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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Be the ball" ~ Caddyshack, 1980.

Contrary to popular belief, the
Vikings, though expert in raiding, pillaging and millinery accoutrements , did NOT invent billiards.

The word billiard is either derived from the French word billiard, one of the wooden sticks used to strike the balls, or bile, one of the billiard balls. The game of billiards evolved from a lawn game very similar to the game of croquet during the 14th century in Northern Europe and when the game was moved indoors to a wooden table, the table was covered with a green cloth sup-posedly to represent grass. Green grass, what a novel idea!

The earliest evidence found for the existence of Billiards played on a table was in 1470 in an inventory of items purchased by King Louis XI of France. Listed were "billiard balls and billiard table for pleasure and amusement.” Earliest mentions in England were in 1588 when Billiard tables were in the possession of The Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Leicester. Mary, Queen of Scots had a billiard table in her prison cell while she awaited execution. Yikes, I bet she was good.

During the middle-ages and even back to ancient Egypt, many sports were played with balls, clubs, maces or bats and skittles. In the early days of billiards, instead of being struck, the balls were shoved around by wooden sticks called maces. When the ball lay near the rail, the mace was a very hard thing to use because of its large top. Whenever this happened, the billiard players would turn the mace around hitting the balls with the tail end of the mace. The tail was called the "queue" hence the eventual name of “cue”. Originally, only men were allowed to use the cue and women were forced to use the mace because it was thought women would rip the cloth with the sharper cue stick. Someone has to be blamed for those unfortunate gashes in the fabric.......

Billiard tables originally had flat vertical walls for rails, their only function being to keep the balls from falling off the table. The rails resembled river banks and were even called banks. When players found out the balls would bounce off the rails, they began to deliberately aiming at the banks and that was the invention of the "bank shot". The "bank shot" is where a ball is aimed and shot at the wall as part of a shot.

Balls were originally made of wood, but by the end of the 1600s most people played with ivory
however, was never a perfect solution. The balls were never consistently dense and the nerve in the elephant's tusk left a small hole in each ball. It wasn't until 1868 that composition balls were invented by John Wesley Hyatt from New York, however, at first these were also far from ideal since they would apparently explode if struck too hard. How surprising would THAT be! Extreme Billiards.

The word "pool" generally refers to pocket billiard games such as 8-ball, 9-ball, straight pool and one-pocket. The word "pool" comes from "poolrooms," where people gambled off track on horse races. They were called poolrooms as money was "pooled" to determine the odds. Because such rooms commonly provided billiard tables, pool became synonymous with billiards by association. The terms "pool" and "pocket billiards" are now interchangeable.

Variations of the game of billiards include
snooker, invented by British soldiers serving in India, carambole, played on a table without pockets, by the French and Pin Billiards invented by the Italians.

Notable pool and billiards enthusiasts:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Abraham Lincoln
Mary, Queen of Scots
King Louis XIV of France
Marie Antoinette
Mark Twain
George Washington
Napoleon Bonaparte
Charles Dickens
Lewis Carroll
Thomas Jefferson
W.C. Fields
Jackie Gleason
Fred Astaire
Humphrey Bogart
Babe Ruth
George Custer

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Well, nobody's perfect" ~ Some Like It Hot, 1959.

The signs were all there. Trouble from the very beginning. Like a thief in the night, he shows up.

A languid, sultry Sunday afternoon, the family relaxes after a chaotic week. Some nap, some read, a few bright ones toil over homework. When out of the blue, from the front porch, the sound of a man in distress.

We all thought the gigantic magnolia had at last fallen onto the barn and annihilated it, or worse, my spanking new car.

Perchance the greenhouse was being consumed by flames?

Possibly the breadwinner was out of smokes, heaven forbid.

But no, nothing as horrifying as that.

Hector had been one busy dog.

Hector viewing his 'handiwork'.

There were two orchids on the front step, sunning themselves after a bath of fresh rainwater. The second orchid has yet to be found, is missing and presumed dead.


(Changed ever so slightly from 'Dharma' a poem By Billy Collins)

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to ‘his’ doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off he goes into the material world
with nothing but his black coat
and his modest red collar,
following only his wet nose,
the twin portals of his steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of his tail.

