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A tale of two sisters: Spain, Topless, Dallas, & Virginia . . .

A tale of two sisters: Spain, Topless, Dallas, & Virginia . . .

The following e-mail was sent by my youngest daughter on her return to Dallas from Spain and other European countries to one of her sisters, the one that works, creates, lives and loves in Virginia. The names LuLu and WapWap are nicknames—their real names are not used in order to protect the guilty.

The author of this e-mail claims that she doesn’t blog because she doesn’t feel that she writes well. She and I are in complete disagreement concerning her feelings about her writing—I believe she has a tremendous potential to inform and entertain virtually any audience with her amusing musings. I made no changes to her e-mail, so I’ll let my readers review and vote on her writing.

LuLu, the recipient and respondent to her globe-trotting younger sister is  a professional photographer, a graphics artist and painter, an expert gardener and long-time blogger, and she makes no effort to hide her light under a bushel. Click here for a journey to various gardens and historic sites through photos made in the US and many foreign locations on several different continents—trust me, the visit is well worth your time!

To: LuLu
Sent: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 11:01 am
Subject: Re: Welcome back from Spain!

Hey, LuLu – I figured that you could use the shawl for decorating or something. I really didn’t picture you wearing it all that much, but who knows? I’m glad mom seems to be feeling better. Last time I was there which was the weekend before I went to Spain she just seemed so frail and tired and I knew she was. And that was before they put the device in her arm. So, I’m glad she seems to be better – she sounds better when I talk to her on the phone.

I’ll call you later to talk about Spain. We had a really nice trip and got to see a lot. Went to Barcelona and visited a winery about 2 hrs outside of the city so we got to see the countryside and its miles and miles of olive trees, Sevilla (loved that place), Madrid and Toledo where we saw a 600 year Catholic church that was incredible.

Loved the architecture in Barcelona (Gaudi’s cathedral, Segrada Familia?). Visited the beach, saw topless from newborn to 90. Quite a different world out there. Definitely no body issues in that country.We could probably take a lesson on that (with top on, of course). Walked a lot, a whole lot -Barcelona is a busy place. About 5 million in the city and 2 million outside of the city. Not a small town by any means.

Sevilla (much quieter, felt really comfortable walking around the town by myself, which I did). Could have stayed there the rest of the trip. The area we were in was very clean, quaint with all those tiny cobblestone streets leading to little restaurants and shopping.

Madrid – another busy city. Very cosmopolitan in many areas, lots of graffiti everywhere which is common throughout Spain. I guess they think it is art, I don’t know. Went to the Prado and some other modern museum where we saw tons of Picassos and Dali (is he a strange one or what?). Went to an authentic Flamenco show which was pretty intense. Just 2 people (man and woman) with a few guys playing instruments and singing behind them.  Whatever they were dancing to they really meant it. I really enjoyed that.

Mom said that you and Michael worked really hard on the front yard and that it looked beautiful. I’m sure she really appreciates that. Every time I went down there she would say that they needed to do something about it and now you have. So, that is a good thing.

Brandon is in baseball camp this week. He also had an all-stars game last night. He plays 1st base and did a terrific job all last year in that position (thus making All-Stars). However, for some reason, guess because he is tired, he could have been on the moon looking down at us because he truly was the only player out there that was paying no attention to the game.

You don’t want to come down too hard on him but the other kids are kind of depending on him to catch the ball. 1st base is a pretty critical position even in minor, minor, minor, minor league baseball. He would just watch it whiz by him and throw out his hand as an afterthought.

As a parent you don’t want to be embarrassed but I actually started to feel that way. Probably the same as mom would feel when I would drop the baton a lot or get my batons tangled up with one another at a competition while doing a simple salute. Not a proud parent moment.

I’ll talk to you later. I was actually weeding the front yard this morning. The weeds are so huge they look like a free form garden at this point. Gracie tried to help me pull them but didn’t have the strength. I try to like gardening and I can see how it is stress relieving but I just feel like there are lots of tiny eyes looking up at me as I disturb their carefully planned homes. Plus I’m afraid a spider is going to bite me, or a snake.We do have those around here sometimes. Anyway, what I’m trying to tell you is that I haven’t developed a love of gardening at this point.  I’m working on it though, but very slowly. Have a good day.

