Friday, July 30, 2010

Of Dogs and Cats

For those of you who have been following along and whose memory has not been completely destroyed by the pleasures of sin and corruption, you may remember that Main Lady has three little darlings; Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. Cottontail in an accomplished veterinarian who specializes in internal medicine and is married to Que Bee One (Q-B 1), also a veterinarian and a newly minted veterinary surgeon. The critter doctor duo used to live in the frozen wastes of the Twin Cities of Minnesota, but desirous of change they accepted new positions South and East of the frozen tundra, and so packed up their menagerie and headed for the new digs, stopping off at Main Lady's chateau on the way through.

Cottontail and Que Bee One have two dogs (Banana Nose and French Pig), one cat (Mojo) and one loud, vicious green parrot that bites and shrieks loudly enough to rattle the fillings in your teeth, and which has not been turned into something useful, such as cat food and a feather duster.

Banana Nose and French Pig

Here are the two dogs, Banana Nose and French Pig with Excellent Rachmaninoff in the foreground. Rocky is the perfect host and really enjoys having canine company, indulging the other two in such games as dogs are fond of.

Mojo the cat is a stray that was adopted by Cottontail. Being cat-like he moved before I could get a picture of him, but Mojo is mostly white with a few black spots here and there. I'm told he enjoys playing with French Pig, but Excellent Rachmaninoff was a bit much for him.  Anyway, the circus stopped on the way East and eventually everyone got bedded down for the night. The manager (likely Cottontail, but perhaps we'll discus this later) had plans for an early start in the morning and Main Lady had to go to work, so a leisurely breakfast was pretty much out of the question. Yes sir, we're going to get right up and get on the road. Except, you see, Mojo vanished.

Now you have to understand a few things here. First of all, both veterinarians really are accomplished people, and that's significant. I am reminded of their station every time I talk to them about animals and animal behavior (here) because there is always a slight condescending attitude towards me. This is nothing I can put my finger on, but I'm convinced that it's brought on by differences in background and lifestyle as well as the perception of the amateur presuming to know anything about the professional's field. Secondly, Mojo the cat is a foundling in name only. Mojo was brought to the veterinary clinic by someone for a general checkup and found to have a severe heart condition. I think the phrase "Bummest ticker this side of the graveyard" might be a slight overstatement, but it's in the ballpark. Since the previous owner was unwilling or unable to care for Mojo, it was decided that Mojo get in line to cash in his chips without further ado. This action was preempted by either Que Bee One or (very likely) Cottontail, who agreed to adopt Mojo and provide him with a good home until his number comes up. This is a laudable action and I applaud the good intentions. Except that now, you see, what with all the excitement of traveling and visiting a new home, there is a 500 pound gorilla sitting quietly in the corner. Why, exactly, is Mojo missing?

When I heard about this particular train derailment, I naturally spoke without thinking.

"You gotta be kidding. You mean the two veterinarian animal experts actually let the cat run around the house by itself all night?"

Okay, maybe I should have kept my yap shut. All I can say is that I didn't add, "How dumb can you be?" or something.

The search started around 6:30 AM and by 9:30 AM Cottontail was getting snappish and Que Bee One was staring sheepishly at the floor. All 2,352 square feet of the house had been searched thoroughly. No Mojo. Personally, I would have enlisted the aid of Excellent Rachmaninoff, but that thought didn't occur to anyone. The recurrent question of why Mojo won't come when called was voiced several times and repeated, but sadly no one responded with the obvious answer: Mojo isn't coming out because Mojo is a cat. Cats aren't dogs to come when called or alert the owner to their whereabouts. Moreover, there is every possibility that Mojo's number has come up.
Que Bee One suggested that everyone relax and wait a while to see if Mojo would appear. Cottontail, always the pragmatist, suggested in persuasive terms that it was late and the circus should leave town without Mojo. He could be retrieved later. I refused to comment on this, seeing as how the first thought that came to mind involved the delicate mephitis of decomposing feline.

To give credit where credit is due, Main Lady held her composition very well through all this, and though she didn't say so she rejected both courses of action as impractical. Instead she used her powers of psychological persuasion to conduct another search of the spare bedroom upstairs, this time pulling all the boxes of stuff out from under both beds. Voila! Mojo appeared, happily rolling around on the floor under the bed and staying just out of reach. Que Bee One managed to effect a catch by moving the bed, thus causing the errant feline to seek improved real estate elsewhere. Mojo was caught by one of the women in the room.

