Friday, October 29, 2010

What is the difference between Pocahantas & Pocahottie?

Pocahantas gets a KitKat bar on Trick or Treat

Pocahottie dances at the KitKat Bar for Trick or Treat Eve
(or in your lap for a $50 tip)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Halloween Musical Moment

We now present an old barbershop quartet piece, courtesy of Bill Tush.
(work with us by playing the music in your head)

We're afraid that your son is artistic;
He should never have taken ballet---

He's up in his flat-
in a crepe paper hat--
and hoop skirt and ribbon nosegay -
(Most-ly gay)

We're afraid that your son is artistic;
It has nothing to do with his roots-

Most often you'll see---
On the old family tree---
One branch will go forth and bear fruit-

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A new member to the Cookie family!

With my father being in the same employ for the past 15 and a half years (he's occupying a grave in NE Ohio), its been awhile since I discovered that I have a new half brother or step-brother or sister thanks to his efforts 

Imagine my surprise then today when I received a cell phone call from a friend that I have know since elementary school (42+ years) who said "I think we're related."  And as it turns out, we are: I have a new step-sister!

I don't want to go into details, lets just say that her "birth mother" married my "father", but I didn't know that "Hotpants" (my mother's code word for this wife) had had this child, who was adopted and then became a school mate of mine in kindergarten.  Hell, at that point my father was still four years off from marrying "Hotpants."

So I told her what I knew about Hotpants, and yes, I told her that "Hotpants" was this woman's code name, and I sent her a lovely face picture of her birth mother that my grandmother had.  Turns out, my friend recognized her nose in her birth mother's nose.

Discovering this was a very happy moment, because I have always cared for this friend, and now we have familial bond.  More important, I have a sister.  Something I have wanted for my whole life.

So I am sending her out all manner of good vibrations and hope that this journey she is on continues to offer to her only the best.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

They got a May/December Catholic "thang" going on

The Pope's personal Sceretary is Monsignor Georg Gänswein, a German Priest who has been devoted to Bennedict for some time.  Wish my Priest looked that good in a pair of cargo pants...

And here's a little Cece Peniston singing We Got A Love Thang in their honor!

Blog recommendation

I am recommending a new blog to look at Bits of Tibbs: A Wesley Tibbs Production,  which is edited and created by Wesley Tibbs.  Wesley is an amazing man, with a great perspective on life.  Besides being a beautiful person on the inside and on the outside, he is also witty and charming and will offer to throw you a parade and make you a Beef Wellington if you do something scathingly brilliant.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Its important that ones vibrator be reliable!

I ponder the family: Shaker Heights, April, 1965

In august I started scanning slides that belonged to my Godmother (who was also my cousin) and her parents.  Discovering the cache was a big like finding treasure, and having never seen these before, it was also a bit eye opening.  Anyway to day I have scanned over 400+ slides (3/4ths of which were Kodak Stereo slides from the 1950s) and out of those 400+ slides there were none of me. 

Not surprising - I since I am the half breed in the family; the black-sheep, thats me.

So around slide 400, it dawns on me that I'm not in any of the family slide - man, that sucks.  Or so I thought.  In the last batch I loaded to the scanner, the very last 35mm slide I loaded from the box, slide embossed number "1" from April, 1966, there was I, dressed in a Madras plaid jacket, holding a toy car.  A whole 3 and a half years old. 

While I was very happy to find this picture - Hell, I was ecstatic - it was the look on my face that I love.  It shows me at an age when a child begins to develop a sense of the world around them.  An age when congnitivly a child starts to make decisions about where they fit in to the world around them.  And following Piaget's theory of cognitive development (preoperational stage), I am using my mouth as the physical representation of the process of mental thought.  On the wheel of development that they give to every new parent today, I am right on track.

Lets just say that not every slide in the box is "flattering" to the person in the image.  These seemed to be the slides that included people with their heads cut off, or caught in mid blink, or with their mouths in mid-word.

This image of me is awesome.  It tells a story.  I shows me with a toy car - my favorite type of toy.  I am dressed up, but my tie is askew.  Fashionable, but not obsessed with details.  Thats me.

But its the face that tells a story that I have struggled with through my whole life: me pondering the circus that was family.  And I am wondering how in the Hell I'm going survive the ritual to come.  Somehow I did.  It didn't kill me, but it also feels like it happened to someone other than me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cruel fates, indeed

Falling for sucker lines in advertising...

A name that overwhelms your accomplishments...

Nathan Gunn not knowing you exist...

and siblings that can't resist picking on you.

Here's to hoping that the weekend is a better time than this past week has been!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My grandma done told me...

...When you look good, you feel mighty fine.

I've been scanning old family slides for my father's slide of the family, and I cam across a box of outtakes - the slides that never made it to the carousel.  This was in them.  Its of my father's mother, my Grandma Rae.  And this slide is so unlike anything I have ever seen of her before.  And I love it.

