Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Well over a year ago, I dug into my savings and sprang for some new double-hung windows for the ancient Casa de la Flaming Bore. They’re the nifty kind where I can stay inside but still clean the outside of them--provided I could remember the salesman’s demonstration by the time I actually got around to washing them, which, in my case, was yesterday.

Fortunately, Big Bore came to my rescue to show me the ropes, and once I caught on, after three windows, the Windex and I had a grand time. And I was doubly happy, hallelujah, because earlier in the day, when I was cleaning out the entertainment cabinet, I found my O Brother, Where Art Thou? CD, which has been missing in action for five years or so. I turned on the tunes, cleaned the windows, and sang along while I worked. Here’s the chorus to my favorite song on the soundtrack:

“Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, It will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life.”

I did a little research on this song and learned that the lyrics were written in 1899 by one Ada Blenkhorn, inspired by her disabled nephew who always wanted his wheelchair pushed along the “sunny side” of the street. Isn’t that sweet? Knowing the story makes me feel ashamed of ever being an old grumpy puss at times. We should always try to keep on the sunny side of life…even when we’re washing windows.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Great-neph Luke was sort of “lost” at our Thanksgiving dinner because he was cousin-less for the day and had no playmates. He likes hanging with his older cousin Misty because she’s sophisticated--at age 12. The younger ones, Maddie, Boomer, and Baby Will, are fun, too, provided Maddie doesn’t try to force “little girlie stuff” on him. “I draw the line at playing house with her,” Luke says. “No way!!” Typical 10-year-old boy.

So, being desperate for something to do after we ate, Luke said, “Hey, Aunt Nancy, do you want to go on a hike?”

It was cold and windy out, but the sun was shining, so I was game for a little outing to a new bike/walking path that has recently replaced railroad tracks that used to run through Pittsburg. I bundled on the layers and off we went, but it soon became clear that I wasn’t all that compatible as a companion--even though I wasn’t advocating playing house.

You see, at every street entrance and exit, there were yellow poles placed to keep out motorized vehicles, and Luke was fascinated by them. He was determined he was going to sit on top of them, although they were higher than his bottom could reach. I, on the other hand, wanted to keep walking--my only way of staying halfway warm. “I can’t stand here and watch you try to pole sit, Luke. I’m gonna freeze.” Any time it’s under 70 degrees, I turn into a whiner.

Well, we finally developed a system that sort of worked for both of us. He would run to a yellow pole and, while I walked there, he would think of every way possible to try to get on top of it or push against it or run around it. I would finally reach where he was, then he would run off to the next pole. This went on for almost a mile before he got tired of the routine and we turned back
Next stop was Lakeside Park. There we talked to the ducks and geese and they quacked and honked back. “I think they like us,” Luke decided, even though we had no Thanksgiving leftovers to offer them. We dawdled there until dark, carrying on conversations with the birds and dodging mass quantities of their droppings deposited on the sidewalk around the lake. “Watch your step!!” More than once I wished I’d brought my camera along to capture some of the scenery away from the sidewalk. The geese took off and landed on the water like aircraft, and the sunset was a gem. Luke, too, appreciated its beauty. “Boy, the sky sure is red.”

I don’t know how much longer my great nephew will want to “play” with me, but I hope he won’t “draw the line” with me any time soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Fast Eddie's is an outhouse memorial to the late great Eddie Pyle, a bassoon prodigy whose claim to fame was being the inventor of the question mark, the Vlasic pickle formula, AND an anti-venom for aarvark bites. According to his bio, Eddie also had the misfortune to suffer from marathon bouts of constipation. There is speculation that he died from a flash fire during one of his gas attacks. Library Lady and I gave this outhouse kudos for the lovely picture of the late Frank Zappa in the background.

The Dog Pound is unique in that the inner bowels of this outhouse consist only of a fire hydrant--specifically for the use of modest canines in Elk Falls. Judges got to decide if the impounded were guilty or innocent of busting into a chicken house. Duh!

