Friday, December 15, 2017

Cat Tale

There were 4 of us milking that afternoon, my Dad and 3 of his sons: Larry, Gerry and yours truly.  It was the 50's and we were still milking cows the good 'ol fashioned way.  Squeeze.  Squirt.  Squeeze.  Squirt.  Each of us had our own little milking stool and our own 3 gallon pail.

It took about and hour and half to milk the 2-dozen-odd cows.  We'd dump the milk into 5-galllon pails after each cow, these larger buckets in a holding pattern, waiting for the milking to be done, after which the milk would be run through the separator.

After the milking, we'd pour some milk into a shallow container for the cats.  Barn cats.  Not spayed. Not neutered.  Not fed anything other than milk.  They were expected to live on rats and mice and anything else they could catch.  They did alright in that regard, never saw a skinny barn cat.

The brothers had just finished milking, and Dad was just finishing his last cow.  He came striding up the walkway behind the cows, his last pail of milk in hand.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the cats up on its hind legs, drinking milk out of one of the 5-gallon buckets.  Not an unusual occurrence, we frequently had to shoo the cats away from the buckets.

It seems Dad was in no mood for shooing that day.  Without breaking stride, he lofted that cat into the air with his foot.  The cat screamed, "ROWR!"  It flew five feet through the air in a perfect arc - and landed, dead center, in another full 5-gallon pail of milk.  Cat grenade!  Milk explosion!  Cat's in the bucket, panicked.  Rowr!  Rowr!  Rowr!  Clawing at the sides of the bucket, trying to escape, milk flying everywhere - and we 3 brothers laughing so hard we could barely remain standing.

After a couple failed attempts, Dad managed to grab the cat by the scruff of the neck and set it aside without getting too badly scratched.  The cat took off like greased lightning, not to be seen again that day, and never to be seen drinking out of a bucket again.  Dad finally saw the humor in it, chuckled, "Pretty good shot, huh?"

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Plunk Your Magic Twanger, Froggy!

Folks in their 70s may recall Froggy the Gremlin.  Froggy was a naughty little fellow who constantly played tricks on guests of the radio show, Smilin' Ed's Gang, in the 1940s.  The show was one of several 'cereal serials' aimed at kids, although this particular show was sponsored by Buster Brown shoes instead of cereal.  "I'm Buster Brown, I live in a shoe. That's my dog, Tige, he lives there too!" 

Ralstson-Purina sponsored the Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters radio show.  Tom Mix, a famous cowboy actor, starred in hundreds of silent movies, always wearing a big white hat. The bad guys, of course, all wore black hats.  Mix himself was never heard on the radio show because his voice wasn't good enough, the result of a bullet wound in the throat and a broken nose.

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon was another popular kids radio show.  Preston was a mounty, who with the aid of his lead sled dog, Yukon King, pursued evildoers in the frozen north.  It was sponsored by Quaker Oats.

Yet another show, Bobby Benson and the B Bar B riders, was set in Texas.  Bobby was an orphan who inherited a large ranch, and rode along with his cowboys in pursuit of rustlers, thieves and other miscreants.  It was sponsored by H-O Oats.

On Saturday mornings in the late 40s and early 50s, I listened to all these shows, plus a few more.  And I, like millions of other kids, pestered my parents to buy the advertised cereals so I could save box tops and send them in for assorted worthless junk.  The cereal companies raked in the profits.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cattail Cove State Park

We, and 3 other RVing couples from LHC, just returned from a very enjoyable 3 days at Cattail Cove State Park, which is about 30 minutes south of LHC.  The beach picnic area is shown above and below.  Those tiny figures in the center of the lower picture are Tom and Louise, part of our group, getting a kayak ready to launch.

The campground area of the Park with our 4 rigs grouped together, lower left.  Lisa and Elaine are approaching each other, prior to sitting down at a picnic table for a morning chat, lower right.

The kayak group launches at the Park.  Trish, Elaine and David in foreground, Louise and Tom behind.  Tom was having trouble getting his pedals seated properly.  They all have Hobie pedal kayaks.  David and Elaine's are inflatable; the others are traditional hard shell types.

They spent 2.5 hours on the Lake, then Terry and I took the trucks down to Havasu Springs to pick them up, and join them for lunch.

Thanks to David for bringing the firewood, and providing the evening ambiance.  Thanks to Trish for the s'mores makings.  Thanks to all for the delicious snacks and desserts, and the enlightening conversation about converters, inverters and extroverters!

Finally, congratulations to Lisa who finally had her groping fantasy fulfilled. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tempe, AZ

Tempe's Desert Botanical Garden gets my vote for best of breed in desert-themed public gardens.  It was started in 1939, covers 140 acres, and has 55K desert plants from all over the world. The pix below was taken at the entrance, a living mosaic of little cacti.

Also near the entrance are the glass sculptures pictured below - by none other than the famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly.

We're in Tempe for Thanksgiving, hosted by fraternity brother Al and his main squeeze, Jan.  We alternate hosting the event, so it's our turn next year. 

The following pix include several large ceramic heads by Jun Kaneko,a famous artist I'd never heard of before.  I don't get out much.

Little woman, BIG cacti!

