Monday, October 21, 2013
Hawaii AKA Master of Ceremonies
October 21, 2013
I recently saw a post about the American Kite Association’s Kite Convention that was held in Hawaii. It will be twenty five years ago next year.
This story involves Rick Kinnaird and how he came to be the announcer at the annual banquet that year. Here it is in Rick’s own words.
Corey Jensen, Andy King, and I decided to go swimming in the hotel pool late Saturday afternoon. When we got to the pool a sign said that it was closed. Being the wild and crazy guys that we were; we ignored the sign and went in anyway.
In the middle of our rendition of doing a synchronized swim to the tune of Don Ho’s Tiny Bubbles I noticed two large male Samoan body guard types staring at us with their hands clasped in front of their fake sharkskin business suits. I figured they weren’t interested in us finishing the rest of our routine. At about that moment one of our friends came to the edge of the pool and informed us that the pool was closed and that they had just dumped a large amount of chemicals in it. We decided, collectively between the three of us, that we should exit the pool and order cocktails. This was, no doubt, a wise idea. Our Samoan brethren evaporated and a cocktail waitress appeared.
I don’t remember the drinks we ordered, but I remember them being on a small white wrought iron table. Andy was sitting opposite me and Corey was to my right. I was aware of the heavy smell of chlorine on my skin as the waning sun warmed and dried my body. It was within an hour or two of when the annual awards banquet was set to begin, some people were heading over early to the banquet hall. This was going to be a very different kind of banquet from anything else we had experienced. We were going to be seated in a huge dining area and treated to a Polynesian Dance Review. Afterwards we had been told to remain in our seats while the other folks who were here for the dinner and show left. We would then have the room to ourselves for our awards. Perfect. From what we could tell people were dressed to the nines.
As Andy, Corey, and I began to sip our cocktails, we noticed Carol Kanopski walking toward the banquet area with her daughter and her daughter’s friend in tow. I first meet Carol when I announced one of the first, if not the first, Long Beach Kite Festival in that ocean front town in the state of Washington. Carol and Kaye Buesing were, at that time of that festival, the two organizers of it. Two nicer women you’d be hard pressed to find. Carol is a stunningly attractive woman and the night of the banquet she was dressed in a mini-skirt and tube top. Her daughter was cut from the same mold. The only difference was perhaps her skirt was more micro than mini; and her friend was equally attractive and decked out. One person was wearing a bright orange tube top and mini/micro skirt. I can’t remember who, but to say that these three women did not turn heads would be an understatement.
Corey and I both knew Carol from that kite festival (the story of which needs to be told at another time), we hollered at the ladies and waved for them to come join us. Andy sizing up the situation quickly joined in. I think the three of us were stunned when the three ladies turned and walked over to where we were sitting and joined us. We quickly ordered cocktails and the six of us sat there chatting. As we did, I could hear people yelling at Corey from the windows and balconies of the hotel. The hotel was a curved high-rise building that looked down on the pool area. If anyone stood on their balcony or looked out their window to watch the sun. all they had to do was glance down and they would see us. Catcalls didn’t exactly rain down, but they were intermittent and enough that each time someone did so Corey would kind of laugh and suck in his slobber, much like Dave Checkley used to do. If you ever went on one of hDave’s trips to Japan you’d recall his saying, “very nice, but much too expensive. Oh, you give to me?” (then Dave would do that sucky slobber thing).
While Corey was in his glory, and I was smelling the chlorine on my body, and Andy was doing what Andy does so well; mainly, adding fuel to whatever fire is in the area; Jane came up to me and sat down.
Jane was one of the main organizers of the convention. She got stuff done. I always tried to help out at conventions in whatever capacity I had been asked. I was the announcer at the first convention in Ocean City and I assisted Mel Govig with that auction. Thereafter, I did the auction and the announcing for many years. In recent years before Hawaii, others had taken up those duties and I was happy to have passed the baton.
But here was Jane sitting at the edge of our group looking directly at me. There was maybe an hour to an hour and a half to go before we had to be in for the banquet. She said, “Rick, would you be the master of ceremonies at tonight’s banquet?”
I demurred. “Jane, thank-you so much, but I’m sure there our others...”
