Saturday, July 31, 2004

407 The last day of July

Lakeside streets and cottages could tell you a thousand love stories--the community is over 130 years old. The vacationers seeking a beautiful place to worship, learn and have fun first arrived by steamship (ended in 1939), and rail (ended in 1930) and interurban (ended in 1939). Bridges and high ways brought changes that come with automobiles, but they didn't change why people come here. Our neighbors (in Columbus) stopped by the cottage yesterday returning from upper Michigan. They had never been here. "We've been here an hour and a half," Jane said, "and I want to buy a place."

And there are other love stories--this poem was inspired by a young couple I saw under the street light last summer on the last day of July. This one, however, is about a summer love story from the 1940s.
It was too late for summer love,
They cried that day and said good-bye.
Cicada announced at sunset
It was the last day of July.

As August waited at the door
The sun slipped down more quickly now.
They strolled along the Lakeside dock
and to each other made this vow.

"We'll dance and swim and sing once more
when next July we'll meet again
with kisses sweet in pale moonlight
on the corner of Third and Lynn."

He shipped out for the Philippines;
She left for school at OSU.
During July in years to come
They both recalled that lovely view.

The lovers young did not return
to stroll the lakefront side by side,
'til this year each saw the other
with great grandchildren at Lakeside.

It was too late for summer love,
After hello they said good-bye
with a kiss for their own sunset--
It was the last day of July.

Friday, July 30, 2004

406 Stories about family

Another nice vacation story from one of my links, Shush, written by a young librarian, Greg. He tells of his family get-togethers of the last 35 years, and gives it a book twist by pointing out a collection of family stories written by his uncle. A nice, thoughtful piece. You'll enjoy Sunday July 25 titled, "Overhome." The book, by the same title, sounds like something my writing group which meets at the library to discuss publishing memoirs, might want to look at.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

405 Entertainment just steps away

At Lakeside, I can get a year's supply of culture and entertainment just by walking down the street. I grew up in a home with a lot of music, and I miss that. Last night at Hoover we enjoyed pianist Michael Chertock who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with the symphonies of Cincinnati, Toronto, Philadelphia and Detroit among others. Some concert pianists seem to take themselves awfully seriously, but he was quite charming, chatted with his 6 year old daughter in the front row, and played a very nice variety including Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, themes from two movies, Gershwin, and provided us with a stunning encore at the organ. The audience was wild about Michael, and he is cute enough to have groupies.

Sunday night the Scioto Ridge Boys performed their gospel and praise music. One member is retired from the OSU College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (where I was once a librarian). Here's a little piece about them at the Scioto Ridge Methodist Church website.

The always popular OSU Alumni Marching Band is the largest all brass band and percussion college alumni band in the United States, and they always pack the house at Hoover. Each year they return to the OSU Stadium for the first home football game where they can still perform "script Ohio." They don't do that at Hoover, but two drum majors did that twirlly thing Saturday night.

Friday night we took a trip back to the 50s (happens often around here) with the Diamonds, their do-wop and excellent instrumental skills (2 trombones, trumpet and sax). They began in 1956 and two of the guys in the photo in the Lakeside News weren't on stage, so they must be somewhat interchangeable. This photo looks like the group we saw. I thought they did a good job of keeping their act contemporary while not losing the nostalgia. Their signature hit "Little Darlin'" is remembered by most people from 50-70.
Eye, yi-eye-eye-eye

Little darlin', oh, little darlin'
Oh-oh-oh where a-are you?
My love-a, I was wrong-a (la-la-la-la-la-la)
To-oo try to lo-ove two
A-hoopa, a-hoopa, hoopa
Kno-ow well-a that my love-a (la-la-la-la-la-la)
Wa-as just fo-or you, oh only-ee-ee-ee you

SPOKEN: My darlin', I NEED you (la-la-la-la-la-la) to call my own and NEVER do wrong. To
hold in mine your little hand (la-la-la-la-la-la). I'll know too soon that ALL is so grand.
hold my hand

My dear-a I-I was wrong-a
To-oo try to lo-ove two
A-hoopa, a-hoopa, hoopa
Know well that my love-a (la-la-la-la-la-la)
Wa-as just for you, oh only-ee-ee-ee you
Technically, this is the first "rap" with a spoken voice over, according to Lyrics

Tom Chapin was the program on Thursday evening, July 22. I've seen him here several times, and Thursday he had a "back-up" guitarist whom I thought added a nice touch. He tells funny stories and always provides a good family show with good audience participation. The local story says he has performed for the American Library Association, which this year made the unfortunate choice of showing Michael Moore's disgusting and shameful movie at its annual meeting in Florida.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

404 The complementary colors

In art class today we were told that surgeons' scrubs are green because it is the complementary color of red, the color of blood, and therefore soothing and calming for a tense atmosphere.

So maybe we should have left the red walls and green carpet in the family room and halls of the condo. Soothing. Hmmm. We found the color combination a bit jarring. Even the ceiling was red.

The big news from art class: Sharon says I'm bold. She looked at my painting, and was, I think, speechless. Instead of saying "Yuk," which might have been off-putting and discouraged me, she said, "It is so bold."

Last summer I wrote a poem about painting still lifes based on an article I saw in American Artist. When asked how she paints a still life, the artist said she paints first what will die first. I read it to the class and gave it to our instructor.

The artist’s eye
August 17, 2003

“What do artists paint first?”
And she would then reply
to questions they asked her,
“Whatever’s gonna’ die.”

Apple before basket
and rose before the bowl,
the dog before the pup
and mare before the foal.

Worm before fisherman
and wave before the storm,
Stars before horizon
and fog before the horn.

The creek before river
and leaf before the tree,
finally I’m painting
my lover before me.

For life is not forever
we do the best we can,
I squint my artist eye
and always have a plan.

