Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year....

Happy New Year from kevinandjoe!

2009 will bring more ramblings, some will come from joe who will have moved south in retirement. I can't wait to spend some time at his retirement villa in the south, with it warm breezes and rebuilding pro football team. In fact, just about every pro team in his new location will be in a rebuilding mode.

So, our best to all our loyal reader(s). I think that there might be a book in our creative, yet personal comments. Probably well after we have moved to the next level and will make our heirs rich!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Baseball Team

Sometime back I recall some comments about changing favorite teams if you moved to a city that had a major league team. Chris sent me a note recently that I think addresses that question as it regards the SF Giants.

"A simple question with a great answer…

What's the point of being a Giants fan? Managing general partner Bill Neukom said on KNBR that he hopes the team will finish .500 next year ... then become a contending team two years after that. I appreciate his honesty, but man, after four losing seasons, all we get is three years from now. It's obvious why players like Mark Teixeira and Carlos Lee don't want to play for the Giants. So I ask, other than being interested in Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum, what is the point for a fan to root for a self-proclaimed hope-to-be-.500 club?

-- Billy R., San Jose, Calif.

You stick with the Giants because that's just what fans do. Otherwise, you're something else beginning with the letter "f" -- fickle. You stick with the Giants because you understand that baseball is a game of failure (remember, even the best hitters return to the dugout fruitlessly seven times every 10 at-bats) and only people who can't grasp what the game's about demand constant success. You stick with the Giants because hope is one of the biggest words in the English language, and because watching guys like Matt Cain, Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, Brian Wilson and Sandoval give you hope. You stick with the Giants because Lincecum pitches every five days, and there isn't a better show in baseball than that.

You stick with the Giants because they're among baseball's crown jewel franchises and they play in a gem of a ballpark. You stick with the Giants because you cherish the link to legends like Mathewson, Mays, Marichal and Bonds (pick either one). You stick with the Giants because, if you're around 40 or older, you saw them almost move to Toronto and Denver and Tampa-St. Petersburg, so now you'll never let them go. You stick with the Giants because you feel like your scalp would break out in a rash if you put on a different team's cap. Go ahead and switch to the A's or Dodgers or Phillies; life is full of many more important choices. If it's that easy to jump ship, you never were a true fan anyway."

I was there when they almost moved to Toronto and I can tell you the fear and panic of losing the Giants to Canada or anywhere was significant. The City rallied around the Giant's and Bob Luire came to the rescue, along with Cattle guy, I think. Botton line, live in a city with a baseball team that isn't the Giants if you must, but I would find it very difficult not to continue as a Giants fan.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Economy at Christmas

I, like many others in the world, have watched the economy sink slowly and marvel at the revelations that seem to come out each week. The specter of de-regualtion at its best as financial giants tumble into the abyss that is a government bailout. The market moves up and down like a hookers skirt and my retirement money along with it.

Doom and gloom is the order of the day and if that wasn't bad enough we have 1/2 inch of ice with 4 inches of snow and temps in the single digits. I think it easier to be depressed in warm weather.

Having said I heard someone, there so many people with advice these days, speak to spending and it made some sense. His point was that in spite of nearly 10% unemployment, there are a significant number of people who are no worse off (except for 401K's etc) now than they were last year. While managing your expenses is always important one the ways to move pass these economic hard time is to spend.

I am not suggesting that everyone run out and buy a 50 inch TV, but if we all quit spending at the same time the economy will never turn around. Frankly I need it to turn around soon as I can almost see my retirement. So, go ahead take a chance and spend a little at your local stores, try and do your part to get the economy moving again, don't just leave it to Washington or Wall Street.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First color TV

Someone mentioned the "great Sony TV Joe bought" on a previous comment. I laughed, figuring the statute of limitations had clearly run out on something that happened over 34 years ago.
Little did I relize I am still in the marital doghouse, with room, it appears for Kevin, strictly as a bad influence. When I mentioned it, all of the anger quickly was brought back.
Here's the honest story. In 1974, when we moved to San Francisco, we lived with Sally and Kevin for about five weeks, just long enough for us to find an apartment, get the lease signed, and move in on July 1.
To be all too honest, we weren't at all worried about cash flow. We were still being paid on twelve month teaching contracts, so we were going to receive, both of us, our full monthly check, close to the end of June, July, and August. Actuallly, it is germane to the story that Suzanne was paid on the 20th of each month, Joe on the
So about June 23, Suzanne's paycheck arrived in the mail. Now we were going to need a television in the next couple weeks, Suzanne already had a job, and Joe was starting one on July 15, so cash was next to no concern. Therefore, Kevin and I shot down to Eber Electronics, which by the way, remained in business in the same location until just a couple years ago. I also bought my first cd player there, in the early 1980s.
Well, it did not take us long to pick out a brand new Sony 17 inch color television. It was a KV-1722, and it was beyond wonderful. Here's a link, cut and paste to see picture:
The decision to purchase might very well have been affected by an upcoming three game televised series the Giants were playing in Los Angeles.
Now, I am sure I discussed this at length, and no one shoulsd have been surprised, or upset 34 years later. The fact that it took one whole monthly paycheck, almost exactly, for a 17 inch TV seems a little steep now, particularly as you see what you can buy for about the same amount of money, but we could afford it easily enough and the television gave us years of faithful service.
Of course, after remote controls became common, it was easy to decide not to fix it when it malfuntioned about twenty years later, after we had moved back to Nebraska.
I certainly can't say it did not serve us very well, even if it cost a month's salary.
But I sure think I should not still be in trouble for the purchase.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Harvey Milk

Everyone meets or sees someone who is famous or near famous in their lifetime. In my lifetime I have seen a lot of the near famous or locally famous, but have run into a few who were more nationally known. For example, Taj Mahal (blues musician), once used the phone in our flat on Liberty street in San Francisco. Sally asked him to leave a few bucks for the call. So much for our interaction with famous.

In about 1973 Sally and I moved into our first apartment in San Francisco. We had been sharing quarters with Dick and Cherrill since 1970 so this was a big jump. The apartment was located on upper 17th St and was about 4 or so blocks from Castro Street.

The Castro valley was in a great location. West of the mission district, Southeast of the Haight and at the foot of Twin Peaks. Our place was just off Market Street and a great place to catch transportation to our jobs downtown.

It was in those early days that we meet Harvey Milk. I wouldn't pretend that we had a personal relationship with him, but we did shop at his camera store so we felt we knew him. We certainly did talk to him and made purchases so we were like family :-)

We moved off of 17th just before Chris was born in 1975 and moved out to the avenues. The Castro area continued to change as the gay culture moved into the area in full force. Prior to that I thought that Polk street was the primary area for the gay culture. Whatever the case the Castro was the quite the place.

All of this leads me the new movie about Harvey and the actions of Dan White on 11/27/78. I am excited to see the movie, not because of the violence, but because we were there. I mean, in the City and in my case a few blocks from City Hall when the shootings took place. The streets filled with police as I tried to make my way down Polk street and on with my day. It was until I had left the area did I hear of the shootings.

So much for my famous contacts, how about your famous encounters? How many can you remember and how many did you actually interact with? For example, I wish I could say I talked to Nixon when he walked by us at Kearney State College, but alas I didn't. How about you?

This is not a hijack, but your blogger just changed identities. I sent an email to Kevin and asked if I could add on to this draft. OK, when I set this blog up I had no intention of using it to tag-team the unsuspecting readers.
However, as I was checking up on the draft that showed up, I realized why I thought in terms of blogging with someone else. The perspectives Kevin and bring to the first approximately fifteen years of adulthood is remarkably the same. So, here is how Kevin responded when I asked permission to add on to this entry, instead of commenting or writing my own view:

"Be my guest. I was just rambling (30 years and all) a bit about HM and was actually thinking about the way the Castro area was in the mid 70s and how lives are intertwined in a city so big, yet so small.
Go ahead and edit the piece also, I have no pride of authorship. I thought of you guys, the break-in of the VW, the place we got our hair cuts (next to the theater) and our small, but fun little flat."

I think he is unreasonably modest, because he really got me thinking long and hard about not just the mid to late 70s, but all of those times our lives intersected. We not only saw Richard Nixon, up close. but he gave us a little sneer, as we manned a table passing out information for a rival.

But the Castro era, about 1974 until 1977 for us, was great times. From haircuts at the March Hair, to Aquarius Records, to frozen yogurt at the Double Rainbow to good old 4301 17th St., it was grand times. We lived with Kevin and Sally for a long month before we got our first place, just up the side of Twin Peaks, apartments designed for people moving from the midwest to the big city.

When the Jonestown incident happened on November 19, 1978, it was beyond belief. Over 900 dead, most of whom were Bay Area people. We drove by the People's Temple, feeling a morbid curiosity. We had no idea something with a far bigger impact was just over a week away.

We too knew Harvey Milk, both from shopping at his camera store. and by his incessant campaigning. He would meet each 8 Market bus that let its passengers off at the intersection of Castro, 17th, and Divisadero. The city had just switched from an at large manner of electing supervisors, the San Francisco equivalent of city councilpersons, to geographical areas each having its own supervisor. This allowed Harvey to get elected, but it also allowed a virtually unknown young man, who had quit being both a cop and a fireman, to be elected to the board of supes. Harvey was always willing to talk politics and current events as I would wait for the next bus I needed to get to my Twin Peaks apartment. I remember one afternoon, telling him I lived in the next district to the west, and asking him for a recommendation. He thoughtfully, carefully named several people running that he thought he could work with, and that I could support. I forget details, but he included one person he described as much more conservative than he, but that I could consider. I'm guessing he was pegging me as a straight man from say, Nebraska, who might not be as liberal as the typical San Franciscan. Little did he know.

