Wednesday, September 30, 2009

lucy in the sky with diamonds

Here's the real story behind Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I am Abacus!

My first grader can't go to school today. Her principal told me that seventy-seven children were absent yesterday from the same virus. They don't want my daughter to come back today. Kelsey's at the office being office-schooled. We are doing math problems this morning. I dropped by her school to pick up some homework. Funny, when I showed her the pages of math problems - she squealed with glee. "I love these daddy!"

Right now I wish that I had an abacus so she could do her calculating. Back when I was a kid, we called them calculators. It wasn't until I was in junior high until I saw someone with a Texas Instrument pocket calculator. Actually the pocket calculators of the early seventies were the size of a Yugo. They were not only too big for pockets, but had a hefty price tag as well. Nevertheless, we were very grateful for the arrival of the pocket calculator, no matter the size, because it could answer our math problems for us. I was amazed at the time that the teacher would allow students to use them. It was like telling us that it was okay to cheat.

So the first time I ever heard the term calculator was in first grade. There in the right corner of the class room was a large oak frame with beads on it. It was a very intimidating piece of equipment that towered above us all. I remember the teacher gathering us around the abacus and showing us how to add and subtract with it. I also remember her teaching us how to discern between ones, tens, hundreds and thousands with it.

Standing next to my little math newcomer this morning - I am wishing I had an abacus.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jack Lalanne

I saw Jack Lalanne being interviewed on television tonight on Neil Cavuto. The guy is 95 years old and is still sharp as a tack. I remember seeing Jack Lalanne on television through out my childhood. Jack had the longest running fitness show on television running from 1951-1985. It's neat to see that he's still out there encouraging fitness, proper diet. He's still selling those juicers too.

Friday, September 25, 2009


All who know me know that I love the drive-in. It takes me back to a time when dad would load the station wagon with kids and go see a family movie like Around The World In Eighty Days, Busy Bodies, and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. It's also where we saw most of the new Disney releases of that day such as The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber and The Monkey's Uncle. I don't recall my dad going to but one in door movie. Maybe it's because he was on crutches and that the drive-in offered easier access.

On into the late sixties and early seventies, I found myself tagging along with my older brother and his friends to see horror movies and western movies at the drive-ins.

The Rainbow Drive-In was gone by the eighties and The Rebel Drive-In still showed some B movies. I'd often venture to the movies during that time by myself. It was strange to be at a theater with few cars in the lot. I remember it was especially eerie when I saw American Werewolf of London there. The Rebel was kind of a creepy but cool place to watch a horror movie alone.

Gina can tell you, I never lost my enjoyment of the drive-in. I am glad that she and the girls enjoy it as well. Not long after we were married we found a drive-in just down the road from Bowling Green, in Franklin, KY. We would often drive down the road on a Friday night to catch a double feature. It was during that time that we noticed most of the patrons sitting outside of their cars - a drive-in tailgate experience. We went and bought some lawn chairs and a jam box and joined the fun.

Drive-ins are not quite a thing of the past, but for a baby-boomer like me, the experience bring back a lot of memories of a simpler time. I am glad that there are still drive-ins in these parts. My little girls are avid fans like me and I am glad that drive-ins are around so they too can enjoy the experience.

Monday, September 21, 2009

dixie cream

I don't remember when it was, but there used to be a Dixie Cream Shop here in Etowah County - sometime in the 1960's. I remember finding a Dixie Cream Shop when Gina and I first got married and moved to Bowling Green, KY. I had no idea at the time that the franchise was still around. It's still going after 80 years, only not around these parts.

