From: Lstraight <>

Murgatroyd, remember that word? Would you believe the email spell
> checker did not recognize the word Murgatroyd?
> Heavens to Murgatroyd!


I do remember the word Murgatroyd (so does Wikipedea) and just about all of the other words or phrases listed in this post. Does that mean I am getting old? Based on a recent picture, it seems possible.

2016 Image

The other day a not so elderly lady said something to her son about

driving a Jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said “What the
> heck is a Jalopy?”
> OMG (new phrase)!
> He never heard of the word jalopy! She knew she was old…. but not
> that old.
> Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.
> About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have
> become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology.
> These phrases included “Don’t touch that dial,” “Carbon copy,” “You
> sound like a broken record” and “Hung out to dry.”
> Back in the olden days we had a lot of ‘moxie.’ We’d put on our best
> ‘bib and tucker’ to ‘straighten up and fly right’.
> Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley!
> We were ‘in like Flynn’ and ‘living the life of Riley’.
> Even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a
> nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!
> Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last
> time anything was swell?
> Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.… of spats,
> knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, penny loafers, and
> pedal pushers… AND DON’T FORGET… Saddle Stitched Pants
> Oh, my aching back! Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.
> We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we
> can say, Well, I’ll be ‘a monkey’s uncle!’
> Or, This is a ‘fine kettle of fish’!
> We discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed
> omnipresent, as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our
> tongues and our pens and our keyboards.
> Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind
> We blink, and they’re gone. Where have all those great phrases gone?
> Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Hey! It’s your nickel..
> Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Well,
> Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty.
> I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels.
> Wake up and smell the roses.
> It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than
> Carter has liver pills.
> This can be disturbing stuff! (“Carter’s Little Liver Pills” are
> gone too!)
> We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeable times.
> For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age.
> We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of
> remembering there are words that once existed… and there were words
> that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are
> heard no more, except in our collective memory.
> It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.
> Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth…
> See ya later, alligator!
> Okidoki


I’m Back, Still Able to Turn a Phrase Or Two

I have not been writing anything of significance during the past five years having been deeply involved in care taking for my wife Joan who suffered from dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. She passed away August 2, 2017. It wasn’t until after the the holidays that I felt a desire to do any writing. I felt apprehensive, would I be able to write in a way that I would feel competent. It was not only that I hadn’t been writing anything significant for a long time, but had the accumulation of years eroded my abilities to put words on paper in a satisfactory manor. Could I in my ninth decade still write?

In the middle of January of 2018 I started a project to revise “For the Cause, The Cold War Turns Hot in Korea and Why Young Men Went to War.” “For the Cause” was the last novel I had written, and like the other novels I had written, felt a need after publishing to revise the original in response to feedback from revues and other sources.

“For the Cause,” is a story about two friends, young South Dakota farm boys, having reached adulthood and having not figured out what to do with the rest of their lives joined the Marines as their best alternative in the short term.  Unfortunately, soon after graduating from marine boot camp the Korean war broke out.

The two young men had joined the marines at the same time and were in the same boot camp company. However after boot camp the two young marines were separated with one going to the Navel Air Station Sangley Point in the Philippines to be part of the navel air station security detachment. The other  marine found himself in the Marine First Provisional Brigade being hurriedly put together to be sent to Korea where North Korean forces had overrun most of South Korea. The book follows the two young men during the first six months of the Korean war with one doing guard duty in the Philippines and the other is involved in almost continuous combat in a very fluid situation as both armies maneuver for an advantage.

Reviews of the “For the Cause” book were most critical of the Korean part of the book. For the most part the Korean story revolves around the young South Dakota farm boy and the men in his fire team, squad, platoon and company. The overall view of the war by the men during the fighting was limited to what they heard or could see. As I researched the marines roll during the first six months of the Korean War I was impressed at how well the marines performed. The marines were first thrown into the line to fill holes in the Pusan Parameter, then pulled out to lead in the Inchon landings and the liberation of Seoul, and then again take to ships to land on the east coast of North Korea and advance into the mountains where they fell into a trap set by the Chinese at the Chosen Reservoir. I flew as a crewman on a navy patrol plane in the theater during the Korean War and followed what was happening on the ground closely and had the impression that the retreat from the Chosen Reservoir was a disaster.  Only after doing the research for “For the Cause” did I realize the marine retreat from Chosen is considered one of the Marine Corp’s proudest moments. I thought if I didn’t understand the history of which I had been a part of, how likely would others understand the history of the Korean War. For that reason I decided I would include an overall view of the action taking place during the first six months of the Korean War.  A view that would not be seen by the men on the line doing the fighting. To do this I had a third person narrator that would occasionally provide the reader with a general’s perspective of the war. Adding this overall perspective would seem to be something readers would be interested in. Wrong. The fiction reader is following the protagonist and their story and is not interested in the wars overall strategy. So in the revision the third person narrator is being eliminated and the reader sees the war as the protagonist sees it.