Now about the most famous person I have ever talked to: I know I cannot compare to my eldest, who has talked to Bill Clinton and Warren Buffett. I suppose the single most famous person that I personally knew was Sandy Dennis, Oscar and Tony award winning actress, who used to baby-sit me in Hastings, Nebraska. She charmingly told Suzanne about getting in trouble for letting me go to bed while chewing gum, which ended up in my hair. I have absolutely no recollection of this.
We did once sit in a theatre in San Francisco in the same row as Bobby Riggs, shortly after Billie Jean King kicked him in tennis.
So, as Kevin wants to know, who have you met/talked to/seen up close?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November Musings

I had dental work today, three quadrants needed to be numbed in order to complete a few things that were topped off by a crown prep. Worse than the colonoscopy. If you have ever had a crown you will recognize the part where the dentist asks you to confirm that your bite is correct. My mouth was so numb I wasn't sure I had teeth.

When you go for an eye exam they ask you a similar question, "which is better"? Frankly I am surprised anyone gets fitted correctly. You never have these issues with a colonoscopy, no questions at all...just count backwards.

Jimmy Carl Black, the acerbic drummer of Frank Zappa’s mischievous and innovative rock band the Mothers of Invention, died recently and on Wednesday Mitch Mitchell, lone surviving member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience died. Mitch was just in Omaha...I never go to the right concerts. Interesting that two rock drummers just died, isn't this done in threes?

However on a sadder note, Herb Score former member of the Cleveland Indians passed away. Score was the American League rookie of the year in 1955, when he had a 16-10 record, 2.85 earned run average and 245 strikeouts, tops in the major leagues and a record for a rookie that stood for 29 years. He went 20-9 in 1956 with a 2.53 E.R.A. and was again the strikeout leader with 263. I won't speak to his baseball tragedy, but I will always remember his brief, but promising career. He also played a key role on my dice baseball team.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Quick little post, 100 % bragging

Just to let you all know we are not only alive, but well:
Half the proprietorship of this blog recently ran a mile a in 6:12, a time outstanding for a 30 year old, very good for a 50 year old, and out of this world for someone within a year of being able to collect social security, albeit reduced.
The other half has only the fact that his weight declined to under 180 pounds to brag about. It isn't exactly the same as running really fast, but the loss of over 25 pounds in eleven months does seem to make the trials of those months more than worthwhile. Actually, I have forgotten those trials completely, and am concentrating on losing another 10 pounds, but that might be a little tougher than the last few.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I have no idea when or if the market and economy will start to rebound. I just wish that some groups, major credit-rating agencies, for example would just shut up. Today they decided to announce that they might do something and it more duck and cover.

In the meantime another biggest loser was eliminated. How is Misty May?

What happens when the Dow hits zero? Does that mean Armageddon?

I have been listening to J Mellencamps latest music. Love death,etc. I have never been a big fan, but its pretty good and fits the mood of most of us over 60 trying to figure out our 401K. I realize that if you have 1 million saved or if you have 300K a 20% drop is still a 20% drop, but it certainly seems more for the 300K guy.

Bring back define pensions. Who wanted to privatize Social Security and let everyone put there potential SS payment in the market. How many votes for that now?

Spent three days in Minneapolis, you would believe the anti Franken ads on TV.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Presidential Timberrrrrr

You may not have liked Clinton, but he was clearly a better leader and speaker than Bush.

I'll bet that the heads of those companies on Wall Street are all Republican.

I think we are moving toward short term socialism, as long as it is the Republicans idea. How stupid are we? I wonder how much GB has in his 401K?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Presidential Race

Honestly, why would anyone vote Republican this year? The economy is in the tank...are we paying attention. We are in a war and the Republican VP is talking tough (when she is allowed to talk) about Russia. Who are we kidding? We can barely keep that little conflict in the Iraq going.

The whole thing is just amazing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Presidential Issues

It's only Tuesday and I have learned so much and I am just excited to share. First let me tell you that I have a lot of friends/relatives that are Republican/conservatives or conservative republicans. When you live in Nebraska it's hard not to have friends that are Republicans because generally that is all there is in Nebraska. Democrats have to meet in the catacombs to discuss politics.

(In Nebraska we have senators who wear the democrat label, but they are really republicans.) Anyway on to my new info.

I learned that in 2006 gas was at $2.19, unemployment was at 4.5% and consumer confidence was at a 2 1/2 high, the good old days. Unfortunately a democratic congress was voted in and whoops there we go down the path to ruin. Gas is now at $3.79 and unemployment is 5%, confidence has plummeted. There are a couple of other things about 1% foreclosures and home equity dropping by 1.2 trillion; that's a lot. Anyhow you voted for the this change and congress makes the law and apparently the President has no real input other dealing with what is given to him. Positions sound pretty ceremonial to me.

Next I learn that the cost of the war is really smoke and mirrors and is really a problem. Did you know that if you add up all of the money that we spend on those sneaky illegal aliens its about $338.3 billion annually. I think the was is over $500billion now, so if we get out of the war and get rid of the aliens we will be nearly a trillion to the good.

Lastly, and I will only share one of these examples, if you were married (same sex or otherwise) taxes under Clinton at 75K were 21K and a mere 18.75K under Bush. Do the math.

God I love my friends. I wouldn't get this great info with out there desire to keep me informed so that I can make a good decision when I vote in 49 days, however as I mentioned this might just be a ceremonial position so who cares?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Follow up to Colonoscopy-Who cares?

Well its over and the results were good, in fact I now have a 5 year window, although I am told by my wife that three years will do. She is no frigging doc.

The prep as usual was a pain. I need to remember to tell the clinic that since I am short a foot of my large colon the full prep isn't necessary. I can't describe, well I could but kids may read this, how bad I felt at 3 a.m Monday morning.

The procedure was done at the Colo Rectal surgeons clinic, my first at a non hospital base facility. I was pleasantly surprise about how well it went, if you exclude the clear HIPAA violation when I arrived.

The nurse was pleasant and efficient and the CRNA was very good. In fact when he came in to introduce himself he displayed some shock as I apparently had a striking resemblance to his father in law. I was torn between suggesting he said that to all the male patients and asking if he like his father in law. I opted for the later...he said he did.

The young attractive blonde who was behind me as I raised my gown just prior to medication did give me pause for concern. In fact two of the three female nurses were attractive, although at that point who cared..stick it in, get it done. How old am I?

I was told that they were using a different drug now, I indicate I just wanted to be out. "Propofol" and boy was it good. Knocked me right out and when I came to, about one hour later I was ready to go home. Clear headed and felt great. This was unlike the past times when I had Versad which left me groggy. In hindsight there is some raging controversy about using this drug and cost... but I loved it.

All in all there is a great sense of relief after you are done, now all you have to do is reload on fiber and get things moving again.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Biennial Event

It is just after 2 p.m. CST and I am about to start preparations for my biennial colonoscopy, ugh! In the last 10 years I will have undergone this procedure five times, with four in the last 5 years. The biennial rotation started in 2004 so I am on an even number kick.

I keep hoping that the physician will move me to three years or like my sister five years. Not sure why, but hope springs eternal.

If you get a chance read the the Dave Barry article on colonoscopies, it is hysterical. Oops there is my watch alarm. More late as I am off to take the first 1.5 oz of Phospho-soda, not a real coke or anything. I got big evening planned.

Monday, September 1, 2008


"It's not about the's all about the 'Tall, Cool One'. Vote for me. Do it."
-Kevin Gallagher, 2008 Presidential Hopeful

(I'm Kevin Gallagher and I approve this message.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Game On!

Well the teams are set and the race to Washington it on. Excitement abounds as folks begin to line up behind the young and energetic black candidate or the older Republican maverick (apologize to James Garner). VP candidates...??? Go figure.

Biden the sometimes fiery multi-term train riding Senator from where, Delaware (what did del ware) against the former Mayor of Wasilla. It is one crazy time.

I did note the the card carrying NRA member, beauty pageant contestant and former Mayor once tried marijuana, but didn't like it, please! Can risque pictures of her be far behind.

So, lets try and engage in a little back and forth in this blog on the election.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bad, Bad Blogger

No particular excuses. Well, I started an entry and apparently erased it instead of saving it, but it wasn't particularly memorable anyway.
However, since I've blogged, I've driven to Amherst, Massachusetts and back, been to Boston for the first time, been to Kansas City, seen the Saw Doctors, and seen Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band.
So, I could claim to have been busy, but the truth of the matter is that I've had plenty of time if I really had something memorable to say, but I cannot seem to find an overriding theme to my summer. I mean this would be bragging if I weren't such a tightwad and such a homebody(do those go together?). I managed to see both of the big oceans, went to San Francisco, Boston, Napa, Amherst, Northampton, and New Haven. I went through or briefly was in Phoenix, Oakland, Cleveland, Springfield, Mass., and Las Vegas and came witin a few miles of Niagara Falls, nixing a stop, for time reasons.
I encouraged a novice gambler, giving her $20 while in the Las Vegas Airport. She got bored of the slot and cashed out over $15, cutting her losses a lot better than her father. We ate breakfast on the patio of the Napa River Inn, watching the river flow.
We managed to meet up with every friend of ours who still is in the San Francisco area, including one we hadn't seen since 1981 when we left.
We rented vehicles for a total of 17 days, has to be a record. Actually, I'm pretty sure we had not rented cars for a total of 17 days before this summer. We spent about a dozen nights in hotels/motels, ranging from the one in Napa, clearly the nicest place I have ever stayed in as an adult, to a Super 8 in Angola, Indiana which had the thinnest towels I have ever seen. Otherwise it was a nice, clean place to sleep in while you're doing nearly 800 miles a day on the road.
The most expensive gas we bought was at a travel plaza on the section of the New York State Thruway, at $4.25, while the cheapest was $3.48 in Lincoln. Actually, we paid something like $4.72 in San Francisco. The $4.25 was the high for the driving trip to Massachusetts.
I have several disjointed comments:
How did people take road trips before GPS?
The two concerts couldn't have been more different, except they were both profoundly enjoyable, as Jackson Browne says, "11 on a scale to 10".
I am sorely afraid that this version of the E St. Band may never tour again. One of them died during this tour, ending his touring career, and another can barely make it up the steps to the stage. They say new hips are on the horizon for him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Traveling down that old hippy highway...

Another birthday has made it's way through my life and I am not sure how I feel about it. Every where I look, I am a senior, not a major senior, but more like a freshman senior. Apparently my nearly life long moustache gave me away.

