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

14 Comments

Filed under uncategorized

successful mushroom hunt

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 065

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 071

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 098

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 105

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 113

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 129

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 135

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 136

 

Mushrooms 3 006

Mushrooms 3 007

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 125

Leave a comment

Filed under uncategorized

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

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under uncategorized

when you’ve got to go

Mushrooms 2 and bike lanes, etc. 004          A few years ago in this city public toilets were a hard thing to find . When I first came here , twenty years ago or so , there was always a lady or two sitting by the door of toilets , whether they were in restaurants or hotels or wherever . On her little table were a few folded pieces of toilet paper and a little sign that let you know how much the fee to use the toilet was .

That fee was small , sure , but annoying . And when you happened not to have any small change it could be a small problem . I would suddenly have decisions to make : First , how much do I really need to pee ? ; then : should I just barge in without paying ? What , this old lady is going to chase me down the street for one and a half zloty ?

The toilet paper thing was always a curiosity. There would be a few  stacks  of , maybe , three squares of toilet paper on her table , each stack neatly folded . You’d get one if you needed one . Obviously that wasn’t enough to do much with if a need arose . The Poles tell jokes about that , but I’ll skip those jokes in this post . I try to run a clean blog .

There was one old ramshackle port-a-potty in a park , once-upon-a-time . It was truly disgusting . That was the only no fee “public restroom” that I knew about in the city center . Of course there were bushes , and trees, and walls , and back alleys too . But those , not designed for peeing , don’t really count .

I knew where all the free pee pee places were , though . When you’ve got to go , you’ve got to go . A friend of mine once , as we walked around San Francisco and I stopped at most of the public toilets , said I could write a tour book : The Restrooms of San Francisco . Oh , yeah , I could . And of Szczecin , too .

Once , Ada and I were in a small shop in Szczecin when two tourists walked in . In English the woman asked where the nearest restroom was located . Her husband , standing next to her , needed to pee . He was desperate , she said . I’m not sure where the couple  were from . She said they had arrived on a cruise boat . She had a city map in her hand and they had been walking around the city  .

The shop clerk didn’t speak English . Ada answered the woman’s plea :  ” You’ll have to ask my husband . He knows where all the restrooms are . ”  And I did . Necessity breeds ……………………..What does necessity breed ? Oh , I guess it’s  ” Necessity is the mother of invention .” Need I explain ? Well , you see , I do a lot of walking in the city and a certain amount of beer drinking ……………………………..Anyway , on that occasion,  the nearest toilet was just across the street at the Dublin Pub . I showed the desperate-to-pee guy  where the pub was ,  told his wife  to just walk down the steps at the Dublin ; the toilet’s just  on the left ; just go in and  don’t bother to ask anyone . They hurried over . I could empathize .

I’m happy to see now throughout the city , though ,  nice clean  Toi Toi portable toilets all over town . Very convenient . Someone in city administration finally read my mind .  Maybe the rising stink of urine in the alleys and bushes and walls had something to do with it , too . I don’t know . Nowadays , walking around town and  you gotta pee ? No problem ! There will be , at least , a nearby Toi Toi .

Ah , isn’t it  often  the small things that make life tremendously more enjoyable ?

2 Comments

Filed under humor

goodbye freddy chopin

Sailing ship szczecin 014

Sailing ship szczecin 020

Sailing ship szczecin 048

Sailing ship szczecin 086

Sailing ship szczecin 089

Sailing ship szczecin 093

Sailing ship szczecin 097

Sailing ship szczecin 106

Sailing ship szczecin 117

Sailing ship szczecin 118

Sailing ship szczecin 121

Sailing ship szczecin 127

Sailing ship szczecin 130

1 Comment

Filed under uncategorized

sailing ship and river cruiser

tall ship in szczecin 039  I went down to the river in a mild rain this morning to snap a few photos of a couple of vessels docked there .

tall ship in szczecin 028

tall ship in szczecin 032

tall ship in szczecin 035

tall ship in szczecin 015 tall ship in szczecin 030

tall ship in szczecin 040

tall ship in szczecin 026

tall ship in szczecin 017

tall ship in szczecin 022

tall ship in szczecin 008tall ship in szczecin 006

tall ship in szczecin 009
tall ship in szczecin 014

In a window of the Johannes  Brahms :

tall ship in szczecin 019

The anchor on the cruise boat needs a little work . I mention this only to point out that this is the anchor :

tall ship in szczecin 031

1 Comment

Filed under uncategorized

television remotes

My blogger friend  Dan A. over at No Facilities  wrote a  post that brought up memories of TV times before  remote controls . It got me thinking of a few things . So , here goes .Irene and Vernon castle

 

