Friday, January 31, 2014

Flashback Friday

Tomorrow is daughter Mackenzie's Birthday.  Chivalry prevents me from revealing the actual statistics, alas, she has reached "that" age.  They refer to some stocks such as Coca-Cola and General Electric as "Widows and Orphans" stock.  This is due to the perpetual returns you can count on year after year, thus allowing its owners to sleep well.   Kenzie fits that description in a way:  she is solid, smart, reliable and all kinds of things that make me sleep well at night.  She is doing just fine, thank you, and with Norah, they combine for a fearsome, loyal, intrepid duo.     

Thanks for all the nights I slept without worry.   And Happy Birthday.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I babysat newborn Norah for a couple of years.  I volunteered to provide the service, free of charge, until Kenzie's sitter situation worked itself out.  Meaning:  she didn't have one and needed one quick.  She had spent some few weeks at home and was back at work and her first sitter quit the business or something, I don't recall.  What I do remember is she called and said something about having to take a leave of absence if she couldn't find a sitter right now. 

Of course, the little hairless tyke was pretty much in a carrier all day and besides the occasional diaper change and feeding, she mostly slept.  No real problem.  I could go about my day albeit lugging a basket around with me.  

Month after month rolled by and the blob started to actually look human.  Red hair, smiles, tears and yes, the ever looming diaper changes.  Still, not too bad, as these things go.  Crawling beats walking and walking beats running.  My days still provided me with lots of free time, I just had to watch where I was walking.  "Red" could find endless fascination with about anything she could come in contact with on the floor.  Once in a while that would be a cat, which would turn into a bit of a problem, but usually it was just the usual crawling, maybe a slobber and then nap time.  Easy days.  Didn't have to really do much. 

And the months rolled on - well now, aren't we growing.  The crawling turned into walking and this also meant climbing, and occasionally falling.  And then we discovered our vocal chords and  how we can modulate the noise.  Food no longer came in a small jar - now I had to actually get it mixed, cooked or warmed, but not too warm, and not too cool.  The crib made nap time a little tougher because you really modulated those chords when I put her in and walked away. 

Walking gave way to running and now we had to go outside because she learned that if she grabs your thumb and pulls it, the rest of you follows.  So now we would take walks outside and when tired you had to be carried clear across Shawshank to get home.  And you knew about the pool so I had to get you all dressed in your swim suit and swim undies and off we'd go.  It just seemed that the red head now wouldn't ever get tired, wouldn't always eat, always pulling my thumb and wanting endless play with a gray haired old guy.  

Now this was becoming an awful lot of work.  My free time vanished,  and my joints are sore from hauling, moving, picking up, playing tag, removing from my back and elsewhere.  An old guy trying to keep up with the fountain of youth.  Up and down over to the fridge, up and down the stairs and up and down the street where at some point she will falter and require a lift back home.  

And then, it all seems like the greatest accomplishment of my life, when she quietly lifts her hand…reaches over and touches my cheek…looks straight into my eyes and without saying anything at all…whispers to my soul, "I Love You, Papa."  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Little Cat's Feet

On the wall of the office area at the Mary Davis Home almost forever were some Sandburg poems.  Maybe because Sandburg was born there or maybe it was a gift from a grateful family or maybe it was just something an employee found once and hung up there (I'll wager this is an improper sentence), but there they were and there they stayed.  One was Carl's famous poem about fog being like little cat's feet.  That may be true when one of the syph-bitten satanic flea-bags are about to pounce, play, kill, play some more and sleep, but generally they are graceless loud, clomping creatures.  I constantly hear slamming around the stairs, running like its anus is on fire.  In years past when I was surrounded by cat-loving people and more than one of the little bastards it sometimes equalled the noise of Brendan bounding down with his boots and lanky frame more falling than leisurely stepping.   

Anyway, in my quest to get the perfect red sunrise I have been traveling downtown in the early morning hours.  My destination is the Vinoy.  It has the best early morning location.  Many of the pics I have taken in this quest have already been included in the blog in the past few weeks. 

Today was no exception - early up and out.  Except this morning was a bit different in that it was very foggy.  And I mean very.  I had not done any extensive picture taking in these conditions so I was pretty well hyped.  I decided to go to Demen's Landing first to see if I could get a foggy looking skyline picture.   

I won't comment on each picture.  They speak for themselves.   

This was the view from Demen's Landing back across the public marina to the St. Petersburg skyline.    

And this is the way it looks when there is no fog.

