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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe


Believe it or not, before the personal injury lawyers stalked the earth, we were a hearty race. Back in the day, it was assumed you had a head on your shoulders and could think. i.e. "if I want to work in a dangerous job - I should be careful." Now somewhere in the middle there should be a trade off of "I should have common sense not to stick my hand in a hot fire." and "How can we cut every corner to maximize the bottom line and the hell with whether or not an employee loses an arm in the process."

I don't know if we'll ever find it.

(Video is 22 seconds long -- Taken at the Wichita Museum of Transportation.)

Only We Would Have Gotten Busted

Waterfall Cascade This waterfall(*) is just south of the Hyatt where we stayed. It is very near the river, and also across from Wichita's minor league ballpark. We were sorely tempted to take our shoes off and wade in the shallow water. But we assumed the "death to you if you go in here ... private property ... keep the hell out" plaques really meant business. Not so much that they were concerned with you slipping and getting your ass wet. More like "If you slip, hurt your ass and try to sue us, we warned you to stay out." Later that evening, as we were getting ready for the show, from high atop the tenth floor we saw local youths taking the ease which we had foregone. They weren't even good hippies, as they were all fully clothed, sans footgear. Wassamatter with kids today?

(* This clip is very short, so even if you are burdened with dial-up, it's less than 15 seconds.)

Only on Vacation...

would you see a sign like this. We'd been out doing laundry (bring extra shirts if you go to Wichita in summertime, it's H*U*M*I*D, with a capital "W".) This shop was in a strip mall. Now, I don't know about you, but where I live we don't normally see a place where you can buy caskets nearby a place where you do grocery shopping, get flipflops at a drugstore, or chow down on fast food, etc. It wasn't so much the "caskets" that intrigued us - but speculating on whatever the "& more" might be! Now some places have interesting vertical markets. Maybe "Bungee Cords and Caskets." OR "Caskets and Wedding Gowns." Was the "& More" to indicate that they could do urns, rent-a-minister and the like? I dunno. It was just more fun to speculate, than to actually find out. My vote is for "Caskets & Hawaiian Shaved Ice." People can associate being "iced" in any number of ways. Thank you Wichita, for this unique experience.

More about Damn Yankees...

Wichita has a lot of statuary, and this Jester, outside of the Century II complex, is one of them. The shows were great, and we had a chance to chat with Wayne Bryan between the matinee and evening performances on Saturday. We got a chance to say hello to both James Brennan (whom we had come to see), who played Applegate, and we met Chris Peluso, who played Joe Hardy. Wayne was a real sweetheart and gave us the grand tour of the backstage area, and all the scene, costume and other workshops. Wayne will be directing HAIRSPRAY next, and it was a real treat to see the build for that still in full bore build mode. The costume shop outdid themselves for this production of Damn Yankees.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Music Theatre of Wichita Rules!!!

It's a hit, a palpable hit...

This long weekend my friend Christine (who lives in Michigan) and I are on a sojourn to Wichita to rack up another notch on our theatre going belts. This particular objective was to see James Brennan star as Applegate in Damn Yankees in Wichita, Kansas. James Brennan is our most favorite actor on planet earth, and we'd get tickets to see him to read the Nome, Alaska phone book. In Nome.

The Hyatt where we are staying is treating us as if we own the place -- they ended up throwing us free high speed internet for our entire stay, along with a bottle of California Zinfandel and the staff is all so friendly. Neither of us has ever remembered having such comfortable beds! Believe me, if it wasn't a sin to "midnight requisition one" - we'd pack them in our suitcases would that we could. Exceptionally well priced too.

We can't believe it has been NINE YEARS since we were last here, having come in 96, 97, and 98...when Brennan was Henry Higgins here, and Fagin in Oliver, and later directed Where's Charley? It's too bad only people who follow stage know of him. He's been in 9 Broadway shows, and plays in excellent region theatre productions from coast to coast. He's even done a few turns in Canada, and one in Portugal, of all places. He's a terrific director too.
Anyway, we'll see the show again twice on Sat. and twice on Sunday.

Music Theatre of Wichita is blessed to have Wayne Bryan as its producing director now for the last 20 years. This man is an absolute joy to be around and a credit to the community. He's outstanding at nurturing young artistic talent, and Wichita is highly regarded as a venue for both established players and new fresh faces hoping to go on to big careers. Wayne has been friends with Jimmy Brennan and his wife since all three met in Good News - they had their Broadway debut together back in the 1970s. Wayne still does turns here and there, starring at MTW as Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl a few years back.

We did hit the Wichita Art Museum today, they had a nice display of Eudora Welty photos, and some treats which were on loan from the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Show me
a home where the buffalo roam,
and I'll show you a house full of dirt.

