Monthly Archives: October 2016


I’m watching The Commitments  on Netflix . It’s Halloween . Ada has gone to do aerobics at the gym . The street is almost completely dark . The days of kids in small groups walking up and down trick-or-treating are long gone , I guess .family-halloween

I think parents are afraid to let their little darlings roam up and down the neighborhood these days . They bring them to secure locations these days on Halloween so they might have organized and safe fun .

My mother used to send us out on our own on Halloween and God help us . Neighborhoods were different in those days . After school we were expected to go out and play as long as we were home at six o’clock sharp for dinner . She didn’t know what the heck we were doing . On Halloween we were on our own , too .

Times have changed .

I took my mother to see The Commitments  when the movie came out .  If you don’t know the movie , it’s an Irish production based on a Roddy Doyle novel . I thought that my mother might like an Irish movie . It’s the story of a group of working class kids in Dublin who struggled to start a soul music band . It’s a good movie .

The trouble for me during the movie , as I remember , was that every other word in the script seemed to be  a profanity , and I knew from a childhood of experience that  my mother didn’t approve of profanity . Well , here we were and I was done for , and I thought  : You win a few and you lose a few !   , but I was watching Mom out of the corner of my eye to gauge her reaction  . Maybe she’d want to leave at any time when she’s heard her fill of the ‘shites’  and ‘fecking’s and the ‘ fuck-off’s , and I was ready .

My mother , however , wasn’t after all , ( as they say in Poland )  made of sugar , and she didn’t melt .  On the way out of the theater she told me that she had enjoyed the movie . She would have said that in any case , I figured .   I pointed out the obvious to her that the language in the movie was ‘ a bit rough ‘ , and  she said : ” Well , if that’s the way they talk in Dublin , then it’s appropriate to the film ” . Indeed .

It’s a bit weird watching the film again after all these years . The movie came out in 1991 . My  mother was up and around in those days . I drove her over to Santa Monica to the theater .  I find myself tonight imagining the film through her eyes . She would have liked the Irishness of it , the window of  Dublin life of working class folk . Roddy Doyle is good for that . I should say , perhaps more appropriately , that Roddy Doyle is an author grand for that . Brilliant .George Bernard Shaw 1905

And , so I am watching the movie again and waiting for any trick-or-treaters  brave enough to approach the front door of the house . None have come so far , the  feckin’ bloody gobshites !




Filed under humor

wake me up when it’s over

Ada and I went to see a play this evening at a local little theater . The name of the play was Arcadia . We live in Arcadia . Coincidence ? I don’t believe in coincidence .

Of course,  just ’cause I don’t believe in it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen . Same idea as that old Irish woman who said that she didn’t believe in leprechans . Then she added , ” But they’re out there just the same . ”  So , maybe the Arcadia thing was just a coincidence .

We tried to make sense of the drama , but we haven’t come up with much of an explanation for what went on for seven acts tonight . Could that have been the point ? Ada usually sees four or five different levels of meaning to plays and movies and she explains one or two of the easily understood ones to me on the way home so’s I don’t feel too bad about being a little artistically dense .

This time , however , she had a tough time with the explanation. We saw a friend of ours on the way out of the theater and he was in the same  boat . He said he’d need to see the play again in order to understand it  . He said he should’ve taken a nap before the play so he would have had more mental energy . He talked with a air of seriousity , but the permeating bouquet of mendacity of his  statements  overpowered even  him , I suspect , and he had to back off and clam up . ”  Or , maybe I’ll read the play ,” he added ;  but by now his`credence factor had irreparably drifted well into the red . beer-drinker-on-the-moon

I don’t have an internal need to know everthing . I decided that long ago . I’d never make it in politics . There’d be long pauses after I’d be asked a question . Most likely I just plain would have no answer for most questions , and that’s not the politician’s manner . A courtroom lawyer wouldn’t be my bag , either . It takes me long stretches of time to think thoughts . Sometimes months and even years pass before those shards of thought rattling around in my head come together . Answers to questions sometimes come to me in the middle of the night to questions asked eons ago in long passed situations , maybe by people I haven’t seen in years .

That was kinda the way the interview for my first teaching job went, for example . ” If a student in your class suddenly did this , or out of the blue did that , what would you do ? ” Don’t have a clue .  How am I supposed to know ?  ” If  the lesson that you had meticulously planned suddenly ……………. ? Same thing . I didn’t know . How was I supposed to know ?   I don’t remember having even one viable answer for that barrage of questions during that interview . I left the Principal’s office that day thinking 1) that I had failed the interview , of course , but 2) that it had been good experience for future interviews .

