, so my brother-in-law pulled into that space. A short while later a highway patrolman on a motorcycle pulled up and asked if anything was the matter. My sister explained the problem, and gave Pop’s description, right down to the bedroom slippers. And off the highway patrolman went. Some while later he came back with Pop riding on the back of the cycle, bedroom slippers and all. Rescued!
Once again I bring you a slightly edited version from Tom and Ray Magliozzi, otherwise known as Click & Clack. I found this too funny to keep to myself.
Dear Tom and Ray: About a year and a half ago my dad bought a ’92 Volvo station wagon for $500. I’m turning 16 next spring, and he expects it to be my car. He thinks it’s fantastic because it was so cheap, but the car is older than I am, and it’s a piece of junk. We went over a speed bump once, and the fan for the air conditioner fell off . And I hate to be picky, but it’s pretty embarrassing to ride in. I was hoping you might have a good excuse why I shouldn’t have to drive it, because my dad loves your show. Thanks so much. Emily.
Ray: Unfortunately this is exactly the type of car we recommend that parents buy for their teenagers. Your father probably got the idea from hearing us talk about it. It’s safe, it’s slow, and it’s ugly -- the perfect car for a teen!
Tom: Right. It’s ugly and it’s embarrassing, so you won’t drive it unless you have to. Parts are falling off it, so you won’t be tempted to stray too far from home. And it’s a tank, so if you do make a mistake (which many teenagers do) you’ll have a better chance of surviving it.
Ray: So I’m afraid we’re not going to be much help here, Emily.
Tom: Wait, I’ve got it. Emily, the next time you’re in the car with your dad, look toward the back and say, “Those back seats fold down, right, dad?” And when your dad says, “Sure they do. Why?” You say, “Well, with the seats folded down, I bet there’s plenty of room for two people to lie down back there.” He’ll have you in a ’92 Volvo sedan by Monday, Emily!
The “Bridges” posting brought forth the following nomination from LynM. This is surely a most graceful design.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning the beautiful Avon Gorge, is the symbol of the city of Bristol. For almost 150 years this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world. Its story began in 1754 with the dream of a Bristol wine merchant who left a legacy to build a bridge over the Gorge.
This is my own personal nomination:
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco's renowned iconic symbol, is an engineering feat, spanning 1.7 miles and reaching 220 feet above the San Francisco Bay. Its magnitude dwarfs the ships and automobiles below.
This next photo reminds me of a time many years ago (following the Korean conflict) when I was living in San Francisco. I was taking the streetcar downtown, and ran into a fellow high school grad. Turns out he had been in Korea, and came back on a troop ship, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. I asked him if it was something of a thrill to see that bridge. His reply: “Couldn’t see it at all -- it was fogged in.”
An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor who was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor who said, 'Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.' The gentleman replied, 'Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!'
Once again, these photos were sent to me by a friend. Might as well share them. The commentary is all part of the email.
Pedestrian Bridge - Texas This beautiful arched bridge in Lake Austin was built by Miro Rivera Architects ...
and is used to connect the client's main house to the smaller guest house on the other side of the pond. To make the bridge seem as natural as possible within its surroundings they made the decking and reed-like hand rails imperfect but still structurally sound.
Kintaikyo, Iwakuni , Japan
The original Kintai Bridge was built in 1673 but collapsed due to flooding. The rebuilt bridge survived for more ...
than 200 years until a typhoon destroyed it in 1950. The bridge that stands now over the Nishiki River has five wooden arches displaying an incredible amount of detail and craftmanship. Interesting fact: no nails or bolts have been used to build the arches, only clamps and wires.
Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge , Brasilia , Brazil
The JK Bridge in Brasilia is a lesson in elegant bridge design.
The three huge diagonal arches over the deck of the bridge give the structure an amazing visual fluidity (yeah, but was the designer slightly inebriated when he designed this structure?).
Rolling Bridge, London , UK
Thomas heatherwick's award-winning rolling bridge is ...
an ingenious addition to the grand union canal system in London and is unique. Unlike regular movable canal bridges, the rolling bridge curls up to form an octagon by way of hydraulic jacks to let ships pass.
