Friday, April 29, 2011

Flashback Friday


This is one of those priceless pictures that means a lot to me.  This is a football game that we played in Seaton one Fall weekend.  I have no idea what year this was, but he bike in front was either Mark's or mine, so it had to have been pre-16 years of age.  The lot is half ours and the other half is Arminta McKelvey's.  We used this area for baseball games, too and more than once we busted one of Arminta's windows. I'm not certain but I think I'm the one second from right in the red flannel shirt.  I'm not sure of anyone else in the picture but it looks like Dad on the other team just at the phone pole. Mark and Phil would have been here, too.  We had so many for the game that we even had a bench over to the far left.     


This is brother Phil pulling Mark and I around the neighborhood.  Looks like we're over at Mabel and Roy's right next door. 

My mom's parents, Dick and Mona Westlake.  They lived in Quincy and were extremely fun people.  This is a typical pose as it looks like Dick just said something funny and perhaps a bit off-color and Mona looking over reproachably.

We used to go down to see them when I was a kid and they lived in a cool house with a garage on a lower level. I visted the old place a few years ago when I was in Quincy and it didn't look anyhting like I remembered.  Isn't that the way with young eyes. 

One other thing is Mona always fixed custard for me.  Haven't had one since but when I was 5 or 6 or 7 she would bake these things and wrap the bowl in a handkerchief or kitchen towel of some sort for the trip home.   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Have Been Warned

WARNING***WARNING***WARNING

NEXT TUESDAYS  POST IS UNBELIEVABLE AND MAY CAUSE YOU DISTRESS.  PLEASE AVOID IT IF YOU ARE FAINT OF HEART, ON HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE, GIVEN TO DRINK OR OTHERWISE IGNORANT OF THE WAYS OF THE WORLD.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Fun Vids









Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Farmer's Market

One of the cooler things to do down here on a Saturday is to attend the Farmer's Market. Of course there's relatively few farmers around, all manner of vendors are present. I think there's only one produce vendor but there's virtually everything else to be had. Bring cash because not many of these guys take VISA, and be prepared to spend. There are lots of neat things you won't find anywhere else.



Good strawberries here, and all kinds of veggies.


If you can't find it at the Market, you've got your eyes closed. 



Brendan and his mother checking out green stuff.



            These guys from a local school came marching up the street. 




                                            Mama here just gotta dance.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Strange Cat

I don't like cats. Let me repeat. I don't like cats. I wonder why people like cats, and I wonder why guys like cats, too. It's not natural. Anyway, I happen to live with 2 cats. One is brownish with splots of other colors and the other one is orange. I don't like them. They don't bring much to the table. They don't like walks, they don't fetch, they don't love affection, nor do they give it. One of the cats I live with has a psychosis. Every night it goes to a waste basket and methodically hauls stuff out into the hallway. Sometimes its just a wadded up paper or two. You can hear it when it comes out, it makes a kind of wail. It deposits the paper and then heads back for more. This is a picture of the hallway when I woke up this morning. It was a very busy cat last night. I hate cats.




This is the cat that likes to take the garbage out.



And this is the other cat I live with. It doesn't take the trash out, or anything else for that matter.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Things


Strawberry shortcake.  Strawberry shortcake.  Strawberry shortcake.  


I'm a sucker for a lot of things.  Add strawberry shortcake to the list.  Like that beautiful bowl of berries above, Bisquick shortcake and a perfect balance of cold milk.  Other pleasures in no particular order:

1. morel mushrooms 
2.  homemade Ice cream
3. chocolate
4. a weepy old movie
5. old cars
6. dogs
7. oysters
8. a day at the beach
9. rainy days
10.  A good ride with friends on the bike
11. catfish with lima beans
12. sleeping with a cool breeze blowing through the window
13. breakfast
14. anything on a grill
15.  rhubarb pie
16. riding to Florida with your wombie
17. a freshly mown lawn
18. a good book
19. anything at DQ
20. Jerry's Pizza, then any other kind
21. A good baseball game
22. a cold beer with a small group of friends
23. a well made Bloody Mary
24. the smell of a newborn
25. finding a $20 dollar bill you stuck in your billfold months ago
26. freshly cooked chocolate chip cookies and milk

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flashback Friday

                            

We had a lot of fun in our back yard on Chambers Street.  We transformed a bland back yard into a garden.  We had at fish ponds, and patio and pergola, with annuals, biennials and a shrinking area to mow.  We also had great neighbors.  We had Tiki nights, street parades, and one time we even had an Hawaii-themed party.



