Saturday, November 18, 2023



Blarney sounds like an Irish rip off of the purple dinosaur we all used to hate. But Blarney is loosely translated as the Irish gift of charming gab. Legend holds you could get that skill by kissing the Blarney Stone which was used to build Blarney Castle guessed it...Ireland six hundred years ago. 

The photo of a much younger me with an unfortunate ponytail above shows me pointing at a portion of the Blarney Stone that was in the wall outside of Fitzgerald's Casino in Reno back in the 1990s. It was always one of my stops when I'd visit my friend from college who lived in Reno and worked as a Slot Supervisor at Harrah's in Reno. We'd always swing by the Fitz, rub the Blarney Stone for good luck (there was no way I was kissing a rock on a building in downtown Reno) and go through what we called the Lucky Grotto inside the casino. It was one of the casino scams to draw in tourists. You when by displays of lucky charms like Buddha's belly, the Blarney Stone and leprechauns to give a spin on a wheel of fortune.  Although I technically you could win cash, we almost always just got a Leprechaun keychain, a four-leaf clover keychain or a pen. I think we once also got a Fitz trucker hat.

We never really minded winning cheezy things on the wheel of fortune at the Fitz because it was all part of the fun. Unless you were pretty stupid or a degenerate gambler, you didn't go to Reno to get rich. You went to drink, gamble a little and forget your day to day mundane existence. 

I have pointed out before that Reno was the blue collar version of Las Vegas. It was low key and low rent. Oh, they had bright lights and lots of slot machines, but it never pretended to be classy. And while Las Vegas bragged about what happened there stayed there, Reno pretty much didn't give a shit one way or another. That's why I liked it.

So why am I waxing poetic about Reno? I was at a Goodwill store a few weeks ago browsing the bric a brac and I found an ashtray from the Sands Casino/Hotel in downtown Reno. It reminded me of all of the ashtrays I used to pocket from various Reno casinos in my day even though I don't smoke. It was my way of sticking it to the man. I think at one point I was walking around with eight ashtrays in my pockets.

The ashtrays have long since gone the way of many of my obsessive collections from my younger days. I found them in a blue plastic bin I had stored in our garage for 20 or so years. I purged most of the stuff during the pandemic by either selling the stuff on eBay or donating it to Goodwill. I think that's where all the ashtrays ended up. 

Ironic, don't you think? Because now, when pretty much no one smokes or goes to Reno, the casino ashtrays have become trendy "trinket trays."  

Finding the Reno ashtray at Goodwill did make me Google some of the casinos I used to frequent when visiting my friend. And I'll be damned if almost all of them have closed, been torn down or both. 

Gone are Harold's Club, the Nevada Club, Harrah's and yes, even the Fitz. They left the Fitz building but now it is a multi-use building with offices and probably condos. But the Blarney Stone is still there (according to Google). Gone also is the Reno Hilton outside the city. I stayed there when it was the MGM, then Bally's and finally the Hilton. It is still a casino but not one I've ever heard of.

The Eldorado and Silver Legacy are still mega casinos in downtown Reno. And Circus Circus is still there, but it was disgusting back in the 1980s and 90s when I used to visit. I can't even imagine what it is like now.

In fact, I can't even imagine going to Reno now. They are trying to change their image and downplay casinos. Part of the demise of Nevada casinos in general was when they started allowing the Native American (or Indian or Indigenous People) casinos. Why travel to Reno when you can sit at a nickel slot and suck on watered down drinks in a smokeless environment a few miles away.

It's not that I was that into gambling. But I liked the excitement of randomly picking a slot machine and popping in a few coins and pulling the handle. Most of the modern machines don't have handles. Shoot, most of them don't even take coins. You purchase a ticket and feed that into the machine and spend most of your time trying to figure out what the machine actually does. In the meantime you've lost all of the money you put on the ticket.  No clutching your bucket of nickels or quarters. No satisfying click of coins falling a tray.  Just video games that mock you and take credits instead of cash.

I stopped going to Reno a good 25 years ago. My friend left there years ago. He ended up working and retiring from a Native American casino in Washington State.  So I stopped having much reason to return to Reno.  And now sadly they've torn down anything there I would remember or want to visit.

Sadly, Reno is kind of symbolic of much of my youth. Most of it is closed or torn down and it happened in a blink of an eye while I was growing old. 

But maybe, just maybe, there is a Reno in an alternative universe much like the hotel lounge at the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's  The Shining where I will someday saunter into after rubbing the Blarnery Stone for good luck and hear that music of coins falling into a slot tray.  And I'll have a bucket full of silver dollars just itching to play, and I'll burst in saying, "Here's Timmy!"

