30 November 2010

A Hunting We Will Go

I should probably keep this to myself, but today is St. Andrews Day at noon, 30 November, GMT, Haggis season is on until January 25 and continues for eight weeks.  Just surf on by Haggis Hunt. The Grand Prize is one night's stay in the luxury accommodation of the Kingdom of Fife Suite at Fairmont St. Andrews including dinner.  As well as this fantastic prize you will be invited to visit the Mackie's crisp factory in Perthshire and take home a selection of Mackie's crisps - in haggis & cracked black pepper and six other fantastic flavours.  
 Since most statesiders can't afford to just pop over for a couple of nights, the under prizes are usually fun.

The rules are simple.

1. Stop while on your way to somewhere else.
2. Look at the webcams.
3. If you see a Haggis, click on the "I Saw A Haggis" link.
4. If you haven't played before, register once.
5. Make frequent trips since every click goes into the hat.
6. A drawing from all entries after January 25 will determine winners.

There are three kinds of Haggii you might spot: The slender female of the species; The Great Golden Haggis; and the standard breed.

Even if you don't play, a one time stop is fun just to read the Haggisclopedia.

29 November 2010

The Queen's Meme #62 - Crazy Question Meme

Her majesty, Queen Mimi of the Bloggingham Castle environs is on a mini vacation, but left behind a questionnaire for her subjects rowing in the galley around the moat.  To join in on the fun, just pick up your oar and high tail it over to the Queen's Meme and sign in so we know where to send the search party when the boat sinks.

"I would be ever so appreciative if you could supply me with the answers to these questions. I've pondered them my whole life!! They represent some of the most important quandaries of the human condition! The burning and ridiculous questions are...."

1. Why doesn't McDonald's sell hot dogs? - McDonald's are Scots and Scots don't eat their puppies. They need them to guard the sheep for the burgers.

2. How far east can you go before heading west?  There is a serious answer to this.  You start going West at the 0 degrees on the Prime Meridian and you start going east at 180 degrees on the prime Meridian.

3. What happens to the missing socks?  They mate with wire hangers and produce empty plastic bags from the supermarket.

4. Does love = sex or does sex = love?  Sex can grow up to become love and love adds extra spice to sex.

5. How much wood did the woodchuck chuck?  Again this question has been authoritatively answered as follows:

New York State wildlife expert Richard Thomas found that a woodchuck could chuck around 35 cubic feet of dirt in the course of digging a burrow. Thomas reasoned that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he would chuck an amount equal to 700 pounds. 

Some say it depends on three factors:

  • The woodchuck's desire to chuck said wood.
  • The woodchuck's need to chuck the aforementioned wood.
  • The woodchuck's ability to chuck the wood when it is a woodchuck

6. Why do prison buses have emergency exits? - The sign painters couldn't spell Egress.

7. Do you believe that an alien ship stole question #7? Absolutely and they took it away to Uranus.  
Don't look uncomfortable, that's the 7th planet from the sun.

And now for an appropriate musical interlude:

27 November 2010

Take This Tune - Seasons of Love

This week's Take This Tune song is Season's of Love from Rent. It starts with the 525,600 minutes that make a year.  To join in, click on the link above.

The above picture is my Aunt Helen between me (left) and my cousin Wanda (right). The year was 1953 and Chowchilla was a town consisting of one main thoroughfare of less than ten blocks called Robertson Boulevard, about four blocks on either side of private homes, all surrounded by miles of farm land and sheep grazing. On the edge of town was the dangerous place we weren't supposed to go because of the hobos called Berenda Slough.  My parents were in the process of divorcing, my usual alternative home with another aunt was temporarily unavailable, and Aunt Helen came to the rescue.

