Monday, November 19, 2007

Shaving gone crazy

Here I am at 8PM standing in line at the cosmetics counter inside my local Walgreens Drug store waiting for the clerk to get off the phone with her husband. "Why am I here?" you might ask. " Well I am here waiting to buy razor blades of course. It seems that my razor blades, Gillette Mach 3, are such a highly pilfered item that they are kept behind lock and key in a secure cabinet guarded by armed Pinkerton Agents with only the Cosmetic lady having the secret combination. "What happened to my shaving needs?" I asked myself as I waited. For a long time I used a shaving cup and brush and shaved with a single edge razor blade. Over the years, I switched back to that method more than once but my wife or someone would buy me an electric razor and out the window would go the brush and cup. The different electric razors I used were each very good, for a while, and then they would mysteriously get dull. I suspected people of the opposing sex, daughter and wife, would secretly start using my razor which would cause it to go dull. All that you can do with a dull electric razor is change the shaving heads but that never seemed to work right, so in the garbage they would go. I always noticed that when I threw my razor away, both wife and daughter would soon be sporting new electric razors?????? I have tried just about every type of shaving instrument that was ever made. The last I remember about my razor purchases was buying double sided blades and experimenting with different type of shaving creams. The next thing was I somehow got on the Christmas list as needing razors and my wife,bless her heart, slowly moved me up the list with the purchase of; single edge high performance blades, to double edge high performance blades, to triple edge high performance blades with a name to make me think I am shaving with a jet airplane. There are now blade cartridges with 5 blades out there but I have forbid her from purchasing them. Tonight I paid $10 for 4 cartridges. Each cartridge lasts about a week.

As usual, when I write I head for the Internet to check my facts and see if there is anything else out there. I hit upon a web site called The Onion which bills itself as America's finest news source and had just done an article on James Kilts CEO and president of Gillette Company and the article speaks to the shaving blade wars. Check it out at Gillette CEO . A double edged razor blade only costs .16 cents and lasts through 2 shaves which means my shaving costs would be $2.40 per month instead of $10. Time to think about changing back again. I wonder where I can buy a shaving bowl and brush? Probably eBay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Step 2 Machinist Mate School

Somewhere in the great bowels of The United States Navy lies The super secrete organization called "Bureau of Naval Personnel". NAVPERS as it is fondly referred to by sailors made our life choices for us prior to leaving Boot camp. Dickson, you are going to be a Machinist Mate and go the the Great Lakes to learn. Dalby [my joining up with buddy] you are going to be an Electrician and stay in San Diego to learn. Anyway that seemed to be the system that was used as we got our orders in boot camp and learned where our next duty stations would be. I headed for South Dakota, via Greyhound, from San Diego where I would get some time with my family before I went on to Chicago and learned to be a machinist mate?? Didn't have a clue what a Machinist Mate was but I was sure they would let me know real soon. Leaving SD, after enjoying Christmas, I boarded an airplane bound for Chicago. My father was a frequent fly-er into Chicago and helped me. He told me after getting on the plane to go right forward towards the front of the plane and right after the bathrooms I would find more seats and to grab one of those. Most people didn't know about them and they were larger and more comfortable than the back seats. He was right and it was a nice trip into Chicago and I usually had a least one stewardess sitting with me and visiting the entire way. I included the photo of the SD plains to show you the airplane prop in the photo. Yup, we were still in the early days of aviation but I will say that I never flew again on a plane with such comfortable seats. My Dad had arranged a room for me at The Sherman House on the loop. I remember fighting the bell boy for my sea bag when I checked in. I really didn't have any money to spend on a tip. Made my own way to my room. Got to watch "The Platters" as they were playing in the hotel bar called "The College Inn". No money but I still had a great time.

I hung out at the Greyhound bus depot because I could afford a hamburger there. I was there having coffee when A light skinned black person struck up a conversation with me and after a while said "want to go over to my place and order a pizza?". He would pay. I thought that would be OK and he got up and went into the bathroom and said we would go when he came out. When he was gone a pretty young waitress, who I had talked with before, came up and laid her hand on my arm and whispered "Don't go honey, he's a queer and your not going to like his pizza". Could have knocked me over with a toothpick as that meant he was a real live homosexual person. They had taught us about them in boot camp and some where along the line one of my "more worldly buddies" had told me to watch out for them but this was the first time I had met a real live one. He had told me "if one tries to pick you up, hit them as hard as you can and then knee them in the nuts as it would be OK to do that and the authorities won't bother you". He said he had done that numerous times himself. I was dumb struck as this was big time stuff when your a kid from South Dakota. The man came out of the restroom and I said "no" to him and he left mad, glaring at the waitress's as he headed for the door. I turned towards my waitress and said "I'm kinda new to all of this big city stuff as I'm from small town out in ......" She held her hands up in the air and said "that's OK honey, we know" as she nodded her head towards the other two girls who were watching all of this with much amusement. I slowly sipped my coffee, running everything through my brain, trying to figure it all out. She came over with the coffee pot and as she poured I said "you know he seemed like a real nice guy" and she laughed as she looked at me and again said "that's OK honey, we know, we really do". Trouble was I didn't.

I arrived at the school the next morning and spent the remainder of the day, after I had checked in and got my bunk, shoveling snow because A pretty good snowfall was occurring. When I was a San Diego I had one blue stripe on my shoulder to let the world know that we were recruits, lower than dirt. As we left Boot Camp we had been awarded seaman apprentice rank patches which meant we had graduated and had increased our pay one step, which was still next to nothing. I also got to put a screw above my SA patch which meant I was a Machinist Mate striker and my stripes and screw were red, which meant I was a snipe. I didn't have the slightest idea as to what a snipe was. All I knew was that it was some kinda bird and if anyone ever tried to get me to go snipe hunting I was to hit them as hard ................ In the next 90 days I was taught everything I would ever want to know; steam, water, valves and pumps plus a whole lot more. One of the tidbits we learned was "nothing sucks, not even the Navy" as they were trying to make us learn how pumps work. The poor quality photo is the steam plant control panel of the system we worked on and I would see a few more of those before I got out of the Navy. We were engineers and our stripes were red. Snipes! If you were involved with airplanes you were called "Air-dales" and your stripes were green. So it goes in the Navy. They worked very hard teaching us to be good steam mechanics and the lessons did stick.
Photo is our Barracks.