You can't read a newspaper, check out the Internet or go to the store with out some clear reminder of your age. At work its the cashier who gives me the senior discount with asking if I am over 60. At the theatre Sally is always asking for a senior discount, even though those only exist between noon and 2 on the third Wednesday of even numbered months.

The papers, public radio and every other form of public or private communication scream out about the number of seniors who will go bankrupt this year (25%) or the amount of money you need to survive until you die. If you watch that close enough you will realize that no one really knows and they continue to recycle the same discussion with little in the way of new information.

70% of your pre retirement income will do, which works well for some, but the poor guy who is making 20K now is down to 14K and has the same bills. 750,000 was the general consensus around the table at Sean O'Caseys last Friday, but 1M would be better, I have neither.

As a boomer I hope that the trifecta of SS, Define Pension and the 401/403 plans will carrier us safely to our graves. I realize that for some period I will need to have some, hopefully small employment to help keep us in golf money.

We are betting that we will or won't outlive the money, health issues creep in and we read the Irish sports page and see people dying at 50 all the time. I have no bigger fear than some lingering disease like the big "A" or big "C",or that I might not ever get a hole in one.

So, where now to St Peter,ignore the possibilities and live in the moment? Hide in the future and expect the worse? Beats me, I think I will continue to listen to the pundits as they discuss what I will need to live until I die.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Game: What's your Favorite Chevy Chase B-Movie

I just now invented this game, and while I admit it doesn't compare with other Kevin/Joe invented games, such as racing insects on the basement floor at Cecil and Evelyn's house in Kearney, or the race to be the first car out of the parking lot having seen the last out or heard the last buzzer or final horn at major athletic events.
But it has its points. Now, you must decide what your favorite Chevy Chase B-movie is, and tell us why.
It is a bit like TEGWAR, the exciting game without any rules, in that you have to tell us both why it is your favorite, and why it is a B-movie.
While we will give no further guidelines, it seems to me that there are a couple classic Chevy Chase movies. You might very well choose to add your own, but to me, there is no doubt that the first National Lampoon's Vacation and Caddyshack are true classics. OK, not classy, but you know what I mean.
I am fond of Foul Play, but that might be because of my San Francisco residence in 1978, when it was released. And Fletch will always have a place in my humor pantheon.
But it seems to me that any sequel can be considered a B-movie, as well as any movie that stars Patti D'Arbanville.
Feel free to add your own list and definitions of both classic and of B-movies.
I'll wait a few days to make my decision. I'm leaning towards Memoirs of an Invisible Man, but refusing to consider Nothing But Trouble, one of the worst movies ever made. It wasn't released, it escaped.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mental meanderings

We saw Wall-E this afternoon. It was really enjoyable. Fascinating how a movie with minimal dialog can keep your attention, but it does. There is something about art or literature that is equally appealing to adults and children that I enjoy. It would be simplistic to say I am just a kid at heart, and probably not even particularly true.
No matter what the reason, I love books like Huckleberry Finn, Johnny Tremain, or The Yearling, which, while ostensibly kids' books, can be fully enjoyed by adults, perhaps even on more and deeper levels. I am not sure that I realized that Huck Finn, the book, spoke to the essential dignity and worth of human beings the first time I read it.

That was Friday. On Saturday we went to see Get Smart, with absolutely no expectations. given that caveat, we thought it was very funny, particularly for those who loved the old TV show. I can't picture anyone but Steve Carell playing Don Adams, and Anne Hathaway was perfect as the 2008 Agent 99. I'm not saying it is ART, but it was funny. Just by the way, it costs us just under $23 to go to a matinee, with a medium popcorn and a large frozen coke. Not to say we can't afford to go, but that must be keeping some people away from first run movies. I'm really wondering what the spell checker has against matinee. I am spelling that right aren't I? Wonderful as they are, I have a thing about spell checking programs, which I might go into later.

In other news, I have quite recently become very irritated with one dollar bills, almost as much as I am with pennies. That this country sticks with these virtually useless forms of currency is as much an indictment of our mass stupidity than the re-election of George Bush/Dick Cheney in 2004. Pennies cost more than one cent to produce, so every one we mint adds to our deficit. Some congressman from Arizona regularly introduces bills to abolish pennies, but he gets little support.
Now, dollar bills are new to my list, but it just seems that Europe and Australia are so far ahead of us, using not only one dollar, but also two dollar(or euro) coins.
The bills aren't worth much anymore; even a 20 ounce coke costs well over a dollar.
If you have to pay, assuming anybody besides me is still using cash, anything ending in a one's digit of 6, 7, or 8, does anyone grab several ones? No, so you end up with a walletful of ones you do not need, and do not want. Maybe I should just catch up with the times and start using plastic. I do have and know how to use a debit card; I just don't do so very often.

While I stand by everything said, except maybe the part about the hooker's pants, in the previous post about the economy, I do want to weigh in on the whole deal about gas prices. OK, so the high cost of gas creates problems for lower income folks who spend a disproportionate amount of their income for gas to get to work. That is too bad.
I still feel that gas is by no means "too expensive". Frankly, if gas had been $4 a gallon for the last several years, many good things would have happened. We would have a much larger choice of better mileage vehicles to choose from. We could have banked trillions of dollars, cushioning our hard landing. We could have adjusted to this gradually, had there been leaders who could make hard choices. we would have had companies using the profit motive to improve the vehicles we have available to choose from.
Another reason I do not feel gas is too expensive is that virtually no one is slowing down. This is the real test. If you feel gas is too expensive you can drastically improve your gas mileage, and not just by driving a Prius, but by driving slower and more sensibly.
But you can commute to work all the while watching one person, in a huge truck he does not need for his work, weave in and out of traffic, racing from stoplight to stoplight. Many of Lincoln's streets have quite accurately synchronized lights, so that as long as it isn't afternoon rush hour, once you stop, you can get the next several lights green, just by driving the speed limit. So what do any number of drivers do? Of course, they jackrabbit away from the recently changed light, and race to the next one, which will be changing in about four seconds. but they have to screech to a stop, all to start the process over again.
I don't care if it is Nebraska, Iowa, or Missouri, the states in which I most often drive. The average driver is going slightly in excess of whatever the posted limit is.
That driver's gas mileage would remarkably increase were she/he to knock about 10% off his/her speed, even more if the limit were 55 mph.
Were it a crime to complain about gas prices and to drive at speeds that reduce your mileage, our prisons would be much more full than they are now.
And the next time I hear a commercial, or public service announcement about TV becoming all digital, I might throw something at the TV. Maybe I just want to get a new TV. Does anybody know anybody who uses an antenna on the roof to get a signal?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I saw today that Warren Buffett said that the economy is getting worse. Now I don't profess to be literate in the ways of the economy, nor will I ever make as much as the sage from Omaha, but, ya think? Is that like calling water wet?

My investments have dropped like a hookers pants. Unlike Warren I don't have that billion dollar safety net. I don't frankly see much in the way of relief and I am not sure anyone in government or business does either. I think that this whole recession has caught everyone off guard...can I say recession?

I think that we have played into the myth that is the Republican party. There are no short term answers, only additional questions. Cut taxes, let people keep more of the money they earn, eliminate services that the taxes pay for, drill off shore, drill on shore, won't make any difference in the short term. Not much forward thinking. Glad I didn't retire this year, but who is to say that it will be better next year or the next? See the flow? What do we pay daily for the war?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Trip to the Past

