Monday, June 11, 2018


Playing with some old journal entries in preparation for separating my blog into blogs. This blog will head in the writing direction.

Twi-Dark is a word invention of mine. Or, rather, I think I coined the term. Or, rather, one of my characters in a story came up with it. It was explained to me in this way:

Full dark, in an emotional and spiritual sense, occurs at midnight. It has nothing to do with the amount of light. It is the most perfect part of the day when supernatural forces gather and strengthen. They are at their peak. It is also when evil exists. Think of it as the Absolute Zero of the spiritual world.

It is a void. Emptiness so perfect that the most abominable acts are performed by even the most good. It is when the Other is released.

Okay, well, that's a start. Perhaps a story seed. We'll see what happens.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

We Represent the Lollipop Guild

As a kid, watching The Wizard of Oz annually, as was required in the Kid Code-book (no way to record shows back then. You missed it, sorry about your luck. Times were tough.), I was never quite sure what they were singing in "The Lollipop Guild" song. But I always looked forward to the song, in a Soupy Sales/Ernie Kovacs kind of way. Weird, but I liked it. And I liked the three Munchkin singer/dancers who sang it. Especially the middle tough-guy clad in green. I really loved his panache.

Well, he's gone now, having lived to the age of 98. Jerry Maren (born Gerard Marenghi), last surviving Oz Munchkin, and he will be missed.

Jerry acted in everything from The Beverly Hillbillies to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman to The Odd Couple, and voice-over work. He began his career as a dancer, touring New England, when he got The Wizard of Oz telegram telling him to come to California for movie work.

Jerry died in a San Diego, California nursing home from cardiopulmonary failure on May 24, 2018.

So, all-together now, for a proper sendoff: "We represent the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild...."

Keep writing, friends.

Monday, June 4, 2018

An Hour of My Life I'll Never Get Back

And, that pretty well sums up my dashed expectations of the Frankensteinian exhibit at the University of Kentucky's Art Museum this past week. And I don't normally trash museums, but this time I felt it necessary for anyone who's planning on going to the exhibit. That being said, a bit of history.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. According to Wikipedia, it was "... published anonymously in London 1 January 1818....". This one work by the young woman would influence world culture in ways unimagined over the next 200 years. The work itself achieved Frankenstein status, as it was pieced together from a horrific dream she had, then grew to powerful, monstrous proportions. I have loved the Frankenstein story for years, so I expected monstrous creations at the exhibit.

Unfortunately, it did not deliver.

My wife and I and two of our friends went to the exhibit on a rainy day, had a difficult time gaining entrance to the building due to construction, then headed to the exhibit. We entered the small room (yes, just one room -- this should have been several rooms), looked around, wondering where the rest of the exhibit was. Not much there, folks.

The museum pamphlet promised "... a range of artworks, literary documents, models, and pop culture items that refer to aspects of the novel....", but we saw only a sparse collection of abstract art that loosely demonstrated the Frankenstein concept. Under a glass case was a copy of Frankenstein, which may or may not have been an original edition, and a couple of letters. I suppose this was the "range of artworks, literary documents....", etc., the pamphlet mentioned.

At any rate, the admission was free, so we didn't have to spend much to get in.

This exhibit should have had movie posters, model kits, clips from the various incarnations, other works of literature influenced by Ms. Shelley's work, sculptures, laboratory apparatus with electrical sparks, beakers full of boiling liquids, sound effects, busts of the characters, but no. Come on, people, this is Frankenstein. Do it justice. Do Mary Shelley justice.

For anyone planning to see the UK exhibit, don't waste your time. Read the book, see one of the movie adaptations, build a Frankenstein model kit. Celebrate the anniversary properly by bringing her creature to life.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

From the... Uhhh... to the Sublime

Wendy and I did part of the 400-mile yard sale along highway 68 today. This time we drove the northern route from Lexington, taking us up through Paris, Millersburg, Blue Licks State Resort Park, and Mays Lick, eventually ending up in Maysville. Wearing our sunscreen, we did our best to dodge sol's rays, and impending rain. We did a pretty good job at doing both, but the humidity was getting us. There was also something in the air getting to our sinuses.

Last year we had done some of the southern route out of Lexington, saw a bunch of multi-family setups. This time, not so much. Don't know if it was because of the threatening weather, or because it was the first day of the sale, but we thought we'd see a lot more goodies. As it was, however, we did score a few inexpensive finds, including an old book titled Godey's Lady's Book. The spine says "1858", but the copyright page is missing, so I haven't verified the actual date yet, but we picked that little jewel up for a buck.

Now, here's the part we loved. The fellow who ran that booth, nice fellow, by the way, had several prints for sale, many of which wouldn't even make it as motel art, I'm sorry to say. But, bless his heart, he thought they were rare items. He was trying to sell many of the prints for ten bucks each. The part I had to bite my tongue on, was he had prints of Pinky and Blue Boy. I had just innocently mentioned how my wife and I always try to see how many Pinkies and Blue Boys we can find in a given flea market booth (I think we've maxed at three.), and he started telling me how he'd looked online and found out how rare they were. I could only nod and walk away.