My Grandmother was born in Russia, near what is now the border between Lithuania and Latvia.  Grandma's village was west of the border, my grandfather's people were from just east of the border, near Dvinsk.  They were married in 1905 and Grandpa left for the United States where he would work, earn some money and and then send for my grandmother when he had the money saved up.  He ended up having to send for my grandmother and their infant - he left not knowing that my grandmother was pregnant.  Had she told him, he would have stayed, and that wouldn't have been good.  Lots of Russian Jews were getting out, and for good reason - there was political chaos beginning to brew in the old country and historically the Jew's always came out on the short end of the stick, and that stick usually had a very sharp point.

Anyway, when he sent enough money, she and my aunt - who was an infant - made the crossing from "the Old Country" and landed at Ellis Island.  I've never thought of my grandmother as being "processed" by immigration, but that is what happened.  She spoke no English, she could not read or write, but she pushed through with it because that was what had to happen,  after three days she made it through.  

And the reward?  Reunited with my grandfather, they moved to Cleveland and had a very large family.  Everyone, including my grandmother learned to read and write, and she learned some English along the way.  She remained a very devoted wife, an observant Jew and she was a really good grandmother.  I just imagine what it was like to live a life that went from tar paper shack to a house in Shaker Heights.  Life is amazing.

This is why I love this picture.  Here's a woman who risked everything, her home, her cultural identity - everything, but she made it. Not only did she live to tell of it, but she allowed herself to have a minute or two of fun along the way. And she kept some of her attitude around as well.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vent-A-Spleen: Self scanners and those who can not operate them

If you will, I wish to steer this blog in a completely different direction and "vent-a-spleen".  Today my rant is about the greatest gift to shoppers in the last 25 years - the self scanner - and those creatures of God's beautiful dominion who are too stupid to operate them.

Once again, my pets, I was at my local grocery store - "Shopmore"  ("Where you shop for more because their's more to shop!") and I found myself the other day behind a couple who was moving too slow and while having too much difficulty operating the scanner.

They would pass the item over the scanner and place it on the belt but the belt wouldn't move.  Why?  Because instead of scanning the bar code on the package on junk food they were buying with their food stamps, they were scanning the NAME OF THE PRODUCT.  And I thought to myself, who in the fuck is that stupid?

"But wait" - as they say in the Shopmore ads - "there's MORE!"  Over comes the beleaguered employee who points out to them the bar-code and shows them how to scan the bar code correctly.  Then he guided them through scanning a package correctly and then he left to put out another fire, or save another lost shopper from drowning in a sea of technology.

And once again the people in front of me fucked it up.

Why?  Well Evidently these folks were not ENTP's because they certainly didn't learn from listening, and they didn't learn from doing, so they were either at a loss because there was no written instruction for them to review, or they were really hoping they could free-form and improvise.   Either way, their sour cream and bacon chip dip wasn't headed down the grocery belt-line where it would no doubt get to know the box of Bugles that were all ready down with the bag of Funyons.

So again, another employee had to come over there are stand there and scanned for them while these two people (wearing Eau d' Ashtray body spray) watched agog, when they were not not snapping at their Keisha's*.  For good measure, and so that we would know that they were there, the Mr.opened the bugles and tossed the box lid on the tile floor.

So my question is, evidently, what in the name of goodness sakes would make these two society drop out/crackheads think that they could run a u-scan at the Shopmore?

My second question is where is my gold-star for not calling them complete retards in the first place?  Anyone?  Anyone?

So my point is, why do these people try to do things that they are unable to grasp?  My rational sense replies that if they knew that they had no business operating this self-check out thing, that they wouldn't have attempted it, thus:

"Tyrone, we do not have any idea how that self-check out works, so lets go over to cashier number 7."

But now, it probably went down like this:

"What dat?"  And so the magic moment starts.

But I'm sorry, if you are so fucking stupid that you don't know how it works keep away from it!

*whose names were Ty-Keisha and SuKeshia ("Tykeisha!  You keep this up and you and Sukeisha going have to go to bed because I can't deal with you all.")

Monday, October 4, 2010

An anniversary of something once thought unfathomable

Today we think NOTHING of going onto the internet, logging onto our favorite place to shop and then after buying something, we wait, my God, how we wait for that item to arrive.  And if its coming from a place far, far, far, away, and you want it bad enough, chances are its coming via airplane.

This past weekend, the 100th anniversary of the first air freight in the world was observed with a ceremonial flight of a Wright Flyer reproduction from Dayton to Columbus. 

The actual flight occurred on November 7, 1910,  when a bolt of silk, left Dayton, Ohio, bound for Columbus, Ohio.  The man behind this hair brained scheme was Max Morehouse, owner of Morehouse-Martins Department Store.  And he paid a whopping $5,000 for the privledge of having his own dress goods flown by air back to him!

