Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits





The Lynx has returned to her winter homes in Ft. Myers (December/January) and St. Petersburg (February/March).  The past couple years she has been in drydock in New Hampshire undergoing refitting and maintenance. 

On February 18th I, once again, boarded her for an afternoon sail.  
Until I post those pictures your assignment is to view the above video.    
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In one of my earliest memories, the Wombie and I snuck out of our room while everyone was sleep to watch a movie called Attack of the Crab Monsters, I suppose on Acri Creature Feature, but this is pure speculation.  It scared us so much that the thought of going to our room was simply too frightening, so we went into the parents room and kneeled next to our mother, heads resting on the bed mere inches from her.  I don't have the words, perhaps they don't exist, to describe the noise she made when she eventually opened her eyes and saw us. 

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My fun loving brother and SIL, The Wombies, like messing with me.  Once last Fall they put a Scream mask out in the yard in front of my camera at the Cabin in the Woods.  This past week tuned in and saw this.  Yeah, it gave me a bit of a jump.  First because it wasn't what I was expecting (I always have it looking out into the yard so i can watch the weather), and secondly because the apparent poltergeist in the hallway was so spookily arranged. 

Nice job, Wombies. 

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  • Is it just me or is every third movie made something about Batman?
  • Is it just me or is Comrade President Trump starting to look a little like Liberace?
  • Is it just me or is there just more and more crap on TV.  I see there is reality show called World's Worse Cooks: Celebrity Edition.  Honestly, if you can't find anything else to do with your time, precious time I might add, than to veg in front of this swill, then a major reset is in order?   There's also some sort of survival thing where a guy gets placed in some remote locale.  All the ads have him doing is screaming.  Is that supposed to denote intensity?  Just stupidity as far as I'm concerned.
  • Is it just me or are most guy's beards anymore kind of a variation of a chinstrap?  Whatever happened to the manly untrimmed beard of yesteryear? 
  • Is it just me or whenever a guy stands up he pulls up his pants, while a woman tugs down her blouse?
  • Is it just me or is just about everyone these days unable to quietly sit amidst their own thoughts, or do we need constant electronic stimulation?

  • Is it just me or is anyone else more afraid of the pissed-off Ameican who lives down the street with a concealed gun than a "radical Islamist terrorist"?
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Babysitting isn't always easy.  You are always torn between letting them play and giving you a rest, or letting them play and you catching Hell from a parent.  I chose the former.  A good scrubbing took care of the evidence.

These were a rare post on Facebook.


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In my continuing effort to say thanks to our vets, I met Edwin at the grocery store the other day.  Edwin was wearing an Army service hat.  He was sitting in the first of three chairs, presumably, like me, waiting for the rest to check out.  As I approached I asked if there was room for another and he replied "I rented all three but you can use one."  I said as I sat down "Thank you for your service."  And he said thank you.   I usually then ask where they were stationed, knowing that many never see action yet are just as invaluable to their branch and nation.  It was then those faded blue eyes began to tell me a story and I dreaded having to leave with the group.  Norah joined me in a bit as I was not only wishing for more time but also entranced in his tale.  I'm sorry I didn't ask to take his picture.  As I look back I would rather have taken pictures of his hands.  Edwin is 94 years old but has the grip of a teen.  

His company was one of the first to parachute into Northern Africa.  He wasn't one of them, however, he was in the second wave.  After they did their business there, they then moved on to Anzio, Italy where the Allies battled long and hard and sustained 44,000 casualties but eventually won the conflict.  After Anzio, he was one of 438 army soldiers to get transferred to help in the Battle of Bastogne.  68 survived.  He was one of them.   I again thanked him for his service, but it seemed trite and tired.  I should have hugged him.  I shook hands twice with him - once when we introduced ourselves, and again when I left.  Man, what strength.  I should have taken a picture of those strong American hands.   

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Barely visible, some enterprising guy used his struck for advertising his business. 

"Tree Dudes"  
And then a Phone Number 

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And finally, as I was walking out of Wal-Mart (yeah, my boycott is over), I noticed this scooter.  It struck me as particularly ugly.  It was hand painted a kind of garish blue and yellow.  And not very well at that.  No chrome, and everything looked pretty worn.  The owner had fashioned some kind of storage thing on the back made out of maybe plastic or Styrofoam panels.  What a gruesome looking thing.  But then I realized that that scooter represented someones freedom and ability to go places.  Yeah, it was ugly to me, but to the owner, It may be not only one of  their most valuable treasures but, in their eyes, a beautiful machine.  

