Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can You Handle More Scenes From the Path?

Sorry I am overloading you with bike path pictures, but that's all I've done lately. It's all good stuff so kick back, have some coffee and check out what I did today.

I have been wanting to go further on the path and decided this week was the time to stretch my journeys on the path. My goal today: ride from Tyrone area all the way up town to Tropicana Field. According to Google maps my journey will take 7.4 miles and all of it is on the city-wide bike path. OK, let's go!

Oops, haven't even got on the path yet and discovered I have forgotten my water bottle. Tough it out, Mike and keep focused.

This neat "Field of Dreams" mural on the side of a building was nice.

This looks to be an old railroad depot (the path used to be railroad) that has been transformed into the St. Petersburg Clay Company. They have structures along the yard area with some of their work.

Question: I passed this quarry and they are watering their rocks and gravel. Anyone know why?

An area next to Gibbs High School where the original rails still sit. Unfortunately there was no drinking fountain.

This Buccaneers bus hasn't been out celebrating or tailgaiting all season.  Must be junk, and just when the Buccanners are starting to look pretty good.

The path goes underneath this factory area as we get closer to downtown. The path is supposed to be abandoned at sunset and going through this at night would certainly get me anxious.

Success. After a nice ride I reached the Trop.

I went around Tropicana Field as my victory lap. Woo hoo. Now I turn around and we have other goodies to show you tomorrow. Don't miss it.

For those who may be interested it took me approximately 42 minutes to go 7.62 miles, and I expended 382 calories which I more than gained back when I spied a Klondike Bar in the fridge.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Many Ways to the Path

Like I have written before, the 40 mile path across St. Petersburg (ending at the Bay) and into Clearwater, is a treasure.  Used extensively for serious and not-so-serious bikers, rollerskaters, walkers, joggers, grocery-carts-filled-with-junksters, and even (illegally) an occasional motorized bicycle, this is a golden way to travel.  I have been  impressed with how cars and trucks will stop for us just by sight, even before we push the button that turns on the flashing lights. Pedestrians and bikers are gods here.

Access is fairly straightforward, except when we have a good rain.  The ditches lining the path get full of water, making entry or exit somewhat problematic.  Above, there are overpasses at major streets with very easy on-off points. But, as you will see in the final picture, industrious and brave souls win the day.  

Many sidewalks will allow easy entry.

There are lots of well and not-so-well constructed platforms and walkways.

And then, for the more adventurous, here is a grocery cart and board.  Use at your own risk.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inane Inanities

1. “In 1750, Jacques Ferron was caught having sex with an ass and sentenced to death. To add insult to injury, the ass had a character witness:

The prior to the convent … and the principal inhabitants of the commune of Vanvres signed a certificate stating that they had known the said she-ass for four years, and that she had always shown herself to be virtuous and well-behaved both at home and abroad and had never given occasion of scandal to any one, and that therefore ‘they were willing to bear witness that she is in word and deed and in all her habits of life a most honest creature.’

The ass was acquitted, and Ferron hanged.

From Edward Payson Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, 1906.”

2. When I used to go to training an obvious time-filling devise was to gather in groups and do little assignments. I also hated them for what they were: merely ways to get through a specified period of time, ergo, time for the trainers to kick back and not do their jobs. In college I much prefered the lecture style of learning. I was a voracious note-taker and still have many that were not destroyed in the Great Flood of BFE.

All this is a way to say that I despise the time-chewing waste of fistfights in movies and TV that go on forever. It is nothing more than lazy writing and a way to get to the next scene or commercial. The cheaper and more lazy the writing, the more fisticuffs. Now my proof: look at AFI's top ten movies of all time. No fight scene in Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Godfather, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate, Schindler's List, Singin In the Rain, or It's a Wonderful Life. Yes, there are single swings in GWTW, Casablanca, and It's a Wonderful Life, but non that last longer than 3 seconds. It's the obligatory 10 minute fistfights we see in all westerns, and most action movies and TV series. It's sloppy and time-consuming, and a total bore.

3. When did the word po`lice´ turn in to po'lice?

4. Buttons were invented in 1650. As is the case with new things people overdid it. They over-buttoned their dresses, hats, and pants. This is why on suit coats there are three or four buttons on each sleeve. It's a holdover from earlier times.

5. There are two Starbucks within 2 blocks of where I am here in St. Pete and I have yet to go in one.

6. Very pleased the Mets have cleaned house with a new General Manager and Field Manager.  Perhaps we can turn things around from the past few years and get some excitment going for real baseball instead of always the fantasy part of it.  Watch below the video of some Met's fans upon finding out who the next manager will be.


Apparently we are known at Three Birds, where Brendan works.

8. This article appeared in the St. Pete Times:


In short, it explains what the city is doing to wash away the stench of urine from the homeless downtown.

9. I applied for this job in Craigslist:

construction helper p/t (Pinellas)

Date: 2010-10-23, 9:11PM EDT
Reply to: job-ztwgx-2022337671@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


Northern part Pinellas. Part time. Own transportation. Paid by the hour. e-mail your qualifications and salary required.

•Location: Pinellas
•Compensation: $1000.00 hr
•This is a part-time job.
•Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
•Please, no phone calls about this job!
•Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 2022337671

I imagine a lot of people did. I haven't heard anything yet.

12. Did you know Mohammed (and its various spellings) ranks as the #1 baby boys' name in England today?

13.  Met's Fans reacting to Terry Collin's hiring as new manager:

15.  One of the nice things about living in the city is one's ability to wear anything and nobody gives a rat's ass.  This woman dyed her hair this and was walking around downtown.  I was the only one in shock.  I repeat:  this is not a wig.

