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 tag “Throwback Thursday”

Throwback Thursday From March 2015 – “I Have A Question”

From March 2015

I Have A Question




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.

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Throwback Thursday – “Significant Signal Leakage”

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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 – from August 2015

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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 6/8/15

from 6/8/15Throwback Thursday 3

I’m On A Mission From God

square donutsWELL, NOT REALLY, BUT CLOSE. I was on a mission from my wife.

Last Friday was “National Donut Day.”

We’re talking about the pastry and not the parking lot maneuver done by drunken teenagers with the family car on Saturday night.

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Throwback Thursday – March, 17, 2015

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Strange Things Are Happening

golf ball

SOME DAYS I JUST WONDER what in the heck is going on. If you had read an earlier posting, from about a month ago, you would have seen my rant about the mysterious apple that appeared in our driveway. One minute it was not there and a minute later it was. Spooky, no?

Well, the apple is long gone, spirited away by the neighbor’s snow blower, but something else has popped into its place. 

A few minutes ago I came out of the house, heading to the car, and what do I see in the grass – a golf ball. It wasn’t there ninety minutes ago when I came home from St. Arbucks.

(Cue the eerie music)

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Throwback Thursday – May, 30, 2015

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The Anti-Bucket List

May, 30 2015
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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Throwback Thursday – May 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday1The Dark Side Of Terre Haute

May, 23, 2015

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.

In reality, a place I occasionally visit, Terre Haute is a fine small city. It is a good place to raise your kids and has four institutions of higher learning that offer excellent educational opportunities.

I like it here.

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Throwback Thursday – May 11, 2015

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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.

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 – May, 4 2015

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Scream, No Sugar

Scream Waldo


THE USUAL SUSPECTS WERE DEEP in meditative thought on Friday morning in the Chapel at St. Arbucks when the High Priest (Manager) dropped a bombshell on us. It seems that, following corporate policy, our Chapel will be closing for about two weeks in November. The Bigwigs in Seattle like to remodel every ten years.

I have no problem with the idea of remodeling – it’s just that…

Whatever will we do?

Wherever shall we go for those two weeks?

I now know how Scarlett O’Hara felt when she had to leave Tara

When the Manager told us about it the world fell silent. Birds stopped chirping in the trees. Babies everywhere stopped crying. My Facebook crashed. Someone finally spoke up saying, “It’s the End of Days.” Maybe that’s just what I heard. I think he actually said, “Cool, the joint’s been lookin’ kind of frumpy.”

 What he said really is kind of true. I just hope that it is not looking “kind of frumpy” because of our presence on an almost daily basis. To a large degree this store is a college hangout/study hall and the youngest of the Usual Suspects is 53 years old. Of course, head to head, I think we could take ‘em. We are older and know all the dirty tricks. In Differential Calculus though I’d give them a slight edge – they wouldn’t need Spell Check to get that right.

One of our group was a touch irate, suggesting that they just might want to get rid of us squatting in the corner most mornings. I told him that if that was the case all they’d have to do is drop a few Ex-Lax into his Venti Mocha for a couple of days and he’d be back to visiting with Ronald the Clown who lives down the block.

I guess fate is fate. They are going to remodel. It will be closed for a while and then there will be a glorious Grand Reopening with balloons, music and baristas fresh from Caffeine Rehab. I just get iced coffee, but those people behind the counter down shots of espresso like they were M&Ms. By mid afternoon some of them are so wired you could send Morse Code on them.

Let’s be honest though. Closing this St. Arbucks, for even two weeks is going to be a bit of an upheaval. There are solutions.

There are two other St. Arbucks here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “You can’t get decaf at 2 in the afternoon.). Both of those Chapels are on the other side of town. In LA that would mean a three hour drive, but here that is no more than 15 minutes away – but it’s the principle of the thing – sort of.

I suggested that, for the duration of the remodeling, we adjourn to a locally owned coffee place that is about two blocks away. They make good coffee, they are open early and they have enough room in there so that if someone felt the urge to do some interpretive dancing it wouldn’t be disruptive. That last factor might be a big selling point with the Usual Suspects – Artistic bunch that they are.

This November will be one of those times that try men’s souls. It will be tough. It will call upon us to gird our loins (metaphorically) and to carry on.

This will not be easy for a group of guys who, if this place served alcohol, would be called “Barflies.”

Throwback Thursday from April 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday1You Are Not Pizza

Pizza you are not

I WENT TO SEE MY NUTRITIONIST yesterday morning. His task is to help me to change my eating habits, thereby losing weight, thereby lowering my blood pressure, thereby continuing to be alive.

