If I had a hammer….

There are loads and loads of famous carpenters out there.  Like… Bernard Hauptmann, the guy who was sentenced to death for kidnapping Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s baby in “The Crime of the Century.”
Or, another is Edmund Spangler, also known as Edman, Edward, and Ned Spangler.   He was an alleged conspirator in the Abraham Lincoln assassination and had worked at Ford’s Theatre at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s murder. During the Civil War, he came to Washington, D.C. and began working as a carpenter and scene shifter at Ford’s Theatre.

The list goes on and on…….and who knew….. really?

Yes, many famous Mr. Fix-Its, Builders, Craftsmen.  I met a guy today who was the great-grandson of Thadeus Sprockmorton, of Charleston, SC.  Legend had it that this guy could pound 10 nails into a floorboard with his forehead in under a minute.  “Hammerhead Thad” is what they called him.  People would come from miles around to watch him perform this curiosity.  As you can image… old Throckmorton got a little punchy from this activity.  He passed out ten times an hour.  Lost his memory in the left side of his brain, the hearing in his left ear, and the vision in his left eye.  From then on, he kept saying he was all right. But alas.  It was plain to see that his talents had cost him much.  Everything had left him.

He went on to develop a product called “Thad’s Miracle Cure.  One spoonful and the vapors will be gone for good!”  Never sold a bottle.  He lost his memory too.  Thad wandered off one day, and no one ever heard from him again.    Somebody should have bought this guy a hammer…. or a helmet.  Curiously, Throckmorton’s son invented the “Power Nailer” also known as a nail gun, in the mid-1950s.    Remarkable.



“What is it Earl?”

“Do you think these plants make my butt look big Bob?  Tell me the truth.”

“Earl, for the one millionth time….. NO…..  these plants DO NOT make your butt look big.  There are NO plants in our pot.  We’ve been without plants all winter.”

“Thanks Bob. I can believe you, because, YOU my friend, are always so stone-faced when you talk to me.  I know you wouldn’t lie to me.”


….. …….  “Bob?”…….  “Hey Bob?”…..

“What is it Earl?”

“Do you think these cobwebs make me look older or younger?”

“Geez oh geez….for crying out loud EARL.  For the one millionth time… somehow… they make you look younger! By half a century, at least. Holy crap!”

“Oh thanks Bob.  What a pal, what a pal.  I feel closer to you than anyone else in the whole world.”

“……… Yeah. Me too Earl.  Me too.”

“Love is when two people know everything about eachother and are still friends.”
– B. Metzmen

A Big Day.

Today was one of those big venues.  Sometimes, you just have those kind of days in which you eat your oatmeal, go to work, come home, watch the news, go to bed.  You know how it goes….. “Time to make the donuts.”  THEN…… other days…… are BIG, BIG days. This was one of those.

We explored things today. Historical Things.  The H.L. Hunley Museum.  So great. Deep Link. Magnolia Cemetery.  Loads of Dead People.  Grave-y Link. Dinner at Hall’s Chop House.   Big Yum. Beefy Link. And… a night ghost tour of the Old City Jail.  Creepy.  Spooky Link. There’s so much to write about each one of these… I’ll come back to them at later dates.

But the photo above is the gated entrance to a small section in Magnolia Cemetery.  A mother and a father were buried there.  Along with their 5 children.  Four of those kids, died before they were 3 years of age.  One survived into adulthood.  Her name was Selina.  The family name was Riggs.

The last child was born, and died, on ??? dates in December of 1863.  The mother passed away in January of 1864.  I think the series of events were related.  Heaven only knows what kind of stories that family had…. what their lives were like… and their losses.  The thing of it was….. there were literally thousands of headstones in this one single cemetery in our little corner of the planet.  Each stone is filled with stories, and a life lived…. and a life gone by.  Most of them all but forgotten.   Concrete and Stone.

I know all of this sounds a bit down-trodden.  But really, it is something good to think about….  and consider… as we make our choices throughout the day………

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

My Patent.

Inventions, and Inventors.  They intrigue me to all get-out.  I think it is…. well…. ingenious….. how some things were created.  There are a gazillions things we take for granted, but at some point in history, someone had to look at a certain thing (or situation), and think….  “Well, by golly, there just HAS to be a better way.”  Then they thought up that new best way.

