ThursdayDoors: Antler Art

 

IMG_0689We ran into this gate on one of our many road trips from California to Utah. It’s decorated with sun-bleached antlers formerly belonging to deer and elk. Antler art is huge in the West and especially in eastern Nevada.  I believe these gates lead to a camping ground because in the distance we could see Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in Great Basin, a national park which runs along the Nevada and Utah border.

We had just passed Major’s Place, one of the last places to get a beer before heading into the Mormon stronghold of Utah.

MajorsPlace

This is the town of Major’s Place – just one building which is of course a bar.

As you can see the antler theme prevails here as well. It’s easy to miss Major’s Place as you speed along the highway, however if you do happen to spot it and stop, beyond the doors you’ll find more antler art, antler furniture and antler lamps. In that part of the world you just can’t overdecorate with antlers.

Deerhead

This guy got to keep his antlers probably because he looks like a dude you wouldn’t want to mess with.

I stole the bottom two images from Stay on Route 6, a website devoted to exploring the longest contiguous transcontinental route in the USA. Highway 6 is also known as the “Grand Army of the Republic Army” because it passes through many historic sites dating from the Revolutionary War.  We didn’t go into Major’s Station as it was closed and it’s beyond foolhardy to trespass in eastern Nevada.  You could end up in the ground and not in the slammer. Those folks love their guns

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From Antler Art

Check out other doors over at Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors shindig.

I Choose Love

Loved this post.

Ripple Poetry

Dedicated to all those
who visited my facebook wall this week

I choose love, not hate
I hear Martin Luther King knocking at the door

I choose poetry, deny so called fate
hear so many poets as they roar

Maya Angelou says, ‘be the rainbow
in someone else’s cloud’

I will forgive but still call for injustice to end
Mahatma Ghandi shows people how to resist
with non violence so –

I wage peace not war
I don’t wait for it to come knocking at the door

I read ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’sParis Talks
and think of when he brings Louis Gregory to the table
in the United States

Actions always speak louder than words
but words have power
and can be absurd
or turn humanity into
a soaring bird

I choose for my children
more than debate

May they educate
illuminate, radiate
and eradicate
prejudice forevermore

I dream we’ll walk…

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No Time for Fascists

th-5What did you do on your summer vacation?

Remember this essay prompt?  Well, for seven years (from ages 9 to 16)  I could’ve written the same thing over and over again. As soon as school ended we were on the road in an overstuffed station wagon headed south from Reno Nevada. Six long hours later we’d arrive at our destination – a naval weapons station on the western edge of the Mojave Desert known as China Lake. The name is misleading. There’s no lake there, only dry lake beds. Before the military decided to build a base that area was known as the place where Chinese men mined borax.

Not many people head into the desert for the summer, let alone to a place where weaponry is tested, but our trip was one of necessity. Teaching college is a noble profession but it won’t support a family of five and so my father made up for shortfalls in income by teaching aeronautics to Navy pilots.

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The entrance to China Lake

At that time members of the military lived on a base surrounded by a ten-foot fence topped with razor wire. The gates were guarded day and night by heavily armed soldiers. If you didn’t have a security badge, you didn’t get in, or out. Even children.The families of the “enlisted men” lived in a cluster of boxlike houses with yards so full of prickly weeds you’d ruin your feet if you went out barefoot and, unless there was an availability in the much nicer officers’ grotto, that’s where my family stayed.

The average temperature on the Mojave Desert in the summer is 117 degrees (fahrenheit) and so we lived like moles during the day. Our only escape from the madness of board games, puzzles and each other was the NCO gym with its olympic-size indoor pool.  Next door to the gym was the movie theater where 25 cents got you a double feature – remember double features? If we didn’t have 25 cents, we went to the library. I read until I nearly went blind, generally historic romances set in lush, green countries like Fife and Fandago and The Scarlett Pimpernel. 

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Aerial view of the base

Once the sun began to set we were freed from swamp cooler air and let loose to run wild while our parents participated in that sacred military ritual of Happy Hour. If we were housed with the officers’ families we’d make a beeline for the Officer’s Club where there was an outdoor pool, snack bar, jukebox, and ping-pong tables. If we were with the enlisteds, we’d spend the night scouring alleyways looking for used condoms, half-smoked cigarettes and beer cans that were not quite empty.    

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The Officer’s Club

Just outside the razor-wire fence lived civilians, most of whom worked for the Navy. They ranged from skilled contractors to your regular Joe Schmoo desert rat working at a gas station up on Highway 395. Over the years we got to know a few of them but generally people inside the gates and those outside did not mingle socially. The military might be integrated but it’s still an authoritarian, fascist state where rank is everything which brings me to the point of this post.