Monday, July 26, 2004

401 Enmity at the Archives

In Friday's Wall Street Journal there is an article, "Enmity at the archives" about the book store at the National Archives. It carries lots of books about presidents like Jefferson, Lincoln and LBJ. It also carries smear titles about our current President. "The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush's Military Industrial Complex;" "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush." And then the oh so non-biased "Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia," (left wing essays); "Hoodwinked: The Documents that reveal how Bush Sold us a War;" "The Great unraveling: Losing our way. . ."; and some polemic, boring, academic titles which the author lists.

The author, Jonathan V. Last, says there is not one neutral or admiring book on President Bush, just the anti-Bush, anybody-but-Bush, bashes. I've seen these political tables at Barnes and Noble Bookstores, but they at least make an effort to present a variety of views. Last said something to the clerk, who apparently assumed he was approving of the staff choices, and he responded, "We tell [the people who complain about the titles] that they're not anti-Bush. They're just correcting the facts." The accompanying cartoon shows a puzzled customer at book tables labeled: Harangues, Screeds, Conspiracy Theories, and Rants. Last's final paragraph is priceless:
"It's possible that George W. Bush is an illegitimately installed fascist monster leading America's military-industrial complex on a nuclear crusade for world domination. But what kind of dime-store dictator can't even crush dissent at his own bookstore?"

Convention Behind the Scenes

In an expose story that would leave a bad taste in my mouth if I were the party faithful laboring back home, ABC News (6:30 EDT) just featured a behind the scenes look at the partying and bankrolling of the Democratic convention--parties, golf outings, concerts, paid for by donors who don't have to make an accounting of it as political donations to influence votes. I'm sure ABC will be even more heavy handed with their coverage of the Republican convention--but Peter Jennings will smirk more. He rushed away from this one as quickly as possible.

403 What are great vacations made of?

Take a look at Hip Liz's blog for a great road trip through California, Oregon and Washington. Hip is a guy, a dad, and a native Californian going through some values turmoil in his life (according to his bio). So it isn't like he hasn't done some road trips, but he's got some interesting stuff about his vacation. I met him in a writers' group and liked his stuff.

It is gray and cloudy here and I'm doing laundry and listening to reruns of Ellen (from Christmas time). Also, took a 2 hour nap. Where does the time go!

No masterpiece forthcoming from this morning's art class. Sharon set up some great still lifes, but because all my paintings usually tell a story (standing on the corner talking, sitting on the pier fishing, 4 old bikes for sale, children sitting on rocks in front of the lighthouse, middle age man watching a freighter, etc.) I'm having a hard time getting this straw hat and gloves to talk to me. I loved how they looked. I think this is the problem with most of my still lifes--they are so still. I picked lint out of the hair dryer for awhile, changed water in the jar, and admired Connie's painting, but still it didn't come. Sigh.

402 First donut of the season

With no car for a few days, I needed to improvise on my usual routine, so I tucked $2.00 in my pocket and headed for the lake front for a brisk walk to burn up a few calories before I stopped at the Patio Restaurant for a hot cinnamon donut and coffee. Prices have gone up, so it was $1.92 instead of the amount last summer when I could leave a decent tip. I apologized to the waitress. The coffee isn't very good, but the donuts are fab.

Along the lakefront I was joined by my friend Nancy who has been coming here since she was about 10 years old. Although it is not terribly cold, the wind is very brisk, so we both were bundled up for the weather, with jackets and head gear.

Art class starts today. The registration yesterday at the Rhein Center was a mob scene, and it started to rain while the line began to circle around the outside of the building. Sharon Borror will be teaching both a beginner and intermediate class. I think I've only painted 3 paintings since last summer, so she may wonder why I haven't improved.

When I got home from my walk, I switched out of my warm clothes and put on a t-shirt that we designed for my husband's Lakeside clients 10 years ago. (Our son was in the t-shirt screening business then.) It says:

Worker's Compensation
A Cottage at Lakeside

Sunday, July 25, 2004

400 Pleasant surprises

A stranger knocked on the door yesterday afternoon to inquire about our paintings. She's decided that next year she'll come to the opening of the art show so she can purchase one from my husband. She also asked me for a reprint of my shuffleboard painting (my husband and kids in 1974) to give to her mother. The Cottage Assessories owner also knocked on the door and said she had a rush order for my gazebo cards because there were two weddings in the park, and that always sells that card design.

The "Perspective Drawing" class taught by my husband with the assistance of Bev who is a member of our Visual Arts Ministry at church was a big success. Again we were surprised when two different members of the class gave him gifts in appreciation. We printed up certificates in the morning and Bev wrote in their names. It will be offered again during the 8th week and I'll take it then. Angela, a neighbor, said she sees everything differently now. Pat says the class filled a hole in her art ability and is looking forward to better paintings. One woman actually extended her vacation so she could complete the class. He is a wonderful teacher, very kind and patient.

Bev started for home about 10 a.m. yesterday. I think we've made a Lakesider out of her. She's planning to come back in August and may teach her own bag of tricks. She is also bringing her parents who used to come here as young people.

Plans are moving along for next Saturday's "Client Appreciation Party" with gifts, food and displays just about in the finishing stages. We've hired the archivist down the street to be our musician. It will be at the Hotel Lakeside in one of the air conditioned dining rooms. We've only had about two really roaring hot days this summer, so we may not need the air.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

399 A view of the two Americas

Consider these two statements, quotations that open the essay on “Two Americas” by Kim du Toit . He’s a pro-gun essayist, but this one on individualism vs. collectivism isn’t about guns, but basic values.

"In this country there are two Americas: one for the privileged who get everything they want, and one for everyone else who struggle for the things they need." -- Sen. John Edwards

Now this, earlier statement:

"There are two Americas -- and millions of the people already distinguish between them. One is the America of the imperialists -- of the little clique of capitalists, landlords, and militarists who are threatening and terrifying the world. This is the America the people of the world hate and fear. There is the other America -- the America of the workers and farmers and the 'little people'." -- James P. Cannon, to the 1948 convention of the Socialist Workers Party.

