Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

I was introduced to these delicious devils a couple years ago while visiting the Sutors' in Savannah.  Their candy shop is amazing - you can actually see them making all their stuff.  Kenzie ordered these and I have them in my closet.  One is gone, of course.  I'm surprised only one.  But I have a goal of munching one only when something good happens this year.  OK, Fates, let the good begin!


I think it is safe to assume I won't do the Twitter thing.  I'm thinking of contracting my social media footprint, not expand it.  


I spend too much time watching the talking heads on the so-called mainstream media.  They babble is balm for addiction to the news.  You have to admit it has been newsy the past year or so.  But they, like other insular groups, get too cool-by-half with their insider lingo.  By the way, whenever you run into someone who uses inside lingo on you they are trying to impress you and make you feel just a tad inferior.  here, then are some useful translations to current terminology on news channels:

Litigate - as in "we litigated this during the election".  Meaning:  we argued about it and no body won.

Narrative -  as in "they are trying to create a narrative".  This is the argument one side has that we litigated to a standstill during the election.

Walk it back - as in "when pressed on this point they tried to walk it back". This is a straight out lie.  And they got caught.  

Binary - as in "it's a binary choice between Trump and Hillary."  Hell if I know what it means.  I think its one or the other.  

We'll Talk about it on the other side - As in a moderator or news host introduces a clip like "Let's listen to what John McCain had to say about it and then we'll talk about it on the other side."  At the end of the video clip where someone is going to try to litigate their narrative, someone from the other party will try to litigate their narrative.  Usually both will end up having to walk it back.

We are in uncharted territory - usually Democrats/liberal news moderators/liberals in general in the past three months who are in denial, dumbstruck or deeply depressed because of what happened in the election.  

We have to end it here - Show segment is over and they have to stop whatever discussion they are having in order to shill for funds so that the moderator gets paid for his work.  And as such, this segment of Tuesday Tidbits is over so we have to end it here.

I don't know why they don't just talk like the rest of us.


I don't know about you guys up North but we are getting TV ads in support of Jeff Sessions.  Not making a political comment here, but didn't we just get over all the ads on TV?  Apparently not.



Skip down if you don't want to hear or see it.

Something you won't see often: Shakespeare and Trump mentioned in same sentence.  

Hamlet Act 3, Scene 4

For tis the sport to have the engineer, 

Hoist with his own petard, and shall go hard, 
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the Moon.

(I love Shakespeare, but never seem to have the time to read more.  I applied for work at Barnes & Noble once in Peoria.  I aced the interview with the response to the question "If you could only have one book with you on a deserted island, what would it be?"  I responded with the complete works of Shakespeare.)

As an Independent who voted Democratic in the election I am not surprised that Comrade President Trump is signing the Executive orders on items he campaigned for and must deliver to the political right.  It has been a busy 1st week.  It would seem that Breitbart "I like to blow up the establishment" Bannon and Blackheart,  embodiment of the Peter principle, Flynn have his ear and that's all OK.  He won, he has earned the privilege.  His supporters are dancing with joy with the Executive orders and travel ban.  

I have said I hope him well and much success.  So far everything he has done seems to be in opposition to my views but then, again, he won.  I will, therefore, attempt to refrain from too many snarky criticisms for the 1st week.  Of much more import to me is what he will do after he runs out of campaign promises?  Where will Bannon and Flynn guide this narcissistic impetuous guy?  So I'm dialing it down for awhile.  

Of course, if he signs Executive Orders such as sending all Presbyterians to Mexico, philosophy majors to labor camps, or deeming all grampa daycares as dangerous leftist cabals, I'm coming out swinging.  


I saw recently that the Flo progressive commercials have marked their 8th year.  If I'd known she was going to be around that long I would have thrown myself off the Sunshine Bridge back then.


I know its been another mild winter and I was part of the only snow falls back in December, but golly, I really do miss it.   Maybe I'll have to change my Northlandia schedule a bit next year.


