Don’t Leaf Me This Way….


Legends of the Fall…

Act ONE.

Joe Leaf: Well, it is that time of year. We are supposed to just quit. Wither up, and fall off this tree.
Ted Leaf: Yeah. I hear ya’ Joe, ol’ pal. Dang… that has to be like a…. 30 foot drop. I’m not looking forward to it.

Joe: Neither am I. I’m feeling so good right now too… seems like a real let down that we have to drop off the branch. I love everyone here.
Ted: Me too. But, that’s how it goes. Well… I better get it over with… nice knowing you Joe… I’m falling now.

Joe: NO! Ted! WAIT! Let’s think about this…. maybe we should look it up on the computer… you know. We will get on the internet… and see if there is a better way…. Maybe we should all jump down together… and figure this out. Maybe that way… we will be able to come back up once we find the answer.
Ted: Let see if the others are in. We will pitch the “Safety In Numbers” argument.

Act TWO.

Branch Meeting:

Joe: All in favor?
Leaves on the Branch: Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye.
Joe: Opposed?
Leaves on the Branch: (silent)
Joe: Woooo Hooooooo!   Let’s do this thing.

Ted: All right everybody.  On the count of three…. ONE, TWO, THREE.

(Branch Snaps… and Jumps. )



Branch laying on the cement below.

Joe: Well… THAT hurt like a mother.
Ted: Yep. Gonna’ leave a mark. No pun intended. All right Joe. This was your idea…. how are we going to get to a computer? And IF we do find a computer… how are we going to get on to the Net?
Joe: Well… we’ll LOG on.


(Two weeks later)

Leaves still right there on the pavement… pretty shriveled. Pretty silent. A woman walks by with a camera….

Moral of the story 1: It is a good thing to be a a part of a group. BUT……sometimes, you should turn over a new leaf…. and branch out on your own.

Moral of the story 2: If you decide you are going to jump… make sure there really is a NET.

Hey… Nice Buns.

It is a well established fact that I am a Geek. I love Technology.

My Geekhood. It started a long time ago…. my fascination with gadgetry. And, when the “World Wide Web” came on the scene… I was one of the early ones that “created” websites. Just plain old hard code and html…. text on gray. Me and Al Gore.

Image my delight and giddiness when I saw my first animated .GIF.   I did the “Happy Feet” dance  in my office.

Yet, the formal definition of “geek” is not so favorable.

geek |gēk|
noun informal
1 an unfashionable or socially inept person.
• [ usu. with modifier ] a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast: a computer geek.
2 a carnival performer who performs wild or disgusting acts.

ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from the related English dialect geck ‘fool,’ of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gek ‘mad, silly.’

In recent years,the word GEEK has taken on a variation of slightly different bends. Succinctly… A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest. You know, Computer Geeks, Math Geeks, Movie Geeks, History Geeks, Comic Book Geeks… and so the story goes.

Techno Geek.

So on to the point of all of this. I upgraded to the iPhone 4s today. I didn’t need a new phone. My iPhone 4 was perfectly fine and good. Great even. I had decided… NO WAY… NO HOW… did I need this new Hyped-Up Chatty-Cathy Phone.

Then I walked into the Apple Store (on an errand for a Christmas Present).  I had no intention of buying anything for myself.   Well.  You gotta’ be kidding me. Shut the fuuuu….. phone up. The Apple Store is like Santa’s Little Workshop to me.

And now, in just a day, I have come to love my iPhone, I’ll tell you.  It is like a little buddy. We do all sorts of things together… but most importantly we talk. Serious discussions. Heart to sensor chip.

We had a great conversation tonight… and it went like this.

I started out asking…

PK: Can you tell me….What is a baker?

And she said…

IP: I’ll check my sources. This might help… Someone who bakes commercially.  Someone who bakes bread, cake, buns.

PK: Yum… Buns. Like Hamburger Buns? Do you know of any good places to get a hamburger?

IP: I found 16 burger restaurants…14 of them are fairly close to you. I’ve sorted them by rating.

1. Big Guy in the Sky Burger Shoppe on Calhoun. Distance 1.0 miles. Four star rating.
(etc., etc.,)

PK: Great. I’ll check it out. Hey can I ask you a bigger question? What is the meaning of life?