While in San Francisco, we stopped in to the press clipping bureau, where Joe spent about 50 hours a week for seven years.
Maureen's jaw dropped when she entered, as it was just like we had stepped back in time. I was looking for Bob Cratchit to step out from behind a stack of newspapers.
Now think about this. In the last 25 years, the number of newspapers has dropped precipitously. The number of regular print paper readers has dropped even more so.
The very people who use clipping bureaus have lots more media to contend with. And, that monster on the block, Google, is always out there.
There were only four people there who worked with Joe, and the place had about half as many employees. Barbara, the secretary for the last 38 years, looked the same, and amazingly had her hair out of its formerly omnipresent bun. My boss, John, sounded the same, looked like himself, but 27 years older. He no longer drives to the office, instead driving to Bart, at 5:45 in the morning, opening the office at 6:15. He also closes the office, just after 6 in the evening, riding home on Bart, after the rush slows down.
I was tickled to introduce Maureen to Beth, still reading after I trained her 30 years ago. I had long told my kids, students, and anybody who would listen, the story of the employee, who was very intelligent, but not a native speaker of English. I would perpetually say things like "No sweat", to me clearly meaning that the something was easy to accomplish, and then have to explain to her these colloquialisms or slang expressions. I just told Maureen that Beth was the one always asking me what those expressions meant. Fortunately, Beth laughed, remembering those times. She also remember me seriously encouraging her to return to work six weeks after her son, now a handsome young professional in southern California, was born,
Who still uses a clipping bureau? Who ever used a clipping bureau? This company has six offices, all over the country. It was founded in 1888. Amazing. How many companies have been in business 120 years, and, frankly, still doing business the same way. John told Maureen and Suzanne the story of how he used to borrow a couple computers from a company next door when some VIP or competitor was going to visit the office, just so it would appear they were not living in the past, which they not only were, and still are. Having said that, I know that they were among the earliest adopters of fax technology because one of their customers, working in Washington, DC, in a position of what is now considerable power, wanted to see what the San Francisco papers were saying about her and she wanted to see it today. You don't get to be speaker of the house without being on top of things.
Apparently quite a few people still use a clipping bureau. Several much larger, national or international clipping bureaus are still doing well. There is even one in Omaha, but it makes most of its profit from monitoring local tv newscasts.
I do remember seeing a letter from Dustin Hoffman, handwritten, to the bureau in San Francisco. I went to the file to swipe it when I left in 1981, but it was not there. John probably took it home to show his wife.
Dustin used to maintain two accounts with us, with one set of clippings being sent to himself in NYC, with the other going to his Dad in a southern California retirement community. I always thought that was cool.
So maybe not nearly as many people need clipping bureaus, but there are some out there, and they are all a bit out of date. Piles of newspapers, people cutting out the stories(no scissors here, much too slow), other people reading papers, and lots of folding, sorting and distributing. I remember when we got our first postage meter, back in the late 70s. Up until one lady retired, she was much, much faster at doing what one person with a postage machine could do. When she left, then no one was faster at weighing, sealing, and affixing postage. Although it was cool to go to the post office and buy several hundred dollars worth of postage.
I'm not sure the bureau will be there if my next visit is ten years in the future. I'm not sure it'll be there if I visit next summer, but it was a good run whenever it ends.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We are home from the longest "vacation" we have had in probably 15 years. And it was the best since those family vacations back in the 90s.
We flew to Oakland, stayed one night near the airport there, then three nights in Napa, at what is probably the nicest place we have ever stayed. The Napa River Inn describes itself as the Historic Napa River Inn, a luxury hotel. It was very nice, with luxurious appointments, breakfast in bed, and beautiful surroundings. The last three nights we stayed in San Francisco, right outside the Lombard Street gate of the Presidio.
Our transportation was a Dodge Nitro, which will never be my favorite vehicle, but it did serve its purpose, getting us up and down the Napa Valley and then into and around San Francisco. We spent $4.70 a gallon for gas in San Francisco, a record which will unfortunately not stand for long, I'm afraid. We spent $2.50 and $3.00 an hour for parking, so our three hours at the brand new DeYoung Art Museum cost $7.50, while our five hours downtown cost $15.
Not to complain about money, though. This was a long planned and well budgeted trip.
We flew on Friday, June 6, and motored into Marin County Saturday morning, taking a quick side trip through Muir Woods, which was much like we remembered, very majestic and awe-inspiring. You find yourself whispering, being irritated at the loud children as you walk through Cathedral Grove.
We arrived in Napa, checked in, and met up with a group of about fifteen to twenty people at the Elizabeth Spencer Winery. This was the first of many places about which your humble correspondent can make no intelligent comment. Not being a connoisseur of wine myself, all of those appellations are just foreign words to me. Trust me, however. A good time was had by all.
Sunday the entire wedding party met at V. Sattui Winery, for a tour, tasting, and a gourmet picnic lunch on our dime(I wish it was a dime). OK, so there is no such thing as a gourmet picnic. Nevertheless, the food was outstanding, as was the wine at this award winning winery, named the top California winery in both 2004 and 2006.
Sunday evening Rollie's father took us to Celadon, a really gourmet restaurant located within the Napa River Inn.
The Monday night wedding was wonderful, and we were surprised to see the resort, Auberge de Soleil, featured in the Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine as we flew home. Well, it was featured when we flew west, also, but we didn't spot it until we were flying home. The photographers could not go onto the balcony/restaurant because a celebrity was eating there that night. Suzanne and Rollie's mom were hoping for Kevin Costner, who apparently is a regular, but later that night we found out it was Sandra Bullock.
Tuesday we went to San Francisco, and spent three days being tourists and visiting friends from the seventies, some of whom we hadn't seen for over 25 years.
The funniest part of the SF days was Maureen's astonishment at the steepness of the hills. She couldn't believe the stretch of Filbert Street that had steps instead of a sidewalk.
During the whole trip I kept waiting for one thing to go wrong, thinking it would most likely flight related. But we got home without a single issue of any significance. Amazing.
By the way, the t-shirt in the picture says, "Will sell husband for wine". Who thinks that is funny?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have been thinking about posting something for a couple of weeks now, but time and energy seem to escape me. Today however I am motivated to jot down a few lines about "Change". I think its overrated.

Change, and I don't mean the physical change that you have when you get older, although that's a bit overrated also...if it just didn't end so badly. I mean the changes that occur on a daily basis, changes that you don't see because you are too busy living life until they jump up and smack you.

Some changes, like the ones where get waived by your career or the changes that dot the business books that litter the shelves of every book store in the nation are pretty noticeable. They teach you in big business that change is necessary to survive and that if you don't you will lose. They put up pictures of big waves labeled change, with captions that if you don't ride the wave you will be under it. It's all crap.

Really change is that day when you hear that the dentist you have been going to for years is retiring; shit, who will clean my teeth? The day the lady or guy who has cut your hair for years has moved to another country, crap! The day you hear your family physician start to talk about retiring and wonder how long you have before you need to have some new physician slap on the rubber gloves at your annual physical.

Today was one of those days. To start with I have a painful lower back that started after my brief three mile run yesterday and has consumed me since that time. I am living on Advil. My mood was foul and turned gray with a bout of depression when I heard that my auto mechanic had closed his shop!!

I have been going to Roger for over 15 years, although not so much over the last couple of years. I started with Roger when his shop was his garage. I guess I came to assume that Roger would always be there when my car needed help or if I just needed automotive advice. Now he is retired and I am stuck worrying about my next fix.

So change continues, but some of it I just don't like. Some is necessary, like the seasons, but generally it is overrated.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Job

I will soon receive my first paycheck so I feel I can write a bit about my new job. Of course, it is not a real paycheck; it is a direct deposit of my month's earnings. What is it about me and monthly pay? It really doesn't matter whether you get paid weekly, every two weeks, twice a month, or monthly, but it is a good thing we are used to it. Sure seems like a long time betwen getting paid, but it all works out the same.
Anyway, my job is fascinating. All I really am is a guidance counselor for a big high school, one with thousands of students. Only problem is that I never meet any of them in person. I spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing transcripts, which come from all fifty states and over a hundred foreign countries, not that I have seen ones from all those places. Although, if you can read Afrikaans, I need your help.
Every once in a while, I get to talk to a student, but generally it is all done by email. I have actually talked to more moms than I have students so far. I get excited when I talk to real students, whether it is the dropout whose counselors and teachers think is really smart, with a great future, or the nationally ranked figure skater finishing up Advanced Placement classes to enter an eastern university in the fall. Those might be the only two US students I have talked to this month, but I really like both of them and hope to be part of their either future or continued success.
I knew that we drew a fair number of students who were very good athletes, the kind that move away from home and go to these camps where they practice several hours a day under serious coaching, then do school work for a few hours. And I knew we had entertainers, young people whose singing/dancing/acting success did not allow them to attend traditional schools. But what surprised me was how many equestrians go to our school, although I should say, take our classes. I see equestrian stuff on the TV in Olympic years, but otherwise don't think much about it. Now I have a reason to watch if I ever see it on the screen again, because I might have talked to or worked with the competitors.
However, most of our students are not famous people or athletes. They have their own reasons for not going to traditional school, whether it be that they are sailing around the world with their parents, or some other reason, often quite personal.
The other thing worth mentioning is how damned efficient this whole organization is. Over 70 people work in this building, the old Cushman place between 20th and 22nd on Vine Street in Lincoln, right next to that huge abandoned junior high school. We are a small cog in a big wheel here, as the department I am part of, Extended Education and Outreach, does many things beyond an independent study high school. EE&O does all the distance education and College Independent Study,, graduate and undergraduate, the Summer Reading program, Fire Protection and noncredit programs. We have staff who prepare, actually write and design classes, staff who make this available on-line. We have really efficient clerical staff who take orders, file massive amounts of paperwork and do lots of little things I would be used to doing myself. We mail thousands of books and syllabi around the world from this building, but our tech people keep a system up and running that allows students to do assignments on-line, and to instantly know their grades.
All of our teachers are part-time contract employees. There are only three of us who work here who are full-time, although the two half-time teachers both know lots more about how the place works than I do. There is a Director, an Associate Principal, and the Academic Adviser(me). Pam remembers when they had 15 to 20 teachers, madly grading massive amounts of mail. Now, some, though not nearly all of that is done automatically. The student does the evaluation, enters answers on-line, clicks, and gets their grade. Teachers still grade closed book tests, and projects mailed in.
And while maybe I'll notice something else later, it really seems to be an organization with a shared goal, no bickering or hassles. People seem to work well together to make the operation run smoothly.
More later.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nothing to say?

Looks like it''s been a month since I wrote anything. And I still don't have much of anything to say.
It sure was great, the wedding, and seeing as many family members as we did.
And this branch of the family has a wedding coming up, but I am under strict instructions not to discuss it in a public manner. We are as excited as anyone; we're just not being quite as funny as Kevin.
Just to change the subject: Has anyone noticed that McDonalds is widely advertising their 32 ounce Coca-Cola (and all other soft-drinks) now for $1.00. It is splashed in neon paints across the front of McDonalds here in Lincoln. This wouldn't be such a bad deal, except that this offer replaces a long-running promotion that sold you the same drink, only 42 ounces, for 89 cents. This is a 47% increase in price.
Now, I understand prices will go up as the dollar weakens and gas/diesel prices go up, but 47%? Give me the proverbial break.
Think of how this would be applied to other situations. Motel 6 would now be Motel 8.82. ITunes downloads would be $1.46. Dollar stores could now be $1.47 stores. The $5 sandwich at Subway is now $7.35.
You know, Mickey D can do whatever they want, but what irritates me is the advertising of the fact that they seriously boosted their prices, at least on one item.
As far as I know, this advertising is limited to actual McDonalds sites. I have yet to see a television commercial or billboard.
I should consult with the family member who knows about advertising, but there has to be some assumption involved that either we don't care, or that we can't do the math to figure out what a rotten deal it actually is.
Probably both.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wedding Day Celebration Summary

Another beautiful day has dawned and as I peer into it, through somewhat bloodshot eyes, the memory of the previous evening slowly circles into view. It was just a marvelous wedding, starting with a beautiful ceremony and finishing with a splendid party in a lovely old building surrounded by friends and family. Hugs all around.

The memory of this special day will live in the photos and videos, but more importantly it will always be in our hearts. As I mentioned at the reception, seeing your daughter married is a special time for the fob. I am not articulate enough to explain the emotions that you experience on such an occasion, nor can I express clearly enough the love that is shared at such an event. It brings a tear to my eyes even yet this morning.

So now what? After a year plus of planning the marriage is in the books. The newlyweds will be off to Hawaii tomorrow for 10 days of hard earned R&R, while we will slowly move back to work and focus on what comes next. No R&R for us. Now that we have stimulated the economy, we need to work to swing the debt load to a more positive position.