The two Americas, he says, is philosophical, not economic, because
“America is not divided into the "haves" and the "have-nots" -- at least, it's not a static condition. Anyone in America with a work ethic, application and a little luck can make it big, from humble beginnings. Edwards himself is the proof thereof. But it's not even that difficult to "make it" in America: almost anyone can get into the middle class with just a modicum of hard work -- which is why the American standard of living is higher than that of any other nation in the world. The division between the classes is both flexible and permeable.”
I'd been thinking about Edward's two Americas statement since reading contradictory statistics over at Tech Central Station by Arnold Kling in "How much worse off are we." . He pretty much dumps the whole idea of a "rich vs. poor" nation by showing that most "poor" people have and enjoy today what a small percentage of Americans had 30 years ago. In fact, if you can wade through the statistics the lower class is disappearing.

Then how will politicians use the envy card? Well, every one needs a 3 car garage and 4 cell phones, I suppose? Today about 75% of poor people in the USA have VCRs. Not that I think that is terrific considering the level of movies, but it does mean they also have electricity, and color TV and enough money to buy them and the accoutrements--no wonder poor people are willing to risk life, limb and family to come here.

In the 1960s when we were married college students, we had no car, no washer or dryer, no dishwasher, (microwaves weren't invented yet, but didn't have one until 1986). We lived in an apartment furnished with our own used furniture and we paid for our own medical insurance because in those days, employers didn't and government didn't. I don't know if food stamps were around in those days, but we would have been eligible. This would make us among the most poverty stricken households in 2004. But we weren't poor, we were young and moving up. But John Edwards, who was still in elementary school then, would have wanted us to be envious instead of self-reliant. Is it because that's how he became rich? No, he worked hard and grew up in a solid, middle class family--so why is he trying to play the envy card?

Friday, July 23, 2004

398 Plastic Nation

“Hi, I’m calling on behalf of Dippity do dah-express to let you know we have a plan for your credit card debt and can probably lower it to 1% interest.” I listened for a few more sentences (our lake house phone is not on a “do not call” list) until he asked me to press one and I realized this lovely, articulate voice was a recording. I was going to let him know in no uncertain terms that we have no credit card debt and have never had credit card debt.

Maybe al-Qaeda won’t bring us down, but plastic cards might. The column headline in the Wall Street Journal this morning was, “As cash fades, America becomes a plastic nation.” According to the article even a 17 year old trash hauler carries a cellphone with a card swiper to record his credit card customers. Speeders can give the cop their plastic, vending machines, subways and charities take plastic. Servicemen are issued plastic and their pay is added to the card. When we took an Alaskan cruise in 2001, all purchases on board were added to a special Princess Cruise credit card. Isn’t it all just too high tech and convenient?

It is so convenient, you get to pretend it isn’t real money. “Consumer debt is expected to hit $838 billion this year, an increase of 6.8% from 2003 and more than double what it was ten years ago.” Eventually, plastic will be phased out since it is really only the number that matters, and that can be linked to you in other ways, like biometrics. You could just as easily, as the technology improves, put yourself in debt with the blink of an eye or a swipe of your finger.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

397 Thinking how John Edwards became a rich man

I’ve paid more attention to legal matters since I served on a jury two years ago. On the one hand, I was filled with pride to be part of such an amazing system with a long history, one which many in the world will never enjoy. On the other, I was appalled by the ignorance and malleability of some of my fellow citizen jurors. I’m not sure the wet noodles were balanced by the bullies, nor did we bond the way some juries did, who continue to meet for lunch and friendship according to the bulletin board in the jury selection room. With John Edwards in the spotlight and his specialty being suing doctors for malpractice, we’ll be hearing more about lawyers contributing to the drying up of medical services in many areas, and the rising cost of medical care.

Some awards do seem really strange. In the latest Columbus Bar Briefs (Summer 2004), both some small awards ($0.00) and large ($25,700,00) seem a bit odd. In one case a 20 year old woman was mistakenly given a blood transfusion for cosmetic surgery, to which she didn't need and had not signed a consent form other than what she had deposited. The blood donor was HIV positive. Becoming infected with HIV the old fashioned way is relatively difficult for women unless they are having oral or anal sex--but through a blood transfusion the virus is 100% effective in transmission. The jury awarded $4,000,000 for present damages and $8,000,000 for future damages, but then reduced it to $8,150,000 when it was determined that future medical care would be $150,000 not $4,000,000.

A man who was told to have elective surgery after a diagnosis of diverticulitis, ended up with a second surgery to repair a leak at the site of anastomosis, prolonged wound healing, development of multiple hernias and hernia surgery. He was suing for $1,200,000 for medical bills, future medical expenses, and economic losses. Considering the discomfort, pain and costs, I thought this was pretty low, but he got nothing after a 7 day trial.

Compare those medical malpractice suits with another case reported in the same issue; a 55 year old man relocated by his company sued for age discrimination and was awarded $25,000,000 in damages and $700,000 for emotional distress. Am I crazy to think that a woman who has to live in fear of a chronic and/or terminal disease should have a higher award than a man who is upset that he can’t earn $100,000 a year in Indiana instead of Ohio? Or that a man with an abdominal wound that doesn’t heal from surgery he probably didn’t need should have more than the guy who had to move to Gary, Indiana to keep his job?

Yes, a good lawyer is very important. Even in small potatoes cases, she/he gets 30%. So the awards aren’t as big as they look, for the plaintiff. (Although 30% of nothing is zero.) But there appear to be a few other kinks in the thread. With Edwards’ record, we’re sure to be learning more about how medical malpractice serves the profession. More than we ever wanted to know.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

396 Linda, Whoopie and Elton

Some people are screaming "freedom of speech," and “it’s censorship.” That is nonsense. It is capitalism, period. These are paid performers hired by businesses to work for the company. If you cause people to NOT purchase the product, then you're not a good or valuable worker, no matter your color, age or sexual orientation.

