Thursday, October 30, 2014

First Nature Walk of the Fall - Part 1

With the temperatures falling a bit this Fall it seemed good to be able hit the walkways of  one of the best nature preserves around here, Sawgrass.  These pictures generally need no comment, so I'll remain quiet.  

That last shot was a poor attempt at shooting the wispy webs that seem to stretch all over the place.   

I have more shots that, while redundant from other past trips to the place, are still kind of neat.  But those will wait for another day.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just a Few Of The Reasons Why Florida Sucks

Nothing is all good nor all bad.  Most states have their plusses and minuses.  Illinois is a corrupt bastion of Chicago politics.  Iowa has the Hawkeyes.  Florida is a different breed of state.  It's mostly bad. Hot, stupid and the home of weird.   

Hey ladies, get on your high high heels and grab your rifle.  "Stand Your Ground", birthed right here basically means you can shoot anything that moves if you are fearful.  

Wal-Mart, home of falling prices, personality-dead check-out clerks and long lines, will cheerfully sell you this dead plant I saw for 50% off.  I don't know if this is a reflection of Wal-Mart or Florida, but since this Wal-Mart was in Florida, its a twofer.

In Illinois you swat at flies in your house.  Here, you corral lizards.

This driver thought a silly Zombie style tire cover was cute.  At least I hope it was tongue-in-cheek.  But upon further inspection, on the license plate is the Tampa Bay Bucs NFL football logo.  If he is looking for a Zombie Outbreak, he best head over to Raymond James stadium.

Walking by this used car lot, I couldn't help smelling and seeing a vehicle in extreme distress.  The oily smell was overpowering and the smoke billowing out of the bays was undeniable.  Give 'em an hour or so and they'll have this Manager's Special ready for sale in no time.   

The stifling, congestion at rush hours lowers the standard of living by several notches.  Give me wide-open corn fields any day.

And finally, Exhibit 7 for my rant on the sandy, scrub-infested, No-See-Um filled cocklebur of a state in which I find myself.  Like Australia which was first inhabited by Europeans as a prison-state, Florida which seems to readily take cast-offs, neer-do-wells, the lame, the maimed and educationally challenged, the people themselves are the worst advertisement.  

I found myself standing at the front door surveying whatever it is to survey here while a lady walking a dog walked by and LET the son-of-a-bitch bitch piss on my bike tire.  There are certain universally recognized rules for civil discourse:  apologize when you belch in the company of women,  dunk, don't dip Oreo cookies in milk, when a clerk asks you in a clothing store what size you wear, don't say it doesn't matter,  pet dogs when they pretzel at your feet looking for attention,  and you never ever ever ever piss or let your dog piss on another man's bike.    

Nothing is all good nor all bad.  But if you ask me, the bucket of bad down here is a Hell of a lot heavier than the bucket of good.

And finally, Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Neighbor Tim has healed well enough to resume work.  Sherwin-Williams, his many friends in Northlandia and at least one in Florida, and family breathe a sigh of relief.  Now if his Bears could just win a game. 

2.  I am a proponent of online banking.  Paying bills on the internet probably saves me close to $40.00 a year in postage.  But there is one thing I don't get.  I use Billpay for a couple of bills from my bank.  We know banks are stingy, blood-sucking parasitic ass worms who are every bit as evil as much as they are tightwads.  Who pays for  Billpay?

3.  I was extremely saddened by Illinois' dropping the Millionaire Raffle from their lotto lineup.  It had become a bit of a tradition with the Wombie and I having our raffle tickets and dreaming of untold wealth.  We never did win anything but found it fun nonetheless.  Pretty good odds, too.  It was something they did twice a year along with St. Patrick's Day.  Hopefully that one is still in the works.  

4.  The other day I noticed the sunset was a little different that usual around these parts.  

I only had the iPhone but it was good enough to give you an idea of the sight.  I guess the sun was passing through some clouds, but that seemed odd because there didn't appear to be any that day.  

5.  Went to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in St. Pete the other day.  Saw a guy petting his parrot and the incense that always renders me speechless.

