Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Cane

Tommy got his knee cut the other day. They took part of the meniscus and some scrapings for the start of arthritis. But the star of the show has been the cane.

It was my grandpa Homer's cane. I have no idea when he got it, but I have seen it used by somebody for nearly 60 years. Then my dad used it. And I used it. Then Tommy.

I had a back spasm, really bad once. It was bad enough that I missed work, and also fell down in the house, and had to crawl to the bedroom. When I was trying to get ready for bed, I couldn't bend over and pull up my pajama bottoms, so I just hooked the trusty cane in the fly and hoisted them.

Haven't had back trouble for many years, fortunately, but when he had the knee surgery, he needed a cane after crutches. Although he really wanted a "pimp cane," he had to settle.

The physical therapy lady was fascinated by the cane and its story. His friends asked about his knee, and then went on to talk about their favorite old cane. Yesterday, he went back to the bone doc. They talked about his knee for 5 minutes and the cane for 15 minutes, the doc evidently has an antique cane and had to tell him about it.

Seems like everybody has their story, and everybody has a story about a cane.

While we are talking about knees and canes, this is a shout out to my cousin Jan who is having knee replacement surgery tomorrow. Jan hopes it goes as well as her first one, and I told her it is going to be better! Make it so.

Hope you have a good cane.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The irony does not escape me that I am sitting here savoring a delightful egg casserole that we make, store and enjoy during the week while reading about the hunger, poverty and over-all well being (or lack of it) of children in America.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its results for 2012 and the headlines are, of course, focused on who is at the bottom. The usual suspects--Mississippi and the rest of the Southeastern states, but a surprise this year is that #50 belongs to New Mexico. Arizona and Nevada join the bottom four, just nudging out Louisiana.

The rankings compile statistics on how children are faring in a variety of metrics including economic status, education, health and family/community. There has to be some bias in the way these things are viewed, but it is hard to argue with the data in general. Take a look at the report by searching for "Kids Count" and go to the Data Center.

There is progress being made, that's the good news. The bad news--there is a long way to go.  Top spots for economic well-being, measured by factors like stable employment, the number of children in poverty, teens not in school and unemployed, and high housing cost burden go to the "fly-over" states in the Plains.

Over all, the people who make the laws, the ones most represented in Congress, tend to fall pretty low. California is ranked #41, lower than Arkansas #40 and just ahead of the Southeastern states that dominate the lower half of the rankings. New York is in the middle of the pack at #29, Illinois ranks #23.

The regional differences within states ought to be considered for many of the states, and that is pointed out in the report. An individual child's status in Up-State New York may be significantly different than a child in one of the boroughs of New York City. Likewise, I can witness that a child on the reservation around Martin, South Dakota has a different life than a youngster in Dakota Dunes.

Personal surprises? That Nevada and Arizona are ranked so low. But that may be due to the huge rural areas? Seems odd when you think of the wealth displayed in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Non-surprise? Economic well-being in the Great Plains (I am broadening the definition a bit to include places like Wyoming and Minnesota that are not all on the Plains). Eight-dollar corn, "beans in the teens" and the energy boom makes a difference.

California's ranking is just another example of why I have no ability to understand that state--some places are worse than third-world for kids, some places are ideal. In just about every way, that state surprises me with extremes.

If we can't feed the children, they won't take a lot from their education. If they don't get educated, we have Afghanistan-sized problems.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg

While we're on a roll here with Mayor Bloomberg, here is some more info:

The mayor of Rockford, Illinois has dropped out of Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun coalition because he said the group strayed from its original mission. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) have strayed from their original purpose according to Mayor Larry Morrissey. "The reason why I joined the group in the first place is because I took the name for what it said. Against 'Illegal' guns."

"The challenge that we see day in and day out in the city of Rockford is not dealing primarily with assault weapons or machine guns, automatic weapons. It's dealing with a typical handgun. All of those typical weapons are usually in the hands of people who are prohibited from having them," Morrissey said.

"The focus should not be against law-abiding citizens. We should be focusing our enforcement on folks who have no right to carry a gun, concealed or otherwise."

Apparently, he has had three death threats, works closely with the police and intends to apply for a concealed carry permit "when the opportunity becomes available to him in Illinois."

I am concerned about the last part of that quote--are the gun laws so messed up in Illinois that the mayor can't get a permit? I know that when we travel through Illinois, we have to lock our guns in cases, take any ammunition and place it in a separate, secured location and make the guns inoperable. But I am interested in that statement.

