Thursday, December 29, 2011


At first this had me puzzled.  The still photos made Lily look like a sculpture.  I checked Snopes, but could find nothing there.  So I googled ‘Lily and Maddison’, and found that several British newspapers had this to say:

“Meet the blind Great Dane in need of a home (but you'll need to make space for HER huge guide dog).  Maddison will lead and Lily will walk nearly touching her so she knows where to go. It’s lovely to watch. Maddison is always looking out for her”

“Lily is a Great Dane that has been blind since a bizarre medical condition required that she have both eyes removed. For the last five years, Maddison, another Great Dane, has been 
her sight. The two are, of course, inseparable.”

Then the newspapers reported the following:

“Anne Williams, 52, and her husband Len, 53, a retired fireman, fell in love with the dogs when they read about them in the Mail and their offer was accepted by the trust."

"Mrs Williams, a business manager for an insurance company, said: ‘We've always had two dogs together, I like them to have company and so taking on two of them wasn't a daunting prospect.  'My daughter moved out five months ago, taking her two English setters with her, so the house has felt a little quiet without them.’”

Finally, I found a video of the two dogs, and if that’s a sculpture, it sure moves pretty fast!
Humor --

~  Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?

~  There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.

~  There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 a.m.… It could be the right number.

~  No one ever says, “It's only a game” when their team is winning.

OCTOBER, revisited

Here it is, the dead of winter, and we may be longing for nicer climes.  So let’s go back a few months and reminisce.

Fun --

~  One of life's mysteries is how a 2-pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 pounds.

~  The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

~  If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.

~  Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


No self-pity. Not even a whiff of frustration. Just ambition and perseverance, gilded with humor: "If you Google 'blind actor Bay Area,' you'll find me," Brandon Keith Biggs says.  You'll find news of the Mountain View resident's latest musical theater roles. What you won't find is this: the fact that he has kayaked, ice-skated -- and surfed. The 19-year-old, has been blind since birth.

Biggs is a Foothill College student, and aims to become a professional opera singer -- at New York's Metropolitan Opera, a goal that's about as easy to achieve as, oh, becoming a Major League Baseball player.  “Be hungry for what you love,” he says.  And Biggs is hungry. With unwavering support from his parents, he takes private voice lessons in Hayward and acting lessons in San Francisco. He studies Italian via Skype with a teacher in Italy, and he is about to do the same for German -- because any top-notch opera singer must sing fluently in numerous languages.

Over the past year, opera has become "my addiction," he says. He loves its stories, its passion, the discipline it demands. His dream is to sing the role of the villain Scarpia in Puccini's "Tosca." His idol is Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, a sighted superstar on stages worldwide: "Basically, I want to grow up and be Bryn Terfel," Biggs says.

Admittedly late to hard-core musical training, Biggs -- who lives independently in a Mountain View apartment -- studies piano and music theory and is learning to read music using Braille. All this is outside his studies at Foothill, where he hopes to graduate in the spring with a general music degree. Someday, he hopes to attend a top music conservatory.

"Brandon has a wonderful bass-baritone voice," says David Rohrbaugh, Opera San Jose's music director and principal conductor, who has coached Biggs in the past year. "There's a heightened awareness to his listening. He hears fine nuances, sounds, phrasing, vowels and consonants. He hears and quickly imitates, has a sharp memory -- and a beautiful smile."

One day in early November -- not long after Biggs had finished a run in Gilbert and Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore," singing the role of a sailor with Lyric Theatre of San Jose -- his teachers dropped by his studio apartment, which is crowded with computers, school books and his new digital piano. There was Carla Frazier, his daily living skills teacher, who taught him to make cannolis and pizza from scratch. There was Alec Karp, his orientation and mobility teacher, who trained him in picking up audio cues for crossing dangerous streets.

Music was important to Biggs as a child, too. When he was 3, his father took him to see Newsboys, a contemporary Christian group. His mother sang him folk songs. He experimented with drums, violin, recorder, clarinet. At age 14, Biggs heard "Phantom of the Opera," which made him fall in love with singing.

That year, a visiting children's theater cast him in the role of a knight in "The Frog Prince."
Remembering this, Biggs breaks into song, mellow-voiced:  Be a knight! Do what's right, helping when life isn't fair! His current voice teacher -- Pamela Hicks, in Hayward -- has told him to get to work if he hopes to reach his goals. "We're going to make you into a musician," he remembers her telling him. "You've been dabbling."

