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Showing posts from January, 2015

Flashback Friday - My Cars Part 1

Mark and being wombies and all did most things pretty much together throughout the early years.  We went to the doctor together, shopping together, and even dressed alike until high school.  With high school we started to separate - we pretty much had our own friends, had our own activities and so forth.  That is why Herb was so wrong in the Nova timesharing experiment.  He procured a really really nice 1968 Nova for us.  The thought was that we would share it as wheels and from his point of view, it was workable.  We'd ride with each other to school (10 miles to Aledo), functions, and be with each other on weekends.  The buddy system had worked up to now, so what would be so tough about sharing wheels?  
I don't know if it exists today, but back in those younger years one's car was a ticket to freedom.  And while we were thrilled and thankful to have this fine set of wheels, the sharing thing just didn't work out.  Like a boy must have a dog, so too, must a boy have hi…

Dolphins Herding and Jumping For Joy

If you didn't already know, the Vinoy Park is one of my favorite places to go.  Don't go as often now that I am in Bedlam,  but every chance I get I like to swing over and see what is going on.  It's a good place to catch dolphins and the day I was here was no exception.  

What's with that one fish?  Wow.   Fight or Flight I guess.  The dolphins are herding these fish (mullet?) into a bait ball close to the cement wall.  

Don't know if you can see very well but all those darker moving things are a fish herd, and the dolphins were rounding them up for lunch.  

I don't know if breaching applies to dolphins or not, but these guys were jumping out of the water for some reason.  Not sure why, but it was kind of nice to see.  

Now that's something you don't see very often in BFE.  

Paul Coventry-Brown

During my five years at Dick Blick I had the pleasure of being around art supplies and catalogs.  In fact, Blick puts out many fliers each year and one of my jobs as a Shipping Assistant was to Fed Ex boxes of catalogs and supplementals to retail stores and organizations around the country.  

In one of Blick's sales ads they featured artists who used Blick materials.    One of them really appealed to me, a certain Paul Coventry Brown, an Englishman living in France, who used Blick's hardboards as a painting surface.  Coventry-Brown is what is known as a hyper-realist style of painter; his works are photo real.  He uses ordinary items in his still lifes such as lemons, cups and the like.  If I could be any type of painter, I'd want to be a realist.  
I am on his mailing list so when he does a batch sometimes he lists them on Ebay.  Usually they are out of my price range, but recently I spotted one of his new ones that I almost could afford.  I put in a bid and fully expected …

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Architecture Outside the Box

There are a couple of blogs I follow which are photographic in nature and/or just interesting things.  I saw this old doorway which I thought was fantastic.  Of course you'd have to have a stone castle to install this particular door, but I really like the innovative thinking of the architect.  Talk about curb appeal.  

2.  Cruise Heading Home

In an upcoming post I will detail an early morning trip across the Skyway over to the Parrish area in a failed attempt to get a picture of Comet Lovejoy.  While going over the bridge I hurriedly snapped this poor picture of a cruise ship heading into Tampa.  I still have some money in an account on a failed attempt and I might just take a short trip on one of those floating petri dishes.     

3.  Something Wonderful In 2015

Yes, the new Baby coming into the family is wonderful, but its not that.  The infant toward the tail end of this clip represents a new beginning.  By the way, 2010 is a great Sci-Fi movie.  If …


December 13-14 marked the annual Gemini meteor shower so there I was out looking for dark sky in a major metro area.  My first stop was an area right off Gandy Avenue in St. Petersburg that is known around here as the Redneck Riviera.  In the summer this is a place where people and families park right along the water's edge with their grills, picnic gear, dogs and inflatable rafts for the day.  

In the winter, I'm not so sure.  It was kind of creepy, but more on that later.  I thought this might be a good place to find darkness for some meteor shooting.  It is certainly dark over the Bay, and I thought there might be minimal light around here, but I was wrong.   There are street lights all along Gandy so that was that.  But, worse, was the light to the left (Tampa) and to the right (St. Petersburg).    

So I moved over to the Vinoy park, which is around 3 or 4 miles to the south on 4th Avenue.  The creepy part about the Redneck Riviera area was that there were cars interspersed …

Flashback Friday

It is now the heart of winter up North.  It's been cold for awhile with yet much more yet to before it begins to abate and Spring comes filtering slowly in.  I present you with a picture from Summer many years ago.  Cold drink close by (and would someone please tell me what that is!) cigarette in hand and modern communications at the ready.    