There is a nifty pottery shop in Elk Falls, and next to it is an outhouse called the Chamber Pot. Inside this potty is an overalled gent multi-tasking, doing his duty while modeling a piece of clay at the potter's wheel. This classy hideaway was the only outhouse in the competition that had wallpaper AND oh-so-soft Charmin.

This holiday creation is called The North Hole. Leading up to it are all sorts of ghastly Christmas yard art. I expected to see Santa or one of his elves leaving a "present" inside this outhouse, but, instead, a big ol' turkey was popping a squat. Go figure.

Well, folks, this concludes my week of outhouse postings. I hope you have enjoyed the tour. It's been a gas!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Behind the Elk Falls Post Office sits the Postal Potty, "Where every delivery is a priority." I think a better name for this outhouse would be Going Postal, but I suppose such a title is a bit too politically incorrect.

Library Lady and I gave this creation our stamp of approval. The decor, inside and out, was bright and cheerful. Come rain or shine, the Postal Potty is ready to provide service with a smile. The United State Postal Service can be proud. First class all the way!

Friday, November 26, 2010


The outhouse called Facepot wasn't much to speak of on the outside, but the inside was fixed up like a computer station. The walls served as the screen for the outhouse computer, and visiting Facepot "Friends" were invited to leave messages. Library Lady and I couldn't think of anything clever to post, but someone before us left the little ditty in red, which we thought was genius.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Library Lady’s favorite outhouse in Elk Falls was Gilligan’s Contemplation Palace. It was way out in the sticks, almost a 3-hour tour, and made of sticks, as well. A cute “Just a Minute” life preserver adorned the grand entryway, and impressive His and Hers holes were inside. Ginger would NEVER share squatting room with the Skipper and his "Little Buddy," heaven forbid. This outhouse won Viewer’s Choice last year, so that’s why I didn’t vote for it, even though it is a masterpiece of jungle art. The Flaming Bore believes in equal opportunity outhouses.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Go Green, the Loo with a View, was the outhouse I selected for second place. The neon French doors certainly make it unique, and I’m a sucker for plants and bottle trees. Simple and oh, so environmentally correct. Practical? Well, maybe not--unless you’re an exhibitionist.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Here are some pics of my favorite outhouse at the big tour in Elk Falls over the weekend. I was impressed with the usher’s ropes, theater carpeting and seating, concession-style refreshments, posters, AND the sound track from the movie playing in the background (great title for the occasion, by the way). Why, I half expected Rhett Butler to sashay out. "Frankly, my dear, this is the finest outhouse I've ever used." So, I did my civic duty and voted “Potty Palace” as my Number One selection.

Like a nasty bout of Montezuma’s Revenge, there’s more to come tomorrow…

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Yesterday the Library Lady and I headed south to Elk Falls for the annual Outhouse Tour extravaganza. Thirteen privies were on display, and those who purchased the above button for a buck received voting privileges in choosing the Best of Show. I told LL that it couldn't be any worse than participating in the the recent November political elections, so we purchased our buttons and bravely headed off on the walking tour of Elk Falls' finest, ballots in hand. Some of our favorites will be featured throughout the coming week. Here's a sneak preview:

Friday, November 19, 2010


At last! Some news worth talking about! I’m tired of all the buzz on political in-fighting, the price of groceries, and the latest Cher movie. Yesterday, direct from jolly old England, came word that Brit’s hunky specimen of royalty, Prince William, is getting married! Hooray!! There’s nothing like an overblown wedding to put everyone in a better mood!

The Flaming Bore totally approves of Will’s choice for a bride, the lovely Kate Middleton, his gal pal for the past seven years or so. She has a dancer’s lean body and fabulous, long chestnut hair that will just look grand tangled around a tiara. I simply can’t wait to receive my personal invitation to plop in front of the TV and watch the spectacle across the Atlantic--and I say that in all seriousness. I’m always “up” for a good excuse to indulge in cake and ice cream.

