Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day Plus Seventy

I put out all my flags today to honor the servicemen and women who were part of or assisted the Normandy Invasion. There are fewer World War II veterans every year. I doubt if any will still be with us in ten years. Heck, who knows if the country and the way of life they fought for will still be here in ten years, or twenty or another seventy.
My father served in World War II, but was not at the Normandy Invasion. He was stationed in Karachi, India, (now Pakistan) as part of the China, Burma, India forces that kept the supplies going to the free Chinese army. He was not a pilot, but he did "fly the hump" over the mountains between India and China as part of the quartermaster crew. He was a boxer and was the armed services heavy weight champion of China, Burma, and India in 1945. He is still alive, but at two months shy of age ninety-one, his memory is a little foggy.
Here's my "old man":
Here he is (left) in his championship fight. He said, "... I looked like I was dead-starting to show a little life there."
Presenting the trophies.  He wrote on the back of the photo, "Chennault presented me with a cup like this also. Each had, 'Outstanding Boxer of All China Tournament, 1945.' How do you like the beard? Osa is the boy the wheel is presenting a cup to-" He kept his trophy cup on his dresser all the time I was growing up, but the lid was missing. He kept his change in it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Rite of Spring at Ballet West

Yesterday evening, my wife, daughter and I went to the opening night of the Ballet West production of Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Igor Stravinsky. 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the first performance which caused a literal riot. I have loved this music for the last fifty years and have always wanted to see a production. I bought a recording when I was sixteen and wore the vinyl out. The record was probably so thin you could hear both sides playing at the same time. I once tried to follow the score while listening to it. Big failure.

I have seen photos of the first production and assumed that this production would be a recreation of that earth shaking ballet. I was a little disappointed to read that this production is a world premier of a new choreography by Nicolo Fonte, Ballet West’s resident choreographer. Disappointed, that is, until I saw what took place on the Capital Theatre stage. The dancers held the attention of the eye so tightly that that the movement of the stark, sandstone-colored scenery was unnoticed until the brain said, "Wait, that looks different." The water feature at the end was unexpected and thrilling. At the end, as applause began my wife said, "I'll stand up for that!" When the house light came up, we looked at each other and said, “Wow, I could see that again right now.” Wow! Wow! Wow! It was, as they say, breathtaking. My daughter said, “I can see why the music made them rioted a hundred years ago, but I loved it!”

The other two pieces on the program were the Utah premier of Jiří Kylián’s    Forgotten Land and Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15. The Kylián piece was another “Wow.” I have been a fan of his work since I saw his Petites Morts (bad French but great ballet) on YouTube a few years ago and was very happy to see it twice at Ballet West. My wife has also become a fan. The way he moves the dancers’ bodies in and over and around one another and through space is spectacular. The Divertimento No. 15 was an elegant, romantic interlude between the two modern pieces.
Ballet West principal artist Arolyn Williams in the fall of water. The photo is by Beau Pearson, a first soloist with Ballet West.

Monday, April 7, 2014

So Long Mickey and Andy and Whitey and Homer and ...

I was in a district inservice on Internet safety today, and we were talking about Twitter. I logged on my account and clicked on #MickeyRooney. I go there from time to time, so I was not expecting to see that he had died yesterday. It was kind of a shock, even though he was 93 and could have died at any time. But it was still like hearing that an old friend had died, and you just happened by chance to find out about it. I have blogged a few times about Mickey Rooney and my favorite Rooney films and characters so I will just say, "Wow, Mickey and Judy together again. Let's put on a show!"