As I walked away I thought maybe that's what wrong with us today.  I judged from my point of view, my standards.  Perhaps we all do that too often, and maybe we just need a bit more tolerance and less active judgementalism.  Surely one couldn't have judged me fairly by my first wheels, an old VW Bug with faded paint and peeling chrome.  

After I walked a bit more and took one last long look, I finally shook myself of that Hallmark moment and decided the bike was god-awful ugly and knew instinctively there are some butt-stupid 
hacks in the world. 

And then I thought again...


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That pencil you toss on the coffee table or that wrapper you fling at the waste-basket will either roll off/hit the rim and fall to the floor in direct relationship to your level of energy.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Walk Around Waterboard



Having a little extra time a week ago or so I took a walk around the extended fringes of where my present incarceration, Waterboard in Largo.  Here's what I noticed.



We see these configurations all the time, don't we?  A couple jet trails criss-cross in the sky.  Always straight - always the shortest distance between point a and b.  




How then, do we explain this?  





This was a trailer court.  This kind of struck me as somewhat Floridy.  Next to a trailer, was this camper.   So they live in the trailer, then wander out to the camper and enjoy a hot sunny patio.   It wasn't till I got home that I noticed the Corvette in the yard.





I'm not sure what this pipe used to do or maybe still does.  But that tree now has a toehold and wants it.  




It struck me a sad-sack name.  "Grizzle" isn't a good name for anyone, let alone a politician.  I guess there's not much you can do with a name you are stuck with, but, boy, I'd sure hate to be one old man Grizzle's kids.  By the way, she lost.





As I was trudging along the sidewalk this little geyser couldn't be missed.  I'd wish the Wombie, Aquaman Emeritus, could have been with me to give me his reading of this.



A palm tree on some sort of growth hormone.  



It is an ill walk that doesn't bring some good.  Today's showing, three pennies, found at various places along my route.  Another example of my policy that if you keep your head down and focused, you too, can reap health, wealth, and wisdom.  Or to put it less delicately, it is better to be a gutterswipe, than a guttersnipe.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday

Laziness has forced me to repost this Flashback Friday entry of six years ago.   If you have never seen it, then pretend it is brand new, relatively speaking.  If you have seen it before, then revel in the knowledge that repetition is often like a first fresh cup of coffee in the morning can be the best part of the day. 



I include this picture of the Wombie and I working on our snowball making skills.  This picture reveals what has been obvious to many through the years.  Mark will shamelessly mug for any available camera, being totally naive and trustworthy, while I prepare to bang his noggin with a big fat iced up snowball that will, I'm sure, have him running to his mommy in just a few seconds.   One must always recognize the possibility for kindness/generosity/revenge/total war.  



In a pre-Christmas staged and posed picture-fest we three Kings are doing our best to get this over with so we can change clothes and resume normal operations.  Before we go, two things.  One, that interesting package to my right and by the fireplace looks suspiciously like my car dashboard toy that I had.  I went through two of them, actually. One was a yellow dash that was smaller and without much coolness factor, much like a Ford.  The second one was a snazzier item, red, with turning knobs, a real working windshield wipers, and a horn, much like an Imperial.  Pictures of the toy are below I found on the internet.




The other thing I remember is that while Marj and Herb were away one time,  I got into Marj's camera and, fascinated by how it worked, opened the film door and ruined all of the pictures for that year's Christmas cards.  In shock at how mad Marj was, and being brutally interrogated through sleep and tears, I can recall what a big deal that was.  I always suspected Mark was equally at fault but he wasn't part of the waterboarding I was undergoing.  I simply think he got even for all the times I set him up.  



