Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Question Of Balance

“A Question Of Balance” is the title of an old LP by the Moody Blues, a British progressive-rock band. This brings up the question: were there regressive-rock bands back then? Probably…

I got to thinking of this band and that particular album’s title while I was sitting out on my upstairs porch aerie this evening. The breeze was so delicious, just cool enough to cut the early-summer humidity. A pleasant balance between heat, humidity, and a cool breeze. It doesn’t often happen around here!

Here’s a song from that early Moody Blues album:

My daughter Adrian, when she was about six years old, used to listen to this album with headphones, sitting on our couch.

Sometimes nostalgia is a Good Thing!



Leave a comment

Filed under Essays and Articles, Music

Two Evening Encounters

Another pleasant spring evening high upon a limestone bluff by the Mississippi. I set out on a walk and found my elderly neighbor Beulah doing something with an empty plastic trash-can in the driveway.

“Larry, I raked up some leaves and I thought I’d put them in this can, but then I banged my leg against a tree branch. I’m injured; I need to go inside and doctor myself!”

She went back into her apartment; I was worried about her and I knocked on both her front and back doors but got no response. I never did see the pile of leaves she was talking about. I hope she’s all right!

While I was out front I noticed a couple of boys, perhaps 14 years old, inspecting a big TV set out by the curb. After repeated entreaties, my landlord had sent a handyman and his assistant to move the heavy thing out of my apartment — it had been left behind by my renter predecessor Debbie.

I said, “You want that thing?”

“Yeah, but does it work at all?”

“Well, kinda. The picture tube works, but someone tore out the cable and antenna socket. There may have been a fight.”

“We’ll take it!”

“How are ya gonna move it?”

“On a skateboard!”

The boy’s friend had left during this conversation; he came cruising back down the sidewalk on a skateboard and before long the TV was gone. That’s cool! Maybe Albert at his shop down on Maine St. can fix it for them.



Filed under Quincy


Have you ever wondered about the twists and turns history has taken, and if something else had happened, what would the world look like now? It’s food for thought and has resulted in a genre of literature devoted to such speculations. A classic example is Philip K. Dick’s “The Man In The High Castle”, a story about what might have ensued had the Axis powers prevailed after the end of World War Two. More info here:

The Man In The High Castle

Something else to speculate about; what if the Ottoman Empire had survived — what would life for us be like now under Muslim rule?


Leave a comment

Filed under Essays and Articles

More Music

I used to listen to recordings of Joe Satriani playing his Strat years ago; he’s yet another guitar virtuoso. Today I happened across this video:

I’ve had a musical problem in the past — if I listen too often to players much better than I am, I become discouraged and don’t play much. It’s better if I just play as well as I can!

I wondered about why Satriani was wearing a stocking cap during several videos during this time-period, presumably in a well-heated auditorium. I suspected the advent of male pattern-baldness. In videos from subsequent years the guitarist had shaved his head, more-or-less confirming my hypothesis.



Filed under Music

A Limerick

I’ve long been fond of limericks, a verse form invented by Edward Lear, but which was perfected by later writers. An example which landed in my e-mail inbox this morning:

The word concupiscent brought back fond memories of my father, American frontier historian Ray Allen Billington, whose hobby was collecting and writing limericks. On page 78 of his Limericks Historical and Hysterical (published posthumously by W.W. Norton in 1981), can be found:

Quoth a comely young lady from Norway
As she hung by her heels in a doorway,
“Although I’m proficient
In arts concupiscent
Thank God, I’ve discovered one more way.”

It was one of his favorites.

Allen Billington, Fort Collins, Colorado



Filed under Essays and Articles

Surgeon Stuff

One of my favorite medical writers is Sid Schwab — you should check out his blog sometime:


Sid writes really well about his interactions with various patients.


1 Comment

Filed under Essays and Articles

The Contorted Catalpa From Across the Street

Here ya go, Joan — the tree from farther away:

Here is a shot of the very beautiful orchid-like flowers of that catalpa tree:



Filed under Photos, Quincy, Uncategorized