Liberty was very good in the Chicago area and about half of the time I went to Milwaukee. In Milwaukee we would take the train or hitchhike and head for the USO as there was always a dance there on the weekend complete with girls, coffee, and cookies. It was from there to the Eagles Ballroom, I believe it was called, as we could usually find someone to get us a bottle to mix with our punch or coke. Chicago trips were more of a cultural thing as I would head for the Museum of Science and Industry as they had a captured German U-Boat there that you could walk through. I probably spent 6 days in that museum and never saw it all. If I went back to Chicago for some reason, my spare time would be spent in that museum again. What a great place. To prove to you that I even had some class I have included a photograph from the World Flower and Garden Show at the McCormick place. I have a couple of rolls of film from that show, as it was impressive.

A High School classmate of mine, Norman, was stationed in Chicago somewhere going to Army drafting school. I would hop the train and end up at the base for the weekend. I would sleep in their barracks and they would obtain a mess pass for me so I could eat. We hung out at their enlisted persons club drinking cheap beer then heading downtown afterwords to frolic as befit youth of our age. It was always a cheap weekend for me, as they all were, because we Machinist Mate apprentices didn't make much money. This last photo is me in Downtown Chicago.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pokemon International trading

Earlier this afternoon, my family and I were having lunch at our local McDonald's using their latest coupon book which allowed for a basic buy one and get one free. I glanced down at my grandson Sam and he was playing with his DS. The Nintendo DS [according to Wikipedia] is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. . So I said "what's he doing?" and my daughter replied saying "he is using his DS and Wi-Fi to trade players around the world??????? I then answered her answer with a question "Say WHAT"? I remembered that McDonald's had installed Wi-Fi [it is a system that allows you Internet access from a laptop computer or obviously from some game consoles] a while ago, which I assumed was in competition with Star Bucks as it would encourage people with laptop computers to come in and hang-out a while. Sam answered by shoving the DS screen into my face to prove that was what he was actually doing. All I could see was Japanese writing on the screen and Sam said "that is who he was trading with and they were trading Pokeman players". It was obvious that Samuel was quite pleased that he knew and I did not. At this point the women got up and left for shopping [Saturday afternoon and All] and Sam and I opted out because I had my truck and we both hate shopping. We stayed at Mickey-Dees for a while as my Grandson was continuing his down loading and I was enjoying visiting some friends of ours from the church. She asked me what Sam was doing and I answered "Talking with some kid in Japan I guess". When we got to my house I quizzed Sam on his trades: he traded a Level 100 Palkia.for a Celebi Makes sense to me. Sam is 10 and I am 64!

Monday, October 22, 2007

All's Well!

Across from our daughters home is a very nice park called Parker Park and is set up with memorials to all of the veterans from all of the past wars. It is filled with the memorial stones, benches, hedges, trees and a waterfall. It is a wonderful place for children to play. Yesterday I was over at my daughters house doing some work and as I left I noticed a group of children playing in the park. I could tell they were playing by the screams they were making. I leaned across the hood of my truck to watch for a while and figure out what game they were playing. There was a boy leaning against the central flag pole with his eyes closed and was counting out loud. Counting to 50 I believe. There were children darting in all directions looking for the perfect place to hide while the boy counted. Some kept changing spots, darting to another, better spot as the countdown continued. Finally I heard "Ready or not, here I come" and the boy backed away from the flagpole slowly looking around, searching for a tell-tale foot sticking out or a bum being to large for the bush selected, and seeing none he started, slowly moving in my direction. I could see a young man, frozen against a tall bush daring not to move, as the slightest movement would cause the leaves to shake giving away his location. As the central character continued my direction, he walked right past the young man trying to look like a bush, by about 10 feet. He turned and saw his adversary and gave chase both hollering and yelling as they raced towards the flag pole which brought other children out of hiding and they all raced towards the safety of the flagpole. [Atop this pole was a beautiful, huge American flag, waving in the breeze, but I'm sure the irony was lost to the children]. The tagger was trying to touch any of his playmates before they reached the pole but in the confusion he didn't appear successful and a huge argument erupted. "I touched you, no you didn't". Someone hollard "All in free, all in free" and the remainder of kids came to the flagpole from their hiding spots. Soon the excitement of the moment had died and a different boy was back to counting and the others were all scampering off to find the perfect hiding spot again. It was obvious they were playing hide and seek or Oley, oley oxen free, or Tag or it. What was nice for me, as I watched the play, was the knowledge that some things just don't ever change. In this fast paced world we live in, we need a few things like that to keep our feet rooted to the ground. I felt good as I climbed into my truck. Safe in the knowledge that all is well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Just a bottle of water!

Last night our family went to our favorite purveyor of books, music etc. Barnes and Noble for a recreational evening of reading, sipping coffee and buying a few books. Maybe I might have the opportunity of tearing apart a worthy opponent on a subject such as "who might our next president be?", or learning a few valuable tidbits from some passing Master Carpenter or even a water color painter. It is always a pleasant adventure and a lot of times we buy nothing more than a cup of coffee as we while away the evening hours curled up on one of the many chairs available or just simply enjoying the magazines racks and the new adventures available in the magazines we never have the money or the time, it seems, to explore. Someone always comes by and puts the magazines back for you after your done with them. I found two books I was interested in before I was 25 feet inside the doors. I quickly gathered Joseph Wambaugh's long-awaited return to the LAPD with Hollywood Station, in paperback, and Stephen Colbert's I am America (and so can you!) both of which I could not wait to peruse over a good cup of coffee at the Starbucks Cafe. As I settle in with a hot cup of steaming Joe, I was joined by my favorite Grandson Sam who like his Grandpa, knew what he wanted as walked in the door. Sam said "I am really, really thirsty Papa, can you help me out?" I handed over a fiver and he disappeared for a few moments as I went about trying to figure out just who Stephen Colbert was. Back he came, plopped down the change (without being reminded) and started enjoying his bottle of FUJI water as he become quickly engrossed in his book. A bit later, when I realized I couldn't figure out who Stephen Colbert really was, I glanced at the receipt as I slipped the change into my pocket. "$2.50 for a bottle of water!" I shouted, causing the covers on every laptop in the joint to slam shut. I regained my composure and quietly asked Sam for a taste of his water. He handed it over, quickly, and I savored a small sip. "Tastes just like water?" I asked to no one in particular but I think I was expecting at least sparkling water. Sam just looked at me with a puzzled look trying to figure out what he had done wrong. Still in shock, my shaking hands turned the bottle over, looking for some type of explanation. On the backside I found something. "Untouched by man. Until you drink it." the advertisement bragged. "FUJI water comes from an aquifer deep within the earth on the remote islands of Fiji. Bottled at the source, natural artesian pressure forces the water through a hermetically sealed [italics mine as it reminded me of the old Johnny Carson show] delivery system free of human contact. It is never exposed to the environment. At least until you unscrew the cap." the ad went on. "Hokey, hokey" I uttered as the words popped out at me. I was in financial shock. I returned the bottle to my Grandson and he returned to his book, relatively secure in the knowledge that he probably hadn't done anything wrong and I was just being "Grandpa" again. I could still read the back label of the bottle and I was trying to put it all together as to what the value of the bottle and contents might be to justify $2.50. I am not a connoisseur of bottled water as I rarely purchase it. There is a principal involved here as I feel that most of the water in this country is pretty tasty and is FREE. I picked up my receipt from the table and saw that my "Coffee Tall" had only cost $1.65 so I will bet that it had been brewed with free water and not with FIJI water or it would probably have cost me $4.17. I don't know where to go from here with this problem. Writing this post has really helped but there is still something unfinished inside of me. I would write the FIJI company and protest but I would bet that it will not change anything and to top it all off I realize that this bottle is contributing to global warming however it does have a recycling mark on the bottom.

