Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things I Sometimes Think About - #4


I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a unicycle. Of course, I think I’ve waited way too long now. At this point in my life I would probably break my neck, or worse, my hip. Then it would all be over. Bah! I guess I can check that one off my bucket list.

TV Programs

Specifically, the new tv program called “Covert Affairs.” Sometimes I wonder what the producers and directors are thinking when they cast the characters for something like this. Now, the lead lady in this show is very pretty – even engaging. But she has this mane of long, blonde hair that flies out in all directions when she’s running away from – or after – some perp. Anybody with half a brain would understand that someone who is undercover and in a position to be in close proximity to the “bad guys” would need to have a haircut that is so short the bad guy cannot grab it to catch her and hold her – so short it can’t get caught in elevator doors or any kind of machinery. She would want, in short (pun intended), a kind of a crew-cut for women spies.


I have to confess that I’ve never wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I have no death wish at all. None. I also don’t want to ride roller coasters or climb the highest mountain. Of course READING about people who actually do these things is another story. It’s all very enjoyable as I sit snuggled into a soft leather chair or sofa in the comfort and safety of my home – like the coward I am.


Well, ok, I almost never think about liver.

Stock Market

I’ve thought a lot about this lately as I’ve watched my gains slowly evaporate into little poofs of nothingness. Why is the stock market trying to kill me? Why?

I should pin that one to the refrigerator door. No! Wait! Maybe this one:



Wednesday, August 18, 2010


AngelMay will return after a short intermission.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Theme Thursday: Palm

You tree!

You palm!

You prehistoric plant with rustling fronds

That whisper in the gentle breezes of soft summer nights

In pleasant harmony to rhythmic moon-lit waves

Softly lapping the evening-cooled beach sands

Such power lies in that soft sound to resurrect ancient memories

And call them forth in treasured scenes that float easily to the mind’s surface

Then stab deeply at hearts that ache for remembered nights long gone

Nights when piano bars in upscale lounges mellowed supple lovelies

In their backless, basic black and pearls

Their limbs smooth as the jazz notes from the gleaming baby grand

Their heels clicking on palm-lined patios and marble dance floors

Then gliding silently over deep plush carpet to their velvet-cushioned seats

On the arms of handsome, eager young gentlemen who opened doors

And fetched icy, tinkling, umbrella-bedecked highballs in frosty glasses

To set before them as offerings unto a goddess.

Laughter, then, was easy and the nights were satin and silk

Nights, it was imagined, that could never – and would never – end

For we were young and full of longing and passion for love and for life

Without notion of time and the ravages of which it is not only capable

But determined

You tree…

You palm…

You powerful, prehistoric plant

I hear your whisper and close my eyes

Floating back in time…



August, 2010


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Actress Hedy Lamarr
(November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000)

More than just a pretty face, actress Hedy Lamarr's true claims to fame have nothing to do with Hollywood. Without her, those few survivors left might this year be marking the 46th anniversary of World War III and there might never have been an iPhone 3GS for you to lust for.

Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Ms. Lamarr, in 1933, married Fredrich Mandl, an arms merchant who was controlling and possessive. Mandl forced her to attend his business meetings, during which the mathematically adept Ms. Lamarr learned a great deal about the munitions industry.

But when her husband began consorting with the Nazi high command and holding grand parties for Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Ms. Lamarr sought escape.

According to some accounts, during a Nazi celebration, she drugged her husband, disguised herself as a maid and fled the country. She made her way to Hollywood by way of London and Paris.

During World War II, when her film career was in high gear, Ms. Lamarr had a conversation with composer George Anthiel that helped change the course of homeland security and human communication.

Anthiel, a Hollywood neighbor of Ms. Lamarr, was fascinated with the automated mechanism of player pianos that caused them to play the right notes at precisely the right times. He and Ms. Lamarr, who had learned quite a lot about torpedoes from her munitions-merchant husband, started trading ideas.

The two collaborated to develop a guidance protocol for torpedoes that couldn't be jammed by enemies of the Allied forces. The result was a patent for a process by which radio transmissions hop rapidly across 88 different frequencies like notes on a keyboard.

The US Navy thought it was a good idea but ahead of its time.
They were right. It was 1962 before the US military used the technology to aid in the blockade of Soviet ships carrying nuclear weapons components during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And it was 1997 before the very same concept became an integral part of the spread spectrum technology that makes your cellphone and Wi-Fi network possible today.

Hedy Lamarr was once considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world but we salute her today as a Real Woman of the Apocalypse.

You can read more about this fascinating and intelligent woman on the website from which I collected the majority of this text. There are other links on the site as well.

There is much out there at Wiki and other websites, too, if you are interested. This week marks the anniversary of her patent: U.S. Patent Number 2292387 granted on August 11, 1942.


