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 “Throwback Thursday”

Looking Back 

Throwback Thursday

1I THINK IT’S TIME FOR A FEW OBSERVATIONS about Ireland. Of course, none of these are all that important and not meant to denigrate Ireland or its people. It is all just things my warped mind has noticed.

I have noticed that wherever we have stayed there are modern, state of the art appliances – except – for the microwave ovens. We have washer/dryer combos that you need to be a NASA physicist to understand and really neat convection ovens that double as Bessemer Furnaces for making steel. When it comes to microwaves it is like stepping into a time warp back to the 1990s. They work fine, but, seriously, when was the last time you used a microwave where you had to set the time and power level with dials.

Very Sherman and Peabody.2

This is not our first time in Ireland and the Irish are friendly, helpful, and very understanding of our American quirks and I try to do the same with their idiosyncrasies and ideas.

3

Famine Museum and Cafe

One of the most traumatic and history changing times in this nation’s life were the years of the Great Famine. Just before the potato blight destroyed the economic and social structure of Ireland for the first time in the 1840s the population was over 8 million people. A million people starved to death, another million fled to other countries, the U.S. taking in huge numbers. Even today, 175 years after the first famine hit, the population of Ireland has not recovered – sitting at about 6.5 million souls.

The reason for this short history lesson is that the other day my wife, the lovely and ever on top of her history, Dawn, and I visited the National Museum of The Great Famine. It is located in Strokestown on the grounds of the former British Lord who had his plantation and large numbers of sharecroppers and land lessees. When those Irish workers were unable to turn a profit for the Lord or pay their rents to him he evicted them, destroyed the shacks where they slept and left them adrift in the midst of the road. With others, he sold them (there is no other word) onto emigrant “Coffin Ships” bound for American shores.

So – today 135 years since the last total crop failure – the Famine is a sensitive issue.

And that is where My Observation enters –

There we were at The Nation Great Famine Museum and taking all of this in about starvation and cruelty, and what did we do?4

We sat down with a seriously overloaded plate, filled to overflowing, with turkey with bacon, carrots and three scoops of potatoes with gravy. There was enough for at least two people on my plate alone.

I just found this lunch, and the idea of a café at all, as a part of the Great Famine Museum, to be in questionable taste (no pun intended), and ironic to the Nth degree. But who am I to argue – it is their country and their history.

The turkey was excellent, by the way.

My last observation is not nearly as important, except on an intimately personal level.

5I have noticed that the Irish are really into conservation, making things have multiple uses, and recycling. I’m cool with that, but I think they may have stepped over the line when you have Irish toilet paper that can also find service in the woodworking shop as the business end of your belt sander.

Belt_sander

Throwback Thursday from Ireland May 2016 – “I’m Not Saying It’s Aliens, But…”

Throwback Thursday

1THERE MAY BE AN INVESTIGATION. For the last two days we have been blessed with clear blue skies and warmer temperatures. In Ireland? Two days in a row. I think it must be Aliens.

For the first week here it was like living inside a really bad carwash. Now, all of a sudden it feels like a day at the beach might be in order.

 

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Throwback Thursday from May 2015 – “Remember – You Called Me”

Throwback Thursday

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.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to yank their telephonic chains. Feel free to use any of them or simply use them as inspiration to create your own.

Let The Games Begin!!

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Throwback Thursday From May 2015 – “I Have No Rational Explanation”

Throwback Thursday

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.

I used to work with a fellow in Cleveland, let’s call him “Jim” because that was his name. Jim was an intelligent, hardworking guy who had a cadre of friends that I could only describe as “Freakin’ Nuts.” Jim liked me and on occasion he would invite me along for an evening of hijinks and alcohol.

I’ve never been much of a drinker. I don’t like the way most drinks taste, the way they make me feel or how much it costs to get me into such bad shape.

I haven’t had anything to drink in close to 10 years now, but “Back in the day” it was another story.

For reasons I never could deduce Jim said that he was a hockey fan. There was no hockey team in Cleveland. Jim had never played hockey. He couldn’t even tell me the name of any NHL hockey team. That didn’t seem to matter. Jim had found a bona fide “Hockey Bar” where he fit right in.

