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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girls on ladder

Volunteer 1899

architects 1931 dressed as NY buildings

blog stuff garden house 042

spring and 3rd 1905

pendant viking

Br. Lib leap frogs

Berwyn car spindle


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cows , boy , & indians



cow mask person cow sign cow skull sawhorse longhorn johnson city texas




boy on a pine tree


buffalo head carved indian face Indian little native american mural


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billiards cartoon

Did I tell you that the pool place is closing at the end of March and that it was sold to a church ? It’ll be a church . clock 16th C  I know: time marches on .

Willie and I have been playing pool over there every Thursday for the last twenty years . Bill joined us , at some point ; and then Daniel . Victor has been the bartender all of that time . Victor knows how to pour a Guinness . Willie claims to have taught him how . Maybe he did .

Tim , the owner , is always there , sometimes practicing his golf putt in the back , or wandering around shaking hands and smiling . Tim , by the way , pours a lousy Guinness. You have to let the frothy dark liquid  settle , and then fill the glass a little more ; and , then , do that again .  Victor can pour it to the rim . But not Tim .

As it happens, Tim has two silent partners who have had enough . They’re the ones who insisted on selling . The church what bought the place , it seems , is now located on the new Metro tracks and , therefore, needs to get out .Time marches on .

No more Guinnesses or games of cutthroat or 8-ball . No more masse shots . We’ve been brushing flakes of ceiling plaster from the table for years ; but there will be no more wondering when the whole roof will come down . It’s all coming to another end .

uncertain city sign e. texas

The building was built as a J.C. Penny store in the 1920s . It’s a huge space . But , it’s is bad shape . Crumbling . I can’t picture a church in there . Maybe the whole thing will be torn down and rebuilt . If only a a few cosmetic repairs are done before the congregation takes over —– Good luck ! It’ll truly be in God’s hands at that point .swan dive sign


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5 edisons and a dickens

Edison 1911

Edison 1914

Edison 1920

Edison and Ford 1930

Edison 1925Dickens

Oh , and a metal chicken :metal chicken


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3 coifs and a gutenberg

big hair shop sign

femail frizzer caricature

woman hair skeleton caricature


………………oh , and a flying pig.flying pig


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Sometimes you’re the rat catcher , ferreting out your prey .rat catcher and ferret

And sometimes ……..

2 mice cartoon

I once drew a cartoon of a conference table ; various faces around the table ; a mouse walking away from the table . Above the mouse was a dialog balloon : ” Well , Dan , you’re out of here .”

I was experimenting with drawing cartoons at the time . The faces around the table were all of the faces that I could draw . I’m not sure about the mouse ; not sure it made any sense . Maybe Freud or one of those guys could figure it out . Drawn on a piece of cardboard cut from a box , I put it up high on the wall  in the teacher’s conference room at the grammar school where I was teaching at the time . My idea was to , possibly , stimulate some interest in cartooning . Maybe some of my colleagues and I could get the kids interested and we could develop a school-wide project . Could be fun .

I hadn’t mentioned my plan to anyone . Somehow I imagined that curiosity would slowly develop . Where’d that cartoon come from ? What’s it all about ? There’d be buzz around it . Then , at some appropriate point ,when enough interest had developed ,  I’d spring my plan .

But , inexplicably , my cartoon drawn on the piece of cardboard vanished from the wall . I asked the school secretary about it . She was the person who spent her days near the room where the cartoon had been . No , she knew nothing about the disappearance .

The next day the principal sent me a  ” See me ” note . So , I showed up to her office after school .

” Close the door , ” she said . I heard the ominous tone of her voice and wondered . Something serious . ” Sit down ,” she said , with a cold stare , and pointed to a chair . I did . There was only one choice of chair . There was no bright light shining down on it ; but there could have been , by the look of how it was placed . She slowly sat down behind her heavy desk . Suddenly I was the nail waiting for the hammer . But , why ? I felt like  the mouse noticing  just a moment too late the trap springing shut  .

There were then a few choreographed  moments of silence as the principal  stood . From behind her back she suddenly took my cartoon and raised it above her head . Her voice had risen in volume : ” What is this ? ” she demanded . She held the cardboard high in both hands .

How should one react ? I didn’t have any idea . I suspected that had I unwittingly taken that bait a swinging metal arm would have  swiftly snapped my neck .

” A cartoon ,” I said . What else would one say ? It was a cartoon .

” I know some of the people but I don’t know everyone , ” she said . Had she hissed those words out from between clenched teeth ?   I think so . She was trying to control her rage  .

All that I could think to say , in my astonishment , was , calmly as I could : ” Who are they ?”

” There’s me !”, she said , pointing to one of the faces . ” And there’s Reynold .”     Reynold was the vice-principal of the school .

” They’re  nobody ,” I said , as soothingly as I could . ” They’re just faces .”  Unless you count the mouse , I thought , which had my name written all over it  ; but I kept quiet about that .

” And I’m not sure of some of the others , ” she said .

If she were a cartoon , I suppose smoke would have been coming out of her ears at that point  . I sat there wondering how best not to provoke any more paranoia . Should I tell her about my idea for a school project ?  I guess I did . Maybe I didn’t . I don’t remember . I remember the feeling I had at that moment , though .  It was like talking to a patient in a mental ward , trying to sound calm and reassuring in the face of a breakdown . Trying to sound like : It’ll be alright . It’ll be alright . Just take a deep breath .

I still have that cartoon cardboard somewhere in my garage , I think . I gave up my plans for a cartooning project at school , though .

Be careful of cartoons . gentleman reading cartoon


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3 signs and Disraeli

viper crossing

cow sign

Angelus Oaks Nov. 2014 029



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