Archive for February, 2016

Famous Namesake

February 29th, 2016 Comments off

I introduced myself, and he said “Just call me Les.”  After talking with him for a few minutes he revealed that his real name was Ulysses.

Now that sounded interesting to me.  “Tell me more”, I insisted, getting out my camera.

I think I startled him, asking about his family history, where he got his name.  Turns out,  it was his father’s name and yes, there was a family connection to Ulysses S. Grant.  He was a bit fuzzy on the details and I decided not to stress him more by being overly  inquisitive.

I asked if I could call him Ulysses and he said I could.  It was a cool moment. You never know who you’ll meet if you take the time to be friendly.

I enjoyed meeting this modern day Ulysses, even if he was named after a yankee!

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822– July 23, 1885) was the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods.

Under the command of Grant, the Union Army defeated theConfederate military and ended the Confederate States of America. His image as a war hero was tarnished by corruption scandals during his presidency.

After leaving office, Grant embarked on a two-year world tour that was received favorably with many royal receptions. In 1880 he made an unsuccessful bid for a third presidential term.

In 1884, broke and dying of cancer, he wrote his enormously successful memoirs. Historians have ranked his Administration poorly due to tolerance of corruption.

His presidential reputation has improved among scholars impressed by the Administration’s support for civil rights for freed slaves.

Wonder if he ever told the ladies, “Just call me Les.”

Just Being Jana

February 29th, 2016 Comments off

150746_919795478031303_3057510041544554291_nI was sitting at the closing table with a couple that had lived in the home they were selling for 10 years. They signed the paperwork and were getting ready to leave when the husband said to his wife “Wait, there is something I need to tell you.” I’m sitting there, mind racing, wondering what is about to come out of this man’s mouth. He took his wife’s hand, looked in her eyes and said “About 5 years ago, when I was doing some plumbing maintenance, I found a snake in our bathroom.” It seems she has a terrible fear of snakes, to the point she would have moved 5 years ago when he found it. For a split second, from the way she was looking at him, I thought I might be selling them two new homes instead of the one they are closing on Monday, together. I haven’t worked out all the details yet but I may have a new marketing strategy…



Oswald J. Chambers and ‘Biddy’

February 28th, 2016 1 comment

Please read about this man of God. His book, My Utmost for His Highest,  is life changing.)

Oswald J. Chambers (born July 24, 1874 in Aberdeen, Scotland; died November 15, 1917 in Egypt) was a prominent early twentieth century Scottish Protestant Christian minister and teacher, best known as the author of the widely-read devotional My Utmost for His Highest.

Born to devout Baptist parents, Chambers did not plan to go into the ministry. He studied at Kensington Art School and attended the University of Edinburgh, where he studied fine art and archaeology. But while at Edinburgh, he felt called to ministry, and transferred to Dunoon College.

An unusually gifted student, Chambers soon began teaching classes and started a local society dedicated to Robert Browning, his favorite poet.

Chambers travelled the world, stopping in Egypt, Japan and America. It was on one of his trips to America that he met Gertrude Hobbs. In 1910 he was married to Hobbs, whom he affectionately called “Biddy”. On 24 May 1913, Biddy gave birth to their first and only child, Kathleen.

In 1911 he founded and became principal of the Bible Training College in Clapham in London. In 1915, feeling called to the war effort (World War I), Chambers applied and was accepted as a YMCA chaplain.

He announced that the Bible Training College would be suspending operations for the duration of the war. Chambers was assigned to Zeitoun in Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops  who were later part of the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli.

Chambers died November 15, 1917 in Egypt as the result of a ruptured appendix. He suffered the extreme pain of appendicitis  for three days before seeking medical attention, refusing to take a hospital bed needed by wounded soldiers.

While there are more than 30 books that bear his name, he only penned one book, Baffled to Fight Better. His wife, Biddy, was a stenographer and could take dictation at a rate of 150 words per minute. During his time teaching at the Bible College, and at various sites in Egypt, Biddy kept verbatim records of his lessons. She spent the remaining 30 years of her life compiling her records into the bulk of his published works.

(Thank God for the woman beside the man who recorded his words so that you and I can read them today.)

Thanks to Wikipedia Commons for the text and photo

Update on “the fall”

February 28th, 2016 Comments off

 If you read about the fall I took while walking the dog then you know that I have a large bruise on my right knee and leg and that my left hand and arm are sore. The bruises are beginning to  go through the various colors on their way to fading away but I’m still not feeling well. After being in bed for  three days,   I decided to go to a church  activity with one of  the Sunday school classes of adults about my age. It was nice of them to invite me since I do not attend the class.  I was there for two hours but didn’t feel like staying any longer. It appears my internal system has had a shock and needs a little more time to settle down to normal. 

I have been playing backgammon of course. I just want to tell you that I played a guy named Jon  from Iceland.  We played three games before he had to put his kids to bed.  It was 1:30 p.m. Los Angeles time and 9:30 p.m. in Iceland.  Before we ended our last game he wrote that there are a lot of people who play the game that are cheaters, so he enjoyed playing good games with me. I wish I could have asked him how they cheat. I don’t see how they can cheat at the game, but the kids had to go to bed so he had to go. It is unlikely I will run into him again but I wish I could,  he seemed like a nice man. He mentioned that there are only 330,000 Icelandics and he was one.  I Think it is cool that I met him  and had a small exchange. I am constantly amazed by the technology available to us today.  It really is incredible. 