The circus train finally did pull out, arriving at their new destination about 10:00 PM that evening, only to discover that the house Que Bee One had rented sight unseen did not live up to the description provided by the real estate agent. Cottontail sustained herself during the long drive East with visions of a late night swim in the pool that was supposed to be in the back yard behind a privacy fence. That didn't happen.

I'm trying to give Main Lady some reassurance about the situation involving the youngest of her three little darlings who has married someone who makes many family decisions and rents houses sight unseen. So far I haven't been able to come up with anything better than, "You can't save people from themselves."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Road Trip

On Saturday morning with all appropriate fanfare I put Main Lady's Toyota under me, loaded Main Lady, Excellent Rachmaninoff and Main Lady's mother, The Centenarian, into the car and headed East. We stopped along the way to drop off Excellent Rachmaninoff at the Karnik Pet Lodge where he enjoys doggie day care. The staff at Karnik Pet Lodge think Excellent Rachmaninoff is a great dog and could not imagine anyone ever having a problem with him. Karnik turns all dogs of a similar size out together for supervised dog play, and although they've never said so, I think they occasionally release a small child for the dogs to run down and savage. I'm told this helps reinforce the pack mentality and makes the dogs more well-behaved at home.

Our destination was Akron, Ohio where we were planning to attend the Akron Storytelling Festival. The drive was out was uneventful, with light traffic and fair weather, but the trip back we were forced to endure both rain and road idiots. Of the two, the idiots were worse. My eternal question is: If they want to commit suicide, why not choose a less complex method? Or something that involves less drama and injury to others?

We arrived in Akron and settled in. The two featured speakers were Donald Davis and Carmen Agra Deedy. Of the two, I enjoyed Donald Davis the best. In his workshop Don talked about how we remember things and how to trigger memories. He also pointed out that from the time we learn to read we are taught to concentrate on the plot. In grade school, children read a story and are asked to summarize it. None of the grade school teachers will ask what the tree looked like after it was struck by lighting or what the house looked like after the fire. It's always about summary. Don pointed out that a fellow named Hillegass started a very successful business when he noticed this trend - his first name was Cliff. Don also pointed out that for people to appreciate a story, they must first understand what the normal setting looks like and what the expected events of the day are. If the story concerns third generation alcoholics, the audience must first understand this before they are told about uncle George trying to get sober.

Donald Davis and Carmen Deedy spent about an hour each on stage Saturday night telling stories. The PA system was predictably poor and the A/C wasn't working, which turned the auditorium into a sweat lodge. The room was well lit and the acoustics were excellent, which made the problems with the PA system so much more frustrating. Don Davis told several stories about his teen age years. It seems he had a chemistry set and a relative who was a chemist and who was willing to supplement his equipment and stores with commercial grade quantities of chemicals and equipment. Don extracted hydrogen which he used as both fuel and explosive in home made hot air balloons. He also made black powder (sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate) and used it as a propellant for impromptu model rocketry. I gather the neighbor's house beared the brunt of damage caused by these experiments.

We stayed at the Akron City Centre Hotel which turned out to be the best move of the entire trip. The public library was one block away and the hotel turned out to be clean and quiet. My mattress was originally some kind of shape memory device that was now permanently holding the shape of an anvil in the center of the bed. Otherwise, it wasn't bad. There isn't much actually going on at the hotel. The bar was largely uninhabited by 10:00 PM unless you count staff that are waiting to clock out or the parents of a family of five that are trying to savor a few moments of tranquility before they return to the self imposed hell of five in a single room and family style restaurants.

We could have eaten dinner at the hotel, but instead we decided to go out. The AAA Guide Book listed Bialy's At The Lake as having casual dining and an excellent view of the lake. The book lied. No one can see the lake from inside the restaurant and there is no out door patio. The decor featured such objet d'art as would trouble a recovering alcoholic with severe delirium tremens. A few examples follow.

Suit of Armor circa 1972

Ohio State Fans

The Fish

If you don't care about the decor or the lack of a view, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place. The food is good and the service is much better than average. Speaking of better than average, here's the view from our hotel window.


