Thursday, May 5, 2016

Saturday Strip

We have a little Saturday morning ritual around here.  We meet at Cosmo's Cafe for breakfast.  It's only about 5-8 minutes away if the lights are right.  It's about as close to a down-home Midwest country cafe you can find except it is run by barely English speaking Hispanics.  They are friendly and indulge Norah's fondness for Mickey Mouse by providing Mickey shaped pancakes with dollops of whipped cream, M & M's and strawberries.  Of course she never touches the pancake part but it makes her happy. 

It is part of a rundown strip mall area that has seen better days.  It is an eclectic mix of shops - and I thought you might be interested.     

From right to left we have what may be the last remaining outside phone in America.   Next time I'm there I'll see if it even works.

Next we have the Dharma Lounge.  It is a hookah establishment and I don't even know if it is still in operation or not, since I don't walk around here when the sun goes down.  I'm really not into hookah but they tell me it is a place where you communally smoke exotic tobaccos.  

Next is Cosmo's Cafe.  The cook is Carlos and the waitress is Monica.  Nice place and good food.  By this time we are regulars and if we miss a Saturday we hear about it next week.  They also have a vigorous delivery business.

Right next to Cosmo's is the Bosnian American Humanitarian Society.  I actually walked into this place once because I was curious.  There is a bar in there, and lots of tables.  I walked over to the bat and chatted with the accented bartender. He told me there are about 200 members and that I was welcome anytime.  In the Bosnian War these guys lost about 60,000 people and were the clear losers until the Serbs lost momentum and sued for peace.  

This end of the strip area is a gay bar called Quench.  Don't know much else about it.  The dark hallway adds to the mystery.  

And perhaps the most fascinating area is the martial art shop.  They have classes on Saturday mornings and after breakfast we wander down to watch them in action.  The head guy has a most dignified and striking visage.  I'd love to get his picture becasue he is the quintessential looking sensai/samurai.  

That's it.  There's a windows and flooring shop on down, but those are so conventional compared to the rest that they don't merit much consideration.  This place (the City) continues to fascinate me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mainsail Art Festival 2016

Longtime readers will recall past posts regarding the Mainsail Art Festival.  It's an annual event at Vinoy Park in St. Pete that happens in April.  We missed last year for some reason so this year was a priority.  The Mainsail is an invitational art exhibition and art sale.  There is always cool stuff and in the past I have spent much more than I should for art works.  This year I purchased a landscape from a Cheryl Ritter whose work "Yellow" appealed to me.   

It is usually a pretty warm day during Mainsail and this year was no exception.  Two years ago we saw an elderly lady having some kind of a heat medical emergency.  But if you can keep hydrated then it is a pretty fun event.  It is a competition first and foremost prior to the public entering, then these guys sell their stuff and there are all kinds of pieces - art, pottery, glass, metal.  Just about anything you can think of.  Speaking of pottery, one of my usual favorites, The Hairy Potter was absent this year. 

Cheryl Ritter was more than happy to pose in front of her just-sold artwork.  There was a price next to it that was out of my budget but she saw I took a liking to it.  She then popped her head over, whispered a cut in price by almost half, and I took the bait.  This was my 6th painting bought at Mainsail.  Me and Guggenheim.

This being the Vinoy, other things were going on, of course.  I saw this as I was heading out.  I'm not sure what it is called but perhaps No-Foul Soccer.  Looks like fun, might just get some of these bubbles and take over to BFE and have a spirited kick-the-beer-can competition.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

I wonder what happened to D.B. Cooper.  But then again, I don't really want to know.  When the legend crashes into reality - go with the legend.



On my recent annual physical with Dr. Slapdash, he once again reminded me that it was long overdue for my a colonoscopy.  I reminded him that it was not a priority with me - I wasn't afraid or insecure, I just didn't think of it as a must-do procedure.  I asked if I was a candidate for the ColoGuard DNA test I keep seeing on TV commercials.  Dr. Slapdash said there was good news and bad news.  The bad news was it is a a $600 cost and most insurances do not cover it.  The good news was a ColoGuard rep had been in within the last couple days and supplied 2 free tests.  And would I like to try it?  I said sure, why not?

