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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I don’t usually post anything political . I did comment on the presidential debate . I forget , now , whether it was the first debate or the second debate . Well , it must have been the first one , because I watched the second one with the machinist who lives across the road up on the mountain .  I wasn’t sure if he is a Trumpista or not . I suspect that he is , but I didn’t want to broach the subject . Just in case .gas-maked-children

I watched the third debate at a friend’s house . His wife had chili and cornbread for me . I didn’t ask if she had made the cornbread from scratch or from some kind of a mix . At least , after ninety minutes , I got something out of the evening : the chili and cornbread were tasty .gas-mask-girls

I gave up politics years ago . In seventh grade I was campaign manager for my friend Monty who as running for class President . Another friend of mine was running against Monty . They were both class heroes . They were both star athletes ,both  handsome , both vibrant , both well-liked .  Monty lived a few blocks from me , and we hung out together after school sometimes , so  I volunteered to be his campaign manager . gas-masks-and-donkey

I should have stayed out of the dirty business of politics . I was in over my head . Monty , in the end , got only one vote ( mine ) , and the other guy got all of the other votes . All of them .

I was embarrassed at the time , as I recall , because it looked as if  Monty had voted of himself . I felt bad for him , not only  for badly  losing the election , but for appearing to have voted for himself and that being the only vote .dancers-at-beach

I checked with Monty decades later . He , by then , was running a successful computer software firm in Silicon Valley . He had a big home in the upscale city of Saratoga , was raising a family , and had , apparently , moved beyond  that  seventh grade election .

I spilled my guts out to him about my perception of the one vote all those many years ago . I apologized , way  late in the game , for running his campaign into the ground .  Monty said that he didn’t remember it that way at all ; that he at that time had felt bad for me . I had made an effort to get him elected , after all , and I had fallen flat on my seventh grade face . He was embarrassed for me , he told me , just as I had always been embarrassed for him .old-panther-piss-whiskey

Life goes on , though , and we both went our separate ways .

I wasn’t , in truth , waiting for Hillary or Donald to contact me for election advice , but  I would have been willing to give politics another whirl  . I could’ve designed some signs , some strategies .  Most likely it would be a conflict of interest , but I’d have been willing to work for both of them , to do my best for their campaigns .  I would’ve given it my best shot .

Would’ve been better for the country , I suspect .


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October 13, 2016 · 9:39 am

Irma Thomas : Deep Soul – Through trial and tribulation Wishing someone would care

The Immortal Jukebox

Mama said:-

‘Child, when you’re born a woman you gonna have to get used to the taste of the salt in your tears.’

‘Now I ain’t telling you every man’s a devil but believe me everyone of them has some of the devil in him and you better be ready for that’

‘Of course, some sweet men got a touch of the angel about them – if you find one of those girl you better hang on tight!’

‘But, beware! Some of them are full of love and smiles one day (specially when you young) but the next they can curl their lip and leave you all alone (specially when you older)’

‘Why your own Daddy didn’t stay around long enough to see you crawl before he was chasing some other dream somewhere down the road. And, he never looked back’.

‘Lookin’ the way you do girl you never gonna…

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October 10, 2016 · 9:34 pm



I was reminded of the power of words today when I found a well-constructed post by my blogger friend , the East Coast Dan , over at No Facilities . He reads my posts and always makes the time to reply with consistently perspicacious comments .beard-old-man-1902

He’s a technology professional who knows how to get right to the heart of the matter when the English language is involved . He referred to my use of the word  “sycophant” in one of my posts , which was an insult aimed by a friend of mine at anyone who doesn’t hate Hillary . I include myself in that collection of non -haters , so I was being besmeared and besmirched on Facebook by my old buddy . I said in my post about this that I didn’t take it personally , but that I would work on it . No one wants to be considered a sycophant , after all , as far as I know . Anyway , the other Dan looked up the word “sycophant” on Google , as any tech pro would , I suppose.

It turns out that when a definition of an unfamiliar word is found , the definition provided tends to include another unfamiliar word , so the poor wordsearcher continues floating around in the thick mist of dubiety . Dan looked up  “sycophant” and found a definition that included “obsequiously” . Then , of course , he pursued that , tapped down into the next level of definition , for that additional unfamiliar word , and found a definition with  the word  “servile”.masks-wierd

I know that feeling . The word is somehow familiar , but it’s so rarely used that the definition is impalpable . Such is life . I always feel , in those situations , that I really should know the meaning of the word . It’s a nagging feeling  that I have known the meaning of the word at some point and have just forgotten it ; it’s on the tip of the tongue , but it doesn’t quite come to mind .

I have a sister who would know each and every word . I don’t . There’s an ancient Chinese saying that tells of the father who is happy that his son didn’t do well in his studies , so now the boy can look forward to a lucrative career in the government . Something like that . I wouldn’t quote it , true as it still might be , to the current Chinese government . They might not appreciate it . Anyhow , I don’t work for the government , but the concept seems to fit my situation . At any rate , I learned long ago in childhood the lesson that the other Dan learned recently — it’s no good looking up definitions . They will just dumbfound you more . Unless you’re my sister , of course .women-cars-1920s-18

No , I’m not a sycophant , and I’ll gainsay that intimation whether in person or on the net when I encounter it . I’m no lickspittle . Let me make that clear .


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October 7, 2016 · 6:38 pm

odds and ends


October 5, 2016 · 9:02 am