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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye

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Below is a response to my lifelong friend (from grade school days to our old age dotage now) Larry (aka "Nitewrite") blog posting on the effect that J. D. Salinger and his book "The Catcher in the Rye" had on his love for writing: My thoughts after reading your blog posting on J. D. Salinger and how he handled the fame that came from his very successful first novel, "The Catcher in the Rye." Like you I write because I enjoy writing. I make no claims to being a great or even good writer. I write purely for my own pleasure. However, unlike you I would like to gain fame from my writing. Is that fame likely to happen? No. I am a realist after all. But that isn't what drives me to write. I write because I feel a need to write. If I didn't write I would feel like I am suppressing a part of myself that needs to break free. I am thankful that we live in a time that we can write freely through blog postings. We don't need permission

White Out

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We were warned. They said it was going to snow today. It's snowing. Sideways. It wasn't supposed to be like this when we moved to southern Delaware. We were told it rarely if ever snowed down here. And when it did snow it only stayed for a day. Well, this is the THIRD snow this year. This is getting old. Oh sure, it's pretty and everything. Maybe if I was a kid with a sled and there were some hills down here I would go sledding. But I'm an old man who can't be bothered by this impediment to my normal activity. Wouldn't you know it? I bought tickets over the phone yesterday to the first Camp Chorus in Rehoboth Beach tomorrow night. Reminds me of last year when I bought tickets ahead of time for the Lewes Garden Tour only to have the skies open in a monsoon downpour the day of the tour. Of course the tickets were non-refundable. I have to admit all the white stuff is pretty. Sort of reminds me of our days in Pennsylvania. The change of seasons

Avatar Take Two

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One thing I got from the movie “Avatar” was a reminder that we are all inhabiting bodies which are “avatars” for our true selves. From my earliest memory I have always had the feeling that I was on the inside looking out of my body. Some years ago I saw a movie called “Being John Malkovich” which explored this very theory of transporting ones soul into another’s body and looking out through that body. This is a view I haven’t expressed very often because I a personal basis. When contrary views are expressed they feel threatened and feel compelled to “save” me from myself by kicking into their evangelical mode to pray for forgiveness of my “sin.” They default to the obedience factor of their religion. My time in this body shell which I have inhabited for the past 68 years is coming to an end. The old body isn’t what it used to be. Like an old car, it’s starting to show its rust spots. Different parts are showing weakness and starting to fail. What happens now? Our

Avatar

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Yesterday I finally succumbed to all the hype and saw the most popular movie of all time, Avatar. I was not disappointed. Avatar was perhaps the best movie I have ever seen in my life. Avatar contains all the qualities I like in a great movie: • Great production values – the special effects are spectacular • Riveting story line • Good character development • Excellent direction, all the scenes flow together smoothly • Super pacing – even though the movie is long, it moves fast • Superior casting and acting - everyone was perfect for their role I could go on about many of the wonderful aspects of this movie but suffice it for me to say that this is one great movie. This is the first 3-D movie I’ve ever seen and I’m ruined now. It’s going to be hard to go back to two dimensional movies. There were times when I almost had to bat away the floating mayfly type insects that almost touched my nose. And a couple of times I almost ducked when a weapon was pointed

A Day to be Retired

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The wind is howling. The rain is horizontal. I'm retired. This is one of those lovely days when I cherish being retired. No venturing outside my warm and cozy domicile today. I'll catch up on a few e-mails. Check Frank Rich and some other Sunday columnists. I'll have a little lunch (Doritos and my special homemade chicken salad on high grain and fiber bread) while I check the noontime cable talking heads on MSNBC. Then it's time for my nap. When I awake it will be time to check my e-mail and Facebook messages again. Then my evening lineup of liberal talk shows begins at 4 o'clock on MSNBC with the Dylan Rattigan show followed by Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews (again, sometimes I watch it twice), Keith Olbermann and then Rachel. Sometime in between Keith and Rachel I'll have my dinner of Caesar salad followed my a slice (or two) of the Quiche Lorraine that I made on Saturday will dollops of raspberry jam (on t

I Gotta Get Out of Here

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It’s been almost a month now since I’ve been out work. I still haven’t reset my daily schedule to cope with this unexpected development. I needed work not only for the extra money that it brought into the household (and paid the mortgage) but for my mental well being. I am hard wired to work. I’ve had some kind of job since I was 5 years old (used to run errands to the local grocery store for my neighbors) to paper boy, office cleaner, dishwasher, store clerk, bank operations manager, and now hotel front desk clerk. It’s been quite a ride but I’m not ready to quit working yet. I don’t want to work full time but I do want and need the discipline of a job to go to. As a co-worker of mine explained (he also worked part-time like I did), “My job gives me something to plan my week around.” That explains my needs also. It’s not as if I don’t have enough to do around the house, I do. However, I do need to go out and when I go out I like to get paid. If I don’t get paid, th

