Thursday, December 20, 2007

Albert And The Lion

This is a wonderful monologue written by and old English actor named Marriott Edgar.

Mr. Edgar spoke it in a northern English accent. His comedy partner Stanley Holloway perhaps became more famous for reciting the bit. Holloway is best known for his role in the classic film My Fair Lady. So here is the epic of young Albert and his trip to the Zoo.

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool, That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom , Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was young Albert, All dressed in his best;quite a swell,
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle, The finest that Woolworth's could sell.

They didn't think much to the Ocean: The waves, they was fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded, Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.
So, seeking for further amusement, They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they'd Lions and Tigers and Camels, And old ale and sandwiches too.

There were one great big Lion called Wallace; His nose were all covered with scars,
He lay in a somnolent posture, With the side of his face on the bars.
Now Albert had heard about Lions, How they was ferocious and wild,
To see Wallace lying so peaceful, Well, it didn't seem right to the child.

So straightway the brave little feller, Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its 'orses 'ead 'andle And pushed it in Wallace's ear.
You could see that the Lion didn't like it, For giving a kind of a roll, He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im, And swallowed the little lad 'ole.

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence, And didn't know what to do next,
Said " Mother! Yon Lion's 'et Albert," And Mother said " EEEEE, I am vexed!"
Then Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom, Quite rightly, when all's said and done,
Complained to the Animal Keeper, That the Lion had eaten their son.

The keeper was quite nice about it; He said " What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it's your boy he's eaten ? " Pa said "Am I sure ? There's his cap! "
The manager had to be sent for. He came and he said " What's to do ? "
Pa said " Yon Lion's 'et Albert, And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too."

Then Mother said, " Right's right, young feller; I think it's a shame and a sin,
For a lion to go and eat Albert, And after we've paid to come in."
Then off they went to the Police Station, In front of the Magistrate chap;
They told 'im what happened to Albert, And proved it by showing his cap.

The manager wanted no trouble, He took out his purse right away,
Saying " How much to settle the matter ? " Pa said " What do you usually pay?"
But Mother had turned a bit awkward, When she thought where her Albert had gone.
She said " No ! someone's got to be summonsed", So that was decided upon.

The Magistrate gave his opinion That no one was really to blame,
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms , Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing, " And thank you, sir, kindly," said she.
" What, waste all our lives raising children, To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!"


You've 'eard 'ow young Albert Ramsbottom, In the Zoo up at Blackpool one year,
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle, Gave a lion a poke in the ear.
The name of the lion was Wallace, The poke in the ear made 'im wild ;
And before you could say " Bob's your Uncle," 'E'd up and 'e'd swallered the child.

'E were sorry the moment 'e'd done it, With children 'e'd always been chums,
And besides, 'e'd no teeth in 'is noddle, And 'e couldn't chew Albert on t' gums.
'E could feel the lad moving inside 'im, As 'e lay on 'is bed of dried ferns,
And it might 'ave been little lad's birthday, 'E wished 'im such 'appy returns.

But Albert kept kicking and fighting, Till Wallace arose feeling bad,
And felt it were time that 'e started to stage A come-back for the lad.
So with 'is 'ead down in a corner, On 'is front paws 'e started to walk,
And 'e coughed and 'e sneezed and 'e gargled, Till Albert shot out like a cork.

Old Wallace felt better direc'ly, And 'is figure once more became lean,
But the only difference with Albert Was 'is face and 'is 'ands were quite clean.
Meanwhile Mister and Missus Ramsbottom 'Ad gone 'ome to tea feeling blue ;
Ma says " I feel down in the mouth like," Pa says " Aye! I bet Albert does too."

Said Ma " It just goes for to show yer That the future is never revealed,
If I thought we was going to lose 'im I'd 'ave not 'ad 'is boots soled and 'eeled."
" Let's look on the bright side," said Father, " What can't be 'elped must be endured,
Every cloud 'as a silvery lining, And we did 'ave young Albert insured."

A knock at the door came that moment As Father these kind words did speak,
'Twas the man from t' Prudential, E'd called for their " tuppence per person per week."
When Father saw who 'ad been knocking, 'E laughed and 'e kept laughing so,
That the young man said " What's there to laugh at ?" Pa said " You'll laugh an' all when you know."

