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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bla g/ or , home is where the house is

I’ve been staying at my brother’s place in La Jolla for a couple of days. He lives a ten minute walk from the beach .  I’d say , maybe , a couple of blocks , except that the streets curl around around here and there seems to be a private golf club with high iron gates in the way , so it’s hard to calculate distance as the crow flies . Actually , I haven’t seen any crows here , either , or anyway . There are sea gulls  here and there , hired , I think , for the day , to stand on rooftops and to walk ostentatiously along the sand . Crows probably aren’t even allowed in town , I suspect  .

I might suggest to the owner or future owner of the new house across my street in Arcadia that the oversized thing be moved down to La Jolla . Better do the move soon , too ,  so’s it don’t settle in in my modest neighborhood and immediately begin to sink down to our lowly level of existence . You’d like to think that the mansioniferous new structure  over there  on the other side of the street would bring the rest of us up to it’s  level ; but , that’s not the way it works . Least I don’t think it works that way .

Speakin’ of real estate sagacity , they always say it’s best to own the lowliest house on the block . That just makes sense . Ada and I are on the way to achieving that sage goal , I guess . Ed’s family next door and we have got that market cornered . Our two houses are sort of head-to-head in that race , and the race is quickly approaching it’s last lap , I think . Ed seems to want to stay just where he is even though his wife and son have their eyes on other places . We’ll see ; we’ll see .

People are pushing money in my neighborhood and it , being as we all know a highly addictive substance , will surely ruin the place . That’s my dire prediction for  today . Mark my words . It’ll hit your neighborhood , too , if it hasn’t already . People will be chasing their tails around , crazily , desperate for the stuff .

What ? Paranoid , you say ? Exaggeration ?  Maybe it’s ’cause I been breathing money all day long for the last couple of days . Can’t seem to escape it here . It’s in the air . Schopenhaeur philosopher

Oh , but I’m leaving La Jolla today to head back north toward home . I hope that Ada hasn’t torn the old place down when I was gone and started construction on a ‘remodel’ . Could it be ?   You never know , my friends . You never know .  No , I’m pretty sure Ada wouldn’t do that . She doesn’t want to add a square inch on to our little house . She always says that . I’ll keep my fingers crossed, though ,  while I fight the freeway traffic back to Arcadia on this Friday afternoon .

I’ll have plenty of cross-finger time , traffic being what it is these days .  Traffic is another thing to whine about ; but , I’ll let that topic go until another time .


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Finally , they seem to have just about finished the house across the street . The construction took a long long time . I think I was just a child when they started , but I could be mistaken . Maybe it’s that I’ve entered my second childhood during that time . That could be it , I guess .

Month after month the construction guys parked their vehicles in front of all of our houses , blocking the street  7:00 am ’til 4:00 PM. Okay , so they have to park somewhere . But two vehicles fit comfortably at the curb in front of my house ; but these dudes would invariably take up the two spaces with one vehicle . That’s just not right . I’ve written about that particular transgression before , so I’ll count to ten and refrain from writing about it in this post .

Open house last week . I noticed some activity as I went out to watch the sky , to look for clouds . I saw Ed, my neighbor , who told me about the real estate people’s camera drone getting stuck in his tree . Ed’s got a sixty -foot pine tree in his front yard . It’s a very pretty tree . When the wind blows,  pine needles cover the neighborhood ; but , I’ll give that substantial flaw a pass because Ed and his family are cool neighbors to have next door . The day the tree collapses and crushes my little house I may feel a bit differently , though .  We’ll see . Anyway , Ed wouldn’t let the real estate people climb his tree ; so they managed to  fish the thing out with a long pole , Ed  said .

I wandered over to the Open House . I was immediately suspected of being a (nosy) neighbor , and I owned up to it right away . Maybe the dirty T-shirt gave me away . I don’t know .  I was told to feel free to look around , and I was offered lunch . Lunch in the back . The assistant realtor put a sales flier into my hand . I was cool , of course . I didn’t immediately peruse it for the asking price . Not in front of the realtors . Acted like I had a million bucks and slowly inspected the place . Didn’t eat their chicken wraps or touch the bottled water either .

Up stairs I encountered another snooper , who I suspected of being a rogue realtor , or perhaps a property looky-loo who did this sort of thing as a hobby. About the third time I passed her and we smiled toward one another  she asked : ” So , what do you think ? ” I didn’t want to tell her it’s my usual daily  practice not to think , so I told her that the place is certainly big enough . ” It’s big enough , ” I said . I tried to make it sound as if I were considering putting in an offer , as if only a guy rich enough would dare wear a dirty T-shirt to a showing  of house like this .

And then I had to bite my tongue . My thumb and forefinger did a quick imaginary zip across my lips . I wasn’t here to argue with anybody or to get sarcastic , I decided . The woman had said : ” Yes , it’s a nicely done remodel . ”

Remodel ?  [expletive]  Is she kidding ?

