Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas (Eve) to All

It's hard to believe that it is Christmas Eve, even harder to fathom that it's Christmas Eve of 2008! (Dig our Yukon Cornelius ornament. I always loved his shopping list "Cornmeal, gunpowder, ham hocks and guitar strings!")

My blogging has been really spotty this year. A heavy work load over the summer and fall, and health issues pretty much robbed me of my desire to write.

I've really missed it, because, the way my mind works is that I'm always trying to frame even my passing thoughts into words and phrases that would be good writing. I'm ALWAYS thinking of stuff, but this has turned out to be a year in which it has been more effective to just keep my nose to the grindstone where work is concerned, try to deal with my chronic back pain and other body problems as best I can, and to sleep as much as possible, because that's the best way I've found to deal with stressful times, simply making sure I sleep as normal a night as possible. Lack of sleep is the number one thing, for me at least, that will push me over the edge and lose my ability to just deal with things.

By far the hardest thing for me was losing Rosie, one of our poodles who got ill and died within a period of 12 hours. This was in early November, and she was such a part of our every day lives that it has been very difficult for us to even think about her. Almost every move we make around the house reminds us of something she used to do that would either make us laugh or say Awww. Every night when I would sit in my recliner, and all four of our small poodles would jump up there with me, Rosie would climb up and lay curled up on my chest for as long as I sat there. I miss that.

I'm not really one to be affected much by certain dates going by; New Year's Day and my birthday are just regular days to me. But the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons tend to make me recall times past, loved ones that are gone and still badly missed, so I definitely do take the time to reflect on the year that has passed and to try to envision how I'd like to do things a bit different in the coming year that may help improve my life.

But today being Christmas Eve, I just remember being so excited as a kid as to what I might be getting on Christmas morning. And especially trying to figure out which "one present" I'd like to open on Christmas Eve night.

As a kid, it was important to strike a balance in my Christmas Eve One Present opening. I didn't want to open something lame, like socks, that I KNEW would be under the tree, but I also wanted to save the really good stuff for Christmas morning, you know?

Now Lovely Wife's and mine's kids are 20 years old and above, so there's no more worrying about having to wait until like 1am to be sure they are asleep before I begin to assemble the "some assembly required" toys they invariably wanted as kids.

Also, with money tight, we look for the best deals we can get, and since those we buy for mostly want books, music CDs, and DVDs of movies, we usually end up buying almost everything from, so going out and shopping for all kinds of different items is almost nil. I miss going out for a big day or two of shopping, but when you're in pain, it's just a relief to shop online and get hard to find stuff easily and for great prices.

But all in all, I'm thankful that we made it through the year. I truly am thankful because as soon as I even begin to think I have it tough, or to feel sorry for myself, I begin to remember the billions on this earth who literally have nothing. On days when my back is hurting particularly bad and I stumble into work anyway, I usually soon stumble upon someone who is limping with an artificial leg from a Vietnam wound, or see the lady with the heart problems getting out of her car in the handicapped spot and realizing she works on the second floor of a two story building here, and that building has no elevator. So I know she climbs those stairs every day with a bad ticker and also with zero complaints. In fact she is one of those people who brightens the days of those around her with her good cheer.

It has been a tough year for me mentally and physically, but overall, I'm very, very blessed, and am in generally good health, and so is my family. Who am I to complain? So I won't.

But I hope to be able to blog some more in the coming year, it does help clarify things when I take the time to put thoughts down on the computer or on paper.

And I hope that all of you out there who occasionally drop by to see if I've written anything new will have a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I appreciate all of your comments, even the harsh ones by the gutless person known as Anonymous.

God bless all of you with good health for you and those you love.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lovely Wife Was Threatened!

Lovely Wife had a birthday a few days ago, and is now the next best thing to being 50. (Yes, I married an older woman)

Number Two Daughter told Lovely Wife that she couldn't wait until Lovely Wife turns 50.

"Why?" Lovely Wife asked.

"So I can get you a Jitterbug!"

For those of you who don't know, or are otherwise totally out of touch, a Jitterbug is a huge cell phone with massive numbers on the buttons, targeted at older folks who might appreciate having a cell phone they can see the buttons and numbers on rather than a "cool" cell phone.

The young whipper-snapper generation all think the TV commercial for the Jitterbug is a hoot, and that it's for OLD people.

So, apparrently Lovely Wife has only one more year to indulge in her Blackberry addiction with it's full QWERTY keyboard.

I guess it's mandatory for those 50 and up to switch to a Jitterbug.

I personally think it would be more difficult to get someone off of heroin addiction than to wean someone off of their precious Blackberry.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jesus, Mary and Joseph Attacked By Wild Dogs

(Note: This post is a repeat of a post I wrote during the Christmas season of 2007. I haven't written in a while, and thought reposting something I liked was better than nothing at all.)

Yesterday when Lovely Wife got home from the grocery store and I went out to help her get the stuff from the car, all four poodles made a mad dash past me out into The Forbidden Zone, otherwise known as the front yard.

For the first few seconds they were just running and jumping in the nirvana of just being out there instead of the back yard, but then Rosie and Lilly noticed intruders in our front yard that were not there the last time they got to run around the front yard.

The only thing that separates us from Ebeneezer Scrooge is the fact that we have a three piece plastic nativity scene in the front yard.

