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
EARLY THIS MORNING I WAS QUIETLY SLUMPED OVER MY COFFEE when I overheard a conversation from the next table. It seems that one of the men sitting there had been called for Jury Duty. My ears began to twitch and I inched a little closer.
The gentleman said that he reported to the County Courthouse the day before anxious and willing to do his civic duty. Apparently that was when things began to fall apart.
ONE OF MY MORNING RITUALS, AFTER SAYING “THANK YOU,” putting on my socks, etc. is to check my email. Most mornings I get about 20 new messages from around the globe. Some are trying to sell me something, some are unleashing thunderbolts of wisdom that have been common knowledge since the 14th century, and some are asking me questions. Some of the questions are philosophical, some are more “religious,” and the rest are in reference to the blog and are your basic “What in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks are you talking about?”
THERE ARE SOME DAYS WHEN THE WORLD JUST SHORT-SHEETS MY MIND. I don’t take it personally. I know that the rest of humanity’s billions has it happen to each and every one of them too.
Today’s little, “Say What?” happened when I went to the pharmacy and headed back to the car. When I stepped outside I was greeted by what you see in the picture off to the right.
Now, I have seen the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile before. This must be the Sports Model. It appears to be built on the frame of a Mini Cooper. Therefore I feel awkward calling it a true Weinermobile – it is more of a Vienna Sausage Mobile. An Hors d’oeuvre. Ram a toothpick through it.
THERE ARE INVENTORS, CREATORS, AND INNOVATORS and then there was Bill Veeck.
If you are a baseball fan, a REAL baseball fan, you already know about Bill Veeck. Even if you are just a casual fan of The Game you are aware of his influence of the game.
The ivy on the walls of Chicago’s Wrigley Field? Thank Bill Veeck. That was his idea. He was always coming up with something. Honestly however, not all of his ideas were successful or appreciated.
Veeck would tell the story that in the early 1940s, when he was part owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers; he installed a portable screen that raised the height of the outfield wall. When the opposing team was at bat the screen would go up – and it was lowered when the Brewers were at bat. That lasted all of one day before the league banned it.
“O, HAIL THE MIGHTY SYCAMORES!” At home along the banks of the Wabash. There, that sounds majestic enough. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense though when you’re talking about a football team.
The Indiana State University football team goes by the fearsome name of “The Fighting Sycamores.” Doesn’t that just put a tremor loose in your heart? No. Me neither.
Their football stadium is about a minute away from our front door. We can hear the bands at halftime and the oohing and ahhhing of the crowds. When the Fighting Sycamores score a touchdown they fire off a cannon in sheer delight. We haven’t heard the cannon much lately.
HURRICANES IN TEXAS AND FLORIDA. Earthquakes in Mexico and even in our Midwest. Typhoons in the Pacific. The Earth is busy.
This is just the perfect set of circumstances that spawn the rise of wild-eyed cults. The fact that September was National Mushroom Month didn’t help. Experience has shown that when things get weird, the weird get weirder.
It’s kind of like how in really hot weather there are some people who seem to come out of the woodwork and go seriously strange. And don’t even ask about the effects of a Full Moon.
WE ARE INTO OCTOBER NOW and in my mind that signals a major shift in my world. Leaves are falling along with temperatures and everyone seems to be already gearing up for “The Holidays.” I’m sorry that I can’t whip into my Happy Dance along with you.
“The Holidays” are structured around two groups – children under fifteen and people with more disposable income than me. I left the first group a long time ago and I’ve never had a secure foothold in the second.
There’s Nothing More Alaskan Than Unalaska, Alaska
A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO I had a blog post listing items from the Police blotter of the northern Alaskan fishing village of Unalaska, Alaska. I think that it might be time for another visit to the frozen north.
Unalaska, Alaska is not on the edge of the world, but you can see it from there. It is the remote area that serves as the home port for the Reality TV series “Deadliest Catch.”
Once you have finished your fishing – there is nothing to do there except drink, and they have become very good at it.
Browsing through the Police blotter makes for some interesting reading. I also think that the person who actually composes the blotter entries has a real flair for the written word.
A few examples from the recent summertime action in Unalaska, Alaska:
07/13/15 Mon 1637 Suspicious Person/Activity – An officer responded to the Dutch Harbor Post Office regarding a complaint about a bike rider periodically getting off his bicycle and dancing in the middle of the roadway. The suspect, who appeared somewhat intoxicated, told the officer he needed to urinate and was advised that urinating in public was a violation of City ordinance.
