January 2013

Monthly Archive

The Danube Bike

24 Jan 2013 | : blog

I was an L.D.S. missionary in Austria from Dec. 1969 to Oct. 1971.

My first area was in and around the city of Leoben, Stiermark.

My second work companion there was Randall Beavin from Illinois.

He was an interesting sort of guy who would eat low cost meals like Serbishian Bohnen Suppe (Serbish bean soup) and semmel (breakfast rolls) in order to save money so he could buy film and develop it. Why? He was on a limited monthly income, less than I received, and he wanted to catch memories of the places we saw, the castles, forests, churches, people that he’d most likely never get to see again. (An interesting note, his life’s work was for the U.S. government and took him all through Europe for many years; but at the time he had no idea that would occur.)

He took an untold number of slides of the countryside, cities, towns, dorfs and people. He like many others rode an old 3 speed bicycle.

I left him in Leoben to go to work and live in Vienna.

He vowed that when he left Austria to return to the U.S.A., he’d come back to Vienna and throw his old bike into the Danube.

“Not me.” I informed him. “I’ll sell mine to another missionary.”

I worked in Vienna (Wien) for about 6 months, mostly in the Old City the 1st and 19th Bezirks (districts or wards in the city). While there, I worked with four different missionaries and one in the 17th Bezirk living above a saurkraut factory.  We walked, rode bikes, and used the street cars or buses.

Sometimes the street cars go under ground and go over the Danube or over the canal around the Old City, not the ancient one that Napoleon had filled in but the newer expanded city canal.

One day on the tram, we came out of a tunnel onto a bridge crossing that canal or man made loop of the Danube. You should know that the blue Danube wasn’t blue at all right there but brown or blackish and full of rubbish of all sorts. To see tires or other things in the mud was not uncommon. As I was saying, on this particular day from my window on the street car, the first thing I saw as we started across the water was an old bicycle, upright with its front wheel stuck in the mud the back wheel sticking above the water spinning slightly.

All I could say was, “Randall Beavin strikes again!”

Lincoln’s Ghost Video series

21 Jan 2013 | : blog

Sometimes when I give a Lincoln performance, people ask that I recite the Gettysburg address.  I tell them, some can recite it perfectly, that Lincoln wrote it and occasionally looked at his written speech while delivering it.  Why must school children or I recite from memory if A. Lincoln himself did not?

I do give it in the 2009-the 200 year commemoration  show.   You can watch the 2009 Lincoln’s Ghost one man show for free at:


It’s in 5 parts with a short promo video.

Part one has had over 12,688 views on You Tube and sold over 400 copies on dvd format.

The 2010 show can be ordered on dvd shown here:


Later in 2010, Lincoln’s Ghost appeared at the annual Ghost Walk in Santa Clara, Utah in the month of October.

A promo for the 2011 show can be seen at:


(ordering instructions are at:


What happened in 2012?  Well besides appearing in schools and for small groups, Lincoln’s Ghost was a feature at the Washington County(Utah) Fair where people could get their photos taken with old Abe. (See The Photo)Lincoln’s Ghost writesLincoln’s Ghost writes

A fun site to check out is:


Here’s a funny story a friend related today. He said he bought a copy of the book about the Lincoln Presidency, “Team of Rivals”, for $2.00 at a thrift store. Then the Spielberg movie came out and he found the same book at Barnes and Nobel for $30.00.  He could understand why, as the movie had little in common with the book, but suspected that the book may be looked at by the publisher as being more valuable now that the movie is out. 

Books  from Amazon:


“Team of Rivals”. It appears at the far left and to it’s right is a box that  says “Amazon.com Shop and Save”. Click on the “Team of Rivals”box and Uncle Sam’s your Uncle, you’ll be taken to where you can order it for as little as $10.35.

And many more.

Order some today.

Why spell it that way.

19 Jan 2013 | : blog

English is my native tongue-language.  And I wouldn’t change that but sometimes I have to wonder how anyone could come up with such spelling and sounds that mean certain things.

Like, why “to”?

“To” can be a preposition describing motion as “going to” somewhere or thing, toward, contact or continuity, or to a point in time.

Or “to” can be used as an adverb as toward or into something.

But why not say “too”? Yes that’s for meaning “also”. But why “two”(2) “o”s?

And how it is said.

“To” sounds just like ”two”, “too”, “tu”, “tew”, “tuh”.

Can anyone explain why we say such odd things?

To Airsickness

19 Jan 2013 | : blog

I wanted to be a pilot as a young boy.

Here’s a song in German about that.                                                                                                http://www.singsnap.com/karaoke/r/b46e3f9c8

Then when I finally got to ride aboard airplanes, my desire changed considerably.

I penned the following verse about it.

“To Airsickness”

When I was but a little lad,                                                                                                               I used to think I’d be quite glad                                                                                                     To be above the clouds, you see                                                                                                     My parents would be proud of me.

But since I’ve grown a little bit,                                                                                                         I’ve several times been forced to sit                                                                                               Aboard those airplanes, both big and small,                                                                               And pleasure from the flying feat                                                                                                   Was all lost there in my seat.

You think it’s funny, what I say?                                                                                                     I used the bag again today,                                                                                                             And rued the day as little lad                                                                                                           I thought that flying would make me glad.

It’s Cold!

15 Jan 2013 | : blog

The temperatures have been mighty cold for Utah’s Dixie in the southwest corner of the state.   And with freezing and below it is even cold in my old adobe house.  Getting into the low 40’s at night inside the house.  But can’t complain.

My mother died last June in her 96th year.  She’d always say that “the ‘good old days’ weren’t all that good.”  Then she’d go on to explain.  When she was first alive in Springdale, Utah at the mouth of the Zion National Park canyon, before it was a park, her family lived in a slap board house on the west side of the road up the canyon, at the foot of a clay hill.  The clay would get mighty sticky and clomp onto one’s shoes when it was wet.  The bathroom facilities were up that hill to a private place, “the trench”.  If one had diarrhea, then they would be “trenching it” meaning they had to return up and down the trail more often than normal. 

I complain about having to get out of my warm bedding on a night as of late when it’s chilly and go to a cold bathroom to use the toilet.  Can you imagine making your way to the trench in the cold, rain, snow, dark.  Not so fun.

Later her sister Mary decided it was time for an outhouse, so she set about making one.    Then they had a 2 holer but still had to walk to it though once using it, there was protection from the rain and snow though not the dark or cold.  And if it was raining or blowing, the candle wouldn’t go out so easily.  Their mother used that her entire life to 1973, though she did get the convenience of an indoor bathroom and toilet by 1964. The outhouse became the overflow accommodations for extra people. I got to use that outhouse many times but I got to use toilet paper and not a catalog or something else rough.

Mom liked to have a fire in the stove, but was grateful for the cook stove being electric and of having electric heaters to be able to plug in and not having to cut firewood.

When I was young she had a commercial laundry business for the trucking companies.   She washed sheets and pillow cases for the sleepers and did shop rags for the garage using a double tub wringer washer and a clothes line.  An electric washer and dryer was like heaven to her.

Though she never learned how to drive a car and loved walking, she found it nice not to have to walk as in earlier days.  She lived from pioneer times in the more remote parts of Utah’s Dixie to the modern age.

So I guess you can now get an inkling of why she said that the “‘good old days’ weren’t all that good”.

“The ‘good old days’ are now”,  she’d say.

What do you say?

After months

13 Jan 2013 | : blog

After months, the problem with logging in and the problems with my site have been corrected though I have no idea how and after much effort, I was able to get a new password so I could log in.

Thank you readers for your patience.

Updates will be more regular again.

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