Sunday, May 31, 2009


Yesterday I was helping my brother Scott and his wife Leslie with a landscape account they have in Brewster, Mass on Cape Cod. In addition to mowing and trimming the lawn, edging and cleaning leaves out of the flower gardens; the owner wanted us to take down a dead pine tree from his back yard.

The pine tree was fairly sizable being about fifty feet tall and a couple feet in diameter. Scott had a rope that he threw across one of the upper tree branches and I held this rope while he used his chain saw to fell the tree so that the rope tension would help guide the tree to the area where we wanted the tree to land. The tree came down and I had to quickly jump out of the way by sliding to my left as the tree just missed me. As the tree fell it landed on part of a branch from another tree which snapped off and just grazed me.

Scott then cut the tree up into smaller sections and I took these tree sections further into the woods in back of the owner's house. As I was carrying one of the tree logs and getting ready to throw this log into the woods I had my mouth open and a small piece of wood or tree bark went right into my mouth and straight back to the end of my mouth past my epiglottis (mouth punching bag). I was worried that this piece of wood would get down my throat and get caught in my wind pipe as the wood was too far down my throat for me to try to cough it up. I quickly decided that the best thing to do in this circumstance was to swallow this wood and hope my stomach would take care of it without ripping up my insides.

After swallowing and eating this wood I went to my car and drank some water to try to help the wood along its way. When I got home I drank a couple 'Diet Cokes" as I had seen somewhere that cola products have been known to dissolve metal if the metal is left in the cola for a long enough time. I figured drinking the "Diet Cokes" couldn't hurt and I usually drink "Diet Coke" "Just for the taste of it".

Hopefully for me things will work out "ok" as this is the first time I have eaten wood. So far so good. This wood eating adventure was not planned and I don't intend to eat any more wood in the future. I'll leave any wood in the future that I come across to the beavers and termites of the world. I myself just didn't like the taste.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I remember when my Dad's mother (Grandma Shaw) was visiting our house one evening when she was about seventy-eight years old. That evening she had her first sip of beer in her life. She said "Oh!, that's so bitter!!" and made a face showing her displeasure with her beer sip.

I guess beer is an acquired taste. Some drinks and food you have to get used to though and the first impression can be changed over repeated use. Me, I like beer and appreciate the different types of beer available. I'll drink almost any kind of beer as long as the beer is cold and I'm thirsty.

Perhaps Grandma Shaw should have tried a "Keystone Light"beer as their beer commercials say to drink "Keystone Light" to prevent " bitter beer face". Back then though in the early 1970's I'm not sure if "Keystone Light" was available as" Keystone Light is brewed by Coors Brewery (now Molson Coors) and back then Coors beers were like "gold" as Coors didn't ship beer to Connecticut and the East Coast of America.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Back in 1976 as a senior at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut I was a soldier in the War between the North and the South (Campus). That year I lived in Crandall D dormitory in South Campus.

One early spring evening we in South Campus were invaded by a group of students from the North Campus Towers dormitories. This hoard of vandals from the North swarmed our tranquil southern locale. They stormed into our dorm and set off shaving cream all over our first floor lounge by punching a hole in several pressurized cans. These Yankee Northerners then ran outside as we scrambled outside after the invaders. The Northerners came equipped with trash cans which they filled from a nearby pond known as "Mirror Lake". With their loaded cans of pond scum filled water they came back to our South Campus homeland and proceeded to douse some of our residents with their water as well as throwing colorful water balloons.

It was time for our counter attack. We quickly opened our first floor kitchen and came up with a few crates of eggs. We grabbed our share of these eggs and set out in a pincer movement by attacking with our eggs from two directions. After a few of the Northerners were hit with the eggs they retreated with egg on their face. The Northerners were chicken in the face of our egg attack and peace was again restored to our beloved Southern homestead.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Back in the 1980's while working for the Manning family in Dennis Port on Cape Cod I worked with their tour company called Cape Tours Inc. During the football season we used to offer bus tours up to Schaeffer Stadium in Foxboro, Mass to see the New England Patriots play at some of their home games. In addition to the round trip bus ride we included a grinder sandwich (aka sub or hoagie) and a keg of beer for the trip. We ordered the food from "Hungry Louie's" a local Dennis Port restaurant located on Depot street.

It was a fun time for all as our Plymouth & Brockton chartered bus got to park right close to the stadium entrance so we didn't have to worry about parking and we were among the first to leave after the game and not have to wait for hours to leave the parking lot like some people who drove to the games.

I would have to try to sell any extra tickets we had outside the gate. Back then there was no security team to search everyone before entering the old stadium which has since been replaced by the modern Gillette Stadium under the current ownership of Robert Kraft and his family.
The old Schaeffer Stadium featured aluminum benches with numbers printed on the bench and no real seat to sit in. We all as fans would have to do our best to wedge ourselves into the benches to see the games.