The idea of using "aeroplanes" to move freight between two points had been floated by Glen Curtiss, a Cleveland based aviator before November 1910, but no one was quite sure what good it would do or what to charge. But the idea fascinated Morehouse, and being the first one to do it fascinated even more.

In 1910, flying machines were still composed of open body "aeroplanes", and the Wright Brothers of Dayton held that patents on their flying machine design.  These Wright Flyers were just seven years off the first short flight at Kitty Hawk, and they maintained control over virtually every plane built because of the patented design. 

For the $5,000 one would think that Morehouse could have purchased his own plane, and cut out the middleman.  But the Wrights wouldn't sell him a plane when they heard what Morehouse was going to do with it, and the idea concerned them.  The Wright organization was concerned with "great things",  while Morehouse wanted was a publicity stunt that would garner him world press.  What the Wrights were trying to avoid was someone (or something) be it a bolk of silk, or the whole plane, dropping from the sky onto something on someone on the ground.

So for the amount charged, the Wrights would put up one of their planes, with one of the best pilots in their stable.  Morehouse would secure a place to land for the landing and would handle the underwriting on the event.   Max would also pay for a flying exhibition at Columbus' Driving Park (an early raceway, frequented by another Columbusite - Eddie Rickenbacker - who raced cars around the track, some reaching the dizzying speeds of up to 60mph!)  Finally, Morehouse would also pay to have the plane dismantled and shipped back to Dayton via rail car on the afternoon of the completed flight, and the fair of all the Wright personal that were coming to see the event. 

Not only were these early Wright fliers open, but they were essentially just a wood frame, canvas for the wings and rudders, wires and an engine and propellers.  And wait, they also had wheels; it's really important to remember that they had two wheels for landing upon.  Unlike the planes of today, they didn't fly that far off the ground, either; just high enough that they didn't slam into a tree, get tripped up on telephone wires or slam into a building. 

On the morning of the flight, the pilot was strapped in the seat and silk bolt attached to the plane, wrapped in brown paper with some twine tied around for good measure.   For a route to Columbus, the plane would follow a train route full of Wright officials and guests, who would get to Columbus before the plane would.

As fate would have it, the selected pilot - the best Wright had hurt himself by flying into something (in this case, the earth), so the Wright organization selected a relative youngster - Phillip O. Parmalee to execute the flying.  For good measure, they also decided that the flight would also be trailed by an automobile, just in case Parmalee needed some help.  The final change to the plan was to have Parmalee leave Dayton at 10AM, so the flight would arrive in Columbus in time for the noon lunch hour whistles.  Morehouse and Wright felt that they could gin-up even more attention if workers leaving their offices and factories could witness and "aeroplane" flying overhead.  Yay!
So on the appointed hour, 100 years ago November 7th, young Parmalee took off and went east into the morning.  At some point, the automobile got mired down in muddy roads outside Clifton, Ohio, and it was out of the running.  Without his "chase car" Parmalee continued merrily on his way and at somepoint he overtook the train that was suppossed to be faster than he was.  By the time the flier was coming down to a perfect touchpoint landing, Parmalee had beaten the train to the train station.  By the time they arrived at Driving park, the Wright party looked like a bunch of Johnny Come Lately's.
What came from this event was proof that the airpower of the era may not have been quite as mighty rail power, but it was faster.  What also came from this event was Eddie Rickenbacker's fascination with airplanes was cemented.  Rickenbacker would take that spark and parlay it into becoming's America's favorite flying ace in World War I, and later as the longtime and successful head of Eastern Airlines in the 1950s and 1960s.
What became of the 200lbs of black silk?  Well at least half of it was cut into 2" lengths, glued to postcards and sold as souvenirs of the event that sold for a nickle.  Max's wife and daughters all had dresses made from the material, and the rest sold as premium dress goods, with a story to tell to boot.
And Max Morehouse? Morehouse-Martins remained Columbus' most fashionable carriage trade store for a generation.  Max and his wife Imogene continued to hold a grand place in Columbus society.  Mae's brother- in-law was none other than Charles Anson Bond, Mayor of Columbus.  But Bond is best known as the founder of Bond Clothing - the first national chain of menswear in the United States.
Max died in 1925.  Morehouse-Martins was sold, and later merged with "The Fashion" (another local store), before eventually bought up Levy family and merged with their "The Union" a department store chain that was never called a department store.  It was always simply "The Union".  Finally, The Union was absorbed into Halle's of Cleveland under the Schottestein family before it went belly up in 1982. 
The last great moment for Morehouse-Martins however came in 1985, when in the midst of being readied for demolition, the old store caught fire and burned within an inch of collapse. It was demolished for a downtown mall, which in turn was demolished, this past summer, and will be replaced by a "grand park".
But remember, greatness is not only something that comes to those who are simply first, it comes to those who are first, and do it with style, flair and a little showmanship.