I am, and remain, unable to make a coherent comment on the fragrance oil.  The guy and his parrot, however, made for a nice show.

6.  Halloween Is Approaching:  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mystery Reference Points

I am not given to hysterics.  In all my stargazing I have never seen a UFO (well, maybe one).  I have read the calculations of how far an advanced alien civilization would have to come to find us in the vastness of space and have ruled out the possibility. The technology for traveling such distances seems daunting even for the most advanced.  And there is the question of why.  Surely there must be millions of worlds more suitable for whatever they need, and thus, the third question.  If they need something why not take it?  Why just the endless spatial drive-bys?  

Anyway, after having had breakfast with the clan at the Egg Platter I noticed a small round washer driven into the parking lot by a small nail.  I asked if anyone had noticed them before and wondered what it was for.  No one knew.  

And then I started to notice them everywhere.

On sidewalks.

In roads.

In parking lots.

Some have been highlighted.

OK, lets deduce their purpose.  Obviously they are reference points.  One actually has REF PT on it.  But what does it reference?  

  • Property?  Not likely because I saw one in the middle of a street.
  • Water and/or Gas Line?  Best question Wombie about this, I mean AQUAMAN.  But even that didn't make much sense since one I saw was in the middle median of a 6 lane street.  You'd think they'd flow water and gas perpendicular to roads other than major thoroughfares.  If you have a break you would be having to tear into a major means of commuting.

  • GPS or Google Earth coordinates.  Maybe.  Or maybe it is an advance guard of an alien race Hell-bent on invasion when the time is ripe.  Yeah, that's it!  They are reference points for  landing sites for their Praetorian War Birds.  The Motherships will be enveloped in cloud formations and when the perfect moment arrives they will streak to Earth like gnarly sand gnats.  
Laugh all you want but it has happened twice before, as evidenced by the clips below.  Look to the skies!!!!!!!!!!!!!     

Great martian war from PLAZMA on Vimeo.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flashback Friday

Back in college, whilst in the bubble of liberalism and free-thinking, I became enamored of three things:  Kahlil Gibran, the Report from Iron Mountain, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  All three, hopefully, have faded from the consciousness of past disciples and college campuses.

Since I was a sponge seeking to soak up everything, and to echo Holly's "thirst for knowledge" quote, I was particularly susceptible to all forms and types of philosophical-theological thought.  

Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese poet, writer and artist and rather than go into a long tortured biography I will leave it to you to explore on your own if you so choose.  There are probably better ways to spend your time, but I was surprised to see that he is the third best selling poet behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu of Chinese fame.  Not so surprising I guess when you corner the Arab and Chinese markets, respectively.   

His The Prophet was one of my first purchases when I was a freshman, and I read it often.  It was a series of inspirational writings, kind of spiritual and not so unlike the stuff you see on Facebook every so often when a friend will cheer you up with one of those nifty little sayings that energize you for 14 seconds before fading from memory.   Here are some examples of Gibran's nutshell wisdom:

  • In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all of he oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.

  • We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.

  • Hearts united in pain and sorrow will not be separated by joy and happiness.  Bonds that are woven in sadness are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure.  Love that is washed by tears will remain eternally pure and faithful.

  • One day you will ask me which is more important my life or yours.  I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing you are my life.  

Okay, kind of get the feel for old Kahlil?  By the way his name is rightly Khalil, but immigration officials screwed it up, so, there you are.  It stuck.  Before you get the mistaken impression that I am putting down Gibran for his peppy little quips,  let me say that Gibran and The Prophet was my first indoctrination with a kind of philosophical thought.  He was important to me for a brief time, and that time was to usher me into philosophy, but not just the field itself.  He was the first to show me how to read philosophy.  And that is an important distinction.  Today I find Gibran kind of a freshman phase thingy, a springboard to deeper, greater thought, but in that time, in that instant, he is indeed a great great writer.  