Oh, and by the way--Mayor Bloomberg's group is tax-exempt under the same IRS code, 501(c)(4) as the conservative folks that the IRS targeted for harassment. He has not been targeted, in a surprising development. There has been criticism of his use of City employees and the City's computer servers for purposes of the group, though.

Wonder if this is news "fit to print?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Rudolph W. Giuliani recently said "When I first became mayor of New York City, we worried about things like murder. Assault. Riots. Poverty. If they have time now to concentrate on the size of your soda and cigars, I must have done one heck of a job when I was in office."

Current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg passed a smoking ban early in his first term and recently made an unsuccessful attempt to ban the sale of large, sugary drinks in the city.

Isn't San Francisco's ban on McDonald's Happy meals silly? Or how about Concord, Massachusetts, that banned small bottles of water. The Bloomberg Administration even scrutinized the practice of giving away samples of baby formula to new mothers in an effort to encourage breast feeding. Who are these idiots?

This is popular sport among some. It is unacceptably intrusive to the rest of us.

I am a "reformed" smoker, and "reformed" anything tends to lean a bit to the wacky side. But a good cigar, with a nice single malt, enjoyed on my patio where no one is bothered is one of those rare pleasures. I hope I can continue to enjoy them, and that somebody clues in Mayor Bloomberg that there are more important issues, bigger public enemies than the Big Gulp.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another one

Linda remembered one from Brookside in Kansas City:

Hank of Hair, operated by a guy named...are you ready?...Hank.

C'mon, guys, we have to have more.

OK, this is more like it: From Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

The Clip Joint
A Cut Above
Shear Dimensions

Thanks Jer and Pat.


Several years ago, we planted a tree, and in tribute to the PBS painter, Bob Ross, it seemed fitting that "a nice little tree will live right there..." in our front yard. We named her LeaAnn after a lady we knew who was slender and had red hair. Not to mention the dark roots.

LeaAnn grew and grew and became a beautiful, substantial specimen with a mature figure, not a wispy, girlish thing. She was some variety of maple with bountiful leaves and exquisite red color in the fall that lasted well into winter.

Until one summer night there was a terrible crash outside our open windows. Followed by screeching tires, a roaring engine, and I had to get up and figure out what was happening. After all, it was 3 in the morning, bar-closing time in our neighborhood.

LeaAnn was leaning over, like she wanted to take a nap. But it was more than a nap, her bark was terribly skinned, roots ripped off. She was a goner. There was a huge pool and then trail of antifreeze wandering off into the distance, and it irritated me to the point that I grabbed some keys and took off following the trail.

I located the car, but the Kansas City police were less than impressed with my tale of tree murder. They apparently had to polish off a donut before they showed up, anyway.

Turns out, the guy driving the older Cadillac was a fellow who had a long-term drinking problem. Whoa, who could have known! The car was parked (or quit) in the back yard of a house about three blocks away, and we eventually learned that the "perp" (got the lingo) had been hired by the homeowner a while back to do some odd jobs, trying to help the guy get past a rough spot. Then he started to threaten, harass and beg for money to buy booze. The homeowner became ill and discovered again that no good deed goes unpunished. He also learned that restraining orders are pretty much a waste of time, effort and money.

Don't know if this is the same problem, but I was awakened last night at about 1 o'clock and noticed something amiss in the front yard. We had LeaAnn-icide all over again.

Yep, that's our mailbox, the one by our neighbor's car is actually ours. Car parts can be seen, and there were a bunch of them. At least the mailbox took a pound of flesh.

This on top of the fact that I am getting a bit frustrated with the computer issues. But that's another story.

We'll figure it out.



Still discovering how to use this blog site, and a good part of it continues to be a mystery. It is my understanding, though, that the Replies to a blog do not get emailed to the people on the email list. The email list is pretty limited, so I can't add all the people I would like to subject to my meanderings. Replies are missing from some of the posts, and I have to figure out how to make that "un-happen."

Ah, technology. Getting a new computer, wasted a week on this one. More on that later, but I wanted to make sure that everyone saw Gerry's response to my blog about sayings and names of hair salons. If anyone else knows some, give me a shout. Now, without further ado, heeerrre's Gerry!

I think most of us can only remember one or two clever beauty shop names, unless we've been writing them down over the years, and you've already used mine. There are probably dozens of Curl Up and Dye shops around the county, although I have personally only seen the one in Minneapolis.

You should make this a project of yours and just do some internet research. It would take your mind off some of your political cogitations and worries.