Consider…. fire hose connectors, door stops, down spouts, and bike seats….. WHO did these?  When, and why?  There are a boat load, I’ll tell you.  A boat load.  Like erasers, eye glasses, stapler removers, and rivets.  It goes on and on.

My brother and sister-in-law just gave me a present… a t-shirt….. which shows many of the things that were invented in Dayton, Ohio.  It depicts a number of Dayton-specific innovations……..  like pop-top cans, parachutes, automobile self-starters, gas masks, step ladders, airplanes, and movie projectors.  Yes sirrrrreeeee….. all conceived in Dayton, Ohio.

Which then made me think……. “Hey ya. Hi ya.  Ho ya. I was INVENTED in Dayton, Ohio!” Probably, on or around, July 25th or so….. about 5 decades back.   Probably not because my parents were looking for a better way to create a child (there were six perfectly good kids which preceded me)…. they were probably just feeling frisky.

The patent for me is there too.  Issued 9 months later.  Maybe not as good as the down spout, but I can be useful from time to time.

“Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried” – Thomas Jefferson

Luck of the Ugly to you….

Kronenberger.  Well, there you have have it. I am Irish-ly Challenged.   Not a bit of Green in me, except for the Recycling Kind.  But let me get it out to all our green-beer-drinking, bagpipe-tooting, leprechaun-loving friends of mine:  Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

But here’s the thing I bet you didn’t know about this day.   Before it was St. Patrick’s Day, it was St. Blaise’s Day.  The Patron Saint of Throats and Throat Troubles…. also the Patron Saint of  The Wild Beast (with a direct association to Gargoyles).  He was born in Armenia in the 3rd century A.D. or roundabouts.  His death date is listed at an estimated 316 A.D.

Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts Amidenus (a medical writer of long ago):  There St. Bliase’s aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cave. Before being killed, he spoke to a wolf and told it to release a pig it was harming. The wolf did so. Saint Blaise was going to be starved…… but the good and thankful owner of the pig secretly gave him food in order to survive. (Curiously, it was a large platter of bacon and sausages….).

Later in life….. he was tortured because of his Christian faith but did not give up his beliefs.

According to his Catholic Veneration Rite, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded.  Bad day for St. Blaise.  Probably a bad day for that pig, too.

At any rate, he got bumped from March 17th by St. Patty.  More Irish Catholics, than Armenians.  St. Patrick is a much more attractive fella’ too.  Blaise was as ugly as the Beasts he saved.

SO, to all the Non-Irish:  Happy St. Blaise the Beast-Saver Day.  Get your ugly on.  Save a pig.

I like to wash my car….

I like to go to the Car Wash.  I see neat things there while I am waiting….. like Green Anole Lizards, and Love Branches.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” -Buddha

The Hides of March

Another one I got wrong as a kid…. The Ides of March.  I thought it was Hides.  I always heard the month was coming in like a lion, and going out like a lamb…. so I thought when people were quoting the well-known Shakespearean reference, that they were saying Hides.  Like…… animal hides.  It made absolutely no sense to me at all because I had never seen a lamb or a lion, in our neighborhood, in March, or any other month for that matter.

No one really seems to know the origin of the word “ides” which refers to the “middle day” of the month on the Roman Calendar.   (There are also connections to the God Mars, and also to the Full Moon.)  I can’t find out “why” though.

However, most people know that it was a bad, bad day for Julius Caesar.  In 44 B.C. Jule-Man was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.  He visited a “Seer” just prior to his death.  The Seer said to Julesey…. “Beware of the Ides of March.”  (…and Shakespeare then wrote about it…Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19 )

Another connect the dot for you….. the Caesar Salad is often thought to be named for Julius Caesar.  Oh, no, no, no.  The salad was created by an Italian-born Mexican restaurateur names Caesar Cardini…. AND it first appeared on a restaurant menu in L.A., on March 15, 1946 (HOLY Lettuce Leaves & Anchovies!).  It was a Friday, in case you were wondering.  The name of the restaurant was called the Lion’s Lair.  I bet you are wicky-jigging right now… just sitting there wicky-jigging…..

…. I know I am.  Right down to my hide.

Happy Birthday Al.

Some of my friends who are close to me know that I am a little, teeny, weeny bit OC.  Obsessive Compulsive.  Maybe…. just a smidgen.  But what most people don’t know is that I suffer from NDD.  Numerical Distraction Disorder.