Random Thoughts on a Sunday

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This morning I was trying to think of something unique and interesting to post to my blog but I kept coming back to my backlog of Random Thoughts. So here I go without trying to sound too negative. I’ll try and balance…… 1) Mariah Carey – what is it with this woman anyway? Who buys her records? Who likes her? She is such a self centered, selfish, boring diva it is beyond me who supports this fat pig. 2) Jo Lo – same as above. I do not understand their “talent” or who buys their records? My mind is boggled every time I see her fat ass and all the “oohs and ahhhs.” This is attractive? No, this is a fat assed, no talent, selfish woman. 3) Computer viruses – who are these people who get their pleasure from disrupting and destroying computer user’s hard drives? What drives these people? And why do they all end up as “security specialists” working for big bucks for companies to prevent further virus spreads. These people should be used for target practice. 4) Politi

Adult Plus+

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This morning I passed another milestone. I am now officially and Old Person. A short time ago I hung up the phone after giving my information (and charge card) to join a local “adult” program. In other words, I joined a program of “active adults.” This could be considered euphemism for “something for the old folk to do.” While I am 68 years old, I have never considered myself “old” (in spite of what I saw in my bathroom mirror every morning when I shaved.) In my mind I am perpetually a 37 year old, handsome, vibrant (if shallow) gay man. Sure, I’ve seen these buses loaded with old people passing me by but I never considered myself “one of them.” A couple of years ago a friend invited me to accompany him to the Philadelphia Flower Show. I used to live in Philadelphia for many years and still had a friend there. So I jumped at the opportunity to return to my old stomping grounds (where I used to live when I was in my vibrant 30’s.) The bus left early in the morning fro

Buyer's Remorse

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To all my friends who said "I told you so." Okay, I admit it. Obama isn't all that. In fact, he's not much of anything except just another politician who doesn't get it. I voted for him because I believed in his campaign motto "Change you can believe it." So where is the change? Looks like more of the same to me. The only tangible change I see is that Obama did lessen the tension between us and the rest of the world. Gone is the Cowboy, in your face diplomacy of the George W. Bush regime. No more that arrogant dumb ass Donald Rumsfeld calling our European allies "Old Europe" just because they didn't buy into our unnecessary war against Iraq. The rest of the world doesn't hate us now. No more Darth Vader Dick Cheney emerging from his Undisclosed Location to threaten to bomb yet another Arab country. But how about at home? Are we any better here? I don't see it. Obama is continuing the Bush policy of eavesdropping on dom

The Massachusetts Election

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Scott Brown, the Republican candidate, won the senatorial election last night to replace Senator Ted Kennedy. A Republican winning this election is a major upset in the heavily Democratic state of Massachusetts. Now all the talking heads in media and the know-it-alls inside the Washington Beltway are saying Obama’s agenda is threatened. My question is what agenda? President Obama was elected a year ago with the promise of “change we can believe in.” Where is that change? All I see is the same old, same old. I see a president and a Congress of both political parties that are still dancing to the tune of their corporate masters. The only thing positive that I can say about the presidency of Barack Obama is that he has improved our moral standing in the world by his less bellicose attitude towards the rest of the world. With that one exception I can see no change between Obama’s administration and the previous, disastrous Bush administration. Bill Clinton was ri

Copy to DVD

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Well folks, I finally mastered copying some of my old VHS tapes to a DVD! It wasn't easy. I think the instruction booklet must have been written in Chinese first then translated. Either that or someone from Mr. Softee's (Bill Gates) organization (Microsoft) wrote the instructions. They are that hard to follow. Not intuitive at all. But I got through and didn't waste too many DVD's in the process. Is it perfect? Of course not. But I did manage to copy the whole VHS video tape to a DVD. Then I took that DVD to my computer and made multiple copies. The first VHS video tape I copied was of the Tipton Family Reunion that took place October 4, 1997. I wanted to make copies so I could send them to some of my Tipton cousins. So many of the Tiptons who were at that reunion and appeared on my tape are now gone....forever. My only regret is that I didn't spend more time interviewing those individuals. I'm planning another Tipton Family reunion this year.

