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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cutting off fingers

I   remember riding along the 10 freeway decades ago on a motorcycle sitting behind a guy named……………It’ll come to me ! Maybe tonight in my sleep , or two weeks from now in the middle of dinner , or two years from now while I’m painting the garage . That’s how I roll ! My memory process is meticulous ! This guy was a friend of a friend. I can picture his face . It’s in there somewhere , all of this forgotten information , but it comes out only when it wants to. Doesn’t necessarily respect  my schedule .Szczecin BIKEs 021

That’s why I figure I never would have made a good courtroom lawyer . What ? The judge and jury sit and wait while my memory banks shut down for maintenance , and I’m left to tell the judge : ” It’s on the tip of my tongue , Your Honor “.  No , that doesn’t work in a trial . Time is money and justice is waiting anxiously to be done . I know this from my jury duty experiences .woman 9

I might have made it well enough as a politician , but I would have to have one of those toady shadow -assistants who constantly whisper vital information while pretending that they’re not even in the room , leaning toward the boss’s ear , quietly chattering.  I’d have to have one of those people so I’ll know just what to say at any given moment . I’ve seen this in action only once,  and for me it was an education  . There was a School Board person who had a shadow man in a dark suit with a blank expression continuously whispering to her what to say . She went on to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council , and I think she did just as crappy a job there as she had done  on the School Board . No , on second thought , having a personal whisperer would creep me out way too much . Forget politics .

So , anyhow , the guy driving the bike too fast along the 10 was missing a thumb . He had decided one fateful day to remove the safety shield from his table saw . And , so , he ended up cutting off his thumb . I don’t remember just now how I met the guy , or what his name was . I remember all the info about the thumb , however .

I hadn’t seen my friend Ivan for five years . He lived on the east coast and I lived on the west coast at the time . When I saw him again I noticed that he was missing the tip of his little finger . Oh , it may have taken me a few days to notice . Ada probably would have noticed right away ; but me , I’m not so observant . Anyway , I mentioned my observation to Ivan and asked him to tell me what happened .

” I was working with another guy ,” he said , ” and I cut off all my fingers “. He told me the tale . His biggest problem , he said , was getting the other guy to straighten up enough to drive him to the hospital . Ivan had collected his severed fingers while his co-worker was getting sick . Ivan had put them in a plastic bag , but  he missed finding the tip of the little finger .

The doctors sewed the fingers back on . Two years of therapy later he could use the hand . Ivan was a ship’s carpenter . Now he sells books . He still does carpentry , too , though , on the side . He built me a closet one time .1908 on skyscraper

My friend Joe has done his share of carpentry , too . Joe never cut any fingers or thumbs off . Joe commented once that  steel blades cut pretty quickly through flesh and that it’s not really a fair competition . He said that , not so much sardonically , I think , as fatalistically . A cautionary tale . Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 076

My woodworker friend and former landlord , Tom , who makes beautiful things , fainted dead away once when he cut into his thumb while working in his shop . I wasn’t there to see it . I hear the story every few years from one or another of our mutual friends . It was a deep cut but he got away with just a scar .

I saw a guy a long time ago renting a circular saw at Home Depot . He had a big careless smile on his face and way too much glee and a careless attitude , I thought . It was none of my business, really , but  I told him a tale or two about slicing and dicing fingers and thumbs and told him seriously to count his fingers before every cut so he’d have the same number later . He immediately sobered up and thanked me for my unsolicited warning . Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 075

Safety first ! ——- I think either Ford Motor Company or  Evel Knievel said that . Or it might well have been one of my friends who’d say that , speaking from bloody experience . Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 060


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some people hanging around the museum

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Hoping for a shopping

Dan Hen:

I thought this was a cute window on Russian culture ,from a blogger over there .

Originally posted on Marta Frant:

Everybody who has access to the mass media knows that Russian economy with its falling ruble is far from thriving. Clothes are more expensive now than before. Many Russian women even don’t have an opportunity to shop for clothes in Moscow shopping centers and have to go shopping in Europe.

Scrolling through the marvelous The Urban Spotter photos I’ve made a compilation of the most interesting outfits which can be useful for Russian women amid a severe crisis.


Aggressive print. It would be nice to create a distinctive uniform for disciples of “Russian mafia”. Noticing a man with such an unambiguous sign in a dark alley, you clearly understand that there are four ​possible scenarios for you:

– you will reach your home;

– you will reach your home with your phone still with you;

– you will reach your home without your phone;

– you will not reach your…

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tonsil paint tasting

A friend of mine came over last night . She showed some black-and-blue bruises on her arms and one lumpy bruise near her eye . Like the latest boyfriend had beaten her up . But , no , she said , it wasn’t a boyfriend .DANCE

It was the rot-gut whiskey , the hooch , the panther piss . She had gone to a whiskey tasting party at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles . Of all places to raise the drunken sails , that’s an interesting choice . The expression ‘three sheets to the wind’ doesn’t quite tell the tale .