My own wedding, thirty long years ago, was a courthouse affair. The bride and groom wore blue jeans and a “reception” of sorts took place at an ice hockey game. I never wanted all the fuss and frills for myself--I am the lowest of low on the low maintenance scale, but I’m sure hoping Will and Kate will spring for something elaborate--20 bridesmaids, the London Symphony, and fresh-cut flowers everywhere. If they opt out for an elopement, I’m going to be royally steamed.

Congratulations, you two love birds. And if I have any piece of marital advice for you, (yes, I’m qualified--I have the divorce papers to prove it) it’s NOT to take anyone’s advice. Just muddle along like the rest of us. Good luck, kids.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Eeee-ha! Five weeks and counting! I have circled December 22 on my hifalutin, rootin'-tootin' social calendar--the date the new version of True Grit “opens at a theater near you.” I’m popping in the ear plugs and we’re going to see Jeff “Be Still Our Aging Hearts” Bridges taking over the John Wayne role as crusty Rooster Cogburn. Rumor has it among critics’ circles that JB may be nominated for another Academy Award with this portrayal, so I’m anxious to see it. There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned western with a herd of corny cornball lines to get my blood flowing. 

“Well, sister, the time has come for me to ride hard and fast” outta here. There’s a lotta chores to get done here on the ranch between now and sunset, and they ain't gonna get done on their own!  "Happy Trails To You" on this Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Since we are always searching for cultural events to attend in our great state, Library Lady and I are planning to check out the Elk Falls Outhouse Tour this coming Saturday in a neighboring county. There was a blurb about this extravaganza in our local newpaper today, and the last few lines really caught my eye: “….the Howard Rotary will be serving funnel cakes.”

Hmmmm. In all my 61 years, I have never tasted a funnel cake. Oh, I’ve been to county fairs and state fairs and all sorts of other fine places that serve up this sweet treat of grease and powdered sugar, its aroma tempting my taste buds, but I’ve never caved in and tried it. Big Bore says he hasn’t, either. But everyone I’ve ever seen eating the puffy concoction always has a happy face, licking sticky fingers--acting as though it's delicious right down to the last bite.

So, for the next few days, I will be contemplating whether or not I should lose my funnel cake virginity or remain pure. Are they really that good? I’m afraid my stomach might rebel and I’ll end up in one of the outhouses. What should I do? Go for the funnel cake or stick up my nose, walk on by, and head for the sloppy Joe stand? It’s a question of monumental importance to me, so all opinions are welcome. To funnel or not to funnel?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Our hike yesterday at Woodson Cove was lots of fun, except several times I got us off the trail and we had to re-group, search for the blue tree markers ("I spy" in the above pic), and get back on track.  All the fallen leaves covered so much of the ground that sometimes the trail was difficult to follow.  Of course, it didn't help that we were gawking around and not really concentrating on where we were walking.  The funniest part of it was that I didn't realize we'd come to the end of the 1-1/4 mile circuit and had started another one when Big Bore yelled from behind, "Are you going around a second time?"  Oops. 

The Jayhawks won easily last night, so no swearing or resuscitation was required.  And instead of doing housework during time-outs and half-time, I pedaled on my recumbent bike--so guess what needs to be done today?  Horseshoes!!!  That's what!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Swish!!! I have joined KU coach Bill Self’s off-court team called, “Coaches Against Cancer 3-Point Attack.” For every three-point basket made by the Jayhawks this season, I have pledged 25 cents. With over 30 games on the schedule, I hope to be able to pledge close to $100.00. This is a fun way to made a donation to a good cause, don’t you think?

KU plays tonight, so I’m getting my game-face ready, as well as the rest of my body…dressed in my red and blue 2008 National Champions gear, of course. Big Bore is ready, too, psyching himself up to tolerate me during the game. He’s actually become somewhat of a fan, himself, although he still can’t remember guard Brady Morningstar’s name and continues to call him “Moonbeam.”

And speaking of KU, I had the coolest dream overnight about my favorite team. I was at the edge of a body of water, like a pond or creek, and I was finding all sorts of Jayhawk memorabilia in the water---pins, stickers, patches, etc., in pristine condition. I was also finding money, too, mostly dimes and quarters. I even found three look-alike K-State Wildcat pins, which I decided to take to give to someone who is a fan of there’s. I am an equal opportunity dreamer, you know.

