Archive for January 2016

01-31-2016 – Retro TV Trivia Challenge!   6 comments

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Most of us are considered members of TV generations. We were all raised in front of a TV, ate supper while watching TV, and knew nothing about current events that wasn’t told to us by all of the famous talking heads like Walter Cronkite. 

Since I love all things trivia and also old TV shows I thought for a change of pace I’d give you all an opportunity to flex your trivia muscles. I’ll  give you ten questions and then in my next posting on Ground Hog Day I’ll supply the answers.  Most of these questions are tough and they’ll certainly test your trivia knowledge.  Here we go:

Questions

1.    What was the address of Big Bird’s nest on TV’s Sesame Street?

2.    How many fingers does Mickey Mouse have on each hand?

3.    What was the name of the church to which comedian Flip Wilson’s character Reverend Leroy belonged?

4.    What role did Art Carney play in the Jackie Gleason’s first Honeymooner’s sketch?

5.    What famous Hollywood star turned down the part of Marshall Mat Dillon on TV’s Gunsmoke before James Arness was offered the part?

6.    On what TV show did comic Robin Williams first appear as the alien Mork?

7.    How did the TV sitcom Sanford and Son get it’s name?

8.    What was the name of the USS Enterprise in the original draft for the Star Trek series?

9.    On TV’s sitcom Petticoat Junction, what were the names of the three Bradley girls and their uncle?

10.   What was the name of the attorney on the Flintstones who never lost a case?

BONUS QUESTUION -  At what age did Lucille Ball become a redhead?

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For all of the answers check my posting for 2-2-2016.  If anyone gets more than five answers correct, they are true trivia champs.

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01-29-2016 Journal – A Creative Motivational Block!   2 comments

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I hate to admit this but I suspect I’m suffering from something akin to writers block. It’s a first for me and it’s puzzling.  In all my years of writing reports, letters, and thousand of blog posts I’ve never had a problem thinking of ideas and putting them to paper. That’s why this current creative hiccup is so bothersome. 

I can’t find any mentions of this malady anywhere so let’s just call it a "creative motivational block". I’m still having all of the creative ideas I could ever want or need but my ability to sit down and get them started has become more difficult.  I have of dozens of ideas everyday that are inventive, interesting and unusual but it seems to take forever to put brush to canvas or pencil to sketch book.  It’s maddening.

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The second part of my problem is really not a problem at all. For the first time in my life I’m financially able to spend the necessary money to obtain the supplies needed to do these projects.  In years past it was difficult at times to come up with funds which forced me to step outside the box a little and use materials I never thought possible. Maybe the best part of my projects in the past was that ability to overcome those challenges and still get the job done. I really don’t know for sure.

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As always the ideas keep coming and while some of them sound good in my head they’re eventually discarded. Others are easy to do and all it requires of me is to sit down and get started. That’s the bloody rub. 

I’ll be ready to start a current project when all  of a sudden more bright ideas come to me and I get sidetracked by them.  I’ll stop to write a few notes on the new ideas and the interest in the other begins to ebb.  It’s a vicious cycle that I’m trying desperately to put a stop to with only moderate success.

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I feel at times that I’m so concerned with getting my ideas exactly the way I imagined them that I’m losing the ability to adapt to changes that always seem to come along.  I’m in the middle of a project now that I’ve been fiddling with for a few weeks.  I’ve thought it through over and over again and visualized it to completion. It’s ninety percent complete but I’m lacking that final push.

I’ve always loved challenges but this one is a doozy.

01-26-2016 Journal – January Thaw?   Leave a comment

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I’ve been hearing weather rumors that we might be getting a few days of warmer temperatures.  I hope it’s true because being housebound is starting to make me crazier than usual. My better-half and I have been out a few times just to run errands but it’s been too cold to take those long walks on the beach or in the woods that we like so much.

After just a few weeks of freezing temps the house is already covered in ice and the build-up on the eaves has begun.  If we’re lucky this warm-up might just be enough to get the ice melting and dropping to the ground. As you can see by these photo’s there is ice hanging everywhere.

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The snow hasn’t melted off much yet and a few inches still remain.  From the amount of tracks in our backyard there appears to be quite an assortment of wildlife roaming around after dark. Some of the tracks are a little unusual making me wonder exactly what I’ve been missing.  Maybe we have a Bigfoot or two hiding in the woods or just one helluva big dog, bear, or deer. Who knows?

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If the weather gods agree I  hope to get back into the woods for a few hours this week.  Since the snow is only a few inches deep it won’t be necessary to unpack the snow shoes from storage. There always seems to be plenty of interesting things to photograph at this time of the year and some hearty wildlife to chase around for an hour or two.