Later this morning we will try to hit the Transportation museum (Wichita is and was a major USA train hub - so we think they'll have some neat displays.)

The people here are very accomodating and friendly. Now if they could just DO SOMETHING about the humidity! ;-D

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don't GO there, *#*SMED - I am WARNING you.

I won't give a damn what it looks like in the paper.

I have to fly later today, and because of you flying Imam clowns putting wires in cheese and other assorted stunts, it will take all of us a lot longer to get through the screening system. You people are damn lucky that I am not in charge, because if I am empress, the rules will be changed to allow anyone "not of headhacker kind" to request whichever implement we choose. I personally choose to rip your lungs out with my bare hands if one of you losers tries any stunts. I am already NOT in a good mood. Go ahead, make my day, because I am not going to give a damn how it reads in the paper. You won't get a chance to sue, because you will be dead. And where you are going you won't be getting any virgins, much less 72. Got that?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is there ever a time when all your clothes are clean?

We haven't come far from beating on rocks. Especially before going on vacation? I fly out of hell-A two days from now, and naturally not a stitch of clothing is clean. It must be a law of nature or something. I've finally learned that washer/dryer at home or not...the best thing to do is bag it all and take it to the laundromat, and use 5 machines at once. You almost...almost...resent not being able to stand around in public and throw the last bit of clothing you have on your person in the washer right then and there. I suppose you could always hide behind a big newspaper...just for the sole satisfaction of washing everything. Some jobs never end.

Well, I'm off in a bit to do all that and need to make sure all my bills are paid before I take off...and see if I can find a cheap hotel stay on for a room close to the airport, that doesn't cost me what a night's stay at the Taj Mahal would be.

Tomorrow I want to decide if I can get by with one small carry on bag plus laptop. Can I get by without checking the bag? OR are they going to TOTALLY trip when I bring extra batteries and a battery charger AND heavens, mercy Maude, contact lens solution in a quantity larger than 3.5 ounces?

I look at those 1930s ads of the airhostesses showing passengers their sleeping bunks on the plane, but somehow, I don't think we're ever going to get back to that. I'd be just grateful if they wouldn't make us take our damn shoes off.. "Do I LOOK like Richard R.?" is something one can think, but no longer say. Thanks, dude, thanks to you, I hate everyone that even LOOKS like you! I wish the passengers had beaten the pulp out of you. Okay, in addition to that patronus I mentioned on that last blog, I also want to be able to apparate and disapparate - with as many damn batteries and electronic gear and cosmetic do dads that I please.

(originally posted July 24, 2007 at My Telegraph)

Expecto Patronum

Expecto Maggie

Sorta....would be nice. Having read all the Harry Potter books, I find there are two HP incantations I wish I could have for real.... One, called "Accio..." just because I am lazy and it woud be nice to have things just come right to my hand The other, is obviously a patronus....Mine would be an English Springer Spaniel. It would chase all those bad boogey men away like mortgage men and Jehovah's Witnesses....this particular patronus would be good at playing fetch if my accio power is taking a day off.

Would that you could have a patronus, what would it be?

(originally posted on My Telegraph, July 23, 2007)

I heard God Laughing ... So Help Me!

What up? What down? Gee, this tune sounds Funny...

Didja ever have one of those things happen at church when you KNOW you're not supposed to laugh, but you almost kill yourself trying not to bust a gut? We had something like that happen the other week on Sunday. I know God attends every worship service, but this time I think it was under duress! Towards the beginning of a Roman Catholic Mass, often times the Gloria is sung. Well...we've been singing the same Gloria now for a few years. Our cantor started off just fine. As did the organist. Everything was "jake" -- for exactly two bars. Then apparently some unforseen force lifted the music from the organist's perch and flipped it upsidedown. NO KIDDING.

All of a sudden the music was 1/3 of an octave lower...and not only that, the melody was now a completely different tune...and the organist's fingers were stumbling. I was sitting at the side of the sanctuary, and looked up to see if someone had conked him over the head and taken his place. By about bar 5, everyone, except the poor cantor, had stopped we didn't know if it was fish or fowl. Or just foul. This went on for another few bars...the organist apparently oblivious to the fact that he is playing some otherworldly never before heard tune. Rather loudly the 1st soprano cantor just was having a devil of a time, keeping in tune herself. At this point the congregation was all smiles poking each other. The priest had that "I sit down for a few minutes myself, and look what happens" expression. I suddenly decide that it's really not fair to let the cantor twist in the wind all by her lonesome, and decide to lend my contralto voice...maybe if I sing loudly, she can also get the tune back... Ha-ha.... IT did help, because then everyone else felt sorry for us too and started joining in.... There was a point or two where the organist finally "righted" himself...but then he'd go off track again.

