Friday, December 26, 2014

Catching up on things

It has been almost a month since I last posted something here.

Today we returned from a six-day trip to Springfield. My Dad is not doing well. He spent a week in Mercy hospital being treated for congestive heart failure. He is now at a short-term convalescent facility for rehab. Mother is weak as she ages. They will not hire help. We are the only help they will accept.

More later....

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Uganda Kids Choir

This picture taken tonight at Sand Springs United Methodist Church. Pictured are the ten members of the Uganda Kids Choir. They were moving fast so the picture is blurred.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Back from Springfield again

Here are the highlights from this past week:

On Monday, Gail come over for a two-hour practice session. After that I went to Mark Twain Elementary School where I am a volunteer tutor. I met with my student, a third grade boy, and we practiced reading. The program is called Reading Partners. Volunteers from the community work one-on-one with students who are behind in their reading skills.

On Tuesday we did our usual thing with Luke.

On Wednesday, we drove to Springfield to assist my parents. We spent two nights at the Arbor at the Mall. J had cooked a big Thanksgiving meal at home and transported it in ice chests to Springfield. On Thanksgiving she heated it up and the five of us (Mother, Dad, Paula, J, and myself) enjoyed turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, pecan pie, and probably a few other things I don't recall.

We got back to Sand Springs last night. I was tired, even though it doesn't seem like I did much. I guess it was the driving that fatigued me so. I would never make a long-haul trucker.

My hand is no better than the last time I posted here. I have a trigger finger now on both hands. It is the middle finger on both hands. I am to see a hand surgeon soon.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I don't know what will be done about the stolen air conditioning. Something will have to be done before next summer.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

TTH and church

We attended Tulsa Town Hall last Friday. The speaker was Bill Bryson, an expat now living in England. He is in the US on a book tour and Tulsa was one of his stops. A Walk in the Woods is one of his books. He has written more than a dozen.

Yesterday we went to a dinner at the church. There were about 20 people there. It is pledge time. Those making a pledge filled out their pledge cards.

It was snowing this morning as I left for church. There were only six people there today. The big news today was that the church's air conditioner units had been stolen sometime within the past week. That is a serious blow to a small church such as ours. It could very well send us under.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dan at Silver Dollar City

This shot was taken near the entrance of SDC.

Christmas Tree at night

Tracks overhead

You can walk under a train at Silver Dollar City.

Tree at SDC

Church at SDC

Here is the Wilderness Church at Silver Dollar City.


I haven't posted anything to my blog in quite a few days. I have been doing a few things which if I don't write about soon will fade from my memory. So here goes...

Last week we spent four days in southwest Missouri. We drove to Springfield to check on my parents and then drove on down to Branson. Earlier this year we had noticed that people who were married in 1976 got free season's passes to Silver Dollar City. Although we have made several trips to Springfield this year, we never found the time to go to Branson. Last week we did.

We stayed at the Best Western which is about a half mile from Silver Dollar City. It was close enough that you could hear the sound of the steam engine at SDC. It was very convenient that there was a Dollar General store next to the motel as we went there for soft drinks and other vacation supplies. The last night we stayed there, Friday, the motel was packed. Returning from the acrobats show, we found only one parking spot outside the motel. It was off in the south forty. The motel needed a shuttle between the parking lot and the motel. There was a good breakfast at the motel, however there were no vacant tables in the breakfast area.

We saw a couple of shows at SDC. One was an adaptation of the film "It's a Wonderful Life" while the other was an adaptation of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." Both were musicals. Also, while in Branson we saw "The Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai." Their balance and agility were truly amazing. One man stood on a plank on top of a barrel and flipped bowls from the end of the plank and caught them on the top of his head. Although it was mid-November, there were still plenty of tourists around.

We left home on Wednesday and returned on Saturday. The next day was Sunday. At church Rev. Debra gave the talk. We had seven visitors from a UU seminary visiting. Soon we will be putting up a Tree of Knowledge in the sanctuary.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Movie; Halloween; Finger; Workday at Church

This past week J and I saw a movie. It was St. Vincent starring Bill Murray. It's a better than average movie, but notinh to rave about. The dialogue has some clever wording. All in all, it's sort of a downer, but I guess you could say it is true to life.

Last night was Halloween. On the way back from Springfield (Friday), we stopped at Vinita and went in to a WalMart and bought candy for the trick-or-treaters we expected that evening. J was not feeling well and went to bed around 5 pm. After watching the evening news, I went outside and set up my candy stand so that the trick-or-treaters could do their thing without ringing the doorbell. It had turned off cold that day, which probably had a lot to do with the low number of t-o-t that came by the house. I would say we had, at the most, 30 t-o-t last night.

My trigger finger is still bothering me. It is the middle finger on my left hand. I am still able to play piano, but not quite as well as before this condition came on. I see a surgeon next month who will advise me on what to do.

Today was another workday at the church. Someone a few weeks back stole the gate to the children's play area. I happened to have a gate (chain-link fence type) that we took down a few years back just taking up room in the shed. I loaded it into the car and took it to church today. It was just the right size. It fit like a glove.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back from a brief vacation

Wednesday morning we left for a brief vacation. We drove toward Oklahoma City but got off the turnpike at Stroud. We took highway 99 south to Ada. We had a reservation at a motel there. On the way, we stopped in Seminole at a Taco Bell for lunch. Then we went to a Braum's for a chocolate shake. Once in Ada, we checked into our motel. That evening for dinner we ate at a Santa Fe Cattle Co. I had salmon. J had a steak.

