Friday, March 31, 2017

Flashback Friday

There are companies that fly over farms and in this case villages and take pictures.  They then send a salesman around to see if you would like to purchase a picture of your farm.  Most of the farmhouses I ever entered when I was working for Uncle Ed on his farm had aerial pictures of the respective farms.  The company Vintage Aerial took many pictures of the farms around Seaton where I grew up and Emerald City where I went to junior high and high school.  

I scabbed these from their site and as you can see they have a watermark on them.  The actual cost for a frameable print (without the advertising) is kind of pricey so this will have to do.





From the Northwest toward the Southeast.


This is downtown Seaton.  The picture is probably late 60's or early 70's, but that is a guess.  This is main street when all of the buildings I remember growing up with are still there.  Today this is mostly gone now.  In the upper left hand side at the corner was Bill Greer's Texaco station.  Marj would always gas up here after a trip so she would have a full tank on the next run.  Bill ran a full service station and he'd come out and wipe the windows.  I remember Magic, our boxer, would follow Bill around from the inside of the car trying to get at his hands as she is snarling and barking.  

By this time most of the buildings were empty.  The first one from the gas station was empty and mostly storage.  The next one was the old home of the Seaton Independent newspaper, but by now also empty and full of garbage.  The next one down was the Ubben-Chism plumbing business.  I'm not sure what the next one was but then we have the post office and then the restaurant.  We went in there often during the summer when Aunt Gladys wasn't cooking that day or we were group shelling or baling hay.  Every time it seemed like some guy in there would tell Ed that something was following him (me) and he'd turn around like he was really checking and then act surprised by my presence.  

The big building in the center is the State Bank of Seaton that just closed its doors this past week after a hundred years in operation.  The building just tot he right of the bank across the street was the old grocery store that Dan Sims ran and then Don Levine.   At one time when we were small kids there was a barber shop in the rear that was operated by a guy who had gotten out of prison for murder.  On down the street the building on the far right was the Masonic lodge.  The fire department is on the far left.  The park is in the middle and the park is across the street.  This is where we guys would meet after our church softball games and talk about all kinds of things.  We even seceded from the union one night using the picnic tables under the pavilion.  





The plane that took the above picture also flew over the East End as this part of Seaton was called.  Our house is the second one from the upper right.  Our wonderful old maple is the biggest one in the block.  We climbed this one every chance we could.  The garage is closest to us in this photo and has three windows.  Uncle Ed's mother and father lived in the house next to us with the garage in the corn field.  See that garage?  For awhile the folk's favorite son kept his car in that garage.  The Wombie and I would see him drive by after a weekend outing to park it and we'd skip out and try to scare him some way when he was walking back tot eh house.  After they died Leatha and Warren Ludvigsen lived there and Leatha was Uncle Ed's twin sister.  Across from us Donna Minteer lived and I don't remember much about her except she had a great bluish-green '64 Plymouth Belvedere.   After she vacated the place the Wheelers moved in.   This was also the house Marj and Herb lived in when they first married and while they built the house across the street when the Wombie and I were born  and Phil was around three. To the left of the Wheelers is the Dorothy, Don and Lance Levine place.  The big house in the center is Dixie and Gary Greer's place.  The lower house is the Frey's place and no longer exists.  I ran away from home once and made it that far.  Evelyn Frey must have had cookies ready because I recall going in and being fed after my long journey.  The Halls are across the street and Buster Board's house is right next to the Halls.  The Board house was where the Wombie and I and Ivan Ewing placed M-80's on the new guttering as it was being built.  We used cigarettes to allow us to rush home before they went off.  After the explosions Herb rushed in to check on us as we were quivering in bed and heard him say to Marj, "Thank God it's not our boys."