Rosie and Lilly, after the first taste of freedom had died down, noticed the unsuspecting Joseph, Mary, and the Jesus/manger module just sitting there like STRANGERS.

Of course, we don't have normal poodles, ours are vicious attack miniatures. Don't let the curly hair and otherwise cutie-pie looks fool you, they mean business Buster!

Rosie and Lilly ran over and while Rosie barked, growled and snapped at Joseph, Lilly did the same on the other side to Mary.

It was a classic pincer maneuver that General George S. Patton would have been proud of.

Thankfully the Jesus/manger module was left alone, and Joseph and Mary wisely stood perfectly still, probably from extreme fright, but still, it was the right thing to do.

Since the three intruders just sat there like bumps on a pickle, our lap dogs highly trained attack/guard dogs finally realized that this family was no threat and came running quickly inside due to the promise of a bite of cheese.

But for a minute or so there, the Holy Family was in dire straights, but tragedy was finally averted.

For this year anyway.

This is Rosie;

and this is Lilly.

Is it any wonder that those poor people were scared stiff when these two brutes went after them?

Have a Merry Christmas everyone! And watch out for marauding poodles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Concert

Number Two Daughter bought tickets for her and me to go out this past Wednesday (Nov. 19) to see Mannheim Steamroller in concert.

They have provided some of my absolute favorite Christmas Music for twenty years now, and they were coming to do a concert in Melbourne, Florida.

The concert was nothing short of amazing.

14 people, many of whom played various instruments throughout the night. Super, super talented people.

I've always thought that great music gets taken to an altogether new level when heard live, and Mannheim Steamroller was no exception.

They played all of my favorites, especially their version of Silent Night, called Stille Nacht on their first Christmas album from the 1980s.

The concert program didn't list Silent Night as one to be played, but I hoped that they would play some extra songs at the end, and they did. Silent Night was one of the two extra songs they played.

Not only that, but we've had a cold front here all week and it's been chilly by Florida standards and was about 50F and windy as we walked from the car to the concert hall.

So it even felt really Christmassy. Perfect for attending a Christmas concert.

In the late 1980s we were living in the Dallas, Texas area.

I was working two jobs and was coming home one evening from one job and my old Ford pickup truck was having problems.

The heater didn't work, it was brutally cold and windy with a stinging sleet trying to stick to the windshield of the truck. The defroster wasn't hot because it's part of the heater system, and poor "Old Blue" was losing the fight to allow me to see well enough to drive home. At least the wipers were working and eventually allowed me to get home.

Heck, at the time, the alternator was even going out on it, and the battery kept getting tired from not getting enough nourishment from the alternator.

I was really worried about getting home in a working vehicle.

Old Blue only had the stock Philco AM radio with one speaker mounted in the dash, and I was listening to Christmas music on an AM Christian station in Dallas.

So I'm tired, cold, stressed, worried, and then this gentle song comes on the radio.

It starts out quietly so I turned it up.

And I hear this version of Silent Night for the first time ever.

When it ended I was crying like a baby. (I'm one of those guys who isn't afraid to cry, especially when I'm alone.)

I was absolutely in love with the song, and I tried to describe it to everyone I knew, but they all looked at me like I was crazy. Before the internet, it was much more difficult to find out about such things as who sang what and other trivia the world wide web is so good for.

It was a year later when I heard the song again, and the announcer on the radio thankfully mentioned that it was Mannheim Steamroller who had done the song. I thought I misheard him; that was such a goofy name for a musical group.

Anyway, Mannheim Steamroller's Stille Nacht is still my all-time favorite Christmas song by anyone.

In a thoughtful mood, I can still cry when hearing it.

At the time of that first hearing, our daughters were babies, both mine and Lovely Wife's parents, all siblings, and most grandparents even, were still alive. At the time, it's beauty just touched something deep within my heart like some pieces of music can. I was young, with a young family and a head and heart filled with dreams.

Now, after that song being heard so many times over the years, it brings back good memories of lost loved ones, my Dad, my Big Brother, all of my Grandparents, my In-Laws, etc.

Hearing it is still a joy, but bittersweet. It's beauty is now mixed with sadness too, at the thought of people I miss terribly.

But this concert the other night was simply mesmerizing as only a great group of musician's can do.

Mannheim Steamroller playing Stille Nacht as an encore was just icing on the cake to an already beautiful concert.

And now I have new memories of a great night spent with Number Two Daughter to add to the list of great memories this song brings to mind at each hearing.

The whole evening with my daughter, and all of my associated memories made this evening a wonderful gift.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

It has just flat-out been a busy past few months.

Work has been intense, and I just come home and eat, then sleep.

It's not really a problem, but days like today get me a bit upset.

(I just deleted a whole story about what happened at work today.)

In the end, if someone were to read it, I might get in trouble.

We're in a mode at work where everyone is supposed to be so grateful to have a good job in these tough economic times that we're expected to be willing to be trod upon.

I was trod upon some today, and was basically forced to find someone willing to be trod upon with me.

I can't be any more detailed than that.

I love my company and I especially love the people there, but sometimes, some days, I'm required to not only go above and beyond, myself, which is no problem, but also required/expected to find some others who will go above and beyond with me.

That's really hard for me to do.

Richard Pryor used to joke about how his dad would yell at him and tell him to "go get a stick for me to beat you with."

