Saturday, March 31, 2012

Decorah Eagles

Streaming video by Ustream
You can follow a nest of Bald Eagles as they raise their newborns.  While I was watching the other day, Papa brought up a squirrel and Momma began feeding the kids.  Gross but fascinating.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Repost of Sturgis And the Wall Of Death

Tim talked me into going into the Wall of Death show at Sturgis On/By the River. These cranked-out daredevils do stunts in a small enclosed area. Look at the demonic expression the Charlie Manson look-alike gives us as he is hurtling along the wall. Some amazing stuff here. I missed taping Tim yelling down to him after his ride "Crazy Fucker!" He looked up at Tim with the same wild-eyed Manson smile. You just don't get this kind of stuff in St. Pete, Florida.

Son of Charlie?

Not all Spring chickens.

Look Ma, no hands.

Donation well deserved.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Inane Inanities

1.  Turned CNN on the other day and in big black text against a red backdrop was "BREAKING NEWS".  Turns out the big news was the LA Coroner published Whitney Houston's death certificate with reason for demise 'deferred'.  That's a News Break?  When I was a kid the networks reserved their Special Announcements with aplomb.  Political and activist assassinations or presidential resignations were prime topics.  I guess nowadays a non-informative death certificate of a drug-addled has-been celebrity diva counts as news.   I recall when they first started they did real news all day.  And with the gravitas of James Earl Jones saying in his deepest Darth Vader voice "This....Is CNN" you knew you were getting some semblance of non-commercialized news.  But not anymore.  Now we get the Magic Wall.  Nothing says "cheese" like CNN.  It's a sad decline for a once grand news network.


These Marines are not Tebow-ing.  It isn't a prayer huddle or a strategy session either.  What's going on here is the protection of an Afghan child being worked on by a Navy medic and the Marines using themselves to shield them.  This is the kind of stuff that compels all of us, next time we see a soldier or vet to say thanks.


For many, the perfect fridge.

4.  My favorite five words: "Wolf Blitzer is off tonight."  Yes, I'm on a anti-CNN roll.  I never watch Fox, but now I cringe at CNN.  Wolf is like that up-tight science teacher you had in the 6th grade that everyone thought was a perv.  His banter is conversational and without substance.  Two desks of talking heads, the Cube Room, the Magic Wall and all that glitz with what appears to be a runway with silly graphics.  Ugh.  Best impartial newscast now is on PBS.

5.  Real life monster, and not a Hollywood creation.  Look at that sucker.  It's a scale worm from the depths of the ocean.

6.  This is a picture from the men's restroom at the Holiday Inn in St. Petersburg.  Now that is class.

7.  Downton Abbey is great.  So is Boardwalk Empire, but it can be a bit draggy in parts.  Mildred Peirce with Kate Winslett was perhaps the most boring mini-series I have ever seen.  But I didn't see all of it, I stopped after 3 episodes.  Speaking of Stopped:  I think I have tired or outgrown American Idol.  Granted, I wanted to see a train wreck, but the true imbecility of the judges and the non-stop commercials have soured me on the whole thing.  Ides of March was excellent, but Hugo put me to sleep.


When was the last time you saw Elsie the Cow?  When was the last time you had Borden's milk?  Picked this up as emergency rations one night at a gas station and was surprised to see Elsie.  Didn't even realize she was still around.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had Borden's.  Probably as a kid?


10.   I didn't understand the thug mentality until I read this brief snippet from a larger article.  Alright, so I see the need to be tough and gangsta in an environment of toughness.  But will someone please tell me how dropping your pants below your cheeks is part of that culture?

The thug persona is a defensive mechanism, in part -- designed to make young men appear "tough" in crime-ridden neighborhoods so that they won't get preyed on. But it is also a way in which young African American men try to emasculate racism and poverty... a means by which they can take pride in being violent, pride in being sexual predators, pride in being greedy. In a world that works overtime to strip them of dignity, the "thug life" is a perverse and self-destructive means of trying to live a life with a modicum of self-respect.