Love,
WapWap

This is the Virginian’s reply to her sister’s e-mail:

Hey, WapWap! Hope you got some great photos to share with us! FYI: Mom is looking (and feeling) really good. She’s got some pep back in her and her appetite is definitely up. Dad was irritating her the other day (you know how he likes to repeat things over and over until you want to deck him?), and to answer some crazy question he asked her, she finally said, “Shit, no!” It was so funny to hear her say that. Cracked him up, too. I guess he had picked at her long enough (you know how she always says he likes to just talk to hear himself!).

We had a great visit and got the flower beds up front looking good again (filled in the areas where they had pulled out all the hedges/shrubs). I’ll send photos once I pull them off the card.

Love ya,
LuLu

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in baseball, Family, foreign travel, Humor

 

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1947 World Series on television—in color!

Baseball’s 1947 World Series on television—in color!

I’ll bet my daughters don’t know that I watched the very first World Series baseball game broadcast on television. That was in October 1947, played between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers—the Yankees won the series in the seventh game. My brother and I watched the game through the showcase windows of a closed Sears store in Washington, D.C.—in color—very poor color, but still color. Click here for a description of the game.

I was living with my brother and his family in Carry Homes, a community of one-story duplexes in Suitland, Maryland, built mainly for, and primarily occupied by, veterans returning from overseas in World War II. Most of our neighbors were either active duty, retirees or discharged war veterans. Carry Homes community has long since been demolished, giving way to progress and eminent domain exercised by the government—the site is now occupied by the federal Census Bureau.

I went with my brother to the Sears store in Washington, D.C. one evening to pick up some truck parts. Sears was a fascinating place for me—parking on the street was limited, so most customers parked on the roof of the store and then walked down a flight of stairs to the shopping areas below. Hey, there was nothing like that in my little town of Durant, Mississipi, my last home before being shuffled off to live with my brother.

On that evening we parked on the street opposite the store, but found that the store had closed just a few minutes before we arrived. The television was placed in a storefront window for the benefit of pedestrians in the area. This was my first encounter with television, either color or black-and-white, and not until December of 1952 would I see television again—that was in an Atlanta motel while I waited for the next morning to begin my reenlistment in the United States Air Force. I was scheduled for a physical exam and indoctrination the following day. That event is worth reading about—click here for the full story.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in baseball, television

 

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Redux—Encounter with an NBA player at a San Antonio post office . . .

I first posted this item almost one year ago (June 28, 2009). In the eleven months it has been available it has garnered two votes of excellence and one comment. One of the votes was mine—yes, I vote for my own postings—any politician worth his salt votes for himself—and the other was my daughter’s vote. She also made the lone comment received by the posting. I am therefore offering the posting to visitors to Word Press by bringing it up from the darkness of earlier postings and into the bright light of  today. I believed then and I believe now that it should interest any fan of baseball, basketball and football, as well as those that enjoy reading good writing, a claim that I make without any tinge of humility.

Click here to read the original posting.

My redux is as follows:

Personal ethics demand that I offer a disclaimer before beginning this posting:

I am not a fan of professional sports.

I am not a fan of football, baseball, basketball, cricket, badminton, volleyball—beach or otherwise—nor am I a fan of golf, horse racing, dwarf tossing, cup stacking, thumb wrestling or arm pit smelling. During my existence on this earth (a goodly number of years and still counting) I have made only two contributions to the sports world. My first contribution was to the game of football (see below), and my second was to the game of baseball. I had a brief stint at age 13 with a Little League baseball team sponsored by an American Legion Post in Suitland, Maryland. My budding career as a shortstop crashed and burned when I broke my right leg while sliding in to home plate—a clean break in the tibia plus four cracks, two above and two below the break. I was in a toe-to-hip cast for several weeks, well past the end of the baseball season.

My first contribution to the world of sports was also in my thirteenth year. I participated in one—only one—high school football game played under lights in Kosciusko, a small town in north-central Mississippi (my team represented Durant, an even smaller town also located in north-central Mississippi). I was a slightly-built seventh-grader weighing less than 100 pounds, and I was a lineman.

Throughout that game I labored mightily to catch the guy carrying the football and was never successful—never even came close, perhaps because I rarely knew which player was carrying the football. My participation was mandatory, but believe me, I would have quit the game in the first quarter had a certain female student (of whom I was enraptured and for whom I pined) not been watching from the bleachers.