When I got home I looked at the flier . Asking price $ 2, 863 , 000 . My quiet little street was suddenly called on the flier part of the Highland Oaks neighborhood. Highland Oaks is located a few blocks west of here , with huge lots and monstrous houses  where no one is ever seen around the mansions except gardeners . I don’t want to be part of the Highland Oaks neighborhood . Not that there’s anything wrong with the Highland Oaks neighborhood ; but I’d rather not have my respectable little street be tarred with that brush . We’re very unpretentious here .

We were .

I was asked to take off my shoes before I entered the house . I walked around barefoot , which was okay with me . I didn’t notice the box of blue booties provided by the realtor until I was already on my way out . Before anyone puts an offer down on this place , I think that they should know that I’ve walked all over their fancy floors in my big bare feet . That might put a damper on things .

I asked why there was a second smaller kitchen right behind the big kitchen . The wok kitchen , I was told . Of course ! For frying greasy foods . I’d read about them being put into the big new  homes in the other part of Arcadia , built for the Chinese market .

Two kitchens !  Ada’s sister came up with the idea of two kitchens twenty years ago when Ada and I bought this house . Two kitchens to keep peace in the home of two cooks  . That was her idea .

Alas ! We have only one kitchen . I’d be surprised if any other house on the street has more than one  kitchen ,  too , besides the new place . But who knows !  We were thinking of putting in a second bathroom a couple of years ago . If we add even a square foot to the house , though , we need to make our one car garage into a two car garage , as per building code .

Now that I’m thinking of it , Ada and I won’t need a wok kitchen . We sold our wok at a garage sale years ago . Never used it . Didn’t even  know it needs it’s own kitchen .

I’m thinking about making an offer to the realtor :  Maybe the neighbors up and down the street could take up a collection to move the new house over to the Highland Oaks area . They’ve got space over there somewhere , maybe in a side yard or behind one of the mansions  . It’ll fit in over there , I think , much better than here .





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I had the fleeting thought to title this post : Why My Dentist Doesn’t Talk to Me Anymore .  I thought better of it , though , and went with a more generic title .

Once I got a comment , years ago , after one of my posts , where the commenter suggested , rather forcefully , that I construct better titles if I intended to attract more readers . I considered this clearly sage advice  seriously for a few seconds before I discarded it as if it were a wonderful , beautiful , comfortable sock . One sock . Can’t do much with one sock , footwise , I mean .

Well , I was thinking of dentists today , for no apparent reason , so I decided to write a post about dentists .

My dentist died a few years ago . He taught dentistry at USC , so I figured he must know what he’s doing . Ada took a few years to warm up to him . He was our dentist for about fifteen years or so .  But , then he died . That’s why he doesn’t talk to me anymore .

He did like to talk , though . Maybe that’s a prerequisite for dental school . Maybe a study should be made , or maybe a Congressional Committee should convene .  Why do dentists insist on holding conversations with poor suckers who have their mouths wide open while , at the same time ,  excruciatingly sharp implements are poking , probing ,  and scraping around one’s  gums and teeth and , unavoidably , interfering with the probee’s , pokee’s , conversation ? A captive audience  for sure !

My dentist talked sports and politics . I don’t talk sports , and I don’t talk politics with fanatics . He was a fanatic . It took him several years to realize that I don’t follow sports , couldn’t  really care less where the assistant USC football coach went to college or how anyone’s batting average compares to last year’s or whether this head coach should be fired but that one should definitely be kept around for a few more seasons even though he’s talking about retirement  . And I don’t care at all how smart Bill O’Reilly is or isn’t , or where he went to college .

My new dentist , the one who took over the other one’s practice , I think is highly qualified . He worked on my teeth , too , with no pain or agony . Mostly I go in only for routine maintenance , change the oil and rotate the tires kind of stuff .

Last visit , though , I was pawned off to an assistant . She was young and perky and very concerned about my bleeding gums . Had nothing to do with her poking them for five minutes and , thus , drawing blood . I’ll bleed profusely these days , for some reason , even if someone near me  appears to have a sharp wit . I come in from the garden with lines of dried blood up and down my arms ; but when I wash it off there’s no wound . Explain that . Anyway ,  that’s what she assured me , that my gums were bleeding but not due to her stabbing them repeatedly ,  and that  I should consider special  procedures , if I at all wanted to keep my teeth , and that I should  have at least this particular lesser procedure done immediately , now  . And I definitely should come in for a third visit every year, she insisted   ( even though my insurance covers only two )  .

I was fool enough to be a little intimidated  with the scare tactics , so I paid a couple of hundred dollars extra for some version of a deep cleaning . My situation  was a little like when a mechanic lays on the scare tactic about what the car needs . What does the average person know ? Who to believe , me or that lying horse ( old joke : “I don’t have your horse ,” just as the stolen horse hidden in the barn whinnies . ” Who you gonna believe , me or that lying horse !” ) .