Danny Lee and the Wombie

Wombie, Danny, and Brendan

I love visitors and Wombie and his group of golfers from Aledo came down to do some hacking.  My entourage was able to meet his entourage at the Holiday Inn up by the airport.  Fun evening.  "RED SOLO CUP!!"   

12.  Got a dollar bill the other day.  Anyone know what it means?

13.  WARNING: POLITICAL CONTENT  I'm suffering from political fatigue.  But this is what I think:  before the debates I would have guessed the election in the Fall would have been close.  But since the debates I think it will be a Democratic victory.  I'm not thrilled with Obama and I don't like the Republicans.  What is a poor Moderate to do?  Who will lead this country? And I'm not talking about the fascist fanatics on the Right and the Left.  More and more people I know are opting to NOT vote for the top spot in the Fall.  So far, include me in with that list.

14.  Here is something you never see these days.  This one was at a building that houses baby stuff on consignment and a laundry.  

I suppose they place them at the locations to serve people most likely NOT to have cell phones.  Funny, when I was there I didn't pick up the receiver to see if it worked.

15. And finally, in honor of baseball's opening week,  I thought it might be nice what other cultures regard as sport.     

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St. Pete Skyline - 2

After Demen's Landing I moved on down to the Vinoy, but still looking back to downtown. By the way, there is very little traffic at all at 4:30 am, and the only people around are the bums at Bum Paradise (William's Park).  It really is like having the whole city to yourself.  Hope you enjoy these pics.

My next project since fog is fairly common down here, is to do fog early morning at the skyline.  I think that would be pretty neat.  Maybe even learn how to do some extended time exposure during a thunderstorm.  
Another feature, is the picture with the bright red-lit cupola is part of the Vinoy hotel and is said to be haunted.  Hmmm.  Maybe a timed exposure of the cupola?  At night, with the fog ruling in from the moors??  Oh no ghosty ghost!  (Inside joke)      

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Pete Skyline In The Morning - Part 1

One of the things I was doing in December-Jan-Feb was getting up early and taking the  bike downtown to my 2nd favorite spot, Demen's Landing, and attempting to get good nighttime pics of downtown.  I must admit there was a learning curve and I just couldn't get a handle on this tricky shooting.  A few trips just didn't work, then I began playing with this camera a bit and the last time I was there I NAILED it.  Yeah, huh!  (Chest and fist bumping here).
As a result, you get 2 days worth of pics that I took and while they may seem redundant, and probably are, I am just so enthused with the results that Ima gonna share them all with you.  As usual, click to enlarge, and these deserve to be enlarged.  Whoooze yer Daddy?

Click to Enlarge

Night shots are tough and by setting the camera on night landscape and then putting it on a level surface, will reduce the need for a a tripod.  The camera will take it from there, and actually, mine varied the exposure, in some cases up to 7 seconds.  I don't know if I'll remember it next time, but sure happy I stumbled onto it.  When I'm back in BFE in April maybe I'll climb the grain elevator and take a night shot of sleeping BFE.  Who's with me?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mugshot Monday

This is one of those weeks that I think the mugshots speak far better than I.  Sit back, enjoy your coffee and look at the latest batch of desperadoes that call the Tampa Bay Area their home, or at least the respective sheriff's holding cells.


(This is Ronny Jones, Male, from Tampa.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Candy Mae Sutor

On March 22 The Sutor's lost their family member and companion, Candy.  By all accounts she had a nice long life and passed away from old age.  I don't know what it is about old guys and their dogs, about what their passing says to us.  A philosopher might say that it whispers "there is an end".  A theologian may regard it all as the cyclical nature of God's universe.  But for us old guys, it mostly means being alone without our best friends.  Lots of people don't get it.  For some all they see is vacuuming the hair,  taking walks at inopportune times, tedious cleaning of accidents, and a couch that won't be the same.  If there is such a thing as loving bonds between man and animal, it started with a dog.   I met Candy a couple of times and she was friendly, loved to be petted and like most dogs past their prime, was just as content laying down and taking a nap.  She naps still in Sutor Woods.

