Sunday, June 29, 2008

Elephants and solid potato salad

One of my earliest memories is that of Dad taking cousin Ricky and me just south of Las Vegas, New Mexico, to see a circus train. I remember that it was raining, and I could see the elephants tethered near the cars on the tracks. The elephants wore red cloths on their backs.

Later, after we had moved to 48th Street, a friend of Dad's, Chain Robbins, took me and his daughter, Pam, to a circus up on Horse Mesa. It was the first time I ever had cotton candy. Pam apparently had had it before, and really dug into it. I took a big bite. Nothing. I tried again. The cotton candy disappeared instantly, leaving only the faintest taste on my tongue.

The other thing I remember was a clown act. A clown was prancing around, and soon he found himself in front of a cannon. Another clown fired the cannon and blew the first clown's head off. The first clown then raced around headless while everyone in the crowd laughed. I, of course, thought it was real, and asked Mr. Robbins, "What's he going to tell his mom when he goes home without his head?"

The experience soured me on clowns. I'm not afraid of clowns. I just don't think most of them are very funny or cool. I'll eat cotton candy just to be polite if it's offered to me, but I don't really care for it.

Fast forward five or six years. We went to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque. In a parade of all the performers, everyone marched around the coliseum and through a canvas tunnel, where they changed costumes so it would look more magical, I guess, and be a feast for the eyes.

I decided to watch one person circling the arena, and picked out an Asian woman on an elephant. Every time she passed, she looked bored. She was riding an elephant, for crying out loud! In the circus! The hopes of every kid in the place were riding with her on that elephant, and she looked bored! I would have loved to ride that elephant, and I would have been smiling for all the world to see. (I still would like to ride an elephant, or just pet one or feed it something nice.) I was so disillusioned: riding an elephant was just a job for that woman.

And that experience mostly soured me on the circus.

Fast forward to last week, when I found this video clip from Broadway Rhythm 1944. I certainly appreciate the athleticism, strength, and artistry of the Ross Sisters, but I will not be watching women's gymnastics in the Olympics this summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I put on my specs and think of thee.

Here I am wearing my new reading glasses.

Gosh, these new glasses work really well!

"It was on the 10th day of May 1884--that I confessed to age by mounting spectacles for the first time, and in the same hour I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time.The spectacles stayed on."--Mark Twain

Editing prodigy or pretentious pedant? You decide!

Monday I got new reading glasses (pictures to follow in a later post). They are really swell, with flexible frames, protective and anti-reflective coating, and transition lenses so I can read outside. They also have rubberized temples for a finer, lighter chew.

My new glasses triggered a memory from childhood, and one thing led to another.

When I was in elementary school, I got books from the Scholastic Book Club, and one of the offerings was a book of clever things to write in people's autograph books (of the "Yours till Niagara Falls" ilk). I didn't get the book, but some of my classmates did. I remember reading what one of them wrote in another's autograph book:

When you are old
And cannot see,
Put on your specks
And think of me.

I said to the writer, "You misspelled the word. 'Specks' are little marks or dots. You mean s-p-e-c-s, which is short for spectacles."

As early as second grade I was at it. In shop class, one of the girls had done a fine job of sanding her wood project and invited her buddies to feel it. "It's so soft!" she said. I said, "It's not 'soft.' It's smooth." (Or as Dad would have said, "It's not just smooth. It's smewwwwth!")

Our neighbor John H. had a rabbit that he decided to call "Fluffily." I told him that the rabbit could be named "Fluff" or "Fluffy," but "Fluffily" was not right the word. I had understood, almost instinctively at a tender age, the difference between adjectives and adverbs.

Had I known then that I could get paid for correcting people's grammar and spelling, I probably would have started being obnoxious even earlier in life.

Fluffily the Chihuahua sez, "I'm going to kill them for not letting me get contacts."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

P-Doobie's Auto Body and Fill Dirt

I was walking past Sophie in the carport and accidentally bumped her boo-boo. The sound was sort of plasticky, and I felt the panel give a little. I pushed it hard, and it popped right back into place! TA-DA! I didn't have to take her to the body shop after all. And, using P-Doobie's Law of Compensatory Cash Flow, I now have $400.00 to spend that I would have spent on repairs.

Sophie says, "Except for a cosmetic scrape, I'm as good as new!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Nietzsche Family Circus

Check out The Nietzsche Family Circus, which "pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote. " I think Colleen will like it. It certainly takes most of the curse off the strip for me. That Billy!