I did my homework later ;  too late , of course . Shouldn’t have fallen for it , to make a long story short . And the third visit suggestion  was absolutely a non- starter . I think dear dentist is trying to find ways to pay for his fancy new office and salesgirl assistant is part of the plan . Oh , yeah , he moved into a fancy new building near Santa Anita Racetrack . DENTIST

On top of that , the dentist himself  came in to say hello , probably so he could charge for a personal visit , or else because of some legal requirement . The salesgirl assistant probably wasn’t licensed in the right way ,  I’m guessing . He asked me if I’d found the office with no problem , as if I were a new patient ;  didn’t recognize me , despite the fact that  this was my fourth or fifth visit with him  . He had recently installed a crown , too . So , hey , I had to inform him that I wasn’t a new patient . That , somehow , was a bit disheartening  , to think that his friendly manner must be  just , actually , for show . He should have looked at his notes before he walked in . Would have been more professional .

And it’s going to be either me or the assistant , I think . Maybe she’ll be gone by the time of my next visit .  I suspect , however , that I’ll be  once again  hunting for a competent , painless , friendly dentist . I might ask what the topics of dentist conversation will be , too , before I sign up .


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the Carpathia

Titanic boats on way to CarpathiaThe Carpathia , launched in 1901 , came to the rescue when the Titanic distress signal   was heard  on the wireless  on 14 April 1912.  Later the Carpathia was sunk by a German U-boat in 1918  during World War One . ship carpathia

ship carpathia 1912

ship Carpathia in N.Y.ship Carpathia officers


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Fats Domino – Pharaoh of The 1950s! King of New Orleans!

Fats Domino ! Another good post from the Jukebox .

The Immortal Jukebox

Had I been born in Louisiana in the 1920s I know what I would have done with my life if I had survived World War Two intact and by fair means or foul accumulated a decently thick bankroll.

I would have bought a roadhouse on the outskirts of New Orleans.

Let’s call it, ‘The Blue Parrott’. And, all the dollars I spent and all the hands I hired would have had but one aim – to make the Parrott the jumpinist, jivinist, most joyful Joint for hundreds of miles around.

On the door and looking out for trouble before it becomes TROUBLE is an ex Marine called Tiny who stands six foot six and weighs in at 250 pounds. Tiny stormed the beach at Guadalcanal and came home with a limp and a chest full of medals.

Tiny never gets mad but he does get mean. No matter how drunk…

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Angelus Oaks Nov. 2014 029

ANGELUS oaks Jan 2015 with Sally 117FAIR Szczecin 2014 013Poland vacation Kociewie 021cats 009Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 042ODDs and ENDs Poland 2015 009watch for foxesRobert in Szcz. 2015 129

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This is the new front yard :yard flowere March 2016 015Had I cleared the lawn out earlier , say a couple of years ago , I would probably have qualified for a couple of $1000 from the government . Yard welfare . Friends of ours did that .

I’m not complaining . My entire projects cost us about $2000 . Maybe a little less . Lots of rocks , and lots of work cleaning out the old scraggly lawn . I did the work myself . Borrowed a truck and a big roto-tiller from a friend . Hey , I’m retired . I’ve got the time .

Ada suspected that I would never finish . Hire somebody , she said . Get it done before summer . She pointed out a couple of the unfinished projects around the house . New doors , for example , we’ve had on the to-do list for years . Well , I saw the point she was driving at , of course , but I’m sometimes stubborn , so I went ahead with the plan . It’s worth noting , I think , that Ada wasn’t worried about me being too old for the job , that maybe I’d have a stroke or something like that . As our friend Mac is fond of saying : Just saying ! She just wanted the yard done .

So now the yard project is done . We are happy with it . By we, of course , the important one of the “we” in this case is Ada . If she weren’t happy with it I’d be dead meat . I’d be in the doghouse forever , I guess , or at least as long as the yard looked like that . That could be an awful long time . Or a very expensive situation to fix .

My friends hired a yard architect to manage their project . It cost them a tad more than my project .I shudder to think ! Let’s just say more money  than I’d be willing to part with for a yard .  Our front yard looks better that their front yard , I’d say .  Just saying  . And, as an added bonus ,  I got some good exercise without having to go to the gym . Now you’re jealous !

I tore out quarter inch wiry roots from every square foot of the yard . I hadn’t known they were there , soaking up my precious water all these years , bringing it over to the neighbor’s magnolia tree in his front yard . No wonder my lawn never did so well , especially nearest his place  . Neighbor’s tree’s roots established themselves under my driveway . They cracked the driveway , too ,   as  I had always suspected but had no proof.   Until now .

He dug up his lawn , too , by the way, and found it filled with the spindly roots , too . It caused him some considerable aggravation , which is enough retribution from me for his tree’s mischief . He put down fake grass , very green , and some red bark around the edges . He didn’t take the old lawn out , though ; just chewed it up with a roto-tiller and smoothed it out and covered it . I think , after a couple of rains , his old grass will come to life and rudely raise up his fake stuff fairly quickly ,  an inch at a time . He should’a hired somebody , I guess , but  maybe it’ll never rain again around here again nohow . Who knows !  They predicted rain for the weekend , but they’re seldom right .yard flowere March 2016 019


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