Monday, October 31, 2016


Halloween Quiz

1.   How many times did Bela Lugosi play Dracula?  

A. 2

B.  4

C.  7

2.  How long has Halloween been around? 

A.  103 years

B.  940 years

C.  6,000 years

3.  Halloween started in which country?

A.  Italy

B.  Germany

c.  Ireland

4.  Bonfires are associated with Halloween.  How did it get its name?

A.  Named for Dutch boon bean which were roasted on Halloween.

B.  In Samhein, the home of Halloween, priests used to put cattle bones on the fire.

C.  Bonnie,  a Salem witch, was burned at the stake, which became a Bon Fire.

5.  Bela Lugosi was buried with an item associated with his fame as Dracula.  What was it?

A.  A cross.

B.  A cape

c.  A stake.

6.  Lon Chaney, Jr. played the Wolf Man.  How many times would he play this role in future films?

A.  0

B.  3

C.  5

Fun Facts

Blair Witch Project was filmed in eight days.

The mask used in Halloween is a modified William Shatner mask. 

The skeletons in Poltergeist were not props - they were real human skeletons.

Psycho was the first time a flushing toilet was used in the movies.

The Exorcist is Warner Bros highest grossing film of all time.

I know the Cubs were on last Friday but I watched the first half hour of Dracula on Turner.  I don't know if they had a shortage of rats but when Dracula's castle is first revealed they have a shot of armadillos scurry about.  Armadillo's?  Ah, yes, the essential element of every nightmare.

A little 10 minute mini-movie for your Halloween.  The "lost film" concept which was also the premise behind the Paranormal Activity series opens the genre to anyone with a camera and maybe a little editing skills.  Actually, old Drac, Frankie and Wolfie don't raise my blood pressure at all.  It's the spooky house or asylum footage that makes me pull the covers over at night.   


1.  A

Although it seems all his roles were Dracula he only played him twice.  The first of course is the original Dracula made in 1931.  He then played old Drac in the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

2.  C

Halloween is thought o have originated 2000 years B.C., which would make it 6000 years old.

3.  C

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival in Ireland.

4.  B

Druid priests would throw cattle bones onto a fire and thus became bone fire, or bonfire.

5.  B

Lugosi was buried with one of his capes used in the movie Dracula.

6.  C

Chaney played the Wolf Man in 5 films:  the original,  Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Flashback

Halloween for us kids in Seaton was usually a very festive occasion.  Marj would monitor our movements from the anonymity of the car while we traipsed from house to house.  Afterwards we'd empty our bags on the living room floor and categorize the treats.  There was always stuff you didn't like, the stash a cut above that and then the primo items which were almost always encased in chocolate.  When we got older, Marj would stay home and we'd rove more in packs than as a family.  I'm sure it was all designed by the parents involved but it didn't seem that way then.  

And then the first Halloween when you stop. 

And then you become the adult with kids and you haul them around - your main mission to bring smiles and merriment to a fun night.  You put them in the car and take them places of safety to teach them the strategy of trick or treat.  And then you see them organize their treats when you get home.  

And when they stop going, somehow, I'm not sure how that works, you somehow have a second childhood and Halloween becomes a time to dress up again.  

And now I walk with grandkids around places and watch them organize.  And guess what.  I'm dressing up this year.  More on that, maybe, later.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Just Outside the Door

Last week I was bemoaning the lack of photographic opportunites around here.  At Shawshank I could walk down the enclosed enclave and be right next to the Gulf.  At Bedlam I could hop in the car at night and head over to the Causeway, but here, at Waterboard, I am stuck in the middle, with no place easy to go.  With that in mind I grabbed the camera and tested whether or not one always needs a "place", or whether there is opportunity right under our noses.   I never went more than 15 feet from either the front or back doors.  

Art?  Maybe to someone.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Day In The Life of a Manny In Largo

This represents, pretty much, my Mondays thru Fridays.  I serve as a Manny for a kid named Alfred.  

4:00 AM -  Alarm goes off and I may snooze one cycle.  I arise, get dressed, and head over to the 24 hour gym.  Since I'm almost always the only one there I put the TV on a news station and then treadmill for at least 3 miles/1 hour.  