Above and below, sitting on the edges of the walkway, those tan rectangular things are luminaries.  There are 8,000 of them in the Gardens, each with its own wax candle.  On Las Noches de las Luminarias, all those candles get fired up.  Super speedy sprinters compete for the honor of lighting the candles.  The winner has 30 minutes to light all 8K candles.  If he fails, leaves any single candle unlit, he's tarred and feathered, and then thrown into the Salt River.

Obviously, I'm clueless on the candle lighting.  Was curious about it but couldn't find anything on the website.  Gotta take hundreds of people. 

Kaneko also did the critters below, calls them raccoon-dogs.  Raccoon-dogs? I don't think so.  How about pig-bears?

Tempe, population 182K, is the home of Arizona State University, the largest public university in the US, with 72,000 enrollment.  The Phoenix area has 5 campuses and there are 4 regional campuses, including the newest one in Lake Havasu City, my home town, started in 2012.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Something to Cry About

"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!"  Is there anyone who hasn't heard that one?  I surely did.  Here are some more sayings from my childhood.

Between male siblings:
"Did you fall in?"  Shouted through closed bathroom door.
"Should I throw you a rope?"  Ditto.  (1 bathroom, 8 people.)
"Nice play, Shakespeare!"  Any screw up.
"NSDT"  (No shit, Dick Tracy)  Stating the painfully obvious.
"You're cruisin' for a bruisin.'"  Oops, too much smart mouth.
"Your voice is changing but your breath smells the same."  Fart.
"Useless as tits on a boar."  Didn't do it right - or not at all.
"Gag a maggot."  Nasty food, smell, whatever.
"Puke a snake."  Ditto
"Your barn door's open."  Unzipped fly.

From Mom to us kids:
"You're a naughty piece of cheese."  When being mischievous.  Never heard that one anywhere else, no google results.  Huh?
"You're gonna have a lot to answer for."  You did something bad and your purgatory time just got extended.  Again.  Oh, well.
"Kids in China are starving."  Okay, ship it over there, I hate it.
"What's the rating?"  Couldn't watch any movie not approved for kids by the Catholic church. 
"Go wash your mouth out with soap."  Said a bad word.  Yuk! 
"If it was a snake, it'd bite you."  Look again, dummy.
"Go soak your head."  Actually did that once.  Didn't help.
"You could grow potatoes in there."  Dirty ears en route to church, followed by spit bath.  Ew!

From Dad to us kids:
"Are you cracked?"  Did something stupid.  
"I said so.  That's why!"  No explanation needed. 
"Sit there and be quiet."  He invented 'time outs.' 
"Were you born in a barn?"  Left the door open.

Personal favorites I still use occasionally: 
"People in hell want ice water."
"Go suck an egg."
"We went to different high schools together."
"10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Frisbee Golf

When we were in Grand Junction, CO, we took the dogs to a large off-leash park in nearby Palisade.  The park has a Frisbee golf course, and there was a state tournament in progress, dozens of 4-person teams.  We'd seen a few of these courses in our travels but rarely saw people playing the game, had no idea it was such a big deal.  A state tournament?  Really?  Who knew?

The players were mostly 30-ish guys, each with 20+ discs stuffed into a rectangular duffel bag mounted on a miniature refer dolly.  We chatted up one of the foursomes and hung with them for awhile, got a little education.  One team member, tall guy, nailed a hole in one from about 500'.  Unbelievable!  He had us sign his Frisbee, as witnesses.  Holes in one are as rare as they are in regular golf; the guy was ecstatic.

The discs have various weights and are labeled like golf clubs: driver, midrange, putter, etc.  The player stands on the concrete tee-off pad, eyeballs the course and obstacles - there were lots of trees in the park - selects the appropriate disc, does whatever style of approach he/she has developed, and wings it down range hoping to miss all the trees and get within putting distance of the goal.

There are over 5K courses in the USA, and it's played in 31 other countries also.  There's even enough prize money in the larger tournaments to generate a few professionals.  I've used the term 'team' above but I think it's the individual's score that counts; I suspect the foursomes are put together in a random manner.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Frostbite Falls

Most readers of my vintage know that Frostbite Falls is the name of a fictitious town in northern Minnesota.  It was the hometown of TV cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle.  That's them below; some of the other main characters are pictured also. 

Having grown up in northern MN myself and surviving (barely) its frigid winters, I find the name appropriate as well as humorous.  I left MN at the earliest opportunity but still take a wicked delight in namedropping FF with family and friends who still live there.

Dudley Do-Right

Recently, I stumbled onto the history of the name, found it intriguing.  The creator of the series, Jay Ward, lived in Berkeley, CA, but for some reason became a great fan of the Golden Gophers from the University of Minnesota.  His favorite Gopher was Bronko Nagurski, a star football player who hailed from International Falls, MN.  I-Falls was sometimes called 'The Icebox of the Nation' owing to its dubious honor of frequently having the lowest temps in the country.  That tickled Jay apparently, inspired him to come up with the FF name.

Snidely Whiplash

The cartoon series was at once both silly and delightfully clever.  Puns ran rampant.  I loved it.

Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale

In 2000 a Rocky and Bullwinkle movie was released.  Despite having major star power (Rene Russo, Robert DeNiro, Randy Quaid, John Goodman, et al) viewers weren't impressed.  They preferred the cartoon characters.