Because I'm feeling lucky!

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

On this day in history (of my blog...well this day tomorrow) 2010

 Since daylight savings time is still plaguing us and went into effect last weekend, this post seems particularly relevant even though it is 13 years old. Now granted I don't have to change as many clocks because Alex and Apple take care of most of that, I still have to figure out how to change the clock in my car while not deleting any bluetooth settings or letting the air out of my tires. My kids are no longer small but try explaining daylight savings time to two cats and a dog who trust their body clock more than the government. But so do I. Anyway let's fall back to this post:

Making a withdrawal from my daylights savings

I'm not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time. For one, it means I have to figure out how to change the time on 40 clocks and appliances scattered about my house. And I have to figure out how to change the clock in my car with one hand while driving because I never seem to notice the clock until I'm on the road and trying to get somewhere.

I also don't like the government arbitrarily messing with my body clock. Because just because they theoretically give your hour back in the fall after ripping it away from you, your body never really catches up. This is especially true if you have small children in the house. Setting your clocks back in the fall has absolutely no meaning to them and they will now get up when their body clock says it is time to get up.

I think the clock read 5:30 a.m. this last Sunday when my two-year old son sat up and declared he wanted to watch Tickerbell and the Lost Treasure. He then proceeded to sing the theme song from Little Einsteins while slapping out the drum beat on my back. This was followed by repeatedly putting a pillow over my face and pulling off and crying, "boo." My four-year old daughter quickly joined in the fun. My extra hour slipped out of the room along with the cat, both being chased by toddlers.

Dante has a level of hell just for whoever came up with Daylight Savings Time.

Personally, I like walking to the train in the morning in the dark. It is peaceful. And this is Seattle. Even if the sun is out in the morning, its behind a cloud, so giving me an extra hour of daylight means absolutely nothing.

You can bet our ancestors didn't try messing with time. I'm sure they dragged out of their caves as soon as the sun came out and scrambled back in as soon as it when down. They didn't need the village elders to decide they could save firewood by going out an hour earlier in the spring or an hour later in the fall.  The carnivores waiting outside in the dark dictated strict adherence to nature's clock.

Oh, I am sure there is a federal agency somewhere with the sole responsibility for defending Daylight Savings Time with a vast arsenal of charts and graphs showing us how much energy and money we save each year. Honestly, I don't care whether they are right or wrong. I just want them to leave my body clock alone. Go regulated plastic bags and bottles and leave my freakin' clocks alone.

Friday, November 03, 2023

On this day in the history (of my blog) in 2005


This one is truly a golden oldie from the past. I haven't worn a tie for almost a year. But 18 years ago it was still an occasional obligation as part of the work day. Since the pandemic, ties have pretty much gone the way of powdered wigs. Come to think of it, so has wearing pants. So something good did come from the whole mess. Anyway, tie this one on for size:

Tie one on

I've had to wear a tie two days in a row now because I was sitting on an interview panel at work and it is making me more than a little cranky. I am not a tie person. Its status as a symbol of conformity doesn't rest easy with me. And besides, the damned things are like wearing a noose around your neck.

And why do we wear ties? Blame it on the Croatians. Apparently in 1635, a group of Craotian mercenaries came to Paris to give their support to King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. And the distinquishing article of clothing that made the Croats stand out amongst the usual dandies of Paris was a scarve around their neck tied in a distinctive "Croatian style" previously unknown in Europe. The fashionable expression, ’a la croate’, soon evolved into a new French word: la cravate. Thus the cravate or necktie was born.

I'm not a Croatian. I'm not in the Court of King Louis XII, yet almost four Centuries later, I'm walking around with a bit of silk around my neck like a dog on a frilly leash.

Well, this dog don't hunt, he just howls.

Other than serving as a personal garrote, the tie really serves no practical purpose than emphasizing your beer belly. And the fashion dictators add insult to injury by varying the width of the tie you should be wearing at any given time. Just before we moved in August, I must have tossed out 50 ties ranging in one to five inches in width.

I suppose wearing a tie is a right of passion all men must endure. After I graduated from clip-on's my father taught me to tie a tie. But that was only after he got tired of tying them for me and slipping them around my neck. Not that my father wore ties very often. He was a foreman in a warehouse and had the blue collar luxury of only donning the yoke of oppression for church and funerals.

But I had to go to college. Every time I think I need to look professional, I button that top button and slip the noose around my neck.