Women can form a friendship with a man very well; but to preserve it--to that end a slight physical antipathy must probably help.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comics coincidence? I think not.

Comics are the topics in Chuckbert's and Izzy's recent posts. I love comics and cartoons so much. I have all the Doonesbury books, all the Foxtrot books, both Agnes compilations, Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, and the complete cartoons of New Yorker magazine. I subscribe to two email comix lists.

What are your faves?

What, besides Cathy, do you hate? I hate Mallard Fillmore.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today is Bloomsday! We can't do a pub crawl in Los 'Mos (go to the Canyon Bar and Grill, hoist a pint, leave). At the store we're playing a recording of Ulysses (I figure we can get through 10 of the 44 hours required to read it) and having cake.

For those who haven't read Ulysses, here's the synopsis from The Five-Minute Iliad and Other Instant Classics: "June 16 came and went in Dublin."

Back again after work. Here is the cake we served before our staff and customers scarfed it up.

Mmmmm! White cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting.

"Could you read the part where Stephen envisions life outside Dublin again?"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

'Twas ever thus

I paid off my car in May. Yesterday as we were loading Ike into the car for walkies and donut holes downtown, Michele said, "Somebody banged your car." And sure enough, some @%$^*@ had hit the back bumper, dislocated a panel, and left without leaving a note. I'm steamed. (An' P-doobie don't like bein' steamed.) I'll take it to a body shop and get an estimate. If it's reasonable, I'll pay out of pocket. Son of a . . . .



I got my eyes checked (why, P-doobie? Don't you like them striped?) on Thursday, and I'm getting new reading glasses with anti-glare coating so I work at the computer at the store with less strain and with transitional lenses so I can read outside. I also told the nice helper that I want frames that would be suitable for use by a 12-year-old boy. I'm hard on frames.

Our white roses are blooming in the back yard.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


After talking with the staff, our manager, and our banker, Michele and I decided that it would not be a good idea to expand the store right now. The national economy is wobbly, and retail in Los 'Mos is soft. So we'll wait.

Everyone was disappointed by P-doobie's and Michele's decision.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Michele and I went over to Las Vegas today to talk with Nancy, the owner of Tome on the Range. She recently moved and remodeled, and we wanted to talk to her about the experience, where she got her carpeting and shelving, and other issues.

After a productive visit and some poking around in the shops in Old Town, we went to Murphey's Drug Store for a cherry lime. Murphey's is for sale! It's empty! It's closed up!

I remember going to Murphey's for an ice cream after a visit to Dr. Voda. P and I used to go there every Sunday after we played tennis for a cherry lime, made with cherry syrup, fresh lime juice, and seltzer. You could get the coolest candy and toys there. There was a wooden telephone booth in the back where you could sit down and make a call in comfort. It had a balcony on three sides where the medical and pharmaceutical stuff was stored, and the ceiling was stamped tin.

We've reached the end of an era.

Murphey's Drugstore, at the corner of 6th Street and Douglas.

A phone booth similar to the one in Murphey's.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two pieces of exciting news, and one piece of exciting possibility

The Otowi Station website is live! Send congratulatory notes and praise to She did yeoman's work! Woo-HOO!

I paid off my car! I've given myself a $573/month raise.

Sophie is mine, all mine.

We also have an opportunity to get the space next to us at the store. The mortgage company that was our neighbor went belly-up. We talked with our landlord yesterday, and he's very interested in having us expand; he will reduce the rent and throw in new flooring. We need to talk with our banker, find out how much a remodel would set us back, and consider other issues. The staff is excited by the possibility. Becky said, "I can finally live out my dream of living in a bookstore! Oh, and can we have a candy room?"

These are exciting times for us.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


June 4 is the birthday of Cecilia Bartoli, Bruce Dern, and everyone's favorite squid, MIKEY! Woo-HOO!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Back in my day, we had fun with a pinhole camera and a piece of string!

Thank you, everyone who commented so nicely about the photographs from my roadtrip. Last year I bought a Nikon D40, which comes with PictureProject software, which allows me to sharpen and enhance the images, as well as use such effects as sepia tone and black-and-white. Here's an example from Wagon Mound. It's a post on a porch.

Now I've sharpened it, and I've boosted the color to make it artsy-fartsy.

And now I've changed it to sepia, for that Old West look.