" Excuse 'im for laughing," said Mother, " But really things 'appen so strange,
Our Albert's been ate by a lion, You've got to pay us for a change."
Said the young feller from the Prudential, " Now, come come, let's understand this,
You don't mean to say that you've lost'im?" Ma says " Oh, no ! we know where 'e is."

When the young man 'ad 'eard all the details, A bag from 'is pocket he drew,
And 'e paid them, with int'rest and bonus, The sum of nine pounds four and two.
Pa 'ad scarce got 'is 'and on the money When a face at the window they see,
And Mother says " Eeh ! look, it's Albert," And Father says " Aye, it would be."

Young Albert came in all excited, And started 'is story to give,
And Pa says " I'll never trust lions again, Not as long as I live."
The young feller from the Prudential To pick up the money began,
And Father says " Eeh ! just a moment, Don't be in a hurry, young man."

Then giving young Albert a shilling, He said " Pop off back to the Zoo.
'Ere's yer stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle, Go and see what the Tigers can do
! "

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A German's View On Islam

My area of the world at one time was a large settling place for citizens of the Deutshland that immigrated to the New World to start their live's anew. Jews, Protestants and Catholic all arrived for various reasons and settled in Cincinnati and the surrounding suburbs.

I still am familiar with folks that return to Germany once a year to visit their kin. Here is a view from an older German regarding the current state of the world.

The fellow whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

"Very few people were true Nazis" he said, "but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march.

It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.

It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.

It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque.

It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.

The hard quantifiable fact is that the "peaceful majority", "the 'silent majority," is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists (Karl Marx and assoc.) were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving?"

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

The Hollywood Left would lead us to believe the Islamic revolt in Iraq and Afghanistan is another Viet Nam. That we are only fighting for control of oil. They are hoping that President Bush is Nixon. They are longing for those old days of protests and civil disobediance. They are clueless. The current war, the current situation has everything to do with religious fanaticism, the oppresion of all who do not follow Islam and the forcing of Islamic rule on the world.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. This is really why our troops are overseas protecting our shores.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Worst Boss

When I was 18 years old I went to work at a hospital. I had applied at several large institutions and the best choice was at The Jewish Hospital. I was offered a job as an orderly. Little did I know that in order to get this job I would have to have my self esteem and will trampled flat and taken out for trash day.

It was 1971 when I was introduced to Joan Meachem.

Joan was fifty-ish, her stature was small and it was held together by tight-fitting undergarments that made her look like she had a suit of armor under her white nurses uniform. She was firm in the right places, but bulged from the wrong places. She had to be very uncomfortable. Did I mention this was 1971?

Joan was a registered nurse that had been a graduate of The Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. She like to remind you of this and did so three or four times a day.

There were five young men in the class and most of us needed the job. So as we learned to make up beds with hospital corners, take blood glucose readings and bath old men we put up with her intimidation tactics, her military-like evaluation and her over-the-top seriousness of the most mundane subject.

I graduated after the four week course and went on to be assigned to the Extended Care Unit, where my self-esteem completely disapated and my psyche erroded. It was there that I learned, as Dr. Suess put it, old age is not for sissies.

After a year plus of working as an orderly, there was an offer to apply for a position as an Operating Room Technician. The pay was at a higher level. The work did not entail wiping butts or lifting large unresponsive people in and out of bed. I took the test, passed it and was on my way to the class which was led by none other than Joan Meachem.

The course was to be a six month preparation with hands on training. After it was over we would be prepared to take the national certification course. Joan was in her glory.

She had fifteen brave souls that were locked in a hospital training room under her thumb for 8 hours on a daily basis. This was not simple, make the bed, bath the patient, feed the patient chores. We would be assisting doctors by passing instruments, holding retractors and setting up operating rooms. We also had to study anatomy and physiology, know what medications were commonly used during procedures, learn about sterilizing instruments and maintaining operating room protocol. We also had to learn about different types of surgeries and what would be expected to happen during the procedure.

Joan made it a point to note that her training method was diadactic training. In other words, she read from the book, we listened. As a bonus feature she used all of her training in intimidation techniques and psyche breakdown. Although there were no thumbscrews, racks or waterboarding, none-the-less spending 8 hours a day with her was cruel and unusual mental torture.

We were continually evaluated by her and her cronies in so-called "private" conversations that were meant to be heard by the class. Occasionally one of the members would not be at class and we would be told they had been dismissed due to their bad attitude. In other words, they spoke up or did not cow-tow to her mental cruelty and were shown the exit door.

