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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soft soap

I’m as cheap as the next guy . Well , to be honest , usually   I’m  cheaper . Ada thinks it’s peculiar , for example , when I cut the little lip balm tube open with scissors in order to be able to squeeze the last little bit out . Well , hey , there are little kids in China who don’t even have lip balm , you know !

She tosses out the toothpaste tube way before it’s all used up , too . I like to get my money’s worth out of a product . We just disagree about how far to carry this notion .

There is one area , though , where Ada and I have somehow reversed our virtuous positions : soap .  I continually find piles of old leftover too-small -to -use soap pieces clumped together as if they are pretending to be one bar of soap . They’re not one bar of soap . Evidently Ada holds on to the strange belief that old contiguous pieces of soap will stick together and can , therefore , be used as if they were a cohesive collection , as if they were one usable bar of soap .thanksgiving-and-snow-2016-013

It just doesn’t work .

Well , maybe it works for Ada . She claims that it does . I don’t know how that could be . For me the small little hardened shards of old soap immediately go their own ways when I pick the collection up . One might think that the individual members of this old -soaps collection would soften when wet and would join together in one harmonious  conglomeration full of a glorious pursuit of happiness  ;    but , in my experience , that don’t happen . In my case , at least , that don’t never  ever happen . Again , Ada claims a different experience .

Maybe I’m just not doing something right . Maybe I’m too rough on the poor little soap slivers  . Maybe those surviving fragments want only to act in genuine unity to do us all the kind favor of washing our grubby skins , and here I come roughing them up and unnecessarily knocking them into separate pieces again . Could it be ? I’m not willing or able to accept that idea , however , no matter what Ada says .

I say : buy a new bar of soap !  It doesn’t cost much . Why be such a penny pincher !  It’s too much damn trouble to go through trying to keep that many different  jiggery-pokery  diversified  pieces together .  Besides , we have to keep the American economy cranking along  , after all !

[ Don’t tell Ada about this post , please . She might give me hell about taking the toothpaste tube out of the trash today . ( There’s still at least a couple more day’s use in it )  .]



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December 4, 2016 · 10:11 pm


fighter frank clausebricklayer-1928


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I seldom post political stuff in my blog . Each of us has a right to our own individual opinions , observations , perspectives ,  attitudes , and beliefs . Facts are facts , though , and should be determinative . No one has a right to his/her  own facts , though , even if  the interpretation of the facts can be an issue , of course . Anyhow , here is my position on the recent election .

hint:Trump     Be warned , and bail now if you need to .

If it walks like a duck , and all of that , talks like a duck , you see , quacks like a duck , poops like a duck , (  quacks up when it flies upside down ) , etc. , then it must be a duck .  I want to be very clear and prescient here when I ask that the President-eclectic , Mr. Trump,  ( does anyone call him “the Donald” any more , or has the humor of that moniker been used up  ? )  when he says this or that ,  does he really mean this or that ? Maybe it would be more sagacious for a reasonable person to wait awhile to see if his words become that and this next time . If the words sound too crappy , anyhow , he’ll most likely deny saying them .

I’d like to say that the guy’s heart is in the right place , that he actually cares a little about anyone but himself  , but I can’t . I see commentary that he just wants to be loved . You can sure  hear that  in his speeches . He endlessly congratulates himself . He wants praise , and when he doesn’t get it he sulks and strikes out at those who don’t fawn upon him  . He’s quite good at striking out . That’s obvious . Evidently he goes so far as to block from his tweets those who have criticized him , for example . Sorry , all of you Trumpers , but your choice for President is an emotional child and a bully .

His wife gave a speech towards the end of the campaign that said , I think , that a major goal of hers as First Lady would be to make the world a kinder and gentler place , on social media at least . I suspect that she  sincerely meant what she said . The ridiculous absurd irony of the speech , however  , given the husband she’s got , I’m pretty sure escaped her . By the way , how soon will she start her project , do you think ?

I wish President Trump well . I mean  “well” in terms of doing good for the people in this country , and for the people around the world too , and well for the social and physical environment .  I don’t mean well for Trump and his billionaire  buddies’ financial portfolios and I don’t mean , necessarily , well for Trump’s pampered ego   .