This is your blogger in full summer hippiedom.  Matching my tank top with the wallpaper was no easy trick.  And shorts any shorter would have had to watch where I put the cigarette.   Long haired college kid - must have thought I was the smartest person in the room, and I would have been if I'd been alone with the dog - maybe.  

Looking at that picture I see how important that phone was in the daily lives of people.  It was the only form of instant communication short of a news alert on TV.  From this chair, Marj could talk to her neighborhood friends and catch up on the news of the hour.  The second most important thing is the dishwasher…

Playing Around Outside Bedlam

We've all seen the photographs of street scenes where the tail lights or headlight are a blur.  That's when the picture taker keeps the shutter open for a matter of seconds.  I was curious as to whether or not I could achieve that kind of picture and if it would be as dynamic as I have seen in books.  
The answer was yes, and no.  Yes in that it is an easy thing to do with a camera, but, sadly, no in the dynamic part.  
Sometime in December I escaped the Bedlam grounds and walked over to the Corridor of Chaos, Route 19 to see what I could achieve.  These pictures are the fruit of that adventure.     

Not awe inspiring, but I'm glad I did it, and perhaps if I can come up with a different setting or maybe with a sunset in the background It might be worth doing again.  
But I doubt it.  

What It Feels Like To Have A Vasectomy - Part 2 Or How I Hated Losing My Balls But Fell In Love With Liquid Valium

After the pain wore off and I lost the sensation of feeling like I had a five gallon bucket of balls dragging me down, life resumed normalcy.  Back to work,  regaling others with my tale, and a very small scar to show off to anyone who was curious.  Funny,  no one was.  

I was told to provide a sample in about 3 months after the operation so we could confirm that I was shooting blanks.  Now, for the squeamish (or my daughter) this may prove to be too much information, so I'll hold up here till you guys go do something else for a moment while I get somewhat graphic.   OK, is everyone gone  who needs to be gone?  The "providing a sample" means jerking off in a small plastic container, placing said container under your armpit to keep it nice and warm, then hopping in a car and taking to Cottage Hospital lab for analysis.  Wait too long and the sample will die, I guess.  So a rush job is essential. After the analysis, the doctor would inform me that we were good to go.  

I dec…

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Norah's First Bike

I might be in Dutch with the parents, but Gramps bought Norah her first bike last week, and we inaugurated it on Thursday.  Steering seems to be a concept we need to work on, but it was explained to me that Princesses have no need for steering - they have other people take care of that.  

We had a brief training session before it started to mist.  Oh, and she did take a tumble.  She cut too hard on a turn and had quite a lot of speed built up.  Ah, welcome, Norah, to the physics of bikes.  Now get back on that thing and ride like the wind!

2.  Hand Me My Glasses

I have mentioned before how Bedlam is nestled in an area which seeks to provide gentlemen with adult entertainment.  There are 4 or 5 "clubs" close by. 

The closest is this place which is right next to bedlam.  Jump the fence and you are in their parking lot.  It is the one I am most intrigued with as well.  Selective hiring. I wonder if I am as selective as this place?  In the interest of bring…

Santa Came Through With My Tokina

OK, here's the real truth about Santa:  He (or she depending on what circles you habitat) is real.  Go ahead make your list.  Make it as long or as short as you want.  Problem is, if you want some things on that list and don't have a spouse, child or friend that comes through for you, you have to subsidize Santa by about 100%.  
Remember I wanted the Tokina 11-16mm that takes in a whole lot more of the night sky for meteor, constellation and Milky Way shots?  Well, he came through for me.  All I had to do was find the cheapest one on Ebay, win it, and pay for it.  Voila!  Santa comes through.  
I'm not grousing.  I wouldn't nor couldn't have left it to anyone else since it was kind of specialized and expensive.  And I really wanted one, so I got it and wrapped it up for me.  Yes, Virginia, Santa does exist, if you have the sufficient funds for Ebay/PayPal.  North Pole connections ain't free.

I decided to try a late night, or was it early morning trip to Vinoy to t…

Flashback Friday

The inscription on the back of this photo reads: Mike Blythe, Dec. 6, 1:50 AM, Barnett took this picture. 

Now, there is no year but it looks like Hershey Hall, where the fraternities were placed having been forced back onto campus.  If so that would have been my senior year.  December 6th would have been a Saturday morning.  Lord knows what we were up to at that hour.  

Such a look of determination.  Was I studying?  Unlikely.  Up to some shenanigans?  Probably.  That is certainly my room.  The KEEP OUT sign followed me everywhere I stayed in college.  Hanging around in the room besides the inimitable Mr. Ross-Barnett was likely my roomie, Dan Kolbow.  

