Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

The Anti-Bucket List

gas station sushi

I WAS SITTING UNDER THE BIG UMBRELLA at St. Arbucks. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and I was thinking of all the things I could be doing. Then I thought, “Screw that.”

I have reached an age, both chronological and state of mind, when I have a list of things I just refuse to do any longer. It is a sort of my “Anti-Bucket List.”

Put a lid on it.

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It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

Giants Shrine

IN MY SECRET LABORATORY deep within the castle walls and high in the fog shrouded mountains of Terre Haute (That’s French for “What hump?”), Indiana a new San Francisco Giants fan has been created.

When my wife, the ever lovely and perceptive Dawn, first met me she did not know that I was an avid fan and recruiter for the Sacred Fandom of The Giants. I had lived in San Francisco for 25 years and with that long an exposure the infection was inevitable.

I knew that Dawn had been a baseball fan (of sorts), growing up listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio. Little did she know or even suspect that I was a carrier of Giants Fever.


In a similar sense I became a “Texan – in law.” You marry a Texan, pass the oral exam, which consists of mastering the proper pronunciation of the word “Pie” and you become a Texan – in law.

However, becoming a Giants Fan involves a more difficult process. Dawn had to learn such basic tenets of the Canon as – Who was the “Say-hey Kid?” Where is McCovey Cove? Who is “The Thrill?” and, of course, Quote Duane Kuiper’s Home Run Call.

I admit it, gleefully even, that I infected Dawn with Giants Fever. It has taken hold and is now part of her DNA. She and all true Giant Fans DNA consists of the usual Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine, plus the additional and key ingredient – Humm Baby.

Dawn’s infection is quite virulent and has manifested itself in glorious fashion. Her favorite colors are now Orange and Black. She dresses in them for every Giants game. She has constructed a lovely shrine to The Boys that is pictured above.

It moves my heart to see her so.

Dawn is also a Minister and she tries to keep her religion and her Church duties separate – although one Sunday, when she said to the congregation, “You may be seated,” she came very close to saying, “Grab some pine, Meat.”

We try to get to a few Giants games each season when they journey east to St. Louis or Cincinnati. When we go we wear our Giants uniform shirts. On the back of my shirt it has my name as “Krafty,” my nickname since childhood. On the back of Dawn’s shirt it proclaims, “The Rev.”

Dawn has stated that her goal is to be named the Official Chaplain for the team.

She makes me so proud.

 The old adage is that, “The family that plays together, stays together.” I’d say that Dawn and I and the Giants are that family. Sure, some members come and go or are designated for reassignment. Sometimes one of the older, retired players is optioned to that Great Dugout in the Sky, but they will always be Giants.

There is no cure for Giants Fever. Who would want a cure when the benefits are so magnificent? Who would not want to rub elbows with Mad Bum, Buster, Hunter, Angel, The Baby Giraffe, Dawn’s favorite – Brandon Crawford, and the rest?

When the game is about to start all of the bobbleheads on the shrine nod in unison as the lineup is announced. They know that The Boys are about to take the field and that a fourth World Series ring is just waiting to be collected.

Dawn has become a consummate fan of the San Francisco Giants.

My work here is done

All I can add is:

“He hits it high! He hits it deep! It is outta here!

I Don’t Remember It That Way

Alamo Peewee

THIS MORNING WHEN I ARRIVED at St. Arbucks for the 9 AM vespers/brewing I was surprised to see that five of the Usual Suspects were already there and engaged in a serious conversation. I just slipped into a chair at the rear of the classroom and listened.

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Not A Dark And Stormy night

Deck chair brokenIT IS A WARM AND RAINY DAY. That’s better than a cold and rainy day, but not by much.

I find myself waking up in a body that has decided, without consulting me, to not work very well today. Unfolding myself like a cheap deck chair just to get out of bed. Hearing myself walk across the floor as the joints in my body crackle and pop in rebellion. Bending over to pick up the morning newspaper and looking around for anything else down there that can help make the trip worthwhile.

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And Now For Our Weather Report

kaleTHE SKY IS BLUE. The sun is shining. And I haven’t the foggiest idea of what to put into today’s blog posting. It is 76 degrees outside, so a warm front must have come through, but because St. Arbucks has their AC turned up to the “Vegetable Crisper” setting I personally have a cold front, and back, and a couple of sides too.

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The Cake That Wouldn’t Die

Circus cake

IF YOU RECALL, about two weeks ago there was a posting here called

“Now THAT Was A Surprise Party”

It all had to do with an effort to do something nice for someone. We should have known better.

For Newcomers and Amnesiacs I will give a brief reminder of the circumstances.

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The Dark Side Of Terre Haute

terre haute prisonI HAVE HAD A LOT OF FUN with Terre Haute in this blog, with the silly French translations of the name (That’s French for “High Ground”) and some of the funny things that happen around here.