I didn't read the sign on top of the building until well after I took the photo. Otherwise, I'd have been tempted to walk over and ask exactly when we could expect our electricity rates to return to a reasonable level. This is just one of the reasons that utility rates in Ohio are so high.

I saw this rig on the way home and managed to get a shot of it. I haven't seen one of these in years, although at one time they were not uncommon. This is likely where I'll end up living if I don't find a job soon.

Travel Trailer

Still, there are worse ways to live. I could park the trailer in most side yards and annoy the neighbors. Alternately I could park it on the street and pretend not to be home when the local constabulary comes to call. They won't mind. Right B&R?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Worth Reading

Beat and Release (B&R) is a policeman in a town of about 120,000 people. He also teaches classes at high school and college. B&R writes about two questions he inevitably gets asked while teaching:

  • Have you ever shot anyone?
  • What is the worst thing you've ever seen?
B&R dismisses the first for the insensitive, vicarious thrill seeking drivel that it is, after which he proceeds to answer the second in great detail. This answer is truly worth reading. Click here for the post, then come back and finish reading my contribution as it amuses you.

From B&R: We all like to think these things don't affect us.  So far, I don't think it has, at least not consciously.

When I was but a mere lad and busy giving my poor old mother gray hair, I developed a fascination for reading material forbidden to me. The easiest way to get me to read something was to remove a book from the shelf and inform me in lofty librarian tones that this book was for adults only. My fascination didn't apply to 'R' rated movies. I had little interest in film anyway, much preferring the written word to television or the movie theater. It was the printed word that fascinated me. The vapid explanations for these restrictions that were given to me by my parents, grandparents and the local librarian did not help to quell my desire for the forbidden fruit. Adults were hiding something from the children, very likely something enjoyable and beneficial.

Having driven my poor mother to terminal frustration by my incessant demands for access to the adult books denied to me, she suggested I read a book of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. I eagerly made myself comfortable and considered the forbidden knowledge before me. I rejected The Tell-Tale Heart (although I read it later) in favor of The Black Cat. Woe is me! The story frightened me so badly I couldn't sleep soundly for several weeks.

The trouble was (still is - the story hasn't changed) that the story was too real. The reader did not have to suspend disbelief to read the story and absorb it. For those of you who have not read The Black Cat, it is about the life of a mild manner protagonist, a real Casper Milquetoast, who takes to drink and slowly, inevitably becomes violent and fiendishly abusive. Casper eventually murders his wife, which is to be expected. However, it was not the murder that kept me awake nights. It was the description of the alcoholic and his slide into violent, abusive behavior of the very worst sort. I should never have read the story until I was much older, and even today I do not recommend it to anyone. Read The Fall of the House of Usher if you like, but skip The Black Cat.

What adults had failed to explain to me, and very possibly what they themselves had never quantified, is that it is impossible to 'unsee' something. Once a thing is seen, then the mark on the viewer has been made. It cannot be undone.

In just eight years B&R has seen the things that Poe wrote about. It is certain that these sights affect him and are stressful. It's equally certain that the other people with B&R were affected as well. These sights cannot be 'unseen', but the adverse effects can be treated and lessened.

I can't say that B&R has my sympathy or empathy. For one thing I don't think he wants it, for another I cannot imagine how seeing these terrible things would make me feel. What he does have is my support and respect.

For those of you who have a few minutes to spare, please leave B&R a few words of encouragement. Or, if you live near him, buy him a drink.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dog Walk

I took Excellent Rachmaninoff for a dog walk this afternoon and decided to get a few pictures of some of the flowers around Main Lady's house and Lincoln Woods. I like these flowers which grow next to the garage, but they are a little hard to photograph, turned down like they are.

I think these are called tiger lilies, but I'm not sure. One home several blocks away in inhabited by an English teacher with a green thumb and the free time to put said thumb to work. Her yard is magazine quality. These are called Cat's Whiskers. My grandmother, who had an extensive flower garden, used to grow them. Cat's Whiskers are somewhat uncommon for reasons not known to me.

Cat's Whiskers

The same gardener grows a huge swath of petunias, all an attractive royal purple.


I don't know what these exotic red flowers might be, but I'm attracted to the color and shape. For some reason I'm reminded of the exotic concoctions that used to be served in Tiki bars, such as the old Aku-Aku.

