Friday, October 31, 2008

Legal Tender

The B-52s song Legal Tender is one of my favorites. It didn't receive much commercial airplay back in the mid 80's (at least in Kansas City) but it found its way into my KU college experience. The video got a lot of spins on Lawrence's local video channel, TV-30, especially on Chitwood's Nocturnal Bonzai program. My buddy David Mitlyng had the Whammy! album and our pal Jackie Hadl cranked it up and sang along during one of many late nights in the Oread. She loved it. A couple years later my roommate Michael Bassin bought the record and I played it many, many times. Song For a Future Generation is great too, but Cindy never looked better than she did here.

Happy Halloween

Here's a claymation Phyllis Diller trying to undress a mummy. Scary!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final Note on Palin - Shoes

Michael Palin that is. I noticed straight away that they cribbed the photo used for his diary cover (1969-1979 The Python Years) from a shot snapped on the Python's first American tour. The un-retouched version appeared in Kim Howard Johnson's book about Monty Python, except he wasn't wearing Timberline boots. He sported a pair of two-tone bobby-soxer shoes. Hideous really. I'm not surprised they took issue with it, but it struck me as funny. If you read the diary, check out the photo where Michael comments on his outfit referring to it as "the height of flares". You'll see the actual shoes there!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Bowling Report for October 27th, 2008

We beat the second place team three of four games tonight at Mission Bowl. I did not bowl over 200 this week, but I enjoyed picking up my 600 pin and groovy jean jacket patches from the pro shop desk before the match in honor of my big night two weeks ago. I got a 250 patch, a 100 pins over average patch, and a 140 pins over average series patch. Check it out Bitches. Now all I need is a new jean jacket. I left my last one at Pink Flamingo in Lawrence in 1995.

I went a little overboard there on the award hambonery and the other team bowled very well despite my taunts and "which way to beach" poses with my new patches. We beat them on the total pin tally by two pins. Results are unofficial since they ran a new bowler into the mix and we calculated his handicap on the fly. I mentioned that possibility to them when I showed them the results but it did little to ease their pain. The second place team is very competitive and they didn't relish the prospect of not being the second place team next week. They did not enjoy me reminding them that to the losers go the pink copy of the score sheet triplicate.

I've got to reel it in before I lose the goodwill of the blog reading public, those non-bowling fans who put up with my weekly updates, hoping I'll post something worthwhile, hoping against hope that I'll release a short paragraph with a link or a photo or a video, something one might digest quickly without having to read through endless paragraphs of text, text, text. But no, here I go again with more self-congratulatory prose and back-slapping shirt puffery. My kingdom for a sock stuffed with horse manure. End it already.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Travel Diary - Thursday, October 23rd

Woke at 4:30am with a bout of constipation. Took two teaspoons of Milk of Magnesia and hoped for quick relief but none arrived. Read Palin until 6:30am. Did you know King Olaf of Norway was a compulsive farter. You do now thanks to Palin's cogent recording. Looks like today will be a long day at Epcot Center on only four hours rest but I will get through it.

Departed the house at 8am. I revealed the details of a practical joke I played on Joyce to Sue while we dodged commuters on I-275. Joyce left me a mailer from the Republican National Committee that outlined the defects in the Obama candidacy from their prospective. She propped it up on the end table next to the chair where I sat in the living room. It featured an Obama head shot and I tiptoed into the kitchen and cut it out with a small pair of scissors I found in a junk drawer. I thought of posting it in a picture frame somewhere but I found a better target. The Wises had a Mount Rushmore calendar on the wall next to the kitchen sink. Guess who the fifth face is?

We arrived at Epcot around 9:15am and the Magnesia Magic sent me the long-awaited signal, not a subtle signal, but an urgent signal. I saw a restroom at the entrance near the dog kennel. A security guard ran over and told us we'd have to exit and take our knapsack through the bag check area, but allowed us to use the facilities if we took turns staying outside the building with the bag. Emergency situation mitigated. Now if I could take a three hour nap.