This is as good as it gets!

Monday, October 08, 2007


You will notice, by the photoon on top, that we have a new addition to the family. This one is a she and her name is Bridget. ½ Yorkshire and ½ Shiatsu and there is absolutely
nothing she can do. Scarred to death of her shadow and every noise that there is. We have her enrolled in “Puppy Kindergarten” and she has been to four classes and can’t do even one trick. Talk about throwing good money after bad. Her one redeeming quality is that she hassles Purrsey, the cat, on a constant basis.
You will notice, by the bottom photo that she has changed a bit in the past 6 1/2 months. Today she can do a few more tricks. She knows "sit" and "stay". It was us that failed out of puppy kindergarten. She still hassles Purrsey, the cat. They now play well together and about every morning they wrestle. We have become very close buddies because I'm the one that feeds her, takes outside, walks her and now she goes with me in my truck.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pay Toilets

I was visiting with a couple of old friends yesterday and we were talking about payphones and how they are disappearing when suddenly it hit me "Where have all the pay toilets gone?". Beats me, they just left for some reason or other. My friends remembered pay toilets, because they were both old but a 30 year old visiting with us didn't even have a clue about what a pay toilet was. Time for some research about where they went.

I don't think they went anywhere, they just changed the doors. It appears that A campaign by the Committee to end pay toilets in America [better known as CEPTIA] resulted in laws against pay toilets being enacted in many cities and states. In 1973 the first American city to enact a ban was Chicago. Lobbying was also based on the discrimination against women. CEPIA was successful in obtaining bans in Ohio, California,New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Only in America could people get together and form a committee to ban pay toilets.

In some cities, during the Middle Ages, there were sellers of public toilets who were equipped with a large cloak and a bucket. For a fee, one could use the bucket while hidden by the cloak so you can see that the idea is not necessarily a new one. It just appears that we were the only ones to outlaw them. In the United Kingdom it is technically permitted to charge for use of toilets, but not for the use of urinals. Pay toilets on the streets may provide urinals free of charge to prevent public urination. Pay toilets never left Europe or Asia. They still have pay toilets in Mexica.

A few US cities are trying to get them back and according to American style they cost $250,000 each. Takes a lot of dimes to pay for one. Thats a lot of poop.

In Philadelphia there is one catch -- a 20-minute time limit. Reading "War and Peace" isn't an option. A digital clock with bright red numbers, resembling those used at basketball games, counts down the time remaining. In this arena, there's no overtime. After 20 minutes the door opens to passersby on East Carson, although recorded messages give ample warning that time is running out.

The floor of the APT, made of aluminum and coated with nonslip vinyl, is hinged in sections like a large conveyor belt. After each use, the floor moves on rollers and is sprayed with disinfectant. At the same time, the toilet bowl turns 180 degrees and also is disinfected. The whole interior is dried and 40 seconds later, it's ready for use again. And you were wondering "how could they possible cost 1/4 of a million dollars each"? The mind wanders. What if everything went haywire while you were, well, you know? A rotating floor, spinning toilet, jet sprays.... A Swedish company has one with glass walls you can see through. But it was thought that some users might be intimidated, worrying that if they could see outside then people could see inside.

New York State outlawed pay toilets in 1975 in response to the charge that such facilities discriminated against women. Women always needed a stall, while men could make do without, opponents argued. "Maintenance is not a big issue, vandalism is not a big issue," Szeto, of the New York test project, says. "The complaint is that some of the toilets are being used for illegal activities -- drug use, prostitution, that kind of stuff -- generally in areas where those activities are already a problem." As in Queens, there is also an aversion in individual neighborhoods. "Everyone thought the toilet is a great idea, but put it in someone else's front yard," said Szeto.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


After lunch I was pressed into service to make a beef stew for my daughter, son-in-law, grandson and us. I make the very best beef stew! It was a push to get it all done so it could simmer the proper amount of time as I also had to get on the other side of town to pick up our grave heater from a friend that was sand blasting it. I also had a job about 50% done [hanging a door] and I wanted to finish it today. I had just put the stew on simmer and was already savoring the first bite. I was trying to determine which bread should go with it tonight. The phone rang and it was our boss reminding us of the Historical Society meeting tonight at 6:30. The meeting would consist of a meal [stuffed chicken and not my favorite] and a speaker. We would go to the meeting and take 1/2 of the stew to our daughters family and save the rest for us tomorrow. Talk about blown expectations. I headed for my door job where I was replacing the old cedar, lap, siding around the door with new cedar. I was nailing the siding into old oak lap siding, 100 years old or so, and it wasn't going well at all Almost every nail was bending. I headed to the lumber yard and bought stainless steel nails at $7 per box instead of $3.50 and gave them a try. They worked but I had lost so much time on the bent nails it was time to think of a shower.

I was rushing to get my tools put away, put the materials away [cedar siding] and get to taking a shower as no one needed to smell a sweaty carpenter at the meeting. Reminds me of last night when we were suddenly going out with the kids to Taco Bell as I was informed, by my wife, as I walked into the house. I said "do I need to change my shirt or anything". She said "naw you look OK, unless you smell". I said "unless I what"? She walked up to me and almost put her nose in my armpit, took a sniff, and said "go put on a clean shirt". That really took me back as she has never done that to me before. I told out daughter on her.

