Terracotta Warriors

terracotta3In the late 1970’s a couple of farmers in China were digging a well and doing other farming stuff and unearthed pottery and other odds and ends that turned out to be part of a great burial site for the first Emperor of China, Quin Shi Huang.

A massive archeological dig ensued (it’s not over yet by the way) unearthing thousands of full sized terracotta warrior figurines, horses, and other animals all intended to make after life easier and safer for the emperor in the afterlife. Not terribly different from the idea of Egyptian funerary.

Anyway, I have been fascinated by the whole thing for yeas and yesterday I finally got to see some of the warriors in real life (as real life as 1500-year-old figurines can be, but you know what I mean).

I went yesterday to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. Terracotta Warrior exhibit. Which showed nine of the warriors along with multiple artifacts. The exhibit is outstanding. There are several rooms explaining everything from the construction of the warriors to the life of the royal court.

It’s kind of pricey at $35, but if you get a chance – go.

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My Heroic Dog

P1070152Tuesday night my house was besieged by all manner of goblins, ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, but I need not have worried because my killer dachshund was on duty.

Sometime around 1830 the undead began staggering up my front steps with their fake politeness and equally false salutations.

“Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat.”

I was on to them; they were after my Kit Kats — all of them (the sentence parallelism was intentional). Each of those despicable monsters wanted to relieve me of my hard-earned confectionary delights. I relented to ensure my safety.

But Bandit, my ever-present sidekick, me Cerberus – he was there watching. Always watching.

He’d stealthily approach the glass storm watching from his ankle high vantage point, the undead pretending to be babies in a supposedly cute Spiderman outfit. He watched, counting as the Kit Kats, in my large green bowl, became fewer and fewer (that’s right I keep all my Kit Kats in a green bowl).  

The cute tiny ghouls must have signaled their larger villainous partners because each ring of our doorbell brought more specters to my door – there were undead pirates, witches, and princesses. Each came shambling up my walkway with their hideous chants “Trick or Treat, trick or treat.”

It was horrible.

When there was a lull in the onslaught. I went to the living room, trying to comfort my distraught wife. She was pretending to calmly watch TV.

“Any cute costumes?” she asked.

I was worried she too had become one of them.

The one creature in this world I can count on – brave, brave Bandit — took up a defensive position in the archway which separates the kitchen form the living room. He was as immovable as Mt. Rushmore. He stared at the evil front door. His stubby little Dachshund legs tensed to waddle into action. I never felt so secure and thankful as my canine Heimdall guarded our rainbow bridge leading to me, my wife, and our Kit Kats.

Oh and he bravely sat there; resolute in the doggy knowledge he was saving us from a fate as bad as death – no Kit Kats.

One or two more phantoms extorted candy from us, but the ambling dead tapered off at about 2030 – word must’ve gotten out that my Argos, my Bandit was on the job.

Exhausted, I flop in my chair. Mighty Bandit jumped in my lap and settled in. My wife, feigning clam, turned to me and asked, “Anymore Kit Kats?”

My Go Cart

I drove by Clifden St. in Cranston, RI the other day. Once upon a time Clifden seemed like a huge hill; there were mysterious vacant lots, woods, and like I said the hill. But when I look at that hill now it seems barely an incline.

Fifty years ago the kids in the neighborhood would gather at the top of Clifden and hurtle down the hill on homemade contraptions of 2×4, bolts, rope, and prayers.

At some point in the late or early spring – as if some cosmic announcement had been issued all attuned – the kids in Edgewood would build go carts (a liberal us of the term) and run them down the Clifden hill. I’m pretty sure we all did this on the sly, but I don’t remember.

I also don’t remember where we got the wood, but I do remember where we got the wheels – The First Nation Grocery Store across from St. Paul’s Church. The poorer kids, a group I was part of, would hit the parking lot of the First National, grab shopping carts, and hightail it through the St. Paul’s School schoolyard pushing shopping carts as big as us.

These shopping carts were highly prized because the wheels on the carts had ball bearings. While some parents had time for our foolishness and help kids make go carts with wheels and axles, most would swat us with papers, brooms, or sticks. This meant no help and no go cart unless we came up with something.

Our something was stolen carts with ball bearings.

Our parents weren’t about to let a bunch of ten-year-old hooligans near power tools (or machetes), but we could use hammers, nails, hand saws, and hand drills. We tried several crappy designs and decided a long 2×4 with two smaller 2×4 at the front back would be the way to go. The front 2×4 was connected with a bolt so we could steer and the back one with nails and some rope. We also nailed a looped length of rope to each side the front board, so we could steer.

go cartWe never considered brakes.

The genius of children. Like I said some kids had real axles. What we did was take some 16 penny nails and attach our stolen shopping cart wheels into the ends of the 2×4 axles. As the day went on we would have move the wheels around to keep going.

We’d take these death rockets and trudge to Clifden St. There would other kids with equally bad go carts and we’d play for hours. We fly down the hill, dodging oncoming traffic.

Eventually wheels would fall off, the fat kid would break the long 2×4, or we’d try to make each run more dangerous than the last. Sooner or later we’d be done and would throw our go carts into a vacant lot to fix the next day and play again – we never did. The next would generally be something equally bizarre like tying toy soldiers to vinegar and baking soda rockets.