Unusual for the time period she was divorced, sole support of her daughter and her mother as a registered nurse, and owned her own home which was squeaky spotless.  This remarkable woman took on a niece she had only met once at a family wedding.  Wanda and I attended school together, swam at the city pool together, went to the park together, stopped in at a drug store where you could still get real soda fountain flavored Coca Colas (cherry for her and lemon for me) in those classic glasses.  No one ever locked their doors so we weren't really aware that we were latch key kids totally on our own between school letting out and Aunt Helen coming home to cook.  In an era before McDonald's, she would make full from scratch dinners.  Don't ask me how she did it, because I don't have a clue.  It was a year when the world saw the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II with all it's pomp and circumstance and a year when I knew a simple woman who out of love simply did what was right for two little girls.  The year came to an end when my mother remarried in Aunt Helen's living room and I went off to another place for another year.

Aunt Helen eventually remarried and sold her tiny home to move to a much larger one that faced Robertson Boulevard directly across from the Baptist Church.  Wanda changed her last name to her stepfather's but continued her idyllic small town existence until going off to Fresno for college and another then little town of  Selma when she married.  This has led to a fifty year joke between us about the "Country Mouse" and the "City Mouse".  Today we both have to lock our doors.

While still in the country, Chowchilla is a good sized community, Robertson Blvd leads to the Pacheco Pass that takes you from Central California across the Coastal range and the Berenda Slough is now a recreational area.

We Can't Make It Here Anymore

"We Can't Make it Here"

Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore

See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore

Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the da$% little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why

In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

26 November 2010

Be Thankful While You Can

A long time friend sent me a very long piece about the problems San Francisco has with retirement funds that are steadily exhausting its budget despite a constant cutback in services.  It is long, well written, thoughtful and lays out the problem that is now confronting all levels of government.

The following was my response:

That pretty well lays out the problem.  It is taking fewer and fewer human beings to do the work of the world, but what do you do with the ones no longer needed.  It is the problem no one wants to consider.  (Following sentence added thanks to a computer when 30 years ago I would have had to take the time to completely retype.):  Didn't mean to turn this into an essay, but that's the way it turned out.

When I first entered the work force virtually every medium sized town had a building that inside had jobs for 200 women.  Some major cities would hire a couple of thousand.  They were called telephone operators and all of those thousands of women are now retired, collecting social security and a large percentage of them additional pensions by whichever branch of the now defunct Bell Telephone that had employed them.  Every single one has been replaced by a instrument you can hold in your hand and the people it takes to build and service that little instrument are a tiny percentage of the original whole and don't live in the United States. (Not to mention all the services now done by an Ap on that smart phone that would have hired people just a few years ago.)

Now consider every labor intensive or pink collar occupation that could be done by someone with a high school or less education.  A single wage earner could support a family.  Now it not only takes two wage earners but on the lower economic end teens or young adults boomeranging home unless they are receiving some form of supplemental income such as welfare or food stamps.  

In the Western world we used to have healthy middle class incomes and an economic graph that resembled a diamond with a small percentage of extreme wealth and extreme poverty on the top and bottom but the majority of earners in a broad, comfortable middle.   The distance between the lowest and highest incomes was much smaller than today.  We are rapidly returning to an economic model that resembles a pear more in common with a feudal era with more and more wealth concentrated in a tinier and tinier percentage and a level below them that services that wealth and then a large strata of poverty.  

All of the above is bad enough but in the U.S. we have rewarded greed.  Instead of CEO's who used to earn 40 to 100 times their lowest employees, we now have a rapacious group that is bringing down 400 plus times their lowest paid worker with a tax percentage much lower than those below them (What Warren Buffett means when he says he pays a smaller percentage in taxes than his secretary).  Even this wouldn't have been so bad if that tax rate hadn't dropped from 90% on high income in the late 50's to less than 30% on only the top most income today.  To pay for that the Feds have ordered more and more unfunded mandates on to the states who have cut and cut services, infrastructure, and education while raising taxes and/or fees until we are way behind the rest of the developed world in things such as First class schools, high speed rail transit and bridges that don't fall down.  (Why all those Brits are rioting over educational costs and California's state colleges are no longer virtually free).  Then you can add in competition from cheap labor places such as China and India that actually have growing middle classes by being willing to allowing the existence of subsistence living, starvation, or low life expectancy due to pollution.