5:10 AM - 5:30 AM - I get back to my cell here at Waterboard, fix a pot of coffee and head to the computer to do some reading (New York Times, New York Post and Washington Post).  Catch up my fantasy baseball teams (summer) or football teams (winter).  Check mail.  

6:00 AM - Start watching Morning Joe.  Scarborough (the Conservative) is obnoxious, Mika (the Liberal) mugs at camera but the roundtable regulars are the best on TV.  Geist, Halperin, Haass, Todd, Heilemann, Barnacle, Robinson, Ratliff and Steele, among others are excellent.  Their guest list is pretty damn good, too.  Another plus to MJ is no one does any cooking and they don't go outside to amble among the "Whooing" tourists like the other morning shows.  

7:30 AM - My charge, Miss Alfred arrives.   For first half hour we change diaper (if necessary) and fix bottle (if needed).  

8:00 AM - 10:00/12:00 - 

Classes begin: 

-- Problem Solving 101  

-- Personal Hygiene

--  Modern Dance

10:00 - 12:00 AM for Next 2 Hours

Nap Time.  The greatest part of the day.  

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

There is a McDonald's down the street as well as a Burger King.  I put Alfred in a stroller and we used to go to McDonald's primarily (because it was farther away) and have a cup of ice cream.  On one trip a couple weeks ago their ice cream machine broke down and the manager gave us three complimentary cookies for our disappointment.  We split one and tucked the other two to give to Norah when we saw her at day's end.   

This is a ramp that takes us to the 2-lane drive thru area of McDonald's.  We have to cross over in order to get back home.  Can you believe a car honked at us once?  A McDonald's employee who was sitting close by have a smoke just shook their head and said, "People".  Jeez, who honks at a guy with a stroller?

On our way home once we saw the nearby crossing school crossing guard stop traffic for someone who wasn't a student, and I thought, oh, neat, maybe she'll do it for Alfred and I.  The next day, armed with a cookie from McDonald's, we strolled on down and darned if she didn't stop traffic on this busy road just for us.  She got a cookie in the deal.  Now, we use her on about half of our trips.  But we always take her a cookie.  We pay for our passage. 

And then we head for home.

3:00 - 4:00 Free time.  Nothing scheduled for this hour.  

4:00 - 4:30 Judge Judy.  She loves her Judy.  

4:30 - 5:30 -  Outside Activities.  We put on her shoes and she likes walking outside.  She has also started climbing so she likes the stairs.  I have one eye out for her and one trained for the black Toyota that will be picking her up.  And then its MY free time.  Whew.  Well, that's the whole day.  That's why I get paid the big bucks.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

The population of the Tampa Bay Area is estimated at 2,975,222 people.  Largo, my latest institutional home is Largo, nestled between Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa is full of humans from all over the place; traffic is heavy wherever you go.  Seems like every inch of land is developed or undergoing development.  So, it seems quite strange that right next door is a place full of chickens.  Funny, huh?  Oh, and roosters crow all the time just not at dawn.


This is a picture of a knocker-upper.  In England and Ireland at the start of the Industrial Revolution a trade began that served as alarm clocks before alarm clocks were made.  These people would go from place to place and shoot a dried bean or pea through a tube at their customer's bedroom window to wake them up for work.  


My generation is the last to:

.....remember life before the Internet. honked every time you passed someone when driving.

 .....when a phone number contained letters.


If you are going to have a vanity plate make it so we get it.


Still the best Halloween costume I've ever seen.


Saw this at a thrift store.  Strange, huh?  I don't remember any problems with radiation from early computers.


Florida allows early voting by mailed ballot.  I filled mine out and mailed it this morning.  I exercised my franchise but I don't feel very good about it.  I have not shied away from giving rationales for my votes, but I am simply too embarrassed and wish it all to go away.  


A heads up for you Halloween revelers.  Friday night at 8:00/7:00 on Turner Classic Movies is the motherlode of old classic scary movies.  Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man and The Wolf Man will be played back-to-back-to-back-to-back.  They are dated, often silly and have lost their punch through the decades but this is where it all began.  Give it some respect.


Saw this somewhere with the heading Modern Romance.  We have gained immensely with our mobile devices, but we have a lost some, too. 


