Tuesday, December 30, 2008


..um...you know..um..
I love you, Caroline.

That's right.

I've admired you ever since we were both about 6 years old. And even now, as you barnstorm through New York followed by the confused main stream media (calling out to you clueless to your last name in article after snotty article, and grunting out loud like little penguins for their mother)on your quest to become a Senator, I have to say you still melt this artery-hardened conservative.
Even though we are political opposites, you have a quality that transcends any mere philosophical belief: character.
I'll type it again just in case any single-digit percent-approved Washingtonian may be reading this. Character.

I wholeheartedly endorse you for the Senate appointment, also for your Life accomplishments rather than your famous maiden name, Mrs Schlossberg. You are not some side show freak. This is not a yearning for nostalgia. Restoration is wanting desperately in Congress, and you're the right woman for the job.

And besides, you really are from New York, and..um...you know...you speak like a certain...um...vagabond I know.

the night sky New Years Eve...

On Dec. 31st, the crescent Moon will smile at Venus as they gather together high in the southwestern sky for a beautiful tango after sunset.

Step out and look if you can - describing it would be like watching a fireworks display on tv.

a vagabond nod to spaceweather.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

twas the night before Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my fellow vagabonds.
May the blessings of the season make your egg nog cup spilleth over (so your little dog or other small creature can lap it up).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

carol of the bells

Hilarious clip from Claymation Christmas, first broadcast in 1987.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

my Messiah moment

Like The Man holding the powerful Office Of The President-Elect, I was once a Messiah.

I used to work for a service company that assembled bicycles and toys for Department stores. Now, most of the time the management with under-armed stained shirts would have me set up my portable work station (with magic tools!) back in a damp, dim and poorly ventilated cinder block storage room, with the off switch to the nerve shattering muzak speaker out of reach.
But every once in a glorious while there wouldn't be any elbow room back at the Inn, and I'd have to set up right out on the showroom floor with jingling and shiny elves in my tool belt. Talk about tiny tots with their eyes all aglow and fingers up their noses! Heavens. Resisting the tug of their moms o'ding on jingle bell muzak, they'd look up at me with mouths gaping as I'd be spinning bikes on the work stand, attaching wheels with a short burst from my holstered Makita, and fastening reflectors and caliper brakes at double Lucy Ricardo Ethel Mertz assembly line speed, capped off with a short powerful pffft! from my trusty portable air compressor.
"Are you..?"
"Why, Yes..Yes, I AM," I'd cut them off in anticipation, barely above a whisper.

But adults were never fooled. I was quickly cut down to size by many puzzling inquiries about what aisle potting fertilizer was on.
"Um...I don't work here."

Monday, December 15, 2008

round table discussion

Do penguins dream in black and white?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This Is Where We Live

by the 4th Estate

wonderful, simply wonderful.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


end of a trio..
one, two,...three!...

Piled into Buster's dull gray '54 Austin A30, we headed out towards the Pantages Theatre, all of us in too-snug ties, Audrey in satin, the girl with the big black eyes squeezed in between Spencer and Hemingway in back. In a light California mist, as rare as a fish coming up for air, the wiper blades slowly rose, then slammed violently downward. I reached across and wiped the fog collecting on the windshield with my bare hand as Buster leaned forward gripping the wheel tightly and squinting. We were going to look mighty funny pulling up to the valet at the red carpet compared to limos. We made it, in reverse, the man in the bow tie and pork-pie hat leaving tire marks on bright red, just below orange swaying Chinese lanterns.

Tracy didn't want to go even though he was one of the Big Five. Surprisingly, Hemingway talked him into going, saying what a loser he was anyways, kidding of course, but riling up Tracy's blood into his ears, and setting into motion an unexpectedly pleasureable recent afternoon at a local ladies boutique, smelling of a French Market, the four of us sitting on a cushioned bench as Audrey modeled different gowns for the Ball, rising as she emerged from behind the door, Buster with his hat over his heart, us shaking our heads in disapproval, although we lied, coughing excuses like, 'there's no place to pin a corsage! Next!' her looking stunning always, exhaustively choosing a white sleeveless satin.

"But..these are my friends." She was just a shade above a pleading whisper when the gorilla at the entrance demanded invitations. Tracy was able to get the Great Storyteller in with some unblinking profanity, but all Audrey could do was look over her bare white shoulder, as Buster and I were left out in the mist. "But, those are my friends," she shivered, red lips parted, as Grace Kelly swept by looking with contempt down her nose at us misfits. Hemingway was smilingly imagining a runaway bull spearing the gorilla.

