Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 25 December 2009

In The Ditch

EightA Ditch in North Carolina

A little voice inside is telling me that I've become overconfident in my driving skills.

A huge wrecker arrives and winches me out. There is very little permanent damage. A little paint scratch on the right rear cargo compartment appears to be the extent of it.

We wandered though Savannah on the 23rd to see the old mansions and beautiful town squares once again.

I have an existential dilemma. I have provided my e-mail address to an individual who wanted to send out information about tennis at the RV park where we winter. Somehow, this individual feels that it is somehow appropriate to send out almost treasonous remarks about our current Commander-in-Chief. I find his presumption that I would share his views irritating, at best.

What should I do with this curmudgeon? Lack of rejection might be interpreted as acceptance. I do accept that everyone has a right to and opinion, but my personal God of Enlightenment does not extend this proposition to the view all that opinions are equally well formed or even rational.

On the other hand, I'm reluctant to enter into a debate with a moron. I'm sure that if I wrote to "Dear Abbey", she would tell me that this individual has committed a gross violation of E-mail etiquette. I'd place this individual in my SPAM filter, but Mrs. Phred counts on the tennis updates. Perhaps I'll get Mrs. Phred her own E-mail account so I don't have to hear from this fool again?

Perhaps another, more subtle approach would be to make my next donation to the Obama reelection campaign in his name so he could receive lots of e-mails from Barrack, Michelle and the DNC.. Would that be identity theft? I wonder.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Mighty Eighth Air Force

Savannah, Georgia

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum is on exit 102 of Interstate 95 in Georgia. We've passed it a 100 times and I've always been interested but the timing has always been wrong.

I give the Museum a big thumbs up. The exhibits are very thoughtful and I enjoyed it at least as much as the Imperial War Museum in London.

Over 350,000 men served in this mighty war machine. They were scattered in scores of bases in eastern England. They were a huge collection of B-17s, B-24s, P-47s, P-38s and P-51s. Over 26,000 of the men that served in this outfit were killed and an equal number were taken prisoner after being shot down.

At times, the Eighth could mobilize 2,000 heavy bombers a day and 1,000 long range escort fighters for raids on German aircraft factories, ball bearing plants, rail yards and oil refineries. When D-Day came on June 6, 1944, there were no German planes over the beaches. The Luftwaffe had been decimated and total air supremacy had been achieved by the Eighth Air Force.

One of the unanticipated consequences of the success of the Mighty Eighth was that the Germans moved their aircraft production far to the East, out of bombing range. As a result, the Soviets captured the latest German aircraft factories and engineers, giving them a major boost in the early cold war.

I took the picture below on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. It's the American Cemetery in Normandy on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It's beautifully maintained by the French. About half of the graves were officers and enlisted men of the Eighth Air Force who died before D-Day. Dozens of buses filled with French schoolchildren arrived that day at the cemetery to place roses on the graves. Viva la France.

On The Road

Savannah, Georgia

We found a nice campground just outside Savannah. It has a big lake with lots of swans.

Today we'll visit Savannah again and take some holiday pictures. More later.

Sunset in Sarasota comes about 5:30 on the Winter Solstice.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Sweet Memory

There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
At age 66 I seem to live more and more within a memory palace and think about the past.

My first memory is of a snake sticking its head out of a hole in the front yard of my grandmother's house in New York. It was probably the Spring of 1945. I also remember attacking my father with a toy hoe after he came back from Germany in early 1946 and tried to assert his authority. I was astounded with the ease with which he disarmed me. I have lots of other childhood memories. I hope they don't just slip away.

Mom's memory is gone at age 86. She knows who I am so far, but that may not last long.

I remember the Junior High School hazing that we had to endure. They painted us with lipstick on our way to class in the seventh grade. Then there was the bully Billy Mitchell. He had been held back so many times that he towered over everyone else. Also there was Provo, a very muscular bully who was later fried in the electric chair for murder. I had to fight them both, knowing I was doomed to lose...but A man has to do what a man has to do.

It was double session Junior High school for me so I was left alone in the morning. My brother and sister were in regular sessions in grade school and both Mom and Pop were working. Sometimes I made donuts with a can of Crisco. I remember doing push ups to try to develop my strength and playing 45 RPM records very loud like Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire".

The girl next door was really hot and she often sat with me in a tree and tried to make me interested in her, while not really being interested in me. I often wonder what she looks like now at age 66. At 13 she was special. There's a certain memorable fire in being 13 and getting your first fondling and French kiss from a pretty girl. Maybe I won't forget.