I don’t think she let me finish, “it’s either you or Jim Miller.”
Now, Jim is a great guy but public speaking is not his forte. He has the ability to say Hello and piss you off. I don’t know how he does that but it’s one of his abilities.
I looked at Jane and said, “Oh, that is low. Of course, I’ll do it.”
And that’s how I came to be Maser of Ceremonies at the AKA in Hawaii.
So there you have it.
Next I hope to get Rick to tell us about what it was like to actually preside over that event.
All the best to the wife and kids, hope the infection clears up,
Thursday, August 08, 2013
I'm thinking of starting a fundamentalist movement -
The Science Fundamentalists.
We believe in the truth!
and the truth is revealed to us through fact!
And those facts are revealed to us through evidence!
And that evidence is examined and corroborated by others who reach the same conclusion via repetition of the same experiment or observation!
And we change our conclusions, and our views, based on new evidence!
and we do not accept false evidence!
be it based on lies, fairy tales, superstitions, fears, books written by: scholars, priests, god or others claiming to know the truth (unless they can prove it to be true)
The saint of this new order is Sir Isaac Newton.
The John the Baptist role is taken by that of Galileo.
That is all, I need to go fishing:)
Monday, August 05, 2013
Mark Twain in our lands
Mark Twain in our lands
I wonder what Mark Twain would say if he were alive today. I’ve been studying him a bit recently and so forgive me Mr. Twain if I channel you a bit here, but I do think he’d recall a conversation he probably would have had with a Mr. X.
Mr. X doesn’t like the government much and he believes that if the government would just get out of the way and let people go about their business we’d all be a lot better off.
His latest rant is about health care and why is the government getting involved? Why not let insurance companies compete across state lines then we could all pick from a multitude of plans and get the cheapest one. If the government would just get out of he way.
I asked Mr. X if he thought that would get everybody health care coverage in this country and he said he didn’t know. But if the government would just let the companies compete across state lines ... I interrupted him and asked if he believed in states rights and of course he said yes. So I asked him why he thought a person in New York would be better off getting their health care from a company housed in North Dakota. He said he didn’t and why would I say such a thing?
Well, I said, as soon as you let companies cross state lines they’ll all go to the state that gives them the best deal to operate out of. In the case of credit card companies that’s either North Dakota or Delaware, and they’re witches in Delaware. I asked him if he was so naive as to believe that the health care companies would stay operating in each state where they currently were. He said he hadn’t thought about it but he didn’t like these damn government socialists telling us what to do.
I agreed whole heartedly and asked him if his social security check had come on time and he said yes and was worried as to whether they were going to give him his cost of living adjustment or not. I shook my head and said I didn’t know. I asked him how he liked his Medicare and he said it was fine once he got the paperwork straightened out but the clerks at the office were real friendly not like his old insurance company where he could only speak to a machine or someone in India.
I asked him if he knew that Medicare got started because the insurance companies would not give health care to old people except at exorbitant prices. He seemed not to know that little fact. I asked him why he thought the insurance companies would do a better job if left alone to do their job. Wouldn’t they just cherry pick the healthy people and leave the sickies off the roles? He said he hadn’t thought about any of that and in fact didn’t believe it either. He called me a commie and said we should pull out of the U.N. that the economy was going to ruins and it was the government’s fault and that we needed to cut spending and we might have to march on Washington with our guns loaded and force a change.
I told him I thought he was a real patriot and that I noticed the army surplus store was selling tri-corner hats, but I doubted they were from the revolution - probably a knock-off from China.
He nodded sagely and said well what are you going to do?
Me? I countered. I believe all go home and clean my weapons and check my five year can supply in my bomb shelter.
He said that was a good idea because who knows how soon everything will come crashing down around our ears and we have to be prepared.
I couldn’t agree more I told him. In fact, before I checked my can supply I told him I thought I’d water my heirloom vegetable patch.
Yeah, good idea he said. Stupidity, he said, there’s no accounting for it.
No there isn’t, I replied.
We parted and he sauntered off with a certain lift to his step. I think he was headed to that army surplus store.