My first Epcot experience and I was impressed with the layout and the big Buckminster Fuller Dome and the soundtrack music they piped in. We decided ahead of time to make the Soaring ride our first stop. Patrick Warburton appeared on the video monitor to relay ride information. We sat down in a harness rig with no floorboard or footholds. They swung us out and up in the air in front of an IMAX-style screen. The ride simulated flying. The rig tilted us forward as we swooped over mountain tops. A wind machine simulated a gentle breeze. There was music and lots of oohs and ahs. I got irritated with Skyler when we exited the ride. He said he didn't like it in spite of laughing along with us during the experience. He was a bit put-off by the whole Epcot venture, despite never visiting before and was determined to negatize the whole affair. My lack of sleep did little to hide my irritation. I whispered in his ear that I was not about to allow him to ruin everyones day and he'd better shape up.

Our next ride was a clam shell excursion to Nemo's underwater land of laughs and projected film bits. Where Soaring was a unique experience unlike anything I'd been on in the Disney Realm, the Nemo ride seemed Disney generic, like it would be equally at home in the magic kingdom or the animal kingdom.

We walked across the Futureworld section of Epcot Center, with the other half being the International Pavilions. The Futureworld part contained the thrill rides and opened two hours before the other half, with the restaurants, liquor stands, and cultural displays. We talked to Skyler about his disposition again. I was cooler this time and told him that choosing to have a good time or a crappy time was his decision. He lightened up after that, in part because our next stop was Mission to Mars.

We opted for the more intense experience and they weren't joking. Our ship crew consisted of the Jones family, Sue as navigator, Skyler as pilot, Leah as commander, and myself as engineer. The ship was enclosed so I have no idea how it simulated the g-forces we experienced on take-off and during evasive maneuvers, or the negative-g feeling during the outer space portion, but the transitions were quick and exciting, too exciting for the wife and I. My stomach is iron-clad but my recent dose of Milk of Magnesia made me queasy today, long before I arrived. We both came close to barfing on the visage of Gary Sinise, our mission guide, as he coached all the way to the red planet.

We trekked over to the imagination pavilion for a slow-moving tram ride. Eric Idle lit up the screen as the mad professor in residence. We also took in the Rick Moranis "Honey, I shrunk the audience" 3D glasses movie.

It was lunch time and Sue picked a French restaurant for us. I'm not sure how French the food was, but everyone liked it, the atmosphere was Parisian, and the waitstaff were real French people. We also saw a 30 minute film on the glory of France with wide screen photography and music. Very nice. Skyler was disappointed to discover "Arcade" did not mean video games in French lingo, rather it was a short hallway that led us to perfume shops.

We spent the afternoon exploring the different countries as they are in Epcot. We stopped for the drawbridge. They raised it for the fireworks ships that motored over for a show to be held later in the evening. We explored Morocco and Leah got her name rendered in the native characters, Arabic perhaps? I'm not sure. Every country featured a wine tasting stand. The American display also featured a Sam Adams beer tasting exhibit with presentations on the hour. We found a log ride in the Norwegian building and a boat ride in the Mexican section, enough to keep the kids interested.

I was impressed with the architectural touches in the various sections. The Italian pavilion had fountains, statues, and Roman columns. We made our way back to the ride section about 4:45pm and decided on the test track ride, touted as the longest and fastest ride in Disney history with speeds approaching 65 miles an hour. The track was outside and it was elevated over the entrance. One saw and heard the cars zoom by. The line was long: Our wait time was 40 minutes. They shut the ride down for five minutes before we entered the briefing station. Groans all around. We boarded our vehcile 10 minutes after they resumed operations. The ride was more than a speed loop. They took us over bumpy roads, they tested our brakes, and sent us through hot and cold tests. The speed test was the final bit of fun with a transition through a fake wall that dumped us outside, looped us around a large banked curve, through a straightaway and back into the building. We blasted off and then the ride shut down. We got stuck on the banked curve. The PA system advised us to stay in our car and wait for a ride technician to visit us if there was a problem with our vehicle. Not only were we on a 30 degree bank, but we were on an elevated track 25 feet in the air. There was a small level walk space that led to a safety stairway if needed but we waited and suddenly the car accelerated to 60 miles an hours down a straightaway before it braked and returned us to the loading bay. We bargained with the staff for another go since we got trapped on the first circuit and they agreed. All went well on the second cruise and the speed test was much more exciting without an unscheduled stop.

