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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lost in translation

BAR FIT Szczecin 2017 011Correct me if I’m wrong if you want , but I think that the meaning of the Polish word “bar” has changed somewhat over the last several years . It used to mean an inexpensive cafeteria , but now it also means more and more what the American meaning of bar is . Not being an expert in the Polish language  ( or American lingo , for that matter ) , I am ready to take your more informed criticism of my analysis , if you feel it is warranted . What must be must be .

But that is neither here nor there for the petty purpose of this potentially paralogizing post . I don’t mean to pettyfog , either , no way , or to mire us down into inconsequential goop . I have got one simple point to make . Well , perhaps it’s not a point , now that I think of it  , but it’s an observation .

I think that we get caught in our own linguistic canards at times . How about that ? Do I hear an argument ?  That being said , can we move on ?BAR FIT Szczecin 2017 001

I  came upon this Polish bar called BarFit . Had it been my decision to name the place , I would not have named it that , for reasons obvious , I think , to the average American . Again , someone went ahead and named the place , and no one even asked me first . That kind of thing seems to happen quite often . BAR FIT Szczecin 2017 003   Well , actually , had someone asked me , I may have accidentally said , ” Yeah , that name sounds okay .” After all , the best entrepreneurs know when to ignore sage advice , and you shouldn’t  base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results . Besides , good advice is never cheap  and cheap advice is never good .

Besides , there is  evidently  a dog food called Barf . Maybe it’s a British thing . I glanced at it on the internet . If Barf is good enough to feed to dogs , then BarFit  might be okay to name  a food place . Too late now , anyway . Done is done .

BAR FIT Szczecin 2017 006


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while my guitar gently leans

If I’d had good discipline , I might have gone into music .

——Clint Eastwood

There was a time when I thought I’d learn guitar .

At some point I went over to  McCabe’s Guitar Shop and paid $250 for a pretty good guitar . Two hundred and fifty dollars in those days , remember , was like nine million dollars today .  I fooled around with it , learned a few chords from friends . I asked my friend Joe to give me a few lessons . Joe tried to explain how guitar chords were mathematical , he explained  harmonies , chords , what notes have to do with it , and  blues progressions . I tried to comprehend it all , see the sense of the dynamics of stringed instruments , tried to learn a few more chords , to manage and massage  the strings , determine frets ,  play a few simple songs .guitar playing woman

Joe politely told me , after a few frustrating lessons , that maybe I should stick to wind instruments . Joe had brought the hammer down , struck the gavel and pronounced judgement . And , I knew even then and since then ,  Joe was probably right .

I picked up my flute again and toodled . I bought a used clarinet and learned , a little , how to play without exhaling so much  air that I’d pass out , although Benny Goodman I definitely wasn’t . I even  bought a used saxophone but quickly sold it to a friend .   I put the guitar away for the time being , sat back down at the drawing board , reassessed my stringed thing potential , brooded .  It was as if the music God had said , ” Dan , there’s only one thing I don’t want you to do . Don’t try to learn to play guitar   ”  like it was  the forbidden fruit .

So , inevitably , the guitar challenge worked on my mind , needled me , nagged me .  There the long-necked thing  was , after all , right there in the room , leaning against the wall , taunting me , that great guitar ,  tempting me to try again  .

Probably months later , after the lessons , I bought the Easy Way To Learn Guitar  books and got psychologically ready to try again . I eased in to it .  Paced myself . I practiced chords . I had problems stringing the chords together . I couldn’t make sense of the guitar , still . I tried .  But , week by week , month by month , no breakthrough , no encouraging riffs were ever heard from my apartment .

You just pick up a chord , go twang , and you’ve got music .

——Sid Vicious

I was reading a post called Monday Memories and Music from a fellow blogger who was in a little bit of the same boat as I was in with a guitar , but she with a piano .  She was at the  book buying stage . Her post prompted this one . Brought back old memories .  

Learning music by reading about  it is like making love by mail .

——–Luciano Pavorotti

Writing about music  is like dancing about architecture .

——-Martin Mull

Years later I took another stab at learning the guitar .   I thought that I gave it a good shot and , once again , got not very far .  Meanwhile I was getting mildly interested in photography . One of my sisters had a nice camera . She seemed to be playing the same game with a camera as I was playing ( pardon the presumptuous expression ! )  with the guitar .  So we agreed to a swap , camera for guitar .  She was working at the time in Florida . If the camera didn’t work out for me , or the guitar didn’t work out for her , we agreed that we would swap back .

