Saturday, February 28, 2009

RUNNING WITH A LEGEND

During the 1980's and 1990's I used to be active running in various road races on Cape Cod. These races would be generally held on weekends in the various towns and would have different distances depending on the race course layout with a few of the races being held very near my home in Dennis Port.

One memorable race participant was Johnny A. Kelley, aka as "Mr. Marathon". John was born in 1907 and died on October 7,2004. A Dennis resident, John was most associated with The Boston Marathon as he ran that famous race a record 61 times; finished 1st in 1935 and 1945, and 2nd a record seven times.John participated in the 1936 Munich Olympics which were hosted by Adolph Hitler and finished 18th in that Olympic Marathon. John was named the runner of the century. John was active in the local road race circuit. I have run the Johnny Kelley 5K and 10K Road Races in Hyannis a few times.

John also ran frequently in the Dennis Road Race which ended at the Johnny Kelley Memorial Recreation Center in South Dennis. I can remember running in this race and seeing him pass me on the course when he was a youngster of about 85 years of age. He always had a sunny disposition. When this particular race was finished and we were gathered near the pavilion which bore his name for the awards ceremony and prize drawings the runners would say "Johnny, sing us a song!". John then would sing the song "Young at Heart".

Some people say that the streets of heaven are "paved with gold". I hope you brought a comfortable pair of running shoes with you as you travel your journey through the highways and byways of your afterlife adventures.

Friday, February 27, 2009

CALCUTTA RICKSHAW


Calcutta, India rickshaw. No messy gas fumes. No oil required. Zero carbon tax exposure.
Hi Pedro, What do you say? Pedro says, "Read the story below "The Flying Florida Suitcase"

THE FLORIDA FLYING SUITCASE

My Mom and Dad used to take us by car from Simsbury, Connecticut down to Florida during winter school vacation week. We would visit Grandpa and Grandma Alice who lived in Jensen Beach. Jensen Beach is the located in Martin County on the east coast and has the highest elevation in Florida. Across the causeway from Jensen Beach is Hutchinson Island.

We would have our Ford station wagon with the imitation wood panel siding packed for the trip with some of our suitcases strapped to the top of this car as there were four kids and my parents inside the car and not enough room for the luggage inside the car. My Mom would pack up food for the trip along with a couple thermos containers of coffee. My parents would wake us up at some ungodly hour like 4 or 5:00 am to start our southern vacation journey.

The trip from Connecticut to Florida is over twenty-four hours long and my Dad would drive pretty much the whole way. He was fueled by the coffee. My Mom would drive for an hour or so but my Dad would get too nervous when she drove that he didn't really relax so he would take the wheel again. We would stop for gas as needed and use the rest rooms, but other than that and maybe one twenty minute rest break on a highway rest area this trip was a non-stop affair.

I can recall some of the billboards we would see along the trip. "South of the Border" was the most memorable series of billboards along the way as it seemed that every thirty miles or so south of Washington, D.C.; there would be a billboard that would say "Pedro says" and then something funny. To this day I remember the "Pedro says" billboard which said "Pedro says, What's the weather like in Mexico? (answer) Chili today and hot tamale." South of the Border located in Dillon, South Carolina had a large restaurant along with a huge shop where you can buy gifts and fireworks.

On one memorable trip we had just entered Florida on the turnpike around mid-morning when we heard a loud THUMP which seemed to come from the top of the car. We all looked out the rear window of the station wagon and saw that one of the leather suitcases had become dislodged from the roof rack and had opened up on the highway with the wind scattering clothes all over the road and the side of the road. We stopped the car, which was going about seventy miles an hour at the time, and pulled to the side of the turnpike. My Mom, along with my brother Scott, and sisters Janet and Leeanne, and I ran back along the roadside to the area where the suitcase had fallen and commenced picking up the windblown articles of clothing and dodging the oncoming traffic. I imagine we may have looked like a small army of scavengers at the time. We reclaimed the suitcase and clothing with no casualties so we continued on our way.

I don't know why that suitcase thought it could fly. Perhaps it didn't know about gravity. If that suitcase wanted to fly it should have waited until it was on a plane.

OLD NEWGATE PRISON

Back in my high school days in Simsbury, Connecticut my friends Bill DeMallie, Tony Trocchi, Mike Paine, Larry Van der Jaght, and I decided to ride our bikes to the Old Newgate Prison in East Granby. Granby is a town next door to Simsbury.

The Old Newgate Prison was originally a copper mine which started production in the early 1700's. John Higley struck copper tokens for the years 1737-1739 with these coins becoming known as the Granby tokens or the Higley coppers. Some of these coins had the phrase "value me as you please" and other coins said three pence. In 2005 one of these coins was offered for sale according to Numismatist for $240,000.

Old Newgate Prison started operating as Connecticut's first prison for burglars, horse thieves, and over all scoundrels in 1773. During the Revolutionary War Tories and political prisoners were held in this facility which closed as a prison in 1827 being deemed inhumane and too costly to operate. This historical site is now owned and operated by the State of Connecticut and available for visitors to tour these facilities.

Being an adventurous group, my friends and I embarked on exploring this underground prison. Descending into this dark,dank,depressing, dungeon-like cramped cave every visitor was given a small map of the established touring route. We noticed on this map that there was an additional sketch of another section of this former prison that wasn't part of the tour. We decided it would be fun to get the whole tour and explore this area which was roped off and had "danger,keep out, warning hazardous" and other suggestions. We had come equipped with our own flashlights and proceeded to explore the roped off section where some parts of this area were only about three to four feet high so we had to crawl our way through. We completed our thorough inspection of the prison undetected and then continued on to the approved pathway.

So, we fully experienced this prison mine and with our improvised tour of the facilities we felt we got a better value from our admission fee. The prison is always in the 50's in temperature so it is a cool place on a hot summer's day. The prison, I imagine was not so cool for the inmates during the 1700's. Back then there was no electricity, no television, no weight room, not even a law library so prisoners couldn't even educate themselves on how to overturn their conviction.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GOOD LUCK JIMMY C.

Good luck Jimmy C. on your quest for victory.
Tonight the UCONN Huskies play the Marquette Golden Eagles (Warriors) out in Milwaukee in college basketball as Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun currently has 799 career victories and is going for victory number 800.

YouTube - Laurie Anderson - O Superman

YouTube - Laurie Anderson - O Superman O Superman, O Laurie. Performance artist Laurie Anderson in this song O Superman uses her arm and hand throughout this video at times to represent the shape of Cape Cod as the Cape is often represented as an outstretched flexed arm with the arm being held at a 90 degree angle. Cape residents sometimes perform this pose and then point where on the arm they approximately live.

The talented Laurie Anderson has invented a couple of instruments. She developed a tape bow violin in 1977 which uses recorded magnetic tape on the bow instead of horsehair and a magnetic tape head for the bridge. She also worked to develop a six foot "talking stick" which can access and replicate any sound.

Laurie still performs. She lives in New York City and married Lou Reed on April 12, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado.

Way to go Laurie. Keep up the good work and "representing" the Cape even if you do this unintentionally.

TOP OF THE CAPE COD WORLD

A view from the top of Scargo Tower (see article below) of Scargo Lake and Cape Cod Bay beyond.

GETTING HIGH ON CAPE COD

Scargo Tower located in Dennis, Mass is the highest point on Cape Cod. They say on a clear day you can see from the bridge all the way to Provincetown. The current stone tower was built in 1901 and stands thirty feet above the 160 foot elevation of Scargo Hill. After climbing the 38 circular steps inside the tower you are "on top of the world" from a Cape Cod perspective.

Below this tower is Scargo lake which one legend contends was formed from the tears of a "Native American Princess". That would have to be one heck of a "crying jag" to fill a lake. I have heard of the song "Cry Me a River" but never "Cry Me a Lake".

Although 160 feet in elevation isn't too high in the scheme of world events; when you consider that all of Cape Cod was formed from the melted remains of a retreating ice age glacier, then the Cape as a whole is quite a large remaining dirt pile.

So, if you want to get high on Cape Cod; you can't get any higher than Scargo Tower.

THE BREWSTER INN & WOODSHED

As described below in "Jungle ball at the Woodshed" here is a photo of the Brewster Inn and Chowder House & the Woodshed as seen from Route 6A in Brewster, Mass on Cape Cod.

JUNGLE BALL AT THE WOODSHED

The volleyball court is empty now on this mid-winter afternoon. In the summer its a jungle out there. On route 6A in Brewster, Mass on the Cape in back of the Brewster Inn and Chowder House and the Woodshed entertainment barn: summer volleyball is a tradition that has stood the test of time. Though some people retire from the game over time there are new players that take their place.