We bought the kids ice cream and rested. Our last stop was the iconic dome. The tram ride featured technology through the ages. It was cooler that I thought. They took a snapshot of us in the tram and worked into an interactive cartoon that showed us using futuristic technology. Judy Densch narrated.

I heard mixed reviews about Epcot but I liked it, even on four hours of sleep. I wanted to visit again. We made it back to Tampa by 8pm. I fell asleep before the end of game two of the World Series.

Travel Diary - Wednesday, October 22nd

Wednesday already. Our family vacation has moved at a fast pace. Today was our day of rest between two forays to Disney. I listened to my mother in-law spew Republican rhetoric this morning. Skyler defended Barak Obama and I played mediator. Skyler grasped more than a few campaign issues and took Grandma to task for supporting the conservative agenda in spite of the facts as he understood them. I found a newspaper insert that summarized major campaign issues and the candidates stand on each. A very even handed primer for a youngster with an interest in the upcoming national election. I presented it to him in full view of Joyce and told him to read it to learn more about what each candidate stood for. Later, Mother Wise told my wife I was brainwashing my children with regard to the election! When I pressed on this, she claimed she was kidding, but it didn't come across that way. The tone of this morning's political discussion grew contentious and I requested a TV channel change to something other than Fox News. The TV is her constant companion from 6am to 10pm.

She flipped over to CNN and they played McClain's response to an opposition remark about Western Pennsylvania being full of rednecks and hillbillies. McClain blew his chance to exploit this gaffe when he replied something to the effect of "and I couldn't agree more". We all had a jolly good laugh. What timing. (Sue's parents are both from Harmony, in Western Pennsylvania).

The Jones family left Republican HQ and the in-laws for a trip to the beach. We borrowed their car and returned to same stretch of Reddington Shores beach on the gulf where we camped out Monday. The public parking lot is next to a small section of rocks, roped off from tourists by rope and wood post. There are tough waves there and riptides. We pitched our blankets and towels on one side and the rocky obstacles made a reliable landmark by which to judge the tide. Both of our visits this week coincided with low tide and the wet sands stretched out toward the water by an extra fifty feet, a nice bonus.

Leah found a starfish and a sand dollar. She kept the sand dollar. Skyler and I threw the Frisbee. No sand castles today. We stayed for two hours. I saw the IPod girl in the parking lot on our way out clutching her car keys. She did not fall victim to a robbery as I feared on Monday. Good for her.

Home for showers and a brief rest before we made dinner plans. Joyce heard from a friend about a new seafood restaurant in John's Pass and we decide to try it. All six of us piled into Mother Wise's Buick for the 20 minute drive. I drove. We departed early, 4:45pm, but I don't recall why. We passed a sign for a local steakhouse with an early bird special that started at 2pm. Good Christ!

John's Pass is a touristy boardwalkish area of tumbledown bay side shops, bars and restaurants. Joyce did not know the name of the new restaurant or its location, two facts she revealed as I idled around the small streets of the Pass area looking for parking places. We putted past T-shirt shops, ice cream vendors, poster emporiums, biker bars, and all kinds of fried fish purveyors. This is a tacky little enclave, even by Florida standards. We parked in the main public lot, threw a few quarters in the meter and decided to explore a new high-rise building on the southwest side of the main quad. The new restaurant turned out to be a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company franchise and we ambled in and parked ourselves at a cramped table in the hallway between two main dining areas. It's not everyday that you get to sit next to a movie still of Siobhan Fallon as the smoking bus driver from Forrest Gump. I kinda dug that.

The food wasn't bad. I had a shrimp stir-fry and a couple of Vodka tonics. The other entrees were presented well, the frier grease wasn't too dark on the kids' shrimp, and when there was a slight problem with my wife's fish, our waiter apologized and took it back to the kitchen for another look at the broiler. We traded movie trivia questions with him when he returned and his charm helped us overlook the undercooked fish. He brought the kids an extra dessert and for his efforts we left him a big tip. Sue and I left the tip and my father-in-law picked up the dinner tab. The in-laws are very generous that way, in spite of our political differences.

Back home to Pinellas Park for the first game of the World Series. The Rays lost but we didn't see the end. We hustled the kids to bed and shut off the set by 10:30pm. Tomorrow is another drive across state to Disney and Epcot Center.