Buster, with an over sized napkin stuffed over his little bow tie, held a fork and knife upright on a counter at a dusty oatmeal smelling coffee shop a block away, doing his big-hearted best to cheer me up. Or, maybe just to cheer himself up. It worked only when an old man with hiccups and uneven eyebrows behind the counter in a paper hat glared at us. I pointed at a faded and peeling picture of a whole pecan pie on the marquee, Buster nodded, and I ordered a whole pie and two clean forks. It was rich, and the black liquid coal served in chipped porcelain cups was a lovely companion.
"Good." It was raining now, water sprinkling off the roof. A little girl at the cash register with her finger in her nose was staring back at Buster.
"Yes," I agreed, brushing crumbs off my lap.

"Yes," she said, yawning in the backseat, "it was a lovely evening," squeezing Tracy's hand tighter, as she peered with tired eyes up at his profile. She freed her bunned-hair in one motion and it fell softly as a fairytale. She was still wearing her long polished Italian dress gloves, tugging her right jeweled earring thoughtfully with her free hand.
"I told you you were a loser," Hemingway repeated, leaning forward, "you son of a bitch."
She scolded him playfully, shaking a finger like a bunned-hair school marm in boots.
His squeezed hand made him reply calmly and quietly, "no..I..Ernie really was good."
"Handsome Marty," Buster nodded. We laughed with loosened ties, and exclaimed out of sync, 'hey, Marty, whatcha doin' tonight?' And then there was a moment of silence. The rain moved out of town, forced away by whipping winds.
"But you're the best," she said somewhat defiantly, and I looked back at her, and she was crying.

Friday, December 12, 2008

you want the moon?...

...well, do you? I'll lasso it since it's closer tonight, 14% wider and 30% brighter than any other full moon of the year - an easy target.

At least bundle up and gaze at its wonder tonight.
Oh. Go on.

if I were a car czar

sung to the tune of
'If I Were A Rich Man.'

Oh, if I were a car czar
All we'd roll out would be
silver fifty-seven Thunderbirds
Do away with little clown cars
bury'em out in the back yard!

Oh, just to drop the top down
go speedin' and combusting
Roadstering without a care
If I were the King Czar of Cars
whoosh by Al Gore, finger in air!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

To a Locomotive in Winter

by Walt Whitman

THEE for my recitative!
Thee in the driving storm, even as now—the snow—the winter-day declining;
Thee in thy panoply, thy measured dual throbbing, and thy beat convulsive;
Thy black cylindric body, golden brass, and silvery steel;
Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling at thy sides;
Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar—now tapering in the distance;
Thy great protruding head-light, fix’d in front;
Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple;
The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack;
Thy knitted frame—thy springs and valves—the tremulous twinkle of thy wheels;
Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily-following,
Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering:
Type of the modern! emblem of motion and power! pulse of the continent!
For once, come serve the Muse, and merge in verse, even as here I see thee,
With storm, and buffeting gusts of wind, and falling snow;
By day, thy warning, ringing bell to sound its notes,
By night, thy silent signal lamps to swing.

Fierce-throated beauty!
Roll through my chant, with all thy lawless music! thy swinging lamps at night;
Thy piercing, madly-whistled laughter! thy echoes, rumbling like an earthquake, rousing
Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding;
(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,)
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d,
Launch’d o’er the prairies wide—across the lakes,
To the free skies, unpent, and glad, and strong.

Friday, December 5, 2008

a to z film favorites

Dear Reader, here's a fun list you can make in your pajamas under bed covers with a flashlight.
Just list one favorite film per letter of the alphabet.
Leave a Parting Shot, and I'll be sure to look at your list.

Being There
Citizen Kane
Dr. Strangelove
Edison The Man
The French Connection
The Grey Fox
He Walked By Night
It's A Gift
Junior Bonner
Knock On Wood
Lonely Are The Brave
Midnight Cowboy
The Old Fashioned Way
Queen Christina
Rear Window
Sullivan's Travels
The 39 Steps
The Uninvited
The World Of Henry Orient
The X-files
Young and Innocent

That was harder than I thought.
Had to leave out a whole bunch of favorite films.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the parting glass quote of the day

With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable…I…shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.
225 years ago today, General George Washington bid an emotional farewell to his officers on the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets, in lower Manhattan, at Fraunces Tavern, after the last British ships evacuated the harbor.
Washington would return to Fraunces Tavern to celebrate his inauguration 6 years later.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

posters from World War II

Walking a glossy tiled hallway on a quick stop at the hallowed American Legion building downtown this morning, I couldn't help but halt with arched back to observe not only artwork, but those terse messages of vigilance and service on framed posters from the war years.

I was so moved, I wanted to load them into my car and bring them home. That's what I told the receptionist, peering up at me with second grade teacher-like glasses and hunkered down behind the over sized front desk. She just smiled and nodded, then shook her head with a feigned look of sadness. Ah, well.

These are remarkable posters, and there must be literally thousands. The Minnesota Public Library has a great Collection.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Woody rhapsody

opening shot of his love letter to
Manhattan, to celebrate his birthday.

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