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Showing posts from June 15, 2008

Barbaras and Bristols

Last weekend I was on Staten Island, NY for the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations for my cousin by marriage “Kippy” (Catherine) Altini and her husband “Marty” (Martin).

This surprise party had been master-minded by their daughter Barbara Altini O’Brien. She had been planning the event for a year, and wondrously managed to keep it totally secret from her parents.

Today (June 21st) I had lunch with my dear Barbara Hauler, and her husband Donald. You will remember that they too celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary, and I joined in their family celebrations at “Disney” in Orlando a couple of weeks ago.

After those celebrations Don and Barbara Hauler travelled to South Florida. They called yesterday to see if we could meet for lunch in SRQ on their way North. That we did, my good friend Ben joining us.

It is Ben’s birthday tomorrow, but he has announced that it should NOT be celebrated. So, being devious, I “treated” at lunch, and later told Ben that this had been his birthday…

When the "economy" is in the tank.

So “the economy” (whatever that is) is in the tank.

Property values are down, down, down.

Feckless bankers, having ignored the elementary rules of lending, are foreclosing on mortgages hand over fist.

“Energy” costs more and more, gas/petrol prices having doubled within a year. The wealthy are selling their SUV’s and purchasing “Smart Cars” - yes even in these United States. The poor and the middle classes cannot afford this option.

And the costs of food have sky-rocketed. Bananas, for instance, have doubled in price within less than a year. (You can bet your bottom pound or dollar that banana growers have not reaped this increase).

Pseudo-President Shrub (George Walker Bush) is oblivious to the crisis. That surprises no-one. He is oblivious to just about everything.


The economy is in the tank. But there are a few bright linings to this dark cloud.


1. There is the beginning of a return to City rather than Suburban life. Our wonderful Cities might well be revitalised. (But whe…

Fulfilling my destiny!

I planned many years ago to be an Old Fart, or maybe an Old Coot. My whole life has prepared me for this.


My old Fart/Coot-dom comes into full swing when I encounter Muzak a.k.a. Music.

It blared out at the Renaissance Hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey where I recently stayed. I wrote a complaint about this.

In our local plaza there is a branch of an Aarons “Rent to Own” (a.k.a. “Rip-off artists“) furniture, electronics and home appliance store. From there ghastly music utters forth outside as well as in. It can be heard some 50 feet away from the store’s front door.

And so it goes at most of the local drug stores and supermarkets.

It’s designed to encourage me to buy yet more. But I resist the music, and refuse to be seduced. I take a list of items when I shop. I purchase only from the list.

And I complain to the store owners or managers about their cacophonies; their screaming sound systems.

Old farts hate noise pollution. And maybe young farts too!

Lost in SRQ, and "We are all bozos on the 'bus"

We are all bozos on the ‘bus. See below.

But before that, here is something else.

Last week I wondered “Does the Universe grieve when a sock goes missing?” Yes indeed, I lost a sock in the laundry.

But just as there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, so I grinned when I found that sock, caught up in some other laundry.

Socks return. But what about plates?

I have two plastic plates, one yellow, the other green. I use them to serve my cats Ada and Adelaide their daily, and limited supply of canned food. I put them out on the kitchen floor at about 1:00 p.m. today, and the cats enjoyed their late lunch.

But do you think that I can find the yellow plate? It has disappeared without trace. It’s not in the trash, nor did I place it in the dishwasher. I checked the fridge where I have been known to “absent mindedly” place articles. It is nowhere to be seen.

Do cats hide plates? Is there a “plate kidnapper”? Can plates dematerialise? Was it a flying saucer in d…

My weekend away, Part Two

My weekend away, part two.


My mother had six brothers and one sister. Her younger sister, Kate died as a young woman from tetanus poisoning, known then as “lock-jaw”.

Her brothers were John, Fred, Harold, Reg, Wally and Albert.

Albert was killed in Normandy, August 1944, in World War II.

Wally also served in thy Army, and after de-mobilisation, married Irene Parsons - my Aunt Irene. They divorced 20 years ago, and Wally has since passed from this life.

Irene had but one brother. His name was Clifford, and he served in the Merchant Navy during World War II.

He sailed out of Newfoundland, where he married “Bridie” a Newfoundland Irishwoman.

They had one child, Catherine (Kippy), but soon after her birth, Clifford was lost at sea when his boat was torpedoed

Irene was 16 years old at that time, but she never forgot that she had a “Newfie” niece, “Kippy”.

As Kippy grew up, she was able to develop a loving relationship with her Aunt by birth, Irene.

And that same Aunt, Irene is my Aunt by…

My weekend away, Part One

My weekend away, part one.


I spent the weekend of June 13th - 16th in New Jersey and New York. I was there for the Golden Wedding anniversary of my cousin by marriage, Kippy (Catherine) Altini and her husband Marty. They live on Staten Island. More about that in part two.

In my travels I was served very well by what we call “technology”. I made my plane, hotel and car reservations through the internet.

I was able to print a boarding pass before I left home, and thanks to the good facilities at a Renaissance Hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in that hotel before I returned.

All the internet-made reservations worked perfectly, and Continental Airlines surpassed themselves in that my two flights left on time, and both arrived early.

I flew into Newark Airport, which has a nifty automated monorail which links the terminals and the on campus car rental offices. I was using “Budget” car rentals, and picking up the car was a “piece of cake”. (Car rental firms have surely streamlined their pro…