Monthly Archives: July 2015

if we were having a beer or golfing


If we were having a beer we could talk history , or we could talk weather , or we could talk beer . We could talk sports , but it would be a short conversation . I don’t follow sports , I will admit . I feel un-American , at times , because of that fact , and possibly even a bit of an alien mole hiding  within the male universe . But , hey , it is what it is .GOLFER m

Now that we’re on the subject of sports for a moment , and not beer , let me drop a couple of bits of information about my experience with golf .

I don’t remember knowing any golfers when I was a kid . Oh , yeah , President Eisenhower golfed . But , after all  , Ike was the President . President’s golfed . Millionaires used to have strings of polo ponies . But them were them and us were us . We California  kids back then  played baseball , football , and basketball , we swam and some of us surfed , and we didn’t know anything about soccer , or polo , jai lai , or golf . We played handball , too , the kids’ version with the big red rubber ball , and hula hoops for a couple of years , and we threw  plastic Whammo boomerangs around , and we played dodgeball with varying degrees of viciousness . But not golf .

So ,  several years back , a friend of mine at work talked me into heading out to the driving range with him . He and his wife and I took a couple of lessons at Griffith Park . Then I got the prized  invitation to join the golfers from work for a game .BOSMAN

To make a long story short , I didn’t read the signals carefully enough . Golf is a serious enterprise to golfers . I mean highly serious . When I admitted that I hadn’t been practicing at the range that week ………………. I mean , the stern looks I got could have stopped a city bus . I was told to hit that driving range multiple times per week , and that admonition was not negotiable .GOLFER f

I had started out with buying two or three old clubs at the Salvation Army Store , and a well-worn golf bag . I was ready !

I was at the driving range one day , knocking that little puckered ball out onto the grass , when the end of my club broke off and flew out farther than the golf ball . The man in the booth announced my innovation to the proceedings over the loud speaker and  stopped the other golfers while a grounds person went over to retrieve the end of my club. I returned the looks of my fellow practicers with grace and dignity . Odd things happen sometimes. Maybe none of them had seen this happen  before ; but it happened . Deal with it ! That’s the message I was sending  with my reassuring smile as I looked these people in the eyes , one at a time and as a bunch .

I took a golf lesson , once , several years ago , in Poland . It was my first intro to playing the game .The golf pro teacher had spent some time in USA .

” You used to play baseball , ”  he said to me , out of the blue .

” Yeah . ”

” Golf isn’t baseball , ” he said . ” A baseball swing won’t work . “Taft golfing

My brother , Tom , who was a golfer , felt sorry for me with my second-hand clubs . He offered me a great set of Ping clubs . He was upgrading his set . Suddenly I had the proper tools of the trade so that I could appear to be a golfer . I played a few games with my work buddies , but I didn’t seem to improve much at all , and they lost interest in letting me string along . I just didn’t take the game seriously enough for them , and I was told rather inelegantly to bug out . I was told to hit that driving range until I worked my skills up to their level before they’d consider letting me rejoin their little golf group.

Maybe you think I’ll say that I was devastated , depressed , deeply insulted in face of this snub  . I wasn’t . It was , by that time , pretty much a mutual decision . I had some misguided notion , starting out ,  that I’d be playing primarily for fun , but  there’s a lot more to the psychology of golf than merely knocking a little ball around with a bunch of people wearing special shoes just for the fun of it .

The world’s problems are discussed , I guess , on the links ( along with handicaps and golf scores and pro golfers ) .  That’s why our presidents all seem to golf , I suppose  . Solutions to giant enigmas are , no doubt , hashed  and re-hashed as Mr. President , whichever one it may be at the time , putts and drives and tests the wind direction .

Or , maybe on the other hand ,  these important people just make competitive bets with one another as my buddies did , sulk after  bad golf days , and trade quickly -counted stacks of cash payoffs after the game while drinking  cold beers and munching on  spicy chicken wings in the clubhouse bar .WILSON

I briefly considered making a plan to join these guys in the clubhouse during  beer time , but since I wouldn’t have  contributed to the green fees , I think , they probably would have given me  the evil eye , as if I had crashed an exclusive party . I  anticipate a  low tolerance for non-golfers attempting to lift a carefree pint when carefully counted losses are changing  hands . That’s important stuff . The fate of the world could depend on it . bb 12


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Thursday Doors

I offer another church door this week , for Norm’s Thursday Door Challenge . DOOR 5It’s a corner church on the way towards a mall . Before the mall was built and a side street beside the church became a walking street leading to cafes and a major mall entrance , the church was , I would say , on a little bit of a forlorn corner of the city , down the street from two larger churches , next to the grimy exterior of a children’s hospital . Taxi cabs used to wait nearby in pre-mall days , and somber-looking  hookers used to stroll the dark stretches in front of the hospital . There is a clear view of this side door now , which was once tucked away in shadow .


It tells a story , this door , but I wonder who’s listening .

DOOR 3After all , malls are the new temples , are they not ?



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the bunkers

I’ve been staying in the Polish city of Szczecin . During WWII it was the German city Stettin , a shipbuilding center . There was also an automobile factory in Stettin . The city was bombed heavily , especially in 1944 , and much of it was reduced to ruins , especially around the port .

Not too far away is the small city of Police . It had been the German city of Politz . Near Politz the Germans were producing synthetic airplane fuel from coal . An extensive factory was scattered throughout a forest there , and it was an allied bombing target , too .