The first time I went with Jim to his favorite hockey bar we arrived just in time for their favorite sporting event: Golf.

Of course, their version of Golf varied from the standard game played on grassy courses worldwide.

The hockey bar was located on one of the busiest streets in the City of Cleveland. A mere detail to the members of the DGA (Drunken Golfers Association).

Their game was more about accuracy than distance. The first and only tee was one of the rubber floor mats from behind the bar. It was relocated to just inside the front door of the tavern. With the golf ball teed up the object was, using only a nine-iron, to hit said golf ball into the air, over the heavy traffic, and to see who could come the closest to the front windows of the K Mart across the street.

I know, I know. This whole concept was a bagful of flaws just waiting to be opened.

Abandoning all good sense I just sat at the bar and watched. When they abruptly slammed the front door and hid the golf club behind the Juke Box I assumed that someone had gotten a little too close to the K Mart. At least that is what the police asserted when they arrived.

Jim decided, after the Pabst Blue Ribbon Open Golf Tournament ended suddenly, that it was time for us to go. It was the only good decision made that night.

However…

Being a man with a sometimes inconvenient bladder I told Jim that I needed to hit the Men’s Room before heading out. In retrospect I should have just grit my teeth and probably wet myself.

When I opened the door to the Men’s I headed straight for my objective. It wasn’t until I tried to wash my hands that I saw – I swear to God Almighty that I’m not making this up – standing on the counter next to the sink was a dead pig. A dead pig with a lit cigarette in its mouth.

I don’t know.

Don’t ask me.

I didn’t try to find out.

I never went back to that hockey bar again. I felt that it could only go downhill from there.

This is a Stunt Pig for purposes of illustration.

Throwback Thursday from April 2015

Throwback Thursday

 

Good boy, Down boy, Sit, Stay, Kill

 

Zeus3

I LIKE DOGS. I LIKE CATS. I like most animals. Some I like as pets – others I like as an entrée. There are several in our neighborhood that are blurring those lines for me.

We live in town: Terre Haute (That’s French for “City of Big Dogs”), Indiana. We do not live out in the sticks, the boonies, the tules, the woods, or even the ‘burbs. That hasn’t seemed to sink in with the Animal Kingdom around here.

IN OUR YARD I have encountered raccoons, opossum, rabbits, deer, redtail hawks, and something which left tracks in the snow that I suspect may have been either a Yeti or Pablo Sandoval of the Boston Red Sox.

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Throwback Thursday from April 2016

Throwback Thursday 

All I Wanted Was A Haircut

1I GOT A HAIRCUT THIS MORNING. I’ve been needing it for several weeks now. My head was beginning to resemble a Yorkshire terrier that has been living under the porch for the last six months.

It’s not that I have issues around getting my hair cut – it’s just that I keep meaning to get it done, but then I forget to do it. It might help if there was some sort of audible alert that it was time for a trim – like the smoke detectors that beep when it’s time to put in a new battery.

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Throwback Thursday from March 2015 “I Have A Question”

I Have A Question

mushroom-cloud

I HAVE NOTICED SOMETHING in the last few months that, while not disturbing or earthshaking, I do find curious.

I am about to tread on dangerous ground here.

Styles come and styles go. I understand that, but I see one current hairstyle popular among young women that I just don’t understand. It seems that a huge number of young gals I see at St. Arbucks, in the supermarket, or wherever, are walking around with their hair piled up on top of their heads in what looks like a mini-nuclear mushroom cloud.

My first thought was that it was in “homage” to Marge Simpson of cartoon fame, but that wasn’t it – and none of them had blue hair like Marge. Then it finally dawned on me – these gals all had their hair piled up ala a combination of Olive Oyl from “Popeye” and Mammy Yokum from the “Lil Abner” comic strip. But these women are much too young to know who Mammy Yokum was/is. Al Capp, the creator of Lil Abner, has been dead for decades and I really doubt that any of these hairfull young people have seen the movie musical made in 1959. And I don’t think Popeye gets much play on TV these days. More is the pity.

Could it be coincidence? Is there some new cult around that has them all wearing their hair like that? There has to be a reason. It sure isn’t because they all, independently think, that it is an attractive hairstyle. It ain’t.