Oh, and there was one print he picked up, looked at the back, and said, I think this one's from Rome. Ah, well, I wish him the best at finding buyers for them.

We continued on, all the time watching the building storm clouds that had been following us. So far, we, and all the sellers had stayed dry.

Forgot to mention the lady we overheard at one location who was telling someone that the set of dishes she was selling came all the way from China. I'm sure they did.

Anyway, we bought a couple more items or so, including a VCR (knocked down to eight from ten--still need one to play some ancient tapes), a Three Stooges DVD, and a kitschy blue piece of pottery.

Okay, I'll ramble more tomorrow. Shutting down the presses for the evening. 'Night, all.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Waiting Tables is Hard, Comedy is Easy... Or is it the Other Way Around?

Back to Chicago for a quick review of one of our favorite places, Butch McGuire's Tavern & Grill. Right around the corner from our hotel, we were in need of a couple of Guinness's, draft, and some food. Butch's was the perfect place for a mid-afternoon meal.

Our waitress was Crystal, a possible rising star comedy writer. We're keeping our fingers crossed for you, Crystal. She's trying to get in with Second City, so best o' luck to you.

At the time of day we hit Butch's, it was perfect. Quiet, comfortable, with plenty of atmosphere. And the Guinnesses. Ah, perfect. Wendy and I had a couple of their black bean burgers, which were excellent. I had a side of baked beans, Wendy had the applesauce.

Crystal said we need to come back to Butch's for Christmas. She said the decorations are outrageous, and a line stretches out the door. We just might do that, if we can make it through the snow.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Duct Tape'll Fix that Problem

Continuing with the Chicago trip of last week... I have a story about getting a laugh from a TSA agent I'll tell you about sometime. Then, there was the brief flight delay due to the baggage door that wouldn't fasten on our plane. I wanted to tell them to grab some duct tape, but Wendy didn't think that was a good idea. Looking back, I'm sure she was right.

At any rate, they got a mechanic there to do his thing. I'm still wondering, though, if he used duct tape. Slight delay, but we weren't on a schedule, anyway, so it was no problem for us. We had stuff to read.

Our big thing once we got to Chicago O'Hare was figuring out how to get our hotel as safely and cheaply as possible. We knew we didn't want a taxi for that distance, so we decided on the CTA. All we knew was that we had to change from the blue line to the red line. It's been years since either of us has had to navigate a city larger than Lexington, so a big thanks to the CTA attendants who helped us out-of-towners.

Got to our hotel with no problems. We checked in at our hotel, the Hotel Indigo (now the Claridge), and had time to wander around our block. Restaurants everywhere. One, in particular, really called to us. Mario's Table. Check out the photo at the top of the page. Food was wonderful, and we had a great view of our street for some people-watching. We had these fried ravioli appetizers that were eyes-rolled-back-in-our-heads good. And the wine. Perfect. We had to eat there a couple of times.

That was one of our favorite things about our area where we "lived" the next four days--the restaurants. Withing walking distance, we had no fewer than six or seven. We fantasized briefly about living there. Apartments ran about fourteen-hundred a month for a two-bedroom, and two grand for a three. If we didn't have to drive, that would be okay. Just sell the car, walk, and do mass transit.

More later....

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Journeying Again

I'm writing this from our deck in our backyard, a comfortable 82 degrees in the shade, with a mild breeze blowing. Perfect environment for writing. Some jazz playing on my laptop, a few birds and squirrels to watch in the yard.

Going to do several short posts highlighting our travels from last week. First, a tip o' th' hat to Marti at Going Places Travel Agency in Georgetown, Kentucky, for getting our trip arranged. She did great.

Wendy and I had been wanting to take in some museums in Chicago for some time, but we didn't want to drive there. Yeah, it's only about a six-hour trip by car, but I'm glad we didn't. I wouldn't want to drive in Chicago. That's what taxis and the trains are for.

We hadn't flown anywhere in about ten years, so that part was a learning experience again. Since we were only gone for a little over four days total, we decided to just do carry-on. I think we'll do that from now on, as check-in baggage isn't free now, as far as we know. Security, at least at Cincinnati, is understandably tighter, so get there at least two hours early. You have to take off your belt and shoes nowadays, and you might even get a pat-down, but all the security folks were polite. And helpful, which was good for us unseasoned travelers. Also, check out the site for current restrictions.

Anyway, we got to Chicago pronto, took the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) straight to our hotel on North Dearborn. Bit of trivia. Anyone remember the music group Chicago? Just us old farts, eh? Well, I think they started as Chicago Transit Authority back in the day. Okay, trivia time's over.

We made it to our hotel, no problemo, and wandered around "our" neighborhood. Restaurants everywhere, and nary a chain in sight, which was perfect.

Okay, more later....

Keep writing, friends.