Robert in Szcz. 2015 069The Germans built heavily fortified structures in the forest , and defensive bunkers . A small city further away from Politz became a decoy city . When the bombers came the decoy city was lit up a bit while the factory and  Politz were blacked out .

Upper floors of the larger factory buildings were designed  to collapse when hit with bombs , and to absorb the shock , so that vital lower floors were protected .

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Smoke was released , too , during raids to hide topographical details .

It seems the factory was not hit much . Surrounding fields were peppered with bomb craters , and the decoy city was hit , and the town of Politz was extensively destroyed , but the factory itself was well hidden and it was mostly spared of destruction .

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I had a great tour of the place , the decaying ruins still scattered around , from a local guy, a soldier in the Polish Army ,  who knows the place like the back of his hand . I went there once before with him years ago and we climbed , that time , down into cramped bunkers , and around crumbling concrete structures .Robert in Szcz. 2015 081Now  a local group of history buffs has built up a little museum in a couple of the bunkers . It’s full of scavenged items recovered from the forest : helmets and weapons and bomb fragments . They have also added maps from war days , and identity cards of some of the prisoners who were interned on the site , etc . Robert in Szcz. 2015 084

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Marchin in ruinsThis is a picture of my guide , Marcin , the soldier . Like the old joke about the bus driver who takes his family for a drive on his day off —- what Marcin  does on his day off is help out at the military museum . He wanted to share his excitement about the WWII history of the place and he knew I would appreciate the experience .


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blah blah blog

To blog or not to blog .


Start writing a blog .

Don’t start writing a blog .

I started this blog a couple of months ago . Maybe a little longer ago than that , but not much .

I don’t have a focus yet . Probably never will . I write stories from randomly returning memories as they pop up somewhere in the recesses of my brain . Some people write political blogs . Some  post only photographs . Some focus on travel , or family events , or religion , or sports . Or literature . My friend Joe writes a literary blog . He makes reference to literature and music and he posts another one every so often . I try to do one every day . So far .

It’s good practice posting  a blog . Practice writing . Practice writing for the world , world access , even when there might…

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ray ray

This one from 2012 .


More  Raymond Chandler :

” I shook the rain off my hat and looked at the building directory beside the case of false teeth. Numbers with names and numbers without names . Plenty of vacancies or plenty of tenants who wished to remain anonymous . Painless dentists , shyster detective agencies ,small sick businesses that had crawled there to die , mail order schools that would teach you how to become a railroad clerk or a radio technician or a screen writer — if the postal inspectors didn’t catch up with them first . A nasty building . A building in which the smell of stale cigar butts would be the cleanest odor .”

Our favorite private detective , Philip Marlowe , goes there to the Fulwinder Building , Western and Santa Monica , four-twenty-eight at the back , to meet Harry Jones , the grifter , to get information…

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foot massage thoughts

Hey , Dan , tell me about the foot massage business .

I have big feet . There is a foot massage place on a corner a block away from my house . I walk past the place often with my big feet . Think about it . Put two and two together . I’m an expert .

Asian guys are usually standing outside the foot massage joint when I walk by . They are smoking . I’ve never spotted them peeking at my big feet as I pass . Too busy puffing on their cancer sticks  , I guess , to notice . Therefore , I’d give them a slim chance of staying in business long .Pillbox

Hey Dan , tell me about how things are going in the US these days .

I only know what I read on Facebook :  Everyone hates with real passion and anger . Hates someone , or some group . The whole place is going to  has gone to hell . Depending on which website you choose to view , it’s been happening for twenty years , or fifty years, or , perhaps , most of the problems since about six years ago . I can prove it , too . I’ve read the headlines and I’ve heard the spokesmen and women . They’re incredibly sure of themselves . That means they’re right . Right ?

And , the baby kitties are cute , too , by the way ,  with  such good advice for me to live my life by . Bunker helmets

Hey , Dan , let me tell you what’s wrong with this country . 

The foot massage place never seems to have any customers . The building used to house a perfume store that had no customers either . It’s not that it’s a bad corner . The CVS across the street is always busy . Ada used to say the perfume place  probably was a tax-dodge scam of some form or another .  Probably the foot massage is , too .

I used to work for C & R Clothiers when they just started out in business . Corrente and Reisbord . I never thought they’d make it in business . No way . Then , suddenly , they opened hundreds of C & R stores around southern California . Maybe I’m not good at predicting business trends . Don’t ask me about the economy . German sign in bunker
Hey , Dan , here’s a primer on what’s wrong with the economy . So-and-so lays it all out ; tells you who to blame for it and who sold us all down the river . Everything you need to know . Best ten minutes I ever spent . 

Hey , I don’t need to know . I read the headlines of the blurbs and blogs and rants and videos that scoot in over the internet . That’s enough . I’ve already blocked the sites that are afraid to tell the truth to the American people .

Tomorrow I’m planning to hang out with the Asian guys outside the foot massage place . I’ll ask them if they’ve heard of C & R Clothiers . Or CVS . I’ll give them a few web links so they’ll know what to think and who to blame . I’ll make sure that they notice my feet , too ,  just so’s they know the authority from  which I speak .


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Thursday Door

door cathedrea;This is the door to the cathedral in Szczecin , Poland . door cath 2

The curious public , and worshipers , enter the cathedral  not by this door but through a less impressive side door where everyone is required , nowadays  , to pay  4 zloty ( about  $1.25 ) to get in . Kind of a pay-to-pray arrangement , I suppose .

re: Norm’s Thursday Door Challenge.


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