Nobody likes foreign films or subtitles (except me), but if you want to see an excellent zombie movie, find Train to Busan.  I hate zombie movies.  They are so tired and repetitive, and frankly silly.  But this one was good - really good.  It's Korean and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 96% of positive aggregate reviews.  Consensus reviews said, "Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique - and purely entertaining - take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action." 

And who can resist that it was made, in part, by the Redpeter Film Company?  


The 4th Annual Playoff Lotto contest has ended and the winners this year were:  Dan $20, Mark $15, Drew $10, Mike $10,  Stewart $10, Holly $5, Justin $5.  All have or will be receiving their money soon.  Thanks for playing. 


We all went to Wagonwheel flea market on Saturday.  Loaded everyone into the "Fun Bus" (the Pathfinder) and at the toll gate to get in I asked the guy who took my dollar, "Got any fleas's left?"  His quizzical look leads me to implore all you parents out there to keep your kids in school as long as you can.  Anyway as I wandering aimlessly I noticed an old guy with a baseball cap that read "Land of Lincoln - Honor Flight".  That was enough for me to wander a little less aimlessly and to thank him for his service.  And like most of these guys I talk to they are polite and enjoy talking of their service.  "Bill" served in the Army in the Pacific and took his Honor Flight almost eight years ago.  He asked where I was from and I mentioned Galesburg.  He said he was from Jacksonville and that from where he lived and G-Burg was just almost exactly 100 miles.  He further stated that when he got out he worked fro the power company and climbed poles.  he said that was back int he day when you had hooks on your boots.  He then asked what town is close to G-Burg but west, and I said Monmouth.  Oh yes, he said, I had to go there one time because the power was out and it was so cold.  A true gentleman and again, a member of the increasingly small Great Generation left.


Tomorrow is Kenzie's birthday.  Happy birthday, Kid.  I couldn't have asked for a better daughter.


This weekend I just got my 500th "F" or "K" series dollar bill.  


One of the pleasures, or pitfalls, to daycare is the having to watch some cartoons.  The TV is not on constantly but when it is I switch from the news and Nickelodeon.  Your never too young to see what's happening in the world or too old to watch some cartoons.  Some, or rather most, are inane IQ draining stuff, but one is almost brilliant.  I refer, of course to Spongebob Squarepants.  Those who are acquainted will smile in approving recognition.  Those who are not familiar will be devoid of the intelligence and subtle genius of our little drama at Bikini Bottom.  Spongebob and his pals Patrick, Squidworth. Mr. Krabs and Plankton are no less deep and thoughtful than Kant and Neibuhr.  I can say this with reasonable assurance that my readers probably won't read either of those philosophers - I wouldn't - or subject themselves to hours of Spongebob.  Although if I had my druthers, I'd watch Spongebob.

(Bonus points for telling me what Neibuhr is most remembered for today.  And it is Reinhold not Richard, his equally famous brother.  If you know, Hell, go ahead and cheat if you want, and email me at bfereporter@yahoo.com)


Until next week, if we are still here.  Oh almost forgot.  I saw this quote that I enjoyed.  It is from Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan,

"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Homeless In Largo

Alfred and I take a daily trip down the block a ways and then past the corner over by Wal-Mart to Burger King.  Along the way there is a bus stop with one of those thick clear plastic three-sided shelter with some seats inside to give you a little comfort while you are waiting.   

When we started our walks back in December I noticed a guy there who had his suitcase-with-wheels with him.  He was there when we walked by and there again when we walked home.  Buses come along every 10 minutes at these stops so for him to still be in the shelter was a bit puzzling.

The next day we saw him again at the shelter and then once we saw him in BK.  I started to put it together:  these guys are homeless in Largo.  They stay at various hubs throughout the day and take advantage of local businesses for necessities.  For the cost of a cup of coffee they can come into Burger King, avail themselves of the restroom to clean up and take care of business.  

When I was first sentenced to Kitschland begging on street corners was allowed and they were everywhere.  They would beg by day and converge on a couple of motels-turned-state-subsidized housing by night.  A Tampa Bay Times report on local beggars found out that they could make as much as $65,000 a year with most in the $40-48,000 range.  

