Why did we need absentee ballots? All will be explained tomorrow.
Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven
- Name: Frank Denton
- Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Why did we need absentee ballots? All will be explained tomorrow.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Friday, August 27, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Later, when I could handle an axe there was wood to split and a woodbox to fill. This was for the kitchen stove where mom prepared the meals, baked bread and wonderful pies. Oh, my! Mom was a darned good cook. But this was maybe a couple of years later that I was handed this chore. When I could be trusted to not chop off fingers or a foot. And lawn to mow, and chickens to feed (don’t forget to collect the eggs) and a rather large garden to hoe. Plenty of chores.
Strange things to be thinking about in the middle of the night. Where did that come from?
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Monday, August 23, 2004
For a while I sat at my computer and searched "Inspector Morse." By some stroke of serendipity we saw the end of a replay of one of the episodes. I was again taken by how well they were filmed. I decided to see how many episodes there were and how many were available on DVD. Thirty-three, in both cases. The whole series. We have enjoyed John Thaw since he played Regan on The Sweeney, a really tough show, quite politically incorrect, about the Flying Squad which was produced between 74-78. It’s not on DVD but there are two movies that were made, and they are available on one disk. Something to look forward to.
I was out to Office Depot and Barnes and Noble tonight. They happen to be next door to each other. A case of paper, some gel pens and a magazine. The car parked next to mine had a bumper sticker: Reward! $10,000! For Schroedinger’s Cat! I had forgotten what Schroedinger’s Cat was all about. So when I got home I used my Google to look it up. Now I remember, but I still think I miss the point. Not much of a scientist, me.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
The Doyle volume is entitled The Captain of the Pole Star after one of the stories contained therein. I’ve not read any of the stories as yet. But I did read a very interesting and informative introduction by Christopher and Barbara Roden, the editors and publishers of Ash-Tree Press. (They also publish and edit Calabash Press, a Sherlockian venture.) It is fairly lengthy, being 24 pages long. In it they detail when the stories were written and when and published by what magazine. Many of them were published in The Strand, where most of the Sherlock Holmes stories were published. Along with this information we learn about Doyle’s first wife’s illness, his marriage to a second wife, his growing interest in Spiritualism and the falling off of the volume of his writing.
I have read the so-called Canon, the complete Sherlock Holmes stories probably three times. Once when I was a youngster and twice more recently. I’ll probably read them again one of these days. But these stories of the weird and supernatural will be new material for me. I’m looking forward to them and hoping they will give me as much pleasure as the Holmes has done. The Rodens hint in the introduction of in future publishing the Professor Challenger stories. That also would be delightful.
Friday, August 20, 2004
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Speaking of books, I finished reading The Fencing Master last evening. It was written by Arturo Perez-Reverte. You may know of him through the motion picture The Ninth Gate. That was made from his novel, The Club Dumas. I find him a remarkable writer and have enjoyed everything I’ve read by him so far. One of the things that I admire is that all of the books are different. The Club Dumas was about a book scout trying to find a rare book on Satanism. The Seville Communion was about a parish priest trying to save his small church from being sold by the diocese to developers. The Fencing Master was a period piece, with politics and upheaval in 1866 Spain as background. A young woman comes to the fencing master to have him teach "the unstoppable thrust." He finally agrees and it is much to his chagrin that a friend, with whom he fences several times a week, is killed with that thrust. That is only the beginning of his troubles. The woman disappears. Is she dead? There is much mystery here and more to come. I recommend Perez-Reverte highly. I think I have 3 or 4 more novels of his to read.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Monday, August 16, 2004
The main matter on the agenda was the library bond issue. My wife has been acting as liaison with the county library system for this. She has toted yard signs, lined up volunteers to be at various functions around town; concerts in the park, Thursday outdoor markets, a classic car show, tag sales in Olde Burien, even a beer garden. She now was asking for two things. The first was an endorsement by the board of the bond issue. This would then become part of a large ad being placed in the community newspaper by Discover Burien. The second was for a sum of money to place our own ad from the library guild board. She asked for $175 for a small ad, but the president said, "Too small." He wanted $350 for a larger ad with room for more information. The treasurer said that amount was a budget buster. I responded that out of a $10,000 annual budget, surely $350 was not going to bust the budget. Our side won and the ad will be placed. I’m quite sure this fellow is going to vote against the bond issue. He does a good job as treasurer and wants to take good care of our money but, my gosh, surely as a library lover he ought to endorse this issue with enthusiasm. If it passes Burien will have a new library double the size of the current one. I just don’t understand some people.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Thursday, August 12, 2004
On the other hand, I had lunch yesterday with about a dozen people retired from the college where I was an administrator before I retired. We’re all getting old. The dean has had his knees replaced and now is looking forward to an operation on his wrist. Several people are pretty deaf and you have to shout at them to be heard. And sadly, several good friends are deceased. One of the librarians from the library-media center of which I was director has recently had a quadruple bypass, then complications for which they had to open him up again and a longer recuperation the second time. He’s been laid up since April. Still, I guess we should be thankful that we are still able to meet once a month. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
That’s two times in the last month I’ve been to City Hall. The other time was to push for the City Council’s endorsement of the County’s library bond issue. That’s enough political action for a while. I'll save my political energy for the Big One.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
I was mainly interested in the Van Gogh paintings and there were plenty of them to satisfy me. There were several Picassos that were of interest and several by George Seurat and Paul Signac, pointillists whose work I enjoy. Three Signacs, to be exact, which is three times as many as I had seen previously. I was introduced to several pointillists whom I had never viewed before. One was Henry van de Velde, the architect who designed several building for the Kroller-Mullers. I was very impressed with his painting, 'Twilight.' The Cubists, Gris, Leger, Diego Rivera in his Cubist period, don’t interest me very much. And the Mondrian hardly at all. He was trying to make a statement, but obviously not to me.