Because of the revisions mentioned, the changes to the Korean portions of the “For the Cause” were quite extensive. Since I now live alone, prepare my own meals, do my own laundry, clean, and since I had not done any serious writing for a number of years I had suspected it would take several months to complete the revision work.  However within a month and a half I had the revisions to an editor. The good news being that I had not lost my writing abilities, such as they are, due to my long absence from doing any serious writing and am now ready to move onto another project.








Lost My Companion of Nearly 60 years


Joan Wellnitz

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Joan Wellnitz passed away August 2, 2017, in Bloomington, MN. She was 87. Joan Pauline Gross was born on May 22, 1930, in Chicago to her parents, Edwin and Harriet Gross. She grew up in Bridgewater, SD, and married her husband, Alfred there on August 31, 1957. The couple moved to Minnesota and settled in Bloomington where they lived for 59 years. Preceded in death by her parents and sister, Jean. Joan is survived by her husband, Alfred; her married children, Todd and daughter-in-law, Kim, Ann ans son-in-law, Blady, Matthew and daughter-in-law, Jessica; grandchildren, Guillermo, Josie and Gretchen; and siblings, Judy Olthoff, Kathlene Schroeder and Richard Gross. Joan was loving wife and mother, an avid seamstress, a reader of many books, and an occasional artist. She had a full life and will be sorely missed. Joan will be laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery following a private ceremony.

Because of Our Love

We were mutually attracted at a dance.

We dated, limited by distance and schedules.

We felt the angst, the ache, the obsessiveness of true love

And became engaged; time to have doubts, to reconsider.

Because of our love, we didn’t turn back.


Marriage, early bliss, and eventually children.-

The routine and challenges of everyday life engulfed us,

While doubts of our abilities as parents tested us.

The bonds that bind us were being threatened.

Because of our love, those bonds survived.


Eventually the children, despite our inaptitude,

Made us proud by becoming responsible adults.

Our work was nearly complete, our bonds strong,

When nature intruded with dementia to end our bliss.

Because of our love, it didn’t matter.


How To Make Winters Seem Short

Reminiscing: After permanently settling in Minnesota and starting a family we did the usual outdoor winter activities like skating. tobogganing and shoveling the driveway. That was fine but looked for something that might offer more variety. The North Stars , a local cross country ski club put out a notice for anyone interested to come to out and try cross country skiing one weekend. We rented some skies and and took them up on the offer. I came  away from that demo of the sport convinced we had found what I had been looking for. It was 1970 and for Christmas we equipped the family with skis. The whole family became involved but I become obsessed with the sport and still am. Following are some pictures of skiing activities over the years. We skied locally and all over the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin and took trips to ski in California, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and Switzerland. I’m now a care taker for my long time skiing partner and have little time for anything else but never regret the experiences we had together skiing.





Youngest son Matt on skies when five.




Daughter Ann skied with her high school team and in a

US Junior Cross Country League team  



Skiing with first son Todd and his wife Kim at Devils Thumb near Fraser Colorado.



Joan on a trail near Big Mountain Montana



Skiing near Anchorage Alaska. The temperature was well below zero.



I skied one or two of the big area races most years



1993; Skated the 23K Kortelopet version of the Birkebeiner. Skied my last race in my early 80’s



Joan collects her ribbon for finishing the 13K version of the Vasaloppet race



Skiing on Nine Mile ice. The last time Joan skied



























Jobs For Those Displaced by Automation



Some people have suggested that government jobs similar to those created during the Great Depression to build and repair infrastructure would absorb workers replaced by automation. I grew up during the Great Depression. Many of my uncles and aunts depended on the dollar a day paid by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to survive. The primary purpose of the WPA was not to build infrastructure but to put some money into the pockets of desperate people. It was a solution to a temporary problem. Automation is not a temporary problem. Automation will replace human labor of a repetitive nature around to globe permanently. An interesting solution to the problem is to provide what is equivalent to a living wage to every adult citizen. You can earn more but in any case would never have less than the equivalent of a living wage.

Proceed With Caution


Smoot-Hawley, 1929

I’m seriously scared. Particularly with regards to the economy. The Smoot- Hawley Bill, called the The Tariff Act of 1930 raised tariffs on many imports in order to protect US workers. The tariffs were the highest in the country’s history with one small exception. This started a trade war and US trade was halved and is believed to have  been a major contributor to causing the Great Depression. It seems that Trump is using the same playbook.

I was born in the late twenties so didn’t know anything but an economic depression until my teen years. Nothing moved for ten years. The economy was locked up, thousands of banks closed, savings were wiped out, many survived only because of make work government programs. Trump, be careful what you do to this country and the rest of the world.

My Wife Does Not Know Me



My wife Joan and I will mark our sixtieth wedding anniversary in August of 2017. Five years ago Joan had been diagnosed as having dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. Actually I had noticed memory related changes as early as twelve years ago. One of the first things I can remember with regards to this had been her asking what she should wear for an outer garment when going outdoors, something she had never questioned before. Eventually it became evident that Joan’s memory lose had become a serious problem. For example, when she went in for an annual checkup her blood pressure was off the chart. She could no longer manage her medication schedule. Soon after that Joan was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s. As expected, the disease continues to progress and seems to be accelerating recently.