My family had a TV with a black metal exterior . I think it was our first set . That was in the days when , if something went wrong with the TV , and things sometimes did , it was probably a burnt-out tube . Remember TV tubes ?  Someone would call the TV repair man . He’d come out to the house , probably later that day . He’d be wearing a TV repairman’s uniform.  He’d  get right to work futzing  around behind the TV set as all of us kids watched  . He’d take the back off of the set and put his hands inside . He knew what he was doing ; that was for sure .   After taking its pulse and listening to its heart and lungs , or whatever he did , he’d inevitably tell my mom :    ” It needs a new tube . “

If he said ”  picture tube ” , then  that was big trouble , as I remember .   Mom would have to wait for Dad’s decision on that one . New picture tubes ! That might have been comparable to  :  ” Do you want him to get the transplant  or not , lady ?  It’s your set . It’ll be expensive , sure . But right now , even though it’s still alive ,  it’s useless without a picture . What do you want to do , lady ? ” My dad was at work . Mom would have to consult with Dad . Time for a new set ?

Things weren’t tossed out in those days . The TV set would be repaired . It would last another ten years , at least . Maybe twenty . It would be , eventually , banned to the back room from the earlier living room location . My parents enlarged the house in the late 1950s . The back room had been a bedroom for me and my two brothers . It went from being  ” the boys’ room ” to being , from then  until eternity , ” the TV room”.teens and car 1950s

I remember sitting in an old wooden wagon on a vacant lot in the neighborhood with a couple of buddies of mine when I was about 10 . It might have been raining and my mom might have made sandwiches for us to nibble on as we sat there and talked . The wagon was some kind of a wooden box on wheels used by a construction  company . We had discovered it one day after school and decided that it would make a great place to sit . Kids ! We sat there that day  and talked important stuff , I remember , like TV shows . There were some new comedies beginning that season which we were discussing : Mr. Ed , Beverly Hillbillies , and …………. , and ……………….   Well , I don’t remember the third one . It was a long time ago , after all . Maybe there wasn’t a third one . It may come to me later .

An obstacle in those days for kids , as I recall , was that the show you really wanted to see came on just at your bedtime . I loved Leave It To Beaver ,  but it started at 8:00 p.m. , and , yeah , my bedtime was 8:00 .  What to do !   I think I cried and whined a lot . Sometimes that worked , but not often .  Sometimes my mom would try a bit of negotiation involving , usually , homework .   Didn’t matter the year or how old I was at the time  .  Every great show began just beyond my bedtime , as if the networks had it in for me and most of the kids I knew . Of course there was that one kid in town who didn’t have a bedtime , and who got to watch any show he wanted . At least that’s what he told the rest of us . That kid was always thrown in as part of the negotiation with Mom , as a  counterweight  to her homework  suggestions .

I was never the remote , as I remember .  I Was The Remote at No Facilities      tells of the kid changing channels for his dad .  I don’t remember ever doing that . My dad watched  THE NEWS . When he watched THE NEWS we were all banned from the area . I think the ban was as much self-imposed as imposed by Dad . We were a noisy , quarrelsome , annoying bunch , I think . He wanted to hear his news . Can’t blame him for that .

You know , I just realized that  McHale’s Navy  was the third new show that season . Actually , though , Mr. Ed , about the talking horse , had already ” been on ” for a few years .  So , let’s rearrange : Two new shows being discussed in that wooden wagon : McHale’s Navy  and Beverly Hillbillies .  I’m sticking to my story that they came on just at , or past , my bedtime , though .July 4   parade

Dad  liked  to watch  McHale’s Navy though , too . He was a Navy veteran and had been in the Pacific during the war , where the silly TV sitcom was set . The show made fun of clueless Navy brass and I guess Dad could relate to that . He had been a Lt. Commander  , but he spoke disparagingly of ” the military mind ” , meaning those at the top , admirals and rear admirals , generals , and such . He had been  in the Navy for eleven years , during WWII and later , so I’m sure that he knew of which he spoke . At any rate ,  Lt. Commander McHale’s shenanigans made him laugh .

One more memory from the inside of that wooden wagon that day : One of my pals in there , Larry Bye , told us his middle name . He had a middle name that embarrassed him to no end . He had always kept it a secret . But , that day in the rain , he revealed the secret .  I’d like to tell you what it was , see what you think about it , but we each swore an oath never ever to reveal the name . Sorry .

I’ll sign off now . Maybe I can use the Indian head sign-off test-pattern signal that was used in the old days when programming for the day ended :INDIAN signal

You won’t hear the crackle . Too bad .

Maybe I should emphasize : programming for the day ended . About 11:00 p.m. or midnight all the programming quit and this Indian showed up , with a crackling background noise of static .  TV was  done for the night . Done .

