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Showing posts from February, 2011

The Grasshopper Boy

I'm not a huge fan of Facebook.  I have trouble navigating the damn thing, it won't allow long messages, and privacy concerns keep being discussed.  I prefer blogging. However, that is not to say there aren't some benefits, such as knowing what is going on with your friends and finding old acquaintances that, through time, get lost.  One such case is a man named Thomas Ross-Barnett who was a fraternity brother at Iowa Wesleyan College.  Tom, RB as I called him, was originally born in the African nation of Liberia.  He was also afflicted with polio.  In order to walk as a young boy he had to hop much like a grasshopper.

One day a lady from England visited his village and saw his plight.  She offered him and his family an opportunity.  Because she had the resources, she gave him the gift of medical assistance in the form of living in England and getting all the necessary treatment to deal with his afflictions.  She would take care, through a network of fellow philanthropists…

Technical Issues

Due to my fault one of the videos on today's blog was in "Private" format with You Tube.  This has been corrected so please feel free to check back and see the page again.  I think I have them for public display.  Sorry, and do check back in.

Next Week Is Shark Week

Be sure to check back next week to see the photos and videos of the sharks we spotted off the Vinoy Park.  OK, the picture above is one I stole off the net, and nothing next week is like that bad guy, but still, it's going to be pretty neat.

A Cigar, A Gar, and Other Everyday Wonders

Downtown St. Pete from Vinoy Park. We humans are an amazingly adaptable species. Who would have thought I'd look out on the skyline of the city and have feelings other than fear and trepidation. We are able to learn to co-mingle wherever we are. It may be a variance on the Stockholm Syndrome, but whatever, it sure is nice sometimes to just adapt.




Spotted at the Three Birds Tavern:  a guy brought in with him a really neat humidor and he proceeded to give himself and the guys in his party exquisite looking cigars.  Tim, we gotta get one of these.


This gar-ish creature was swimming along the cement abutment.  I have no idea what it is but it was about a pencil in length.  How does one find out?

Just one of thousands of these guys down here.  This one was foraging and looked rather inebriated. 

Being an old Fed-Exer of sorts, and knowing how it must positively, absolutely get there on time, I was struck by this fellow asleep on a park bench clutching a Fed-Ex package.  I wonder if it w…

Old Money Homes in St. Pete

Getting a little lost and OK with it, we ran into an area of St. Petersburg that is very rich, very posh and will, short of a lottery, will never have me as a neighbor. These are the guys that fund the bulk of the police and fire department and pay the salaries of the garbage workers. Without this tax base, this town wouldn't be this town.








Absolute Best Super Bowl Commerical

I HATE COMMERCIALS
...however, this is a pretty good one.


Volkswagen: The Force @ Yahoo! Video

This incorporates everything that makes for a good commercial: a cute kid, a dog, knowing parents, a good story, popular music, smart and no hammering the audience with the product.  Now compare this with the worst commercials, which consists of about the other 99% on TV.  Again, resist watching them, they suck your IQ. Do a crossword, play with a DS, exercise, pet the dog - kick the cat, do anything except sit and watch occipital cell-numbing, Madison Avenue BS that thinks you are 8 year- olds.

Another good one at the moment is that one where the dog is trying to find a safe place for his bone.  The background music is "Trouble".  Clever and funny, although how successful can it be if I don't know what they are trying to sell me? 
The worst are the Burger King commercials, especially those that have the dancing townspeople waltzing down main street singing a jingle.  Stupid, insi…

When I Was A Kid

Sure enjoyed the Etch-A-Sketch.

And Play-Doh. It was cool to put it on the color Sunday funnies, lift and an exact duplicate would be on your piece of doh.

This was where we went to school in Seaton.  It no longer exists.

The neighborhood was shocked when Mr. Wilson died on Dennis the Menace.

Sugar Crisp and later, Super Sugar Crisp kept us gyrating all day.

Where we played ball.

My math skills were legion and still the stuff of jokes in the family.

My favorite toy as a kid.  The windshield wipers even worked.  I'd take it on car trips and imitate the driver.