As I sit here at St. Arbucks and I look at the corps of baristas behind the counter I see that four out of five have their hair that way. The fifth one is Sean and he hasn’t yet succumbed to the style. I pray that he does not. It would be very off-putting on a man his age. He looks more like Santa Claus anyway.

I don’t purport to be a fashion maven. Far from it. When I entered the time of my life known as “Geezerhood” I had to admit that my favorite music is “Oldies,” my favorite movies are “Classics,” and my sense of style died along with Disco.

I’m not saying that these young folks shouldn’t be allowed to wear their hair in whatever style they choose. I’m just curious that they all seem to be choosing this particular style – one that puts them in danger from low-slung ceiling fans. I’d hate to see anyone injured or maimed in the name of fashion. Platform shoes were risky enough, but they never had potentially fatal consequences. (Alex Trebek may wear them on Jeopardy! but he keeps his hair short.)

I know what you’re thinking – “Doesn’t this Geezer have anything better to do than sit around muttering about our hairstyles?”

Evidently not.

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?”

groundhog day 3

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

Keep Your Eyes On The Road

 

rotating_earth_maxiI PUT THE BLAME ON THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH. How else can it all be explained?

Twice in the past week there have been unusual events on America’s highways .

That may be a bit overdramatic. How about, “In the last week a couple of weird things have happened involving trucks.”

Better? Then let’s proceed.

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Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Colleges Across The South Abandoned

Ramen Noodle Truck

I SAW THE FOLLOWING news item yesterday and I thought that it might have repercussions beyond just traffic problems.

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Authorities closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 north of Rocky Mount early Wednesday after a tractor-trailer carrying ramen noodles wrecked near N.C. Highway 4.

No other information about the wreck has been released, but boxes of noodles were spilled over a larger portion of the highway.

The state Department of Transportation said the closure could last all morning. Lanes are expected to reopen by 3:30 p.m.”

I thought that when the word of this crash got out all hell would break loose.

My brain created its own little movie of college students all over the South dropping their textbooks and i-phones and rushing to the accident scene.

The first reel, even under the opening credits, would show speeding traffic along Interstate 95, and then the Semi in question loosing traction and slamming into a bridge abutment. Next comes a slo-mo following shot of thousands of those little cellophane packets of the Ramen Noodles spreading out across all lanes like little flavored migratory butterflies.

Music comes up: Paul McCartney and Wings – reunited to sing: “Food on the run.” I can almost smell an Oscar nomination coming for the soundtrack.

The next shot cuts to hordes of skinny underclassmen and women sensing the possibility of free meals, scattering across the landscape, heading toward the Interstate. It is meals just ripe for the picking. An overturned truckload of gold bullion (not bouillon cubes) would not draw such a response.

Those Ramen Noodles don’t grow on trees, y’know. One must strike while the saucepan is hot.

In my collegiate days (Pre-Ramen) we were limited to making grilled cheese sandwiches with a steam iron or instant soups that tasted like flavored sea water. If an accident like this had happened back in the late 1960s I would have been moving with all imprudent speed to scoop up as many free and easy meals as I could stuff into my backpack.  

Most days I can look at news stories and just yawn. Things don’t vary all that much from Six O’clock News to Six O’clock News. If you want to get my attention you’ve got to do something original, or at least really dumb. Spreading several tons of Ramen Noodles across an Interstate highway gets my attention. It also makes me hungry.

Talk amongst yourselves for a while. I’m going out to get some lunch.

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Don’t Blame Me

Sled

I LIKE SNOW LESS than I like going up and down flights of stairs. I like snow less than I like going up and down flights of stairs that don’t have handrails on both sides.

I like snow less than I like Jeff Bridges movies – and that is saying something.

But why do I feel this way? Is there some deep, dark, pseudo-psychological, brain cell tweak memory that has made me feel this way? Could be.

Reaching back into the musty attic of my memory I am sure that, up until the age of ten or so, I was really into winter and snow. There were snowball fights defending the snow-fort we constructed in the back yard. And there was sledding down the sloping streets in the neighborhood. We did that, ignoring the fact that we lived two blocks from a steel mill, which had heavy duty semis going up and down the streets twenty-four hours a day. We rode our sleds down hills where the streets were under construction from dirt to pavement. I think that that might be the when and where that my feelings toward snow may have changed.