So far so good.

According to him I have lost four pounds since my last visit – and I did so without amputating any body parts or pretending I was a prisoner in a Northern Ireland jail. I have tried to alter my food choices – that means cutting back on pizza and eating more fruits and veggies.

I can do that.

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Throwback Thursday from April 21, 2015

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Smile! Click.

Pluto Charon NASA


“What the heck is that?”

I grant you that it looks like a photo of some lint that I took with my phone while it was in my pocket. It isn’t. I’ve taken pictures of my lint and it looks better than this.

Courtesy of NASA – This is the first color photograph ever taken of Pluto (you know, that place that used to be a planet) and its moon, Charon. If this a “color” photo I must assume that the colors are black and white.

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Throwback Thursday from – April, 14 2015

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A Love That Dare Not Speak – Period


ONE OF THE MAJOR BENEFITS of being married is that you don’t have to be dating. That particular nightmare is over and done with.

We’ve all been through the perils of dating: Dating someone who turned out to be seriously crazy; Dating someone whose idea of a good time involved pain, minor wounds and a tetanus shot (maybe that was just me.); Dating someone who was either too young or too old for you. You should never date someone who doesn’t know any of the same songs you do.

And finally: You should never date outside of your own species. I’m as open minded as the next guy, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Let me explain.

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Throwback Thursday March 24, 2015

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Elmer Fudds Of The World, Unite




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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Throwback Thursday – March 10, 2015

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I’m Gonna Smell For A Week



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.

Throwback Thursday – March 3, 2015

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An Open Letter To God

God in sistine chapel


I DON’T USUALLY TRY TO SPEAK WITH You in such a public manner, but I just feel that this open letter might be the best way today. I hope that this is OK with You. Here goes.

God, I don’t want to interrupt You as You go about keeping the Universe in order and all that other stuff that You do, but I have a question – it’s a request actually – call it a prayer if that might help it to get Your attention.

Don’t You think that this winter has gone on long enough? I know that what we have gotten here in Terre Haute (French for “Snow Blower) is nothing compared to what has fallen on Boston. Those poor folks have really been given the fuzzy end of the lollipop this year. I know that You’ve probably heard from them, so I’ll leave that alone. I am asking strictly about Terre Haute.

This past Saturday we got about seven inches of snow. Have you ever looked at our driveway? It is nigh on impossible to navigate in that much snow. Our driveway is bad, but it ends at our little side street that never gets plowed. Spring is the city’s preferred method of clearing the side streets. While the main streets are quite passable, getting to them is a task. I’m driving a small Toyota that looks upon anything above two inches as Yeti Country. Thank God, er –  You that my wife has an SUV with 4-wheel drive. Without that vehicle I think we might be faced with the specter of starvation, or at least coffee withdrawal.

I know that You’re a busy Deity and I know that You are omniscient, omnipotent, or one of those “omni” words that I don’t remember, but I gotta tell You – I’m “Omnifrozen.” This has been a very cold winter, and now we get blasted with heavy snow? True – I don’t shovel snow any more. I figure that is why You invented teenagers and guys with snow blowers – but this just doesn’t seem fair.

So – all I’m saying is that You have made your point – we all need to get 4-wheel drive vehicles. I’m sorry, but they don’t come cheap. If that wasn’t Your point I’ll have to do some thinking on it and I’ll get back to You.

In the meantime, can we have some warmer temperatures and no more snow? I know that Punxsutawney Phil said six more weeks of winter, but let’s be honest – who really listens to a big rodent when it comes to weather forecasting – other than those people selling Punxsutawney Phil T-shirts?

In conclusion, Dear Lord, can You cut us a little slack on this ice and snow business? Speaking for myself, I would be eternally grateful, and I know that most of the other Hautians around here would be too. We are beginning to feel put-upon and that’s never a good thing when it comes to the collection plate, if You get my drift.

Well, that’s about it God. I hope you can help out on this matter – and if it’s not too much – can You do something about that silly Designated Hitter Rule in the American League?

OK, I’m done. Thanks for listening.


Throwback Thursday Throws It Back

In an effort to be considered a “Hip” and “With it” guy I’m going to resurrect a posting for today that ran a year ago. It is “Throwback Thursday” I’ve been told.

Just don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. From November 25, 2014.

“Significant Signal Leakage”

 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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Just Throw It Back

atariEVERY WEEK ON FACEBOOK I see people posting old pictures of themselves or their kids – or even their dogs and cats. The pictures of themselves invariably show them looking pounds slimmer and without any gray hair. The dogs and cats look about the same – just smaller.

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