The next day we drove to Sulphur. We visited the Chickasaw Heritage Center just southwest of the town. There are several building on the campus. In the auditorium we saw a stomp dance and watched a film. Afterwards we ate Indian tacos in the cafeteria. There is a reconstructed Chickasaw village on the grounds. The village is enclosed in a palisade made of wooden posts. The tribal council building was the largest in the fort-like compound.

The museum contains several artifacts. It would take several hours to take it all in. We hurriedly went thru it in about an hour.

Going back to Ada, we took the turnpike. I have a Pikepass and did not check the fee to use the turnpike. But the turnpike is a joke. It is nothing more than a two-lane highway. I have traveled on much better roads for free in the state.

That evening we dined at Prairie Kitchen in Ada. The decor was very interesting. I took several pictures of the interior. I will post some later.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

To Springfield and back

We made another trip to Springfield this week. We left on Wednesday and returned on Friday. It was good to see my parents again and take them to various places they needed to go.

While there I walked the hallway on the third floor of the Abbey for an hour. That brought my total for the year to 369 miles. That means I have achieved my goal of walking an average of a mile a day. I will continue and see if I can make it to 400 miles for the year.

I went to the church work day on Saturday. There were about 20 people there. Other groups use the building where we hold services. There is the SOS group - a secular organization for sobriety. The Muslims meet there, also. All together there are four or five groups using the building. A lot of work got done Saturday. We cleaned out the religious education room, throwing away three large plastic bags of out of date material. There is a paper recycling bin across the street. I took several boxes of paper and dumped them in the bin. Outside I dug up irises from the flower beds.

Attendance at church was down today. The speaker was Rev. Debra. We had only six in attendance at the start of the service. A couple more came in as the service was going.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Sebelius - Goodbye to Bob - trigger finger

While at church Sunday someone had tickets to an afternoon concert at the Tulsa PAC. Bill D. claimed the tickets, but upon phoning his wife, he discovered they had other plans. So I ended up with the tickets. I phoned J but got her voice mail. I left a message telling her I had tickets and headed home. When I got there she was with Luke. She told me to go on to the concert without her.

I arrived at the PAC about 10 minutes before the concert started. It was an all Sebelius concert. "Finlandia" was the opening work, followed by two other short pieces by Sebelius. After the intermission, Symphony No. 2 was performed.

After the concert, I headed home (a 20 to 25 minute drive)and picked up J and we went back to Tulsa to say goodbye to Bob Pugh. Bob had died on Thursday. Bob was one of the founders of the Tulsa Walking Club. He had walked in all 50 of the states and in all 77 counties of Oklahoma. He had also walked in 9 foreign countries. He held key positions in the TWC, including trailmaster. The Club is going to miss Bob. He was just a couple weeks shy of his 89th birthday.

I continue to walk several times a week. I am now up to 357 miles this year.

In the past month I have developed a condition known as trigger finger. I went to the my doctor's n.p. who checked my hand and referred me to a hand surgeon. I have been reading articles on the Internet about the condition. It is more of a nuisance than anything. I am supposed to see the surgeon in a couple of months. I hope by that time that it has gone away. It is my middle finger on my left hand that has the problem. I have seen advertised a device that looks something like a ring with a flange on it. I might get one of those to see if it resolves my problem.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Returning to my blog

It has been a while since I last posted anything to this blog. There is a lot of catching up to do. The last few days have been busy.

Mondays are my busiest day. Gail comes at 10 and leaves at noon. Then at 12:30 I have to be at Mark Twain Elementary School where I tutor a student.

Yesterday, J and I drove over to Gail's where we all (Gail, Glenn, J and myself) went to eat lunch at The Foundations restaurant. The restaurant is operated by the Platt College Culinary Arts school. The food was excellent. The meal was just $9 each. That included beverage and dessert. Each Friday the school has a theme, such as Mexican or Chinese. The theme last Friday was Home-style cooking. Food is served as a buffet. Choices included fish, meat loaf, and chicken. As you sit at your table you can view the students preparing the food just inches away by looking thru the plate glass to the galley nearby.

Last night I was going to eat some ice cream. As I dug the scoop into the ice cream, I noticed it was unusually soft. I checked the freezer and discovered things were thawing out. Friday evening is probably the worst time to have an appliance failure. We will have to wait until Monday to have a serviceman check out the fridge.

J and I had talked about having a secondary fridge back in the office area. Now was the time to get one. (Actually, Friday would have been a better time.) Anyway, today I went out and bought a compact fridge for $100.

It's always something. Last week it was the garbage disposal. It started leaking and had to be replaced.

This Sunday, Gail and I will play a piano duet titled "Summer Samba." It is Humanist Sunday this Sunday. The speaker will be Bill Dusenberry. He will speak on "Why Republicans Can't Be Humanists."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recent activities

Monday (yesterday) began with Gail coming over for piano duet practice. We are working on Faure's "Gavotte" and Glinka's "Impromptu en Galop," among other pieces. As soon as Gail left, I got ready to go to Mark Twain Elementary School where I volunteer as a tutor for a third grader who is about a year and a half behind where he should be in his reading skills. And in the evening, we went to the Methodist Church for the second session of "Making Sense of the Bible." The Bible study is led by the church pastor. We viewed a 15-minute video of Adam Hamilton discussing the lesson for the day. There were about 30 people in the study.

Today, we got up early (for us) and went to an elementary school where my grandson attends fourth grade. We were given a donut and a cup of orange drink and listened to some of the students read.