Before the big game, though, Big Bore and I are headed out to Cross Timbers State Park to hike our favorite trail there, Woodson Cove. To heck with the housework that needs done. Right? Maybe I can get to some of it during halftime tonight.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


When I was teaching, sometimes curious students would ask, “Why didn’t you ever have any children?” I think the reason I never became a parent is because I babysat a lot when I was growing up myself and I was really terrible at it. Terrible with a capital T-Terrible.

I started out caring for my much younger siblings, for free, of course, graduated to the neighbor kids, 50 cents an hour, and then spread out to various homes around town as I got older. Now Big Sis was a babysitting genius--a regular teenage Mary Poppins--so I think it was expected that I would be likewise, but I wasn’t. The kids were always bratty and noisy and didn’t want to go to bed, and once they DID go to bed I was exhausted and wanted to fall asleep myself. I always prayed the parents would get home early to put me out of my misery.

My most memorable babysitting experience was with the three Fink boys, Danny, David, and Greggie, adorable little “stair-steps.” But they were as ornery as they were cute. On this particular night when I arrived, their mother told me they were playing in the basement. Out the door she went, and I headed downstairs to check out what the boys were doing. I was appalled. They were playing with their Uncle Larry’s chemistry set. We’re talking three, four, and five years old here. Regular Dr. Jekylls and Mr. Hydes.

There must have been twenty or more tubes of chemicals laying around, and the boys were mixing them together, undoubtedly to see what evil they could produce for their babysitter. As I got closer to them, I saw Greggie, the youngest, stirring some black, bubbly concoction in a beaker. Good grief! They were going to blow up the house!

“Let’s put this away and go upstairs and play,” I quickly suggested. At which point Greggie put the glass rod inside his mouth to taste his creation--like you would do with cake mix paddles. Holy crap! I went into freak-out mode, certain that he had poisoned himself with whatever chemicals that were now dripping down into his stomach. I grabbed him, dashed upstairs, and forced him to drink a glass of water and another and another. He didn’t seem sick at all and had no idea what the fuss was all about, but it really shook me up.

I decided to wait to see if he had any ill effects before calling his mother--and then the second wave of panic hit me: I’d totally forgotten about Danny and David, still downstairs. Lord knows what they were probably doing with their own beakers of bubbly stuff. So, Greggie and I went back to the basement--only to discover that his brothers were gone. Where in the world had THEY gone? Had some chemical caused them to totally disappear off the face of the earth? How was I going to explain THAT to their mother?

Back upstairs we went. I called for Danny and David. No answer. Checked every room. Nothing. Sonofabitch. Went outside and started yelling for them. Do you think they’d answer? Of course not. So, Greggie and I (now operating in pissed off mode) started scoping out the neighborhood. It was starting to get dark outside; I’d have to hurry up and find them--and eventually I did, hiding in shrubbery at the library down the street. They were laughing. I was steamed, but at least relieved that the chemicals hadn’t dissolved them. Home we marched.

I don’t recall now if I ever told Mrs. Fink about any of this. When she returned later that night and asked how the boys behaved, I probably mumbled, “just dandy,” collected my battle pay, and limped on home.

Anyway, that’s why I think I never wanted to have children of my own. Bad chemistry.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Autumn sunset near Severy, Kansas, Nov. 9, 2010

I don’t advocate taking pictures while driving, but every once in a while the sky is so flush with color that I can’t resist grabbing the camera, aiming it more or less through the car window, while keeping my eyes on the highway, of course, and hoping for the best. This shot did not disappoint.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I admire anyone who is a veteran of our nation’s armed forces; I never would have had the courage to sign up--not even for a day. I am scared of guns and rifles, and I don’t particularly care to engage in any kind of conflict, let alone a war. I am a coward.