Finally, after about what seemed like 10 minutes (normally it takes about 2 ...and I'm sure it did this time, but it was surreal) we finished. The cantor stepped back in her place at the other side of the sanctuary, and we both simultaneously, almost imperceptibly shrugged our shoulders just a wee half inch. After Mass. We BOTH wondered what in heckers had gotten in to the organist...but decided it was probably best not to "go there."

The whole time I could hear the Almightly, rolling on a cloud, laughing His...oh, never mind.

(posted on my Telegraph, July 19, 2007)

We're just Wild About Harry ... sorta...

Grant Wood, please pick up the white court-
esy phone.

On Saturday a friend and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie, Order of the Phoenix. Well, I wish someone would have nixed some of the CGI in favor of more plot exposition. While the visual effects were stunning and quite fun - I felt the story line got gypped a little. #5 for me was always a very pivotal book. I.E. the students starting to see the necessity for banding together as a group. Up until now it's mostly been Harry, Ron and Hermione.... but #5 finally has a lot of reveals where we learn more about the interconnectivety of all the players. Snape, Longbottom, et al. St. Mungo's was so NOT THERE...and I was really disappointed about that. They kept a bare minimum about all the interconnectivity of the wizard families ... which I feel really will have a bearing on Book 7. I think if a person didn't read the books 1-4 and just looked at the movies, they'd be okay, by and large -- but someone who hasn't read #5 and just sees the movie will be really cheated.

Really reading ALL the books makes the whole thing a richer experience. My friend and I have a pact that we will gouge out the eyes of anyone who tells us if Harry lives or dies before we get a chance to read everything from the beginning. Would any jury in the land convict us? I think not. We make plans to definitely not attend any parties -- and plan on running in and out of Costco or the like with cotton in our if you see two people with cotton in their ears buying #7 running around in the store singing "la-la-la I can't hear you" that will be US. It's to protect YOU. And if you reveal to us how it ends before we get to find out for ourselves, I'm personally gonna send the spirits of my two long dead great-grandparents Grover and Lottie Horn to getcha.

And if that thought doesn't scare the stuffing out of you, it should.

(originally posted on my Telegraph July, 16, 2007)

Can the Quarter Moon Walking Through the Milky Way Be Far Behind?

Sailor's Delight. San Diego, July 13, 2007.

Today was the first really SULTRY day this year that I can recall.... It was a stuffy 82 until just a little while ago, when I broke down and went shopping for groceries around 7.15... what ever is a girl to do when she runs out of Stephen Colbert's AMERICONE DREAM? Especially when it's on sale at 2 for 5 bucks at Albertsons? It 's seldom this muggy...but the wind is from the NNW, and it's usually from the SW.... ah... but it was a beautiful red sky.... If there's a quarter moon walking, I can't see it for squat.

Anywhere else you could hope for a sudden cooling sprinkle of rain. Just not here. But it is a "perfect" 72.8 F. And most is well. At least in Grover's Corner, Ca. What's it like in your part of the world now?

(Originally posted July 13, 2007 at my telegraph)


with bells on.

The dictionary defines serendipity as: "The faculty or phenomenon of making fortunate accidental discoveries." I relish these moments. A while back I decided to scan in a copy of a copy of an old photograph I have of my father, roughly age 17, taken around 1949. He'd finished basic training in the US Airforce, and had the classic military photo taken to send home to mom and dad. Well, the copy I have of the photo wasn't the I was hoping to photoshop it to take out the imperfections in the copy. How fortunate I am new to Photoshop and don't know all the ins and outs...because if I HAD known-- I'm sure I couldn't have produced this -- nor thought to do so.

Six years ago this summer he "slipped the surly bonds of earth" - but it's a fine tribute. Thanks dad, for your service, and all the fine young people of your generation. A tour in the Air Force, and later service in the Naval Reserve rounded out your military career, but you did your daughter proud carrying out the long line of service in our family since pre-revolutionary days. Thanks again, dad. Thanks for everything.

(This post originally posted to My Telegraph, July 13, 2007)

Airlines are Nuts ... Or whatever....

I'd fly this sucker, if the price was right.

I do wish the airlines would come up with some reasonable way of pricing flights. Something that bears a semblance to NOT haggling in Tijuana over the price of a picture of Elvis and Jesus playing poker with dogs rendered on black velvet. This afternoon [July 12] I finally got off my butt to try and book a round trip flight from San Diego to Wichita Kansas and back. I finally found a flight out of Hell-A for a "reasonable" $304 bucks..

