flying

I flew Delta from LAX to Minneapolis to Hartford . Red eye special . Good arrival time for my friend to pick me up , except that I got confused on the day . The day I flew in he had a gig and had to pick me up a little later . I waited in an airport bar and had a couple of expensive airport beers ,  local Connecticut stuff .

Now I’m home again . Same flight in reverse , except that this time it wasn’t a red eye .

Three hours in Minneapolis . Coming in from L.A. , I saw snow covering the parking structures outside . On the return trip , two weeks later ,  no snow . The airport is stretched out along endless concourses . Concourses . When do you walk concourses  outside of airports ? Am I missing something ? There are moving sidewalks and a tram .  Endless concourses . Food courts . Shops .  WiFi access .

I had a few mini-bottles of Scotch in my carry-on bag . They’re allowed . My friend Willie told me that last year . He gave me a couple of them to test his statement . No problem .  I showed them to the snoops , thinking that they might confiscate them . No . Willie was right .scotch

To order the same shot of Scotch during the flight would have cost me seven dollars , I think . Drinking one of the bottles during the flight I felt as if I were now out of the red , outsmarting Delta , pushing the envelope . The little bottles cost only 99 cents in Connecticut .  If I had had a few more mini-bottles I’d be sitting pretty , ahead of the game , actually beginning to show a profit . Well , almost   .

I once went from Berlin to London on Ryan Airlines . Ryan , if I remember correctly ,was the airline that seriously considered charging a fee to use the restroom . Nice .I would have gone broke .  I got to the Berlin Airport , Freuninggulingen ……., no Shaeuftshaffen ……. no Sheinifeld ? , Shoenefeld ? , at six in the morning . I had come from Poland by taxi that morning . Got there overly early , as is my way .WWI air ambulance

I was second in line . We were the only two customers to have arrived so early for the flight .  I had one bag to check . There were two conveyor belts moving luggage along : to London  and to  Ankara . I didn’t see the clerk put my lonely bag on the Ankara belt . I should have been watching , I guess . When I got to London I had no clothes . 10 days in England and no  clothes other than what I was wearing . I won’t tell you the whole sad story . My bag met me in London on the 10th day , having , I assume , enjoyed its own vacation in Turkey . We flew back to Berlin together , but we didn’t talk to each other the entire flight .

Another Berlin to London flight on British Airways was exciting after the pilot announced  over the scratchy PA system that he thought the landing gear was stuck . We were going to have to go in on our shiney sleek aluminum belly . The pilot’s voice was almost inaudible and he had a heavy English accent . One of the many . Dorset , maybe . Rs everywhere . Like old movie pirates :  Aarrh , matey ! Wharr yer headin’ ? Shiver me timbers !  Emarrgency vehicles aarrh be preparrhin’ fer arrh landin’  . Aarh.sign el monte airport

The plane was full of Germans . I , a native English speaker , was barely getting what the pilot was saying . I didn’t think that many of the Germans got much of it . But , on the other hand , maybe they had learned English from the English . Good possibility that they understood a lot more than I did , now that I think of it .

When we approached Gatwick , or was it Heathrow ? , the emergency vehicles were lined up along the runway . There were plenty of them : fire trucks , ambulances , police , hearses . Well , maybe not hearses .   I had confidence in the pilot and the plane . I don’t think anyone else in the plane could say the same , judging by their panicked expressions . Those pilots , highly trained ,  could slide it in on its fusilage belly .

Buckle your seat belt ; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride . airplane seat belt

But the landing gear came down and we all rolled to a stop .  Anticlimatic . I’m not complaining .  Billy Bob Thornton said ,” I’m not afraid of flying . I’m afraid of crashing . ”   That about sums it up .

About these English accents :

Ada and I flew from LAX to London once and I had arranged , in advance ,a rental car from the airport . I never sleep on flights and by the time we reached the car rental desk in London I was exhausted . I couldn’t , for the life of me , understand what the English girl at the counter was telling me . It was a Friday . I thought that she was telling me that my car wouldn’t be available until Monday . She wasn’t , of course . She was trying to tell me that my car would be a Mondeo .  I was losing my temper .

” Not Monday !” I said . ” Now “england

Ada had to translate . Mediate . Ada grew up in Poland .

” Tell him…” the English girl would say .

” Tell her ….” I would say .

