Oct 31

What would you do for a Chocolate Bar….

Yep.  Another pumpkin bites the dust….

 

What exactly does Trick-Or-Treat tells us about today’s youth?

You see…..this evening was Beggar’s Night here.

I won’t use a wide and sweeping brush as I write about my observations tonight. But here are some things which occurred on our little stoop on our little street.

Kids show up early and stay late for Beggar’s Night. They also plead with their parent to attend this event, even if they are not feeling well. It is my contention that this behavior does not “cross over” when it comes to school attendance.

Kids here don’t follow the Honor Code. I had a few ‘work items’ to do here tonight… so we put out a basket of candy with a sign that read,

“Please take ONE… or two…. Only.  Please.”

I even drew a witch on the sign for effect. Turns out, this system isn’t as effective as I had hoped.  Even with the parent accompanying the child. Which leads to the next postulation….

Perhaps kids DO and CAN follow the Honor Code. They just can’t count. Which may explain why the U.S. ranked 25th in the world in math, and science…. out of 34 countries tested (Bloomberg News, Jan. 2011).

Oh… lighten up Kronenberger. It’s Halloween…… for Jack-O-Lantern’s Sake.

Alright, just one more for the record, and then I’ll quit. On our end of the neighborhood, kids imaginations are completely depleted. We had more kids dressed up as regular kids this year than anything else. About 80% of the little beggars I saw tonight were in street clothes. Not even a charcoal beard and untucked shirt. There were a few in costumes…  a few.  No Sock Monkeys.

Don’t ya’ know.. all of this made me a little sad.  When we were little, Halloween was a huge and special ‘Occasion’…  We looked forward to it, talked about what “we were going to be” on Beggar’s Night…. there was a huge ritual about dressing up.  We couldn’t afford store-bought costumes…. so we made our own.

AND THEN… the candy garnering practice…  please and thank-you… no costume, no candy…. and on….

Or maybe I have it all wrong.

What Trick-Or-Treat might be saying about our youth… is that kids absolutely love candy and will go to any lengths to get it.  Period.

I know some adults like that too…..

Chocolate.   Sort of like Heroin…. only legal.

Happy Great PumpkinFest Everyone!

Oct 30

It is bigger than boo.

Here it is already. That time of year…. when people dress up like ghosts, and witches, and pirates, and… Herman Cain.

The Bewitching Hour. The time when the veil is thinnest between our living world and the existence that is beyond explanation.

It is WAY bigger than BOO. An understatement if I’ve ever heard one.

You see…. now, more than ever…. people believe in Ghosts.

There are Paranormal Societies, Ghost Clubs, loads of Books and Movies. And don’t forget the slew of TV shows that appear weekly…. Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, Ghosts Caught on Tape, Haunted History, Ghostly Encounters… and on and on and on. Either people are believing more frequently, or they are “coming out of the closet” about it.

I just read an article which stated 40% of people in the United States believe in Ghosts. And, of those 40 percent… more than half have reported experiencing an encounter with a ghost. Some claim to have seen them, others have felt their presence.

Now that particular number works out to 60 million Americans who believe they have had a paranormal experience.

Like I said…. this is WAY bigger than BOO.  It adds up to an awful lot of transparency walking around.

Supposedly, I reside in the 2nd most haunted city in the U.S…..   Savannah, Georgia is first.

I, for one, believe in the “Other Worldly”…. yet I live with a total skeptic.

WE also live with a Ghost… so it all evens out.

So, on this Hallowed Eve…. just remember… don’t be afraid of that which you can’t explain.
Whether it concerns ghosts… or other matters in the living world. Not a one of us can know everything. There is much which can be said about that fact.

And one more thing… on Halloween… eat lots of candy and remember the “Teddy Bear’s Picnic Song”….

“If you go out in the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You’d better go in disguise.”

“If you go out in the woods today,
You’d better not go alone.
It’s lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.”

Way, way, way bigger than BOO….  I mean… if the “Teddy Bear Picnic Song” is even singing about it….

Oct 29

Around the corner from here…

There are so many incredible places around here.  Within a one mile radius, there is an astounding amount of history.

A quick “for instance”…. and a couple of stops along our journey this evening…..