As the volleyball net is put up each Wednesday during the summer season weather permitting around 6:00 pm the games begin on this sand court at the extreme end of the Woodshed parking lot. The court is surrounded on three sides by thick brush, pricker bushes, poison ivy plants and a mucky swamp like area in back of the court. The trees and brush of course fill in with their seasonal growth more than is found in this winter photograph.

During the summer the games last until it is determined that no one can see anymore from the lack of sunlight and pitch black darkness. In addition to the hazards surrounding the court at sunset, mosquitoes and small gnats try to make a meal out of the volleyball players.

Time outs are taken after the end of each game where players take a sip of their beverage of choice. Unscheduled time outs occur when the volleyball lands in up in a tree or goes into the "jungle" areas around the court. These out of bounds balls are an adventure to say the least and many a player returns with a wet mud covered volleyball along with various battle scars from getting tangled in the pricker bushes.

When darkness arrives everyone usually goes up to the Woodshed for some "yellow beers" at the bar. The Woodshed has a tee shirt available with a picture of a monkey on the front of the shirt and the slogan "Got Wood?" on the back side of the shirt. The bar area is rustic with wood beams and wood siding, a large neon Budweiser sign over the bar area, a small stage and dancing area, and a large deck area in back of the bar. On most nights there are good bands playing such as the Dave Foley band with his rockabilly music styling.

On some evenings "Downtown Kenny Brown", one of the long time volleyball players at the Woodshed, will be asked to come up and play harmonica with the band of the night.

So, the volleyball games (jungle ball) and the Woodshed bar are not fancy but fun. Come on down if you are in the area and you are sure to become a "shed head". See you soon Brad, Stacey, Ken,Brian, John, Elwood, Todd, Fran, Jim, Greg, and everyone else. As the days get longer the time gets shorter until the games begin once again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

YouTube - stevie ray vaughan & dick dale pipeline

YouTube - stevie ray vaughan & dick dale pipeline Surf's up. Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughn get down.

YouTube - Dick Dale & The Del Tones "Misirlou" 1963

YouTube - Dick Dale & The Del Tones "Misirlou" 1963 Earlier video of Dick Dale. Check out the "twisty blonde".

YouTube - Dick Dale - Nitro

YouTube - Dick Dale - Nitro A few years ago on Memorial Day weekend I went up to the Wellfleet Beachcomber on Cahoon's Hollow Beach with my brother Scott and his wife Leslie to see the legendary Dick Dale "The King of the Surf Guitar". Dick is a man of tremendous energy and has a unique percussive way of playing his right handed Fender Stratocaster guitar upside down and left handed.

Born in Boston in May of 1937, Dick Dale has had a memorable career. He invented surf music in the mid-1950's. Leo Fender of Fender guitars gave Dick an amplifier along with the guitar and Dick kept blowing them up as he would play too loud with some of the amps bursting into flames. Dick blew up 49 amps and speakers according to Dick Dale's official website until Dick and Leo Fender went to James B. Lansing (JBL) and between them they designed a series of amps that could produce the sound that would pulsate into the audience. With these new amps Dick Dale became "The Father of Heavy Metal" according to Guitar Magazine.

One of Dick Dale's memorable songs is "Misirlou" which was the opening theme song for the movie "Pulp Fiction" in addition to being features in Domino's Pizza and Mountain Dew commercials. At the 'Comber performance during one of his songs Dick walked out of the building and climbed a large sand dune next to the building and was playing along with his bass player and drummer the whole time with the sunset and the ocean to his back and the wind swirling around him. This was quite a vivid scene and combined with the LOUD and frantic pace of his music it definitely added up to a memorable moment.

Dick Dale lives in the high California Desert at 29 Palms and has had as pets a jaguar, a lioness, and a Bengal Sumatran tiger. His son Jimmy often tours with him. He recently is recovering from a bout of colon cancer and surgery and is scheduled to resume touring starting on March 4th.

If you have a chance to see this living legend, don't pass it by.

YouTube - Barney - I Love You

YouTube - Barney - I Love You I read recently in an article on the Investor's Business Daily editorial page that one of the techniques used to interrogate terrorists captured in Iraq, Afghanistan, and those housed in Guantanamo is to play music by recording artists such as Christina Aguilera, Rage Against the Machine, Death Cab for Cuties and Drowning Pool.

In addition to the "pop divas and head banging" music; interrogators also use the song by that lovable dinosaur "Barney" as he sings "I Love You". Click the link above if you dare to see and hear this cruel and unusually punishing sound. Consider this song to be a weapon you can use if a terrorist comes knocking on your door and pretends that he is selling cosmetics or magazine subscriptions. Once you subdue this person you can torture him by playing the Barney song over and over again until Homeland Security personnel arrive to take this terrorist off your hands. Although extreme, your efforts can help us win this war on terrorism. We need the help of everyone so PLEASE download this song to help your country in this time of war.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Alliance For American Quilts

The Alliance For American Quilts Stitch by hand stitch my Mom in 2007 made a quilt that placed 1st in New England and 3rd in the nation. Enclosed is an interview and photos of this award winning quilt sponsored by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution.)

"WHO COME?"

There is a legend that a Native American used to live under this pile of granite boulders left behind from when glaciers covered Cape Cod. This is now known as Hokum Rock located in Dennis, Mass as the Nobscusset Indian used to say "who come?" when a stranger would approach these rocks.


YouTube - A Christmas Story

YouTube - A Christmas Story Courtesy of Warner Brothers a memorable scene from the 1983 "A Christmas Story" movie as narrated by Jean Shepherd.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

In 1975 I was co-chairman of the Media, Film and Lecture committee of the University of Connecticut Student Union Board of Governors at the main campus in Storrs, Connecticut. One of the performers we hired that year to entertain the fellow students was a man named Jean Shepherd.

Jean Shepherd was perhaps one of America's finest story telling raconteurs who had a long over twenty year radio career at WOR radio telling humorous and satirical forty-five minute stories mixed in with playing the kazoo and "Jew's harp" to various songs and making fun of the sponsor's advertisements on his show. In addition to his radio show Jean wrote countless magazine articles for Playboy,Newsday, The Village Voice and many other publications. Jean wrote books such as "In God We Trust,All Others Pay Cash, "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories,and "A Christmas Story."

"A Christmas Story" was made into a movie of the same name. Perhaps you have seen it. "Ralphie" a nine year old living in Indiana wanted a "Red Ryder BB gun" and everyone would tell him he'd shoot his eye out. In this movie Ralphie and friends "triple dog dared" Flick to stick his tongue to a frozen flag pole.

Jean did hundreds of live shows on college campuses. This is how I came to meet "Shep". Our show was held at Von Der Madden auditorium. I was in charge of introducing Jean at the start of his performance. My friend Bill Wetmore, an English major and a personality in his own right, and I decided before the show to do a unique introduction. Bill grew up in Piscataway, New Jersey and was a huge fan of Jean Shepherd.

As the show was about to start I took the stage and it went something like this: " Good evening everyone. On behalf of the Board of Governors welcome to an evening with Jean Shepherd and thanks for coming. And now, I'd like to introduce......The man who is going to introduce Jean Shepherd.....yes, our own Bill Wetmore from Piscataway, New Jersey, exit 9 off of the New Jersey Turnpike .....take it away Bill!!

Bill then went through Jean's accomplishments and how he was a long time faithful listener of "Shep". Jean then took the stage and did a non-stop story for about an hour with many detours throughout his story but tying everything together at the end of his spellbinding soliloquy.

After the show was over we took Jean to "Huskies" which is an on campus college hang out that serves pitchers of beer, pizza, hamburgers, and other essential college "health" foods. In our group was Bill, Jean, Lee Moreson my co-chairman, Winston Wilson our student advisor and me. We ordered a couple pepperoni and mushroom pizzas and a couple pitchers of beer.

Jean was seated next to his "groupie" Bill and they were talking away. Bill was telling Jean about his" streaking" experiences. Bill may or may not have started the "streaking" experience which swept the nation at that time. For sure, Bill at the very least introduced streaking to UCONN. Bill was telling Jean that he considered streaking to be an "art form" and not to be indulged in for exhibitionist purposes.For example, for Bill's Valentine's Day streak he painted red hearts all over his body. Jean was intrigued with Bill's comments and was asking Bill at lot of questions about the "art of the streak". Winston said to me, "Rick., I bet he writes an article about this conversation".