Then the St. Pete/Clearwater communities deemed their day jobs illegal and became persona-non-grata.  Most of the motels have been torn down.  Some circumvented the laws by hanging out in store or restaurant parking lots looking for handouts from customers.  Most, however, went over to Tampa where there were no such vagrancy laws.   

The ones who now hangout all day in bus stops and use McDonald's and Burger King for their bathroom needs are the true flotsam of our society.  They have no homes, but have services who will house them when it does get cold here.  Last month there were three churches that opened their doors for the homeless to sleep and keep warm.  

These guys don't beg for funds from people, or hang out in business parking lots looking for handouts.  They must receive government assistance of some kind, but they live almost entirely off the grid.  Whether it is by choice or circumstances, I have no way of knowing.  We know that there are those who enjoy the anonymity from societal responsibility, and we know there are those who got caught in economic hardship. 

I don't know much about their daily migration habits, their nightly hangouts or lifestyle.  All I know is what I see.  They are quiet and bother no one.  What I do know is:  being homeless in Tampa Bay is better than being homeless in Minneapolis.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Flashback Friday

I go through my personal boxes every so often to see if there is anything interesting in there or things that can be tossed.  A couple months ago I came across these checks I hadn't seen in ages.  They are back in my G-Burg days when I was working at the Mary and making a trip or two every so often to K-Burg to Blackie's for a night of fun and beer.  

Apparently I began writing things on the memo lines.    

Helen always chuckled when I'd write something stupid and I hope the people at my bank enjoyed them as much as she did.  

This is one of the checks that I grew up looking at.  Marj and Herb banked at the State Bank of Seaton.  Before debit cards and Apple pay all you had except cash were bank checks. It is also was quite similar to the one we attached to the cold dead claws of the road-kill badger we hoisted up the bank flagpole one night in Seaton. The bank in Seaton is scheduled to close in a couple months after 126 years of operation.  Kind of sad.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

First trip To The Beach 2017 - Part 2

When I go to the beach it's not the waves or horizon that interest me, unless its a dazzlingly spectacular sunset.  It tends to be the people.  Join me in a little voyeuristic observation of the folks who are all here to have fun.  The fun means different things to them all but everyone here is enjoying themselves.  

This guy wearing the West Virginia University sweatshirt interested me more than anyone else on this trip.  I was fascinated by what his story might be.  Widower?  Wife at home, or maybe in a nursing facility?  Was this their beach?  Does he come here to remember or forget?  

These guys were playing a game with a ball and a mini-trampoline.  The guy with the ball bounces it on the trampoline and the guy closet bounces it around to others much like volleyball.  Don't know what it is called or how you keep score but they played the entire time I was there which was about an hour and a half.

Well, the water wasn't as cold as it was in December but it still had a chill.  Still, what seems to be the problem here?  

Paddle boarding would be something I would like to try once - it seems like a nice combination of balance, effort and reasonable dryness.  

Makes no difference where you are these day, even with your lady friend at the beach - we just can't pry ourselves away from our social media devices.  This guy needs to pay more attention to her.  

I'm not exactly sure where her hand is but these guys know how to handle a sunset, a nice warm day and  a romantic place like the beach.  

And finally, someone so overcome by the joy of being at the beach, and a soft place to land, that he was practicing his handstands.  

At the risk of sounding a little jaded (one beach is like another) the beach is one of those rare places you go where everyone is happy. Even if their lives suck, they get some joy from the place.  One bit of sand is like all the others around here - not much difference and all pretty nice - but its the people that remain the real story.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Largo Park

Right down the road is the Largo park.  They gussy the place up during the Holidays with lights and even a small fair with some rides.  A couple days before Christmas we hosted Norah and Alhanna for an overnight.  We decided to parteeeeee! First stop was to DQ for ice cream.  The second stop was to the park to see the lights.  The third was back to the cell for pizza and a movie.   

Nothing is free and typically one had to purchase tickets for the Ferris Wheel which the kids wanted to ride.  

At $5 bucks-a-pop it wasn't cheap and my twenty didn't go far.  That's because I had to ride with them since they needed an adult.   

Waiting anxiously for the wheel to stop so they could board. 

