Monday, June 27, 2011


As I watched my kids grow up I had some idea of what to expect. First of all, since the nut doesn’t usually fall far from the tree I doubted that my kids would be sports fans. Their dad and I did not follow baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, tennis etc. on TV nor were we active in sports. Our four kids had forays into some extracurricular sporting type activities but that was mostly gone by the time they were grown up. One of the four was a reader from an early age and I figured he’d be a reader like me. He is. Our family was not into any kind of camping; we’d rather have the comforts of an exceptionally cheap motel than the discomfort of sleeping on the ground in a tent. Only of my four kids camps. And except for the usual games of “Fish” and “War” that every parent plays with their kids, we also were not a card-playing family, and I think overall the kids have grown up doing the same thing with their own kids but not turning into those people who can’t wait for the next poker party.

So if any of my kids moved to Hawaii, I would not particularly expect them to take up hula dancing with a passion. Similarly if one moved to Texas, I would really expect (and hope) that he or she would not turn into a gun-slinging cowboy. I thought I knew my children pretty well, and for better or worse they have turned into chips off the old block.

Except for Bryn.

She was born dainty, a cute little wisp of a thing with curly blond hair. She grew up with her beloved Marcy doll, “Peli”- the pelican pajama bag, a collection of glass mice, always singing in girls glee clubs; her room was lavender with wallpaper covered with old-fashioned dolls. This was a most feminine child, with sparkling eyes and a friend of everyone. And in her teens she had a terrific crush on Chris Knight.

So how could I have been prepared for what happened when she married and moved to Alaska? She came down for my birthday party yesterday and brought a bunch of photos to share. She works full time, but apparently has plenty of time left over for play. And it is her playing that has me simply shaking my head. Never would I have thought….

She is happy as a clam, and for that I am grateful. But it still has me wondering, how did this happen?

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sometimes one gets something put over on them, and walking into a restaurant expecting to meet your daughter for a quick birthday lunch and discovering instead a huge surprise birthday party with you as honoree is one of those times.

The agony of turning 76 is certainly mitigated by the ecstasy of finding your whole family waiting to share in that event! I had no inkling whatsoever that all this was going to happen right under my nose. And considering that plans had been underway for over a month, it was an absolute marvel that not one slip-up was made, although in retrospect I see where one or the other came close at certain times.

When I saw a Facebook posting from one grandchild to another that said, “Andrew, what are you doing in town?” it might have raised suspicion, but since grandson Andrew’s brother lives “in town” I didn’t give it a second thought. There were a couple of other little close calls, but at the time nothing came close to giving me a hint at what was going on behind my back.

So as if it wasn’t enough that 25 of my children, grandchildren, my brother, my sister in law and two nieces came to fete and greet me, my daughter from Alaska flew down to join the party. A few were missing – but my son, his wife and my granddaughter from Sonoma had just spent the previous Sunday with me in the Bay area and it would have been superfluous for them to make that long trek again. And the youngest of all my grandchildren, little Justine, was at her first two-week sleepover camp and I wouldn’t have wanted her to miss that for anything in the world. But still when I finally walked into the room of the restaurant where they were all waiting, all I could do was to say, “Oh, my family!” and hug each and every one of them. Needless to say, it was a wonderful birthday present and I am grateful for each of them who made it so special.

My daughter Erin spearheaded the event and did a superb job. As you know, if you want anything done ask a busy person to do it. She surely pulled off a surprise, a perfect surprise, and I couldn’t be more pleased!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


An interesting thing happened at the dentist’s office, which I have been frequenting lately for tooth repairs. This dentist is doing a strange thing in this day of dour economics: first, she adds a three-percent surcharge if you pay her bill by credit card. Second, she charges $5 to write a prescription. The first charge I can understand. She is deflecting Visa’s 3 percent handling charge to the customer. The second charge for writing an antibiotic prescription is, as far as I am concerned, a bit much. I judge this is a new thing for her, because the last time she wrote one for me, when I had the first root canal done in March, there was no such charge.

To be honest with you, though, I don’t have any strong negative feelings about doing this. Paying a little extra money to the dentist is much less onerous than paying the egregious price jumps that appear on the grocery shelves week after week after week. The dentist in private practice is limited as to what she can charge if she takes patients with dental insurance. To be candid, what I am paying as my co-pay on this most recent root-canal is exactly the same as I paid for my first root canal in 1985 when I didn’t have dental insurance. So I can’t be too miffed at helping out my dentist by being charged a few extraneous bucks now and then.