About a month later, Winston shows me an article in a magazine called "Streaking As An Art Form" detailing our "Huskies pizza experience". Not bad Jean. He's "The Good Shepherd". Not only did he earn the thousand dollars we paid him for his appearance but also he was paid for his magazine article.

A FAMILIAR VOICE

I have a Bose "wave radio" in my bedroom that wakes me up each morning to music or talk radio depending of course on what station is set each morning. As is not uncommon everywhere, sometimes I experience a power outage at my house. When a power outage happens I have to reset the time on the radio as well as my wake up alarm time. In these cases I usually just reset the alarm time but not the radio station so I have "pot luck" as the station that awakens me is random.

Last year, after one of the power outages, my radio was set to WFCC 107.5, a classical music station broadcasting from Chatham, Mass on the Cape. I'm listening one morning as I attempted to get ready to greet the new day when I hear a familiar voice. I say to myself, "that sounds like my cousin Brad". Sure enough, after one of the symphonic pieces was finished I hear Brad Spear identify himself and give information on the previously played classical selections as well informing the listening audience of upcoming selections.

The human voice is like a personal signature, similar to the unique finger prints or retinal eye coloration. Brad has a deep voice and has had a long history of involvement in the radio industry. Brad and his family live in a suburb outside of Boston. What I couldn't initially fathom was how Brad could commute each morning from his home and be on the air in Chatham as that would be quite a commute each day and the opposite direction of the many people who live on the Cape and commute to Boston.

I spoke with my Dad about hearing Brad on the radio. Dad said that Brad has a recording studio inside his home that his show is syndicated to various radio stations throughout the country. Brad prerecords on his own time musical selections and comments but makes them appear as if it is a live show. So, that explains how I could hear Brad on the Cape. Sure beats commuting to the Cape with the price of gas,commuting time,and wear and tear on a car.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

FESTIVAL RIDE

Three years ago I decided to ride by road bike from Dennis Port up to the Wellfleet Oyster Festival . The Wellfleet Oyster Festival is held each October on the weekend after Columbus Day in downtown Wellfleet. The festival includes numerous arts and crafts merchants who have small tents to show their products along with various food vendors who sell things like kettle corn, barbecue, and the star of the event the Wellfleet Oyster. There are a host of educational activities about the oyster, a road race, along with a stage with assorted talented singing groups to serenade a beer garden and oyster eating area. On Sunday there is a final "shuck off" where oyster " shuckers" compete for cash prizes based on the speed and condition of their oyster shucking.

My bike ride from Dennis Port to the Wellfleet center for the festival was approximately 26 miles. I planned to ride the Cape Rail Trail for this ride. The Cape Rail Trail is a converted railway like which starts in South Dennis and continues north up to the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitors Center in Eastham. The Cape Rail Trail had undergone resurfacing that year .

It was a nice crisp, clear, sunny autumn day when I started out on my bike. The resurfacing and upgrading of the bike path really made for a smooth ride as prior to the resurfacing the trail was showing wear and tear from broken asphalt and bumps caused by tree roots bucking the riding surface. I stopped at the Pleasant Lake General Store on the way to stock up on some water and a beer.

I ran into a problem however once I reached the Nickerson State Park portion of the bike trail. I had assumed that the Cape Road Rail Trail resurfacing project was completed. I encountered big signs which said "Warning Trail Closed, No Trespassing, Danger". I hadn't expected this so I decided that I would play the part of a tourist that doesn't understand English. I decided to go on the closed trail and continue up to Wellfleet. This trail was really under construction, there were some downed trees across the bike path along with some monster pot holes, lots of brush piles, tree branches, rocks,broken asphalt. etc. which needless to say slowed my bike riding speed waaay down. On the bright side I had the bike path to myself and didn't have to worry about dodging other bike riders or walkers as I had the trail to myself. My main worry was to hope that I wouldn't get a flat tire as the trail was more suited for a mountain bike than my skinny road bike tires.

I made it up to the festival though and met my brother Scott and his wife Leslie who drove their Honda Element up to the festival so I didn't have to ride back through the war zone bike path in the dark.

"DISSIN' TAT"

You moron can you. You think you are so cool. I heard you under my kitchen sink imitating a pinhole pipe leak. I'm done with you, you are finished and dead to me.

And that's all I have to say about "TAT".

"YOU LOOK LIKE A RABBI "

My cousin Suzanne Driscoll married Les Ziskis in a wedding ceremony held under a tent in the back yard of her parent's home in Simsbury back in the late 1960's. I think I was a freshman or sophomore in high school at the time. It was a summer time wedding and I remember that they had a bucket full of beer and ice. The beer back then was Piel's beer and the bottles were the wide mouth style which made for faster drinking and pouring. At this wedding, my cousin Roger Spear and I would sneak a beer from the bucket and walk to the front yard of the house away from the backyard celebration and quickly "chugg" the easy pouring Piel's and then walk back to the wedding festivities only to repeat this process a few more times over the course of the afternoon. It was important to commemorate this joyous event and we didn't want to have a technicality like not being of legal drinking age get in the way of toasting the newly wed couple. After all kids in France have wine with their meals.

After Les and Suzanne were married they moved to New York City. Les was previously married to Woody Allen's sister. Suzanne invited my sisters Janet and Leeanne to come visit them and see a Broadway play.

So, Suzanne, Les, and my sisters went to see the play "Play It Again Sam", starring Woody Allen who also wrote this play. After the play was over, they all went backstage to Woody Allen's dressing room to say hello to Woody. Les had grown a beard at that time. My sisters weren't familiar with Woody Allen and thought that they were going to see the comedian Marty Allen.

Everyone is in Woody's dressing room and Woody says to Les; "Les, you look like a Rabbi".

I'll drink to that.

Friday, February 20, 2009

YouTube - Diet Coke + Mentos

YouTube - Diet Coke + Mentos Here's what to do with extra Diet Coke and mentos you may have lying around your kitchen.

"THE RICK....PAUSE... SPEECH"

Back in the middle 1980's when I worked for the Manning family in Dennis Port on the Cape I was in charge of getting group business for their restaurants and motels. One of their restaurants was "The Captain's Clambake Emporium" located on Lower County Road in Dennis Port. The Captain's Clambake Emporium featured the traditional New England Clambake which was cooked in an open kitchen with a custom made stainless steel gas fired steam pit and also a gas radiant char broiler for cooking steaks and chicken.

One of my roles at the restaurant was to welcome each group over our loudspeaker system and give them a brief history of the New England Clambake. From this speech I was given the nickname" Rick pause" by Sue Fregault,one of the waitresses at the restaurant. I will now try to write down the "clambake speech":

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Captain's Clambake Emporium.
My name is Rick....(pause) Shaw and on behalf of the Manning family and everyone that works here we'd like to welcome the West Hartford Seniors to our traditional New England Clambake.

The New England Clambake started around 1620 when the Pilgrims first landed near Province town on the Cape before they continued on to Plymouth where they settled. What the Pilgrims used to to back then is go down to the beach on a nice day and dig a large pit in the sand and fill this pit with large rocks and boulders and then cover these rocks with wood and lumber and start a fire. After the rocks and boulders were hot enough to cook upon they would put the lobsters, clams, and corn on the hot rocks and cover this food with rock weed.

Rock weed is a special type of seaweed with little pods in it. When the rock weed would come in contact with the hot rocks these pods would explode and give off steam and moisture and a lot of the flavoring found in the clambake.

What we have done is brought this process inside as your food is cooking here under this tarp in our custom designed gas steam cooking pit. We still use the rock weed which as I've mentioned provides a lot of the traditional flavoring. For those of you having steak we cook the steaks here on our gas radiant char broiler which gives the steaks the same taste as an outdoor barbecue.

Once again, thanks everyone for joining us and we hope you all have fun.

In a few minutes we will be passing out the clam broth and drawn butter to you at your tables and then after that we will be calling you up table by table for the rest of the clambake once the food is ready."

So...(pause)...That...(pause)...is how I became to be called...(pause)....Rick...Pause.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"COWBOY BLACKJACK"

I have been to Las Vegas (yeah Vegas baby) twelve or thirteen so far in my lifetime to date. On one of these trips during the '90's my friend John Polak and I stayed at the Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

During one of the evenings we decided to play some blackjack at the Riviera casino on the ground level of the hotel. We found a table and started to play. The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand and get as close to the card value of "21" without going over 21. Two cards are initially dealt to each player plus the dealer. In most casinos the dealer has to stay with his hand if he has a value of 17 and hit a "soft 17". If the dealer goes over 21 then everyone wins that has cards in front of them after the dealer"busts". Face cards are valued as ten, cards 2-10 are valued at their face value, and "Aces" are valued as either 1 or 11. There are other things to be aware of in blackjack such as "splitting pairs, doubling down, surrendering" etc. but I won't go into them at this time. In summary there are certain rules and situations in blackjack that are generally accepted as the proper action to do based on the cards you and the dealer are dealt.