I remember one game was a Monday Night Football game between the visiting Oakland Raiders and the home town New England Patriots lead by quarterback Steve Grogan. Other players of the era on the Patriots included wide receiver Stanley Morgan, offensive lineman John Hannah, and running back Moise Tatupu.

The Patriot's home games back then had a reputation of being quite rowdy as there would be generally a series of fights in the stands for the fans to watch in addition to watching the football game. This particular Patriots/ Raiders game was especially wild from the fan fight perspective. I remember that some people from above our group seats started to throw full cups of beer giving our group a free "golden shower" of beer and this activity spread throughout other sections of the stadium.

This game made such an impression that for quite a long time after there were no Monday Night Football games scheduled at Schaeffer Stadium. So, after this game we all had memories of the sights and sounds of the on field football action as well as the feel of sticky beer soaked clothes and the smell of the beer drenched "golden stadium shower. "

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Back when I was sixteen living in Simsbury, Connecticut in 1970 I had the opportunity to tear down and demolish the "Simsbury Motel" located on Hopmeadow Street next to the bowling alley. The "Simsbury Motel"consisted of eight to ten older army cottages set back from the road in a wooded setting. My Dad was a member of a partnership that owned the land and cottages in addition to a detached house on a separate lot.

It was fun to get paid to tear down these cottages with crow bars and sledge hammers. My Mom and Dad helped with this project along with my brother Scott. I remember that we had a huge fire in one of the cottage foundations and burned up the equivalent of at least one of the cottages as we threw the wood into the fire from the demolition efforts. A few local off duty policemen and firemen were there helping me take these buildings down as they could have all the free wood they wanted but they had to take off the shingles to get to the wood. My Mom's cousin's husband also helped and he took enough wood from the site to build a garage on his property.

I remember paying for beer for all the workers who helped out. I had to drink beer as well that day to make sure that the beer was of good quality and cold enough as I didn't want anyone to get sick from bad or warm beer. I couldn't afford the chance that any of the helpers would be upset with the beer and threaten to walk off the job. I believe that we had Schaeffer beer as that is the "One beer to have when you're having more than one". As a sixteen year old I knew it was important to drink "quality beer."

After consuming my quota of beer I remember going back to the job at hand. I was sufficiently relaxed that when I swung my sledgehammer toward the lower part of a door frame and the wood above my head became loose and landed on my head; I went right down to the ground with the door frame wood on top of me. Had I not been drinking a few beers I might have resisted the impact of this falling wood and hurt myself.

We really trashed that motel; (and I got paid to do it).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


YouTube - Tim Moore - Second Avenue -- [STEREO] - HQ Back in 1975-76 as a senior at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut I was the concert co-chairman of the Student Union Board of Governors. One concert we had that year at the Jorgensen Auditorium was a show with Tim Moore and Blood, Sweat & Tears with David Clayton Thomas.

Tim Moore from the Philadelphia area was and is a singer songwriter who played the piano and recorded songs including "Second Avenue" (see the You Tube link) and "Rock and Roll Love Letter". "Second Avenue" was also recorded by Art Garfunkle of Simon and Garfunkle fame. "Rock and Roll Love Letter" was recorded by the Bay City Rollers.

"Second Avenue " was first recorded by Tim Moore with Art Garfunkle recording this song shortly thereafter. Although Art recorded this song second he sold more records than Tim's "Second Avenue" version. It is always nice to hear and listen to "Moore Music".


Back in 1963 when I was nine years old I had this caricature drawn of me by Roger Webb. I was vacationing on Cape Cod with my parents and sisters and brother.
This sketch was drawn in Provincetown (PTown). I remember that I was elevated above the ground on some sort of platform and that a small crowd gathered to watch the artist at work.
It looks like I'm batting left handed in the drawing. I guess Mr. Webb knew that I could bat either right or left handed while playing baseball although he didn't ask me.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Afternoon rush hour on my living room table as two "rickshaws" are pulling their patrons across the table as "Happy Buddha", a Samurai warrior, and a jade dragon watch and wait to cross the table. Although this is a busy scene there is no pollution created as the "rickshaws" rely on foot power.


After my brother Steve married Caprice in Vail, Colorado in July of 2000, my brother Scott, his wife Leslie and I went to Colorado Springs and then on to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

In Cripple Creek they have a main street with a few hotels and casinos. We stayed a couple of nights at the "Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino". Also close by is "J.P. McGills Hotel Casino" and "The Brass Ass Casino" also on main street Cripple Creek.

Nearby to the downtown area is the "Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine" in Cripple Creek. They have a gold mine tour open to the public of this 1890's original gold mine and we decided to take the tour of America's only vertical shaft public mine tour.

The gold mine descends about one thousand feet underground on a small open elevator with a guide on board. As you quickly descend you see some of the old crosscuts where the miners excavated out the gold. Our guide described the history of the mine and the various extraction methods the miners used to extract the gold. At one point our guide turned out all the lights so we could experience what it would feel like to be buried alive and also to shine a light on the roof and walls of the mine so that we could see the flecks of sparkling gold still embedded in the hard rock. We each were given a rock from the mine that had some gold in the rock.

