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Showing posts from February, 2016

Information Manipulation

In a room where writers write somewhere in a little suburb near Rome a generally unknown educated man, let's call him Mark, sat and put to paper a story.  He wrote a biography of a guy who had died around 60 years before.  He never knew him; never saw him.  But the stories were corroborated by many and handed down more by word-of-mouth than anything else.   The book was a great success and then others followed about the same fellow.  Three more actually.  From different authors and areas.  These four books would end up being kind of a rallying cry for action and were, in essence, campaign biographies for a guy named Yeshua.  This guy, before his untimely death, had been running around talking about social justice, took a page out of Bernie's rigged economy, and told his listeners the real bad guys were banks and lenders.  These campaign manuals were distributed to religious leaders and, in turn, told to followers much like a Sunday sermon.   They were written to enhance an ide…

Flashback Friday

The march of time toward Spring in Northlandia.  Today I want to repost a few pictures of our back yard we had at Grove Street in G-Burg.  It was a constant ritual of cleaning, weeding and pruning.  It wasn't a hobby as much as a Frankenstein - beautiful and rewarding, but a monster of time and effort.  At its zenith we had three ponds, two electrified, with koi and all but a small spit of ground to mow.  

It was in its way a paradise of color.  When the toads would be in mating season in the Spring the sounds coming from the big pond was teeth-filling shattering to behold.  We'd sit on the bench late night, hear the little duffers craoking, the in-pond lights casting a gentle evening glow.  I loved that sound.  A cacophony of horny little frogs in heat. 
The back yard was host to Tiki Fridays - late night drink-and- conversation-athons with the Gerdes',  Makeevers and others who would drop in.  Things change - the Gerdes are separated and in different parts of the country, …


Lost in my stash of pictures taken in Northlandia were these of a conjunction between the Moon and Venus.
In astronomy a conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects have the same right ascension or the same eliptical longitude.  In other words, when two objects in the sky are close enough to dance or kiss, it is a conjunction.  Of course, they aren't really close to each other, but where we are in space on earth, these two objects shared the same space. 

Way back on December 7th Venus and the Moon played around with each other for a few days.  It was cold, again, when these were taken and a kind of haze in the sky until it burned off a few minutes later.   Most recently we had 5 visible planets in the morning night sky, but alas, I didn't get any pictures - a conjunction of babysitting, late nights and laziness.   

Literature 101

Back in high school we had to read books for English class.  One was the standard classic To Kill A Mockingbird and another one was The Great Gatsby.  The first one I read, but the second one didn't interest me after the first few pages so I gave it up.  It was pretty easy to find a cheat sheet for it to get by in class so it remained most definitely unread.  It remains that way to this day.  In fact, my Gatsby radar never did lock into anything that caught my eye - not the movie with Redford or the one with DiCaprio.  The whole spoiled rich people thing just didn't register.  

I did, however, watch Ebert's biographical documentary Life Itself.   At the end it is mentioned by someone that the final page of Gatsby was his favorite piece of literature.

"Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound.  And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gr…

Tuesday Tidbits

I'm one of those guys who likes weather.  Nothing better than coming out of sleep hearing raindrops on the window, anticipating a big snow, the crack of thunder and lightening at night.  Florida's same-old same-old has me thirsty for some good old Northlandia Sou-wester bags this summer. 
I had an appointment with my nose specialist, Dr. Phlegm, last week.  The latest report was encouraging.  The polyps have not reformed and I am able to reduce my steroidal flushes to every other day, and I don't have to go back for 6 months.  Good.  Double good.  I am pleased.
Cosmo's is a breakfast and lunch diner not far from Bedlam.  We catch it every once in a while on Saturday mornings - the whole crew.  Cosmo himself is about a 400 lb guy who is the cook and tries his best at English.  His wife, an amiable lady, waits on the tables and has taken a shine to Norah.  You can see Cosmo there peeking through the serving window waving. It's the kind…

Finally, We Are Almost Done WIth Night

This finishes the Northlandia nighttime pictures.  I'm sure you are all getting quite tired of them and ready for other things, perhaps warmer things from Floriduh.  Although, from the weather reports it has been exceedingly warm up there and you are now very close to March which signals the beginning of Spring.  It has been a mild winter for you and you have earned it.  I have been heating the cabin in the woods so it has helped me as well.  So, wordlessly, here are the final shots, all are from the outskirts of Emerald City.Some may appear to be duplicates from previous posts, but they are not - simply a tweaking of location, or exposure length.

You are now excused to resume your day, having a brief bolt of BFE-ness to get the juices flowing.  That and coffee makes for a perfect beginning. 