At this particular blackjack table on this particular night were two former Dallas Cowboy football players; Walt Garrison and Ed "Too Tall" Jones. Both Ed and Walt have been on Superbowl winning Cowboy teams. I was seated next to "Too Tall" as he was to the right of my chair and John was seated to my left. Walt is often seen on Skoal smokeless tobacco commercials as he says "just a pinch between your cheek and gum".

The casinos offer complimentary drinks to their casino patrons and John and I took up this offer while we were playing blackjack that night. It is common to watch the other players at the table and see the decisions they make with their cards as every card can determine the outcome of both the players and the dealer. "Too Tall", who is a solidly built 6'9" fellow, was making what I thought were poor decisions with his blackjack hands. I would say to him, "Why are you doing that for?; You should stay with that hand when the dealer is showing a 6" and other critiques of his blackjack style.

John was chuckling at my comments I made to "Too Tall ". Lucky for me we weren't on a football field; plus they don't allow tackling in the casino.

"IS THIS A SIGN?"

Last night I was having an Irish dinner (baked potatoes and beer). I checked the potatoes in the oven by sticking a fork in them to see if they were done. I stuck the fork in one of the potatoes and it exploded all over the oven like a mini bomb. That never happened to me before!

In some cultures religious leaders used to read chicken entrails and or the tea leaves to divine future events. Is this exploding potato a sign of the future? If so, how should one interpret this?

What is the meaning of an exploded potato?

"THE NEW MECCA"

Back in 1972 and '73 while attending Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio in addition to frequenting the "Time Out" bar (as described in a previous post), the "New Mecca" located in downtown Marietta was also a popular watering hole. The "New Mecca" was particularly popular on Wednesday nights (hump day) in addition to the weekend nights.

If my memory serves me right, the "New Mecca" had a main front room with also a room off the back to the left of this front room. The Mecca was generally crowded. I remember that they would serve beer in cans and recall seeing piles of Stroh's, Schlitz,Hamm's, and Bush beer cans piled on some of the tables. I remember a few times I would wear my trusty green army jacket to this bar and walk in with two or three beers in my coat pocket. I then would order a beer at the bar and through some sort of magic seem to drink and nurse that beer all night as I would drink but the amount of beer in the can would be about the same.

The "New Mecca", I never found out if there was an original "Old Mecca" or if the name implied that people who couldn't go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia on a Haj should come to this Marietta bar instead for their pilgrimage. From what I understand, the Muslim faith frowns on alcohol consumption; plus I never did see much praying going on at the "New Mecca" as there was no room at the tables with all the piled up beer cans and the aisles were too crowded with people to bow and pray. Plus with the jukebox music so loud one could have never heard the call to prayer.

"SHE'S FROM PROVIDENCE"

My friend John Polak his friend Harry and I all went to the NCAA Men's basketball Final Four tournament held in New Orleans in March 1987. We stayed in a guest house called "A Creole House" located right in the French Quarter. That year the final four teams were Syracuse, Providence, Las Vegas, and Indiana to compete for the national championship.

The French Quarter is a lively part of the city with many bars and restaurants. John was impressed that you could walk right down the street with a 30 ounce beer with no problem from the local police. We strolled through the streets of the French Quarter on one evening when we ran across a "barker" standing outside one of the establishments calling out for everyone to come in to see a female wrestling show as the house champion would challenge any girl in a match and if the challenger won they would win $100.00. A crowd started to form to listen to the promoter and we decided to satisfy our curiosity and go in to see this show.

So, we walked in along with the rest of the crowd after paying a small admission fee and buying a beer; settled in to wait for the wrestling competition. There were rows of folding chairs that faced an elevated wrestling ring. After everyone was seated an announcer came out and greeted the crowd and introduced the house champion. Then, the announcer said, "And now let us meet the challenger Mary Jones, she's from Providence."

"Mary" was a skinny girl with tattoos on her arms and a spiked haircut and in no danger of winning any beauty contest. The girls commenced "wrestling" and the house champion ripped off "Mary's" shirt while they were attacking each other. The crowd was laughing and yelling "put the shirt back on" with some booing thrown in as well. The house champion won the match with "Mary from Providence" left penniless and shirtless from the encounter.

Providence College is a Catholic school based in Providence, Rhode Island. For some reason I don't think "Mary" was from Providence but to this day I remember that phrase "She's from Providence" and her valiant effort to win some cash.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"SWAMP CRACKERS"

During the late summer of 1971 I went on a week long hike on the Appalachian trail in the Green Mountains of Vermont with my Simsbury High School friends Bill DeMallie,Mike Paine, and Larry Van der Jaght. This trip commenced right after a hurricane swept through the Connecticut,Massachusetts and Vermont areas.

Each of us had a fifty to 60 pound pack which included freeze dried food,"gorp" (a trail mix),clothes, sleeping bag,among other items need for our journey through the woods. We stayed each night in the open rustic trail shelters along our route.

Bill was very organized and he had with him a topographic map of our trip which showed the contours and elevation of the land along the trail. During one part of our hike Bill noted that the trail diverged with one path going over the mountains on the main part of the trail with another trail called "the Old Job Trail" following the roaring streams which were swollen from the recent rainfall of the hurricane. Both trails lead to a shelter by a lake about five miles away.

We decided it would be fun to split up into two groups of two people each and hike both trails to see who could reach the lakeside shelter first. Bill and I went on the Old Job Trail while Larry and Mike took the main mountain trail. So, the competition was on.

Bill and I were determined to try to win this challenge so we were hiking along at a fast clip along the roaring waters. We are hiking along for some time when Bill pulled out his topographic map and said "Hmm, we should be coming up to a small bridge soon to cross this stream. " The stream was about thirty feet wide. We didn't want to have to cross that stream without a bridge. We kept on hiking and after a while the trail ended and we started to "bushwhack" through some heavy brush. Even with a map we weren't exactly sure where we were as Bill looked at the map again as said "As far as I can tell we are in this area marked as swamp land."

Bill thought that were better stop where we were instead of traveling deeper into swamp territory. He then said,"The universal signal for help S.O.S is a multiple of three. I have some firecrackers in my pack; we should set them off in multiples of three and then yell out "Hello" and maybe someone will hear us." So, that's what we did. Bill and I are in the middle of the nowhere swamp lighting firecrackers and yelling "Helllloooo anybody there?" There was no answer except for a few crows squawking. I wasn't too worried as we were carrying most everything we would need in our packs. We decided after a while after setting off the firecrackers that we would have to head toward the roaring waters and ford the streams as we couldn't find the bridge and head in the general direction of the lake to meet up with Mike and Larry.

Instead of having to ford one stream we ended up having to wade through three streams of cold and rapid flowing water. We found out later that the bridge we were looking for had washed away from the rising waters after the hurricane. We finally found the continuation of the trail on the other side of the streams. Instead of meeting Mike and Larry around lunch time we arrived at the lakeside shelter around 5:00 pm over five hours later than we had planned so we decided to spend the night there and make up the miles on the trail the next day.

Mike and Larry said they had a leisurely hike through the mountain tops with many breaks. They didn't get to set off "swamp crackers" though.

ROADSIDE TURKEY


While walking today along Depot street in Dennis Port near my house I encountered this roadside packaged young turkey just sitting there peacefully enjoying the morning sun.
I wonder, how did that turkey get there? Who throws away a perfectly good turkey? How come no animals have ripped this turkey apart?
Many questions. No answers.

"THUMPER!!"

Back in 1975-'76 I was a senior at the University of Connecticut living in Crandall D dormitory located in the South Campus section of the school. Crandall D was a four story building with the first floor having a kitchen and student lounge area with three floors of rooms above.

We used to play a beer drinking game called "thumper" back then down in the dining area. "Thumper" started when everyone around a table picked a "sign" as their own. For example one sign could be holding your nose,another grabbing an ear lobe, tapping the top of your head, etc.. My sign was usually crossing my hands across my chest and double tapping the opposite shoulders.

Once everyone had their signs the game was ready to begin. The way the game was played is that first someone does their own sign and then a second sign from someone else in the game. Then the second sign person does their own sign and then a sign of another person and so on. Prior to the start of the game everyone started pounding on the table by hitting the table with alternating right,left,right,left with a continuous open handed rhythm. Then everyone shouted,"WHAT'S THE NAME OF THE GAME? ...... THUMPER!!...HOW DO PLAY IT ?...
THUMP LIKE HELL !!!" and the table thump continued throughout the game.

