About Me

My photo
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hey, I've Got An Idea!

The e-mail I received that caused me to look into my blog archive and remember a place of long ago and fairly far away is still having an effect on me. Oh, yes, I'm fairly prone to reverie these days. A predilection for preoccupation, one might say. You see, I am not a graceful pathfinder. I require a good deal of angst to be thrown in with finding my way through things. I smack and flop along the road like a square wheel, gnashing my teeth . . . and then the way is usually revealed to me. I'm waiting for that augury now. In the meantime, I'll fiddle around until I don't any longer.

So, back to that summer of 1958. I have such strong sensory memories of the heat, muggy in the afternoons when there would generally come a thunderstorm to mix things up a little. We wore colorful, short cotton midriff tops with shorts, sometimes cutoffs, and went barefooted until the scorching blacktop and concrete required thongs at least. I was the kid with sunburn blisters on my nose and shoulders, the long, thick, dark braid snaking down my back and bangs always cut at just a slight slant not intended. There was typically a tooth or two missing during that time, and I sported a cast on my right arm that summer. It weighed approximately what I weighed and rubbed a blister on the web between my thumb and forefinger. It did not hamper hopscotch, swinging or managing my bike. That cast brought me the closest I ever came to being spanked when I was busted behind the garage using a stick to scratch my horribly itchy arm. It nearly scared my parents to death and they proved that they knew some strong language. When the doctor removed the cast just before school started in September, it proved to contain more dirt and grime than the average vacuum cleaner bag. Small pebbles, sand, dog hair, shredding skin, broken bits of stick (ahem).

I greeted other kids rarely with "Hi!" and frequently with "I've got an idea!" I did, too. Lots of ideas. About anything and everything one would care to name. I read voraciously, including under the blankets and in my bedroom closet after bedtime. I watched a little TV - likely 90% less than any other kid of the era, but I saw enough to feed my idea machine. It was an active little idea machine, producer of big old dreams in technicolor and detail. I was a kid who spawned notions that required some action and some sweat and lots of fun in the execution. I've never known whether other kids thought "Yay!" or "Run!" when I came along with my latest dream. Perhaps I wouldn't want to know. Rarely, however, did I have any difficulty recruiting others to my fancies. And I've grown up not very different from that young child.

Perhaps that show-offy thing existed in embryonic form in the day, because - often - my ideas focused on the performing arts. In later years, this tendency was honed to near perfection. Give me a microphone and an audience of hundreds and I become utterly, breathtakingly brilliant. But that is another story for another day. I once spent some considerable amount of saved allowance to buy a booklet setting forth a child's production of The Emperor's New Clothes. This required someone's dad to apply a saw to plywood and a neighborhood mom to sew costumes. And they did that! My mother made brownies. People came to watch us. It sired a monster in me. Theme parties a specialty. Extravagant whoop-dee-doos are my middle name.

I tend to do better in life when I have a project bubbling. It keeps me focused and gives me a sense of purpose. I need a little of that about now. And it's been a long time since we did anything collaborative on this blog like a drop in poem. I guess I ran out of conquering heroes to celebrate or something, because I got away from that really fun activity. Let's put that to bed! Reader, beware: I've got an idea.

I have a project in mind, for presentation on this blog. The gala will be presented on August 24th for good reason. It will feature video and all manner of things to delight one's sense of humor, particularly if yours is as twisted as my own. I need help! I need words. I am looking for a jingle, if not an outright song (which I'd prefer) to laud the hoppy taw, perhaps a poem or two, even an essay. The themes should be hoppy taws and hopscotch, days of summer, nostalgia, easier times. To get a feel for it, just read this and my last post or if one wants to refer to the original hoppy taw post, there you have it. Please send some words to the e-mail address in My Profile and let's have some fun. Two lines or two pages - everything helps! I'll provide updates and maybe a sneak peek or two as we get some stuff on video. Oh, yeah! I have both a film crew and an editor. It will be epic, even if only in my own mind.

Right before my eyes just now: It makes me snicker! Poor Frank, with his delicate sensibilities.

The most fun my eyes and ears have had in days:


  1. Oooh, summer memories.
    My childhood ones involve our backyard pool, the light shining on the jacaranda trees, the noise of the cicadas, and summer camp.

  2. @ CramCake ~ that sounds like Long Beach to me!

  3. Summer ... Perfect time to sit and reflect when it is probably over 100 right now in Las Vegas.... Have you gotten much rain yet ?
    How did you pick Las Vegas after living on the coast ?
    If I could I would still be living next to the Pacific Ocean, I really miss it so much.
    But after the divorce I had to move.
    Grew up in Tucson so it was a good move for me money wise plus I still had three children who where still at University and am still helping out in this economy.
    I still can drive over to Laguna Beach and see my friends so it is workable.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. my correlate to your "hey, i've got an idea" is
    "i've been thinking..." that phrase has been known to drive men to strong drink, scatter crowds, send dogs howling into the night-well, you get the idea :)

    summer: the sound made when walking in flip-flops, the smell of chlorine on a bathing suit, running through the sprinkler, and oh god, steamed crabs.

  5. When I was a kid I liked catching lightening bugs in the summer. Only problem was the next morning I'd have a dead fly. Huh? There WERE holes in the lid so they could breathe!

    Go tell Ma!
    Go tell Pa!
    We all want
    a Happy Taw!

    Now you know why I never made it to Madison Avenue.