On Tradd Street alone, you can walk near the east end of the avenue, and see how the world might have looked 250 years ago.  Most of those houses were constructed before 1770. Along that little stretch….. it is draftier inside, than out.

Right around the corner is one of the oldest Taverns in the city, which was built in 1732, by Elisha Poinsett.  The guy’s grandson grew up to become an Ambassador to Mexico.  He brought back a beautiful red-leafed plant to Charleston, and named it the Poinsettia.  How about them petals?

Walk down the street a little ways, and you can stand in the spot where 21 pirates were hanged in one day.  Argghhhhhh Matey.

And in the photo above…. this place is down Elliot Street.

It used to be an Origami Shoppe.  But…. it folded.

Oct 28

Underpuppies

I have no interest in either the Texan Rangers, or the St. Louis Cardinals. I don’t care about either team for 50 weeks of the entire year. But dawg-gone-it. When events like the World Series come around, I always pick my corner.

I am rooting for the Rangers. Texas, as a state, has had a hard year. And the Rangers have never won a World Series….

Goofy, I know, but that is how I picked ’em. They are the Underdogs. And I almost always cheer on the Underdogs.

I am not sure where that term originated. I have never met…or even heard of an Overdog. But apparently they are out there.

Maybe.

Or maybe they are “outer” dogs. For instance, we put on underwear, and outerwear (not over wear).  But I guess it could be…. there simply is no counter-word for Underdog.

Like undermine. The opposite of “undermine” is probably “bolster” or “strengthen”…..

Yet we see other examples everywhere

…. underexpose…. overexpose.

Under-nourished. Over-nourished.
Under-compensate. Over-compensate.
Under-priced. Over-priced.

There are a caboodle of them, I’ll tell you.

But I am getting way off track. Back to the topic at hand. Which was….ummmmmm…. Baseball.

I wonder why the heck they call it baseball? Why not bat ball, or plate ball? Why is basketball called basketball…. since we are on the subject? Why not dribble ball, or net ball?  And football…. now that is just plain wrong in every way…. and how about…..

 

 

Hey.  The Cardinals just won the Word Series.  I was rooting for them… did I mention that?

Oct 27

My roots were strong

Of all things… today is my Mom’s birthday.  Yes…. as I write this… it is her birthday.  October the 27th.  I am very happy and grateful for the day she was born.  For many reasons.  The first and most obvious… without her… there is no me.  Well, that’s pretty dang huge (for me, at least).

Yes, she came into this world some 90 years ago.

Back when Mom was born, the world was a different place, I’ll tell you.  Buster Keaton was one of the biggest stars at the box office.  TIME magazine was founded in her birth year. New York stadium opened to a sell-out crowd of 60,000 people.   The Yanks won the series that year too.

Not many homes had electricity in the U.S.  But by the end of the decade… 99 percent would be wired for such.

Sanka Coffee is introduced in the U.S.  Better than that… the Milky Way candy bar also comes on the scene…. and…. Reese Peanut Butter Cups.  Darn good year for candy.

Moses… I mean Charlton Heston, was born 23 days earlier.

You could get 3 heads of lettuce for a quarter; a pound of bacon for 47 cents;  and a pound of bread for a dime.  We are just a tomato shy of a BLT.

Her Dad owned a grocery.  When she was little, she ate ketchup on saltine crackers for a snack.  I think it had something to do with the Depression, and what Grandpa could bring home from the store.  But it wore off on me….  I can eat a ton of crackers and Heinz ketchup, I’ll tell you.

Yep.  She grew up during the Depression, and married my Dad just after World War II.  She kissed him first.  She is full of spunk to this very day.

Mom always has a smile, welcomes folks with open arms and will feed you like crazy.  If you visit her home, she treats you like one of the family.  She overcame a lot  in her life.  Gave birth to seven children.  That is A LOT to overcome in anyone’s life, I’ll tell you.

She accepted us for who we were, and encouraged us to grow into that authentic person.  She did not pass judgement, or try to change us.  She loved us unconditionally.  She still does.  All this, while making the best dang Potato Soup on the planet.  Not to mention her Camp Stew.

Bless my Mom….  my wonderful Mom.  I owe her so much… for wiping tears… and snotty noses.  For bandaging skinned knees and broken hearts.  For sewing our clothes, and then washing them clean.