I found this picture, a theatre card, in my mother's 1930s movie star scrapbook.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Shush of Librarians

A large shush* of librarians (400 school and a few public librarians) congregated in Ogden, Utah, today at the Eccles Conference Center. Today was the culmination of a year's worth of planning and hard work as the Utah Educational Library Media Association [UELMA] conference started early this morning. I have been going to this conference for eighteen years and served on the UELMA board for six years: 2006-2012, three as president elect, president, and past president (conference chair); and three as a board member. Only those who have organized or worked on a conference knows how much hard work and constant attention to the nit picking details it takes to make everything look smooth and easy. This year I served in a minor role as host/facilitator coordinator and helped a little with room assignments for the breakout sessions. Our conference chair was very organized and presented a worthy conference for the enthusiastic shush. I was able to host three interesting sessions and attend a forth session that one of my librarian friends requested to host.
Jason Chin (Island: A Story of the Galapagos), J. Scott Savage (Far World), Nathan Hale (Hazardous Tales), and Frank Cole (Hashbrown Winter) were our visiting authors who each had breakout sessions. The topics of the various sessions ranged from RDA cataloging to innovative ways to keep our libraries filled with students and have our libraries up to date on educational technology.  It is also great to have the handouts from most of the sessions posted on the UELMA web site so all we Utah school librarians can have access to the information from the sessions we were unable to work into our schedules.
It was nice to visit with my long time friends among the vendors as well as the veteran librarians I get to see only at the conference. It is good to see that there are a lot of us "oldies but goodies" still around and shakin' it up with the youngins.
*"A shush of librarians," from Sacher, Jason, A Compendium of Collective nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Erin Go Bragh, Part 2

I made this ATC for a "St. Paddy's Day ATC Swap" and sent it off this morning in a handmade envelope. I made the envelope from a page from an old LIFE Magazine and glued a few things on the cover. A problem I had with the envelope was that the glue was not adhering to the glossy magazine page. Hopefully it won't fall apart in the postal machinery.
My daughter-in-law's aunt fell a week ago and broke her shoulder. It was a bad break, and they had to replace her shoulder. I sent her a get well card in this envelope.
I sent out another decorated envelope last week for a "Make It Pretty" envelope swap.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Erin Go Bragh, Part 1

I just sent out an ATC swap with a handmade envelope. It is an early St. Patrick's Day ATC. The background is layered tissue paper using a glue wash to adhere the tissue to poster board. The envelope is made from a magazine page with some stuff glued on. I never know if I have too much or too little.

While composing this tiny post, I am listening to Virtual Choir. It is hard to concentrate with 5000 voices singing at me, so it is taking longer than I planned to post this. Oh, well. Erin Go Bragh!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Older Than Dirt Quiz

My daughter-in-law's father sent me this "Older Than Dirt Quiz" this morning. He is ten years older than me, but I remember all these items. I thought it was amusing and it starting me thinking about a lot of things we no longer have. I wonder sometimes if all "progress" in all areas of life is really that great. I am putting the list here. I added some details to a couple of the items, but the list is basically the list I was sent.
 Count all the items that you actually remember: not the ones you were told about.  The ratings are at the bottom.
1. Blackjack chewing gum.
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water. 
3. Candy cigarettes.
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles. Especially the cases full of ice water with the bottles suspended in the water on metal tracks. You maneuvered the bottle of pop you wanted around the track to the "gate," put your coin in the slot, and pulled your bottle through.
5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes. 
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers. 
7. Party lines on the telephone.
8. Newsreels, short subjects and a cartoon before the movie: and you could stay and watch the movie more than once.
9. P.F. Flyers.
10. Butch wax.
11. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and the National Anthem and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (Depending on where you lived, there were only 3 channels). 
12. Peashooters. 
13. Howdy Doody. 
14. 45 RPM records. (Sometimes the B side was more popular than the A side.) 
15. S & H green stamps. 
16. Hi-fi's.
17. Metal ice trays with a lever. 
18. Mimeograph paper.
19. Blue flashbulbs.
20. Packards and Studebakers.
21. Roller skate keys.
22. Cork popguns.
23. Drive-ins.
24. Putting pennys  on railroad tracks to be flattened by trains.
25. Washboards and wash tub wringers.
26. Diners made from old street cars.
27. Street Cars that ran on a track.

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young 

If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older!

If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age!

If you remembered 16-27 = You're older than dirt!
I remember dealing with all these items save one; I never had Blackjack chewing gum.