Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy 90th Birthday, Your Majesty! (April, May, and June)

The 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II occurred a few days ago, but the official celebration won't happen until June, when the weather should be better. In the meantime, what are we to do?

Celebrate for the entire time, of course!

Or we can have a humorous look back in time by watching Beatrice Lillie, Lady Peel, perform "March With Me to the Roll of the Drum" in a video clip from 1957 (the clip was apparently part of a tribute to comedian Ed Wynn emceed by actor Ralph Bellamy) because the final line of the chorus -- "England is proud of you!" -- and the repeated line "April, May, and June" also apply to Her Majesty on this, her 90th birthday.

Click here and enjoy! (4:39)

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The last couple of weeks have been filled with much bloggable activity hereabouts but I couldn't stop long enough to blog. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I have taken pen in hand keyboard in lap and will remedy that situation immediately. Today's post will cover a hodgepodge of subjects.

First, though, for those of you who read posts but never look at comments, the snippet of song in my last post (He said, "Delores,....") was from "Slip Slidin' Away" which was written and performed by Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel fame) in 1977. Kudos to both Yorkshire Pudding and Pauline W for knowing the answer.

I got the horse song right here, its name is not Paul Revere.

Now let's get on with the hodgepodge.

1. The college baseball team on which my oldest grandson plays has come to the end of its season with a win-loss record of 30-13, ending on a 14-game winning streak that caught the eye of the NCAA Division III athletic establishment enough to name the team "the breakout team of the year" nationally at one point. Here is my grandson:

No, not the batter. My grandson is the player on the far right in the background, the one with the yellow Oakleys on his cap.

2. The baseball player's brother, the guy who wore the cheetah-print suit to his prom, is looking forward to graduating from high school next month and attending Kennesaw State University in the fall, but he is also attempting to raise enough money to be able to spend five weeks in western Kenya this summer as an intern at a health clinic and school. To date he has raised over 3/4 of the more than $4,000 he must have to make this trip through his waiter's job at Buffalo's Restaurant and also via GoFundMe at Noah's Kenyan Initiative.

3. Noah is not the only family member traveling to Kenya this summer. Another grandson, the one who is about to complete his first year at Duke University, applied for and was accepted to be part of a service project in southern Kenya for eight weeks this summer as well. His expenses are being completely covered by the university. Grandpa cannot keep buttons on his shirts as they keep popping off.

4. My dancer daughter-in-law was named 2016 choreographer of the year for high-school musicals in the state of Georgia at this year's Shuler Awards, which were telecast live statewide Thursday evening by GPTV (Georgia Public Television) from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Marietta. The Shuler Awards are the creation of local-boy-who-made-good Shuler Hensley who won a Tony for Best Supporting Actor on Broadway a few years ago for his portrayal of Jed Fry in Oklahoma!; I believe he also received an Olivier for the same role earlier in London. Anyway, after returning to the area where he grew up he decided to give back to the community by encouraging excellence in musical theater in Georgia high schools and creating this awards program, now in its eighth year. My daughter-in-law has received two Shulers now, having won last year for her choreography of Peter Pan and now again this year for George Gershwin's Crazy For You.

5. My cousin Dr. Philip Caracena, a clinical psychologist who had made his home in Edmond, Oklahoma, for the past few years, died this week at the age of 81. I learned about his death when his son Kurt posted it on facebook. My favorite aunt, Marion Silberman Caracena, was his mother, the older sister of my mother, Ruth Silberman Brague. Philip was born in New York City on February 27, 1935 and graduated from Jenkintown High School in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, in 1952. He received his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and his master's and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. It was in East Lansing that he met Virginia Burquest of Sarasota, Florida, also a psychology major, and they married in the summer of 1958. She called him Phil. After having three children together -- Chris, Kurt, and Elise -- they later divorced. Philip was on the faculty of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for a time, and later had practices in Hammond, Indiana, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. I'm going on at length about him because in many ways he was the last link to my early childhood. He was six when I was born. My mother told me that I first called him Pa-Ba, and after I learned to talk a little better I called him Phibit. He and my aunt traveled from Jenkintown to Texas to visit us in the summers of 1948 and 1950, and my mother and I visited them in Pennsylvania in June 1954. After my high school graduation in 1958, I visited Pennsylvania again, and it was on that trip that I met Virginia, just a couple of months before she and Philip, sorry, Phil were married. After they divorced, Philip married a second wife, Donna, in Colorado and later a third wife, Margot, after he had moved to Oklahoma. I really didn't know him all that well in adulthood and we lost track of one another for many years. A couple of years ago I reconnected with him on facebook and sent him happy birthday messages on his 80th and 81st birthdays, to which he responded. We didn't have much contact over the years, but I am happy that I knew him and I will miss him.