07/13/15 Mon 1735 Suspicious Person/Activity – The man who had told an officer he really needed to urinate did in fact do so a short time later… in the Post Office lobby. Postal employees noted that the mess was disgusting and inconvenient, as the man had simply peed in his pants and down his legs rather than exposing himself.
07/14/15 Tue 2334 Welfare Check – Caller reported an intoxicated man dancing near City Dock and expressed concern that he might fall in the water. An officer contacted the man, who was jamming to his music, and advised him of the concern. The man apologized for having too much fun.
Whatever else the consumption of too much alcohol might have on the folks up there, it seems to turn them into lovers of The Dance. Perhaps, once the “Deadliest Catch” show finishes, the producers might want to start another reality show, “Dancing With The Drunken Fishermen.” It’s just a suggestion.
While some people are just dancers, there are others who have multiple talents and are not at all shy about letting the world see them.
08/06/15 Thu 0401 Harassment – A female employee reported she had gone outside for a smoke break and happened upon a male coworker who was first simply singing and dancing but then proceeded to drop his pants and expose his genitals. The woman declined to press charges but asked that an officer speak to the man. An officer confronted the lewd and somewhat bellicose dancer, who denied any wrongdoing, and advised him that he could be arrested for said behavior.
08/10/15 Mon 1228 Civil – A man self-reported some obnoxious and insulting behavior on his part, which had resulted in his being asked to leave a Senior Center luncheon. No complaint was made by Senior Center management.
It’s nice to know that the Senior Citizens of Unalaska, Alaska are getting out and having a good time. However, it seems that at least one gentleman wasn’t having such a good time at the Senior Center luncheon. Maybe he was upset with the menu – “What? Fish, AGAIN?”
No mention was made that if, at any time, he started to dance, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
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YOU’D THINK I WOULD HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON BY NOW, but i did it to myself again this morning. I should wait until after my morning coffee before logging into Facebook. And maybe something to eat as well.
It was barely 6:30 AM when I turned on my computer and hit the Facebook icon – and there it was. Some strange person, a friend of a friend of a friend I assume, posted that one of his favorite foods was a Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich.
Good God, man! It was not even sunup and you’ve gone and ruined my gastrointestinal tract for the entire day.
A FEW DAYS AGO I WROTE ABOUT A YOUNG CAT that showed up outside of the nearby St. Arbucks (Starbucks to most people.). That little cutie pie is no more than 4 to 6 months old and a ball of yellow/orange fur.
Well…it’s still there.and has been unofficially adopted by the customers and staff. This cat has stumbled into a good thing.
A collection of fairy tales written by child refugees in Greece has gone on sale to help those like the book’s authors.
Travelling Tales features a rugby-playing dog, a king who grew to love animals and chickens fighting an alien invasion among its eight stories.
The book is the brainchild of Brazilian journalist Debora de Pina Castiglione and her sister Beatriz. The two combined their love of words and illustrations to create the book but the ideas came directly from the children.
Debora ran workshops with Syrian and Kurdish children aged between four and 14 years old, at three refugee camps close to Thessaloniki in Vasilika, Lagadikia and Oreokastro.
It gave the children something to do without focusing on their own lives.“The idea was not to have the children talk about their journeys or experiences fleeing war, at least not directly,” Debora said. “It was to let them tell the stories they wanted to, in ways they chose themselves.
“I think it’s important for young people to engage with one another. Children all over the world are watching the refugee situation, or hearing it on news programmes their parents watch and listen to, and as well as hoping it would be an interesting project for the children at the camps, I wanted to do something so the children outside of the crisis could see the children caught up in it on their own terms, as children with fun and interesting stories, just like they are.”
And there is something entirely captivating about the stories. In The Travelling Princess, Amira shuns her royal title to live as a poor person who goes around giving away gold she found as she explored the world.
In Aliens vs Chicken, Earth is under attack from extraterrestrials who want to steal all the chicken eggs in the world. While humans are relieved about the aliens’ demands, the chickens are not happy and fight back, reclaiming the eggs.
The story was written by nine-year-old Shahd who lives in the military camp of Lagadikia. Debora describes her stories as “full of adventure. Her creativity reminds us that there are heroes even where we least expect to find them.”
