Friday, March 5, 2021

March Came In Like A Lion...


...well, not THAT lion...more like this one:

Cold and windy, with a few snow showers...but then it moderated nicely...guess we'll see how it leaves.

The good news is it will leave, and hopefully it will be quick about it.

I've said before it's one of the two ugliest months of the year...patches of dirty snow, biting winds, barren trees.

Unpleasant...but it does have 4 things going for it:

1. It's not February...

...the armpit of winter up here in Michigan.

2. The time change, when we spring forward...

...and enjoy daylight later into the evening.

3. St. Patrick's Day...

you expected to see a leprechaun, didn't you?

...a time to avoid green beer but enjoy Tullamore DEW (Jameson's will do in a pinch).

4. Blessed Spring...

life is better down that old dirt road...

...the harbinger, if not the actual deliverer, of good weather and delightful outdoor living again.

So Welcome,'s nice to see you!

Just don't let the door hit you in the backside on your way out.

Our latest binge...

...Foyle's War, a British drama set in 1940's England during WWII.

It follows Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen, center) as he deals with local crimes, primarily murder.

Foyle doesn't drive and thus has a chauffeur, Samantha Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks).

His able assistant is Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell).

As with many British dramas, it's very well done, period correct and thought provoking.

While we anxiously await the arrival of outdoor weather, Foyle's War is providing pleasant evenings of quality entertainment.

Several cuts above the usual network drivel, this is well worth a look.

This... my back yard...and as the snow continues to melt and temps head into the 50's over the next few days, guess what I'm going to do?

If you said "swing your hickories!" please award yourself... be used however you like.

Can't wait...

As you race for the exit, please remember to stay 6 of these...

...apart from each other, and don't forget to wear your mask... all times to please our ignorant fascist overlords.

While you're trying to figure that out, here are a few parting shots...

mr. cardinal in a tangle of branches

no idea what's happening here

lake michigan near douglas

guess who woke up from a long winter's nap?

cozy fire in our bedroom

Was forcefully reminded recently that Life has its unexpected ups and downs, and often they are tightly intertwined...and so I leave you with this thought:

later, mcm fans...

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Friday, February 26, 2021

We've Gone From This... this... less than 5 days.

Hard to believe, but Winter's icy grip was vitiated this week.

We enjoyed almost Spring like conditions, with glorious sunshine and temps in the 40's...lots of snow melt and the promise of better weather ahead.

Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Alaska might squawk but you get the idea

Not kidding myself; winter will rearm and fight back in the days ahead, but as jazz trombonist Kai Winding...

...opined musically, Time Is On My Side...

22 days til Spring.

Recently had an interesting discussion with the Lady Of The Manor...

...who informed me my Austin Cox chess set from 1962 really should be displayed prominently since it's so classically mid century modern...

Thinking  back to a previous conversation we had about this very subject (STORMAGEDDON) at which time a very different sentiment was expressed, I wisely decided to nod thoughtfully and quietly acquiesce.

It is a beautiful set...

...made by the Alcoa company as "executive" gifts for clients.

Working my way through "Helmet For My Pillow" by Robert Leckie...

...and it is a very different read from Sledgehammer's "With The Old Breed".

For one, Leckie is a writer, even a poet - his prose is descriptive and lyrical, as when, in the middle of pitched battle, he almost stepped on a detached human hand:

"It lay there alone - open, palm upwards, clean, capable, solitary.  I could not tear my eyes from it.  The hand is the artisan of the soul.  It is the second member of the human trinity of head and hand and heart.  A man has no faculty more human than his hand, none more beautiful nor expressive nor productive.  To see this hand lying alone, as though contemptuously cast aside, no longer a part of a man, no longer his help, was to see war in all its wantonness; it was to see the especially brutal savagery of our own technique of rending, and it was to see men at their eternal worst, turning upon one another, tearing one another, clawing at their own innards with the maniacal fury of the pride-possessed."

But beyond this, his book is more of a personal and philosophical memoir of his war, not the war; and of the men with whom he served...their deeds and misdeeds, their feelings and emotions and fear and heroism...than it is a strict accounting of where they went, who they saw, what they did.

It's an easier read than Sledgehammer's brutal, unrelenting recounting of the horror and filth, carnage and waste of life.

It's human in the midst of unthinkable inhumanity.

So...which book is "better"?

Neither, mainly because they are so different, yet complementary.

These two tomes should be required reading for all Americans, companion accounts that every citizen of this country should read to understand and appreciate just how costly our freedoms really are.

Neither man wrote their book to elicit thanks for their service.

For Sledgehammer, you get the sense it was therapy, a necessary catharsis to exorcise demons from his past.

I suspect Leckie wrote simply because he had to - a writer in the truest sense, he was no doubt compelled to get this story out of himself and into the open where it belonged.