Linda, who incorporated her politics into her act, apparently has done this before and then enjoyed the fights in the audience. This time, someone didn't buy her hustle. But what better or cheaper publicity could an aging, plump diva get--wow! The Janet Jackson of the menopausal set. If you’ve agreed to hawk Slim-Fast, don’t ask the buyers to swallow your politics. And Elton John, since when is he an expert on the U.S. Bill of Rights? Dr. Laura, an entertainer, got dumped by Clear Channel because she said gay couples shouldn't adopt infants. Her sponsors got heat from certain political groups and poof, she was gone.

Last week at Lakeside John McCutcheon sang some political and slightly off-color original ditties inappropriate for an audience that was about half Republican (who didn’t pay to be insulted) and maybe a fourth children. Although I'm sure it was cut way back from his regular performances. I would imagine the program arranger has heard about it from the people who left the auditorium. It’s a little different than turning the channel or clicking to off. You’ve paid to be there.

395 Man’s best friend has a problem--the man

Having worked in a veterinary medicine library for 14 years, I've seen more than my share of photos of dog bite injuries (usually young male dogs, owned by young adult males, biting male children--a pattern of out of control testosterone and risky behavior). The case cited below obviously was outside that when a father of 3, well educated, owned dangerous dogs known for breaking loose. And his lawyer will try to get the guy's license reinstated.

“A young doctor rarely home enough to care for his three Rottweilers was sentenced yesterday to six months in jail and fined $5,000 after admitting that two of his dogs attacked two women, killing one, last year.” Columbus Dispatch July 20, 2004

Franklin County Common Pleas Court: $252,500 for a dog bite causing injuries to the plaintiff's upper lip requiring plastic surgery in the future. The defendant was visiting the plaintiff and his dog was unprovoked. Case No. 01CVC-06-6093 (2003) reported in "Courthouse Beat", Columbus Bar Briefs, Summer 2004.

And then there are the dog owners who insist their dogs are “under control” running loose in our city and suburban parks. Hearings are pitting dog owners (not the brightest bulbs in the batch when under the influence of Fluffy, Muffy, and Moe) against other park users.

“[Dr. Aaron] Messer said an estimated 5,000 people in Columbus are bitten by dogs each year, a majority of which are children. Mark Young, assistant director of the city's Recreation and Parks Department, said many people call his department, concerned about unleashed dogs running around. [Includes details about barking, defecating, knocking down children, chasing bicyclers, attacking other dogs.] “ SNP Publications March 31, 2004

Even in our condo complex. Yesterday I heard my neighbor's Havanese (very small, dust-mop type dog) barking furiously. I looked out to see him on a leash in his owner's arms to protect him, just in case another neighbor's loose German Shepherd thought he was a snack. This is private property where city law doesn't require a leash--but common sense would be nice. Large dogs that may not bite a person can easily snap the neck of a smaller dog.

Top breeds for dog bite aggression are

Pit Bulls
German Shepherds
Doberman Pinschers
Chow Chows

But all dogs will bite.

Take a look--it's not pretty.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

394 Do you know where your car is?

There’s an article today at American Spectator about EDRs--event data recorders, or “black boxes” that currently are installed in 15-20% of all cars and trucks in service, and most rental cars. Within a few years, as many as 90% of new cars will have this system tied to the GPS navigational computers already in many cars. With EDRs, motorists can be easily tracked to see if they are observing the law, and conceivably tickets could be issued when speeding is detected, although no policeman is near-by to observe it.
“The automakers are just as eager to keep tabs on us as the government -- in part to keep the shyster lawyers that have been so successfully digging into their deep pockets at bay. EDRs would provide irrefutable evidence of high-speed driving, for example, or make it impossible for a person injured in a crash to deny he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Insurance companies will launch "safety" campaigns urging that "we use available technology" to identify "unsafe" drivers -- and who will be able to argue against that? . . . It's all for our own good.

But if you get edgy thinking about the government -- and our friends in corporate America -- being able to monitor where we go and how we go whenever they feel like checking in on us, take the time to write a "Thanks, but no thanks" letter to NHTSA at The public comment period is open until August 2004.”
I suppose when you get out of the car and go into a store, the RFID can take over.

Full article here. Looks like a job for the American Library Association.

Monday, July 19, 2004

393 How do they do that?

There are greater issues to think about--the war, the election, why Blacks think they need to vote for Democrats, who in the world was better off in the 70s (a Kerry Edwards motif)--but today I am wondering how people live with remodeling and redecorating chaos.

The painters start today, doing two rooms, and the house is completely torn up because everything had to be moved. I'm writing in the dining room with all the equipment that was moveable on top of the dining room table, with the extra desk, toilet seat cover, light fixtures, and sink mirror gracing the living room. Fabric samples are dangling over the kitchen counter. Oh, how I wish we'd done this in 2002 before we moved in and painted everything but these two rooms. But they looked OK then. Really. OK, a little odd--the electric yellow guest room with the funeral style drapes, but I just closed the door. As months graduated to years, my office started looking darker, especially after I started blogging. When we purchased this place, it was the lightest, brightest room.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

392 If it were your Mother, should he get to vote?

Now the Democats want ex-felons to vote. What a constituency! I'm wondering if this 30 year old thinks the murderer of his mother should have that right.

He was in the room asleep in a crib when his mother's boyfriend shot her. His father was in prison. So was a half-brother. His mother's two teen-age daughters, his half-sisters, were in foster care. The state of Ohio released his father on shock parole (he had created this new life after escaping for a brief period) to care for the baby, who was then most likely raised by a grandmother and his father's married daughter.