I need to let you know that The Jewish Hospital was a wonderful facility. It still is, although it has moved to a new location. The quality of care was excellent and the staff was supberb. However at the time, the Nursing department was run by a clique of ladies that called the shots. Joan was second in command and her best friend was the head of nursing. One time Joan had the head of nursing's son fired and the two women still remained friends. These were ladies that had a tighter bond than the Skull and Bones society.

Joan's dower demeanor gave way to her only pleasure, smoking cigarretes, which she consumed by the carton on a daily basis. During my tenure, this habit caught up with her as she had to have a lobe of her right lung removed. I recall that during our physiology training she showed us a cigarette burn on her left hand. This was as a demonstration of wound healing. Her burn was two weeks old and would be totally healed in another two. None of us wanted any show and tell.

It is hard to believe it was over thirty-five years since I worked as a certified operating room technician. Yes, I did pass the national board despite Miss Meachem' training. Joan's six month course turned into a one year course. My remaining classmates and I caught on shortly into the course that Joan Meachem never had any training in an operating room and her diadactical approach to teaching was not fooling anyone. Eventually someone higher up ordered her to end the class and make appointments for us to take the certification.

Teaching methods and employee retention have advance to a science. But I am sure there continue to be examples of Miss Meachem throughout nursing and many other businesses. Bless her heart, Joan Meachem will always stand out as an example of mental cruelty and how not to teach.

I hold no resentment toward her or her memory. This era is a part of my life story and it bears telling.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2008

It's Thanksgiving Day 2007. For the past week we have articles in the news about Black Friday. We have been immersed in radio, TV and print media advertisements that let us know we no longer have to wait until Friday to save 30 to 50% on our shopping for Christmas. We can hurry through eating our Turkey and candied yams and get off our candy butts to hurry off to Wal-Marts and shop today. They are opened. So is K-Mart, Meiers, Kohls, Sears and all the grocery stores and fast food joints. J. C. Pennys is opening up at 4 am on Friday with door-buster savings!

When I was 17, my father purchased a convenience store. This was in 1970. During this historical era all businesses were closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. This was out of respect for God and for employee's families.

In 1970 God and families were of paramount importance. However one of the bylaws of my Dad's new business was it needed to be opened 7 days a week, 365 days a year, no matter what. Christmas and Thanksgiving Day sales were sometimes four or five times more than average daily sales. It made sense as there was no competition. I hated it. My family hated it. My Dad hated it. The employees at the store hated it. But the customers loved being able to buy last minute items they had forgotten.

As the years rolled on, other businesses discovered this secret. Ah' yes, Scrooge be praised!

Money was to be made. Let us forget about family. Heck today most families are dysfunctional. Tradition was thrown out years ago along with school prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. God! Well in today's world, God is multi-cultural, so why waste a day celebrating and giving thanks to Him. Get to work!

Which brings us to Thanksgiving 2008. May you spend time with those that you love and give thanks to Him in all things. May the future return to the past.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Hollywood Writers Strike

It is no small wonder that in late 2007 TV networks are still airing episodes of I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It To Beaver, the original Star Trek, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

Some of these shows are over 50 years old. However they were well written. The shows were esentially little morality plays. There was nothing in them that you would not want to watch with your mother sitting next to you. They did not contain profanity or sexual innuendo and no nudity.

Marshall Dillon would eventually have to shoot the bad guy. However the scofflaws always were given the opportunity to get outta' Dodge. The story would be about the conflict, about what made the bad guy bad and the good guy good. And the bad guy always drew his gun first. Matt Dillon was bigger, tougher and faster. It was a microcosm of what it took to succeed in the real world.

So the Hollywood writers are on strike. God bless 'em. We have to settle for repeats. But you know what? I am sick of Law & Order, CSI and all the other shows that are on at the dinner hour.

My wife and I are trying to eat spaghetti and be entertained, when TV land transport us into a dimly lit morgue and we sell the intestines of a "vic" laid out before us and the gray bearded coroner is holding up the brain showing the trajectory of the 33 caliber hollowpoint. These shows have become trite and hackeneyd.

Though I have seen these episodes more than two dozen times, I for one would prefer to watch Andy and Barney rounding up the women the escaped from prison or avoiding Aunt Bea's awful homemade pickles.