I tell you all this simply because it is history.  My history.  Me and my brothers rode bikes on these streets, then cars.  Dorothy, the Greer's and the Wheeler's and Hall's still live here.  I recall the way it was and the people who lived here, many are long gone.  Playing in the park, then meeting after games and having a smoke and a beer.  Hoisting road kill on the bank flagpole with a blank check attached to its paw.  Being kicked off the kindergarten bus by a bully who threw open the rear emergency door and blaming the Wombie and I.  Falling off the slide at the grade school and creating a stir.  Walking from the school down to the park area at Halloween to show off our costumes.  Mike Sponsler's mom making some kind of brittle candy for school.  My grandmother coming to school and sitting next to us when she was visiting from Quincy.  Working for Herb at the grain elevator.  Leaving home for college, then leaving home.  

Thomas Dylan wrote a book called "You Can't Go Home Again." In it he writes:  "But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth.  He did not know.  All that he knew is that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again."

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood...back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things that once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time..."

Perhaps.  That much is true.  But in a sense he was wrong.  All you have to do is close your eyes and remember.

  








Thursday, March 30, 2017

How Many Words Is A Picture Worth?


I came across this picture somewhere and I was dumbstruck by everything that is going on and how the photographer found the perfect moment to snap the shutter.  Some neighborhood kids are watching some daredevils jump out a second story window onto some old mattresses.  Another kid is hanging rather precariously onto what looks to be a area of brickwork that is gone or a porch area.  Aside from all that action going on we have an older spectator watching who happens to be carrying a dummy, which, it seems, is looking at the photographer.  And the dummy is the only one of some 2 dozen participants who is looking at the guy taking the picture.  It is an awesome snapshot of a what looks to be ghetto fun.  




The next wonderful picture is what must be a bombed out library or bookstore.  I am guessing Britain in World War II?  Not deterred by the burnt rubble or what looks to be dangerous rafters these guys go about their business or pleasure of searching literature with the calm stoicism we have come to expect from the Brits.   A great picture of normal life when normalcy has been upended.




The next great photo is a city-scape of something going down between a cop and a shoeshine boy in which we see the event through a mirror.  We don't know what is happening but the situation is certainly enough to get the attention of just about everyone around.  Technically the picture is perfect:  no one is looking at the guy with the camera.  And isn't that the best when taking street shots?  Also, it would have been easier to simply take the picture head on, but the artist decided to frame it with the mirror hanging on the next door building.  



Our final perfect picture is a young lady sitting at the railway station as a train approaches.  Its almost like a scene from a carefully choreographed movie.  What we see is a lady who may or may not be happy.  All I see here are questions.  Is she leaving or waiting?  If she is leaving is she going to a love, or something less joyful?  And if she is waiting is it for a lover, a family member, or is this a place she likes to hang out to relive past happier times?  If she is waiting for her lover is she about to tell him she no longer loves them?  This is the look of someone who is wrestling with something.  She is not an eager-beaver anticipating a long-sought reunion.  All kinds of questions.  All kind of perfection in this picture. 

Great photography isn't telling someone to say "cheese".  It is catching people doing everyday things in maybe not so everyday happenings.  Like artworks hanging in museums, so phtography is art and now on your computer.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nope! Don't Wanna Think About It!

Pssst.  Can we talk? I don't usually just scab off someone's blog and use as mine.  But in this case I thought it was interesting enough to do just that.  I know we don't like thinking about our parents having sex but I came across a fascinating article that puts us being here in perspective.  It was written by Peter Vidani who is author of the Scientific Philosophy and Philosophical Science blog.  His blog is one of my favorites.  Mike