I would note that in the room last night there were only a handful of people, my Aunt and cousins, who could say they knew Pat Gallagher, our grandfather. However, there was one gentleman who was not a family member and knew both grandpa Pat and my dad Cecil. I felt that Gallagher connection throughout the wedding and it helped me feel that somewhere my parents and grandparents were smiling.

Now its on to other summer events, see you down the line. Peace out.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Whew, it's finally here! A year in the making and the day we have been waiting for is dawning bright and beautiful. Given that we have had 5 or 6 weeks of rainy weekends, the sun was no guarantee.

I am up at 6, I have been up at 6 all week, I am not sure it is nerves, but it seems I just can't get past 6. I suspect that next Tuesday when I go back to work I will over sleep and not want to wake up.

It is so nice I sit on the deck and read the paper and reflect on what is about to occur. State track meet results,a cup of coffee and a stunning morning (did I mention it was nice out?) greeted me.

This wedding feels different than the one for Chris. I guess it is just that I am sending my only daughter off and since we go way back it will be a bit emotional. I need to try and think about what I might say this evening, just a few words from the old man and then let the kids have the stage.

Last minute preparations are underway, Sally is off to get her hair done in about 10 minutes, I need to pick up some bubbly for a quick toast after the wedding but before the reception and I need to start to make sure I have the food ready for the church.

The rehearsal was very nice and Maggie and Brian each said a few words, although Maggie was pretty emotional. It was cute when Maggie started to talk and got a little teary eyed, Brian stepped in and said, let me translate, "Welcome to the rehearsal dinner". He is such a nice guy.

Well enough, I have to start to get nervous...more in the days to come. Peace out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wedding Week Starts

Today is my first day off so it is the official beginning of my wedding week activities.It's early. I am use to getting up at 6, but today I was awake at 4:45 and didn't get back to sleep until 5:30 and the up at 6:30. I don't think it nerves, but I do have a lot on mind.

Food for the wedding party is my primary objective for today, How much? I have the wedding party count and need to decide if I buy one big sandwich or 15 eight inch sandwich's? The only thing I know for sure is that it has to include turkey, cheese, tomato and mayo. I also need to get wheat thins and chips. I am told that whatever happens I need it split evenly, boys and girls.

Weather is looking very good for the rest of the week after today. We have a 30% chance of rain today and then pleasant 65 to 70 the rest of the week. We haven't talked about weather much, primarily because it has been such a rainy spring.

Unity candle is a problem. Apparently we couldn't find one with a cross on it, only words, so we opted for plain. Sally will decorate it with something.

I have been giving some thought to my comments at the reception. The pressure to be good is intense. More on that later.

Four days,,,ciao

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wedding 8 days 4 hours 50 minutes

Okay, its 196.38 hours until the wedding starts or 11,810 minutes or 708,600 seconds...but who is counting.

The cake bill has arrived, the first in a series of payments that need to be made prior to go time. The hall and reception cost will come due on 5/14 and between those dates a series of smaller but meaningful bills.

I will advise the Bride to not worry about the weather, she can't control it and to expect that something will go wrong and she should leave that to the variety of hosts and hostesses she has in attendance.

I purchased our gift to the happy couple, thank god NFM finally had another no interest sale. A few other gifts have arrived early, although I am told that being early is traditional and is something to be admired.

The mother of the Bride has been ill, there appears to be a small strain of the flu running around. I am using disinfectant on everything in the house and I am sleeping in an isolation tent. Not sure it will help, but one can hope. I guess if it hits,I hope it comes this weekend so I can get over it prior to next week.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wedding minus 14 days

I have the bubbles, glow in the dark necklaces, batteries, 6lbs of mixed nuts and a wedding dress hanging in the bedroom...the pressure is mounting. I am going to Horsemans to bet the Derby.

Having THE dress creates more pressure. Now I am worried about tornadoes, fires and floods. I was yelled at six times just getting out of the Brides house, into the car, out of the car and in my house. On top of that I have to write a check for the cake, which I understand is worth about the same a a very good HD camcorder.

I think we have resolved the dad/daughter wedding song, it still came back to the song I liked, but I had hoped for a different artist.

Pre wedding golf group has been resolved, but I am told not to expect to play golf all week. Not sure why not. I posed several of my wedding questions to a good friend in Boston who has already married off 4 of his daughters. His reply follows:

"I don’t know why not (in response to my golf ?) either especially because all you are good for is writing the #$&**()&^^%$$# checks ---- several (experienced) thoughts---I would keep a private (hidden) stash of several very good bottles of wine , drinkable only by you, and reachable only by you when shit hits the fan----several small containers of Grey Goose vodka may work just as well ----you will have 1. a oh, oh we forgot the---fill in the blank—scene 2. also “ Daddy I am not sure I really do want to get married” scene----3. a 1 or 2 members of the wedding party getting sh---face the night before the wedding( and also day of) scene----4. a where the hell is the limo scenes? Private stashes will help in all those situations btw you have no say in the father daughter wedding dance song NONE NONE if she wants a Viennese waltz, just do it even if you cant waltz—no one will notice( even though everyone will watch except for the aforementioned sh—face wedding party people hanging out at the bar) and she will remember it always! Absolutely limit the open bar at the reception ( try not to at the rehearsal dinner---this is your 1 chance to get the other dad) limit by time or $ talk to the head- reception- in- charge person—the bar guys keep running tabs so she/he can advise you several bottles of wine on each table also helps this issue pre wedding photos: small bite size nibble food that wont stain dresses etc if spilled----no complicated little sandwiches no shrimp cocktail with that lovely woops there goes my dress red sauce----- the party will be more interested in drinkee poos than food anyway ---- several extra handkerchiefs in your pockets at all times----------visit every table during reception, but make sure you eat also—must avoid the father-falling down- drunk- syndrome---plenty of time for that afterwards( remember that private stash?)---stash also good for when those sweet multi-colored drinks-ugh- are served

RULE #1: have fun --- RULE #2: have fun--- Rule #3: pray for no snow RULE # 4; stay the hell out of the way"

I love his advice. Ciao

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday night in Orlando

Two of my longtime musical favorites go together as Roger McGuinn, of the Byrds, joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for what sound like very inspiring versions of both Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn, Turn, two songs from 1965. Parts of one and all of the other are on YouTube and it doesn't sound like some thrown together mish-mash. It sounds rehearsed. Lead vocals are duets or shared. McGuinn does take some extra vocals on lyrics that are from the original Dylan version, but were not part of the hit version. And as soon as I typed that Bruce joined in for:

"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow."

Now I must admit they didn't sing ALL of the song's lyrics, but after the song was over, Bruce talked about playing the first Byrds' album 200 times over in the dark when he was fifteen years old, night after night after night.
Still what struck me was how good they sounded. Of course, McGuinn sounds very distinctive, both vocally and with his twelve string guitar, and he is used to playing with anybody, but you must give the boys in the band credit for doing a great job with minimal preparation

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Question answered

The first real post on this blog was my "Unemployed or Retired?", a question no one, particularly me, knew the answer to. And it actually was more a relatively boring history of employment from 1969 until the end of 2007.
I have to be upfront about this. After I was fairly well recovered, say early in February, I very much enjoyed my role, which I viewed as "househusband", not some kind of life of leisure retired guy thing. Seriously. I looked forward to my workout, which I took very seriously. But then I did a whole load of household jobs. I vacuumed, cleaned toilets/bathrooms, did load after load of laundry, paid bills, worried about declining stock market, ran errands, you know, those things that normally create problems for people who work normal hours, like registering vehicles, dentist and doctor appointments.
But, it appears that I wasn't retired, just temporarily unemployed. I say that because I start my new job on May 1, next week. I am really hustling around, getting a bunch of things done- oil changed on both cars, new struts/shocks(yes, one of our cars has struts on the front, shocks on the back), and other odd jobs completed.
My new job appears to be quite interesting, and will have me interacting with far fewer felons. At least I'm assuming that is the case.
My new job is Academic Adviser for the Independent Study High School at the University of Nebraska. Kevin pointed out Saturday that we'll have the same employer, the University of Nebraska system. Although for some reason my title is not guidance counselor, that is what I'll be doing. I'll be the guidance counselor for over three thousand students around the world.
However, I'll never meet any of them in person. All my contact will be either on the phone, by letter, or via email. I'm guessing almost all of it will be email. I'll have the responsibility of evaluating transcripts, determining proper accreditation, and helping students choose the appropriate classes.
You may not be familiar with this school, unless you are Pam, who used to work there, or Emily, who interned there. This high school is fully accredited, is one of the oldest of its type in the nation, and has catered to a specific clientele since 1929, not that that specific clientele hasn't changed throughout the years. There weren't actually a large number of home-schooled students back then, but now that group makes up a noticeable number of our students. We also have students who are national level sports talents, or entertainers. We get children of diplomats whose post does not include an English speaking high school. I don't think it is classified information(I knew this before I interviewed), but both Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears are graduates of our high school. There is a long tradition of both athletes and entertainers who don't really have time for "regular" school to take our classes.
Of course, the delivery methods have changed over the years, with online opportunities beating out the old-fashioned correspondence by mail. There are no longer any full-time teachers on staff, although the skills of many people go into the curriculum design of the rather considerable list of classes, which, by the way, includes driver's education.
People who are not familiar with this school might think "diploma mill", but that is grossly unfair. The graduation requirements are as stiff as any high school, and the costs, while quite reasonable, are not what anyone would call cheap. It isn't like you can charge a couple hundred dollars and get a diploma in the mail. Our students make a regular thing out of attending elite universities and colleges.
It is important to realize I haven't started yet, may hate my little office and hundreds of daily emails, but from my current perspective, it is hard to think of a better job for me at this juncture in my life. I visited this week, and everybody seemed so nice, and excited for me to start, not that I'm sure what that means. No doubt there will be more later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wedding Update

T-minus a month or so. It's frantic. I am out buying mixed nuts; how many for nearly 400 guests? What about peanut allergies? Are we liable? Need batteries for the center pieces, 60 AA. Finalize the menu and re-work the cost issues. Champagne for the toast?