I got the job , though . I had been volunteer-tutoring at the school for a few months and he had seen me work . Sometimes there are more layers of reality than are immediately and easily perceptible .  .

Long into  the interview for my second school job , the Principal interjected the statement : ” I’m sure I’ll get a good recommendation from your former Principal ” , so I had to spend the next ten minutes , after telling her no she wouldn’t , why that was the case . She hesitated  then , and mulled that unexpected information over in her mind . ” I like your honesty ,” she said eventually , and hired me . Go figure .

All of this that I’ve written above is a preamble to an intended short diatribe about the current state of this country of ours , about the political polarization , about my observation that the woods are crawling with fanatic  passionate ignorant  know-it-alls ( the bulk of their information , I suspect , most likely having been found on the internet , after  viewing memes  , misleading headlines,   hate speech posts , and half- truths ( at best ) slung through the air   ( not unlike how they say  apes toss shit , only much more technically sophisticated )  .

I’m not going to write my diatribe , however , because that wouldn’t add anything positive to the universe .( I could recommend or suggest  that on Goggle you might find some fecal matter to get hit with if that’s really what you think you want . It’s not hard to find .  )

I wanted to make the point , somehow , that there are way too many experts around these days it seems to me  , who are absolutely %100 (or more)  right  and who won’t tolerate any even slight difference of opinion . Are compromise , compassion , and mutual understanding completely out nowadays ?    The absolute truth is the one and only truth , after all , and all other notions are to be mercilessly ridiculed ,despised , and destroyed  (if only by the use of hate talk and verbal venom ). Maybe you’ve noticed this trend too .

My dad used to say to us kids : Sticks and stones will break my bones , but words will never hurt me .  I reflect on this old saw now and again . It’s a severely flawed little saying , but there seems to be a point to it too that’s worth considering .


So I say sit on the edge of  the moon and enjoy a beer , or an iced coffee , or nothing at all  , take a deep breath , and relax . Things are not all that bad !   And , if they really are all that bad for you , then it could be worse . And if they’re already  worse in your case , then don’t make your life  more worser  by letting the negativity rent any more space in your head . That would be the worstest , and we’ve already got enough of that .

Let it be .  Let it be . Let it be. Let it be . —- I think Abraham Lincoln said that . KutaisiTblisi 2016 1173

Amen .IMG_7173



Filed under humor


photographer-cathelena rubenstein







KutaisiTblisi 2016 1196



Filed under humor

costume party


I’ve never been one for costume parties or dressing up for Halloween . I’m just kind of a wet blanket , I guess . I’m not saying that my particular bag is the best bag to be rattling around in  , of course  ; but so be it ; it is what it is .

Maybe the problem is that I’ve never had just the right costume . Maybe I gave up on it all , the costume thing , way before I really jumped into that particular  sort of escapade with both feet , devised or found a super costume , and gone for it full measure . That could have happened , I suppose , had I given that kind of experience a fighting chance . Coulda maybe .

Maybe my childhood exposure to the wearing- of- costumes gig knocked me off the rails , so far as enjoying dressing in costumes is concerned . There were six of us kids , and on Halloween , on every Halloween , my mother would dress us up as hobos : old wrinkled clothes , baggy pants , “dirt” applied to our faces with a sooty cork my mother had burned with a match . The United States Marine Corps , by the way , could have adopted that burnt cork idea ; maybe it would have saved them tons of money on camouflage expenditures . We kids , the three of us boys , anyway , were always hobos on Halloween . The costume was easy , and it worked to entice the candy into our paper bags .

And , as I write this , I wonder how much the school uniforms that we had to wear at Corpus Christi School influenced my  overall attitude with regard to wearing costumes . We wore what were called ‘salt-and-pepper’ polo shirts and  brown corduroy pants . Then , in 7th grade , the uniform changed to , as I remember , white or cream-colored buttoned shirts and green corduroy pants . We wore that getup for two years .

Or , maybe it was the clothing of those Sisters of Saint Louis , that Irish group of nuns who taught ( or , at least , did their level best to teach  ) me in elementary school  , with their Irish brogues and their long black habits . Over their foreheads they wore a wide piece of white cardboard that held the black head -cloth up a couple of inches higher and made them , to me , all that much scarier .

Them was , mostly , the old days with the clothing of Catholic nuns , and  those old habits are mostly gone . I’m pretty certain that they are , anyway , although I’m also sure that there are holdouts in some corners of the world who still dress like that . Old habits die hard .

Anyway , those nuns at my elementary were , I realized a lifetime later , nice women who did their best to educate me . I was afraid of them at the time , nevertheless , with their weird clothes and their strange accents , and their occasional use of Gaelic among themselves , and the odd use they made of their huge sleeves to hide items : rulers , pencils , marshmallows , religious item like crucifixes ………….