Red Flowers

Another yard was sparsely planted with these large yellow flowers.

Excellent Rachmaninoff enjoyed the walk, but I think the weather is a little warm for him. He's been behaving himself a lot better lately, which is nice for everyone.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Click here for another contest. This came to my attention via mesmerix and I'm posting this more as a crass commercial message than anything else.

The eagle flies...

The eagle flies on Friday
Saturday I go out to play...

So says Muddy Waters. Sadly, I haven't seen that eagle fly in some time but I still managed to make the show at Griffin's Hines Farm Blues Club last Saturday night (July 17th), along with Main Lady and a few other friends and acquaintances. The theme was Sweet Jackie's Birthing Day Blues, it being Jackie's birthday.

Sweet Jackie

Here's another picture of Jackie and some of her friends. I was a little afraid they'd fall off the table, but it was still early in the evening.

Jackie and Friends

Some of the men wanted to get to know the girl in the red dress a little better... okay, a lot better. Main Lady was packing her pistol with her so I had to remain at extreme telephoto lens distance.

The line up was Big Blues Bob and The Thin Ice Band, who were clearly the best band Saturday evening. Later on we heard Curtis Jr. and The Midnight Rockers. Joining in on the second and third set were the special guests Dan 'MudFoot' Hubbs and Danny Pratt "The Shuffle Cat"

  Big Blues Bob and The Thin Ice Band

Inspired by the Music

The eagle flies on Friday
Saturday I go out to play...
Sunday when I go to Church
I get down and pray

While Big Blues Bob was playing Stormy Monday this lady got inspired and started a solo routine. This is not uncommon when you put blues music and beer together - with ribs and whiskey added as needed.

Midnight Rockers

Vocalist for Midnight Rockers

The Midnight Rockers were only mediocre until this man came on stage and produced a huge jolt of energy. He's an excellent vocalist with a great voice, and he's also a superb showman. The set would have been wasted without him, as he pulled the band together and gave them a shot in the arm. The band immediately tightened up and started playing solid blues.

The Band

The Dance Floor

As the sun went down the place filled up, as did the dance floor. The dance floor isn't defined; it exists where ever there is space and people feel like getting up and dancing.


This guy sat near me and got too hammered to walk to the bar and get another beer. His wife (or girl friend - I never learned which) took pity on him from time to time and would fetch him another beer. I wonder if she helped him to the men's room as well.

Belligerent Drunk

I had this man pegged as an average, garden variety drunk, but I was wrong.  He's a belligerent drunk. Ah, well, such is life. He's probably too loaded to drive home and completely satisfy his wife (girl friend, significant other?).

Such as he are not unknown at the Hines Farm, but they're rare. Most drunks are the happy variety, dancing around and trying to sing along with the band. Fortunately the band drowns them out.

I had a great time at the Hines Farm, and I'm looking forward to their next event, which is in August and will feature about six or seven bands.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Whose fault is it?

Attorney Jeff Gamso over on Gamso - For the Defense has written about the bad reputation that attorneys have among just about everyone, including other attorneys. Read about it here and you'll learn that in Ohio, your attorney is legally bound to put your best interests in second or third place. I think most attorneys thankfully ignore this in favor of representing their client.

From the honorable Mr. Gamso's article: ...those people who'll lie and cheat and blow smoke in their passion to unleash killers, rapists, and terrorists on the streets of America so they can continue their depredations.

It's always the attorney, isn't it? The guy was guilty, but the attorney got him off. It wasn't the arresting officers who didn't follow the chain of custody rules, and in fact wouldn't know the chain of custody if their soon to be blood sucking ex-wife used chain of custody to extract another $400 a month in alimony. Nope, not them. They're ignorant and damned proud of it.

It couldn't have been the eye witnesses, either. One who has the DTs so bad he started swatting cockroaches during the cross examination and had to be excused. The other one who, as it turned out, had an adversarial relationship with the accused that went back to a civil suite that our observant bystander to the crime lost rather badly and is still paying off five years later, and who was found guilty two years ago of criminal trespass and aggravated menacing, and who now, under a reasonable cross examination, can't keep his story straight for ten minutes in a row. Then there was the third eye witness, purported to be a Church Deacon, Scout leader and pillar of the community, but who was being paid to testify and actually believed that was the way things worked. You came to court, said what you were supposed to say, and collected your money right afterward. Right? (This last actually happened to a friend of mine, an attorney in Kentucky who discovered this little factoid during questioning, which produced a moment of silence while everyone looked at each other).