Tux in line, got a deal as Suzy Creamcheese forgot to charge me for the shoes, a cool $15 in the pocket. Several wedding showers down with a couple to go. Who will order the food for the wedding party, gawd we eat before the wedding. Taking pictures will create an appetite.

Wedding song for Father and Daughter still an issue. Daughter rejected first song, now I will give her five to pick from.

I have been told that I can't play golf all week before the wedding, I can't imagine why not I have nothing to do. I think we need medication.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Just so we don't go too long without a post, a few items of potential interest.
Today, Sunday, Joe was published in a real newspaper, with a letter to the editor in the Lincoln Journal Star. Here:
Secondly, we are now two episodes into the first half of the last season of Battlestar Galactica, and the action, twists, and significant plot developments are coming fast and furiously. It will be interesting to see where they go, but I have a feeling the conclusion is not going to be as ambiguous as was the end of The Sopranos. I'm not sure that means a happy, peaceful ending on Earth(which they've been searching for since this version began).
In the somewhat bigger news, it appears that Joe has obtained a job. This would appear to answer the "unemployed vs. retired" issue. The start date is not until May, so we'll wait until it is a done deal to get into real details. Suffice it to say that it is hard to imagine a better job/employer at this time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

End of a fifty year love affair?

Let's get it right out there right away. I am seriously thinking of switching my major league baseball allegiance away from the San Fransisco Giants. This must mean that I disagree with the spoken philosophy of Saw Doctor Leo Moran, who claims sports team allegiance is genetic. He once said this in an effort to explain his devoted following of the various Galway GAA teams. GAA stands for Cumann Luthchleas Gael, which is widely known in English as the Gaelic Athletic Association, the umbrella organization for sports in Ireland. All of Ireland. There is no northern Ireland in organized sport; it is the only way in which Ireland is still united. I do think Leo was joking when he said this, but it doesn't really matter to me.
I am not sure if I can do this, this wholesale switching of affections. Maybe it will be like quitting smoking, something I have no personal knowledge of, but something that appears to be difficult, something you have to really work at, but something that can be done, even with certain rare setbacks.
My fondness for baseball began in the spring of 1953, when I managed to catch two consecutive serious childhood illnesses pretty much back to back. I missed several weeks of kindergarten, but for much of this time I was not very sick at all. I imagine it will be hard for younger readers(do we have any younger readers?) to imagine a time when we not only did not have cable tv, but didn't have tv at all. We did, however, have a radio and on it was broadcast the game of the day, sponsored, if memory serves, by Gillette.
So I started listening to baseball games every weekday afternoon, instead of going to school. I was six years old and soon began playing the game. The league for the youngest players in Hastings was called peewee, and I faithfully attended summer mornings in early elementary years, learning the game(good name for a Buddy Holly song). Following summers were packed with pick-up games and even more interestingly named organized leagues (little, pony, senior, midget, legion).
The real tipping point in my Giants infatuation came in 1956, with the creation of the Nebraska State League, a Class D minor league. While Kearney had the Yankees, and McCook the Braves, Hastings had the Giants. Many of the players lived at the hotel where my Dad worked, so I kind of slid into the batboy job. I got to see 60-some baseball games up close every summer. I learned to swear from Leo Schrall, the mild-mannered coach of the Giants, and I learned a hell of a lot of baseball.
Over the four years this league was in existence, I met young men who were on their way to becoming big league baseball players, although not many. The NSL was a rookie league, and most all the players were 18 or 19 years old. Many had just graduated from high school, and were giving a professional baseball career that one shot. And for most, that shot was over by September. There were players from Cuba and the Dominican Republic who could barely speak English, there was a guy from New York who claimed to have sung on the street corner with Dion, there were southern boys who had never been away from home before, and there was even a guy from Lincoln, Bill Honnor, who now lives in Waco, NE.
So, since the last of the fifties, I have followed the Giants. I haven't followed them to a championship, because they haven't won a World Series since 1954.
When, in 1974 I moved to San Francisco, my mother said it was the Giants that drew me there. I don't really think that was really the case, but it was certainly a fortuitous coincidence.
I can't really tell you how may Giants' games I saw in those seven years, but it had to be more than one hundred. Here's how it worked for Kevin and Joe going to games. Kevin would call Joe at his office before noon; Joe would shoot over to the Powell St. downtown box office for tickets; and Kevin would pick up Joe on the way to Candlestick Park. Later in the 70s, this pattern got a whole lot better, when Bob Bizio, who used to work with Kevin, got a management job in the Giants' ticket office. Bob would let us trade the tickets Joe bought at noon for the best tickets available for the same price. We'd go from twentieth row down to about the third.
I will try to limit my memories. Kevin, Dick, and I saw the shortest nine inning game played in the last four decades, one hour and thirty-one minutes. Kevin snatched a foul ball off the bat of Roger Metzger out of Joe's hands. One day without Kevin there, I saw a no-hitter pitched by Ed Halicki. I probably saw Jack Clark sprint off the field after the second out about a dozen times. Jack apparently couldn't count to three.
But that is the past. I haven't lived there for 27 years, and I've forgotten most of the details of those batboy years. Should I switch to a different "favorite" team, I won't have to discuss Barry Bonds in the same manner I do now.
Now, I have to decide which team to cheer for, watch on tv, and rarely attend games in person. I could go about this logically. Whose teams games can I see the easiest on tv? Which team plays closest to my current location? Or I could go with emotion and choose a team that has a Lincoln boy starring for them.
But, no, I'm thinking about going with a winner. As this is being typed, the evening of 4/3/08, there is only one undefeated major league team. It's a long way until October but, as they say, hope springs eternal.
The Kansas City Royals have the best record in baseball and Lincolnite Alex Gordon is currently hitting two homers every three games, a pace that would suggest that, at that rate, he would hit over 100 homeruns this season. Of course, I can watch lots of their games, maybe even catch a game live a couple times each summer.
This decision is not final, but I'm going to seriously examine the whole situation. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sorry, what I meant was...

In my Wasted youth post I tossed off a line about a pair of my relatives being "literary snobs". Of course, what I meant was that Tom and Maureen have actually read virtually all those books that everyone who is truly literate is supposed to have read.
They have no need for the best selling book "How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read'.
You know, this could be a parlor game, in which each person tries to top the others by admitting to not having read various "essential" works of literature. In a quick aside, I could get a great score in this game by confessing to never having read one book written by Ernest Hemingway.
Here is an example of what I mean about Maureen and Tom's literary knowledge: As we walked, a couple of weeks ago, to the J. Pierpont Morgan Museum and Library, I happened to mention that I was reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice(after having enjoyed the dvd of "Being Jane"). I asked a vague question of them about the financial aspects of Jane Austen's gentrified period, in which people, usually young men, are referenced as having "three thousand pounds a year", or similar amounts.
Not only did they understand but they could answer. The next few blocks of walking were filled with information about academic works addressing inheritance traditions, value of land, what entails actually are, cost of living, and how inflation would have changed the value of those numbers. I learned all I needed to know about what I had questioned.
Maybe we will eventually hear about Maureen and Tom's literary tour of New England.

Kearney Nebraska

I forgot in the haste of my last post to mention that I have being invited to "move back home". I received a post card from "you'rehome Kearney!" just the other day. It talks about the convenience of a city with a slower pace that lets you enjoy life. It suggests hundreds of job, in stark contrast however to the recent news of one company going bankrupt and another doing temporary layoff. However I remain interested. Retirement looms down the line.

I guess I should be pleased that they want me back. I am not sure how I got on the list of invitees, but it made me feel good. So, if you didn't get the postcard you can go to for all of the details.

The way my retirement investments are going I may need to take them up on the offer.

Wedding Stuff

We continue to receive the RSVP's and being eternally paranoid, a product of 1967 to 1971, I worry about space. I remind our Dilbert like workgroup that we may need to engage a Burger King near the reception to handle the overflow. No one seems amused and I am assured by the Bride that things will be okay. Why do I feel like the Captain of the Titanic being told by the boiler room that they are taking on a "little" water?

I think we finally broke the cycle of everything costing $800, veil and alterations were only $363...I feel so good.I know that cake bill is out there.

Groom is searching today, along with Bride (she is everywhere) for the best Tux deal; well the one that the Bride feels will work. I suspect a fitting soon.

I will soon be forced to select a song for the traditional father/daughter wedding dance. I pretty sure that nothing by the late Warren Zevon will make the cut. I had a list of songs several months ago, but I am unable to find it now. I am pretty sure that it was a great list, with some non traditional songs that would have been "wow".

Now I am back a square one and will probably land on a traditional (Beatles) song, although the singer may not be the original artist. How much of a rebel am I?

I think the problem is that there are a bunch of requirements for the song. First it almost always has to be slow and somewhat dance worthy. I am not sure why, I can't dance very well. It can't be vulgar, I guess. I am open to any suggestions.

I did listen to the cassette tape of our wedding and was wondering if the guy that sang at my wedding would be available? That would be another palce to set. He was all about the Beatle, Sir Douglas, I believe he is off following the Dead.