It was pretty fun.

Almost didn’t go to work

This morning at about 0715 I left my house.
I hopped into my car and slid ”Bat Out of Hell” in to the CD player. The day was going about the same as any other day, but today an antsyness (if this is even a word) hummed in the very back my mind – an almost imperceptible longing.
I crossed the bridge on 495, which I am sure is about the same as any other bridge the country. And then “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” came on. From the first few squealing guitar notes everything seemed to change.
The cars in front moved to the left and right, making a hole just begging to punch the gas pedal and fly through.
I did.
My car seemed synched to the music. The guitar, drums, and that especially wonderful raunchy voice of Ellen Foley (Most people think it was Karla DeVito because she appears in the live video) drove the handling of the car.
I came to the exit, which leads to my office. I looked at it; looked at it again; and changed my engine button from Eco to Sport and punched the pedal again. I was flying. The road moved under the car. \
I sped down 495 for five miles and approached the last possible exit. If I kept going, I’d be gone for the day; speeding through Philadelphia, then New York, and then who knows. But as Robert Frost said;
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
I turned off the highway; I took the exit: I returned to a day of, as Thoreau said, “quiet desperation.” At least for now.

Beer Report #1

sixpoint-brewery-year-round-beers-BENGALIOkay you guys have been asking for my report from “Bill’s Year of Beer.”

Best beer to take out of someone’s refrigerator and pretend it was an accident -Road To Ruin IPA (https://tworoadsbrewing.com/beers/view/road-2-ruin-double-ipa).

Best beer to Drink after a cast party in Chapel Street, Dogfish Head 60 minute https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/beer/60-minute-ipa

Best beer to drink when you want to self-medicate even though your problems will be just as big Monday Two Hearted Ale https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/287/1093/

Beer to drink as the Cowboys break your heart. Evil Genus Stacy’s Mom IPA https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/29022/149689/

Worst beer you’ve ever tasted Seed Free and Joy https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/20688/126680/

Second worst beer Sea Quench Ale https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/beer/seaquench-ale

Best beer to drink before you decide not to drive on a Saturday night. Brooklyn East IPA http://brooklynbrewery.com/brooklyn-beers/perennial-brews/brooklyln-east-india-pale-ale

Best IPA to drink at a cast party when you’re supposed to be rehearsing. Bengali http://sixpoint.com/beers/bengali/

 

How Delaware Ruined Catfishing

I stood on the south bank of the Delaware’s C&D Canal seething. The gorgeous morning laughed at me as cast after cast inevitably snagged on the ocean of boulders used to build the waterway. The southside is almost unfishable because of the enormous rocks.
But on the north side – heaven. There are plenty of spots where the bank is shallow and access to the gentle moving water is generous and for that matter – safe.
The north side has a gorgeous fishing pier jutting out to the water. Disabled anglers can drive up to the pier, roll up, bait hooks, toss a line in and fight the battle royal. To be clear the facilities are there just waiting, but while they can do it – they may not.

 

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The steep rocky bank on hte South side

The pier, the road, and some of the great and safest fishing spots are denied disabled and able-bodied anglers. You see, vehicular traffic is prohibited on the north side because – ironically – that is reserved for people who limbs work – it’s bicycles and runners only.

 
The gorgeous pier is now effectively off-limits. State leaders will tell you (with a wink and a not) people can still fish from the pier; one just has to walk there from the parking area, but

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The Gorgeous Pier No One Can Use

that’s not reasonable. From the parking area to the fishing spots is quite a haul and it is all but impossible for a wheel chair to make.

 
So the people who fork over money for fishing licenses are sent to unfishable on the side of the canal, while the cyclists and runners – who pay nothing – frolic on North side.

Big Brother 19 Orgy of Bullying

I have been watching Big Brother for years and for the most part have enjoyed it, but Thursday’s episode was horrific. If CBS does nothing about it – by inaction – the network endorses this abhorrent behavior.
Even though Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson may be the worst players ever to play and perhaps the two tilt toward the obnoxious;

the abuse, bullying, and terroristic threatening heaped upon them by the house was repellant, disgusting, and dangerous.

The entire house, except two cowards hiding inside, followed Graf and Nickson to the back yard and seemingly circled they two lying on a Hammock and began hurling insults. It was akin to watching African wild dogs corner wildebeests. Josh Martinez ran around banging frying pans (not unlike psyops in a military operation), Raven Walton hurled expletive after expletive at the two, an through it all Paul Abrahamian danced in the background like some satanic character whose vile plan was coming to fruition.

On to the cowards and there are two and one honorary coward
1. Matthew Clines watched from a far mumbling about how the even was all wrong. Yet he did nothing.
2. Mark Jansen watched from the doorway shaking his head and also did nothing.
3. Honorary coward Kevin Schlehuber the oldest of the group, did nothing as well. He of all of them should know better

These three were aware enough of the situation not to get sucked in, but were too cowardly to act. Shame on them.

The whole thing showed the worst of television and breakdown of decorum.