That's"thumper".The object is to see how long the game can continue as each person has about a second to perform their sign and the next sign they choose as described above.The person who messes up by not performing the two signs within a second is penalized by having to drink some beer (such a harsh penalty). So you have to watch everyone to see if your sign is used as the second sign.

From as distance the game looked like a convention of excited sign language interpreters during a thunderstorm. "What's the name of the game? ......THUMPER!!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"OF COURSE I DO"

On Lower County Road in Dennisport there used to be an Italian Restaurant called Arrico's "La Sicilia". Mrs. Arrico and her son Tony used to operate this restaurant on a seasonal basis. Tony would do the cooking and Mrs. Arrico would be in charge of the "front" of the restaurant by greeting people at the front door as they came and went as well as supervising the waitresses and cashier.

I lived very near to this restaurant as I worked for the Manning family in the mid-70's through the mid-80's and over these years I either stayed in an apartment at the Colonial Village motel or at a small cottage or a small house that the Manning family owned at that time. All of these properties were across the street from "La Sicilia".

La Sicilia wasn't a fancy place but had great homemade sauces and entrees along with Italian pizza with real tomato sauce and thin crust. I swear for a few summer seasons during that time I would have about three pizzas a week; especially anchovy pizza as I was told that eating fish is good for you. Plus, I learned from my Saudi Arabian friend at Marietta College (see Pizza Lover
story) that "Pizza is good food". Tony and his Mom lived in the upstairs living quarters above the restaurant. The Arrico family used to have a restaurant in the North end of Boston.

My friend Jim Byrne would often visit for a weekend when he was living in Brighton and various locations near Boston while he was working for some of the Boston television stations. I took Jim over to La Sicilia on one of his visits and from then on any time he would visit he would say, "Rickshaw are we going to La Sicilia?" I'd say "But of course".

Each time Jim and I would walk over to La Sicilia for a meal we would see Mrs. Arrico at the door. She was very pleasant and would ask how I was and inquire how Mr. and Mrs. Manning were doing as well as Chris and Dick Manning as they had been neighbors for over thirty years. Mrs. Arrico was probably in her late 70's or older in age. Each time I would update her on the Manning family and then say, "This is my friend Jim, from Boston. Do you remember him?" Mrs. Arrico would reply, " Of course I do!"

Do I think Jim will remember La Sicilia, Mrs. Arrico, and the fine Italian meals? "Of course I do!"

"Oh Mandy!"

My friends Tom and Faye Wingard each December host a "Yankee Swap" Christmas Party at their home in Brewster, Mass on the Cape. It is always a fun time with plenty of good food and drink as each guest brings a some food to share with everyone. In addition to the food; each guest brings a small wrapped gift for the "Yankee Swap". This year there were about thirty people at the party as we celebrate the Holiday season and catch up with each other on current events and past memories.

The "Yankee Swap" commences after everyone has had a chance to eat,drink, and be merry for a while. Tom and Faye write numbers down on small slips of paper to represent the number of people at the party and put the numbers into a hat. Everyone then draws a number from the hat to determine the order in which the presents under the Christmas tree are opened. Number 1 is the best number to draw and this person picks first. Number 2 goes next, opens a gift and has the choice of keeping that gift or swapping his gift with the first gift opened. As each new person opens a gift they can keep their gift and exchange (swap) with any other of the previously opened gifts. After everyone has opened all of the swap gifts; then number 1 can swap again with any other gift and that ends the "swap".

It is always funny to comment on each gift as they are opened and also to see people lobby with the other people in the swap to exchange with them if they would rather have a different gift than the gift they have as well as to watch how many times certain gifts get swapped from one person to the next.

This year, one of the gifts was a compact disk (CD) of Barry Manilow's greatest hits. I'm not sure who ended up with this valuable gift but after the gifts were opened Tom put this classic into the CD player and cranked up the music. All of Barry's hits started blasting throughout the house such as "Copa Capana", "I Write the Songs", and the ever popular "Oh, Mandy".

Tom,Faye, Michelle (Shell) Kimmey,Rickshaw(that's me), Richard and his wife, and others all gathered around the CD player and started belting out the tunes at the top of our lungs along with clanking beer bottles together, (particularly on the Copa Cabana song), and blowing into the empty beer bottles in time with the songs along with a general "danceathon."

"Oh Mandy!" That Barry Manilow can really rock this party.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"CHEEKY-WEEKY"

Back in the 1980's while working for the Manning family; I was involved with a restaurant called the Captain's Clambake Emporium which primarily specialized in the authentic New England Clambake with our main source of business being motor coach group tours and other groups. From time to time some of the cooks, and waitresses would have a party and a time or two they would play a game called "cheeky-weeky".

I remember one time everyone was sitting in a circle as "cheeky-weeky "started. Among the people at the party were Rich Coutu and his girlfriend, Peter and Keith Burrell, Julie Burnham and about six or seven other "Clambake" employees. In "Cheeky-weeky" one person starts out saying "cheeky-weeky' and then the person to the left of that person would pinch the cheek of that person and then then person to the left of that person who pinched the second person and so forth until you get to the first person who started the game. Then, in this case Rich Coutu who started the game would say "chinny-whinney"and around the circle we go. Then "nosey-wosey","facey-wasey","earsy-wearsy",continued as further rounds to this game.

I remembered after a while playing this game prior to this. I was seated next to Rich's girlfriend who was seated to my left. I figured after a few rounds that I was "it". You see part of the "cheeky-weeky" game is to select someone and the person next to the left of the "it" person has an ashtray with cigarette ashes hidden from view. As the game is played, one person gets ashes smeared on their cheek,face, chin, ears, face etc.. The" it" person doesn't realize this as they see everyone but themselves in the circle and everyone else can see the "victim's" face being smeared with ashes.

After I realized I was "it", then that was it. Game over." Doney-wonny."

CAFE' 31

My friend John Polak and I are college basketball fans and we used to go to the Big East Basketball tournaments in New York City. John went to Georgetown (Hoyas) and I graduated from the University of Connecticut (UCONN Huskies).

For dinner we would usually go to Cafe' 31; an Italian Restaurant on 31st street right next door to Madison Square Garden. The meals were good and being right next to "The Garden" this was a good place to go so we wouldn't have to worry about being late for the evening basketball games.

On evening we were seated next to a table where Brian Shaw was sitting. I was about three feet away from Brian as the tables there are quite close to each other. Brian Shaw played for the Los Angeles Lakers on the team with Shaquille O'Neil and Kobe Bryant. He later became an assistant coach on the Lakers after his playing days were finished and is an assistant to coach Phil Jackson to this very day. Brian was part of the "ShawShaq redemption" which is a take-off of the "Shawshank Redemption" movie and announcers used to say this phrase when they assisted each other during a basketball game. Brian was having dinner with someone who appeared to be a sports attorney and later a college player from Rutgers University joined their table.

I said to Brian, "excuse me, Is your last name Shaw?" He said "yes". I said "so is mine" and then explained that I recognized him from his playing days. We had a brief conversation and he told be the real story of the relationship between "Shaq" and "Kobe" but made me promise not to tell anyone.

I promised not to tell and though I'm not a "promise keeper"; I'm not telling anyone.

Last night "Shaq" and Kobe " won co-MVP for the NBA All Star game.

WEATHER REPORT

Living in a resort area and working at a resort motel as I do here on Cape Cod, I often have visitors ask me about the weather forecast. The Cape is more fun when the sun is out and the weather is warm. Some guests complain if it is a windy and sunny day and ask if it is always this windy. I think to myself "At least you don't have a rainy day to contend with like some people experience."

Even if I have heard the recent weather forecast I don't always pass this information along especially if the forecast is for bad weather. Plus, the forecasts aren't always correct that is why they are called forecasts, not certainties. I don't want to be blamed if I pass along a forecast that turns out to be wrong so I tell the guests that the weather channel is channel 47 on TV and they give a local forecast every 10 minutes.

The only certain forecast I tell them is the weather report for Mexico. The report for Mexico is always the same; "Chili today and hot tamale."

SO AM I

On the Cape there is another "Rick Shaw" who is a plumber by trade. He has a work van with a picture of a "rickshaw" driver pulling a toilet with the phrase "A royal flush beats a full house." Over the years I received a few calls such as a 6:00 am phone call from Mrs. Hastings in Chatham; "Rick, what time are you coming over today to fix my toilet?" I was tempted to go over to her house and fix the toilet as plumbers get a good rate.