Flashback Friday

Holy cow.  Another college shot with the Wombie.  That big guy on the right is Mark N., son of Canonsburg, PA.   That's how I learned about Iron City beer and he was the only one on the floor who had a copy of Stairway To Heaven.  That made him and his room very popular that freshman year in McKibbin Hall.  I still remember the way he would swing his keys around his finger and stop them and then do it all over again, making a kind of marching sound as he strolled through the dorm hall.  All would be quiet except for those keys somehow reverberating throughout the dorm.  "Time and tide wait for no one." His favorite line.  He was coach-like even back then.  
We all ended up Phi Delts and for a few years after graduation some of us met up here and there to talk old times and have some fun.  Mark was a football coach and when he retired a few years ago had risen to school superintendent status in the Arizona area.  Now he plays golf and sells houses.
Wish I could give you mor…

On My Bookstand Right Now

If you are going to have a title like that you need to come up with a good plot and some answers.  Scotton's first book looks an awful lot like he thinks it will be his last.  He threw everything at it like a pasta cook throws spaghetti at the refrigerator door.  The genre is roughly coming-of-age, set within a murder mystery.  That might be enough right there, right?  But no.  We also have the sub stories of the relationship between a kid and his grandfather, newly located in the Appalachians because of the death of his younger brother.  We also have the mother mentally screwed up over the accident and his finding a new best friend.  And on top of all of that we end up with an Appalachian tramp that is a lot like a spirit or vision quest.  Sound ponderous?  Well it's not.  There is a lot there but Scotton seems to navigate the potential landmines rather well.  
Kevin, blamed for the death of his little brother is more or less exiled with his mother to grandfather Pops Peebles …

Largo Christmas Lights - Part 2

Here are some more pictures from the Largo Botanical Gardens all gussied up for Christmas.  Look at Norah's expression on the picture below.  Now that alone is worth the trip.  First time back in a couple years and worth it if you want to get in the Christmas spirit in this god-forsaken abscess of a state.  

I was going to keep quiet but this picture reminded me that this cone cost $8.  Norah was a bit insistent after I un-deftly tried to sway her to a McDonald's cone on the way home.  She stuck to her guns, wanted that strawberry gold bar, and darned if she didn't eat the whole thing. 

Okay, that's it for today.  I know it's February and Christmas is long gone, but you can view this as a pleasant reminder of Christmas's past or a precursor to Christmas's in the future.  

Tuesday Tidbits

Last week while driving by the exit gate here at Bedlam, I noticed this activity in the pond.  Otters?  Muskrats?  Weasels?  Don't know but I've never seen them before and will certainly be on the lookout for them again.  I got out of the car to take a picture of them while they were on land but saw me and headed to the water.  Shy, I guess.

Something keeps puzzling me.  Norah wants to see Mickey Mouse CLubhouse when she is at the place and while it pleases her it turns me into a stuttering zombie.  Absolutely stultifying.  Anyway, Goofy is a clothed. talking dog.  But Pluto is also a dog.  I wonder what kind of dystopian event created that class difference in their canine world?  

Binged on Better Call Saul last week.  It's good.  Not quite Breaking Bad good but close enough.  A new season started last night.


The tennis courts right next to us are being dug up.  "Hello Clarice, do you still hear the lambs?"

Night Again, Again

Continuing our nighttime series, here are some more shots taken outside while in Northlandia mostly just for the heck of it.  Comet Catalina was a bust, to small, too tough to find, and then when I knew where to look for a window of a few days, too much cloud cover.  Oh well, as we always say, there will be other comets.  

This is one more picture from the ball diamond in Seaton.  It is all but abandoned now,  there are no more leagues.  Another sign of change.  This isn't the best photo, not nearly very interesting enough, lens flare and some lens aberration, but its the stars we wanted anyway.

Early morning somewhere near Emerald City and the cabin in the  woods.  I made a few early morning forays out to the country side.  I just liked the red coming through the morning haze and the barely perceptible farm building on the right.   

Early morning scene.  A farm in the distance shrouded by the haze.

There really is no such thing, at least around here for night shots without man's …

Flashback Friday


On my last trip to the cabin in the woods in Northlandia I took a picture of the old family homestead.  The Wombie had told me that the beautiful picture window had been removed and replaced with more a energy efficient window. 
Except for the gutted deer hanging from our tree in the Fall, the weird amphitheater in the back yard and the screenless back porch, the place otherwise looks good.  But the wonderful 9-pane picture window is gone and changes, irrevocably, the architectural integrity of the house.  
Marj designed the house, inside and out.  She insisted on 3x6 lumber instead of the more conventional 2x4 for floor and rafter joists.  She came up with the room configurations and sizes.  And she came up with that picture window.  

Back in the Day
The place as we were growing up.  The huge window was the window to whatever was happening in the East End.   

My current mantra is, "Everything Changes."  I know we are in an age of efficiency and high energy costs.  Perhaps…