The Report From Iron Mountain was a short paperback given to me by Ivan Ewing, a fellow IWC student who also hails from Seaton.   In it it describes in detail a formation of a government panel that was supposed to meet in secrecy (Iron Mountain, Michigan) and whose findings were never intended for public consumption.  The panel came to a conclusion that in order to remain influential and powerful, nations had to create war or at least a credible substitute.  Now, here's the thing:  to this day no one really knows if it was real or a hoax, or at least that is what the continuing controversy and allure of the book is.  Its stated conclusion is that peace is not conducive to a lasting peace.  LBJ was, according to US News And World Report (11-20-1967) told that it had leaked and supposedly "hit the roof" and ordered its perpetual suppression. 
Eminent US statesman and Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith apparently leaked that he was on the commission while writing in the Washington Post, but then backed off that assertion six days later.  Coerced?  Or just part of the hoax?  

To this day, which by the way, is still being passed around on college campuses and conspiracy theorists, no one knows for sure if it was real or fiction.  Either easy, it paints a 20th century blueprint for another way of looking at the nation-state, along with Plato's The Republic.  

It is available in PDF form and if interested you can download it here: Download the file

You can, no doubt see the intrigue and allure of this book to a dumb college kid straight out of high school.  Like a sponge I again soaked it up with relish.  


The third initial influence was the book by Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Another short book, hmmm, we have a trend here.  Apparently beer at the West Side couldn't wait for longer reads. 

In short, Jonatham a seagull is tired of fighting for food all day, every day.  He wants more.  So he takes to flight and goes on long journeys, perfecting his skills.  The flock outcast him because he won't conform.  He is met by two other gulls who teach him that there is a "higher plane of existence", and that there is no heaven, where food is always readily available, but that life itself can become richly rewarding by itself through knowledge.  

Once transcended he then returns to help other outcasts find their way to their higher existence.  Man, I'm getting goosebumps just typing this. See, Philosophy!  This little book has it all:  friendships, struggle, waste of materialism, higher beings, you name it.  This little bird got it going.  

The social phenomenon was huge at the time and spawned a movie  and Neil Diamond did the soundtrack.  I listened to it all the time.  (Psst, I still have it.)  Good music that holds up well even today.  

Here's just one of my favorites from that album, Dear Father.  

Hopefully it will work for you, otherwise go to YouTube and type in song title. 

So there you go.  Some early influences that got me curious, hungry and thirsty for more.  From these readings and listenings,  would come other philosophers, thinkers, avenues and pursuits.  Mssrs. Gibran and Bach and Iron Mountain opened the door for me to peek around and question.  To see the world no longer from  small town eyes.  To look at the broader realities, the burgeoning amount of things to read.  So I went into philosophy and theology.  I read Socrates, Hegel, Keirkegaard and the usual troops too many to mention here; ushered out like parade soldiers being inspected by a foreign diplomat.  And I loved it, for better or worse.  If I had it to do all over again, I would have become an electrician.

They provided a stepping stone, an impetus to wonder...and while they seem small and irrelevant today from my perspective, for a few months a long time ago, they were giants.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Morning Study Along The Road


My friend and BFE neighbor, Tim, took a series of pictures while traveling on the job a while back.  I forget if he said these were in Iowa or not, but it was early morning and he had just started his day on the road. I thought they were pretty darn good and I think he used his phone camera.  It gave these an ethereal look,  landmarks in the mist.  

I'm no expert on cell phone cameras.  Mine takes either very very good ones, or is singularly bad.  There is just so much you can squeeze into a thin sardine tin and still make it commercially viable.  In these pictures I don't know if they are poor which enhances their qualities of mystery, or if they are excellent.  Whichever, these are little mini-canvasses of art - of a mystical landscape that existed for that moment.  Mr. Stage had an eye for the scene, which most of us walk through thinking of other things.  

Sometimes we need to detach ourselves from the usual routine and step back and stop.  Grab the camera and capture a scene that could change in mere seconds.  Beauty is all around us.  We only need to see through the din of our earthly thoughts to see the unearthly.  Be prepared.

Thanks, Mr. Stage for contributing to EIB.

BFE Reporter Days here on the blog are designed to showcase your pictures.  If you have something you'd like me to post send them to