And good thing too, since it wasn’t just any sex—it was the sex that led to you. There was a moment, a fraction of a second, where one single sperm that happened to be the carrier of half your genetic code, beat out, in a photo finish, nearly 300 million competitors. That would be like entering a foot race with the entire population of the United States—and winning. If that tight race had played out even slightly otherwise, if a different sperm had successfully infiltrated that ovum wall, well, you could bet your bottom dollar that it wouldn’t be you sitting here reading these words. You wouldn’t even be alive. Your entire existence, everything you are, is utterly contingent on the precise moment your father ejaculated. That one sperm, that single, creepy, wriggling little tadpole, united with your mother’s egg and crafted the perfect recipe for a human being later known as you. What serendipitous timing! What necessary timing!
But hold up, that’s not the whole story. It’s not just that one act of successful intercourse that matters. That same exact scenario occurred—had to occur—between your grandparents, and your great grandparents, and your great great grandparents, and your great great great grandparents… And so on, stretching all the way back—over 3 billion years—to the beginning of life on this here blue marble. Every relevant relative of yours was able to survive just long enough to reproduce (or replicate) and continue on its legacy. You are that legacy. And, it’s important to note, this is on a planet where over 99% of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct (meaning they didn’t share your luck). If ancestry.com could map this out, you would see a lineage consisting of hundreds of millions of your direct ancestors all having successfully reproduced, all at the exact millisecond required to pass on the exact combination of DNA that would lead exactly to you.
So next time you run into some bad luck—perhaps a burnt soufflĂ© or a clogged toilet or another traffic jam or losing lottery ticket—just take a moment to think about your parents having sex. And remember all of the lotteries you’ve already won.


Walk Like You Have 3000 Ancestors At Your Side

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits


I saw this on some site and liked it for some reason.  It tells a story in its own small way.  A shooting star, growth, and a dazzling end. Nice way to start a Tuesday morning.


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I am just a few weeks away now from my Cabin in the Woods.  I wonder how Alfred will adjust while I am gone.  The change will be sudden for her.  My sub also has other kids - she won't be the only star of the show.   I'd like to think she will grow with the interaction and not miss me too much.  I hate the thought of sad kids. 

Speaking of the Cabin in the Woods.  I think I have a tiller for my side yard project.  I'll bet I can secure the deal with a couple of Mayorga's from Nicaragua.  


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I came across this somewhere online and marveled at its simplicity and complexity at the same time.  The simplicity is in the four pines.  Just four pines.  The complexity is in the six words that in actuality denote the problems with all mankind.  I don't think it is over dramatization to say that comparison is, indeed, the single most dangerous menace to civilization, and has been.  Theft, envy, murder, invasion, and geographical war, abuse of all kinds, it is endless and can all be explained by comparison to what someone else has.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  If you have something another guy wants.  It will destroy joy and lead us to act in horrible ways.  This little pencil drawing of 4 pine trees and a little ditty.  Brought out the old philosopher in me.  I think it  is something worthwhile to ponder today.  


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Hey Wombie.  If you go into the Cabin to check on things and see something like this crawling around, would you get in touch with our pest control guy in Seaton and have him do a quick squirt?


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The pictures aren't the best.  This was parked at Wal-Mart last week.  Looks like we have someone who lives in their car.  Speculation was they might be employed by them and have no other living arrangements.  We are kings by comparison.  (Get it?  Above?)


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Norah's Kindergarten School Picture

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With the failure of both Trump and Obamacare the solution to America's healthcare is staring us in the face and maybe someone will have the guts to package it as a final and successful solution:  Medicare for all.  It is what most every civilized country does.  

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I hope people who are increasingly polite to me (opening doors, running into their carts at the grocery store, simple hello's) aren't doing it because they think I'm 103 years old.

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I saw one of those CNN "Finding Jesus" commercials.  I noticed he, as in Jesus, is white and seems to have a British accent.  Both would be historically inaccurate, but it is CNN doing drama after all.

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Ever since roadside panhandling was outlawed a few years ago around here, the beggar's have tried to find new and innovative ways to get to you and your charitable (sucker) money.  They migrated to individual stores like the 24 hour ones like Walmart and CVS and gave you their spiel as you walked in.  Then they'd walk around outside restaurant and bars and pull on your heartstrings:  favorite type of line was needing money for a cab ride to doctor's office at the Vets hospital.  