Beipanjiang River Railroad Bridge , Guizhou , China
Beipanjiang River Railroad Bridge in Guizhou is an enormous railway bridge that was built as part of the 'Guizhou-Shuibai Railway Project'. Connecting two mountains over a deep ravine, at its highest point the bridge's deck sits 918 ft above the ground. Parenthetically the bridge in connects two of the country's poorest areas.
Henderson Waves, Southern Ridges, Singapore
'Henderson Waves' is Singapore 's highest pedestrian bridge and is at the 'Southern Ridges,' a beautiful 9 km ...
(six miles) stretch of gardens and parks. The deck of the bridge is made from thousands of Balau wood slats, perfectly cut and arranged, and along the length of the deck a snaking, undulating shell forms sheltered seating areas on every upward curve.
Pont Gustave Flaubert, Rouen , France
This incredible vertical lift bridge is in Rouen , France , whose spans weigh 1,200 tons each but can be hoisted 180 ft vertically in an impressive 12 minutes. The angular lift structures at the top of each tower weigh 450 tons each. The huge vertical lift allows even the largest cruise liners to sail through.
Hegigio Gorge Pipeline Bridge , Southern Highlands Province , Papua New Guinea
This bridge supports two pipelines - one gas, the other oil - across the extremely deep gap in Papua New Guinea. If this were to be officially ...
recognized as a vehicular or pedestrian bridge it would rocket to the top of the 'world's highest bridge-span' with the pipelines at an impressive height of 1,290 ft above the bottom of the gorge. By comparison, the current highest bridge span belongs to the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado , hanging a mere1,053 ft above ground level.
State lawmakers didn’t sit still after a neo-nazi group adopted a stretch of highway in Springfield, Missouri. In an amendment to a bill, they renamed that portion of the road after a prominent leader. Now the neo-nazi group is paying for the upkeep of the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway.
The other evening Cliff, another friend (Boyd) and I went to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts to hear a talk on the evolution of technology. But that isn’t what I wanted to mention. Boyd had suggested that we have dinner at a little Chinese restaurant diagonally across the street from the CPA, and so it was agreed. At the restaurant Boyd asked, “Soup?” Sure. It was a cool night, and the menu showed Wor Wonton Soup, one of my favorites. So, among other things, we ordered that. Well, this soup was a bit different from other versions with the same name. The vegetables in it were BIG. In fact said veggies wouldn’t stay on my spoon. I ended up eating them -- with a fork!
Bit of fun --
Three old guys are out walking. First one says, 'Windy, isn't it?' Second one says, 'No, it's Thursday!' Third one says, 'So am I. Let's go get a beer.'
I was at the physical therapist’s, sitting in my scooter. I had finished all of the torture, er, exercises that I usually do, and the therapist was deciding what I should do next. He concluded that I should try some knee bends. (Note that I did NOT say ‘deep knee bends’.) So he wanted me to stand once more. He fastened a belt around my waist to assist me to get up. I had to supply some of the energy by pushing off of the steering gear on the scooter. And up I went. “How much of that was you?” I asked. “None,” he replied, “you did it all on your own.” I DID? That quite startled me!
When I finished, and scootered out to the van, I told Cliff about it, and that I wanted to try it again. And I did -- get up without help, that is. It happened yet a third time when after some shopping, I once again picked myself up from the scooter. I cannot really describe how good that felt! This is why I am exercising. Now this is just the beginning. The scooter steering gear is some inches higher than where I sit, and that gives me some leverage. When I can stand by pushing off the chair in which I am sitting, I will be much farther along.
Three women are having lunch. One says, "My son is a Bishop, and when he walks into a room, everyone says 'Your Grace' ".
The next woman says, "My son is a cardinal, and when he walks into a room, everyone says 'Your Excellancy' ".
The third woman, a little Jewish lady, says, "My son is six foot four, very handsome, broad shoulders, narrow hips, and when he walks into a room, all the women say, 'Oh my God!'"
Our park managers are great at putting up holiday decorations. Here’s what we have going for that creepy, crawly thing we call Hallowe’en. Too bad I don’t have a video camera. Some of the outdoor ones move up and down or rotate. Here, have a look!
