Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday - Only Campaign Rally I Ever Went To

When I was a student at Denver working on my Masters, I went to a political rally for Arizona Rep. Mo Udall. He was running against Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Presidential nomination and I liked his politics, his presentation, and his humor. Of course, he never made it, coming in second throughout the primaries and eventually dropped out at the convention. As a 30 year congressman he was influential and did a great deal for the environmental issues. It was a warm Spring Colorado day on the grassy campus of the University of Denver.  I don't remember it being a large crowd, but we were still pretty pumped he was there.  Not only did I go to the rally, but also shook hands with him and informed him boastfully that "Illinois is behind you." Turns out he received 0% in Illinois.
A funny, thoughtful, one-eyed man, he came in second in some primaries, but eventually, he lagged far behind Carter, so that's what we got for 4 years. At least with Mo we might have had a chuckle or two.

                                            These are not my pictures.

One of the things I just recently discovered is that Mo died virtually alone in a Washington D.C. nursing home.   And about the only one who came to visit was up and coming Arizona politician John McCain.  You see, once you lose influence in Washington, the phone stops ringing.  It stopped for Mo when Parkinson's disease forced him to resign from Congress.  Mo had divorced his first wife, and his second committed suicide in 1988.  More on the McCain friendship but first a few Udall tidbits:

   1.  He lost his eye at age 5 when he and a buddy were trying to cut string.  he always fought for National Health Insurance because of that incident.  His father took him to a drunk physician and he treated it with poultices.  The eye became infected and he lost it.

   2.  In 1963 he proposed legislation to put cigarettes and other tobacco products under the control of the Food and Drug Administration. He favored putting the Government on a pay-as-you-go basis and slashing the Federal debt. He also promoted major legislation dealing with postal reform and land-use planning.

3.  He was a Mormon.  His experiences in World War II led him to cease being an active member of the Mormon Church. Citing the church's policy of not allowing black people to become priests (which it has since rescinded), he said, ''For more than 25 years I have held and expressed a deep-seated and conscientious disagreement with the church doctrine on the role of blacks.''

4.  ''I'm a one-eyed Mormon Democrat from conservative Arizona,'' he would say, ''and you can't have a higher handicap that that.''

5.  He tried enlisting in the war and during the eye examination he would place his hand over the fake eye during the test.  He actually passed to until a guy ratted on him.  They later changed the requirement and he enlisted.

6.   He served as commander of an all-black squadron in Louisiana for two years. ''That really shaped my life,'' he later said. ''I fought their fights with them. We had some battles over local discrimination.'' He served in the South Pacific and achieved the rank of Captain in the Army Air Corps.

7.  In 1946, he returned to the University of Arizona, where he was voted president of the student body and was a co-captain and all-conference forward on the basketball team. After completing his undergraduate work, he briefly played professionally with the Denver Nuggets.

8.  He failed in a bid to oust Hale Boggs of Louisiana as House majority leader in 1970.

When he lost to Mr. Boggs, after promised support from some liberals failed to materialize, he turned his ''Mo'' campaign button upside down so it read ''Ow.''

9.  "I have learned the difference between cactus and caucus,"  he quipped.  "On a cactus the pricks are on the outside."

As the disease progressed Mr. Udall was confined to the veterans' hospital in Washington. And as time passed, his condition deteriorated. Michael Lewis, a columnist for The New York Times Magazine, found that Senator John McCain, the conservative Republican from Arizona, was one of Mr. Udall's few visitors.  Back when McCain was just starting out he would have McCain up on the dais with him and sometimes during the speech he'd turn to McCain and ask him what his views were on matters.  Udall was a Democrat and McCain was a Republican and still he helped jump start his career.

As the disease progressed Mr. Udall was confined to the veterans' hospital in Washington. And as time passed, his condition deteriorated. Michael Lewis, a columnist for The New York Times Magazine, found that Senator John McCain, the conservative Republican from Arizona, was one of Mr. Udall's few visitors.

''Mo reached out to me in 50 different ways,'' Senator McCain told Mr. Lewis. When he was elected to the House in 1982, he said, Mr. Udall took him in hand, although they did not think alike on many issues. Four years later, when Mr. McCain won the Senate seat of a retiring Barry Goldwater, he said he felt his deepest sense of gratitude not to his fellow conservative but to Mr. Udall.

''There no way Mo could have been more wonderful,'' Mr. McCain told Mr. Lewis, ''And there was no reason for him to be that way.'' Whenever he takes the Senate floor on behalf of American Indians or argues that the Republican Party should support environmentalism, the Senator said, he remembers his debt to Mo Udall.

The only other notable politician I shook hands with was Jim Leach from Iowa.  He was just starting out and he stopped by the dorm at Iowa Wesleyan looking for support.  He went on to have an illustrious 30 year career representing Iowa in Congress. 

