Saturday, June 30, 2007

Absense Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

One of life's hardest things is to be separated from people you love.

We have many thousands of men and women in the US armed services that are in places all around the world, while their families are here in the States, their kids growing and growing while they're gone. They deal with it every day.

My older brother, Paul, lived the last 14 years of his life in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.

Back when I worked for Delta Airlines, we were able to fly up and see Paul and his family, but after I quit to go back to college, the visits were all but cut off. It's a long way to Utah, and from Utah to Louisiana or Florida.

Paul's daughter was 12 when he died in 2001. She just turned 19 this past week.

And we found out a couple of nights ago, that she had a baby boy two days after her 19th birthday.

Being so far away from my niece, brand spanking new great nephew, and the relatives up there who have been watching over her is more difficult than I can say.

So if you're the praying type, say a prayer for my niece Lacee's heath and recovery from giving birth, and also for the health and blessing of my new (and first) great nephew Kieler (rhymes with Tyler) in Utah.

I'm blessed and happy that a new baby is born in the family, but at the same time, I grieve because Paul isn't here to see his grandson, and that we're so far away.

This little girl is now a mother.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Dinner and a Show

In the summer of 1985, Lovely Wife and I were living in Bossier City, Louisiana.

We had been married for less than a year, and decided to take a long weekend to get out of town. We decided to go to Galveston, Texas.

It rained on and off the whole four days we were there, and since Lovely Wife was six months pregnant, we weren't going to get in the Gulf anyway.

No disrespect to Texas, but the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston was not very appealing anyway, and just staying in a nice hotel, eating out, and seeing a few sights was vacation enough for us.

We picked up some brochures at the hotel we were staying at, and of course I cannot remember the name of this hotel, but one of the brochures advertised that one of the last "tall ships" was in dock there and was open for tours; the Elissa. I've never been sailing before, but sail boats have always fascinated me. Many of my all-time favorite novels are nautical in some way. (That's the Elissa there on the right.)

So one day we made our way down to the dock area of Galveston. I was kind of apprehensive, since most dock areas of any coastal town are usually pretty rough, and we would be walking around down there with my camera and lenses, and an obviously pregnant woman.

But we were able to park, purchase tickets, and go aboard the Elissa. I read all of the little info thingies telling the history of and operation of the various parts of this magnificent ship, took some pictures, and then we left.

Hey, it was Galveston in summer and it was HOT.

We were hungry and I thought that there just had to be a restaurant down there somewhere. All those workers in the area had to eat somewhere, so we drove around the dock area and soon saw an old white painted wooden building on a corner of two streets.

I can't remember the name of the place, but the sign said it was a Bar-B-Q restaurant, and that was good enough for us.

Next problem was that there was no where to park. This restaurant had no parking lot, and the sides of the road near the place were packed with parked cars and trucks.

We drove around and finally found a vacant place big enough to park in within walking distance to the Bar-B-Q place.

We walked in and the place still had some open tables and we were told to seat ourselves. The insides of the restaurant were no more impressive than the plain outside of the structure; simple tables and chairs, wooden plank floors and walls, etc.

But the smell! Oh my. If you like good Bar-B-Q, the smell of this place was almost good enough to fill you up without eating.

This guy came out to take our order. He was a big man with a white apron on that was stained from top to bottom with sauce. We ordered chopped beef sandwiches, beans, cole slaw, fries.

What he brought out to us was a sandwich for each of us that was basically a po-boy bun, hogie bun if you will, and it was heaped with so much chopped Bar-B-Q beef that we had to eat some of it with our forks to get the meat inside down to where we could close the sandwich to pick up and eat. And the flavor was all that one could ever hope for in Bar-B-Q.

So we were minding our business and eating, when this young man walks into the restaurant with a boom box.

He asks loudly if some woman's name was there, and a lady slowly raised her hand.

The man walks over to her, tells her happy birthday, hands her a rose and reaches and pokes a button on the boom box and music starts blaring.

He immediately starts into a sexy dance as close as he could get to the woman without touching her.

The lady's friends who were eating with her start cackling and clapping at her obvious embarrassment. The rest of the restaurant gets quiet and just watches.

Lovely Wife was actually seated with her back to the show that had just started, so I got up and swapped places with her so she could see. The man does a whole strip tease, all the way down to what was basically a g-string, or something skimpy like bodybuilders wear on stage. When the song was over he gave her a kiss and told her happy birthday again and picked up his clothes and his boom box and left.

Everyone in the place was still laughing and the birthday lady was still laughing and obviously embarrassed. Her friends were rubbing it in too.

Eventually we finished our food and left, but we will always remember the fantastic Bar-B-Q and the unexpected floor show at that little hole in the wall Bar-B-Q restaurant in Galveston.

That was the first and only time Lovely Wife and I ever had dinner and a show, although to me, the entertainment wasn't quite up my alley.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #44

13 More Questions and Answers About Me

Still stealing meme questions from other people's blogs to keep up with Thursday Thirteen.

1. Have you ever thrown-up after a roller coaster ride? Nope. Roller coasters don't make me sick. It's the ones that spin, like the teacup thingies and repetitive circular motion rides like that that make me sick. I have never blown chunks in public after riding one though.

2. What is your dream car? I don't think I've ever dreamt of a car, but assuming this means my fantasy car, I'd say a blue Shelby Cobra.

3. What is your favorite cartoon of all time? Looney Tunes / Buggs Bunny. I especially love Transylvania 6-5000 where Buggs yells Abra-Capocus at the vampire and the vampire has a bat's head on the vampires body, then Buggs yells Pocus-Cadabra and the vampire changes to the huge vampire's head on the bat's little body. Classic comedy there.

4. Have you ever eaten a dog biscuit? Nope. Never had reason to, and I've never been the type of person to do things on a dare either.

5. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? I'd probably first yell out that my mother was right, I SHOULD have been scared of the electric windows not working if ever the car ran off a bridge or something. I'd try to roll a window down so the car could fill up with water and allow me out. I can swim. Even if the window didn't roll down, water would come in and when the pressure equalized I could then hopefully open one of the doors and swim to safety.

6. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? No. That's a good thing, right?

7. Can you pick something up with your toes? Yes. I even wrote a post about my monkey toes one time.

8. How many remote controls do you have in your house? In the whole house? Golly Jee Willakers, all together for all TVs, video cameras, VCRs, DVDs, around 10-12.

9. Have you ever fallen asleep in school? Not that I remember. I'm actually good at staying awake despite being very sleepy. So I can get sleepy at work, but don't worry about actually falling asleep.

10. How many times have you flown in an airplane in the last year? None.

11. How many foreign countries have you visited? None. I've never been out of the U.S.

12. If you were out of shape, would you compete in a triathlon if you were somehow guaranteed to win a big, gaudy medal? What do you mean "IF" I were out of shape?

13. Would you go swimming in shallow waters where, one year earlier, a shark had attacked a child? No, probably not. There are shark attacks every year north of where we live, and that's just close enough to make me not want to go into the ocean down here where I live. I'm chicken like that, being one of many millions in the JAWs generation.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Opposites Attract

I was reminded this morning, that when getting dressed, Lovely Wife is a sock-shoe, sock-shoe person.

I, on the other hand, am a confirmed sock-sock, shoe-shoe person.

How have we stayed married for almost 23 years with such important differences in outlook?