16.  And finally, watch soon for our Christmas video.  December 2nd to be exact.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Illinois Power Tree Trimming & Florida

A topped pine tree.

A line of trees dessimated by IP trimming process.

A few years ago Illinois Power/AmerenIP began a tree trimming policy that entailed the massive cutting of any lims and branches that were within any way close to power lines. Many trees all over the area became grotesque characterizations of a Dali painting. Outrage from the local citizens was met with pronouncements from IP that this was standard practice, would eliminate outages and would not hurt the trees, except visually.

Here, in the land of hurricanes, I noticed power lines running right through a line of trees that seemingly does not require major surgery from the local power company.  I wonder why trees down here are not deemed to be a reason for outages like they are up north.  The potential for powerful storms are just as possible here as in Galesburg.  Makes you wonder about labor costs, bottom-line bean-counting, the philosophy of landscaping and customer service.  I don't know who handles power down here, but I'll give them kudos over Illinois Power/Ameren IP.   

Monday, November 22, 2010


Apparently October 10th was a big, big, big day for weddings on the beaches down here. We went to Sunset for an evening walk and discovered at 6:00 pm that there were no fewer than 3 wedding parties clogging the beach, and more importantly clogging the parking lots. It's likely that November 11th next year will be huge as well as, oh, maybe 9-10-11?

Other than the weddings we had to walk by, the evening was pretty impressive for just strolling, and checking out a cloudless sunset.

As I was leaving I saw this guy heading out for a swim and I heard someone close by that sunset is when the sharks feed. I don't know if that is true, but I wouldn't want to take the chance.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Michael's First Soccer Match

Video of Michael's first soccer game in North Port. (October 9)

Michael all set to play. My understanding is they didn't have a very extensive training period. Looked to me like herding cats, though, and I am certainly not a big soccer fan.

Michael in a post-game pose.

Caught another freighter crossing the Skyway.

Approaching the Skyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Green Acres

I almost bought a house last month. So close, in fact that I stopped over at Sears to check out lawn mowers. You know, those neat Cub Cadet types where you have a beverage holder and can actually make mowing somewhat fun.
Nancy and I looked at it when we were back in September. I loved it. 5 acres nestled in the prettiest green Illinois valley. 10 miles north of Galesburg and only a short jag over to BFE, it was ideally located. It even had a barn. A small one but it looks like a barn, so it is. I even had everyone in the family kind of rooting for me. But, sadly, the foreclosure company chose another offer. There were a couple of middling problems, like mold and non-too-safe wellwater, but we could have handled that, I suppose. Yep, that could have been my summer home and could have wintered down here. Sure sounded neat. I pictured myself, with cup of coffee in hand, in the morning belting out a couple of bars of "Green Acres" lounging on the front porch. Also saw myslf conferring with neighbors over the weather as I pondered my 4 acres of grass or hay or whatever it was. Perhaps they would have called me "Baron". I had envisioned my dog, my full-size pick up truck, my telescope (did I mention it had a small deck off the upstairs bedroom?) and lots of open roads for riding the Kawi. It was heaven.
Oh, well, it was fun to think about and I sure gave it a Hell of a go, but guess, as they say in the real estate world, it wasn't meant to be. I am rather crestfallen that my dream home has been sold.

This is the front porch where I would sing "Green Acres", and look over to see my land and perhaps some deer frolicking in the morning fog.

Had a deck off the upstairs bedroom. And, yeah, that's a swimming pool back toward the barn.

Side view.

My 'almost' barn.

4 acres. What do i do with it? Dirt track, mini putt-putt, nudist colony?

I doubt if I find anything like this again that i could actually afford, so I'll mourn for awhile and think wistfully, '...what might have been.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New! Improved! Sunset Beach

I posted this video a while back of work being done to our favorite secluded beach. We weren't sure what all this was until we went back a week ago. What was
a rather small beach area has been widened into quite a spectacular white-sand area.

Here, then is our new and improved Sunset Beach.

This young lady would improve any beach.

This is one of those "Smart Cars" you may have heard about. I read that they are not very comfy, have very little safety features and are not that economical, but you see quite a few here.

Monday, November 15, 2010


There is an army of these young people combing the streets of downtown St. Pete on their Segways giving out free water.

I took short video of the minnows or whatever they are in the water not only here at the Pier but at all the beaches. These are the guys the birds hunt when we spend a day at Sunset beach and they will also nip you when you get in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Downtown - 2

Continuing our day downtown...

This was a pretty big farmer/merchant market a block away from the Pier. There were all kinds of things from food to hats, to pasta to several items pampering and catering to pets. There was a band playing and people dancing. I was sweating. We're going back soon.

Saw this license plate in one tent, and couldn't resist posting it on the blog.

Pioneer Park, a pretty place commemorating the people who first settled St. Petersburg.

Pictures from the Pier.

The Pier is a soon to be razed. It is a structure jutting out into the Bay. It's inverted pyramid design has been a city landmark for decades. But age and maintenance costs are too expensive and city leaders are studying new replacement ideas.

Peaceful, warm day at the Pier.

Double click on the picture and notice the spikes they put on the light bulbs to discourage bird-sitting.

We dined at the Central Avenue Oyster Bar and I ordered oysters on the half-shell, freshly shucked from Louisiana. I was apprehensive since this was my first raw oysters. I have to tell you, I liked them, a lot. Salty, fishy taste not too terribly different from the oyster stew my grandmother made. I liked it with a little horseradish sans cracker.

A quick trip to Three Birds where Brendan was just getting off work and had a couple beers. Fun day and enjoyed the outing.