I just can’t help but wait and wonder where the next bite will come from.

Next observation, and related to the dentist.

I dropped my antibiotic prescription off at the local pharmacy and Jerry picked it up for me later in the day. I was given 28 pills – and instructed to take one four times a day. When I opened the bottle I was startled to see neon pink and black capsules, very different from the Amoxicillin I’ve had before. I understand about generic drugs and don’t usually quibble about them, though I would really prefer NOT having a generic. But if I want my insurance to pay (and I do) I acquiesce.

However, after downing the funny-colored capsule, I noted on the label that the drug manufacturer was AUROBINDO. I’ve been hit by globalization, I thought. And I ran to the computer to see what Google could turn up about Aurobindo. Sure enough, it is manufactured in Hyderabad, India. What caught my eye immediately is a that the US FDA has sent a warning letter dated 5/20/11 to the director of Aurobindo in which two items are discussed: One is about the “specific violations observed during the inspection in September of 2010 of mold growing on a plate” and ends with this statement: “We are concerned that similar situations were observed by other FDA investigators during previous inspections....The inspection uncovered additional deficiencies that increase our concerns regarding the validity of the data generated in the microbiology laboratory and the quality of the sterile API and finished drug products manufactured at your facility.”

The second problem identified by the FDA was inaccurate packaging and labeling of products and a seeming inability to correct the problem. Apparently the first problem arose in April of 2010 and as of the date of the letter (over one year later) has not yet been corrected.

My main concern about globalization with medicines is the inability to control lax safety standards. In living abroad I have seen that standards in some foreign countries are vastly lower than we have come to expect. As an example, we quickly learned in the middle east if you didn't find a mustache hair on your plate of food it meant you had already inadvertantly eaten it. If I have any control over it, I do not want to take any pills made outside North America. I intend to talk to my pharmacist on Monday when he is back in the shop and show him this letter. I will ask him not to provide me with any further medications from this company. I realize doing this will simply be a drop in the bucket, but at least I can do this for my own piece of mind. Globalization is here and unfortunately we mostly do not have any way to circumvent being affected by it.

And finally, this morning Jer and I went to Mimi’s for breakfast. While he was eating a crab-cake omelet with roasted red potatoes and I was eating a vanilla yogurt and fresh berry parfait with granola sprinkles we were discussing ourselves and the state of electronic devices. Jerry and I can use our cell phone to make and receive calls. Period. We do not text, we do not send pictures, and we do not leave or receive messages. Like my new Canon camera, there are at least 168 pages of instructions for those little Motorola Trac-phones and we’re just not up to processing so much in our shrinking brains. In fact, we understand we are actually going backwards by just standing in place. Soon we will be as innocent babes, learning to crawl around on the floor and maybe pull ourselves up on the furniture if we’re lucky.

In the meantime, I told Jerry my belief is if the 2014 Asteroid 2003 QQ47 doesn’t get us, the internet et al is going to be the means of our earth’s demise. I see it as the logical 21st century story just as the Little Black Sambo story belonged to the 20th century. In case you don’t remember Little Black Sambo (it became politically incorrect sometime in the mid 1950s) here’s the scoop as told by Wikipedia: Sambo is a South Indian boy who encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colorful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter; Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother makes pancakes of the butter.

Noah faced the destruction of civilization by water; later he was told by the creator water would never be used again, but the next time destruction would be by fire. As much as I love the computer and the internet, I have this feeling that instead we will have another “Little Black Sambo” event. The electronic/internet revolution is going to go faster and faster and faster and eventually what will be left of us will be a pool of melted butter – nothing more or nothing less. I don’t think we have to wait for a natural event. I think we will do it to ourselves. And I wonder who will make the pancakes then?

Am I downcast by all this? No. Que sera, sera, as the song says. In the meantime, I continue to peck away at my trusty computer, share my views on globalization and on the sad state of the economy – and wait for a minor reason to use my cell phone. As long as I can think, ruminate, type (excuse me, keyboard) and blog a bit I feel pretty darn good for my age, both mentally and physically (except for my poor old teeth!)