I became more aware of what war was about when I was in high school. The Vietnam War was a horrific staple on the evening news--night after night, year after year, there it was in the living room on our black and white TV. Soldiers dodging bullets. Medics rushing the wounded to helicopters. Young men dying before our eyes. And for what, I wasn’t sure. I remember thinking I was lucky to be female and not subject to the military draft, but I worried about those I knew who might have to leave their families and go halfway around the world to put themselves in peril. In an old scrapbook I have a news clipping listing the order of birthdays drawn for the 1969 draft. Names of boys I knew are scribbled in beside certain dates. A circle is around 115, the draft number for my own birthdate.

Over 57,000 Americans were killed in that war. Soon after the Vietnam War Memorial was unveiled in 1982, I was in Washington, D.C. to see it. The long list of names engraved on “The Wall” is a somber reminder of those who died too young. Name after name after name of broken dreams. Why did they have to die? What could they have accomplished with their lives if there had not been a war? How did their families endure the loss? Why can’t people live in peace?

Freedom has one hell of a price. I suspect veterans realize that all too well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


My brain awakened at 3:30 this morning, ready to go for the day. I hate when this happens because by the time “Jeopardy” comes on at 4 PM, I’ll be a total slug and will be slow to answer…or I’ll have the wrong answer…or I won’t even have an answer…or I’ll fall asleep mid-answer and miss the rest of the show.

Garden Club puts the downtown garden “to bed” later today. I’m sort of in charge of ringleading the group, which may be like the blind leading the blind--we’ll see. I’ve been making a mental list of what I need to stash in the car trunk since I can’t sleep. Shovel, trash bags, mulch, loppers, scissors, etc. I’ll be armed for battle. Big Bore and I have already finished up with Mom’s yard in Fredonia, but our own yard is still a work in progress getting ready for winter. We’re having a composting party tomorrow. BB is King of the Compost Pile.

I just watch snippets of “Dancing with the Stars,” --it’s against my personal beliefs to watch an entire show--but I am amazed each week that Bristol Palin has yet to be voted off. She’s about as much of a ballroom dancer as I am, although she can shimmy her boobs quite nicely. Week after week, truly better dancers keep getting the boot. Big Sis and I think it’s a Republican conspiracy.

Well, it’s 5:30 AM. Should I try going back to sleep one more time? Nah. A bowl of cereal sounds like a better idea. Followed up by a second bowl of cereal. Happy Hump Day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I’m off to Pittsburg today to help take Mom to a doctor’s appointment. Big Bore is staying home to play in his compost pile and work in the yard.

I wonder how many times over the years I have gone to Pittsburg. Lots of miles, for sure. I lived there for five years when in college, so the town has special memories. Ahhh. It was there that Dr. Maureen and I terrorized the Student Union basement while working on college publications. It was there that Cowgirl Kris and I dragged Broadway, bar-hopped, and partied with the basketball team. It was there that I fell in lust with Baseball Ray, god rest his soul. When I drive the streets of the ‘burg, I feel like I’m 21 years old again--for a few seconds, anyway. I’ll be overcome with sweet flashes of familiar places filled with young faces that aren’t so young anymore. Most of the old hang-outs are gone, replaced by newer, fancier ones, but the old friendships in my mind always remain the same.

Monday, November 8, 2010


A favorite autumn past time in the Bore household is to go for a walk and play the game, “What Kind of Tree is This?” Big Bore is a former Boy Scout Boy Wonder, so he is tree savvy. I’m a Girl Scout dropout and not too hot at this game, but I am learning. He has taught me that a walnut tree is NOT called a “big green ball tree,” and that it’s usually the first tree to lose all its leaves in the fall.

Thanks to his teaching, I can also identify a red oak, white oak, hackberry, ash, maple, elm, sweet gum, hickory, sycamore, and pecan…most of the time. Once the leaves fall, though, all bets are off. I usually cannot make identification from bark alone. Except the flakey river birch, maybe.