Getting back to my story I showered and put on clean clothes. Looked rather spiffy, I might add. All green and mean. While I was taking a pee, I coughed up some flem and spit it out. It was kinda sticky so it hung together. It did a backwards double flip off my bottom lip and landed square in the middle of my, clean, green shirt, right where my belly protrudes out a bit. Quickly I attacked the problem by reaching down grabbed the offending flem chunk with my thumb and 1st finger and flicked it into the toilet. That would have been fine except that's not where it went. It bypassed the toilet rim and landed right, square, in the middle of my right, brand spanking new, shoe. I grabbed a paper towel and cleaned up my shirt to a spotless condition and then I lifted up my right foot to the edge of the toilet and wiped off the offending flem from my shoe. I checked myself out, in the mirror, and looked absolutely breathtaking so off to the Historical Society meeting we went. On the way I had to drop off a urine sample at the hospital and I'll spare you the details on that one. I reported the story to my wife and she felt it was worthy of a chuckle.

To make a long story a wee bit shorter, I jump back to our house after the meeting. I was getting ready for bed when I stood up in front of my wife with my arms wide open and said "how do I look". The reason for that was to have her inspect my shirt, with a discerning eye, and decide whether I could wear the shirt again tomorrow if necessary. My main concern was salad dressing or other food stains that were withheld from my inspection because of my robust shape. With a disinterested and annoyed look she said "Your shirt is OK if you need it tomorrow". Then she shouted "No it isn't, you've got snot all over it, remember, throw it in the dirty clothes hamper". I retorted,"It's not snot"! Get it, "it'snot snot?" God, I'm so clever I just kill myself sometimes.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Today I got to spend my day as part of the Jury Pool for the Hampton County Court system over in Springfield MA. It was a privilege! We don't often get the opportunity to participate as part of the independent judicial system but once every three years they give me a call and over I go with my heart in my hand, welcoming the chance to participate.

I filled out the questionnaire that they sent me in the mail and the only part I didn't like was the questions about my involvement with the criminal justice system. I have to tell them about my employment as a police officer and as a criminal investigator for the Attorney Generals Office, but it all but guarantees that I will be dropped during the jury selection process. I really want to serve on a jury. I read the Juror's handbook they sent and all but committed it to memory but it didn't help. When the circuit court Judge came in, to give us our charge, and the bailiff commanded "All Stand" I was the first up on my feet, but that didn't count either. The Judge thanked us for our service and said "For you that don't get called today, thank you for participating because if you were not here we wouldn't be having court today!" It is OK if I don't get called today as I just want to be here, doing my duty.

There were about 175 of us in total and apparently we all lacked a little bit of common sense. At noon we were given and hour off for lunch an we all headed for the elevators to go down from the forth floor. We all waited for the doors to open, and we waited and waited but the doors didn't open. About 30 people headed for the stairs and walked down but the rest of us waited for the elevators envisioning that we would probably beat them down. We waited and waited and finally a young guy in front of me walked over and pushed the down button and two of three doors opened in about 10 seconds. Wow, we all applauded him. My only complaint was that they allowed cell phones in the jury pool room and the coffee machine was broke. Our bathroom was very clean but one of the faucets didn't work and would not shut off. Every time I went in it was running, and I went in a lot because of the water pill I take. In the afternoon I went in again and it was running and I decided to fix it. When I turned the faucet the proper direction the water shut off. Wow, as this was kinda like the elevator incident.

Anyway it was a good day and I got a lot of reading done. About 2/3 of the crew got called but not me. Maybe next time, in three years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


This morning was a real benchmark for me. It was one of those mornings that shape the rest of your life. There are things that occur only once every 64 years and they should be recorded as I am doing now in this blog. This morning I wore my pajamas outside, to walk the dog and not just any pajamas. These were shortie pajamas. I held myself up for public scrutiny and ridicule as I strolled the sidewalk in front of my house with the dog as I kept telling her to "Please go poop" so we can go back inside. This wasn't just a spur of the moment decision but was very practiced and calculated plan on my part. I awoke at 6 am and said to myself "Today is the day!" and I did it, in front of God and everybody.

This all started about sixty years ago when my Mother first made me start wearing pajamas, although I can't remember what they looked like but they probably had cowboys and Indians on them. I wore tops and bottoms for the next 10 years when I noticed that my brother Bill was no longer wearing his tops, just his bottoms. Seems like it was a college thing and would probably lead to no good but I got rid of my tops. What if his dorm room caught on fire and he was forced to run outside in just his bottoms. I figured that everyone would point at him and laugh. My Dad always wore tops and bottoms but he always wore some type of bathrobe over them as I never just saw him in pajamas. He always had slippers on and I could only see the bottom 16" of his pajamas. My Dad was a smoker and he was lying down on the bed some Sunday morning reading the paper and smoking. The ashtray was on the seat for my mothers dresser and my Dad fell asleep. The cigarette fell out of the ashtray, on to the cloth seat and set it on fire. My Mom called the fire department and they sent a couple of pumpers to the house in short order. Meanwhile, my Father woke up and grabbed the seat and took it outside as it was merely smoldering. He knew what to do because, like the men that showed up with the pumpers, he also was a volunteer fireman. The firemen let me take sand out of my sandbox and put it on the seat to put out the fire. I was thrilled and my Mother was mortified to see what was happening to her beautiful chair. How would she be able to put her makeup on next time? All though the scene was very hectic and chaotic, I was very worried for my father as he was being forced to stand outside, in front of all those people, in his pajamas. What was to become of him? I took some solace in the fact that he had his bathrobe on and people would only be able to see the bottom 16" of his legs.

The Navy would not let me bring my pajamas to boot camp and worse of all they expected me to sleep in my skives. Can you just imagine the shock to this poor country boy from South Dakota when they made me ship my pajamas back home? Sleeping is skives stuck and from then on I rejected the idea of wearing pajamas. In case of a night time fire, I always had my pants, fully loaded with keys, billfold etc., on standby and within arms reach so I wouldn't be required to stand for public scrutiny outside in my skives. Through the years my wife would buy me lots of nice pajamas. Some for winter and short ones for summer and try and get me to wear them. I wouldn't even think about it until about 6 months ago and I started wearing a pair of short, summer ones. They were actually very comfortable and it was all OK as long as my fully loaded pants were within arms reach. The neat thing about them was that they had pockets and I could walk around with my cell phone or keys in the pockets. They don't have rear pockets so I can't carry my wallet which really worries me. What if I need to be identified or prove who I am if I get caught outside in my Pajamas. If I was a cop at a fire or something and some old guy was walking around in pajamas, without a shirt, I would want to know who he was. See, a valid reason for carrying an ID at all times, not paranoia as some of you may be thinking.