For going out in the backyard and playing catch with me after school.

For believing in me… and loving me.  For helping me to become exactly who I am.  Happy Birthday Mom.  I am one lucky kid to have you for my Mom.

“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Oct 26

The Shadow Knows….

Shadows are a strange and wonderful thing. People have written about them in a million different ways. They hold a bit of mystery, don’t you think?

They follow you. They lurk and linger. Shadows can belong to you or someone else. Sometimes they reside down a dark alley. Other times, shadows lie about on a late day afternoon lawn.

No matter where they are… something has preceded them. They move. And shift. They are forever changing.

Shadows can be short and fat, long and narrow, crooked, straight, high and low.

So tonight as I sit and write, it is just me and my shadow.  It is with me right here.  Yet, I can’t pick it up or hold it. I can’t lose it either.

But one thing is for sure. When you see a shadow, no matter how large or how small it may seem…. they is always a light shining somewhere.

There is always a source of light.

 

“Where there is much light, the shadow is deep”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goeithe

Oct 25

Heavy Lights…. and too much information.

Today we took a Walking History Tour of Charleston, South Carolina.

What a great, great time it was.

This town was established in 1680. That, I knew. But what I didn’t know was…. well…. WAY too much to list here. We walked around downtown for 3 hours and heard fact after fact after fact. And we didn’t even scratch the surface.

The photo tonight depicts the chandelier in St. Michael’s Church which was ordered from London in 1803.  They speculate that it weighs 2,000 pounds.  That’s a lot.

It is a grand and spectacular building. In this church…for example…. there are three stained glass windows made by Tiffany. I like to look at these windows.  They are beyond beautiful.

The organ, installed in 1768… (and since “expanded”) is massive and beautiful with 40 stops and 51 tracks.   Someday, I hope to hear it play.

The steeple is 186 feet in height; the weather vane is 7 ½ feet long. The entire steeple sank eight inches as a result of the earthquake in 1886. But it is still a foot taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.   They say of that tower in Italy would stand up straight, it might be taller someday.

The large, long double-pew in the center of the church, No. 43, originally known as “The Governor’s Pew,” is the one in which President George Washington worshiped on Sunday afternoon, May 8, 1791. General Robert E. Lee also worshiped in the pew some seventy years later. Prince Charles too. I like to stand in the pew.  It gives me goosebumps.

I could go on and on with the things we learned about St. Michael’s. We were only there a mere 15 minutes of the 3 hour tour. The three hour tour.   Yes.  All-in-all, it  was a jam-packed 180 minutes of Charleston.

My brain is incredibly tired tonight, as is the rest of me. I think it has information overload. But I like feeling this way.

Even though it is inundated with historical facts and snidbits… it is happy.

But….as Albert Einstein said…”Information is not knowledge.” On the other hand, Noah Webster says knowledge can be facts and information acquired by a person through learning.

So it comes down to this… I don’t know if I’m any smarter or not tonight.

I am thankful though. I always knew that Charleston was named after King Charles the Second of England. What I learned today, is that they almost named it after King Waze Ah of the British West Indies (which was a major through-Port for the English on their way here).

Then I would be living in Waze-ah-ton.  I am glad it is Charleston instead.  My home-away-from-home.

Oct 24

The whole truth… and nothing but…

Today we visited Sullivan’s Island.

Great little Atlantic Coast Beach. The sand was full of humps and bumps and crevices. Quite interesting and visually stimulating… but it wasn’t the easiest surface to travel on at times.

The thing I’ve noticed though, about beaches and such…. they have terrific and alluring names. But most of them aren’t really telling the whole truth. Not even close.  This one should have been called… “Gray Brown Lumpy Beach”

Yet… it is the mysterious Sullivan’s Island. It isn’t an island at all.

We have Edisto Island, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Isle of Palms, and on. Not islands. Not a one.

There is Bull Harbor and Bull Bay. You figured it right…. no bulls. And that’s no bull.

It goes on and on with other water communities. Paradise Cove. Almost everywhere you go… there is a “Paradise Cove”…..  However.   Most are filled with sea weathered, tattered buildings and run-down-barnacle-encrusted boats. Not much paradise to be found. Not even an apple tree with a snake.

But you know, this isn’t just true of the water world.  You will find it all over the place.