They needed an adult to ride with them so I was volunteered. 

The carousel was a bit closer to the ground, but since I was newly broke I talked the girls into checking out those cool lights over there!  "Squirrel!"

Norah and Alhanna checking out some neat laser lights.

A picture looking west from the top of the Ferris wheel.

Toward the east.

One of the more unusual but nevertheless pretty stunning displays was a life-size blue whale made out of fabric.  I didn't know they are the largest animal that ever was.  I would have thought some dinosaurs would have been bigger but, nope, its this big guy.  Norah is standing just under its eye to give you some perspective. 

Okay, guys, lets go order some pizza! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

Word came out this week that for the third straight year the earth's temperature rose.  I know some viewers don't believe in Global Warming, but for Christ's sake, I live in Florida.  We'll all be under water in a few years!  Oh, wait.  Hmmm.  That would be a good thing.  Never mind.  


I have watched three movies or series lately.  Two scored well, the third didn't.  The one that fell flat with me was a little Indie drama called Little Men.  Go ahead and skip this one - the story is about how 2 kids become acquainted, like each other, in fact one, an introvert blossoms.  They're parents end up feuding and one set has to move away.  End of story.  Life sucks sometimes.  Nothing to see here.  Rated by critics kind of well, but it fell flat with me; all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  

 If you don't have Netflix streaming then cut the cable and get it.  You can binge all kinds of things.  Something I have been savoring and just recently finished is The Crown.  It recently won a Golden Globe for best TV drama.  Its kind of like Downton Abbey meets Buckingham Palace.  On the surface it is about the ascension of Elizabeth to the throne of England after the death of her father, King George VI.  If you have an impression of the Queen as a dowdy frumpy old lade, imagine a feisty younger girl who all of a sudden has to learn the job of Queen and the politics of it all.  This is really good stuff.  Netflix spent 130 million on this 9 part story and each and every episode is beautiful to watch and riveting.  I highly recommend this - it's a fun view of the British royalty you never knew existed.  You don't have anything else to do, its cold outside - and you'll thank me when you've finished.   By the way, episode 9, Assassins, was beyond superb.  The way Winston Churchill jousts and then discovers a personal weakness with his portraitist I thought was quite sad and revealing.  By the way, John Lithgow as Churchill is nothing short of phenomenal.     

Every once in a while a film comes along that forces you to appreciate the art of movie making.  The animation and live-action The BFG by Steven Spielberg is one of those eye-opening films that makes you sit back when all is finished and smile.  Top notch story  telling mixed with breathtaking artistry this great film was overlooked when it came and that's why the DVD player was invented.  Its maybe a tad too long and your patience may be stretched a bit at the 3/4 mark but if you get past that 15 minutes, then you will be rewarded when it gets going again.  It is a story of friendship and come-uppance against bullies of all sizes.  If you have a couple hours you might consider BFG - you don't have to tell the neighbors you are going to watch a kids movie.  You may even discover you still have a little kid left in you yourself.  


Inauguration Alternative Thoughts

This isn't really politics but damn!  What have they done to the Oval Office?  Is that yellow or chartreuse?  Wait a second:  I'm told it is gold.  Oh.  Sure looked like Mustard yellow to me.  

I'm going to give some non-political impressions of the Inauguration.  After last week's post I think I owe  Real Estate Agent, Reality TV star, President Trump at least one week of objectivity.  Frankly, I reworked this page three times taking stuff out that might offend readers.  Surely everyone is tired of it all - let's not add to the discourse, at least not this week.  

Nothing else.  No snarky comment, no partisan politics, just the beginning of Making America Great Again, I guess. 

I'm from Seaton so high fashion pretty much eludes me except for bib overalls and flannel shirts.  But, man, I loved those coats and dresses the First Lady wore.  Pure beauty and elegance.  Now I don't know if she has a brain or not, we'll find out, but she sure is easy on the eyes.

Wonder what was in that gift box Melania gave Michelle?

Okay, I couldn't resist.

I am no fan of Hillary but I did vote for her.  I wish I'd voted twice, but, man, that must have been excruciating for Hillary and Bill to watch what most folks thought was hers.  Like her or not, you have to hand it to her for showing up.