I have friends who wear their pajamas outside all the time. Some even go jogging in their pajamas with their wives who are also in pajamas. A little weird if you ask me. I decided that if they could do that then I could try to wear mine outside also. A couple of days last week I got so far as to go out in my pajamas but with my pants over the top. Not bad. A little real progress here. Today I said "Hang it" and out the door the dog and I went. She piddled and we went back inside then I went back out to retrieve the paper which was next to the road. Five or 6 cars went by and I waved to each and I even survived two, female, college track runners going by and saying "morning". It wasn't so bad and no one really made fun of me. I lived and headed back inside to wake my wife so I could tell her about my latest daring do. As I went upstairs to awake her it I noticed that my fly was not buttoned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boot Camp San Diego

Now that I have discovered how to create jpeg's from my old slide collection I have decided to print some of them here. I'm going to take some of the slides from each event and tell a bit of a story about the event thereby forcing you to view my slide collection. It is kind of sad, as I go through the slide collection which represents thousands of slides from all over the world, that I am selecting a few and the rest will be destroyed. We have decided that it is time to start simplifying our lives and photographs are one of the items that need to be simplified. Dale's parents and my parents are long gone and we are left with the photo collections and no one really cares about the photo's anymore. As we sort we will create photo albums for out daughter and grandson and those that we can identify subjects, will be forwarded on to those people. My first project is of Boot camp, San Diego circa 1962. As I go through the slide I notice that most of them are of views around the area showing buildings such as my barracks,
battalion headquarters and a lot of people I can only vaguely identify or remember. I saved 4 photos out of 95 and these 4 will be saved as jpegs.

Chapter one, as I said previously, is boot camp at San Diego, California. The first photo is a pride photo of out company flags. We were good and we got lots of awards. The sailor on the left is my friend Dennis Dalby and I joined the Navy with him. I remember that they took everything from us and we led a very restricted life. Very few Playboy magazines around. We had some free time to ourselves and we spent that telling stories, smoking, playing poker with smuggled cards, some even wrote letters home. The Cuban missile Crisis was at its height and Viet Nam was cranking along. Marilyn Monroe died as did Elanor Roosevelt and John Glen orbited the earth 3 times.

In the Navy we did things a little bit different than the rest and we found out how to wash clothes the Navy way. Photo two shows the scrub tables we used along with a bucket, scrub brush, soap and a lot of elbow grease. Hope this photo brings back a lot of good memories to you San Diego boot campers out there. Wonder if they still do it that way.

The third photo shows all of those, just washed whites, dungarees, skives, skive-shirts and white hats hanging on the clothes lines with the aid of tie-ties. A member of our company stood guard, on the clothes line all night. All of this scrubbing, washing and guarding would culminate in a white hat and skive shirt inspection the following morning. We would take our thumb an place it under the deck band of our skive shirts so that the inside of the band was displayed. We held our white hats so that the inside and the sweat band was exposed to the inspector. All of this showed how well we were washing our bodies as well as our clothes. Before that I always thought that smell was the test you employed but now I look for rings on their T-shirts of people I meet.

The final photo is of one of the guys polishing his "boon dockers" for inspection. They were our everyday shoes, were ankle high. and had soft toes so they took a lousy polishing no matter what you did. They were comfortable though. I think I could use a pair of those now. Nowhere else in the service did we wear them.

Just so you know we did get a little Liberty now and then, the last photo is from the old Hollywood Theater where we attended one of the last Burlesque shows. This photo is G rated but the x rated I shot with a telephoto lens and there was to much movement. Darn!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Worth a second look

My wife and I are cleaning out our basement and some of the items we "find" are hauled upstairs to the porch for temporary storage. Today is a foul weather day and as I passed through the porch today I had to do a double-take trying to figure out what was in the chair. Once I figured it out I hollard for my wife to take a look and grabbed my camera. This is what I found. Not a real happy camper at being discovered. Certainly worth a second look.

Heart Depression

I have never been a person that was willing to put anything drug like in my body except liquor. Beings I was an old submarine sailor I did plenty of that but never any kind of drug. I had some kind of a painkiller once for a very bad root canal but that was it. "If you couldn't cure it or kill it with alcohol it wasn't worth having" anyway that was the saying on my first boat the USS Picuda (ss382) down in Key West in the early 60's. I was probably well on my way to being a full fledged alcoholic by the time my boat, the USS Snook (ssn592) went into drydock in Bremerton, WA. I got married to Dale Mae, my first and only wife, at this time. She managed to chase away the beer and forbade me from drinking Vodka [as in Martini] and somehow it worked. I basically sobered up for the rest of my life and even now I limit myself to 1 or 2 beers a week. Pretty good for any ex-subsailor. Well my problems with drugs started when I got old and had some heart problems. Hypertension it was, and finally turned into chest pains,etc. which culminated in an angioplasty to see what was wrong in there. The bad news was they found a pretty serious blockage but the good news was my heart/body created its own bypass called Angiogenesis , around the blockage, by growing a new one. It wasn't as good as the one God gave me with my original body but it would have to do. I have a bad family history of heart attack deaths in my family, on both sides, and I was scared to death about it all. My Cardiologist went after my high blood pressure with lots of drugs. First he took my regular blood pressure drug [Diovan] and doubled it, then he added a beta blocker, then an alpha blocker, topping it off with a gamma blocker, for nuclear attacks I believe. The last one is pure fabrication. All of these pills managed to knock my BP down to acceptable, but not great ranges [130/110]. Then he added a couple of water pills because he thought my legs were swelling up. I also had a prostrate problem and was taking Detrol LA, thank God for that because it seemed to keep the water pills in check. I really wasn't feeling very good. OK, but not at the top of my game. I became lethargic and I think depressed. I wasn't the happy, go-lucky lad I always was. About this time I stopped posting to this blog and wasn't interested in anyone's blog. I didn't smile very much, yelled at our help all the time and picked fights with everyone. I didn't like myself very well.

I decided I would rather risk a heart attack and be happy instead of like this so I started giving up the pills, one at a time. I took my blood pressure a couple of time a day to track what was happening. I gave everything up except the water pill, the Detrol LA and my origional BP medicine. You know what? My BP dropped to 110 over 80. Perfect. I started feeling better, my interests changed, I became happier and I got my desire back to post again to this blog. The down side to all of this was when I stopped with all of my pills, my hair stopped growing again. I was happier without hair anyway. I just had a yearly physical from my regular Dr. and he declared me fit in every way. Ain't life grand!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Summers End

