Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Till Next Year

I think I'll take the rest of the week off from blogging.  Hope everyone had a nice holiday with friends and family and we'll be right back up here next Monday with more from St. Pete.  We've got a strange photo shoot from Vinoy Park, Bald Eagles, dolphins and some Christmas pictures so stay tuned and check back everyday, Monday through Friday for more. I see I have 9 followers, so thanks to you guys for your loyalty and stamina.  For those of you who do not follow but check in regularly, again, thanks for your visits.  I started this as a way to let my family know what I was doing when we were separated by distance, and it has now evolved into a personal journal of my travels, thoughts and those of others I find occasionally on the web.  Thanks again for your time and feel free to comment.  Have a happy and safe New Year and may 2011 be a great one for us all.


Christmas At Kenzie's

Kenzie and Drew hosted Christmas at their place.  The grandkids were back in North Port, and Brendan and Rachel had to work, so it was a smaller crowd.  Drew fixed steaks on the grill and we watched Jean Shepard's A Christmas Story (they played this thing around the clock for 24 hours!!??) and I still don't understand why it is a must-see for many people.
Anyway the food was great: peanut clusters, rice krispie treats, steak (perfectly done), baked potato, oysters au gratin, and vegetable platter (for those who like that stuff).   

Great steaks.

Bishop wanted to be close to the action.

After Christmas at Kenzie's, Nancy and I went to the beach for a traditional stroll.
The Thunderbird motel is a landmark along Gulf street and the bright neon signage is pure 50's.


Its been really quite chilly and windy down here for the past week or so.  No exception on Christmas night.  The surf was angry, and the cold kept others away.  Last year there were many strollers and while the surf was heavy last year it was relatively warm.  After a brief traditional stroll back in the warm car and home, capping a week of family, food and fun. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas At Brendan's

I had originally planned not to blog anything this week, but since I have too much stuff already to go it wouldn't be till February until I got the Christmas pictures up. So, perhaps a couple of entries this week to get a little caught up.
We had the pleasure of a nice Wednesday-before-Santa-day Christmas at Brendan and Rachels's. He fixed a superb Shepherd's pie and unlike the other get-togethers the entire family was present. Mackenzie and Drew, Mike and Nancy, and the grandkidlings, Alhanna and Michael.

After all those years of decorating on Chambers Street, it warmed my heart to see Brendan working on his house.  That's Rachel and Nancy on the front porch, perhaps having a hot or cold toddy.

                       The blue lights gave off a very warm and pretty ambience.

         Tree topper was lame but expected.  Rachel and her family are true Bucs fans.

                                        Michael and Alhanna playing hoops.                  

Hostess Rachel eating one of Nancy's rice krispie treats.

Kenzie and Drew torturing Alhanna.

Michael attempting to storm the barricades.

Nancy attempting to get a feel of our newest little mystery shopper.

Alhanna on overload.

Brendan and Rachel.

Brendan and I test driving Michaels new remote 4-wheeler, in the street and on the sidewalk.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Us


Merry Christmas and have a family-filled holiday, from all of us down here in St. Petersburg: Mike, Nancy, Mackenzie, Drew, Brendan, Rachel, Cinnamon, Sorsha, Chance and Bishop.  Also,  I wouldn't want to forget about our little "mystery shopper" due in April.

This is the last post for this year.  I'll be back on January 3rd.  Have a safe New Year's.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Is On His Way

New York, December 1913. "Christmas tree, Madison Square."

                  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

This is a famous response to a kids question that has turned into the Christmas equivalent of the Gettysburg Address for brevity and succinctness.  It is an answer to an age-old question that concerns children primarily and adults, too, for its peek into a kids mind and world.  It is one of my favorites at this time and I also had the privilege to read it to Mackenzie's grade school class many years ago.  Enjoy.


Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'

"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


                        And here is Curious George

Apparently this is a pink Curious George in honor of our impending new arrival due in April.  Wasn't into George but I read some of the little monkey's books to Michael when he was with us a few years ago.  Anything with lights and a moving appendage is always fun.  Here's to all the parents wrapping and buying batteries tonight.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

I have no idea when these were taken (late 70's/early 80's), but I'm the photographer with a Polaroid. Looking back I wish I'd had a simple point-and-shoot because Polaroids degrade in time and also the film was very expensive.  But it was nice to get the instant results. They feature a Blythe Christmas in Seaton with all the usual suspects. Marj, Herb, Phil, Mark and I think that's Jason and Courtney in one shot. I can't believe I walked around in rags. Anyway, Christmas was always marked by good food, funny repartee, lots of presents, boundless love and sometimes, perhaps a bit too much adult beverage.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice Total Eclipse

Two nights ago, while most of you were in bed sleeping the sleep of angels your intrepid blog host was out in the crisp Florida air taking pictures of a unique astronomical event.   After a jarring phone call at 2:30 from my lovely daughter telling me what I already knew by reading the papers that morning. I arose from my nice electrically warmed bed to proceed to the dog-walk area to take pictures of this impressive happening. 

A total eclipse of the moon coinciding with winter solstice won't happen again till 2095. By then your loyal blogger may have a different perspective.

Night photography is tough for me. I don't have the knowledge or equipment for truly startling images, but these seem to be the best I can do. Hope you enjoy it. Now, I'm going to bed.

I have learned how to add text to pictures.

At this point it was around 4:40 am.

The reddish tint in the early pictures is due to the earth's atmosphere draining the usual blues and grays.  Well, that's what my astronomer friends tell me. 

Speaking of the skies, I used to arise in the early morning hours to see the special sights such as Comet Kahoutek, Halley's Comet, Comet Hyakutake, and Hale-Bopp.  I remember Kahoutek happened in college and became quite a fun campus event.  It turned out to be a dud, but our astronomy professor, "Kookoo" Robinson, sponsored a viewing with the school's big telescope had all of us students doubling over with laughter when he couldn't spot the comet in the sky.  Flustered and frazzled he finally discover what we already suspected, he forgot to take the lens cap off.  This professor was renowned for flaky behavior, such as combing one side of his head and leaving the other wild.  Apparently he would forget to comb both sides.  Guess his mind had trouble relating to such mundane tasks. 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Leftovers

Here are some pictures I had that didn't lend themselves to individual posts.

On the way down to North Port to see another soccer match we saw a lot of old cars and even a VW caravan on I-275. Came up to these two cars no doubt heading to some show and I kind of liked the top roadster. Nice colors and just liked the looks of it. I usually prefer factory stock old cars but I'm starved for old iron I guess. Then we saw this one and it looked nice too until we came up alongside it. I was appalled that this guy would even take his car out of the garage with a big dent in it. God, man, get thee to a body shop. Pathetic owner.

This is a house boat that never moves. I'm not sure how this works but he must have some kind of long-term lease for where it sits. Now that would be really cool to have.

This wall is adjacent to my ATM. Now what do you suppose made those marks? Bikers? Skateboarders? Shoe bottoms? Got me, but it's a bit weird.

These are stills from a web cam at my old college Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. They have installed 4 cameras about campus and can be seen if you log onto IWC in your search engine. If I look close enough I can almost see a tall skinny kid heading over to the science hall or library when everyone else is heading downtown to the West Side Tap. Yeah, I'm lying.

Michael's latest school picture.  He seems to be trying to match me on number of teeth we have.

A bunch of...

And a family of .........

Well, I guess so...
This lady looked so sad sitting here.

And finally, to my Cub fans followers, an audio tribute to Ron Santo: