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30
Mar

“One for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready, and 4 to GO…”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Show Must Go On.”

Today’s prompt reminds me of the old rhyme “one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.” Although rather obscure in origin perhaps, it rings clear in meaning.

ONE can be the Producer of the show.  He or she is the person, or more likely committee, that decides to put on a show.  Let’s say “they.”  They put up the money in various ways–through personal funds, community money in some form, investment capital, and LAWYERS who handle assorted legal matters.    Without these deep-pockets players there quite possibly would not BE a show.

TWO is the Director of the show.  This person hires and fires costumers, electricians and carpenters, painters, stage hands, all kinds of “go-fers” who go-for coffee, go-for needle and thread, go-for pizza.  Also the Director recruits and auditions writers, and actors — without whom there would hardly BE a show.  Then it is the Director who actually Directs the show, from mundane who-stands-where supervision to helping the Star to die perfectly when the murder scene happens.

THREE would be the various trouble-shooters that deal with all sorts of problems ranging from tempermental stars to malfunctioning wardrobes.   These people are charged with the responsibility of dealing with The Media, making sure there is sufficient publicity…of the right kind.   They get the show ready-to-go. They put out the brush fires when tempers flare and Murphy’s Law is at work–anything that can go wrong WILL go wrong, or at least someone will have to at least do the worrying about such issues.

FOUR certainly not the least of what makes the success or failure of the Show — those  actresses and actors who are the STARS of the show, upon whose names and personas are the magic that makes the show a hit or .. not a hit.   In this role at times a brilliant script can be tarnished by a less than stellar performance by the Stars….or on the other hand, a popular and perfect-for-the-role player can save a sub-standard plot and turn it into a huge hit show.

I would choose to be in the Three-To-Get-Ready category…which is where those involved are a variety of skills, each of them important to the end result.

Handling the Money angle would not appeal to me at all.  It is not in my area of expertise, for one thing, but also I think it would be boring and frustrating, and rather snobbish.

Being The Star might sound glamorous and exciting, but to me it would actually be anything but!  Working under the hot lights, dealing with The Co-Star, and trying to do exactly as Directed would not be fun.  Not only the Pomposity and big-feeling bossiness of  a prima-donna director would not be anything I would like to do either.  I would hate being criticized, or told how to format my performance.  Also as a Star it seems to me that a lot of the blame for short-comings in my ability would be unfair, and cause great resentment.

Actually I would like to be a Writer, but this task is not one of the choices for this prompt.  Therefore, I’d be in one of the sub-sets of the category of Director.  In that capacity I would be able to do my specific job, and make whatever difference possible to the outcome of the Show.

26
Mar

Thinking about Winning the Lottery

Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?”
  (  DailyPost idea for today.)

The Day I thought I won the Lottery.

Every now and then I buy some scratch-off lottery tickets, and once in a while occasionally I win a dollar or two, which I almost always put in my pocket instead of buying a new ticket.  The most I ever won was within a one period week a few years ago, when I got $100 from a lottery ticket at the flea market, and later that same week won another $100, plus two $20, at the little store near home.    Very nice, but highly unusual.

Then last year, at the same store, I splurged $5.00 on a lottery ticket.  It was one of those deals where there was a bonus grid, in addition to the main one.  The bonus numbers somehow corresponded IF certain conditions were met.  So when I scratched off winning numbers, I was pleased to find that I had managed to win the basic combination–about $5, which meant I had recouped my investment.

But then, believing I had qualified to scratch off the bonus game, I was thrilled to see that as I cleared each number it was one of the winners.   The total prize was $150,000!   I couldn’t believe my good fortune.   The clerk was busy with other customers, and as I stood there with my wealthy ticket clutched in my hand, I ran through my daydream sequence in my mind about what I would do if I won a lot of money.

Talk about excited…my heart was pounding.   But when I handed the ticket to the clerk to validate it, she sort of nonchalantly handed me a $5 bill.  I was crushed, and positive that she had made a mistake.   I asked her, rather stupidly in retrospect, “is this not a $150,000 ticket?”   She said no, and explained to me that I had read the lottery instructions wrong, and had not met the rules for the big prize.

By this time we had drawn quite a crowd…well, just a couple people, but still…and I felt really stupid. They were all looking at me, stuttering and crushed– I was so disappointed.

I was reminded about that experience this morning when the insurance adjustor was here inspecting the water damage on most of my ceilings.    The phone rang, and it was a computer announcing:  “You have been selected to receive a $250,000 CASH business loan!”   I said “yeah, right” and hung up.   The adjustor asked me what? and I told him.

Boy, I could sure use that kind of money.   Let’s see, I’d pay off the house, give my kids each a few grand, buy a place in Tucson…. buy some new shoes, get some gravel for the driveway, new carpeting…lots of places for some extra money!  🙂

25
Mar

Getting the most from Photography practice

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Third From the Top.”

Make sure I use these parcels of enlightenment to gain as much knowledge to make my blog photographs….as good as they can be.”

(This is the third sentence (slightly paraphrased) from Mark Bialczak’s blog, at http://markbialczak.com/2015/03/25/photo-101-keeping-my-edge-aligned/  which I highly recommend.)

(Actually Mark is referring to his photography using his camera phone, but in keeping with the assignment I elected to edit his words to adapt to my own post.   I hope he won’t mind 🙂

The hints and tips offered by bloggers and WordPress support people are invaluable to me  in improving my own photography skills.  In fact the very concept of being “required” to do the exercises is extremely helpful as it brings some order into my chaotic work schedule.   The word required in this useage refers to my own personal requirements, forcing me to participate–. there are NO mandatory requirements to the DailyPost feature. only suggestions.

I have been taking photographs for a very long time.  Haven’t won any prizes, but have  learned a lot through trial-and-error, and instruction here and there– from my staff photographer buddy at the newspaper where I worked years ago, and from my husband, who was an accomplished and experienced photographer.

My original working camera was a Yashika-Mat, which I still have.  However, I can’t find it at this moment when I want to take a photo of it.  [To see my search method of operation please see  http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/02/23/mad-woman-searching-for-lost-things/  which pretty much sums it up.]

Anyway, I supported five kids for two years with use of that camera…(not well, but adequately.)     It was recommended by my friend at the paper, as being relatively easy to use, and indeed it was quite serviceable.  The Yashika-Mat paid for itself several times over in the years I used it.  I was not a staff photographer, but as a reporter and then features writer I did personally take a lot of the casual photos used with my articles.

Later I had a variety of 35-mm SLR cameras, including a Nikon, a couple of Hewlett-Packards, another Nikon, and now my Sony Sure-Shot, which has a Carl Zeiss lens, and 4xZoom, plus a “no shake” feature to compensate for my…well, shaking.  🙂  Once I used some of the excellent advice and tips found here from Mark and other real photographers (and reading the instruction manual) I have come to respect this nice little Sony.  Still no prize-winning photos, but so far I have been very pleased with its range and versatility.

It is important to say that I depend heavily on automatic cameras, and it has been years since I actually tried to use the 35mm settings.  One of my difficulties was that it is hard to stay still, and my vision has not really been conducive to good focusing skills.    My proficiency with f-stops and lighting has never been excellent, either.

Nevertheless, over the years I have managed to take photos that are at least passable, some of them pretty high quality at least as far as esthetics, if not technical skills…if I do say so myself.  I would add, that my short-comings as a photographer have not particularly worsened with advancing age, so I can’t use that excuse.  🙂

Something that I have learned over the years is that skilled operation of almost anything comes with practice.  I know that’s pretty mundane, but still, part of my issues with photography has been lack of preparation, and neglecting to “get to know my camera.”

That means it wasn’t the best idea to take a brand new camera on a trip to Mexico and read the instruction manual in the van riding to and from wonderful photo-ops.  Sure, my photos that resulted were not all really bad, they just could have been better with a bit of effort on my part.

That’s the story of my life, photography chapter.

23
Mar

Frozen custard, please…

I could say chocolate or strawberry ice cream could fill in for vanilla in a pinch, but no thanks, I’ll pass on the Sweetened Tea, Almost-Blueberry, or Chunky Raw Cookie Dough.  Not that I will automatically refuse to try any new ice cream flavor, unless refusal is really OK, and will not hurt the feelings of the host who has discovered a brand new super flavor which guests HAVE to try.  If they insist, well, … I’ll taste it, but I won’t like it.

My favorite is good frozen custard, that tastes like it is supposed to. Vanilla frozen custard. There is a place in my town that has just the kind I like…rich, not-too-sweet, creamy but light. This stand is open fron April 1 to October 31 each year, and only sells frozen custard and ice cream concoctions. At one time they sold burgers, but that slowed down the service and created extra work.

As a child my grandparents took me to Euclid Beach, which was a big amusement park on the near East side of Cleveland, Ohio, and was a major location for shop picnics and family outings. Euclid Beach has been closed since about 1960, I’d have to look it up to know the closing date. It was the main amusement park featuring major rides and a variety of attractions, in addition to the beach on Lake Erie.