Friday, June 24, 2011


I don’t know which irks me more: meeting attendees who turn a scheduled program into a gripe session, or the program leaders who allow it to happen. I’ve seen it happen in seminars I’ve attended at work, and I’ve seen it at genealogy meetings. But the worst has been what we’ve experienced here in our own apartment complex.

Jerry and I live in a fairly unusual complex:
a) It is not a gated, secure community, although a security company is hired by management to man an entry shack 24 hours a day, making it appear as if a security system is in place;
b) It has a small retail complex just inside the premises that is open to the public – a Laundromat, cafĂ©, market, thrift shop, pharmacy, beauty and barber shop.
c) It rents out various buildings for both public and private affairs such as weddings, service clubs, etc.
There are no garages, only open carports, and no storage facilities of any type. Many of the residents use battery operated golf carts to get around and which must be parked outdoors in front of their apartment.

This complex has been owned for many years by a group on the East Coast but is managed by a local property management company. The rent we are charged, the lowest by far in this area, is what brings people here. There are 1240 individual apartments, 12 to a building and all on the ground floor. It sits on several acres of land with a 3-par golf course in it.

Periodically some kind of organized burglary gets a foothold in the complex. Thugs cut through the chain link fence at night from outside the complex and steal batteries from golf carts, and occasionally steal the entire cart. Sometimes cars parked in the carports or on the streets are broken into. Interestingly, every apartment has at least one bedroom with a window in it that overlooks the property. One would think that someone would hear something going on when one of these burglaries are in process, but old people are hard of hearing, or sleep soundly, or are afraid to have a window open, so rarely are the police called except after the fact.

The County Department of Aging sponsored a meeting at our complex last night presented by the local Sheriff’s Department on the topic "Personal Safety and Security." The head of the Aging Department, a woman, welcomed the attendees – probably 200 or so of us – and introduced first the Sheriff Department’s K-9 handler and dog. The handler barely got started before hands began being waved at him and people began shouting questions: What is the dog’s name? How old is he? Does he play with your kids? The handler answered them, as well as other inane and inappropriate questions -- and basically had his talk taken away from him. The next person to speak was a Lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Department who said he was there to talk about how to make good policing a matter of cooperation between the public and law officers.

He had barely started his talk when a man in the audience shouted out “You are a damn fool.” The audience roundly booed him, but then, before the Lieutenant could even started his talk again, residents jumped up and began their litany of grievances, one going so far as to walk up to the front, take the microphone out of the speaker's hand and launch a diatribe about something that happened 8 years ago. And it just went from bad to worse. No one, not apartment management nor the Department of Aging representative, stopped the audience to tell them that the Lieutenant had a presentation and would take questions afterwards. It became a resident-directed meeting with no leadership anywhere.

This did not surprise either Jerry or me, because we knew that just as at every other “house meeting” we’ve ever attended, the program would end up being nothing but a viscious gripe session about how bad “management” was.

Disgusted, we got up and left.

I don’t like to disparage my neighbors, but during the 6 years we have been here I have seen this same rude and ignorant attitude exhibited by the residents at every meeting. But to be honest with you, I also have never seen the person in charge of the meeting actually take charge of it. The meeting is allowed to get out of hand almost before it has begun. The idea of someone having “control” of a meeting apparently doesn’t have much cachet around here, and thus the bedlam happens over and over.

Frankly, I do not belong at those meetings because I know ahead of time I am going to get irked enough to leave shortly after it starts. And that is why I don’t know which bothers me more, the crowd or the program leaders. Maybe the leaders, because they should know better.

I don’t like being irked, so I mind my own business, find my social life outside the apartment complex, be kind and helpful to my neighbors and hope my car doesn’t get broken into. Other than that, I pretty much disassociate myself from this place.

I remember my mother once telling me that you don’t get yourself in trouble if you keep your big eyes open and your big mouth shut. I think maybe that is what I do here. I try not to be “standoffish” – and I truly am working on that, but oh, it is so hard on evenings like this on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The nearest thing to it here in the states is a snow cone, but frankly it is a poor excuse as a replacement for "shave ice" - the real kind one gets in Hawaii. And of course snow cones are not all that easy to find anyway, and the desperate man's replacement for a snow cone is a Slurpee.

Neither a Slurpee nor a snow cone satisfies me. I have been known to buy a snow cone at an AYSO soccer match, when my daughter hauled her snow-cone maker to the match each Saturday during the season. It is really hot in the summers where we live, and snow cones satisfy the need for something cold. But anyone who has had an authentic shave ice on the islands will know that one is not a very good replication for the other!

