Category Archives: My wise old grandmother

Music on Mondays (10-16-2017)—My “Lost on a desert island” music from 1965

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My Lost On A Desert Island music collection would have 18 songs from 1965 on it, eight of them by The Beatles.

My wise old grandmother adopted me in November 1965, and I arrived at her home on December 18, 1965. My mom’s oldest brother and his family drove me from Brigham City, Utah, where I lived, to Kingsville, Texas—1,524 miles—where my wise old grandmother lived. Four years after my dad’s suicide and the two sides of the family still were at war with each other, so even though my uncle was driving to Kingsville anyway to see his dad, in retrospect I wonder what was going through his mind as he delivered his sister’s child to her dead husband’s mother….

Nonetheless, I have lots of pleasant memories of the music from 1965. Following are all 18. Hope you find one to enjoy or one that brings back some pleasant memories for you this Monday, October 16. Note that there are not any videos on Youtube of original music by The Beatles. They all have been taken down, so even though I might have found a couple for my blog post here, by the time you try to listen to them, they might be gone. You can find various versions for karaoke, live versions, cover versions, etc., if you care to go look for them. I find it odd that every music publishing entity in the world is now providing music videos directly to YouTube under the moniker “Topic” (such as Herman’s Hermits – Topic)…. except Capitol, EMI, Apple Corps, or anyone else holding copyrights to music by The Beatles.

“Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” by Herman’s Hermits

“Down In The Boondocks” by Billie Joe Royal
I didn’t learn until a couple of decades later that
where my wise old grandmother lived in Kingsville
was considered the “wrong side of the tracks.”

“Eve Of Destrution” by Barry McGuire

“Get Off Of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones
Not until 1978 when I started collecting all the #1 albums
and #1 singles from 1955, the start of the rock ‘n’ roll era,
did I give The Rolling Stones a shot. I was a Beatles fan.

“Girl” by The Beatles

“Help” by The Beatles
This was the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100
while I was at the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital
in Ogden, Utah, in the “Troubled Youth” ward.
This is the song that inspired me to reach out
to my wise old grandmother for help.

“I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher

“I’m Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits

“In My Life” by The Beatles
I sang this song in Student Government on Valentine’s Day in 1971
to my girlfriend at the time, Lynda Young.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” by The Turtles

“Michelle” by The Beatles
NO VIDEO FOUND

“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits

“Nowhere Man” by The Beatles
It wasn’t until April 1993 when I “came out” after moving
from College Station, Texas, to San Diego, California,
that I didn’t feel like a Nowhere Man anymore.

“Run For Your Life” by The Beatles
NO VIDEO FOUND

“This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys

“Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles

“You Were On My Mind” by We Five

“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles
This was my favorite song from the movie and album.
In retrospect, I wonder if I knew I was gay
long before I accepted myself being gay.
NO VIDEO FOUND

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The food chain in action

My wise old grandmother

I guess as the ground squirrels and rabbits pass on the rumor that I’m a pretty nice guy, more wildlife seems to be visiting me. Yesterday a beautiful California Scrub Jay came to visit and drink.

California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay

Today, a Greater Roadrunner came to visit. Sadly, the roadrunner found a large Helix Snail that I had saved earlier in the day because it was trying to cross the asphalt street. I picked it up and brought it over to my side of the street. Just a couple of hours later, I watched the roadrunner find the snail, pick it up in its beak, bring it over to the concrete walkway, and bash that snail until the shell broke open, whence the snail became food for the roadrunner.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Reminds me of my wise old grandmother. When wildlife—spiders, lizards, flies—got into her house, she would catch them in a Mason jar and return them to the outside rather than summarily killing them for invading her house. Her reasoning was that they were a viable part of the food chain.

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Music on Mondays (9-4-17)—Banana pancakes for Labor Day!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray     My wise old grandmother

Several years ago I was on hold on the phone, probably to a customer service representative based in India, and instead of elevator music they were playing some song about banana pancakes. I didn’t know who the artist was, but one thing I have learned about pop music is that the title of the song often is sung many times in the song, and with the Internet, it’s possible to Google lyric lines and find both the song and the artist. The song was, indeed, titled “Banana Pancakes,” by Jack Johnson. I had never heard of him but I now have a complete collection of Jack Johnson’s music. Here’s “Banana Pancakes”:

My wise old grandmother used to make pancakes every Sunday morning. I used to cut up bananas, sometimes strawberries, and spread them on the pancakes. That was 55 years ago. Throughout these ensuing decades, I have also made pancakes on Sunday mornings. Holiday mornings, too, quite often.