Euclid Beach had the first frozen custard stand that I ever heard of. I can still see it, right near the entrance past the exhibition buildings. All the stand sold was frozen custard…vanilla. It tasted like custard, which it was supposed to do, and had a creamy taste. It was good.

In one way Euclid Beach was disappointing, to me anyway as a kid, because when I went there with my parents and brother it was for a shop picnic, put on by the company my Dad worked for. That meant that admission was free for company workers, but families either had to bring their own picnic lunches OR buy food and drinks on the premises. So that meant our picnic baskets, and thermos with real lemonade, were brought in and set on a table to mark our space in the huge pavilion. Most families brought their own lunch. We did all get a frozen custard, but there was no money then for snacks and souveniers.

So to return to the question “What kind of ice cream?” I choose Vanilla. If I break down and choose something else, it is sure to be a disappointment. Oh, I do like butter-pecan ice cream, but it has to have real, crunchy, pecans…and good authentic flavor. None of that all-purpose white “soft serve” stuff with nuts or various other ingredients added.

I’ll have vanilla Frozen Custard, please…

21
Mar

The Decade 1945-1955: My Life, Part 3

Having outlined important features of my life through early childhood,  into World War II and out by age 11, what follows here is a rather well-edited version  of the highlights of my life during the decade of 1945-1955.

History According to Me: 1945-1955

PART 3 of Who Am I?

On the last day of World War II, when the armistice was signed with the Japanese, the official word report for that the war was indeed over, came from 11-year-old-Me…at least for my elderly neighbor, Mr. Myers.  I proudly delivered the news report, standing in the front yard.  He was the only person that I actually discussed the war’s end with, as my parents were not into talking of important world issues with kids.

Next followed several years of childhood.  This half dozen years or so was a very difficult time in my life, in which my school life was marked by depression and questionable educational progress.  The less said about that era the better.

One of my favorite good memories was of the library BookMobile.  There was not a branch of the library in our town, but the BookMobile did come around once a week.   It parked in an area at the center of town, behind or adjacent to a new car dealership.  During the war car sales had slowed to a stop, and it was a couple of years before new vehicles began to appear–once the resources and manpower needed to produce new cars became available as the soldiers returned from the war front and went to work in the factories again.

Anyway, the BookMobile was a highlight of my young life.  The vehicle was an old bus that had been made over into a make-shift library, with shelves built into the sides and some portable shelves that were moved out into the  parking lot when the weather permitted.   Even today I can recall choosing books from the shelves, with guidance from the librarian, who was kind and liked to read.   She knew about books and the types of books children liked to read, and supervised the avoidance of inappropriate materials.

I seem to recall sitting on the steps at the entrance to the BookMobile, but that memory may be an embellishment of my active imagination.  At any rate I sat there and read for hours, and always went home carrying an armload of books that the library lady had approved and recommended.  My library card was one of my favorite possessions, and my goal was to read every book in the BookMobile.  I modified that goal shortly to provide for reading all of the books on certain shelves stocked with age-appropriate materials.

When the BookMobile was not there, I had another hang-out where I could go and spend afternoons–high in a cherry tree in the field at the back of our half-acre lot.  That tree was a refuge and a joy for me, as I was the only person in the world who knew about that particular tree.

But I want to get on with it, and so I’ll skip to junior and early high school.

Although the War was over, the Cold War had begun.  This time the enemy was the Russians, or more specifically the dreaded Communists of the Soviet Union, and Red China.   We kids and teenagers were still very well aware that we were within the easy sights of instant annihilation, and soon there was another war demanding our allegiance–this one in Korea.    My primary remembrance was the Korean War (er…conflict, it was never a declared war) was that a lot of our schoolmate boys joined the service as soon as they could, and one of my best friends…a mild-mannered red-haired guy who went off and never came back–died when  the army tank he was riding in over in Korea  hit a land-mine and exploded.    The military draft was in effect, and many of the boys in our school joined up with one of the branches of the service.   It was permitted for them to quit school at age 16 as long as they went into the military.  My brother joined the U.S.Navy at age 17.   My boyfriend, who would be my husband later, quit school and  joined the army, but was sent to Germany instead of Korea.

The first half of the 1950s saw us growing up, and the girls all got jobs in offices or shops, although a few did manage to go off to college to become teachers, or nurses.  There really were not any other viable choices for girls: nurse, teacher, secretary.   Oh, there was also the opportunity to join one of the Womens’ Services: the WACs, WAVEs, SPARS…with the Army, Navy, Coast Guard.

I wonder now why I never thought of joining up myself.  It would have been a great job and something that I would jump at the chance–NOW–to do.  Well, I could have gone to nursing school I guess, but my nonexistent math skills and absolute disinterest in school in general would have made that option unlikely.