Moon

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Last night I saw “Moon.” This was my latest Netflix movie rental. The first few scenes of this movie reminded me of “2001 – A Space Odyssey.” A few of the reminders: 1) the space station with its long, pristine, light and shadow corridors 2) the cool talking robot (Hal in “2001”, Gerty in this movie (which is the voice of Kevin Spacey 3) the slightly off balance astronaut 4) the endless star studded black skies of space But there the similarities ended. Without giving away too much about the story line to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I want to say that his was one of the most thought provoking movies I have seen in years. After watching this movie I felt like I had an “experience.” Remember the movies of old when we left the movie theater with that feeling? Too many movies these days are predictable and not very entertaining. Either they’re movies with excesses of violence and blood or silly romantic comedies in which the principal

One Story of the Haitian Earthquake

Today my posting is not about me. I don't have an interest in telling my stories today. Whatever I have to say is so insignificant when viewed from this perspective. This is the true tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. This just breaks your heart. It will be a long time before I can forget this story.

Almost Too Much To Comprehend

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As more becomes known of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, it is almost too much to comprehend. This poor country and its people, which had little before the earthquake now has nothing but death and destruction. Two things: 1) It makes you wonder why bad things seem to happen to poorest and most defenseless. 2) It makes you realize how fortunate we are to live the lives we live. Sometimes I get caught up in my minor “problems.” Recently I had an Internet speed problem (which has now been resolved.) After something like this I am reminded that I live in one of the best countries on the face of this planet. Whatever my little “problems” they pale in comparison to the hell on earth that exists this day for too many of our fellow human beings. Ironically, the other Big Story of the day is the billions of dollars of bonuses that will be distributed to many of the big banks which almost brought financial ruin to our country by their reckless behavior. This money is co

Here We Go Again

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For the last several months I have notice that I cannot watch a You Tube video without it pausing. I’ve also noticed that the past several months that my Internet downloads take a long time to download. Here we go again. I’m about to do battle with my Internet service provider, Verizon. Sunday I did a speed test. As I suspected my Internet speed wasn’t up to 3 MB as I was promised and what I’m paying Verizon for monthly. Instead my Internet speed varies between 200 and 500 kbps. This isn’t the high speed Internet service I’m paying for. Here we go again. Sunday I started the series of phone calls that is necessary to resolve this problem. I don’t to bore the readers of this blog with all the hoops I had to jump through until I got a real person. The “real person” was Sanjay in India. Someone who I could hardly understand his English. That torturous phone conversation ended with Sanjay telling me I had too much on my Startup and that was affecting my Internet speed. I’m not

Feeding the Seagulls

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Yesterday when I was at the Walmart in Rehoboth Beach I noticed a gaggle of seagulls hunched down by the fast food restaurants trying to stay warm. That reminded me that I had some food to get rid of. I had two different types of cinnamon flavored cereals and a weird flavored bag of Doritos chips that didn’t agree with my taste buds. Fortunately seagulls aren’t as touchy as I am about food. So, first thing this morning I was off down Route 1, fighting the sun glare to sprinkle my unwanted food to the freezing sea gulls. As the pictures attests, they were most appreciative. This is Day Ten of the New Year and I am making great progress in unpacking, sorting, organizing and tossing out what remained of my packed items from my move down here in November of 2006.  I still have a long way to go. I must admit I do feel better having finally broken the logjam and my inertia. A box I unpacked yesterday was one I had packed from my previous move from Philadelphia to Downingtown in 1980.

Thoughts on a Cold January Morning

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The sun is out, the snow is almost gone and the cold winds still blow.  I'm debating whether of not to go out to the cemetery next door to take a couple of Find a Grave.com photo requests.  Do I want that cold wind cutting through me this morning? Bill and I didn’t go out for breakfast this morning. We’re both feeling a little bit down. It’s the same problem. Bill doesn’t think I pay enough attention to him so he goes into a deep funk. He gets depressed. This is his usual cycle. He will come out of it. Basically I’m a solitary person. The oldest of three boys, I was always a loner. My two younger brothers hung around together. I was always a step or two off the side. It is interesting to look at old pictures of us together. Almost always the body language says it all. They’re a pair. I’m the odd man (boy) out. From my earliest memory I’ve always known I was “different.” “Different” is a term my cousin Lois used to describe me when she had a conversation with me last yea

The Morning Surprise

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This is the scene I awoke to this morning. Yes, that is snow. While it is not the usual “4 to 6 inches”, it is still enough to cause me pause in taking my daily ride out of my development. Yesterday I didn’t go out at all. Normally I go out everyday, if only to take a ride. While I love my home I have to get out and about. When I go out I usually end up shopping. That is a habit I have to control this year since my hours have been cut back at the hotel where I work part time. This morning I was going to deliver an oil space heater to friends who live right on Delaware Bay. That was my excuse to get out today. The white stuff has put that plan on hold. I’m not big on driving in the snow and ice. That was one of the main reasons I moved to southern Delaware. Very little snow falls down here unlike where I lived in Pennsylvania where the snow hung around until early spring. This is the second snowfall within two weeks. That’s enough.