At the heart of all of this is not communism, socialism or any other ism.  It is that we simply don't need the bodies and the bodies we do have are rapidly exhausting resources in food, water, and energy.  Within 50 years unless we come up with some major answers, there will be all those steadily increasing elderly on the top and a huge number of totally unneeded group of human beings on the bottom because in an empty world such as existed earlier in history where each layer of wealth supported the layer above it and those not needed had somewhere to go where they were needed to colonize or develop, we will have a way too full world where thanks to computers, robotics etc the unnecessary have no place to go.  How angry do you think those people without jobs, housing, food, and water are going to be and just how much violence is that anger going to create?

None of the answers to the above are easy.  Can't even come up with a snap it out political sound bite.  All across the political spectrum, the panaceas proposed can be shot down in flames.  Anybody have any truly painful solutions that might work?  

I have some ideas, but I'll let others weigh in first.  None of my possible combination of actions (won't call them solutions) will be easy, but they might alleviate long enough to get through without destroying each other.

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The beautiful Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" as used in Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring".

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'Tis gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right
Till by turning, turning we come round right

24 November 2010

Morning IPOD - Donald and Lydia

Another beautiful John Prine song about two lonely people who should have met and never did.

Small town, bright lights, Saturday night,
Pinballs and pool halls flashing their lights.
Making change behind the counter in a penny arcade
Sat the fat girl daughter of Virginia and Ray

Lydia hid her thoughts like a cat
Behind her small eyes sunk deep in her fat.
She read romance magazines up in her room
And felt just like Sunday on Saturday afternoon.

But dreaming just comes natural
Like the first breath from a baby,
Like sunshine feeding daisies,
Like the love hidden deep in your heart.

Bunk beds, shaved heads, Saturday night,
A warehouse of strangers with sixty watt lights.
Staring through the ceiling, just wanting to be
Lay one of too many, a young PFC:

There were spaces between Donald and whatever he said.
Strangers had forced him to live in his head.
He envisioned the details of romantic scenes
After midnight in the stillness of the barracks latrine.

Repeat Chorus:

Hot love, cold love, no love at all.
A portrait of guilt is hung on the wall.
Nothing is wrong, nothing is right.
Donald and Lydia made love that night.

The made love in the mountains, they made love in the streams,
They made love in the valleys, they made love in their dreams.
But when they were finished there was nothing to say,
'Cause mostly they made love from ten miles away.

Repeat Chorus:

23 November 2010

Queen's Meme #61 - The Silly Serious Thanksgiving Meme!

The Doyen of Bloggingham rolls out another questionnaire.  To join in on the fun,  sign in at The Queen's Meme.

In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October. In the United States, the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, loved ones near and far, the blessing of simply breathing everyday. Let's pause for a moment and think about what we're thankful for. My goal this year is to focus on the small things that I should be grateful for - even without a holiday looming. Having said that, this is serious and silly simultaneously!
Enjoy.  Have seconds!

1. If you knew this would be the last Thanksgiving holiday with your family, what would you do differently?  The food would be the same only the location would change.  We love Bass Lake in November and December when it is rain and snow and the Chalet's overlooking the lake have nice warm pot belly stoves and complete kitchens.  It's a great place to snuggle with loved ones or to go alone with a big stack of books.

2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish?

You have to practice with this one to find your preference for hot vs sweet vs alcohol

Brandied Sweet Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cane or maple syrup
1/4 cup water or orange juice
3 tbs.'s brandy
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 tsp. pepper flakes
Place peeled and sliced  sweet potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender, but firm. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet on low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, brandy, maple syrup, water, and salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the sweet potatoes and stir gently to coat. Place in a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes, basting with sauce, half way through. ! 

3. Why did John Smith fall in love with Pocahontas? Was it her beauty or her bravery?  

Well she was a nice enough looking woman, though probably strange to him culturally and certainly very brave to cross 3000 miles to visit a totally foreign culture not to mention dying there and never seeing home again, but he was probably more attracted by wealth and land (Cynics R Us).  Let's let him say for himself:  "motivated not by the unbridled desire of carnal affection, but for the good of this plantation, for the honor of our country, for the Glory of God, for my own salvation... namely Pocahontas, to whom my hearty and best thoughts are, and have been a long time so entangled, and enthralled in so intricate a labyrinth that I was even a-wearied to unwind myself thereou."