I guess it's true that opposites attract.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Magically Appearing $5 Bill

Many moons ago, my fambly and I lived in Powder Springs, Georgia, and I worked at Hartsfield for Delta Air Lines.

Working for Delta was a wonderful thing on many levels. The pay stunk, and sometimes the work was back-breaking, and working outside regardless of weather I got sick a lot, but at the time, Delta was a great company, and there were thousands of wonderful people working there for Delta too.

There were a number of Christian friends there, and on many breaks we would have impromptu Bible studies.

I worked a 3:30pm to Midnight shift, and once or twice a month several of us would go to an all-night International House of Pancakes in Riverdale, Georgia, a few miles from the Atlanta airport.

As I mentioned, the pay at Delta wasn't very good, and for my family eating out, even a McDonald's value meal, was quite a luxury for us. The decision to go eat an after work breakfast was usually spur of the moment. We all had rotating days off, and on nights we were all working was when we would try to go and fellowship after work.

I have never been in the habit of carrying a lot of cash, and this was way before debit cards were common, so sometimes I would beg off because I didn't have any money.

My grandfathers and my father all were cash men. My maternal grandfather, Papaw Hinton, carried so much cash with him that even as a kid I lived in fear he would be robbed. But my nature was to keep all the money in the bank to use for bills and family outings.

Well, one night, all the guys were working, and my good friend Joe told me they were going to try to go to the pancake house after work. I told him I'd let him know later.

Then, when no one was looking I pulled out my wallet to take a look.

I'm not sure why, because I knew I didn’t even have a dollar with me. I KNEW that. I guess I hoped that maybe the money elves had worked some magic for me.

I opened my wallet and there was a five dollar bill in there. I was stunned. It truly felt like magic.

The next time I saw Joe, I told him that I would join them for pancakes after work, and did so.

I will NEVER forget the feeling of opening that empty wallet to find a single five dollar bill in there.

See, every now and then, when Lovely Wife would have to go out for whatever and had a little change left, she would put a few dollars in my wallet because she didn't like my habit of walking around with not one red cent in my possession.

When I called her from work and told her I was going to go out with some of the guys to eat after work, she mentioned having put $5 in my wallet that day.

I appreciated it as only someone who's been flat busted broke can understand.

And them buckwheat pancakes and fellowship were some kind of good too.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to Sainted Mother

Sainted Mother as a wee gal.

Sainted Mother and Don C. on their wedding day in 1952.

Sainted Mother and Don C. in the mid fifties. I think she told me this was in their apartment in Philadelphia, where Dad was stationed for a while. She worked at Wanamaker's Department Store.

I have to confess, that I'm pretty bad with what day and date it is, and with directions.

I always have on a watch with the day and date, and I write down directions.

So I'm sitting at work, reading an electrical schematic, and my heart skips a beat because I realize what today is. Just like waking up in the middle of the night in a panic because your subconscious reminded you of something important.

Today is Sainted Mother's 72nd birthday! And I had forgotten all about it.

I'm such a failure as a son.

Anyway, I had some of the photos that I had scanned of my family's past when Lovely Wife and I were in Louisiana just after Christmas this past year.

I had worked on cleaning and repairing some of the one's with her, and some with her and Dad in them.

Happy birthday Mama. I love you with all of my heart. I'm blessed to have had, and still have you as my mother.

They don't make 'em any better than you.

I Could Use Your Help / Monday Update

Sorry folks. I was hoping to be able to write something at lunch today, but I had a doctor's appointment and ended up not having time for a post.

I've encountered an interesting situation with my photography, and I've written about that on my photography blog, John's Daily Digital Images today.

Go on over there and check out today's photos and read about my predicament. Maybe you can help me out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday June 24, 2007

Howdy folks. I was going through some photos that I've taken lately and ended up with several evening photos, that although not spectacular, I thought I would post them.

I've lived in several southern U.S. states, and they all had appeal for different reasons. Lovely Wife and I tried to take advantage of the places we lived because we have moved so many times in our marriage that we never knew where we might be in another couple of years. I'd hate to look back and say, "Boy, I sure wish we had done such and such while we lived in Wherever."

Of course, most of the things we have done are the cheap things. For most of our marriage, until I went back to school, earned my engineering degree and moved to Palm Bay for my first, and thus far, only job as an engineer, we were pretty much broke.

We went to public parks with the kids, zoos and things of that sort when the girls were little, and so on.

Growing up, I was one of those young people who didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and I didn't know where, I just knew that I wanted out of Monroe, Louisiana.

For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Monroe. I'm just one of those people who knew I wanted out of there. Monroe has as good a bunch of people there as anywhere else in the world. I'm not saying something about Monroe when I say I wanted out; I'm saying something ABOUT ME.

I've always loved the beach and when I had my degree in hand one of the job offers I had was here in Melbourne / Palm Bay, Florida.

Now, having said all of that, one of the special things about this area is the water. I cannot tell you what it still does to me after ten years of living and working here to come to a point while driving where I can see either the Indian River Lagoon or the Atlantic Ocean. My heart leaps a little bit, even after all of this time.

So the first four of today's pics are a few afternoon shots that I've taken in the last week or two, that are a good representation of what evenings are like here literally 300 days or so every year. It's beautiful so many evenings and causes in me sensations I can't really describe to you.

Without further ado:

This final one is a bit different. I had taken this shot and when I pulled it up on the computer I realized why. To me, the street light over part of the Melbourne Causeway out to the ocean looked like those laser beam, eye thingies on the space ships in the original The War of the Worlds movie from the fifties. Zzzzt!

Y'all be particular now, hear?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some Pics for Saturday

Here's a few photos. The theme ended up being trees, I guess. I liked these photos, although they're not spectacular.

I haven't posted nearly as many photos here since I started my photography blog. I've not written any new posts due to being rather busy, so I thought even boring photographs were better than the swill I served up yesterday.

This first one was taken when I was wandering near Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida.

A beautiful, massive oak tree in Dade City, Florida.

A closeup of some of the Spanish moss in the tree in the picture above this one.

I hope you folks have a wonderful Saturday.

I'm supposed to go buy a new gas grill today, and we're going to look at some furniture as well. Hopefully I'll have some burgers and whatnot cooked on the new grill for supper tonight.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Achin' Back; My New Tripod!

Yet another day without much to say. I haven't been writing things about the old days much lately, so I can't fluff up something and put it out there for y'all.

Today is my every-other-Friday-off Friday, so I slept late, and for some reason my back is giving me fits.

We had overcast skies and rain Wednesday night and yesterday, and it's mostly blown through, and my back tends to hurt more when a weather front leaves than when one is about to arrive.

Consequently I cannot predict weather with my aching bones like some, because mine hurts more when the bad weather leaves than when it's almost here.

Just one more way I'm weird, eh?

Warning, Abrupt Subject Change Ahead:

I've been into photography since I was around 12-13, in the eighth grade. And I've mostly been the type of photographer to try to hand-hold my shots unless I was outside at night when hand-holding a 15 second shot is impossible.

Since I didn't use a tripod a lot, I've always had a cheap one. I always wanted a nice one, but them puppies can be ex-pen-sive, believe you me.

Really fussy photographers will easily spend $600 on a decent tripod. Yep, that is not a mistype. Six hundred smackaroos, my friends.

But, being an engineer has it's advantages. Heck, even having the engineer personality type would help here.

What I'm talking about is the type of person, like me, who, when they want to buy something, do what the engineering world calls a "trade study."