The problem I have always had is that I couldn’t make consistently good, and beautiful, pancakes. I think I can now state definitively that my problem is that I always had crappy frying pans or griddles, and I was using electric stoves.

For our new home, we bought a Samsung gas range with a griddle. Looks like this:

Samsung gas range

My first attempt at cooking pancakes on that thing was a huge success. Wondering if it was just luck, I tried again this morning. Success again! The most beautiful and consistent pancakes ever!

Banana pancakes

The griddle is quite heavy. My wise old grandmother’s griddle was cast iron, and I always was the one who had the privilege of washing and drying that thing. I hated it. I don’t know whether or not this griddle is cast iron because it definitely is non-stick. I don’t remember my wise old grandmother’s being non-stick; she always melted real butter in the griddle to keep the pancakes from sticking. Nonetheless, I’m pretty happy.

I always celebrate success and happiness with a margarita….

Got margarita?

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Opinion—Religion, the bane of humanity, and women specifically

Opinion

Unknown purple flowers, Ramona GrasslandsBack in 1966 I got into a discussion with my wise old grandmother about why she didn’t work. That was the wrong discussion to have with her. She worked. A lot.

She cleaned the house, including the bathtubs, sinks, and toilets; made the beds; vacuumed the carpets; mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors; dusted and Lemon-Pledge-d the furniture; removed, cleaned, and re-hung the curtains; cleaned the windows, both inside and outside; washed the clothes; hung the clothes out to dry; watered the lawn and the gardens; mowed the lawn; fertilized the lawn and flowers; removed crabgrass and weeds from the lawn and flowerbeds; pruned the trees and bushes; shopped for groceries; took me shopping for clothes and school supplies; replaced burned out light bulbs; washed, dried, and waxed the car; did oil changes for the car; cleaned the garage.

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosProbably more stuff that I’m forgetting.

Of course, once I arrived on the scene, I got to do a lot of that stuff. There’s a reason why I’m into xeriscape, succulent, and cactus landscaping. I never enjoyed mowing the lawn, pruning the trees, or removing crabgrass and weeds.

I also have discovered that there are people who enjoy doing the stuff that I don’t, so I don’t do oil changes, don’t rotate tires, don’t wash/dry/wax the car. That stuff gets done, just not by me.

Succulent flowersMy discussion with my wise old grandmother that day got me interested in gender-specific roles in our households and how one gender was seen as the breadwinner and the other gender seemed to be taken for granted.

My wise old grandmother never complained. She had only a first-grade education because, when her dad died, she had to drop out of school and help in the fields and around the house. She brought the crop in from the fields; fed the cattle, pigs, and chickens; gathered the eggs; milked the cows. That was the era she lived in, but she realized that what she did around the house had value to the family even if she was not directly paid for her work.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaThings have changed some in the past hundred years, and even though women have joined the work force and can be doctors, managers, politicians, and so much more, there still is a gender pay gap in society. That doesn’t mean that every woman is paid less than every man, but that the average woman is paid less than the average man doing the same job.

I submit that there is an inherent, unrecognized psychological reason for that. Moms’ gender seems to be a subset of the men. To wit:

Man – Woman

Male – Female

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaWhen the two genders get married, the man gets to keep his last name while the woman gives up her last name and takes the last name of the man. What’s with that?

I even know two gay couples—one male couple and one female couple—who, when they got married, one gave up the last name and took the last name of the other. Jim & I got married on October 30, 2008. Neither of us considered taking the other’s last name. We were simply two guys who got married. Giving up your last name just because you signed a contract to take care of each other till death do you part makes no sense to me, especially with the prevalence of divorce in today’s world.

Tiny flowers at Ramona Grasslands, Ramona, CaliforniaWhen it comes to the collective, there isn’t any pretense.

Humanity, not huwomanity.

Mankind, not huwomankind.