At one time - I'll guess in the mid 1980s - a Hawaiian Shave Ice store opened up in a strip mall in the little town of Orange where we were living then. It obviously didn't generate the quantity of customers necessary to stay open, and after that first summer it went out of business, much to our family's chagrin. It was the real stuff and we missed it when it left.

We lived in Orange for close to 20 years, relocating to the inland empire (first to Loma Linda and then to Mira Loma) when I retired. A month or so ago my son and grandson were in the area and we decided to drive down to Orange for lunch at another great place there that luckily had been in business for a long time.

Our arrival in Orange in 1975 happened just a year or so before Hassan's Lebanese restaurant opened on Glassell adjacent to Chapman College. It was owned by the Hassan family, which included Papa Hassan and his sons Hassan, Mahmoud and Mustafa. We became one of their regulars during our years in that city, and even after we moved we often drove down because we absolutely could not find any local middle-eastern food that satisfied us the way the Hassan family made it.

Originally named simply "Hassan's," it later was re-christened "Papa Hassan's," after the patriarch was hit by a car and killed as he was making his usual daily walk to the restaurant. The older Hassan son started a restaurant in Newport Beach and the two younger brothers kept the Orange location.

So imagine our dismay recently when the four of us arrived at the restaurant to find it out of business, shuttered up tightly and painted the same color as the college buildings. According to what we later learned, a fairly serious kitchen fire occurred and the family decided to get out of the business entirely instead of starting over somewhere else.

About four blocks away from Papa Hassan's there was a Cuban Restaurant, Felix's Cafe, where we also used to eat on occasion. It was "on the circle" in the center of town and was one of the few sidewalk cafes in town. They had a Cuban sandwich to die for -- Cuban bread, roast pork, ham and a dill pickle, with a plaintain on the side. So the four of us decided if we couldn't eat at Hassans we'd head to Felix's.

You know the expression, "You can't go home again?" Well, I would guess that Felix's has had a change in ownership since we left town some 10 years ago, and the Cuban Sandwich was no longer the sandwich of our dreams. I could tell by looking at it when it was served that a change had happened. So driving to our old stomping grounds is no longer a necessity.

In our more rural part of Southern California we have a nice selection of ubiquitous chain restaurants to choose from but we are bereft of anything authentic in Middle-eastern food, Chinese food, Cuban food, Jewish deli food -- and Hawaiian shave ice. Los Angeles has it all, of course, and sometimes we just have to make the trek into the city (some 60 miles to the downtown area) if we want the real stuff.

The city of Orange was much nearer to us in distance -- but sad to say, there is nothing much of our past there anymore. It's probably a combination not only of societal changes (all the old familiar things being gone) and our aging (all the old familiar things going!) Businesses are changing and we are becoming redundant. All this is, I think, a sad state of affairs.

I've got dental appointment this morning, after which my mouth may be so sore I'd wish for a shave-ice to dull the pain, but I just might have to settle for a Slurpee.

Monday, June 13, 2011


My mother was crazy about babies. Little ones. Ones that smelled of Johnson's baby oil on their heads and their bums -- and Johnson's baby powder on their bodies. I wouldn't call it a fetish, but she certainly made it known that there was nothing in the world as sweet smelling as a tiny baby.

Now don't laugh when I say that the picture above is one she took of me when I was just a tiny thing. It came from the baby-book she kept of me, and under it she had printed "Little Babs' cute neck. She smelled so good there." As an aside, wouldn't you think there would be a picture of my face instead of my neck?

I imagine mother kept me powdered and oiled up until I was twenty-six months old and my sister arrived on the scene to get the oiling and powdering.

Although at some point my sister and I outgrew my mother's ministrations (as I'm sure a much-later born brother also did), when we got older and went with our family to the beach mother always slathered Johnson's baby oil on our back -- ostensibly for sunburn protection but probably still because the smell of it took her memories back to our baby days.

I have always been surprised to experience what an impact a smell can have. I wonder if other people automatically conjure up old images when they smell certain things. I know a whiff of White Shoulders can bring back my college years instantly. It's almost like seeing my life at that time play out before my eyeballs! A smell of Vicks brings back those times as a child when I got a cold and mother put a mustard plaster on my chest and Vicks in my nostrils.

