Posts Tagged With: entertainment


The conventions are over, and Bill Clinton talked about arithmetic, my weakest subject throughout school, but we can never evade arithmetic.

Did you know:
…that Vice President Cheney said, “Deficits don’t matter”? He didn’t do his arithmetic.

…That Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget and a surplus? He did his arithmetic.

Salary of retired US Presidents .. ………….$180,000 FOR LIFE Plus the cost of lifetime protection.
Salary of House/Senate ……………………$174,000 FOR LIFE-Plus the cost of lifetime health care for all.
Salary of Speaker of the House …………..$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE

They do well on their arithmetic when it affects their lifestyle and comfort.

Obama made the banks pay back all of their bailout funds because he did his arithmetic.

But look at this arithmetic:

Average Salary of a teacher …………….. $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN…………… $38,000
Average Salary of an NFL Football Player…..$770,000

In the last 10 years High School Sports have become recruiting grounds for professional sports. Maybe we should tie teacher salaries to Sports Salaries? Our schools are expected to pay for sporting programs that are paid for by our taxes, to benefit the pros. But, shoot, what do I know? Arithmetic is my worst subject.

The Securities and Exchange Commission received 300,000 comments asking it to require corporations to disclose their political spending-100,000 more comments than they’ve ever had on any subject. I wonder if the Arithmetic gave them a strong clue?

And, did you know that President Richard Nixon, Averill Harriman and Great Grandaddy Bush are related? They pledged years ago, after Grandaddy Bush lost his bank to the New Deal, to dismantle Roosevelts new society. Well, its taken them awhile but they’ve almost got the job accomplished. Romney and Ryan plan to finish it off for them. They have some interesting arithmetic that changes depending on what speech you listen to.

I wonder why our problems seem so unsolvable? After all, we were the most prosperous society in the world just 35 years ago. What changes turned us into a society on the brink of collapse in just 35 short years? Do the arithmetic.

Count 545 congressional men and women. Taking the entire congress, their average personal wealth is very conservatively estimated, (because they only have to report investments broadly, not exact profits) is 1.4 million, that’s average, and counts new incoming representatives from supposedly a “normal” walk of life.

Some are very wealthy. One percent of Americans are Millionaires. But, in congress, the rate hovers between 40 and 50 percent.

Yup! It is all about arithmetic.

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To be a kid again has great appeal. When I first moved to Murphys I swam in the creek until I discovered Murphys had a swimming pool. But, any kid who picks the pool over the creek is missing a great deal of adventure. When my niece from Colorado visited the kids thoroughly enjoyed the creek almost every afternoon.

We’d throw the inner tubes in the back of the truck and head for town. The kids would swim and cool off and make friends with other kids, as kids do so naturally.

Mom was waiting on the bank with a blanket and snacks and drinks.

You can’t pick up pretty rocks, build a dam or a waterfall in the pool.

If you walk far enough upstream, you get a great ride back. Amanda decided to see if she could float under the bridge.

Then younger sister Alyssa got brave enough to try it.

The kids were well entertained by the creek and cheerfully spent hours there.

They even made friends with someone’s dog. You don’t get to throw a ball and swim with a dog in the pool.

I’ll be glad to see the rains come. The weather though still in the 90’s is cooler during the day because the nights are cooler. It stays dark longer. Fall is pushing its way into summer and it is pleasant to reflect on the last days of summer.

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A week ago, Friday, a group of us  met at Murphys Pizza Plus to celebrate Paul Moeller. While there are many things to treasure here, Paul  is considered by the community to be “Our Local Treasure.”  Like a blogger, he always has his camera and takes pictures wherever he goes, a lifelong habit.  But his major accomplishment, among many, since retiring here in 1964, is having founded Public Access Television in 1983.  Our Board of Supervisors didn’t know what Public Access was. He had to educate  them before we could get consideration in the cable contract for channel access.  Paul  got a studio built in 1992 when we had no money.  And he produced over 3,000 shows for Calaveras Community Television, Public Access.  Except for studio equipment, those shows have been shot and edited on his own equipment.  I’m proud to say, I am one of the founding members of CCTV.