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A Bad Day For Bambi

RoadkillA FEW DAYS AGO I and my wife, the ever popular and talented Dawn, drove from Terre Haute (That’s French for “We Need Another Starbucks”) up to the metropolis of Olivet, Michigan. Usually it is a long, boring drive, but the trip on this occasion had a wrinkle that helped keep us alert.

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Baaad, Baaad, LeeRoy Brown

manandgoat1WE HAD A VISITOR TO TERRE HAUTE (That’s French for “Care for a donut?”) a few days ago. Actually, it was two visitors – a fellow named Steve Westcott and LeeRoy (His spelling, not mine) Brown, his goat.

Mr. Westcott is from Seattle, undoubtedly heavily caffeinated and trying raise money to help build an orphanage in Kenya. He has the goal of walking all the way to Times Square in New York City. Why he is taking the goat with him remains unclear.

Making these treks across country to raise money for various charitable causes is not new. Taking a goat with you is a unique twist, however.

Mr. Westcott has a webpage about all of this:

He even has a blog running about it, but it looks like he hasn’t added to it for several months. The goat hasn’t said much either.

I looked at a number of his blog entries and my first reaction was, “Who’s crazier, the guy with the goat or the people he meets along the way?”

Blog date: 9/1/2014

Place: Denver, Co.

“Now, as I am walking down 16th Street about five blocks I was surrounded by four motorcycle cops.  No joke!  The first thing they said to me was, “Hey man you were told not to bring your llama down here.”  I said, “I am sorry, I don’t have a llama.” 

“You can’t walk on 16th Street.  You need to go over to 15th Street.”  

Now, I get towards the edge of 15th Street. There is a 7-11 and I want to get myself something to drink.  I tie LeeRoy to a flag pole out front, I come out and there are people all around. This lady comes out of nowhere in a full head to toe peach pant suit. She is yelling, walking up to me screaming about llamas.  She says, “You were told by the police not to bring your llamas down here!”

I start yelling back.  I say, “LADY, IT’S NOT A LLAMA!” I tell her, “I am trying to leave!  You are in my way! I am trying to leave!  It’s not a llama!”  I finally just start yelling, “IT’S NOT A LLAMA, IT’S A GOAT!  IT’S NOT A LLAMA!”

I would have thought that the people of Denver would have a better understanding of what a goat looks like. Obviously not.

Mr. Westcott has reported that he and the goat can cover anywhere from four to twenty miles a day – depending on the attitude of the goat.

What must the goat think of all this? They have been walking for more than two years. LeeRoy has to be wondering about Mr. Westcott’s sanity.

I really do doubt that the goat appreciates the goal of building an orphanage in Kenya. After walking across country for two years I doubt that I would appreciate anything but a hot tub and a cold drink. I know that I would NOT appreciate Mr. Westcott and as far as LeeRoy Brown is concerned – I’ve eaten goat before.

I do wish them both well on their journey. I am concerned that when they get to New York City things might get dicey for LeeRoy. The coyotes that live in Central Park might see Mr. Westcott leading LeeRoy up the street and say to themselves, “I didn’t know that we could get food delivered here.”

Well, Mr. Westcott and LeeRoy – Bon Voyage, bon appetite, and, remember, New York doesn’t want you bringing in any llamas either.

The City That Smells Like Cookies


WE HAVE PHYSICALLY and electronically arrived in Western Michigan. While my wife, the lovely and brilliant Dawn, is taking care of the business that brought us here to begin with, I am exploring.

Provisioning my exploration party (me) with coffee from the local Biggby Coffee I have set off to figure out what is happening hereabouts.

Immediate quick and dirty answer: not much. More details to follow.

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Smokin’ In Cincinnati

redsfireTHE GIANTS WERE SMOKIN’ in Cincinnati on Friday night. They beat the Reds 10 – 2 and the Great American Ballpark itself caught fire.

We have been to the ballpark in Cincinnati a few times and it is a prime example of the recent trend in baseball park construction to make it part Sports Venue, and part Disney World. Such efforts usually result in a facility that effectively achieves neither goal.

In Cincinnati the builders attempted to call upon the history of the city, reviving the era when steamboats travelled the Ohio River. How romantic.

The park sits on the banks of the river and the engineers incorporated a faux steamboat into the outfield wall. Twin “smokestacks” soar above the crowd in the bleacher seats like the set from a road company production of “Showboat.” Whenever the Reds hits a home run, or do something spectacular, large eruptions of flames spew from the “smokestacks” to the delight of the crowd below.

Until Friday night.

On Friday the fans began to notice that there were flames and smoke coming from the stacks for no apparent reason. The usually white smoke was decidedly dark and the people sitting underneath the stacks were evacuating the area.