My performance and that of the team left our coach dissatisfied—nay, our performance left him disgusted. The game ended with our final score in single digits—zero. Our opponent’s score was in high—very high—double digits. I cannot recall the score—evidently I have either buried it in or forced it from my memories. The numbers may return in later years (it could happen), but I hope not.

The coach intensified our training by increasing the number and length of practice sessions, many of which were scheduled after the end of our school day. Shortly afterward my football career ended in a scrimmage session, essentially touch-football played without helmets or any other protection. The lineman opposing me was about twice my big, very strong and very rough, and after several bone-jarring encounters with him I suffered a broken finger when his left cheekbone and my right fist came together with enough force to break the little finger of my right hand. That contact also made it necessary that he lie down for a few minutes while the coach assessed the damage and tried to separate fact from fiction. Predictably, the coach decided that I was responsible for the accident, but it was really my opponent’s fault.

He shouldn’t have hit my fist with his face.

That ended a budding career in football—I was dropped from the team, but my disappointment was lessened by the black eye and huge lump displayed by my opponent—his good looks, or lack thereof, were severely distorted for several weeks. On the other hand (no pun intended), the metal splint I wore on my right-hand finger elicited numerous expressions of sympathy from other students, among them the girl on whom my enrapture and pining were centered. Sadly, all this was temporary—shortly after my rejection by the coach and my ejection from the team, I left that school and completed the school year in a different school, in a different town and in a different state.

But I digress—that was a rather lengthy disclaimer, but I’ll let it stand because I worked pretty hard on it, so on with the posting:

The San Antonio Spurs recently made a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, a trade which included Bruce Bowen. Cary Clack, in his column today ( June 28, 2009) in the S.A. LIFE section of the San Antonio Express-News, bemoaned the loss of that player to a rival team. I’m reasonably certain that the Spurs team, and the city, and its fans will recover from the loss, but my status as a non-sports fan in no way limits my understanding of the heartaches suffered by Bowen’s many admirers on learning of the Milwaukee trade.

Although I understand their heartaches, I cannot be numbered among those admirers. Bruce Bowen is the only professional basketball player I have ever encountered, and my memories of that encounter are not pleasant. Several years ago—yes, I’ve held this grudge for several years and I will continue holding it—I entered our neighborhood Post Office station on Henderson Pass in San Antonio and joined the waiting line directly behind Bruce Bowen.

Yes, I recognized him. When a Spurs game is on television I watch because my wife mandates it. Either I watch the game in her company or I am banished to a much smaller screen in an unhospitable back room, far from our 50-inch flat-screen plasma high-definition television set.

Bummer.

But again I digress—on with the posting:

Bowen stepped out of the line to a side counter, apparently to complete some paperwork. In the interim before he finished, several people joined the line behind me. When he finished he turned, saw the line and started for the rear. He never looked directly at me as I stepped aside and motioned for him to return to his original place in the line. He obliged, still without eye contact, with no change in expression and without a word spoken, in thanks or otherwise.

My first impulse was to say aloud, “You’re welcome,” but I resisted the impulse. His attitude and his failure to acknowledge my courtesy was in conflict with the Express-News columnist who in today’s issue labeled him “one of the most popular players in San Antonio Spurs history.” The columnist also wrote that after the trade to Milwaukee, the first thing Bruce Bowen wrote on his blog was, “. . . THANK YOU SAN ANTONIO!”

This is pure conjecture, but I must acknowledge that it may be possible—a remote possibility, but still possible—that the NBA star has obliquely thanked me for holding his place in line at the post office by including it in his blanket expression of thanks to the city when he said on his blog, “THANK YOU SAN ANTONIO!”

Do ya think?

I’ll get back to you later with more details.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Texting kills + A repost of Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I first posted this subject four months ago on January 22, 2010. That posting is primarily a dissertation on conjugation, specifically on the past tense of the word text when used as a verb. The posting has been available for four months on Word Press and has garnered zero comments and only one vote, and in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that the one vote is mine—hey, I realize that shows partiality on my part, but I enjoy reading my own writing. Nothing improper about that, right? Right? Right!

Texting while driving is under fire all across our nation. Here in San Antonio the use of cell phones is banned in school zones, and our city commissioners are now considering a city–wide law outlawing texting while driving. I have serious doubts that it will happen, but hope springs eternal—it’s the right thing to do.