Fall is on the way as the tell-tale signs of mother nature forecast. Our grass in the cemetery is just starting to turn brown and a few very early trees are showing some color. I take the dog out at 5:30 in the morning and most morning in the past two weeks have required a sweat shirt. The changes are very small and you have to really pay close attention because yesterday it was 91 here. Not very fall like. Two days ago, as I was opening up, I was startled by a red-tailed hawk looking at me from the top of a very short stone. We were almost eyeball to eyeball about 15 feet apart and stared at each other for a few seconds. He must of not thought of me as a threat as his gaze changed to a black squirrel looking at him from the side of a large maple tree. The squirrel figured one of us was a threat and he rapidly ascended the tree and the hawk was on his way except he just went to the same maple tree and chased the squirrel around the tree. He would hop and fly up to the next branch trying to grab the squirrel but without success. Soon the hawk was frustrated and flew to another tree about 200 yards away and I could see him at the top of a tall spruce calmly scanning the terrain below. That was more like it because I had never seen a hawk display the branch jumping technique before. Then I remembered that next week will be the height of the hawk and eagle migration south so this one was probably just trying to fatten up before the long trek. Did you know that they ride the currents, circling upward on updrafts and then gliding until they lose height and find another updraft all the way to Buloxie or wherever they go for the winter. I've noticed that the sparrows have cleared out of my housing development I keep for them so it is time to clean out the rooms again. I don't know where they went either as there are thousands of sparrows around but none in the birdhouses. The last time I looked they were still having babies. Our squirrels have gotten really active as this is the time of the year that the acorns are ripe and fall from the trees. The squirrels are starting to fatten up. A lot of birds are missing already. We have no more robins, no cardinals and the only crows that are left are probably the ravens. The pink and purple blooms of Hosta have gone by and the white blooms of our Hydrangea bushes are all turning pink. Family members have begun pulling up their summer flowers and replacing them with Mums.

As Our grass drys we have less mowing to do and it allows time for some of our other projects like cutting up firewood for the winter, catching up on painting projects, and do some major work on our Chapel and the scattering gardens. Soon the leaves will fall and that will again receive all of our attention until the snow comes but perhaps I am moving too fast and should just enjoy the end of summer.

Monday, September 03, 2007


This is my last pet story for a while. I have to get by the damn pets and get on with my life. The picture you are seeing here is what my computer screen looks like when I go to check my mail in the morning. Kinda scary and eye opening isn't it? Well that is Magee from a picture that Georgette sent me a while back and I keep it on my computer so that I start my day off right. We dog sat for Georgette when she went on vacation a while ago and Magee really was a trip. With our dogs and Magee and Bridget and Purrsey the cat, our house was a real zoo but a laugh a minute. We really liked Magee and grew very fond of her. We eagerly await a return visit.

This second photo is our Bridgette and Magee getting to know each other, I think?

The third photo is the real Magee smiling for the camera. You can see why I like her so much!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Keeping pets in check

Owing to the fact that I have been out of touch since May I thought that some of you might be interested in our pets update. The photo is of Randy [the Goldendoodle] and of Boo [the Black Lab] frolicking in the snow, this past winter. You might remember that Dale and I partially raised Randy after Daughter and her son went shopping and brought him home to us as they lived with us at the time. You might also recall that Randy ate two pair of my glasses [$500] and he and I had a couple memorial mornings after he devoured a bag of apples two nights in a row. [I'm a really slow learner, as you might have already deducted from the fact that it takes two times for me to learn]. You may even want to go and reread earlier posts as I reported these events. Boo and I never got to fully bond as he came along after Ellen and Mike married and then eventually moved out of our rather cluttered digs taking dogs and Sam with them leaving us Simon [the Shiatsu]. The next photo is of Boo swimming in the Westfield River, just what a Black Lab would be expected to do, fetching a ball.
The next photo after that is Randy swimming in the Westfield River doing what you would expect a Goldendoodle to do. I don't think Randy likes water.

Moving those two dogs and trying to provide for them has been a real adventure for Ellen, Mike and Sam and their escapades should yield several really great postings. Boo is the escape artist but once he gets out he doesn't go anywhere as he waits for Randy to join him. When the two are out together the great adventure starts and we all go out looking. Stay tuned.

We couldn't stand being alone in the house with only Simon so we got Purrsey [the Siamese rescue cat] to keep us entertained along with Bridget [the 1/2 Shiatsu and 1/2 Yorkie]. As I speak, Bridget is chasing a plastic ball, that makes music as it rolls, around my office, crying at it and growling at it. Purrsey is outside killing mice and squirrels I guess. He hasn't quite lived up to his expectations. My wife used to hold Purrsey, pet him and tell him "Your the most beautiful cat in the whole wide world". Since he started killing things and bringing them home, I have not heard her saying that?

Anyway, now that I am up to speed with all of you and the animals I can start telling more stories

I'm sad to report that we had to put Simon down two weeks ago. He was 14, almost stone deaf and blind. He had become obsessed with being locked in the dog run [40'x50'] and was doing everything he could to escape. On his last escape he hurt himself very badly and was in pain so we sadly and tearfully made the decision. He is missed by all of us.

Growing Grass the Ted Way

"What is so important about watering?" you ask. "Everything"! Here at our old cemetery we are slowly running out of room for graves and so we get creative about getting more grave sites so we grow them. Our cemetery, in 1843 was laid out in a grid or grave plots holding 12 to 16 graves with each row two plots wide or 40' wide and about 300 feet long, bounded on each side by a road called a carriage path. Today cemeteries are laid out with roads hundreds of feet apart as they found that there was little use for such close roads and it was a maintenance headache. We are slowly removing those roads and converting them to grave sites and prolonging the life of our cemetery. Over the years these carriage paths have been pounded down, first by the wagons and carriages that traversed them and now by trucks and cars. First we must bring them up to the grade of the surrounding land so they no longer look like roads. We use the excess dirt and gravel from excavating graves for burials to do this. After the gravel is leveled and compacted we bring in about 6" of topsoil, level, compact, seed and cover the future graves with mulch. We use Scotts seed and their mulch product which contains more seed, starter fertilizer and chewed up paper dyed green. The mulch provides a very important benefit in that it holds the moisture and also provides shade for the new germinating seeds.

The first picture is day #5 after planting and it is a huge relief when you see that. The first grass seeds germinate and push up through the earth in 5 days if you do everything correct. If you don't see them in five days it probably means you have not been keeping things wet and the grass seeds are dying. That happens to me a lot because of the demands of the job and sometimes we just can't get back to water. New grass requires to or three trips back, with the garden hose, each day to be successful. Sometimes we have to rely on mother nature to supply water to the newly seeded graves but rarely does that happen. Just because the little shoots of green show you have grass growing does not mean you can stop watering. More seeds, different varieties and depth are still germinating and still need just as much water for at least another week. The second picture is of the same area but on day four and you can see in the background that we are also working on the continuation of that road for more graves. This area will hold about fifty graves and the next area will hold about 150 graves. It took about 30 minutes to water this road 2 to 3 times a day. The next road will require about an hour and 15 minutes each time. Time to get my grandson Sam on the payroll for some money towards extra games for his Wii. Thought you might be interested!