I really enjoyed going by Dixie Cream, picking up some doughnuts between the years of 90 and 96. I believe the Bowling Green location is still up there. It was a whole in a wall joint then. I would compare Dixie Cream to Krispy Kreme. I really ought not to eat doughnuts. I am a type II diabetic - but the temptation is too great if I am ever around a hot and fresh plain glazed doughnut. It's a good thing that the nearest Krispy Kreme is in Birmingham, AL which is 1 hour away. The nearest Dixie Cream is five hours away. I would be on dialysis or dead by now if they were closer

By the way, next time you are at a KrispyKreme, do not buy the fancy icing coated or filled doughnuts. Take my word for it. Order a box of freshly made plain glazed doughnuts. That stuff is to die for. I mean that quite literally.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goodbye Mary

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul, & Mary passed away today - Saturday 16, 2009. Her death seems only a footnote in the news. Mary was diagnosed a few years ago with leukemia. I read of her death in small type on the Internet. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Night Gallery

Night Gallery (1967-1960) followed five years after Rod Serling's more memorable Twilight Zone. Night Gallery never was a good as Twilight Zone - but had it's moments. Gallery had a more supernatural, a more macabre feel to it. Where Twilight Zone made you think - Night Gallery just tried to creep you out.

Serling wrote over a third of the episodes as well as hosted all of them. He had nothing to do with the cast selection or the over all production.

It was Billy Daugette that introduced me to Night Gallery. I spent the night over at his house the night the above episode 'The Dead Man' first aired (December 16, 1970). It is my favorite episode - scared the crap out of me back in the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Look this up in your Funk & Wagnalls

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In ran from 1967 to 1973. Laugh-In bumped Man From U.N.C.L.E. from it's Monday night slot on NBC. The non-hip looking Dick Rowan and Dan Martin night club performers always seemed odd against the psychedelic hippie party environment. Laugh-in was a made for television mod-vaudeville-burlesque show.

It seemed like everybody that was anybody in those days appeared on Laugh-in. President Richard Nixon said "Sock It To Me", John Wayne dressed as a big chicken. People doing and saying things that you'd never expect them to be doing or saying. You name them, everyone appeared on this show - if not for at least 2 seconds.

Most of the of the shows weren't that funny. Laugh-in was nothing but rapid fire silliness.
I don't remember dad or mom ever showing disapproval of us kids watching it. The show had a little much sexual innuendo to be considered a family show. Kids watched it nevertheless. Maybe mom and dad thought the shenanigans were too silly to monitor.

I remember as a kid collecting bubble gum cards (by Topps) from the 7/11 convenience store that used to be next to my elementary school (R.A. Mitchell). Each deck came with one card made to look like the Joke Wall -with little doors that would open with members of the cast in the windows. Laugh-in is said to have inspired both Monty Python's Flying Circus as well as Sesame Street. I have to believe thought that Laugh-In took a little from The Smother's Brother's Comedy Hour.

The show faded a few years before Saturday Night Live came onto the scene. SNL creator Lorne Michaels was once a writer for Laugh-In. Laugh-In like SNL (and Smother's Brother's Comedy Hour) are also related in the fact that they are both politically charged. Both Laugh-In and SNL introduced a plethora of new talent and memorable characters.

I haven't seen the show in ages. I've watched some clips on YouTube, and I don't think I could tolerate watching an entire show. It had it's appeal though - when I was younger.

Dan: Say goodnight Dick.
Dick: Goodnight Dick

Sunday, September 13, 2009

tales of terror

Tonight I am watching Tales of Terror (1963) on Hulu.

Back in the early to mid seventies, Jamey Moore and my brother Brooky would let me tag along with them to the drive-in. We'd usually go see spaghetti westerns or American International or Hammer films. Rainbow Drive-In was still open during those days, but we usually frequented Rebel Drive-In in Attalla.

It was during one of these nights that I watched Tales of Terror (based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe) for the first time. This movie is the handy work of B-Movie master Roger Corman. Back then it was common for movies to be brought back time and time again to the big screen. When ever a new horror flick would be released, they'd usually resurrect an older cult classic.

To me, horror movies just don't seem the same when watched in a theater. I always enjoyed watching them at drive-ins.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

viva via bikes

Bikes once carried us everywhere. I got my first bike second hand as a birthday present. Dad bought it from a guy that had advertised it on a local AM radio program. Dad, Brook and I drove out in our station-wagon to some guys home and loaded it up. It really wasn't much to look at - especially as a birthday present. We took the rusty frame home and sanded it off. High handle bars and a banana seats were the in thing back then. We ordered the new handle bar and a black banana seat from J.C. Penney. Penney's was located Broad Street - downtown Gadsden. If you couldn't find an item in a store, you could usually find it through the J.C. Penney or Sears & Roebuck Catalog. It took two to three weeks to get it in. Oh the anticipation!