My work day was kinda like that today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zoom, Normal, and Wide Angle

I really liked how these shots turned out. I took them only seconds apart, of the sailboat against the beautiful evening sky.

It's hard to capture a single image that gives you the feel of a time or place, but when I saw these three viewed on my computer, one after another, I thought the sum was much greater than the parts. Viewed one after another, they give a good impression of how it felt to stand there looking at the scene.

Of course, these were taken on the Indian River Lagoon in Melbourne, Florida.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bush Derangement Syndrome in Science Fiction

I’ve still been reading some science fiction, but now that I’ve read through our library’s collection of what books look interesting to me in the genre, I think I’m coming to the end.

Maybe some of my mainstream favorite authors will have written a couple of books each in the last year or two that I’ve been reading mostly science fiction, and will rescue me.

What I wanted to talk about was something that always annoys me with reading, no matter who the author is that does it.

An analogy: Watch any Sylvester Stallone movie and you WILL see some prominent-to-the-point-of-annoying product placement. Watch “Demolition Man” and “Cop Land” and you will see and hear Marlboro ads built into the movie.


In books, the equivalent of this is when an author uses specific names of real people in a derogatory way in a work of fiction.

I recently finished reading "Coyote Frontier" by Allen Steele. It's set about 30-40 years after the landing of escapees from earth first land on the distant planet called Coyote.

The reason they took a space ship and slept cryogenically for over 200 years while traveling to Coyote is because in the mid-21st century, America is taken over completely by the religious conservatives and create an authoritarian state hostile to "dissident intellectuals."

In the book, Johnson Space Center outside of Houston has been re-named the George W. Bush Space Center, with people having forgotten it was once named something else. Those evil, Constitution-killing conservatives have just taken control and changed EVERYTHING.

Also, under this future, evil fictional totalitarian regime, the Kennedy Space Center is re-named after Newt Gingrich.

There is a "reeducation camp" in rural Georgia, that is called Camp Buchanan, after Pat Buchanan.

Then later in the book, a woman on Coyote who is middle-aged, and thinking back to her youth on earth, recalls having been sent to a place for teens who were going astray from the government's official doctrine, and this camp is Camp Schafly, after famous conservative woman Phyllis Schlafly. Mr. Steele didn't even spell the name right in his book.

The book was decently written, very readable, and an interesting story, but the references to this fictional future totalitarian America and pointing out people like that, were so obviously the author's opinions that he couldn't resist putting in the book that I almost didn't finish reading it.

Allen Steele has received various awards in the science fiction genre for his novels, so I was wanting to try reading some, looking forward to a potential author to watch for in the future, but I finished the book feeling that it was worth reading, but that the jabs at the "vast right wing conspiracy" stood out like a hard shadow against a white wall.

Naming the author's most hated conservatives in the text of a fictional novel brought the reader (me, at least) to the conclusion that he wanted to preach instead of writing a story.

He never got to preaching his viewpoint in other places, which allowed me to finish the book.

It just annoys me when a fiction writer adds his own personal viewpoint to a book in such a way as to make sure you know this is the author talking to you, and that it definitely wasn't one of the books characters talking to you.

The book cover says that Mr. Steele is a journalism graduate, and a former reporter, so it definitely fit with the way most of today's journalists lean in their politics, but it almost ruined the book for me in the way it jerked me from being in a character's head, then suddenly in the author's opinionated head for a minute because he couldn't resist an egotistical jab at the political right, and then suddenly back into the character's head.

I would expect such things from a beginning writer, not one with numerous award-winning published novels.

Bush derangement syndrome is rampant, and in some ways it's funny to watch otherwise sane adults turn insane over their hatred of President Bush, but it's another level of the syndrome altogether to allow it to make it all the way to publication in a fiction novel.

I know next to nothing about Mr. Steele, but he's definitely got Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Funny thing is, I personally think that a totalitarian state coming about in America is much more likely to happen under liberal control of the government. Just look at the unearned adoration given to Barack Obama in this presidential campaign. The man is given a pass on so many questionable areas of his past, while his complicit media take apart the life of Joe the plumber. Barack Obama is the epitome of the "empty suit," and he's not allowed to be confronted or asked difficult, penetrating questions.

We now know more about some poor schmuck who dared to point out Obama's socialist agenda of huge redistribution of wealth, than we know about the man who could very well be our next president. Obama's followers are much more likely to willingly submit to a heavy-handed government.

OK. I'm climbing off the soap box now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanks Everyone

Losing Rosie so suddenly just shocked us to the core.

I appreciate everyone's kind comments.

I can think about her and talk about her without crying now, but we all miss her terribly.

To use a popular psychology term, the "dynamic" of the house has totally changed.

The other dogs act differently now, and of course, we just flat-out miss having Rosie around.

She was one of those dogs that just made us laugh without playing or her trying to be funny. Just the way she did things was funny.

For example, whenever one of the family came into the house, while the other dogs got excited and barked, Rosie would express her excitement to see you by turning in about 10 circles. The circles were ALWAYS left-handed, or counter-clockwise.

It was funny to see; it was as if instead of going on a run like some dogs do, she would spin in place, to the left.

She was the mother to two of the poodles we have, and when they got upset or felt insecure, they'd come to her and slowly roll over in front of Rosie in submission, and have their face right in front of her's. Then she would lay there and lick their closed eyes, and it would soothe and calm them down.