Texting is killing people. Let me rephrase that—texters are killing people, killing them just as surely as if they had held a gun to another person’s head and pulled the trigger. Texting while driving, whether reading a message or sending a message, should be outlawed nation-wide—nay, world wide! Both practices are distractions, and both kill people.

Click here for Car Accident Cell Phone statistics.

This is an excerpt from that web site:

In 2008, at any given moment, over 800,000 Americans were texting, making calls, or using a handheld cell phone while driving during the daytime. With distracted driving killing nearly 6,000 Americans in the same year, it’s no mystery that cell phone use is risky for drivers.

How many of those 6,000 Americans died as the result of a driver texting while operating a motor vehicle? Some of the distractions that caused 6,000 deaths in one year were unavoidable—as the saying goes, stuff happens, and some of that stuff is beyond a driver’s control. Texting, however,  is well within the driver’s control—all the driver needs do is don’t.  The number of cell phone users and the number of text messages sent and received has increased astronomically since 22008. If distractions killed 6,000 people in 2008, how many will die in 2010?

Please read the statistics on cell phone use carefully, and be afraid—be very afraid. The driver behind the wheel of that vehicle approaching you on a undivided two-lane highway is traveling at 60 miles per hour—both hands on the wheel, but the driver is holding a cell phone and using both thumbs to text messages by typing on a minuscule keyboard and all the while supposedly in control of  several tons of extremely hard materials—steel, rubber, aluminum, fiberglass and glass—lots and lots of glass.

Accept the fact that the other driver is not in control of that vehicle—that driver is wearing a shroud, holding a cell phone in one hand and a scythe in the other. In far too many instances—even one is too many—that driver is the Grim Reaper, a potential killer. So do yourself a favor—if you text while driving, stop. If your friends text while driving, implore them to stop, and don’t ride with them if they continue that deadly practice.

Contact your city officials—police, city commissioners, mayors, city managers, and state and national lawmakers and representatives and demand that texting while driving be outlawed.

I know, I know—it ain’t gonna happen.

This is my original posting of Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I have been chastised by a viewer that finds my postings far too lengthy and reading them in their entirety requires extended absences from some of life’s more important activities, including such vital ones as texting and watching television (I would surmise that the viewer does not read books or periodicals for the same reason).

In response to that criticism I am introducing the ‘quickie’ posting. The use of that term necessarily mandates a definition. From Wikipedia: A quickie is defined as ‘a thing done or made quickly or hastily, in particular a rapidly consumed alcoholic drink or a brief act of sexual intercourse.’ The word may legitimately be used as a noun or an adjective to describe an infinite number of situations other than those involving drinks or sexual intercourse.

At this point I must note that a quickie (the noun) may be either given or received. Examples would be, for instance, ‘The featured speaker gave a quickie to the members,’ and ‘The members received a quickie from the featured speaker.’

Got it?

This quickie will not involve alcoholic drinks or sex (not that I’m opposed to either). My intent is to post a quickie (noun) from time to time, and such entries will be quickie (adjective) postings.

Now for my first quickie:

Texting is a relatively new word in our language. Virtually everyone is aware of its meaning, so no definition should be required. However, since the word is a verb it is subject to the rules of conjugation (no relation to the adjective conjugal as used in conjugal visits).

Incidentally, the generally recognized basis for permitting such visits (conjugal) in modern times is to preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life outside prison. The visit will usually take place in a structure provided for that purpose, such as a trailer or small cabin. Supplies such as soap, condoms, tissues, sheets, pillows, and towels may be provided (bold emphasis is mine).

Hey, I didn’t make that up—it came straight from Wikipedia! Check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugal_visit

I haven’t seen an official conjugation of the verb text, but I assume the verb as presently used would be conjugated for the present, past and future tenses as follows:

I text on my phone daily (present tense)—the gerund of text would be texting, of course. I texted on it yesterday (past tense) and tomorrow I will text again (future tense). The conjugation would be text, texted, text, similar to the verb run (run, ran, run).

My assumption is based on the fact that all those that text use texted to indicate past tense, namely, ‘I texted the schedule to everyone.’

And now, to quote the bard, ‘Ay, there’s the rub.’

