Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My goodbye party

I'm going to miss my former co-workers at Middlesex Hospital. This is a scene from my going-away party.

Ga. almost leads tour of historic homestead

Here we are at the Nathan Hale Homestead Nathan Haleing it up in the hometown of Nathan Hale - Coventry, CT. Ga. did a report on Nathan Hale last year for school - little idea did she have at the time that she was going to a place that really knows how to celebrate and honor the life of that Revolutionary War hero.

When she was asking detailed questions and whipping out facts and figures during the tour the docent took it all in stride. Of course she did! For who from Arizona doesn't have numerous key points from the life of Connecticut's state hero memorized? 

In addition to his homestead (that's not actually the home he grew up in but his brother lived there), you can see the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse and at least a dozen pictures and statues throughout the state. 

This summer we held it to the Homestead and a couple of his statues and I regret that I only have one summer to give to ... (I don't think I can make that quip work).
This is a scene from Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. When you go there you're supposed to feel like you're in a place from a long time ago. Most of the actors stay in character and, in a way, you do feel like you're somewhere else in another time. This tinsmith was excellent!

Right before this picture was taken I'd seen a show that had music from the 1840 presidential campaign between Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison. I learned that was, in many ways, the first modern presidential campaign. Before 1840 they used to feel that it was beneath their dignity to campaign for office.

Now I can honestly say that it's beneath anyone's dignity when Barak Obama and John McCain talk about anything except the very serious issues that are facing the United States. That's one way in which, I personally wish we could return to 1836 or somewhere before. 

Crafts is another one of the activities they offer at Old Sturbridge Village. Here, Georgia and Katya are making metal candleholders and I'm gazing thoughtfully at my paper cup wondering what I would do without straws and paper cups in my world. How could they drink back then?

Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT

Neat use of plants, huh? No, I don't know what kind of plants they are.
Being from the desert, I look at all of the green in Elizabeth Park, Bushnell Park and these other places in Connecticut and cringe thinking of the water they use. No, I'm not criticizing. Plants and greenery is a beautiful thing and I salute the creativity of the volunteer gardeners. 

The cringing is thanks to the brainwashing I received as a young man from characters like Pete the Beak and Tucson Water's Beat the Peak program. Why we received such good brainwashing in the 70s and 80s that Tucson was able to grow to over a million residents despite highly marginal water supplies.

This is Pete the Beak. "Save that water, kids!"

In Army basic training you could tell who came from the desert every morning when we were brushing our teeth and shaving. The guys from southern California and Arizona shut off the water at the sink until they needed to wash off their toothbrush or razor. Guys from Pennsylvania and places like that let it run. I know that if Pete the Beak saw that he'd have done some serious ass kickin' and peckin'.

I took lots of flower pictures too but those are on the web all over the place. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back from CT

I had a friend from Europe who said this about the United States: "No matter where you go it's always the same." 

Now, to be fair, we were driving from the deserts of southern California to the desert of southern Arizona by way of Las Vegas at the time he said this. Of course he was still making a gross generalization. There's differences in scenery between those deserts though I understand it's not going to be as drastic as, say, the difference between France and Germany.

Today, if he and I were talking, I might mention duckpin bowling as one of the differences between parts of the United States. To all of my friends in the west who've never heard of duckpins, it's this thing they do in the northeast. It's like regular bowling but much harder. They use these little bowling balls like the ones by my daughter in this picture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What I've been up to (part 3)

So we saw the Mets play the Rangers. You'd swear I was a diehard Rangers fan from the way I've been seeing them lately.

They're going to tear down Shea Stadium after this season. The Mets are going to play in Citi Field, the stadium going up in the background. This is pathetic. Especially the name of the place. No matter how good the new ballpark, in a few years fans of opposing teams are going to call it "Shitty Field." I'm no comedy genius and I can see that. If you've got to have a sponsor for your field, pick a sponsor that you can't make fun of so effortlessly. If the Mets play .500 ball, then they're going to say, "The Mets are playing shitty like their field." And so on.

I hope Citibank is giving the Mets lots and lots of $$$. They're going to need it. Citi. . . shitty . . . it's all about a mindset.

Now that I've been there, take it from me that Shea is a perfectly good stadium. But what I really can't understand is why the Yankees are tearing down Yankee Stadium. That's the House Ruth Built.

What I've been up to (part 2)

This is the giant cross in Groom, TX - the biggest cross in the western hemisphere - a potential computer desktop background for the religious minded.
No, Johnbo didn't actually get in the pond. But those are the ducks of the Joplin, MO KOA outside of our Kamping Kabin. The ducks were great. They greeted us like my schnauzer Binga does but in an avian way of course.
Another inspirational computer desktop photo. This statue is of George Washington Carver as a boy taken at George Washington Carver National Historic Site near Joplin, MO. The woods behind him are where he lived and studied nature when growing up. Now all you need is a recording of the sounds of a brook and that's a whole bunch of nature there for you. Next thing you know you're going be all peaceful and coming up with hundreds of uses for all kinds of things too.
This is Eli Whitney's grave in New Haven, CT. Eli Whitney deserves his own National Historic Site if you ask me. His grave at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, CT is about the best you can do. His museum in New Haven doesn't even have all that much on him - it's a kids summer camp. The cotton gin was a HUGE invention that changed the nation and the world and he made next-to-nothing for it.
Here I'm holding my rubber shoe next to the grave of Charles Goodyear. I'm saying, "Thanks, Charles, for the rubber things I use like the tires on my truck and the shoe."