And finally, this is brother Phil perusing a book he got for Christmas.  In full cowboy regalia, he roamed the home proudly until his new brothers arrived.  Then it was two against one.  Ha ha ha.  Speaking of interrogations and brother Phil, there was an unfortunate incident at college when Mark and I were freshman and Phil was a senior.  How Herb could afford this is another story, of course.  Anyway, somehow I ended up with his keys and I got drunked up.  When he finally found me passed out in my dorm room he wanted to know where his keys were.  There was an old TV sitcom called Room 222.  He kept asking where his keys were and I said Room 222.  He thought I was joking, and he threw me into the shower to sober me up.  I kept insisting it was Room 222 and he kept thinking I was being a smart ass.  Anyway, they were in Room 222 in the dorm.   Good times, good times.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What A Concept!


Some people are aware of the high-seas collision between the Andrea Doria (above) and the Stockholm in July 1956.  Like many things in history with the passage of time and generations fall off and others take their place, this was a big deal back then.  Sea voyages were beginning to recede as air travel began to really take off.  

51 people lost their lives in the collision and when all was said and done, the court inquiries determined the Andrea Doria to have been largely at fault.  Oddly enough the Stockholm, now the Astoria, is still on the Atlantic making passenger runs.



Concept cars are a common way for car companies to put their ideas for design or options into reality.  Usually they make one car and send it around to various national car shows.  Sometimes the ideas are used in subsequent models and sometimes not.   With the sinking of the Andrea Doria, Chrysler's Norseman was also lost.  Most car enthusiasts are aware of the Norseman if the memory of the Andrea Doria has faded into history.  

The Norseman was designed by Chrysler in Detroit but handed over to the Ghia company from Turin, Italy for actual construction.   



Only one was made and this model was lost forever.  Still rusting in a wooden box int he cargo section of the ship which is lying on its side and deteriorating.  Divers call it the Mt. Everest of diving because of the swiftness of the Atlantic waters and depth.  In fact, 11 divers have lost their lives diving around the site since it sank.  The last one in 2015.  





These are the only pictures of that lost automobile.  Some of the  features were a pillarless roof with the back window that slid up into the roof.  It also left out the butterfly window or vent windows.  Both were a first for car engineering.  The underside was encased in a smooth sheeting which gave the car better aerodynamics.  The headlights, door handles and trunk openings were all hidden.    



The car had 4 bucket seats and reel-type seat belts that fastened to the center console that ran the length of the car.  But that beautiful, fully functioning car never made it back home, and even the stylists who created it never saw it.  It has become part of automobilia lore, along with that old rusted out Plymouth Belvedere that was in a time capsule they opened a few years ago.  The butterfly-less front window would become standard in 10 years.  The sunroof would become a popular option down the road.  

The car was painted a two-tone green with a touch of red in the flared wheel openings.  One guy paid a diver to go down and see it in 1991 but was cancelled after scientists said the only thing that would be recognizeable would be the engine block.   But that wasn't the case - three years later a diver went down and saw car but was still rusted out and not-salvageable.  


Many think the 1965 Rambler Marlin was a close clone of the Norseman.  In fact, Richard Teague, who styled for Rambler in later years, helped style the Norseman.  

The plans for the Norseman was to take it on tour around the US then to Chrysler's Chelsea Proving grounds in Michigan and deliberately crashed to see how the unique cantilevered roof would survive.  

General feeling around the obviously disappointed Chrysler headquarters was better to become legend than just another intentionally wrecked dream car.  I agree.  But there is still room in the Cabin in the Woods garage for any other old car - legendary or not.




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

We have an ad running down here telling us to call our reps to pass the new Republican healthcare plan.  Problem is, there isn't one.  Must the Pelosi approach - vote for it then find out what's in it.   Must be one of those, Hey, if its Republican it must be great things.  

We also have ads for Judge Gorsuch.  Folks, its a new world - all politics, all divide, all the time.

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Poor iPhone picture but caught this motorcyclist wearing a headpiece or helmet with horns an a tail.  Even at my give-a-shit age I don't think I could cross that line.

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1.  Given proper regulation and oversight, why wouldn't sex worker services be OK?  It is in a third of the world including Australia.



2.  Why is ticket scalping illegal?  




3.  Why is euthanasia not more uniformly accepted?



4.  If the last election was a "change" election, why are all the old incumbents still in office?


5.  Why should I feel comfortable if I'm at McDonalds and half of the people in there are concealed carrying?

6.  When does a murder become an assassination?

7.  When does a boat become a ship?

8.  Why is Northlandia only 8 degrees cooler than Kitschland in mid-February?

9.  When was the last time you saw someone smoking a pipe?

10.  Why is commerical TV still using a 70 year-old business model while cable viewing is evolving into a new way to watch television?  Can't they see the writing on the wall? 