Pictures and information gleaned from Wikipedia and the New York Times obituary.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Double Post Today

Due to too many odds and ends posts sitting around and I'm doubling up today's entry.  Both were really too small to be one entry so I'm combining them.

This And That...Again

Johnny Appleseed at Sunset Beach?

A startlingly scary advertisement back in the 20's.  Imagine something like this today. 

Saw this somewhere. Funny, and in some cases likely true.  But not in my case.   

                                   Poor stupid Mark.  Trying to cozy up to a dog that will never love you.

Down To the Sea

Quick bicycle trip to the Bay to check out the sights. Actually it was a pretty quiet day. No bums in the picnic shelters, no planes practicing their landings and take-offs.

Nice cloud formation in the Bay.

And like a duck and its hatchlings, here comes the St. Pete Boat club having a summer practice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On My Kindle

I try to read daily and although I like a wide range of topics, unlike music, I am presently devoting most of my time to fiction. The books I have read recently and my grade follow.

Really nice Civil War story of two Massachusetts teens joining the Union forces and ending up at Gettysburg.  The relationship between the two brothers is explored as is the black woman who tends to their home and widowed father. If I were an emotional sort who laughed outloud or cried when reading (I don't) I would have cried with this one.  A-

Story of a plane that crashes and the ensuing investigation.  Stock characters, stock bad guys, not even worth taking to the beach.  D+

Latest sailing maritime story by S. Thomas Russell.  It continues the story of Captain Charles Hayden and the adventures of the HMS Themis.  I haven't a clue as to why I like this stuff.  I am somewhat embarrassed but it certainly helps put me to sleep at night. B

This was my first Sci-Fi futuristic vampire/creature book and while not entirely successful was divergent enough.  It was a whopping 788 pages and took me forever.  It is supposed the first of a trilogy, and yes, I suppose I'd get the next one due out next year, but nothing I'm jumping up and down to read.  C+  

Pretty good story, but again, rather stock characters.  I call it reading-by-numbers:  the pretty lab scientist, the peppy funny assistant, the pressure from the CDC to find an answer to the growing problem of people going crazy.  Ok read but the writing is rather shallow.  B      

My second zombie apocalypse book and likely my last.  It was actually a pretty good read and I liked the chracters (while they lasted) and the plot.  A company of soldiers defending themselves on a mission to rescue (yes, a pretty scientist) from a New York population that has become infested with a virus where they want to eat you.  B-   

Just started this one and looking forward to it.  I don't know if it can beat the GREATEST dog story in the world, The Art of Racing In the Rain, but I read that right after Missy died, so I might be little biased.  

I don't know why this book stays with me like it does.  I suspect it was becasue it was suggested to me from a friend in England right after Missy died.   It was just what I needed evidently.  Thanks Karen for recommending it.  A


This one has won a few awards and has a very strange premise. 

One Second After is a take on survival after some nuclear exchange.  Again, I don't know why I was drawn to it other than perhaps a different take on the whole apocalyptic thing.  I read (and watched) Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which was an excellent book on the subject.  Profoundly moving.  That's the story of a father and son traveling to the East Coast after an unspecified conflagration in hope of finding life. Of course we all go ape whenever the power goes out, I can't imagine what we would all do if everything went out, forever.     

Confession:  I have started this twice and put it down twice.  I WILL finish it one of these days.

Well, there you have it.  One's reading stand is a little like the voting booth, it explains so much of us, I think, so I'm a bit wary showing you what is on my book list.  Yes, I am into escapist/entertainment at the moment but I also have some biographies I want to get around to.  I am especially interested in a couple of books that came out in the past 2 years, one on Thomas Jeffersona and the other on George Washington.  I am looking forward to those simply becasue I need to flesh out these old fogey guys who we have a bland knowledge of.  I understand old George was actually quite a character and a bit of a rake in his youth.  The infighting amongst the founding fathers sounds like fun, too.  Along the same vein, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin about Lincoln's cabinet members sounds good, too.     

Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Mugshot Monday

Trying to get caught up so today we have a double Mugshot Monday. 

Mugshot Monday

Horns?  What horns.

I like making hash marks on my eyebrows.  I have no idea why.

I'm a gang banger and proud to put it on my face.

It seems appropriate that this multi-haired lady would be wearing shirt with peace signs.

This this guys ever had a broken nose?

Odd hair coloring scheme. 