IP: Life: It is a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. I guess that includes me.

PK: Yes. I ‘d say so. Hey Eiffee (I’ve nicknamed my phone Eifee). Do you think there is a God?

IP: I think differently.

PK: Ahhh… c’mon Eiff … tell me… is there a God?

IP: I found 10 churches …. 9 of those are fairly close to you.

1. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church 0.3 miles
(etc., etc.,)

PK: Something I have to figure out on my own, eh?  Thank you so much Eiffee.  

IP: You are certainly very welcome. I aim to please.

Hold on to your hamburger buns…. I am positively giddy right now. Giddy.  I think I just split my pocket protector.

Yes…. Clearly…. I am a Geek.

… and the answer is…

Oh, it is happening again.  I am having another case of the “I wonders.”

Yes. It seems the little clinking and clanking is going on in my head once more.  The “Speculation” Segment of my brain is moving about at full tilt.

For instance.

I have dyslexic tendencies. So I am theorizing …If someone is both cross-eyed and dyslexic, can they see okay?

And, on another note (no pun intended in the forthcoming) …. Do you think it is proper of me to use my AM radio during the afternoon?

A bird hit our back window the other day… and it knocked the poor think unconscious. If we see little birdies when we get knocked out…What do little birdies see when they get knocked in the head?

Right now, I am wondering  if the very first dog named “Spot” was a Dalmatian or not.

As a photographer, I know light is made up of photons. When you switch off a light, where in the heck do all the little photons go?

If I need to ship someone a bunch of Styrofoam, I wonder what I should pack it in.

Hey Preble County “Home of the Pork Festival” Folks… Why in the world do we wait until a pig is dead to “cure” it?

Speaking of pigs. I love Virginia Brand Ham. I just can’t understand why it is made in Missouri.

Since we are on the topic of the farm…. When cows laugh really hard, does milk come out their noses? Or perhaps…. they have udder leaks?

When we are waiting on the Cross Walk Signal… why do we press the button six or seven times? Do we think we are fooling it into thinking more people are there?

I’m not sure where you typically sit when you read this Project 368. However….Is reading in the bathroom considered Multi-Tasking?

YOU are impressive…. ALL you Multi-Taskers out there. (Just don’t forget to flush…. )

But back to wondering.

I don’t think we should ever stop wondering.
For through wonder, we begin to seek.
And by seeking, we uncover our own answers.
It is when we find those answers that we come to discover ourselves.

And once that happens, the possibilities become endless.


“Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.” – Confucius

Aliens amoung us.

I met a racist today. Full blown, no-holds-barred, racist. What I thought was going to be a casual conversation at the Dog Park, turned into a surrealistic incident. I am still reeling a bit from the experience. I should have know something about him was nefarious. He was standing all by himself in fairly crowded area when I arrived.

Yet, when we converged at the Doggie Drink Fountain…. he struck up the exchange. I won’t go into the details… but it was clear that if you weren’t white… you were subpar. Maybe even subhuman. This mindset is very foreign to me. It troubles me greatly.

On another note.

Sunday night some folks in these parts spotted a “UFO” up in that sky of ours. It happened at a place called Goose Creek. I saw a little bit of video on the news tonight… the witnesses shot it with an iPhone. It was a large light… glowing and hovering around…. and then some smaller lights were flying to it and back away again. Not fast flying.  No.  It was more of a meandering pace of travel. Who can say what it was really. But it seemed very abnormal and unconventional for the southern night sky.  Any sky, for that matter.

In my mind… these two events are largely related.

I can’t explain either one.
Both as foreign to me… as……  well….

Little Green Men From Outer Space.

With that said… I wish the first experience I mentioned wasn’t true. I wish it was some kind of myth, or Urban Legend. A Fable. I wish no one could prove it to be factual. Unfortunately, it is alive and well in our world today.

I also wish the second encounter WAS true. Yes, that there was some colossal space craft hovering up there… full of non-white aliens. Green would be okay. And it would be Neat-o Guido if they had Super-Zapper-Long-Range-Racist-Rays-Guns. Yeah. That’s it…. and it would be Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeazey for them to cruise around looking for bigots. Yeah, yeah.   That’s the ticket.