If only he did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment he
would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only he were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in his welcomes,
if only I were not his god.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart”~ The Diary of Anne Frank, 1959.

Heidi sent me these pictures of some of the Afghan children she has met recently. Most of the time, when the soldiers meet up with the children, they are prepared with Humanitarian Aid (HA) to distribute~ school supplies, toys, candy, food and medical treatment.

Even with that in mind, it touches my heart the children are smiling in so few of the pictures.

What must life really be like for them?

Honestly, I don't know what to say about this.

Most of these children have never known life in a time of peace.

And then I start to wonder if it is truly better for them since the United States military came to their country.

I must keep telling myself it is better, because the sacrifice has been far too great if it's not. Especially for those families who have lost loved ones fighting in Afghanistan and in the other countries in the Middle East.

But our family has also made a sacrifice. Not having Heidi here with us is more than I can stand some days and I look forward to seeing her again very soon. It is interesting how other things don't seem so important to me now. Puts things into perspective, you might say.

Heidi leaves this Thursday for a two week mission she can't even discuss with me. Part of the latest phase of Operation Mountain Thrust.

Please remember her and the children of Afghanistan in your prayers.

For more pictures of the children of Afghanistan, see Scott Kesterson's blog Afghanistan. Scott is a reporter for KGW in Oregon and a soldier embedded with the Army in Afghanistan. He writes about "seeing the elephant".

Photo by Scott Kesterson.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"The very young are almost as smart as the very old, Cornelius. It's in the middle that you get in all the trouble" ~ The Matchmaker, 1958.

We have an actor in/on our branch of the family tree.

After a week of auditions, Marsh has been awarded the part of ‘The Cabman’ in The Master’s Academy upcoming theatrical production of The Matchmaker.

Marsh plans to “take on the role and make it his own”.

The play, The Matchmaker, was written by American writer, Thornton Wilder. A staunch supporter of democracy, Wilder enlisted in the military during both world wars and used his extensive travels, lectures, and writings to promote his ideas of freedom. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and was one of the few Americans to win the peace prize of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

The Matchmaker is based on Austrian writer Johann Nestroy's 1842 play, "A Roaring Good Time, " which was based on British writer John Oxenford's 1835 farce, "A Day Well Spent."

From Amy Boratko, The Thornton Wilder Society: "The Matchmaker belongs in a selective club of comedy: the farce. It's filled with mistaken identities, secret rendezvous obscured by screens and hidden behind doors, separated lovers, exciting twists and turns, and a light, bantering tone à la Oscar Wilde. Unlike some of the more realistic stories on today's sitcoms, the situations in a farce seem farfetched. In Clark Kent fashion, a single piece of clothing (a pair of glasses, a woman's scarf around a man's shoulders) disguises identity.

The comedy opened in New York on August 12, 1955, and enjoyed a healthy run on Broadway. Later, film directors streamlined the number of characters, added songs and dance numbers, and created Hello, Dolly! the musical version of The Matchmaker.

This afternoon, Marsh and I watched the 1958 movie version of The Matchmaker with Shirley Booth as Dolly, Anthony Perkins as Cornelius and Shirley MacLaine as Miss Malloy.

Try as we might, we never DID see the part of the cab driver in the film version.

The part was played by Cap Somers, uncredited. Mr. Somers’ filmography lays claim to over 25 parts, all uncredited, in various well-known films during the 1930s – 1950s. I could not find a single picture of him anywhere on the internet.

Some of Cap’s roles included:

The Matchmaker (1958) ~ Cab Driver
Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) ~ Extra in Bullpen
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) ~ Featured player
The Spoilers (1955) ~ a Miner
A Perilous Journey (1953 ~ Brawling Sailor
The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) ~ Claim Jumper
The Pride of St. Louis (1952) ~ Umpire
The Thing from Another World (1951) ~ bit part
South Sea Sinner (1950) ~ Sailor
The Stratton Story (1949) ~ Giants Manager
Ambush (1949) ~ Sutler
Force of Evil (1948) ~ Policeman #6
Panhandle (1948) ~ Bartender
Albuquerque (1948) ~ Bit Role
I Walk Alone (1948) ~ Butcher
Crack-Up (1946) ~ Cop
They Made Me a Killer (1946) ~ Cop at Hospital
The Hoodlum Saint (1946) ~ Mug
Music for Millions (1944) ~ Workman
The Master Race (1944) ~ Officer
Meet the People (1944) ~ Workman
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943) ~ Prison Guard
Money to Loan (1939) ~ Arresting Officer
A Criminal Is Born (1938) ~ Patrol Driver
Carnival Queen (1937) ~ Carnival Man
Song of Revolt (1937) ~ Extra at Execution
Flash Gordon (1936/I) ~ Sharkman
Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) ~ Electrician