Once we got back, I went walking. I did my usual 3-mile stint.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Making Sense of the Bible

Below is a link to a short video in which author Adam Hamilton talks about his recent book Making Sense of the Bible. Hamilton is pastor of the largest Methodist church in the U.S. It is located outside of Kansas City. You will have to scroll down to find the video. I will be taking a Bible study course at the Methodist Church which uses Hamilton's book as its text.

In the video I was surprised to hear Hamilton admit that the Bible has errors. That is something you don't often hear from a Christian.

Here is the link to the video:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Nocturnal Visitor

Last night my wife and I went to bed around 11:30 pm. We had been asleep for a couple of hours when suddenly we heard the doorbell. Ding, dong, ding dong, ding, dong. I got out of bed and looked at my cell phone for the time. It showed 1:38 A.M. Who, I asked, comes visiting at this time of night?

Whoever it might be was persistent for he rang the bell a second time. Not knowing who was outside the door, I went to the door and said "Who's there?" loud enough so that the visitor could hear me through the door. The visitor made a short reply, but I could not make out what he said. I turned on the porch light to illuminate the area.

I proceeded to the window to see if I could get a view of the visitor. I went over by the piano hoping I could get a good view of the doorbell ringer. I saw the person -- a male, caucasian, about 25 to 30 years old, and rather swarthy looking -- standing in front of the door. It was no one I had ever seen before. He rang the bell once again.

By this time my wife was on the phone calling the police. The 911 center dispatched a patrolman, but he was in north Sand Springs when he got the call. The visitor decided to return to his vehicle parked in the street with motor running and lights on. There was also a second vehicle parked in front of our house, but it's lights were off. I could not tell if it was occupied.

The visitor got in the car and made a U-turn and proceeded south on 51st St. and disappeared into the night.

A couple of minutes later the police arrived. The patrolman came to the door and spoke with us. The patrolman just missed the visitor by two minutes.

After the visitor and policeman were gone, I noticed our neighbor was getting something out of his car trunk, or maybe he was putting something in it. As soon as he closed the trunk lid, he went inside his house. The time was a quarter until two.

We slept uneasy the rest of the night. When I got up at 7:15 this morning I notice the second car, the one parked in front of our house, was gone.

We were left to wonder what this whole incident was about.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Putting salmon on the grill

Today we had plank salmon cooked on the grill. You first have to soak the cedar plank in water. Then you build your fire. Next you place the marinated raw salmon on the cedar plank, cover, and cook for twenty minutes. After dinner I went to River City Park and walked three miles.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walking and more

This morning I went walking. With the kids being back in school, I now walk earlier than I have been. When school was out, I walked from noon to 1:00 pm. Now that school is back in session, I walk between 10 and noon. I did my usual three-mile walk today. I am at 297 miles for the year to date. That is 297 miles of dedicated walking.

I have been listening to some new music, that is, music that is new to me. William Bolcom's "Three Ghost Rags" I find quite interesting. Bolcom was born in 1938, and I haven't checked to see if he is still living. His first ghost rag is titled "The Graceful Ghost." Thanks to, I was able to print a copy. It is a bit tricky to play as it begins with five flats and then transitions to six flats and then back to five. Another piece I am working on is titled "Twelth Street Rag." Gail still comes over on Mondays for duet practice. In September, she will be away. I will have to come up with an alternative or play a solo. I am also the speaker that day for the service.

Friday, August 15, 2014

An outing with Luke and more

Yesterday, which was Thursday, We took Luke, our grandson, to Tulsa for an outing. We went to a new place called the Air Port. It is an indoor trampoline playground located at Southroads Shopping Center. After Luke expended his energy there, we went to the nearby Schlotszky's for lunch. Then we dropped him off at his house and went to Reasor's grocery store here in Prattville. It is only about a mile from our house.

My son Nick came over today to work here. His internet service was down and he needs the internet to do his job.

Presently, Ayla is with us. She will stay here overnight, and we wil return her to her parents tomorrow.

Walking is going well. I have walked 12 miles this week. Yesterday, instead of walking at the Salvaton Army gym at noon as I usually do, I walking in the evening at River City Park. There is an ideal place to walk in the park. The walking trail is marked for distance. Starting at "0" by the Case Community Center, you can walk to the 1.5 mile post and turn around and walk back. It is about 3 or 4 miles to get there, as opposed to the 1 mile distance to the Salvation Army. Sometimes there are a lot of people at the park. They have soccer fields, volleyball courts, horseshoe areas, bike riding areas, and a skateboard facility there. However, when I walk there a usually few people around. Much of the trail is on the banks of the Arkansas River. Across the river is the BNSF rail line. I usually see a train or two while I walk.

Since I last posted here, Tulsa has hosted the FreeOK event for this year. It was held in the Convention Center again. Hundreds of freethinkers came from around the area to hear freethought speakers. My favorite speakers this year were C. J. Werleman and Steve Wells. I am currently reading a book by Werleman titled Crucifying America. Wells is the author of the well-known (at least among freethinkers)The Skeptic's Annotated Bible. The book is a great resource. I downloaded it recently to my tablet; however, I wish I had a conventional paper copy. It is the kind of book that a freethinker might use frequently in discussions with Bible believers.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The last several days...

There is not much to report on here. Last Sunday, I was the lay speakers at Church of the Restoration. The topic of my talk was "Songs of the Civil War." Gail and I provided the special music which was "Battle Cry of Freedom" by George F. Root. There were about 10 people in attendance. The first Sunday of the month is always "Humanist Sunday."