There is also a gift shop and display area where they show samples collected by Mollie Kathleen when she discovered the mine in 1891. Also, large silvenite and calaverite nuggets prospected by Melvin Anderson are on display.

I imagine gold prospecting requires a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. The downtown Cripple Creek Casinos require a bit of luck as well. So, if your are ever near Cripple Creek, Colorado be sure to take to "Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour" and also visit" The Brass Ass."

Saturday, May 16, 2009


About four years ago just before Christmas I went to a "psychic" in Rhode Island. My sister in law Leslie Shaw paid for this psychic reading for me as a birthday present. The psychic, let's call her "Lori " gives readings at her home.

I drove down to Rhode Island from Cape Cod and was a little bit early for my scheduled appointment. "Lori" was just entering her home with some groceries in her arms when I arrived. Although we had never met before "Lori" told me that her spirit guides were saying to her "tires,tires" as I drove up to her house. It just so happens that I have always had some problems with both of my car's tires as they must have a slow leak in them. Somehow she knew this as I doubt that she could see and discern my tire inflation level from over one hundred feet away with her arms full of groceries.

The "reading" was held in the lower level of her raised ranch home where there is a finished apartment all decorated in shades of pink. As the session began we held hands as she said a prayer and then requested an article of jewelry from me that she could hold during the "reading". I wasn't wearing any rings so I gave her my watch.

"Lori" mentioned that she is clairvoyant and clairaudient. She sees moving pictures an symbols when she closes her eyes and also hears what her spirit guides tell her during each session. For example one image she saw for me was a gold coin which she interpreted that I would have good luck.

One of her spirit guides is a deceased Indian, another guide is a deceased English doctor. The "doctor" does a body scan and mentions areas of the body that the person having a "reading" should pay special attention. Some of "Lori's" observations pertain to the person having the "reading" and some of her thoughts pertain to people close to the person having a reading.
"Lori" mentioned that she saw someone with a hurt knee from snowboarding or skiing. It turns out that my brother had hurt his knee while snowboarding.

Now, how does she do it? I don't know for sure but my guess is that "Lori" is able to tune in to the frequency of her spirit guides which is a higher vibration level than normal human everyday living. Mediums seem to be able to raise their level of consciousness to a higher plane and make the connection.

"Lori" in the past has been on radio programs and is able to give people "readings" from just listening to the voice of the callers.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Congratulations to my brother Steve and his wife Caprice on the birth of their daughter Kenzi Julianna Shaw on May 9th at 2:20 pm.
Kenzi was born during a full moon time period. Here is a photo of her taken by" Grandpa Jim".

Thursday, May 14, 2009


My sister in law Leslie Shaw became a bee keeper this week as she received twenty thousand bees which are housed in the four boxed hives as shown in this picture.
I read somewhere that honey is the only food that can survive without refrigeration for years on end. There are reports that honey was still edible from the times of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
According to Leslie the hives are all a buzz in the early morning as the queen bees give out the orders to all the worker bees as to where each bee should go to pollinate the local flowers. I have heard that bees communicate by a special dance. I understand that they like to dance to almost all kinds of music except rap music . In recent years honey bees have been scarce and I think this is because of the rise in popularity of so called rap music. The bees hate rap music so much that they commit suicide by running into car windshields or flying straight into building windows at full speed. "Bee cool" bees, Leslie told me that she told the bees that she hates rap music too so they won't hear any rap music from the house.
Bees do enjoy soul music and funk so after their busy bee day they all congregate inside their hives and stage their own show called "Dancing With The Queen". They jive in the hive with the winner getting a date with the queen for a day.
While I was taking this picture today a next door neighbor peered over the fence and asked me what I was doing. I told him to mind his own bees wax.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


In March of 1982 I went on vacation to Jamaica for a week and spent a week in Montego Bay at the Holiday Inn Rose Hall. I was with my friend Jim Byrne along with Jim's friend Nancy Noveline and her friend Ann. On one of the evenings we decided to go to a reggae dinner.

The reggae dinner was held a few miles away from our hotel in a wooded grove with picnic tables and a stage up front. We were transported there by bus and there was a crowd of about a couple hundred people there for this dinner and show. On stage for entertainment was a "ska" band as well as reggae music. I remember going up on stage with my friends as they also had a limbo contest.

Surrounding the site was a large fence and I saw a couple of people with machine guns patrolling along the fence in the distance from the stage and tables. I guess that the Jamaican officials were concerned that the tourists in the crowd might get too unruly and attempt to rob and terrorize the local population so they had to fence this facility and guard this fence to make sure we didn't escape during the show.

