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 – 2019

Archive for the month “March, 2016”

Hope Is A Dangerous Thing

1A FEW NIGHTS AGO we were watching “The Shawshank Redemption.” It is on my personal “Top Ten List” of favorite movies – and I am very picky about what films make it onto that list.

In the obligatory After Movie Discussion, my wife, the lovely and equally picky, Dawn, and I asked each other, “What is the overarching theme of the movie?” There were a number of possible answers to that question.

Was it about Revenge? It was, but only momentarily. Loneliness? Or was it about the effects on a person of prolonged confinement? Or was it just about Survival?

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Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Five

Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Five

noir detective office

Driving up to the Golden Pyramid Headquarters was like approaching a Palace more than an industrial office building. After checking in at the security gate I drove over a short bridge and into their parking lot. My first moat. Even though he hadn’t been seen in two years nobody parked in the spaced marked “Adam Cream.”

At first, the receptionist wouldn’t do anything other than refer me to the “Cream Museum” in an area off the main lobby.

“Miss, I’m here at the request of Mrs. Cream. Do you want me to call her? If I know her at all, you’ll be looking for a new job tomorrow. Now – I’m here to speak with – who would you recommend?” That did it.  

“Mr. Lundqvist, the company historian?”

“Excellent choice.”

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I Know The Ins And Outs

Adage ATHERE IS AN OLD ADAGE about the month of March that says,

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

I think I know what that is supposed to mean – weather and all. That’s nice for March, but what about the other 11 months? Are they to just be left out in the parking lot? Not wanting them to feel neglected and unloved, I have tried to come up with potentially new old adages for each month.

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Throwback Thursday March 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday 2

Elmer Fudds Of The World, Unite

coyotes

 

I SAW THE MOST INTERESTING STORY this morning on our TV.

It seems that the State of Illinois has a coyote problem. I’m not talking about those people who smuggle other people across the border although I’m sure that might be a concern as well. No, I’m talking about those bushy-tailed furry critters that we usually associate with cowboy movies. The State reports that there are approximately 30,000 coyotes residing in the Land of Lincoln. That’s quite a bunch of predators roaming around Illinois (who aren’t holding elective office).

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One Step At A Time

Feet 1THE OTHER NIGHT I WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION with several people about feet. We are an exciting bunch, are we not?

Feet.

Having them is a good thing. They come in handy (to coin a phrase). I do know someone who has lost both feet but has two prosthetic feet and gets around better than most people who have the pair they were born with.

Me? I have two of them.

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With Six You Get Shotgun

Dummy 1A

THIS IS GONNA UPSET SOME PEOPLE. You’ll get over it.

About ten days ago there was a one-man mini crime wave here in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “No Soup For You!). This escapade lasted about twelve very strange hours and I have no intention of mentioning the name of the Lone Derangeder in all this. Let him remain that way.

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I Need To Expand My Menu

1I DID NOT EAT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I did not do that for several reasons – Number one – It is as authentic an Irish dish as Couscous and Lumpia. That meal is an American invention. How it came to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day I have no idea, but there will be no foisting it off on the fine folks of Ireland.

Reason number two – I think it is a terrible, foul smelling way to destroy my appetite 2as well as the corned beef that, by all rights, should belong, thinly sliced, on a slab of a nice dark rye bread with mustard and a “glass tea.”

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Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Four

Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Four

 

I knocked a second time. The dog barked again and the same male voice yelled again, followed by the pregnant silence of something fairly heavy being thrown across the room. The dog yelped and went silent.

“Hi, Mister. What the hell you want?” I looked down. The kid couldn’t have been more than four, maybe five. I couldn’t tell you which was filthier, his face or his shirt. When he opened the door a brick of god-awful smells hit me in the face. I took a breath through my mouth.

“Hello, what’s your name little boy?”

“None a you business, you perv. What the hell you want?” This kid was bound to grow up and be a maitre d’ in New York City.

“I’d like to talk with your daddy.”

“Me too, but he died.”

“How about your mommy? Can I talk to her?”

“OK.” He turned, facing into the house. I could see at least a dozen flea bites on his legs. “Momma! Some perv here want to talk to you! The kid had impressive lung power for a little guy.

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Turn Your Head And Cough

exam 1AIT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I’VE HEARD THAT. I heard it this morning.

At 8:45 this morning I had a “Medicare Wellness Exam.” The last time I had an exam that thorough I almost ended up in the Army.