A word about Girls of the era:  it was common to be planning one’s wedding at the same time as graduation.  A few girls got –OMG, pregnant– which completely destroyed any educational aspirations.  Even high school was out of the question.   Most of us who did not get into “trouble” and graduated high school were sent off to work in offices.  At least I did have secretarial skills which landed me a job and provided a respectable occupation.  Typing and Shorthand were the skills to have.  I did not qualify as a stenographer (who was proficient in secretarial skills–especially Gregg Shorthand, which was a mark of distinction.)  I was classified as a “clerk-typist,” which was higher rank than “file clerk.”

In 1954 I got engaged, got married in August, and on Christmas Day 1955 landed in Bremerhaven, Germany to meet a train which transported me to Frankfurt, and Giessen, and a U.S.Army base  in a small town called Butzbach.     I was 21 years old when I went to Germany on a troop ship which had been converted partially to transport officers and dependents.

That was an experience…at 21 I had no clue.  Spoke only a little bit of German, and had never been farther away from home than about ten miles.   The trip across the Atlantic Ocean was wonderful…I spent every waking moment on deck soaking in the atmosphere of the sea air and the turquoise water churning at the bow of the ship.  I absolutely loved that journey, and while my fellow dependent wives languished in their small cabins or crowded “theaters” aboard ship, I stayed on deck as much as possible.  My tiny cabin was shared with two other women, and two two-year-olds in cribs.  Yikes!

My German never did get beyond some rudimentary grammar and basic Berlitz self-study.  We lived in a German apartment for one week, maybe two, then moved into U.S.Army quarters into a brand new apartment building.   Most of the people I came in contact with were Americans, except in the commissary (grocery store) and shop-keepers, most of whom spoke English.   My two closest friends were American wives from US southern states, one of whom was still quite incensed at General Sherman’s March to the Sea after the U.S. Civil War… not the best company for a Yankee gal like me.

We played a lot of Scrabble, Canasta, and Pinochle…especially when the troops/husbands were out on maneuvers and we wives were left to entertain ourselves.

I often remember with some regret that my year and a half in Germany was pretty much squandered, in that my interaction with the Germans pretty much involved buying things… haben sie haferflocken? (Do you have oatmeal?)  And ordering and paying for things like bread, rolls (hung in plastic bags on our doorknobs,) and beer.  (Yummy beer, in green bottles with the bale stoppers…delivered by the case to our apartment door.)

That was also my introduction to hostility…as the locals were not crazy about Americans in general, and snotty young-girl-wife Americans who showed up to re-claim their soldier-husbands in general.  When we got to the area  there were still burned out buildings and huge piles of rubble everywhere in the cities, children that did not want anything to do with us, old lady widows dressed in black…riding bicycles…who hated our guts.     The town near us was especially bombed-out, as according to local lore, some American fliers were killed by farmers armed with pitch-forks as they parachuted from their shot-down planes.  The story was that the allied planes on return flights from Frankfurt back to London routinely “saved a bomb for [the town].”    Very logical, and the town was really in shambles.

In March of 1957 my husband and I returned to the States, via the MATS, Military Air Transportation Service, because I was pregnant.  I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to returning to the States by ship.  The plane ride (I think my second flight ever) was long and boring–and we didn’t even have a window to look at the Atlantic Ocean.     We retrieved our car from the port in New Jersey, then drove home to Ohio, enroute to new military orders shipping us to Fort Hood, Texas.

Thus began the next phase of My Life…

coming up soon…

20
Mar

Entry for Day 10 — Mystery

I published this photo as a blog post a week or so ago, but I didn’t tag it to Photo101.  I am intrigued with the photo, and would like to have comments on how the exposure could have been better.  The icicle was just hanging there from the eaves, and I just had to try to capture it.   I like the reflection of the moon on the icicle itself, and the silhouettes of the trees, as well as the little row of lights to the lower right of the photo, which is moonlight reflecting off of the greenhouse windows.   The lower photo is a daytime shot of approximately the same scene.

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15
Mar

Where has the “Loyal Opposition” gone?

Whatever happened to the concept of the “loyal opposition?”  What that meant  was that the two-party political system we entertain here in the United States was composed of both Democrats and Republicans, who more or less took turns running the country.  The percentage of Rs and Ds varied at different times.  The “loyal opposition” meant that when members of one party had control of the governing bodies, the other party cooperated and supported the system and the Chief Executive–the President.

That is not to say that there has never been wiggle-room on major issues on which the representatives of the various fifty states disagreed…or more specifically on which their constituents had strong feelings one way or the other.  This political form allows for differences in campaign rhetoric…and for situational platforms for argument and regional points-of-view.