I've still got my Samoan skirt.  I should wear it once in a while down here, as it seems that I would fit in in some areas.


Kenzie and Sharon.


Tom, Andrew, me and Pat de-briefing after the bash.
The usual participants to Tiki Nights were the Gerdes's, the Makeevers, and the Harrisons.  The Hawaiian Night was attended by Pat and Marty as well.  
Our back yard was phenomenal and I miss the beauty of it, but not the work.       

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Got An iPhone

My HTC Eris, which was still under warranty, developed dead areas on the touchpad.  We rebooted at Verizon but that proved fruitless so they offered me a replacement or an iPhone at a reduced price.  Because I am on Mackenzie's account because it reduces the cost for both of us, and since she gets further company discounts through New York Store, I took the plunge and went Apple.


The thing is made of glass instead of plastic, and has a heft to it my Eris didn't.  Don't worry about breaking it, though, because it is the stuff they make helicopter windshields out of: 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic.    


The screen graphics, called Retina Display, is clear, crisp, easy to see and read and has more pixel density than any other cell phone, so they say.  The above graphic is from a blog I follow religiously, something called, "Existing In BFE".


It has some pretty neat apps like the Garmin-like navigator mapping system.  It also has a gyro system to make gaming more interesting, although solitaire is about the only game I need.


One of the best features is the camera.  My Eris camera was a real bear to operate.  When I pushed on the shutter button there was a lag of about a second that caused all my pictures to be fuzzy due to hand movement.  With the 5 mega-pixel iPhone camera snapping a pic is instantaneous and easy.


And if you need to see closer just do a thumb/forefinger sweep and the pic gets closer.  The thing is heavy, the apps numerous, the navigation is easy and simple.  The battery life is excellent.  Mackenzie was eligible for upgrading so she got one, too, and we both think they are great.  Oh, I almost forgot, you can use it for a phone, too.   



Things I Like:

  • Retina Display makes viewing screen better than my old Android
  • It has a "Find My Phone" feature that shows a map where i left my phone
  • Surfing on the net is easy
  • Easier to navigate
  • Better camera and shutter than my HTC
  • Bigger Qwerty so I make less mistakes
  • Battery lasts longer than my old phone
  • Hardened glass construction feels more substantial than my old plastic phone
  • I can raise my nose with snooty Apple superiority when I hear others talk about their Androids   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Friends With Friends Actor

Back in college I had just discovered Elton John from my older brother. This was early Elton, very early before he devolved into crappy music, cringe-worthy stage costuming, and flamboyant social jet-setter. If you listen to his early stuff it was pretty decent and I liked it a lot. One of his first albums was a little thing called Friends, and ended up being a soundtrack for a movie of the same name. The plot of the movie was typical for the time: anti-establishment, youth-as-saviors-to-corrupt-society, and free love.




The plot from Wikipedia: "In this teen romance, a young neglected English boy (Sean Bury) runs away and becomes friends with a French girl (Anicée Alvina) in the same flight. Together, they go to an idyllic marsh location in France (the Camargue), become lovers, set up housekeeping, have a baby, and play at being responsible adults, discovering along the way many of the troubles involved, before ultimately becoming separated by police responding to a missing persons report."




The movie was fairly popular at the time and a sequel was even filmed a couple of years later called Paul and Michelle.  I went to see it since I was in love at the time and the music was very good.  It was just one of those youthful things I can't explain, and probably don't want to anymore than I have. 

Anyway to segue to one of the advantages of Facebook is the ability to look up old friends, acquaintances and maybe stumble on a past "thing" and have fun with the teleportive magic of social media.  On a whim I looked up a Sean Bury on Facebook to inquire if he was the Sean Bury and to offer my sentiments on his movie made many many years ago. 



As luck would have it, it was, indeed, the Sean Bury and so we struck up a bit of a conversation. Over a series of emails, we talked About the movie (he still gets positive comments from fans), Anicee (she died about four years ago), and people who find him on Facebook (he is amazed anyone still remembers).  

He mentioned a comment director Lewis Gilbert made to him after the premier, "You don't have anything to be sorry for.  And you don't have anything to be proud of, either." 

"At the time of filming, I had no idea that the little film we made all those years ago would have touched so many people's hearts. I am still amazed by the kind letters I am still receiving from all over the world, even from the children of people of my age."

"Sadly Anicee passed away back in 2006, But before she did, a strange twist of fate brought us together as "friends" after a 30yr+ absence about a year before she died."