Lately I've wanted to buy my first "decent" tripod. But I will NOT, NOT, pay $600 for a tripod. If you put $600 in my hand, I can buy two lenses I'd like to have used on ebay for that. So, no matter what, I won't pay $600 for a tripod unless I was starting a photography business where I'd need a tripod to take heavy abuse, right?

So what happens in a trade study, which is easier with that new-fangled invention called the internet, is that I can go to photography web sites and read the trillions of personal observations on tripods and why joe photographer likes this one, but not that one.

I learned that today's $600 will buy you a decent set of carbon fiber tripod legs and a decent ball head for mounting your camera on.

It turns out that tripod legs and the head that mounts on top come in a dizzying array of types and prices. I won't bore you with the details, this ramble is already boring enough.

But after a couple of months of searching, searching, reading, and whatnot and learning more than even I ever wanted to know about tripods, I finally decided on a Slik 700DX.

It's reasonably priced for a heavy duty tripod, and most important of all, it stretches out really tall.

Some day's I'm 6'2", some days I'm 6'1" (depending on how wore out I am) and I've never had a tripod with legs that would allow me to say, point a camera at the moon without me having to stoop over and then look up into the camera's viewfinder. That's not fun at all, therefore I've done very few shots of the moon or anything where I need the camera pointing up.

A couple of days ago, my new tripod arrived, and it's definitely a sturdy booger. Despite having a screwy back, I'm still a pretty good pack mule, and what many folks consider heavy, I don't.

All of that goes to say this, my life is so exciting right now that a new, heavy duty, TALL tripod purchase was the highlight of my week. I'm going to try to get some photos I've been thinking about now that I have it too.

And. That's my story.

Also, if anyone is foolish enough to try to steal a camera from a 300lb man, I can easily beat him to death with my new tripod.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #43

13 More Questions and Answers About Me

Still stealing meme questions from other people's blogs to keep up with Thursday Thirteen.

1. Have you ever blown bubbles in your milk? Yes. When I was a kid, I'd sometimes take Nestle's Quick with me to school and add it to my milk. Blowing bubbles in it helped stir in the Quick.

2. Would you rather eat a Big Mac or a Whopper? Whopper. There's just something about beef cooked over fire to appeal to a man, ya know?

3. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? Yes. I was indeed once a teenager.

4. When you are at the grocery store, do you ask for paper or plastic? Plastic. None of the stores have a choice for us any more. Plus, the plastic ones get reused for all kinds of things.

5. True or False: You would rather eat steak than pizza. False. I've never been a person to crave steak. But pizza is one of the basic food groups.

6. Did you have a baby blanket? Not one to keep with me for comforting, like a woobie or something. I did use a pacifier way beyond the normal span though.

7. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? No. I'd rather pay the barber and breathe in the testosterone laden air of a good barber shop than to save a measly few bucks and do a hatchet job on my own hair.

8. Have you ever sleepwalked? I was told that I did sleep walk when I was a boy, but I have no rememberance of this.

9. Have you ever had a birthday party at McDonalds? No. I guess I'm a little older than that tradition.

10. Can you flip your eye-lids up? Nope, but I always wanted to be able to. I have a strange inability to willingly touch my eyeballs or anything like flipping up the lids. (That's why I've never even considered wearing contact lenses.

11. Are you double jointed? Only in my left thumb. I can make the thumb bend back on it's own without using the other hand and it will look as if it is broken or badly out of joint. Of course I did this a lot as a kid to freak people out, but as an adult, this has made learning the guitar quite difficult. That thumb tires and wants to bend backward and messes me up in fretting chords on the neck of the guitar.

12. If you could be any age, what age would you be? This is a very vague question, so I'll just answer this way: I would love to go back to around age 7, knowing what I know now, and live my life over.

13. Have you ever gotten gum stuck in your hair? Yes and No. Not in my head hair; I can't blow bubbles that big. I have however gotten it stuck in my mustache

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Get Your Coats Back Out

From and article in The Financial Post by Timothy Patterson:
Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thousand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

It's things like this that, to me, make me question the modern global warming scare tactics.

The earth's climate by it's very nature has huge swings over time.

We were supposed to have cloudiness and rain all day yesterday, but the sun shone and late in the evening it clouded up and rained briefly.

Today, however it is cloudy with rain coming and going.

If they can't predict the weather accurately from one day to the next, how am I supposed to believe the 50 and 100 year forecasts?

The answer is, I don't.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Come From a Winning Family

Yesterday, Michelle at Michelle's Spell mentioned having mostly received participation ribbons when she was growing up.

And I got to thinking about all the things that I have won in my life, and it's really a pretty short list, despite the title of today's post.

When I was a kid and lived in Vidalia, Louisiana, I played baseball on the Sherriff's Department Angels little league team. I always thought that was a cool name, even as a kid. Sherriff's deputies mostly deal with anything but angels; know what I mean?

Anyhoo, I think I played two years, and sucked bad enough that both years at the season ending award ceremonies I received a tiny participation trophy. I understood even back then that they were lame, but I sure as heck took them home anyway. Lord only knows whatever happened to them.

I was always a whiz as a kid at memorizing Bible verses, and I won just about every church contest I was ever in. So, although this resulted in no trophies, I won an assortment of candies and whatnot for those wins. I was kind of a Bible nerd as a kid. I liked memorizing verses and had whole chapters of Psalms and various crucial New Testament verses memorized. I just never knew when I was going to have to "commence to convertin'" someone, as my Mamaw Eunice used to say. And as a kid in Baptist churches, the verses in The Roman Road to Salvation were the most important to memorize.

And thanks to the Holy Spirit, whenever I've needed to call up those scriptures, they still roll off my tongue like I'd been studying for a test on them. Of course, reading the Bible helps; I read over them all from time to time.

In around tenth grade, a good friend and I, who attended the same church, went for a week at a summer youth camp way out in the woods and swamps near Shreveport, Louisiana. All of the buildings were built on stilts about ten feet up because it flooded so often. Well, to make a long story short, I won the "best camper" trophy for that week. Which is a laugh. The best camper was the winner of most of the Bible related games, and that's where my memory skills paid off big time. That is if you count being named "best camper" at an obscure Baptist church camp hitting the big time.

Then, in the summer before my senior year of high school (12th), I attended a photography / yearbook staff workshop held at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana at Monroe). I won a nice trophy for having taken the "best candid photograph" of the workshop. It was of a campus cop writing a ticket to put on some poor person's VW Beetle. The cop looked up as I had the camera pointed at him and just grinned really big. Like he was so proud to be writing that ticket. I don't know if I still have a copy of that anywhere. I haven't seen the photo in years, but I can still picture him in my mind.

I also won a small trophy at that same workshop for coming in second in the "best overall photographer" category. I was much more proud of the candid photograph trophy than I would have been to win best overall. I knew as soon as I pushed the shutter button on that cop's smile, that was a good photo. Sometimes you know a photograph is really good the instant you take the shot. I couldn't have cared less about the rest of what I did. I was addicted to finding "the shot" every time I had my camera. I guess looking for "the shot" is what still has me out wandering around with my camera all of these years later.

Then years later, this would have been around 1985, Lovely Wife and I were living in Bossier City, Louisiana. We were in our apartment one day when the phone rang. It was the day after Father's Day, and this strange man tells me all excited-like how I'd won the drawing for the rod and reel at the drawing they had had on Father's Day.