I haven't seen him since 1974--he waved bye-bye after we dropped him and his Dad off at grammy's. I like to think that maybe he had a better life than mom, dad, grandma and sibs. Maybe he finished high-school, I fantasize. Possibly went to junior college. Dad hadn't learned to read or write until he went to prison and a cell mate (white collar criminal) taught him. Mom was smart too, even if she was 3 bricks short of a load when it came to relationships. So I have this fantasy, that he's out there doing well, and like me, probably wondering why Democrats don't care about his mother's life. And how long before the "ex-" is removed from this push?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

391 Art Show Opening

The Katharine Crampton Memorial Art Show opened last night here in Lakeside with a sneak preview at 5 p.m. Huge crowd. Because both of us had entered paintings, we had tickets. The featured artist this year is Neil Glaser, an architect who has a home in Lakeside. The poster artist is Chelsea Meyers, a college student who works at the Rhein Center for the Arts during the summer on the grounds. The show will run for 2 weeks and will be followed by a photography show. We both sold a painting (at least one of the three entries had to be for sale). We also bought a lovely small watercolor of East Harbor State Park shoreline by Neil, a scene I remembered from our very first visit to Lake Erie and Lakeside in 1974. I was so surprised to see a white sand beach with trees. We like to say we buy a painting for our anniversary (September 11), but often select one from this show.

We saw Sharon Borror, OWS, at the show. She will be here week after next to teach watercolor, and we own two of her paintings. She bought the "Best of Show" painting which was done by Chelsea.

Good friends Andy and Mary Frances drove over from Port Clinton where their sailboat is docked because he also entered three paintings (also sold one last night). After the opening we came back to the cottage and I popped a pizza in the oven, made a salad, and we had a nice evening on the deck, until a thunderstorm blew in and we moved to the porch.

The Cottage Assessories gift shop bought another 22 of my cards featuring scenes of Lakeside and the northcoast.

Friday, July 16, 2004

390 Blogger Test

Here's an interesting site to test your blogging personality.  Here's how I tested--although I think the number of questions is really too small to accurately gauge anything.

"Because of your desire for action and independance [sic], you will change the format of blogging or design frequently to keep it interesting and different. Your loyalty may have you reading the same blogs over a long period of time. Even though you could be easily bored with blogging, you might find that because you like following a project through, this is a good way for you to use your alone time to sort the facts you pick up through the day. "

I'm an ISTP.  Seems to be based on the Myers/Briggs.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

389 The week's entertainment

Tonight’s entertainment was a walk along the lakefront and sitting on a park bench watching the sunset over a very active, white-capped Lake Erie. Wallpaper scenes of Lake Erie coast.

Last night was a wonderful group from the Chicago area, New Odyssey.  The 3 men, Gary Todd, Michael Jay, and Gary Polkow, performed almost every imaginable style and played 30 instruments. The drummer, Todd, did impersonations of Tina Turner and Elvis Presley. The audience loved this show, which was suitable for all ages.

Tuesday night was the Brass Band of Columbus which has been performing for 20 years. Many are OSU alumni and music educators. They performed a medley of service hymns with the veterans in the audience standing--always a time for moist eyes as the group grows smaller each year.

Monday night we took a cruise on Lake Erie with other Lakesiders and had a lovely buffet and enjoyed a leisurely trip about Put-in-Bay with a nice view of Perry’s Monument.

Sunday night was the Burchfield Brothers from Nashville who played some gospel, jazz and pop and entertained us with stories. Guitar and Mallet Kat were their instruments. The Mallet Kat is sort of an electronic marimba--played with mallets, but with unlimited sounds.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

388 Collecting Thoughts before they're gone

On the way to the coffee shop this morning I was listening to NPR--from what city, I don't know. A young announcer who sounded like he had a mouth of mashed potatoes and an affected eastern accent was reading a story about road side trash in Ohio. If I heard him correctly, something like 12 million dollars are spent cleaning up the roadsides. (I can find nothing close to this figure using Google, but spent only a minute.) Then he went on to say an analysis of the trash revealed 1 million bottles of beer (beer bottles?). This led to an investigation of whether we need more roadside rest stops. Long pause. I think he was covering the microphone and laughing, because I really don't think that was in the story. It's probably a boring place to work and he wanted to liven things up.

I stopped at Wal-Mart on my way back to the cottage and bought a pair of Faded Glory jeans for my husband, 34 x 30. This brand seems to fit him best, and although his weight hasn't changed I think I was buying 33 x 30 two years ago. Probably should have looked for 34 x 29, but the odd leg size is hard to find in any brand. So you're thinking you won't patronize Wal-Mart because it hurts small towns? It buys foreign made? So you want to go to a large mall and pay $30 for jeans also foreign made?

On my way out of Wal-Mart, I met the owner of the small shop, Cottage Assessories where I sell my greeting cards, going in from the parking lot. She said business had picked up and she's about sold out, so I'll take in some more.

The other night at Hoover Auditorium (where the entertainment is) I heard a sound I don't think I'd heard in over 50 years. I really think someone in there had whooping cough. Then yesterday I noticed an article in the WSJ that the CDC is reporting a resurrgence of whooping cough, and may recommend booster shots. Then ABC covered the story today.

Next door is a big white, 19th century cottage with gingerbread trim and a wrap around porch with a porch swing and old rockers. It was probably built about 1885--the porch was probably replaced around 1920. On it most days was a four generation family who bring along friends and extended family. We watched the 3rd generation grow up, hang out, get married, and bring a new round of babies to that porch. We always wave as we walk by or chat a bit through the screens; sometimes in the evenings on our way back from Hoover we'd see them playing cards or board games.

I remember when we didn't have a phone here going next door to borrow theirs. They didn't have one either. Yesterday the Adelphia truck was parked between our houses. They've got cable now. Last night, there was no one on the porch. I could see the TV flickering in the living room.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

387 How the media sees productivity gains

Over at Tech Central Station, Arnold Kling, on July 12 comments on rising productivity, noting that President Bush hasn’t taken the credit, nor should he, because it takes years for trends and policies to shake out.

“The most likely explanation for the faster productivity growth of recent years is the gradual diffusion and exploitation of computer technology . . . And [It is not usually news because] it takes years for changes in productivity trends to manifest themselves, one quarter's data release is not terribly significant.” And he makes a referral to Virginia Postrel who has written on "operations research."