They don't like you being at Demen's Landing before sunrise since many residents live on their boats, and they will come around and kick you out.  I was just leaving as soon as the enforcement patrol was rounding the bend, ask I went on over to the Vinoy.  The joggers are jogging about now so it is safe to be there.   

Again, this is at the Vinoy, looking back toward the city skyline.  

The Truth Sculpture at the Vinoy. 

I moved from the Vinoy to downtown.  It was obvious I wasn't going to get any red sunrise this morning.  Visibility was quite low.   

It was getting close to 6:00 AM and the buses are starting to line up at Williams Park (Bum Paradise).  

I parked close to the Post Office and was looking to get a shot or two of the columns but this interested me more.  This area, right across from Bum Paradise is home to the homeless.  A fellow on a scooter was going across the street to the park and I took the opportunity to take this picture and avoid a confrontation, i.e., looking for a handout.  As soon as he spotted me he turned his scooter around and made a mad dash back over.  I was too quick though, and made it back to my wheels and left.  My policy is not to give solicited handouts.  I much prefer to pick out someone who looks like they could use it, usually spontaneously, and hand them a little money.  And while I can't help everyone downtown I can do my part in my way.    

And before I end this post, I would like to tell you that the following morning, a morning I DID NOT search for the perfect red sunrise, I glanced out my window while enjoying my second cup of coffee watching Morning Joe and saw the following. 

Frankly my entry level camera was unable to pick out the rich reds that was visible with the naked eye.  The perfect sunrise may yet come again when I am prepared for it at the Vinoy.  When it does, I'll be there.   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BFE Reporter Tuesday


Judy Clayton sent these pictures of something her daughter saw across the state in the Port St. Lucie area.  Judy is my old buddy from Dick Blick and she also has an old car that she shows every once in a while.  Her daughter lives in the Port St. Lucie area and does cable installations.

She went to one residence and the owner was quite happy to tell her that he had Harry S Truman's car in his garage.  She asked to see it and this is the car.  

I have no way of finding out definitively if his claim is true.  The internet is a wonderful place to research, but I could find nothing about this.  The fellow claims this 1938 Buick was truman's but I have no other details.  Note the gold fender and trim features.  I would also have you look in side in the rear and see the speaker plate on the side.   

The famous Buick Valve-In-Head V8 that made them an early power plant innovator.  Nice and clean.  

You will just have to take the claim with a bit of skepticism, but hey, who knows.  It might just be that the owner can make the claim through documentation.  The car itself looks in great shape and I wouldn't mind having it.  It does look modified, however.  Besides the gold plating and trim, and speakers, it looks to have been re-upholstered.  I'm pretty sure those seats and side-door treatments are not original.   

If true, the owner has quite an historic find, and keeping it safe in his garage is a good idea.  If not, well…it surely impresses cable people and amateur bloggers.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tampa Bay Automobile Museum - Part 7


1933 DERBY

Derby was a motorcycle company in 1921 and gradually began making sports cars and race cars.  This is a beautiful sports car that isn't particularly wild in its design or anything, but, hey, they only made 11 of them.  I'm loving that hood ornament.     



This French Hotchkiss Gregoire was found in Colorado parked under a tree.  It only had 7000 miles on it but after the tree fell the top had been caved in and the windshield destroyed.  However, the aluminum was still good enough to be straightened and welded.    This is a 1953 Hotchkiss Gregoire's and very few were exported to the US.  This museum has 2.  There were only 252 made.



The Czechoslovakian little T97 was a continuation of a small, light car with a strong engine.  It was a great little car that began production 1938 but Hitler stopped its production when they took over the country because it was too close to the Volkswagen which was to begin its run the following year.  Only 500 were made and this nice little baby is very very rare today.



This car was built by Citroen in the years of 1969 through 1975 but only 12,000 were actually produced.  It incorporated their hydro-pneumatic suspension, swivel headlights and a strange steering system.  I recall in my youth a relative, perhaps one of my cousins from St. Louis (Herb's brother's boys, Jim and John) might have driven up to Seaton with one of these.  I also remember taking a drive to Keithsburg in it, and he showed us the hydro-pneumatic suspension.   
It had a V-6 engine but was fast and could top out at 130 mph.  Again, I'm no gear head, but host John explained that they were able to get 2 firings from each hit of the piston, in essence making it a V-12.  



This was basically a Communist official's limousine.  Big, heavy, comfortable and strong, it was perfect for the poor Eastern European roads.   Only high ranking officials had the pleasure of owning and driving this car.  20,000 were made between 1956 and 1973.  It is a rear engine car and the wide air scoops on the side provide the cooling air.

Catch the video below of the Tatra 603 in action.  A lot of action.