We’re about three months from getting back outside to begin some of the garden preparations prior to planting. This winter has sped by so fast and Spring will be here before we know it. Then it will be back to work.

CAN’T WAIT!

01-25-2016 Journal – I Unheart Sports!   Leave a comment

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Can this non-sports fanatic make the grand announcement today? The New England Patriots rolled down the old NFL drain last night against a team from somewhere in Colorado.  Not that I really care all that much but it really succeeded in turning my better-half into an insane basket case.  We have a agreement on nights when these games are scheduled.  She moves to the upstairs family room to yell, scream, and cheer on whatever teams she thinks she supports.  I remain downstairs watching whatever I please on Netflix well out of reach of the denigrating influences of professional sports.

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‘Ugly Sports Fans?’

I’m not entirely sure where along the way I lost all interest in almost every kind of sporting event.  I played many different sports as I grew up and was pretty damn successful in all of them. I had a lot of natural ability and I knew if I became good enough I might just get laid occasionally. Why women and girls are drawn to sports figures is beyond me but it’s a fact of life.

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‘Oversized Sports Fan?’

The only sporting events that even remotely interest me these days is the Little League World Series and it’s accompanying playoffs.  It’s much more honest and upstanding than what professional sports has turned into.  Money is power and absolute power corrupts absolutely . . .  so welcome to professional sports. Don’t forget the performance enhancers, steroids, the  lying, the dishonesty, and the too many to count criminal indictments.

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‘Oversexed Sports Fan?’

I even lost interest in the Olympics decades ago.  Patriotism be damned. The political overtones became a constant turn off and I now make a point of religiously avoiding any and all events on any network related to the Olympics. The point of the Olympics originally was to promote a non-violent means for countries to compete and to develops a better understanding of each other.  Just think about it for a minute and you’ll realize just how much of a failure that has been. Take a look back to Munich and ask the Israelis what they think about it.

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‘Rainbow Coalition Sports Fans?’

Over the last few years I’ve even been forced to give up my small addiction to talk radio.  The airways are now dominated by the two things which make my blood curdle, sports and politics.  Listening to sports experts 24/7 is akin to having your teeth drilled near the nerve with no Novocain. Even worse than sports are the endless shows of talking heads who claim some sort of expertise and understanding about all things politic.  Of course their political views directly coincide with their networks agenda and the possibilities of career advancement if they agree to prostitute themselves and tow the company line.

Welcome to life in the good old U. S. of A. here in 2016.

01-23-2016 Journal– PC BS & Cultural Rot!   Leave a comment

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I’m just lying in bed this morning having my coffee and catching up on the state of our civilization here in the United States.  Don’t let that intimidate you, that just means I’m perusing the Drudge Report.  I’m not a drudgeaholic but as news goes it’s better than some and worse than others.  Unfortunately Drudge like all of the other news outlets seems to have his own agenda at times which puts me off a little when it doesn’t agree with me.

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The first thing I noticed was all of the panic and horror being brought on by this world ending 30 inches of snow expected soon in the mid-Atlantic states. Oh yeah, they’ll be severe flooding as well but I’m certain that Obama and FEMA will have things totally under control.

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Obama will soon begin his campaign of directing the rest of the country into having community prayer meetings begging whatever God they believe in to save Washington DC from total destruction. Then the media will begin it’s never ending assault on our consciences with heart rendering pictures of overturned cars, children in snow up to their waist, and a recount of all the homeless people forced to stay in shelters. Then the special interest groups will step in and have their web sites ready to go to accept any and all donations to save these poor innocent victims of this horrific "Storm of the Century.  If you aren’t reading sarcasm in this, wake up.

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As I continued my review of Drudge I came upon an item which pretty much tells the whole story about where things have gotten to culturally in this country.  It was a blurb out of the Sundance Film Festival about a much acclaimed movie, The Swiss Army Man. It’s a story based entirely on one man’s relationship with a farting and rotting corpse. It apparently caused many people to just get up and leave the theatre but also as disturbingly many did not. The star, Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame should be ashamed of himself. There’s a fine line between avant-garde and just plain disgusting. He apparently hasn’t figured out just where that line is. 

Reading that story was enough for me. It motivated me to get the hell out of bed,  get dressed, and get on my way to do just about anything else. That certainly doesn’t include reading more about celebrities and pop culture idiots doing their best to show the rest of the word just how far we’ve come. It’s apparent that we in this country have forgotten our history lessons about the all powerful Roman Empire that crumbled and disappeared when their limits of decency and morality were ignored.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet but it seems we’re getting closer and closer each year to their level of idiocy.