One piece of good news, the table center pieces have been agreed to!!!! Yippee!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wasted youth

I earlier mentioned that we visited the New York Public Library a week ago Saturday. Actually, brother Tom had a quick bit of touristing planned for us, primarily because we didn't have a lot of time. I mentioned the books we saw, but I failed to talk about a huge exhibit that the NYPL was sponsoring.
It was a very detailed retrospective on the "beat" author Jack Kerouac. Confession time, here. I have read no Jack Kerouac, and could care less about "the beats". Among the authors I've never read would include Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, and William Burroughs.(I only wish I could say that about Edgar Rice Burroughs). I did once read Howl, by William Ginsberg, but it didn't make any sense to me. So, I'm no hipster, not a beatnik in any way, shape, or form.
The exhibit was nevertheless quite interesting. Detailed examples of the various notebooks, note-cards, teletype paper, and regular typing paper that he apparently wrote and typed on from morning to night, based on how much of it was on display. Interestingly enough, this supposed master of just writing whatever came to his mind, actually wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again. There are multiple copies, all different, of all his major works.
Anyway, we're having a great time, eavesdropping as a pair of docents led big groups through the room, with Tom and Maureen, literary snobs that they are, comparing notes on Kerouac's writings that they of course had actually read, when my cell-phone, against all likelihood as well as rules, rang. I must admit my cell rarely rings. So I took this very important call, and slipped outside to make the equally important call the first call caused. You are supposed to note the irony in the previous sentence.
When I went back in, I find my group convulsed in laughter, gesturing madly to get me to come to the only corner of the exhibit that I had not examined.
Even though Easter is passed, I find myself preparing for my second confession in one blog post. Now the first one wasn't a real apology or confession, because I feel no remorse at all over not reading the beats. This one is much more significant, in that, while I'm not exactly remorseful, it still is not something I have been in the least willing to let anyone know about. My siblings, spouse, and children know, and I figure Kevin does, but otherwise it has been lost in the fog of the past.
Here it is. I wasted significant amounts of time, probably about fifty hours a week, during the years we used to call junior high. I know it is now middle school, but in the very early sixties, it was junior high. My childhood fascination was baseball, and what I did, along with my best mate from those days, Mike Jackson(who is fond these days about calling himself the "real Michael Jackson") was create a fantasy baseball game using dice. We played hundreds of thousands of games, keeping detailed statistics. We had seasons, playoffs, and World Series. Drafts were serious affairs. and trades of one player for another often included real assets. I got my favorite ever baseball bat, a 32 inch, 32 ounce Al Kaline model in a trade for a player I had that someone else wanted.(this bat eventually was stained and taped and became, until we were caught, illegally used in a fast-pitch softball league nearly a decade later) It was about ten of us who would meet on summer afternoons in Jerry Morgan's basement-my best guess is that was the coolest place we had access to- and played entire seasons in a week or two.
I must enhance my confession. Our game was distressingly simple. We must have made a decision to keep it simple, probably so it was easier to draft other wayward boys into our wayward ways, or maybe because we were 12 years old. I have since worked out in my mind, any number of significant improvements, either using twelve and/or twenty sided dice, or different colored dice. Any of these could have created a statistically sound, maybe even fun game. But, no , we kept in minimalist, before we knew what that meant.
So, in the corner of the Kerouac exhibit, was HIS fantasy baseball game, about a thousand times more detailed than ours. Instead of dice, he used 55 cards he lifted from his Dad's print-shop. He had entire seasons, fantasy teams(one league was named after cars, another colors) logos. I wouldn't have been surprised had he designed t-shirts. He did this when he was eleven years old. Later on, he created a fantasy horse racing game, something we were never tempted to do. I am left to think that not only were we not original, we were also pikers in virtually every aspect. Purely second rate.
Now I have to decide if this is enough to get me to read any Kerouac.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wedding Update

Just brief thoughts. Mom and daughter are in Kansas City getting the bride fitted for the wedding gown. I am at home waiting to go to 4 NCAA basketball games, I win.

Today we received the first of the RSV P's and no one is here to open them. I certainly have not been cleared to open anything so I am left to ponder: are these yes or no and can we move to a B list person? The anxiety is immense. I can hardly wait to see how many more come tomorrow.

Found out yesterday that the Sims brothers are flying in on May 9th to see their Mom. I asked her why and she said she thinks that it is an intervention. Not sure what they might be intervening about. By the way Molly's daughter is now in SF and will be living in Noe Valley.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last Weekend in New York

From an early age, I have loved live music. But not any live music-no jazz, big bands, classical, and certainly no swing choirs. There pretty much has to be guitars. I guess the Beatles are to blame, but Bob Dylan has a share also. So, I'm a teenager in McCook, Nebraska, watching the Beatles in black and white on Ed Sullivan in the lobby of the Keystone Hotel. About the same time, Dave "Woody" Salisbury and Randy Loose forced me to listen to an early Dylan album. I am hooked. I love music, and I soon discover that I love it best LIVE, whether it is on the stage of the City Auditorium in McCook, or the similar facility in Hastings, Nebraska, or any of the other dozens of places I eventually saw music performed.
I never got to see the Beatles live, but that really doesn't bother me, because I would have been disappointed, in that they were better on record than live, partly because you could hardly hear them for the screaming. Bob Dylan I have seen several times, each time an adventure. And I would make a wild estimate that I have seen several hundred groups or individuals in concert, in venues as diverse as smoky bars(thanks to the smoking ban I don't have to worry about this anymore) up to a famous football field full of 60,000 fans.
As opposed to my running statistics, I have not kept notebooks listing who I've seen, and where. I bet I could be surprised at what I've forgotten(probably should have kept records).
I do keep, however, a running total in my mind of individuals or groups I have seen more than a few times. It is not a huge list- I've lived too much of my life in rural Nebraska. I have seen Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Greg Kihn Band, Emmy Lou Harris, and Bob Dylan five times each.
But for over 25 years my focus was on Bruce Springsteen. Ever since first seeing him, at the Berkeley Community Theatre over the summer of 1978, until early this century, Bruce has been the center of my musical focus. It helps that Kevin and I had the opportunity to attend a show later in 1978 that was broadcast on fm radio, widely distributed, and has been regularly described as Bruce's single greatest concert, therefore the greatest rock and roll concert ever performed anywhere.
I own virtually all the officially released Bruce, dozens of bootlegs and rarities, but the fact that I could only see him eight times in 25 years somewhat cooled my jets. The concerts we saw in Fargo and Kansas City(twice) in relatively recent times were outstanding, very nearly as good as the much younger Bruce we saw back in the California days. It was particularly fun taking Maureen, Emily, and Pam to these concerts.
But, apparently my musical affections were ripe to be stolen away as I discovered a virtually unknown band, the Saw Doctors, from County Galway, Ireland. You couldn't buy their cds or see them in concert, but the music I could find, usually by downloading from Napster, was infectious. And indescribable. Over the summer of 2002 we visited Galway, bought cds and t-shirts. It took until 2004 before I could manage to see them live, in Chicago, over St. Patrick's Day weekend, amidst a crowd of about 1500. OK, the crowd was smaller and the music different from Bruce, but the feel was a bit similar. Everybody was glad to be there. A good time was being had by all. A really good time.
The music is absolutely indescribable. You know, if you had to describe Bob Dylan 45 years ago, you could reference Woody Guthrie. If you were fond of the Dave Clark Five, you could say they're somewhat like the Beatles. I could go on and on, even more than I already have, but my point is that there exists no possible reference for my new favorite band.
Even the name creates questions. In rural Ireland, Scotland, and England, a saw doctor is an itinerant craftsman, a wanderer who will sharpen your saws and mend your pots and pans, before stealing your chickens. The closest word we would have in the US would be "tinker", not nearly as memorable a name for a band.
The band is originally from Tuam, a town of around 3,000 people in the west of Ireland. It is a typical story as veterans of various bands eventually coalesced into yet another band. This one had the benefit of playing in a small pub frequented by a rock group in town recording their new album. The group was the Waterboys, whose classic Fisherman's Blues was being recorded in nearby Spiddal. Chief Waterboy Mike Scott asked these kids(actually one of them was an adult who had settled into a full-time job as a weaver) to accompany the Waterboys on an upcoming six week tour of England. The five of them traveled in a small van with all their equipment.
The next few years found them gigging around home, eventually releasing a couple singles, one of which, "I Useta Lover" became a smash hit, number one for nine weeks, still the best selling single ever in Ireland.
Steady touring, which eventually included the US has created a loyal fanbase virtually everywhere there are people who are a little bit Irish. In 2006 they played a huge concert in Dubai, where, apparently large numbers of Irish work in construction and services, of which Dubai has more than its share.
So, since driving to Chicago in 2004, we have driven to St. Paul, MN, flown to New York three times, Chicago twice, and driven to Kansas City and Joe drove a carload of Maureen's stuff to Massachusetts and saw a concert with Tom and Mo in Northampton. My ninth and tenth Saw Doctors concerts were Friday and Saturday, eclipsing my eight Bruce Springsteen concerts.
These two were the best of the ten, featuring sellout crowds at the Nokia Theatre, on Times Square. Although none of us were in a VW van, or under the influence of lsd, the fans are sometimes compared to Grateful Dead fans, primarily because of the distances we travel.
We ate Saturday night at Emeril's favorite Irish pub in NYC, and our flight from Nebraska wasn't even the second longest at our table. A pair of guys flew from Manchester, England, and our friends Donna and Jim came from Seattle. Actually, Tom and Maureen came the shortest distances of the twelve of us who ate together.
The concerts themselves are a bit tribal, or perhaps cultish, as the faithful know the lyrics, when to sing, clap, laugh, or point fingers at the lead singer(chanting "We don't believe you").
The music is not the least bit traditional- no pipes or fiddles, no clog dancing, and no Danny Boy. It is very Irish, however, but in a cultural sense, not a musical one. There are songs about highways, a legendary local dj, the first minister for fine arts and culture, young love and lust, yearning for home far away, and an regular reference to various things Catholic. Sample lyric:

"you know you'd often wonder
as the years go past
why you ever bothered
going to mass
was it the fear of god
or to find a wife
or just buying shares
in the afterlife"

So the deal is I travel thousands of miles to see a band and when you tell people you're going to see them, they invariably say, "Who?" They've never had a hit record and actually don't have a recording contract. Every few years they record and release a cd which you can buy at concerts or from the office in Galway. This actually maximizes their slim profits because they'll never sell a million, so big record corporations aren't interested in investing in them. They make enough touring to be a viable business, but just, if I had to guess.
The two nights at the Nokia were cosmic- sold-out good times full of rollicking rock and roll and wonderful camaraderie. I have seen five shows in the last 53 weeks, although it will probably be a year before my next. The deal is that lots of people see them much more often than I do. It's not like I'm even in the top ten of big fans.
I'll give up now, but can you tell that my sixty-first birthday celebration was a good time?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Joe's biblical Saturday

I will no doubt write more about my weekend jaunt to New York, primarily to explain why I cannot make any comments about Bruce Springsteen's first appearance in Nebraska since 1984, but first I want to write a short bit about what I saw in the big city.
None of what follows did I know until last Saturday. We had a limited amount of tourist time, but we made two short but very productive stops. The first was the J. Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum; the second was the main New York Public library. Little did I know that these two places are the only places in New York where you can see original Gutenberg Bibles. Only 48 of these remain, and I saw two of them in about an hour and a half. Although not the first book printed on movable type as legend says, it was the first major work done with an invention that changed the world we live in.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Springsteen in Omaha

Just a few words about the concert on Friday. First, they were nearly over 1 and a quarter hour late in taking the stage. I suppose it is my age, but anything over 45 minutes is unacceptable to me. I have been to several concerts at the Qwest, Stones, Clapton, Paul, etc, no one was that late.

