Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gone on Holiday

I noticed him on those days I would take a short cut along a country road and there he sat, on an old worn lawn chair smiling and waving to all who passed by.

I never knew his name, we would make eye contact and I would return the gesture and be on my way.

I haven’t had to take that passageway for a few years so I do not know if his daily routine is still followed.  Judging by his appearance I assumed he was retired and just wanted something to do.

My wife once saw him and told me she fully expected one day that would become my destiny.

This week I made the mistake of hitting the wrong button on my television and instead of my Pandora channel on the Roku, I got to see a female marionette read a news story from a teleprompter, (complete with a video) regarding the Queen Mommy and the closely followed royal birth canal.

Her Royalty was asked about her choice regarding the sex of the about-to-be latest addition to the Very Wealthy British Welfare Monarchy.

The Royalness expressed no real preference; she was hoping the big drop was imminent as she was about to embark on Holiday.

ON HOLIDAY!  ARE YOU (expletives abound feel free to add your own) KIDDING!

I have to ask readers of this blog, and Americans in general, to look deeply into today’s society and tell me just how overworked and stressed the Brit elite must be to warrant time away from THAT workload?  (Hey, I am not finished getting my “Irish up”).

While you’re working 2 maybe 3 part time jobs in order to avoid foreclosure, and your spouse had to take a pay cut and double a workload to maintain their job, can you think fondly of those crazy Royals and their need to de-stress from all those grueling smiles, waves, polo matches and luncheons with heads of state all choreographed by an endless array of minions on the royal payroll.

My gosh all they basically have to do is just show-up.

I can only imagine talk around their dinner table.

“Dear, was your day dreadful?”
“Why yes, thank you for asking.  I had to wave to maybe 1000 common folk and actually watch a few dozen sycophants curtsey before me.”

“Oh dear, may I get you an aspirin?”

“Make it a scotch, neat, and bring the bottle”.

Well, I decided to go for a drive to seek out the old gentleman on the lawn chair just for a quick wave and a smile.
The chair was still there but there was a sign next to it. The sign read: “Be back soon, gone on Holiday”

In case you want to know more about life among the exhausted elite, I have enclosed  an official link to the British Royals.
Grab a scotch and read on.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Juan Valdez the marriage counselor

I live in an area of the country that has a convenience store chain that rivals the famous 7-11.
Actually there is no rivalry as the 7-11’s sit almost comatose as hundreds, thousands; no millions of daily caffeine-addicted zombies dutifully embark on a trek and head out to these Mecca’s for one of many offerings that will kick start their day.
Serious caffeine-heads rush to these stores. There is a never-ending supply of customer traffic.

Our area residents never work they just drink coffee.
Starbucks traffic is pitiful, just the same small handful of lame-o hipster freeloaders who just hang around for the Internet. They should pick up their free WiFi from their neighbors, like the rest of us.

I too am guilty of patronage, not because their coffee is the worlds best; it is just that we have not mastered the art at home.

This week, while grocery shopping, I came to realize that we are approaching a 40th wedding anniversary and the latest brand of coffee purchased now numbers 248.   We have tried (and failed) an average of 6.2 different brands/year, not to mention the 69 coffee makers, various filtered waters and 7 different grinders used during those periods when we believed going right to the bean would provide the ideal brew.

Our marriage has come to a impasse. Of the many things that could bring a couple to differences, who would have thought that a major concern was over a cup of joe.  We have tried caffeine counseling but our cards and emails to Juan Valdez remain unanswered (someone mentioned that he is a fictitious character but don’t believe it. I was told the same about Mr. Goodwrench).

I continue my pursuit, refusing to quit or even (gulp) switch to tea!

Sorry, tea consumption is so reminiscent of all things British, an interest foreign to me and a source of puzzlement as to why so many in this country stayed glued to their news pulses, this week, awaiting the new arrival of the future crown.  By the time little Georgie gets a shot at the top post I would have long been decomposing and onto a different journey.

My quest moves forward.  I still hope for a response from Juan Valdez but in any case  I may have found a new lead in this video.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two wheels are better than none.

My life began at 10 when I got my first 2-wheel bicycle.  Certainly my driver’s license afforded unlimited boundaries within the boarders of two oceans, but a bicycle gave me quick access to surrounding neighborhoods to observe life beyond 8-10 city blocks.

I took advantage of this freedom, especially during the summer months when I would find myself wandering into sections of the city containing parks with TREES!

I understand my excitement at the word “trees” may appear to be a bit unusual but my street had no trees, zero, nada, none.  The city gets very hot in July and August.

I would glance out my bedroom window and watch squirrels scurry up and down the telephone poles, jumping on the roofs.

They too were probably in search of trees.

These explorations were some of the best times spent, getting in touch with nature, meeting new people, fresh air, exercise, finding new and unusual pets to drag home. The adventures were cut short, a few summers later, by two words: “bicycle lock”.

A hard pill to swallow, reality setting in, but there was really a sense of shock with the discovery that my bike had been stolen, and yes I did not lock it.

As important as losing my main mode of transportation was to me, there are many parts of the world where ownership of a bicycle can mean the survival of an individual, a family, even a village.

Here is an amazing story of Izhar Gafni, an inventor, engineer, dreamer who just may have found a solution to help the planet and it's inhabitants live a better and longer life.

Great story.  Watch both videos.

Video #1

Video #2

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fly me to the moon.

Freshman year at Holy Alcatraz Catholic High School for Boys began my true introduction to formal “hands-on” science.  Prior to that time my experience was limited to exploring a chemistry set owned by my childhood friend Ricky. 

We made more than ink until his grandmother banished me from her basement for a concoction I dreamed up   Somehow my brew emitted a putrid sulfur / rotten egg aroma that permeated the firewalls of a few of the neighboring row homes.

There was no real formula, it was at best a watch and see if anything would begin to percolate or catch fire.  We weren’t expecting the really foul smell but there it was, I couldn’t cover it up, the dirt was on my hands and I was busted and banished.

I was shocked my parents never found out but I certainly was not going to volunteer my guilt.

I don’t recall exactly the name of my freshman year science course but I know I had to weigh things; there were test tubes and my favorite, BUNSEN BURNERS! Now I was not only able to mix stuff and see what bubbles over, I could melt things when the priest on guard duty would sneak out of the room, somehow "called" to attend a pressing matter, only to return reeking of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Sophomore year Biology found me gathered around a table with 3 lab partners, none of which were willing to dissect anything.  I always seemed to pull surgical duty be it a frog, worm, heart, eyeball you name it I was the anointed.  It was not that I was smarter; my cellmates were quicker at fleeing to the rest room to lose their breakfast. 

I was last boy standing.

(At this point I need to set the record straight.  I continue to maintain my innocence, as I was not the one who turned on the ovens roasting the frozen dead cats that were thawing on trays awaiting science experiments from the biology club.  I thank the guilty party as the early dismissal was surely appreciated.)

What really fueled my scientific curiosity was the coming Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

After I first saw Sputnik floating across the night sky, and all through the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo programs, I was excited about space exploration and it’s future projects.  Each new launch found me riveted around the black and white. Apollo 11 would now help fulfill President Kennedy’s goal of reaching the moon by the end of the decade.

On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed and six hours later Neal Armstrong made that historic first step as the world enthusiastically watched.

It was one of those moments in life where you knew exactly where you were as it was happening.

We now celebrate the event with barely a notice. Two days ago was the anniversary.  Did you remember?

During those years our nation had a unified purpose, a goal that not only gave us a dream to fulfill, but space exploration provided numerous benefits that touched every aspect of our lives.  Lest we forget, check out this link from NASA.