A new one we ran into last weekend:  driving around the parking lots at the mall asking for handouts.  The guy who got us had wife (or friend) driving van while an old lady was in the back seat waving around a bandaged hand.  The spiel was they took off without his billfold and old granny in the back needed co-pay for doctor visit.  

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Neat store I discovered this weekend.  Only open one day a week - on Saturdays.  Old doors, windows, some furniture, all kinds of unique stuff found in houses.  Its like that restoration place up int he Cities - only cooler.  They even have several portable phone operator things they plugged into lines with all kinds of toggle switches.  If you need anything let me know.  

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Adventures In Babysitting




Two shots of Alfred sleeping: one in the car and the other is a crib shot.  In both she has her favorite blankee in her mouth.  (I need male companionship with cold beer, belches, talk of internal combustion machinery and off-color jokes)(Female companionship would be pretty cool, too)(Anyone who mentions kids/grandkids/children/diapers/babysitting/naps buys me a beer).




Speaking of babysitting:  Don't ask - Don't tell.



Quick thinking daycare provider helped avert a potential tragedy.

Have I told you how much I need to sit at a table where everyone is of drinking age and drinking?


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Judge Jeanine has the most grating, obnoxious, off-putting delivery of anyone I've ever seen on TV and that includes Richard Simmons and Pee Wee Herman.  I'm not surprised Comrade President Trump likes her.

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I hate Spring Training and those inane, stupid, rah-rah ticket- selling articles and news clips that come out of all camps.  Shorten it by 2 weeks and cut the crap: that shiny new kid who played Double AA last year and who hit a home run today is still heading back to the minors.  The good news, by the time Tuesday Tidbits rolls around again we will be in Day 3 of the new season.

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As I mentioned last week, I was originally going to take this week off, but I had some stuff I wanted to post.  I also told you to prepare yourselves for the short hiatus.  And now here I am feeding your addiction.  Well, you know what?  I think I can go another week after this one!  Like little hungry baby birds.  The downside:  I may take a couple weeks off then.  Stay strong.  

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One more thing:  the Washington Post has been keeping a tally of falsehoods and deceptions from Comrade President Trump since January 20.  As of yesterday it was up to 317.  Truth matters regardless of your party and president.

Here is one Truth you can take to the bank (except the one in Seaton): I wish you a great Tuesday.  Be careful, drive smart, watch your step:  I'll be in Northlandia soon.






Monday, March 27, 2017

Eternal Sadness


One day a couple weeks ago I was in St. Pete and went to see if the bald eagles at Palm Cemetery were still around.  When I was at Shawshank I'd hop on the bike (the one-horsepower variety) and cruise the bicycle path that runs all the way around this part of the peninsula.  I spotted some people taking pictures of a tree at the cemetery and pulled over to see that there were bald eagles nesting.  

Today, I saw nothing of the eagles or the nest.  Right next to the Palm Cemetery, across a wire fence, is the Lincoln Cemetery.  The latter is smaller, not as well taken care of like Palms.  In fact, compared side-by-side the difference is astounding.    



The manicured landscape of Palms gives way to the weedy scrub of Lincoln.  Broken limbs from various trees and bushes lie strewn about even making it difficult to drive the well-worn pathways.  Palms is the white and Jewish resting place; folks with money - Lincoln is the old black cemetery.  In fact, according to a sign at the entrance, this acreage of poverty contains untold thousands of unmarked graves.  

Like the hand-carved stone above, many of the grave markers and remembrances of the Lincoln dead is handmade.  It is a startling indication of the economy of black people in old Florida.  The place is so run down it has received recent notoriety as a personal cleanup project for a young high school girl.  

I took the path next to the nicely mowed and watered Palms Cemetery and after finding no eagles I focused more on the surrounding cemetery.  I saw something in the corner of my eye and stopped the Pathfinder.  Not far from the fence, almost by itself, I saw something that in a way took my breath away.  