My usual visits to the doctor last twenty minutes or so. This one took an hour and a half. Of course, the first fifteen minutes were with the nurse who went beyond the usual questions. Most days it is, “Have you had any headaches?” Today it was, “Can you go to the bathroom by yourself?” She also had me reading the standard cliché eye chart to determine if I was blind or not. “Can you feed yourself?” “Do you fall over easily”

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People Turning Forty Shades Of Green

patrickFOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE IRISH, have Irish ancestry, wish they were Irish, believe that they could be Irish, or just behave like they are Irish – today is the biggest, best, most misunderstood, most regretted the next day, and hard to explain to the non-Irish, day in the year.

St. Patrick’s Day or how a nice English boy came to Ireland under duress, and eventually convinced a pretty wild bunch of characters to accept Christianity. And all of this before Guinness brewed his first pint.

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New Shooter Comin’ Out!

Today’s blog was inspired by a posting about Albert Einstein that was put on Facebook by an old college friend who is still alive. Thanks, Glen.

Dice 1

ACCORDING TO ALBERT EINSTEIN the most important question that we, as a species, can ask might be, “Is the universe a friendly place?”

If the universe is “friendly” as Al says (to mildly paraphrase), then we should be ready to be inundated with interstellar welcome wagons, coupons for free ‘this and that’ from a mall in Alpha Centauri, and Motherships full of door-to-door Alien contractors offering free estimates on roof repair.

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It’ll Fit, Trust Me. It’ll Fit.

Pack 1IT WON’T BE LONG NOW. My wife, the lovely and patience enhanced, Dawn, and I will be jetting off to Ireland just after Easter.

Deciding what to pack and how to get it to fit into our luggage is not as easy as one might think. My luggage situation presents a special packing problem. I can either pack a second pair of socks or my meds. I figure that if I don’t take my meds I probably won’t need more socks – or much of anything else.

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Who Is Having A Baby?

baby 1RONNIE WOOD OF THE ROLLING STONES IS EXPECTING A BABY? No. He and his wife are expecting twins. Ronnie is 68.

The other day I was having a conversation down at St. Arbucks with one of the Usual Suspects about Ronnie Wood – daddy to be.

My guess is that Ronnie has been itching to top Mick Jagger at something for a long time. Ronnie fathers a child at 68 while Mick’s youngest joined the world when Mick was 56.baby 2

Sorry, Ronnie, but Mick, born in 1943, is a great-grandfather. Mick wins.

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I Guess It’s My Turn Again

cold 2NOW THIS IS GETTING A BIT RIDICULOUS.

The last time I saw my “primary care physician” (A five dollar term meaning your GP doctor) he scheduled me for a “Medicare Wellness Exam.” That is another five dollar term meaning “A physical.”

I was supposed to have that done a couple of weeks ago, but I came down with the Mother of All Head Colds.cold 1 For several days I was nothing more than a piece of meat with shoes on. I called the clinic and cancelled the exam. I later rescheduled it for about 10 days down the road. That was this morning.

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Fiction Saturday

Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Three

noir detective office

The Central Police Headquarters Building reflected most people’s opinion of the Police Force housed inside: Worn out, broken down, and very, very dirty.

The “Missing Persons Department” was comprised of one desk, half a file cabinet and the half-hearted attention of one cop. The only reason it got that much focus was because that cop kept getting himself in Dutch with his Lieutenant. “Missing Persons” was the Police equivalent of being sent to the Principal’s office.   

“Where can I find Jake Feller’s desk these days?” The desk sergeant snorted at the mention of Feller’s name.

“Third floor. Back in the far corner near the washroom. At least that’s where he was the last time I saw him.” He picked up his phone. “Want me to let him know you’re here?”Police Station

“No. You do that and he’s likely to jump out a window. I’ll just surprise him. OK?”

“Yeah, I guess so. You look harmless, but I’d kind of like to see him do the window thing.”

“I’ll tell him you care.”

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Whatever Happened To Sidekicks?

side 1THE OTHER DAY I MENTIONED THE ACTOR Jay Silverheels who played “Tonto” in the old TV Western, “The Lone Ranger.” It got me to thinking, a sometimes dangerous condition, and I began to cogitate about “Sidekicks.”

I’ve seen one definition of the word as follows: “A sidekick is a slang expression for a close companion or colleague (not necessarily in fiction) who is actually, or generally regarded as, subordinate to the one he accompanies.”

The origin of the word comes from the less than honorable profession of the Pickpocket.

I would think that Tonto might dispute that part about being “subordinate.” How many times did Tonto save The Lone Ranger’s bacon?

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Throwback Thursday – March 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

I’m Gonna Smell For A Week

Fish_Fry

IT’S TUESDAY AND I SMELL.