I am particularly impressed with Mr. Somers’ role as Sharkman in the Flash Gordon series, being a big fan of FG.

One of these Shark Men attacking Flash Gordon is Cap Somers. The other might be Burt Reynolds.

Perhaps even more significant than his role as Cab Man, Marsh was asked as well to be Prop Master, a responsibility he, in all probability, will enjoy even more. Per Wikipedia, “A prop master coordinates with the production designer, but also works closely with the director and actors to provide the items handled directly by the actors such as newspapers, weapons, musical instruments and food. For the most part, the prop crew, along with an on-set dresser, maintain the integrity of the production designer’s vision during the shoot and manipulate the items for the camera.” Whoa. Weapons……. Right down Marsh’s alley! And since a farce depends on an array of props, Mr. Drylie should be rather busy.

Also, a big congratulations to Marsh's friends Ryan, Andy, Ryan S., Mack, James and Alex for their parts in the play.

In the theater, they say "break a leg" to wish each other luck. I'll do one better. I hope your legs fly off completely. That's how much luck I wish you. Whatever you do and wherever it leads you, we are so proud of you, Marsh!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" ~ The Wizard of Oz, 1939.

Next stop on our Airstream Tour of the United States to See the Unusual and Odd ~ The Clam Box of Ipswich, MA.

The Clam Box of Ipswich is a nationally recognized landmark and a New England tradition for over 60 years. The Clam Box is located north of Boston in historic Ipswich.

"Built in 1938 by Mr. Dick Greenleaf, this unique structure and our food have been featured in many magazines and television shows including Yankee, Gourmet, US Airways and The Food Network, just to name a few. Although we don’t claim to have invented the fried clam, we believe we have perfected it. Whether you eat in our comfortable dining room or out on our deck, you’ll be sure to enjoy the best fried seafood New England has to offer" ~ The Clam Box.

Roadfood.com says "The Clam Box is shaped like a clam box, the trapezoidal container in which fried-clams-to-go are customarily served. It is a genuine roadside attraction that dates back some sixty years and would be of interest for its looks alone. Under the stewardship of Marina “Chickie” Aggelakelis, the restaurant has thrived. In addition to maintaining and enhancing its unique looks, Chickie has made the Clam Box a standard for fried-clam excellence. In our opinion, this is the place to eat the best fried clams on the North Shore; and since the North Shore is home of the best fried clams anywhere, these are the best fried clams in the universe."

"Shaped like a clam box, The Clam Box is almost always crowded in the summer, with lines of customers flowing out its doors. Note the meticulous landscaping, with the words "CLAM BOX" spelled out in flowers." - Michael Stern

Heidi, we shall have to call ahead, because, in their words, "hours vary and are subject to change without notice". You know, I like that in a restaurant, a 'devil-may-care' attitude towards the public. Quite frankly, it impresses me.

A very big thank you to Kate, my new friend in Ipswich, and her son, Chris, currently at Parris Island. Kate sent you that wonderful box with all the 'girlie' stuff and you best get a thank you out toot sweet.

Semper fi, Chris, you ROCK!

Kate and Chris

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"If we could open the heavens above we'd be with you"

Ryan S., Andy (in white), Mary and Ryan.

My good friend Paula's son, Andy, died this past Tuesday.
Andy was the first person to welcome Marsh into the Regiment and I will always appreciate him for that. He never stopped smiling. He never complained about what life had dealt him. He was, and will always be, one of the most wonderful people I have ever known.

Ken Ma of the Orlando Sentinel wrote this story on Wednesday, August 16, 2006:

Today was supposed to be the first day of Anderson Maxey's senior year of high school at The Master's Academy in Oviedo.