I was about nine or ten years old and just one block away from our house was a street that went downhill for three whole blocks until it hit the railroad tracks. There was a lot of work going on along the way downhill. Huge storm drain pipes were being installed and they sat along the side of the street waiting to be buried come spring.

To get a really good rate of speed downhill you would get a running start, then throw yourself down onto the sled and hold on. Steering was accomplished mostly by dragging one foot or the other into the ice. On the day in question, when my love for snow disappeared, I was just flying down that hill!

From what I was told by the other kids, I have no direct personal memory, I was going downhill at a good clip when another kid lost control and swerved right into my path. By reflex I dropped my left foot into the ice and made a sharp right turn right into a huge section of the storm drain pipe by the side of the street.

The next thing I actually recall is being carried by several kids back to our house and my mother screaming. It seems that my face was covered in blood and already swelling up to resemble an overripe cantaloupe.

After a quick preliminary inspection somebody drove us to the hospital emergency room. This was in an era before Paramedics came to you.

The immediate end result was three stitches under my left eye, a face so bloated that I ate soup through a straw for a week, and parental confiscation of my sled. They failed to appreciate my quick reaction time, avoiding a potential collision with another kid, and only saw my failure to choose the lesser of the two collision targets. There were few soups available that could be navigated successfully through a soda straw.

Yup. I think it was then that my love affair with winter and snow ended in an image seared into my brain of scar tissue and sucking up broth through a paper straw.

So, don’t blame me if I grumble and moan about winter. Blame that other kid who couldn’t keep his own sled under control.

Throwback Thursday from December 2015

Throwback Thursday1“Coffee With The Morlocks”

 

TIMESBlue Hair Gif HAVE CHANGED. THE WORLD HAS MOVED ON. I have been left behind. But, really now!

I was up early today. It just happened. So, naturally I crawled down to St. Arbucks earlier than usual. It’s a different place at 7:30 in the morning. It’s like a scene from “The Time Machine.” At 7:30 the Morlocks are out and the Eloi arrive later.

 

It started with me standing in line behind a woman who hemmed and hawed, deliberated and mused before ordering a “tall” black coffee.  (At St. Arbucks, a “tall” coffee is just a hair bigger than a thimbleful.) At first I thought she was doing a “Sophie’s Choice” kind of thing. I’ve gotten mortgages quicker than her decision on a cup of coffee.

After I got my order placed with the young lady, whose eyes told me that she had already downed a half-dozen shots of espresso, I shuffled to the other end of the counter to await delivery.

Most of these people order “Half Decaf, Half Caf, Soy milk, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Sugar-free, with 12 pumps of Hazelnut, Frappuccino,” sorts of things. I order “Iced Coffee with a hit of cream, Thank you.”

As a result, they may be standing there for five minutes while the mad scientist/barista fills their order. While they are huddled in anticipation my coffee is ready in about 12 seconds.

This morning, as I burrowed my way through the twitching mob to get to my coffee, I saw proof that I belong to a different generation.

Standing by the counter was a woman in her mid-30s by my guess. She was dressed for work – a sharp looking gray business suit, low heel, sensible, shoes, and tortoise shell rim glasses. She had the Corporate Executive look going strong. Her brown hair was in a short, stylish, coif. It was also half blue.

Blue.

The back half of her hair was brown, but the front half was a nice, sort of, Robin Egg Blue.

This is a gal who has two lives.

There is her 9 to 5 life with the brown half of her hair along with the gray business suit and then there is the 5 to 9 life with the blue front half calling the shots.

At 11 AM I see her leading a Board of Directors meeting deciding on next quarter’s stock dividend.

At 11 PM I see her playing lead guitar in a Neo-Goth, Heavy Metal, Steam Punk, Dance Band – all the while dressed in Peek-a-Boo black leather lederhosen and seven inch heels.

Visualizing all that at 7:30 AM was a bit rough on me. It was a good thing that I found a seat quickly.

I know that things have loosened up a bit in the corporate world with regards to acceptable dress, make-up, and even tattoos, but where is that line in the sand anymore? As recently as ten or fifteen years ago, anyone showing up on the job with blue hair would have begun their day by putting on a paper hat and firing up the deep fryer.