When I drive down toward Long Beach there is a certain point on the freeway where I can get a whiff of the ocean smell -- and there again I relive my teenage years that I spent on the beach or in the water canoeing -- or out on the piers watching people fish. The ocean was a large part of my growing up and its smell is still down in my soul somewhere. (Of interest is that it mainly needs to be the ocean near Long Beach. The ocean at San Diego does not do that to me.)

I have not smoked for many years. I quit in 1963, and even so, at that time I had only smoked for a couple of years. During the time I was single between marriages I did have a few cigarettes now and then, mostly when I was nervously out on a date, but luckily I never considered taking it up again. For the most part I absolutely hate the smell of cigarette smoke. But every once in a while that smell will bring back not only the remembered pleasures that the cigarette brought but also a panorama of my life during that period - not specific images but just of time and place and good things.

Maybe it was because my mother often told me about how good I smelled when I was a baby, as exemplified in that picture of my little fat neck and her comments about it, that makes me more conscious of the connections between memories and smells. Maybe everyone has smells that they respond to in that way. Do you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


You would think that getting a new camera to replace the old one that died would be a cause for rejoicing.

Well, it's turning out not to be.

I've actually had this camera for a couple of months and have been using it in its perfectly satisfactory "AUTO" mode...aim and shoot! And I've been telling myself that this is enough. But I admit that I have missed all the stuff I could do with my old non-digital Canon T90 SLR that has served me well through two years traveling in Turkey in the early 1990s and since. But this is now the digital age, and as I saw my kids and grandkids all using their digital cameras I decided I should make the move into it with a new camera for myself. The one I chose (like the pretty blue one above) was on sale for a little over $100 and I snapped it up. Since then I've used it a lot - but all in the automatic mode.

I knew it had a lot more capabilities than that, but first I would have to download the User Guide that told me how to do all of it. Do you know there are 136 pages in this guide? Every page has instructions on it. I nearly fainted. And what is worse, almost all of it is written in a language I don't understand. No, not a foreign tongue; it's just that I don't understand what these writers are talking about. Every single button or lever has a multitude of functions that are activated by doing something else with some other button or lever first. Somehow I have to memorize all these things.

Do you know why the old Brownie Box camera was in use for so long? All you had to remember was to aim and then shoot. I hate to admit it but the directions in this new guide assume you can remember the first, second and then third steps for every procedure. What the guide doesn't do is take into consideration that not every user has grown up on digital this and digital that. What is easy for young people to remember is all but impossible for an older person. Heck, I can't remember what I was going into the kitchen for; how can I remember the series of functions that I have to perform to get the "flash" turned off and then back on again when I need it.

Anyway, I printed out the User Guide page by page. I put it in a binder with dividers between the chapters and now I have to start at the beginning and practice each function under discussion until I "get it." I am not sure I'll live long enough to really get everything lodged in my memory. But I've got to try.

When I was younger and had to tackle a difficult problem that was taking an inordinate amount of time to learn, I always consoled myself by thinking that when I first started typing I wasn't very fast either but that eventually I got it down and could do 75 wpm in a flash. But I don't think that explanation will hold up anymore. I just don't have much confidence that I can learn everything I want to about the workings of this camera, because I think my brain is too old and worn out. And I find that sad.

However, I'll keep the User's Guide and the camera out on the footstool by my chair and every time I have a free minute I'm going to practice, practice, practice. I can use Jerry or the cat for models. The one redeeming thing about all this is that I won't be ruining film in the process; the cost of learning is going to be much cheaper than it was when I was learning how to work my T90.

Surely I should be able to learn something more than I know now. But once I get this all down pat, I have another project of the same type lined up. And that is to learn all the functions on my cell-phone that I don't know how to use either.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Last week in our local newspaper there was a small item about graduation ceremonies being held at our local state university.

Two ethnic-oriented graduation ceremonies are set for June 4 at Cal State San Bernardino's Coussoulis Arena.

The Fifth Annual Latino Graduation Day ceremony will be celebrated at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. There is a $20 registration fee to graduates, which covers the cost of a cultural sash to wear at commencement....Later the same day, from 7-9:30 p.m. the Black Faculty, Staff and Students Association will present its 18th annual Black Graduation recognition ceremony in Coussoulis Arena. The cost is $50 for participants....