Son and daughter seems to be the only place where the two genders are recognized as being separate, but if the gender is not known, then it becomes person, not perdaughter.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, CaliforniaI think that the gender pay gap will always exist as long as society sees women as less then men, and society will see that as long as the words we use indicate that women are, indeed, less then men, and as long as religion teaches that women are less then men.

So maybe women as a collective should come up with a new word to describe themselves. Perhaps feperwo? Sounds too weird, too strange, too different, but maybe that’s exactly what’s needed to make a clean break.

Unknown flowerI also anticipate that there will be about half the feperwos who want to be seen as a subset of their man, as a possession of their man, probably due to religion, again, since it teaches that a woman should be submissive to her man, that women should not teach or speak or have authority over men
(1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. Note that both books are in the New Testament which supposedly superseded the Old Testament!), etc., nothing will change.

Succulent orange flowerIn doing research for this blog post, I found a very disturbing site online titled “10 Bible reasons why a wife must submit to her husband regardless of culture.” An introduction to the list states, “Culture has never been a factor as to whether a woman must submit to her husband in the Bible. Modern times of woman’s liberation are irrelevant. God gives us His reasons why women must submit to her husband.”

  1. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation order: Man was created first, woman second. “For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve.”
    1 Timothy 2:13
  2. Creation origin: Man and all creation was created by God directly out of dust, whereas woman was created through the man’s rib. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
    “Woman is the only creature not made from dust. Woman derives her origin from Man.”The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22
    “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man.”
    1 Corinthians 11:8
  3. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation purpose: Woman created for man: “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” 1 Corinthians 11:9
  4. Man named woman: Adam named the animals and was to rule over them. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2:19
    Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:28
    When Eve was brought to Adam, he named her, showing he was to rule over woman as well. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ ” Genesis 2:23
  5. sunflower faa stampDelegation principle: God commanded directly to Adam alone. The prohibition to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was made directly by God to Adam. Adam, in turn relayed what God said to Eve. Eve had not yet been created when God told Adam about the forbidden tree. Eve never actually heard God say this direct, but had to trust Adam’s word on the matter. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:16-18
  6. Unknown flowerWoman sinned first: The devil tempted Eve and she, not the man, was first deceived. Because of this, man put Eve under the headship of Adam. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14
    “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [not only does the serpent talk, but it is personified with the pronoun “he”] said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?’ ” Genesis 3:1
  7. AloeGod rebuked Adam first after they ate the forbidden fruit: Although Eve was the logical person for God to rebuke first, God went to Adam, showing that God considered Adam the “head of the family” for both. “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
  8. Man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man: “For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7
  9. Paul pointed Christians to the Mosaic Law that was 1500 [years] earlier and a different culture: 1 Corinthians 14:34
  10. Peter pointed Christians to Sarah, 2000 years earlier and a very different culture: 1 Peter 3:5-6.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosI grew up Catholic and Mormon, but I have no religion in my life now. I have found that religion is not necessary for me to be a productive member of society; a kind and generous individual; a caring individual; a reasonable, logical, and thinking individual.

I don’t know what #9 and #10 mean, and I’m not willing to find out. I have had enough religion in this one post to last me for the rest of my life because I find it silly to worship an imaginary being in the sky who causes or doesn’t stop hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, cancer…… on and on. If there is a God, s/he is going to have to beg me for forgiveness, or I’ll be happy to go straight to hell.

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From my wise old grandmother: “Practice makes perfect!”

My wise old grandmother

Many decades ago when I was still a teenager and wondering what my place was in the world, Philippe Petit (b. 1949) was walking a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City….. 1,350 feet above the ground…. August 7, 1974. He did it 8 times in 45 minutes.

I thought to myself, “How do you practice for that?”

Well, yesterday, I found the new generation of high wire artists practicing their craft:

Mission Bay, San Diego CA

Mission Bay, San Diego CA So.

There ya go.

You can practice, which is good, because as my wise old grandmother always told me when I was practicing the violin:

“Practice makes perfect!”

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Do not throw things away! There is no away!

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother was the champion of re-purposing. She regularly tell us not to throw something away before she had a chance to examine it. Her motto: “Do not throw things away! There is no away!”

Tin cans became holders for pins, needles, bobby pins, paper clips, buttons, spools of thread. Glass jars, too.

