Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zimbalist

Z is for Zimbalist, as in Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.  He was the good guy, always on the side of law, suave yet manly.  “Dapper, leading man” was the way Hollywood described him.

He was best known for his role in “The F.B.I.” series.  He inspired so many kids that they pursued a career in the F.B.I.  In 2009 the FBI director Robert Mueller presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist.

He was a private celebrity who valued his family and living his life as a devout Christian. He died in May of 2014 at the age of 95.

b. 1918-- d. 2014
BUT think about it for a moment: he was an actor who was always working, never took roles below his quality requirements: he represented someone that kids admired; he placed family above everything; he lived a Christian life in the atmosphere of a rough Hollywood; his children succeeded in life, and they loved him.

How many men can claim that?

I am aware that many younger bloggers may not know of Zimbalist and his career.  Try to find an episode on Hulu or Amazon Prime.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yellow Rolls Royce

Yellow Rolls Royce is a "composite" film about love and betrayal, abuse and redemption, and self-love converted to compassion. Through three sets of couples, the viewer follows the Yellow Rolls Royce over the years.

No, this is not "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang", which is a children's movie, in which the car has magic.

This is a movie in which the owners experience life with the car as the common denominator.

There are some awesome actors in this movie: George C. Scott, Art Carney, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Maclaine, Jeanne Moreau, Omar Sharif, and other actors whose names I didn't recognize.

about 100 words, maybe a little more

Yellow Rolls Royce, Capel Manor, Bulls Cross, Enfield
I was surprised because the cast of actors were so talented, the settings authentic, and I had never heard about this 1964 film.  And I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenon

...and here's the letter X!
Xenon is amazingly one of the most boring word and topic imaginable.  

Seriously.  Xenon fulfills the need for “X is for…”

Even so, here are a few, very few facts about Xenon:

Xenon’s symbol on Elements chart is Xe .

Xenon’s atomic # is 54.

Xenon’s weight is 131.293.

…Word origin is a Greek term for “Stranger”.

…It was discovered by Scottish William Ramsey and English Morris Travers in 1898.

…It was totally useless until it was combined with fluorine and oxygen to produce light.

Huzzah for X is for Xenon!  

Wait, just a minute now...Xenon is actually useful, in that car headlights blind us all now and then.  And, Xenon would be a cool name to give to your newborn child.  And, if you want to mess with someone's mind, you could throw Xenon in a conversation just to confuse people.  It would elevate you into the zone of gifted intelligentsia.  Think what you will. 

Xenon logo
Light works for me.


Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Woodstock

2015 marks the 46th anniversary of Woodstock—can you believe that?  Are we that old? Most people of any age will nod their heads when something is said about “Woodstock…1969…that was something!

It was something in every context of the word: A unique event; 186,000 tickets sold but over 400,000 attended; almost violence free; musicians who became legends…and so on.

Basically, anything can be written about Woodstock.  For me, I’ll just give it this title:  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, taken from one of the old Spaghetti Westerns.  Woodstock was a little of all three.

W is for Woodstock.

PS: did any blogger reading this attend Woodstock??? What happened with you after that?  I was 17 at the time, going was not an option; we were canning corn that week.

At night, all was lit up...yes, indeedy it was.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vision Quest

Victory awaits us!
Where were you in 1983?  What were you doing?  That leads to this question:

Did you see the movie Vision Quest?

This is a “coming of age story” in which the actor Matthew Modine plays a high school senior who wants to do something spectacular before he graduates.  He decides to drop two weight classes in order to wrestle the legendary opponent from another school.

My husband told me he tried to do the very same thing.  He asked his mother, “Tell me to stop.” Which she did and he dropped out of wrestling.

Throw in a love interest, and a singer at the bar (Madonna) who performs “Crazy for you” and “Gamble”.

How good is this movie?  Well, it has been 28 years since we saw the movie, and I still remember it.

VISION QUEST, Matthew Modine (l.), 1985, (c)Warner Bros.
Matthew Modine


Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for UIysses

A statue of James Joyce in Dublin
In Dublin's fair city...