No, it wasn't the witnesses. It was that damned slick attorney. Guys like that, there's not a name for 'em.

It couldn't have been the prosecutor, either. The one who was sworn in last month and who has a three foot stack of cases on his desk sitting on top of the 'IN' basket. The prosecutor who got the carpet jerked out from under him each time he tried to question a witness and got answers he hadn't planned on. The prosecutor who kept having to refer to his notes so as to remember the name of the accused, and who kept getting the facts of the case mixed up with the case he is scheduled to try tomorrow. Nope, not a chance it was the prosecutor.

And it wasn't the lead detective's fault, either. This would be the aged, stoop shouldered man with the trembling hands and blood shot eyes who was caught signaling the prosecuting attorney as to when to object. (Another true story - no, I'm NOT making this up.)

It's not the jury, either, one of whom was found sleeping through most of the trial. And, by the way, this is not hyperbole or fiction. I actually saw this happening during a murder trial. No one objected.

Nope. It's that slick attorney every time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Check this link

One way or another I stumbled across this site: furthermore, flask. I suppose I was intrigued by the name. After all, I've often found delightful things in flasks. Even in half-pint flasks. The author posted a handful of links to online toys and games that are sufficiently fascinating enough to keep me from working for days on end, if I didn't have the resolve and self-control of an eight year old boy on Christmas morning.

Click here here for the post and follow the links.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Inspired by a sequence on Toledo Talk coupled with a photo I took this afternoon, I decided to post a little poetry for the discriminating reader.


How doth the Little Bee

by Isaac Watts

How doth the little busy Bee
     Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
     From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
     How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
     With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
     I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
     For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
     Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
     Some good Account at last.

A rather didactic poem for children. I didn't like it much when it was first read to me at age five by a well meaning relative, who explained that the bee had to make hundreds of trips to flowers just to make enough honey for one piece of toast. "Right." I thought. "Work all day only to have your honey stolen. Now that makes good sense." I enjoyed the imitation quoted by Alice in Lewis Carroll's drug induced fiction.

How doth the little crocodile...

by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!

Clearly it is better to be a crocodile than a busy bee. For no particular reason I was reminded of an ancient song or poem that was recited to me repeatedly by an unbalanced female poet who used to invite me up to her apartment to help her with her adjectives.

The Cuckoo Song
by Unknown

Summer is a-coming in,
 Loud sing cuckoo!
Grows seed, and blows mead(ow),
 And springs the wood new--
  Sing, cuckoo!

Ewe bleats after lamb,
 Lows after calf cow;
Bullock starts, buck farts,
 Merry sing, cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo, well sing thou, cuckoo:
 Nor cease thou never now!
Sing cuckoo, now, sing cuckoo,
 Sing cuckoo, sing cuckoo, now!

This is a translation from old English or German into modern English. Naturally the translators argue about the most correct words to use for their particular translation. There has been some argument about the buke (or buck, as in male deer). Some say he farts, others say he runs in circles. I'm guessing the women translators object to the buck farting, while the men insist he does because that's what the song says.

I discovered a counterpart to this by Ezra Pound, a man I believe most of us would have a lot more in common with than we might initially believe. At least, judging by this poem we would.

The Winter Song
by Ezra Pound

    Winter is icumen in,
    Lhude sing Goddamm,
    Raineth drop and staineth slop,
    And how the wind doth ramm!
    Sing: Goddamm.
    Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
    An ague hath my ham.
    Freezeth river, turneth liver,
    Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
    Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
    So 'gainst the winter's balm.
    Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
    Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Least anyone think that I'm being overly frivolous or incapable of appreciating fine verse, here is one of my all time favorite poems by one of my favorite poets,Thomas Stearns Eliot, who passed away in 1965. I could have met Eliot. I'm old enough and wouldn't have been a bit shy about asking him a few pertinent questions. With any sense at all he wouldn't have answered me. Apeneck Sweeney appears in several poems and a play that Eliot never finished. He's an admirable sort of man, and I think his character is fully revealed in Eliot's poetry.