When your strike is over, I suggest that those of you writing TV shows pick a new genre. Let's go back to variety shows or wholesome family sitcoms.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


As the patients that I used to take care of at Jewish Hospital used to say, "Oy noise, mein tokhes she hoits." For the non yiddish among you, "nurse, my butt hurts."

The worst part of the colonoscopy is the preparation. I arrived at the doc's office and was given a page of instructions, a waiver form and two boxes that contained vials of a vile substance made by the Fleet enema company (Their motto, "Our Job is Number Two")

The instructions told me to mix one of the vials with water or 7up and drink it at 10 am & 6 pm. Since I was working that day, I waited until lunch time for the first and after a cup of chicken broth at noon I drank down the horrid concoction. My Lord, that was nasty, nasty stuff. It was like drinking a glass of salt water mixed with Alka-Seltzer. About an hour later I felt queasy and quite bad. But no results.

Keep in mind on this day I cannot have any solid food. I can only eat broth, jello (no red or purple) and sorbet. I can drink juice without pulp and clear soda pop. After finishing a delicious dinner of lime and orange jello and raspberry sorbet I downed my second glass of Dr. Jeklyl's elixir. Still no results however. I went to bed.

The second thing to keep is mind is that I still have a broken ankle and a sprained ankle. I can take my aircast on and off, but my ankles still hurt.

At about midnight I thought my stomach was going to explode. I made it to the bathroom and spent the next five hours trotting from bedroom to bathroom. I think I probably lost about 10 pounds of water that night.

I was supposed to be at the doctor's office at 6:30 am but I overslept, since I didn't get to bed until about 5 am.

At the doctor's I was whisked into a pre-op/recovery room and told to take off all my clothing. I did and had to hobble to the toilet again. After getting back to the stretcher, I was attacked by two nurses. Each grabbed an arm. One stuck an IV needle in my hand while the other took my blood pressure by pumping the cuff up to about 400 lbs per inch. Then it was off to the surgical suite.

My nurse told me to lay on my left side. She sized up my bare heinie.

I could see a LED TV screen in front of me and the long black snaking hose behind me. The scope was over a meter long and narrower than what I recalled from my OR Tech days. Back in the 1970's the doc would view the bowel by looking into an eye-piece at the distal end of the fiber optic scope. Today it is hooked up to a camera and the TV monitor. The scope was giving a lovely picture of the interior of a rayon surgical sponge.

My doctor came in and asked how I was doing. "OK", I replied. I mean, what can you say?

"Are you ready?", he asked. "Let's get it over with.", was my answer.

He stuck some valium through the port in my IV and I waited to fall asleep. I must have, but I recall being awake and watching my insides on the TV screen. If anyone tells my that I am yellow, I will not take it as an insult. I have seen my inards and by golly, I am yellow, cavernous and watery.

Although I don't recall saying anything, my wife tells me that in the surgical suite the doctor asked the nurse why I was talking so much. The nurse asked me what I was doing and I said, "Watching TV. This show is really bad."

I never got to talk with the doctor after coming out of the surgical suite as I was in the bathroom. Apparently I was fine except for diverticulosis, which he said was normal for a guy my age (cold comfort there.) I don't have to do this again for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

I'm trying to put this all behind me. Well there's a pun! I try to remember it as being abducted by space aliens and having an anal probe.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Friday September 28th my wife got an urgent message from her mother. My wife's cousin Connie had been killed in an automobile accident.

She was in a new car that was being driven by her mother in law. They were at an intersection in southern Campbell County in Kentucky.

This was a two lane highway. This rural part of the state is not very well patrolled. You can almost envision Smokey and the Bandit chases here. Cars drive way too fast for the type of road and the blind curves. Aproximately twelve hours prior to the accident someone had hit a stop sign and caused it to bend so it was almost parallel to the opposing traffic. Although it was a very large sign that was octagonal and red, the driver of a Ford F350 from a cement company chose to ignore it and plowed into the passenger side of the car carrying my wife's cousin Connie.

At her layout I spoke briefly with her husband. He arrived on the scene before the paramedics airlifted her to the hospital. Her husband, Tom, was still in shock. Friday, she was buying a car and four days later she is being buried. It took almost an hour for the ambulance to arrive and for the roof of her car to be cut off to remove her body. Tom told me that she still had a pulse, but her pupils were dialated and fixed.

It was indeed a sad day.