Mugshot Monday - Tough Lady Edition

Battery On Health Service Personnel

OK, so they aren't all tough.  This one is about to crack.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flashback Friday - Me And Tennyson

Gee Mom and Dad, I'm a published poet! Back at Iowa Wesleyan the campus English literati printed a booklet of winning entries annually. It is the called Design.  Students and faculty would submit their poems, haikus or whatever and a judging panel would include them in the year's latest Design.  
I don't know how I found out about it other than perhaps fliers about campus.  Anyway, I submitted a poem and guess what, they included it in that year's edition.  I wish Iwould have considered it as big a deal as the school did.  They sent a letter to the folks telling them what an honor it was, and even asked me to join them on a certain day and read my poem to as assembled group of winners and their families.  I declined.   Shyness?  Maybe.  At the time I just don't think I wanted to.  Somehow, looking back on it, I kind of wish I had.

Anyway, here is the cover of the Design and my entry.  By the way, must not have been too big of a deal, they misspelled one of my words and all edition had a gauche ink pen correction.  Tacky, the published poet said, with snooty nose firmly in the air.  Tsk, tsk. 

Oh and before I forget, the President of the college, Dr. Louis Hasselmayer also was a winning contributor with his haiku.  Anyone can do a seven word haiku, but it takes a real genius to come up with a word that rhymes with Nantucket. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Early Morning Beach Walk

"MY NAME Joshua Robinson"  It won't last, of course, but we all have an instinctual need to be recognized, to leave our selves where he have trod.  Interesting treatise that I'll have to explore one day, but not today.

I absolutely have no idea what this was.  I've never seen it before on the beach:  little balls of something??  Anyone? Anyone?  Beuller? 

We see these guys swimming in the Gulf real close inside the waves every once in a while.  This one's swimming days are over. 

My walking companion.

This is an architectural feature in the apartment.  It is an island of sorts with an indentation.  

It contains sand from the beach, and items retrieved from beach exploring.  Sort of a beach away from the beach.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Full Of Sound and Fury...Signifying Nothing

(Picture taken by Jeff Sutor)

I have an old friend, we started working together at the Mary within weeks of each other, named Jeff Sutor who I admired as a co-worker, and enjoyed as a friend until he ran off to a better pension. As it so often goes, although I'd run into him and his wife Carol on occasion, our interactions were few after his hiring at the prison. He is back in the picture as I met them down here in St. Pete last winter, and he is helping me with a couple of projects in gulag Henderson during my rehab exile. He recently posted a picture on Facebook with the caption, "Is this legal." Jeff always looked at things just a millimeter different than the rest of us, to his credit, and our amusement.

(picture not mine)

Brendan and Norah. Aw, ain't that sweet?

You see, one of my problems was my Mother was a stickler for English. If you said, "Where at?" she'd reply, "Behind the at." Me too, I never really ever got that except supposedly saying "where" is all you need. She taught us good grammar (usually), and reinforced the need to spell well, too. when I see such a glaring inability to spell it brings back all kinds of images for me. You can stupid, but smart enough to have a dictionary. Apparently this store owner not only is stupid but also too stupid to check on her spelling. No excuse. Even when I make a mistake on this blog it is spellcheck, not my poor spelling.

                                        Sunrise over the Bay a few days ago.  Beautiful sunrises...

...and stunning sunsets.

President Obama shaking hands with our former neighbor, Mindi, (wearing the black glasses) when we lived on Chambers Street in Galesburg.  She works at GHS and had the snapshot of a lifetime. (picture not mine)

Saw this nice looking old plane at The Alfred Whitted Airport which is right on the Bay.

I never tire of seeing these big freighters whenever I cross the Skyway. 


The above address will take you to a revolutionary new kind of movie making.  Download where it says "Watch" and see a pretty harrowing spook film.  The truly unique thing is, you can watch it free on your computer.  That's right, the makers have been selling "cells" of the film to finance it are are allowing people to see it free for a limited period of time.  There will be theatrical releases and DVD's but for now it is free and they will ask you if you want o buy a cell for a buck, or whatever amount you want. 
It is one of those Blair Witch "found movie" films and has a great premise.  It is about a news team that goes underground to an old subway system in Sydney.  It's an Aussie film and had me on the edge of my computer chair a few times. It is well done, the acting pretty good, and the scary scenes done with enough darkness to heighten your fright rather than spoil it.  So go watch the movie.   

And finally, this guy was outside the front door walking around the other day.  Friendly enough and when he saw me poking around he went 'all turtle' on me and drew in his head, tail, and legs.  This is a Box turtle which have long lives.  Used to be people would catch one and put the date and their initials on it.  Some have lived up to a hundred years.   

(Picture not mine)

                                                         Apparently Laura is expendable.

I saw this guy in Peoria boarding the same plane as me, heading to St. Pete. In a valiant go-down-kicking-and-screaming fashion, he has been able to braid a ponytail with the last few wisps of hair he has left. Bravo. Never say die!

I saw this cartoon and loved it. 
This is for my friend Gay Johnson