I remember being dumbfounded. I told the man that I had never in my life been in that particular sporting goods store before and I certainly hadn't entered the contest.

I asked him to hold on, and asked Lovely Wife if she had entered my name in any drawings for Father's Day and at first she seemed as flummoxed as I was, then I saw her face change as she remembered doing just that. I told the guy I'd come get my rod and reel as soon as I could.

I kept that rod and reel for years, and it moved from apartment to apartment to house, etc., with us for years until, well, I don't know what ever happened to that major award. All I know is I never once fished with it.

I guess we kept moving it with us as some sort of symbol; that it was indeed possible that sometimes good things can happen to us out of the blue.

I know what you're thinking, "Man! This Dude should be playin' the lottery. He'd be a squillionaire by now."

Oh contrare, mon ami.

Years after winning that rod and reel, I took a discrete math course at La. Tech, which is a jumble of maths from different areas that are directly applicable to computer programming and digital logic. Mostly binary math, logic, probability and things like that.

One day in the discrete math class, we all got in there and the professor looked around and noticed that many students were absent. She was a young Computer Science PhD, and immediately recognized that it was a case of Friday-itis that had swept the class, leaving it half full.

She had us pull out paper for a pop quiz. All we had to do was calculate the odds of winning the Powerball Lottery, which is available in Louisiana. At the time, the way the game was played, I came up with a number of 1 in 155Million and something something chance of winning by buying one ticket.

I got the answer right, which was good for my grade, but has been a great incentive for me to NOT play the lottery. Every time the Powerball would get up to one of those $100Million jackpots, and folks were buying tickets like crazy, I would remember that pop quiz in my discrete math class and it was easy to not buy a ticket.

Which brings me to the "family" part of today's title.

Sainted Mother once won an electric ice cream freezer. You know, the kind our forefathers used to have to sit and crank and crank to make homemade ice cream with. Only the one Sainted Mother won was electric. It turned all by it's little ol' self as soon as you plugged that baby into an electrical socket.

Big Brother once "volunteered" Sainted Mother to make homemade ice cream for a team he was on, and said that she would make them chocolate ice cream. Well, it ended up becoming chocolate chips in vanilla by accident, and everybody raved over how wonderful her "accidental" ice cream tasted.

Another true-blue winner in our family is Big Sis.

Big Sis is a member of some Keith Urban Obsessed Stalker Fan Club or something and this year already has planned out four, count 'em four, Keith Urban concert trips all over the country. Well, as a member of this Keith Urban Obsessed Stalker Fan Club, Big Sis's name was entered into a drawing. The people whose names are drawn for whichever concerts they are attending get to go back stage before the concert and meet with Keith Urban. There are only eight Stalker Fan Club members that get to do this before each concert.

Well, Big Sis won herself one of the coveted eight spots before one of the four concerts she's planning to go to, so she'll be able to meet Mr. Talented yet again.

I actually kinda feel sorry for Mr. Urban. He just doesn't know Big Sis like I do. He has no idea what he's in for.

(It's been a while, but I've written about Big Sis's obsession with Keith Urban if y'all care to read them. A Day of Mourning, and Me and Accents and She's All A-Twitter.)

I just thought I'd share the amazing good fortune that myself and relatives have had over the years.

What with fishing rods, electric ice cream makers, and meeting Keith Urban, people should rub out heads for good luck every day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tagged for the IMDb Movie Meme

OK. So my spotty blog reading for the past couple of months has finally caught up with me.

I was reading at Emily's blog at Emily@sk, and found out second hand, that I had been tagged for a meme a while back (May 17!) by Sarah K. at IMAO.

I'm so ashamed.

Anyone who reads here much knows that I don't forward tags by name, I just tell anyone who wants to do the meme to just do it on their own.

It's a meme that takes reader participation.

Pick out ten favorite movies, then look them up at IMDb. In the overview at the top of each movie’s page, there are “Plot Keywords,” usually five of them. (Plus more, if you click the link.) Take the first five, and post them. Then the rest of us get to play movie buff and see if we can guess them.

This is not an easy game, the plot keywords for super popular movies can be really cryptic. Some of my favorite movies are old and/or obscure, so I'll try to pick ones that folks can guess the names of.

Because, seriously, Sarah K. posted 50 movie's plot keywords and I could only guess at maybe two out of 50, and I don't know if those two possibilities are right.

Numbers are my thing; this is not the kind of game I'm good at. This one is hard like watching Jeopardy! and they throw in a category of Elizabethan Poetry or Great Composers; I majored in electrical engineering so I wouldn't have to learn useless crap like that, THANK you very much. (Please forgive me if you majored in Elizabethan poetry or love classical music.)

1. Outer Space / Ancient Astronaut / Rebellion / Reluctant Hero / Invented Language

2. Virtuality / Interstellar Communication / No Opening Credits / Seti / Ham Radio

3. Ethics / Biographical / Famous Score / Historical / Olympics

4. Car Accident / Thrown Through Windshield / Mummy / Amazon / Death

5. Bayou / Lawn Mower / Coach / College / Ridicule

6. Alien Abduction / Conspiracy / Desert / Air Traffic Controller / Evacuation

7. Insult / Hopelessness / Sword / Loss Of Loved One / Famous Line

8. Beautiful Woman / Great Depression / Stroke / Old Dark House / Dysfunctional Family

9. Whimsical / Young Girl / Fantasy / Little Boy / Kidnap

10. Louisiana / Jail / Stephen King / Shooting / Film Projector

Now after looking at these, I wouldn't recognize any of them except for one, and I chose them myself!

Maybe this meme should go for the first seven or ten plot keywords to give folks a chance.

If you're looking for a blog post subject, consider yourself tagged and look up ten of your favorite movies on IMDb.

If you're good at things like this, leave your guesses in the comments.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Don't Touch That Dial

The weekend went by so fast it made my head spin.

Saturday, I would look at the clock from time to time and 3 hours would go by. When It was bed time, I was sleepy, but couldn't believe it was time for bed.

The whole weekend went by that way.

Consequently, I have no stories or life changing insights.

Take a minute and check out the photos I posted this past Saturday on my photography blog, as well as today's photos. We had a great sunset this past Friday, and the photos on these two posts on my photography blog are from that sunset.

Also, I've not had the time to get to everyone's blogs the past few days for reading and commenting. I hope to read all of your stuff today. It's like forgetting my watch, I feel that something is missing when I get behind on my blog reading. You guys are my windows on the world.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day everyone.

I was blessed to have a great Dad, whom we all called Don C., his first name and middle initial. Here's a picture of he and Sainted Mother that I've always liked.

Then later, I had the blessing of my Father in Law in my life. He was a civil engineer and always, always, always put others first.

I've said, and it's still true, I feel like I had two great fathers in my life when so many never had even one. I was blessed to have these men in my life.

There isn't one single day that goes by that I don't think of them, and wish I could talk with them.

Don C., Keith, I love you both still.

Both of my grandfathers were, good men. Both were sweet to us grandkids, and I spent a week or two each summer at each set of grandparent's house.