The Van Goghs were very nice. No ‘Starry, Starry Night’ but there was the fabulous ‘Café Terrace at Night’ and the ‘The Garden at the Asylum at San Remy,’ the place where Van Gogh committed himself when he felt out of control. There were portraits of people knew during his stay at Arles in the south of France; the postmaster and his wife. There were some amazing, quite realistic, paintings in pastel chalk and ink which were done before he began painting impressionistic images. I remember being smitten by the impressionists fifty-plus years ago and thinking that I would never see any paintings in the flesh, so to speak. I’m very glad that I have had the opportunity; at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Portland Art Museum, The National Gallery in London, The National Galley of Canada, and now here at the Seattle Art Museum.
Monday, August 09, 2004
Fay Wray and The Goon Show: Fay Wray died today. She was 96 years old. She was not entirely happy that she was best known for her role in the movie, King Kong. But I believe that she eventually became used to it. Not many who have seen the movie will forget the huge ape climbing the side of a skyscraper with Fay dangling from one fist. I think I read somewhere that a remake of that movie is being filmed. And I think that the director is Peter Jackson. After Lord of the Rings is there any place to go but down. I suppose that I should reserve judgement until I have seen the film.
On another note today’s mail brought two disks which contain the complete The Goon Show, a radio show from the fifties. It's in MP3 format. It was a BBC production and featured Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and over the years several other radio actors. When it played on radio here our children were still in grade school. We tried to sit down to dinner at the same time the Goons were on and we all listened. Perhaps that’s why my kids, now all 50 years old or better, all have strange senses of humor. I’ve only had an chance to listen to the first program on the disk, which was actually a history and reminisces by the players, musicians, writers, director and producer of the series. It contained exerpts from various shows, by way of examples. That was enough to bring a loud guffaw from yours truly, and I should let you know that I do not guffaw easily. I think there are about 100 shows on the two disks. I am sure they will give me many hours of pleasure. And plenty of guffaws too.
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Today they had Heats 2A and 2B and the final heat for the unlimiteds. Preliminary heats were run on Saturday. They also had the unlimited hydros, powered by automotive engines. Only slightly smaller than the unlimiteds, but no turbine engines, they gave every bit as exciting racing as the big boys. Between races we were treated to the Blue Angels in their Navy fighter jets doing close order flying. Lots of maneuvers. Lots of noise. Today the skies were clear and that allowed the Navy fliers to do their high show. The Red Barons sponsored by Red Baron Pizza flew their Steadman bi-planes, originally built in 1943. Many pilots in World War II learned to fly in these Steadmans. With two wings and open cockpits they were every bit as close in their flying as the Navy pilots, maybe even closer. But they were not flying at 350 mph, more like 80 mph. Fun to watch them roll and loop and turn. Then there was Fat Albert, the Blue Angels’ C130, a pretty maneuverable cargo plane in the right hands. There was a stunt pilot who did incredible things with his plane, sponsored by Oracle. And finally Navy parachutists with flares alight, doing marvelous things en route to the ground. All this action in between the heats, keeping the crowd well entertained.
All of this I watched from my seat in front of the televison. No sunburn. No crowds when the event was over. No being caught in traffic jams. Excellent pictures of both the boat races and air show from the announcers and commentators for the various air show teams. I saw much more than the people who attended the event in person. Sometimes it’s good just to chill at home.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
The odds-on favorite for this year’s race, the 79th Running of the Hambletonian, was a horse named Tom Ridge. Why name a horse after our Secretary of Homeland Security, who puts us on orange alert, several years after the e-mails are intercepted? Well, I’m here to tell you he ran a poor fourth. The winner was Windsong’s Legacy, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, a Norwegian-born driver. First time in a long time that the winner has been both trained and driven by the same man. The race was run at the Meadowland in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Windsong’s Legacy won $1 million. Not a bad day’s work for less than two minutes effort.
Once the race was over we drove north to Arlington, stopped to see our daughter-in-law at her business. She is a massage therapist and has her own school of massage therapy licensed by the state. Our two granddaughters, Nora and Grace, were with her. Grace was asleep, out like a light. Nora was her usual self, telling us that she was going to take painting lessons and that she can play one tune on the fiddle. She and her dad can now play duets on guitar and fiddle.