The Logging Industry Gets Ingenuous

February 27th, 2016 1 comment

A  hollowed out log became a mobile office for the Douglas Fir Co.

The hollowed out logs were also used to house and feed the men who did the labor.  How did they hollow out the trees?  Lacking the equipment of today, it could not have been easy.  It was an ingenuous way to use the trees that had been growing for hundreds of years, yet it seems somehow unkind.  Why do I have such sentimental feelings for these trees when I know that we have always harvested trees of every size?  God gave us the trees and the ingenuity to know what to do with them, but these trees, these majestic Redwoods, they just seem to rise too close to God’s heaven to use for our own mundane needs.  

Missing Martha

February 26th, 2016 Comments off

 Martha N.


Today would have been my sister Martha’s 87th birthday.  I used to call her every few days and I miss her cheerful voice, her consistency, and the friendship that was developed between us. When I was small she was a wonderful big sister,  when I outgrew her by few inches I still looked up to her as someone to admire .  I love you Martha, always have and always will. 

#6 John Quincy Adams

February 26th, 2016 Comments off

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)
Sixth President (1825-1829)

John Quincy Adams’s tenure as James Monroe’s secretary of state ranks among the most productive in the history of that office. But his often abrupt and tactless ways were ill-suited for the presidency, and when his nationalistic vision for federally sponsored development of America’s potentials met with hostility in Congress, he was incapable of promoting accommodation. As a result, the accomplishments of his administration were meager indeed.

At the end of his presidency, Adams declared, “the sun of my political life sets in deepest gloom.” In fact, his sun was not even close to setting. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1830, he served there until his death. By then, he had been dubbed “Old Man Eloquent,” and in his prolonged and successful struggle defending the antislavery movement’s right to petition Congress, he had gained a circle of admirers that extended well beyond his Massachusetts constituency.

When Adams sat for this portrait, he doubted that artist George Caleb Bingham could produce “a strong likeness.” But Bingham did just that, and the portrait’s sharp-edged vitality seems to echo Ralph Waldo Emerson’s comment that the aging Adams was “like one of those old cardinals, who as quick as he is chosen Pope, throws away his crutches and his crookedness, and is as straight as a boy.” 

George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)

Oil on canvas, circa 1850 from an 1844 original 
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Quote: Dr. King

February 26th, 2016 Comments off

We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters

and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not My Best Day

February 25th, 2016 Comments off

 When I made my “to do list” yesterday it included going to the dentist for regular check up, but it did not include taking  a fall.  I would say falling on your face is usually something one does not plan.  It happens quickly, without warning.

 One minute I was walking the dog at a very fast pace, working off some of the pent up energy from sitting in a dental chair, the next minute I was pitching forward  on my way to a painful landing. I was stunned, sitting,  trying to get Muneca to come to me. The leash had been jerked from my hand and she was free to run; and as much as she probably wanted to take off, she didn’t.

Assessing the damage, I gave thanks that my nose had not been broken (nor my newly cleaned teeth). I could feel pain in my knee and hand, and decided I  should not try to get up without help. Thankfully I was just down the street and around the corner from my good friend Carol. I gave her a call and she said she would be right there.  A minute later my next-door neighbor John passed by in his car, turned around, and came to lend a  hand. 

By this time my knee had turned a nice blue color and my hand was hurting, but nothing appeared to be broken, only bruised. Before John and Carol helped  me into the car, we noticed that the sidewalk was raised two or 3 inches and no doubt I had tripped over that, landing ever so gracefully I’m sure, on my  right knee and left hand. 

I had become a statistic: Every year at least a third of the elderly take a serious fall.  I was extremely fortunate that I didn’t bash my head or break bones.  I am writing this to caution you to be extra careful,  as I will be in the future. 

When Carol took me home and I applied ice packs, she asked if I needed anything else.  I said, “Yes, please say a prayer for me. ”  Her beautiful prayer was one of giving thanks, that my fall had not been worse, that I was not in the hospital with serious injuries. Thank you Carol. To that I say, “Amen, Lord, Amen.”

Sam and Leo

February 24th, 2016 Comments off

My father in law was Victor Appel, A sound engineer in TV and the movies. He was one of the most interesting people in my life and I miss him. 

His father was Sam Appel, an actor back in silent movie days.   Wikipedia lists just three of the movies that he made. Apparently he never had a starring role. but was a good character actor,  vital to filling out the scene and adding to the flavor of the story wrapped around the ‘star’.

Sam Appel is pictured with a more famous actor, his friend Leo Carrillo.  Most of us know him for playing Pancho in the Cisco Kid series. It was easier to find out more about Leo Carrillo than of Sam Appel, who was not as well known.

In real life Leo Carrillo was a well educated man from a family of prestige in California. He was a preservationist and conservationist, serving on the California Beach and Parks commission for eighteen years.

He played a key role in the state’s acquisition of Hearst Castle at San Simeon, the Los Angeles Arboretum, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He was eventually made a goodwill ambassador by the State Governor at the time.

As a result of his service to the State, theLeo Carrillo State Park, west of Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway,   was named in his honor, and the city of  Westminster, California  named an elementary school for him. The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park originally Rancho de los Qiotes, in Carlsbad, California is a registered California Historical Site.

edited text wikipedia

This image has been downloaded from the website of the U.S. National Park Service at
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