I am currently reading "12 Years a Slave." The book was made into a movie. I have not seen the movie, but I might see if I can rent the DVD. The book is fairly short as books go. I downloaded it to my tablet. The Methodist Book Club is reading this book as one of its next selections. The other selection we are reading is "The Man Without a Country" by Edward Everett Hale. I finished reading it last week. The book club meets again next Monday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Events of the week

It is Sunday once again. This past week we made a trip to Springfield. We left on Wednesday and came back on Friday.

We were busy the entire time in Springfield. Neither my mother nor sister drive. Only my dad drives, but with macular degeneration coming on, he does not get out very often. We made trips to K-Mart and the library. Dad treated us to a dinner at Rib Crib one evening.

Today at church, one member told us about her grandson, 31 years old, who had a sudden illness. He was sick for two days and then died. The subject of today's talk was Woody Guthrie. We sang this "This Land is Your Land." The talk was given by Joy Avery.

On Saturday, we had our monthly Food and Fellowship gathering at La Hacienda on S. Peoria. Due to road construction, access to businesses along that stretch of road has been hampered. The road was opened up just this week. I hope we benefitted La Hacienda by eating there. We usually have 8 to 10 people attend our Food and Fellowship gatherings.

After the F&F gathering, we went by the church. A Democratic group had rented the building for an ice cream social. We stopped by for a half hour.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Favorite web sites for free piano sheet music

I have saved hundreds of dollars over the years by downloading free sheet music rather than buying it at a music store. There are two sites which are my favorite: and

Most of the music at Scorser is dated, but that's fine. I prefer the older pieces -- Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Debussy, Ravel, all the classical composers. Scores can be downloaded for piano, as well as ensembles of various instruments.

The other site, free-scores (be sure to include the hyphen), has a lot of classical composers as well as modern composers who are hoping to make a name for themselves. First you will see a selection of instruments. I click on "piano." Then you will see various types of music: ragtime, new age, waltzes. Click on the type of music you are interested in. The score will appear on your screen and then you can print it. You can also hear much of the music before you print, if you desire. Even links to some YouTube videos are available.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Back from another Springfield trip

We got back home today from another trip to Springfield. We drove there on Wednesday and came back today. My granddaughter, Ayla, came along with us on this trip. We stayed at the Medical Mile Arbor, near Cox South (National Avenue) and the James River Freeway. We were able to assist Mother and Dad on some errands in the neighborhood. We took Dad to get a haircut. We took my sister Paula to the library on S. Campbell. Today we took my parents to doctors appointments on National Ave.

Today Dad took us to the Rib Crib on Campbell Ave. It is in a new location. The former location on Sunshine has closed. The new Rib Crib is not far from the old one. It is across Campbell from Maschino Hardware. It shares a parking lot with Price Cutter grocery. I ate ribs, and they were very good. The potato salad, baked beans, and corn on the cob were also excellent.

I had to miss Poetry Group tonight as we were on the road at that time, but I'm sure they got along without me.

Friday, July 04, 2014


Here I am walking at the Salvation Army gymnasium, which is located about a mile from my house.  I usually walk for a hour three or four times a week.  So far this year, I have walked 221 miles.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Here are the cucumbers harvested today from my garden. The cup gives some perspective to the vegetables.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Daily routine

I thought I might say something about my daily routine in this post.

I usually get up between 6:00 am and 9:30 am. I sleep fairly well at night, usually going to bed around midnight.

One of the first things I do in the morning is take my synthroid pill. This pill (synthetic throid) supplements my thyroid glands which do not produce a sufficient amount of thyroid for my body.

Next I go to the kitchen to find something to eat. This morning I had a cup of hot chocolate and a fiber bar. I also ate a cup of yogurt. Some mornings I drink orange juice instead of hot chocolate. Occasionally, I have scrambled eggs and sausage, but more often than not, I just eat a fiber bar.

Next I read the newspaper if it's a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Those are the only days we get the Tulsa World. If the mail has arrived, I will go through the mail.

At some point in the morning, I usually go to the Salvation Army to walk. I usually walk an hour. During the summer the SA serves as a day care for kids. The time for walking is noon to one while school is out of session.

I enjoy working two puzzles on my tablet. At some time in the day I can be found working to solve "7 Little Words" and "Bonza." Both are word puzzles in which you take word fragments and put them together to form words. I also enjoy playing "Montezuma Blitz."

Lunch is usually a sandwich or leftovers from supper the previous day. We watch the "News on 6" while eating.

In the afternoon, reading (currently reading Human Destiny is to Eliminate Death), playing piano (currently working on "Endless Love," "Ashokan Farewell," "Last Date," "Gabriel's Oboe," and "Planxty"), or napping (ZZZZZZ) is what you will find me doing. At 5:30 pm I always try to watch the NBC "Nightly News." I take my evening meds at this time.

I go out back to check my garden following the news. I have some tomato plants and some cucumbers growing out there.

At 8:00 pm I try to watch "The Rachel Maddow Show." At 10 pm I watch one of the local news programs, usually channel 8.

This is pretty much my daily routine, except for Sundays. On Sundays, church activities consume most of my mornings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back from trip around Missouri

On Tuesday of last week, we left for an eight-day trip to Missouri.

First, we went to Springfield. My Dad had some doctor appointments. He also has macular degeneration and his eyesight is poor. We drove him to the doctor. We left Springfield for Sedalia on Thursday. It was raining heavily as we left. We had reservations at the Comfort Inn in Sedalia for that evening and the next. We checked in that evening. The occasion for the visit to Sedalia was the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. The festival started on Wednesday and ran thru Saturday. Friday was the only day we attended.

There are five venues around town at which ragtime music is performed constantly from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. These are all free. In the evenings there are ticketed concerts ($30 per ticket) at various venues.