Her two companions entered the same troubled water , she said . All three got inelegantly blotto , to be blunt about it .

He, the husband friend , went off at some point not to return . The wife friend  ” was going crazy” because the husband went missing . They had all three over-stayed their welcome at Sobriety Village by then , long-overstayed it , and had skipped town for the dark wilds of unincorporated Inebriation . The husband turned up sometime later  in a men’s room stall in the station . If you’ve ever been in the men’s room at Union Station you will know what a hell hole it is . I’m half-afraid to go in there during the day and sober . I  have done so only in dire emergencies . Going in there sloshed and  in the evening is a terror unimaginable , or quite in line with the common custom , I suppose .  It all  depends on your point of view  .

Until the 1960s that restroom  was something of an elegant place . There was an attendant always on duty in there wearing a starched white jacket and holding  towels at the ready over his arm . Everyone was , of course , wonderful in those days ,  because those were the Good Old Days .Those days are long gone , though . You may have noticed that . The heyday of Union Station , by the way , were the Good Old Days of the Second World War .

The two women wobbled over from the whiskey tasting soire and sat in the big cushy leather chairs inside the station . Any port in a storm !  In the Good Old Days , anyone could sit in a chair there inside Union Station and relax , perhaps to  contemplate the universe or the exquisite tile work on the walls , or the beamed ceiling , or the designs on the marble floor of the station , or whatever .  Nowadays , though , a sheriff’s deputy approached and told them to leave . Nowadays a weary soul must have a train ticket and, therefore ,  be prepared to verify a destination in order to sit in a cushy comfortable leather chair . The authorities decided to institute this policy to keep the homeless hoards from having a haven for the night .Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 077

Well , rules is rules , so the two inebriated women had to go .elsewhere to suffer the effects of their   stupidity    liquid miscalculation.  Meanwhile , the lost husband was either asleep or passed out in the men’s room stall ; he doesn’t remember which , evidently . I didn’t get the story of what happened to this happy couple as the night progressed .

My friend has a sister savior who drove down to LA that night on a rescue mission .  Some of  homeless did , no doubt , that night , the same thing : ask salvation for the night at the Rescue Mission . Oh , I didn’t yet mention that she fell over a whiskey-tasting soire chair , having misjudged the trajectory of her sloshed and bender-bashed body , the dexterity of her feet , and the distance and time to the chair seat . That’s how she got the bruises , she says , but she doesn’t really remember too many of the details . She was , by that time , fried . Her head hit the floor , she is sure . She was bentat the time , of course .  She was zozzled .

I asked her was it scotch she was ‘tasting’ . She looked baffled and said  ” It was whiskey ” indicating , I think , that she didn’t know scotch from bourbon from rye whiskey from Canadian from moonshine .  And  she said that there was some food at the ‘whiskey-tasting’ event , but that she had refused it since she had had a big lunch hours earlier .MINES

Oh , and did I mention that this friend isn’t some dopey teenager or college kid . I won’t tell her age , but she’s old enough to know better . She doesn’t usually drink whiskey . In the last twenty or thirty years I’ve never seen her drink whiskey . Maybe a margarita once in awhile . A glass of wine or two with dinner .

Oh , I take that back . She had fairly recently developed a liking for cocktails mixed with bourbon . She says she’s off whiskey now , however , for good , after the Union Station fiasco . That’s what she says . That’s what they all say . Better be drunk on life next time , I think , and leave it at that .

I wonder if she knows bourbon is the devil’s juice , too . Wine is fine , as they say , but liquor is quicker .  doctor caricaturechain link


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10 punchlines

Dan Hen:

This was the kind of nonsense that went on in 2011 at this site .

Originally posted on itkindofgotawayfromyou:

1. Is the bar tender here ?

2. I got it at J C Penney . It doesn’t fit in the back either .

3. What , was that the wrong answer ? [ alternate : Should I have said DiMaggio ? ]

4. Well , I’ve been a lawyer for fifteen years  too , but you don’t see me doing this all the time do you ? ( physical joke )

5. It’s only twenty-one thirty now .

6. Sorry , Father , I thought you said goat .

7. Well , you heard him . He’s an incorrigible liar .

8. No , you ride the camel into town to find a woman .

9. No , that’s okay . The smartest man in the world took my backpack .

10. I have an American for a neighbor and you have an Indian for a neighbor .


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something wrong with the menu,

I ordered a beer at a place in Krakow , a particular beer I’d never run into before . I’m one to taste unusual beers , so I was looking forward to tasting this one .

