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 – 2017

Archive for the category “Festivals”

It’s Been A Long Time Coming 

Don’t get all excited, but…I have a birthday coming up soon. If I make it to that date I will then be the oldest I have ever been in my entire life. I’m quite proud of that.

Getting old is not for sissies. It takes a lot of work – very time consuming work. Sometime I have to spend most of the day sleeping just to keep at it.

One tidbit of personal information – data, if you will, is that I have outlived every male in the family going back three generations – except for one uncle.

My Uncle Tony didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink. He didn’t run around with wild women. He lived until he was 90. We’re just not sure why.

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Happy Birthday, Up To A Point!

TODAY WAS A DAY JUST MADE FOR GROCERY SHOPPING – COLD, RAINY, AND NOTHING FOR DINNER. It was shopping for the staples of life – meat, veggies, and 48 cans of Dr. Pepper. The stuff that augments the DNA and Stardust that makes us – us.

The Curveball of Life stopped me in my tracks as I pushed the shopping cart up and down the aisles. I seriously hit the brakes as I was passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Greeting Cards.

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Thank God Texas Has A Lot Of Room

TAKE ME TO THE BUTTER CHURN is a cry I hear on a regular basis when we go south to visit family. “The Butter Churn” is a restaurant/feeding station aka buffet just a waddle or two away from the family home in Sinton, Texas. And every time we visit, along with an assortment of several generations of nieces and nephews, we go to The Butter Churn.

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What’s Done Is Done

feb1TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF FEBRUARY – at least I think it is – let me check.

(Brief Pause)

Right! Today is definitely the last day of February which means very little unless you were born on February 29th. But it is still winter.

I know. I know, but you’re wrong. This is not going to be another of my diatribes against snow and cold. No. This is going to be a scholarly discourse on why the Calendar needs adjustment and realignment.

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I Always Cry At Weddings

wed1THE WEATHER IS BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW and I am longing for Springtime. You know what they say – “Springtime when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of Chimichangas.” No, that’s not right, but then again…

Las Vegas, the Disneyland for Adults, is always striving to top itself. It all started out as a dusty desert gas station and has transformed itself into the tangible definition of “Will you look at that!” It is the only town where Elvis, Howard Hughes, and Liberace all felt at home. And they’re all dead.

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Not Just Another Day

val1IN CASE YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A CAVE for the last six weeks or so let me be the one to tell you – Today is Valentine’s Day. And you time is running out if you wish to live.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to Love, Candy, and Greeting Cards. There is nothing else like it. Christmas may dominate when it comes to the cards and Halloween has a lock on the candy thing, but no other day – not even Opening Day of Baseball Season – can do Love like Valentine’s Day.

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Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Hush, Hush, Dead Charlotte

530b2939-a8a8-4693-85da-0b525f516003A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO IN NEW YORK CITY the Mayor decided that he needed some positive coverage in the media. His idea was to stage his very own Groundhog Day Festival. Whatever Punxsutawney, PA can do, the Big Apple can do better – or so he thought.

At the Staten Island Zoo, not exactly the best known zoo in America – or even in New York City for that matter, Mayor Bill de Blasio (The name he is currently using), with much fanfare and with cameras rolling, was handed “Charlotte the Groundhog.”

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Charlotte —  (An artist’s rendition.)

groundhog day gifThe Mayor was obviously not an experienced Groundhog Wrangler and Charlotte may have taken his fumbling and groping as an improper advance. Charlotte squirmed, the Mayor went sissy, and dropped Charlotte. It is unknown if Charlotte ever saw her shadow on the way down, but it is for sure that she hasn’t seen much of anything after she hit the pavement.

Last year (2015 for the chronologically challenged) the Mayor agreed to try the event again, but he refused to touch the replacement Groundhog – “Chuck.” It is quoted that the Mayor greeted the suspicious Groundhog by saying, “What’s up, Chuck?” Now that Charlotte has gone to that Great Groundhog Lair in the Sky I doubt that Chuck took much consolation from, “What’s up, Chuck?”

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Chuck

What’s up?

Certainly not Charlotte.

The New York Times noted the occasion of the Mayor’s return to the zoo with the headline, “Mayor Bill de Blasio Did Not Kill the Groundhog This Year.”

There was so much sarcasm dripping off of that headline the paper should have come with a roll of paper towels.

There was another Mayor vs. Groundhog encounter last year in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The Groundhog picked for their show was in no mood to fool around with some strange humans. When the Mayor picked up “Jimmy the Groundhog”
the unhappy rodent took a chunk out of the Mayor’s ear.groundhog wisc gif

This year the Mayor has already announced that he is not going to have anything to do with actually touching the Groundhog. I bet that “Jimmy” is cool with that.

He probably heard about what happened in New York.

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The Word spreads about Charlotte

I imagine that both of these Mayors are now Groundhogaphobic after their bad experiences. Imagine how the Groundhogs feel. Every February 2nd their sleep is disturbed, they are grabbed and shoved in front of crowds of humans. There are bright lights, yelling media types, and all without so much as a “Please” or “Thank you.” In the human society that kind of stuff is called either a “Home Invasion” or the arrival of the SWAT Team – and often gets people shot or arrested.