Like a warrior mount waiting for its fallen soldier, a rocking horse stands vigil.  Faded paint and rotting wisps of rope mane and tail -  dulled, haggard, dirty and bleached with the weather.  This horse waits for a ride that will never happen.  Baking in the harsh Florida sun, this loyal companion stands motionless like the artificial flowers planted in soil-sand that barely sustains weeds.  

There is a sadness to all cemeteries.  Of lives no longer living.  Of loves no longer loving.  Whispered affections long past uttered. Of touches remembered only in memories, and after awhile, not even that.  We are sad because we are aware of the human condition - that our time is limited, that we are doomed.  But there is an eternal sadness, too;  for those who never lived long enough to understand our fragility.   There is a decided perverseness to burying the young.  It upends our sense of cosmic orderliness.  

Not far from the orderliness of the Palms cemetery lies Jacques Chevalier Wilson.  His rocking horse stands guard and stands ready.  Placed there by the loving and stricken hands of family.  Hands that held a two year-old then wrestled with eternal sadness.  For a millisecond of time, Jacques rode proudly upon his steed - a warrior in battle?, a racehorse winning the Derby?, or a little boy simply loving the exhilarating motion.  Both are stilled now.  

Both remain together in the hot, baking Florida sun.     


Jacques Chevalier Wilson 
1965-1967  


And His Rocking Horse



Friday, March 24, 2017

Flashback Friday

First Published on 7/22/11


One of my very best buddies was Mike Johnson.  I met him through Pat Johnson, his wife, who worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Probation department when I started at the Mary Davis Home.  We golfed together along with Randy from work and had a few on Friday nights after work.   He was one of those guys who would really, really do anything for you.  He helped me move, helped work on the house now and again, and always helped to cheer me up.  He was funny.  Never met a salesman yet who wasn't.

He's the one who joined us all in a smoke-cessation class where you throw your pack of cigarettes in a trash can at the 1st meeting.  At the break I go in with mike to pee and he pulls out another pack and lights one up..  Mike died of heart problems, and he'd been told by his doctor to stop smoking.  Well, he didn't and then he died.  To the credit of health awareness and education, and those of us ex-smokers who nag on smokers, most all of the people I know have quit.  Thanks for giving us your gift of health, may you live long.  These are circa 1991-1996.



For five years after his death we put on a benefit golf outing with proceeds going to the Heart Association.  The motto was always "to do something good and have fun doing it."  It was tough work.  We had to get raffle prizes from businesses, create fliers and distribute, book a golf course, buy food, and arrange an after-golf place to party.




Golfers getting ready for tee off at Windmill Golf Course.


Me presenting a portrait of Mike to his widow and my long time friend Pat.



Charlene taking pictures.



Volleyball at Oak Run.



We got some good crowds along the way.



"Fore!"


Steaks on the grill.



Our first Open was at Oak Run Golf course and then at the beach area.



Randy did the cooking.


Looks like I'm tallying something, no idea what.  But whatever it is, don't bug me, I'm really into this, and you know me and numbers.


The last time I saw Mike was about a week before St. Patrick's day.  I was sitting alone in a bar on Main Street, apparently wanting to drink alone and get depressed over something.  One moment  isolation and solitude, then the next moment, there he was, on my right.  Cracking a joke, making me laugh.  We stayed awhile, even donated a buck to some St. Pat charity four leaf clover (I went in after he died and asked for it and still have it).  Turned into a good night.  A week later he was dead, somewhere in a motel in Chicago.

I'm a bit of a softy anyway, but I cried that night.  I'd lost Ed a couple of years before that and it seemed I was losing my friends.