My Second Favorite Room

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This is a picture of my sunroom that I took a few minutes ago. This is my second favorite place in my Delaware home. I’ll post my favorite room tomorrow. I thrive on light. When I first saw this model house three years ago I was immediately impressed with the wall of windows. This is what sold me on this model, the Springbrook. The whole backside of my house is windows. I paid extra for all of those windows. It was well worth it. Every day, no matter how down I am, the light that flows through those windows uplifts my spirits. We have a living room but we rarely sit in it. In fact, I don’t remember the last time we sat in the living room, which is also called the Great Room. Even when we have company we sit in the sun room. I think it is force of habit to have a living room in the house. Just in case we have company. Actually, the living room is just there for decoration. As big as our house was in Pennsylvania, I didn’t have a favorite room. My bedroom wasn’t even m

Love the One You're With

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Yesterday a lunch a friend of mine was describing something ( I forget the context) that sounded very much like a song lyric. In fact I told her that it would be a good song. Of course we got a good laugh over that because the lyric is a very famous. It defined our generation. Here is the lyric: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."    Stephen Sills 1970 After lunch I returned home with my friend. She wanted to see my Hewlett Packard scanner that scans negatives and slides. She was very impressed with the way the scanner scanned negatives into color pictures on my computer. Technology is wonderful! After she left I pulled out more pictures from my treasure trove to scan into my computer. Ironically I came across a thirty year picture that was taken of me meeting a former love for lunch. The location was in Philadelphia at 8th and Chestnut, in front of the Federal Building. That was a magical summer, one that I will never fo

My New Job

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This is the first working day of the New Year. As I mentioned in previous blog postings, I’m on hiatus from my part time job at the hotel. However, that doesn’t mean I stop working. To the contrary, I have a new job. I’m working for myself. Today I’m selecting old photographs to scan into my computer. Some of these photographs I’m posting to my Facebook account to share with friends and family. This is a job that I’ve been putting off for a long time. Now is the time. I feel this need to get everything in order before I check out of this world. At 68 years old, I don’t have that long horizon of time left to me to procrastinate. The thought has crossed my mind more than a few times that no one would be interested in whatever mementos that I leave behind. But I can’t be concerned about that. I have to do what I have to do. Through my genealogy research I know how appreciative I am to come across information and photos left behind my ancestors. Sadly, most people leave

Baby it's Cold Outside!

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Wow, it is COLD outside! What a way to start off the New Year. I remember back when I was living in Philly and we used to go out to see the Mummer’s Parade. Of course in those days we were fortified by alcohol so the cold wasn’t quite as biting as it is today. Yesterday Bill and I took a little shopping expedition to the new and reconfigured Walmart in Rehoboth Beach. We frequent all the Walmarts in the area. Georgetown and Milford both have Super Walmarts which we shop at often. Then there is Sam’s Club in Dover. We shop at them all in spite of the fact they don’t offer domestic partner benefits and that the employees aren’t unionized. That doesn’t matter to me, period. I shop for quality and price. That I get at Walmart. I make no apologies for shopping at Walmart. I hope the rest of the day goes better than this morning. First thing I couldn’t open a You Tube video a friend sent to me because my Java script was disabled. Gee, I wonder how that happened. Oh, perhaps it was

January 1, 2010

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Today is the first day of the New Year 2010. Doesn’t that have a nice sound? Do we pronounce the New Year “twenty ten?” Or do we pronounce it “two oh one oh?” I prefer “twenty ten.” That has a nice ring to it. Last night I got in from work at the hotel at 11:20 pm. That was enough time to change, shower and have a bedtime snack while I watched the New Year rung in on CNN by that sadly unfunny duo of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper. I, like many of my fellow citizens will be facing unemployment at the beginning of the new decade. I’m working today but for the rest of the month I’m not on the work schedule at the hotel. I probably won’t be on the work schedule for February either. Maybe even into March. Perhaps the warm weather will bring a change in hotel occupancy. Several of my friends have also seen their hours of work reduced. I don’t know of anybody who has been untouched by this poor economy. No doubt about it, this is an equal opportunity recession. Becau