Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Look Back

It was about this time a couple of years ago when we got this GOOD NEWS from Bob Ellis:

"Several months ago i asked for prayers because my youngest daughter was having problems with her pregnancy. God must have been listening . I present you with my 9th grandchild:"

December 19, 2012

 Caleb Daniel Hines

Well, I'm happy to report:    More Good News! 
He is now 2 years old...healthy as a horse and Hollywood Handsome!

Caleb Hines and his Mom today

Bob, I think you hold the record among our classmates for the number of Grandchildren!

Merry Christmas Everyone


Friday, December 19, 2014

Is it Over Yet?


I'm talking about winter. I'm already tired of it and it doesn't even begin until Sunday Dec. 21st at 6:03pm on EST, That's when the "Winter" begins astronomically speaking .

The sun will be directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Ordinary people like us think Winter has been around at least a month, but what do we know. That's why we're called ordinary.  But personally I'm already sick and tired of the dark that's been showing up earlier and earlier each afternoon..

Many Doctors report that lack of light actually makes a lot of people sick.  Depression induced illnesses mostly. I can understand that. I ain't feeling too great myself.

So, after Sunday, the light will slowly begin to lengthen and before you know it, our moods will brighten along with our days!

Oh, By the Way...I got a nice note the other day from Ann Mitchell, who's living in Florida, happy and healthy and sends her best to all of us in the class of '54!

She said she doesn't do email anymore....and frankly, that's why I hadn't heard from her in so long.
I've lost contact with most of my old friends who don't have email.........I hardly remember how to write a letter anymore.

Don Nance sent me this picture from out of the was taken here in Washington sometime in the 1980s.  It's of President and Nancy Reagan posing in the middle of two cardboard cutouts of Don and Me.


Monday, December 15, 2014

"There are 8 million stories in the...

...naked city."

That line is from the TV series, The Naked City, which aired on ABC from 1958 to 1963.  That was a long time ago, but its trademark declaration has become a cliche.

Everyone DOES have a story; and if you've ever spent much time in a bar, you're probably "up to HERE" in...(since this is a family friendly site),..TALL TALES .

I'm amazed at how the TALES get taller and taller the more alcohol is consumed.

Mr. Average
I think I'll write a novel about it someday.  I'll call it, "Mr Average Goes to the Lion King Bar and Grill"....where he proceeds to down drink after drink of 100 proof "Loose Lips Bourbon."

As he begins telling his "Life's Story" to any and all in the bar, his accomplishments become more and more wild and strange.

"Yes, it's true," he says, "I invented the Atomic Bomb."

"Oh, the Hell you did," responded on of the listeners.  "Yes I did. I have the patent for it!" replied Mr. Average, as he downed another shooter of Loose Lips.

"I'm a history major", shouted another doubter, "and I know for a fact that Einstein invented it...and wrote President Roosevelt a letter convincing him that it would win WW2 for America."

"Actually," replied Mr. Average. "I wrote that letter and simply got Einstein to sign it, because he was famous and would be listened to.  Nobody ever paid any attention to me. I'm just Mr, Average. Old woolly headed Al didn't know diddley squat about an Atomic Bomb until I told him."

Well, with that, Mr. Average's audience began to disperse, obviously having had enough of his deranged imaginings.

"One more thing," he shouted," I just came from the Doctor's and he said my bladder cancer had completely disappeared.  I cured it myself with basically the same recipe I used for the Atomic Bomb."

"All Right, that's it," pronounced the bouncer, "Cured yourself with the Atomic Bomb, did you. Well, you're out of here. Atomic Bomb my butt.

You're the Atomic Bum!

And don't come back."

On second thought, instead of making a novel out of that, it could be a biography, because every thing Mr. Average said was true!  Except his name, which was actually Leo Szilard.


My Thanks to QUORA  DIGEST (650 Castro Street #450, Mountain View, CA 94041)

' Szilard owned the patent on the atomic bomb. He was the epicenter of the first atomic bomb. He, more than anyone else (arguably Oppenheimer is up there too), is the father of the atomic bomb and always saw the bomb as a weapon of world peace, rather than of destruction - as a way to bring balance to the world. It would be the end of wars as he knew them, and it was his dream from the very beginning
When Szilard approached Einstein for signing the letter, Einstein had no idea about the recent advances in nuclear physics (fission), or the possibility of a nuclear bomb. Szilard explained the situation and got Einstein to sign the letter.

Later in life, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and doctors gave him a bad probability of survival. Using his knowledge of radioactive elements and biology, Szilard invented an experimental treatment method to irradiate the cancerous cells using gamma radiation from Cobalt 60 isotope. The doctors warned him that he would die because of the increased radiation, but Szilard persisted. Using this method, he cured his cancer and  made a complete recovery. This method of Radiation therapy has been used ever since to treat some cancers.'

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grandpa Meets Grandpa

 ...not in person, but in a picture I ran across recently of a portrait of the Jolly family of Anderson, South Carolina taken around 1895. John Andrew Jolly was his name and he doesn't look very grandfatherly since  he was still a teenager when this particular photograph was taken.

