Friday, July 31, 2009

Before you go -- thank you!

I won't normally post whole emails here, but this one was special --

At the store where I work I've always tried to take special notice of old-timers wearing military insignia, especially from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I've personally known a few, who followed Patton across Europe, drove ambulances in Italy, landed on Omaha Beach, endured the Coral Sea Battle, fought up Porkchop Hill, or survived the horror that was Vietnam, and in their memory I've tried to say "Thank you" to those I still see at the store. Sometimes it's the wife or mother wearing a T-shirt saying "I have a son in the Marines" or something similar. I've seen several old guys moved to tears at being thanked, and even some folks in the line behind them stop and don't quite know what to say, and sometimes they commend me for "being thoughtful." But I'm not doing it for me.

This Email just came in this morning, and it underscored my feelings about these heroes. Now that I can see again, I'm sending it on. I think we all need it, especially now. -- friar tuck
"Subject: Fw: Before You Go Please read to the end and then click on the website -- this is wonderful! ----------The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood! Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach , Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event. He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly. At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you." Then the old soldier began to cry. "That really got to me," Bierstock says. Cut to today. Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die. "If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them." The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren. "It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss " the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio , Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach . "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them." Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington . Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute - this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it. GOD BLESS every EVERY veteran.... and THANK you to those of you veterans who may receive this ! "

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Super Stacy!

That is what her friends call this charming 11-year-old, for whom the word "prodigy" was apparently coined. I met Anastasia Rizikov about 18 months ago at a concert in Binghamton, NY, and she captivated me with her smile, her charm, and her amazing talent. I was able to chat with her only for a few moments, but it felt like I was chatting with one of my own granddaughters!

And now I've just learned that she is again scheduled for a concert here, and I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing her again.

If you appreciate great talent and great music, by all means check her website: and especially the Videos page.

And if you're anywhere near Binghamton this November, do come to see her in person -- it's an unforgettable experience!

Monday, July 27, 2009

An order of wings

This happened not long ago

"Can I help you, sir?"

"Yes, please. I'm here to pick up an order of wings for Mrs Clark."


"Ummm, yes... they were supposed to be ready at 7:10"

"Well, it's ten minutes after seven now."

"Ummm, yes it is."

"How many, five dozen? ten dozen?"

"I have no idea -- she just asked me to stop and pick up the order"

"Did you call it in already?"

"Mrs Clark called it in earlier this afternoon."

"I don't see it here, let me check with the kitchen." (he ducks out through the kitchen door while the line behind me grows in length and shortens in patience )
(he sticks his head back around the door)

“Sir? How many wings did you say?"

"I didn't. Mrs Clark called the order in this afternoon, and was told that they'd be ready at seven ten. I don’t know how many." (the muttering behind me grows in intensity)

"Do you know who told her that?"

"No - please, do you have an order of wings ready? I have to get them to a wedding rehearsal in about 20 minutes."

"Just a minute, sir, we're che.."

"Excuse me sir, I'm the manager. Can I help you?"

(sighs of relief from behind me)

"Yes, I..."

"Is this for a wedding rehearsal? Ten dozen wings?"

(I begin to hear a roaring sound)

"Yes! That sounds like the order!"

"And you're Mr Clark?"

"No, I'm picking up the order for Mrs Clark. She was told 7:10."

(crowd getting restless again -- one family leaves)

"Yes sir, I just wanted to make sure I didn't give the order to the wrong person, and then when you came in you'd be ticked off because your wings were gone, and it would be my fault if I didn't check." (I realize the roaring sound is coming from inside my head.

I've heard this sound before)

"I understand, and thank you for being concerned."

"No problem, sir. We just want to be sure."

(dark mutterings intensify -- as does the roaring)

"Thanks again. So the wings are ready?"

"They will be in a few minutes, sir, nice and fresh." (manager ducks back into the kitchen, cashier steps back to his post)

"They will be?” I call out to the swinging door. “I'm supposed to have them at the church in (I look at my watch) twelve minutes, and it's 18 miles from here!

"Can I help whoever is next? Sir, can you wait over there?" (someone steps on my foot -- I turn to confront whoever it is, but it turns out to be an elderly lady with a cane. I hold my ground, but there's still that roaring sound. I wonder if anyone else can hear it)

"No, if I wait over there I'll block their view of the menu board. He said it'll only be a minute. Can I pay for them now, to save time?"

(Amateur ventriloquist halfway down the line mutters some obscenity, ending with “get lost!"

Everyone ignores him except the kid in front of him, who repeats every word, and gets his mouth slapped by the older woman he's with)
(the manager comes bustling out)

"Here's your order, sir! Did you want sauce with these? And blue cheese dressing?

Your wife didn't specify, so I threw them in."
(the kid is still screaming)

"She's not my wi… nevermind -- yes, thanks! How much do I owe you?"

"Oh, Kyle will ring you up as soon as..." (Kyle is busy, actually using a pocket calculator to figure the change due from two fives for a $6.55 order. So far he’s gotten
to $5.00 + $5.00, and I don’t want to wait another five minutes -- the roaring in my ears gets much louder)

"How much will this be? I am not waiting for Kyle -- there's
another register right here!"

"But sir, I can't do that, this register is out of service!" (The crowd begins to show more interest -- is it sympathy? -- for me, I hope)

"Look -- your menu board says that 10 dozen wings is $64.89. Here's 65 bucks (I stick it into his shirt pocket) I really don't care where you stick the change – that would be eleven cents, Kyle -- I'm outta here!"

"But,, but!"