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While driving through Palms Cemetery I noticed this little mini-mausoleum.  Cute, isn't it.  And yeah, I love cemeteries.  I wonder why?

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"She was warned. She was given an explanation.  Nevertheless, she persisted."

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Brendan's cat relaxing with a good book.

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Harry's Flickhouse

http://www.ourquadcities.com/news/a-look-behind-the-scenes-of-the-century-old-aledo-opera-house_/659427794

Found this on Facebook, I think, or maybe Mrs. Wombie sent it.  Regardless, it is the place that we went (or dumped off) as kids so the folks could spend a little time at the Club.  Back then, when we were in 5th or 6th grade in Seaton, and then over to Aledo for Junior High,  Harry's Flickhouse was a Friday night tradition.  Even now I can rattle off some of the films we saw.  Most were pretty darn good, especially to a less discriminating kid brain.  The movies were a special time of escaping into adventure, then, eventually, a place to meet up with girls and the movies became less important.  Decency and decorum prevents me from writing the other nickname for the place, but just ask me or text me and I'll tell you.

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A couple of pictures that weren't in the latest beach post and thought I'd include them here.  


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POLITICAL COMMENT; IF IT OFFENDS, THEN SKIP IT.


I'm no Star Wars fan but saw this at Wal-Mart and who knew what george came up with 50 years ago would become arallying cry today?  Sweden?  What the hell did he say happened in Sweden?  Crime rate?  The press is the enemy of the people? 

I expect my President to be smarter than me.  Stronger, more patient, more circumspect, more articulate, more aware, a quick learner, a man of compassion and a bridge-builder.  I expect my President to be able to rattle off more adjectives than just "tremendous", "great" and "massive".

On my good days I think he's still new and will settle in and do better.  On my bad days I think the Dumbing Down of America is complete and there is no fixing stupid.  I have more bad days than good.  


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Check out at the local grocery store.  Technology is sometimes tough to do on the fly.  This couple had a heck of a time trying to get their payment taken care of.  Was it the new chip in the card?  Was it the questions the pad asked?  Was it the age of the users?  Yes.

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This is the floor of the men's room at Urban BBQ where I returned again this past weekend.  It is a single layer of pennies.  Some are those non-copper ones they used in World War II.  Because they are the likeness of Lincoln they are all facing the South.   

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Canadian license plates.  Lucky them.  Trudeau: Go.  National Politeness: Go.  Mounties: Go.  Eskimos and Innuit's: Go.  Cradle-to-grave Healthcare: Go.  Cool Maple Leaf flag: Go.  French Quebec: Go.  Hockey: Pass. 

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Till next Tuesday.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Causeway During the Day - Part 2

I discovered the Courtney Campbell Causeway when I was incarcerated at Bedlam,  By now you are familiar with it as well, as many posts have focused on the place, usually for night shots.  Today's post gives you a glimpse of the place during the day.  It's a favorite spot for fishing, walking, biking, jogging and sight-seeing.  

This is part 2 of a piece I posted on February 8th.  





One bird for each pylon. No more, no less.



There are two spans going over the Bay.  One for traffic and the other for walkers/joggers and bikers.




Pelican, or can't.





"Damn your eyes!  Get out there and wipe off the windshield, you lubber!"  (For some reason "Damn your eyes" was a popular epithet back in the 1700's.




Jockeying for position.







It was a wonderfully breezy day with the the waves pounding the coastline.  Not terribly dramatic, but not bad weather for Kitschland.  

Hope your Monday is good.  Long week ahead so keep your head down and keep tuning into Existing In BFE.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Flashback Friday


This was saved from a flood in North Henderson that also wiped out other old family photos.  It took other heirlooms like my grandmother's wedding dress.  It was a disaster.  Several large garbage bags full of ruined things were put out for the dump.  basements suck.  Thank goodness the Cabin in the Woods does not have one.  I'm so done with them.  