When that time came that I thought , once again , that I should take up the steel stringed thing again for another try , I called her to suggest a re-swap .   But , it was not going to happen . The guitar had moved on . A boyfriend had taken  it with him to Chicago ,  she said .  And the boyfriend never came back , as it happened . That’s the way thing go sometimes .

I have a borrowed guitar , as I am writing this post .  It is  leaning against the lawyers’ bookcase in the back bedroom . Near it , on the writing table , are the  Learn To Play Guitar  books , good ones , and an electronic tuning device . I tried . Believe me , I tried . Once again . The plan was to , finally , learn the instrument well enough this time to encourage me to , once again , go out and buy a good guitar .

But , I may have to admit that Joe was right all those years ago .  The only reason that I haven’t returned the guitar to my generous friend is that I hate to give in once again , to give up my guitar playing ambitions  , to capitulate again , to drop again ( temporarily ? ) my recurring guitar-playing dream , to again throw in the towel 

Most people live and die with their music still unplayed . They never dare to try .

——-Mary Kay Ash

Oh , I’ll try again . There’s no rush , after all , is there ?  I’ll rest up a bit for the next bout .

Where words fail  music speaks .

—-Hans Christian Andersen

To all you striving musicians , piano players , guitarists , banjo pickers , tuba tooters , accordianists ,  and yodelers : Keep the dream alive ! Music rocks ! Otherwise , all is lost .

This land is your land , and this land is my land , sure , but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.

—-Bob Dylan

bob dylan

One more quote that may apply :

He has Van Gogh’s ear for music .

—-Billy Wilder


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ideas ?

This is a fungus growing on an oak tree out in the backyard .

Bill says it sucks the life out of the tree , that there must be something wrong inside the tree .There’s the wisteria in bloom just outside the back door .

This is Ada with the lemon tree and roses .

This is the mineshaft out in the backyard where I go to get my ideas for this blog .

Here I am getting ready to go into the idea mine .

Here I have gone too deep into the mine and/or been in there too long .

There have to be more ideas deeper into the pit . 

It bugs me sometimes . Ideas must be right out there in the open . Wouldn’t you think ?

There’s an idea ! [ Not mine ] .


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agony and jesus again/Happy Easter

One of my sisters told her husband a long time ago that I started this blog in order to exorcise Sister Agnes out of my brain . At that time I was writing several posts critical of the old religious gal , a former teaching colleague and  thorn-in-the-side of mine . I don’t believe that any of those old posts were untrue or unfair ( if one can put aside the old advice to never speak ill of the dead )  but they did , at times, skirt the general neighborhood of being on the mean side . I wrote and then discarded a couple of the more nasty posts , me not being a mean-spirited soul . Or so I will continue to believe .

I read a comment today to a recent post on this silly blog that got me thinking . The comment  was written by a regular reader of mine who knows better  . (Well , people say ,    ” He/she should know better !  ”  , so I think that this guy does . ) At any rate , his little light-hearted comment got me thinking again about Sister Agnes , my past nemesis ,  aka. Sister Agony  .cartoon devil in long coat

My  post had discussed Jesus . No offense to the man , to the Savior and all that , but Jesus can be a troublesome topic to discuss . The thing is , people are touchy about talking about Jesus . More likely , by the way , people would be touchy , I think , talking to Jesus were he to come on down and show up at the breakfast table , or in the waiting room , or at the table in the staff lounge , or  sitting on the next bar stool over , or even settled into a nearby pew in church .

Jesus might just ask, he being somewhat confrontational ,  several pointed questions to the  folks about just what has been going on around here since he was incarnate ( I was going to say : “since he was hanging around” ; but I thought better of it . I’d be headed straight to hell in the minds of many if I wrote such an uncouth thing , especially in the brain  of Sister Agnes , where ever she may be ) . Jesus might repeat his one overall admonition , that thing about loving your neighbor . He might be tempted to call some of us Pharisees , hypocrites , or who-knows what . It might get ugly .

I have a couple of atheist friends………………………. I’m saving their issues for another time . No use getting too deep in this post about such things . It’s Easter time , after all .

We have some Easter eggs here that the grandkids and I colored . Ada then took the kids  to an animated movie about Easter bunnies .  I wonder if those atheist friends of mine surround themselves with that kind of Easter stuff . I’ve never thought of it before .  Maybe yes ; maybe not .Randon mountain-Prescott etc. 072

Anyway . No , Sister Agnes would not have appreciated my freewheeling chatter about Jesus . She was , after all , a  nun  officially married to Jesus ( that’s the way we used to hear it , anyhow ) ,  and she would have been quite stubbornly and angrily repulsed by my seemingly disrespectful words . But , to be honest , she was a little too stuck in a holier-than-thou mindset , if you were to ask me .Api and LACMA Oct. 2015 042

I have no doubt that there are some readers right now who are upset with my insouciance , too .  Shouldn’t talk about nuns and Jesus like that ! Heathen !