The secret to this process is water, water and more Water!!! You don't want to flood those little seeds but if you don't keep them damp, they DIE. Our topsoil is Brown when dry but it is Dark Brown when it is damp. We keep it Dark Brown and we always send it to bed at night dark brown cause overnight is when the grass grows and to grow it needs water. My last tip is do not fertilize, do not put down a crab grass killer. A little bit of starter fertilizer [the bag must say STARTER Fertilizer] is OK but fertilizers usually have other ingredients such as weed killer [Scotts Plus for example] and this kills the tiny, tender shoots of grass. Read the bag!! So ends Ted's secretes to a new lawn!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vintage Base Ball

I have just watched my first Vintage Base Ball games and loved it. As a family, we are members of a group called WOW whose duty it is to promote Westfield and bring non-profits together in that effort. We chose to participate in this Vintage Base Ball thing ever since reading the book. My wife and I participated in all of the 4 games of the first weekend as purveyors of band-aids and cold packs to all that needed them.
We had one lady cut her toe as she got out of her car and needed band-aids. We had a player attempt to catch a ball between two fingers instead of with his hand and broke a finger (ice pack time). There were other minor scrapes, cuts and boo-boo's but I won't bore you with the details. The slow times, during the games, were filled up with a Barbershop Quartet, a strolling banjo player belting out tunes from the turn of the century, Keystone Cops tossing out drunks [pretend] and rowdy patrons. A group of Suffragettes made a few appearances to broadcast their temperance, tolerance, and women rights messages and a few "dandies" strolled around adding to the flavor. The Westfield Boys and Girls club donned period attire to hock programs, food and drink. The game was played by the equipment and rules of the late 19Th century. It was quite a spectacle and all of the games were well fought to add to the enjoyment.
In the tinted photo above are daughter, son-in-law and grandson dressed in 1890's dress as they ready to head out and volunteer duties on various parts of the game.

We had Jim Bouton, pitcher [1962-1968 NY Yankees, 1969 Seattle Pilots, 1969-70 Houston Astros, 1978 Atlanta Braves] as the organizer of the event. Jim had started the Vintage Base Ball Federation and they were the sponsors of the playoffs and the World Series. Our own local team The Westfield Wheelmen were one of the World Series contenders and on the 1st week
end they played a demonstration game against Bill Lee's Green Mountain Boys from Vermont. You baseball fans will remember Bill "The Spaceman" Lee, lefty pitcher [1968-78 Boston Red Sox, 1979-82 Montreal Expos]. Bouton pitched the last several innings for the Wheelmen and the Wheelmen beat the Green MT. Boys quite handily even without Bouton pitching. The Spaceman lived up to his billing as he became upset with some heckling from the Wheelman dugout and very accurately threw a pitch into the dugout, bouncing off the back wall, next to the heckler and a bit of a nose-to-nose confrontation ensued but without punches. Bill Lee is in the right-hand picture in the green, Jim Bouton is in the black vest standing behind a vintage era cop who had just come out to stop the game because it was being played on Sunday. He gave in to the fans protests, finally and allowed the game to go on

When Jim Bouton was asked "How is vintage baseball different from the modern game?" his reply was: "In vintage baseball the games are a half hour shorter because there was no Velcro in the 19th century. And there are other modern improvements it does without. Besides no batting gloves, there are also no helmets, wrist bands, elbow pads, sunglasses, logo shoes, pajama pants, gold chains or earrings. No arguing with the umpire, stepping out of the batter's box, calling time out, charging the pitcher, posing at home plate, curtain calling, chest bumping, high fiving, pointing to the sky, or kissing jewelry. Just base ball." This was a tremendous endeavor with thousands of man-hours from the volunteers, thousands of dollars from Jim and the Federation, as well as much from the various sponsors of the games. Jim's goal and that of the Vintage Baseball Federation is to build a permanent base ball stadium in Westfield and we sure hope that works out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Boomer and Bernie

This next story is too good for me not to post it. My lifelong friend, Signa Jean, forwarded it to me today. It is a window into the world I left behind 25 years ago. Signa Jean and her family have been our best friends for 40 years and all are now part of the family because their son married our daughter and the happy twosome live a few blocks away. We were part of that cowboy community in South Dakota, when we left for greener pastures 27 years ago. We made a brief stop in Odessa Texas, for two years and then on to New England for the rest of our lives. This story was from Cowboy Historian and Poet Baxter Black and I am sure he is a friend of Sig and her husband Dale. I've become a bit of a stuffed shirt since moving to NE and this story brought a bit of it, The cowboy life, back to me. Enjoy!

Boomer and Bernie
There's been a gradual change in the way we cowboys do things. It's come over a period of years and coincides with anti-smoking regulations, a healthier diet, mandatory seat belts, bull riders wearing helmets, gentle horse training, improved cattle handling techniques, and now allowing our dogs free run of the pickup bed when we go to town.

It was a long time before I conceded that chaining my dog in the back was the right thing to do. It was about the time I quit speeding, chewing Copenhagen and started taking an aspirin a day. As the loss of my individual freedoms began piling up, I felt less need to let my dog enjoy one of his favorite things: riding unfettered in the back of the pickup.

Bernie, too, had faced the same decisions to do what is begrudgingly safer, but usually not as much fun. In his case, he lets his good cow-dog Boomer ride in the front of the cab with him. Boomer liked it as long as he could have his window down far enough to hang out his head. One fine New Mexico morning they were driving down the Dexter highway, Bernie on the cell phone and Boomer taking in the scenery. Traffic was busy and Bernie was smack dab in the ;middle of a verbal therapy session with his banker. Suddenly the cab filled with a blizzard of old receipts, magazine scraps, ear tags, Maalox pills and a roll of survey tape.
His first thought was that Boomer had hit the electric window all the way open at 45 mph! But no, Boomer's hindquarters from the neck down ws a furious flailing of limbs scattering everything on the seat and dashboard into the air! He realized immediately that Boomer had stepped on the electric window button, but he had closed it on his neck! Bernie fought for control of his vehicle, the cellphone and the mad dog amidst the hurricane of trash that filled the air!

Then, Boomer lost control of his bowels. Digested dog chow, in several stages of viscosity joined the airborne contents in the dog blender. Swerving on the shoulder, Bernie jumped out, raced around and jerked open the door. Boomer was still attached and smacked him on the face! As Boomer dangled momentarily, a passing motorist screamed "Dog abuser!" and made an obscene gesture.