"Lewis Gilbert, the director, wrote a book last year "All My Flashbacks".  Bless him, in the book he mentions the making of "Friends". Out of all the films he made, I guess it touched him too."

Nice of him to respond.  By the way, his film career didn't last long and moved back to England after a short stay in Hollywood, and has had a career working with kids in a correctional setting.  Hmmm.   Try it, you might be surprised who you can find.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ceridian Day At Al Lang Field

We obtained 4 tickets to attend a Sunday (March 13) afternoon ballgame at Al Lang Field, aka, Progress Energy Park. This stadium used to be the Spring home of several major league clubs including the Mets. Today's game was between the minor league players of the Philadelphia Phillies and the national team of the Netherlands. We saw a couple of homers and the day was beautiful. Nice afternoon, sparse crowd, hot sun, and thanks to Drew and Brendan who accompanied us.



Progress Energy Park, better known as Al Lang Field.


Introductions and the national anthems of Netherlands and US.



                                    Plenty of seats available at the ballpark.



                                                Tailgating before the game.



Future Phillies major leaguers?


Beautiful setting for a ball field.  This main road, Dali Drive, is closed in preparation for the Indy race next weekend.

                             

        A foul ball for Drew.  Kind of...(he actually found it in one of the rows of seats.)


Flags of the US and Netherlands.


A home run swing.  It really was, I was just taking some random pics and this guy belts one over the left field fence. 


Minor or major, baseball is a great leisurely way to spend a couple of hours.


                                                Some action on the field.



Again, what a beautiful day and setting.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Mugshot Monday


So hard even a Cave Man can't do it.


Nice hair buddy.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Personal Information
Last Name First Name Middle Name Suffix Booking No.
STAFFORD ADRIAN 11012566
Eyes Hair Build Current Age Height Weight SOID SOID Name
BRO BRO LAR 40 6'04 200 00523736 STAFFORD,ADRIAN
Race Sex Ethn POB DOB Arrest Age SSN
B M N FL 01/16/1971 40 ###-##-####


---------------------------------------------------------------------


Aliases
Aliases Date OF Birth Social Security Number
COBERT,JERRY 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
COLBERT,ADRIAN L 06/16/1972 ###-##-####
COLBERT,TERRIE 07/16/1971 ###-##-####
COLBERT,TERRY 06/16/1971 ###-##-####
COLEMAN,JERRY 09/15/1971 ###-##-####
JACKSON,ADRAN LAMER 08/16/1971 ###-##-####
JACKSON,ADRIAN L 08/16/1967 ###-##-####
JACKSON,GREGORY LAMAR 04/16/1967 ###-##-####
JACKSON,KENNETH LAMONT 07/16/1970 ###-##-####
JACKSON,TERRY 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
LIL JACKIE 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
SATFFORD,ADRIAN 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
SATTFORD,ADRIAN 06/16/1971 ###-##-####
STAFFORD,ADRIAN 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
STAFFORD,ADRIAN 08/16/1971 ###-##-####
STANFORD,ADRIAN 01/16/1971 ###-##-####
WALKER,JOHNNY 07/17/1971 ###-##-####


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Charges
PROSTITUTION ///PENDING $250.00 B 1 Remark
OFFER TO COMMIT



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Man, that's one ugly male prostitute. If you have to get a guy like that to do whatever for money, you're in bad shape. And what about all those aliases?




What's up with this guy's little beanie?  Is that an actual haircut or is that a toupe?


                                                   Love your hair, dude.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flashback Friday

Seaton was a great place to grow up. Although it was a small place, as a kid you never know there is a big world out there. As a kid your world is only the home, the community and your friends. And there, in this sleepy town of 350, that was quite enough.


This is an old post card of main street Seaton in the early part of the 20th century.  At one time the village had a lot of businesses and by the time were were growing up the place still had a grocery, newspaper, gas station, auto repair shop, grain elevator, restaurant, lumber yard, Masonic lodge, a couple trucking companies, veterinarian, church, and bank.  The only things left now is the cafe, church and bank. 


This is how it looks now


Looking north from the old depot.


Not much left now, but the memories are still there.  We had on at least two occasions a "homecoming" when they brought in fair rides.  I can recall driving a go-cart.  The old school is gone, too and I don't know if they still play any ball games.  Somewhere I've got some pictures of our Church League celebration when we won the league.  
As we get older our world view expands.  I couldn't imagine ever thinking I'd be in St. Petersburg Florida.  But, who knows what life and the fates have in store?  For the first 18 years, this was my world, with a dash of Aledo after the school consolidation.  Perfect place to learn about the "community" of people, and the safety and security of a small town.   