The meal they served had beans and rice and a soup called "orange soup". The "orange soup" was quite tasty and I believe had some goat meat as one of the ingredients. When I was getting to the bottom of my soup bowl I noticed I had a portion of a jaw bone in my soup. This jaw bone had three or four molar sized teeth attached to it. I picked up the jaw bone and teeth and showed this to my friends saying "hey, look at this!" That was an "orange soup surprise". I know I didn't request teeth with my soup as they would be too hard to digest. Also, there was no prize for finding a jaw bone and teeth in your soup bowl.

I think and hope that this jaw bone was from a portion of a goat's mouth. Maybe in Jamaica when they put goat in their soup they really use the whole goat. I hope that one of the cooks didn't lose part of their teeth when preparing this soup. I also hope that these teeth weren't the remains of one of the out of control tourists who had to be shot for trying to climb the fence to bother the local people and then was ground up into the soup and passed off to us as goat meat.

This "orange soup"was tasty but next time I go to Jamaica I know now to request my soup without teeth as I'll just use the teeth in my own mouth if I need them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


YouTube - Bugsy Siegel and the Mob arrive in Las Vegas (a history) Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel a mob figure in the 1940's helped develop the Las Vegas Strip when he built the Flamenco Hotel three miles out of the center of Las Vegas and Fremont Street out in the desert right after World War II. "Bugsy" was later killed in 1947 due to cost over runs on the construction of the Flamenco of over four million dollars ( as shown in the You Tube link on the history of the "Mob" involvement in Las Vegas.

In the movie "Bugsy" starring Warren Beatty there is one scene that stuck in my mind where "Bugsy" wanted to become a film actor and he was practicing his diction in Los Angeles shortly before he was killed. Warren as "Bugsy" said "Twenty dwarfs took turns doing tumbles on the carpet." again and again. Besides being a device to practice your diction this phrase also extols the benefits of exercise no matter how tall you are and also politeness as these dwarfs took turns and waited for each of their fellow dwarfs to finish their tumble before the next dwarf performed his tumble. This polite attitude by the dwarfs also probably prevented accidents as it would probably turn into mayhem if twenty dwarfs were all tumbling at the same time on the carpet and tumbling in to each other and perhaps tumbling into chairs and sofas in a carpeted living room for example.

So, follow the advise of the twenty dwarfs and be polite while you exercise. Don't follow the example of "Bugsy" and have a large cost overrun in the millions of dollars if your partners are ruthless mobster killers or you too could end up shot to death at your girlfriend's place.


I had a cool shot of Jagermeister at the Lupo's concert featuring "Staind". No stains from the shot but the beer I had "staind" as described in the proceeding story.


YouTube - Staind "It's Been A While" On the night of June 4, 2006 I went to Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in downtown Providence, Rhode Island to see the Jagermeister Music Tour featuring Staind, Three Days Grace, and Hurt with my brother Scott and his wife Leslie. Lupo's is a funky kind of place that looks like it was a former movie theater or playhouse as there is a balcony and a main level where you can stand or "slam dance" if you want. We decided to sit upstairs in the balcony. They serve beer and other drinks at Lupo's and of course that night they also had Jaegermeister ice cold shots available as well.

The first featured band "Hurt" featured a song called "Rapture". My brother Scott liked this band and ended up buying their album after hearing them at this show.

Next up "Three Days Grace" played a few songs including "I Hate Everything About You" , "Just Like You and "Animal I Have Become." The bass player Brad Walst had a "Mohawk" haircut and had a unique way of playing his bass guitar as he would hold the guitar up in the air vertical to the stage with his left hand and play with his right hand.

The headline band "Staind" with lead singer "Aaron Lewis was formed in 1995 in Springfield, Mass. They are one of my favorite bands. (Check out the You Tube link for their song "It's Been A While". ) Among their albums are "Break The Cycle," "Chapter V," "14 Shades of Grey" and "The Illusion Of Progress". Staind has a variety of musical style from hard rockin' to slower ballad type acoustic songs.

As mentioned, they serve drinks at Lupo's. I was wearing my UCONN baseball type cap on my head for this show. I bought a beer and settled in to my seat up in the balcony. They had a couple of Jaegermeister promotional young women who went around and started to throw some black Jagermeister hats to the crowd. I ended up catching one of the hats and put this hat on top of my other hat as I was holding a beer in my hands. There were a couple of young blond girls seated in front of my seat slightly lower than my seat in the balcony. In the row behind me were a couple of guys whose seats were slightly elevated from my seat. With my two hats balanced on my head; I suddenly felt that my Jagermeister hat was missing. This black hat was hard to see in a dark theater and for some reason I thought that the two guys in back of me had taken this hat as I didn't see the hat. I turned around to look at these two guys and see if they had my lost hat. Meanwhile I guess I forgot that I still had a fairly full beer in my right hand and when I turned to my left to turn around my right hand holding my beer tipped over and spilled all over the right shoulder and shirt of the young blond girl seated one row below. She gave a small shout of surprise at having my cold beer giving her an unrequested shower.