I tried to close my eyes early but I couldn't stop reading Michael Palin's diaries from the 1970's. 1975 was a big year for Palin and the book devoted 78 pages to it. I turned out the reading light at 12:30am with an anticipated wake up call at 7am but it would not be a restful night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Travel Diary - Tuesday, October 21st

Sue and I took the kids to Disneyworld today. We left Pinellas Park at 8:15am, drove across Tampa Bay through town to pick up I-4 east toward Orlando, and landed at the magic kingdom an hour and fifteen minutes later. I-4 is nicer that it used to be. They added a third lane both ways and it provided a buffer zone between the idiots driving under the limit and the maniacs driving way over the limit.

Sue produced a parking pass that allowed us to park close to the monorail station. We also dug up our magic kingdom passes from the past two years. We purchased a package in 2006 for seven days at any of the Florida Disney properties with no expiration. Today was day five. The park was not crowded and we walked to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and boarded without a wait. They worked a Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow robot into the ride in several spots. We walked to Splash mountain and found a short line, same at Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.

Our next stop was the Small World ride in Fantasyland. We also jumped on the Peter Pan ride with little wait thanks to a fastpass. Sue and I found a coffee vendor near the Dumbo ride and we slurped it down in time to race the cars on the Grand Prix ride. Skyler and I were held up by a grandfather/granddaughter combo. She was steering and trying to work the gas. I guessed she was five or six years old. They stopped short so many times I yelled at the elder to at least help her use the gas pedal. They managed quite well after that.

Sue sat out the teacups ride. She doesn't like spinning rides. The kids and I waited for about 15 minutes for our turn and spun like crazy while Mom took pictures.

The gang hit the Toy Story target shooting game with the help of a fastpass. We split up after making out of the Buzz Lightyear gift shop unscathed. Sue and Skyler did Space Mountain and Leah and I took the elevated tram around Tomorrow World. She's too short for Space Mountain.

There's only one restaurant in the magic kingdom that sells Pizza. It's Pinocchio's Rathskeller. We retraced our steps to Fantasyland and shelled out 36 dollars for a couple of mini pizzas and fried chicken strips. I rate it below average on taste, but the kids liked it.

We stopped in the kiddie water play area near the Little Mermaid's grotto, where the entrance to the 20,000 leagues under the sea ride entrance used to be. We walked over to Tomorrowland for a quick stop at the spinning rocket ship ride. The spinning rides take forever to board. The time in line outweighs the payoff but the kids love them.

We rode the mini-coaster in Mickey's toon town and toured Minnie's house. Somebody cut the cheese near the parlor and sent us back in the early afternoon sun post haste. We wandered over to Adventure land for ice cream at the Dole shop and a turn on the Amazon Cruise. They employ tour guides who are encouraged to embellish the banter with jokes and puns. Our guide foreshadowed things to come when he said, "If you think this ride is boring, try the Hall of Presidents, and then come talk to me." We walked through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house and rode the Aladdin carpet ride twice.

We rode Splash Mountain again but Thunder Mountain was shut down for a repair. We missed the Presidents show and settled for another tour of the Haunted Mansion. Skyler used to love anything President related but he's outgrown it. He wasn't keen on seeing the Hall of Presidents show again, but it gave Sue and I 20 minutes of sit-down time in the air conditioning and that's a nice break. Plus, it's the only ride that has robots AND presidents. The Disney website said this ride is scheduled to be closed for several months starting November first. They have to get a McCain or Obama robot ready and also get the new president to record a HOP speech.

We stuck around for a couple more hours to avoid Tampa at rush hour. We even rode the ferry across the lake to the parking lot on our way out. Jeez, what a day. The kids gave us the thumbs up from the back seat and that made it worth the effort. We'll take tomorrow off and drive back to visit Epcot Center on Thursday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Travel Diary - Monday October 20th

We spent the first morning of our family vacation relaxing around the house. Tampa Bay has world series fever. I read the St. Pete paper with extensive baseball coverage about the Rays big win last night over the Red Sox to clinch their first world series appearance. It starts Wednesday night here. We're staying about 20 minutes north of the stadium in Pinellas Park.