Within a week a kit arrived and after reading and rereading the detailed instruction for a few days, I finally took the plunge.  It came with a pre-paid overnight shipping label and after chasing down a UPS truck, it has arrived for testing in Wisconsin.

Dr. Slapdash also told me that if everyone had an colonoscopy that was supposed to there wouldn't be enough doctors who do them.  I also asked the good doctor why my insurance company would deny both of my nose polyp prescription by Dr. Phlegm? He said it was probably money - thus, the insurance companies have taken over American healthcare.  There I go again - I digress from stool samples to insurance companies - perhaps not such a digression after all.  

Anyway, I'll get the results in a few days.  A case of a lucky visit at the right time.  


Just messing around surfing on the web I saw Elton John had released his 33rd studio album last February.  When was the last time anyone bought his stuff?  When was the last time he put anything out that was good?  The Lion King in '94?  My brother Phil had his first album and I liked it.  His Yellow Brick Road double album was maybe one of the best top 5 stuff ever.  


Babysitting isn't the only thing I've been doing since January.


My Cabin in the Woods.  So close now. 


Been to one of those touch screen order kiosks at McDonald's yet?  I'm a people person but if I can cut out any interaction with them, the better.  


HBO's Olive Kittredge is 4 hours I can't get back.


For some reason I've been on a snake kick the past week or so.  I had a dream about them one night and I saw a couple pictures with them.  I hate the sons of bitches, almost as much as Boehner hates Cruz.  I didn't babysit on Friday so I did my Friday thing with Norah (pick her up at school, take her to Dunkin Donuts, then over to the current Mrs. Blythe's workplace to pick her up after work).  While up on the 3rd floor tossing pennies down to the 1st, I saw a long 4 or 5 foot black snake slither across the front door area from one flower bed to the other.  I wasn't quick enough with my phone so no picture.  Guess my thoughts will remain on them for a while longer.


As I took my 4:45 am walk before babysitting yesterday morning, a thought struck me as I looked up at the quarter-crescent moon in the west.  Is there life "out there"?  Yes, of course there is.  It is teeming with life.  The reason we have trouble conceptualizing that is because we are earth-centric in our perspective.  But if you consider earth like you would a single cell in all the oceans of all the world, you would begin to see how we fit into the larger expanse of space.  Space doesn't end; there are no walls, this is not a doll's house like in Twilight Zone. Big Bangs are happening all the time, planets are being thrown from their suns at just the right amount of distance to allow for the perfect conditions to create life. The larger question isn't if there is life, but rather how would we ever run into other life given our meager ability to explore.  Think of that tiny organism in the sea, again.  Is there life in the oceans?  Would a single cell be able to see all the life forms?  

A bigger question yet would be: Is God the purveyor of just our little organism, or is He/She/Unmoveable Mover the God of all space?  And if God is See-er over all Space which is Never Ending, that would be one Hell of a God, right?  Or is the God concept Man's imagination and his way to explain, or soothe life? 

I'll figure that out on tomorrow's walk and let you know.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Welcome to Woodbury

I don't watch it but I'm told quite a few people do.  Today's post is a collection of shots from Woodbury, Georgia.  A little TV show called The Walking Dead is filmed here and in the outskirts.  I tried to get into it, a few times just to keep up with every member of the family who go nuts over each episode.  But, sadly or happily, I don't get it and have finally abandoned even the try.  Because of this I get to play with Norah on the Sunday nights it airs.  Fine with me.   

Like I said, I couldn't give two hoots (or even one) for the show, but the current Mrs. Blythe does.  She is the author of these shots and I heard a certain kind of sound as we were traveling these roads and something looked close to one of the scenes of the show.  

As she was out taking some of the railroad shots, and I was in the car patiently waiting, she returned and showed me this flattened penny sitting on one of the rails she spotted.  I have no idea how fresh this is - it could possibly have been there a long time.  It is one of the small ironies that we run into every once in a while - someone wanted a train to sqish this penny, and then they didn't wait to retrieve it.  And it sat on that rail - until someone randomely came along and saw it.  Kind of amazing.  But I still don't like the show.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flashback Friday

This is an odd little picture of Dad and the kids interacting.  Out of the picture, Mackenzie is looking at something, Brendan is showing me one of his Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I am clutching...anyway, it's not like I felt threatened at the moment, unless it was the picture taker.  