They've seemed out of sorts without her there to give her what we came to call "eyeball sugar."

Just a couple of the many things we miss about Rosie.

Anyway, thanks againg for the kind comments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Goodbye Sweet Rosie

I took the above photo this past weekend, two days before her death, because I thought she looked cute in her "Everyone Loves A Redhead" t-shirt.

Rosie: July 1999 - October 2008

Monday night, when I got home from work, I found that one of our poodles, Rosie was very sick.

I won't go into detail, but will just say that in a matter of a few hours, she went from normal to dying as I held her for her final breath.

We are all stunned and heartbroken still.

Rosie was a true lap dog. She loved nothing more than being in one of our's lap.

In December of 1999, Lovely Wife found an add for her on the internet. A person in Dothan, Alabama had a red poodle for sale.

I had just sold some camera equipment and bought an acoustic guitar for playing at church, and with the money left, we went to Dothan and bought Rosie.

So when she wanted to be held, I would sweet talk her with the story of how Mama found her on the internet, and we took a trip to Dothan, Alabama to get her.

She was four months old when we got her, and had been in a crate so much that she had no idea how to play like other dogs. She never did learn to like and want to play with squeaky toys and balls like our other dogs do. But if we got on the floor to play with the dogs, she would sometimes get worked up and play tug-o-war with a toy.

But most of the time, as we tried to play with the dogs, she'd come and get right up against you just wanting to be petted instead of playing. So we'd have to love on her with one hand and tug or throw toys with the other and the other dogs.

This hurt is still way too raw to write much right now; her sudden sickness and death has us all still in shock.

The reality is that, when you have a pet, you will most likely outlive them. But nine years is not that old for a miniature poodle. She should have had at least five or six more years and her passing has left a gaping hole in my heart.

I love you Rosie. I always will. And I'll always remember you, to my own dying day. From now on, one of my great desires will be to see you again someday in heaven.

I'll sit and hold you as long as you want, and I'll have little bites of cheese to feed you, I promise.

I miss you so much.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poor Leonardo

I know; I'm pathetic.

Lots of work, and I've just completely lost it on the blogs. It's hard to get back into the groove.


Now that I decided to write something, what should it be?

McCain vs Obama? Obama scares me a lot, and McCain scares me somewhat less than Obama. I think McCain is going to win in a squeaker, but then it will be the 2000 election all over again with the law suits to have the judiciary decide the election. (Gore had a 10 point lead at this point in 2000 and then lost, Obama's only a few points ahead, which I think will disappear on election day.) I don't feel like writing about that, it's too depressing.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Nah. I hate rap music and I refuse to talk about rap "stars."

Britney Spears? She's looking better these days, and even was quoted as saying she didn't know where here head was last year when she went through her bald phase, and attacked people with umbrellas. So I'll leave her alone too.

I already poked Lindsay Lohan in the eye with a sharp stick a few weeks ago, so not that.

But this week, some really big news happened.

Remember Leonardo DiCaprio? He used to be an actor? Was in that Titanic movie?

After the success of Titanic, it was believed that Mr. DiCaprio could do no wrong.

But this weekend, he had a new movie open at theatres, and his movie was beaten by a movie about a Chihuahua called "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."

Now, new movies always have their best week on opening weekend, and although Mr. DiCaprio's "Body of Lies" was in a distant third place on it's opening, and theoretically, best, weekend, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" was number one at the box office for a second weekend.

Man. That's GOTTA hurt. Beaten by a pretend talking chihuahua.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday, September 28, 2007

I love it when the skies here are showing off with deep, rich colors, but softer, pastel skies like in this photo make my spirit soar for some reason. The wild colors are impressive, but the gentle, pastel ones tend to move me. That big mountain of a cloud back there is pretty cool too.

One thing that I miss with digital cameras is "the look" of Kodachrome slides. I've shot many thousands of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides over the years. As much as I love digital photography, I sometimes see a scene that I've photographed and wish it were in Kodachrome. I played with this one a while in Photoshop Elements and was able to come pretty close to the contrasty, slightly magenta look of Kodachrome. It's a subtle thing, but when I finished, I thought "that's exactly what I wanted."

This heron was on a side thingamajig to the pier and when I went to photography him, he jumped up to fly away. Or so I thought. He actually landed on the rail of the pier itself, much closer to me than he was before. Since he was so obviously feeling like having his picture taken, I obliged him. This must be his good side.

Nothin' special. I just liked the texture of the barnacles there and the reflection on the gently moving blue-green water.

This turned out to be almost like an abstract or impressionist painting, but it's simply the water swirling around a big piece of coquina in the water.

Have a great Sunday, folks.

I've still been really busy at work. Health issues demand that I go to bed early just to be able to deal with the increased hours and stress, so I haven't had time left to visit y'all. Never fear, I'll get around to see you soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday September 21, 2008

Yesterday evening, right before sunset, Lovely Wife and I went to a local park to enjoy the views of the Indian River Lagoon.

As the sun went down, the sunlight lit and colored the upper portion of this cloud above this sailboat. Beautiful. Scenes like this can really lower your blood pressure as you soak in the beauty and the warm sea breeze.