This next picture is an oldie but goodie of my paternal grandfather and grandmother. We called them Papaw Masters and Mamaw Eunice.
My maternal grandfather, we called Papaw Hinton. He was an auto mechanic and also did mechanic's work on land-based oil pumping machinery that was all over central Louisiana. This is a pic of Papaw Hinton, Big Sis there on the left, and Big Brother there with the sidearm.
My Dad's brother, my Uncle Alden, was also another good man in my life. I usually spent a week with Uncle Alden and his family every summer, and sometimes my cousin Scott would stay with me instead. I loved him dearly, and miss him a lot too. I didn't have any even semi-recent pics of my Uncle Alden that I had scanned, so I'm putting this old one of Uncle Alden (left) with my Dad in their Navy uniforms.
This is one of my all-time favorite photos of my Big Brother. This was taken in approximately 1984, around the time Lovely Wife and I got married. Paul had one daughter, and several step-children.

And last, but certainly not least, is Long Suffering Brother In Law. This old slide I took of he and Big Sis's first son in around 1983. To my knowledge, LSBIL still doesn't have even one lousy gray hair, whereas mine is turning gray at an alarming rate. Thankfully, LSBIL is still with us.

Like I said earlier, I feel like I had two dads, but I've had quite a few really good men in my life.

All have passed away except for my Brother In Law. Hope we have him around a good long time.

I sure miss all of these guys because it's been a long time since their passing. I miss LSBIL due to distance.

Again, Happy Father's day to all.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Early Lunch, Late Launch

Most Americans have certainly heard of Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Most folks don't realize or know that there is a U.S. Air Force Station adjacent to the Space Center, and is called Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. And Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is where many non-shuttle launches are made into space. Satellites and whatnot.

Living in this area can be strange sometimes too, because many of these rocket launches are not advertised ahead of time like the launches of the Space Shuttle. The reason is that some of the rockets and their payloads are for various U.S. government entities, and they want folks to be as in the dark as possible. That's a nice way of saying that the ones we don't hear about before hand are usually launches of spy satellites.

In 1996, when I was here for my job interview with the company I work for, I was driving around Palm Bay and Melbourne in a rental car. I was lazily driving through this one neighborhood when I just stopped the car on this residential street I was on. There was a rocket going up. I can still remember sitting there watching that thing go.

The point is, the Space Shuttle isn't the only game in town when it comes to rocket launches. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launches most of the other rocket/payload packages.

This past Thursday, an Atlas V rocket was supposed to "go up" at approximately 11:20am.

When I'm at work, and there is a launch of any type, those of us who are interested usually walk out front so that we have a decent view to the northeast of us, and watch the liftoffs.

I knew this launch was coming up though, and brought my camera with me to work, left it in the van, and took an early lunch to go to the closest Atlantic beach to where I work.

One problem. They ended up scrubbing the launch; in other words, cancel and delay until the next window. (There's a photo of my view of the non-launch of Thursday morning. Nice day at the beach, even if the flight was cancelled.)

Trivia: The Space Shuttle with liftoff boosters and such are less than half the weight of an old Apollo Saturn V rocket, yet has the same thrust that one of those Saturn Vs did. So the Space Shuttle takes off and gets into orbit pretty darn fast in comparison to the Apollo missions. The old timers around here say that the Saturn Vs that took men to the moon looked as if they would never get up into the air. They seemed to hang there and everyone would be urging the thing to just fly. So you take an Atlas V like what was to have gone up Thursday, after watching the Shuttle Atlantis lift off last week, and it's like comparing a Honda Civic to a top fuel dragster. The Atlas Vs are super fast and powerful, a much better power to weight ratio. Delta rockets are the same, really fast and amazing to watch. The show is over really quick.

So, I tried it again yesterday, only because of work, I couldn't get away soon enough to make it to the beach for the launch. When I realized I was running out of time, I stopped at a local park. And although I had my camera ready, when the rocket became visible above the trees, it was a streaking flame that was visible only for a few seconds. The sky was clear but rather hazy, and so although I saw the Atlas V zip on up, it disappeared before I could get my camera to my eye.

Consequently my efforts resulted in one single photo of the trail of smoke left by the Atlas V. Oh well. (Here's my amazingly exciting photo of the Atlas V smoke trail.)

According to, the payload for this one was for the National Reconnaissance Office, and was classified.

At least they can't arrest me for having photos of classified hardware, I was just plain ol' too slow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's Time For...

...another frightening look inside my head.

As an engineer I occasionally have to deal with numbers.

Yesterday, I somehow spent my thinking time while I ate my lunch pondering prime numbers.

Just go with me here, OK?

I'll just ask y'all; can one type of infinity be less infinite than another type of infinity?

This is the conundrum that has me asking this.

A) There are an infinite number of integers.
B) Some integers are what we call even numbers, all perfectly divisible by the number 2 (no remainder).
C) Some integers are what we call prime numbers and can only be divided evenly by themselves and the number 1.

With me so far?

Every other integer is an even number; 2, 4, 6, 8, ..., 2200, 2202, 2204, ...

But prime numbers happen less often; 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, ...

So, again my question, rephrased: If there are an infinite number of even integers, and an infinite number of prime integers, and if prime integers "happen" less often than even integers, are there fewer prime integers than there are even integers, despite the fact that they both continue on to infinity?

In short, are prime integers "less infinite" in number than "even integers" are?

I was just wondering.

Then I finished my lunch and had to go back to work.

I needed a work break to get away from my lunch break.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #42

13 More Questions and Answer About Me

In my lame attempt to keep at this Thursday Thirteen thingy, I'm back to stealing meme questions from other people's blogs.

1. Are you an innie or an outie? Innie. That's a stupid question. What, is this kindergarten recess show and tell?

2. Have you ever worn bell-bottoms? Yes. I remember a pair I had in the sixth grade (73-74) that were way bigger than my feet. I was so proud of them then. I'm so ashamed now.

3. Have you ever written a song? I've written lyrics, but have never put music to them.

4. Can you make change for a dollar right now? Heck no. I've been married 22 years. My wife doesn't let me have that much money on me.

5. Have you ever been in the opposite sex’s public toilet? Sort of. When I managed restaurants, I cleaned a mean bathroom, both the men's and women's. (From those experiences, I found out that many people are disgusting pigs.)

6. Have you ever smelled your own feet? Of course. This is one of those questions I don't think anyone can say no to if they've ever played outside in the summer. But, since I became an adult, I always buy odor eaters for all of my shoes. They really work. I even have odor eaters in my slippers. (No, I'm not kidding.)

7. Do you like ketchup on or beside your french fries? On the side please. I walk a tightrope of OCD mania when I eat things with my fingers. I wipe my fingers off after EVERY bite. I go through some napkins, believe you me. (Sorry about that, Sheryl Crow) Ketchup on my fingers might push me totally over the edge. I'm not kidding either, it's a whole mental dance that happens in my massive cranium whenever I eat foods with my fingers; half-way between gluttonous desire and Howard Hughes hand-washing mania.

8. Can you touch your tongue to your nose? No. I can stick out my tongue AND touch my nose, but I CANNOT touch my tongue to my nose. Comprende?

9. Have you ever been a boy/girl scout? No. My older brother was a Cub Scout, and my mother tried the den mother thing and I think she almost had a conniption (nervous breakdown) one time and that ruined my chances of ever doing that. I actually never wanted to, but I couldn't have if I had wanted to. Hmmm. I wonder if someone poured ketchup on Sainted Mother's fries at that Cub Scout meeting and sent her over the edge, and doomed me to the same affliction?

10. Have you ever broken a mirror? No. I don't remember ever breaking one, but now that I think about it, my life really sucked between 1987 and 1994, so it's possible.