Sweeney Among the Nightingales

    'omoi peplegmai kairian plegen eso 1'

Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The zebra stripes along his jaw
Swelling to maculate giraffe.

The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the horned gate.

Gloomy Orion and the Dog
Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;
The person in the Spanish cape
Tries to sit on Sweeney's knees

Slips and pulls the table cloth
Overturns a coffee-cup,
Reorganised upon the floor
She yawns and draws a stocking up;

The silent man in mocha brown
Sprawls at the window-sill and gapes;
The waiter brings in oranges
Bananas figs and hothouse grapes;

The silent vertebrate in brown
Contracts and concentrates, withdraws;
Rachel nee Rabinovitch
Tears at the grapes with murderous paws;

She and the lady in the cape
Are suspect, thought to be in league;
Therefore the man with heavy eyes
Declines the gambit, shows fatigue,

Leaves the room and reappears
Outside the window, leaning in,
Branches of wistaria
Circumscribe a golden grin;

The host with someone indistinct
Converses at the door apart,
The nightingales are singing near
The Convent of the Sacred Heart,

And sang within the bloody wood
When Agamemnon cried aloud,
And let their liquid siftings fall
To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud.

-- T S Eliot

1. Alas, I am smitten with a mortal. Agamemnon's last words as he is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra.

If you decide to read Eliot I recommend you get a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary and find a few reference sites dealing in obscure theology. That, and a bottle of bourbon.

Worth Reading

Fred Reed, that infallible little ray of sunshine come to cheer us up while we are gridlocked in the midst of L.A. smog during a temperature inversion in August, reveals the truth about Washington D.C. and just who is minding the store - click here for a good Reed.

Gamso, an attorney in Ohio writes about the death penalty here. Feel free to post an opinion, learned or not.

Mesmerix, a wordsmith that is not yet over the hill pontificates on word processing software here.

Three police blogs talk about the BART shooting and do a fairly good job. Motor Cop has a digitized copy of Mehserle's letter of apology, Officer Smith talks about facts leading up to the inevitable reaction to the verdict and Greg Meyer at PoliceOne talks with some authority on lessons learned.

Bad Drivers

It never ceases to amaze me. Put an otherwise reasonable person behind the wheel of a car and the most amazingly bad behavior will rise right to the surface and spontaneously ignite. In the short time I watched the giant oak tree taken down, these people came through the work area about two to three times faster than they should have. The posted speed limit is 35 mph, but don't you think drivers would slow down when they see foot traffic or men working? Not these people.

Ohio EGS 6279 - Slow Down!

Michigan BCX 3004 Slow the Fuck Down!

And while I'm at it, stay on your own damned side of the line. The idiot woman driving this car was tailgating the dark blue car in the first picture, then waited for the blue car to clear the work area before putting her foot in the fan belt and blasting through the work site.

Ohio EXZ 7355

One of the few sane drivers to pass through. In fact, the only driver to observe a safe speed. The driver in question being a sour looking old man who likely cursed all of us on his way by.

Busted Plate ending in 33

He was headed for Michigan. Good. Stay there.


The green sedan on the right came up to the work area wanting to make a right onto Indian Ridge Road. Naturally, no turn signal was used - why bother? The genius in the station wagon on the left wanted to make a left onto Flanders, and so of course got into the leftmost lane. Why not, right? So the two come head to head and stop. After sizing the situation up, the ding-a-ling in the wagon slowly pulled over to the right just enough to give the sedan his right of way. I don't know... maybe they've been drinking.

Don't We Drive on the Right?

FedEx 742135

Note the advanced cross over grip for the cell phone. Would it be too much to ask for a FedEx driver to get off the cell phone and pay attention to her driving?

I know there are police out there. Where are the traffic cops when you need them?

Tree Trimming

In May I wrote about a major power outage that was narrowly averted (click here to read about it). Since then the tree in question has structurally unstable, waiting to be converted into firewood, chips and sawdust. The process started Tuesday, July 6th and concluded Friday, July 9th. The lumberjacks hated to see it go, it being the oldest thing in Lucas county. I can identify with that being old and decrepit myself. When my parts start falling off, I hope someone has the good sense to put me on an ice floe with a bottle of vodka for company. Here are a few photos of the giant oak tree being cut down.