For instance, the Miracle Mile in LA. Or the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Oh, who are you trying to fool, you big city folk?

However, if they called it what it really is… “Big Ugly Buildings Lining The Streets With Lots Of Homeless People On The Sidewalks Mile” …. no one would visit and spend money there.  Yep.  Telling the truth is sometimes detrimental to all parties involved.

We have a piece of artwork that says “Tell The Truth All The Time”

Now this is hard to do. We use filters all the time, and we bend the reality. And…. We do it for a lot of different reasons.

To avoid conflict. To avoid not hurting others’ feelings. To make things “easier” on ourselves. And on and on.

“Honey, do these pants make me look fat?” “Yes dear… you look just like a whale in denim.”

This would not be good.

“Hey Goldie… do you think I look like an idiot in my sock monkey hat?” “Yes Polly. Pretty much.”

“Sweetheart… how does my Tunafish Surprise taste?” “Oh. Just slightly better than moist potting soil topped with cracker crumbs.”

See how this is going? This could spell big trouble for the institutions of marriage, friendship, and family.

Yes, we use those filters and buffers, and… well…. little white lies…. to keep it all smooth and even. Just like on the beach this morning…. it makes it easier to walk when the sand isn’t so dang lumpy.

Now… would I lie to you? Truth be told, I would not. But I might bend things a bit to keep us both happy.

Hey…… I love your dress.

Oct 23

To the Batmobile…

 

Holy haberdashery, Batman!

On Oct. 24, 1915…. Bob Kane was born.

What a day that was.  For Mr. Kane was the creator of Batman and Robin.

Coincidentally…..just this morning… I was talking with my older sister about all the times we played Batman and Robin while growing up.

She is four years older. She always got to be Batman. She also convinced me that Robin was a necessary sidekick. I complied.

We would pull our t-shirts up over our heads and tuck them behind our necks. We’d get big bath towels, or better yet, beach towels, and use the very largest safety pins to fasten them around those scrawny necks…. right near the jugular, I’ll tell you.

We’d put on tights (whatever color we could find)…. then wear our underpants on top of our tights, as well as knee socks for our boots.  Yes.  We were styling.

We would play outside like this until our Mother became privy. Then we were restricted to the upstairs of the house.

Diving off the bunk beds was a must. Slapping our fists into our palms, we’d exclaim….”Holy Cow… I think the Joker is behind this!”

We fought crime. We figured out the mysteries. We made the streets safe again. We were brave and strong. Little Superheroes.

These days I am still very interested in making the world a better place… somehow. Oh to be brave, and strong.

So I had better sign off now. You see….I have to go find a bath towel, some tights… and a very large safety pin.

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer. ”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oct 22

Dear Somebody

All the good newspapers have “advice” columns. They come in various forms and flavors, but a true news broadcasting effort is not complete without that “feature” of hints, tips, opinions, and pointers.

So, I’ve asked some pretty famous folks to assist me here…. with such a column.  Until we get this right,  we have not “arrived” in the world of journalism.

Dear Advice Column is what we will call it… until someone out there helps me with a better name.

Dear Advice Column,
People at work have been telling stories about me around the water cooler. What should I do?
Sincerely,
Victim of Rumors

Dear Victim,
Always remember… “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Sincerely,
Oscar Wilde

Dear Advice Column,
I like to burn candles at the dinner table, but my husband thinks it is silly. Don’t you think it adds atmosphere to the evening meal?
Sincerely,
Waning for Wax

Dear Waxy,
“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” Flip on the lights.
Sincerely,
Thomas Edison

Dear Advice Column,
I think people who are interested in history are dull. What is the point?  History is boring and… ha, ha, ha…. in the past.
Sincerely,
The Dull Buster

Dear Dull,
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Sincerely,
Confucius

Dear Advice Column,
I just had my 40th birthday, and I am feeling older than dirt. Any advice for the old and decrepit?
Sincerely,
Creaky

Dear Creakster,
“Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.”
Sincerely,
Billie Burke

Dear Advice Column,
I love my GPS in my car, but sometimes it gives me the wrong directions. What should I do?
Sincerely,
Lost in Yonkers

Dear Yonkers,
“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
Sincerely,
Yogi Berra

Ahhhhhh.  We have arrived.