Her shout brought me back to attention and I righted my glass of beer so she didn't get to experience the full glass of beer. I explained to her and apologized for my clumsiness and told her that the spilt beer was an accident. I bought her a beer to compensate her for her cool, foamy, beer shower.

It was a memorable show. As they say on my Jagermeister hat. "Shots Happen".

Saturday, May 9, 2009


About a dozen years ago while working during the evening at the Soundings motel front desk I received a phone call from "Irene" who lived in Bloomfield, Connecticut. She was interested in visiting Cape Cod by herself and wanted to stay for about six weeks. She wanted an oceanfront location but didn't care if her room faced the beach as long as the motel was on the beach.

At the Soundings we have a room #49 which we generally don't rent over the phone as this room is smaller than our typical rooms and we want to make sure people have a chance to see this room in person if possible to make sure this room met their needs, Room #49 has a double bed, bathroom with a toilet, sink and tub, a closet and that is about it. This room is about half the size of a regular room as there is a storage room in back of room #49 which the coffee shop staff use to store various kitchen supplies. Since this room is small we charge a smaller price.

I told "Irene" about this room and we even discounted our normal lower price further as she wanted such a long stay. I told "Irene" that I grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut which is the town next to her residence in Bloomfield. "Irene" was so please with the fact that we could accommodate her for her extended visit and liked the price that we offered her that she said to me, "Rick, I want to get you something to pay you back for getting me such a good deal." I said, "No, you don't have to do that, we are happy that we were able to find a room that met your needs." Irene then said "Well, I really do appreciate what you did for me. There must be something I can get you." I then said, "Well, if you want you can bring me a pecan pie but you really don't have to get me anything."

Pecan pie is my favorite kind of pie. I wasn't going to be upset if "Irene" didn't bring me a pie and wasn't really expecting her to remember to bring me a pie.

A few weeks passed and it was the day "Irene" was due to check in and start her Cape Cod visit. I met "Irene" at the front desk and she was very apologetic. "Irene" said, "Rick, I searched five different grocery stores in Bloomfield, West Hartford, Hartford, and Simsbury looking for a pecan pie to bring with me for you. I couldn't find a pecan pie anywhere." I said "don't worry about it "Irene" I didn't expect you to go through all that searching for a pie."

"Irene" became a frequent guest at the Soundings and gave me a pecan pie on each of her next two visits. Thanks for the pie "Irene". With your persistence in looking for that first pecan pie and remembering me on your future visits you really "take the cake."

Friday, May 8, 2009

"They Serve Eels"

About fifteen years years ago I was working one night at the Soundings motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod with a fellow named "Vinny" at the evening shift of the motel front desk. At that time there was a restaurant directly across the street from the ocean front location of the Soundings called "Tuckers".

Toward the end of the evening after we had finished our work and all the check-ins had arrived we decided to create a false menu for "Tuckers" and post this on the motel office bulletin board to see if anyone working the morning shift would notice and comment. Through the wonder of our office copy machine we cut out the true logo for "Tuckers" and pasted this on a sheet of copy paper and then copied this paper so that we had an official looking document and proceeded to type up a dinner menu.

One menu creation we called the "Mother Tucker". This meal choice consisted of the following:

Scallops sauteed in white wine
Whitefish in our original white sauce
Parsnips steamed to perfection
Mashed potato with white cheddar cheese twice baked
Wonder bread $14.95

Our other menu creation was the "International House of Tucker"

Tortilla Aye Caramba!!
Urchin A seafood delicacy !!
Cabbage Irish you good luck !!
Kielbasa Polish delight !!
Eels A Japanese delicacy served live or steamed !!
Rice Fried Chinese style !! (served with Wonder bread) $16.95

We posted this menu on the office bulletin board. The next day we heard that our day manager Sally said to the manager, "What do you know "Tuckers" serves eels! "

Thursday, May 7, 2009


When I first arrived on Cape Cod and started working at the Soundings Motel in June of 1976 I often worked at the front desk with Debbie Manning. Debbie was and is married to Dick Manning and at that time the Manning family owned and operated this oceanfront motel. Debbie and I were both born on the same day and year (November 2nd) and she is about two hours older than me.

Debbie and I used to have brochure stuffing contests as we would both start out with the same number of motel brochures, rate sheets, and package plan inserts and see who could finish first. This made a somewhat mundane task more interesting with the thrill of the competition. Debbie said that if I beat her in the brochure stuffing contest she would give me the Soundings motel as a prize. Now this was quite a prize as the motel is located on five acres of ocean front property with over one hundred motel rooms, two swimming pools, and a coffee shop. This prize would be worth in the millions even back then over thirty years ago.

I don't know if she checked with her husband and the rest of the Manning family before offering me this potential prize. Alas, each time we had this contest I came in second to Debbie as I could never beat her no matter how hard and fast I stuffed my pile of brochures. My dream of being a motel mogul back then was not realized and remained just a dream.