I have run across  a couple of things that have comforted me and others who have lost their dogs through the years.  I have shared it with them and I will now share it with the Sutors.

 The below tribute appeared in an Ann Landers’ Column in the mid-1990’s. It was written by Charles B. Wells, Jr., Palmyra, NY
I remember bringing you home. You were so small and cuddly with your tiny paws and soft fur. You bounced around the room with eyes flashing and ears flopping. Once in a while, you'd let out a little yelp just to let me know this was your territory.
Making a mess of the house and chewing on everything in sight became a passion and when I scolded you, you just put your head down and looked up at me with those innocent eyes as if to say: "I'm sorry, but I'll do it again as soon as you're not watching."
As you got older, you protected me by looking out the window and barking at everyone who walked by. When I had a tough day at work, you would be waiting for me with your tail wagging just to say, "Welcome home. I missed you." You never had a bad day and I could always count on you to be there for me.
When I sat down to read the paper and watch TV, you would hop on my lap looking for attention. You never asked for anything more than to have me pat your head so you could go to sleep with your head over my leg.
As you got older, you moved around more slowly. Then one day, old age finally took its toll, and you couldn't stand on those wobbly legs anymore. I knelt down and patted you lying there, trying to make you young again. You just looked up at me as if to say you were old and tired and that after all these years of not asking for anything, you had to ask me to do one last favor.
With tears in my eyes, I drove you one last time to the vet. One last time you were lying next to me. For some strange reason you were able to stand up in the animal hospital - perhaps it was your sense of pride.
As the vet led you away, you stopped for an instant, turned your head and looked at me as if to say: "Thank you for taking care of me."
I thought, "No - thank YOU for taking care of ME."

I, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O'NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.
I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to all those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and -- But if I should list all those who have loved me, it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.
 of my fellow Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one's Master and Mistress.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best. So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendรดme, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jack rabbits than I have been able to in recent years. And for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.
One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved." No matter how deep mysleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

Eugene O'Neill
Tao House, December 17th, 1940

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flashback Friday

Today is a miss-mash of things.  First off, a couple of newspaper clippings that I have.  The first two are oldies from Marj who clipped them when something made her laugh.

Marj had a fistful of things she cut out of the paper.  Here are just a couple.  One of these days I'll find the others.  Some are really hilarious.

OK, now wait for it, wait for it..........get it? 

Ahem.  I said I would explain some of last weeks' high school pictures, so here we have another, and hopefully, final word on that little matter.  Uh, no, I think it deserves its own day.  So this will whet your appetite and I'll sate it in a few days.    

This is a fairly recent debate in Indiana. 

Michael giving me a kiss a few years ago.

Railroad Days Car Show article from 2003.  That's me on the right.  For a few years when Keith Nyman (L) was president of the Western Illinois Antique Auto Club,  he and I did the running for the Railroad Days Car Show.  It was a bit of work, but rewarding as well.  

I have posted this before, but am showing it again as I have begun to jog again in the mornings.  I had to give it up because of my knee, but it seems to have healed a bit so until it starts up again I'll do my 1.2 miles.  Also, since we have a personal trainer in the family, I'm getting free use of a gym as payment, I suppose, for watching Norah three times a week.    This picture is after a 5K I ran during Rhubarb Days in Aledo.  Don't know what I finished but I did it, damn it.  I then ran another one for AIDS Awareness at Carl Sandburg College with my buddy Stewart.  

My 65 Ford Galaxie 'vert in the Aledo High School Homecoming Parade.  That's wombie Mark in the back, Nancy and Roger Murphy holding the bucket.  I have dreams of another old car and a dog.