Saturday, July 26, 2008


It's been a crazy busy week. I know I sound like a broken record with that line, but tis the season. I'll be by to check in with you all this weekend

Another week...another Wordzzle. I love these things!

Have you been reading these over the past few weeks and thought, "I should give this a try sometime." ? ? ? If you have then there's no better time than the present to jump in and give it a go. Stop by Raven's if you need a little more encouragement. I'm sure she'll tell you there's always room for one more.

Ten Word Challenge: follow-up, buffalo wings, silversmith, furniture, as the crow flies, little red roadster, photograph, pencil pusher, argument, streaking

And for the Mini Challenge: Ireland, mashed potatoes, book worm, fog horn, T.S. Eliot

The ten word:

Poor Barnaby, all his life he'd been viewed as the geeky little pencil pusher born to the town's silversmith. No more he vowed! No longer would the argument be made that he was as forgettable as a piece of discarded furniture.

His plan was to "borrow" the mayor's little red roadster and drive it throughout this stinking conservative town of Buffalo. Wings were the only thing that would carry him faster than this car, but he would have to force himself to take it easy, a slow methodical pace was what he sought. Although the trip across town was only about two miles as the crow flies, Barnaby's plan would take him on a meandering drive along every single street he could think of.

By itself stealing the mayors car would be daring enough, but this young lad had another twist in mind. Since the roadster was a convertible, he decided in order to really get people's attention, he'd perform his little joy ride butt naked! To follow-up his ambitious stunt he would then park the car at city hall and and be seen streaking across the parking lot and into the courthouse, where he was sure to be arrested.

He really didn't care what the ramifications of his actions were though. This would be a day he could tell his grand children about, (that is provided his father let him live long enough to actually see his later years.)

Well the fateful day arrived, and everything went just as he had planned, right down to the arrest. The local news showed up to catch the story and the next day's paper had a photograph of Barnaby with the following headline:

"Geek's streak, lands bare butt in a sling!"

The Mini:

Looking up from his bowl of mashed potatoes, Eli shouted out at the level of a foghorn, "You don't know the difference between a heart worm and a book worm. T.S. Elliot wasn't born in Ireland, he was born in America!"

The Mega:

I couldn't believe it. Here we were sitting in a pub in Ireland and what were we eating? Buffalo wings of all things! I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but for some reason that was not it. Some sort of mashed potato concoction perhaps, but no matter, we followed-up our spicy snack with a couple more pints and all was right with the planet once again.

Looking around the room, I was struck by a photograph of T. S. Elliot hanging on one of the walls. What caught my eye was the frame. It was like a fine piece of furniture. the hand crafted walnut was adorned by the exquisite works of a local silversmith. The combination made an otherwise ordinary photo of a book worm, extraordinary.

My buddy saw me admiring the craftsmanship before me and proceeded to start a mock argument. "That's not art. Look, this is what I'm talking about!"

As I looked to where he was pointing, I couldn't help but burst out laughing. There on the wall behind the bar was a photo of about a dozen women streaking across a soccer field after Ireland's win over Spain a few years earlier. No one would ever accuse my buddy of being a meager little pencil pusher.

Just then we heard the foghorn outside bellow out. This signaled that it was time for us to hop into our rented little red roadster and head for our next destination. It was only about fifty miles away as the crow flies, but with all the twisty, turny roads it would easily feel like double that.

"Come on mate," I said, "time to roll!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Open Captioned

Alright, I'm getting back into the swing of things...kind of. I've got a busy work week ahead of me but I'll see if I can't come up with something in the next couple of days.

In the mean time, since I'm over worked and under inspired I thought I'd give you all an opportunity to take charge and have some creative fun here.

While cruising through some photos on line I found this one and it just screamed, "I need a caption!"

Your mission, should you decide to accept it is to provide a cleaver caption for each of the guys.

Let's see what you've got.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Unhappy Aniversary

One year ago today, July 20, 2007 the world lost a truly great man.

This man was a retired veteran of the United States Navy, having served aboard an aircraft carrier during the time of the Korean War. The skills he learned in the Navy, along with an upbringing that instilled the value of an honest day's work would ultimately propel him to a very successful career in the California Department of Forestry.

This man would meet a beautiful young woman who he would later ask to marry him. This would prove to be one of the best decisions of his young life. They would share some fifty years of marriage and raise three boys along the way. As one would expect in any marriage of that length, there were a few bumps along the way, but through it all they remained faithful to each other and deeply in love to the end. His wife still maintains a residence in the Pacific northwest and spends her time volunteering with youth in the court system and watching her nine grand children grow.

This man's oldest son, who bares the same name as his father, eventually followed in his dad's footsteps by joining up with CDF many years ago. He is currently in his last year on the job overseeing a convict crew, cutting fire lines throughout the hills and mountains of California. In February he will trade in his shovel and chain saw for an iced tea and a table saw as he retires and enjoys long days in his woodworking shop. If you look closely at the sky, you can just about see the man looking down at his eldest son with a beam of pride watching his accomplishments through the years.

This man's middle son was always something of a rebel, maybe not a black sheep of the family, but more like dark gray one. Although he did work for one summer in CDF, the rigid structure of that environment didn't suit his style. As this middle son approached the teenage years, the man's hair turned from black to gray as he watched his son grow from a boy to a man. Through all the wild times however, the love the two had for each other never diminished one bit.