I don't know how Debbie did it but at least it was fun to try to beat her in the contest. She probably won because she was a little bit older than me plus I don't think she wanted to have to explain to Dick and the rest of the Manning family that she lost their motel in a brochure contest.


YouTube - Pink Floyd- Pigs On The Wing (Part 1 and 2) Video With all this recent talk about the "swine flu" (H1N1) this reminded me of one of my favorite all time bands Pink Floyd and their song "Pigs On The Wing". (Click the You Tube link to see a flying pig and watch as this swine flew over a power plant which became the album cover for Pink Floyd's "Animals".

Now only time will tell how deadly or non-deadly this current variation of swine flu will turn out to be. It seems to me that currently this virus is over hyped by the media and somewhat mild at the present time. Let's hope it stays that way. It may be good to keep in mind that during a "normal flu season" thousands of people do die from their flu exposure. Although no one wishes anyone to die from any flu the current safety measures like suggesting that people cease traveling to America seem a little extreme.

Far more people are killed in car crashes than this current type of swine flu. Should we ban all vehicular traffic because someone may get in a fatal car accident? There are risks involved in day to day living and everyone should take proper precautions as they go about their day. With the potential carbon taxes and cap and trade energy initiatives perhaps we all won't have to worry too much about car accidents as it will become too expensive to drive very much. What say you?

The "swine flew" of "Pigs On The Wing" is preferred to the Mexican swine flu.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Looking Right At The Beach

Looking right at the beach and dunes of Wellfleet Mass this May day afternoon from the Cahoon's Hollow parking lot.

"This land is your land this land is my land" as they say as this shoreline is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Although today this land is just my land as I was the only human in sight at this site so I hereby claim this land as my own for a few minutes.

May Day Beach Report

I did an insurance inspection this afternoon up in Wellfleet, Mass on Cahoons Hollow Road so I thought I would go to the end of the road and see if the ocean was still there.
I'm happy to report that the ocean and sand dunes are still here on this May afternoon day. Not a human or animal in sight (just me and I didn't have a mirror to look at myself). After a few days of rain the sun finally came out from behind the rain soaked clouds.
Soon these shores will be active with swimmers,surfers, and beachcombers as summer is just around the proverbial corner.

California Cannabis (Taxing Weeds)

I was driving in my car this afternoon and listening to the "Howie Carr Show" on radio station WRKO in Boston. Howie mentioned that California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger is commissioning a study to look into the possibility of legalizing and taxing marijuana for recreational use in California as apparently 56% of Californians favor legalization and the tax revenue from taxing weed could be 1.3 billion dollars per year and help with the state's current budget deficit.

What say you? Is this a good idea or not?

What I wonder is how would you control people who want to "grow their own grass"? If these people were caught with marijuana plants would they just pay the required state tax? I would think that a lot of marijuana users would try to avoid paying the tax. Would there be age restrictions on usage? Could you file a claim for disability or state assistance if you didn't feel like working at a job anymore?

I wonder if this commission will have fruitful results or will their efforts just go up in smoke.

"Shakin' All Over"

Ever get the "shakes" when it is warm outside in the Summer but you can't stop "shivering"? This has happened to me a couple memorable times in my life and wasn't caused by any withdrawl symptoms from drugs or alcohol. I like beer and drink perhaps one or two a day as I like the taste and I have read that it is actualy better for you to drink a beer or two a day versus not drinking at all. As far as drugs go once in a while I have an aspirin but that is about it. I don't have any prescriptions of any sort and don't believe in getting sick.

The first memorable "shake" happened in the Summer at the Soundings motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod about fifteen years ago when I was working one night at the front desk in the evening with my brother Scott. Before I went to work that afternoon I had a snack of smoked oysters on crackers and a container of yogurt. I guess that is not the best combination of food to have at the same time at least not for me that night. Although it was July and over eighty degrees outside I couldn't stop shaking and started to feel dizzy with "vertigo". The smoked oysters were from Thailand and came in a can. I started to feel sick to my stomach and went into the men's room off the motel lobby and "threw up". After that I felt better and continued on for the rest of the night and started to feel normal again. I have never eaten Thailand canned smoked oysters again. I probably was suffering from a mild case of food poisoning and once I "threw up" I seemed to have cured myself.

The second memorable "shake" happened about three years ago also at the Soundings. Again it was during the hot summer season and I couldn't stop shaking all over. I joked,"boy, it is really cold in here, can I turn on the heat?" As Morgan and Claire were also working that night, I went home to get in my bed for about an hour and then returned to the motel. I don't remember what I ate that day and didn't "throw up" that time but eventually the shaking subsided.

These episodes reminded me of the songs "Shakin' All Over" and "Oh Susannah" where there is a verse "sun so hot I froze to death Susannah don't you cry". I'll bet the"Susannah" person in the song didn't eat oysters and yogurt though.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


When I was in sixth grade in Simsbury, Connecticut I attended Belden school on Hopmeadow Street. Steve Szedlak was my teacher that year. It was a custom at that time back in 1966 to give your teacher a small gift around Christmas time before the Christmas and New Year's vacation week.