We have an old elm tree in our small front yard that has been through hell and back in the 28 years I have lived here. Wind and ice storms and the Westar tree assassins have cut away at many of its limbs and branches. If trees have feelings, than the elm must be suffering from post partum depression, for sure. Still, it hangs in there and provides ample shade in the summer but looks like a stark wounded soldier in the winter.

Nature has planted two mimosa trees in the backyard and four years ago Mama Bore gave us foot-high “sticks” from the Arbor Society that we have nurtured along. The golden raintree and Washington hawthorne are now approaching 15-feet, but the flowering crab apple hasn’t been as quick to grow. I’m always picking up after the mimosas and the raintree in the fall; along with their leaves, they both drop pods and I don’t like to have them littered all over the lawn. I'm afraid they'll develop into Pod People...like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

When BB and I were hiking in Arkansas, we came across a most unusual tree--one like we'd both never seen before. It's like Siamese twins, starting out as two, then merging into one single tree at about 6-1/2 feet. I had Big Bore "hide" behind it for this picture, so maybe you can tell how strange it truly is. “What kind of tree is this?” Let me know when you have it figured out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


One of the nice things about the Magazine Mountain Lodge is that any old body, wealthy or penny pincher, can enjoy a few of the amenities there. Oh, the pool and spa are off limits to the poor, but the bluff-top patio is free to all-comers and the restaurant is open to anyone with a few bucks or more. Both have views of the valley below that are “ooooh and aaaah”-worthy.

While I went browsing in the souvenir shop after our big hike, Big Bore lounged in one of the patio rockers, soaking in the sun. “This is heaven,” he said, when I joined up with him after dropping some dollars on items I just HAD to have. Here he is, relaxing in his old man’s threads, watching the turkey vultures soar on air currents before him.

We brought along our own breakfast and lunch grub but dined at the lodge restaurant in the evening. Our first experience from the menu was mediocre, but we hit the jackpot on the second night. I decided to forego a meal and just went straight to the cheesecake. Our waitress, the attentive 70-year-old Patricia, who moved to Arkansas 62-years ago but who still speaks with a “Joy-zee” accent, let Big Bore go “off-menu” with a special order of a hamburger steak drowned in a mushroom and onion topping, at her suggestion, and he finished it off with a piece of pecan pie that Patricia said he must have. “I’ll bring a piece right out to you, honey.” Now, his taste buds were in heaven, too.

After dinner we watched the glorious golden sunset from the lodge patio rockers before heading back to the campground. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Magazine Mountain has a wide variety of living accommodations for state park tourists, ranging from bank-busting 3-bedrooms cabins ($390.00 a night, $450.00 “in season”), to lodge rooms (ranging from $95-$155; $112-$182 in season) all the way down to the $14.00 a night tent sites at the campground. No big guess here about which one the budget-stretching Bores selected. November or not. Out came the Coleman tent.

We weren’t concerned so much about the nighttime temps--in the upper 30s--we had plenty of blankets and could wear layers. But there are black bears in them thar hills, and Big Bore said we needed to protect ourselves by getting some pepper spray and keeping all our food in the car, as per park rules. How difficult is that? Before we left, we bought some pepper spray and I stashed the stylish pink container in my fanny pack.

Except by the time we got to the campground I’d forgotten where I’d put the damned pepper spray, tore apart the car looking for it, multiple times, tore apart my suitcase looking for it, multiple times, and finally gave up. "I must have left it at home on the dresser." We’d just have to do without it, keep the food in the car, and hope for the best. Which we did.

Our first night in the tent was not without incident, however. There just as well could have been a bear around, as much as the tent shook---outside from the wind and inside from all the snoring. It was blowing like a force-10 hurricane on the top of Mount Magazine, highest point in Arkansas, and the forest around us whipped the Coleman into near-submission at times. We finally got to sleep, but periodically during the night, Big Bore and I took turns elbowing each other during our snoring duets.