Flames. No Flames. Black smoke. White smoke. No announcement about a new Papal election. At least the game was not interrupted by all of this. Some things are more important than stadium fires, evacuations or calls to the Cincinnati Fire Department.

The Giants were “En Fuego!”

The fact that it was also “Star Wars Night” at the ballpark I doubt had anything to do with the fire. But you never know.

When Cincinnati’s Finest arrived they extended ladders up to the tops of the suddenly all too real smokestacks and poured in what looked like the foam they put on airport runways when there is a plane in trouble.

I’m assuming that the usual fire displays are done with gas jets so dumping water on the fire wouldn’t do much except make it all look like something from The Strip in Las Vegas.

Once the fire was extinguished the entire evening became somewhat dull – if you were a Reds fan. If you were a Giants fan the excitement never stopped. It was the first game this year when the Giants scored 10 runs and merriment and interpretive dancing ensued at our home in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Everybody was Hot, Hot, Hot!), Indiana.

One advantage to having the Giants on a road trip to the Eastern Time Zone is that I can get to bed before the kid delivers the morning newspaper.

When the Giants are at home in San Francisco the games don’t start until after 10 PM our time. Playing in Cincinnati allows the games to begin just after 7 PM and I get to bed by 11. I’m old and I need my beauty sleep.

Unfortunately, after Cincinnati our beloved Giants fly to LA and Denver, so it is back to being bleary-eyed and semiconscious until they head East again. Sadly, most people can’t tell the difference in my behavior.

It is going to be hard to top the “fireworks” at that Reds game.

A couple of years ago in Phoenix they had an actual fireworks show after the game and ended up setting fire to the building across the street from the ballpark.

In Washington they have a “Dead Presidents Foot Race” at every game. Milwaukee does one better by having an “International Smoked Sausage Foot Race.” There is nowhere to go with that.

I can’t think of anything that the Giants could do during games in San Francisco that would not violate any number of laws and the boundaries of good taste. But you never know.

I will keep you informed.

Here We Are – Almost



Here we are. You are wherever you are and I and my wife, the ever lovely and fervent SF Giants fan Dawn, find ourselves in Olivet, Michigan for a few days.

Technically speaking, we are not actually in Olivet as I am writing this. We will go there on Sunday, both yesterday and the day after tomorrow depending on your timeline.

I know. It confuses me too.

Olivet is a small town. How small, I heard someone ask? To borrow an ancient joke – It is so small that the “Welcome to Olivet” and the “Please Come Again” signs are on the same pole.

Not really, but it is small. According to the always correct Wikipedia Olivet covers 1.02 sq. miles and has a population of 1605 people. The average family size is 3.04 people. That tells me that one member of the family could afford to lose a few pounds.

Olivet is the site of Olivet College, a small liberal arts college (in a town that size what else could it be?).

Continuing down the Wikipedia entry for the college it lists four Notable Alumni. I must admit that I’ve never heard of any of them. That doesn’t bother me because I’m sure none of them have ever heard of me – so it all balances out in the end.

The college has had some Notable Faculty members over time: Sherwood Anderson; Ford Madox Ford; and Gertrude Stein. Those heavy hitters all taught Creative Writing at the school. Not bad at all.

I am in Olivet accompanying my wife who is here on Church business. My role is that of Arm Candy and Roadie. While she is involved in real matters I will be vamping until dinnertime.

I have brought along my computer, several novels, sufficient medication to keep me from spontaneously combusting, and my imagination. I’ll be fine.

One more factoid about Olivet – it is so small that the nearest motel that has indoor plumbing, electricity and free wifi is about twenty miles away.

If you are coming to Olivet they must be assuming that you are moving here and not just visiting.

I know that this may sound a bit critical of the town when I really haven’t even gotten there yet. If it does, I apologize to all 1605 of you fine Olivetians. I don’t wish to incur your wrath. I saw that one of your Distinguished Alumni is a Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter.

My Mama didn’t raise no fools. A couple of whining neurotics, yes, but no fools.

We plan to arrive in the Olivet area on Sunday evening (yesterday) so, at some point during this week I should be able to post something written while here in the Greater Olivet Metroplex.

I usually try to write several days ahead just in case things fall apart electronically or brain-wise. Either could happen without warning.

We plan on returning to Terre Haute (That’s French for “We’re bigger than Olivet.”) on Thursday.

As a footnote to bring newcomers up to date…


I have been living in Terre Haute, Indiana for about 13 years now. I moved here after 25 years in San Francisco, CA. That surprises some people. They ask me how and why that happened. I tell them the truth: It was all a matter of parking.

I went out one night in San Francisco looking for a legal parking space on Haight Street and the next thing I knew I was in Indiana. I found a good parking spot and I took it. End of story.

If you buy that – let’s talk. I have some beautiful beachfront property in Iowa you should buy as well.