I’ve decided this Halloween , however , to overcome my past prejudices about costumes . I’ll ask Ada to help me host a Halloween costume party . No one gets in without a costume or a pretty fine and excellent and sincere excuse why not .

The catch is going to be , though , that no store- bought costumes are allowed . I think that’s fair . There will have to be a set of rules , I guess , now that I am thinking of it .    No Donald Trumps or Hillarys allowed , for example . Jill Steins , and Gary Johnsons , and Evan McMullins are okay , I guess ;  but I don’t really want a  ‘famous persons’ party . No Einsteins, Hitlers , Gandhis , or Queen Elizabeths , for example . No Cleopatras or Frank Zappas . No Helena Rubensteins or Chers or Lady Gagas . No Jean Paul Sartres , if you please .  You never know what some people might dream up for a costume . There could be some ethical issues , too , or even moral issues to deal with . I’ll have to plan this out a little more before I broach the subject with Ada . Besides , I don’t think that Ada has even begun to plan her Halloween costume yet .

I’ll tell you what . Let’s put the whole costume thing off until next year . That’ll give everyone time to consider all the relevant factors involved .



Filed under humor

a few words on Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall………………………….humpty dumpty

    My  Danish friend , Ivan , calls him Humphrey Dumphrey . The two of us were discussing him  several years ago . Why ?  I can’t now remember ; but , that’s the kind of thing that guys discuss , I think , when they’re not talking sports , or car engines , or plumbing .

I’ve been thinking about Humphrey Dumphrey from time to time over the years . And today I got a package in the mail from Ivan . It came as a surprise . It’s a book entitled : Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales , Crown Publishers 1984 , edited by Claire Booss .  She has inscribed the copy ” To Ivan , with best wishes .”

The book has stories :  Norwegian , Swedish , Danish , Finnish , and Icelandic . I’ve got some reading to do . I don’t know much about Scandinavian folklore . I know a little about the Swedish tomtes ,who cause a little mischief around Christmas time , and the witches , of course , around Halloween , and Loki , the guy who had a drinking contest with another mythical creature . The other dude somehow secretly attached the end of Loki’s drinking horn to the ocean , so as much as Loki drank , thinking that this would be an easy victory , his horn wouldn’t empty . He , if he had been English , would have been flummoxed . He was beginning to lose his self-confidence , but the sneaky competitor cut him some slack and confessed the scam . He even went so far as to praise Loki for being able to empty the ocean to such a great extent . Good sport , that other guy , it seems .

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

So , it seems that Humpty Dumpty , aka. Humphrey Dumphrey , was , perhaps , a cannon before he was an egg . During the English Civil War ( 1642-49 ) , there was a stumpy cannon on the castle wall that was known as Humpty Dumpty . Maybe . Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall .

In later years , short and clumsy people were called “humpty dumpties”. Humpty dumpty was also , evidently , a kind of brandy boiled with ale during the 17th Century . Clumsy people were later called “humpty dumpties”  , maybe because they got that way drinking humpty dumpty . ( See : )

There is one theory that old Humpty Dumpty was Richard III , and that “the wall” was his horse . I’m not buying this idea . It seems a bit too far-fetched for me ; but who knows ! At any rate , so the story goes , Humpty fell off the wall . Everybody seems to agree on that .

Old Mother Goose got her hands on Humpty after he appeared in English texts in the late 1700s . We get the common version of the nursery rhyme , ending :

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again .

Earlier versions differ , of course . Earlier lines read : Four score men , and four score more , Could not put Humpty where he was before .  Wait . Let me re-think the Richard III reference again .

I’m going to fall off the wall if I find Humphrey Dumphrey in this Scandinavian folklore book I just got . One never knows about these Scandinavians . Ivan may have  simply been speaking from his knowledge of Danish folklore when he mentioned Humphrey Dumphrey . Those vikings  populated parts of Britain and Ireland, after all . [ irrelevant reference : See Danish Royal Egg ]. Maybe the original Humpty hung out with Hrothgar and all those guys .

Lewis Carroll mentioned Humpty Dumpty , too , in  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland . His Humpty Dumpty was a tough and crusty egg . Modern nursery rhyme culture has made old Humpty into a dorky sort of a character .

I need to quit here because I’m going to try out a few recipes for that old humpty dumpty concoction and then start reading the folk & fairy tales book . I’m staying away from any walls , though , just in case  , but  I’ll see if I can find a copy of Louis Louie   (to have The Kingsmen ready ).


Filed under humor


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 .


Filed under humor



October 13, 2016 · 9:39 am