In both cases, the appropriate response to their important efforts should be that of overwhelming gratitude - for our freedom due to their awful sacrifice.

You owe it to yourself to read these books.

Heard from Mandy at The Retro Revival our Philco V-handle is now in the "burn in" phase...

...and holding inside temp at 30 degrees with freezer temp at 0 degrees.

They're going to adjust the refrigerator temp up a few degrees, let it run for a couple more days to be sure all is well, and then ship it here.

I'm glad they're being meticulous about this last phase, ensuring its reliability, because it will be our main refrigerator.

There's a common misconception these old appliances were power hogs and today's breed are far more energy efficient.

Why, today's appliances even have their own special symbol from that paragon of governmental integrity, the EPA:

That would be pretty cool if it wasn't mostly advertising puffery (read: bull guano, and note: you do NOT want to step in a pile of bull guano).

Homes back in the day didn't have 100 or 200 amp service as they do now; electricity was expensive and they made do most of the time with 60 amp service (or less...before 1950, 30 amp service was common).

As Mandy informed me, these old manual defrost refrigerators only pulled 2 to 3 amps; ones with mullion heaters to help keep frost from forming in the freezer compartments pulled a little more.

So how many amps do today's "energy efficient" refrigerators use?

Brace yourself: anywhere from 12 to 20.

Granted, today's refrigerators are bigger, but then so are most Americans...and this is one case where bigger is not necessarily better.

In any event, we're excited about finally getting our beautiful - and energy efficient! - Philco V-handle refrigerator.

Exactly how excited are we??

'Bout that much.

Ok, I promise I'll give this one a rest (for a little while).

We've now arrived that part of our journey where it's time to...

...for a quick jaunt through the parting shots department...

c'mon it already!

human nature 101:  when the homeowner's association decrees garbage cans visible from the street will be subject to a fine.

feeding time at the OK corral

sure glad she's not sleeping in my underwear basket...oh...wait...

everyone loves tax time

As we bid February a fond farewell, we give thanks as always for small blessings...'s a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

later, mcm fans...

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Happy To Report...

...this gorgeous stove now has a home...but not our home.

I posted on the GE Monitor Top Forum about this monitor top refrigerator from the 1930's...

...and mentioned the stove sitting next to it at the same time.

Turns out the administrator of the forum had just purchased a monitor top refrigerator like the one above, but he was interested in the stove.

He contacted the thrift shop, made an offer for that beauteous beast from 1927, and they accepted.

Now it has to find its way down to Missouri where he lives.  I did offer to help him move it when he drives up here to get it.

In any event, a glorious relic of the past will live again.

How cool is that?

Speaking of stoves from the 1920's...'s one Karen and I would like to own, but it belongs in a different home than ours.  Love all that green and white enamel, along with the art deco styling.

If we do ever sell our home and move into something from the 20's / 30's, that's the stove we want, and this... the refrigerator.

Some day, perhaps...

Been plowing through E.B. "Sledgehammer" Sledge's riveting account...

...of his WWII service with the Marines as they fought their way across two Pacific islands: Peleliu and Okinawa.

I can only take it in small doses since the contents are beyond sobering.

The author's intent is to inform rather than shock; his account is absent hyperbole and without pretense.

However, if you can read his straightforward retelling of these events without being shocked by the horrific, surreal existence he and his mates experienced day after terror filled day...

...well, there's something broken in your being, some essential element of humanity missing from your emotional makeup.

Experts have suggested the typical American child will witness 16,000 murders on TV by age 18.

These marines endured an environment where violent death - often in hand to hand combat - far exceeded those staggering numbers over the course of a few months.

And unlike TV, their world was all too real, accompanied not only by the sickening sights and sounds of bloodshed, but also by unbearable heat and the constant, fetid stench of rotting corpses and human waste.

We are free, but only because better men paid an inhuman price in our stead.

Next up, Helmet For My Pillow by Robert Leckie.

Winter continues unabated 'round these parts...

our whipped cream courtyard...

...and our snowy back patio

...but we did spot this robin red breast recently...a hopeful sign?

I'm sure he's anxious for Spring, same as we are.

29 days and counting...

Sadly, it is time once again for you to skulk out the back door, but due to our indefatigable generosity, we here at the Atomic Monster Cafe...

I'm the good looking one

...are fine with you shortcutting through the parting shots department as long as you don't steal anything...

who doesn't need new zest added to their life?  besides, I just like this ad

#4 son and family camp by the lake where this massive sturgeon was caught...his kids say they're not swimming in that lake anymore

might be time to retire this sign

1940's "I Love Lucy" desk phone

refrigerator scientists, hard at work

words fail me

As I close this entry it's snowing again...fluffy white flakes cascading earthward in the frozen February air while blue green fir trees silently stand guard.

Ol' Man Winter may be laughing now...

...but the good money is still on glorious spring...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on!

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