Instead, about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, his parents requested the life-support machine that had kept him alive since he was found at the bottom of Lake Winona during a spiritual outdoor retreat Monday be turned off. The 17-year-old Seminole County teen, who wanted to spend the rest of his life serving God as a pastor, died shortly after.

Authorities are not sure why Anderson, a good swimmer, was found unconscious on the bottom of the 70-acre lake while swimming with schoolmates at YMCA Camp Winona in DeLeon Springs. His family said the teen had a history of epilepsy, and he may have suffered a seizure in the water.

"Once you have a seizure, you don't know where you are and you completely black out," said his father, Richard Maxey. "He slipped to the bottom and nobody saw it, not even the three lifeguards."

Anderson had epilepsy since he was 18 months old, his father said. During most of the past eight years, he had been seizure-free thanks to his medication. But in the past nine months, the teen had six seizures, Maxey said. Before his death, the Maxeys were looking into possible surgery to stop Anderson's seizures.

Richard Maxey said he knows he and his wife made the right decision, and he doesn't blame anyone for the incident. Anderson was deeply religious, his father said. After graduation from the nondenominational Christian school, he planned to attend either Seminole Community College or the University of Central Florida, and then seminary.

Maxey said his son had been excited about the spiritual retreat. About 90 juniors and seniors from The Master's Academy arrived at the camp Sunday for two days of bonding.

"We miss him so deeply, and it hurts so bad," Richard Maxey said. "[But] I am absolutely convinced that the Lord called him home. . . . He's in the arm of Jesus."

At Fellowship of Christian Life in Orlando, Anderson sang in the church choir. At school, he played the euphonium, an instrument similar to the baritone, in the band. This year, he was appointed band chaplain. Anderson, who lived in Oviedo his entire life, also loved to play the musical video game Dance Dance Revolution and study Latin.

William Harris, The Master's Academy's superintendent, said Anderson was loved by other students and faculty. "He was just an outstanding young man," Harris said.

Andy, I don't understand why you are gone. We never had the chance to say goodbye. But though you have gone on to another world before us, you will forever be remembered in our hearts.

Andy, I miss you already.

Anderson Palmer "Andy" Maxey

Andy, 17, of Oviedo passed away August 15, 2006, after a drowning accident in DeLeon Springs, FL. Born to Paula (Edwards) and Richard Maxey, Jr. on March 7, 1989 in Winter Park, Andy would have started his senior year in high school this week. During his years at The Master's Academy, he served as the captain and chaplain of the Marching Band, and he was selected as the school's Homecoming King in 2004. He greatly enjoyed being a part of The Master's Academy family. Andy and his Mom shared many wonderful experiences helping to organize and promote the Band's programs and events. He was always proud of her involvement in his activities. Andy loved the arts. He studied drawing and painting for several years and was an accomplished euphonium/baritone player. He frequently played for his church, Fellowship of Christian Life, where he also sang in the choir. The euphonium duet that he and his Dad performed for their church service on the Sunday just before his death will be a lasting memory for Andy's family and friends. Andy's personal relationship with Jesus Christ was evident from his early childhood days. During his teen years, he was a strong witness for the Lord he spoke of so highly. He looked forward to eventually attending seminary and becoming a pastor. In addition to his parents, Paula and Richard Maxey of Oviedo, he is survived by his older brother, Richard Maxey, III, of Orlando; maternal grandmother, Vivian Edwards of Oviedo, paternal grandfather, Richard Maxey, Sr. of Miami and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins. The family will receive friends on Friday, August 18th, 6-9PM at Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Homes - Oviedo Chapel. A celebration of Andy's life will be held at The Master's Academy Upper School Gymnasium on Saturday, August 19th at 10AM. Interment at Oviedo Cemetery will immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Andy to The Master's Academy Band, 1500 Lukas Lane, Oviedo, FL 32765.

Friday, August 11, 2006

"Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin'" ~ The Shawshank Redemption, 1994.