  6. @ AngryParsnip ~ Oh, can I relate to "after the divorce I had to move"! Boy, howdy. The first time I lived in Las Vegas began in 1976. My mother and stepfather were building a nice little homebuilding empire. Ex and I lived here 7 years. I came back after the divorce 8+ years ago, to my own surprise. I don't care for the place much, but here I am. I can't come up with any compelling reasons to go elsewhere, at least not right now.

    We've had a handful of pounding monsoonal rains, earlier in the month. The last few days, though, have been overcast and heavily humid. You're right - a good opportunity to reflect on summers past. Thanks for dropping in!

  7. @ Rraine ~ Those are grand word snippets of summer, except I'll pass on the crabs. Thank you for reminding me of swim memories, too.

    I'm glad to share a talent for making grown men weep with "I've got an idea". "I've been thinking" seems a great similarity. I always like it when their eyes get big and they start looking for the nearest exit just as I'm warming up.

  8. @ Kirk ~ Well I think that is THE start to my jingle that I hope to grow into a song. Thank you so much! You have always been good at that. I don't think you should diss yourself. I recall that you rang in beautifully on some past collaborative poems, as well.

    You know, the bug catching thing never did work out so well from my perspective. I don't think they enjoy being captured and expected to thrive. In MUCH later life I nursed a much-loved fantasy about building myself a horned toad colony. First, it is unlawful to take them out of the desert, thought they are plentiful. I once held 52 of them in one day in the Mojave. They eat only live ants, and I researched how to raise those. I researched how to make the toads a home. It never came to fruition for all kinds of reasons that make me very sad. I also had a vision of turning the back yard into a habitat for abandoned desert tortoises which can be adopted if one will do the extensive landscaping required. That did not come to pass, either. I guess I'll stick with my small black cat and be grateful.

  9. sorry pressed wrong button hope i havent posted twice
    dont know about hoppy taw..........what was big in welsh playgrounds in the 60's was what we called american skipping .....very glamorous to us .....we strung loads of elastic bands together to make the rope ...its a wonder we didnt break our necks ,,,,,,
    thanks for bringing back that memory ......xx

  10. @ Artymess ~ Oh, Lorna, very good! Funny, we called that Chinese jump rope, if I'm not mistaken. If there weren't enough girls to play, we'd secure one side of the rubberized bands to a bench or a tree. Not to be confused with Double Dutch, at which I did not excel.
    Funny how these games had names from different countries that likely had nothing at all to do with where they originated. I'm glad you reminded me of it. I was pretty good at skipping rope in most of its forms. Lots of knee scrapes and scabs as I recall, which took nothing away from the fun the next hour or the next day.

  11. i don't know how to begin to explain the allure of steamed crabs. it's a baltimore tradition, a summer ritual. old bay (spice mix), brewskies, a picnic table, everyone sitting around, picking crabs, talking, laughing, debating the best ways to clean a crab, as much a social event as it is a meal. i guess you had to be there. and right this minute, i wish i was there.

  12. @ Rraine ~ Oh, believe me, I "get" it. I understand 100% how some special small thing can create a whole vast field of pleasant memories on its own. I simply meant I don't want to eat crabs. Uh-uh. I've had a few food reminders of very special traditions, myself. And I've even been exposed to the crab one, having spent a lot of time in Florida. But I'm still not eating a crab. Could I play if I just ate corn on the cob, no brewskies, talking and laughing?

  13. This might sound weird but one of my favorite summer memories now were times I hated as a kid. Once a year, usually during the last couple of weeks before school restarted, my grandparents would load up every grandchild they had, including me, and take us off to a butterbean field and have us pick butterbeans.

    All I remember was the heat and humidity and how I wanted to be anyplace but there. Since I was the oldest I had to pick the most, two bushels, which I remember seemed like it took forever.

    Would give just about anything now to be out there again with my grandparents.

  14. @ BeachBum ~ My friend, you HIT it. Things that were horrible then - the end of the world - are not offensive to us now. In fact, we remember many such things with affection. I'm wondering where you were picking butterbeans and how many grandchildren there were. BTW, I have never met a bean I don't love and use them as the protein in my diet. Hooray and thank you for your personal contributions to the importance of beans.

    Referring back to the latest string on your blog - I've had a couple of really downer AA meetings. It seems a shitty pall has been cast upon us all. Which means things can only get better, right? Please.

  15. Or it's time to find another meeting for a while. But probably it will be fine. I'm thinking a reggae beat. Hoppy taw, what is love, Hoppy Taw what is love, what is love, what is love, what is hoppy taw.... needs work I think.
    Summer memories for me in Ohio mostly consist of waking with my eyes glued together and massive congestion because of the hay fever. Pickin' sweet and big Concord Grapes and blackberries. In Torrance it's almost always summer.

  16. I like your ideas - and I like Kirk's "lightening bugs in a jar". Light bulb moment? Quick, before the idea burns itself out....

    Thanks for your continued support, Les - it means a very big box of lot to me - hope to be back to bloggy speed soon.

    WV: reedle = sedge used to sew words frequently into a pattern.

  17. @ Mike ~ Aw, you're GOOD with lyrics, poetry and theme-challenges. I knew I could count on you!

    I'd put Las Vegas up for consideration as the Allergy Capital of the world, actually. And I remember those places that were forever summer. Kind of wistfully. Thank you for reminding me.

  18. @ Rachel ~ Of course I support you, Rae! Just like you've supported me. I know you've had the computer issues that make us all nuts. Just get it worked out and we're going to be glad each and every time you pop up. Really! Reedle, indeedle!