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inane Inanities - God Bless America Edition

1.  I thought China owned the US.  But everywhere I go on TV I hear Brits.  I hear a Brit in Larry King's old show, and a Brit is one of the CNN anchors at the 6:00 am and a different one at 6:00 pm slots.  I like to hear them talk but just because they lost their empire doesn't mean they have to take what is left of ours.  And now that there is a heavy news watching period, what with Japan and Libya,  Lord there are even more.  It doesn't make me racist or ethnist (I love the Brits, RB and Karen), but it makes me feel like I'm not in America.  It's like I'm in Manchester or Nottingham and watching the BBC.  By the way is there any way we can get Wolf Blitzer to work for BBC?

2.  And speaking of the Brits.  On the last Oscar show, the American grunge and slowing educational system was on full display.  Natalie Portman sloshed through a rambling incoherent speech for Best Actress, while Melissa Leo wowed us with a white-trash embarrassing F-bomb-laced acceptance speech.  Cringe-worthy is the best that can be said about most American verbiage while the Brits came on stage with clever, humorous, classy (and brief) speeches.  Waving a flag and saying "We're number 1" doesn't necessarily make it so.  Remember:  there are more Straight-A students in China than there are American students.  And then we crush teacher bargaining rights in Wisconsin. Hmmm.

3.  It was a busy few days down here in St. Pete in early March.  Met three groups to catch up on old times from up north.  Mark and his Oakview CC golfing buddies stayed at the Ulmerton Road Holiday Inn, and we met for a couple beers and some laughs.  Jeff Sutor and his wife Carol met me at Three Birds after they drove up from Ft. Lauderdale after a cruise.  They live near Wataga. I worked with Jeff at the Mary Davis Home for 8 years.  In fact he was hired just days after I was. He then worked at the Henry Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg and retired last year. And finally, Virgetta Junk and her husband Rich came down from Galesburg to see their son Lee who works and lives down here in St. Petersburg.  I worked with Virg at the MDH also for several years.  She still works there as a Teacher's Aide.

4.  After the Japanese tragedy it sure makes the NFL owners and players look greedy over how to divvy up 9 billion dollars.  I remember Luther my naighbor on Chambers never did go back as a big Cardinals fan after the '94 baseball strike.  Wouldn't it be fun to send a message to pro sports from all us fans, but, we have short memories, and will blindly go back to being big fans just to fill up our empty Sundays.

5.  And this from blogger Bill: 


Sooooo it seems that the Libyan no-fly operation is called Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Odyssey Dawn? Really? How fucking gay is that? What happened to names for military operations that didn’t sound like your old biddy aunt Ester and her friends from her crochet circle picked them?
Names like, Eagle Claw, or Urgent Fury, or Overlord, or Steel Tiger, or Flaming Dart, or Linebacker, or Rolling Thunder.
Now those were some butch-assed operational names.
Names that when you hear them you just know that some shit is gonna get blown up and that we’re gonna go in and kill some motherfuckers.
But Odyssey Dawn?
That conjures up a mental image of Mr. Tumnus prancing around in the snow in the Chronicles of fucking Narnia to me.

7.  To-Do Tattoo
A picture of a guy's tattoo was supposed to be here, but it vanished (try clicking the little red square).  It was a design of a "to-do" list on his wrist.  He had a few notes scibbled in ink on a few of the blank lines.

After the initial snicker and possibly the "cool" thought on this tat, reality  sets in and one eventually says, "What a dork."  You just inked, permanently, a stupid, minor, small world, blank to-do tat on your person. That defines, you man.  Forever. Idiot.

9.  I'm sitting here watching CNN (and all their English accented anchors) talk to former Generals and military experts talk about how our command structure, fighting equipment and trained personnel are the greatest with state-of-the-art "bar none" technology.  And I wonder why we are in a stalemate with sari-robed, pistol-packing, boot-n-shoot jihadists in Afghanistan.  Because if we can't get a bunch of bearded mountain goats in a fifth rate land, how are we ever going to handle a real army?

10.  It's kind of hard for me to get worked up over the death of Elizabeth Taylor.  Even as a movie buff I never saw many of her films.  And what I did see didn't impress me.  She always seemed a rather superficial high maintenance type girl what with 8 marriages and more Marilyn Monroe than Katherine Hepburn.  She was, simply, in my time, famous for being famous.  She befriended the friendless (Aids and Michael Jackson) so she gets points for that.  Still, she was one of a kind and her passing leaves a void.

11. “The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.”