4. Fill in the blank: Over the river and through the woods to Queen Mimi's blog we go.  Just keeping my "get out of dungeon free" card in good order. 

5. What is a cornucopia?
A. A foot ailment  B. Freud's hidden coping strategy  C. a Enuch with a very large vocabulary D. third cousin of Onomatopoeia

Absolutely D.  But it's an even closer relative to the Enjambment since it straddles the table and recites poetry.

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown.

6. Find a word that rhymes with Thanksgiving

Banks Living unlike the zombie ones that have completely failed.

7.  Do you have any holiday traditions you'd like to share with us?

After dinner movie fest to get ready for Christmas:  Well we used to do the after dinner It's a Wonderful Life and the musical Scrooge.  Now it is the semi comatose viewing involving the throwing of a pigskin and battering of bodies.

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

22 November 2010

It Seems Like Yesterday


A child was born in February of 1963. Approximately 15 years later, a teacher gave him the assignment to write about the year he was born. Since he wasn’t, as yet, confidant enough to tackle a creative exposition completely on his own, he sought his mother’s assistance. After a little enforced research, he came home with, “I have an idea”. He and his mother sat down together to do an interview and then have him write about the year plus one month from October 1962 to November 1963. Starting Out was the result.


Had she or hadn’t she? Sleeping pills, yes, but what? Thalidomide – the name haunted her and every other pregnant woman in 1962. Those babies! – Her baby? She was scared and would stay that way until next year.

El Camino Real – beautiful as only Northern California can be in the October sun. The radio blared away with the Four Seasons’ “Sherry”. They were young, a baby on the way, and happy – at least on this day. The President interrupted the music, “Today I have ordered a blockade of Cuba!” Suddenly their bright world was dark. They waited. The world waited. Six days later the Russian ships turned around and the sun came out again, but for how long?

“You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more” sounded like as good a promise as any following the November elections. Vaughn Meader had them all laughing with his satire of the Kennedy White House, “Goodnight Jackie. Goodnight Bobby. Goodnight Ethel. Do you have your bear, Teddy?”

“Puff the Magic Dragon” welcomed a baby boy into the world on February 21, 1963. His mother counted fingers and toes in time to the music. He was beautiful, perfect, loved. She was politically aware and terribly liberal, but at this moment, it didn’t matter that the South was in an uproar over integration or that the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the right of peaceful assembly. Christopher Alan was here and safe. Let the world take care of itself. She had bigger responsibilities.

The baby went to the movies right along with mommy and daddy. An infant-seat made seeing “The Birds” and “Lawrence of Arabia” easy. And to think it wasn’t that long ago that she thought Hula Hoops were the greatest invention ever!

Divorce was becoming the great American pastime. She was just one more casualty that May. There were lots of casualties – her kind and the “advisors” in Viet Nam. It was a time of commitment and she was supposed to care about the Green Berets, care about the Peace Corps, care about LSD and Timothy Leary, care about so much, but there just wasn’t time. Being a single working mother took all of her hours. Given her choice of trends to lead, this wouldn’t have been it. She and Tony Bennett had both left their hearts in San Francisco. Rod McKuen might think that love had been good to him. She disagreed. Oh well, McDonalds sold 15-cent hamburgers. At least she didn’t have to cook.

JFK was a Berliner at the wall, and Camelot was in full swing. Pope John XXIII died; the world mourned a good man. Fanny Hill fought its way through obscenity trials, while Bob Dylan led the war protesters with “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Martin Luther King had a dream near the Washington Monument – too late for Medgar Evers murdered the previous June and not in time for the four young girls bombed to death in church the following September. The US/USSR hotline was installed, and the “red phone” became a symbol of the unthinkable. Could anything else happen in this crazy year?