Someone on Facebook recently made the comment that he’s voting for Trump because the US needs “a fascist kick in the ass.” I don’t know this person. He’s a friend of a friend but does anyone in their right mind want to turn this country into a Cold War era China Lake where you must carry a badge to get in and out of where you’ve been assigned to live? The military for most people is a brief time in their lives but in a fascist regime, no one gets out.  

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So, if you feel like you need a fascist kick in the ass, by all means, join the Army.  Don’t sentence us all to China Lake.

On a happy note, I just downloaded Geoff LePard’s Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle which is free on Amazon for the next few days. It’s described as a hilarious coming of age  so hopefully it will get me out of the Trump Funk.

Images in this post are all from Bing.com

 

Nice

Nice

I once slept on the beach of Nice and in the morning watched fishermen drag their catches up the stoney beach.  These were my companions:  Elizabet, Soborek and Caroline.  I don’t know them now but I imagine they’re thinking about that night.

ThursdayDoors: Matchless Orinda

OTheater

These are the doors to the Orinda Theatre, the symbol of my small town.

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Over the years, the citizens of the town have fought many battles to protect this fine example of “streamlined moderne” architecture. As a movie theatre it’s never been particularly profitable and so in order to keep it going the town has begun holding many different events in the large auditorium including a short lived film festival and a talent contest for kids called the “Orinda Idol.”

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The murals inside the main auditorium depict the Four Elements of Man, a popular motif of the time (1941). I can’t show you the inside for two reasons – it’s too dark to get good pictures and I’ve been advised not to trespass by Norm Frampton, the creator of the #ThursdayDoor event  (he won’t bail me out if I get caught) but here’s a description of what you would see:

As you enter the spacious auditorium, Anthony Heinsbergen’s lavish murals of The Four Elements of Man greet you.  They are an eclectic combination of references to classical mythology and modern technology. Fruits and flowers represent Earth, an Aqua God depicts Water, wings and a stylistic airplane portray Air and workers forging steel symbolize Water.  The hand painted murals stretch from floor to ceiling.  In recognition of Heinsbergen’s contribution to American mural design, the Smithsonian curated a special traveling exhibition, “Movie Palace Moderne” in 1972-1974 highlighting 43 examples of his monumental achievement which included 3 of the original water color drawings of the murals.  Said to be some of Heinsberger’s favorites, the originals are still in the office  Sweeping curves of wood and iron rail work, warm neon tucked behind oval coves, nudes floating among stars and a red and gold butterfly with the body of a boy complete the embellishments.  This was the rich architecture of fantasy that is missing in today’s theatres.  From the Lamorinda Film and Entertainment Foundation website.

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A familiar site in Orinda – fog rolling in from the bay.

Fun fact: Orinda, which was originally part of four different Spanish land grants, was named after the poem Matchless Orinda by a 17th century poetess named Katherine Philips. Philips wrote primarily about the platonic love women have for each other -because they lack the equipment to consummate their love sexually.

What’s your town famous or infamous for?

4th of July Rehash

For the next few days I’ll be driving hither and thither and won’t have much time to blog so I’m going to leave you with links to Fourth of July posts from the last few years.

July 2013, Dog Daze

Girl in hat watching parade.

Girl in hat watching parade.

Seuss

Performers from Seussical

July 2014, The Girl with the Flag in her hair

Last year for some reason I did not write a Fourth of July  post.  So here are some random pictures from the 2015 parade:

Ladies

The Lafayette Fire District can never be accused of age discrimination!

I like to joke that there are more people in the parade than there are in the town.  Often we have no idea why people are marching or who they represent. I suppose it doesn’t really matter!

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Anyway, that’s Fourth of July in small town America!  Happy Fourth to all my American buddies and Happy Monday to everyone else!

 

 

Five Inch Needle

tin hats

th-1This country is driving me crazy. I can’t see beauty without pain. The laughter of dozens of kids gathered for camp has become a five inch needle thrust into my heart.  I see someone with an agenda and a semi-automatic weapon parking and walking towards the lake where the children are gathered. I wonder what the gunman is thinking. Glory? Fame? Maybe he’s schizophrenic like the killer at Sandy Hook whose motives will never be known. Maybe he’s a gay ISIS wannabee out to prove his masculinity. It doesn’t matter what skin he’s wearing, his soul is the NRA. The heart that keeps his blood flowing is a congressmen who does nothing. The feet that propel him towards innocent lives, closer and closer are people who carry on about the 2nd Amendment.  I wish I could cover them all with the blood of the innocents.

Even if the…

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