It is my hope that I can, with outside assistance, keep Joan in our home as long as needed. That hope will depend on my own health, which at 89 years is still good. I am trying to get help for four hours each day and finding it difficult to get dependable help on a regular basis. Somedays I have help, some days I don’t. As a result I am for all intents and purposes fully responsible for Joan’s care, which now includes help with most of her personal needs. I have moved a single bed into Joan’s bedroom so I am there if needed at night. Whenever I go somewhere, with minor exceptions, Joan goes with me. Joan has few diversions so going someplace almost every afternoon is something she enjoys. We seldom eat out but we go to a coffee shop most days, go to the YMCA a couple of days a week, go grocery shopping often so we are doing things together every day.

Recently I have become aware that, despite all of our interaction and being married nearly sixty years, Joan does not know who I am or what our relationship is. I have explained to her that I am her husband and she is my wife many times. She will not remember my explanation even a few moments after I tell her this. Yesterday I showed Joan our wedding album. She didn’t know any of the people in the album pictures, including herself.

I have known a number of people who have had Alzheimer’s but didn’t appreciate how devastating it is until becoming closely associated with it as I am now. Alzheimer’s cannot be cured and will always result in death. For the benefit of future generations, let us hope we find a cure for this disease soon.


Tax Cuts and the Future of Manufacturing in the United States


Manufacturing Cars in the 21st Century

Ah the magic of tax cuts. The cure for all economic concerns. Borrow money from the Chinese to cover the cost of government. Eliminate all taxes and we will have reached nirvana.
Trump has said tax cuts and eliminating bad trade agreements will bring manufacturing back to the US.
I disagree. In the future automation will be a more important factor in where manufacturing will be done than taxes. Automation will minimize the importance of cheap labor to do repetitive and manual task in the manufacturing process. The future for people in automated factories will be developing, applying and maintaining the automation doing the work of producing products. Automated factories will not bring the manufacturing jobs of the type that supported the middle classes in the 40’s,50’s, 60’s. There will be jobs in these factories, good high paying jobs for the technically trained people needed to design install, monitor and maintain the automated equipment. There will be other people needed to manage, administer, move raw material in and product out, and service people like janitors but very few people doing unskilled manual labor or repetitive tasks associated with manufacturing.

Automation is happening and will continue to happen as manufacturing becomes more and more automated. The same thing has happened and is happening in US agriculture. I spent my youth in a Midwest farming community. I was born in the twenties and 25 percent of the population farmed. Now less than 2 percent of the population earns its livelihood by farming and produce more than ever before. US farmers compete successfully with the rest of the world because of its use of technology. One adverse aspect of this is that the farming communities have been and are being hollowed out. Where one family farmed 160 acres in the 20’s, now one farmer can farm a thousand or more acres. Instead of a farmer milking a dozen cows, he can now milk a thousand. They have automated milking for God’s sake. 

In the automated world the importance of cheap labor to do manual and repetitive jobs in manufacturing will be minimized and factors more important than manual labor will determine where factories will be built. Government’s role will be a factor and taxes are part of it but not an overriding concern. One thing the government shouldn’t do is be a barrier to trade if it wants the country to expand its manufacturing capacity. Trade by its name is a two way thing. Trade occurs when two countries each have something the other one wants. High tariffs, such as Trump suggests to keep companies from moving out of the United States would stifle trade and hurt US manufactures, agriculture other trading functions,. Not something a country that striving to be a manufacturing power house would like to see.

Things the US government should do to encourage manufacturing includes insuring that there is a skilled and educated work force available to build and run an automated factory and adequate public infrastructure to supports the factory’s needs. There are other things the government can do, such as funding research for automation, provide financial incentives to help small manufactures to automate, to encourage and increase manufacturing in the United States. There will be countries competing to be centers for automated manufacturing and the United States better get on board if it wants to be part of it. However the government shouldn’t be telling manufacturers how to run their companies. If a company decides it will build a factory outside of the United States that is a decision that the company should be able to make without government interference. The government can and should to strive to set up conditions that will entice, but not force, companies to build factories in the United States. Reducing corporate taxes will not in itself do it.

Blog Master’s Current Status

In a previous post I had talked about how ones life changes due to choice at times due to circumstances at others. As I will (God willing) be turning ninety next year, I have seen many changes in my life. Since the age of seventy-three and until recently I had aspired to be an author. I had self-published three novels and numerous short stories, none of which attracted a lot of readers. Although not a successful author I planned to continue devoting my attention to writing. Circumstances thought otherwise and I have become the caregiver for my wife Joan of nearly sixty years who has dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. The affects of Alzheimer’s have been causing changes in Joan’s mental and physical abilities at an accelerated rate as the disease progresses. As a result my caregiving has increased to where it dominates my days and I have little time for other activities.  So I don’t have the time nor the ability claim to be an author.

So what to do with this blog which I intended to be used to support my writing career? Actually the blog hasn’t been used or noticeably useful in supporting my writing career so that much has not changed. The content has been random in nature so I will be using the blog in a similar way going forward. Sometimes it is a journal, sometimes a way to express an opinion, sometimes autobiographical, a book review or two.