We drove on to the Festival of the River, along the Stillaguamish River, where there was a music stage and many booths with information and food and other items for sale. The reason we had come was for the small powwow that is part of the festival. Several friends were there and we chatted with them, watched the exhibition dancers, talked with the m.c., an old friend of ours who now lives in Portland and generally had a good time. The clouds blew away, last night’s rain had freshened things, and the dance ground became fairly warm, especially for the dancer who wore regalia. No competition, some pretty decent drums, some good singing. Just a nice small traditional powwow. It made the drive north very much worthwhile.
Friday, August 06, 2004
In retrospect I found the movie to be quite a primitive piece of film making. I just had forgotten how far the equipment has come. The film was made in 1935 and was black-and-white. Many of the outdoor scenes were very dark and I found myself squinting in an attempt to see what was being photographed. But the plot was fine and pretty exciting. Robert Donat played Richard Hannay and Madeleine Carrol played the beautiful young blonde who finds herself handcuffed to what she thinks is a murderer. Old cars, double-crosses, the Scottish lowlands and moors, music hall routines and a pretty good mystery. John Buchan is one of my favorite authors. He wrote many more novels than the four aforementioned. He also wrote history and finished off a government career as the governor-general of Canada. As I recall he died in 1941. For some reason this film makes me think of Man Hunt, a film made slightly later from a novel entitled Rogue Male written by Geoffrey Household. I’m now going to have to dig that film out of my VHS collection and take another look at it.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Today’s mail brought a letter from Al Franken. It was political, but not what I expected. Apparently Al went to Harvard with Mark Sidran, who is running for Attorney General for the State of Washington. Al says "I have known Mark since I was accidentally admitted to Harvard in the late 1960's." Later he says "Mark’s experience is what I like to call one of the three E’s. The other two E’s are integrity and energy. Wait. Scrap integrity. Although Mark has it in spades, it does not start with E. I remember learning that at Harvard."
The letter was both informative and at times quite funny. He didn’t have to convince me. Sidran’s opponent is not someone I would have voted for anyway. So, relax, Al. But send me another funny letter sometime.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
What is just as exciting is viewing the special entitled The Making of Himalaya. Here we find out how the film was made by a French film crew. They had permission to spend 20-some days to shoot the film. The shooting ran some 80 plus days. Remoteness of the location and transportation of cameras and equipment added to the problems. Logistics of feeding and housing the cast and the crew was an additional burden. Most of all the film participants were not actors but simple village people who had never even seen a moving picture. They had to be taught to act and recite lines.This was an exceptional film and I recommend it very highly.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
In other news today I watched Manchester United play AC Milan in soccer. The game was played somewhere in New Jersey. This was a pre-season "friendly" which means that the European season starts soon, within a week or two. That means that I can once again enjoy games from England’s Premier League on Tuesdays on Fox Sports Net. And a Major League Soccer game in the U.S. on Saturdays. Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy! Hot diggety dog!
Monday, August 02, 2004
By circumstance a CD came from Daedalus Books and Music today. Daedalus is a remainder house and for an inexpensive $5.98 I got a CD of Sacred Tibetan Chant by the monks of Sherab Ling Monastery. A brief listen told me that it won’t make My Hit Parade, but I’ll give it another listen when I have time to listen carefully. A couple of books also came in the package, including one entitled The Great Hedge of India. I’ll tell you more when I get to reading it.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
A couple of weeks ago we were lamenting the fact that we didn’t go to Arlee, Montana. The powwow there is supposed to be a very good one. But last night friends who did go told me that while it was big, it wasn’t any bigger than this weekend’s at Muckleshoot. I’d estimate that there were probably about 150-200 dancers in regalia last evening. And the crowds watching probably were about 700 strong. During the entire weekend there probably were crowds nearing 2000. Some come and go, others come and stay for the entire weekend.
I did manage to dance one inter-tribal dance, where anyone can dance, regalia or not. Time was, before the back troubles, that I would be on the dance ground whenever an inter-tribal was called. I was talking to a friend and saying how sorry I was that I couldn’t dance as much. From his wheelchair he responded, "Just remember, my friend, every time you dance, you dance for me as well." That puts a proper spin on it.
It was a beautiful evening with a full moon shining over the ground. I watched a young friend dance in regalia for the first time. He’s been four years putting it together. I saw a young lady from Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana who has a hip operation since we last saw her and walks ever so much better. I saw a woman who is beating cancer and who prayed for me when I lost my finger. We’ve been praying for her in return. And we chided J.C., a young traditional dancer whose parents have said he has one month to learn to drive and get his license because they are not driving him to powwows after that. He grinned and allowed as how he’d better get at it. Another friend told us that he has only one more interferon treatment to go for his cancer. Just one big Indian family. A happy political moment when Ryan Wilson, vice-president of the National Indian Education Association, made an impassioned plea for Indians to register to vote and then get out and vote. The present administration has done nothing good for Indians and has done away with recognition of more than one tribe. One of those tribes was the Duwamish who lived on the ground on which Seattle was founded. Aho.