For our evening meal on Friday we went to a nearby Applebee's. We placed a to go order. I wanted to get back to the motel to see the evening news. While waiting for our order, I recognized the location as being one where a geocache was hidden. Although I did not have my GPS receiver with me, I decided to look for the cache anyway. After about 10 minutes of searching I happened upon it.

After eating our ribs from Applebee's, we went to the evening concert. The concert that evening was devoted to the music of James P. Johnson. James P. Johnson was a famous stride pianist in his day. (Another famous musician around that time with a similar name was James Weldon Johnson, who wrote God's Trombones.)

Several well-known (at least to ragtime enthusiasts) performers played piano at the festival. Two who performed Friday night were Stephanie Trick and Jeff Barnwell.

Saturday morning we left for Troy, about 40 miles northwest of St. Louis. The rain was coming down in torrents. The weather on Friday had been fine, though. As we got closer to Troy, the weather started clearing up. We stopped at a McDonald's in Warrenton for a bite to eat and to repack the car. (Leaving the motel, we had just thrown things in the backseat.)

We went to Kay and Jim's farm a few miles north of Troy. Jim gave me a tour of the farm, showing me his sheep and large garden. We also went to the hen house where Jim goes everyday to gather up six dozen eggs. Jim likes to experiment with new seeds to grow exotic plants.

We spent the night in a motel in Troy and next morning ate at Denny's. We were joined by Rick, another brother of J.

Then we hit the road again, bypassing St. Louis on our way south to Cape Girardeau, where yet another brother of J's lives. We arrived that afternoon. We briefly searched for a geocache but didn't find it. We went with Kenny and Donna to Delmonico's Restaurant. They have a fabulous buffet to which we helped ourselves. We spent the night in the Pear Tree Inn.

The next day (Monday) we drove back to Springfield. We were going to have lunch at Hillbilly Junction, a semi-famous landmark in those parts, but we discovered that they had gone out of business. We suspect that new road construction left them too isolated to attract business. It's too bad, for they had some really good food there in the past.

We spent the night in Springfield at my parents' apartment. The next morning, we returned to Sand Springs.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Catching up

I checked to see when I last updated this blog. It was May 12, and today is June 2. So I have a couple of weeks to catch up on.

On May 17, I had to miss the HAT meeting. We were on the road coming back from Springfield, MO.

On May 18, a Sunday, we held our monthly discussion based on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States . We take a chapter a month. The chapter we discussed was 17. Much of the time period was in the 20th century -- times that I lived thru. The next chapter is on the war in Vietman.

On Wednesday the 21st we went to a meeting of OK Votes. This is an effort to turn out the vote organized by Democrats. The meeting was held in the historic Campbell Hotel along Route 66 in Tulsa. Inside the Campbell Hotel is Maxxwell's Restaurant. That is where we dined that evening.

On Saturday the 24th we had our monthly Food and Fellowship gathering. This month we met at Cardigan's on S. Lewis. Most everyone had the crabcakes.

The next day was Sunday. At church we had the dedication of the canvas labyrinth. It is about 20 feet in diameter. We have the objective of building a permanent labyrinth on the church lawn. Rev. Debra Garfinkel is leading the effort to get the labyrinth built. I have been walking labyrinths for 15 years or so.

Also at Church of the Restoration, we have switched to having breakfast instead of lunch on Sundays. Last Sunday Gail and I played "Gladiolas Rag" by Scott Joplin. Marilyn Clarke was the speaker. She spoke about the Tulsa Sponsoring Committee.

Next month Gail and I plan to play "America," from West Side Story.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Recent events

May 4, a Sunday, was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration. I was the speaker that day. I spoke on certain aspects of the American Civil War. Just before that, we prepared breakfast, but there were only five people who were there for breakfast.

On Tuesday, May 6, there was a program at Mark Twain Elementary School for students enrolled in the Reading Partners program. My student was not there that day. It turns out he had failed to get the needed permission from his parents to attend.

The next day, May 7, we attended a program at All Souls Unitarian Church on climate change. The speaker was former Oklahoma governor David Walters. Walters was governor in the early 90s. He now runs an energy company.

On Friday, May 9, I went to the Poetry Group at Barnes & Noble bookstore. We decided last session would be the final session to use our current text. Next month we will focus on Robert Frost, specifically poems from his collection titled North of Boston.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

AAA to the rescue

Yesterday, J and Ayla wanted to go shopping at Old Navy at Southroads (41st and Yale). I drove them to the store, and since I am not a big shopper, I said I would wait in the car for them. I listened to the classical music station while they shopped. After about 20 minutes I got a call from my dad in Springfield, MO. I turned off the radio while I was on the phone. After we finished speaking, I turned the radio back on, but there was no sound. To see if everything was okay, I turned the key to start the engine. There was no response.

I have been a member of AAA for a long time. I got out my card and gave them a call. Within 30 minutes someone had arrived to give me a jump. The AAA man checked the battery and said it was time for a new one. He had a battery with him and I bought it. He took out the old battery and replaced it with the new one. Soon we were on our way back home. While all this was going on, J and Ayla were shopping at Ross.

I am the speaker tomorrow at Restoration. My subject is the American Civil War, part 2. Gail and I will play two duets: "The Water is Wide," and "Birch Tree Rag."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Recent happenings

On Sunday, April 20, following the service at Restoration, we held our Progressive Book Group meeting. I was pleasently surprised that eight people attended. We are still reading and discussing Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. We have been on this book for a long time. We read and discuss one chapter a month. The book has 25 chapters. The last chapter we discussed was chapter 16.

