Friday, April 07, 2006

The fun stuff that classmates do for each other

Monk-e-mail for web
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Many of you may already have seen this program or received an email through it, but damn, it is funny.

Randy Carlson sent along a missive to me about my anonymous note using monk-e-mail and it was hilarious, just hilarious. Thanks Randy. You earned a margarita at the reunion for this. Maybe two.

Here's the url:
  • Monk-e-mail

  • I've been zapping people all over the university with these emails and so far, everybody is amused. Haven't heard back from our campus president yet, but he's a busy guy.

    I did get an email (non-monk-e-version) from Steve Sewell, who sports the same big grin today that he is flashing in our yearbook.

    Here's a photo he sent along for posting. If you have a yearbook still around, check out his picture and then this one.

    Steve Sewell in London

    And, perhaps if you need someone to try out the Monk-e-mail program on, you could give Steve an electronic shout. He's on the email list, but I'll make it easier for you - here's his address:

    Steve Sewell -

    Steve, you can thank me at the reunion, ok?

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Yahoo Discussion list for Class of '66 lives!

    Yahoo Discussion list
    Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
    LAKEWOOD, New York - The Class of '66 discussion list (started by Allan Winger) is alive and well, I discovered today, after Allan walked me through getting re-connected to Yahoo.

    Allan Winger, 1966

    The url is to the right, along with some other links worth taking a look at.

    And while I have your attention (sort of) I wanted to mention again that I am very happy to take any submissions (as in stories, photos, graphics, etc...) and post them on this site.

    I'm pretty open to submissions. I mean, kee-rist, look at the one I put yesterday slamming
    me. I'm not shy about publishing what people want to read or see. (Uh-oh! Forget it John Rupp. The Hooters' pictures will remain on my other daily blog, From Where I Sit.)

    The graphic today is sort of indicative of the process of the Yahoo site, and also can be what we use here.

    You send, Allan posts. You send to me, I post. It's a good system.

    Later, amigos.

    Gene Pitney's songs set the tone for some much

    Gene Pitney
    Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
    JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - Gene Pitney just passed away, quietly, at 65, right after giving what the critics say was one of his best performances ever.

    His voice wasn't was it was when we listened to his 45 rpm records in the early 60s, but his enthusiasm for performing never stopped.

    Here's a link to a story about his passing:

  • Gene Pitney

  • Is it me, or do we seem to be losing about one icon a week?

    My favorite Gene Pitney song is "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," though "24 Hours From Tulsa" is close. He wrote tons of other songs for other performers including "Red Rubber Ball," a hopeful tune about a broken-hearted young guy who sees a sunrise and realizes that life will go one.

    I sat and watched a sunrise one morning overlooking Chautauqua Lake with that tune blaring out of the radio in my mother's yellow 1966 Pontiac Tempest Lemans after a difficult evening with a young lady who had dropped me like a hot rock.

    "Now I know you're not the only starfish in the sea,
    If I never hear your name again it's all the same to me,
    I think it's gonna be alright, yes the worst is over now,
    the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball."

    It might not be Dylan Thomas, but it's poetry anyway.

    I'm going to honor Gene Pitney in my tiny way by learning to play a few of his tunes on my guitar. I've practiced some chords and sung of his verses, but my God that man had a set of vocal chords.

    Gene had lots of other songs, his "Town Without Pity," perhaps burned into my memory the most. It was played as a "slow dance" a lot and because it was so slow and so melodic, even I could grab the hand of Linda Hansen or Sue Kettle or Sally Smith and get away with a twirl on the gym floor without tripping.

    Here's the lyrics to Red Rubber Ball and Town Without Pity.

    Oh! And one not-too-quick thank you to all the folks who sent me personal emails and posted messages at the end of yesterday's entry about the nasty gram letter I received.

    I will, "Blog on" until the reunion and beyond, too. Can you imagine the legends we are going to create in July?


    Town With Pity

    When you're young and so and love as we
    And bewildered by the world we see
    Why do people hurt us so
    Only those in love would know
    What a Town Without Pity can do..

