Counting My Blessings

Gorging on fresh raspberries while two Ana’s hummingbirds watch me.

Cable TV. Old movies, American Pickers, Hoarders, History channel, sci fi.

Raccoons have been evicted.

Reading in the sun.

Bees, butterflies and dragonflies.


Bless all the living things

The images of all the sea animals and the marshes and wetlands oozing black sludge. An entire eco-sytem crapped on. It is heart-breaking. As devastating as an earthquake or flood but it could been prevented. It should have been prevented.

As people we aren’t content to fish and hunt species to extinction or foul the earth with our leftovers, we have to dig holes in our already garbage infested oceans in order to poison our waters even more.

It is not just our cars that use the oil we depend on. It is the plastic water bottles, and all the plastic milk jugs and other disposable products for which we don’t have an easy way to recycle. Manufacturers haven’t done enough to reduce packaging and we haven’t changed the way we spend our money.

Sometimes it takes baby steps for change. Everybody has to debate change and blame the other guy for why it’s taking so long.

Meanwhile, come this winter we will be bitching about the price of seafood.

The Last of the Munchkins

karl_slover_2karl_slover_3karl_slover_4karl_slover_1It’s amazing to me how a simple “Google” can lead to a two days of digging around the internet. For me it has been learning more about “The Wizard of Oz” and more particularly “The Munchkins” than I ever expected to know or care.

What started me on this quest, was a search on the name Karl Kosiczky. Which was the name signed on a photograph I found in an aunt’s old photo album. He was a little person. He later went on to change his name to Slover.

You can find an article about him at:

“Slover was born as Karl Kosiczky on September 21, 1918 in Prakovce, Slovakia. Diagnosed at an early age with pituitary dwarfism, Slover was barely two feet tall by his eighth birthday. Dwarfism was not a family trait; his father stood six feet six inches, and his mother was just a few inches shorter. Slover’s father went to great lengths to make Slover taller including taking him to Hungary where doctors fixed stretchers to his arms and legs.

When Slover was just nine years old, his father sent him to work for a traveling midget show based out of Berlin, Germany. After working with the show for several years, Slover moved to the United States where he joined another traveling show.[2] It wasn’t long before Slover began appearing as midgets in films like The Terror of Tiny Town, Block-Heads, Bringing Up Baby, and They Gave Him a Gun.[3]

Slover was working in Hawaii when his circus manager sent him to Hollywood, where “little people” were needed for an upcoming film called The Wizard of Oz. At the age of 21 and standing just 4 feet 4 inches, Slover played the parts of four munchkins in the movie; the first trumpeter, a soldier, one of the sleepy heads, and was among those who sang ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’.[4]

After filming ‘Oz’, Slover began working for the ‘Original World Famous Singers Midget Show’ where he sang and danced throughout the United States. When the show ended in 1942, Slover joined the Royal American Carnival in Tampa, Florida. It was at this time that he took the last name, Slover; the last name of his stage manager.[5]”

124 little people were cast in the “Wizard of Oz” The rest of the Munchkins were played by children. Toto made more money per week than the Munchkins.

Leo Singer who used his own midgets and recruited others for the film, made more money than the Munchkins and he was reported to have not always paid them in full. Many of the Munchkins were European and did not speak English very well and were easliy misguided.

I also discovered another Munchkin in the photos in my Aunt’s photo album. His name was Eddie Buresh. He had two sisters who were also little people and all three of them appeared with Singer’s midgets and in the “Wizard of Oz” All of them have passed on.

Karl iseems like an old friend and I think I would have liked to have met him. He looks like a happy person who enjoyed living his life as a Munchkin And who kept it alive for all of his 92 years. There are a number of video clips of interviews with Karl on youtube. I have selected one interview he did with 3 other remaining Munchkins including Meinhardt Raabe (The Coroner) who died just this year. It is a must see.

So that has been my visit to the wonderful land of Oz and all of its inhabitants. After, reviewing what is on the internet in terms of information, it is amazing to me how a movie made 71 years ago is still a live entity for many who were involved in the movie (those that are alive, that is) and all the generations of fans that keep it alive.

This is for Karl and Judy Garland whose birthday is today and because I liked her movies and the Munchkins spoke highly of her.


Karl Stover in the all midget movie \”The Terror of Tiny Town\” A Video about the myth of a Munchkin Suicide

My connection to Judy Garland

I have always been a fan of Judy Garland and today, I realized that we have a few things in common. We are both Gemini’s. Her birthday is June 10 (the same as my Aunt Bessie’s) and mine is June 11.

And the other connection is that among my Aunt Bessie’s photo albums (remember fellow Gemini) were photos of someone called Karl Kosiczky who looked like a little person. He was posing with several other little people in what looked like a circus setting. The fact that his name was written on the picture made me curious. I googled the name and sure enough, there was a Wikipedia article about him.

He happens to be one of the last remaining actors that appeared as a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. There are even several youtube interviews with him and of him appearing at special events.

For a number of years, I was always wondering why these pictures were among my Aunt’s collection. I can only guess that she or someone she knew went to the circus where Karl was appearing and got snapshots of them behind the scenes.

Another synchronistic part of this is that I found out that this week is the annual birthday celebration for Judy Garland and it mentions that karl usually attends. So I emailed the event people about the photos I have and hoped to be able to contact him at some point. I will see if anyone responds.

In the mean time enjoy this odd piece of history discovered in an old photo album. Karl was 18 years old and weighed 23 lbs.<a href=”“>

The littlest birds

I’ve been noticing the little birds lately. The sparrows, finches, chickadees, bushtits and hummingbirds. They have been in abundance in my front yard. I think the ornamental plums have aphids and they are drawn to the smorgasboard. However, there is a nest of chickadees in a bird house next door and I see the mother, father and little chicks flitting about getting food. I imagine there will more than one hatching.

I also think that I have a pair of hummingbirds with a nest near by. I can sit at my front window and see the the myriad of subtle relationships between the trees the birds the shelter of the grape arbor next door. The hummingbirds have been drawn to a number of blossoms since February. Daphne, lilac and now foxgloves. Tonight I saw both hummingbirds going from one bloom to the next all over the front yard. I have never seen them visit my garden so regularly.

It made me realize how much my garden has matured over the years. Trees and shrubs have grown to provide shelter and food for a number of birds. 18 years ago, there was very little plant life in my yard. A few azaleas out front and in the back an apple tree and some roses. It has evolved into something that is beyond me.

I know it sounds corny but seeing a little bird not much bigger than a bumble bee, making my garden its home, fulfills me. I really take joy in those quiet moments looking out my own window to see the small miracles.

I can’t but feel blessed. But at the same time, I can’t rid my mind of the obscene man-made disaster in the Gulf and yet I feel numb. I can’t fathom it. I can’t watch it on TV or read about it as, I feel ill. And now it has become a witch-hunt and a blame game and a lynching mob. We can twit and twitter all we want but we really don’t make a difference.

Getting angry seems so futile. All you can say is “Never again, never again” Let’s just hope someone is listening.