Last Tuesday, a week ago from today, we were driving back to Sand Springs from Tulsa and decided to stop at McDonald's for some breakfast. I went through the drive-thru. As I was getting our order, the cup of hot coffee ended up in my lap and ran down my left leg. It was hot enough I got second degree burns from the coffee. We went inside the restaurant and filled out papers on the incident. Then we went to Urgent Care in Sand Springs where I was given some ointment. The only place I got blisters are on my left foot. I took the week off from walking.

Last Monday (yesterday) the Methodist Book Group met at Mazzio's. We ate and talked about The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. Next month we will discuss To Kill A Mockingbird.

Friday, April 18, 2014

TV worth watching

We have been watching the new Cosmos series being shown on Fox. It comes on Sunday nights at 8 pm. So far four or five of the one-hour programs have been shown. The series is a remake of the series hosted by Carl Sagan back in 1980. I saw the original Cosmos and have been watching the remake hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It is probably the best thing on TV at this time.

In other news, we returned today from Springfield. We drove there on Wednesday, following J's doctor appointment.

I had the church piano tuned last Tuesday. It was the first tuning for the piano in several years. It was needing it pretty bad. Gail and I are paying for the tuning.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Movie Night and more

We had a movie night at Restoration back on March 29. I believe there were five of us who showed up to watch a movie. The movie starred Peter Falk. The title of the movie was "Checking Out." It was entertaining. Someone suggested we show movies that reflect diversity. I'm not sure the Falk movie did that, but we intend to hold a movie night once a month. I need to see if a movie has been selected for April.

We went to Springfield on the 31st of March and come back on April 2. The next day, April 3, a piano tuner came and tuned my piano. It had been two and a half years since it was last tuned. He charged $115. I am going to have the tuner tune the church piano on the 15th of this month. Gail and I will pay for the tuning. I don't think the church piano has been tuned since I have been attending Restoration, which is about 8 or 10 years.

On Friday, April 4, I drove out to Keystone State Park to check on the YRE the walking club has there. We had 20 walkers for the first quarter of the year. That is not bad considering how cold the winter was.

Last Sunday was Humanist Sunday at Restoration. Our speaker was Marilyn Clarke. The title of her talk was "Permanently Temporary." Gail and I played a piano duet by Robert Vandall titled "Tucson Toccata."

In the past we have had a potluck dinner following the service. This time we served breakfast instead. We will continue with the breakfasts on Humanist Sunday for a while. We had nine people attend the breakfast.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Birthday celebration

Yesterday we celebrated my 66th birthday. Actually my birthday was back on March 8, but to celebrated my birthday we went to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) for a concert I wanted to hear. J bought tickets a few weeks back.

After we dropped off Jenifer and Luke, instead of returning home, we headed for downtown Tulsa. We had a nice dinner at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Next we went to the PAC and attended the "Ragtime for Tulsa" concert. Featured in this concert were Bryan Wright and Dalton Ridenhour.

The concert began with Wright playing Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." He actually played it twice, first as Joplin wrote it, and then as Wright adapted it. After Wright played a half dozen rags, Ridenhour joined Wright on stage where the two played duets on two pianos, both concert grands. The performers had trouble with one note on one of the pianos. Ridenhour got out his tuning wrench on worked on getting the note in proper pitch. Following the duets, Wright left the stage and then Ridenhour played solo ragtime. Among the pieces he played were "Palm Leaf Rag" and "Gladiolus Rag." After fourteen rags were played came intermission, at which time the performers sold copies of their CDs.

After the intermission, Ridenhour played "The Harlem Strut," written by stride piano composer James P. Johnson. Other pieces by Jelly Roll Morton and Zez Confrey followed. Ridenhour played one of his original compositions during the second half of the show.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The week in review

I will start back on Wednesday, March 12, which was a little more than a week ago. On that day I saw my optomitrist for an annual eye check-up. She was impressed with how well I could see, saying I was seeing with 20/15 vision, which is sharper than 20/20. I now only wear glasses to read. I have several pairs of reading glasses. You can get them for $1 a pair at Dollar Tree. I keep them scattered throughout the house so that wherever in the house I happen to be (at the piano, in the bedroom, in the back office, or the kitchen) there will be reading glasses nearby.

The next day I drove J to Sapulpa to a doctor's visit. After the visit, we stopped at a bar-be-cue restarant to get take-out pulled pork sandwiches. Love that pork bar-be-cue!

On Friday, Gail came over for our weekly duet practice.

Last Sunday following the church service, four of us stayed for drumming. We played hand drums.

Due to the weather, Tulsa schools were canceled on Monday. So there was no Reading Partners on that day. That evening, the Methodist Book Group met at the Methodist Church. There were just four of us there.

On Wednesday evening at 7 pm, we went to All Souls Unitarian Church and heard Dr. Gary McManus, the state climatologist, speak on climate change. It was the second of a four-part series on climate change.

The next day I went to the dentist. I had a great check-up. All looked fine.

The next day was Friday, March 14. We attended Tulsa Town Hall. The speaker was Mia Farrow. She told about being married to Frank Sinatra and later Andre Previn. She mentioned her relationship to Woody Allen, but did not dwell upon it. Later on, Gail came over for duet practice. We played through a new book of music I got on my birthday. It is a collection of duets from West Side Story.

There was a HAT meeting on Saturday, March 15. There were only five of us there.