The Jolly family of Anderson, SC taken around 1895

John Andrew  Jolly
From Kate Jolly's family Bible
He is the boy shown second to the left with his bicycle. I never knew him; in fact, my Mother hardly did either, since he died when she was three years old. My grandmother was left penniless with 4 little children. What a woman! He passed some of the "genes" along, but it was up to her to provide for and raise the children, all of whom became good, middle class American citizens who raised their own good, middle class Americans, one of whom became a war hero (Charles Mateer) one who became a well known North Carolina Judge (John R. Jolly), and one was a secret service agent (David Jolly).

Not bad for a family that began with so many strikes against them.

On his tombstone was the inscription, "An Honest Man"

Thanks Grandpa. Wish you could have stayed longer.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014


 Searching through that old 1947 Snips and Cuts yearbook for my old football heroes, this ad in the back caught my attention.  What the heck was a comptometer?   And I don't remember ever hearing about the "Independence Building" either.

The almost competent research staff here at the CHS54 corporate headquarters in the Myers Towers discovered that the Comptometer was the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculator, patented in the USA by Dorr E. Felt in 1887.

Learning how to use the thing wasn't easy, so Comptometer Schools did a booming business for many years.

The Comptometer began to be replaced by electronic calculators around 1966.  But the first ones were expensive, costing over $1,000.  That's in 1966 dollars. That was about the time the first computers were showing up, but those machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and were so large that they required almost a complete building to house them.

 Texas Instruments invented the desktop calculator and by the 1970's they were profoundly changing the lives of Americans, and indeed the world. But they were still pricey, $200 was not unusual. By 1972, the prices had plunged to around $25.

I picked up a pocket calculator last week at Staples for $5.  I saw a few smaller ones on sale for a dollar.

Independence Bld

And, I learned that the Independence Building, once the tallest building in North Carolina built in
1909 by J.A. Jones Construction and imploded on September 27, 1981 to make way for 101 Independence Center. It originally had 12 floors but 2 more were added in 1928.

Ain't the Internet wonderful!


Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Lady With the Mystic Smile

It's still hard for me to believe that somebody just paid 4.9 million dollars for a painting by an "artist" named Kazuo Shirago titled BB56.

Which he painted with his feet!

That sure doesn't make any sense to me, but what the Hell, it's the "Art Community" and they've been living on a different planet for a long time.

Art, of course, is very subjective but most will agree that there are certain common sense standards. BB56 defies all of them.

Mona Lisa
Simply put, BB56 ain't no "Mona Lisa."

And as long as we're talking "subjective,"  In my opinion the Mona Lisa...ain't no" Mona Lisa" either!

Say what?

The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world, and some say the greatest ever created.  I disagree. I don't believe it's even one of Leonardo's best.

I'm not the first to say this, but I believe the fact that the painting was once stolen from the Louve is what turned a good, but not exceptional painting, into the most famous in the world.

JFK and French President and first ladies 1963
I saw the Mona Lisa when she came to Washington in 1963 for a couple of weeks. I was surprised at how small it was, and.........yes, it was her....and....well that was about it.

Had I been visiting the Louve and known nothing about the painting I would have stopped for about 15 seconds, looked, and moved on.  I believe that's what most visitors to that famous Paris museum did UNTIL 1911, when an Italian handyman named Vincenzo Peruggia made worldwide headlines by stealing it. His motive was to return it to Italy, where he was praised as a hero.

Suddenly the world was inundated with headlines, pictures and stories about the Da Vinci painting
Leonardo Da Vinci self portrait
that continued for more than 2 years when it was finally recovered.

 Noah Chaney, highly respected author and professor of art history, said,

"If a different one of Leonardo's works had been stolen, then that would have been the most famous work in the world -- not the Mona Lisa," 
"There was nothing that really distinguished it per se, other than it was a very good work by a very famous artist -- that's until it was stolen," he added. "The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name."

 I agree. Today that would be called the "Kim Kardashian Effect." It's famous, for being famous"

Over the years art experts and others have twisted their brains in knots trying to explain why the Mona Lisa is such a great painting.

Mona or Leo?

"Her eyes seem to follow you as you walk away..." 

Reality Alert!  All portraits of subjects looking "straight on" will do that!

"Look closely at her mysterious almost smile.  Is it, or isn't it?

Some even claim that Mona is really a self portrait of Leonardo himself.

Now, don't get me wrong. This is not a criticism of the great Leonard Da Vinci. Anyway, who am I to do something like that! I'm just saying the Mona Lisa in my opinion is NOT one of his best paintings!
For example:

DaVinci's Last Supper
Mona Kardashian

It just occurred to me that when whatever mind altering drug the poor sap who paid 4.9 million dollars for BB56, wears off,  he might want to consider paying somebody to steal it.

(Not to make it famous; Hell, just to get rid of it!)


“Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.”

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ready and Waiting

Jimmies of Mint Hill has just about completed preparations for this month's LDL that will happen on December the Ninth!

Here's Jerry's official announcement:

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
This is your personal invitation to join us. Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!
...and if you think about it, take along a camera and click a few snapshots to send to your kindly old webmaster.