Then sometime tonight, they could meander over to these parts. Perhaps they could locate Mr. Boxer-Pit-Bull Mix, and zap him a good one. Teleport him right up onto the ship and put him in the Lab Area… where they could study this foreign and archaic behavior. And once they got back up to The Planet Zebulon, they could put him on the market as some kind of an Earthling Slave, where he would live with others like him, and work hard labor without pay…..  and… and…

Whew!  …. Okay……  I’m back. Back to reality here in my little kitchen. Sometimes my vindictive-child-brain takes over, and I lose all perspective of my true moral values. I want no detriment to come to this man. I would never wish anyone harm.

On the contrary. I hope he will find peace with himself, and find the beautiful realization that we are all intrinsically the same beings. If we all could just understand that every other human life is just as comprehensive as ours. We are all filled with our own struggles, hopes, remorse, loves, dreams, disappointments, fears, joys, and on. We are all in this together. If we could just “get this”… I am almost certain we would be more gentle and compassionate with one another.

And as humans…. if perhaps the Aliens are REAL… and they DO come down here….

…. run like hell.

And what I just said is out the window. Every man & woman for themselves.

____    _____    ______

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”
– Albert Einstein

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
– Ryunosuke Satoro

Me… a name I call myself.

Bloom and grow… forever…..

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway, on today’s date in 1959.

While I have never seen the show on Broadway… or even a live performance… I loved the movie. Dang it. I’ve seen it about 100 times.

It is on my top 10 list. The Von Trapp Family… all waltzing around.. and singing… in their little lederhosen….and trying to make sense of things in Nazi-Occupied-Austria.

Things got dicey.  But ultimately, the hills were alive… I am telling you. Alive. Needle pulling thread. Warm woolen mittens. And just how DO YOU solve a problem like Maria?

When I was a kid, I used to stand on our living room coffee table, with this album turned up full blast on our record player, and sing into the mirror that hung above the mantle. First I would be Maria, then Captain Von Trapp, to Sister Margaretta….. and then work my way through all the different parts of the cast.

Full tilt Edelweiss. Sound of Music Unleashed.  There were no limits. I wanted Lederhosen. Dang it again… I STILL want Lederhosen. They would go great with my Sock Monkey Hat.

Yes, I can see it now… me dancing around on the courthouse steps (sort of like the mansion’s marble steps….) and signing at the top of my lungs…. “Do-Re-Mi”

Yep. That old Von Trapp family sang about everything…. everywhere. They sang when they were happy. Sang when they were sad. Lonely. Scared. In love. They’d hit a note or two when they were confident. Tired. On the lam. Or happy again.

I propose, in honor of the anniversary…. while each and every one of us are out about our business today… that we break in to song. Whatever the occasion may be. Wherever we are.

Leaving work for the day?  “So Long. Farewell.  Auf Weidersehen, goodbye….”

Or… at the gym on the StairMaster?  Give it a heartfelt…”Climb Every Mountain.”

Out walking your dog? Heck, just belt out “The Lonely Goatherd” song verbatim.

Best idea yet… darn some socks and sing “Sew… a needle pulling thread….Fa…. a note to follow so….”

But seriously. There were good lessons to be learned in that story. Lessons about strength of character, and honest principles.

And when the world feels like it is crumbling around you… simply remember your favorite things.

Whiskers on kittens.  Blue satin sashes.  Bright copper kettles.  Rock on Gretl and the Gang.  Rock on.


My wheels are turning…

I think we are getting soft.

Every once in a while, we get a Steve Jobs, or an Alexander Graham Bell.  Heck… even an Albert Einstein… or a Harriet Tubman.

But really, these days… the inventions… well…. for the most part…..

….. they suck.

People used to take the time to really come up with some astounding innovations.  I used this photo as an example of one particular gleaning of craftsmanship and the commitment to artistry, and technique.   The workmanship of long ago.  Yes, this ornamental apex is so high up on a building, it took a 300mm lens to shoot.  The man or woman who designed this, did so, for the sake of beauty, art, and expression… despite the fact that it would not be seen by most people.