Picnic, Lightning ~ poem by Billy Collins,

photo by Daron

It is possible to be struck by a
meteor or a single-engine plane while
reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
are flattened by safes falling from
rooftops mostly within the panels of
the comics, but still, we know it is
possible, as well as the flash of
summer lightning, the thermos toppling
over, spilling out on the grass.
And we know the message can be
delivered from within. The heart, no
valentine, decides to quit after
lunch, the power shut off like a
switch, or a tiny dark ship is
unmoored into the flow of the body's
rivers, the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore. This is
what I think about when I shovel
compost into a wheelbarrow, and when
I fill the long flower boxes, then
press into rows the limp roots of red
impatiens -- the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth from the
sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then
the soil is full of marvels, bits of
leaf like flakes off a fresco,
red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam. Then
the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the
clouds a brighter white, and all I
hear is the rasp of the steel edge
against a round stone, the small
plants singing with lifted faces, and
the click of the sundial as one hour
sweeps into the next.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"I was born a poor black child" ~ The Jerk, 1979.

Is this a kerchief, a bandana or a doo rag and how do you spell it?

The kerchief (from the French couvre-chef, "cover the head") is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes. In India, a "hand kerchief" primarily refers to a napkin made of cloth, used to maintain personal hygiene.

A bandanna or bandana (from the Hindi bandhana, "to tie") is a type of large, usually colorful kerchief, usually worn on the head. Bandannas are frequently printed in a paisley pattern.

Certain colors of kerchiefs are associated with gangs making it potentially dangerous to wear different types of them in certain areas. In Los Angeles, a red kerchief is associated with Bloods and a blue one is associated with Crips. In certain cities such as Richmond, Virginia, non-violent bicycle clubs such as The Loners may wear black and white bandanas to show their association.

A do-rag, also spelled doo-rag or durag, is a simple piece of cloth tied at the back, used to cover the head. From the 1930s to the 1960s, they were used by African American men to hold chemically processed hair-dos in place while they slept. Originally, they were made from pieces of handkerchief or women's stockings, now they are made from polyester. Do-rags resurged as a fashion trend among urban youth in the 1970s and 1990s. Typically, do-rags are black, but can be worn in other colors. Do-rags are also regularly used to maintain corn rowed hairstyles.

The history of the do-rag is most notably attributed to Civil War era slaves. They would leave them out over night to soak up dew so when they wore them in the morning they would keep their heads cool. The 'dew' changed to 'du', but its first appearance seems to predate that time. It is, however, most closely associated with Afro-American culture because the slaves brought that style with them from their native lands. Hip hop artists such as LL Cool J, Ja Rule, 50 Cent and Nelly have helped popularize do-rags among mainstream audiences by incorporating them in their dress.

The do-rag was also used by black-ops soldiers in covert missions to often conceal blond hair in night time situations. The do-rag would be used as an addition to black face paint and black BDU's.

Do-rags have been used by bikers since the 60's as a convenient way of managing their hair while wearing helmets, as well as avoiding the need for a hat afterwards to hide their 'helmet-head'. Bandannas are worn around the neck by cowboys, pirates, farmers, bakers and railroad engineers to wipe the sweat off their faces and keep dust out of their collars.

Okay, I am still confused. My questions:

  • Is it a kerchief or a banadana if it is worn around one's face, like when you hold up a bank or a stage coach?
  • How about when you wear it around your neck? Is it then a kerchief or a bandana and is it never a do rag?
  • Does it matter if you tie your bandana in the back of your head or can you tie it at your throat like old ladies do or does it then become a scarf?
  • Can a do rag be worn anywhere other than the head?

If you need help tying your kerchief/bandana/doo rag, please check with those 'nutters' at The Bandanna Club and they can give you the instructions.

From my research I have noted, most domesticated animals own at least one kerchief/bandana/do rag.

So Heidi, is this a kerchief, a bandana or a doo rag? Maybe it doesn’t really matter, huh? As long as it keeps the sand out of your hair.

Muchos gracias to Wikipedia for the info.

Monday, August 07, 2006

"You're good, you're very good." ~ The Maltese Falcon, 1941.

Miss Jamie Nelson, has written and published her first book, It's Raining Talking Corndogs. I see a future in literature for our darling niece. Her story:

Bam! Bam! Bam! We all heard the outrageous thunder outside the classroom walls. Mrs. Scribner cautiously peeked out the window and said in a frightened voice, "Oh my, boys and girls, you won't believe it! It's not raining RAIN. It's raining talking corndogs!"