After five years we ended it.  Not being or wanting to be in charge of the money I can't say for sure how much we ended up giving to the Heart Association, but it was certainly hundreds.  The Johnson family graciously gave me a putter thanking me for my meager contributions, bu they needn't have, that's what friends do.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Largo When Everyone Else Is Asleep - Part 2


More black-and-whites from my walk a couple of weeks ago of my area of largo in the wee hours of the morning.   This is the companion post of my camera and I walking just a few blocks away from Waterboard where I presently call half-home.  









































Thanks for keeping me company.  It gets kind of scary walking around all by myself in the underworld darkness of the city.  Just like heading out to the South Lagoon in Emerald City.  I keep my lights on like that will keep the ghosts and goblins away.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What's On My Nightstand



I just finished a book that I picked up through one of those Amazon $1.99 sales.  They send me an email every morning with a selection of on-sale stuff.  More often than not I delete it but once in a while I take a couple-buck chance on something.  I always check the reader views though, and this novel had a pretty high rating.  

Briefly, it is the story of a 104 year old woman in Maine who signs up for a local boy scout troop project where a kid shows up once a week to help seniors around the house.  The old woman, Ona, happens to draw a scout who, although never quite diagnosed, must be autistic.  He has the numbers fetish like Rain Man but doesn't have quite the social awkwardness.  He also has a thing about the Guinness Book of Records and soon gets old Ona revved up on the possibility of breaking a record of her own.  

What follows is a week after week birth of a great friendship between a 9 year-old boy and an a 104 year-old woman.  But one Saturday, the boy doesn't show up, but his father does.  I won't go into the plot details any further but I found this to be a richly layered remarkable novel.  

This is where I must confess a personal bias in literature.  Better sit down.  This is a bit of a shocker.  In my reading experience, rightly or wrongly, I have found that some women authors tend to write from their hearts whilst males tend not to.  It is, rightly or wrongly, a bias for which I plead guilty and for which I feel somewhat guilty.  Think of it as Jane Austen vs. Tom Clancy (both whom I have avoided) syndrome.  So its out.  I feel liberated.  And sometimes their penchant for "heartfelt prose" can slow a book down to a snails pace and be just on the cloying side.  Of course, being a guy I like things to move along briskly.  Hang me from the nearest yardarm (hopefully a maritime nautical sailing yarn from a male author).  I freely admit this bias and am, literarilly speaking, ashamed.  

Having said all that, the author of this astonishing book, Monica Wood, does an excellent job of writing from the heart without grinding scenes to a halt or creating sleep-inducing dialogue one might see in romance novels.  When I mention a layered book I mean it, in the best sense.  There aren't a lot of characters but how they all end up interacting with each other is wise.  The tape recording sessions is a unique device that adds immeasurable context.  

The prose does what it is supposed to do - it gives us an interesting story with people we really care about doing things they love doing or are impelled to do out of nature or kindness.  Yeah, I like this book a lot.  Unlike a lot of stuff I read that seems good and then quickly fades, I'm going to remember these guys for a long time.  Best of all, reading the One-In-A-Million Boy one wouldn't know if the author was a guy or a girl.  High praise indeed.


*****




Here is upcoming reading list:


Bird Box, A Novel - Josh Malerman
Way Station - Clifford Simak
Take Me With You - Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
A Gentleman In Moscow, A Novel  - Amor Towles
Conclave - Robert Harris
Ordinary Grace - William Kend Kreuger
Leaving Blythe River - Catherine Ryan Hyde
Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
Bear Town, A Novel - Fredrik Backman
Dead Wake - The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

Here is a list of books I tossed aside.  Maybe I'll try again, maybe not:

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara
Down the Memory Hole - Bonnie Turner
The Terror - Dan Simmon
Paranoia - Joseph Finder
Pride Runs Deep - Cameron Cooke
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

I have discovered that I do not have a thirst for knowledge.  I have a thirst for escape and entertainment.  While I generally like biographies, I am more driven to the novel.  It is my escape, and my poultice against insomnia.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits




The Cabin in the Woods will require a little maintenance when I get up there.  Some painting, a broken window glass in the garage - the usual stuff.  I am toying with the idea of putting in a wildflower garden.  I want to do my part in bringing back the bees and less mowing.   You can get a packet of wildflowers from Cheerios:

https://www.bringbackthebees.ca 

Just finished toying.  I am going to put in a wildflower bed.  I will need a tiller.   Wombie, know anyone? 