Toward the west, there were various types of clouds at different levels in the sky. I love it when that happens. They contrasted nicely with one another and add a nice touch to an already pretty scene.

The sunset was reflecting in the water and the water lapped at the rocks at my feet. A nice peaceful place, but there were a lot of people at the park fishing.

This was the scene in front of our car as we pulled into a parking place. I just got out and walked around the front of the car. An amazing water scene one step from our car's front bumper. The drooping pine needles in the trees there are in Australian pine trees. They were planted all over the coasts of Florida several generations ago, and I love the trees. They have a lazy look and feel about them that really fits in Florida. Sadly, they are now considered politically incorrect by today's standards, and when one dies, they are never replaced with another. They are only replaced with officially approved native Florida plants. Literally hundreds of the trees were blown down in hurricanes Jeanne and Francis in 2004, and were not replaced. I love them, but then I have never ever been politically correct in any way. I miss the long rows of Australian pines that used to line the roadways in certain areas here. I really appreciate the ones that are left.

This photo was taken a month or so ago in the ginormous Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. This was a really old longboard they had on display. I made a B&W version of this image that is on my photography blog today.

Have a great Sunday, folks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lindsay Lohan Gets All, Like, Political, You Know?

I know that like me, all y'all have been waiting with baited breath on what Hollywood's deep thinkers think of Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

We've already heard from Matt Damon, and boy did he lower the boom on Mrs. Palin. I'm sure she's quaking in her Gore-Tex ™ boots after Matt revealed just how much he disliked her. I mean, seriously, he played a mathematical genius in a movie, right? So the actor's opinion must be much more rationally thought out than say, a Louisiana public school product like myself.

I even heard that Margaret Cho said something bad about Governor Palin, but I didn't bother to find out what it was, because, Margaret Cho is pretty much the least funny commedian I've ever tried to listen to. But since she's a "Hollywood Liberal" I guess her sheer famousness must make her opinion much more truthful than all you red-necks and bigots in flyover country, right?

But now, the brainiac herself, Lindsay Lohan (that's pronounced LOW-en, NOT LOW-HAN, you idiots!) has weighed in. And boy, was it worth the wait.

Now this bad actress and even worse singer has furiously rubbed both of her brain cells together, and the slowly gathering heat therefrom produced these timeless pearls of wisdom:

"I really cannot bite my tongue anymore when it comes to Sarah Palin." (OOO, this is gonna be deep!)

"I couldn't be more supportive of a woman in office, but let's face it, it comes down to the person, and their beliefs, male or female." (She's winding up, folks, watch out!)

"I would have liked to have remained impartial, however I am afraid that the 'lipstick on a pig' comments will overshadow the issues and the fact that I believe BARACK OBAMA is the best choice for president." (See that? She says she's worried that the "lipstick on a pig" comments will overshadow the fact that she believes Barack Obama is the best choice for president, among other things.)

"I find it quite interesting that a woman who now is running to be second in command of the United States, only 4 years ago had aspirations to be a television anchor, which is probably all she is qualified to be."

"Is it a sin to be gay?"

"Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock?"

"Is our country so divided that the Republicans' best hope is a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?"

I told y'all it was going to be deep.

She's not only a deep thinker, but now that she's a newly minted lesbian, she learned a new word: homophobe.

All that, from the girl voted most likely to have slept with every male in California, and who now, in an amazing display of effortless switch-hitting, has started in on bedding the women of California (starting with a Canadian, 'cause they're, like, exotic and all).

Man, Sarah Palin must really be hurtin'. Matt Damon, Margaret Cho, and think-tank giant Lindsay Lohan (Remember, that's pronounced LOW-en, NOT LOW-HAN) have all vented their massive intellects through their idiotic mouths, and the consensus is this, Obama good, Palin bad.

Lindsay Lohan has single handedly justified the creation of MySpace.

Now I'm going to have to sit down an rethink this whole election thing.

Lindsay is such a good MySpace writer that she needs to quit trying to act and sing and become a jer jurr jrr , newspaper reporter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eating Veggies Shrinks the Brain

If eating vegetables shrinks the brain, I wonder if, conversely, not eating your vegetables makes your brain bigger.

I come from a family that, when they do occasionally eat vegetables, they are "simmered to aych-ee-double-hockey-sticks." And a half a cup of bacon grease cooking in there to give 'em some flavor.

I have to actually think, "I NEED to eat some vegetables." That is, unless we have some fresh, home grown 'maters around the house. I love me some 'maters.

But I read this story and wondered, if, my not eating much vegetables is the reason I have such a massive cranium.

Could be.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ped Egg

Have y'all seen them Ped Egg things on TV?

It looks like a little egg-shaped cheese grater, but you're supposed to use it on the callouses on your feet. (With 138 MicroFiles!)

Then they open it up and show them emptying the gratings into the garbage on the TV commercial.

Number One Daughter bought herself one.

Now, if you're eating pizza at our house, and we run out of parmesian cheese, we can tap into Number One Daughter's Ped Egg scrapings and fix your pizza right up.

Cause the grated callouses in the Ped Egg look just like parmesian cheese.

Yeah. I'm sick. But that's the way my mind works sometimes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

You MUST go see this.

This little animated photo will crack you up.

I'm quite sure of this because it cracked me up.

And we all know, that I know, funny.