Well, Boomer got saved and Bernie now chains him in the back. He bought a gross of air fresheners to hang on the rearview mirror that smells like cooking broccoli and he is a changed man. Kinder and gentler, but more practical. Yet, the profound question that lingers in his mind every time he climbs into the pickup is, "Why didn't I lower the window from the driver's side?" Maybe it was some deep man-animal bonding conflict, or perhaps simply his vision was blurred.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fencing is for the Dogs!

Recycling helps save the environment, especially when it comes to fences. My daughter and I have been doing that for the last 23 years. Our latest venture illustrates our efforts. We have a large side lot to our house and it is so large there is room for gardens, the carriage house, a fireplace with a covered table area, large English garden, all of our firewood storage, 50% of the parking for the office and still about 1/3 not used.

My daughter and her son lived with us about 8 years and towards the end of those years she decided that they needed a Golden Doodle for a pet. For those of you that are not familiar with those words it is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a large Poodle. Golden Doodle #1 , Golden Doodle #2 , These hyperlinks will take you back to Dec of 04, when the Golden Doodle came to my house. I wrote about Randy a lot during Dec of 04, and Jan 05, and off and on throughout the years. There were a lot of stories to write about him. Ellen got remarried and soon we had her son Sam, her new husband Mike and Randy the Golden Doodle all living with us. I build a large run for Randy and it enclosed the Majority of our side yard. Went to the Home Depot and bought 4 foot high sections of wooden fencing. Took every other fence picket out and nailed them to 2x4's making another section of fence as the fencing I bought was solid with pickets. This was my second dog run as we also had another 2 dogs at the house. Both dogs were rather small and the run wasn't very large but I took those fence sections to built the new run along with many more sections.

Eventually Sam, Mike and Ellen gathered up Randy and moved to their own house but they needed a dog run for Randy at the new house. We didn't have much use for a dog run as all we had left was Simon, a shiatsu, and there were no fences around that could contain Simon. He found a way out no matter what we did but it really didn't make any difference because when he got out he never went anywhere. So down came the fence and off to Ellen, Mike and Sam's with it. Some where along the line, Ellen and Mike picked up Boo, a Black Lab, as company for Randy. Boo has turned out to be the real escape artist. He has tunneled under the fence, gone over the fence, tunneled through the hedge that is actually part of the fence, ate his way through the fence and has escaped through every door in the house. He's good! His escapes have provided me with reasons to keep bringing more fence sections to their house instead of mine. Recently they have changed their design and made the dog run area much smaller and much easier to control but that has allowed them to store many more sections of fencing. They have a Plethora of fencing sections, you might say.

Along comes my wife and we buy a new dog. A cute, little Yorkie/Shiatsu mix who now needs a dog run at our house. My wife lays out the boundaries and I make a phone call to the kids asking for my fence back, at least the sections that they are not now using and it all magically reappears in my back yard. They even brought back the sections of pickets that Boo chewed up. Must have figured I could work it into the new design or something? Friday I started digging fence post holes again and today I started putting up fence sections. I had to completely rebuild some sections, taking off the pickets and adding them with others on new 2x4's to make a complete 8' section. I am about half done. I am never going to put this fence up again because if ever we need another I will hire some one to make and install a new fence. I purchased 24" high, green, garden wire to go around the inside of the fence with the hopes of containing Bridget but if she turns out to be as adept at the art of escape as the prior inmates have, this will turn out to be a wasted adventure on my part. Lets hope not. She probably won't be any good at escape cause after all she is a GIRL!

This is not my first foray into fence recycling as 23 years ago my daughter and I built a fence at another house we had. All in the hope of containing Cody, a master pain-in-the-butt, 1/2 rat terrier and 1/2 what ever crawled under the fence and master escape artist. Cody has since passed on but Simon apprenticed under him. We built the fence out of 1x3's with Ellen operating the radial Arm saw cutting the points and I ran the cutoff saw for length. She was 14 at the time. I can't remember how many times I moved that fence as designs and needs changed. I moved it so many times the fence just fell apart and it ended up as firewood for my wood burning stove that heated the shop. That is probably the best way to end the recycle. That brings up the point that used fencing materials make very excellent kindling for a wood stove.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Today one of our Board of Directors was in the office signing checks and our little pain-in-the-butt, Yorkie-Shiatsu, named Bridget attacked his shoes. He was wearing work shoes with laces and Bridget was trying to untie the shoes and he just ignored her. "Oh don't worry about her, my girlfriends little dog eats all of my shoe laces up, whether my feet are in the shoes or not" he ventured. "The problem is replacing the laces as 1st of all they are hard to find and secondly the colors don't seem to match," he finished. It got me to thinking about the problem of replacement laces and I too have that problem. The obvious choice is Wal-Mart or K-Mart and it doesn't usually work out. The problem is that there aren't very many shoe stores around anymore as the "Big Box Stores" have ran them out of business. JC Penny's and Sears come to mind as having shoe store within their stores and they are definitely not a good option. When was the last time you walked into a "pseudo-shoe store" and saw a foot X-Ray machine? The shoe fitting fluoroscope was a common fixture in shoe stores during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. A typical unit, like the Adrian machine shown here, consisted of a vertical wooden cabinet with an opening near the bottom into which the feet were placed. When you looked through one of the three viewing ports on the top of the cabinet (e.g., one for the child being fitted, one for the child's parent, and the third for the shoe salesman or saleswoman), you would see a fluorescent image of the bones of the feet and the outline of the shoes.

You just can't find a good shoe fitting fluoroscope anymore so what else is there? How about a good foot gauge along with someone that really knows how to use it. When my wife Dale and I moved to the State Capital in Pierre, SD, so that I could work for the Division of Criminal Investigation, she found work in a local Shoe Store. She knows how to use a foot gauge because they taught her. In fact she knows a lot about shoes and proper fittings. She even had her feet fluoroscoped when she was a little girl. I always wanted my feet fluoroscoped but my mother would never allow me to have it done. Didn't believe in them I guess.

I have friends out in South Dakota, at the Rushmore Mall in Rapid City, that own a real shoe store and have for years. They do really well with it. I'll bet they would have the replacement laces that I need and in the correct color. Wonder what a round trip flight would cost?

I really don't know much about shoes and I definitely don't have a foot fetish but I thought this was a good subject to write a story about. All I know about feet is that when I was 14 and a counselor at a Boy Scout Camp [Camp Old Broadaxe], I slipped on the side of the pool and ripped all of the toenails off of my foot and boy did that hurt. Said a lot of non-Boy Scout things. and 2 weeks after that I had to be in my Brother Bill's wedding. My Mom had to buy me two pair of shoes because one of the shoes had to be large enough to hold the lambs wool that protected my toes. 2 weeks after that football started. Jeez!