This isn't necessarily a Public Service Announcement, but with spring on its way we can expect rain and the inevitable basement water.  Take care of your things so you don't lose precious memories.  My stuff was stacked in plastic containers and once the water rose the totes tipped and water seeped in.  I didn't check as soon as I should have and by the time I did, the items, photos and keepsakes were in unsalvageable condition.  Maybe its just as well I have forgotten what had to be tossed or I would be doubly saddened all over again.  

Poor Wombie, almost completely obliterated.  Positioning is everything.  I survived because I chose to be to the left of Phil  (a situation that I am positive still exists).  What?  You expected me to pass on a political joke?  By the way, white belts are coming back.  Saw one the other day somewhere. 

Anyway, Marj and one of her front step photographs.  We would all troop bravely yet somewhat sullenly to the appointed stop and let her snap away.  Funny, there aren't many early day-in-the-life kind of photos; the only time she got out her old Kodak Brownie was on special occasions.  Not sure what the above occasion was but a good guess would be a fall visit from all of us from college that year we all students at IWC.  This would have been a tough time for Marj - she would have been alone for the first time.  Empty nest and all.  This was also a time when she would have thought my second semester would have been in jeopardy.  But that's another story for another day.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chestnuts Roasting in an Open Fire

"Under a spreading chestnut tree,  the village smithee stands."

Most every kid in my time heard or read that opening line in Longfellow's poem The Village Blacksmith.   We probably didn't really care about it then, and to be brutally honest, it doesn't do a lot for me now.  But there it is, in my head.  Kind of like Joyce Kilmer's "I think that I have never seen, anything as pretty as a tree" poem we also had to learn, probably in the same class.  Poor Joyce, so deprived of real beauty.  What about the bulky lines of a 1963 Dodge 880?  Or that perky calendar girl hanging on the south wall of the North Henderson Community Center?  Now that is real beauty.  To be further brutally honest, if you lined up 5 of the most live trees in front of me I doubt if I could name them.  The one exception is the live oak that is all over down here in Florida.  That and the palm.  But in Northlandia, they all pretty much look alike to me except the weeping willow.  Poor education, not paying attention, or just don't care, it is a flaw in my  character.  Trees are important after all.  Something about them making the air I breathe.  I'm not sure.  Another character flaw. 

What I am aware of is that there was a Dutch Elm disease that pretty much wiped out all the elm trees in the early 60's North America.  90% of the elms in Europe and North America vanished.    



Also pretty much wiped out is the chestnut that used to be all over the country this is a chestnut tree photographed in 1916.



This is a chestnut tree in Scotland.

There are still horse chestnuts around, mostly out east, but the American Chestnut is gone.  They will grow in a bush-like configuration and then will die.  The fungus that kills them is in the ground and outside a small area in Michigan and Oregon, they are pretty much gone.  The disease was discovered in 1904 and from that time till the mid-50's there were about 5 billion chestnut trees that died.  

So we have never had roasted our chestnuts on an open fire, but according to those who have, elsewhere in the world, say they are quite tasty.   Other types of chestnuts are imported such as the Japanese which seems to be OK at this point.  There is also a Chestnut Foundation that is trying to breed a disease-resistant American chestnut but success is slow, as you can imagine.  

I'm not totally naive.  I know things change and species ebb while others grow.  Some die out completely and new genus spring forth.  It is nature.  As strong as we think nature is it is also quite fragile and unforgiving.  We all live in a time where a fringe world lives that is just starting and a fringe where things die out.  


  

This is an old postcard of Chambers Street where I lived for over 20 years.  Our house was just this side of the blue house on the far right.  The street was lined with these elms trees as were many other streets and boulevards across the country.  They are all gone now.

Dr. Dan Kolbow, my pledge son and roomie my last year at college retired in January and moved to a coastal town not too far from Portland, Oregon from Kansas City.  The area that favors the American Chestnut, because of its Mediterranean-like climate, is about an hour away from where he lives.  He has promised me he will visit Sherwood and try to find the forest where these guys are.  Maybe even get me a leaf.  

There is no particular end-game to this post.  This wasn't a problem brought on by mankind or its inevitable progress.  It's not global warming or industrialization.  It was just a bug and a fungus.  Maybe its just a simple but profound recognition that all things born in nature thrive and eventually die.  Civilizations, eras,   nature in all its magnificence, the wealthy and the poor.  And even me.