Oh it is true.  It affects on .025% of the population…. but it is growing in….. numbers.  The deal is, I am always thinking numbers.  Counting.  Making numerical comparisons.

For instance.  My favorite numbers are 7 and 8.  I don’t care so much for 6 or 13.  Plooey.  Many of the other numbers are just okay on their own, but when you pair them up, or mix them in sets of three, well, then….. all of this begins to get extremely complicated.  Like all the combos that add up to 7 are pretty good…. except 1+6 or 6+1.  I totally like 2+5 and 3+4, etc.    As you can see, this is really quite the affliction.

We could get all smacked-down-consumed with this conversation, but this much I will tell you.  I also like three numbers that add up to 8.  Like 1+3+4.  How stinking great is that? Just so happens that all the while I was growing up, our house number was 134.  (…. and then I was the 7th born in our family.  ’52 was one of my favorite years of last century….. it goes on and on and on).

So what’s not to like about today’s date?  3.14.  Perfect.  And it just so happens that today is one of my greatest idol’s birthday…. Albert Einstein.  See how this works?  So Happy Birthday Alby. Something tells me you were also one of the .025% suffering from NDD, but in a much different way than I.   All your counting added up.  It is all relative.


Some days are funny like that.   It feels like everything is going around in circles.  Including your head.

Zoinks!  is about the only way to describe it.  Minor annoyances, or glitches, in your day.

Here are some tips to avoid Kapowee-Days:

1.  Don’t make your waitress cry at breakfast.

2. Don’t run your iPhone through the washing machine…. on a heavy load long wash cycle… whites…. in hot water with bleach.

3. Don’t walk around with big chunks of broccoli in your front teeth, smiling boldly at the entire free world.

4. Don’t sit down at your computer to write your evening blog, and have your hard drive start to fail, losing all ability to run any software, including things like recognizing your bluetooth mouse.

5. Don’t let your dog walk down the back porch steps at midnight, wearing the cone of shame.

Just wrap it up.  Call it a day.  Give it a heartfelt “Holy Cow!” and go to bed.

And maybe sing…. “Day…..Oh.  Daaaayyyyyyyy Oh…..  Daylight come and me wanna go home……”

Emerald Slippers and My Bulldog.

As many of you know, one of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. The highly acclaimed film, which hit the silver screen in 1939, was based on the children’s novel, written by L. Frank Baum.  It was originally published on the afternoon of May 17th, 1900, which happened to be a Thursday.    Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend & comrade, My Wife”,  Maud Gage Baum.

The L in Baum’s name stands for Lyman.  Lyman Baum.  Lyman Francis Baum.  Frank sounds a bit better, although it is another name for a hot dog, or wiener.

Anyhow, the book was published in 1900, but it went through several draft changes as spelled out by the George M. Hill Publishing Company of Chicago.

Some notable changes to the earliest manuscript:

Dorothy’s name was originally Maud.  Surrender Maud had quite a different ring to it… so that got nixed.
The little dog was not so little the first time around.  It called for a standard bulldog named Harry.  Once again, not the same appeal as a scruffy little Toto leaping into baskets, and open arms, and such.

The Emerald City was The Ruby City the first time around.
And…..the Ruby Slippers were originally……. The Emerald Slippers.

Again, the Hill Company thought the two iconic details should be switched.
Personally, I think it was a good call.

I am getting consumed with relaying the details of this.  I just LOVE W of O Trivia. But… last little tidbit.  L. Frank Baum had a bulldog when he was a boy.  He trained him with little sausage links….. Which he called “Weenies”…..  And he would always say to his pet dog Harry…. “Old boy.  Always…. always boy, remember…..HOME is where the WEENIES ARE!”  and he’d toss him a little sausage.  Sooooooooo…… in the original manuscript, Maud clicked her Emerald-Slipper-Clad-Heels three times, and proclaimed.  “Home is where the weenies are.  Home is where the weenies are.  Home is where the weenies are.” (This phrase now appears in many other modern day books as a literary tribute…. most notably a Dean R. Koontz novel called “Watchers”)   But again, this particular expression got canned from Baum’s original writings, and now we ALL know Dorothy, Ruby Slippers in place, clicking and repeating… “There’s no place like home.”

Makes no difference to me tonight.  After a brief visit…. to a foreign land…. in a far away place…. I am sitting at my very own kitchen table snacking on sausages.  With my little dog too.


Home is where the weenies are.
There’s no place like home.