The news is also ignored because it is positive, he concludes. “The media always prefer economic stories which show America going to hell in a handbasket. In the 1970's, we were supposedly running out of oil. In the 1980's, we were being beaten by Japan. More recently, the media have tried to make the outsourcing phenomenon carry the narrative for the story of gloom and despair. . . the current Administration is unpopular with the media. As much as the media is averse to reporting good news, I think that productivity would receive greater coverage if the big gains were taking place on a Democratic President's watch. The upbeat productivity data would "fit" the story of competent Democratic stewardship of the economy. But it would spoil the narrative of the Bush Administration as bumbling and Hoover-esque to point out that the most fundamental measure of our economic strength is shooting through the roof.”

The only two ads for Kerry I see here in Lakeside are on outsourcing jobs. Neither makes much sense, but they have a lot of appeal for blaming Bush for things he probably has no control over. Especially the ABB crowd.

Monday, July 12, 2004

386 Developing a reading plan for the education I didn't have

I'm currently reading a book recommended on Sherry's blog , The well-educated mind, a guide to the classical education you never had, by Susan Wise Bauer, about reading with a plan. She recommends that in having or developing a serious reading plan that one not look at e-mail first--or you'll never get around to it. Agreed. Turning on the computer is a huge time waster. She has other good advice.

1. Set a time for self-education.
2. Start short--30 minutes is better than 2 hours to begin.
3. Schedule 4 days instead of 7.
4. Guard your reading time--resist immediate gratification (good advice on any effort).
5. Start now--schedule 4 weekly reading periods of 30 minutes.

She recommends a method of reading that I’ve actually been using the last 5 years, but thought I was doing it because I can’t remember anything from day to day. She suggests keeping a notebook--sort of a commonplace book--including not only quotes, but summaries and original thoughts on what you’re reading.

I’ve discovered that the notebook and pencil (occasionally ball point) have to feel right too. Since I read early with my coffee at the coffee shop, I am also following her advice to read early rather than later in the day.

Two of my suspicions--that I read too slowly and that my vocabulary is weak--she shoots down as excuses not to read more difficult, deep titles. She includes a brief test which I passed with no trouble. Darn. I have no excuse, not even lack of time, since she wants you to start with 30 minutes a day.

Her list of “great books” is daunting, however. She suggests reading chronologically, regardless of topic, when reading for the well-educated mind. I’d like to skip Bunyun, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, the only novelists on the list I’ve read.

Don Quixote
Pilgrim’s Progress
Gulliver’s Travels
Pride and Prejudice
Oliver Twist
Jane Eyre
Scarlett Letter
Moby Dick (which she has attempted 7 times, I think)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (I read the comic book)
Madame Bovary
Crime and Punishment
Anna Karenina
Return of the Native
Portrait of a lady
Huckleberry Finn
Red Badge of Courage
Heart of Darkness
House of Mirth
Great Gatsby
Mrs. Dalloway
The Trial
Native Son
The Stranger
Invisible Man
Seize the day
One hundred years of solitude
If on a winter’s night a traveler
Song of Solomon (Morrison)
White Noise

And she wants them read in this order. “When you read chronologically, you reunite 2 fields that should never have been separated in the fir place: history and literature.”

Also, she doesn’t want you to read the preface unless the author has written it, so you form your own conclusions. Also, don’t read a critical or annotated edition for the same reason.

She promises to hold my hand through the whole thing. But I think I will be 85.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

385 Do Libraries Have Obligations to the Rich?

I asked this question over at, but no one suggested a referral or a link. Are there any library documents out there on the responsibilities or obligations of librarians to serve the rich?

In this country, we have more rich than poor, and perhaps some of the rich can thank libraries (and probably do through endowments and certainly through their real estate taxes and help with bond issues) for their good fortune.

When I was at Ohio State, my library had the largest endowment of any of the dept. libraries. Before he died, no one knew the donor had money, and no one knew he had a soft spot for the veterinary library. So no one cultivated or recruited him--which was my good fortune, incidentally.

Just what are libraries' responsibilities to the rich, if they really are supposed to serve all? Wouldn't the poor be served best if the rich were well taken care of? And just who is rich and what is a luxury? Thirty years ago, I couldn't afford a microwave or a VCR. Rich people buying them soon made them affordable for me. The last microwave I bought was about $49 and the new VCR under $50.

Check out this fairy tale. It tells of a man who wished the rich would lose all their luxuries, and got his wish much to the disruption of his own life.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

384 Friends of the Hotel Lakeside Sale

After taking my 3 paintings to the train station to check them in for the upcoming art show, I stopped at the sale in South Auditorium. Lakesiders donate their cast-offs and attic treasures for the sale--even turn around and then pay $5 for an early bird sticker to get in before the crowds to see what every one else has donated. The Friends use the proceeds to upgrade the rooms at the hotel, and many are quite lovely. The trinkets, trash and treasures are laid out on long tables--cookie tins, table lamps, Christmas decorations, 8-track tapes, old toasters, ancient microwaves, bedspreads faded with two-decade-old color schemes, black and white TVs, an occasional small computer, and hand-made crafts lovingly presented to the reluctant host.

There was a time when the cottages were full of the outdated and less than perfect--I know well, having been a renter for 13 years before purchasing a cottage. We would eat out a lot then because I was reluctant to use the kitchen utensils in some of the rental cottages. But now many of the cottages, even some rentals, could be photographed for Architectural Digest or Home.

When the Archives had its fund raising yard sale on Memorial Day, I noticed a coffee table size book on photographs of WWI. It was starting to rain and it was getting wet, but no one moved it. I think it was maybe $5.00. Yesterday I saw it in a local antique store for $45.00. So there are bargains to be had in these old cast-offs if you know what to look for.

My friends from art class, Elaine and Elaine, drove up for the day to drop off their paintings. We had a lovely lunch at the Abigail and then walked along the lake front back to the cottage. Elaine has been in the show before, but Elaine had never been here, and we had a good time showing her the 19th century cottages and the many homes my husband has improved as the local architect.

