Friday, July 31, 2015

Flashback Friday - My Cars

In the final entry of my cars growing up, we end with my best (read: fun) driver, a 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix.  After the disaster of the AMC Pacer, it was nice to get ahold of a big barge again.  Where the Pacer was a nice idea without the execution, the Grand Prix was a pedigree of excellence that was evident in every aspect. 

Pontiac had ridden the style and performance of the Grand Prix/Bonneville/Catalina stable since a major remake in 1965.  The style had remained virtually the same since that time with minor adjustments along the way.  

Plush, luxury-oriented, my new gorgeous car even had a T-Top.  Plush interior, bucket seats, push-button trunk, electric windows, this was a sporty, large luxury car.   And was a car that was a pure joy to just hop in on a day off and cruise.  Not since my first VW and the Fury after that have I simply driven a car with enjoyment instead of as a means to get from here to there.   

The picture above was taken by someone to show a dashing kid leaning on my Prix.  It was probably taken by the Wombie for some unknown reason or perhaps I used a timer shot.  I was never "cool" but looking at me behind the wheel with the tops off one might think I was.  And why not?  It was a cool car.  It wouldn't be a stretch to assume the driver was too.  

I did find another picture of my Prix, here in an unposed head-scratcher where someone else is driving?  Doesn't look I'm heading to the grocery store in this picture and words and memory fail me.  But then we aren't concerned with the what was happening as much as the wheels.  I loved this car, and perhaps I was marrying it on this day.  For those who may be wondering where this was taken, it is at the Seaton Presbyterian church and that is the water tower in the background.  And, as luck would have it, a much newer Pontiac Grand Prix or Bonneville is in the background, with the updated square headlights and a less stylish updating.  

It was a bridge car:  it spanned my last bachelor days to the next stage of life of marriage and kids.  It spanned carefree to responsible.  It spanned fun to practical.  It spanned kid to man.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quiet Zone

I don't do editorials very often and strictly speaking this isn't one either.  But I ran across the old Peanuts cartoon above and remembered how much I enjoyed its homespun philosophy when it was alive and kicking in newspapers. Frankly I was taken by how much that cartoon applies to my personal way of thinking, perhaps not so much by choice, but by the fact that silence often keeps trouble at bay.  

There are some notable historical exceptions, of course, namely Sir Thomas Moore, whose silence in the matter of his King proved to be his undoing.  But I actually refer to those of us who are card-carrying members of Club Dread, introverts all.  I happen to be one its long-term members at this stage being reminded by the Wombie about a pitifully introverted situation when I was buying school clothes way back when.  I said "It doesn't make any difference" when when the poor clerk tried to assist in my search.  

And I'm getting worse.  I probably don't have enough years left to become a wacko-style recluse, but I find the avoidance of social situations increasingly relieving.  But I digress.  I see all over the news these headlines:

"Waylon Jennings son apologizes..."
"Ben Carson apologizes over Prison remarks..."
"Rep. Alday publicly apologizes..."
"Fox News apologizes..."
"Louis Tomlinson apologizes..."
"Steele to Rush: I'm sorry..."
"Matt Barnes personally apologized..."
"Amy Pascal apologized..."
"Judge apologized over remarks..."
"Alan Grayson apologizes..."
"Golf channel analyst apologizes for lynch remark...
"George Takei apologizes..."
"Boomer Esaiason apologizes..."
"Ariana Grande apologizes..."

Type in 'apologizes' in your browser and be astounded at the page after page after page of recent and more recent apologies over stupid remarks people have made.   A lot of these are Tweets or Twitters, or whatever term is used.  I know nothing of these forms of media.  I don't Tweet, Instagram, Snapchat and rarely do the Facebook thing. I blog.  Facebook seems a lot like the old adage we heard in the AIDS days, "When you have sex, you have sex with everyone that person had sex with."  On Facebook I post something then I find out it went to all manor of person place and thing.  It scares me. But I digress again.  

Seems like people use these social media platforms to keep their legion of fans interested in them (mistake number one) then have to apologize to everyone when they say something stupid (mistake number two).  Mark Twain's adage, "Better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt" holds as true today as it did a hundred years ago.  None of the social media platforms are leaving very soon (mistake number 3) so we'll be living with all of these individuals who must keep their names in the headlines in order to keep themselves or their brand relevant (think Caitlyn).  

For me, I shall remain the silent guy in the corner of the room, either too afraid to reveal my foolishness, or too scared of making social mistakes, which seem to linger with me more than they should.  I have often said that extroverts provide the savory spices that make a stew (the world) a memorable feast.   Introverts, meanwhile, make sure the kitchen is well stocked and that there is an audience.   Introverts may not be the loudest, or funniest, or most popular at the party, but then, we seldom have anything to apologize for the next morning.     

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

More Beauty From A Cloud- Part 3

Our third entry on the storm cloud that passed over Keithsburg while I was on the levee taking pictures.  And as usual I best keep my mouth shut - commentary would be superfluous. 

I have more from that early morning and will post soon.  Thanks for your patience. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Silly me.  I was expecting a good report from Dr. Dunlevy and all I got was a bad one instead.  The polyps have started to reform and I have an infection, to boot.  Well, goody.  Not only that but I have to undergo some kind of allergy testing:  one shot per week for 6 months.  Uh, if they charge a co-pay that comes to almost a $1000 just to get in the door, excluding the shots and any ancillary office and lab costs.  

I may just decide to forgo this expense since the polyps are not life threatening.  May be tough to breathe but I'd rather save the money for when something really serious comes along.  I have had to dig into my Wheels-in-Floriduh fund for the expenses so far so no vehicle down here until we recoup surgery costs.  