Anyway, most of my friends are dead already. Some at 19, some at 21, some in airplane crashes, some at 35 and others at 53. I sometimes think that my life is somehow charmed and I'm immune from death from lung cancer or other causes. If I died somehow, the universe would immediately cease to exist.

Last summer I took Mrs. Phred to Jurarez, sister city of El Paso. There are 3,000 murders a year there related to drugs and we are the only Americans crossing the border that day. We bought some wallets and had lunch. Last night Mrs. Phred saw a TV program about the out of control Juarez murders and chastised me for taking her there. I explain that by standing tall with a steely-eyed glint it protects her from cowardly miscreants

We lived on a Tampa street where the city kept dumping oyster shells to keep the street passable. The Mosquito control people kept coming by with the Fog trucks and we all ran behind them breathing in the poison. At least we didn't get Yellow Fever or Malaria.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Howdy, Pilgrim!

If you live in an RV, the chances are that you haven't allocated any space for a rolling pin. Here's a hint from Phred...You can use a wine bottle to roll out your pie crust. I'm making a blueberry with French vanilla ice cream for the à la mode. I wanted to do a home made pumpkin pie, but the shelves were empty of ingredients yesterday so I did store bought with a can of whipped cream for a topping.
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you've been a naughty boy
you let your face grow long

I am the pieman
they are the piemen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

It is widely believed that America's first Thanksgiving took place in December 1621 as the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Thanksgiving became a formal national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

It has become a tradition for the sitting President to pardon one turkey each Thanksgiving and a flock of others upon leaving office. This helps with the fund raising for the Presidential Libraries which we enjoy visiting so much...Good luck, Bernie Madoff!

There are three places in the United States named after the Thanksgiving holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, is the most populous with 492 residents; followed by Turkey Creek, La. (357); and Turkey N.C. (269).

on average, Americans consume about 18 pounds of turkey each year...about one turkey each. The price of turkey is still very reasonable at about $1 a pound (bones and all), although some cuts, such as processed deli turkey breast may be priced closer to $6 a pound. Only a few million turkeys are imported and 96% of the imports are from Canada.

In college, when money was short, I often made turkey neck soup in a pressure cooker, since a corollary of "some cuts are expensive" is that others are very cheap.

In my my morning search for turkey jerky recipes, I ran across this cartoon gem from 1945 called "Jerky Turkey".

Happy Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Is Thought the Mother to the Deed?

Sarasota, Florida

If so, my brain is still mostly pregnant.

The weight room is a few steps away, and I think about working out every day. So far, I've walked over once to look at the weights and work out equipment.

There's a dive trip to Normandy coming up. 50 degree water, poor visibility, strong currents, extreme depths and lots of unexploded ordinance. I'm definitely thinking about it.

The old folks play sand volleyball barefoot all day right across the street from where we are parked. They scream and cavort like grade school kids. It looks like fun. Definitely worth thinking about.

The pool mostly clears out about dark and I've been seriously thinking about swimming some laps to get in shape. Most nights I take my old fins and dive booties down to the pool and order a dark rum and coke at the tiki bar. Once I actually jumped in and did a few laps...mostly fin kicks and backstokes.

I've been reading about three books a day for the past few weeks. The county library is nearby and I've been discovering new authors. One way to do that is to look for an author with a bunch of books on the shelf and sample one. Another way is to check favorite authors for something unread or just something good that one hasn't read for awhile. I reread "Blood Work" by Michael Connelly yesterday. It was almost as good as the first time.

My cousin Kate came by last week and spent a couple of nights with us. We had a picnic with Mom, but she didn't remember Kate or quite understand how they were related. I used my James Bond picnic basket with the cute plates, linens, wine glasses and silverware. We had Pinot Grigio, chocolate fudge, fruit salad, potato salad and a baked chicken. It was a nice visit in a deserted park on the Withlachootchee River. I think "chootchee" must be Indian for river.

We're heading out to pick up some pies and things for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I'm thinking about building more sandcastles.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Man for All Seasons

It was 44 years ago today that I met Mrs. Phred. It was at a Tallahassee cast party for the play, "A Man for All Seasons". I knew by the U.S. Army gas mask bag that she was carrying for a purse that she was special and different from the Southern blonds with the penny loafers. She was between causes. The civil rights thing had petered out although she had many arrests in New York City and Tallahassee to her credit. The Viet Nam thing was just heating up

I asked her home to play Monopoly. She dumped her date and the rest is history. Heloise and Abelard. Anthony and Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, Mr. and Mrs. Phred...