11. Have you ever put your tongue on a frozen pole? No. Big Sis used to try to talk me into touching my tongue to those aluminum ice trays with the big handles that you pulled up to break the ice loose, but even as a kid, I could tell from the tone of her voice that she was up to no good. Come to think of it, Big Sis is still up to no good. If nothing else, I have a strong sense of self-preservation. Never try anything you're being asked to do if the asker will not demonstrate it first. Plus, I've seen A Christmas Story about a million times like everybody else.

12. What is your biggest pet peeve? The religion of global warming. Just the fact that the proponents of the global warming scare are now trying to get us to call it global climate change so they won't have any more embarrassing things like the cancelled global warming conferences this past winter due to blizzards makes my point for me. If they can get everyone to stop saying global warming, and insert global climate change instead, then during the cold winter months charlatans like Al Gore can raise more money. (I'm cynical, sue me.) It's tough trying to promote your beliefs in global warming when folks are seeing blizzards and record low temperatures on the weather channel. As a Christian, I have tried to speak to people over the years about spiritual things, and have had everything from good, honest communication to being cussed at like you wouldn't believe. So I have a bit of an idea what global warming believers feel when their pronouncements are rejected by people like me. For the record, I believe that the earth is warming, but in a normal, natural cycle that paleoclimatologists have told us have happened many times in the earth's existence. I just don't believe that man is causing it, nor do I believe driving hybrids and using flourescent bulbs help matters one iota.

Oh yeah, radical Islam is a close second.

13. Do you slurp your drink after its gone? Yes, but ever so gently so as to not annoy those nearby.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Could This Be Some Textbook Irony?

From the New York Daily News is a report about Dan Rather poking Katie Couric in the eye with a sharp stick.
Talking via phone to Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Rather described Couric as a "nice person" - then let her have it.

Speculating on the program's declining ratings, Rather said, "The mistake was to try to bring the 'Today' show ethos to the 'Evening News' and to dumb it down - tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience."

Now isn't that special?

Dan Rather. Wasn't he the guy who used to anchor the CBS evening news until he tried to pass off forged documents supposedly proving that Presiden Bush (W) neglected his duties as a pilot in the Air National Guard during the Viet Nam era?

And didn't Dan Rather report this as factual news during the runup to a U.S. Presidential election in fall of 2004?

And isn't this the Dan Rather who stuck it out a little while after his and Ms. Mape's shenanigans were made public, and then "retired" from the anchor chair at CBS Evening News?

Yeah, I thought it was the same guy.

I once sorta like Joe Scarborough, back when he was semi-conservative, but I guess being on MSNBC with that complete nut job Keith Olberman has turned Scarborough to the dark side.

I'm no fan of Katie Couric, but at least she's reading the news instead of trying to pass off fake documents as real and attempting to bring down the re-election campaign of a sitting U.S. President like that moron Dan Rather did.

Dan Rather has no shame.

Seems ironic to me that he would say such things about another newscaster unless they were on FOX.

But, I did go to Louisiana public schools and maybe never got a good grasp of the concept of irony.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Proof Of Just How Lame I've Become

Well, it's finally happening folks. I've had days with nothing to say, and just wrote a post that basically told you to go over and look at what I posted on my photography blog, John's Daily Digital Images. It's a slam dunk to post a couple of photographs on there, so if you don't see anything new here, chances are there's something new over there, OK?

Well, I'm sinking to a new low today, and pointing you back in time to a post I wrote my during my first month of blogging, in March of 2006.

Folks rarely have time to go back and read the stuff the blogs they follow wrote way back when, so I figure most of you haven't read this post called: A Kiss For Daddy

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Can Read At A High School Level!

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to read a book. I went on a search, and in Number Two Daughter's room, I found the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

I always love the Lord of the Rings books although in general, I'm not a big fantasy fan.

But beggars can't be choosers, and it looked fairly interesting, so I decided to give Eragon a shot.

I usually give a book 50 to 100 pages to hook me, or I just put it down. Like with music, I'm pretty fickle in what I like, and I know it when I see (or hear) it.

Over the years I've tried to read classics and also popular stuff, if for no other reason than to see what all the hubub was about with the various authors.

For example, I've read one or two James Patterson books that I liked well enough to read all the way through, but I've also picked up several others by him that I put down withing 40-50 pages because they were totally lame. I'm not a James Patterson fan, he's too hit and miss with me.

I've also tried Tolstoy and Hemmingway, and was almost put into a coma. Just couldn't finish them, save only for The Old Man and the Sea.

Anyway, so I start on Eragon, a fantasy about a boy who finds a dragon egg, it hatches, and they become bonded. Problems ensue and Eragon has to grow up fast.

The book turned out to be very, very good.

So after Atlantis went up successfully Friday night, Lovely Wife and I headed out to Barnes and Noble.

I went over to the Science Fiction / Fantasy section and looked and looked. No luck. Well, it was a popular book, maybe they have it on a special display. Nope.

Finally, against man's natural inclination to not ask for directions, I went to the service desk and told the lady there of my plight.

"Could you tell me where I could find the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini? I looked all over the SciFi/Fantasy area and couldn't find it anywhere."

"Oh, that's because it's not in the Science Fiction / Fantasy area. It's in the teen book section. Come on, I'll show ya!"

So she leads me, head hung low (my head not her's), to the teen section and behold, there they were.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome! Just let me know if you need any more help, OK?"

"I sure will."

I grabbed a paperback copy of The Eldest, the follow up to Eragon, and headed to find a couple of Larry Niven books.

But I noticed the few 14 or 15 year old girls glancing at the moose that had invaded "their" section of the store.

But I wasn't too worried, I'm bigger than all three of them put together, so I was pretty sure I could get out safely.

I guess I need to call Sainted Mother and tell her I'm now up to teen fiction in my reading.

I'm sure she would be proud of me.

Here's another couple of pics of that cool sky that was outside of Barnes And Noble this past Friday.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday June 10, 2007

This is a picture of the Melbourne Causeway, linking Melbourne, Florida with Indialantic, Florida. That's our Camry on the left there, and this is where we parked to watch Shuttle Atlantis lift off Friday evening. This is looking west toward the mainland of Florida.

This next photo is looking east, toward the island and the Atlantic Ocean. You can see how, even 30 miles or so south of Kennedy Space Center, the roadsides clog up with folks parking and waiting to see the shuttle. The closer to the Space Center, the worse the traffic and gridlock.

This is Atlantis up pretty high in the sky, and about one minute after leaving the ground, and before releasing the solid rocket boosters I showed a picture of yesterday.

Just after the solid rocket boosters were released, I zoomed back out to wide angle to show the scene were we were standing, with the plume of smoke from the liftoff in the distance.

After the launch, we went to the Barnes And Noble in Melbourne, and bought some books. When we walked out into the parking lot, this was the magical looking sky we saw. Fortunately I had even carried my camera into the book store, and set it up for low light shooting and took a bunch of photos, hoping to be able to catch in some small way just how beautiful the clouds and the sky were. This was the best shot of the bunch. My heart soared just looking at this sky. It was as if God was (were?) saying to us, look, there's still beauty in this world. By the way, that 'star' up in the upper center of the sky is our closest planetary neighbor, Venus.

Here's another one of the spiffy sky in front of Barnes And Noble Friday night.