Pat Johnson, my buddy  from Mary Davis days and who I see everytime I return to Northlandia, is presently on her 20th disaster deployment with the Red Cross in North Carolina.  An amazing lady.  She definitely decided to do the Jimmy Carter thing in retirement - me, more like George Bush.


Looking forward to returning to the Cabin in the Woods in a month.  It is a short visit but am planning longer stays during next summer.  


I became a Met's fan because of my dislike for the Cubs.  I have set aside my animus and am rooting for them in the World Series.   They are the best team in baseball.   While we survived only one game this year in the playoffs, we made it to the WS last year so will step aside and let the Cub fans have their due.  By the way, I made a rare picture post on Facebook a couple weeks ago when three generations of Met's fans put on our uni's  for our big game.  

Finally, there is place nearby called Eagle Lake Park.  Nice place to take a walk, see some nature and take advantage of the first cool weekend we've had here so far.  Took this picture of a couple butterflies and looks like one's wing has been damaged.   

Monday, October 24, 2016

Head Out On the Highway, Looking For Adventure

Head Out On the Highway, Looking For Adventure

  I'm going to tell you about a spot that is gorgeous and overlooks the Mississippi.  It is trespassing if you try to do it by yourself, and kind of dangerous.  We received city approval to check it out.   I'd like to take my camera and tripod and take some pictures when I return to Northlandia in a few weeks.   

Next to the New Boston cemetery is a dirt road that, with a bit of scouting, will take you to a path that winds through soem fairly dense overgrowth.  Follow that path and you'll come to a an overlook area that is directly above the New Boston water department spilloff.  Thus the approval from the Wombie who knows other Aquamen in the area.  

This overlook provides a really nice view of the river few people ever have a chance to see.  There is a cement platform of sorts, but it is not fenced and should one go tumbling, they would be be wet and pretty banged up.  This is the view upstream.  You can see the partially submerged barge on the right and New Boston itself further up.  

This is a Google Earth satellite picture of the area.  As you can see, it looks like they brought a bunch of cement in and dumped over this pipe, creating a kind of lookout.  Don't try this at home, the Wombie and I are experienced gatecrashers and mountain goats.

This is looking downstream.  The tree on the left prevents a better look, but even this view is pretty neat.

One more view, why not.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Flashback Friday - Iliff Part 1

After college graduation at Iowa Wesleyan,  Marj approached me and said that parental support would be there if I wanted to continue in my studies.  I gave it some thought and weighed the pros and cons of continuing.  Flush from graduating with honors I guess, given the opportunity, I decided to continue.  I really enjoyed the classroom experience; learning was something cool to me and I liked the field of philosophy/theology.  The endless ideas intrigued me and ultimately felt I wasn't finished with that world.  Given the support from the folks and my willingness to commit to two more years I chose a small grad school on the grounds of the University of Denver.  It was called Iliff and I enrolled in classes that would lead to a Masters of Arts in Theology.  

My 2 years in Denver at graduate school was notable for a few reasons.  It was the first time I had ever done something on my own - school up to this time was always done in the shadow of older bro, Phil, and side-shadow twin.  Even entry in the college fraternity was with the Wombie.  Everything, and I mean everything, for the first time, was up to me.  After a summer working with Ed on the farm I packed my bags in my blue VW and headed out to a great unknown.  The first night out I stayed in Kearney, Nebraska mostly because there was a Phi Delt chapter there.  I thought I might stop by and see another chapter other than my own.  In college a few frat bros and myself went to Jacksonville once to a Phi Delt Summer Conference.  I was still very much in the old college bubble.  I remember stopping but I don't recall any events of that night.  

Once I saw the mountains for the first I was amazed.  They sure as hell don't have those in Seaton or Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.  I pulled out a map and found a small faint road going into town that surely would keep me away from all the city traffic.  Ore-Garmin days you took your chances.  That faint little road turned into the major Interstate that winds through the city.  Okay, that didn't work out, did it?  

I found the school at the corner of East Iliff Avenue and South University Boulevard.  I arrived and had about 4 days worth of orientation ahead of me. It was a horrible touchy-feely experience where we were all encouraged to...gulp...share.  I recall one session starting with Cat Steven's Morning Has Broken coupled with some other inane exercise and just about bolted at that, but since I had nowhere else to go, I rightly decided to stick around a little while longer.  Thankfully orientations eventually end.   And, thankfully, classes begin.  