Last Saturday I volunteered to help out at a Kiwanis Club Fish Fry fundraiser. I was there from 3:30 PM until about 7:30 PM. I helped out selling tickets at the door and greeting the several hundred people who showed up to dine until they dropped. The thing is – I don’t belong to the Kiwanis Club.

In Terre Haute (That’s French for “High Cholesterol”) there are two Kiwanis Clubs and I’m not a member of either one. My wife, the Eternally Lovely Dawn, is a member and I fall into the category of “Spousal Volunteer.” I have been a Spousal Volunteer for several years without joining. The President of the club has asked me, on several occasions, why I don’t join. I have answered that query by quoting that sage of the silver screen Groucho Marx. When asked to join the Beverly Hills Country Club Groucho declined saying, “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.”

After my experiences with the old Columbia Record Club I guess that I’m just not a “joiner.” (Sidebar note: The Columbia Record Club was based in Terre Haute – and folded almost as soon as I moved here. I take neither the blame nor the credit for that.)

On this past Saturday the Kiwanians, as they like to be called, were trying to raise money for the numerous charitable activities that they do throughout the community. Each year they have a “Pancake Day” as well as this extravaganza.

There are two companies that can be hired to put on these events. They do everything for you, as long as you guarantee that at least 300 diners come through the door. I have been on the dining end of these events and let me be honest – I’d rather be on the Spousal Volunteer end. My digestive tract can handle only so much deep fried everything – in – sight – until – my – arteries – collapse. But whatever floats your boat.

I sat there and watched several hundred citizens chow down like there was no tomorrow. As they left the large VFW hall (Look it up if you don’t know that abbr.) in varying states of breaded bliss many of them said that this fish fry was the best ever. I contribute to that happiness the fact that the weather has been crappy and this event got them out of the house for the first time in a week.

To call Saturday’s feeding a “fish fry” is a bit misleading. The diners had their choice of fried Walleye fish, fried teeny-tiny shrimp, or fried chicken strips. The side dishes were baked beans, French fries, Cole slaw, potato salad, and applesauce. Perhaps the applesauce was a nod toward a more “healthy” food choice. I don’t know.

This fiesta was billed as “All You Can Eat,” and our customers pushed that to the wall. I saw plates piled so high that they should have triggered an avalanche warning. I wondered if they thought that “All You Can Eat” thing was mandatory or were they getting ready for a cross country wagon train?

My station was by the front door to the hall, on the opposite side from the cooking and serving lines but there was no escaping the aroma. If you sit anywhere near all of that hot oil and fish for four hours, even if you don’t touch the stuff, you are going to carry that aroma around with you.

Today is Tuesday and I can still smell it. I went for a walk and saw that I was being followed by three cats and a family of four in an out-of-state mini-van. The scent must be in my pores. I’ve showered, changed clothes several times and tried to skinny-dip through a Carwash. No good – I’m still a walking pheromone. Some enterprising, yet misguided, tycoon could market this as a perfume – “Evening in Intensive Care.”

After all the customers had gone, we counted up the take and it looks like the Kiwanians will carry on for another year – doing good things in the community and gearing up for “Pancake Day.”

If I haven’t gotten rid of this fishy smell by Friday I’m going to be forced to have a full body peel.

One Disappointment After Another

Message 1I HAD THE MOST UNUSUAL THING HAPPEN TODAY. I was sitting at my super powerful wood burning computer trying to delete a few gazillion spam emails when a little blip appeared by the Facebook tab. Being the genial sort that I am, I paused in mid delete to see what was happening with the 1.6 billion people on Facebook. I said a silent prayer, hoping that it wasn’t all 1.6 billion of them wanting me to play Candy Crush with them.

Thankfully it wasn’t that. No, it was a message. A message for me? Was Zuckerberg asking me to take a few billion bucks off message 2his hands? Not that either.

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Dialogue With A Daschund

dog tilt 2HAVE YOU EVER TALKED WITH A DOG?

I mean, sat down and had a face to muzzle conversation with a dog? If you have you know that it doesn’t take long to see that, aside from their name, and a word or two like “bacon,” or “down,” they really don’t know what you’re talking about. The movement of your lips might keep their eyes focused on you, but deep down you know that nothing is really getting through.

I get that same feeling when I try speaking with some people.

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With A Song In My Heart

Singing 7LET ME BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT IT- I’m not the best singer in the world. But I think that I was always passable. I never have been a virtuoso, but today I saw an item on Facebook that put me in the same bracket as some of the Big Names.

Someone, I don’t recall who it was posted a picture of Kelly Clarkson, a singer who is definitely BTSB (Big Time Show Biz). With the picture was a link to a video of her performing somewhere. It carried the caption saying that after listening to her sing I would be crying too.

Well, that’s no big deal.

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