The sky outside of Barnes And Noble was every bit as exciting to watch as the shuttle liftoff was. There were folks in the parking lot trying to take photos of the sky with their cell phone cameras. When Number Two Daughter got home later, she had been out with some friends and they stood and watche the sky and she showed me her cell phone photos too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Shuttle Atlantis Has Smooth Sailing

Yesterday ended up being pretty busy for me.

As I mentioned, I had some new tires put on the Camry, had my massive cranium sheared, we had some plumbers in for some work, went and picked up another vehicle from the mechanic, and at 7pm, Lovely Wife and I left the house to try to go to the Melbourne Causeway to watch the Space Shuttle lift off. Hopefully.

We live something like 30 or 40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center, but even though the shuttle is small from this far away, it's incredibly impressive anyway.

We parked on a good spot, looking north up the Indian River Lagoon, and waited.

We got out of the car at 7:25pm, and leaned on the bridge's guard rail and waited.

At 7:38, right on time, Atlantis lifted off.

In about 3 minutes or so, the thing was out of sight, having shed the two solid boosters.

You can see the light of the flames of the shuttle's engines for a bit longer, but they soon disappear.

We left, and headed up the road, and on the radio, they announced that the shuttle was in orbit, was 120 miles up, and doing great.

At this point, we were less than two miles from where we watched the liftoff. It takes eight and a half minutes to reach orbit. Amazing.

To see the shuttle do it's thing never gets old.

The morning rains and bad weather had my back freaking out and I ate pain pills like House all day, but it was still productive, and ended beautifully with the successful shuttle launch and an amazing sky just before it finally got dark.

And one of the coolest parts was that just after the shuttle had disappeared from sight, the sound finally made it to Melbourne and the rumble was startling, even this far away. I don't worship men, but they sure can do some amazing things sometimes.

Oh yeah, I had my camera with me; behold:

This is a crop of one of my shots to show Atlantis better.

I had to blow this next one up about a billion, squillion times. No stone unturned for my many fans.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Off Friday

Sorry folks. I don't have anything for y'all today.

I had to spend part of my morning getting a couple of new tires on our Camry, then I went and got about 5lbs of hair cut off, otherwise known as a normal haircut for me, and now I'm letting a plumber do his thang with various problems around the homestead.

All in all, an expensive day.

I might have to reward myself with a trip to Southern Photo Supply to look at cameras and whatnot, and also I'm due for a swing by Barnes and Noble too. I want to look for a book, and I'm sure Lovely Wife could use wonna dem super-mocha-half-calf-coffee-thingamajigs.

I did post a couple of posts on John's Daily Digital Images, if you care to see them.

It rained a good bit this morning, but as I type this as 3:05pm, it's clearing up pretty good.

Hoping to see a Space Shuttle launch tonight. We'll see.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #41

13 Things I Love About The Women In My Life

1. When I'm laying in bed and trying to go to sleep, yet Lovely Wife is still up watching TV, and I hear her, across the house, laugh at something funny. I love her laugh.

2. When I'm sitting at our computer Photoshopping digital photos, and Number Two Daughter comes up and leans over and hugs my neck from behind.

3. When Number One Daughter comes in and says, "What's up Homey G.? High five!" and makes me give her a high five.

4. Sister in Law always says, "I love you" to us when we're ending a phone conversation. Yet she only lives one block over from us.

5. Angel, our oldest and first and smallest poodle, a white toy poodle (6 pounds), basically took to me early on, even though Lovely Wife picked her out an brought home. She's considered "Daddy's" dog. When I lay down in bed to go to sleep at night, she jumps on the bed and comes and stands and tucks her head down, sticks it under my chin and then reaches up with her left paw and scratches me, demanding I love on her a little bit. If I stop too soon for her, she scratches me to let me know she needs more lovin'.

6. Rosie, our red miniature poodle, gets all excited and runs around and spinning in circles when she comes back into the house from taking a poop in the back yard. We always know when she's been out taking care of some business because otherwise she's very lady-like and sedate. Not to get too crass here, but as a man, I can appreciate the benefits of having your plumbing in good working order.

7. Lilly, one of our "puppies" that were born to Rosie, the one I mentioned just above, is also our biggest poodle. She's a miniature but very stout and heavily built like her father. She's also the one that needs the most attention. She'll jump up in my lap and then just throw herself back in your arms like a little baby for belly rubs. She's the alpha dog and is very good at making her needs known.

8. Sassy, our cat who is about 12 now, is what I call our forgotten child. She waits until I'm on the computer and jumps up next to me and for a couple of minutes makes a pretense of looking out of the window, but a few seconds later she steps between me and the keyboard, stretching luxuriously and rubs the top of her head on my hand, like, "Pet me with this hand today. She "tolerates" our dogs, but when they get too uppity, she can still do that 32-punches-per-second thing that cats do and scares the crap out of the dogs for a while.

9. Lovely Wife loves her some flowers. And this far south in Florida, you can have them blooming pretty much year 'round. She keeps the place all prettied up. Being a typical guy, I wouldn't bother if I were alone. They make great fodder for photographs too.

10. I turned both of my daughters onto heavy metal. Back when they thought the Backstreet Boys, Nsync, and Spice Girls were the bomb, I took them to a couple of Disciple concerts and straightened them up.

11. Sainted Mother still calls me on my birthday every October and tells me the "forty-xxx years ago right now, I was…" story.

12. Big Sis and I were far enough apart in age that, as kids, we didn't get along that great, but as adults we're very close. If my life seems boring sometimes, I can be assured of a great story if I call her. Something's ALWAYS causing drama in her life. I don't understand her ability to listen to country music though. I blame Keith Urban.

13. Mr. Spike. Spike isn't a girl, but he's our fourth poodle. He's a mama's boy and loves Lovely Wife to distraction, but he still freaks out when I get home from work, and he likes to sit with me in my recliner. He's a gentle, laid back doggy, but when he sees a strange dog, he "gets all hound dog on us" and lets out a long, Bah-uuuurrrrrr! To warn the family that potential danger is afoot. He's jet black with Sylvester Stalone sad eyes and a white patch on his chin that we call his "soul patch." His eyes and natural expression is like Eeeyore's, from Winnie the Pooh. (The black poodle there is Mr. Spike, and the white on behind him is his sister, Lilly.)

I'm blessed!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Give Up, Sort Of

Thinking back on the first year or so of this blog, I wrote a number of posts about politics and things going on in the world.

I don't do that but rarely these days.

It's not that I don't care, it just seems so futile. There wasn't even one political post I ever wrote and posted that didn't make me feel sick at my stomach when I had finished it and posted it.

I still keep up with the news, but I guess from an earthly standpoint, I think that there aren't many good guys out there making good decisions any more.

The Republicans seem quite content to give our country over to illegal aliens. I see them on the news, and repeatedly hear the phrase "this bill is NOT amnesty," yet I feel, and each and every person I've talked to about it agrees that the bill currently being talked over IS amnesty.

It's simple, if you are making a way for people who've shown their willingness to break our laws, and to not be assimilated into the fabric of this country and culture to become citizens, that's amnesty. Taking a page out of the liberal's playbook to say over and over that something, anything, isn't what we all know it is, will not fool anybody. It's amnesty, pure and simple, regardless of how many times you say it isn't amnesty.

And heck, that's not even the first line of concern, it's border security. If a family with dad, wife, and kids can walk into this country with almost no trouble, then how hard would it be for terrorists to do the same. Answer, it wouldn't be hard at all.

In fact they're here already, as the recent uncovering of various terrorist plots shows. There are terrorists here already, and they're making evil plans too.