Tree and House

The house is a two story plus attic farm type house. Notice how tall the tree is compared to the house.

Long Way Up

This is a long way up, and you wouldn't get me up there. Not everyone thinks like me, which is a good thing for the tree service.


This brave fellow is getting flying lessons. That's a safety line he's wearing. Pretty soon he's going to start flapping his arms and buzzing around the house. Me, I like terra firma.

Work Level

The man scrambled around up there and sawed off tree limbs which didn't hit anything on the way down. Utility wires, streets and the house all had to be missed, and none were hurt in the three day process.

Balancing Act

This guy not only gets up here, but he manages to safely use a chain saw while walking around on tree limbs. I wonder if his life insurance company knows about this?

Base Trunk

Here's the base trunk. As you can see, the center is pretty well rotted out. The man standing next to the trunk (you can just see the top of his head) is an average size man. The trunk is huge.

The End

And here is the end of the matter. Everything was removed leaving a pile of dirt to be raked out. I expect the owners will plant a few flowers where the tree used to stand.

Tree Service

Here's the tree service. The men did a great job and cleaned up everything on the way out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Mesmerix is having a contest over at her blog, Special Contest: Destiny's Star. I mention this because:
  • I'd like to enter the contest
  • Mesmerix took some excellent photos of Detroit and I'd like to see a few more posted
  • Mesmerix is a writer who actually can write

For my choice (see the contest) I select a fifth of Bourbon, four c-notes and a Mexican switch with a nine inch blade.

Urban Renewal

Well, they're tearing down Tim Riley's bar. Or not. No, this is actually Hillview Elementary School which is the victim of urban renewal or some such. Good riddance, I say.

Thanks, but No Thanks

Don't thank me, I voted against the levy and I'll continue to vote against school levies. The money isn't there to support schools in the fashion that school teachers would like.

Construction Site

You might think that this is a common construction site no trespassing sign, but it isn't. It's the sign parents see when they try to go inside and watch a class in session. Whether you're a parent or just a taxpayer, you are not allowed to see what goes on inside a public school when class is in session. I was told that it's a security issue. It isn't; it's a labor union issue.

Power Shovel in Action

When I was in grade school my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was kind of a toss up between being a jet pilot and flying fighter planes where you got to have dog fights and kill the Japs, or drive a bulldozer, which looked like a ton of fun. I was dissuaded from one by my parents; the other by the United States government. You guess which was which.

Shovel The Remains

Here's all that remains of old Hillview Elementary, where I was confined from Kindergarten until sixth grade. Seeing this reminds me of the teachers I had in elementary school and so I decided to list them along with a few notes. Remember that I graduated high school in 1970, and that school teachers were allowed to discipline their students as the teacher saw fit - if a teacher didn't like you, you got paddled with something the size and shape of a cricket bat.

Mrs. Carol Ulganer (sp?), Kindergarten. We were instructed to call her Miss Carol, her last name being a little hard on the tongue. I don't think she really liked children all that much and she was given to petty fits of temper. She, like most teachers during this time, enjoyed ridiculing individual students for infractions of her mercurial code of conduct or for poor performance.

Mrs. Warrener, first grade. Mrs. Warrener established the standard by which all other teachers would be measured, and most would fall far short. I'm not sure how she managed class when about a third to half of the children were from Appalachian immigrant parents who came North for the good jobs in the auto industry and who had a right lively lifestyle. Weekends meant cashing the paycheck and buying such necessities as beer, whiskey and ammunition. Then the fun started. The family would get loaded and play with the gun collection in the back yard, which in Sylvania Township is perfectly legal. Inevitably Maw would get mouthy about something and Paw would slap her around, and the police would be called. Whether or not anyone was hauled away, the party would roar right along and noise complaints would start filtering in around 1:00 AM. The police would show up again... and again at 2:00, and so forth. Eventually everyone who refused to pass out would be hauled away to the drunk tank, and the legal system would spit them back out in time for work on Monday. So, you see, half the class came in on Monday remembering this circus as the cultural high point of the week end. On the other side of the economic dividing line (maybe more than one line) were children from the affluent South Flanders Road area. All of these families had money; one girl in particular had a swimming pool and a tennis court in her back yard. There weren't many noise complaints in this area of town, nor did people drink to excess and play with their gun collections; in fact, most didn't own firearms.