HAVE A HAPPY STORM WEEK

01-21-2016 Journal–Here Comes the Other Shoe!   Leave a comment

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I filled up the gas tank of my car yesterday and spent $18.00. I also ordered a heating oil delivery of 100 gallons at $1.30 per.  What the hell is really going on? We have all this good news happening and still the stock market is yo-yoing hundreds of points up and down.  I’m certainly glad I pulled all of my IRA funds out of the market and bought Certificates of Deposit.

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It’s been a number of years since we’ve seen these low prices but I’m not getting my hopes up just yet. Being the cynical SOB that I am I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  There’s no way in hell the powers-that-be can let this go on for much longer. Don’t you know it’s the job of the citizenry to pay more taxes, more surcharges, more fees, and to give, give, give, until it hurts. If you don’t do that or even complain just a little then you’ll be branded as selfish and of course racist. I’ll just keep holding my breath until it’s time to pay the piper for all this temporary good fortune.

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‘The end of life as we know it . . . NOT’

I see again that the next gigantic, horrific, and dangerous "Storm of the Century" is making it’s way across the country. I’m supposed to feel bad for all those folks living in the mid-Atlantic states who’ve have mild winters almost every year for as long as I can remember. While we in the north are up to our asses in snow drifts they are posting about the flowers they just planted and closing their schools when they get an inch of snow. Boo-hoo folks. Suck it up, shovel some snow, and fall on your ass a few times.  Actually go to a store and buy a snow shovel. See what it feels like to have a little bit of winter to deal with.

Am I being too harsh? Am I not feeling their pain? That would be a big YES. I can sit back for the foreseeable future and listen to every weather person, news commentator, and politician who can get some face-time on TV as they whine on and on about this terrible storm. 

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‘Hurry, get to the store for bread, milk, and TP.’

I have only one more thing to say. I just don’t care.  The government in it’s infinite wisdom should invest it’s money to buy every illegal alien a snow shovel and bus fare to the east coast. They should be able to have everyone shoveled out in just a day or two.  Rumor has it that our racist citizens really don’t like all that manual labor so let’s give that job to the illegals too. Make them earn all the free benefits we are all being forced to pay for.

Have a wonderful and snowy winter you poor bastards.

U. S.A.  . . . U. S. A.  . . . U. S. A.

01-19-2016 Journal – January Blahs!   Leave a comment

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Maine has finally found it’s typical winter weather. No more warmth, no more green anything, just ice, snow, frigid cold, and nothing much else in sight for at least another three months.  Just great . . .

Now that the holidays have come and gone and things have calmed down a little we can now ready ourselves for the next fiasco, Valentine’s Day. I won’t go into my normal rant about crappy made-up holidays but I’m not too excited by it. I was hoping the Super Bowl might get me interested in something but since my team was crushed by Denver . . . .  who cares.

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This time of the year wears on a person like nothing else. Too much time to think and to reexamine your life and the prospects for the future. I have to say even that gets boring as hell after a while.  Right in the middle of all of this I received news of the passing of a good friend.  He was my ex-brother-in-law and a kindred spirit for almost twenty years.  I always admired him for his intellect, his terrific sense of humor, and his competitive spirit. My divorce separated me from my ex-wife and unfortunately for me I lost contact with him and his family as well. There was very little I could do about it.

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In recent years he’d been suffering from illnesses that finally took his life. It was a huge loss for his wife, children, and grand children and for me as well. Just one more thing to think about on these gray and cold days of winter.

I’m forced to fall back on my sketching and painting to keep my mind right. I know it’s getting bad when I’m starting to get excited about having my car inspected in February.

R.I.P. JOHN

01-17-2016 Journal – My Creative Process!   Leave a comment

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It appears that yesterday’s sleet and snow storm has finally abated. It created quite a mess with an early morning ice shower that virtually shut down the surrounding area. It was bad enough that my better-half wasn’t able to get to work. Of course, you know what that means, right!  A whole day of quality time with me.

For me it was a day of writing, movies, sketching, and reading.  Doing those activities allows me to escape all the dreariness of the day and to get lost in my own head for a few hours. That kind of total focus is a real gift and I’ve always appreciated having the ability. I can actually shut everything out completely which can be a real blessing most of the time.  Sometimes not so much.

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My better-half just asked me what I’d be doing today.  How can I explain that to her?  I guess I’ll give it a try so here goes . . . .

Honey, I’m in the process of creating a painting of sorts and the first step for me is to create it first in my head before even picking up a brush or touching a canvas.  I can visualize the entire project as it will appear when completed and then I can begin to slowly dismantle it.  I break the images into layers of color and perspective to determine the order in which they must be addressed.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.