Inauguration Coin Has Liberals Furious

This was one of the items on Yahoo last Saturday morning.  I clicked it and there was no mention of Liberals being mad.  It was simply a place to order your commemorative coin.  When I left the site (without ordering) I then noticed the "sponsored" notice which is a clue that someone is trying to sell you something.  Why was that heading necessary?  I guess I'm more liberal these days, but I'm not furious.  That kind of language is inflaming.  

Social media is all agog over the report that the whitehouse.gov pages for climate change, healthcare, civil rights and LGBT were taken down.  Why is this a big deal?  Doesn't Trump have a right to post his priorities?  Why should he have the same as President Obama? 

I notice high-falutin folks like to give cheek kisses.  How do you do that?  Do they teach that at charter schools?  When do you know when one of them is appropriate?  When do you know whether one cheek is sufficient or both?  Does it come from the recipient or does the kisser take the initiative?  Is it based on political standing or on personal wealth?  Or can poor people do it, too?    Hmmm. 

Kellyanne Conway is as slippery as raw liver.  She is perhaps the best deflector of any spinner I've ever seen.  Except her weekend "alternative facts" comment.  If and when I screw up royally I want her to be my explainer.

You know those pictures where you see the before and after of a presidents tenure and see how the stress takes its toll?  I don't think   Trump will.  I just don't think he's going to feel the ungodly stress past prezes do.  And if it does, he'll blame the press. 

Damn!  I swore I wasn't going to be political.  Give me another chance?  


As I sit here on a Sunday morning writing this particular Tidbit, I am somewhat hopeful...for weather today.  Some of the forecasts are calling for gusty wind and some rain.  I'm as giddy as a 9 year old hoping for a day off from school.  The endless blue sky and muggy warmth leaves me hoping for other things.  I like weather. 

Addendum:  like usual Florida weather, it all petered out down here.  Went to the beach to see the roiling waves and I'll post them later, but overall the weather was just a little gusty.  Didn't even rain.  


The current nasty Mrs. Blythe attended the St. Petersburg chapter of the Women's March yesterday.  They had expected around 5,000 participants but the estimated crowd was over 20,000.  I did like the sign that read. "So Important Even Introverts Are Here".  


A word I hear a bit lately is feckless.  As in someone is feckless.  Does that mean that someone has feck, then loses their feck?  How  do you lose your feck?


I anxiously await a nice long stay in my Cabin in the Woods.  

Things I will be getting/doing:

A coffee brewer with a timer
Painting the white trim
Cleaning the gutters
Area rug for living room
Some type of improved TV viewing
Painting the 2 bedrooms with Sherwin-Williams paint
More ornamental grasses
Hanging bear skins out to cure


I'm a people person (ask anyone) but I generally try to avoid them if possible.  That's why I think self-checkouts at stores are great.





Monday, January 23, 2017

Quick Trip To The Causeway

A couple weeks ago, once again driven by the need to get out of my cell, I found an old path in my new Pathfinder.  The good old Causeway, one of about three bridges that connects the little dangling dick of a peninsula that is St. Pete, Clearwater and others to Tampa.

Whenever I go here, which is usually early morning, it is never quiet because of the the traffic on the adjacent four-lane that parallels the walking and bike path.  That's kind of a shame, otherwise this would be a perfect setting.      

I have to give a pat on the back to one of my favorite movies.  Everyone has heard and probably seen 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Its good, kind of like reading and then having to re-read a paragraph of Emmanuel Kant explaining metaphysical good, and then never really understanding.  I do not own that movie in DVD.  But I do own 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the sequel to 2001.  To me, if 2001 was the poetry, then 2010 was the prose.  In other words, it explained what left all of us scratching our heads about in the first movie.  

The blue photograph above was a picture I took at the causeway directly above me of the night sky.  That's an awful lot of stars out there.  One of my future projects is to go to the beach, away from all the city lights and take some night sky shots.  Salivating aren't you, Pavlov?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Flashback Friday

"Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times.  And think to yourself "There's no place like home."