Anything that needed refrigeration came in Mason jars. Once those jars were empty, granddad would drill two holes in the lid, attach it to the underside of a shelf in the garage using two screws, and then screw the jar onto the lid. His jars contained nails, screws of every shape and size, washers and nuts to fit all those screws, bolts, wire….

Re-purposing didn’t end with the small stuff. One weekend granddad replaced the bathroom toilet and bathtub with modern ones. Both the toilet and the old claw-foot bathtub got re-purposed as outdoor container gardens.

Recently I was walking around an older San Diego neighborhood when I came across a re-purposed claw-foot bathtub, just like my wise old grandmother would have done it:

Re-purposed claw-foot bathtub

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Add laughter to each and every day

My wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day, “even if it includes laughing at yourself.” I always have tried to do that, and although I have no problem laughing at some of my antics, other people and their antics often put me to shame.

One of the weekly tabloids here in San Diego, The San Diego Reader, has a column titled “News of the Weird.” It never fails to make me laugh. Following are some of the snippets from the past couple of years that I haven’t shared before.

  1. When you don’t have anything else to do, complain.
    Steve Crow from right here in San Diego revealed that he complained 20,068 times in 2016, all about the same thing, noise from the San Diego International Airport which is close to his home, and to the same agency, the City of San Diego. He said that he had “given up.”
    I don’t know when Steve bought his home, but for about the last twenty years real estate disclosures in the area where he lives have included airport noise. Sadly, too many people don’t read those real estate transfer disclosures.
  2. Don’t piss off your relatives lest your legacy be a little less than desired.
    According to the obituary of Leslie Charping of Galveston TX, he lived “much longer than he deserved” and his life “served no obvious purpose.” The obituary went on to reference his “bad parenting” and his “being generally offensive,” closing with this gem: “Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die.”
  3. Make sure you give 30 days notice.
    Dennis Hanel died in January. His family was informed by Seattle’s Real Estate Services rental agency that his security deposit would not be returned because Hanel had not provided the 30 days notice of termination that was required by his lease. The State of Washington only requires that landlords provide an explanation of why they are not returning deposits.
  4. I want to move to France.
    Thirty-five train stations in France not have kiosks dispensing short stories and poetry to pass the time. Free! Reading materials come in reading times of 1, 3, or 5 minutes.
  5. Read the fine print!
    Jamie Richardson of Canada had pet insurance for her 7-year-old dog so she filed a claim when her dog torn a ligament in a hind leg. Petsecure, Canada’s largest pet insurer declined to pay because the policy didn’t cover dog injuries from “jumping, running, slipping, tripping or playing.” In other words, being a dog was not covered.
    After adverse publicity, Petsecure did pay up.
  6. Practice, practice, practice.
    The high school in Camden CT was placed in lockdown in December 2016 because a senior student was seen running zig-zag through the hallways, swinging his arms and leaping into the air. Police were able to determine that the senior was simply practicing his basketball moves, including dunking the basketball.
  7. Thieving cat.
    Aldeburgh Golf Club in England had to introduce a special rule allowing a no-stroke ball drop for players who had their balls stolen on the 14th fairway by Peter Bryson’s cat Merlin. Reports are that Merlin was successful in making an average of six balls disappear each day.
  8. Justice served?
    Gary Durham of Plant City FL was killed in a road-rage incidence in August 2016. Mr. Durham had spent 10 years in prison for causing the death of another driver in a road-rage incident in 2001.
  9. Language is fluid.
    The New York Times Style Book now accepts the word “farting” in formal copy.
  10. Once might not be enough.
    Mauricio Morales-Caceres, 24, was sentenced to life in prison in Maryland after being convicted of fatally stabbing his friend…. 89 times.
    With friends like him, you don’t need enemies.
  11. Priorities.
    Police in Broome, Australia, stopped a man whose several children, including an infant, were unrestrained in his car. Apparently there was no room since cartons of beer were buckled into all the car seats.
  12. Do not discriminate.
    Right here in San Diego, the City issued a new communications style book for city workers. In an attempt to avoid gender discrimination, one directive stated that America’s “Founding Fathers” should be referred to only as “Founders.”
    Yep, that will help.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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