It could have been worse though. The Croatians could have thought it was cool to wear dead fish around their neck and we could have adopted that fashion. The higher you are on the food chain, the bigger fish you'd have to wear.

"Honey, have you seen my Blue Marlin?"

"It's in the closet next to the Mackeral."

Yes, there could have been worse customs we adopted from the Croatians. Though I think I would have looked pretty good wearing a Salmon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

The commute from hell


I don't commute as much since the "end" of the pandemic, but I was riding the train home last night from downtown Seattle and snapped these photos of one of my fellow passengers.

Now granted, it was Halloween and more than likely this was someone who dressed up for an office party.  But the "person" stood on the platform waiting for the train wearing the mask, a hood and holding onto a scyth. They boarded and sat down and began scrolling through their phone (which confirms there is cell service in hell...I'm willing to bet Boost Mobile is the provider).

It did give me pause because you don't really want to see the Grim Reaper on your train barreling along at 60 miles an hour on tracks that are prone to mud slides. And yes, it was Halloween, but what better time for death to relax and not worry about being noticed as they head home for the evening.

Funny thing about it was that no one seemed to notice that the Grim Reaper was sitting on the train going through their phone (maybe checking their "to do" list). Even I tried to act like it was nothing and snapped my photos discretely. I suppose it wasn't like people would be jumping up and yelling, "There's Death!" and asking for a selfie.

Though it would have been cool.

Fortunately nothing happened. I got off at my stop (which wasn't the "last" stop) and headed home without incident. 

I can't speak for the rest of the trip.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Post haste


I know it is a bit lazy to copy and post old posts in a blog instead of starting from scratch and posting something new. But after more than 1450 posts in 19 years you occasionally run out of things to say. Fortunately no one pays me to write this blog. And I've firmly established that very few people read it anyway.

I did feel compelled to get some posts up for October since statistically I haven't posted much in October in the past. So what if I artificially inflate my numbers by digging up stuff from the past. It's not that this is a diary and I have to record what I've been up to for Halloween.

Though I did manage to decorate our yard this year. It is the first time in a few years. The pandemic and a remodel from hell curtailed my Halloween spirt. This year I put up lights, a new graveyard scene and turned one of our trees into a carnivorous creature.

We also made a trip to a local pumpkin patch to stare at some pigs, chickens, geese and pheasant and then walked through some fields decimated of pumpkins. Though I've recently learned that decimate originally meant killing one of every ten of something to teach a group a lesson. The pumpkins apparently didn't learn their lesson by eliminating one of every ten of them. There wasn't much to choose from. Regardless we were able to find two that I could buy for $30 and avoid paying a tenth of the cost at the grocery store.

Tonight I imagine we'll sit home and eat candy waiting for trick or treaters who may or may not arrive. Neither of my kids go trick or treating any more. Plus they both just got their COVID and flu shots and aren't feeling much like doing anything.

And since I don't have little kids I won't be putting on any costume tonight. I pretty much vowed a few years ago that I would never wear a costume on Halloween again. 

Well, maybe just a little make up.

On this almost day of the dead back in 2014

I posted this on Halloween 2014 when Google put out an app that allowed you to turn your old (and new) photos in Day of the Dead images. It was a pretty cool app that I imagine died some time ago. But the photos live (?) on:

 Día de las muertos fotos

“ On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children's altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations. ” 
—Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature
In honor of Halloween and the Day of the Dead, I've taken advantage of Google's Halloweenify yourself app to honor (?) my family. I suppose it is also a way to welcome the spirits into my blog. God knows it has been dead around here. 

My great, great grandparents and my grandmother

Monday, October 30, 2023

On the day after this day in (my) history 55 years ago

 I originally wrote this post back in October 2006. It was about what I believe was the last time I went trick or treating as a child. There were four of us. We were all in the 5th grade and pretty good friends at the time. The two friends on the right in the photo (Dave Little and Jim Lonnevik) have passed on. I am the one second from the left. The kid holding the plastic school on the left is Robert Tullis. I lost track of him after junior high. 

Anyway, I've always liked this post and it seems only fitting that it should rise from the grave of my blog archives on the eve of Halloween.

Halloween 1968

In 1968 Vietnam was still going strong, Lyndon Johnson was president, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, the first heart transplant was performed, Elvis made his comeback on national television, Lisa Marie Presley was born, the musical Hair opened on Broadway, Helen Keller died in her sleep, Robert Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning for president, riots erupted at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Jackie Kennedy married Greek millionaire Aristotle Onassis, Nixon was elected president, Apollo 8 orbited the moon on Christmas Eve and I turned 10 years old.