A couple things of note.  Firstly, the dresser in the background belonged to my grandparents in Seaton, Herb's folks.  It was in their garage and painted white.  This was refinished and is a nice looking piece.  It is about 8 feet away from me as I type this.  As an antique it is virtually worthless since there were handkerchief drawers on top and on either side,  that were gone when I acquired it.  But, sentimentally, it is something that links me to the past.  And stuff like that is usually priceless.  

Secondly, the couch we are sitting on was a thing of beauty.  It belonged to our Seaton neighbor, Arminta McKelvey, who lived just west of us.  Great neighbor, who never minded when we would break one of her windows playing ball in the giant field that straddled out houses.  We took a plate of food over every Christmas.  She was long widowed - her husband died of a heart attack in the back yard.  I can still hear his truck shift gears and back fire everytime he went to work.  Isn't that funny?  I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7.  I asked the Wombie if he remembered that truck and he said he did, too.  Funny, don't remember him but I remember that backfire.  Wonder if that gave me PTSD?  Arminta was a classy old girl who found love again late in life.  She married a guy named Archie Sheets from Aledo and because he couldn't see very well she would read him the newspaper.  He also couldn't hear so she would shout.  We could have stopped our subscription, she yelled the news all over the block.   

She called over to Marj one day and said she didn't have use of the couch anymore and would one of us like it.  This was when I was in G-Burg on Grove Street, a huge Victorian with no furniture budget and I said I would.  The absolute heaviest thing I'd ever try to wrestle into the house.  It was custom built and was a sleeper to boot.  There was enough iron in that thing to build a battleship.  Lasted forever; the cloth gave out before the mechanics.  Don't remember now who took it, but someone did.  Good luck, sucker.  

Anyway, that's enough of this picture.  I suppose the moral of the story is "Always watch your flank, and whatever else is important."       

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Oak Creek Covered Bridge

I was looking at the map around Warm Springs and noticed a covered bridge about 9 miles away.  It also wasn't one of those refab, fake ones like the Wolf Covered Bridge in Knoxville.  The original Wolf burned in 1994 and they should have just built a new bridge rather than foist a replica on us.  Who cares for brand new fake?   

Approaching this one, the Oak Creek Covered Bridge, one must pass through this iron structure to make sure you can fit on the bridge.  Yup, they actually allow traffic to cross; it is a real, working, old, covered bridge.  

This was built by slaves in 1840.  I'll wait a bit while all that sinks in.  Now let me add another layer:  the chief builder was a freed slave, Horace King.  Constructed on the "Town Lattice" design, the crisscrossing web of planks (at 45 to 60 degree angles) were joined together by 2500 wooden pegs, or trunnels.  King built many bridges in this part of Georgia, but this is the only surviving one of this design.

If the Little White House is a preserved time capsule, so is this slave-built 175 year old wooden bridge.  Amazing.  

While we were there a car came along and passed through the bridge.  Not to be outdone, I drove through it as  well.  

At 391 feet including the approaches, this is the oldest and longest covered bridge in Georgia.  

The above pictures are the wooden pegs that were used instead of nails.  They weren't small, either.  Probably a couple of inches wide  and 7 or 8 inches long.

I doubt that the creek has changed much.  The beauty of it makes it difficult to imagine the slave labor that enabled this bridge.  And of course the history it has seen.

Also of some note was the lack of graffiti.  Yes, there was some on the peripheral edges - love notes mostly.  A couple years ago I went to Wolf Covered Bridge with Pat and almost every inch of that bridge is covered in graffiti, not always very pleasant.  I wonder why?  Are Northlandia vandals less respectful?  Do Georgian youth have an inherent admiration of their history? 

We walked a bit, drove through it, talked to some other visitors and then we left for other Georgian adventures.  I have to admit I'd not thought much about how almost everything of a historical nature at least 150 years old was most likely constructed with slave labor.  It gives one pause.  And then to be lucky enough to interact with this old bridge was thrilling.  I doubt that Mr. King could have imagined his engineering would survive this long.  I wonder how much longer it can last?