6. My oldest Alabama grandson has had some significant honors this month also. He was selected to play in the French horn section of Alabama's All-State Band and made a four-day visit to the city of Mobile way down in south Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico for the performance on April 16th.

He was also selected along with his very best friend and scholastic rival to represent their high school at Boys State at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa during the first week of June. [Note to self: Buy more buttons.]

7. The French horn player's younger brother is a member of the high school golf team that won first place at the Jefferson County, Alabama, High School Golf Tournament (think Greater Birmingham) this month. [Note to self: Seriously consider investing in a button manufacturing company.]

8. Last, but certainly not least, Mrs. RWP underwent eye surgery recently. An ophthalmologist thought she needed corneal transplants, but a second opinion from the surgeon who removed Mrs. RWP's cataracts several years ago revealed that she did not. However, the surgeon said that she definitely did need some work on her corneas. On April 15th he performed an ablation on her right cornea, and when it has healed he will do the same thing on her left cornea. For the last week or so I have been her Chief Cook and Bottle Washer primary caregiver, mainly putting serum teardrops centrifuged from her own blood into her eye every hour, putting two other kinds of drops (an antibiotic and a steroid) into her eye every four hours, fetching pain medication when necessary, preparing meals (or rather, microwaving frozen meals), and performing various and sundry other tasks related to her comfort and recovery. She slept a lot for the first couple of days, saying that when she was awake it felt like someone had stuck a corncob in her eye. How she knows how that feels, I have no idea and dare not ask.

These have been eight recent events in the life of moi and your forbearance is appreciated. They are not my accomplishments but I bask in their reflected glory.

You never know, there may be a Potpourri Part 2 in which I describe even more events (9 through 16?).

Stay tuned.

The remainder of this post provides a record of Mrs. RWP's recent ordeal adventure experience and is at the same time strangely evocative of -- wait for it -- Liberace's theme song. It's the sort of thing you can't not look at. My apologies to Adrian for the poor quality of the photographs.

As Humphrey Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, "Here's looking at you, kid."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

He said, "Delores,...."

It's funny (funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha) how songs sometimes stick in one's head.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying it's funny that they stick in one's head, I'm saying it's funny how they stick in one's head.

Some days I wake up in the morning with all or almost all of the words of an old song that I haven't thought about in ages ringing in my ears. Tuesday morning it was this hymn:

If you from sin are longing to be free,
Look to the Lamb of God.
(Something) (something) died on Calvary,
Look to the Lamb of God.

Look to the Lamb of God,
Look to the Lamb of God,
For He alone is able to save you,
Look to the Lamb of God.

It happened a couple of weeks ago with "Love's Old Sweet Song" which I won't bore you with.

Sometimes, however, just a word or two, a little snippet of something, plays over and over in my head like a malfunctioning jukebox or a scratched 78 rpm vinyl recording (remember them?) and although I know I should know the source, try as I might I can't dredge anything up into my consciousness.

Then all at once, Bingo!, the light dawns and the mystery is solved. My head scratching can stop. All is once again right with the world.

It happened to me today for hours with the three words in the title of this post. Finally it came to me. I know the song and the person who sang it.

Do you?

No fair Googling.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In which more things than you can shake a stick at are compared to Liberace's theme song

If you must blame this post on somebody, blame Hilltop Homesteader, the blogger who posts from the southwestern corner of the state of Washington, which is way up in the northwest corner of our lower 48 states.

[Editor's note to the geographically challenged: The United States is composed of 50 states and the District of Columbia. Two states, Alaska and Hawaii, do not share a border with any of the others but are separated from them by Canada and the Pacific Ocean, respectively. Alaskans refer to the contiguous states as "the lower 48" but Hawaiians refer to the same area as "the mainland" because they live on islands. In the non-contiguous virtual space known as Blogworld, Hilltop Homesteader lives somewhere between Snowbrush (in Oregon) and A Lady's Life (in British Columbia), much in the same way that Mars is somewhere between Earth and Jupiter. Here endeth today's geography moment. --RWP]

Where was I? Oh, yes.

Two posts ago, I compared Mrs. RWP's latest creation, a drawing of an owl made with colored pencils, to Liberace's theme song ("Owl Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places"). One post ago, I compared the Exxon Valdez environmental accident to Liberace's theme song ("Oil Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places"). In a comment, Hilltop Homesteader wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that your correspondent is full of it lately and now has her imagining what the next theme song for Liberace will actually be. She imagined a couple of possibilities, a Carpenter ("Awl Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places") and a Seamstress ("I'll Be Sewing You In All The Old Familiar Places"). She ended by saying she would leave it up to me to decide who's next.

