my szczecin walk

Just when I decided to take a walk the rain started . But here in Szczecin the rain is highly unpredictable and this time of year it often doesn’t last long . I checked the predictions on the internet and , for once , they were right . The rain was to last only for an hour . After that , the sun came out and it was time to go . POLAND walk 2017 002

First , I walked down the the new Old Town . This , as I understand it , was the old town of the city before the area was mostly bombed to rubble by the Brits and the Americans during World War II  [ note: pre-war Szczecin was the German city of Stettin ; the borders changed after the war ]  .  1944 was a bad year for the city . The old town was on the river and the bridges and shipyard and warehouses , bombing targets , were on the river .

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A few old buildings , or parts of them , survived the bombing . The castle , for example , was not totally destroyed and was rebuilt . The old City Hall , looking to me a lot like a church ,  was somehow spared the destruction . It now houses a museum of the city and a restaurant and brewery and the new Old Town was built up around it .

The locals laugh a little when the current Old Town is mentioned . They call it the new Old Town , because most of it has been recently built . I’ll guess that the buildings around the square of the new Old Town were finished about ten years ago or so . It has several restaurants and wine bars . It’s a good place to sit , have a beer , and watch tourists , especially Germans .

I considered having a beer  , but I heard music closer to the river . It sounded sweet and folksy and I wondered if it was live or recorded . I had to go and check . It was live — a group of girls singing , dressed in ( modified ) folk costume  . As far as I could tell , they were from the Czech Republic and they were singing Czech folk songs .

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POLAND walk 2017 009When they were done I continued my walk , now back along the river . It’s always nice to check out the boats .POLAND walk 2017 030


Later in the day Ada and I walked down here again to listen to  a group of musicians playing on the same floating stage where the Czech singers ( if they were Czech ) had performed . These guys were great . One of them I recognized from a free concert at the castle a week ago . A Spanish singer showed up and performed two or three Spanish songs during the concert . He must be an opera singer . His voice was something else .

Their stage was floating on the river and I was watching boats pass during the performance . At one point one of the boats made waves that rocked the stage enough to interrupt the music for a minute or two .


After the concert  , Ada and I walked across the Long Bridge to the other side of the river .


We went as far as the recently-installed sandy beach . People go there to sunbathe , I guess , during the day ; but there is no swimming allowed . We were there at night and the place was crowded with , mostly , young people drinking beer and having a good time. Music was playing there , too . A couple of guys were drumming as electronic music played behind them .


A drone was watching all of this , I guess .

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I never know what I might see during the summer in the city . Lots of events , races , free concerts , and festivals pop up  day by day . As Ada and I walked back home , we saw bicycles and tents and road barriers set up in anticipation of the triathlon that seems to be going to happen tomorrow . Meanwhile , rafts and straw huts on them wait on the river . They floated in from far distances and , I suppose , a festival of ancient Slavic culture will occur soon  .

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the day I met archie bunker

hollywood-editI don’t want to brag , but I grew up in Hollywood , and Hollywood is full of movie stars .

Well , putting any questions aside for the moment of whether I have in the end grown up at all or not  , I will be frank and say that I didn’t actually grow up in Hollywood . I want to be honest . Hollywood is about ten miles from where I grew up , I think . But still ………..

I remember the host of some long -past entertainment show standing in front of the Santa Monica pier and beginning the show with the words : ” Here we are in the heart of Hollywood . ”  So you see  my point . Hollywood was once Hollywood , but is now a state of mind .achie bunker

I lived in the actual Hollywood once . For ten years or so . Hollywood isn’t actually a city now ; it’s a part of Los Angeles ( since 1910 ) , the City of Angels , the huge metropolis , the megalopolis  . I feel sorry for unsuspecting people who come to Los Angeles and expect to find a city. Oh , there is one there somewhere  , but …………..

Or Hollywood. There is a Hollywood , but …………..

A  Swiss guy , the friend of a friend , stayed with me for a few days once when I lived in Hollywood. He took the bus to downtown Los Angeles , thinking that he’d see Los Angeles . He came back depressed and disappointed . Well , what did he expect ? Los Angeles is not Los Angeles . Get real !