Oh, well.

Time marches on. Things change. What used to come under the heading of “Anything Goes” in my Wild Oats days would be looked upon today with the question, “Are you, like…in a cult or something?” And I’m sure that in a few years folks will snicker at the gal with the blue hair as looking “quaint.”

But I’ll bet that, in the days to come, it will still take forever to get a cup of coffee when the person in line ahead of you has all the decision-making powers of a squirrel.

Blue Hair 2

Throwback Thursday from December 2014

Throwback Thursday 1

I Should Buy Some Purple Spandex

Baskin Gym

I LIVE VERY CLOSE TO MY favorite gym. It is only about a five minute walk from my home, but, of course, I don’t walk there – I drive.  It has all the latest equipment and a highly- trained staff that can help design for you a really healthy and vigorous workout program. You can also get top notch diet and nutritional planning advice there as well.

I don’t care about any of that crap.

It’s my favorite gym because it is right next door to a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store. I can just imagine myself doing a really healthy cardio workout in the gym and then zipping next door for some hand-packed peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. I’m never going to do that, but I can imagine it. I’m so glad that the two places are so close. Talk about your city planning! I should send a “Thank You” card to the zoning board. They got something right for a change.

I really do love going to that gym – really, I do. I just stand outside, with my ice cream cone and watch the folks inside sweating and grunting. Every once in a while someone comes outside and joins me. I think they realize that I’m having a better time than they are.

One time some yutz came out from the gym and started to berate me for my dissipated lifestyle. That was his phrase – “dissipated lifestyle.” – And how he was a much better person than me. I licked my cone and nodded, but didn’t say anything. That really fried his Twinkies.  He flexed his muscles and got right up in my face and said that when we both get to 50 years of age I’ll probably have already dropped dead and he’ll still be healthy. I told him my guess was that he’d stroke out on his Stairmaster long before reaching 50, and that, anyway, I’m already way past 50 years old and “you can lick my Rocky Road.”

Throwback Thursday – “Significant Signal Leakage”

Throwback Thursday1

 

 

From November 2014

 

Man up a pole

 

There was a knock on the door one day last week. It was a uniformed young man from the Cable Company. His van was parked at the curb with a very large ladder strapped to the top.

The fellow politely introduced himself and stated that there had been a report of a, “Significant Signal Leakage,” reported at our address and he had been sent to investigate and correct the problem. The big ladder was so he could check the connections on the pole along the backyard fence.

He didn’t look like he was about to pull off a home invasion or an attempt to steal my 2002 Hyundai, so my response was, to paraphrase, “Whatever.”

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Throwback Thursday – Fifteen Yard Penalty For Roughing The Pontiff

Throwback Thursday 1From September 2015

Fifteen Yard Penalty For Roughing The Pontiff

TinyTownTHE TV HAS BEEN FILLED TO OVERFLOWING this last week with every moment of the Pope’s visit to the United States. Regardless of one’s faith or lack thereof, this was a Big Deal for millions of people.

I tended to listen to it rather than watch it all. I could do other things and still take it in and I would not have been able to sit and watch the Tube for that many hours.

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Throwback Thursday – I Meant To Do That – Really

Throwback Thursday 2

From September 2015

I Meant To Do That – Really

frankenstein monsterIMAGINE WHAT A DULL AND BORING WORLD it would be if there were never any accidents. I don’t mean those accidents like plane crashes or ships sinking – no, those kind of accidents we could do without. I’m thinking more in the line of “I’ll be darned. How did that happen?”

Some of those small, seemingly innocuous, accidents can bring about world shaking changes. Others just elicit a giggle, a snigger, and a chilled bottle of wine – things important in their own way.

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Throwback Thursday – What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Throwback Thursday 1From September 2015

What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Mr Bean asleep

 

 

WE STAYED UP MUCH TOO LATE LAST NIGHT. When the SF Giants are playing on the west coast the games don’t even begin until 10:15.

Do the math. I can’t.

I didn’t crawl under the comforter until close to 2 AM and my eyes popped open just before 7 AM.  I got up – stumbled to the bathroom – relied on a lifetime of aiming in the dark, and stumbled back to bed.