Hence, this post.

I could keep doling these out to you one post at a time, but I have thunk and thunk on what might ensue and I have decided that my readers would not take kindly to that possibility and my audience would shrink into nothingness, which it is always in danger of doing anyway. Therefore, I am going to present the possibilities to you all at one time and be done with them.

Here we go.

Betsy Ross creating the first American flag in 1776 and presenting it to General George Washington is like Liberace's theme song ("I'll Be Sewing You In All The Old Familiar Places"). Thanks again to Hilltop Homesteader.

Vail, Aspen, and Snowmass in Colorado; Park City in Utah; and Sun Valley in Idaho are like Liberace's theme song ("I'll Be Skiing You In All The Old Familiar Places").

Hound dogs chasing a raccoon are like Liberace's theme song ("I'll Be Treeing You In All The Old Familiar Places").

From the perspective of the fox, a fox hunt through the fields of Jolly Olde England is like Liberace's theme song ("I'll Be Fleeing You In All The Old Familiar Places").

A young man looking forward to winter so that he can write his name in the snow is like Liberace's theme song (I'll Be Peeing You In All The Old Familiar Places").

Bruce Jenner slowly transforming himself into Caitlyn Jenner is like Liberace's theme song (I'll Be She-ing You In All The Old Familiar Places").

It will be over soon.

When a large department store decides to host a "Meet the Celebrities" event and invites the shopping public to meet the stars of the motion picture Notting Hill and so many people show up that the crowd have to be divided into two queues and the department store erects two large signs at the entrance to assist the attendees, it is like Liberace's theme song because one sign says, "Aisle A: Seeing Julia" and the other sign says -- wait for it -- "Aisle B: Seeing Hugh"....

I must close now as the men in white coats are here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In which the Exxon Valdez is compared to Liberace's theme song

In my last post we explored why Mrs. RWP's latest creation, a drawing of an owl made with colored pencils, was like Liberace's theme song. Some of you thought that was silly. I'm looking at you, Adrian. Others of you thought it was a hoot *waving to Michelle.

In this post we are going to explore a far more serious subject. We are going to explore why the Exxon Valdez is like Liberace's theme song.

You, there, in the back row: Stop giggling. You're getting ahead of me.

If you are over 40 you will remember that the Exxon Valdez was a very large tanker that ran aground off the coast of southeastern Alaska in 1989, causing a major environmental disaster when 11 to 38 million US gallons (260,000 to 900,000 bbl; 42,000 to 144,000 m3) of its contents spilled into Prince William Sound over a period of several days.

See, I told you this was serious.

The Exxon Valdez is like Liberace's theme song because, contrary to what I told you in my last post, this is Liberace's theme song:

Oil be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through.
In that small café,
The park across the way,
The children's carousel,
The chestnut tree,
the wishing well,

Oil be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day,
In everything that's light and gay,
Oil always think of you that way,

Oil find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new;
Oil be looking at the moon
But oil be seeing you.

I tell you, these posts practically write themselves.

Friday, April 1, 2016

In which Mrs. RWP's latest creation is compared to Liberace's theme song

Alice in Wonderland was once asked the question, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

Forget about her. I just threw that in to get you in the mood to consider another question, and that question is, "Why is Mrs. RWP's latest creation like Liberace's theme song?"

I can hear you saying, "How should I know? First of all, I'm not familiar with Mrs. RWP's latest creation."

We can take care of that problem immediately.

Here is Mrs. RWP's latest creation:

Isn't it lovely? But the question remains, "Why is it like a writing desk Liberace's theme song?

I can hear you asking, "How should I know? Can't you help me out a little? I'm not familiar with Liberace's theme song either. What was it?"

Again, we can take care of that problem immediately. This is Liberace's theme song:

Owl be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through.
In that small café,
The park across the way,
The children's carousel,
The chestnut tree,
the wishing well,

Owl be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day,
In everything that's light and gay,
Owl always think of you that way,

Owl find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new;
Owl be looking at the moon
But owl be seeing you.

...and if by some chance I happen to be wrong, I still am happy to have made you smile today, which my calendar tells me just happens to be April 1st.

<b> Mundane is also a word</b>

My blogger friend Rachel Phillips is currently in the midst of a series of posts (three so far) about a trip she took with her friends Liz...