In the mean time, dad painted the old frame silver and put black racing stripes along the top bar. Mud tires and a new chain replaced the old one. For a previously used bike, It started looking pretty good. It seems to me that Dad would have made off cheaper if he had purchased a new bike. Once finished, my bike didn't look new, but looked like it could take on all the roads and mountain trails a boy could throw at it.

With only one speed, I slowly and surely worked up my strength and endurance to take on almost every hill in my neighborhood. There were lots of challenging hills in my old neighborhood.

One adventure that the Finlayson kids would enjoy together on a Saturday afternoon was riding down to Pearly and Ben's. It was a nice trek for kids on a bike, Pearly & Ben's little grocery store was located at the corner of Agricola Drive and Fairview Road. We'd pedal up Scenic Hwy and turn sharp right onto Agricola where Tuckahoe Golf Course used to be located. It was downhill from there on a long straight dirt road.

Pearly and Ben must have been on first name basis with every kid on Noccalula Mountain. We'd buy our Orange Nehi's, Merita Micky Cakes, Banana Flips, candy bars with what change our pockets had in them. Pocket change seemed to be like gold in those days - buy so much more than what it does today.

Cartee's was on down Fairview Road. Virgil and Velma Cartee were sweet folks and had cooler kids stuff like model planes, firecrackers and comic books. We'd usually have to go by car to Cartee's due to the traffic along Fairview. I'd attempt it on bike on many occasions, but the road then was narrow and kid spent most of his time walking his bike and ever looking back. Cartee's, Pearly's and Ben's are long gone now.

Most of my bike riding as a kid was along side Dan Parrish until he moved away. After Dan, I befriended Mark Condra. Mark lived down on Red Oak Road. I had my little mutt 'Emma', and Mark had his German Shepard 'Tony'. We pedaled our bikes all over the mountain. We put our bikes to the test on all the mountain trails. Our faithful dogs tagged along everywhere we went.

Mark eventually got a motorcycle and that was something I wasn't allowed to have. I guess you could say I got left in the dust. I remember approaching my dad about buying me a trail bike. I would have gladly settled for one of those second hand bikes. Dad, being a lawyer, gave me a lecture about all the paraplegics and deaths caused by those death-'cycles. I knew even then that his concerns were legitimate. I didn't pursue the issue beyond that point, but never stopped me from wanting one.

I stuck to riding my bike until I grew too big for it. The mountain neighborhood became smaller than when I was a kid. I hitched rides with older sibs if I needed to go anywhere. Driving a car wasn't really that far in the future. The next thing I knew, I was driving my younger sibs here and there. The bike sat beneath the eave of the house for years until it again resemble the original rusty frame dad had bought for me as a birthday present a decade earlier.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Obama gets thie facts from Friday and Bill

Don't you wish all those near-do-wells and condescending bozos in Washington could get the Dragnet treatment from Joe Friday? I guess they'll get in one way or the other - from townhall meetings - to eventually getting voted out on their arses. It's great to see 'the malcontent mob' in action. Great witnessing all those parents pulling their kids out of class just to keep their children from Obama's influence. For the most part, the media isn't helping, and Republicans in Washington aren't speaking out. Nevertheless, the American people are. It's the worst of times - it's the best of times. Enjoy the video clip.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

1969: A Space Odyssey

I went to go see Stanley Kubricks "2001 A Space Odyssey" at the Gadsden Cinema back in 1969 with my pal Billy Daugette. This movie came out a decade before Star Wars. 2001, after all these years, is still quite a sophisticated and visually stunning movie. At the age of 10, I didn't grasp anything that was going on up on the screen. It didn't matter, I was amazed and taken by the mystery and imagination of it all. Forty years later, and the sounds and effects still affect the viewer.

I remember getting the soundtrack to the movie and listening to 'The Blue Danube' over and over again. I knew this song so well that I used to could hum it note for note. The LP stayed in my collection for years. I still love this song. It's a very moving piece.