I didn't sleep great, but this is the norm for me anymore when I travel. I am camped out in the guest room / office with Skyler and his allergies woke him several times. He woke me at 6:30am with a wet blast. I stepped into the hall to visit the bathroom and saw my mother-in law. She stared at me from her recliner. She manages to see me in my underwear at least once every visit. It's good we got it out of the way early this year. I waved, stepped out of view and into the bathroom.

Politics are on her mind. She's a McCain supporter and watched Fox news all morning. My father in-law told me that Sue's brother calls once a week and any political discussion between them gets her blood up. She's trying to watch her BP and she's a heart patient too. I vowed not to initiate a discussion about the upcoming election.

Later I said "Obama" or maybe "Oh Mama" or perhaps "Alabama" and she went on a rant. She said the ACORN group intimidated bankers into making shaky loans that precipitated the banking crisis. I said the phrase "intimidated bankers" is an oxymoron. She told our daughter that Obama wants to raise taxes and take all our money. Leah looked at her like she thought he might stop by the house later with an armored car to make good. Joyce was kidding but her jokes are lost on the children. I told Leah it wasn't true. We don't make enough money to be effected under his proposed take hike for earners in the 200K neighborhood.

We went to the beach in the afternoon where Democrats and Republicans frolicked together and Skyler and Leah swam in the shallow water, picked up shells, built sand castles, threw the Frisbee, and hung out. There weren't many people there. We claimed a large chunk of sand for ourselves. I saw a young girl in a bikini get up off of her beach towel, put on her IPod, and walk away. She must have walked a half mile down the coast before I lost sight of her. I looked at her towel when we left and saw a fashion magazine and a full set of car keys. I told Sue I hoped the IPod girl didn't get her car stolen.

My father in-law drove us back to Ciega Village Phase Two in the Buick. His driving was swift and a bit perilous. He made several rolling stops, what he called "Florida stops", at residential intersections. Once another driver expected him to actually stop before proceeding. We faced off and won the deadlock.

Joyce and Sue prepared crab cakes for supper back at the house and they were excellent. We managed to avoid political talk for the most part, though Skyler seemed eager to participate in a debate.

We watched Monday Night Football. I wondered how the bowling team did tonight back at Mission Bowl and I read more from Michael Palin's book about Monty Python. Not every entry is included though Palin wrote nearly everyday. The Python entries are supplemented with select entries about his family life - his young children and his aging parents, all skillfully written.

His missives didn't dive into the writing process that produced classic sketches. He wrote, "Terry came over and we worked for three solid hours." Most writing or collab sessions were punctuated by large meals and drinks, with recurring passages that described cocktails or wine at lunch. Graham Chapman loved the big lunch. Productivity went down after such gala luncheons. I'm disappointed that there wasn't more minute detail about the sketches. Palin: "We've written six Python shows for the current series." Jesus, what an accomplishment. Expound on it. Must be the British gift for understatement.

To bed early. Sue and I take the kids to Disney World tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Travel Diary - Sunday October 19th

My In-laws surprised me by adding a used computer to their home office complete with Internet hookup. What's even better is that I'm sleeping on a bed in the home office. I've decided to post a diary of my travels in Florida.

We flew to Florida today to visit Sue's parents in St. Petersburg. We flew Southwest Airlines non-stop to Tampa and there were no problems. We took off and arrived on time, early even. The flight was the fastest for us that we've ever experienced, 2 hours and 11 minutes, and the captain gave us in-flight updates of Game Seven of the ALCS. The kids watched Star Wars episode I on the DVD player and I began Michael Palin's diary for 1969-1979 (The Python Years)*

* It's the hardcover edition from the public library, about the size of a large Whitman sampler, and over 600 pages long. Not really a light pocket book for travel, but an engaging read.

Our neighbor Jill, who is always on the lookout for a deal or a discount, favored us with a drink coupon from the airline before we left town. Sue gave it to me and I ordered two vodka and club sodas. He brought me a full can of club soda one cup of ice with two limes, and two airline bottles of Vodka. I planned to offer the coupon for the first and pay credit for the second drink. He told me the coupon I presented was the cover of a coupon book and not a coupon at all. I explained that it came from a woman in our sub-division who doesn't drink, but likes coupons, and that well, the joke was on me. I poured the first drink and he came back from the galley with the credit card machine. Nice chap. Only charged me for one drink anyway. Hats off to Southwest air.