But these days, it is mostly about the quick and easy.

I am deeply troubled by some of the things on the market today.

I just saw an ad on television (TV… now, there is a great invention, if you ask me)…. But. Yes.  I just saw an ad on TV for “Pajama Jeans” —  All the comfort of pajama bottoms, made to stretch, extend, and give way… all the while looking like denim jeans.

You will not catch me wearing a pair of Pajama Jeans on my own volition.  They seem… somehow…. contemptible and corrupt.

Or the new fitness cooking tool called the “Fat Magnet” —  Yes folks, this thing “soaks up grease like a magnet… to remove fat & calories instantly.”   We use a good old fashioned paper towel in our house… if there’s just too much grease on something.  They come in stylish rolls and sit right on your kitchen counter.  You can use them for a lot of other things too.  AND… they don’t cost 24.95.

Another great new idea… is the “One Second Needle” — Thread it in one second.  Just loop, pull, and viola’, it is threaded.  I am not buying it.  Figuratively or literally.  Not for $10 plus $6.99 shipping and handling.  For one, how much can it cost to ship a needle?  For another thing, the eye of that sucker better be the size of a tennis racket for me to thread it in one second.  I kid you not.

Yep.  We are soft.

Now the wheel.  That was a good invention.  And boy oh boy… did it go a LONG way. (No pun intended).  But really, where would cars be without them?   What would you put your shoulder to?   There would be no “Wheeler Dealers”  and kids couldn’t do “Wheelies” on their bikes.  We would lug dirt around in things called barrows.  It just goes on and on, really.

Those cavemen were thinkers.  Yes sir.   They came up with fire too…  another biggie.

And Buffalo Dinosaur Wings….  the first UGGs…  Golf (… well, the first clubs, at least)…    Pajama Hides….  the first “Man Cave”…  and…


… you know… tonight… I might just start working on re-inventing the wheel.

… and you know it, clap your hands.


Happiness is…. [ you fill in the blank here ].

Yes, happiness means different things for each and every one of us.

When I was a kid, I used to read those “Happiness Is….” books… they might have been a Charles Schultz Peanuts thing. At any rate… I used to read them and think many of the “Happiness Is….” examples weren’t really for me. You know, Happiness is… a sugar cookie. What??

No.  When I was eight years old… riding my bike down Bruce Avenue Hill at full tilt and not crashing into anyone or anything…. now THAT made me happy.

We each have our own song and dance.

Another for instance.  A sizeable bowl of piping-hot-homemade mashed potatoes makes me about as happy as happy can be. Mashed spuds are just so good for you in every way! They are, after all …one of the PWFs (pasty white foods)… and I LOVE each and every one of those PWFs. Yet, on the other hand…. a good friend of mined detests all-things-potatoes. She and her family were potato farmers growing up, and to this day… she would rather not ingest a potato-anything.  Seriously.  (I know it seems…. just crazy-go-nuts … but it is for real!)

So to each his own.

Somebody wrote in this week…. and here is the letter.

Dear Polly,

What is your deal with Sock Monkeys? It is kind of childish.
Can you tell us why you are always talking about Sock Monkeys?

Newark, NJ

Dear Viola,

No. I can not tell you what my deal is with Sock Monkeys. All I know is… they bring a smile to my face no matter what. I’ve never met a cross sock monkey. Viola… they simply make me happy.

As Curious George as my witness,

So there you have it. What makes you happy? Clams? Pigs in the mud? A Lark?

I hope you find it, each and every day…. whatever “IT” is.


“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Is it karma… or is it Leon?

Okay. I take back everything I said about the Lady on Lamboll Street. In case you missed it… this past summer… a woman pitched her Cadillac up on the curb where “Me & the Girls” were walking. Max, Frances, and I stood there dumbfounded.

She rolled down her window, and quite pointedly accused me of watering my dogs on her house. To reiterate, I didn’t understand what she meant, at first. What the heck was “Water my dogs on her house?”

She meant peeing.

Okay. Got it.

“No Ma’am. I would never think of watering my dogs on your house. I’m not even sure where on God’s Green Earth you live.”