If texted is the proper past tense for the verb text, the sequence of a batter’s performance in baseball games would be, ‘He hit the ball on the first pitch, and he hitted the ball on the first pitch yesterday, and he will probably hit the ball on the first pitch tomorrow.’ The gerund in this case would be, ‘He is hitting 500 ( fifty percent) this season.’

There you have it—I rest my case. If text, texted, text is correct then it logically follows that hit, hitted, hit would be correct, rather than the current conjugation of hit, hit, hit.

I boldly, with all semblance of humility aside, suggest that the past tense of text should not be texted—it should be simply text. The verbs hit and text are both one syllable, both end in ‘T’ and should therefore be voiced as, ‘I text her yesterday’ rather than ‘I texted her yesterday.’ The verb text should be conjugated as text, text, text. Try it—voice the past tense as presently used—texted, two syllables with equal emphasis on both syllables. Then voice the past tense as text, a word that is considered one syllable, but when voiced comes across as two syllables. Unless you omit the ‘t’ sound at the end of texttex, you’ll pronounce the ‘t’ as a second syllable—try it! (Note that ‘it‘ is also pronounced with two syllables).

Come on, admit it—texted is awkward. It’s completely unwieldy and should be banned.

If my viewers will admit that it’s awkward, then I will in turn admit that this posting does not qualify as a quickie because it ran amok, completely out of control. If it’s a quickie, then it’s a quickie on steroids. Posting can legitimately be compared to such mundane activities as running down hill, eating peanuts (or cashews) and sex. Once started, it may be difficult to stop—nay, in extreme cases it may be impossible.

Postcript: I did not intend to involve alcoholic drinks or sex in this first quickie. I kept my promise on the drinks, but the serpent reared its ugly head in the above paragraph. I offer an abject apology to any viewer that may have found the word offensive. I did not delete it (behead the serpent, so to speak) because the thought was applicable and the word fit well.

Or should I say it fitted well, as in texted?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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More on Midland + country bands + baseball . . .

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, when our family had accumulated a sufficient amount of capital, enough for our stepfather Papa John to live his life in the manner to which he had become accustomed, a life to which he longed to return, he would take the necessary action. When he deemed that capital to be sufficient, he would find an excuse to dissolve our family. He would then go his way and we would go ours. This posting will discuss the spark that led to another conflagration in our family.

I believe Papa John always knew his ultimate destination in these circumstances, but we never knew ours until shortly before or shortly following the dissolution of our family. I never knew for certain in this instance, but I have a strong suspicion that he remained in Midland.

He was a skilled poker player, or at least professed to be such, and the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles—F.O.E—hosted such activities nightly, up to and sometimes beyond the witching hour. Gambling was illegal in the state, but the state apparently considered poker playing similar to the game of canasta, or perhaps bridge, but I was a witness to some of the games—they usually involved seven players, too many for either canasta or bridge.

Now that I think of it, Midland was in a dry county at that time, and whether in search of beer or other alcoholic beverages, Midland’s residents journeyed to the city of Odessa, some eighteen miles to the west and smuggled their purchases into the city of Midland.

The F.O.E, however, served up myriad alcoholic beverages on demand, with that demand met by a demand for remuneration. A supposition could be made—and I do suppose such—that bending of the liquor law was allowed because the F.O.E  is a fraternal social club for members only—ordinary non-member drunks, however thirsty, are not allowed.

I have a separate posting in mind pertaining to the F.O.E and will follow up shortly with that posting unless I forget—I’ll never forget the incident, but I may well forget to post it. If it doesn’t appear soon, perhaps a visitor to my blog will remind me of my promise to post it.

As with any gambler, Papa John’s luck ebbed and flowed with the tide. When his luck turned sour and the tide was at its lowest, he would make up with my mother and take the measures necessary to reassemble our family. My mother never volunteered to brief my sister and me on the actions of our fickle but predictable stepfather and we never asked—we became experts at testing the wind, and usually could see the breakup coming down the pike.

Now to the crux of this posting:

The four of us were crowded into a single motel room on the outskirts of Midland. Ours was termed a kitchenette, a room equipped with a stove, refrigerator and an area for dining. One corner was walled off from the rest of the room and equipped with a small combination tub and shower, a small commode and a small sink.

Yep, everything was scaled down to fit in a very small area. The walls of the bathroom consisted of sheet rock on both sides with no sound proofing in between. The room had only one bed—a sleeping area for me and my sister was provided by placing the top mattress on the floor, thus leaving the bottom unit on the bed for our mother and our stepfather.