Arrived at Tampa airport at 9:30 pm and the place was deserted. Mass transit hubs in their off hours, with shuttered shops and skeleton crews, fascinate me. We boarded the tram from the gate to the terminal and found our luggage. My father in-law picked us up in his Buick and away we went to the I-275 causeway across the bay west to the St. Pete side. I found a radio cast of the baseball game. The Bucs were playing in Tampa at the same time and Skyler declared that he was more interested in the football game. We overruled him and listened to the Rays take a 3-1 lead over Boston.

Grandma welcomed us back to Pinellas Park and offered soup and sandwiches. She put the baseball game on and the football game too, thanks to an extra TV she set up on the coffee table next to the entertainment center. Note to self: show Joyce the wonder and power of the PIP feature on her remote.

Got the kids settled down and watched a little TV before retiring to bed in the office. Skyler was asleep when I went in. I turned on my attachable reading lamp and read from Palin's book. He's a very good writer, quite prolific, with 80% of his diary, so he claimed, left on the editing room floor before he went to press with the 600 pages of entries. Mild Spoiler: Graham Chapman was the weak link among the Pythons, due to his alcoholism, and his hedonism to a lesser degree. An excellent tome and I predict I'll have it finished before the end of our holiday. My travel reading lamp is a pain. It eats batteries on the quick - goes dim after a few hours time. It doesn't blink off though, it fades from bright to dim over an hour's time, and if I don't change the batteries the next morning, will do the same to a less extent the next time I use it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

When Holden Caufield Wants Thai Food

Take most people, they're crazy about Italian food. They worry if they get a little marinara sauce on them, and they're always talking about how many pounds of lasagna they ate, and if they find a brand-new bistro already they start thinking about how great it is and how much they like being seen there with all the other phonies. I don't even like Italian bread. I mean it doesn't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam Kaiser roll. A Kaiser roll is at least human, for God's sake. Let's avoid the phonies and go get some Thai food today. I swear I could eat Thai food everyday. I'm like a madman when it comes to Phad Thai noodles or Llad Now Grapow, really I am.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bowling Report for October 13th

We split against the Coca-Cola team tonight. Craig bowled a 165 in the first game and the other team's best bowler was late. They took his average per league rules and we managed a narrow victory. Jay figured in the short end of a beer frame, or jello shot frame as is our custom. We weren't as lucky in game two. John the ringer for the other team walked in and scorched us with a big game, way over his average and they beat us by over a 100 pins.

I started with a strike in game three. I bowled a second and third strike and then a fourth. The other team remarked on my perfect game in frames four and five, much to the ire of my teammates, but it didn't phase me. I bowled a fifth and sixth strike. A guy screamed ten lanes away from us and did a belly flop down the hard wood. The PA announcer said the flopper bowled a perfect game - a 300. I bowled a seventh strike. I'd never done that before. I went up there in the eighth frame expecting to end it, but I struck again. Eight strikes in a row. You need 12 for a perfect game.

I waited my turn and when it arrived, I paused, took a deep breath, and approached the lane. I picked up my ball and tried to repeat the same throw that had worked eight times before, but it was not to be. I got an eight-spare. That's okay. The guys in our league gave me a round of applause and I finished the game with a 265! That's my highest game ever. I bowled a 620 series, also a personal high (181,174,265). I had four open frames total. That's not bad. They printed out my stats at the front desk. I rolled 17 strikes in the series, 12 spares, and picked up one of two splits.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1952

Hellza-Poppin' - it's Rob Loud's birthday. Fresh off the ripe from Piedmont College, where he was Sergeant At Arms for the I Felta Thigh fraternity, cub reporter Rob "Bobby" Loud flew to Denmark to cover the world's first sex change operation for Life Magazine. When the future Christine Jorgensen got cold feet at the last minute, this gentle giant of the fourth estate offered to help out with expenses by purchasing all his/her old overalls. What a guy!

