Friday, December 31, 2010

Best Friends- SP & CO (Smith Porter & Co., Hancock, West Virginia)

I found this pair of bricks in Newport along the bank of the Ohio between Hooter's and the I-471 bridge while walking with Cicero. They seem to fit together, the only ones I've found with this name. The last post of 2010, dedicated to my best friend, also from West Virginia.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Friends

On the left is my partner, Hobo with his best friend, Busby Berkeley. They were both strays over in O'Bryonville in Cincinnati ten years when they came into our family.

Best Friends

Olga Massey puts on lipstick under the watchful eye of Irina Hawkins. It was Irina's 49th birthday. They have been friends and hooligans since they met in grade school in Moscow.
Usually I have great trouble learning new Russian words, but a couple years ago when the beautiful Ira taught me how to say lipstick- 'gybnaya pomada' : well, that one stuck with me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The legendary Johnny 'TV" Peluso

Former WWll P.O.W. Johnny 'TV" Peluso holding
a brick collected by another former WWll P.O.W., Adam Wood. One of 15 children Johnny moved to Newport when he was 3 months old. In the 1970's when I came to town he was the well-known mayor of Newport. He also ran a TV repair shop. In World War ll Johnny was at Normandy at D-Day. Later he was at the Battle of the Bulge where he was captured by the Germans.

Up Close

Johnny is almost 90 years old. He has been married for 69 years. His wife is in the hospital right now. Last month he ran for Newport City Comissioner. He got my vote. He is also in the landlord business. If that gal upstairs didn't pay her rent by Monday, he was evicting her and all her biker boyfriends. (Sadly, I just found out that Johnny's wife, Margaret, passed away yesterday.)

Me and Johnny

When I first came to Newport, I slept on the sofa of Vic Stadtmiller. We were deckhands together on the Delta Queen. Vic was a huge fan of the Big Red Machine, especially Pete Rose. He bought a giant TV from Johnny just to watch the Reds. One day I was laying on the sofa when there was a knock on the door. It was Johnny's henchmen there to reposess the TV. Vic hadn't been making the payments.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to move a 500 lb. stone

Our Halloween party was that night, so I thought it would be a good idea to move this stone out of the driveway.

Where to find good help?

Becky is not that much into moving heavy objects, so to get her help requires just the right mixture of pleas, promises, threats, lies, insults, and compliments. Right now she is quite busy resting up fro the party.

Cribbing the stone

Using a spud bar, bricks and 2"X 4"s we raise the stone one end at a time.

Almost there

Sliding the stone onto the dolly

I got this stone and its mate over in Camp Washington on Colerain Ave. near the site of the old Workhouse. It took five of us to load it onto the pickup truck. We used a comealong, a plywood ramp and PVC pipes as rollers. It is heavy that it crushed a furnuture moving dolly that I have had for 25 years.

Almost There

Stone on dolly. 'Pretty Girl' Becky strikes triumphant pose.

Stone at its new home

I pulled the dolly to the backyard and flipped the stone on to a sheet of plywood. I put some PVC rollers under it and pried it in place by the back gate. Its mate soon followed.

Getting Ready for Halloween

Since Becky helped me, I'll throw her a bone. Here we have her getting ready for the Halloween party that evening. She is the queen of the the Disco. By the way, Grandma Jo bought this vanity on layaway as a teenager at the beginning of World War Two.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adams Brick in Chicago, Illinois

When I called Karen Adams up in Chicago, she refused to sell me bricks. Instead she insisted on giving them to me. You see, Karen is member No. 213 of the International Brick Collectors Association and that is the way we do it. I am sure I will meet Karen someday to personally thank her for the bricks.

Grape Creek Clay Works, Grape Creek Illinois

Here is Rob, an employee at Adams Brick, holding one of their used bricks. A nice oversized addition to the wall.

Stacy with her Russian students Josh and (Svet)Lana

Becky and I spent the
long weekend in Chicago. High on my list was to meet Stacy's new students. Josh is a playwright and producer and Svetlana is a writer/waitress/ graduate student so we had to meet at a way hip coffee house in Wicker Park. Too bad I hadn't brought my own attempts at Russian fiction: Strahk (Fear) or Dvehadtsat Minyt (12 Minutes).