Once we got the sappy opening few days out of the way, I was given an advisor, Dr. Jean Miller Schmidt.  She was a pioneer of sorts for the school.  In the stuffy old academic halls populated mostly by males, she was the first female professor of that school. Beautiful, with dark black hair, she was an alluring figure but tough as nails.  She would be the one to oversee my thesis and eventually approve it for submittal, and there were times I became a bit frustrated and probably pissed off when I would hand in the latest revision and have it back in hand for more.  

I was a bit of an oddball in my class in that I was not a theologian or looking for a ministerial career.  I was concentrated specifically in the philosophy side of things so I was the only one in my group of friends or acquaintances that was in a whole different program.  

This is David, a hairy hippy type.  Nice guy, quiet and liked to toke up every so often.  More buddies I hung out with were the Calhoun Boys, siblings from Alabama who were attending together.  Eddie Valverde was my closest buddy and I have written about him before.  More on him in subsequent posts. There was Jan,  Jennie, some guy I've forgotten his name who was obsessed with Elvis Presley.  I thought he was going to die of laughter when I told him the joke "What's green and sings?"  Elvis Parsley.  There was my Filipino friend who was a freshman at the University of Denver.  Maybe more on her later but maybe the less said the better.  Like the old saying goes, "Not everyone reads aloud every chapter of their life."

This is where I went to classes.  For the most part they were fun and challenging.  Small class sizes prevented me from melding into the background but the academic windbags generally liked to hear themselves talk so I don't recall too much stress.  

And of course, Colorado itself was very pretty and on weekends we hit the road.  Mostly Jan and I would go places which I'll talk more on later.  Sometimes we'd have a car load.  Colorado Springs, Sheridan, Pikes Peak, a meadow with cold Coors and cheese tray, the infamous Colfax Avenue and other places.  First time on my own a long way from home.  I pretty much did the solid Midwestern work-ethic thing:  I graduated the next year, didn't skip classes, took my studies seriously, missed home, and more importantly, somewhere in those couple years gained the confidence necessary to navigate life.  

So there you have it - I'll be doing Iliff off-and-on the next few   Fridays.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Monmouth's Prime Beef Festival provides a pretty decent show and this year was no different.  Just like last year I met my old high school buddy, Ed Johnson from Peoria.  He has a beautiful '62 Chevy Impala.   Miss Frump made the trip without any problem.   

The Frump shined up after arriving and ready for attention.

I tend to be a purist at car shows.  I shy away from an over-the-top presentation.  This owner, however, seems to revel in it.  I'm sure this guy garnered more laughs than my disgusted harrumph.   My rationale is the car is the real show, not the skeletons, stuffed toys, LED lights, photo albums, drive-in window tray.  But to each their own.

This guy bought a hearse and grill in a coffin.  Actually, I find this clever and fun to look at.  

That is a real tufted leather floorboard.  My God, the money these guys spend on their wheels!

Just a plain old pick up.  No chrome, no modifications.  I liked that a lot. 

As compared with this gaudy monstrocity.  Souped up, chromed out, wild paint job and everything modified in the cab.  Give me the old white one above any day.

This is real comfort for a day of showing.  A tent when you can't find a tree, and a cooler full of tasty food and drink.  Beats 18 holes of golf any day.

And yeah, winning recognition is the topping on the cake anytime.  Yea, Frump!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


While walking downtown I had my iPhone and snapped a few pics that seemed somewhat interesting to me.   Maybe you, too.

It was an abandoned store front and someone had posted this on the window.  The reflection from the window shows the cars parked along the street. 

Apparently not satisfied with posting a note on the window, the perpetrator of the previous picture decided to double-down on his assessment of someone. 

What could the catalyst for a movie or song,  the placement of an envelope on a door.  Eviction?  Rent notice? A plea of some kind?  A letter expressing love?  Who knows.  Only the owner of the envelope and door know for sure.   Harry Chapin could have spun a great ballad from such a vision.   Or perhaps new Nobel laureate Bob Dylan.  

Everything is art.  Art is everything.  I don't know what used to be here but when it was removed created a brick canvas for someone.  Look closely and you will see some art (?) or porn, depending on your perspective.  (My perspective? Art, of course.)