Mrs. Gregoric, second grade. She was young and attractive, and I remember her as having poor health.  She was nice to the students.

Mrs. Hook, third grade. She was old and nasty tempered. The system should have retired this antique years before I had the misfortune to land in her class, but she was still running strong on seven and a half cylinders when I left. The woman wasn't terribly bright and it tended to show.

Mrs. Van Fleet, forth grade. She was old and ugly, uglier than a mud fence, and the thing that made her ugly was cruelty. By forth grade the retards were quietly transferred to their own class which met in the basement (no kidding, that's what they were called and that's where they had class, and before anyone reading this gets a bug up their ass about my choice of language consider this: no one looked down on these kids or ridiculed them). Since there were no classes for gifted or especially bright children, the rest of us were segregated in the class room. In Van Fleet's class, the bright kids sat next to the window on the right side while the great unwashed sat on the left. The preference and preferential treatment did not go unnoticed.

Anyway, there was one boy who could not sit still. The child would almost vibrate. When recess hit, he'd literally run the entire time because he was so full of nervous energy. I've never seen anything like it, then or since. So Van Fleet would demand he sit still, would belittle him and ridicule him in front of the class, and finally ended up by putting his desk next to hers so as to isolate him. She'd further punish him by taking away his recess time, and finally one afternoon while the rest of the children were outside, Van Fleet baited this boy until he lost it and threatened her with childish physical violence if she didn't let him alone. Van Fleet slapped him across the face.

I was being punished for some minor transgression and so was in the classroom at the time, and I watched the whole thing unfold. Van Fleet should have been fired for this, but wasn't, probably in a large part due to the fact that none of the students could articulate what was going on.

Mrs. Dressler, fifth grade. The worst of the lot that I encountered, Mrs. Dressler was putting in her time until retirement and didn't care if her students learned anything or not. Things got so bad that I was transferred to a different class.

Mr. Lechlak, fifth grade. As poor as some of the others were, they were offset by Mr. Lechlak. The kids loved him and would do anything he asked. He was a great instructor and a real credit to his profession.

Mr. David Color, fifth grade. Color taught reading class and he was a bully, pure and simple. He liked to use the classic dope slap, liked to pick kids up by the ear and thought it was fun to paddle the students. He would encourage the kids to bully each other, which some took to with a real talent. I never ran into David Color in my adult life, which is probably just as well.

Miss Levy, sixth grade. Levy was a jew and hated the goyim, pure and simple. The goys (that is, the entire class) didn't understand this but did understand that they were universally disliked. This is the first time I'd ever experienced racial prejudice and I truly did not understand it. Oddly, I think my father guessed what was going on and did nothing about it.

Mr. Craig, sixth grade.  Craig taught reading class, and while he was certainly a bright, knowledgeable man he lacked emotional maturity. When he lost his temper he behaved like a 12 year old without a parent to curb his outbursts. His real problem was that he didn't care for children; it's likely he'd have done better working with older students.

When I finally graduated from Hillview I had high expectations of a better school with far superior instructors. I was wrong.


A few days ago I was Westbound on Monroe Street and was just opposite the Beverly Hills Plaza shopping center when a lady driving a late model Chrysler almost clipped the right front corner of my car, thus causing my tenuous grip on my temper to slip. For anyone not familiar with the area, Monroe Street (Hwy 51) is a congested five lane highway which has numerous parking lot driveways on both sides, thus making driving even more hazardous than it already is as people do what this idiot did - enter Monroe Street from the North side by making a right turn into what was, at last glance, a temporarily unpopulated lane. In plain language, I was in the left lane and about to move over to the right. She saw an empty right hand lane and filled it with her Chrysler 300 Limited.

Chrysler 300 Limited - EUD 1657

Maybe she was pissed because I was too quick for her the first time, or maybe she was unhappy with her position, but the silly bitch almost hit me again by cutting across in front of me. She ended up in the center lane, waiting to make a left onto Nantucket. I had my camera on the seat next to me and got this picture.

I'm well aware that this is only one poor driver out of millions, but for some reason I am deriving a certain sense of pleasure from posting a picture of her car on my web site. The light changed before I could get a shot of the driver. Oh well. Better luck next time.