Los Angeles baseball fans were in heaven, and Kofax and Drysdale were patron saints! A four game sweep of the World Series had the city pretending it was New Year’s Eve, as confetti and champagne rained down on the heroes! Those beautiful no-hitter bums!

Her child was ten months old now, but for three days he slept almost constantly as if he understood that this was no time for a baby to cry. The tears fell uncontrollably from much older eyes. The drums of November marked a national tragedy. “Where were you when you heard?” would become the question a generation could answer. Kennedy dead and two days later his accused assassin died “live” on TV. On the television: the flag, the riderless horse, and the constant pictures of a nation stunned by grief. She hovered over the sleeping infant, her tears dropping on the blond curls. What have we done to you? What will become of you? Was there any hope left for the world or this new person? They would have to wait and see – together.

For those curious as to “then what happened”, Christopher is now past 40. He retired from the U.S. Army and now lives and works in the state of Washington. He is divorced with one son. His parents remarried only to divorce again seven years later (another story). He has a sister and two beautiful nieces.

His mother is a retired writer and editor and is still happily single. As with most of the country, she is no longer a sixties liberal and has settled somewhere around fanatically moderate Democratic/Republican: Social issues left, fiscal issues right with more than enough exceptions in between to give anyone political schizophrenia.

20 November 2010

Everybody Has A Story

I was watching Australia for the upteenth time and heard its opening about stories.  It all fits in with my love of history and genealogy and this movie.  Everybody has a story to tell that is more interesting than who they are, where they are, what they have ... all of the details of their everyday life. "In the end all you have is your story and all you can do is to try to live a good one."  So let's hear your stories or at least the bits and pieces of what you have lived.  A friend of mine on Face Book published 50 things about me which is a good place to start.
May not get to 50, but let's see where this takes us.

  1. I attended more than 21 schools in 12 years.  Delinquent Parents are a drag.
  2. No one other than relatives know my full name.  Attacked by Scots while still to young to defend myself.
  3. The only person who has known me that I'm still in contact with since childhood is my cousin Wanda
  4. I learned to read when I was three, and my first book was The Bumper Book which is now worth a whole lot of money for the original
  5. My 50th High School Reunion is next year (2011).  Still  debating if I want to go.
  6. Silly as it may seem I'm only 36 (see previous blog articles about celebrating anniversaries)
  7. Sarah started this so "Sarah Says" is appropriate.
  8. I should have taken up drums
  9. I have no allergies of any kind
  10. The last of my "best friends with Privileges" just died
  11. I hate celibacy and I'm stuck with it.
  12. I "babysat" an Oscar.  It's fun to know you once held the statuette in your hands.
  13. I once saw Donald O'Connor dance in person
  14. Mikael Baryshnikov gave me his autograph on a Brodsky poem "Classical Ballet" dedicated to him.
  15. My favorite color is green 
  16. Lost my vocal chords to smoke inhalation.  
  17. Still love Karaoke
  18. If you ever do Pub Quizzes, Cash Cab or Trivial Pursuit, you want me on your team
  19. My theme song is "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home"
  20. Date a musician and get your own "walk on" music.  So for Sarah because she started this:  You Only Live Twice
  21. 30 more "about me" stories ... More later. Feel free to start your own 50

100 Books BBC Believes You Should Have Read

Pleasantly surprised that I have read most of these and many are among my favorite books.
Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds.  

 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
 6 The Bible
 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 
 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
 34 Emma -Jane Austen
 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
 36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
 40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne 
 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez  
 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
 47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
 48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
 52 Dune - Frank Herbert
 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 
 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
 55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 57  A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
 58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
 69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker 
 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75 Ulysses - James Joyce
 76 The Inferno - Dante 
 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
 78 Germinal - Emile Zola
 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
 80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
 82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
 83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
 84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
 85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
 86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
 87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
 92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
 93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

19 November 2010

5 On Friday - 1914 - 1918

Once more Friday and the great meme from Trav's Thoughts:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.
2. Go to Playlist.com to make your play list of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.
2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. And don't be discouraged if the Embed code won't work. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.
3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.
4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

Since last week was Veterans Day originally Armistice Day, I thought it might be interesting to turn on the way back machine again for some of the songs of WW I.