Hollywood isn’t Hollywood either , for that matter . My friend Ivan brought his girlfriend over for a visit once and he asked me to give her a tour of Hollywood . The three of us spent the day touring Hollywood. When we returned to the house , somewhat exhausted , she thanked me for the tour , but said : ” But next time maybe you could show us Hollywood. ”   Oh . What had I been thinking !  She wanted not the real Hollywood , but the state of mind. I should have known that morning before we left , I suppose . I’m a bit  slow . Always was .

Yet ,  and  I mean yet . There are those forces who are bound and determined to make Los Angeles a city once again , in the world-wide sense of a big city . Young people have moved downtown and trendy new restaurants have sprouted up around town . Old buildings are being re-fitted to house the pioneers who don’t mind breathing the downtown freeway soot and aren’t put off by the endless competition from homeless residents . There are artist lofts in previously abandoned floors of classy old structures .The Disney Hall and a new Cathedral were built. Things are indeed changing .

Anyway .  However .   This post is not about downtown Los Angeles . This post is about film stars and me .  So , let’s get to it so you can be awed and impressed .

When I was in high school I worked at Redman Van and Storage in Santa Monica . That’s a long story which I don’t want to go into in detail here . After a couple of years on the job , I was assigned to go around and collect appraisals on items that the company had damaged during transit , and to take items around to be repaired . I will say in passing that it always seemed  a little odd that the one item broken by the company in the move was often a priceless family heirloom ; but , hey , it is what it is . An heirloom is an heirloom .

One day I had an address in Santa Monica canyon , a lovely tree-covered area of expensive and somewhat secluded houses . I was to return an item to this address and I rang the bell and waited .

This was at the height of the Archie Bunker  All In The Family  TV show popularity . And , who do you think answered the door ? Yeah . Archie Bunker / Carroll O’Connor .

Nicest guy you’d ever want to meet . He asked me inside . He wanted to know a little about me , what my goals in life were , things like that . I was impressed with how down-to-earth and friendly the man was . That’s all .

End of story . So , maybe you’re impressed ? Awed , at least ?







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Happy Birthday , America !

washington, g.




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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 ).


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you may fire when ready gridley




woman with shotgun and dog 1910

roosevelt HS LA 1942

woman shooter 1914


July 2, 2017 · 12:29 am


I remember rain . I really do . It’s the wet stuff that used to come down from the sky when I was a kid . I haven’t seen much of it in the last few years in Arcadia . But  I do know what it is . It drops down  from clouds . But , you already knew that , I’m sure . I know that other people in the world have a much wider perspective on most things than I do .

Well , today I am sitting in bed at my computer jotting down a few paragraphs about rain , because it’s raining outside . It’s been raining all night and will be raining all day , and will be raining most of tomorrow and into the following day . That weather prediction comes from my laptop computer . Everything’s in there . This laptop may know everything there is to know .

Oh , but I’m not in Arcadia now . I hear they’ve got a heat wave going over there . Fire danger is high and several fires have already started in dry California .

Wildfires , sad to say , are a fairly common occurrence in southern California . The hills around my childhood home were aflame even back long ago when I first went to Europe . Embers were floating over the neighborhood and landing on random rooftops . Roofs were  all made of dry wood shingles  in those days . Some local roofs were set ablaze . I suggested to my mother that I call off the trip  when the two of us were standing outside the house and watching the floating hot embers and the spreading flames on the hillsides . What if  the house burned , or she would have to evacuate and I was over in England ?  Mom  wouldn’t hear of it , though , of course I should go , and so I went .

Two years ago ( or was it last year ? ) when Ada and I were in Poland , the mountains near our little cabin were burning . My cousin contacted us with the news . About five miles northeast of our place , the forest was ablaze and the flames were spreading quickly in the wind . The wind  however , lucky for us , was moving away from our small community , and by the time the fire was extinguished , no structures ( as far as I know ) were burned .

A few years ago the hills above our Arcadia house were burning . Fire helicopters were busy dumping water . I watched a  large fixed-wing aircraft during the days hit the flames with fire-retardant in long dramatic bombing runs . The wind , again , might have changed at any time and made the scene a bigger disaster , but it didn’t .

I got caught in the rain yesterday afternoon . I had gone out because the skies were sunny . I had taken an umbrella with me , because the computer told me that scattered thunder showers were expected . I was wearing sandals since the temperature was in the mid 70s F.  and not my waterproof boots . I thought that the weather predictions might have been  faulty .