Breakin'! Obama pic taken after leaving the convention.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday August 24, 2008

Well, we got plenty of rain this past week.

Tropical Storm Fay made it's way across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico and the center stayed over Brevard County for two full days.

That meant that the southern part of the storm below the eye was right over where we live and work.

The company I work for ended up staying closed for three days, T,W, and Thu. Of course they're making us work weekend days in September to make up for them, but on the whole, I'm glad I didn't have to get out in the storm.

Lovely wife's company is based in Connecticut or somewhere up there and they were open every day, but they kept letting everyone go early, and finally so much of the county was flooded, that they gave up trying to make people come in.

It was a bad storm for three full days, but still wasn't as scary as the hurricanes we've sat through, so although the power kept going off, it would soon come back on, so that we really weren't roughing it. We had air conditioning and cable, and no damage, so we really made out fine.

I believe we ended up getting 15-20 inches of rain at our house, while about ten miles north of us, some got 20-25 inches. Lost of homes got flooded, but thankfully ours wasn't one of them.

A few weeks ago, we went to a part in Titusville, Florida, on the mainland directly across from Kennedy Space Center and visited Space View Park and the U. S. Space Walk of Fame there.

They have monuments to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions and the astronauts and the people who worked on the space program that ended up putting Americans on the moon.

Here are a few pics from the different areas of the park. (I had already posted some photos of the Mercury monument last November.)

This first photo turned out better than it looked in the viewfinder. It's looking through Space View Park and across the Indian River Lagoon to NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building where the Apollo rockets and the shuttles were and are built, housed, and repaired until being driven out onto one of the launch pads. The VAB is the fourth largest building in the world.

Here, we're about to enter the Apollo memorial part of the park. You can see the "A" shape of part of the memorial in the right side of this next photo.

Here's a closer shot of the Apollo Symbol, that's the moon on the left side of the bar crossing the "A" and the earth on the right side of the cross bar.

Here's Neil Armstrong's hand prints and photograph. The first man on the moon and one of my childhood heroes and a total class act. A great and humble man. They had most of the other Apollo astronaut's hand print with the exception of those like Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White who were killed in Apollo 1 training, and also missing others who had died before the monuments and hand prints were made.

This is the memorial to the Gemini program which was just before the Apollo program. You can see the VAB in the background of this photo too.

Have a great Sunday folks!

(I posted a couple of photos of a neat customized Chrysler PT Cruiser on my photography blog today. If you don't get over there much, go check it out. The PT Cruiser is owned by, and in front of, Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, Florida.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Snow Tropical Storm Day

We don't get snow days in Florida, but sometimes we get storm days.

I was working late last night and a company email showed up in my inbox and said the company will be closed Tuesday because Tropical Storm Fay was supposed to whiz by to the west of us Tuesday evening.

That's cool. Although they'll have us make it up later by working a Saturday or something, I sure look forward to sleeping late before the storm gets bad.

I just hope we don't lose power for nine days again in this heat and humidity.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Sorry folks.

Lots going on at work. Life is eat, sleep, work right now.

Be back when I can.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday August 3, 2008

On Saturday, Lovely Wife, Number Two Daughter and I took our niece to the Orlando airport for her to go home to Utah.

She'd stayed with us for two weeks, and gee whiz, that was a fast two weeks. We were bummed to see her go.

I took my camera (of course) and on the way home we stopped a couple of places and I took a bunch of photos, something I haven't done in a while.

This first photo is of a Disney Store in the Orlando airport. Orlando and all of it's attractions are designed by experts to separate you from as much cash as possible. Turns out that the Orlando airport is like a shopping mall, with the intent of separating you from the last few dollars you may have after an Orlando vacation.

This one isn't special, but I liked this small view of part of the Orlando Airport. It was a beautiful day, though really hot.

It had been a couple of years (at least) since I had been to Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, so we stopped by there on the way home. It wasn't too big of a detour out of our way. I love going to the place because it is truly a store that is a tourist destination in it's own right. We didn't spend but a few dollars there, but it's always worth walking around and looking at this amazing store and it's STUFF.

This is a view of the outside of Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach.

And this is a view on the inside of Ron Jon's, and this photo only takes in about on third of the store. I like this place and I've never even tried to surf before, and probably never will.

Here's another shot inside the Ron Jon store.

Have a great Sunday folks!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Plays The Race Card Early

Wednesday, The Barack of Obama threw down the race card in the US presidential contest.

He's told America that he was a different kind of politician, but it looks like he's just more of the same Democratic tradition.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama, the first black candidate with a shot at winning the White House, says John McCain and his Republican allies will try to scare them by saying Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Stumping in an economically challenged battleground state, Obama argued Wednesday that President Bush and McCain will resort to scare tactics to maintain their hold on the White House because they have little else to offer voters.

"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Do you notice there what Obama is saying?

Notice the "will try to say...", and "they're going to do...", McCain "will resort to..."?

No facts at all, just conjecture.

He doesn't have one instance of ANY Republican saying that Obama doesn't look like the Presidents on dollar bills. Not one instance.

Instead, Mr. Different Kind of Politician is trying to create non-existent Republican racism by making racist statements himself. He has NO examples of racism said about him other than the racism shown toward him my his fellow Democrats from the heatied primaries with Mrs. Clinton, so Obama puts racist words into the mouths of non-existent racist opponents.