How You Gonna Keep 'em Down On The Farm - Eddie Cantor - If you are young enough to never have seen Eddie in movies or on TV - Look for more videos with dancing on You Tube.  Also, here is a great site with details about this song as well as lots of info on First World War dot Com.

It's A Long Way To Tipperary - John McCormack

Mademoiselle From Armentieres - Feel free to sing any of the x rated versions you know

Over There - George M. Cohan received the Congressional Medal for this song.

Roses of Picardy - One of the most sentimental here sung by Mario Lanza

Just a reminder that the music was wonderful --- The War was not.

Green Fields of France - The Fureys

17 November 2010

Shuffling Along

Stole this meme from Coopernicus at Security is for Cadavers  mainly because it was easy and fast.

(1) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer. (2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. (3) Write down the first 25 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please….
  1. Uncloudy Day - Willie Nelson
  2. Just Like Jesse James - Cher
  3. Take It To the Limit - Eagles
  4. Nothin' Left To Say - Vince Gill
  5. Not Like Me - Amanda McBroom
  6. Malted Milk - Eric Clapton
  7. Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton
  8. Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams
  9. Y Tu Que Has Hecho? - Buena Vista Social Club
  10. Fools Rush In - James Burton
  11. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To - Helen Merrill
  12. Andalusia - Joe Satriani
  13. New York State of Mind - Barbra Streisand
  14. Only A Dream - Mary Chapin Carpenter
  15. On Broadway - The Drifters
  16. Questa O Quella - Rigoletto Act I
  17. Maria Elena - Ry Cooder
  18. Crazy She Calls Me - Rod Stewart
  19. Wimoweh - The Weavers
  20. You Belong To Me - Jo Stafford
  21. Sunset Grill - Don Henley
  22. Romeo and Juliet - Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
  23. I Threw It All Away - Bob Dylan
  24. Where The Sun Never Shines - Peter Allen
  25. Initiation - Tommy Emanuel

15 November 2010

Queen's Meme #60!

Welcome to the Queen's Meme #60! 
Since we are having a meme birthday I thought I'd wax celebratory. Do you mind?
Let's walk in the footsteps of one Mark Twain, who said..." 
"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not."

So imagine you're 60 even if you're not and answer the questions. 
There will be cake.
I promise.

To join in, hop on over to to Meme Headquarters to sign in.

1. When I'm 60 I hope to know more about time travel and less about politics except for past events.

2. At my 60th birthday party, I can only invite 3 people. 

They are Son, Daughter, and first Granddaughter.  They are my best friends and I really enjoy their company.  Now if you want the fantasy party guests:  Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott and someone really yummy for desert.

3. "To me old age is always fifteen years older than I am" said Bernard Baruch.

What do you consider old age?  The 12th of Never

4. Tom Stoppard was overheard saying, "Age is a high price to pay for maturity."

What does "maturity" mean to you at any age? Learning to play responsibly.

5.  Joan Rivers said "Looking fifty is great… if you're sixty.".  Do you worry about age lines and wrinkles?  -

Not really, but I'm finally getting the two vertical ones by the mouth that make you look as if you are frowning - Those are going to get the "be gone" treatment.

How do you plan to preserve your wonderful selves? Exercise and peaceful thoughts.

6.  Comment on this quote by Euripides
"If we could be twice young and twice old we could correct all our mistakes."

Every time I start to go down the road of "If I knew then what I know now", I realize all the things I would have missed.  Make amends for the past if you must, but don't live there.  Keep going forward wherever that road takes you.

7.  Pablo Picasso said, "One starts to get young at the age of sixty and then it's too late."

What do you do now to stay young and enjoy your life?  I picked the year when everything was wonderful and decided to hang on to that feeling.  As a result I no longer have birthdays.  I have anniversaries of my 36th birthday.  I plan to die of advanced old age when I am only 36.