One day I ran into "Rickshaw the plumber" over at the "400 Club" in Harwichport. He was just leaving this eating and drinking establishment and I was just arriving. I said to him,"are you "Rickshaw"? He said "Yes". I replied, "so am I".

I FELT A RAINDROP,THEN ANOTHER

A couple of years ago I had a memorable bike ride. I work part-time at a seasonal resort motel "The Soundings" which is located on the beach in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. I would generally work at the front desk from 3-11 or 4-midnight as this shift frees me to work my other jobs during the morning and early afternoon. I live about a little less than 1.5 miles by bike or car from the Soundings and a little closer than that "as the crow flies". The bike ride usually takes me anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes depending on whether I am riding into an offshore afternoon headwind and the amount of time it takes me to cross the stop signs for Upper County road, Route 28, Lower County Road, and Chase Avenue. I generally don't try to ride as fast as I can on my "Guibilato" (Italian brand of road bike) as this would cause me to perspire too much before starting my work shift unless I am running a little late. Sometimes I imagine that I am in a "time trial" like in Le Tour de France" but usually these thoughts occur to me when I'm on the return ride from the Soundings to home while riding in the dark as the car traffic is less so I usually can ride straight through the stop signs .

On this particular late summer day, the weather was nice, with a chance of late evening thunderstorms. I decided that I would bike in to work. At the end of my shift just before 11:00 pm. I started to hear thunder in the distance and see some "heat lightning flashes" as it had been a hot day.

I decided to try to beat the oncoming storm. I started riding and got about three hundred yards from the Soundings when I felt a raindrop fall on my head, then another raindrop, yet another, and another, at a faster frequency. What to do. Should I turn around and go back to the Soundings or continue on home? I decided to keep riding home.

The rain picked up and the lightning started with flashes every few seconds and nearby booming thunder claps. Soon I was riding through about a half a foot of water as the rain was coming down so fast and hard that there wasn't time for the water to flow off the road. Road bikes don't have any fenders so the bike tires were sending up a rooster tail of water up my back. I had never seen so much water fall from the sky in so short a time as in this cloudburst.

When I finally slogged my way to my house I came to appreciate what the expression "like a drowned rat" meant. It was a dark and stormy night....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Kenseth Car

Matt Kenseth, you just won the Daytona 500 race!!

Are you gonna go to Disney World?

This picture of one of Matt Kenseth's older race cars was taken on 10/4/2008 in South Dennis, MA on the Cape at the Dennis Equipment store.

I was driving back from Hyannis after finishing an insurance inspection when I heard on the radio on "PIXY 103" that they were having a promotion with this Kenseth NASCAR racing car.

I went over and inspected the car. They also had free lunch there with clam chowder, chips, soda, and sandwiches from D'Angelos restaurant as well as free gift bags which included a matchbox size car, a beer holder, a discount on Carhart merchandise among other things. PIXY radio had a "Spin the wheel" promotion and I won a free CD from the group 10 Years.

I bought 3 pairs of Carhart socks with my discount.

What a coincidence that I have photos of this Matt Kenseth car and then he wins today the Daytona 500 which is the "Super Bowl" of stock car racing.

"BUY A WHALER', "BUY A WHALER"

I recently joined "Facebook" a few days ago and today I joined the "Hartford Whalers" group. This reminded me of the "Whale".

My Dad used to work in the insurance field and with Covenant Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut and from time to time he was able to use the company hockey tickets for the New England Whalers during the 70's so we would go see some of the hockey games at the Hartford Civic Center.

The Whalers were in the World Hockey Association and had players such as the Legend Gordie Howe,Gordie's sons Mark & Marty, Wayne "Swoop" Carlton, Johnny McKenzie, the Abrahamsson brothers from Sweden, Nick Fotiou,Ted Green,Rick Ley, Larry Pleau,Tom Webster, Gordie Roberts,Mike Rogers and others. The Whalers joined the NHL in 1979 as the Hartford Whalers.Bobby Hull played his last game of his career as a Whaler. The games were usually good. Nick Fotiou was known as a good "fighter" and could be counted on to start a fight which the blood thirsty crowd always enjoyed.

There was one fan at these games that all of a sudden in the middle of the game would shout real loud "BUY A WHALER, BUY A WHALER" over and over again. I didn't know what that meant
and still don't to this very day.

The Whalers were Hartford's only professional team and eventually moved and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Howard Baldwin the general manager of the Whalers ended up being involved with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

OINKY & MOOS

A couple of years ago there was a restaurant on rt.28 in West Dennis across from the Christmas Tree Shop called Oinky & Moos which specialized in authentic southern barbecue. My brother Scott took me to this place one afternoon for lunch after we had finished a landscape job.

Oinky and Moos had real good pulled pork,brisket, and ribs. The ribs were real big being about 10" long with a lot of meat and fat on the bone. There was a good selection of side dishes such as Cole slaw,potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, bean salad and other tasty treats.

A fellow named Stan ran and owned this business and he was a big fan of blues music as he would play all sorts of blues songs through his speaker system each day. He also was a big fan of "The Blues Brothers" movie and had a lot of memorabilia about this movie on the walls of the restaurant such as wanted posters for Jake and Elwood Blues in addition to other Blues related albums and performers.The Blues Brothers Movie, of course is one of the best movies ever made in my opinion if you like comedy,music, quotable lines, and/or massive amounts of car crashes.

I used to go quite regularly to this restaurant generally around once a week and quite often on Friday evening. I used to see a few of Stan's friends in the back kitchen area on Friday nights.

One memorable Friday night when I came to the restaurant to order a take out barbecue meal Stan said "Hey Rick, do you want to come into the back kitchen and hang out a little with me and some of my friends? I said sure and proceeded behind the counter into the kitchen. Stan introduced me to his friends and handed me a beer. A little while later more of Stan's friends arrived.

I asked Stan if he liked the band Led Zeppelin and he said "Yeah, I'll put some Zeppelin on". He then put on the songs "Dazed and Confused" and "How Many More Times" among others and turned the volume way up. We all were drinking more beer as time went by and all started playing "air guitar and drumming along to Jimmy Paige's guitar solos and singing along with Robert Plant at the top of our lungs.

Stan then presented us with a bunch of ribs, pulled pork, and baked beans that we all attacked like "wild dogs". So, after five or six beers it was time to go home. It was a fun time and totally unexpected for me as I just thought I would be picking up my take out barbecue dinner and heading back to my house.

Thanks for the memories, Stan. "I sure do appreciate it."

Friday, February 13, 2009

YouTube - TALKING HEADS

YouTube - TALKING HEADS In commemoration of Friday 13th and the "Jason" movies I can't think of a more appropriate song title than "PSYCHO KILLER" although that song isn't about any macabre events.

BIRTHDAY FOR DAD DEATH DAY FOR LOBSTERS


On July 19, 2004 we had a birthday picnic in Simsbury,Connecticut for my Dad's 75th birthday. I brought down three over 5lb lobsters from George's Fish Market in Harwich on Cape Cod. My Brothers Scott and Steve chipped in for the lobsters.
Everyone had fun (except the lobsters, they couldn't stand the hot water).
Happy Birthday Dad,
R.I. P. Lobsters.

PATE'S

A few years ago while working at the Soundings Motel front desk a middle aged couple came up to me and asked for dinner recommendations. The man was wearing a corduroy sports jacket. I recommended Clancy's restaurant located on Upper County road in Dennis Port about a mile away from the oceanfront location of the Soundings.

The next evening the same couple came back to the desk and said "That Clancy's was great. Where should we eat tonight". I said "Well, the Ocean House is very nice and you could walk there if you want and you could even have a cocktail or two there as they hardly ever arrest anyone around here for "drunk walking", plus they have an excellent chef there and they are located right on the ocean so you have nice views of the sunset"

The following evening this same couple again wanted another recommendation for dinner as they were very pleased with my first two dinner choices. There is a restaurant named Pate's in Chatham, about twelve miles away. Pate's (rhymes with hates,crates,skates,etc..) has an open pit charcoal grill inside the restaurant and specializes in quality steaks, chops, etc in addition to a good selection of seafood entrees.

I said to this couple, "Pate's is always good" and proceeded to give them directions. However, instead of pronouncing Pate's the correct way; I called this restaurant Pate's ( as in goose liver pate^) with a "straight face" (no smiling).

The next evening I overheard this couple talking in the Soundings lobby to another couple about their fine meal at Pate's (they repeated my wrong pronunciation (as in goose lives pate) to this other couple.