There's much to master: the endless mechanics of singing, as well as the vast operatic repertoire. Biggs says he's confident that he can work hard enough.  "I've got loads to learn, I know, and I'm hungry," he says. "And like my music teacher says: With opera, once you're hooked, you're hooked. I want the rest of my life to be opera."


Here are some of what I consider unusual photographs.  I could identity a few of them.

 Buildings in Dubai

Storm in Montana

Turquoise lake, New Zealand

Humor --

The Reservations

A man wrote a letter to a small hotel in a Midwest town he planned to visit on his vacation.
He wrote: "I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me at night?"

An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who said, "I've been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I've never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware or pictures off the walls. I've never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I've never had a dog run out on a hotel bill. Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel.

And, if your dog will vouch for you, you're welcome to stay here, too."

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I was silently reading the Click and Clack column the other morning when suddenly I said aloud “No, no, no, no!”  Startled, Cliff looked up and said, “What?”  So I read him the following:

“Dear Tom and Ray:
My husband is 68 and I am 72, and the following has been a lifelong argument.  We have a small gravelly hill leading to our driveway.  When it is icy, my husband insists on driving (or sliding) down the hill in neutral.” To which Cliff immediately responded with, “No, no!  You lose control of the car in neutral!”

Which is precisely what Tom and Ray went on to explain.  End of lesson for the day.

More daffynitions --

A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

Mud with the juice squeezed out.

Someone me-deep in conversation

A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage.

Cold Storage.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


To say this is astonishing is an understatement.  This posting appears all by itself because I could not conceive of anything that could possibly go with it.

An Imperial Chinese vase, thought to have been kept at the royal palace in Beijing's Forbidden City, which sold for more than £9 million at auction at Bonhams auction house in London. The buyer, from the Chinese mainland, paid £9,001,250, making the vase the highest-priced Asian artwork to be sold in London this year. Its pre-sale estimate was £5 million to £8 million but it went for a higher price following a bidding war between three separate phone buyers.

(A British pound sterling is about $1.50 U.S.)


Relax and enjoy these --

Humor --

Three Brazilian men were in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.


We wish the best for all

When on the move,

  Or simply having fun,

or just relaxing together!


Thursday, December 22, 2011


My wrist watch is not waterproof, so I take it off before showering.  As I did the other evening.  Put it on the night stand.

When I came out of the shower, I picked it up and put on the corner of the bed next to my pillow, turned around and sat down.  After I put on my night shirt, I reached for my watch ... reached for ... WHERE DID IT GO?  “CLIFF!!  What?”  “I can’t find my watch.”  He comes into the bedroom.  “Where did you put it?” he asks.  “Right there on the corner of the bed,” says I, pointing.  He gets down on his knees (I can’t do that and expect to get up again) and peers under the bed.  Under the pillow.  Under the blankets.  No watch.

Given my lousy memory, I think maybe I picked it up and put it on the turned back blankets, which are now scrunched up.  So I say to Cliff, “When I stand up, pull the blankets back and see if they are in the folds.”  As I start to stand, Cliff says, “There it is,” as he picks it up off the floor right at my feet.  It hadn’t been there a minute ago.  Where had it been?  I’d been sitting on it!

The moral of the story?  No sense; no feeling.

Other funny stuff --


A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

A place where women curl up and dye.

Someone who is fed up with people.

The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


These photos came from various sources.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Humor --

Watch out for this scam!!!!!

Police say that the gang usually is comprised of 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 pocket or purse for any valuables.
Be on the alert!!!


Enjoy a few more of these fascinating friends:

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times -- GET DOWN FROM THERE!

 As I see it, you’ve not been flossing enough.

 I’m not talking to you!
       And I’m not talking to you!

Who dat down dere?

We’re blue ‘cause we’re sad.
(I was trying to come up with something about 'talk to you 'til blue in the face', but without success)

Scram!  That monster is back!

 Now here is why I called this meeting ...


True story --

I'm reminded me of the time Amalie and I went with a group to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare festival.  At the outdoor theater we had seats down front, which concerned me because there were rain clouds threatening.  I don't remember which play it was, but there was a continual change of reign.  At the end of one act, an actor proclaimed, "Let the reign begin!"  And sure enough, it started to rain.