Today the weather was miserable again, as it has been lately on Sundays. It was snowing and sleeting with the temps in the 30s. Only five people showed up for church. We decided to postpone our study of Zinn's A People's History of the United States. The speaker today was Joy Avery who spoke on beekeeping. She wore her beekeeper's outfit, complete with netted headpiece and equipment.

Later we went to a St. Patrick's Day party at the Methodist Church. Twenty people attended that event. We had a potluck dinner, and afterwards we had an exchange of white elephant gifts.

After we got home, we watched Cosmos, which was broadcast on Fox. It was the second installment in the series.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Falling behind

I just noticed that the last time I updated this blog was February 22. But there has not been a lot happening to write about.

Because J has a number of medical appointments scheduled on Mondays, Gail and I have shifted our duet practices to Fridays for the time being.

The weather was so bad last Sunday, that I called off partipation of the Humanist group at church. There were only four people who showed up at Restoration last Sunday. The speaker would have been Marilyn Clarke. We have shifted her talk to Humanist Sunday in April. This was the third Humanist Sunday in a row that was affected by the weather. "Tuscon Toccato" will be the special music whenever Gail and I get around to playing it.

Also because of the weather, Tulsa Public Schools did not meet on Monday. It was another time I had to miss out on tutoring my third-grade student at Mark Twain Elementary.

Yesterday was my 66th birthday anniversary. We went to Denny's where you get a free breakfast on your birthday. After that, we went to Saied's Music where I bought a book of music. It was cold and rainy. We were glad to get back home.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Food and Fellowship and Movie

Today around noon we gathered at Chopsticks, a Chinese restaurant, for lunch. Attendees included Randy, Dawn, Marilyn, Jan, myself, Barbara, Audrey, and Molly. It was good to see Randy and Dawn after a long absence. I gave the treasurer materials to Randy.

This evening we saw a movie, The Monuments Men. I enjoyed the movie. This was the first time in quite a while the we went to the theater for a movie.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My remarks before the Tulsa City Council

This evening I would like to recognize two men who are regarded as heroes of humankind. Just last week we celebrated the 205th anniversary of their birth. They were both born on the same day: February 12. One was an American; the other was British.

The American to whom I refer is Abraham Lincoln. From humble beginnings, he rose to become the 16th president of the United States. He was also our commander in chief during that great trauma: the American Civil War. Because of his diligence in securing passage of the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, he is also known as the Great Emancipator.

Also born on February 12, in England, was Charles Darwin. It was Darwin who first gave us an understanding of our biological origins. For years people had speculated about the concept of evolution for it was not a new idea. But it was Darwin who amassed the data during his five-year long voyage on the Beagle to South America which provided the evidence for his thesis of biological evolution.

First published in 1859, The Origin of Species sold out on its first day. Regarded as a threat by the clergy of his day, the idea of evolution through natural selection has prevailed unto this day. It was an idea whose time had come, as the idea had been independently derived by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russell Wallace. By giving us an understanding of how we came to be, Darwin can also be thought of as a Great Emancipator.

Humanist Delivers City Council Invocation

Yesterday we attended a concert at the Mansion on Peoria. The Mansion is owned and operated by the Tulsa Historical Society. We heard six ensembles performing string music. The program was comprised of music by Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel, and Mendelssohn.

That evening I went to the Tulsa City Council chambers where I delivered the Humanist Invocation on behalf of the Humanist Association of Tulsa. I will post the text of my invocation later.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We attend a forum on Climate Change

Tonight we attended a forum on cimate change at All Souls Unitarian Church. The panel was made up of Marvin Lavenhar, senior minister at All Souls, a minister from a church located in north Tulsa, and a professor from Oral Roberts University. Tonight's topic was "The ethics of climate change." There are three more presentations in the series. The next one will be "Global climate change and the implications for Oklahoma." The third program will be on the topic of "The effects of climate change." "Mitigating climate change" is the final program in the "Dialog on Climate Change" series.

At the next forum the speaker will be the state climatologist Gary McManus. Dr. Bert Fisher will speak at the third forum. Former governor David Walters will speak at the final forum.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Warm weather returns

Finally, after several days of below freezing temps, it has warmed up some. The last two times I spoke at Restoration, the weather was pretty bad. It was so bad that, were I not the speaker, I would not have gone.

Today was the day of the February HAT meeting. If you want to read about what happened there, go to

We recently bought a new storm door to replace our older door. It was installed last Thursday.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I need to wrap this up and practice piano some.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

About Fox News

"A 2012 poll found that people who listened to no news were better informed than those who listened to Fox news. --The Week, February 7, 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Recent happenings

We made a trip to Springfield last week to be of help to my parents and my sister. We make frequent trips to Springfield.

Last Sunday was Humanist Sunday at Restoration. It was another bad weather day. The snow started coming down heavily around 9:20 that morning. Marilyn called to see if plans for church had been changed. I told her church was still on as far as I knew. I told her I was going to go since I was the speaker that morning. I said she should use her judgment regarding traffic conditions and the weather.

Next Gail called to see if anything had changed. I told her I was going to try to get to church, but I advised her to stay home.

It was slippery getting to church, but I made it there driving very slowly. Attendance was down, naturally. I was about ten minutes late getting there. Mary R. and Larry H. were already there. On Humanist Sunday, Larry leads the R.E. hour. We read and talked about recent columns from "The Ethicist."

Altogether that morning there were five at church: myself, Larry H., Mary R., Edna (the pianist), and Rev. Debra. I was the speaker that morning, and my talk was titled "Darwin's Gift." In liue of the duet, I played a solo: "Can't Help Falling In Love."