The people in Punxsutawney have been doing their thing for over a hundred years and they have it down pat. The rest of these clowns are the worst kind of amateurs – they think they are cooler, smarter and more capable than the experts. And what happens? Groundhogs die and Mayors qualify for Vincent Van Gogh Look-Alike contests.

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Charlotte  — taken by the Paparazzi

Welcome to Holland 

holland1A FEW WEEKS AGO I WROTE ABOUT A RETREAT we took in the Holland, Michigan area. It was an intensive week, but it was not all work and no play.

On Thursday afternoon we had some time off to relax and let our brains blow away the sweat. It was listed as free time so we decided to morph into tourists for a few hours. After stops at the local St. Arbucks for coffee and a mini-mart for a Dr. Pepper we headed into downtown Holland.

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I Think I’ll Have Some More

foodA COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I asked for suggestions about where we should go for a right fancy Thanksgiving feast. It has been our tradition to go out for our Thanksgiving dinner, but our usual buffet spot is closed for remodeling.

We got several good tips and a couple of wiseacre suggestions too – and thanks for the invitation to join you for dinner, but India is farther than I care to drive.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

From October 2015

Leaves of…uh…Leaves

covered_bridgeIT IS THE LATTER PART OF OCTOBER IN INDIANA. The trees are at their peak of Autumnal color. The leaves I saw this morning were red, yellow, gold, and blue. Blue? That turned out to be a plastic bag stuck on a branch.

People come from all over to look at the trees and go “Ooh” and “Ahhh.” After that they eat lunch and drive away. They never stay to help clean up the leaves as they fall to earth.

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It’s Only Fair. 

fairIT IS AUGUST IN THE MIDWEST. That can mean only one thing: State Fairs and Deep Fried Food. OK, I guess that’s two things, but who’s counting?

When the gates to the fairgrounds open some people will head to the livestock exhibits, some will rush to get their seats for the entertainment shows, but thousands will head right to the food midway so they can see what’s new on this year’s menu – and there is always something new.

If there is a way to deep fry it – into the fryer it will go.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

4th7A LITTLE DRIZZLE NEVER HURT ANYBODY. This year on the 4th of July, the day for fireworks and celebration, we had low clouds and misty rain here in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Has anybody seen my thumb?”).

The larger civic displays were postponed a day or more, hoping for clear skies. The rain, however, didn’t slow down the individual, beer-fueled, ad hoc, displays.

It seems that every year, rain or shine, there are countless people who think that they are qualified to fire off skyrockets and assorted quasi-military grade explosives in their backyards. The more alcohol consumed – the bigger the show.

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Aww, For Me? Gee, Thanks.

4th1Today is July 4th in this country and every other country as well, but it has a special meaning in this one. Yes, yes, yes, I know. It is Independence Day too. A truly sacred day in American history to be sure, but July 4th is also important because it is considered to be the Mid-Point of Summer.

Balderdash.

Summer only officially started on June 21st. That was less than 4th2two weeks ago, fer cryin’ out loud. The Mid-Point of Summer? We have another month or so before we hit the real Mid-Point. Let’s try early August on for size, shall we?

July 4th has another mantle of significance about its shoulders that few people recognize or acknowledge.

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I Love Small Town Television

wtwo1I JUST LOVE SMALL TOWN TELEVISION. There are two television stations in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Our antenna has been hit by lightning.”). I find it surprising that we have two stations. Terre Haute is a town of only 60,000 people – not exactly a Megalopolis, but both stations seem to be solvent and filled with happy talk.

Being in a very small market assures that our stations are where careers in broadcasting begin. Most of the on-air “talent” is fresh out of school and eager to become the “Next Big Thing.” In Terre Haute that means that they will be doing newsbreaks and weather reports on weekends and holidays.

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Summer Better Than Others

summer1Well, Summer is ready to go into full swing here in beautiful Terre Haute (That’s French for, “You sure can sweat.”). All the signs of Summer are blossoming.

The colleges and universities are spewing forth a fresh crop of graduates – most of whom are trading in their mortarboards and tassels for paper hats and napkin dispensers.

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100 Years Of Turning Left

Indy 1946

Indy 500 – 1946

AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.

“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.

The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.

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Returning

luggage_large_1xAs you read this we should, and I emphasize “Should,” be home in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “You have a ton of junk mail waiting for you.”) and dealing with the stresses and strains of jet-lag and culture shock. Hopefully our luggage has arrived with us, but I always feel a bit cynical about that.

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Cinco de Mayo in Ireland

5I WAS EXPECTING A PIÑATA shaped like a shamrock. Or maybe a sheep – or even a potato, but the perfect image for Cinco de Mayo in Ireland seems to be this.

While St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world, including Mexico, with parades and festivals, Cinco de Mayo doesn’t get much play in Ireland. While the Diaspora planted Irish souls in almost every country on earth, the cross pollination of Mexicans into Ireland has never reached major numbers.

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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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Now THAT Is A Classic Film

bad-acting-death-sceneONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I DO EACH MORNING is to turn on the TV and go to the Classic Movie Channel. I do this most days at about 7:30 AM. They tend to start a movie at 7:00 AM, so I miss the beginnings of a lot of movies. It’s kind of like being hung up at the refreshment counter behind somebody with the decision making powers of a squirrel.

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