"Hurry everybody and get out your ketchup and mustard," said Mrs. Scribner. "Now everyone put your coats on and have fun."

So the rest of the day, we ate and learned about corndogs. One thing we didn't know is they said, 'hi' and 'don't eat me'. So, the ones that were bad, we ate and the ones that were good, we kept as pets.

I named one Rudolph. So we all kept a corndog and played games and make fake food for our corndogs. But since we had to learn something, we made glue sticks, pencil boxes and other school supplies so our corndogs could learn too.

The day was over so we all went home. When I got home, I showed my mom and dad. They were surprised, but they said okay I could keep it. So, that's a day I won't forget. The End

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." ~ The Pride of the Yankees, 1942.

Dear Heidi:

Well, there is good news and there is bad news. Which do you want to hear first?

The good news is ~ I am going to be okay. My patella is bruised and the doctor says I will have to rest the old leg for a few days or more, but we hope for a full recovery. My friends have been so nice to me. They have prayed for me, sent me emails and IM me all the time.

The bad news is ~ the Prius is probably totaled. On the way to a volleyball carwash Saturday morning, a woman raced through a Stop sign and six lanes of traffic. Mom couldn't stop and hit her and the woman was charged with the accident. Mom says that she is too mean to have gotten hurt, but I know every part of her body hurts.

The good news is ~ school doesn't start for another whole week. This has been the shortest summer in recorded history, I swear it. Thank goodness, too. Marsh's hair has gotten so long we can barely see him anymore.

The bad news is ~ volleyball practice starts this Monday. I will sit on a bench and watch until this knee is better.

The good news is ~ I made the Master's Academy Junior Varsity Volleyball team, for the second year.

The bad news is ~ well.... there isn't any bad news about that. We are going to have a FABULOUS team and kick some butt. It's me and twelve other volleyball-lovin' girls. The other teams don't stand a chance and that Varsity : ) better watch out, too!!!!!

Poster of Heidi, created by Daron and Mom,
for the TMA Band Room.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Hi, Curly, kill anyone today?
Day ain't over yet."
~ City Slickers, 1991.

The Wild Pigs of Christmas ~ The Final Chapter:

Everyone, with the possible exception of the pigs, knew it would end badly.

Historically, small communities have come together in order that they might help each other with large-scale projects. Some neighborhoods meet and join forces for barn raisings. Selected communities show their cooperative spirit and have quilting or corn husking 'bees'. Still others rally for log harvesting parties. And in the spirit of cooperation, a more recent American tradition has become teaming up for neighborhood garage sales. Here in Christmas, we assemble to slaughter pigs.

About two dozen men, women and small children, met last night on our property to go after the hapless pigs. Mo, Marsh and I were not among the lot.

The pigs didn't stand a chance. Since this is a family blog, additional details are not available.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Kid, the next time I say, “Let's go someplace like Bolivia,” let's go someplace like Bolivia." ~ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969.

When you win the lottery, and you will, we have a trip to plan. An airstream, some maps and away we go. My suggestion for a first stop? Have you slept in a wigwam lately?

The Wigwam Motel was invented and built in the early 30s by Frank Redford. As Americans took to the highway in the early 1930s in search of greater opportunities, buildings of creative shapes and sizes formed alongside the roads. You said that is what you wanted to see, right, ‘buildings of creative shapes’? Redford owned and "franchised" out his patent on the motel's design during this movement period, which led to a total of seven Wigwam Villages. Frank Redford built the first Wigwam Village in Horse Cave, Ky., and patented his idea in 1936.

When Chester Lewis saw the Horse Cave motel, he tracked down Redford and bought the plans and blueprints from him, to use in Holbrook, Arizona. The other five motels sprang up in New Orleans; Orlando; Birmingham, Ala.; Rialto, Calif.; and Cave City, Ky. Only the motels in Cave City, Rialto and Holbrook still are open.
Yessiree, we had one in Orlando and I remember it.