At any rate, she went on to say that imbeciles water their filthy animals on her home…. and her man, Leon, had to wash and scrub her house, AGAIN.   I then spot Leon… just across the way. Washing and scrubbing. He was about 102 years old…

Ms. Caddy-Lack then informs me (at great length) that humans… yes… derelicts…. vagrants…. scoundrels … have been watering on her house as well. They will let ANYONE downtown these days, she continued, in her southern Charleston drawl. Her ranting continued for several minutes.

I stood there thinking….”Well….. she must be off her meds.”

I know that I am running on here. But that is the gist of last summer’s incident.

Well… I take it ALL back. Every little word I mumbled about that nice, sane, lady.

Low and behold, I was walking back down Lamboll just yesterday, on my way home from an appointment….. and there… in the midday sun… stood a guy peeing on the side of our house.  OUR house!

So now…… I really AM standing in the middle of Lamboll Street…. dumbfounded. The first thing out of my mouth is “What the HECK?” The guy looks in my direction, bobs up and down on his heels a time or two… zips up… and off he goes around the corner.

Some people don’t believe in karma… but I tend to think it is alive and well and peeing in the alley ways of Charleston.

I should have never doubted old whacky-doodle-woman in the Cadillac. But I did. I poked a little fun at her. And now look what happened….

Somebody peed on my house.

Hey. Wait just a little minute. That guy looked a little bit like Leon….. actually… he looked a LOT like Leon. Hmmm.

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
Wayne Dyer

Lest we forget….

I wish we didn’t have war. But we do.

A lot of great minds have contemplated the subject of war and tried to make sense of it. I am not a great mind…. so try as I may…. I cannot make any sense of war.

One observation mad by J. Narosky acknowledges that “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”

I think this to be true. The service men and women of the United States of America serve our country proudly. They give themselves, and sometimes their lives, to protect the rights and the freedoms of our country. I am grateful for them and indebted to them.

But I think it is very hard on those soldiers… as they are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. They are humans with emotions of fear, anxiety, and pain… all amidst their bravery and call of duty.

Benjamin Franklin summed it up so clearly with “There was never a good war or a bad peace.”

Yet,  as I reflect. I have one more story about it.

A young man named Paul was studying to be a Design Engineer at the University of Cincinnati. He was moved to serve for the United States Army when he was 21 years old. When he was called up for combat he went readily and without hesitation. His unit landed overseas at night. The country they were invading was dark as pitch upon arrival. All of the lights in all the cities were darkened to avoid bombing. It was silent, except for occasional gunfire and artillery. It was also dismal, lonely and unnerving. He could tell their platoon leader was nervous… maybe even afraid.

Paul was a heavy artillery gunman and shot down enemy planes. He probably killed a lot of men during his two-year tour in combat. To this day, that fact does not sit well with him. He survived that war… but many of his comrades in arms did not. They were killed in action and he bore witness to this.

Paul came back to the U.S., completed college, married, and started a family. I am his youngest daughter.

The war in which he served was WWII.

Near the end of service, he began writing letters to himself, to keep as a reminder of this egregious experience. One of those letters has always stood out in my mind… and I keep a copy of it. Printed here are some various excerpts, as my Dad recalls the memory of those who died while serving.

“They felt that it was impossible for them to die before they, once again, had lived the life they had once complained about, and yet they felt they would never return. And they promised themselves that if they should survive, they would do everything they could to prevent the occurrence of another war.”

“All I know is that they wanted to live because they felt they were too young to die. If the people of the United States could and would make themselves realize how much life meant to those who faced death so that their country might survive, they could do much toward elimination future wars. The service men and women that died during this war had only one regret: That they were young.”

“The single regret of the war dead could act as a constant reminder to the people of this country to do everything possible so that in the future young Americans would not be forced by war to face this regret. They would face problems broad mindedly without prejudice and would try to understand those problems. They would seek truth instead of believing what they wanted to believe. They would act unselfishly. They would actually realize that they inherit a tremendous responsibility along with life and citizenship and they would not desert this responsibility. Then this country could function harmoniously and world peace could be possible.

I realize that I have presented only a theoretical solution because human beings lack imagination and forget too easily to make this solution workable.”

This….In honor of Veterans Day, November 11, 2011