To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement. Just the week before I had watched the PBS documentary "Freedom Riders" and was once again horrified at what happened to those brave souls, black and white, who risked their lives for equality. With that in my mind, I could not believe that now two minority groups in the U.S. were using that hard earned freedom to have their own, separate graduation ceremonies - one all-Black and one all-Latino.

I immediately went online to the CSUSB website, because I could hardly believe that what I was read was what it appeared to be. And it wasn't.

Apparently these are private events and both groups welcome guests. The regular Graduation Ceremonies for all the various disciplines are scheduled for next weekend -- and undoubtedly will be multicultural, multiethnic and multidiscipline, as they should be.

But back to yesterday's events: The official title for the Latino event was called "Latino Graduation Recognition Ceremony and Reception" and likewise for the blacks, "Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony." The first was sponsored by the Association of Latino Faculty, Staff and students and the second by the Black Faculty Students and Staff Association.

Once I had done my homework and clarified the difference between the formal commencement activities and the "ethnic-oriented graduation ceremonies" as noted in the newspaper, I was ok with the University's plans. However, I was NOT ok with the newspaper's article. The reporter is normally writes a good story; he missed the boat on this one. And that can be attested by the letters to the editor that appeared this week as a result of that little article. It wasn't that the readers misunderstood what was written; that article just wasn't written clearly. No clarification was ever forthcoming from the newspaper to help readers understand. And that's too bad.

Do I feel better now than I did at first? Well, maybe a little. I like to believe groups can form for certain purposes and ought not to be told who they can and can't include. I tend to think that if public money is involved there should be great latitude in membership. I find a great gap in reconciling the blacks fight for equality and the banding together at a public university for a Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony and Reception sponsored by a Black Faculty, Students and Staff Association, in which guests are invited to wear traditional African cultural clothing.

I guess I am caught in a "then and now" time warp. I am old enough to remember the bigotry of the past, the Freedom Riders, Emmitt Till, Bull Connor, Old Miss, and the bridge at Selma -- and probably not young enough to not have the burden of all that on my shoulders like many of the youngsters today.

But I don't have to particularly like the idea of ethnic-oriented celebrations in a public university.

Friday, June 3, 2011


In 1986 Jerry and I came across this book which had just been published and decided it would be great fun to have. Periodically over the years I've made use of it to sort out the occasional confusion we experienced when we were trying to remember the name of, or the date of, or the star of, an old TV program. Jerry is 5 years older than I am, so his recollection of early TV goes back further and starts sooner than mine does.

In 1945 my father purchased Alexander Electric, a small retail store already in business on East Anaheim Street in Long Beach. Initially it just had small appliances such as irons, radios, fans, record players and so forth. Dad added larger appliances and finally was able to get a franchise for Admiral TVs. I can only make a guess at when that happened, but I think it was in late 1948; of course he brought one home for us to watch. The first thing I can remember watching was the Kathy Fiscus tragedy, when the little 3 year old girl fell down an abandoned water well. This occurred on April 8, 1949 in San Marino, California, and Stan Chambers reported the unsuccessful rescue effort on live television.

In November of 1949 NBC introduced a variety show called Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and I do believe that not only kids but their parents too faithfully watched that program for years.

I also know early on our family watched a lot of wrestling matches and roller derby games; we all loved Gorgeous George, and we all liked the women's roller derby games better than the men's because oh, those women seemed so tough! But for kids specifically what I remember was a children's program on Saturday morning called "Sandy Dreams." This was a live series that each week showed Sandy drifting off to sleep to a magical land of performing children. It started out as a Los Angeles show in October of 1950 and lasted for 9 weeks. This book of ours tells all about it, as well as listing the names of the little child actors.

The only other early child's program I can remember was called "The Buster Brown TV Show with Smilin' Ed McConnell and the Buster Brown Gang". The unforgettable character that came out of that show was "Froggy the Gremlin."

In 1953 I went off to college and there wasn't any TV watching then for a long while. This book is just full of the "oldies but goodies" that were a part of our lives later. It tells about Paladin, Adventures in Paradise, Alan King Show, Steve Allen, The Aldrich Family, The Cisco Kid, Crime Photographer, Duffy's Tavern...just about any old TV series can be found in this book.

But the one that stands out in my mind - and in the mind of everyone else who ever faithfully watched the Alfred Hitchcock show was the episode in 1958 called "Lamb to the Slaughter." Probably just saying the sentence "Lady kills her husband with a leg of lamb" will jog your mind into remembering this most fascinating episode. The picture below is of the detectives questioning the wife.