This process takes a different length of time depending on the complexity of the subject matter.  I enjoy completing these things in my head almost as much as actually doing them on canvas or paper.  It sounds a little strange but I don’t know any other way to get the results I want. 

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There are times when you think I’m ignoring or being rude to you but I’m really not. I’m so far into visualizing a project I just can’t take any time out to really listen to you. I’m afraid of losing my momentary focus and be forced to start from scratch once again. This is the way I’ve been doing creative things since I was old enough to remember and don’t see it changing any time soon.

With all of that being said, that’s what I’ll being doing for a few hours today. I have the completed image in my head, the color blocking determined, and I’m only days away from actually starting the necessary pencil sketching.  I’m going to try something new this time that is definitely outside my comfort zone and it’s will be a cross between Salvatore Dali with just a hint of Pablo Picasso.  It’s going to be way outside my comfort level and will be fun to see what the final result will be.

There you go darling . . . that’s some of what I’ll be doing today as I sit quietly next to you in the living room. Don’t take it as a personal slight, I’m not ignoring you . . . it’s just me being mentally creative. 

Who loves you baby?

01-15-2016 Journal – Jamaican Me Crazy Coffee!   Leave a comment

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My better-half had two days off this week and that almost always means another shopping foray somewhere in Maine and a quiet enjoyable lunch off the beaten path.  The day was frigid but bright and sunny which required a minimum of two layers of clothing to keep from freezing. After much discussion it was left up to me to decide as to where we’d be spending our day.  I plugged in the GPS and were soon on our way to Bridgeton, Maine.

Bridgeton is a small town located along the New Hampshire border in the foothills of the White Mountains. It’s was almost an hours drive on windy snow covered roads through an area with minimal population.

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Comment: I need to make a note of something here. On these day trips our car conversation can get a little strange. My better-half has an ability much like the late Yogi Berra. She has her own vocabulary which she constantly uses to confuse me. We were quietly talking about the flu season and how we both have had a nagging cough at night brought on phlegm in the throat. She looked over at me and serious asked, “My phlegm is green and tastes boogery, does yours? Now you can see why I find it necessary to keep these day  trips to under a hour travel time. It’s to avoid these strange conversations and questions. Now let’s get back to Bridgeton.

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A little music and a lot of conversation later we arrived in the town and decided food was our first priority.

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The restaurant was small and tucked away between two businesses along Main Street.  We ate here last summer during another visit and were suitably impressed with the food, coffee, and the variety of artisan breads. The place was overrun with ski team members from UNH (University of New Hampshire) who were visiting from a nearby ski resort.

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I had my standard breakfast with bacon, sunny side up egg, home fries, toast, and an amazing mug of Jamaican coffee. I have to say I’m a bit of a coffee addict and this coffee was unbelievable.

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My better-half dug into a breakfast Stromboli that was well worth the long trip to Bridgeton.

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We did a little shopping  in a few stores not closed for the winter and I even stumbled upon quite the bargain. I found a soap stone sculpture of an Mayan soldier hidden away in a pile of items in the back corner of the shop. It’s the best $12.00 purchase I’ve made in years and will have a special place of honor in my man-cave.

We even discovered a die-hard artist bundled up and painting along a nearby brook.  Crazy, crazy, crazy!

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We returned home refreshed from the trip, well fed, and ready for the forecasted freezing rain storm expected soon.  Just another day in this Maine paradise.

I SURE COULD STAND SOME MORE OF THAN JAMAICAN COFFEE.

01-13-2016 Journal – Snowblowing & Shopping!   Leave a comment

I went to bed last night with expectations of a light snow fall and awoke this morning with almost five inches of the white stuff clogging my driveway. And a special thanks goes out to the Saco snowplow driver for missing my mailbox and then filling my driveway with eight inches of snow.  So instead of a quiet morning lounging in bed I was forced to brave the cold and snow to clear the damn driveway. How could my better-half possibly survive if she couldn’t get out to shop sometime today?

This was my morning wake up call.

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The snow made for interesting pictures as it stuck to each and every tree branch we could see. I snapped a few photos with my point-and-shoot camera but by the time I got around to getting my Nikon ready the snow was already dropping from the trees.  Here are a few substandard pics to give you some idea of what I’m talking about.

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The rest of the day was spent running errands and generally just screwing around. She enjoyed her day off and I enjoyed getting out of the house for a while.  More snow in the forecast for the weekend so we’ve got to enjoy the time out when we can.

I’m sorry for the short post but other responsibilities need tending to. More to follow soon.