Out of San Diego, that would have cost me around $550. WTH? Airline prices have NEVER made sense. I think that the guys that make this stuff up get a case of tequilla and strip nekkid and play bocce ball, Then they throw a set of three darts: 1st dart is the one to determine place of departure. 2nd Dart - Destination 3rd dart - Price. Then the fun begins -- go the night before 180 buckeroos less.... leave the next morning 200 bucks more. If the moon is in the 7th house. -- Flight costs $40 bucks--- but you have to sit next to two caterwauling children and sing "Take me out to the ballgame" ELSE pay $800 -- no refunds. If there's a pink 1962 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors on Main Street at precisely 4:07 a.m. Pacific Daylight time...ALL bets are off. Break a bottle of tequilla and count the number of broken shards. That's how much the flight costs.

Whatever. James Brennan's playing Applegate in Damn Yankees at the end of the month in Wichita....and that's all that really counts.

(Originally posted on my Telegraph on July 12, 2007)

Toasted Suzie has Nothing on This One!!!

Bite me!!! Eat Your Heart Out, Ms. Stein! Gertrude Stein famously once said: "Toasted Susie is My Ice Cream" Well, would the woman have lived longer!Two weeks ago I discovered Ben and Jerry's "Stephen Colbert's AMERICONE DREAM" -- I don't particularly care for Ben and Jerry's hippy dippy 60s "save the planet" left wing stuff....but c' cream has no politics...and Lord knows the cows who produce this stuff should have litanies written in their names....I have to say, that Americans may not always produce very good beer, or tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, but we KNOW Ice Cream!

Dang that Colbert picked a great one. Vanilla Ice Cream...with frozen waffle chunks and has hunks of chocolate fudge, and Caramel toppings mixed in. Hot-cha-cha!!!! Zowie---long may it reign! Move over Cherries Garcia! Colbert's ice cream RULES.

(originally posted on My Telegraph, July 10, 2007)

I'm Sure there was a Reason...God made *this* tree...

Unholy Mess

..I just don't "get" what He was think-
ing. I keep blocking out the name of this tree, so if anyone can tell me what tree leaves an unholy mess, like this tree leaves on my driveway every summer, I'd love to know. It only seems to grow about 20 feet high, and spreads out. Most of the times it doesn't have these little round figgy type balls of gunk falling off it...but it's a pain in the summer to sweep all this messy stuff up and not track it in the house. I think I hear God laughing up there.

In the movie "Oh God" George Burns [who played God] said "Well, I did make the avocado pits too big, but other than that...."

(This post originally on my telegraph - July 8, 2007)

Okay...this Latin Mass Jazz....Caveat Emptor

San Diego, Easter, 2007.

First let me say that I am 51 and just old enough to remember the Latin Mass myself. My 2nd grade class was the very first to have our 1st Communion in the vernacular. I've written elsewhere regards the dangers of thinking the old Rite [1962 or earlier] was a panacea of sweetness and light and everything right. It's certainly a mistake and a trap to believe correlation to be causation: i.e. "this pink umbrella keeps the elephants away, it's obvious, because when I carry it, there aren't any elephants around." [Well, gee, unless you go to the zoo, or a circus, where you live there's precious little chance of you running into one.]

People sometimes forget that it's hard to isolate just ONE event that changed everything. It is right to ask:

Why did more people attend Mass pre-Vatican II than post? But it's wrong to assume: "Aha---they lost respect because it's in English, and not "mysterious" enough...and they can receive in the hand. All EXTERNAL aesthetic things. Now one may LIKE the ceremonies one way as opposed to another. That's fine. But one doesn't stop eating all cake because they got one with crooked wrting on the frosting. The theology of the the Eucharist remains the same.

But it's a GRAVE error to think OTHER THINGS didn't also affect people going off and falling away from Mass attendance. First we have to thank the Mass media for the coarsening of the culture....things that would Have NEVER gotten anywhere NEAR the public airwaves are now served up prime time. Sex sells anything, and everything. There is a culture of death as regards the easy abortions being pushed. Ask yourself....if mere "entertainment" doesn't affect anyone's beliefs then the advertsers are being ripped off big time. How is it advertising can get people to buy things if the people "aren't affected by what they see on TV." So big media, in particular TV says: "For 44 minutes out of 16....there's no way we could possible affect your values" but then they turn around and get the advertisers to pay big bucks/pounds/euros/yen/whatever....and they peddle to the advertisers that they CAN change opinions. Media has EXPLODED since the 60s. Ditto the pill and it's affect on the public mores: "Hey, if it feels good, do it...there's no consequences to sex" -- so what you end up getting are more abortions, because people can just "get rid if it" if it's incovenient. Ask yourself: How many retarded kids are there in your parish? How many do you see on a weekly basis? Then you realize, they're mostly being aborted. Why? "Easy." What about all the pornography available and pushed at the drop of a finger on the keyboard? Much more accessible than it ever was. And suppose you raised your kid on the "right path" -- well, he's in the real world too, and frankly, a lot of parents just take the easy way out...your kids have to fight an uphill stream.