At last a new day arrived, and in spite of the sporadic sleep I awoke with a grand revelation. “I put the pepper spray in my fanny pack!” Hooray! Now we could go hiking armed for bear. Big Bore, usually one to rag me big time for being such a big ditz, decided not to give me any harassment about the misplaced pepper spray when he discovered that he’d forgotten to pack his overalls AND sweat pants, and all he had to wear were the khaki slacks he’d driven down in and his flannel pajama pants. What’s more, he kept forgetting where he’d put various items that we, indeed, truly remembered to bring. “Where’d I put the fire starter?” “Have you seen the paring knife?” “What’d you do with the rope?”

Somewhere along the line, that famous scouting motto: “Be Prepared” had gotten lost--gone with the wind that keeps blowing and blowing through the empty recesses of our addled campers' minds. But we sure had fun.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The Bores made a quick trip to Arkansas this week to hike in the hills at Mount Magazine State Park. Our six-mile trek up and down and all around offered colorful vistas from the rim and lots of laughs. Unlike Colorado, when we were gasping for air and questioning our sanity much of the time while hiking, in Arkansas we joyfully sang Beatles tunes on and off key, hoping to scare away any black bears that might be within earshot. Here are a few more hiking pictures:

More to come......

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Here’s The Flaming Bore’s jack-o-lantern from Halloween night. Even the youngest of trick-or-treaters recognized it as a cat, so I declared my creation a yowling success. We managed to give away all the Kit Kat bars on hand, mainly because I didn’t want to be tempted with any leftovers. Critter loved watching the kids come up on the porch from her little lookout spot by the front window, Fluffy hid in the bedroom, and Bits took the opportunity to escape to the backyard until all the little spooks went home.

My beloved KU Jayhawks tip off their first game of the basketball season tonight. Even though it’s just an exhibition, I will have the best front row seat in the house--in my living room.

(The Flaming Bore will be on hiatus the next few days, as Big Bore and I will be camping in the wilds.)

Monday, November 1, 2010


Joan Crawford called last night demanding equal blog time, so here’s a first: back-to back Flaming Bore Movie Reviews. Who am I to deny diva Joan and her head-dropping performance in Strait Jacket?

As the movie begins, Lucy Harbin, played by our glamour gal Joan, returns home early one night, only to find her wayward younger husband in bed with a blonde hussy. Well, of course, Lucy does what any respectable spurned woman does--she grabs the nearest ax and chops them into ribbons.

Fast forward 20 years. After two decades of asylum rehab, Lucy is ready to inflict herself back onto society and to reconnect with her daughter, lovely Carol, now in her mid-20’s, who was an eyewitness to the crime as a child. She’s been raised by Lucy’s brother and his wife, who just happen to go by the unfortunate last name of Cutler, and who also happen to run a chicken ranch where we periodically see actor George Kennedy engaged in bird beheading. Are we picking up on any foreshadowing yet?

Carol, meanwhile, has become a sculptor (could it be that she is crafty with a knife?) and is hot for Michael Fields, from the wealthy Fields family. Carol would love to get married, but she’s not sure how the Fields’s will accept having an axe murderess for an in-law, or an outlaw for that matter. Still, she welcomes her mother home and tries to help her adjust to post-asylum life, buying her pretty clothes and a stylish wig. (“Oh, I couldn’t,” Lucy modestly says. “But, Mother, wigs are all the rage!”)

Next thing you know, Lucy starts having nightmares and hallucinations, gets drunk, puts the moves on Carol’s beau, dramatically strikes a match on an LP record, --and then an ax murderess arrives on the scene. Gee, I wonder who THAT is? Could it be that the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree? Well, Joan/Lucy comes on at the end to explain the entire plot to her brother and to those in the audience who remain clueless, and then, being the wonderful mother that she is, goes rushing back to the asylum to visit the newly-homicidal Carol. Like mother, like daughter. How sweet. The end.

On the 5-Flame Scale, I give Strait Jacket three stars. The conclusion is highly predictable, but the actors play it straight (or is it strait?) and never quite sink to the level of the material until the very end. If you enjoy stories about ridiculous mother-daughter relationships, and, let’s face it, Joan Crawford is the queen of mother-daughter relationships, then Strait Jacket should fit you perfectly.