After Elaine and Elaine left, my husband's former partner, Andy, pulled in the drive-way. He has a sailboat parked over at Port Clinton. He'd just entered something in the show, and was stopping by before he drove to Marblehead to attend Mass.

Tonight's program is supposed to be really good--a Judy and Liza impersonator duo--and both are women!

Friday, July 09, 2004

383 Cutting labor costs through innovation

Not all jobs lost are outsourced overseas, Mr. Kerry (who seems a bit naive about this, in my opinion). Some become victims of innovation. At Meijer’s the other day I noticed carousels of plastic bags immediately behind the cashiers have taken the place of baggers, most of whom were either new immigrants who spoke little English, mentally or physically challenged, or retirees from other jobs. Most of the baggers have probably been put to work in other places in the store like stocking shelves if they have the skills to read and use small computers, but I know some have been let go. It will be hard for people with no communication skills to find other work.

There are also self-check out stalls in most stores now, (also in some libraries) but I don’t see that reducing labor costs much, since a staff person needs to be near by to assist, but it speeds things up for people with a few items. Barcodes--now 30 years old--put a lot of clerks into other jobs and moved customers through lines faster--saving billions a year for retailers in labor costs. And barcodes will probably be replaced by RFIDs.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

382 Noted in passing at the Lake

On Rt. 4 just south of the intersection with Rt. 2, someone, a woman I hope, has a snazzy pickup truck. It is bright fuscia pink with a lavender hood and grill.

At the coffee shop, the deli-mail continues as two customers leave notes for each other on the receipts and attach to a paper cup:
“Your girl friend will have to let you out more & earlier.”

“She don’t send me out after milk and bread anymore.”

We’ve moved the cedar chest out of the bedroom on to the porch, thanks to a neighbor’s help. He will get the wooden box we had in that spot for his grandchildren’s toys. Both came with the house--as did the helpful neighbor--when we bought it in 1988. I estimate the cedar chest is from the 1920s or 1930s, but the box may be much older. The previous owner covered it with contact paper, and restoring the box looked like too much work to me. We’re trying to make room for both of us to be able to paint without tying up the kitchen table. 750 sq. ft. is not a large house.

John McCutcheon performed his popular and up-dated folk singing and humor. He was born in Wisconsin, educated in Minnesota and now lives in Virginia. He tells funny stories--and he is often the butt of the joke. He played banjo, guitar, dulcimer and for an encore, played his body by slapping. Some of his songs are pointed and political--although he was careful, it being Lakeside. I did see a few people get up and leave after his nasty Ashcroft song, but some loved it. I did manage to stay for the entire performance.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

381 The Little People

Michelle Malkin has an article revealing the names of some of the big donors to the Democratic war chest for Kerry's campaign in her July 7 column. I don't have a problem with people contributing to the party of their choice, but I have wondered why the Democrats claim to be the party of the little people. We have two rich, white guys, graduates of Yale, running for President. They are both raising an obscene amount of money so they can be President of the richest country in the world.

A very tiny percentage of Americans are really rich, and very few are desperately poor. We're changing quintiles again. We were in the bottom 20% in the early 1960s, along with most students living in apartments on the fringes of the University of Illinois. Then we rose to the top during our peak earning years, as a librarian and an architect with grown children (DINKS), and will be settling comfortably at the bottom next year. I don't want any candidate making appalling ignorant remarks or feeling sorry for me.

380 Totally decadent

I picked up a recipe insert from the Peninsula News. It had the usual high calorie, high fat summer grill stuff--Easy Peasy Potato Wedges, Sweet Baby Ribs, Pumpkin Fluff Dip, and so on. But this one really set my teeth on edge and answered for all time, why Americans are so overweight:
Plastic Bag Fudge
1/3 cup semi-sweet cocoa
3 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Place all ingredients in gallon-sized zipper plastic bag.
2. Squish ingredients until well mixed. As ingredients mix together, fudge will set up to a stiff icing texture.
3. Pass bag around with spoons and eat.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

379 Excellent programs

In 1893, my grandmother went to the World’s Fair in Chicago with her parents. According to what I learned last night at Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside, “rag time” which had been around for many years, first was called that during the World's Fair for having a “ragged” time. I doubt that Grandfather David let his 17 year old daughter near any performers playing the devil’s music.

The program last night was Bob Milne, a piano player of rag time, boogie woogie and southern gospel. He played a solid two hours, and received wildly enthusiastic applause. He only paused long enough to provide the audience some history and a few jokes. It seems that two weeks ago he played for a private party in their home in Kennebunkport, named George and Barbara. And in a few weeks, he’ll be meeting for the first time another pianist, Clint Eastwood, and they’ll play some duets.

On Saturday evening a group I’d never heard of 1910 Fruitgum Factory performed. I must have been too busy raising babies, because they were popular in the late 1960s and I didn’t remember any of their “hits.” But many of the boomers in the audience did, and when the lead singer suggested there was room up front or in the aisles to dance, about a hundred people, adults and little kids, went forward to groove and swing. It was fun to see them having such a good time--whole families dancing together, little children on their dad’s shoulders, and grandmas rocking and bopping, showing the grandkids how they did it in the 60s.

On Friday evening we had a Beatles imitator group, called Back Beat a Tribute. John, Paul, George and Ringo. This is a very popular program (although doesn‘t bring in as many as the Elvis imitator), again with the boomers. They did put on a solid 3 hour show with no intermission (I only lasted about 15 minutes). What I remember about the Beatles is how shocked and horrified parents were with their hair and music, and am always surprised at how tame they seem now.

Monday, July 05, 2004

378 Helpful neighbor

My neighbor set me up with a password so I can use my wireless card with his router. I might look a bit odd sitting on the back porch straddling a bench, but you have to go with what is easy. I could sit on the front porch, but the connection is weaker. Then I tried webmail and was able to both send and receive e-mail. Before, I was receiving but not sending. My Collecting My Thoughts doesn't seem to be working well, and many times I can't load it.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

378 Thoughts on July 4

The first thing you notice about these workers is that they are young and in good physical condition; the second is that they speak to each other in another language. They are Slovakian students here on the peninsula on special visas that allow them to work during the summer at jobs that used to be filled by American college students.