After Interstate 40 bypassed Route 66 in Holbrook, traffic through Holbrook significantly decreased, and the Wigwam Motel closed in 1974. Chester Lewis died in 1986. The Lewis family, which operates the motel out of love for the place, renovated and reopened it in 1988.

Many times, Lewis says, he has welcomed adult guests who have waited their whole lives to sleep in one of the tepee rooms. "Almost every other evening, they come by and say their parents wouldn't let them stay in a wigwam 35 or 40 years ago," he says. "As I walk them through their experience as children they remember throwing temper tantrums about not being able to stay there. Ahhh those fun family vacations of my youth! Had I ever thrown a tantrum during one, I wouldn't have lived to be 35 or 40......

"It's kind of a therapeutic thing for them. Some of them get quite emotional." Could be a new alternative for Prozac, a night in a wigwam.

Drawn to the romance of the Old West and Historic Route 66, these wigwam motels are quite the rage with our German, French and Canadian tourists. “It is a privileged place which wants to be accessory to your stay.” Huh? I think something was lost in that translation.

We will have to bring our own shampoo, soap, hair dryer, coffeepot and clock. And don’t expect any mints on the pillow. A night's stay at the Wigwam costs about $40.

One guest to the Wigwam Motel in Arizona gave this review, “me and my family stayed here while visiting the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and Meteor Crater (sounds like a blast). This hotel is a destination in itself, one of the most photographed features along the historic Route 66. The wigwams are actually teepees, made out of concrete or something molded around a multifaceted roundish frame. I am a route 66 buff and would have been satisfied with just about any level of accommodations, but I have to say that the Wigwam motel had the most comfortable beds we experienced over an 11 day vacation. The room/teepee was immaculate inside, and the bathroom, A/C, and TV were all updated. Everything was astonishingly roomy despite being fitted inside a giant cone. The one window was small and low, so there was little natural light inside. “

The bright, white, cone-shaped structures of the Wigwam Motel, with its red zigzag designs, stand tall against Arizona's desert sky. Conveniently located near the banks of the Little Colorado River in northeastern Arizona's high-plateau country, there are Navajo and Hopi reservations nearby where we can see ceremonial dances and Indian arts and crafts. Also nearby is the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park, with petrified logs displaying an array of colors. To the north are canyons containing cliff dwellings, such as those found in Canyon de Chelly.........

Okay, well at least we will get to spend the night in a wigwam. One more thing to check off our life list.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns!" ~ The Breakfast Club, 1985.

Heidi, her MSG and PA enjoy a Red Bull after a long day in the sand box.

"It completely removes the sand from my mouth, " says Heidi, " and gives me the energy to get through another gruelling day. It keeps my mind working and my body moving!" MSG had no comment and PA had finished her fifth can hours ago.

Red Bull is an Austrian carbonated soft drink sold as an energy drink to combat mental and physical fatigue. Each serving contains about 27 grams of sugar, 1000 mg of taurine, 600 mg of glucuronolactone, B-complex vitamins and 80 mg of caffeine. The caffeine in one serving is a little less than that found in an average cup of coffee and twice as much as found in a can of Coke.

A sugar-free version is available, but Heidi wouldn't lower herself to drink that.

Almost 1 billion of the cans were sold in 2000 in over 100 countries, 260 million of them in the UK. In 2003, almost 2 billion cans were sold in over 120 countries.

Apparently, you can get Red Bull in Afghanistan.

How do I look?" ~ Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961.

Your box arrived safely yesterday. As you can see, Marsh and Mo put their hats on immediately. Marsh says his is perfect for hot afternoon band practice and fishing trips with Dad where no fish are caught. Mo thinks hers is, well, hers is perfect, as you can see.

I don't know when I have ever seen such interesting dolls.

Daron and I picked these two out, but I am concerned the other two will scare Jamie and Katharine to death. They look more like voodoo dolls than anything, don't you think? Voodoo dolls with burqas on. Go figure.

Daron opened the box first. "My, what busty dolls these are!", she said. Two hours later, she gave Marsh his hat and showed him the dolls. "My, what busty dolls these are!" was his comment. Later that evening, when Marsh and Mo modeled their new hats for Dad, he was shown the dolls. "My, what busty dolls!"

The jury is still out on what all of this means.