I had a good laugh at this.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

PIZZA LOVER

As a freshman at Marietta College located in Marietta, Ohio; I lived in suite 301 of Parson Hall. This suite had a central hallway with two rooms on each side with a bathroom at the end of the hall. One of the rooms in the suite was occupied by two students from Saudi Arabia, Hussein Bondaji and Hassan Al Utabi.

Hussein was the more outgoing of these two roommates he was always laughing and joking. He wore glasses, had an "afro" style haircut,and liked to go dancing and partying. Hassan was a little quieter, smaller in height than Hussein and had a slight limp with his left leg being kind of locked and he had a slight problem with climbing up and down stairs.

Jim Byrne, also a resident of 301 Parsons composed a little ditty about Hassan which went something like this:

Ha moon, Ha stars, Ha sun,
Hassan Al Utabi, he's our friend from Arabi aaaaaaaa.

Hassan was a pizza lover. He had a poster in his room entitled, "Pizza is good food". On this poster was a list and description of the benefits of each ingredient found in a pizza such as the cheese, tomato sauce, the wheat found in the pizza dough and all the healthy topping found on many pizzas such as mushrooms, peppers, olives, etc.. along with a pictorial representation of each of these ingredients.

Hassan spoke English with a kind of nasal accent. One late night Hassan was talking with Jim about getting a pizza. I was in Hassan's room as well. I said to Hassan, "Hassan why don't you just call a cab to go get the pizza". Hassan " nasaly" replied,which sounded like "Reek Sha you are on asswhole".

Apparently Hassan didn't like my suggestion. I was trying to be helpful given the time of night and his above described walking problems. Oh well.

HOLD THE GLOVE

A couple of years ago while working at the front desk night shift at the Soundings motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod; Claire Contardo who was working with me offered to buy me a take -out dinner at a local restaurant as she had a gift certificate from a local restaurant. We often are asked by the guests where they should go to eat and some places reward us with a gift certificate. That sounded good to me so I said sure.

Claire ordered a scallop roll and I ordered a cheeseburger plate. Claire then waited a few minutes and then drove down to this restaurant to pick up the food at the take-out window.

Claire came back with the meals which were in Styrofoam take-out containers. Claire opened up her scallop roll and found four burned scallops on a small hot dog roll along with some freezer burned tasteless french fries. Not only was the scallop roll and fries bad but also there wasn't much quantity of food with her meal.

I opened up my cheeseburger plate and had the same freezer burned french fries as with Claire's meal. The cheeseburger at first looked OK but on further inspection I found a clear plastic surgical type glove underneath the cheeseburger. I held the glove up to Claire and said "Claire look at this!"

Needless to say it wasn't the best meal I ever had and I didn't even order the glove to be put in with my cheeseburger. Oh well, at least we didn't really have to pay for that meal as we used the free gift certificate.

Next time (if there is one) please hold the glove.

YouTube - Charlie bit my finger - again !

YouTube - Charlie bit my finger - again ! Watch this then see how these two Chaarlie and Harry behave 20 years later.

YouTube - Charlie Bit My Finger Reprise

YouTube - Charlie Bit My Finger Reprise Chaarlie and Harry twenty years later. See above when they were babies.

YouTube - Achmed The Dead Terrorist (good quality)

YouTube - Achmed The Dead Terrorist (good quality) Nothing funnier than a dead terrorist!

YouTube - Laughing Baby

YouTube - Laughing Baby Put on a happy face. Ho ho ho, he,he,he, ha ha ha.

DRINK IT OR ...

During the spring semester of my sophomore year in college after transferring from Marietta College to the University of Connecticut I lived in the Alumni Quad in a dormitory called Belden.
The Quad had four dorms named Watson, Eddy, Belden, and Brock. Each dorm had eight stories with elevators. As it so happened I went to Belden elementary school in Simsbury, Connecticut named after a philanthropist Horace Belden and my grandmother was the one who suggested in Simsbury to name the elementary school after Mr. Belden.

At the end of each floor was a "study" room that we also could use for some fun as well. From time to time on the weekends we used to play water hearts. Water hearts is a variation of the card game "hearts".

Hearts is played with four people each being dealt 13 cards (one quarter of the deck). Each person then passes three of their cards to another player and gets three cards in return. The game starts off with whomever has the 2 of clubs. You have to follow suit as long as you have a card in that suit. The highest suited card takes the other three cards and next puts down one of their cards. After you run out of the suit played you can start putting in some of your hearts or the dreaded queen of spades. The object of the game is to get as few hearts and avoid the queen of spades as you want to get as few points as possible. Each heart counts as one point and the queen of spades counts for thirteen points. There is one alternative strategy called "shoot the moon" where you try to get all the hearts plus the queen of spades. If you successfully "shoot the moon" then everyone else gets 26 points and you don't get any points. The game is played until someone gets 100 points and that person is the loser.

So, we used to play water hearts where the loser of each round would have to drink a quart of ice water or "wear it" by getting the water thrown on you. It was funny to see some of the players in the game start to look like they were pregnant from all the water they had drunk and also to see at what amount of water people started to say; "That's it I can't drink any more water" and then we would chase that person around until they were cornered and could dowse them in ice water.

Needless to say, this game required a lot of bathroom breaks, but they say drinking water is good for you and that most people don't drink enough water.

Not us. We would "drink it ... or wear it".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ON THE REBOUND

My friend Jim Byrne used to work for Channel 56 in Boston, MA in the publicity and promotion department. Channel 56 was the home of the Boston Celtics basketball broadcasts and Jim invited me up to Boston to one of their parties for the television sponsors and clients of Channel 56 held at one of the local Boston hotels.

I came up to Boston from the Cape. I was wearing a sport coat, tie and wool dress pants. At the party there was an open bar, and a good assortment of shrimp and other quality appetizers. Quite a few of the former Celtic basketball greats were in attendance such as Bob Cousey, Tommy Heinsohn, Dennis Johnson and M.L. Carr. These former basketball stars were mingling and talking with the crowd as well as with each other.

In addition to the food and drink there was a regulation size basketball hoop set up with basketballs for everyone to "shoot some hoops". I shot a few baskets myself and then decided I would help out by rebounding and passing the balls out to the other guests so that they could have a chance to shoot some shots.

Things were proceeding with my rebounding until one fateful rebound. On this rebound I jumped up and landed on the ground with a wider stance than normal as if I was boxing out imaginary basketball players in a basketball game. As I landed I heard a rrrrriiippp noise and realized that I had split my wool pants along the bottom and back of the pants.

Luckily, my sport coat hid the "damage" to my pants. On the positive side of things; I was starting to get warm from rebounding and wearing wool pants so the tear in my pants provided a little "air conditioning".

YouTube - Cab Calloway - Minnie the Moocher

YouTube - Cab Calloway - Minnie the Moocher Now "THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT" Cab also did charity work later in life as he helped Jake and Elwood in the Blues Brothers movie try to save the orphanage as Jake and Elwood were "On a mission from God".

"RAY GUN"

Several years ago while working at the front desk at the Soundings motel in Dennis port on Cape Cod we had a motor coach tour from England stay at the motel. That evening one of the English guests came to the front desk and asked me if we had a hair dryer that he could use. We don't provide hair dryers in the rooms but have some hair dryers, irons and ironing boards at the front desk.

"Hair dryer" I said, "Hmm you must mean a ray gun. In America we call these things ray guns" as I then handed him a "ray gun". (see picture)

This same group was very surprised that we didn't have tea in the lobby area.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WESTMINSTER AL

When I was 16 I had a job as a pot washer and kitchen helper at Westminster prep school in my home town of Simsbury, Connecticut as mentioned in my previous post called "Lost in Translation".

While working there all of the kitchen workers used to eat the meal that would be served to the students right before we opened up to serve them. One of the kitchen workers was a pleasant heavy set lady named Jean. Another person was Al who did some maintenance work at the school.

We used to serve chicken a lot and even when we had something different like meatloaf or spaghetti; Al would often say "chicken ain't nothin' but a bird, chicken ain't nothin' but a bird".
I always thought that that was an Al original expression.

About 4 years ago I heard on the radio "chicken ain't nothing but a bird" as a song. I thought to myself "Huh, what do you know about that?"

Below for your listening pleasure is the recording " A Chicken Ain't Nothing But A Bird" as sung by Cab Calloway in 1935.