Hey Wombie.  If you go to the Cabin and run into one of these guys would you please call AAA Pest Control.  A spider with hands, you gotta be kidding.

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The level of supervision at Papa's Daycare is almost criminal.  But I swear, I was laying on the bed tinkering with my phone after changing Alfred's diaper and then it got real quiet.  Well, as anyone who sits kids can tell you, it can either signal a bit of peace and free time, or it can denote something really bad happening.  Most daycare providers will tell you (I'm forming a Union) that you first take the peace and quiet until the alarm bells go off.  This usually happens after it is too late for corrective action.  It is the quiet that makes the hair on your neck stand up.  

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I am heading toward a week or two off from blogging soon.  Prepare yourselves.

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I hate cats.  Let me repeat:  I hate cats.  If you didn't know already, then this will add to your enjoyment of me if you feel the same way.  If you don't agree with me, then we can still be OK, right?  

(Hey Washington, this is how it is done.)

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Saw this in the parking lot at Waterboard.  I hope that insurance check you got for this accident paid for a nice party and all that duct tape.

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Miss Norah lost her first tooth last week.  She received a visit from the Tooth Fairy.  Apparently Comrade President Trump has made cuts to that program as well.

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The gang wanted to do some shopping at Michael's but I didn't feel like aimless wandering so I took a seat on a bench out in front.  While sitting I noticed something in front of me on the sidewalk and took a closer look.  



It turned out to be a condom. On a sidewalk at an outside mall?  Don't know if I was more disgusted or jealous.

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Cute, but can you back it up?

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At Target the other day I noticed an old guy wearing a Navy hat.  As one of my continuing personal efforts I approached him and thanked him for his service.  And like all of the old guys I approach he was more than happy to talk to me.  John told me he was in Korea and flew jets.  He told me he was one of three replacement pilots in his squadron for guys whose jets had been brought down by the North Koreans who installed cables across ravines.  He was given the personal effects of one of the pilots who had no family.  He told me he still has them.  

John told me he served his time in Korea and then re-upped for an additional six years as a flyer and then in 1962 got married and started a family.  His wife wasn't too hot for him flying so he left the Navy and never flew again.  

Strangely, I asked if he had been on one of the Honor Flights and he said he was aware of World War II vets taking those trips but wasn't aware they have been doing the same for Korean vets for a few years now, too.  I hope he looks into it, he's earned it.

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This bird was looking for ice cream last Saturday at Dairy Queen. The owner took some scrap food and fed him while we were there.  Unfortunately a herd of semi-domesticated terns swooped down to see if they could get in on the snack, too. 

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I have four fantasy baseball teams this year.  One draft down, three to go this week.  

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The Iron Giant is now on Netflix streaming.  The kids (and me) love it.  







The Iron Giant.  Cult favorite.  Bombed when it came out, but make no mistake, it is an overlooked classic.  "You stay...I go...No following."  "You can be anything you want to be."  "Superman."

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So, Comrade President Trump sits at the White House and watches Fox News shows of dubious content and then tweets unverified BS.  Alrighty then.

(It was just announced that the dubious Andrew Napolitano, a Fox regular, has been fired.  Good for Fox News.) 

Obama took his first vacation after 4 months.  Donald has taken 7 in 2 months.  Alrighty then.

Acts like an ass with allies and most recently the new leader of the free world, German Angela Merkel.  Alrighty then. 

Never apologizes.  Isn't that one of the first things we learn as children?

54 Billion in additional funds for defense but no more Meals On Wheels.  U-S-A! U-S-A!

Go Trump, still rooting for you, you're the greatest!

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A portion of the reason I am part-time in Kitschlandia.


A portion of the reason I am counting the days till I return to Northlandia.