When the beer came , it wasn’t the one I’d ordered . The name on the bottle was another beer . It was good , but I thought that I’d point this discrepancy out to the waitress . She spoke good English and was friendly . I tried my best to not sound like I was complaining , because I wasn’t .

” Yes ,” she said , when I pointed out the beer label to her . ” There’s a problem with the menu ” .

Now , I should say right here , at this point in my story , that I’m not picking on Poland . But , I can’t imagine this kind of thing happening here in the good old US of A . Most likely in a United States restaurant  the waitress would no doubt say that they had run out of the beer I’d ordered , but that they had another beer , even better , for the same price , and would I like to order that one ? Something like that .fitzgerald-conguates-cocktail

But , on the other hand , those problems with the menu are , evidently ,  international  .

Ada was reading John Cleese’s book  ” So , Anyway…. ”   Cleese tells the story of visiting New Zealand , going to a restaurant , and one of the members in his group ordered  Colonial Goose . When  the entrees arrived , the goose order looked like  lamb . The guy who’d ordered it pointed out to the waitress that he had been given lamb .

” Yes  ” she said .

” But I ordered Colonial Goose , ” he said .

” Colonial Goose is lamb , ” she said .

When Ada and I were in China we were given cards in restaurants that , apparently , listed everything possible that could be ordered in the place . And a pencil . We were given a pencil to make a check mark in front of whatever we wanted to order . I don’t read Chinese and I’m pretty sure Ada doesn’t either , so these menus were a challenge for us , being completely written in Chinese script . I didn’t know so much as whether to read up from the bottom , down from the top , left to right or visa versa .  I recall , as I think back , that Ada took the pencil and began check- marking  our choices . I don’t remember exactly because 1) it was a long time ago , and 2) I had my head down on the table and was whimpering in hungry helpless frustration . Food came , though , somehow . Could be Ada had secretly picked up some Chinese lingo here or there , maybe as we were walking the back roads of Shanghai . Ada’s good with languages .

And then there was the time in Mexico , of course , with my friend Jim and his nephew and , I think , my brother Tom . We were in some little restaurant in a tiny village south of Mexico , D F . , ordering our standard carne asada . We ordered carne asada in order to avoid any more exotic foods with questionable ingredients for our spoiled American stomachs . .

This time the restaurant meat might as well have been shoe leather . We couldn’t chew it up.  No flavor . Win a few —lose a few ! And then the bill came and it was three times what it should have been . Stick it to the tourists , I suppose . Jim , however , lived in Mexico , in Ciudad Obregon , and wasn’t about to put up with this treatment . Jim pointed out ( in Spanish ) to the waitress that we had been overcharged .

” It’s not what’s on the menu ,” he said .

” It’s an old menu “.

” I want to see the owner . ”
” I am the owner ,” she said .

” Then I want to see the police ,” Jim said  , and at this point he stood up and began shouting ” Policia !  Policia ! ”
The woman backed down immediately  . Those little Mexican towns had a policeman on every corner . She waved her hands , indicating that Jim should sit down . ” You pay whatever you want ,” she said .

” We’ll pay what’s on the menu ,” Jim said . For the tasteless shoe leather so-called dinner  . So,  we did .

My father-in-law Tom was a chemist . He used to moonlight for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts inspecting restaurant kitchens  for stray germs , infections , rodent droppings , scum , and anything else that shouldn’t be in there.  I guess that , over the years , he found more than his share of disgusting health violations . The few times that he and I would  wind up looking at a restaurant menu somewhere Tom’s eyes would glaze over . ” If you only knew what goes on in restaurant kitchens …. ” he would say , with  distress showing in his eyes . clenched fists

I think restaurants should go about business like the Gold Rush establishments did it . Everyone paid a set price and whatever food was available was put all at once out on a communal table . It was ‘dig in’ time when the bell rang , and the knives would come out . No forks or fancy place settings . Gold rushers would food-rush  for whatever food they could get before someone else got it . No menus .


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Dan Hen:

Another re-hash .

Originally posted on itkindofgotawayfromyou:

I don’t spend much time contemplating fortune cookies .  I do , however , once in awhile save a fortune . One’s in my wallet now . I’ve had and lost several fortunes over the years . I’m just like old man Wilshire , of Wilshire Boulevard fame in that way , except on a different scale .  Fortunes come and go .  So , here it is : Fortune cookie 002

I have a dinner coupon that expired in December of 1989 . The restaurant isn’t there anymore however . Otherwise I might go over there and try to use the certificate . It does say ” preferred customer” , after all .  Buy one dinner and get one free . Not bad .  I don’t remember where the gift certificate  came from . I don’t know why I kept it .  So , here it is :Coupon and road sign 008

Some things just don’t…

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