And then the rains came pounding down . I ducked under a shop  overhang and hoped that this was an isolated cloudburst that might wear itself out in a few minutes.  . Oh , was I wrong !Randon mountain-Prescott etc. 072

And the wind began next , pushing the rain toward me in solid sheets to make it difficult were I to attempt to get back to the apartment . I hid , therefore , with a few other poor souls caught outside at that moment  , behind a building . The building blocked the force of the rain . The booming of  thunder began about then to emphasize the ferocity of the storm .Borrego Springs trip Mar 14 030

I waited , watching the no-man’s land length of sidewalk that I would have to cover to get home . It was completely covered in a pool of swiftly moving water .dan and suzanne vega

So much for delicacy at this point ! When the wind shifted a bit and dissipated somewhat , I made my move . I re-opened my umbrella ( bought it yesterday ) and slogged on through the water . So much for the sandals ! I had to step into  water that was ankle-deep in several places . Sometimes , you gots to do what you gots to do .

I made it home in one piece and not completely soaked . The two boxes of tissues I carried in my backpack got a little wet , but the tissues will be okay .  My sandals will need to take a few days off to recover from their near-drowning  . My shirt’s been hanging in the bathroom overnight and is drying steadily . My backpack has to dry a little more , too . The umbrella ( bought for 20 zloty in the Tiger store [ about $5 ] ) hangs proudly near the front door . swim suit 1940 cactus

This little rain story most likely rings a few bells with most readers . Well , you are from areas of the universe where rain is a familiar visitor . Remember , though , that there has been almost no rain in Arcadia for the last five years . Rain to me is a novelty . Days-long thunder storms even more so .

I’m listening to the heavy rain pound the window ledges and race through the gutters right now . A message from the rain gods , I guess , to let me know that there are other things in this world than what I’m familiar with  . Okay , I get it .

I’m not pining  for the dry hot southern California , though , or the wildfire dangers . Maybe we could make some kind of compromise . Get the best of both worlds . What about that ? Does somebody know somebody ?  Who’s in charge ?


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the dream

In my dream Dwight Eisenhower was going to train a group of us for some sort of organized activity to take place during graduation . What graduation ? , you might ask . Well , who wouldn’t !kleptocracy 1

Barack Obama was there , too , in a black suit . I was discussing his retirement with him , his retirement from being school superintendent . He seemed a little worried about his future prospects , and I reassured him that he’d be fine . woman boxer 1890

Meanwhile , I had to get out to the practice . General Eisenhower , who would be leading it , was waiting . When I got to the location , not far from the school where the graduation would take place , several guys were milling about , all of them in uniform , waiting to practice .

I thought I had time to go explore the neighborhood , so I got into my car and drove off . I caught two strange imaginary animals that had been racing wildly along the streets and I wanted to show them to the guys back at the practice site .swim suit 1940 cactus

When I got back there the guys had left . General Eisenhower had left . I was late . I considered the situation for a moment . I didn’t know if I could get into the building and , if I could , would I be able to find a uniform that fit . Even then I would still have to walk in late to the graduation and I hadn’t practiced at all so I wouldn’t know what to do . Seattle Fun House Sign

So I went out to my beat up old car to go home , but it wouldn’t start . Bill O’Reilly , the former Fox News guy , was living in his car across the street from where my car was parked . He walked over , wrapped in a blanket , and chided me about my car not starting . I wondered if he had messed with it . Maybe he had . jesse james

I would need to take the bus home , but I had no change for the fare . Besides , the bus only went half the distance , anyway , and I’d have to walk the rest of the way . I visualized the neighborhoods I would have to walk through at night . I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do that .

And round about this moment I woke up .

I told my dream to Ada and she pointed out that it was  ” an anxiety dream ” . She used to have them , too , she said , and she recited a couple of examples .  I used to have them , too , years ago , especially during my college years . I used to dream of showing up at the final exam or the midterm and my pen wouldn’t work ; or I’d show up in no pants ; or I’d have the wrong room number and couldn’t find the right one ;  but I haven’t had anxiety dreams recently .jack in the box

Ada said it’s all this political stuff I’ve been following lately .heroin ad

What ?  There’s anything happening in the country or around the world that might make a person anxious ?  That’s a little far fetched , don’t you think ?  Ask anyone .


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