Saturday, February 17, 2018

Influenza


Both of Maria's parents have the flu.

So far, neither of us has any symptoms.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Back in print


I pretty much owned the front page of The Lebanon Reporter this morning with three photos from last Saturday night's chili cook-off at the Sugar Creek Art Center in Thorntown.

I had another two photos on the back page.

Maria and I covered the event. She did the words and got the names of people in front of my camera and I shot the art. It feels good to be back in the game, however tenuously.

Maria has been assistant editor of the paper for a couple of months.

Working on having an all-LED house


I'm reducing our home's use of electricity by replacing all of our conventional light bulbs with LEDs.

So far I've replaced 31 bulbs, including seven 65 watt flood lights in the kitchen and I have another 8 to go. In most cases, the LEDs are brighter than the incandescent bulbs they replaced.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Godspeed, Doreen


I just discovered that my friend Doreen Tracey died on Jan. 10 of pneumonia, ending a two-year battle with cancer.

We hadn't spoken for a couple of years and I was about to email her when I did a Google search today and learned of her passing.

For those of us lucky enough to have memories of the 1950s, the name “Doreen” has a special significance. Doreen Isabell Tracey was an original cast member of the Mickey Mouse Club.

Doreen spent her entire life in the entertainment industry.

She was born April 13, 1943 to Sid and Bessie Tracey. The Traceys were vaudevillians entertaining the troops in England and Doreen was born in London.

The family returned to the States when she was four and moved to Hollywood, where Sid and vaudeville friend Ben Blue opened a place called Slappy Maxie on Wilshire Boulevard.

In a move that would shape his young daughter's life, Sid also opened the Rainbow Dance Studio.

Growing up as a normal American little girl, Doreen had the advantage of an extended show business “family.” Her “Uncle Ben” Blue was a prominent fixture in her life and she lived with him for a time when her mother was hospitalized with tuberculosis and her father struggled to keep his business afloat. Jimmy Durante seized upon her childhood name of “Do-Do” and delighted in embarrassing her by announcing, “Look who's here – it's Sid's little DoDo bird!”

She was an only child, and her best buddy was her cat, Sylvester.

Doreen was answering the phone at the Rainbow Studios that fateful day when the call came from Lee Travers at Walt Disney Studios in early 1955 announcing the search for talented kids for the pilot of the Mickey Mouse Club.
She sang “Cross Over the Bridge” in a Little Bo-Peep costume for the initial audition in March.

As one of the original Mouseketeers, Doreen remained with the show through its entire run.

After the Mickey Mouse Club ended, Doreen went to John Burroughs High School in Burbank where she fell in love with Robert Washburn. The two eloped to Tijuana and, a short time later, Doreen found herself pregnant with a son, Bradley Allen Washburn. The marriage was short-lived and Doreen soon became a single mother.

During the 1960s, she performed with the Andressi Brothers in Las Vegas and elsewhere and appeared on episodes of My Three Sons, Donna Reed and Day in Court.

She also toured Alaska and Vietnam with the USO. Her recollections of Vietnam landed her a job as a consultant on the film "Apocalypse Now!" where she contributed elements of the surfing-under-fire sequence.

Doreen fell out of grace with Walt Disney Studios in the mid-1970s when she did two nude photo layouts for Gallery magazine.

That's when I first made her acquaintance. About the same time as the first Gallery layout, writer Jerry Bowles published a where-are-they-now book about the Mouseketeers called Forever Hold Your Banner High. A press kit turned up on my desk at The Indianapolis News one day with a mail-back postcard to request phone interviews with Doreen and/or Jerry Bowles. I checked both boxes and, about a week later, found myself chatting with Doreen. We hit it off and have kept in touch ever since.

Since the Gallery flap, Doreen and the studios have been reconciled.

Doreen lived in Simi Valley with her son.

In an email exchange in April, 2013, she related that this has been a particularly stressful period with the passing of fellow Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, friend Jonathan Winters and ballerina Maria Tallchief.

“She practiced with the Ballet Russ de Monte Carlo company, as Mr. Balanchine gave instructions to his troupe. He never spoken above a whisper to his beautiful swans. The rehearsals were at Sid's dance studio. I watched in wonder at her dedication. Although, I never achieved the perfection of Ms. Tallchief, she did inspire this lonely little girl to become a good enough dancer to get by.”

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Thanks, Rush!


Thank you, Rush Limbaugh, for recommending Blindster.com for custom-made window blinds!

Our big old (1903) house has nearly 30 windows and we sometimes felt like we were living in a fishbowl, especially in the bathrooms.

Over the past couple of months I've ordered 2" faux wood blinds for seven windows at a cost of $270.67 from Blindster.com at discounts ranging from 45% to 50%. All were exactly as ordered and fit perfectly, including the one in the photo which was installed in a walk-in bedroom closet.

Without the discount, they would have cost me more than $500, so I feel like I got away with something.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Done


I finally got a new Indiana title and Indiana plate for the Subaru. I worried that the fact that Arkansas plated the car, but never issued an Arkansas title, would cause huge problems.

But it didn't and I was in and out of the license branch in Lebanon in less than 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Trickster Euchre


Euchre is, arguably, Indiana's official card game.

It's played in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, maybe Kentucky and in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

But it seems to be unknown in the South. When we lived in Arkansas, the only way we could get up a euchre game was to import Hoosiers or try to teach it to the locals.

These day when I have some time on my hands and a computer (or my phone) handy, I fire up the Trickster Euchre app where I can play against other people.

My name in the game is olioscourge. Say hi if you see me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Exorcising the demons


More than anything else, last night's State of the Union address struck me as an exorcism.

The demonic Democrats were obviously intensely uncomfortable. Illinois Congressman Gutierrez even had to flee the chamber when people started changing "USA, USA."

I truly believe those people are under a Satanic influence and are bent on destroying everything good and righteous in the country.