    If we stop to gaze upon a star
    People talk about how bad we are...
    Ours is not an easy age
    We're like tigers in a cage
    What a Town Without Pity can do..

    The young have problems Many problems
    We need an understanding heart..
    Why don't they help us, try to help us
    Before this clay and granite planet falls apart...

    Take these eager lips and hold me fast..
    I'm afraid this kind of joy can't last
    How can we keep love alive
    How can anything survive
    When these little minds tear you in two..
    What a town Without Pity can do..

    How can we keep love alive
    How can anything survive
    When these little minds tear you in two..
    What a town Without Pity can do

    Red Rubber Ball

    I should have known you'd bid me farewell
    There's a lesson to be learned from this and I learned it very well
    Now I know you're not the only starfish in the sea
    If I never hear your name again, it's all the same to me

    And I think it's gonna be all right
    Yeah, the worst is over now
    The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

    You never cared for secrets I'd confide
    For you I'm just an ornament, somethin' for your pride
    Always runnin', never carin', that's the life you live
    Stolen minutes of your time were all you had to give

    And I think it's gonna be all right
    Yeah, the worst is over now
    The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

    The story's in the past with nothin' to recall
    I've got my life to live and I don't need you at all
    The roller coaster ride we took is nearly at an end
    I bought my ticket with my tears, that's all I'm gonna spend

    And I think it's gonna be all right
    Yeah, the worst is over now
    The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

    Oh, oh, oh
    I think it's gonna be all right
    Yeah, the worst is over now
    The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Nasty fan mail suggests shortage of Zoloft in NY

    Nasty envelope
    Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I had a stack of mail two-feet tall awaiting me at the Journalism Dept. this morning, the result of not going near campus for nearly a month.

    God, it felt good, too, to stay away.

    But, in among stacks of announcements of lectures I wouldn't attend even if paid, come-ons for new textbooks, and the occasional brochure for new computer stuff, there was a first-class letter with the handwritten envelope you see in the photo here, postmarked March 7.

    Handwritten envelopes in 2006 are such a rarity. Usually such an envelope would contain a personal note from a former student who had landed a great job and wanted to tell me all about it. Thank-you notes for letters of recommendation usually come in that size envelope with handwritten addresses, too. This one had a Buffalo, N.Y. postmark, which was a tip-off it probably wasn't from a former student. A few of my students over the years have traveled east, but the ones that do, usually head to Washington D.C. or New York City.

    But, well, the brief note inside certainly turned out to be personal.

    Here's the entirety of what was inside the envelope, folded quite tightly:

    Nasty fan mail


    If I was sensitive, that nasty-gram would send me to either the wine jug or the Prozac bottle in a heartbeat. Maybe both. Well, not Prozac, because I don't have any or have ever had any, or... Never mind. Let's move along...

    But I am not really that sensitive. Too many years in the news business, I suppose. One letter to the editor some years ago suggested that I go back to college and get a degree in journalism.I didn't take that letter too seriously either, because the letter writer misspelled both journalism and college. And it was from a high school teacher. Ouch again.

    But in this case, well, I have never been able to take anonymous letters very seriously. They are just so, so, so, ummmmmm, chickenshit?

    Wait! I'm sorry, let me amend that. That's not fair to the patriotic poultry population of America. (I know, I know, it was an obvious joke, but sometimes obvious works best. Watch Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.)

    By not signing their name, or putting a return address, the whole criticism falls pretty flat.

    So, sorry Ms. or Mr. anonymous former-classmate. I suggest you simply don't read this blog if you find my musings frankly, well, not amusing. And please, please, follow through on that awful threat to boycott the 40th reunion of the Class of '66. Your presence would be missed, though, only if we knew who you were. What a conundrum!

    In that vein, I'm giving the envelope and note to some of our criminal justice, CSI-type students on campus for them to do some detective work. I mean, the handwriting is distinctive and virtually every computer printer in America leaves a signature now, a signature that is invisible to the naked eye. (That signature was included as a public safety measure many years before 9-11, so don't blame The Patriot Act.)