Because I leave the grounds of Lakeside early in the morning to get coffee, I sometimes pass bicyclists in the dim dawn light. Several years ago when I noticed this I thought maybe they were athletes out preparing for a summer race. But it was just the Slovakian students on their way to work in the tourist industry--restaurants, motels, entertainment sites. They rent a cottage or two, buy some bikes and don’t seem to mind a 20 or 30 minute ride to work each day at dawn and sunset. Very few American youngsters would attempt this--it is a narrow, busy highway, and besides, it requires some athletic skill to ride a bike to work and then put in a full shift on your feet serving others.

Today I was a bit early, so I stopped at McDonald’s instead of Bassett’s where the coffee shop doesn’t open until 6:30. I heard the kitchen help speaking loudly to one of the counter people with many gestures. At first I thought she might be hearing impaired, but then realized that she was foreign, and the Americans were simply speaking loudly, instead of clearly. Then I heard her and 2 other counter staff speaking a Slavic language, and since we have Slovakians working in Lakeside, I assumed these young women were also from Slovakia. When I got a refill, I noticed their name tags--Maria, Petra, and Martina. Martina, who probably had the best English, took the orders at the window drive-thru and Maria and Petra filled the sacks. Soon three tall, slender young men arrived, perspiring heavily, wearing shorts and back packs, and walked behind the counter to the back room and reappeared wearing uniforms--they were working the kitchen.

As I got up to leave I spoke to one of the assistant managers and asked her if they were Slovakian students here on a work visa. She said yes, and she wished they had more of them. She also told me that the 3 women also worked at Lakeside in the evening, and that at least one of the young men had 4 jobs. I asked her about transportation, and she said sometimes they pooled their money and bought a car and shared it for the summer, but usually rode bikes and shared housing. I asked her some other questions about the visas, to which she claimed no knowledge, but I think she was beginning to be suspicious that I was checking up on them, and she didn’t want to lose her workers.

These handsome, athletic 20-somethings aren’t immigrants, they’re “guest workers” as the Europeans might say, but they aren’t afraid to work, and even at minimum wage jobs find housing, transportation and ways to get around language barriers. Here on the peninsula they are cleaning hotel rooms, tending yards and gardens, serving food and clerking. They certainly look more fit and happier to be working than American young people.

Paychecks were passed out while I was there, and I heard a supervisor calling out the names. The Americans just tucked theirs in a shirt or purse. The Slovakians held the pay sheet in both hands reading every entry carefully before putting it away. They looked like they were opening Christmas gifts. On this July 4 they are a good reminder to the rest of us that this country still offers a lot of opportunity for those seeking it.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

377 Beach Reading for the lake

I don’t know why my “beach reading” ends up being such heavy stuff--like “John Adams” which I read during summer of 2002 and “First Mothers” last summer. The book I brought to the lake this summer is “Locust; the devastating rise and mysterious disappearance of the insect that shaped the American frontier.” by Jeffrey A. Lockwood, professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming. He brings together the climatological, economic, religious and political forces at work in 19th century America when the plagues of locust struck. I didn’t think anyone grieved the loss of the locust (I’ve never forgotten Laura Ingalls Wilder’s story about the locust swarms in the Little House series), but Lockwood does, and thinks when billions of creatures disappear almost overnight, we are all the losers. So I was reading “Locust” everyday as the Mayflies pelted the screens wondering if I'd miss them if they disappeared.

When we arrived on Saturday for the first week of the season, the cars, streets, houses and screens were covered with Mayflies. They are attracted to the lights and under every pole is a crunchy slimy mess, with an odd odor. Some years the Mayflies are so thick they get drawn into generators and equipment and cause power failures. Mayflies lay their eggs (8,000 per female) on the water. They sink to the bottom and when they hatch into nymphs they burrow into the sediment and feed on particulates. They go through 20 or 30 molts and finally are ready for a final day, after a 2 year existence of getting ready for sex and us, the folks on land who really don’t like them much. After some inflight mating, they lay eggs and die.

According to an article by our neighbor, Joe Day, in this week’s Lakesider, the Mayflies arrived here because of the early European settlement which disturbed the ecological balance of the lake region with agriculture, but then they were killed off in the mid 20th century when oxygen levels in the lake fell too low to sustain the nymphs. When better water quality standards were enforced and sewage and chemicals were no longer dumped into Lake Erie, the Mayflies returned. The return of the Mayfly benefit the fisherman (perch eat them) and the birds.

Joe writes, “Looking up into the evening sky and seeing the amazing numbers of little fair-like mayflies in their reproductive dance-like ceremony leaves me in the quiet reflection of a humble soul in a wonderful town of this truly incredible world. Fly on little fellas.”

Lockwood writes, “As our current environmental crisis exposes our past act of destruction--and as it threatens human populations squeezed into our favored habitats of seaboards, riverbanks, and desert margins--one can only wonder what else we might learn from the Rocky Mountain Locust. . . Along with hurricanes and drought, such creatures serve to remind the industrial world that humility is still necessary.”

Friday, July 02, 2004

376 Slower than e-mail, faster than land mail

At the coffee shop here on the peninsula, I noticed a note written on the back of a sales receipt, propped up against an upside down Pepsi paper cup, with a little fuzzy bird attached to it. The note read:
“I’m reinstated and my new card is good no matter what excuses I use.”
I asked the staff person if someone had left it by mistake. “Oh no,” she said, “two gentlemen who come in at different times leave notes for each other there.”

Thursday, July 01, 2004

375 Bumper stickers

I was driving behind an automobile--smallish, with some age--plastered with sayings and proverbs. Perhaps to cover up budding rust spots.

“Bring back Monica Lewinsky”

“Thank you for not breeding.”

“Stupidity need not be painful.”

And a Happy face with a finger in its nose.

Sort of makes me wonder what the guy’s T-shirt says.