(as I go through the door I hear the ventriloquist mutter again, "Shaddup, (mumbled obscenity)!" and I don't think he's talking to me, but it's probably a good thing that I’m carrying the box of takeout wings with both hands)

(yes, it really happened)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


That was interesting! We have operable roof windows in our house, with one in the room where my computer desk is located. It's on the west side of the house, and catches the prevailing wind.
I had the window open about eight inches, and the breeze was comfortable. Then the storm hit!
We were in the front yard when it started to rain and blow, with some amazing displays of lightning and thunder. By the time I got upstairs the hail was coming in throgh that window, reaching clear across the room ind into the hallway beyond. There was 1/4 inch of water on the plastic pad under my chair, and the chair was (is still) soaked. The beds in the room were soaked, and the carpet as well, in the minute it took me to get up here and close the window.
We've had some downpours here, but that was one of the worst I've seen in quite some time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

There's gotta be a story in this one

A couple of years ago an elderly man (now deceased) gave me some old papers and books, and I found some interesting things in them. In one box of old papers and pictures there was a photograph of a pretty young lady, dating back to the 1890s. On the back of it is written: "Virgie M___, Sydney's old sweetie who sent those little knots of red, blue, yellow etc while he was in Colorado."

A day or so later I was sorting through yet another box and found an envelope postmarked July 1893, with postmarks from Terry, Montana and Greeley, Colorado. In it I found some small pieces of paper, each with a small knot of tatting attached, each knot in a different color. Each piece also carries a verse, as follows:

"If of me you love to think, send me back this knot of pink."

"If to me you would like to write, send me back this bow of white."

"If who sent these you wished you knew, send your Honey this knot of blue."

"If you are another girl's fellow, Oh! send me back this bow of yellow."

"If with me you would love to be seen, Return to me this bow of green."

"If to me you would like to be wed, In haste please send me this knot of red."

and last but not least, a paper with a lilac-colored bow on it:

"If with me you wish to elope, Send me back this heliotrope."

It was sheer luck that I was able to find both parts of this, and I have them together now, sitting here on my desk. I'm waiting for my muse to put together a story around them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

on health care and stimulus

Rush Limbaugh posed a reasonable question this morning. At least I thought it sounded reasonable.

At this point you might tune to another channel just because I mentioned the source of the question, but I think that to suppress an idea merely because of its source would be intellectually dishonest, and I’d hate to think that anyone reading my blog would do so with an intellectually dishonest mindset.

Anyway, he referred to the vast amounts spent on “stimulous,” which we’re hearing – even from the Democrats – has done little to stimulate anything besides the salivary glands of porkiticians and lobbyists. He then cites the numbers of uninsured (~ 45M people) used by the administration to justify the health care panic they’ve raised. Then he calculates the total cost of providing each of those folks with a private health care policy for one year to be somewhere between $29M and $100M.

He then poses his question: “Why, if the health care issue is the most important legislation before us this year, did [BHO] spend billions on bailouts of financial institutions (in the guise of economic stimulus) and on pork barrel projects such as the John Murtha Airport, (and why don't we know where it all was spent) instead of spending a small percentage of the total stimulus package to directly aid those suffering the most from this crisis?

My own question/suggestion : Perhaps he did so because he’s not as concerned with the plight of the uninsured as he is with his real agenda -- the destruction of the hated (capitalist) insurance industry?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The kids I went to school with

Just got home from a 50th high school class reunion planning committee meeting. 50th! F_I_F_T_Yth! Oh my. Those sweet old folks (whoever they were) even remembered my name! The hugs ain't quite the same, but they're still fun. Can't wait for the reunion in two weeks from Friday. Hope it doesn't slip my mind.

that's all for tonight!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A possible Solution?

Someone (in another backwater of this galaxy), in a discussion on the question of homosexualty, posed a further question as part of a possible logical progression:

"The planet is overcrowded.
The last thing this species needs right now is another population explosion.
So, is evolution working its magic
[in the form of an increase in a non-productive homosexual population] to protect the longevity of the species?"

I pondered that possibility, and a little light came on:
It occurred to me that the discussion had taken a geo-centric tone, and had thus become PAROCHIAL. My friend's comments about overcrowding, and the idea that a seeming increase numbers of a non-reproducing segment of this planet's population (homosexuals), had been naturally initiated (by whatever Darwinian deity we might choose) as an evolutionary process instigated in order to preserve the planet/species, raised an "aha!" flag for me. Yes, I know that last sentence is rather over-long, but it works for me, so deal with it.


All discussion up to now has hinged on the assumption that this planet is the center of everything, when in reality, Earth “is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.”
See for more on that.

Is it possible that in our bent to rationalize/normalize non-productive sexual behavior we earthlings are thwarting a much older plan? Were we, perhaps, intended to be the main source for populating the rest of the galaxy? If so, that non-productive element is standing in the way of progress, and should be transported to Bartledan, where they would likely be more at home.
I may be wrong in this, (God knows I've been wrong before) but perhaps we're going about this population thing all wrong. Perhaps we're meant to force ourselves out of the nest in this manner!

Ever onward!
Don't Panic!
and don't forget your towel!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tremulous Tyro!

I claim to be a writer, so it was inevitable that I start one of these bloggy thingies sooner or later. It's an interesting endeavour -- beginning with the not inconsiderable question of a name for the foolish thing. The first several names I tried were sure-fire. Nobody would be using names like "The Screaming Carrot" or "Somnambulance," or even "Sundry Greens." Right!! Lots of hits on those, and on several others I tried, before remembering Fintlewoodlewix.

Anyway, here 'tis, and dunno how often I'll get back here to post, but I'll give it a shot.