Our Senators and Congressmen think we're idiots.

A guy on a local call in program said he wrote a letter to Senator Mel Martinez about this "immigration reform" bill and how he saw through the smoke screen and that he and most Americans felt it was amnesty to law breakers and that he wanted no part of it, and was writing Senator Martinez to not vote in favor of it.

He said he recieved a curt letter in reply that basically the letter writer didn't know what he was talking about and that Senator Martinez believed strongly in the bill, since he of course, did understand what it was all about.

That's pretty typical right now for both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. They think that overall we don't have the brains of an ice cube.

I'm not one to toot my horn very much, but if I could learn Calculus, Differential Equations, Physics, Chemistry, Linear Algebra and earn an Electrical Engineering Degree, then I know that I have the capacity to learn which way is up or down, right or wrong with political topics in this country. I'm no smarter than the person next to me, but I know I can learn, and I can look around me and know what's what.

We elect our representatives, send them to Washington, almost guaranteed for them to end up as multi-millionaires with amazing power, and yet they turn around, and act like we don't have the capacity to understand what's "really going on" and that only they do.

So I don't talk about politics much any more on here. I'm even disgusted with some of Bush's recent shenanigans, like the above mentioned immigration reform (amnesty) bill that does nothing to secure our borders against radical islamist terrorist coming in and blowing up our cities.

Idiots, all.

President Bush recently signed an executive decree that basically will give him (or whomever is President after him) almost dictatorial powers if another 9/11 type disaster is visited upon this country.

I like President Bush, but I don't trust even him with those kinds of powers, yet the Democrats are still trying to create a scandal regarding Attorney General Gonzales, where there is no scandal, and Bush gets a pass on his decree, something that EVERYONE in Washington should be jumping up and down about. But nobody is, and the Democrats are chasing ghosts while allowing things they should scream about pass.

Scary stuff.

We have incredibly close and precise news coverage of each and every day of Paris Hilton's much deserved incarceration, and Lindsay Lohan's and Britney Spear's public meltdowns, but there seems to be no concern about Iranian President I'minajihad's continued pronouncements that Israel's days as a nation are numbered.

Iran is on the fast track to built atomic bombs, and their leaders have promised repeatedly that they'll wipe Israel off the map, but we just sit back and act like nothing will really happen. Just because something is too terrible to contemplate doesn't mean that they won't do that thing. I firmly believe that when Iran promises to bomb Israel off the face of the earth, that when they can, they will do it.

Are the American people so asleep or so stupid as to believe that Iran won't use those new nuclear weapons on Israel?

I guess so. Instead I still see folks rant and rave on their blogs, and even on "news" programs about how they hate how President Bush says the word as nucular instead of nuclear.

Who friggin' cares!

If you want to rant, at least have the heart and brains to rant about something important, and believe me, how the President pronounces the word nuclear IS NOT IMPORTANT!

We in the west, and the whole of western civilization have our head in the sand and don't believe that when the billion or so Muslims say they are going to create a world-wide islamic state under sharia law, they don't really mean it.

They do mean it. And Iran is the world leader in radical islam right now. They're working lickety-split on creating nuclear weapons to give themselves the ability to force the world to its knees and either have it's head chopped off or convert to the false god of islam.

I'm going to continue to work hard, take lots of pictures with my spiffy cameras, and live life the best I can.

But I'm beginning to believe that if we continue on our present path in this country, that within my lifetime, I'll have to pledge allegiance to the false god Allah, or die.

So I'm going to enjoy life and my family and my stuff as much as I can; and I'll pray and trust the God of the Bible. I truly believe the world will fall into the things predicted in the Bible, it's just hard to sit and watch people choosing to go down that path.

The Book of the Revelation is full of hard lessons for those who follow false gods like allah, but it's also clear that lots of us who follow Jehovah suffer on this side of life too.

Looks like we're heading that way real fast, and the brakes ain't workin' too good.

That is all. Carry on.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dog's Diary; Cat's Diary

A friend sent this to me in an email, and since I had nothing of my own for you today, I thought I would pass this along. I have seen it before on folk's blogs, and loved it. We have several dogs and one cat, and this is darn close to the truth...

Excerpts from a Dog's Diary"

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 PM -Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

"Excerpts from a Cat's Diary"

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food.

I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant.

I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell,

So he is safe. For now...

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Couple Of Things...

Manatees Love the Heavy Rains

This morning while coming to work, I was listening to a local morning, AM station talk show. This morning they had in the studio a Florida State Representative to talk about pending legislation with the Florida legislature.

I won't bore you with the get-rid-of-all-property-tax-and-add-a-three-percent-sales-tax-instead talk that's going on.

What was really interesting is that the radio host guy asked Mr. Florida Representative if his street had flooded with the rain from the tropical storm this past weekend.

Mr. Florida Representative said that it hadn't, but that he lives on Crane Creek in Melbourne and when that much rain (6 inches) falls that fast, that the creek rises several feet really fast, but then goes back down to normal level within several hours of the rain stopping.

So his back yard along Crane Creek had flooded for several hours, and that his and his neighbor's yards had manatees all in them, eating all the flowers and plants that everyone had planted this spring.

He said that he and his wife just sat there in their home looking at the manatees in their back yard pigging out on the tasty plants everyone had so nicely provided for them. Then when the water went back down to normal levels, the manatees were gone, but so were everyones flowers and new plants.

Well, I thought it was pretty interesting anyway.

Plus manatees are "protected" so he would have probably gotten in trouble had he gone out and try to shoo them off.

Sleep Number Bed Report

Well, I'm just about ready to declare victory with the new bed. It isn't a miracle thing that has me up at 5am doing the cha cha, but I've slept in a bed for over a week straight now.

It has been since 2003 that I slept more than three consecutive days in a bed, usually dividing my time between a pallet on the floor and my recliner. So to sleep in this bed for even this amount of time leads me to believe that this has been a great purchase for us.

My back still hurts, but the pain in my left leg has definitely lessened, and only cranks back up if I've done too much walking or whatever. I'll take any pain relief I can get, regardless of how small the difference.

Plus, just from a new bed owner point of view as opposed to rating the bed in terms of whether or not it helps my back, the thing is JUST SO INCREDIBLY COMFORTABLE!

Seriously, this in one comfy bed.

You know how the matress comercials talk about "pressure points?" Well, I don't have pressure points any more when I lay down on this bed, while I used to have them at my hips and shoulders.

I definitely want to stay in bed in the mornings, not from lack of sleep, but to just lay there a few more minutes and enjoy how comfortable it is.

Way better than sleeping on the floor, in every way.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday June 3, 2007

Sorry folks. I usually try to post this early, but, well, I just didn't this time. Forgive me if any of these are retreads from the past. I've posted so many photos on my two blogs now that I can't quite keep track of each and every one I've shown before, and especially when I'm in a hurry like this. Have a great Sunday!

The underside of the bridge over Sebastian Inlet, the water of the inlet moving to the left as the tide goes out to the Atlantic.

Yet another bridge, carrying US Highway 1 across Crane Creek in Melbourne, Florida.

Not exactly sure what this is folks. Some, um, rocks, with, um, some green stuff growin' on 'em. Yeah, that's EXACTLY what it is.

The path to use when headin' for the beach at Archie Carr, about half a mile south of Sebastian Inlet.

On Turkey Creek in Palm Bay, Florida.