I am on a new prescription, some kind of steroidal nasal flush, and hopefully this will prove fruitful.  If nothing else I'll stick straws up by nose.  


2.  Ayla Morgan Shepherd was born on July 21, 8 lbs. 11 ounces, 19 inches long.  She was due on the 11th, induced on the 21st and quickly after the medication was administered, banged her way into her mother's arms.  

So begins the slow evolution from the Blob stage into something resembling a human.  


3.  On Sunday we moved Kenzie, Drew, Norah and Ayla into their new apartment at Bedlam on the Bay.  Their house had become increasing small for a 4-person family.  They will decide their next move in the coming months.   


TCM is playing a Tarzan movie as I write this and its a rainy morning here at Bedlam.  From what I can gather the quintessential single-word language Tarzan has with his animal friends is "Ungawa."  Whenever he utters this command, usually to an elephant,  the elephant will do whatever Tarzan wants, but seems to be all-encompassing like "up", "down", "run" "stampede", "crush Nazi", "push poacher over cliff".  Smart telepathic elephant.  


Monday, July 27, 2015

A Cancelled Fourth - Part 1

If there is anything resembling a family tradition in Floriduh it would be both 1) me verbally knocking the cat around and Florida, not necessarily in that order, and) gathering at the Vinoy Park to watch the 4th of July fireworks.  I hate the cat because I am allergic to the beasts and now that it is 14 or so years old I can almost taste the non-allergenic air upon its timely demise.  The meet at Vinoy is because short of watching them in North Henderson, the St. Pete show is about as good as you can find in these parts. 

And I don't think a 4th has ever been free of the rain or the chance of them.  However, we have been lucky and the rain has usually dissipated by the time the show starts.  Until this year.  But before we get to that, the pre-show is watching the people, the planes, the dolphins and the boats in the Bay.   

This plane was buzzing around for awhile until the weather started to look really nasty.  As the dark clouds rolled in and the wind started picking up, the old restored plane decided to call it a night and landed just a ways down the road at the Albert Whitted airport.

As usual, boat owners lowered anchor just off the sea wall and this side of the now-abandoned Pier.  

Kayakers get great seats by doing a little paddling where the boats are.  This craft had a couple of redheads ready for the show.

The St. Pete show always attracts a large crowd.  The lights int he background is the old Al Lang Field that is now home to the local pro soccer team the Rowdies.  Al Lang field used to be the spring training site of the New Your Mets.

A game of chess is a perfect way to while the time until sunset.  

But Mother nature would have other plans on this day.  Stay tuned for the more of the cancelled 4th at Vinoy. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Flashback Friday

It's hard to imagine Seaton ever having had parades if you drive through it today.  A major removal of old brick building on main street years ago left only the post office.  Since then a restaurant was built but torn down from my days as a kid there was the gas station, Chism's heating and plumbing business.  The big old restaurant on the west corner that the Blackman's had, then the Wheelers is gone, too.  The old newspaper building is gone and whichever building used to have a billiards and barber shop is gone, too. 

It was a different time and small towns still had a place in America.  Not so much anymore.  The following pictures were taken during the summer of 1966.  I don't know what the occasion was but I do vaguely remember go carts one time when they brought in some rides and stuff.  Unfortunately I won't be able to provide much information on these pictures but I'll do what I can.   The film has become almost entirely saturated with red and also they have had sustained some damage to areas.    

This picture and the one below are populated by people I don't know.  It is titled Protectors of Freedom and the army guy look like Keith someone.  As for the others its anyone's guess.  The big building int he background is the State Bank of Seaton which exists today, although by a different name.  I suspect when all the other buildings/businesses and residential homes are gone, they'll still open their doors, if for no other reason than sheer stubbornness.  That little Ford tractor was much like the one I mowed with out at Uncle Ed's farm.

I get the WAC, and the sailor and army guys, but what I don't get is what the two lead characters represent.  What's he got on his head?  A sombrero?  A pasta strainer?   

A great 4-H project float - caged kids.  

Miss Wool Illinois,  Terry Lee Johnson.  Miss Johnson represented Illinois and Indiana for 1966-1967 and just happened to be from Seaton, so she must have been quite the local celebrity.   By the way, that's a nice '65 Ford Galaxie and similar to one I had for a few years in G-Burg. 

Want some candy?  I'll give you two handfuls.  Sitting down at the rear is Squire Greer, one of those guys when you are young are always old.  I probably never said more than a sentence or two to the guy but I had more of a history with his wife.  Some older guys we hung out with put me up to ringing their back doorbell then running into the cornfield.  She wasn't too happy with me when I forgot the part about running into the corn.  She gave me a pretty good verbal blistering.   

That white building in the background is the fire station and its still there, too.  Seaton has Power Days when collectors bring their restored tractors to town and they open up the station for pancake breakfast.  They also had a Homecoming of sorts a few years ago and I went.  They had a parade then, too.  Other than that, Seaton is slowly fading away.  A lot like the pictures - age has changed its tint.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Early Morning Walk on the Beach

An early morning walk at Pass-A-Grille.  

Pass-A-Grille is at the very bottom of this peninsula that holds Clearwater, St. Pete, Gulfport, Pinellas Park and probably other little towns sprinkled in.  There is a very good beach area and, although its a bit of a hassle getting here, is a great place for sunrise pictures.  

In one of my designed lazy posts that seem to have increased lately,  I offer no explanation because none is needed.  I walked along the beach and took these pictures.  Senseless commentary would add nothing.    

More of these at a later date.