In case you have forgotten what it was about, this link will give you a recap of the story.

Just think, we used to watch TV every nite, enjoy it greatly, and not one thing we watched was anywhere close to a reality show in the sense that we have them now. The nearest we came was "Candid Camera!"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


For a person who loves words, I sure do have trouble with them as I get older. Today I’m going to mention three specific words that have been dancing around in my head awaiting a blog.

TRIBUTE: When our son and his wife needed to replace their Mazda Tribute, they offered it to us and we accepted it very gratefully. It’s a nifty car. But I can’t seem to remember its style. The “Tr” sticks in my mind….and then I have a meltdown. I consider the possibilities: trombone, trolley, Trojan, troika, trustee, tremor, triumph, trooper, Trotsky, trumpet, truffle, trinity, treasure, treble, transfer, tripod, triton, trigon, treacle, trestle, triage, tribal, tribune, trellis, trauma, tranquil, traitor, trachea – ad infinitum. How can I remember which one of these it is? I just can’t!

The word “Tribute” is SO insignificant in among these other words. If the car company had designated it as a Mazda Trombone, I’d never have forgotten. I’m tempted to give up on trying to keep “Tribute” on the tip of my tongue (I have to keep asking Jerry what it is again) and just go with trombone, or maybe trachea. If I could laugh about the name, I might remember!

FASCINATOR: When I knit this cap, there were separate instructions on knitting the “Rosette.” I sent a copy of this picture to my friend Nancy in San Francisco, and she said it could be called a “fascinator.” Having never heard of a “fascinator," I googled it and sure enough, I can see why she said that.

I was delighted to learn a new word and I found these photos of people modeling fascinators to be really intriguing. In fact, I wish I were the type of person who could pull off wearing one, but with my standard attire of levis and t-shirts, I hardly think a fascinator would be appropriate anywhere on my body.

The big problem here is that I cannot remember the word “Fascinator.” Most often the word that comes to mind is “Facilitator” – which of course make me laugh, but it seems to be about as close as I can come in pulling up the word. After the third time of having to ask Nancy about the word again, I wrote it on a card and taped the card to my printer. I now can keep my eye on it and MAYBE have it finally lodge in my brain for good. At least I won’t have to ask her again what it was

MERKIN: And finally, the last word that I cannot remember is “Merkin.” Oh I can sure remember what it is, but its actual name just doesn’t stick. The easy definition of it is “Pubic Wig.” (I kid you not). But in trying to remember the name, I went to Google and attempted to enter enough words for Google to say, “Yikes. This poor lady really needs some help here” and give me the word quickly. Frankly, I was afraid the little bots or whatever it is that roam the internet sensing people’s interest so they can give out screen-names to advertisers were going to start sending me pornographic e-mails. Well, thankfully that didn’t happen, but I am using the least offensive photo I could find to illustrate what it is I can’t remember the name of!

What is a merkin? Wikipedia says,

Few speakers of the English language know the meaning of the word. Dictionaries vary on the definition however most agree that a merkin is a pubic wig. The authoritative Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "an artificial covering of hair for the female pubic region; a pubic wig for women."

A merkin (first use 1617) is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia, and are nowadays used as decorative items or in film making. In Hollywood film-making, merkins are used in films where they are worn by actors and actresses to prevent inadvertent exposure of the genitalia during nude or semi-nude scenes. If a merkin was not worn, it would be necessary to restrict the shot to exclude the genital area; with the merkin in place brief flashes of the crotch can be used if necessary. The presence of the merkin protects the actor from inadvertently performing 'full-frontal' nudity – some contracts specifically require that nipples and genitals be covered in some way – which can help ensure that the film achieves a less restrictive MPAA rating.

I really don’t feel a need to keep the word “Merkin” in my brain, as I can’t conceive of any way that I might have need of it. I did want to save it for a blog, but now having used it, I’ll just let it go. I do have to tell you, however, that my son was the one who sent me the information on a merkin in the first place; he’s a good idea-contributor to my blog and something like this is right up his alley. What surprises me is that I just never had heard of this word in my whole life. Such a surprise!

So those are my trouble-words today. If I lose them again, all I have to do now is consult today’s entry and they’ll be there waiting for me.