I remember that year my Dad had received a gag gift from his office party of "Scotch flavored toothpaste". I thought that was an interesting gift and asked if I could give this toothpaste as a gift to Mr. Szedlak. My Dad said "sure" so that was my gift that year.

Mr. Szedlak opened all of his gifts at his desk while we students all watched. He seemed to get a kick out of the "Scotch toothpaste" and said something like "Rick, that will wake me up in the morning".

I have never seen another tube of "Scotch toothpaste" since that time back in 1966. Perhaps this toothpaste wasn't a best seller. Maybe some people bought this brand of toothpaste and were fired by their boss when they arrived at their job in the morning because their mouth smelled like Scotch although their teeth were sparkling clean. The boss wouldn't tolerate the smell of liquor so early in the morning before coffee break even.

Maybe there were cases where someone running late on leaving for work grabbed their "Scotch toothpaste" and toothbrush and jumped into their car. While he were driving he decided to brush his teeth. A local policeman noticed this car as the car started to veer from side to side as the person in the car dropped the toothpaste cap on the floor of his car and looked down to try to find the cap. The policeman turned on his flashing lights and signaled the veering car to pull over to the side of the road. As the policeman approached this car he noticed a smell of Scotch and saw that the driver appeared to be foaming at the mouth. The policeman to be safe unstrapped his pistol and approached the car with his gun held in front of him as he thought that the driver was either drunk or rabid.

The driver slurred his words as his mouth was full of toothpaste which was dribbling down his chin. He said "Ossifer Ize just brussin' mi teef; I nose I shouldn' bruss' n' dri' a de same tine bu I wus late fo wok." The policeman said "I think you've been drinking as you were swerving all over the road and you smell like Scotch"; I need you to please step out of the car and take a sobriety test." The driver then nervously swallowed his mouthful of toothpaste, wiped his chin and replied "Honest officer this is just a misunderstanding. I was brushing my teeth with "Scotch toothpaste". I promise to never brush with "Scotch toothpaste" and drive at the same time again. As a matter of fact I'm going to throw away this tube of "Scotch toothpaste" as soon as I get to work."

The officer replied,"That's probably a good idea. Having clean teeth is important but you shouldn't be brushing and driving at the same time or you could end up as a shiny toothed corpse if you swerve around and take your eyes off the road. I'll just give you a warning this time".

Perhaps that is why "Scotch toothpaste" is not a best seller. You could end up being fired from your job,die in a car crash, mistaken for having rabies, or accused of drunk driving. Remember to brush responsibly if you use "Scotch toothpaste".

Monday, May 4, 2009


YouTube - Blue man group shadow drumming pvc Several years ago I went up to Boston from Cape Cod to see "Blue Man Group" at the Charles Playhouse Theater. I have actually seen "Blue Man Group" twice. (See the link from You Tube where they performed on the Tonight Show with host Jay Leno.) Both times that I saw "Blue Man Group" I was an usher at the theater so I didn't have to pay to see them.

The first time I saw "Blue Man Group" I was with my brother Scott and his wife Leslie and Leslie's sister Pat. We drove up to Braintree, Mass., parked the car at the "T" station, and took the public transportation into the city. It was a Sunday and we ate at a nearby "Brew Pub" restaurant before we reported for duty at the theater. We were instructed to wear black for the usher assignment. It was fun to be there ahead of the show as we had a chance to hear the band perform and practice. The band was in the upper right hand corner of the theater next to the stage. All the band members had day glow paint on their faces. The band featured a loud driving sound of drums and guitars as they practiced to accompany the "Blue Man".

The Charles Playhouse was decorated with large plastic tubes throughout the theater with some of the tubes winding their way between the audience seats. Scott and I were told to go back stage and "tube talk". We had to say original things like "Helllloooo", "Anybody there?", "How are you?". Some people did respond from the tubes by their chairs which was kind of funny as it was like we were playing "telephone". Leslie and Pat were ushers that night.

After everyone was seated, we found some empty seats in the back corner and waited for the show to start. I noticed a couple of seats in the center section of the theater on the aisle that were still empty. I said to Leslie, "Hey Leslie look at those empty seats we should go and sit there." So, Leslie and I moved to these seats as they had a better view. Little did we know that these seats were empty for a reason. As part of the beginning of the show they deliberately hold back the people who bought these seats and then make a big announcement that these two people were late and shine a spotlight on them as they are finally allowed to take their seats. Leslie and I didn't know this and someone from the theater staff came and told us about this so we had to go back to our other seats.

Being a drummer from my high school days I appreciated all the drumming involved with the "Blue Man Group" production. "Blue Man Group" started in New York City and then expanded to Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando. You have perhaps seen the "Blue Man Group" commercials on television as they promote the Intel pentium computer chips. For a group that doesn't say a word, the 'Blue Men" are very expressive and entertaining.