Oh.  The car is called Mondeo. Nothing about Monday . It’s waiting for us . Oh . O.K. Why didn’t she say so ?mondeo

I don’t mind flying much . Once in awhile . It’s quick once you leave the ground .  Gets you places you might not otherwise go . Somewhat uncomfortable . Never enough leg room . And they always remind you how a seat belt works ; they show you ; give a demonstration . That comes in handy because sometimes , if you haven’t used one in a few hours , you might have forgotten .

Sometimes you should bring along an English-American dictionary , or , at least a phrase book . Several English speakers from various corners of the earth learned English English from the English . Beware .  And consider bringing  some little bottles of booze . If nothing else , it gives you a sense that you’re getting away with something .  Even if you’re not a drinker bring some  —– trade one  for a few more tiny bags of peanuts or pretzels . If you ride Ryan Air , bribe the stewardess to use the head without paying the fee . Endless possibilities . Endless.illustration 3

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good reports

I’m getting good reports from home . Well , I’m not getting any bad reports ; I guess that’s not at all necessarily  the same thing . Ada and I have been in Europe for a bit over three months now and we are soon to return to the United States .old car in desert

 

I’ve been monitoring the daily temperatures over there in southern California . Too hot . I wish that someone would turn the dial down a few degrees before we get back . All summer the temps  have been consistently in the nineties ( F ) . I have to use the ( F ) due to the ( C ) competition over here . We won’t bother to discuss ( K ) . Yesterday Arcadia was 101 degrees (F) . Too hot .

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I’m wondering about my plants . I wonder if the woman staying in our house has been watering the fruit trees . How about the Asian apple tree out in what Ada’s mom called , and now Ada and I  call , the piggy barn ?  No piggies .  Just some of my stuff , some tools , a compost bin , and ( I hope ) an Asian apple tree hanging on to dear life through all the hot months .

I’ll be surprised if the piggy barn tree made it . I expect some other casualties , too , despite the rosy reports from the waterer-in-residence .  I wonder if the small apricot tree I planted a year or so ago made it . It’s in the back of the yard behind the orange tree . It hasn’t had time to mature , perhaps, to establish a root system that will ensure it’s survival in the face of harsh treatment from the world .

Oh , well .

 

I hope that Ada’s roses made it , too . Most likely they have . They’ve been slogging it out every hot summer and they know a thing or two about survival .

The woman staying in our house said that she likes watering . She’s reluctant to water too much during our extended drought , she said ; but she is a gardener , I guess . I hope . It’ll be alright .

 

One way or another , it’s too late now . Oh well . We’ll hope for the best .welcome to california

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bikes

ENGLAND sept 2014 016I  was teasing Ada in July about the extensive bike lanes built all over the city but there were few bikes . Well , it’s good to plan for the future . But not many bikes so far .

 

Then , one day , hundreds of green bikes appeared out of nowhere , like mushrooms suddenly sprouted  in the forest .  Oh !  O.K. , that’s the plan . City ( Szczecin, Poland ) residents can register to use the bikes , put 20 zloty down ( about $6. 60 ) and go . There are stations all over the city where the bikes can be got and returned . People are beginning to use them , too . The city is changing .ENGLAND sept 2014 018 ENGLAND sept 2014 017 Ala skateboarding Poland 2014 021

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fountains abbey

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park is near Harrogate , U.K. , part of the National Trust .