Yep, my sister and I shared that mattress, but I hasten to say that even though we were products of the deep South we did not conform to the popular notion that siblings in that area share a mutual physical attraction. There are some from the northern climes, particularly those attracted to novels such as God’s Little Acre, Tobacco Road and The Journeyman, that probably believe that such siblings are always physically attracted to one another and many, perhaps most, indulge in that mutual attractiveness.

Nope, not my sister and not I—we stayed on our respective sides of the mattress. My sister did not appeal to me and I can truthfully state that I did not appeal to her—for most of the limited time we were together during our teen years, we fostered and fed an intense dislike for each other.

The motel was adjacent to the city baseball park, and visiting baseball teams often housed players in the same motel. Also in proximity to the motel was a really swinging country music dance hall, one that attracted well known, little known and unknown country bands to perform there. As with the baseball players, the motel frequently hosted band members during their gig in Midland.

As the bard would say, “Ay, there’s the rub!” My sister was almost eighteen years old and apparently was considered quite comely, both by baseball players and country band members. I hasten to add that I was nowhere in agreement of their assessments of my sister’s comeliness, but I also confess that she and I shared only a modicum of respect and liking for each other—that mutual modicum figured prominently in my assessment of her comeliness.

Be that as it may, she was quite popular with the young men that called our motel home while in the city. On most evenings she could be found in a communal area directly in front of our room, an area that offered seating, umbrellas for shade in the daytime, a barbecue pit and lighting—very subdued lighting, subdued to the point that Papa John had to strain to effectively observe activities after nightfall. His observations frequently led to criticisms and warnings to my sister, prophecies that terrible things could come of her penchant for visiting with the visitors. He always ordered her in at an early hour, but my sister never came in at his first order—it always required repeated calls from our doorway, and often I was required to take the message to her.

My sister was a rebel, a modern day female Thoreau—she ultimately went her own way by going over, under, around or through any obstacles placed in her path. She responded to Papa John’s remonstrations with humor, none of which set well with our stepfather.

One evening when she came in just before midnight, considerably later than usual, Papa John told her that she should stay away from the baseball and band gangs, that  they were n’er-do-wells with nothing in their jeans. My sister responded laughingly that, “Oh, they sure do have something in their jeans.” Papa John was obviously thinking of money in their jeans, but my sister’s thoughts were elsewhere.

And that incident was, I believe, the catalyst that sparked the dissolution of our family. The tinder caught fire that night, a fire that would smolder for several days and then erupt into a full blown four alarm fire. The cataclysm that ensued was the result of a clever rejoinder my sister made to a cautionary remark made by our stepfather, a rejoinder that I considered hilarious—not that I laughed at the time, but I joined my sister in laughter later.

A few days later Midland and the summer we spent there was history—our kitchenette was vacant, Papa had disappeared and my mother, my sister and I were on a bus headed for El Paso, watching the motel, the ball park, the dance hall and the city of Midland recede through the back window of the bus. We were on our way to join my older brother and his family.

Our stay in El Paso would prove to be of short duration.

I’ll get back to you later with more details.

 

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Bus driver, or cowboy . . .

Preamble: A preliminary statement, especially the introduction to a formal document that serves to explain its purpose.

A preamble is normally written before a document—I’m adding this preamble after I posted the document below. My daughter, the one that lives, loves and works in Northern Virginia, the one that I love best, but don’t tell the other two daughters I said that—tasked me with answering several questions concerning the person in this photo. In the interests of levity, I assumed the character of a criminal investigator in analyzing the photo in response to my daughter’s request. I identified her merely as a relative in Virginia, and she took umbrage—this addition to the posting is my attempt to correct my blunder.  And in the interests of full disclosure, I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be a criminal investigator, not in Washington DC or any other location. I merely presented myself as such in order to bolster my analysis of the photo.

The photo is an accurate depiction of my mother’s youngest son—me—and virtually all of the information I posted is true. The only time I seriously strayed from the truth was the part about  studying photos from various high school yearbooks while working in the Washington DC area—I freely admit that it was a real whopper! However, that I worked in that area for three years is a true statement—so help me, you know Who.

Here is the original posting, unchanged. The only difference is the addition of the preamble above—my search for an antonym to preamble was fruitless. I suppose we could call it a postamblewe could run that term up the flagpole and see who salutes it!