I wrote the reason for our celebration on the Pizza Parlor’s blackboard.  The mortgage on our  studio, named for him, has been paid off.  None of the counties around, Amador, Tuolumne, not the big cities closest to us, Modesto or Stockton, have a studio.  Only Sacramento has a studio. Our studio is considered the Jewel of the Mother Lode. We’ve had offers to rent it from Reno, Tahoe, Lodi and other entities. Claveras High School, and Columbia College at one time held video classes there. It is an exclusive and valuable asset to our community, just like Paul.

In 1992, Paul went to the carpentry class at Calaveras High and asked if our non-profit, CCTV raised the money, could the class build us a studio? Yes!  The class started the foundation upon Paul’s design and volunteer Betty Deakin’s professional drawing.  But then, school was out, and the kids and teachers all went home. Did I mention that Paul has a fierce work ethic, he is impatient and likes to get things done now?

Paul spoke to local Supervisor Dick Gorden and he said, “You know, we need a studio. Do you know anyone who could help us?”  Gorden knew Contractor Gary Hensley, who was trying to keep his crew working when work was slow. Hensley’s first question was:  “How much do you pay your people?”  Paul told him, we are all volunteers,  we pay nothing. “How about programs, and  mileage and gas and stuff like that”  Paul repeated, nothing, we don’t get mileage or gas, or video tapes. Everyone volunteers and pays for everything including their own cameras and equipment.  We pay nobody. Hensley was in.  With promise of help, the bank gave us a loan for $84,000 for materials, at 12% interest, secured by the County from funds from the Cable Company designated for Public Access.  Hensley is the guy in the center in the white shirt with his crew around him taking a break. Paul is videotaping.

The crew would come in at 6 a.m. and work half a day for us, then go to their paid job for the rest of the day. Our only cost was to bring a load of volunteers to unload lumber, have it ready for them, provide water and bring a picnic lunch for everyone before they left.  In three weeks, we had the shell of our building finished.  By the way, it sits on leased land belonging to the Calaveras County Water District with a very generous lease of $1 per year guaranteed for over 25 years.

Local contractors did work, and many of them donated their time. Even PG&E returned our check for a permit to hook up.

Paul called the sheet-rockers on stilts, acrobats. Once the electrician, plumber, air conditioning and window guys were gone, the rest was up to the volunteers.

Paul installed the many spotlights. We painted and got donated pieces of used carpet that we taped to the floor like a patchwork quilt.  Spray painted egg cartons became sound proofing on the ceiling. Paul found a second hand studio curtain for $700. ($5,000 new).  He built a stage and sets.

None of this would have happened if the Supervisors, the local business people, the water company and the community did not believe it could be done under Paul’s tenacious and unrelenting work habits. Always punctual. Always there, wherever and whenever needed or asked.  We’ve shared a lot of productive years together volunteering in this county. On Thursday, our “local treasure”  was in a serious car accident.  Somehow, he failed to see a red light and T boned another car at the intersection.

Paul was seriously injured and taken to Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. But, before they took him away in an ambulance, he took pictures-OF COURSE.

Before I got to his house yesterday afternoon,  he had already developed and printed pictures  for me to see.

Both cars were totaled. The wheel sitting in the middle of the intersection is from his car.

He had two shoots arranged for today, and was willing to cancel one, but the other he must do, he told me on the phone. Our Studio manager, Ed Lark, convinced him he would take over his  shoot and Paul could edit it. Paul  reluctantly agreed. He has another show on the 22nd that he expects to do.

He is soon to be 85 years old. His sternum and back have suffered major trauma. He can barely get up and down from a chair. It is even more painful to lie down and rest. He is walking with difficulty and is on major pain medications. He can lift nothing with his left arm. Could I find someone to help him with the shoot? I told him I would hire some-one to set up his camera and unload his van that he uses for location shoots. I then called his anchor person, Mearl Lucken, and asked him if HE could talk Paul into resting and let somebody else do his programs for a couple of weeks. Whatta ya’ gonna do with a guy like that? But, now you know why we have a jewel in the Motherlode, because our “local treasure” is a hard working, trusted and admired individual who never gives up.