The Barack of Obama tries to make enemies of fictional racist Republicans, but the only thing he's succeeded in is showing that he WANTS a racist enemy on order to gain more sympathy for himself.

Sorry Barack, it ain't working. I grew up in Louisiana public schools, but even I'm not dumb enough to fall for your lying about what you think Republicans "might" say some day in the future.

Obama is trying to create a racist "problem" where there is none.

Obviously, Obama is playing the race card himself in the absence of any real racism, and by doing this shows that he himself is guilty of racism.

I once heard a co-worker say that black people could not be racist. That only white people could be racist. Mr. Obama proves today the falsehood of this former co-worder of mine's claim.

I sure have disagreed with the policies Barack Obama has built his campaign on, and I disagree with many of the lame generic pronouncements in his speeches, but I've tried to carefully consider him ONLY on his policy stances.

But he sure has proved today that he isn't beyond a lame attempt himself to create racist scandals where there are none.

He's living proof that having a Harvard law degree doesn't mean you're smart.

Please go read the article and pay close attention to Obama's quotes. You'll notice that he has no actual examples of the racism he's talking about, he is, time after time, putting words into mythical racist Republican's mouths, with no actual quotes other than his own falsehoods.

The Democrats have proven so far that they are the party filled with racists:

Democratic Senator Joe Biden on Barack Obama - "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

David Ehrenstein in the Los Angeles Times - 'But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."'

Harry Belafonte - "In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and [there] were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master ... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture."

I'm not stupid enough to believe that there are no racist Republicans, but I do absolutely believe that there is at least one racist Democrat for every racist Republican.

Mr. Obama strikes a low blow here today by projecting on Republicans the racist things he thinks they might say about him in the future.

To quote the great philosopher Gomer Pyle, "For shame, for shame, for shame," Mr. Obama.

Sorry to bring up politics again, but this just got under my skin.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Atlanic Ocean Last Night (Mon. July 28)

We went out to eat last night after I got off of work, and then went over to the ocean to take in the view.

It was almost dark, but the Atlantic was as green and as calm I have ever seen it.

The wind was very light but it sure was pretty.

Here's the western view toward the sunset over the Lagoon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Move Over Jesus, Mary, and Elvis

Allah Meat is here!

We all know by now that Our Lord And Savior, His mom, and even Elvis, can appear as a beacon of hope to us in mold stains on damp walls, burned miraculously into pieces of toast, or even the shape of a Kellog's Corn Flake, but now Gool Ole Allah is getting into the miraculous appearance game.

As a restaurant goer in Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria was digging into a meal of beef, he luckily glanced at the piece of food he was about to put into his mouth and saw the word "Allah" written there.

Of course, the man was a good Muslim and didn't eat the bite but brought it to the attention of the others in the restaurant:
"He was about to eat it, when he suddenly noticed the words in the gristle, the restaurant owner said."

And not only the name of Allah, but the name Muhammad was found in meat in the kitchen when the rest of the beef was searched.

A total of three pieces of the "miracle beef" were found to have writing on them.

I'm not sure if they found Allah written twice, and Muhammad once, or if they found Muhammad written twice and Allah once. I was curious about this, but since the article didn't reveal this, I guess it's not really as important as the fact that Allah chose to bless the Muslim faithful in this way.
"When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind," he said.

This amazing news totally eclipses The Barak Of Obama's holy presidential campaign in raising the hopes of mankind for world peace in the near future.

Now I personally have had similar life changing messages sent from the great beyond to me when I was younger and partaking of the occasional bowl of Alpha-Bits, or noshing on some Campbell's Alphabet Soup (though I cannot recall the exact messages now, but I'm SURE they were important), but nothing as public as Allah writing a message to me in a piece of gristle in a restaurant.

Heck, I would most likely have missed this myself, since there's few things on earth I hate more than getting a piece of gristle in my mouth. Yuck! And would have just glanced and discarded it.

This is WAY better than that bogus Shroud of Turin thingy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why Is This Guy Always Yelling At Me?

Since I wrote yesterday on the subject of men on TV assuming on my trust, why is this guy yelling at me about something different every time I watch TV?

Billy Mays, you need to tone it down a bit, OK? You do seem like a pretty nice guy, but is all that yelling necessary?

I think not.

Do you yell like that at home? When you come in the door after a hard day of filming OxyClean and Kaboom commercials, do yell at your family?

(Mentally picturing Billy Mays walking in at home...wife and kids frantically trying to stuff those yellow foam ear plugs in their ears...)

Door slams open:





Speaking of Kaboom, it's now a cleaning product, but does any one out there that is my age, around 45, remember a cereal in the early 1970's called Kaboom! with a clown on the box and in the commercials?

Oh, well. I guess I'm the only one.

Oh. My. Gosh. I looked for an image of a box of Kaboom, and General Mills still makes this cereal!

That kinda reassures my faith in humanity just a wee little bit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who The Heck Is T. Boone Pickens?

Seems like every time I turn on the radio or that newfangled contraption, the TV, some older gentleman says, "Hi. I'm T. Boone Pickens…" and proceeds to tell me how wind energy is gonna save America.

First of all, I'm no genius, but I know that wind energy will only be part of the answer to our energy dependence on foreign oil.