It was an eventful year.

On a more disturbing note, Vanilla Ice was born on Halloween day in 1967. And we all know how scary he was. Fortunately none of us knew who or what Vanilla Ice was. And as Halloween approached, my best friends -- Robert Tullis, Dave Little and Jim Lonnevick -- and I were more concerned about what costumes to wear than the body count in Vietnam. We had decided to go Trick or Treating as a group and I convinced them that we should all go as characters of one of our favorite television shows at the time -- Dark Shadows.

Friday, October 27, 2023

On this day (five years, six months and nine days ago) in history (of my blog)

 I wrote this post on April 18, 2018. And I do confess that I like this latest trend I've created to repost old blog posts and avoid having to come up with new crap. Though this post deals with lots of my worst writing habits including repetition, digressions, overuse of parenthetical statements and other annoying mannerisms. So it is technically not new crap. It is lots of old crap. Still, it is crap.  But I kind of like it anyway. But with out much more adieu:

I do confess

I was going to title this post "Laughing matter" but since I search my past posts these days to prevent too much repetition I discovered that I've written a few too many posts with similar titles and tone (I do confess 1,223 posts to be exact). So I chose "I do confess" instead. I googled "I do confess" and discovered that Shakespeare used that line often in his plays. So I feel I am in rare company using the line.

"I do confess" may be my new "but I digress."  But I do confess I think I replaced "but I digress" with "Pause for a lugubrious howl" some time back. I also confess that I don't really remember half the time.

More often than not, when I am trying to think of something to write about, I reread some past posts. Sometimes I'm surprised, sometimes I'm amused and some times I'm embarrassed. A person's writing style is a bit like their fingerprint. They are all unique and if you read some one's stuff enough, you could pick their writing out of a writing line up (that's the one, right there, I'd recognize that dangling participle anywhere).

Thursday, October 26, 2023

On this day in (my) blog history

 Back on October 26, 2009 I posted this:

"Notes in bottles

Years ago, when I was probably about 11 or 12 years old, I was fascinated by the concept of notes being placed in bottles and cast in the ocean to be read by someone thousands of miles away. Since Boise was about as landlocked of a place that you could find, I was in a quandary about how to fulfill my burning desire to cast my words upon the currents of the world.

I settled for tossing an old Gallo wine bottle with a note into Lucky Peak Reservoir, the largest body of water in Ada County. It was more of a childish prank actually then a real effort to connect with the world at large. I traced a copy of Thomas Jefferson's signature on a piece of brown paper and soaked it in oil, thinking it would look like aged parchment. Then I wrote out this convoluted note saying that I was a dying old man and wanted to leave this valuable signature to whoever found it in the bottle.

My friend Dave Little and I paddled out into the middle of the reservoir on inner tubes, chucked the bottle, and paddled back to shore. Within minutes, we watched as a Sheriff's patrol boat that cruised the reservoir monitoring the activities of drunk water skiers, whizzed by, stopped and retrieved the bottle. I'm sure they were just removing it as a potential hazard to the above mentioned drunk water skiers (who I am sure they blamed for tossing a wine bottle into the main boat channel of the reservoir). But Dave and I hightailed it out of there, sure that cops would be showing up at our door any day having traced fingerprints from the Gallo wine bottle.

For some reason they never traced the prank to us.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

A moment in Tim

I think a lot about time. I've written about it a great deal (including my last post which began in a very similar fashion...I repeat myself a lot, too). Time is one of those abstractions that we chase down rabbit holes thinking we can actually figure it out. 

In my experience, we can't. Or at least I can't.

I do note that we often treat time like a commodity. We've got nothing but time. We have plenty of time. He has too much time on his hands.

I think we also acknowledge that it is fleeting. Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future. Time is running out. If I could keep time in a bottle. We have no more time. Time's up.

But it is those moments in time (aren't all moments in time) that we cherish or hate. Those are the memorable times we think about fondly and wish we could relive or regret deeply and wish we could change.  Time, however, has nothing to do with either scenario. Apparently there is no time to go back and relive or redo. We do literally keep slipping into the future.

Or do we? That's where my ponderings start chasing their tails and get tied up in knots. If time isn't linear how can we slip into the future. Shouldn't we be slipping in all directions at once?  And if that is the case, then shouldn't there be the possibility that we could crisscross over something we've done before? 