Monday, August 9, 2010


I decided it was time to give my blog a facelift.
What say you?


Friday, August 6, 2010

Magpie 26

Black Thumb

Perhaps the cause was a very black thumb.

Nor sure if it was or not.

But the flowers, parched and exhausted

Bent to the rim of the pot.

They wouldn't stand up. They wouldn't please.

They wouldn't sway gently in the soft, summer breeze.

They wouldn't do a single thing

You'd think a flower oughter

And all because of a silly black thumb




Or want of a drink of water.

AngelMay, August 2010

Click on the Magpie Stamp to find other Magpie Tales contributions.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Theme Thursday: Brown

Color Me Brown

Brown is a great color. Who could resist this?

And brown is a very nice color if you are expecting a package.

But you want to be careful with brown in your clothing.

Some people who wear brown tend to be mean and walk funny.

Some people think these brown things are really good, but I’m afraid that I’m not one of them.

Here’s a cute little brown thing. But I wouldn’t want him in my house.

And here’s something brown that almost everybody likes:

I could go on and on but I have to stop somewhere so…

Finally, here is a little brown thing that everyone has seen at one time or another:

Some time back a co-worker of mine used to bake anatomically correct gingerbread men (and women) and bring them in to work during the holidays.

Of course nobody got a thing done on those days.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Pick-A-Lock Pete: Magpie Tale #25

Pick-A-Lock Pete

Pick-A-Lock Pete was the most feared guy in town.

Not because he was mean or anything like that. But because he could pick a lock – any lock – faster than Harry Houdini. Nobody ever knew where he learned to do it and they for sure never knew exactly how he did it. Pete didn’t say a whole lot because he stuttered. And when he stuttered, people in the little country town of Maysville laughed and made fun of him. You also tend to keep your head down when you are only 3/5ths of a human being – if not in actual fact, at least in the reality of a small backwater town in the rural South in the 1930’s.

Seems strange to taunt that which you fear, but the simple folks of Maysville weren’t given to intellectual reasoning. If any ever experienced twinges of conscience, it wasn’t immediately apparent to the accidental bystander. And, in truth, the only bystanders ever found in Maysville were definitely accidental.

If Pete owned a pair of shoes to his name they were never in evidence and the soles of his feet were always clay-red from walking those dusty roads in and around the town. His best and only friend seemed to be an old yellow dog named Bum who had been the runt of an unwanted litter out at Ledbetter’s farm. And since Pete had saved him from a watery death in the creek three years earlier the two of them had never drifted more than 50 yards apart.

Of all the townspeople who eyed Pete with a contempt born of more than simple distrust, old Barron Jones was the worst. Jones had a mean streak as big as Atlanta. He hated Pete – just because he was black, most people said. But if truth be told he hated him because Pete bore his affliction and position in life with a dignity Barron Jones could only dream of possessing. Deep down Jones felt an envy of this young black man that he could not – and would not – acknowledge. His own smallness sniffed around his edges like a wary dog smelling something rotten and it ate at Jones like a cancer. To compensate, he took every opportunity to belittle Pete in front of others and to threaten him on those occasions they found themselves without witness.

Pete bore it all with a resigned and stoic silence that only infuriated Jones the more until one Saturday afternoon in late summer when “the thing” finally happened.

What actually happened isn’t easily describable and so cannot be told in that concise tent-revival jargon of seeing the light, repenting, and being saved. Not even Jones would have put it in such a manner – if he had had the wherewithal to describe it at all. In fact, he never attempted a description of any fashion that one could put together into a cohesive tale. However, speculation and fabrication being a part of small town existence, a story of sorts did finally emerge.

A careful man when it came to his own well-being, Jones had outfitted his barn (which was actually more shed than barn) with a lock on the door that was keyed from both inside and out. Housed inside the barn-shed and safely locked away from the prying eyes of the law (and those who might inform the law) was a medium-sized whiskey still.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, feeling lazy and dry of mouth, Jones put key to lock after letting himself inside the shed, pocketed the key, and proceeded to do a “tasting.” This tasting, which took up much of the afternoon, and a lit cigarette was all it took. The barn-shed went up in flames and smoke rapidly filled the room. Jones got to his feet and fumbled with the key to the locked door all the while screaming and pounding the walls to be let out. His vision blurred with smoky tears, he dropped the key and dropped to his knees in a panicked effort to feel it out and retrieve it.

Perhaps being that close to the floor saved him. Perhaps he found the key and let himself out. The only thing Barron Jones ever said was that he knew he was a goner that afternoon and that somewhere close by he heard a dog bark. However it happened, the door of the barn suddenly flew open and Jones crawled out to safety.

Not even Jones could explain how that door got open that afternoon, but no one in Maysville ever heard him say another word against Pete for as long as he lived.