As old man Wexler used to say over the school P.A. system  at the end of the day  : That’s 30 for now .

 

4 Comments

Filed under uncategorized

art ( or art not )

415RbeoMAzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_       I finally broke down and decided to write on a topic of which I have no expertise , don’t know anything about ; but , nevertheless , have an opinion . ( I hear some of you saying : ‘ So , what else is new ?  ‘ )If you have a different opinion about what I’m going to say , then that’s  okey . You’re welcome to it . I’ll probably keep mine on this topic , though .  It doesn’t matter much anyway , I think . (That’s another opinion with which you may not agree . Live with it !)levitated mass by Heiser LA

 

I’ve included in this post a picture of what passes for art in Los Angeles . The County  Museum of Art  paid for this chunk of rock , built its pedestal , set it up so visitors can walk under it  so they can wonder , I guess , what the hell it’s all about . Is that enough to make it art ? Then it’s art , man !

Well , at least for once the  mountain  went to Mohamet . Maybe that’s something .

I had a roommate in college , Don , who would pick junk up , junk that he’d found on his walks  home from class .  Once , for example , he found an odd tangle of rusted wire about the size of a basketball . Don dragged  it home and hung it up in the living room . Art ? Why not . Don never lectured about the deep significance of his findings . He never explained them to the rest of us , explaining in detail why the pieces were  great art , in that Veteran Ave apartment . Don went on to become an MD ; specializes in radiology . He lives in West Virginia last time I looked . I don’t know whether or not he still collects items from around town to put in his house . Maybe . In a way , I hope so .

You want to make something and call it art —– fine . But , when you find something , drag it home , put it somewhere —— do you call it art ?   If   you call it art you’d better have an explanation  , I suppose , be able to ramble on in illuminating and haughty  tones about why , exactly ,  it’s art . Act superior , because you , educated and/or expert in art , know what art is and what isn’t art . The rest of us just know what we like ; ignorantly think we know art when we see it and think we know humbug when we see it .

Maybe just drag a piece of hillside across town ( the huge expense is irrelevant for  the moment ) , build a platform on your museum grounds ( the huge expense ……… )  , and let it sit there with no  explanation . Provide no explanation whatsoever . Well , maybe , that’s  art . ( Although the piece of junk is still a piece of junk  , the wire is still just tangled wire , the rock is still a rock  ) But please don’t lecture the rest of us on how it’s amazing art . Maybe sometimes a cigar is just a cigar , after all , a tangle of wire is just a tangle of wire ……………

You artists : Am I getting warmer  ?

No ? Okey .

Can you imagine the gaping stack of hubris  it takes to sell the idea of moving a big scoop of hillside across southern California , along Los Angeles streets , over to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art grounds , touting  it as great art , and finding the funds to pull it all off ?  Amazing !  I don’t know art , but I know the art of the  con  when I see it .

I told you at the start it’s just my opinion . So , you’ve got another opinion .  Okey . By the way , there’s a cliff up along the  Angeles Crest Highway that you might be interested in for your living room .  Let’s talk .

I remember when the piece of mountain was being moved along city streets to the museum . It was a real big deal . I don’t remember the  cost of the whole thing . The artist and the museum had , evidently , planned this project for years . Had to wait for just the right chunk of rock . How exciting ! Finally the artwork was coming ! It was all so —— do they still use avant- garde ?

Artwork ?  I’m no artist . Probably an army of artists is already sniffing and scoffing at my pedestrian opinion . I have no business criticizing a piece of art . I’ll agree to that analysis because I don’t .

I hate to have to resort to this statement , but I know what I like . I don’t like this big hunk of rock . I don’t like it for a couple of reasons . One : waste of money .  Two :

Two is a little more complicated . Two requires me to suggest a measure of humbug trickery employed here by a group of influential people in the art community . It’s a joke , right ?  Not a subtle one , either . It’s right out there in front of our faces . In front of the world’s face . Look : This is the LA art scene !  Here it is ! Take it !

The joke is hiding in plain sight . It’s a form of the Big Lie .  It’s the fairy tale  king parading around in his underwear believing he’s showing off his gorgeous royal getup  but  he’s been tricked into believing that .   Maybe I’m being a little unfair ?  Believe what you will .  You’ve  paid your entry fee to the Museum of Art , so go for it ! Enjoy . Walk under it . It may change your life .

Welcome  to LA .

By the way , I’ve got a bridge that crosses an arroyo in Pasadena that you might like to buy . Or , even better , maybe a piece of the arroyo ?suicide br. 1920

So , there you have it . One man’s opinion . Live with it .

4 Comments

Filed under humor