Sunday, May 21, 2017

Not Barnum & Bailey … but memorable !

As the Big Top closes out its 146 year reign it brings back this memory:

In 1985 my little town of Vass, NC, with barely 700 residents, played host to a small time circus to raise money for a local charity. People from near & far came for the one-night performance and Tiny Tim was the main attraction. He plucked his ukulele while singing his off key theme song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and the audience loved it. I couldn’t stay, however, because I had to be up very early the next day to get to my job in the ER of our local hospital.

Imagine my surprise upon arriving there early the next morning to see a familiar looking figure dressed in a long, dark overcoat, at the front desk.

It was Tiny Tim holding a small paper bag and demanding to see the ER Dr. “immediately”. He refused to be registered and was getting more agitated by the minute. Finally he opened the bag and produced a urine sample that he swore he had obtained from a girl in Vass (!) She, according to Tiny Tim, was accusing him of getting her pregnant and he wanted the Dr. to prove her wrong.

The whole scene was getting more and more bizarre. Both the Dr. and the nursing supervisor tried to tell him that it was way too early to determine anything but Tiny Tim just became more obnoxious. He started yelling about “my rights as a citizen” and “people taking advantage of me because I’m a star”, and it was at this point that the news photographers arrived.

In retrospect we could clearly see that we’d been conned. He managed to get a front page spread in the local newspaper, as well as mentions in the Raleigh and Fayetteville ones too. The unnamed girl from Vass “conveniently” disappeared and Tiny Tim, with a big “gotcha” smile on his face, tiptoed quietly out of our lives.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Model T Ford and barbequing ????

Last Saturday morning, after listening to the news, I was about to turn off the TV when a segment on a child's show caught my attention. I had never heard about the connection between Henry Ford and Kingsford briquets and found it very interesting. 

It's a well known fact that Ford's Model T was the first affordable car ... one that even a middle class person could buy. This was due in large part to Ford's efficiency… such as his idea of the assembly line to increase production. So it was no surprise when (with the aid of Edward Kingsford, real estate agent) he acquired a large tract of timberland in Michigan in order to supply his own wood.

It soon became apparent that the sawmill produced not only the timber that he needed but also much waste such as branches and sawdust. Of course this was another challenge that Ford welcomed and the result was:

Ford Charcoal changed hands in 1951 when it was bought by an investment group and renamed Kingsford Charcoal. I wish I'd bought a few shares in the company back then !

Thursday, May 11, 2017

57 years ago …. and an update this week !

Here I am in 1970. I lived in an area of the Northeast then where it was not unusual to have graveyards with stones dating back to the early seventeen hundreds. Gravestone rubbings were allowed then and it became a hobby with me.

I was always very careful to not damage the surface of the stones. I'd use a toothbrush to remove the moss and dirt that clung to the stone crevices and then placed paper (white newsprint) over the image, adhering it to the back of the stone with masking tape. Using a thick wax crayon I'd lightly stroke the paper until the design appeared and then carefully increase the pressure until I had the desired effect.

In 1970 I was so pleased with the effect that I mounted and framed them and sent them as my Christmas gifts that year. However, I was sad to realize that I must have misplaced my own copy in our many moves since then.

So, imagine my surprise and pleasure when I received a large UPS package this week and saw that it was the rubbing that I had sent to my sister Barbara 57 years ago. She passed away a few months back and her family has kindly sent back some of her possessions that pertain to me. I can't thank them enough.
… and here it is … 250 years young !

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Another letter to the NC Senators Burr and Tillis:

Dear Senators:  I commend all of you in the Senate who are approaching the future of the ACA in a realistic manner. As far as I can see the House is just grand-standing and they look like a bunch of teenagers who have put something over on the teacher. Thank God we have you in the Senate to reign this in and actually act like the adults that we voted into office. Instead of repealing a health care program that is working for millions of Americans it makes much more sense to SERIOUSLY and SLOWLY look at all the options for changing the areas that need it and then put it to a vote. The nickname Obamacare seems to be the onus for many people.  So I wish it would be referred to by the actual name, the Affordable Care Act ... because it is truly the first time in our history that many of our fellow Americans can actually afford health care.
Trump and Australian Prime Minister 5/4/17

I assume you saw where Trump told the Australian Prime Minister that they had better insurance than we have here. Does Trump honestly not know that theirs is a universal health care system ... and that every other major country on Earth guarantees health care to all it's people, except for us (supposedly the richest county on Earth). Incredible !

No wonder Bernie is smiling ...

Monday, May 01, 2017

The BOSS …

This picture is a little fuzzy because I took it through the screened window in my office. However there's nothing indistinct about this handsome fellow ! He's definitely the boss. From the moment he spied my small bird feeder he's been in charge.

This all started about a month ago. I had just adhered the feeder to the window and was back inside at my desk when I heard a flurry of activity. There must have been 4 or 5 little wrens vying for a position on the feeder when all of a sudden they were scattered to the wind by the huge and regal Cardinal that you see here. He swooped in and has been there pretty much all the time since then.

It's actually a little eerie. I know he can't possibly be here ALL the time but it never fails … whenever another bird dares to settle at the feeder he makes himself known. And the strangest thing is that he often doesn't even feed. He just perches there … assumes his regal stance and, like a King, is very aware that HE IS THE BOSS.