I Have No Rational Explanation

barroom-brawlWHAT WITH ALL OF THE TALK and remembrances yesterday about various bars (Where I was never actually thrown out) it stirred up a cauldron of memories.

That can be either good or bad. I’d even settle for innocuous.

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Success Breeds Something

BananasA COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I conducted an experiment with this blog. After a lengthy fact finding mission into darkest WordPress I discovered that the blogs with the largest following offered either recipes or advice on whatever.

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I’ve Never Had That Happen – Exactly

PerkinsLAST NIGHT, MY WIFE, the charming and lovely Dawn, and I were watching a show on Netflix where the two main characters in the story were thrown out of a bar. Dawn turned to me and asked, “Have you ever been thrown out of a bar?”

I quickly thought back over the decades of my life and answered her truthfully, “A bar? No, I’ve never been thrown out of a bar – exactly.”

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I Will Not Carpool With Her

DUISOME PEOPLE YOU TAKE an instant liking to – with others it goes in the other direction. I have taken an instant disliking to one Jennifer Yi of Brandon, Florida. I’ve never met her and I hope that I never will.

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4 Out Of 5 Dogs Prefer…

Ammo chewed by dog

IN MY NEVER-ENDING SEARCH for knowledge and interesting current events I check several major news outlets daily: NY Times, The Times of London, and of course, The Baxter Bulletin of Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Who among the Cognoscenti does not?

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Remember – You Called Me

Not againWE HAVE PUT our home phone number on those “No-Call” lists for years, but it doesn’t seem to work. We still get several calls a week from organizations begging for money, “Canadian pharmacies” selling pills, and a variety of computer scams both foreign and domestic.  Since they called me I consider them fair game for a little verbal knee to the groin retaliation.

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Now THAT Was A Surprise Party!

Circus cake

WHEN “THE USUAL SUSPECTS” – aka the clowns slouched in the corner at St. Arbucks most mornings, plan an event you know it is going to be special.

Friday morning was supposed to be a surprise party for one of the baristas who was moving on and up. Yesterday, our Trapeze Artist/College Student/Barista had her last scheduled shift. After that she was moving up to Indy with her Main Squeeze and to spend the summer working with a circus. We saw it as our duty to give her a send-off she wouldn’t forget.

She forgot.

We had ordered a cake from the Kroger, decorated with a miniature plastic circus motif spread across the frosting. The Manager loved the idea and it was to be an early morning gala. The St. Arbucks Tabernacle Choir was going to regale us with prerecorded Muzak. One of the Suspects even offered to perform an interpretive dance. We made sure he took his meds and the offer was withdrawn.

To make something unforgettable is one thing. To make something you can’t ever get out of your mind is something else.

When I suggested that the scene on the cake have one little plastic performer face down in the frosting underneath the tiny trapeze, the lady at the Kroger bakery thought that was in bad taste. She also didn’t like my idea to have her spell out “OOPS!” on the cake.

She forgot.

The party was going to start about 8AM. Any earlier would have seemed awkward, and the cake wasn’t going to be ready until then anyway.

The Guest of Honor was scheduled to open the joint at 6:00 AM – but – she forgot. When other employees showed up the place was still dark. Phone calls to her number went unanswered. We had nobody to Bon on their Voyage.

When the Revelers began to arrive a little before 8:00 everything was on hold. When our Party Planner went to pick up the cake, it wasn’t ready. The bakery staff thought that we wanted it at 7:30 PM even though the receipt clearly said AM. They kicked into overdrive and said they would have it in a half hour.

This whole thing was falling apart.

By 9:00 AM we were getting ticked off. The Manager was getting ticked off. I was getting hungry. I had been counting on that cake. By now I wanted to add some blood red sprinkles around the “Face down in the frosting guy.”

We never have heard from our No-Show Espresso Defector. Maybe we should have told her about the party. Of course, knowing who was behind it all might have gotten the same results. She is willing to risk her life on the high trapeze, but asking her to eat a piece of cake that we hand her might have crossed the line. Can’t really blame her there. This crew makes me nervous sometimes.

I’m willing to forgive and forget.

I’m just glad we decided against renting the Alpacas to add a more “Circus-y” atmosphere. The Manager vetoed that idea – and the unicyclist – and the trained seals. She’s had bad experiences with Craig’s List she said.

We were only trying to help.

Because this whole thing seemed doomed from the start we took the only step that seemed to make sense in the end.

We stiffed Kroger on the cake.

A Guy Can’t Have Too Many


Every day I see men coming into St. Arbucks for a cool drink after they have been out running (ugh). They all seem to have either an updated version of a fanny pack or something Velcro’ed around an arm or leg to hold their wallet. The one thing they don’t seem to have is – pockets.

I could not live without my pockets.

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