Once on stage they performed at the level you would expect and the quality and quantity of songs was as advertised for the tour. I think if you polled a hundred fans they would want 6 less songs from Magic and 6 more from the past, but hey that's why they tour, to support the CD.

About the only surprise was that they did both Jungleland and the Detroit Medley. The encore portion was very good,except that Conor Oberst needs to remember the lyrics to Thunder Road, I could have done as well, well maybe not. My son could have.

We were stage right and slightly behind the band. I had a really good view of Max and his work is amazing. He has great posture for a long show. Nils and Stevie both did a nice job and of course Bruce was, well Bruce. Sally and I agree that he is just like our old friend Jack Luther, but with talent. I am sure that Jack would agree.

The other problem for us was that being so close and behind the band the vocal were a little less distinct. Sally felt like she was listening in a fish bowl.It was okay on the well known songs for me and the other for the most part.

It wasn't Winterland, but then again neither am I.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wedding Countdown

Okay, its 65 days until the wedding. It is time to begin to panic. I thought I would provide a little running blog on the days leading up to the wedding from the Dad's point of view.

Invitations need to get out, which means we have to have our lists done. Getting the list down to what we can invite was a task. We have both an A and B list and will get invites out the B list folks as declines arrive from the A list. This is a zoo.

The reception hall only holds 400, so simple math suggests that we should have no more than 400 attend. I think the initial list, our initial list had over two hundred! The grooms parent had 224 and the Bride and Groom had a 100. I can do the math.

Anyways lists notwithstanding the mailing continues, oops, the envelopes weigh too much so we remove the interior envelope to get down to weigh. Locating Tuxes is next.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kevin is published

Initially I posted this as a comment on the previous post, but decided it needed to be posted by itself.

Kevin has a great item in today's Omaha World-Herald, remembering his first Bruce concert, from 1978:

• My favorite album has always been "Darkness on the Edge of Town," released in 1978 and a follow-up to the commercially successful "Born to Run." I saw Bruce and the E Street Band at Winterland in San Francisco on Dec. 15, 1978, in what is considered his finest concert. It was nearly three hours long and was all about drag racing and rock 'n' roll. He did nearly 30 songs, including eight of the songs off "Darkness." One reviewer said it was like Phil Spector meets Jack Kerouac, hooked up to about a dozen car batteries.

• Winterland's final concert was two weeks later with the Grateful Dead, but we all thought that the final concert was the night Bruce and the E Street Band played into history. It is ironic that I bought my tickets for this concert on Dec. 15, 2007, the 29th anniversary of the first of four times I have seen them.
- Kevin Gallagher, Omaha

This is on the first page, at the top, of the entertainment section. They had asked people to tell them their favorite Bruce albums, and will be running stories all week.
Way to go, Kevin!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blue Cheer-Springsteen is near

It has been one long tedious winter. The temps since November have been generally below thirty and we have had snow on the ground since December. Not a lot of snow, just constantly there. In Feb the average high was 21 and change. Today it will be mid 30s about 14 degrees below normal. It has been brutal.

Spring is near, Springsteen is closer. Next Friday at the Qwest, Bruce and the E Street Band will appear. I have been tracking his set lists since he recently started the tour, March 3 I think.

He has only started with the same song twice, Night, and has ended each concert with American Land. Badlands, Born to Run and Reason to Believe make each list. His most recent shows are exhibiting some changes. He did Rosalita on the 6th and added Buffalo Gals(in Buffalo) and Devil with a Blue Dress last night. He only has one more show prior to Omaha so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. About twenty three songs, except for one when he did twenty four.

We are seating just to the right of the stage and back about one section so we will be in pretty good position.

Omaha is becoming quite the concert town. Santana in April, The Police w/Elvis in May, Tom Petty w/Steve Winwood in June or July and now Dave Matthews in July. For those who are really into it I think that Richard Thompson will be here the night before Bruce.

Friday, March 7, 2008


OK, I'm home from working out(twelve minutes walking backwards on a treadmill at 1.5 mph, twelve minutes walking forward, starting at 2.5 mph, topping out at 3 mph, eighteen minutes on an Airdyne, fifteen of it hard, and twenty-three minutes on a recumbent stationary bike, fifteen of those minutes going faster/farther than I ever have on that machine). I eat a bite, go down to check my email, and while I'm at the computer I get telemarketed by a slow talking adult male, whose native language had to be English.
He is, honest, trying to get me to buy HGH. I tried to tell him my baseball career was long over, but he kept telling me how great their product was. It isn't injectable, he said. It is a sublingual spray. I always wonder about people who buy pharmaceutical products after getting spam emails, and I think obtaining your enhancement drugs over the phone is just as scary.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Uplifting news story

Exciting news here in Lincoln, as today's paper reports two quality instances of shoplifting. Abercrombie and Fitch noticed they were missing 180 t shirts, valued at $4410, prompting one wag to comment that works out to $24.50 per, and wonder who the actual thief was. Victoria's Secret reported 60 bras lifted, with a value of $2700.
There should be a joke, beyond uplifting in there, but I don't yet see it.
Another keen observer noted that even at 5 ounces per t shirt, the A & F theft would weigh 56 pounds, and not exactly be the kind of theft you slip in your pants' pocket, or under your coat.
We'll keep you informed of any breaking news.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Another passing

Not steal the thunder from the previous blogger but Mike Smith died within the last 24 hours. I was a Dave Clark Five fan.

A note about the guest blogger. His comments and that of Joe make me feel a little bit like Shemp in this three stooges triad of bloggers. I really think we need to hear from a Gallagher who can write, where the hell is Tom?

Where did that come from?

Guest Blog: Hard to believe that our quest blogger once umpired one out in McCook and may or not have had the call right.

I’m in my sixties now. And while my master strategy of how to not grow old, simply to never leave adolescence, has proved to be pretty successful, some interesting consequences from my accumulated years of operation have proven to be unavoidable. Like an oak I have grown thicker while my leafy cover has grown thinner. I’ve decided that this is a good thing, being more substantial, and have developed an attitude that those skinny kids are like saplings yet to prove their staying power. But something that is really bugging me are all these mystery aches and pains. Where did they come from, anyway?

In my youth, which I define from birth till last year, I was pretty much free from the appearance of unattributed boo boos. If something hurt I knew why. I hit my thumb hanging a picture, sliced my finger trying to cook, elbow hurt when thrown from a damn big horse. Whatever, I could trace it to a cause. But now these intrusions seem to come from the ether, effects free of the associated cause.

I’m soaping up in the shower yesterday and discover a tender spot on my shoulder, like it was bruised but I haven’t bumped it – that I can recall – in weeks. A mystery bump could be attributed to an alien intrusion that I have been programmed to forget. Although I hate to lay the blame for my mystery injuries on a species of what must be highly intelligent and obviously curious inter-galactic tourists, I have read Whitley Strieber and I know what they are capable of.

I would be prepared to believe the little green men did it theory but I am a child of the Watergate era and as such have difficulty accepting the obvious explanations. And why is it always little green men? Don’t they have little green women or are the green girls too busy in the galley to be spotted messing with us kidnapped and confused earthlings? So aliens did it just doesn’t work for me and still the mystery bumps, aches and pains continue.

Maybe it’s that I am being struck by sub-atomic particles, those quirky quorky projectiles that apparently zip around the universe flashing through matter without leaving a trace. I’m thinking that after sixty years of accumulated without-a-trace smashes they start to hurt. Kind of like that marriage seven or so years in that was once so great then was so ok and now is so unlivable. I know that gravity has had an accumulated effect on me, why not sub-atomic particles? I mean jumping now gets me all of three of four inches off the ground which is maybe a third of what my younger, pre-gravity build-up jumping could accomplish.

Several years back I went to a sports medicine guy – who must have been good because he was associated with Stanford University and their sports teams had dudes like Tiger Woods and John Elway. Anyway I’m at his offices because my right ankle was sorta always in pain. He snaps a few x-rays and manipulates my foot around a bit and tells me I have the ankle of an eighty year old and I can start chewing anti-inflammatory drugs or he can just fuse it. I didn’t like the look in his eye when he spoke of fusing half of all my ankles so I started a long relationship with ibuprofen. Thinking back I’m pretty sure he didn’t say I had the ankle of a sixty year old. I interpret this to mean that my mystery injuries will not be attributable to excessive accumulated hours of operation for another 130,000 hours, give or take 50,000 or so.

When all rational scientific explanations – like aliens, sub-atomic bombardments or normal operational parameters -fail to fit I am left with only the mystical realm to explain my condition. While these bumps, bruises, aches, and pains rarely involve bleeding and can hardly be called strategically located, they do have resemblance to injuries of the stigmata category.

I admit I am only assuming that stigmata related injuries have categories as my religious education much like my Spanish education ended before it really took. But working from these-are-of-a-religious nature perspective, the sudden appearance of unexplained boo boos sounds like stigmata to me. I even remember one scene in the Rupert Wainwright classic, Stigmata, when Patricia Arquette was in the bath tub and discovered her new unexplained injuries. I think that is pretty much the same as me in the shower, minus the strange little bit with the bird and its feather. I’ve decided to go with this stigmata thread because the only other mystical explanation I can conjure up involves someone with a doll and pins and that’s just not right.

So while I still have no idea where that came from, I am only left with god did it. You know sometimes Thor speaks to me, especially when the weather is threatening, so I guess he could send me little annoyances just for a laugh or two. Or maybe it’s that Loki dude. Would be just like him. Or maybe you know another explanation, something other than alien examinations, sub-atomic particle collisions, exceeded operational parameters, or divine interventions. I’m obviously at a loss but open to suggestion.