“We spent four months with the children,” Debora added. “In some cases, the children spoke English very well, and had quite clear ideas of their stories. In others, we worked with a translator, and also spent time with them to help them develop their ideas, to make the stories hold together better.
“But the point was that these are the stories of the children, so we didn’t change their words, or add anything they did not include themselves.”
Five professional illustrators helped to bring the stories to life, including Beatriz.
The book was published last month and is available in English as well as Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Dutch. It is for sale via Amazon priced at £10.
Money collected from the sale of the book will be used to help support projects that look for alternative housing solutions to the military camps.
“hope is a waking dream.”
credits: the irish news, Debora and Beatriz de Pina Castiglione, child refugees in greece
#teachers for refugees
A thousand Thanks to KSBeth for allowing me to share this with you.
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THIS PAST SUNDAY MORNING was different than most Sundays, but an absolute delight nonetheless.
Taking advantage of a sunny and comfortably warm day we held church services, followed by a cookout, in a lovely spot in the park. We do that every year, but this time something new was added to the usual service. This time my wife, the lovely and Ordained, Dawn, conducted a “Blessing of the Animals.”
ANIMALS AND I GET ALONG WELL. Dogs, Cats, Squirrels, Birds, etc. will come right up to me as if we were old friends. I’m not knowingly doing anything make them approach me. I don’t think that I look or smell like a meal. I don’t get it. I’m not complaining, mind you, but it’s just unusual I’ve been told. It’s been like this all my life.
When I was a kid I used to walk to school and it was not rare for me to show up with a dozen dogs walking along with me. The nuns didn’t like that.
Boyan Ortse is a talented photographer, designer, filmmaker and artist currently based in Ede, Netherlands. Boyan focuses on traveling, he shoots incredible landscapes and aerial shots. Ortse uses DJI Inspire 1 and DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone.
I began with multimedia design when I was a kid, playing around with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash, building websites and animations when I was 14. I knew what I wanted and started studying Multimedia design and graduated in 2014. During the last year of my study I started my business making graphic designs and websites for clients. This was the beginning of my career and it made me even more interested in the filming and animation industry. I bought myself a camera (the Panasonic GH4) and picked up one of the first Professional Drones with a camera (The phantom 1 with a GoPro) back then.
BUSY DAY TODAY. I have a list of errands that sort of stacked up while we were down in Texas dodging hurricanes. Some things can only be put off for so long and then they will stand up on their hind legs and demand attention.
I needed to write a couple of checks (I know, I’m the only person in the Western Hemisphere who still writes checks.) and then I needed to go to the bank to deposit a couple of other checks that were in our bundle of delayed mail. High finance on a small scale.
THE OTHER MORNING, I and my wife, the lovely and the usually asleep at that hour, Dawn, both got up at about 7 AM. That’s my normal hour, but for Dawn it is not. I am her Organic Alarm Clock, waking her at 8:30 AM most mornings.
This “temporal distortion,” to borrow a phrase from Star Trek, threw off my schedule for the entire day. I was at St. Arbucks before 8 o’clock, back home by 10 and finished with lunch by 10:30. It was like having a chicken salad sandwich for breakfast. But – Why not I say!
It set me to thinking about your basic chicken salad sandwich and how incredibly versatile it is. I just had it for breakfast. It digests well with me early in the day. It has some bits of egg and mayo (made with eggs) in it so I think it can qualify as a technical breakfast.
WE, MEANING MYSELF, MY WIFE, THE LOVELY AND COLLECTIVELY WONDERFUL, DAWN, OUR EVER YOUTHFUL BOY, ALEX, and whichever of our friends will go with us, enjoy lunch together every Sunday.
Where we go to eat changes weekly. Some weeks we go out for pizza. The next week we might hit one of the 70,000 chain restaurants that have found a home in Terre Haute (That’s French for “What’s your soup today?”). You name a franchise eatery and it has a store here. Good, bad, or ugly, if they have a plastic menu they can make a buck feeding the residents of the Hautian Ocean.
John Kraft is a writer living and working in Terre Haute, Indiana. He moved to the Midwest after 25 years in California where he worked as an actor, comedian, voice-over actor, as well as a writer. He now enjoys a saner pace of life with his wife, Dawn, who tries to keep him from embarrassing himself in public.
Perhaps I should explain the title of this blog: Down the Hall on Your Left.
My name is John. People are always asking where they can find "The John." My answer is: "Down the Hall on Your Left."