All the best, the tomatoes are coming in.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Rick & Shelby
(Rick & Eileen: Katie, Alex)
Alex and Mayra
Katie and Jon
Rob and Deborah
(Rob: Emily, Lance)
Emily and Noah
Len & Eileen
(Len: Ian, Rebecca, Emily Mitchard Turano, Browyn Murray)
Emily and Sam Turano:
Browyn and Bob: Carys ("kar-is")
Felix & Brenda: Shelby,Ben
(Ben and Karen: Mitch, Tyler, Claire)
Bill & Marilynn: Eileen, Pat, Ann, Matt
(Pat & Lynn: Brooke, Morgan)
(Matt & Suzanne: Alexa, Olivia, Ava)
(Ann & Terry: Stephanie, Julia, Kristen)
Friday, June 28, 2013
GMOs, Scientific Studies, et cetera
June 28, 2013
I should be more mature, but I’m not. I can’t let this one go. As you know, I get a lot of important emails. notices informing me of dead relatives leaving me big inheritances, hair restoration products, et cetera.
I also get notices of things of terrible consequence if I don’t act immediately, typically, by sending money. But here’s a real shocker, I got this headline today, “GMOS HAVE BEEN FOUND TO CAUSE ORGAN DISRUPTION IN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES.”
Now, I don’t claim to have authored any scientific studies but I was astounded to learn that they, scientific studies, have organs and that genetical modified plants can cause them to fail.
Now the question becomes, what should a concerned individual do? Issue a scientific study? No, the GMOs would get it. This is kind of like an alien zombie attack from within. What to do? What to do? I think I’ll turn on the TV and watch my favorite opinion/news channel to reinforce the beliefs I already have - yeah, that’s the ticket.
Gotta go, I now have twelve thousand three hundred and ninety four channels of crap to wade through to find the one I want.
All the best, say hi to the gang,
De B man
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
State of the World
State of the World
June 18, 2013
I’ve never been one to talk much sense but every once in awhile stuff comes out that I need to comment on. This is one of those times, to wit:
A - The economy continues to improve. Slowly, but it is improving. There are those desperate to do whatever they can to gum up the works so they can say, “See, I told you so.” But their negative comments and downright stupid arguments are losing to reality.
B - We continue to see improvement in health care and its costs. Again, this is slow but it’s steady and the same interests that wish to stall our economy are trying to do the same in health care. But as new laws and regulations take hold, and some states actually work to make things better while others fight it with nonsense and no plan, people are beginning to see the real effects of positive change.
C - We continue to talk and worry about intrusive government surveillance versus privacy. While not wanting anymore terrorist attacks; we also don’t want “big brother” knowing our every move. This is uncharted water and we are proceeding cautiously. The danger is that we are being too cautious. But both sides are overstating their case.
D - We continue to be bombarded by idiotic pundits and untruthful statements. George Orwell warned us of this in 1984 and as a futurist he’s been the most on target of any of them.
E - Speaking of futurists, did anyone predict we’d be where we are today twenty years ago? Or ten? The only futurist who came close in the twentieth century was Dick Tracey with his walkie-talkie wristwatch and he wasn’t even trying.
I gotta go I’ve got another hundred and fifty emails to delete. I still don’t want a stupid lantern, flexible hose, or get hard pills.
So much to do.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Great Gatsby, The
Great Gatsby, The
May 24, 2013
Saw The Great Gatsby last night, the latest reincarnation in movie form with Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire and music by Jay Z. I was prepared to not like it, to hate it even. Why put rap music into something about the Jazz Age? It had also been shot in 3D. Why? I saw no point to either. I did see it in regular 2D.
Rolling Stone panned it (“Summer’s Epic Fail”), reinforcing all my preconceived prejudices about the movie from the tidbits I had collected. Then earlier this week I was in a used bookstore in Pittsboro, North Carolina and I was talking to the fellow running the store. He had the soundtrack playing, had seen the movie in 2D the night before. He was going back to see it in 3D that night. He said the film stuck to the story very well. I had heard that they had the narrator, Nick Carraway, reminiscing years later in a sanitarium. That seemed out of character to me. Yeah, he said but that was just to get the story going. Look at it as a piece of art in itself he said. Remember that it’s Hollywood.
Another friend had seen it and said it was long.
We went. We saw. It was fabulous.