No, not the mythical King of Ithaca who helped end the Trojan War.  No, this is a piece of literature written by the famed Irish writer, James Joyce.  He was known for his innovative writing style, especially for the book, Ulysses.
This is a quote from the book:

I was thinking of so many things he didn’t know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all bird fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes*** they called it on the pier and sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of all Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the door donkeys slipping half asleep on the vague fellows in the cloaks…

If you made it to ***, good on ye.

Well, now.

The book is 265,000 words in length, with 30, 030 words lexicons: a special vocabulary or definition of the author’s peculiar language preferences.  Notice the lack of punctuation.

I tried to read this book really tried but had to give up and started War and Peace instead it was okay but the plot…

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Tree

Perhaps it is the old tree-climber in me that makes me stop and look.

I wonder, “Can I put my foot there, without hurting a muscle?”

Then “….Stretch my hand to that branch, without scraping my arm???”

And, if I haven’t fallen yet, “…if I pull and push at the same time, can my other foot make it to that notch way up there.

Some trees beg to be climbed, no, demand to be climbed.

Forget about the palm tree, all show and no character.  Snotty stuck up tree, not made for much here in Southern California, except for its fancy decorative looks and heavy maintenance.

Give me a knotty, branchy tree anytime.

Now, THIS is a TREE! Which up the street, and I am not sure what species it is.

Yup.  T is for Tree.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Sword

S if for Sword

The Fair!! A child’s mind is captured by lights, toys, games, or anything that is new or unusual. Women wander off to the jewelry and handmade booths where things sparkle or speak of worlds far away.

Men?  Oh, men.

This booth is the largest in the fair.  Four sided and each table loaded with weaponry for sale.  This is where men revel in their manhood, in a time when men were warriors and flashed their swords, swung the mace, fondled weapons, and held up shields in the sun.  This is where my husband will be.

Note the dagger/Arabian Night shape

This one has good balance…the edge is sharp…good heft…and then practice swings and jabs follow up.

If one goes to a Fair with a male, drop him off at this booth and wander off to a booth of one’s choice, where the jewels flash and scarfs swing. 

Yes, it says "Custer's Last Stand" on the blade. I don't understand it either.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Rock of Cashel

Have you ever gasped at something so beautiful and so impressive that it is almost impossible to process?  I hope so.

My gasp AH! Moment (of the many experienced) was driving down the N8 from Dublin to Cork.  Coming over a rise and descending down: THERE.  IT.  WAS:  The Rock of Cashel.

It cannot be described with words.  To try would never capture the gasp.

rock of cashel
Ireland Visitor Site

Although the video is not narrated, it shows the sarcophagus of Brian Boru, the Chapel, the restoration of mural in progress, the spot where Chieftain Angus was baptized...

Never forget those AH! moments.  They enliven your spirit and give a new appreciation to ancient times and people.

R is for the Rock of Cashel.

I hope the video comes up on your screen.  If not, oh well.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Queequeg

Letter Q already?
Is this word is unfamiliar to you:  Pequod? Ahab…

These are words from the classic, possibly one of the best literary works of the 19th century:  Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville and published in 1851.

This post is about Queequeg, a startling and unusual man to be in the Massachusetts area: exotic, extremely tall, covered with tattooes, and fierce. 

Although Queequeg is not the main character, he is essential to the theme of diversity in the crew (no one else like him; in fact, everyone is scared of him).  His only friend is Ishmael: only to him is Queequeg loyal and protective. 

Ishmael is a young man, eager to go whaling. At a boarding house before sailing, Queequeg and Ishmael are forced to unknowingly share a bed with each other.

Richard Basehart, Friedrich (Frederick) von Ledebur, Moby Dick
Friends ultimately

After some nervous and possibly deadly moments, they develop a friendship; this friendship, coupled with pure luck, saves Ishmael’s life.

The most famous and exquisite opening words of any book are these:

Call me Ishmael.

Raise your pewter mug to Queequeg!

and to the letter "Q"

This video clip is about 12 minutes long, but Queequeg and Ishmael are introduced in the first minutes. Worthwhile minutes.