Teacher Stacy and Student Jim

After Jim got downsized in the tech world he took up English as a Second Language and moved to Russia for several years. but he never had time to learn Russian - until now. That just could be the reflection of the Green Mill Jazz Club in the window. It helps to have an in the know daughter like Sarah to pick out spots like this.

Becky reading to Kristine

We came up to Chicago to visit Stacy, my Russian teacher of the last three years, and her daughter Kristine. Becky is helping first graders learn to read in Newport. Here she is working her magic with Kristine.

Kristine swinging from the ceiling

You always know that you are having a good time when the upstairs neighbor calls to ask you to keep the noise down. I was partly to blame.

Ernest Hemingway's birthplace

One of Becky's favorite memoirs is A Moveable Feast about Hemingway's Paris years.

Me and Pamela West at Chicago's Underground Wonder Bar

Becky met Pam 30 years ago in downtown Cincinnati. Pam is a free spirit who has lived in Athens,Ohio, New Orleans, Pickens, South Carolina and now Chicago. It was at her daughter Niva's wedding that Barb Ernst told me about the International Brick Collectors. There are plenty of Pam stories much too wild for this blog.

Just Married

Still at the bar. This young woman was married hours earlier and was dancing to the live music.

B'hai House of Worship Wilmette,Ill.

We biked up here with Pam. A highly beautiful and inspiring building. Becky and I have been married about as long as it took to build it.

Religious symbols cast in concrete.

Detail using Macrobusrt mode.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My 60th birthday with a brick from the Pink Pussy Cat

Becky really surprised me on my birthday. She approached Newport city comissioner Frank Peluso at a recent meeting and got him to part with one the bricks from his fire pit. They came from the Pink Pussy Cat, a Newport strip joint back in the 60's run by our old friend and neighbor Callie Blaine Eisner whose husband Sammy got gunned down at the club. According to Frank the brick has paint on it from the sign proclaiming the most beautiful girls in town are inside.

Proud Wife with Pink Pussy Cat brick

I was wondering why she had dressed up so well for a comissioners' meeting. Now i know.

Me and Hans at my 60th birthday

Hans Multhopp go way back in the Cincinnati chess world. He has been my good friend for about 35 years.

Grayson Lake in Eastern Kentucky

Becky and I went on a short birthday canoeing, camping, bricking trip in beautiful Eastern Kentucky. Grayson Lake is lined with sandstone cliffs.

Clifty Creek, Grayson Lake

Out on the lake

Making bacon- I am surprised that Cicero isn't in this picture.

Grayson Lake State Park

Beehive kiln in Hitchins,Ky.

They don't make bricks here anymore, just mortar additives and the kilns are no longer operative. This part of Kentucky has deposits of clay usedto make fire bricks.


Although these beautiful beehive kilns look like they have been around forever, their design dates from the 1870's.

Louisville Fire Brick Works, Grahn,Ky.

Grahn, Kentucky is a company town named for Old Man Grahn, the founder of Louisville Fire Bricks. He owned every one of the 200 houses that comprised the town. Everyone made bricks. Now there are only a few workers making speciality bricks the old way.

Brick Kilns

These are working kilns used to make heat resistant fire bricks.

Inside a kiln, handloading the forklift with fired bricks

I asked the forklift operator how come he got to watch the others do all the work. He replied he had to work there for 40 years before he got to get on the fork lift. That was three years ago.

Handcast bricks

The Grahn plant stays open mostly by producing hand cast speciality bricks. The worker takes clay from the pile behind him and fills the mold.

Brick mold

Each time the mold is used, it is covered with form release oil.

Draw bow

After the form is filled up, the top is carefully evened with the wire drawknife.

Cast bricks

As I understand it, these bricks slowly dry out for several days before they are fired in the kiln.

Brick Molds

L.F.B. has hundreds of molds for all types of industrial bricks.

brick mold

This mold is for a brick that would be suspended from an I-beam in a furnace.

Eggs- cheaper in the country

Becky insisted on paying $2.oo for these large brown eggs.