I recently received this photo from a relative in Virginia, accompanied with a request for me to apply the training I received over many years in the field of law enforcement and answer as many of the questions below as I could, with the answers based on the expertise I acquired—expertise in the use of observational techniques and in the questioning routines I used in conversations with subjects suspected of various crimes.

These are the questions:

Tell me something about this fella—-where he was mentally and physically at this time…How old was he? What was he was thinking about? What aspirations did he have?  He looks so pensive and serious. What was he dreaming about?

It was an unusual request, but it posed a challenge for me. There are, of course, more visual and physical traits to be observed when faced with the actual suspect, but some definitive conclusions can be reached simply by studying a photograph.

This young man, for example, has an exceptionally well-formed head with an Adonis-like visage. Each feature—eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheekbones and chin—are in perfect harmony with the other features. Any observer would view him as a handsome young lad, undoubtedly popular with the girls and envied by his male peers. That beautifully coiffed hair places the boy in the company of Narcissus, and at this age the lad undoubtedly spent lots of time looking into a mirror. Narcissus, of course, fell in love with a reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own. The photograph reflects no doubt—this young fellow knows exactly what he sees in the mirror and he is well-pleased with the image, a pleasure bordering on self-adulation.

Whether this teenager ever enjoyed any significant contacts with the opposite sex based on his looks would be pure speculation, and an investigator never, ever speculates—any investigative conclusions must be based on demonstrable facts.

Some conclusions may instantly be made—the photo is that of a young boy, perhaps in his early to middle teen years—he is white, Anglo-Saxon, with perhaps a bit of the old Irish in him. His age is  somewhere between fourteen and fifteen years. He has a delightful sprinkling of freckles, indicating that most of his years have been spent in sunny southern climes in a state, or states, well below the Mason-Dixon line. The hair style is representative of those affected by youths in the middle to late 1940s. I believe this photo was taken in late 1946 or early in 1947.

The source of the photo can often be helpful. One can deduce that the photo is not the work of a professional portrait studio. If it were, it would show the company’s name and logo near the lower edge—Olan Mills, for example. By an unusual coincidence, I worked in the Washington, D.C. area for three years, and on an unrelated assignment I studied student photos in the yearbooks of  several schools in the DC area—although some 13 years have passed since the assignment, I still vividly remember the photos.

This photo, judging by the pose of the subject and the clarity of the portrait, matches very closely the attributes of yearbook photos taken of students at Suitland High School in the city of Suitland, Maryland—the photo in question was published in that school’s year book for the period cited.

An astute observer will instantly be drawn to the left eye—it’s ever so slightly squinted, caused by a deliberate but subtle lowering of the eye’s upper lid. No definite conclusions can be drawn from that squint, but  here are some possible causes:

It could be that the photographer is an attractive young female, and her subject is speculating on his chances of getting it on with her, a term similar with today’s term of making out. It could be that the photographer is a school staff member, one for which the subject has no particular fondness—the squint could be saying, “Don’t screw it up—either do it right, or don’t do it!”

That squint is, perhaps, in imitation of some Hollywood actor favored by the subject, and is thus used in such situations. I must confess that I use it, but infrequently, and I believe that one of my own three offspring also utilizes the squint as needed in certain situations.

This unusual and interesting habit of squinting one eye is sometimes reflected in a person or persons closely associated with the squinter—a brother or sister, or a relative of the squinter, perhaps a daughter or son—daughters and sons sometimes tend to imitate one or more habitual physical traits exhibited by their father.

That squinted left eye leaves me with the thought that this lad did, for one reason or another, not complete the current school year at this high school. He probably dropped out of class near the end of the second semester. His failure to complete the year may have been caused by having to relocate in a distant city, or because he converted his thoughts concerning the photographer into action, or perhaps he broke his leg while playing in an American Legion Little League baseball game, or for some other completely unrelated reason.

As for this lad’s aspirations for the future, that’s very difficult to discern. My best guess is that his aspirations at that time were similar to those of Jethro, of Beverly Hillbillies fame—Jethro vacillated between becoming a brain surgeon or a short-order cook.

I believe this lad, at this time in his life, vacillated between becoming an old-time cowboy, broad of shoulder and tall—yeah, good luck with that—and lean of hip, with steely gray eyes perpetually squinted from checking the horizon for Indians and badmen—either that, or a bus driver.