    I am just kidding about the criminal-justice students. But I do want to offer my sincere thanks to the writer of the note for reminding me that this reunion is about, well, the Class of '66 of Southwestern Central High School. All of us.

    We all had our faults in 1966. We all have faults in 2006. Mine is sometimes not knowing when to stop writing and shut up.


    Buena suerte (or bon chance) classmates and amigos.

    I hope to see everyone in July, all critics included.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    He drove like a madman & always watched my back

    John Rupp
    Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
    BURLINGTON, Vermont - Back in that halcyon final year of high school - and for the next couple of years - I witnessed John Rupp drive his automobiles at speeds that didn't just defy New York state traffic laws, they sometimes defied the laws of physics.

    But in all of that time - save one - he and his vehicles came through unscathed, though people he passed (frequently on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder) or people driving in the other direction, probably needed oxygen or a double dose of their nitroglycerin after the encounter.

    When John dropped out of college in Florida and I dropped out of Villanova at the end of the fall 1967 semester, the plan was to make some money and go to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. What a grand adventure that was going to be! We would be like Alexander Scott and Kelly Robinson from I Spy!

    But then we met these girls at the Gloves and, well, there went that idea.

    Adios Mexico! It took me 30 more years to finally make it there. And I can't even remember the girls from then that we were so truly madly deeply in love with!

    Today, I found out that John has been battling cancer for the last few years. In typical Rupp fashion, he didn't tell me, or very many other people. But it's gotten more serious now - and he is probably sooooooo pissed off at me for publishing this, that it's a good thing he's propped up in a chair in his house in Burlington, Vermont, yelling at the morons on the Fox Nut Network.

    At least that's what he was doing this morning when I called and chatted with him. He was in pretty good spirits, said the drugs had the pain under control and if he wasn't in pain, the drugs would have him laid out cold.

    We are all at the age where things like cancers and other illnesses are catching up to us. Still it's a shock to hear it.

    At Snug Harbor one summer night in 1967 or 1968 - the same night that John's mother's red '65 Mustang went airborne into a ditch - John came dancing across the floor with a lady friend to warn me that my ex-girlfriend was in the bar. She was looking for me because she wanted to deliver a message. The last message had been a pitcher of beer dumped on my head at the Pastime in Lakewood, so he and I beat feet out of the bar and into the night, laughing.

    We watched each other's backs a lot in those days.

    Today, I can't watch John's back from California, and I feel kind of helpless. But I thought I could at least post his contact information here, in case you want to send him a letter, telling him how much trouble he is going to be in if he doesn't come to our Class of '66 Reunion in a few months.

    It's just few months, Kelly, and we (the entire Class of '66) insist that you and your wife Paula bring your cute four-year-old daughter, too.

    We'll see you then, amigo.

    Contact information:

    John Rupp and Paula Provencher
    201 Brand Farm Drive South
    Burlington, VT 05403
    ph: 802-658-3640

    John's email:
    Paula's email:

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    State of the Reunion message from Randy Carlson

    JAMESTOWN, New York - I hope that these shots taken of the documents sent to me from Randy Carlson are all readable... If you have a problem, just click on them which should take you to the original web page where they are posted.

    There you can make them bigger, download them or, well, whatever you want.

    The photo/document above is Randy's state of the Reunion message (clever, very clever R...).

    And here's the list of who has made reservations:

    Classmates with reservations for the reunion

    And here's who we are still looking for.

    Missing classmates for Class of '66

    Randy and his committee have done a great job of wrassling all this stuff and deserve a hand - and a few drinks - at our first informal event in Bemus Point.

    You can let him win at golf, too, if you want, but that might be going a little too far.

    I had a file shot of Tom Wrinn - one of people we are looking for - so I'm posting that in case you run into a guy who looks just Tom, but 40 years older. Of course, he might sport a Mohawk or have a beard and/or an earring.


    Tom Wrinn