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2015

Throwback Thursday1

A New Shiny Object

Parking lotTERRE HAUTE (That’s French for “I hope there is enough parking.”) is a town that loves something – anything, that is new. If you want to create a stir in this town just open a new store or restaurant.

“Build it and mail out coupons and they will come.”

— Paraphrase from “Field of Dreams”

Maybe it is because for many years Terre Haute was just an exit off of I-70 – a place where nothing happened. That seemed to have started changing about twenty five years ago.  The local colleges began to make headlines as innovative and exciting places. New businesses began to come here and my wife, the lovely and inspiring, Dawn, moved here in the late 1980s and it was, “off to the races!”

(I showed up here about 13 years ago and that put the seal of approval on it.) OK….maybe I’m being a bit facetious there, but I still think I helped.

The town is expanding and new growth is bringing jobs and a sense of mild excitement to this old river town.

If you want to turn that mild excitement into something near to frenzy all you need to do is open a new store or place to eat.

Late last year a “Cheddars” restaurant opened up on the south side of town and you would think it was a branch office of Fatima the way the crowds mobbed the place. Nobody was getting cured and tossing away their crutches there, they were just getting some decent chow.

Last month a new “Five Guys Burgers” opened and if you drive past it yet today you would think that it was the site of a gold strike or the discovery of Jimmy Hoffa’s grave.

And now…

Yesterday was the unofficial official grand opening of a new Meijer mega-store with 195,000 square feet of retail delights. That is one honking big store. The “Official” official grand opening is in a couple of days.

I’ve watched them build it as I was on my way to the Wal-Mart that is squatted directly across the street. What a coincidence!

Can you say “Free Market Competition?” I knew you could.

Both of the stores are on the east side of Terre Haute. Up until less than ten years ago that stretch of road was farm land and an onramp to the Interstate. Now it has turned into the hottest property in the area with these two behemoth stores, a Holiday Inn and more construction going on than this town has seen in years.

(Scuttlebutt has it that one parcel of land has had a building permit issued to “Hooters.” That I find hard to believe. Cracker Barrel maybe, but Hooters? Naw.)

Some people don’t like it when these big stores open up. I have no problems with them at all. Increased competition does two main things:

  1. It makes existing stores improve the way they do business.
  2. It makes for lower prices.

New stores also bring jobs. This Meijer store means 270 new jobs according to the morning paper. There isn’t a small town anywhere that wouldn’t welcome that.

It will be a while until I go out there to investigate the new store. Right now the parking lot looks like the world’s largest used car dealership. I figure that after a month or so the glow will have worn off and the crowds will dissipate to a degree and move on to the next new shiny object. By then I’ll be in the market for something or other and I’ll give them the once over.

Until then I think I’ll go out to dinner at Cheddars. It doesn’t seem to be as crowded lately.

Throwback Thursday from July 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

I Can Smell Them

theater in the roundA FEW DAYS AGO I got into a discussion with an acquaintance about what it is like doing a play in “The Round.”

Theater in the Round is where the stage and the actors are completely surrounded by the audience. There is no formal stage separation with the audience sitting “out there” beyond the footlights. Such an arrangement can create problems for both the performers and the audience members.

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Throwback Thursday from June 2015

Throwback Thursday 2

The TSA Mensa Meeting Has Been Cancelled Due To Lack Of Members

TSA Idiots

THE LYRICS IN THE OLD HARRY CHAPIN song, “Taxi,” proclaimed that, “It’s the going not the getting there that’s good.”

Not any more, Harry.

Travel in this country, particularly by air, has become a game of “Hurry up and wait.” At the airport it is line after line, slowly inching your way toward the next line. When you finally get to the “Security Checkpoint” you are forced to deal with the lovable cretins of the TSA – aka as “They’ll Steal Anything.” Over the last decade several hundred TSA thugs have been convicted of blatantly stealing just about anything of value that comes close to their sticky fingers.

Going through any airport has become equivalent of an updated version of a famous scene from the movie “Sierra Madre.” Now, instead of serapes and sombreros it is dorky blue uniforms. The thieves are not Mexican banditos anymore but a dog’s breakfast of humanity scraped from the sidewalks of America.

“We don’t need no stinking badges, but we got ‘em anyway.”

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