Please let me know if the video does not come up! This is the only one I was able to insert.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Phillipians

Philippians 3:12

…But one thing I do: 

Forgetting what lies behind and 

pressing toward what lies ahead.  

I press on toward the goal 

to win the prize for which 

God has called me heavenward 

in Christ Jesus.

God in Sandals

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Orville Redenbacher

Great letter
There is one man who has changed the entire movie going experience.  He has also provided home viewing with this same joy.

Just who is HE? Think for a moment…

O is for Orville Redenbacher.

OFFBEAT A new 'official' family biography of Orville Redenbacher soon to be published

One would never expect this nerdy-looking man to be educated with a degree in agronomy.  He and his business partner Charlie Bowman experimented with various hybrid seeds for popcorn, until they agreed upon one.  In 1973 they introduced their brand named “Orville Redenbacher”.  The rest is glorious history.

Next time you go to a movie and immediately inhale that amazing movie-popcorn odor, thank Orville Redenbacher. 

Less than 100 words.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nebo

The irony of Nebo, Illinois, is that while I lived there, I could not wait to leave it.  Now I think about those days, get a wallop of nostalgia, and wish I knew more about the place left behind.

It began as a true log cabin town, growing with each new settler with names of Shaw, Ross, Franklin, and many more.  With each new family the settlement became a township.

When I returned for visits over the years, the town had shrunk just a little bit more and the people I knew had died. Their children left (just as I had), and then there were empty vandalized houses, and people I don’t know.

Basically a ghost town compared to its former self.

Here are photos of the then and now:

Hebo High School, 1920?
Baptist Church, which still looks like this.

C.R. Rodgers' Trans Continental trip for
to promote Vin Fizz soda
Peck house on Pearl-Nebo road

Painted by in-mate at nearby prison

Nebo High School Gym--all that remains
of the High School

Country School Students

Another Nebo, in Wales, 1984

Mt. Nebo, where Moses is buried

N is for Nebo. 
145 words, or thereabouts.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Molasses

God bless

When the cornfields had been flooded by heavy spring rains and over-flowing creeks, Dad would drive slowly down the road looking at the fields.  Yellow stalks meant that the corn would either fail or the crops would be minimal.  

He would sigh, shake his head, saying "Sorghum this year".

To salvage the money loss, Dad plowed up the fields as soon as the mud dried enough, planting sweet sorghum which had a shorter growing time.  Ground and chopped up, the cane oozed a green sap to be boiled down to make molasses..  the video below shows Roy and Doris Moore of Tennessee making molasses the old-fashioned way.  

This wuz how it wuz done...about 6 minutes forward? Go get a cup of coffee and just listen?

After all the time, work, and patience spent, deep black sweet molasses emerged, pouring from the tap, glugging all the time.

People from all over the county somehow knew the molasses was ready. They just showed up with jugs, jars, and even vats.  The molasses maker was a man named Daniel Boone.  Honest--his name was Daniel Boone.

Molasses was a substitute for sugar in WW2, and was even used to make hair products (? yes).  Perhaps the least talked about use for molasses was that it could produce excellent rum.  All that was needed was a still.

My Grandfather Cardiff had a still.

My Grandmother Marie did not know this.

There is a great story to be told about that time, a post in the future on  my other blog site:

M is for Molasses.  ***

Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton in Tennessee, in 2007, the year of his arrest
***In England, molasses is called treacle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Lion


San Diego Zoo Safari Park photo
San Diego Reader
We live near The Safari Park, located in San Pasqual valley, in San Diego County.  Animals from the Savannah in Africa live in a uniquely designed area that accommodates the needs of the animals.  

They all live in well hidden borders.

With the exception of lions and tigers, of course…they live in natural enclosures and unbreakable plexiglass.  Scare the daylights out of me.

Here is a collection of lion words:

Lion’s share
Lion’s mane
Lion heart
Into the Lion’s mouth
Lion’s den
Lion and the lamb
Cowardly lion
Lion of Judah
Lion in winter
Sea lion
Mountain lion
Lion fish
The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe
Christ, the Lion of Judah
Beard the lion
I know bloggers are running out of steam.  This is about 120 words.