Paul lost his wife of 65 years two years ago. He named his driveway, Martha Lane. He told me he pats her pillow every night and says goodnight to her. Now it is our turn to take care of  our “Local Treasure”, if he will let us.

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From Casa Blanca, we followed old Route 66 as much as possible to Grants, New Mexico. While looking for the visitors center, in a town that doesn’t seem to believe in numbering their buildings, we  found  God’s Green Acres, instead.

People who like old rusty stuff must share a special gene.  Fancy machine-made gears, in so many forms fascinate me.  If I had access to such stuff, I’d learn to weld.

It takes imagination to think of old hitches as a potential flower.

Ditto spring and blade  yucca.

And this artist has a great sense of humor since there is hardly a blade of green grass in his art corral.

I don’t know if my camera eye was a trespasser,  but I couldn’t read the sign without it.

Drying red chili peppers clanking in the wind.

The artist works with heavy stones and thus, heavy equipment.   He had several  stacked stone arrangements besides this balancing piece, which is a tricky thing to do.

I have no clue how this was done.

The tines of a plow with a shadow enhance the piece.

He built several small gear trees that I liked. I realize rusty metal  only appeals to a small number of people. Jim sat in the car while I took the photos.

I expect that even fewer people have a dilapidated old building gene, like Jim. (I was tempted to get out of the car for the old rusting bed spring gate.)

Who knows?  Maybe you just get weird when you become a rambler.

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After heavy rains, I couldn’t mow or have weed eating finished. Had my guys repair fences and remove a huge spread of blackberry bushes around the property. They chipped away at a couple of old stumps I’m always running into. I like things to be ship-shape when I leave, but the maintenance here is heavy.

I caught up on the inevitable paperwork inside, while they worked outside.   Time to play picture roulette and see what comes up in my files.

A big hole in the ground.

My daughter and grandson in a haze of smoke around the campfire.

Not sure why I took a picture of this barn in Monroe, Washington. Maybe because the silo looked like a space ship.  I do like old barns, but, I think I’ll toss this one out of my files.

Sexy shoe?  Now, that’s more like it.

I grabbed this from a story about this famous painting having been recovered after many years of being “disappeared.”

The gate to an animal sanctuary. Just read a horrible story of the abuse elephants suffer. This, after an elephant shocked by an electric fence turned on her new rescuer and killed her. If it were up to me, no animals would be allowed to be used in side shows and circuses for profit. It all too often ends up in horrible misery for the animals. In fact, this recent episode about the abused elephant was that she was being cared for and calmed before being sent to this very sanctuary here in Calaveras County.

A Matt Bors cartoon. Whoops, hadn’t thought of anything political for a whole day. Well, it is pretty funny.

Another shoe picture.  Well, with that, I’d best hot foot it into the kitchen and get my house spruced up before I leave.

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I just happen to have an extra telephone pole hanging around at my rental which is near my house.  I had a new pole installed to operate the well, but the contractor didn’t remove the old pole. I  caught this freesia in bloom hiding among the grasses, but, I got so excited I completely forgot to take  pictures  as the new contractor cut it down and brought it to my house.

They trimmed it to twenty feet.

Dug a five foot deep hole.

And put it in the ground. It stands fifteen feet high and is ready to be transformed into a totem.  Today, I’ll start some preliminary decorating, just to see how it works out. The purpose is for a fun project at our family and friends reunion in July.

I was inspired by this totem put up by a local club in the neighborhood called The Barnies”.  They charge themselves an initiation fee to join. The money goes to keep the barn maintained in good shape, and pay the power and to use it as a meeting place  for a once a month pot luck. They invite a musician into play, barbeque, play bocce. In other words, just have fun.

the totem was one of their fun projects. Anything goes.

I’m posting this so everyone will bring their junk and we will find a way to get it on the totem. Jan will do a rain dance, no doubt. It will get well christened. We still like to flume, and play horseshoes and bocce, but for some of us, a new piece of art is just the right touch.

I hope you agree and get inspired by The Barnies  creation as I was.

You’ll have to admit it is a fun way to recycle.




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