What am I saying? The change over from Latin to English didn't occur in a time warp where nothing else affected church goers. My mother had a saying, and I think she was right... "people who don't understand the "new church" didn't understand the "old church" and vice versa." I.E. It's The INTERNALS that count...and frankly the INTERNALS haven't changed.

I wish the Latin Mass fans well...but I would caution not to get their hopes up too much that it will ever be:the "old way again" -- it won't be -- surely not until we solve the CULTURE AT LARGE problems.

I'll end of a "funny but true"story. I attend Mass every week in San Diego, and always attend a Mass given by a priest who is almost 79. He hadn't heard much about the Motu Proprio, and when I mentioned the subject, his first comments were "They didn't understand the Latin back THEN" and "all that back to the people stuff -- I HATED that....and the high Masses, all that hand and cruet kissing...the deacon and subdeacon banging into each other...the kids mumbling through the responses. The last Gospel, people staring at you like sheep!"

Mind, this priest said the Latin Mass for almost 10 years.

So then I asked him regards my impression that not many people used the Latin/English missal as they should, and I particularly thought I remembered the armies of people who would say the rosary DURING the Mass. Not before, not after, but DURING. Well, after all I was only 7 -- so I asked the priest if my recollections were correct. He told me that they were pretty much on the money. And then he said that HE had gotten into trouble with the bishop over the issue.

Here is the story he related:

"Back in the 50s San Diego used to have Bishop Buddy in charge. Back then, priests did not often concelebrate Mass as they do now. One day after Mass I mentioned to one of the women who always said the rosary during the Mass that she (and her friends) should really get missals and concentrate on the Mass while at Mass...and NOT say the rosary at that time. Well, she took exception, and went to the bishop about it. When the bishop was at Mass he had an AWFUL practice of saying the rosary HIMSELF and not concentrating on the Mass. NOT ONLY THAT...but he'd LEAD THE PEOPLE IN SAYING THE ROSARY...OUT LOUD...DURING THE MASS. -- a first rate abuse. Well, she told the bishop what I told her. About a week later I get a call from the bishop's right hand man...who told me the bishop told me to 'cut it out' telling the people things like that."

I was non-plussed....and I could tell he was STILL at a remove of almost 50 years later still non-plussed himself.

Well, there ya go. I wish all the Latin Mass folks well, but PLEASE ...just because most of us like to see what the priest is doing, and maybe receive Communion in the hand and participate in the Mass without having to resort to constant translations...doesn't mean that by default we aren't as good Catholics as you. And as long as YOU take the time to study Latin, AND not wander off in your own little world of private devotions DURING the Mass...then more power to you. Just watch it, okay?

(Now you hippy dippy dance your way to heaven folks are another matter on the opposite end of the spectrum! But, that's for another time, perhaps.)

(this post originally posted on My Telegraph, July 8, 2007)

Initial Post

Jacaranda Tree, San Diego, May 2007

I've been a computer geek since 1980-but I've only started blogging since July 2007. Some of these posts will mirror my Blog on the Daily Telegraph at

I enjoy reading, theatre, movies, and travel when I have the time and money. I'm not much for TV, but I do like Law and Order, and the old Ballykissangel series, and movie channels. I am a practicing Catholic. Left-wing shills drive me crazy, and I think real conservatives should stand on principles and not pander to the lowest common denominator. So that leaves out the governator and Giuliani and McPain, and Mr. Puts Dog On Roof Of Car. Duncan Hunter IS "the man." I don't like rules for rules sake. Good rules are fine, but they better have some rhyme or reason behind them.

Baseball is my favorite sport. Soccer is not a sport, on the grounds no one has ever been killed doing it. [Now WATCHING soccer....] Springer Spaniels rule!!

Right now it's a pleasant 65F (I don't and won't do celsius...we don't EXPORT the weather) in San Diego at 10:29 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time...And so far we've beaten most of the worst heat on the west coast. In case some of you haven't seen a picture of a purple tree before ...this one is San Diego's official "ornamental tree" and it's called a Jacaranda. It only has these purple flowers for about 6 weeks of the year in the spring.

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