It’s okay with me if the huge corporations do well , too , but not at my expense , and not at the expense of poor people in this country or poor people around the world , or at the expense of the cleanliness of the air anyone breathes , or at the expense of common sense safety in the workplace and elsewhere .  If those corporations make fortunes that mostly go into the pockets of the few super rich as they abuse the rest of us ………well…….I’m not going to cheer that . That’s not my idea of the type of economic growth that matters .

Caring about the working people , and “every American”  ?  The Donald has never , by any evidence that I’ve come across , cared about anyone but himself for all the decades of his selfish , opinionated , fussy-touchy rich man’s existence . So now , late in life , he really cares about everyone ? I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you , too , as long as you’re in the market for hucksteristic hogwash and self-delusion . hen-man-costume

Trump can finance golf courses and hotels , and put his money here and there , but he has never thought too much , obviously , about designing a foreign policy , or a comprehensive  economic policy , or any other policy . Sure, he spouts platitudes and simple -minded slogans . Some of them sound good , too , as long as you delude yourself into believing anything a proven huckster  ( lies 80% of the time ? ) says . Remember the ” draining the swamp ” promise ? Yeah . How about putting some cash down at this point on that bridge you’re going to buy from me ?

I hope mostly that his insipid bravado and the more seriously committed war hawks around him don’t get us into another useless war .  I hope that he doesn’t do that to us  while he’s also fooling around with the economic wealth of the nation, ensuring unnecessarily  that the rich can get richer ( they’ll , then , be “job creators” and will share it all  with the rest of us . It’s the old so-called “trickle down” theory of Reagan-era  “voo-doo”  economics. ( Did it work for us  then ? I don’t recall my trickling windfall showing up back then . )  I can hardly wait !Edison and Ford 1930

I think we should give the new President  a chance , though . But , you know , be well aware , mindless self -delusion won’t help anyone in the long run . Bluster and bravado from a self-absorbed narcissistic bully doesn’t improve the country .  Results matter . And facts are facts , despite what the president-elect  tweets say .

Meanwhile , you know , if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck …. and all that .

She knows there’s no success like failure 

And failure’s no success at all . 

( Love Minus Zero )

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December 2, 2016 · 10:48 am

meaning of life

I came across a blog post today entitled  The Meaning of Life .  I haven’t read it yet , but I plan to . Might as well be informed on things . I hope it’s not just a phony headline , as so many of the lead-in headlines are nowadays , provocative and enticing but meaningless , in the end , and often misleading and  sometimes horribly deceitful and insulting .

As my friend Mac would say : Just saying .

I’ve never been one to think about the meaning of life . Certainly not one to worry about any such thing . Isn’t that kind of concern more in the realm of philosophers or theologians ?   But , then , I’m an avoider  anyway , not much one for analyzing the details of anything if I can help it . I’m happy to have someone else go analyze , for example , the meaning of life , and then come back and tell me . comedy cruickshank 1791

I used to think , actually for most of my life , that I had a pretty good grip on the meaning of life , in a generic sort of a sense . I thought that I could size most people up fairly well and  I  thought that I could put things that were happening in the world in some sort of order , into some sort of sensible context , given the chaotic course of history , of course . the-hat-1961

It’s a little late in the game , I guess , but now I’m beginning to realize that I  may have been all wrong about the world . All wrong about my grasp of things .

I’m still not going to try to analyze the meaning of life as a separate notion ; but I’m realizing of late that the balance of the universe , the sense of things , seems to have escaped me lately . I suspect that I may well have been wrong in my head with the idea that I  sort of had a handle on things , so far as making sense of the world . IMG_7583

So , what is the meaning of life ? Fair question, I suppose .

I guess , first , I will definitely have to read that blog post to begin my process of analysis . Then , I suppose , I’ll have to ask the  handful of scads of know-it-alls whoms  I knows  to see what they know , what they can tell me .  Then , since I don’t Twitter , I’ll get on Facebook and read the headlines and check out all of the memes and monitor the comments , as many as I have time for . Then I’ll know what’s what . dancers-at-beach

Meanwhile , life goes on , sort of as usual . bricklayer-1928


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