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1960

I'd like to pause and say "Happy Happy" to the Birthday boy Rob Loud. He's one of the original Mad Men who dropped a load of dough when Castro claimed his Havana time-share for the people of Cuba.

Rob smoked his last Chesterfield in 1960 and later that year, he shut down his portable wet bar in the dashboard of his Plymouth Valiant. He wanted to be in tip-top shape in case he needed to out run a nuclear bomb blast. Have a highball on me old man, you've managed to out run the grim reaper for another year.

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1972

That's a picture of my eternally youthful friend Rob Loud, snapped on his birthday in 1972. He was quick with a joke, or to light up a smoke, and he came this close to landing the role of Lionel on The Jeffersons.

Sammy Davis Jr. electrified the crowd at the Democratic National Convention and Rob played the banjo at Shakey's pizza. Gas was 30 cents a gallon and young women wore no bras, not that it mattered. Rob's sport jacket functioned as a "Fonda Shield". He kept a clear head and a clear bed. Father Rob we called him. God Bless ya.

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1988

Happy Birthday to my college chum Rob Loud. It's 1988 and The Jayhawks won the NCAA Basketball championship. The first of a string of championships for sure, with Larry Brown sticking around, probably until retirement. President Michael Dukakis drove a tank to commemorate his stunning election victory and you put new tires on your Nova. We toasted these new traditions and pledged our undying friendship over a keg of beer at graduation. We should have paid more attention during existential philosophy class at Wescoe Hall. But I renew my pledge of friendship to you today, on your birthday. Skoal!

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1994

Happy Birthday to my old friend Rob Loud. It seems like yesterday, but it was 1994 and you had NAFTA fever. Remember when you pioneered the karaoke parody about Lorena Bobbit, sung to the tune of Runaround Sue and we laughed so hard that we spit Pepsi Clear out of our noses. You wept when Arsenio was cancelled. Thank goodness Friends premiered on NBC. You'll always be my friend, Rob. Peace out.

Happy Birthday Rob Loud - 1998

Happy Birthday to my friend Rob Loud. You haven't changed a bit old buddy. Those were heady, happy days. AOL cried "You've Got Mail" and so did you. You're a sensitive man Robert and that's one of the reasons why I love ya.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Momentary Lapse

I forgot how to spell "vegetable" for about 45 seconds this morning. I looked it up online to quell rising spelling paranoia. I'm okay now and look forward to spelling it with three e's as is my practice, except for the aforementioned 45 seconds of total insanity when I questioned the middle e. That's behind me now. I'm cool with e number two, there's no place for a second "a" in there, don't think that there is, because there isn't. That's how gas prices rose to four dollars a gallon. Put an extra "a" in vegetable instead of good old steady e the second and watch the stock market crash. See the corpses of a thousand investment bankers scattered on Wall Street's concrete bleeding. Tina Fey turns into Vaughn Meador. Chaos. Mayham.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Bowling Report for October 6th, 2008

We ran into a buzz saw tonight and dropped three of four games. The other team brought too much heat and we were lucky to score one victory. I don't feel bad about it. We bowled seven pins under our team high in game three for instance, but the other team fielded a bowler who didn't miss until the 10th frame and ended up with a 279. A different guy bowled a 242. Both of those games were among the top so far this season by any team in our league. You tip your bowling cap and move on. By the way, have you seen my bowling cap? I can't find it anywhere.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Purcell Rockwell Diary

My great-aunt Mae Youker Rockwell, wife of Purcell Melville Rockwell, kept a diary each year circa 1914-1919. I published a handful of 1914 entries on this webpage. This past week, while sorting through my late Grandmother's personal belongings, I found a 1910 diary from Aunt Mae's future husband, a collection of notes authored by 18 year-old Purcell. The diary ran out of steam by the end of January 1910, but he kept the journal throughout his life and recorded small bits of data in it up until the early 1960s. Here is Uncle Clint J. Perkin's recipe for cough syrup:
1/2 pt. Cod Liver Oil
1/2 pt. Rock Candy
1/2 pt. Brandy
10 cents worth of glycerine
Mix together. Shake well before using.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Green Team

Mrs. Jones and the kids made the local paper today in an article about recycling, written by Katrina Segers.

Remembering Grandma

Here's a nice tribute to my Grandma from KFVS Television in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.