You can do a Google search for the yellow page listings in any city you want. I randomly picked Seattle and searched for Beauty Salons. Some of the results are:

Wild Roots Salon
Cowboys and Angels Salon
Hair Shaft
Helmet Head
Cut Loose Collective
Over the Top
Spoiled Hair Studio
Hair for You
Vivian's Clip Joint
The Locks Shop
Shear Elegance
Shear Madness
Chop House
Untangled Spaces
Habitude at the Locks

My personal favorite:
Beauty is Pain

There is one that is just plain weird:
Discover Yourself With Bonnie

And there are two that I like because they remind me of a project I once thought of, which was to find businesses that involved an odd combination:

Radar Hair and Records
A Terrible Beauty Irish Pub (This suggests a lot of alcohol-fueled bad decisions)

My two favorite odd business combinations that made me want to search out more are:
"Toovey's Meat and Music" in Watertown, MN (a combination butcher shop and musical instruments store, mostly guitars and big amps.

"Xxxx's Taxidermy and Cheese," along I-94, the 2nd or 3rd exit going east into Wisconsin from Minnesota. It was the exit I used to take when I was taking classes at U. of Wisconsin-River Falls.

While Gerry spots a favorite among them, I can't. They are all a hoot, and the next question that pops up is, "Why are cutesy names so popular with hair salons?" Why aren't they just "First National Hair Cutters?" Or, "Bob and Gerry's Barber Shop?"

Sorry, Gerry, I already have enough projects, not horribly endowed with ambition, and irritating you with political blatherings is so amusing to me.

I had to do a little wandering on the internet--
Newark, NJ
Hair Cult
Soultry Scissors Hair Studio
Carmen's Hair Fashions (threw that in because I don't think I ever met anyone in Nebraska or Minneapolis named Carmen)
Mane Attraction
Hair Masters
Fortress of Solitude, Inc. (What? ¿Que?)
Platinum Doobies Salon (Not something you find on the prairie, either)
Hair Flair
Contagious Cuts (Sounds sort of dangerous)

Now, Dallas. Except for something that may have been misfiled, God's Appointed Time Ministries, Dallas just doesn't have it.


Monday, June 10, 2013


Anyone who has known me for very long understands my fascination with truisms, little sayings, aphorisms.

When describing the "washing a few things" that came out "washing a few thongs," it was observed that a picture like that sticks in your head and can't be banished easily. "You can't unring the bell."

If you can think of more similar sayings to that, like "You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube," let's start a collection. Please post or send to me.

While we are at it, if anyone knows of a cutesy name for a hair salon, pass it along. I think those places have a special place in Americana for their goofy names--"Curl up and Dye." "A Cut Above," etc.


Alone again, naturally

Do you ever feel like Gilbert O'Sullivan?

I wrote that the New York Times agreed with me about the Administration's loss of credibility regarding the collection of telephone information. They are apparently providing this service free of charge to us, the users--thought you would like to know.

Their editorial stated that the Obama "administration has now lost all credibility." A few hours later, the on-line editorial (without notation of change) read “administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.” Emphasis added.

Quite a difference. Apparently, even if you lie once, you retain credibility regarding everything else. Not what my mom taught me, but who am I to argue with the logic of the NY Times?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guess I am not the only one

The New York Times editorial board is (uncharacteristically) upset about the abuses of Obama:

Published June 6, 2013. The New York Times:
"Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
"Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

"The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers."
In a related story, the IRS was "directed" by Washington, and remember this was just weeks before the election. I stand corrected regarding my earlier statement that it was only a cultural thing with the IRS, apparently the Executive branch is looking to "...use any power it is given and very likely abuse it."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6, 1944

It was only 70 years ago. Not much in the span of history, just about within my lifetime--I was born about a year later. But think of how different the world would be.

Speculation on the differences would be interesting--would we be speaking German? Would Linda and Matt be Japanese slaves like their families 70 years ago?

Best be thankful it turned out this way, I think. And recognize that it wasn't just this day, it was a lot of days, and a lot of "end of days" for ( "rough" numbers) 500,000 Americans in the total war.

My parents would name the boys from Genoa that died in the war. If you went back to the class pictures, you might find them, but they never got to live out their lives. Those were more personal losses to us in that small town.

The Russians lost 20 million, 40 times what the US lost. No wonder they were pissed off for decades. Same amount for the Chinese. We will never know how many of those were lost to friendly fire, but probably more than were killed by the Germans or the Japanese. The flooding caused by the Chinese army retreat was a big one, of course. Stalin used the conflict for his own devices.

Personally, I don't think there has been a June 6th that has passed by my adult life without at least contemplating for a bit and saying thanks.