You should see this show if you have a chance. The end is quite wild with enough toilet paper used to take care or a herd of dinosaurs with diarrhea as the audience participates to fill the theater. After the show we all helped clean up the theater and fill mass quantities of garbage bags. We had fun wearing black and seeing "Blue" (Man Group).

Sunday, May 3, 2009


While vacationing in Jamaica in March of 1982 I took a day trip from Montego Bay by motorcoach to Ocho Rios. On the way we stopped at a church made of wood and painted white. As we got off the motorcoach we were approached by a group of local Jamaicans that were trying to sell us all sorts of crafts and other things. Most memorable to me; one boy had a small string of dead fish that he wanted to sell us. I felt sorry for this boy but couldn't see what I would do with a string of dead fish on a motorcoach and didn't want to carry around these fish even though the motorcoach had air conditioning. So, I had to pass on the dead fish even though I probably could have bought them for a good price. Without even a hot plate or small refrigerator in the hotel room at the Holiday Inn Rose Hill; I didn't want to have to eat these warm fish raw.

After the church we proceeded to Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios. Dunn's River Falls was featured in the first James Bond film "Dr. No". As we departed the motorcoach we met our guides as we got ready to visit and walk up the waterfall. Our guides were local Jamaican men who all had long dreadlocks and were listening to reggae music. With our guides in the lead, we all held hands and walked up the falls walking up the rocks and pools along the way. Some of our guides were smoking a native herb as we proceeded up the falls. Everyone on the trip was high when we reached the top of this famous waterfall.


YouTube - Buster Keaton Performing Stunts in The General Back in high school in Simsbury, Connecticut as a junior and a senior in 1971 and 1972 I used to go with Paul Tuller, Greg Van Deusen, Phil Kudla and sometimes Debra Deming on weekend nights to the University of Hartford and Trinity College in Hartford to watch their film presentations. Some of the most memorable films were the silent movies of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and the Keysone Cops. (See the You Tube link for a short clip of Buster Keaton in the movie "The General".)

Buster Keaton with his dead pan face performed all his own stunts. I was always amazed by his films and would wonder "How did he do that?", "Wow", "Amazing!!", "What cunning stunts!". Buster would get himself into many death defying predicaments that required split second timing and accuracy to escape. He was truly a master of physical comedy and an amazing performer. I recently found some of his films on a website called

So, check out Buster Keaton for yourself if you would like to see a true comedic master at work.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Photos from The Craft

Photos from The Craft Here's a photo of those wicked witches from the movie "The Craft" which caused a pipe to break (see "Explosive Movie" post below. They were on a beach and I was on a beachfront location while watching the movie so that probably explains how their powers crossed the barriers of space and time.


YouTube - The Craft (1996) Trailer Three years ago in late September I was working at the evening shift of the Soundings motel front desk with Claire Contardo. It was approximately ten o' clock in the evening and we had finished all of our work for the night and all of our guests had arrived that were due to check -in to this oceanfront motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod.

We decided to turn on the television as we waited to answer any phone calls or guest requests. The movie "The Craft" (see You Tube link for the 1996 trailer) was on and we decided to watch it. "The Craft" starred four high school age girls (Robin Tunney, Rachel True,Faruca Bailk, and Neve Campbell) who attended St. Bernard's Catholic School. These four girls in the movie were invoking spirits, curses, chants, spells, witchcraft and other occult mayhem against anyone in the school that they didn't like.

One scene in the movie was particularly memorable. In this scene the four girls decide to go down to the beach and light a small fire in the sand and then form a candle lit circle around the fire. The girls then stood at each quadrant of the circle and raised their hands to the sky to summon forth the spirits and powers of nature. Their powers were enhanced with the four of them together invoking their magic. As they were in the middle of their chant and lightning was called forth all of a sudden Claire and I hear a tremendous BOOOOOOOM!! which sounded like a bomb went off somewhere on the motel property. This explosion sounded like it was right under us so I went outside the office to investigate.

Underneath the motel office we have pool filters and piping for the indoor pool and jacuzzi as these amenities are located in back of the office about twelve feet from the back door of the motel lobby in a separate building. I opened the basement bulkhead door to see if everything was OK. I was greeted with an overpowering smell of chlorine gas as I took a deep breath before proceeding into the basement. The gas made my eyes tear up and burn so I had to turn around and go back upstairs. We called our chief maintenance manager Jeff Murray. Jeff came down and found a gas mask which he put on and went into the basement. He found that a plastic pipe had exploded and shattered.

Now I don't know how those teenage witches caused that pipe to explode just from watching their movie "The Craft" especially as this movie was filmed ten years prior to our exploding pipe. I guess those chants and invoking of the spirits don't have a time limit on them for that was one explosive movie. Those girls sure had the black magic touch.