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kindness

The A to Z Geniuses
When one of our loved ones (adult, fully capable, with some common sense) sets out on a lengthy trip, we pray.  We hope for safety.  We try not to think about all the what-ifs

When our son "Victor" returned from two week biking in Germany and Switzerland, he told of one of the what-ifs.

“I mis-judged this part of the Alps. And the ascent, how steep it was. Then it started raining, a hard cold rain that nearly blew my poncho off.  By the time I reached the summit, my thighs were knotted and cramping.

I was freezing, I started doing exercises, flapping my arms, anything to keep warm.  A few energy bars in the saddle bag, but not enough to refuel.  My map app showed how far it was to the next town.  It wasn’t that far, maybe twenty miles.

It was a slick downhill ride.  Rain in my face, soaked me to the skin.  Dark sky, no moon, just my bike lights to show me ten feet ahead.  Cold, bitter cold.  Shivering so hard that handlebars vibrated.

Then lights ahead, a hotel. Started crying, so relieved.  Pulled on the door handle and found it was locked. Closed for the night.  Pounded on the door. Any one there?

Then the door opened.  A woman about my mom’s age, rounded and hands on hips.  She said something in German.  Then she grabbed and pulled me inside.

She acted just my mom.  Didn’t understand her, but she put me in a room with towels and a hot shower, so nice, down the hall.  Putting my gear near the heater, heard her calling.

Like Mom, for sure.  Sit down here!  Eat! Eat more!  And then she probably said something like this: WHAT did you THINK you were DOING?!

I fell into the best bed in the world and slept hard. There was a huge breakfast waiting for me, and a bag of bratwurst and cheese.  Plus some more mom-words.

I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t opened that door.  If she hadn’t been so….kind.

After a 60 mile jaunt
338 words

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jack Bauer

Every morning I wake up, I give thanks that Jack Bauer has once again saved the world.

I don’t watch the show.  My husband turns it on once I head to bed, and then he tells me the next day about what Jack Bauer had to endure.

Poisons?  Incurable viruses?  Of course, he survives.

Plane crashes?  Where he has to take over the driving?  Oh, yes.

A nuclear bomb or bombs that threaten to wipe out half the world?  No problem.

Every form of torture?  Easy peasy.

Labeled as a rogue agent and gets hunted by everybody? Then is redeemed?  Yup.

Huzzah to Jack Bauer!

Where can the '24' movie take Jack Bauer now that the show has aired its series finale?

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Isaiah

We are up to the letter I!

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying

left or right?
This is the way;
Walk in it.

Walking barefoot is also known as 'earthing' or 'grounding', and is showing in research to be good for your heart and immune system. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Walking on a path

Pretty clear directions.

This is updated--found the photo of the path forking in the woods. Felt it illustrated more clearly the  turn left or right choices we make.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Honesty


We have two delightful grand-daughters.  Only eighteen months apart, they are both friends and sisters. They are so very different from each other.

"Red Queen" is studious and an awful liar who always confesses.  "Alice" is a butterfly and an unrepentant liar. 

That is why this event tickled and surprised us.  We had picked the girls up from school and were driving to their house.

“Grandpa, you’d better move this big folder here…Why, honey?.

“Well, if you don’t, I’ll look at it and it’ll distract me, and then”….Then what?

“Then I’ll pick it up, and then I’ll open it, and then…Alice, why are you crying?

“I’ll open it up, I’ll take out the papers,

 I’ll fold them and tear them…” Sweet baby…

She sobbed more.  ”When we get out of the car, you’ll ask me if I played with your papers, and I’ll say No I Didn’t, and then you will say Tell The Truth, and then I’ll say I Am Telling The Truth…”

By the time we walked into the house, Alice was in fully crying mode.  “I’ll go to my room…”  She stomped up the stairs and we heard the door slam.

The folder was intact in the car, with sobs echoing down upon it.

The Red Queen of Hearts and Alice