Bob Herbert in the New York Times.

Maybe in my older age I've gotten more myopic, or perhaps I'm just seeing things different, but let's talk about our schools for just a second.  Perhaps the train that is now off the tracks called our educational system needs works first before we help rebel Muslims in Libya.  Here are just a few things I see as terribly wrong:

a.  No Child Left Behind - teachers hate it and students hate it.  Nuf said.

b.  Co-ed gym classes.  C'mon, guys need to play gym sports with guys and girls with girls.  Feminism is fine, but it forgets the most obvious tenet which is there is a difference between the sexes.  It's like that poor high school wrestler in Iowa who forfeited his state championship match because he would have had to wrestle a girl.  Don't blame the kid.

c.  We need year-round school.  We have kids bored after two weeks at home during the summer forgetting everything they learned, while kids everywhere else in the world are schooling year around and beating us at almost every level and subject.

d.  Too much politics in schools.  Piss off a board member and a teacher may be packing, regardless of the quality of your work. And yet that brings us back to NCLB again, doesn't it?

e.  March madness has just gone by but what about the school student-athlete-pro problem.

f.  And what about the schools who have the ridiculous zero-tolerance, or the no-American-flag-on-your-bike-equals-suspension policies?   Want me to go on?  A kid was expelled for giving another kid a Lifesaver.  Another kid, Justin Denney, in Pennsylvania was denied his diploma because he blew a kiss to his mother during the graduation ceremony.  Another kid was expelled for having a 2 inch lego gun.

g.  Most schools no longer allow showers after PE.  The reasons seem to be a new awareness of the locker room milieu as well as lack of time.  This is crazy.

h.  Check your kids' spelling and then let me know if I'm being too tough.

There are many wheels on a train that goes off the tracks.  Perhaps one of the wheels that derailed was when the Courts awarded $2.86 million to a lady in a McDonalds drive-thru who spilled coffee in her lap. 

12.  And what I hate about American Idol: 

a.  Those kids like to evaluate their performances and invariably they talk about "having fun".  What they don't realize is it's not about their fun, but rather ours.

b.  Mugging to the camera and following it wherever the camera goes, to the point of bodies twisting like a pretzels has never been artful or flattering.

c.  Steve Tyler's evaluative prowess is almost as poor as Ellen's were.  I miss the evisceration of Simon.  Poor Randy has been forced to be the "bad guy".  In a recent show Tyler called one of the contestants a "perfect imperfect" singer.  Oh, man, where are you Simon.  You could be cold but you were unequivocal and usually right.

d.  The audience booing any negative or constructive comments is old.        

13.  And this:  states are broke, the poor get poorer, the middle class shrinks, there are no jobs and the price of everything goes up.  Medicaire and Medicaid is going to be slashed, Social Security is going to be less for those who pay into it their whole lives, clean air and water is going to become irrelevant, but we can still build nuclear subs and fighter jets. 
What this chart tells us is that the US spends over 42% of ALL money spent by ALL nations in the world. Why not put a moratorium of defense spending (less troop salaries and other essentials) and put back into the US?  Couldn't we take care of people, and the military, and the deficit?
God bless America.



14.  And finally:  John Kyl from Arizona got up in Congress last week and claimed that 93% of what Planned Parenthood did was abortions.  Turns out it is only 3%.  His office issued a statement that Kyl's remarks were "not meant to be factual".  A guy standing up in Congress, representing his state, lied and didn't seem to be particularly troubled by it.  Again, God Bless America.       

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two Things In These Pictures

Spotted on 34th Street in St. Pete about two weeks ago.

First, get a load of that car. It's a GEM which is an electric car. Here is what I found for these unique vehicles:



"GEM battery-electric vehicles are classified as low-speed vehicles, or neighborhood electric vehicles, and are street legal in nearly all 50 states on public roads posted at 35 mph or less. With a top speed of 25 mph, GEM cars have a range of up to 30 miles on a charge and are great for traveling around city centers, gated communities, resorts, sports stadiums, job sites, or neighborhoods. GEM vehicles are battery-electric, operate on a 72-volt battery system and plug into a standard 110-volt outlet. What makes GEM vehicles so unique is that they can be recharged anytime, anywhere a 110-volt outlet is available and recharge in approximately six to eight hours."

The above model, the GEM e4 starts at around $11,500 MRP which seems awful high for a glorified golf cart.



Secondly, guess the family dog gets the coveted navigator seat over the punk-ass kids in the back.  The pooch even sits like, "Hey, I'm special, look at me and this is always my seat."  I love it.