Nowadays 1:50 AM is usually a bathroom call after 4 hours of sleep, but thinking back, it wasn't so late in these college days.  Especially on a Friday or Saturday.  Late night, er, early morning activities was a requirement for college in general, and our fraternity in particular.  Due to decreasing enrollment all the fraternities w…

Dr. George E. LaMore

College was not a dream in our family - it was a natural and expected progression.  There was never any discussion of "if", only "where".  Both my parents had graduated from Monmouth College and it was expected that we three boys would follow suit.  Funny, but I can't even imagine having sat around the kitchen table or out in the back porch and uttered these words, "Uhm, I'm not sure I want to go to college".  
So it was that when Phil, the elder, graduated from Aledo High he decided on Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant.  It was a popular choice for kids in Seaton.  Several town kids went there and ironically, at Mark's Retirement party at the Country Club last month there were no fewer than 5 graduates from IWC. 
When it came time for Mark and I to decide three years later there wasn't much question - to IWC we would also go.   I still have in my possession the acceptance letter from the school.  Everyone had to declare a major so that they cou…

What It Feels Like To Have A Vasectomy

Working on Uncle Ed's farm gave me two distinct experiences that haunt me still.  The first only happened once as I recall, but it left a big impression.  We cut hogs.  Those who have never witnessed or heard the ritual of such an event will never quite get the visceral, or is it surreal, cognition of slicing a pig's nuts with a knife.  Mind you these things are done without anesthetic, compassion or recuperative healing.  Force them into a chute, clamp a bar over their heads so they can't escape, body block on either side so they can't move and then slice.   At least it is quick.  It was one of those group things Ed did with area farmers, so it was all day.  I don't know if I ever got immune to the screams.  This was the day one of the farmers hired man took the balls home for evening Mountain Oysters.  Bub Greer, a wise smiling man I liked, told the kid he'd better watch out, they'd make him potent, and the kid said, "It's alright, I've had t…

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  It wasn't one of my better weeks for tight, concise exposition.  In fact, it was a downright piss-poor few days for awareness.  Failure is no stranger so I boldly retract, retrace and make right those items I fumbled.   

Last time I was in Northlandia I stopped, unannounced at the BFE Civic Center, and discovered that the place was bereft of beer.  Neighbor Tim is usually well stocked and he suggested a trip to a bar, but I wasn't much interested in that.  First I much prefer free beer, and second, I wanted to converse, something you can't always do in that environment.  So, Tim being resourceful, grabbed what he had, vodka and a bottle of Jimmy Luv's Bloody Mary Mix.  Now, when I returned to Fucklorida I went surfing and discovered Jimmy's does ship their liquid gold.  One day in the rush of Christmas or maybe shortly after a boxx arrived with three bottles of their mix.  I wasn't expecting it but who else could have shipped it?  I erroneously assumed that …


I have always felt rather uneasy that I have abandoned my peeps up North to handle the snow and snarky weather by themselves.  When I was up there I loved the feeling of an impending blizzard.  Maybe it was the thrill of childhood school cancellations.  Maybe the knowledge that being "snowed" in wouldn't be all bad nestled next to a warm roaring fire in the fireplace we had on Chambers Street.  Maybe the linked kinship that we were all in the same boat kind of thing.  
I'd park my truck to the end of the long driveway, make sure the snowblower was gassed up and ready to go, and withstand the rugged Midwestern winter with the glee of a 9 year old.  And there was nothing quite like a darkened room, fire blazing with flakes blowing with varying degree of ferocity across the window panes.  
But now, in Florida, all I can do watch from afar.  Floridians get soft and addled from lack of weather.  Weather makes us stronger.  Frostbit fingers add stiffener to spines and numbed…

Flashback Friday

Neighbor Tim, my friend from BFE,  lost his father last week.  Gary was in his mid-70's as was my father when he passed away.  Guess that is a tough age to overcome.  Tim will have many memories to carry with him as he now moves to the front of the class, generationally speaking.  

It is almost incomprehensible to think of my father as a kid.  He was always big, towering over us and when we boys caught up with him in size, he still seemed to tower in other ways.  How fun it would be to slip into a time machine and go back to the late 20's early 30's and hunker down and chat with this kid.  

Where ya' goin' Herbie?  You are all dressed up.  Is it church?  I see you have newsboy hat and looks like you are going to be a tall lanky, kid. Your sport coat is just about too small.   Probably play basketball in school and college.

Who is your buddy?  This is Smithshire, right?  And who's dog is that?  You had a nice smile here; are ya a happy kid?  

You wearing glasses?  A…