The thing about the play was that it had so many interesting characters that were struggling in the 1600s with the same issues that still face us today. Wolsey. Thomas More, Richie Rich. Oliver Cromwell, The Duke of Norfolk, Henry VIII. Then there was "everyman" who played so many parts.

As a matter of conscience, Sir Thomas More found himself unable to endorse Henry's wish to divorce the barren Catherine of Aragon and marry Ann Boleyn.

The Duke of Norfolk: Why do you insult me with this lawyer's chatter?
Sir Thomas More: Because I am afraid.
The Duke of Norfolk: Man, you're ill. This isn't Spain, you know. This is England.

Cromwell: The King wants Sir Thomas to bless his marriage. If Sir Thomas appeared at the wedding, now, it might save us all a lot of trouble.
The Duke of Norfolk: Aaahh, he won't attend the wedding.
Cromwell: If I were you, I'd try and persuade him. I really would try... if I were you.
The Duke of Norfolk: Cromwell, are you threatening me?
Cromwell: My dear Norfolk... this isn't Spain. This is England.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

That brings us to the impending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Before this Arab scum was ever waterboarded he bragged to Al Jeezira about personally decapitating Daniel Pearl and planning and coordinating the 9/11 attack that killed 3.000 innocents.

While a bullet in the back of the head might have been my own preference and saved money, even the devil deserves the rule of law for our own safety's sake.

This isn't Russia, you know, this is America.


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Nothing to Report

Sarasota, Florida

Veteran's day has come and gone. I hope our President will support our troops by bringing them home. That's all I have to say about that.
The tiki bar has resumed normal hours of operation with happy hour from 11am to 11pm.

The pool has been resurfaced and refilled. The deep end is now 6', 3". I can stand on the bottom and stick out my nose.

Hurricane Ida has influenced our weather for the last week. Lots of overcast skies, wind and rain.

We went to the Sarasota marina this week. O'leary runs another outdoor tiki bar there with nightly live music.

The 2010 calendar is at the printers. Hopefully it will be in the mail by December.

A village in Poland was being troubled by a male and a female pair of marauding bears who were eating the village children.

The village elders placed an advertisement in the Bear Hunter's Gazette.

Three hunters answered the ad: A German, a Russian and a Checkoslovackian. They all went out bear hunting and none of them returned.

The village elders called in the Polish Army who slaughtered the bears with machine guns.

The bears were taken in for a necropsy and when they cut open the female bear they found parts of the Russian and the German bear hunters.

One elder turned to the others and said, "We can safely assume that the Check in in the male".

I could trade in the RV and live on a boat.

We would need a dive platform on our new boat.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Sarasota, Florida
This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free

I can visualize the 2010 calendar. Mrs. Phred has her birthday today. She tells me she is 39 today. I cannot doubt it. Sometimes I believe six impossible things before breakfast.

Add Image
We have a reservation at "La Europa" at 7:30 tonight. I can already visualize a bottle of chilled Savignon Blanc. We've been going there together for 40 years. Apparently she was very young to start.

Jackson Hole has some great scenery. The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and other places.

Maybe some of these pictures will make the calendar. Maybe not.

This is somewhere around Utah near the Dinosaur National Monument. The in situ Allosaurus bones were not very pretty.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Pike's Peak

Thursday, 29 October 2009

You Can't Keep the Wild Ones

Sarasota, Florida

Salmon fishing in Oregon is good. We cut though the cool fog on the Pacific Ocean for an hour or so, then catch our limit of six Coho salmon in a couple of hours. We can only keep the hatchery salmon with the clipped adipose fins. We throw the wild ones back.

The Oregon sand dunes extend for miles. The weather is very cool on the coast, even in July.

There seems to be a prevailing wind.

This is called Devil's Churn. You get some strange wave effects as the tide changes.

I have an appointment with the Veteran's Administration this morning. They will provide Mom with a pension to help pay for her care at the assisted living center. The application takes five or six months to grind though the bureaucracy. You have to be a combat veteran or a veteran's spouse to receive this assistance.

This seal is clapping for fish parts. He hangs around where the fishing boats clean fish for the customers.

The "feels like" temperature in Sarasota today will be over 100 degrees.

The Columbia River near where Lewis and Clark spent a dismal winter eating salmon until they were sick of it.

The Columbia a few hundred miles to the east of the ocean.