Well , at least I don’t post atheist propaganda  day after day on Facebook . Yeah , buddy , you know who you are ! Sister Agony would not have cared for your godless endeavors  much  . Maybe she would , at least , have prayed for your soul   , but I have to say that I’m not entirely sure about that . God only knows .Poland 13 2016 030


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Was Jesus Wrong ?

jesus stained glass kneelingI saw a Facebook post from a New York friend of mine  which cooly  said that  proof has recently come in that Jesus was married .  I admit that I don’t stay current on Jesus news . I’m willing to go with the marriage conclusion . I only know what I read on Facebook .

It could just be that the guy wearing the beret who came in to the Assistance League counselling center years ago when I was the security guard was a Jesus descendant . That has not occurred to me until today . He had flown down from San Rafael ( CA ) , he’d said , and he was GOD . The secretary at the agency had listened to him for a minute or two . When he said he had just flown down from San Rafael she asked him on which airline .  ” No , I flew ,” he said , and flapped his arms . Oh. You never know .

I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t Jesus who coined the phrase : ‘My way or the highway’ .  I have heard something about him casting the moneylenders out of the temple .  I don’t think , though , that he hated moneylenders .  I suppose that he didn’t have much need for money , as it happened  . (His wife may have had a different opinion , though . )When he had a crowd for dinner he multiplied loaves and fishes . On other occasions he changed water into wine . And he seemed to wander around the countryside a lot , sleeping under the stars , I guess .  But , from what I know about Jesus , he wanted people to love one another . I think that was his number one rule . ” Above all else …..” he said , I think .

I’m not sure Jesus had this world pegged right , as it happens . I think he may have been a little too John-the-Baptisty , a little too idealistic , too much of a dreamer .

Did he have a sense of humor ? That would be important information , in my book . I’ve only met a few people with no sense of humor . People gotta have a sense of humor . Jesus should have seen a little more humor in life , I think , maybe . Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t .

And this sacrifice thing . ” Forgive them , for they know not what they do ” , or something like that . Right ?  What was GOD dad thinking then ?  Right at that moment .  Like : The good die young ?  Like : Holy ghost !  Like : O.K. , no more Mr. Nice Guy, Roman dudes; your empire’s toast !   Or , was the old man watching from up there in heaven and just shaking his head and mumbling  : ‘ Jesus Christ ! ‘

Which reminds me of what I’ve heard of old GOD up in heaven supposedly  punishing groups of people for sinning against HIM , ie. gays , Muslims , abortionists , etc.  But , of course, I’ve also heard at the same time : We are all sinners .  There’s a disconnect .  Houston , we have a problem . Cake and eat it , too , time ?  god book  Let the one who is among you who is without sin be the first one to cast the stone .——–J. C.

I wonder if God’s split personality is a problem . Three people in one ?  Maybe HE could get into a therapy group . Holy Spirit should go , too . Jesus , although way too busy , should make time to participate , too . There’s still hope . My opinion .

So if Jesus married then  maybe he had kids . They may have had kids. Then they may have had kids . Etc. , etc. , etc.  Finally , in a Hollywood counseling clinic , in walks GOD , namesake of the original one , having flown down from San Rafael , California .

Jesus Saves ?   Maybe he died with that belief in his heart . GOD the father should have clued him in . The Holy Spirit could have whispered a hint to him , clued him in to reality . Just my opinion . Hey , open a newspaper . Listen to Congress .  I’m not GOD , of course . What’s the opposite of omniscient ? That’s me .   But , man , look around !   Saved ?

He maybe should have stuck to carpentry . Joseph would have taught him , I’m sure . Honest work . He could have minded his own business , supported his family , argued once in awhile with dissatisfied customers . Maybe he could have designed cool furniture or gone into the home renovation industry .  It was his choice . God wouldn’t have minded , I suspect . Everyone has , I’ve been told , free will .

But , no , Jesus had to try to save the world .

I wonder what his wife was like , if he was married . Maybe he felt an urge to go out with the boys from time to time , wander around , speak his mind . Maybe the kids, if he had a passel of them ,  got on his nerves . Maybe his wife  tried from time to time to talk sense into him , too , on the other hand .jesus

” Stick with the carpentry , J , a little while longer ; a few more years . Quit hanging around so often with that gang of drifters . It’s only going to lead to trouble . ”

Maybe he didn’t listen to his wife and maybe he should have . She probably watched him wander off with those apostles  , shook her head back and forth sadly , and  mumbled…………..well , you know .


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