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gone berserk

I  think it would be a great sign to put in the window of a small business : GONE BERSERK . Maybe with one of those cardboard clocks indicating a return time . I was talking to my Danish friend Ivan yesterday . I mentioned Ivan in a recent post —– the guy who bad-mouths the Irish , most likely , in my opinion , because his Viking  ancestor sailed his  longboat back to Scandinavia rather than stay  in Ireland as some of the other guys did . Missed his chance . Sour grapes , Ivan .viking boats Anyway. Ivan wants me to check out an antiquarian book convention in Pasadena for him .My friend Ivan ” You might find some images of those chimneys ,” he suggested . ” What was it you were interested in ?” ” Backyard incinerators . ” ” You’d be surprised what these guys might have,” he said . Ivan is a book dealer .  ” I’d like to find images of  Amanita mushrooms . The ones the Vikings used before they went on their crazy raids . “mushrooms 2 I’d never heard of Amanita mushrooms , a poisonous little white toadstool with red spots . ” That’s how Santa Claus got his hat , ” he said . Ivan speaks with authority . I’ve  since read  some theories about how those reindeer could work themselves  up enough to fly that sleigh all over the earth ………… Turns out there were Norse warriors who fought in an almost uncontrollable frenzy while wearing wolf pelts . They’re called Berserkers .   Some people have speculated throughout history that the frenzied , trance-like state , was a result of  ingesting the Amanita mushroom as a hallucinogenic . The Anglo-Saxons across the sea in Britain , busy collecting the extortion money , the Danegeld , to buy off the Viking raiders , described the craziness as ” gone berserk ” .statue dane seafaring nations The Berserkers are mentioned in old Norse sagas .  They were sometimes referred to as Odin’s Warriors . But , it is unclear just how they worked themselves into their frenzied rage .  The hallucinogenic mushroom theory didn’t , apparently , come around until a Swedish professor , Sam Odmann , proposed it in 1784. Yeah ,  Odmann . But , given the historical rivalry between the Swedes and the Danes , I  don’t have much confidence in this theory , despite my friend Ivan’s certainty .  Could it have been, rather , a result  of  a religious-type trance ? Maybe it was  a consequence of too much Tuborg ? Too many bottles of  Carlsberg ?  O.K. , maybe I got my centuries mixed up . I may look for images of Ivan’s favorite mushroom when I go to the book event . I’ll ask the dealers for “death caps” or “destroying angels”  and see what happens . One of those antiquarians may know about Amanita muscaria , which was powdered and mixed with milk and used as an insecticide . All exciting stuff .   To someone . To Vikings .mushroom

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the passing generation

The generations pass away , but wars don’t .
army uso dance
airplane  Valiant with star airplane noses airplane paint star army servicemens club dance SOLDIER ON GUARD WWII U.S. TROOPS JAPANESE DUGOUT jeep in desert Tank commander in tank Amer. pineapple , the kind the Axis finds hard to digest.

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successful mushroom hunt

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mushroom hunting

mushrooms , etc. 006Mushroom hunting is not for the sqeamish . It helps , of course , if you have a Polish soul .Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 106

I don’t have a Polish soul , but I did go hunting again a few days ago with Ada and the mushroom-whisperer Waldek .  The three of us hunted for chanterelles a couple of months ago and found plenty of those . Waldek knows the good places .

I went mushroom hunting in Poland for the first and only previous time several years ago .  The others in the group were filling plastic buckets and bags with their finds as they cris-crossed the woods , shouting to one another every so often . I was looking , not sure what I was looking for . I found one specimen , though , eventually .

At the end of the day I had my one and they had tons of them , different varieties . They oohed and awed one another’s mushrooms . Ah , that’s a great one !  Ooh , look at that one !  I got some generous praise for finding my one little one ; and then I was told that , well , it was inedible . Sorry about that . Better luck next time .

This summer was the next mushroom hunting adventure for me  . A couple of months ago Ada and I went out to the forest with Waldek .  Waldek knows just where to go . We were hunting chanterelles , since it was too early for other kinds . We found some , too , lots of them . Waldek has secret places to go . I suspect  that  he considered blindfolding Ada and I for the journey out there , but then decided that over in America we wouldn’t be much of a threat to the secrecy of the operation . In the forest , however , he walked us around in circles , I think , and he moved quickly here , and there , so that after a few minutes we had no idea of directions or where in the heck we were . He could have , at any point , abandoned us out there in the trees , and we’d still be wandering around those Polish woods , Ada and I , hopelessly lost .

Last week the three of us went out again .  We checked four or five secret spots with fabulous success. Ada and Waldek  filled up their large baskets in no time . I filled up two plastic sacks . I hadn’t , to be honest , expected to find many mushrooms .  We found a few more plastic sacks in Waldek’s car and we filled those up , too , lickety-split  .

Ada decided to use her coat as a sack , after all of the other containers were full . We were finding mushrooms everywhere . Waldek was ready to go on . One more spot to check !  But Ada and I were done .  Now we had our hands full , too . No more space for any more mushrooms .   ” Just keep the small ones now “, she told me .  Had we had more sacks or baskets we’d have gone on . We might still be out there wandering around : ” Found one ! This is a good one ! “Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 069

 

 

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