I guess I'm referring to the metaphysical "we" because I don't think the physical "we" can do much of anything except age. The metaphysical "we" has more leeway to get all cosmic with theories about time, space and the whole universal enchilada. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Past future theories of the past (and future)


And now I'm glad I didn't knowThe way it all would endThe way it all would goOur lives are better left to chanceI could have missed the painBut I'd have had to miss the dance

--Tony Arata (Performed by Garth Brooks)

I have blogged a great deal over time (ironically) about time. Some of it has been quite profound and some of it has been quite simplistic. And obviously I have come to no conclusions because I still haven't figured it out. 

Now granted I am not a Physicist.  I suck at math so that has never been one of my possibilities. I do have lots of hunches. Some of them are triggered by memories. I sometimes have the strong sense that my past is going on right now in all of the layers of my experience.  And I also have this sense that I will someday either relive or repeat my past.

In some cases this would be okay. But the wild card is whether I will do so with full knowledge it is happening. Because my now Tim would give an earful to my then Tim. And many of the pronouncements would begin with, "You don't really want to do that."

If the then Tim actually listened to the now Tim is the question. And I wonder if I would want to change things if it meant that experience would totally go away. Because in some cases I enjoyed the beginning of an experience but not so much the eventual outcome of that experience.  As Garth sang, you could miss the pain, but you'd also miss the dance.

Though in some cases the dance isn't worth it.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Photos of me as a young man


My saga of scanning my old photos and negatives continues. And I have to admit that it weirdly takes an emotional toll on me. Each photo reminds me of a time in my life.

Well, duh, but anyway it is weird to think of what consumed me emotionally at different times in my life. The above photo was early in my career when I wore suits to work every day. I wouldn't be caught dead in a suit these days. 

I suppose that probably isn't he best way to phrase it considering my age. Not that I plan to be buried in a suit. I don't even plan to be buried. I plan to be cremated. And although I've worn a few suits in my time that should be burned, I'm not sure wearing one for my cremation is necessary.

The strange thing to me about the above photo is that I remember looking like that and how it felt to look like that. I just have a difficult time aligning the photo with how I look now probably forty or so years later. Time is an asshole.

Yeah, yeah, I look like I do now because of choices. I've put on a few pounds, my ears and nose are bigger and my hair is gray. I also have a shaggy beard that I hate to admit is a vain attempt to mask a double chin.

I guess I actually had no choice in having a bigger nose and ears. Or the gray hair. Though I could have solved that early on with dye that would give me that sad Bela Legosi look that too many men my age have adopted. 

Bela Legosi was the actor who originally played Dracula for those non-Boomers who wander into my blog. He had jet black hair slicked back with what looked like black shoe polish.

Shoe polish was this stuff that came in paste form in a can or liquid form in a bottle that you put on black shoes to cover up scuffs and make them look like new again. Shinola was a famous brand of shoe polish. It was so popular that it was used to describe a stupid person as "not knowing shit from Shinola."

I hate having to explain what used to be common place in my world especially to generations of people who don't know shit from Shinola.

But back to my narcissistic discussion of photos of me as a young man. I look at the young me face and it is familiar but it still seems like a stranger. The eyes smile. I like that. My eyes don't smile much anymore.  It's not that I am not as happy as I was at that age. It's just that weariness sets in and the smiles don't show as much.

Plus, at that age when the photo was taken, I still didn't really know shit from Shinola. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023



I suppose when most people talk about things they regret in life they are big things like not becoming an artist or traveling to the Great Pyramids or quitting a dead end job. Okay, I regret all of those things, but it is some of the little things I regret more. Or at least I roll my eyes about them.

Until it became politically incorrect to portray cultures as mascots, I was proud of being a Boise High School Brave. I was proud of being the band drum major and dressing like an Native American Chief (or an Indian Chief or an Indigenous person Chief). I used to feel so cool donning the leather buckskins and headdress and applying war paint. 

But I remember when I showed my daughter photos of me dressed as the Boise Brave, she was pretty disgusted. I was confused at first. Maybe she didn't understand that to us growing up the brave was a proud symbol. A brave was a warrior. A brave was something to look up to. But to her, I was treating a people as a mascot. 

I tried the arguments that have been pointed out to me are white people microaggressions, like "No one objects to the Fighting Irish, Vikings, Cowboys, or Mariners." But those are white people cultures (which is ironic because I'm told quite often white people have no culture). Bottom line, to my daughter at least, being the Boise Brave was embarrassing.

So I tucked away the photos, my old moccasins and any other symbol of my misguided past as a Boise Brave and accepted that in high school my only accomplishment was being a band geek and graduating ninth in my class of 491.