                         This is a picture of the inside of a corn crib, like my Uncle had.  Sure did a lot of work in these in high school.  Uncle Ed had a corn sheller so he travelled around helping local farmers empty their cribs.  I was his grunt.  
Other kid stuff:
1. "Say the Sammy Snake Sound." 2.  New shoes at school meant everyone sang a song and you walked down the aisles so everyone could see them.  Since I was a…

Conch Caper

We were walking along the park next to the Bay and Nancy saw a shell she had to have.  It was about 5 or 6 feet down to the water and another 4 or 5 feet to the seabed.  Thus began a weekend quest, or obsession, to get that shell.  She sat on the wall for a great while mentally measuring, and concocting a plan of attack. 



There it sits.  Simply waiting for someone to come along and grab it for a forever keepsake.



This is the place at the Vinoy where the shell resides, just to the right and down. 


A trip to Lowes to buy a CRD (Conch Retrieval Device) consisting of 4 PVC sections 5 feet long each, 3 extender caps, duct tape, and a sturdy net.   

As the sun was setting she built her CRD, and slowly lowered it to the shell.  In a few minutes she had bagged the shell and brought it to the surface in her net. 

It is being lifted from the deep by the newly fashioned CRD.

Voila!  A testament to one persons veracity, stamina, determination and unreasonable psychotic obsession.

A shot as it sits tod…

When WIll We Ever Learn

I watch the In Memoriam segment of ABC's This Week every Sunday.  Featured every week are the names, age and hometowns of the soldiers lost that week.  Flashed on screen for mere seconds.  Hardly long enough to truly focus on the ramifications of the loss:  the families, the loved ones, buddies, acquaintances, hopes, dreams, simple pleasures. complex emotions.  Lost forever.  Flashed mere seconds, lost forever.

To study history is to study the power of leaders to send nations to war, and the young bodies to die or be broken forever. And now, Egypt with its old men hanging on to their corruption, as the young yearn for something better. When will we ever learn.




These are the lives lost.  Young, happy, with their futures intact.





When Brendan was in the Army this song by Green Day haunted me.  It haunts me still.



Inane Inanities

1. “This is America, where a white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all eulogized by our African American President.” Allen Ginsburg via bluegal Allen Ginsburg via bluegal on the Tucson shootings.

2. This was a comment I heard by a professor from Dominican University, which I find wholeheartedly true. "Happiness is not a destination, but, rather, a way to travel." I think a lot of us get that wrong.


3. I really am tired of that prancing transformer fellow on Fox Football games. Also, I think that advertising campaign with the babies talking about investment was funny to see once, then as soon as they started puking that just about did it for me.

4. I really am saddened by missing the blizzard, or as nephew Aaron called it snOMG. The fact is, I …

M-M-M-Madoff and the Mets! Bernie! Bernie!

That obscure but clever title is to be sung to the tune of Bennie and the Jets.  If only my loyalties could be trifled with by a light hearted and lesser tune from the John vault.  But, alas, my ties as a fan to the New York Mets have hit a major speed hump.  One of my youthful indiscretions was to peruse the sports section as a wee lad and pick an anti-Cubs team as my favorite.  I was young.  I picked the Mets: I started at the top and scanned down tot eh bottom and there were the lowly New Yorkers in last place.  I wanted to root for an underdog and since everyone I knew was a Cubs fan I wanted separation.  I got it.

Although many years were horrible we had bestowed on us a miracle in '69.  A true heaven sent, God-like gift that is still seen today as improbable.  A World Series visit and victory that year when it seemed like the Cubs were unstoppable.  We have been to the Series again in '73, '86, and 2000.  All good times, all unbelievably exciting.  Interspersed were …

Today You...Tomorrow Me

Nice story from someone who has a new perspective on the phrase "Today you, tomorrow me."  It is a true story and not one of those recurring email messages you get every year or so.  Paying it forward in real life.






Just about every time I see someone needing help I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn't too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.


This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people's cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fu…

Mug Shot Monday

The St. Pete Times publishes mug shots daily. I'll be scanning them and bringing the best to you on some Mondays, unless I get bored with it. Or, if I feel there is true karma in the world, and by doing so will result in my being featured one of these days.



This fellows face may be the roundest I've ever seen. 

This guy is only 50, but apparently lived a lot in that time.

"I got my bling on...and how do you like my hair horns?"

Oh my, would the person who ran over this guy's face please call 911.

Remember the Twilight Zone episode where beauty is defined by their pig noses?

Hey wanna see my Squint Eastwood impression?  Well do ya, punk? 

It's been a long night.

"Don't mess with me, sucka. I am not at all happy"
And Moses said "Let my people go!"