On Monday morning, Gail had to drive her husband to the optomitrist. He anticipated his eyes would be dialated. We postponed our practice to some future time.

Today I went to the fitness center. It was time to pay our dues for 2014. I did that and then walked three and a half miles around the basketball court.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Athletic quadcopter

This is the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time. Until I can figure out how to post the link, go to YouTube and in the search box type "athletic quadcopter." View the first video. You will be amazed.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The weekend

Friday evening we drove over to Broken Arrow (via Creek Turnpike) to attend a concert. We saw the Ten Tenors at the BA PAC. If tenors were called niners, I suppose we would have seen the Nine Niners instead. The tenors were accompanied by a eight piece orchestra. The show ran for two and a half hours with a twenty-minute intermission. Coming home, we drove back going through Tulsa.

The next day was our monthly Food and Fellowship gathering. We met at Asian Cuisine. Attendance was nine. John S. came for the first time. Russell B. and Kathy W. were there. We had not seen them in a long time. Russell has a farm a few miles east of Tulsa. He is going to invite the HAT group out there sometime this coming spring.

At church today we talked about changing the monthly potluch lunch to a breakfast. If we do that, we will change the starting time to time 9:30 am. This change comes at my recommendation.

Rev. Debra preached today. After the service was over most of the congregation met in the Community Room for our first gathering of our "Speaking Truth to Power" group. The five of us wrote letters to state officials on three issues of concern.

In the afternoon, I played catch with my grandson out in the backyard. He seemed to really like it.

In the evening, we went to Bethany Church (Disciples of Christ) on Sheridan for an initial meeting of a group that goes by the name VOICE in Oklahoma City. VOICE is an acronym, but I have forgotten what it stands for.

Afterwards, we stopped at a Thai restaurant for a light dinner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Recent events

I did not think many people would be at the humanist meeting on Saturday, but I was pleasantly surprized when eleven people showed up. We saw three people we had not seen in several months. We had a good meeting.

Yesterday I played piano for Edna, who was in Atlanta for some kind of reunion. The program was on Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Following the service, we talked about chapter 14 of Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States.

In a couple of weeks I will once again be the speaker at Restoration. My talk will be on Charles Darwin, whose 205th birthday is February 9. I think we will celebrate with a birthday cake at the next HAT meeting.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fox Nation vs. Reality

Here is Amazon's description of "Fox Nation vs. Reality." The e-book is available for $2.99.

When Fox News debuted it was crafted from scratch to be a partisan outlet for right-wing propaganda and a platform for advancing a conservative agenda. Its Internet community web site, Fox Nation, serves as the online gathering place for Fox viewers to absorb and spread the aggregated disinformation and conspiracy theories hatched by Fox News. The statement of purpose posted on the Fox Nation web site says that it is “committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.”

However, a cursory glance at the site reveals that they have fallen wide of their stated purpose by several light years. This first volume of Fox Nation vs. Reality is a collection of some of the blatant falsehoods found on Fox Nation. These are not mere differences of opinion or discussions that might have varying degrees of perspective. They are obvious, provable, out and out lies. They are manifestations of a disconnect with the real world. But they are not the result of psychosis or mistake. They are deliberate and purposeful.

They are aimed at an ill-informed audience that is only interested in having their prejudices affirmed. And Fox News is only too happy to accommodate them. In Fox Nation vs. Reality you will find a compilation of articles originally published on the media analysis web site News Corpse. They provide an eye-opening look into the lengths that committed propagandists will go in order to fabricate an alternative political reality. And remember that Fox Nation is not some remote outpost on the Internet Superhighway. It is an integral part of Fox News whose executives are wholly responsible for the stain it produces on journalism.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The polar vortex explained

Here is a link explaining the polar vortex: click here

Monday, January 06, 2014

The polar vortex strikes

It has been super cold. It is probably another effect of global climate change. Fortunately, I don't have to get out and go to work. Another reason to be thankful for retirement.

Although I did not have to get out, I did anyway. Yesterday, I was scheduled to speak at Church of the Restoration. Gail and I had planned to play a duet. The weatherman at Channel 8 was warning people about getting out. We had a thin layer of ice on the streets. On top of the ice there was a dusting of snow. Yesterday was Humanist Sunday and not wanting any of my friends to put themselves at risk, I sent out an e-mail advising our members to stay put and not come to church. To make sure they got the message I phoned Gail and Marilyn, both of whom were on the program. I phoned Mary, one of the leaders in our church to see if church would meet, and she said she would be there. Mary leads the Religious Education hour at 10 am.

I got in my car and drove to church. I had no trouble at all getting to church. When I arrived Mary was there along with Larry Hochhaus. Larry was leading the R.E. hour this Sunday. We read and discussed two ethical dilemmas from a column that appear in the New York Times. I think the column is called "The Ethicist." A short time later, Rev. Debra Garfinkel arrived and joined the conversation.

At ten until eleven I moved to the sanctuary and began playing the piano. I do the introductory music each Sunday. During this time Vanessa arrived. Edna, the pianist, who is now 78 years old, was given the day off. I filled in at the piano. My special selection was the National Anthem of South Africa. If you watched the coverage of the Nelson Mandela funeral, you probably heard this music.

With the bitter cold and hazardous driving conditions, there were just five of us there today. So I gave my twenty- minute talk for the four in the congregation.

The only problem driving I had was as I got in front of the house coming back. I turned the steering wheel to go into the driveway, but the car continued going straight. When the car stopped, I back up and then got into the driveway.

Today Gail came over, and we played duets for a couple of hours. Coming from and going back to her car, she walked in the snow for better footing. The temperature was in the single digits.