Creepy creature hiding inside happy pumpkin.
That's Creepy Creature's dark brudder.
Methinks the Creepy's scared the cat. Scairdy cat?
One happy family ...
Get off my foot!
... and Happy's vertical family.
Getting ready for take-off.
You'd think we're going batty.
Seen your dentist lately?
Other fun -
A senior citizen said to his eighty-year old buddy: 'So I hear you're getting married?' 'Yep!' 'Do I know her?' 'Nope!' 'This woman, is she good looking?' 'Not really.' 'Is she a good cook?' 'Naw, she can't cook too well.' 'Does she have lots of money?' 'Nope! Poor as a church mouse.' 'Well, then, is she good in bed?' 'I don't know.' 'Why in the world do you want to marry her then ?' 'Because she can still drive!'
Recently there was a posting on Alison’s blog about being open to a new take on things. I’d made a comment about having a hard time with new takes in classical music, but not necessarily in general, and I said that reminded me of a story I would post on my blog. Okay, here it is:
Many years I was working as a clerk for a subsidiary of Southern Pacific. I was handling paper work of some kind, when one day my boss came up to me with a multi-page form in his hand. “Here, fill this out.” I had the data. It was simply a matter of filling in all those blanks. But as I perused the form, with all its lines and blank spaces, it struck me that the vertical spacing was typewriter spacing (remember typewriters?). I used to be an excellent typist, so I went back to my boss to ask for a typewriter. The form would be much neater and cleaner. Good Heavens! The man was horrified! “Its never been done on the typewriter. We’ve always done it by hand! You were not hired as a typist!” Somehow I convinced the man that not only would the finished product be neater, but would be done in a fraction of the time. Well! He would have to take the matter up with his superior. (He must have gotten approval.)
Ultimately he found me a typewriter, and I delivered as promised, but I left shortly thereafter. Working in the 20th century for a firm still in the 19th was not my idea of a good idea.
More amazing photographs from friends who forward them to me. Even the following text was part of the email.
Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions. Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with meltwater and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form. When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe. Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.
This looks somewhat like a whale.
The water froze the instant the wave broke through the ice. That's what it is like in Antarctica where it is the coldest weather in decades. Water freezes the instant it comes in contact with the air. The temperature of the water is already some degrees below freezing.
Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. 'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?' he asks. 'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?' 'Sure.' 'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks. 'No, I can remember it.' 'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so's not to forget it?' He says, 'I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.' 'I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?' she asks. Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!' Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment. 'Where's my toast ?'
Eric is the gentleman who started cooking for Amalie and me several years ago. He continues to do so now for Clifford and me, bringing meals he cooks at home (he lives here in the park) that’s good for 4 days each for the two of us. He performs other tasks for us, as well. For example, Am and I used to make our bed each morning, but I had reached a point where I could no longer do that. I’d said that I wanted an automatic bedmaker. That shouldn’t be too hard, I insisted. And so, in addition to the other tasks he was doing for us, Eric became our “automatic” bedmaker.
About once a month he drives up to Napa in the north bay to visit his father, and it is on those days when Amalie and I (then), and Cliff and I (now) have to fend for ourselves. And when those days occur, I refer to them as Eric Appreciation Day, for it is when he is not here that we really appreciate his efforts. About a month ago, Eric informed us that a client of his wanted to bring him along on a two week cruise to the Mexican Riviera -- all expense paid. Well! Eric had never been on a cruise before, and he could scarcely say “No”. So Eric is now off on the cruise of his lifetime, and while he will be gone only two weeks, I have dubbed this Eric Appreciation Month!
Now if you thought you knew all about this sort of thing, think again. The following photo came to me labeled:
Balloon? No, balloons (plural). We should all give thanks to my various friends who send me some of the most intriguing emails! A dear couple who live nearby are off to New Mexico for, among other things, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. And they are emailing photos to me (among others). And so we (my readers and I) my enjoy them. So please do. Enjoy, that is.
Three men were arrested with 600 pounds of pot. Suspicions arose at a Burger King when they ordered 12,000 cheeseburgers and a large coke.
*** The graveside service just barely finished, when there was massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance. The little old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, 'Well, she's there.