Recently 47 members of the United States Senate acted on their own to basically go over the head of the President and threaten a foreign power with possible political ramifications.  The key point here is that all but a handful of Republican Senators signed the obnoxious–if not treasonous–letter to Iran, warning that they could reverse any agreement or negotiations of President Barack Obama concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

The huge number of signers indicates that there was a significant volume of political pressure on Republican Senators, so pervasive and strict that only a handful–less than ten–dared to go against the party sledgehammer.   Vulnerable members of the Senate apparently had little choice, and not much to lose because of the sheer number of participants who signed the letter to Iran.  The others, the old-timer big-shots of the party and the Tea Partiers and axe-grinders, could well afford to join the vast majority and sign the letter.   No doubt these people thought that their action was a bold definitive statement, and would be accepted by the general nay-sayers and Obama-haters among their constituents.

In some quarters–such as major national newspapers–are calling these 47 Senators “traitors.”  That’s going pretty far, as obviously most of the Signers of the infamous letter to Iran are not traitors, and may have looked upon the matter as inconsequential, and a harmless thorn in President Obama’s side. One that would cause a commotion, and attempt to somehow diminish the President’s standing by building their own reputation as out-spoken and heroic firebrands.

In my opinion it was a stupid move, and illustrates just how far from common sense and good government our Senate has advanced.

Remember a few decades ago when the huge scandal that would be known forever as “Iran Contra” broke? Hmmm… Iran again… when the CIA sold guns to Iran to make money to finance the tragic yet silly fiasco  of trying to fight the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.   It could be argued I suppose, that then-President Ronald Reagan actually did have authority to approve the complicated Iran-Contra operation…and of course there was the added attraction which provided the Democrats a platform for beating the drums against the Reagan administration.

But that’s another story…

 

 

 

 

 

14
Mar

What was that song again?

While reading up on some of my favorite blogs a little while ago one of the bloggers mentioned Wyoming.  https://lifeandmagicinwyoming.wordpress.com/  I looked at the gorgeous photos and immediately a line from a song, or rather a phrase from the song, which ended with: “…you know that Wyoming will be your new home…” popped into my head.

With the melody running through my mind, searching my memory banks for the rest of the song, I mentally tried on at least two other folk music ditties, but when I looked up the lyrics at    [http://metrolyrics.com/ ]   neither  included any reference to Wyoming.

I erroneously recalled a mention of the city of Laredo. Following that lead through Google I came up with the old cowboy song ,,.“Streets of Laredo” sometimes called “The Cowboy’s Lament.”   Nope, not about Wyoming.

Then I recalled a song I always liked from the 1970s….. “Oh, do you remember Sweet Betsy from Pike?”   Betsy was the gal who “… crossed the big mountain with her lover, Ike.”     The melody sort of fit, but they didn’t end up in Wyoming either.

 Finally it came to me, the song I wanted was “Git along Little Dogies.”…yippee aye ky oh…”      (or words to that effect.)  It was indeed  the young calves who were being taken via cattle drive to their new home in Wyoming.  

Glad that was settled or I would have been frantically searching for hours.

These great songs have been performed over a good many years by artists such as Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, and The Weavers.

I will not sing for you, readers, because the only fans of my singing are my cats–who love my rendition of the good old tune sung in Waltz dance time.

“Casey would waltz with the strawberry blonde,

and the band played on….

he’d whirl cross the floor with the girl he adored,

and the band played on… 

he’d get so excited he nearly ignited…

the poor girl would shake with alarm…

he married the girl with the strawberry curl–

and the band played on!”

10
Mar

Moon-watching on a cold Winter night

These are some photos I took with my little Sony Cyber-shot.   I was intrigued by the visual effects through the double-pane window, so opened the door and went outside onto the small deck.   There is very little room for movement there.  Specifically what I wanted was to capture the moonlight reflecting off an icicle hanging from the eaves.      The temperature was about 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr

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In the second  photo the moon is shining off of the icicle, I was not able to get more  length because of the cramped space.   The moon is hazy, not clear.    I think the horizontal row of light in the lower right is reflecting off of snow across the road at a greenhouse there.   I like the way that the maple trees are outlined against the background, but I wonder if there is a way to pull up better contrast.    I am not using flash in this photo.

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There are three orbs in this photo.  The top one is the moon, the one to the left is a street light, and the llower orb is a reflection of the moon taken from inside the house, through the window.   Both the moon and the street light reflections can be seen on the railing of the porch outside.   In the lower photo, there is a double reflection of the moon.  DSC02226

9
Mar

Baby is very valiant…

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