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

Saturday, 31 January 2009

B Bird's the Word

Sarasota, Florida

This bird lives in the ditch in front of the RV. It fishes all day.

A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird
Bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word

A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a don't you know about the bird?
Well, everybody's talking about the bird!
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird...

Surfin' bird
Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb... [retching noises]... aaah!


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Break Out the Toboggan

Sarasota, Florida

Happy days are here again,
the skies above are clear again,
so let’s sing a song of cheer again,
happy days are here again

The toboggan sits in a little consignment shop in Tampa, Florida. It's one of those useless things that people drag to Florida when they move, like the snow shovels that I've found dumpster diving.

I ask about the price and negotiate it down to almost nothing. The wood strips are alternately dark and light. It has a detachable green canvas cushion. The bottom is a little scraped up from running over rocks, I think.

I take it into my workshop and sand it down and then apply dark and light stain to restore the appearance. I finish it with three coats of varnish, use pumice to smooth it out and reattach the cushion. It's a beauty...a little extra Christmas present.

The toboggan stands in my grandchildren's living room for over three years. I guess they like it well enough to use it as sort of a room decoration.

The oldest called me yesterday. He wants to show us the four inches of snow on his Skype program. Break out the toboggan!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Reunion Happens

Melbourne, Florida

Family reunions used to attract more people. We have a photo of a 1929 reunion in Ithaca, New York with about 80 in attendance. Mobility in the 20th century has fragmented American families. It's much harder to get a big attendance now. The 1929 photo shows Uncle Bert, staring out with James Dean's intensity and charisma.

My three cousins and I were all born within two months in 1943 while our fathers were in Europe or the Pacific. The three Robinson brothers and their little sister, my mother, all produced offspring before going overseas. This picture was probably taken 61 years and 23 days ago on Christmas day, 1947. I'm the handsome one on the left in both photos below.

We try to get together every five or ten years. Here we are again, yesterday, without the coyboy outfits. The cutie just to my right in both photos is cousin Kate. The strangest thing that happened to us was attending basic training in the Air Force at the same moment in 1963 and going together to see a movie at Lackland Air Force Base.

Jeff and Everett are to our right. We're all veterans, I think, like our fathers. My favorite niece came to the reunion. There is no one there near her age so we spend a long time playing darts, fooseball and talking. She's a sweetie and gives me a long hug at the breakfast after the reunion. That's Mom in the background. She's in the 1929 photo as well.

We managed to sqeeze in a trip to the Melborne Musuem of Art to see an Annie Liebowitz photo display of women. It was enough to make me feel very humble. I really liked the picture of Sigorney Weaver and the one of Oprah Winfrey. They didn't allow photograpy, so here is a picture of a plant growing outside the Melborne museum.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A Day at the Beach

Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota

With a wind off the Gulf, a temperature 0f 70 degrees F. and sunny blue skies, Mrs. Phred kept saying things today about paradise...

There were a lot of dead fish on the beach. I don't think it was Red Tide. The scavenger gulls were feasting.

And it really didn't have to just kept on going.
And so castles made of sand slips into the sea,
- Jimi Hendrix

Hope springs eternal...this guy had two poles, a cooler full of sandwiches and a large supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Sometimes you see disturbing things on the beach. This looked like a chunk of human flesh, but I think, after touching it with a toe, that it's just a piece of soft coral that broke loose and washed up on the beach.

We used to have a Miami band called "Dead German Tourist". They were formed because German tourists kept making the mistake of turning into Liberty City in Miami on their trip between the Miami airport and Miami Beach. At the time, rental cars had special licence plates...that was a little like wearing a sign on your back saying, "shoot me".

I'm trying to talk Mrs. Phred into three months in a Maui condo next winter so that she can gain some perspective on paradise. I stopped in Honolulu about 50 times on trips to SE Asia and back. It was always delightful...Even so, Sarasota has some lovely beaches. They rate among the ten best in the world...Don't know who gets to decide...Today they were crowded with snowbirds, locals, seagulls and live German tourists.