Monday, July 16, 2018

Wine On Down the Road

Continued from this here post:

And so, we were in Evansville. Well, Newburgh, Indiana, to start with. This was a return-to-things-familiar trip for us, and also, a getting-to-do-stuff-we'd-been-wanting-to-do-for-a-while voyage.

We drove along the Ohio River, our river, and looked up at the monster mansions situated high up the hill, protected from floods, then drove through the downtown area, past my aunt and uncle's antique store, past the old Newburgh Country Store. The Country Store was where I'd head to as a teenager to buy my black light posters.

Can't buy cool stuff at the Country Store any longer, so we headed to the next best place, Treasures & Pleasures, for our cool stuff. Found some good bumper stickers. Could've spent more money there. Lots of dragon items.

Time for a beer. We met up with Branson's cousin Mike. I hadn't seen Mike in several years, and it was good to sit down and have a cold one with him. We hit a bar down off Franklin Street called Maidens. Nice place. Quiet. And Franklin Street is in the older, more historically Germanic area of Evansville. Comfortable.

... to be continued....

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

An Inchworm Taught Us About Persistence

I'll get to the title in a sec. First, I want to talk about slowing down our lives. It's a simple thing. And it took retirement to allow me to see it. I do apologize in advance to all my friends, readers, family, etc., who are not retired.

This simple thing is sitting on the deck in our backyard, Wendy and I, having breakfast, or lunch, or supper, and watching our birds and squirrels, and listening to them. I have a lot of my grandad in me, I think. I remember he loved to sit outside. I'd see him out there, and ask, "Whatcha doing, Grandad?"

"Oh, just watching," was all he'd say. Didn't understand it at the time. Now I do.

All this teaches us to slow down a tad. And just a while ago, we watched the very definition of persistence in motion. Slow motion, I suppose, but that's not important.

We were finishing up supper, and noticed an inchworm, suspended on an invisible thread, a spider's web, I suppose, about five feet above our driveway. Couldn't see where the web went, but we sat and watched, snake-fascinated, as this real-life drama, way better than anything on TV, took place.

Slowly, he made his way upward. Didn't rest. Didn't stop. Just kept heading up. Where was he going, we wondered. There didn't seem to be anyplace near the little fellow. But he kept going.

Finally, as he got to about twelve feet or so up, we saw a cluster of leaves directly over him. That must be where he was going, we thought. "Keep going, little guy," we encouraged. And finally, he made it. He got to that leaf.

Exhausted for him, we sat back, looked at each other, and grinned.

The very definition of persistence.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Herding the Thin

Simplification is good for the soul. And the mind. Mine in particular. At this point, I have accumulated too many writing magazines and guidelines. Time turn the soil. Yep, I can cliche with the best of them.

Been tossing out some writing magazines I know I'll never read. Most of the deal with the business side of writing, which is a pain.

Keep writing, friends. And have fun with it. Write what you want, not what you think the market wants.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wine Guys on the Loose

The plan had been to camp a couple of nights, then motel it another night. As summer had set in with full-force vengeance, however, including heat, humidity, and a few thunderbumpers (one of Owensboro's former weather reporters terms for thunderstorms), Branson and I opted for no camping. Which turned out to be a wise choice.

Now, mind you that it's been over a week since we headed out on our long-overdue buddy trip through some or our old stomping grounds in southern Indiana, then into new territory in southern Illinois, so my brain cells may be shy an accurate memory or two, but that's never stopped me before. Fortunately, I have several of the receipts from our journey, so I will hopefully remember things as I go through them. We'll see what happens.

As it had been some time since being in Owensboro, we kicked things off in proper style with a tour of my old hometown, beginning with a great Mexican restaurant and beer. I've forgotten the restaurant's name, but the food was outstanding, as was the beer. I think it was Estrella Damm, from Barcelona. A damn good beer. Sorry. Had to do that.

The next day, amid nearly horizontal rain, we trekked over to Evansville, another former hometown for Branson and I....

And the adventure will continue later, as there are cats calling me for food, then I have to grab supper.

Everyone feel free to comment and ask questions.

Keep writing, friends.

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.