I'm one of the great unwashed masses that firmly believes that America can, and should, pursue Each And Every proven energy source that we know of and quit paying billions of dollars per year to people who hate us and if they had half a chance would kill us all, for oil.

So while I think we should be drilling for oil every place in America and off our shores that we can, I also believe we should be building nuclear power plants out the wazoo, wind farms, solar, EVERYTHING, including oil.

When I hear politicians talk about "alternative" energy as if it is there, we're just not using it, I want to scream. The truth is that wind and solar energy and hydrogen powered and battery technology for electric cars are ALL in their infancy. They aren't nearly ready to be our prime sources of energy for power and locomotion yet. It will be years.

Oil infrastructure and nuclear power are well understood, and if the politicians, both democrat and republican would "fast track," or reduce the legislative red tape on using them more, we could meet our own energy needs in a matter of years.

But I'm way off subject now, back to T. Boone Pickens.

Who is this guy, and why should I listen to him?

Because, silly or not, I have an instinctive mistrust of men or women who use their first initial AND their middle name, like lots of lawyers do. Maybe I just answered my own self as to why I have an innate mistrust of people who use their first initial and their middle name, because lawyers do that a lot.

Then this guy whom I've never seen nor heard of comes on TV and says he's T. Boone Pickens like some personal injury lawyer that assumes I surely know who he is, when I don't. And there's that "T. Boone" initial and middle name thing that sounds so stinkin' self important, and that I have a natural born distrust of and it makes me immediately want to not believe what he says.

But I truly believe that wind energy is only a part of any long term energy solution, simply because the wind doesn't blow all the time. Same with solar power, there are lots of cloudy days, and heck, we have this thing in Florida, The Sunshine State, that is called night, where the sun doesn't shine AT ALL for many hours every day, so solar energy can't be but part of a long term energy solution for us.

Like it or not environmentalists, and normal folks like me who care about the planet but aren't stark ravin' crazy thinking that plants mean more than people and their livelihoods, plain old crude oil is THE major source of our energy all over the world, and it won't cease to be number one for years yet.

I believe that by the time the oil runs out, we'll be able to have the mature forms of nuclear, hydrogen cars, solar and wind energy to fill in the void. But we're nowhere near that point yet, SO LET'S JUST DRILL FOR AND GET OUR OWN DANG OIL, OK?!

And as for YOU, T. Boone, I'm not at all sure yet that I trust you.

Sarcastically yours,

J. Alden Masters

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We picked up Big Brother's Daughter Sunday night at the Orlando airport.

She's 20 and down from Utah to visit with us a while. We plan to grind her down to nothing with just how boring life can be in Florida. It seems that the rain will be an integral part of our nefarious plan.

Almost every day for several weeks now it has been raining. Florida rains are a bit different from what the rest of America gets.

The thunder storms mostly happen in the afternoons, when the winds shift between westerly to easterly. The warm ocean air hits the drier air of the morning and Poof!, instant rain showers.

Then, when it's all over, since most of the ground here is sandy, the water is gone pretty quick, so you can get back out and do stuff.

The land is so flat and low here, that anywhere buildings are put up, they are required to dig retention ponds next to them to provide adequate drainage until the water can be absorbed.

These retention ponds around businesses are often made into an attractive part of the landscape. The one for the set of buildings where I work is really full and pretty now. It has a nice sidewalk all the way around it and is a great place for walking...when it isn't raining. (And if we're really lucky, an alligator wanders into a pond at work, prompting our Security to interrupt their endless games of spades and send out a warning email to us all to neither approach or feed the alligators. Duh.)

The buildings where I work are mostly without any windows, and are pretty well sound proof, so when I can hear thunder inside at work, I know it's really bad outside.

So Niece and Number One Daughter went to the beach this morning and hopefully got their fill of the incredibly hot sun and humidity before this afternoon's storms started.

If you have ever been near here to Orlando's attractions, you've probably experienced the afternoon showers, only ours here on the coast tend to be more stormy than the one's in-state.

The worst part of the storms is that one of our dogs, Lilly, is scared of thunder, and when I hear it thunder during the day at work, I picture her cowering under something at home, trembling. She's really emotional and thunder truly scares her, while the other dogs look at her like, "What's wrong with you?"

Here's a pic of Lilly in Alpha Dog Mode, barking at us, demanding whatever food we were so foolish as to leave on the counter where she can smell it.

That's about all I have to say for today. In fact, I'll probably be entering this post in the "Most Boring Blog Post Ever" contest, if there is such a thing.

I think I have a real winner here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unless You Are Deaf, Dumb, and Blind... are aware that The Barak Of Obama is in the middle east and Europe on a whirlwind campaign tour to people who cannot vote in our election this fall.

Michelle Malkin's site was showing photoshopped examples of what Obama's world tour t-shirts should look like.

Here's a couple of my favorites:

The three main news anchors from the three major networks are over there following The Barak Of Obama's every move with love and adoration. If you were suspicious that the main stream news workers in America where totally in the tank for Obama, you no longer have room for any doubt, do you?

On Glenn Beck's radio program this morning, they had a fake news story that Obama had taken a tumble at one of the events for him in Europe today. Apparently Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Charlie Gibson were kissing the ground that Obama was about to walk on instead of the ground that he had walked on , and Obama tripped over them. The way they did it was perfect, as if the reporter was breathless in worry over Obama having "fallen."