YouTube - A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But a Bird - Cab Calloway - 1935

YouTube - A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But a Bird - Cab Calloway - 1935

NO EGGS

I remember back when I was two or three years old while living outside of Pittsburgh, PA that my Dad one day brought home a dozen fertilized eggs a little before Easter time. My Dad had built a small chicken coop in the back yard and had purchased some feed bags which were stored in this coop so that we could look forward to having some fresh eggs.. The eggs were incubated in the bath tub under a heat lamp.

After the little chicks hatched and were big enough to be kept outside they were moved into the chicken coop. It turned out that out of the twelve hatched eggs all twelve turned out to be roosters. These roosters were quite aggressive in nature and used to run around the back yard and a few of the neighborhood dogs used to chase them. When we would have a cookout in the back yard a couple of the roosters used to jump up on to the picnic table and start pecking away the the hamburgers and hamburger buns.

My Dad contacted one of the neighbors who said he would slaughter the roosters for him so that we could eat them. It turned out that the roosters kind of had the last laugh in a way because once these roosters were cooked they were tough and stringy from all the exercise they had from being chased by the dogs. Plus, for some reason we had no eggs.

YouTube - Red Peters- Ballad Of A Dog Named Stains

YouTube - Red Peters- Ballad Of A Dog Named Stains The classic sad tragic tale of Grandpa, grandson Bobby, and dog "Stains" sung live on the Howard Stern Show in 1998. Some people even find this song to be funny.

Monday, February 9, 2009

HILLARY IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few years ago I went down to vist my friend Jim Byrne in Olney,Maryland for a long weekend and also to see a college basketball tournament at the then called MCI Center. Olney is within commuting distance to Washington D.C. The Olney Chamber of Commerce motto is "Only in Olney".

Jim at that time liked to go on to his computer and join the AOL chat room discussions concerning Hillary Clinton. Jim wasn't really a big fan of Hillary Rodham-Clinton but he used to represent in the chat room that he was a big supporter of her collectivist ideology just to get a rise out of the other people in the chat room and read the anti-Hillary comments. It is said that a good attorney should be able to argue either side of a case and in this case although Jim wasn't an attorney he was commenting in the chat room the opposite way of his true beliefs.

Jim had to go somewhere on a brief errand while I was there and asked if I could take his place in the chat room and continue his line of pro-Hillary comments. I agreed to do this and had fun with this as I wasn't a fan of Hillary either although I played one on computer.

I would type in comments such as "We need Hillary to raise our kids"," Hillary is the best!!!!!!!!!"
"We are lost as a nation without Hillary", "Hillary knows what is best for us and our country","It takes a village and we need HILLARY to run this village". The responses were something like "You are so stupid and brainwashed", "How can any rational person believe the garbage that Hillary spews?" "Hillary would wreck this country" and so forth.
I would be lol,roflmao, etc... after hearing these responses and continue defending and praising Hillary.

Hillaryis the best!!!!!!!!!!!!! .................NOT

MY SUMMER NEIGHBORS

Back in the summer of 1993 I had some interesting neighbors rent the house next to me in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. Two figure skaters rented this house; Paul Wylie and Nancy Kerrigan.
After they moved in one afternoon I was speaking with Paul and I mentioned that I had heard of and followed his skating career in the past. I hadn't heard of Nancy Kerrigan when they moved in but Paul mentioned that she was rated the third best skater in the world. Both Paul and Nancy were training for the 1994 Olympics at the nearby Tony Kent Area in South Dennis under their coaches Evy and Mary Scotvold.

I used to see Paul and Nancy come and go in their red and white Hondas with Olympic plates. I would also run into Nancy at the local video store and other places around town. Quite often I would see TV camera vans parked at their house.

One afternoon that summer my parents arrived from Connecticut to visit me. I went out to greet my parents and noticed that it looked like Nancy's parents had come to visit her at the same time. We were about 20 feet away from Nancy and her parents but her parents particularly Nancy's mom wouldn't look over to where my parents and I were in my yard. Later
I found out why Mrs. Kerrigan didn't even glance over at my parents and me. While watching the Olympics in January of 1994 there was a segment on Nancy's mother Brenda and how she is legally blind and how she would have to get about 1 to 2 inches from the television screen to watch her daughter perform. So, as radio announcer Paul Harvey would say "that is the rest of the story".

Later of course Nancy Kerrigan became a household name when the Tonya Harding gang whacked her in the knee. "Why ? Why?" did that happen? I don't know.

Nancy ended up finishing 2nd to Oksana Baul at that Olympics by 0.01 of a point. Oksana trained in Simsbury,Connecticut which is where I went to High School.

"SWEET CAROLINE"

In the fall of 1972 as a new freshman college student at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio I lived in suite 301 of Parsons Hall. Chris Grover was my roommate. In November of that year I developed a touch of bronchitis,pharyngitis, and a little bit of laryngitis.

Chris was a fan of the singer Neil Diamond and used to play some Neil Diamond records in the room on a small record player. One of the songs was a live recorded version of "Sweet Caroline".
In this live song Neil starts to sing with a really deep and low voice. My normal voice can't be considered to be on the deep and low range; however with my "itis" conditions mentioned above I was able to sing at the same deep level as Neil Diamond!

I saw Neil Diamond last night on the 51st annual Emmy awards on the CBS network and seeing him again after over 35 years brought back this recollection. He's had quite a long career.

I was a fan of "Deep Purple" back then with their classic hit "Smoke on the Water". DA DA DA
DA DA DADA DA DA DA DAADAA.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

LAST MAN SITTING

I went on a week long vacation to Freeport in the Bahamas on Lucaya Beach in the early 1980's. I was there on a package tour from TNT vacations that included air and hotel.

The manager of the hotel hosted a cocktail party for our tour in the hotel ballroom with complimentary rum punch and assorted snacks. For entertainment they had a game of musical chairs set up and asked for about twenty volunteers to participate in the game with the prize for the winner being a bottle of champagne.

Musical chairs involves walking as a group single file around and around a line of chairs while they have music playing and then sitting in one of the available chairs when the music stops. There is always one more person than the amount of chairs so that the person who doesn't have a chair to sit in is eliminated from the game and then the game continues with one less chair and so on until you are left with one chair and two people and the winner is the person who is sitting in the final chair.

I entered the musical chair festivities. They started playing some calypso music and then of course stopped the music and we were on our way through the elimination process. I used to be a drummer so I started to pick up a pattern of how long each music session was before the break to scramble for a seat as they played the music for approximately the same amount of time before each pause. Most people during the contest would move forward towards the first available empty chair they found.

The game continued and a couple of times I pulled out the "reverse pivot" move which is when you pivot and sit in the chair in back of you instead of going for the chair in front. I ended up being the "last man sitting" and won the bottle of champagne. That was fun and I always get a kick out of champagne.

"TIME OUT"

Back in 1972 & 1973 when I was attending Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio my friend Jim Byrne and I used to walk down to downtown Marietta for "happy hour" at the Time Out Tavern on Friday afternoons before dinner.

The "Time Out" was located off of one of Marietta's brick paved streets and was located below street level. There was a sign in front of the "Time Out" of a zebra striped referee signaling time out. After climbing down the stairs you entered a dimly lit bar with tables. Each table had a bowl of salted peanuts in the shell. I remember wearing an army jacket to the bar and filling my pockets with the salted peanuts for dormitory snacks later in the week. The beer of choice at the "Time Out" was Stroh's beer which is "America's only fire brewed beer". Stroh's beer jingo was "from one beer lover to another Stroh's beer." The Stroh's beers were called 3.2 beers as the alcohol percentage in Ohio for 18 year old students like ourselves was less than a "typical" beer which has around 6 percent alcohol. I can remember going back to Connecticut for the holidays and drinking a "regular" beer and being amazed at how powerful a regular beer was in comparison to the 3.2 beers.

The "Time Out" was generally not too crowded when Jim and I started going there. We spread the word about the wonders of the "Time Out" and over time we were able to increase the number of students who went there for "happy hour."

One afternoon they had a beer drinking contest at the "Time Out" hosted by one of the Stroh's beer representatives. I entered the contest (a chugging contest) at the bar which consisted of standing in front of a full glass of beer and then after the signal to start, raising the glass up to your lips, drinking the beer as fast as you could, then flipping the empty glass over onto the bar.
I won this contest as I analyzed that the quickest way to finish was to bend your knees while drinking the beer during the contest to reduce the distance that the glass had to travel when you flipped over the glass. The contest was close and sounded like pop,pop,pop,pop,pop,pop,pop,pop as people finished their beer. As mentioned, I was the first "pop" and won a beer mug in addition to the free beer in the contest.

Yes, the "Time Out" was a good timeout from the rigorous academic schedule we students faced during each week of studying and learning.