Of course I could be wrong.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in actor and acting, Humor, PHOTOGRAPHY, sports, Writing

 

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Quickies, cashews and conjugations . . .

I have been chastised by a viewer who finds my postings far too lengthy and reading them in their entirety requires extended absences from some of life’s more important activities, including such vital ones as texting and watching television (I would surmise that the viewer does not read books or periodicals for the same reason).

In response to that criticism I am introducing the ‘quickie’ posting. The use of that term necessarily mandates a definition. From Wikipedia: A quickie is defined as ‘a thing done or made quickly or hastily, in particular a rapidly consumed alcoholic drink or a brief act of sexual intercourse.’ The word may legitimately be used as a noun or an adjective to describe an infinite number of situations other than those involving drinks or sexual intercourse.

At this point I must note that a quickie (the noun) may be either given or received. Examples would be, for instance, ‘The featured speaker gave a quickie to the members,’ and ‘The members received a quickie from the featured speaker.’

Got it?

This quickie will not involve alcoholic drinks or sex (not that I’m opposed to either). My intent is to post a quickie (noun) from time to time, and such entries will be quickie (adjective) postings.

Now for my first quickie:

Texting is a relatively new word in our language. Virtually everyone is aware of its meaning, so no definition should be required. However, since the word is a verb it is subject to the rules of conjugation (no relation to the adjective conjugal as used in conjugal visits).

Incidentally, the generally recognized basis for permitting such visits (conjugal) in modern times is to preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life outside prison. The visit will usually take place in a structure provided for that purpose, such as a trailer or small cabin. Supplies such as soap, condoms, tissues, sheets, pillows, and towels may be provided (bold emphasis is mine).

Hey, I didn’t make that up—it came straight from Wikipedia! Check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugal_visit

I haven’t seen an official conjugation of the verb text, but I assume the verb as presently used would be conjugated for the present, past and future tenses as follows:

I text on my phone daily (present tense)—the gerund of text would be texting, of course. I texted on it yesterday (past tense) and tomorrow I will text again (future tense). The conjugation would be text, texted, text, similar to the verb run (run, ran, run).

My assumption is based on the fact that all those that text use texted to indicate past tense, namely, ‘I texted the schedule to everyone.’

And now, to quote the bard, ‘Ay, there’s the rub.’

If texted is the proper past tense for the verb text, the sequence of a batter’s performance in baseball games would be, ‘He hit the ball on the first pitch, and he hitted the ball on the first pitch yesterday, and he will probably hit the ball on the first pitch tomorrow.’ The gerund in this case would be, ‘He is hitting 500 ( fifty percent) this season.’

There you have it—I rest my case. If text, texted, text is correct then it logically follows that hit, hitted, hit would be correct, rather than the current conjugation of hit, hit, hit.

I boldly, with all semblance of humility aside, suggest that the past tense of text should not be texted—it should be simply text. The verbs hit and text are both one syllable, both end in ‘T’ and should therefore be voiced as, ‘I text her yesterday’ rather than ‘I texted her yesterday.’ The verb text should be conjugated as text, text, text. Try it—voice the past tense as presently used—texted, two syllables with equal emphasis on both syllables. Then voice the past tense as text, a word that is considered one syllable, but when voiced comes across as two syllables. Unless you omit the ‘t’ sound at the end of text and pronounce it as tex, you’ll pronounce the ‘t’ as a second syllable—try it! (Note that ‘it‘ is also pronounced with two syllables).

Come on, admit it—texted is awkward. It’s completely unwieldy and should be banned.

If my viewers will admit that it’s awkward, then I will in turn admit that this posting does not qualify as a quickie because it ran amok, completely out of control. If it’s a quickie, then it’s a quickie on steroids. Posting can legitimately be compared to such mundane activities as running down hill, eating peanuts (or cashews) and sex. Once started, it may be difficult to stop—nay, in extreme cases it may be impossible.

Postcript: I did not intend to involve alcoholic drinks or sex in this first quickie. I kept my promise on the drinks, but the serpent reared its ugly head in the above paragraph. I offer an abject apology to any viewer that may have found the word offensive. I did not delete it (behead the serpent, so to speak) because the thought was applicable and the word fit well.

Or should I say it fitted well, as in texted?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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