The music of Jay Z? Perfect, used to set the tone of the parties at Gatsby’s house. It was that slow booming syncopated rap used with a slight slo-mo effect to show the big parties as an organic whole - pulsating.
The fact that the story was set with Nick Carraway, the narrator, in a sanitarium years later looking back? No problem. One can argue that he was the only sane one in the bunch so it seems odd he’d be in a sanitarium, but I would say that Nick was in reality F. Scott Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald had a terrible time with alcohol. He came out of his fog long enough to write The Great Gatsby and then fell back into it. His wife, Zelda, was committed - several times. So, no, I had no problem with the premise.
Were there minor things that seemed out of character from the novel? Yes, but they were minor, and there were several nice touches. Klipspringer played an organ in the movie; wasn’t it a piano in the book? But on the organ were his shoes; the ones he called about at the end of the book. He had forgotten them and was hoping Nick could send them on along. Wolfsheim seemed more Arab than Jewish, younger than I expected, and better looking; but that lent an edge to the scenes with him.
There were several scenes that for me helped make the novel more dramatic and clarified the action in the book: the confrontation at the Plaza being the most notable. But the plot of the book is really a backdrop to the real story, the thing that makes The Great Gatsby an American Classic; a book you can go back to time and time again. The themes are universal: great wealth set against great poverty, success at a price, inability to care, the American god, try-try-try again and fail - but still see the good (sisyphus with a twist?)
I had read it in school and missed so much. I had reread and studied it earlier this year for my own writing. Daisy as light and airy. Tom as physically strong and manhandling people, especially Nick, and taking the air out of a room - literally, and deflating any conversation with his racist and inappropriate remarks. Fitzgerald used light and air in his descriptions to frame these two so well. He used the vast wasteland and the eyeglasses on the billboard along with the ashes and the dust to show the down and out side of America, the desperate and the poor; as George Wilson the auto mechanic was. The only thing he had was his wife and the hope that Tom would sell him a car. Fitzgerald used the same elements such as light, air, and wind to illuminate a setting and to reflect a person’s character. When Nick meets Daisy for the first time in the book the room is light breezy and dazzling white. The curtains are blowing in the wind. Tom immediately closes the windows and all the breeze leaves the room. The movie does and other scenes using blowing curtains this with a Broadway panache.
The Great Gatsby is the only book that had a cover commissioned by the author’s editor (the great Maxwell Perkins) from an artist before the book was done. Not just any artist, one that had done many posters for Hollywood movies. Fitzgerald changed parts of the story to fit the artwork; especially the description of the billboard and the glasses. The first run of the book: 20,870 copies priced at $2.00 sold out. The year was 1925. The second run of 3,000 copies did not sell out in Fitzgerald’s lifetime. It was only his death in 1940 that moved them all out of the warehouse. The third run of 260 copies was done to make the novel available to the few who wanted it. It was Perkins who planned a volume of collected works. This led to a revival in the fifties and a student edition in 1957. From there it took off into literary history.
I sat in the theater half way through the movie and wondered what would Scott Fitzgerald think if he were sitting here watching this? I’m sure he’d have niggling differences (He was rewriting the galleys even as the book went to press.) Overall I’d bet he’d be pleased and in wonder.
In a way the book has come full circle. It got a boost at its beginning from Hollywood, so to speak, and here it is with a great glitzy revival that does it justice.
Any qualms? Let’s see. DiCaprio was very good as Gatsby; so was McQuire as Nick Carraway. The fellow playing Tom Buchanan was okay, not great. Not brutish enough. The woman playing daisy’s friend, the golfer, Jordan Baker, was good. I think they reduced her part somewhat in the movie so she didn’t play as pivotal a role, but her role was minor in the novel too. The weakest for me was the woman who played Daisy. I think Mia Farrow did a better job in the 1970’s version. To me Daisy was light, airy, frivolous, and unwilling to commit to anything; living a life put upon her, and not of her choosing because she did not decide or speak up for herself. The actress, Carey Mulligan, captured some of those things but not all of them and not with enough whatever you want to call it, but this is minor minor minor stuff. She and the director and writers captured the essence of Daisy Buchanan.
Now I want to go see it in 3D.
the B man