This man's youngest son, (by far the best looking of the bunch), would also find a beautiful woman to marry and later begin the process of raising two boys of his own. He would learn first hand the values his father placed in him, like dedication, honesty, hard work, determination, trust and a host of others. He would watch with great delight as his dad engaged with his own boys, remembering the days of his youth. Some of the lessons his dad tried to teach him so many years before now seemed so clear to him. There was admittedly more than one occasion he wished he could go back and learn them the first time through, but alas, life does not always give us that luxury. This youngest son would vow to raise his children with the same amount of love and integrity that his father had.

So just who is this man that I speak of? Are you wondering who in Hollywood might have passed away a year ago? Maybe he was a political figure that brought great change to the world? Perhaps he was a legendary sports figure that was idolized by fans everywhere?

Well, I'm quite sure you didn't read about his days on Earth in the papers or see his face on the television, let alone the big screen. If you'd seen him at a baseball stadium, it wouldn't have been on the field, instead he would have blended right in with the crowd, sitting there in the stands with his family. As far as politics were concerned? He did meet and shake hands with President Ford once, but that was about as close to the White House as he ever cared to be.

This man was a true hero of mine, a legend to me. He was larger than life and he was always the one I wanted to be growing up. No, to find this man you would have had to look no further than our living room. This man was my father.

There are a million stories I could share with you about the times we spent together, but for now I'm going to keep them tucked away in my own heart. Perhaps that a bit selfish, but today I need those memories to hold me up. I've shed a few tears as I've written this, and I'm sure more will fall before the day is done. That's ok though, it's just part of the process I guess. If I didn't have have such fond memories of my dad, then the tears wouldn't come, and that would be far worse.

I know not everyone is as fortunate as I to have had such a great roll model in their life. For that I'm truly sorry. I can only share my story and hope that it in some way it helps fill a void in your heart.

If you do have your parents still with you, consider picking up the phone or getting in the car and going for a visit. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

I love you dad!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Time once again for another Saturday afternoon Wordzzle brought to by our hostess with the mostess, Raven of Views from the Ravens Nest. For a full rundown on the parameters of the writing challenge and to meet the other participants go by and say hi to her.

I decided to do a mega Wordzzle this week. (using all the words listed below in a story) Hope you enjoy it.

Ten Word Challenge will be: cardboard box, liquor cabinet, ostrich feathers, longitudinal, hamburger helper, partnership, laundry detergent, magnificent, San Francisco, prognosis

And for the Mini Challenge: worst case scenario, marginalia, water fountain, specialized, fortitude

"What a magnificent day this was going to be," thought Alex. The channel six meteorologist had offered up his weather prognosis for the area and according to him there was a ridge of high pressure holding fast to a longitudinal line just off the San Francisco bay.

On the other hand, to say that Barry was anything but anxious about participating in his first Bay to Breakers, a mini marathon, would have been an understatement. His partner Alex, somehow had convinced him that this was going to be fun and as much as Barry wanted to believe it, he still wasn't sure a 12k run could be classified as anything but pure torture.

"Alex, I don't know if I'm going to be able to do this," Barry petitioned, "I mean unlike you, I don't have any specialized type of training for this sort of thing, and in fact I'm pretty sure the Hamburger Helper I had for dinner last night doesn't exactly qualify as a runners meal!"

"Oh pla-lease," replied Alex, "you're always one for the dramatics aren't you? In fact, I don't remember seeing you this worked up since the time we switched from scented to unscented laundry detergent. Besides, what's the worst thing that could happen?"

"Worst case scenario?" Barry said, "How about I make it half way through the race and throw up a lung?"

Alex fired back, "Oh would you please stop being such a Nancy boy and get over yourself, and anyway I already told you it's just about having some fun, we're not in it to try to win the darn thing. Even if we were though, there's one thing I've learned in this partnership, you'd have the fortitude to see you through it."

As much as he appreciated the compliment, Barry still wasn't completely buying it until Alex reached into a cardboard box that had been sitting next to the liquor cabinet and pulled out their costumes, complete with a boa of multi-colored ostrich feathers.

", those are gorgeous!" Barry exclaimed, "I might be able to do this after all! Quick, go get my notebook so I can remember where all the water fountains are along the route."

"You mapped out their locations?" asked Alex.

"You bet your sweet little butt cheeks I did. I put notations in the marginalia of my map book just in case I went through with this."

"Marginalia?" said Alex with a smile, "Who other than you would use such a word? You are such a goof, I love that about you. Now put on these tights and let's get going."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where is What is it?

The title sounds a bit like an Abbot and Costello routine doesn't it? Well here we are on Friday and I have decided to give the guessing game at least a week off. I haven't made up my mind whether to do it again next week or if it has perhaps run its course for a while.

Another reason for a postponement of it is because Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of my fathers death, and I just don't much feel like being jovial on that particular day with my post. Not to worry though, I'm not sitting around in a heap of despair. I'm actually doing ok considering. Just a bit of the blahs I guess.

I'll probably do a post on Sunday about my dad, so I won't go into it more now save to say, he was a damn fine guy and I miss having him around.

See you all tomorrow with another Wordzzle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Made in the USA

With the recent acquisition of Budweiser the "American Larger", by Belgium/Brazilian based Inbev, it got me to thinking about the possible name combinations of this and other potential foreign and domestic partnerships.

1. In the case of Inbev, it also owns/produces the beer BECKS, so I'm thinking a logical name combining the two would be Beckweiser..."the sellout stout".

2. The now defunct IndyMac Bank could join forces with Swiss cheese makers and become Indy Mac N Cheese.

3. In an effort to stabilize the economy in Iraq and to enable the the women of that country to finally openly express their sexuality, Hollywood will lose its claim to the lingerie business when Frederick's of Baghdad opens its doors this winter. Look for full length head to toe covering black bustiers coming to a store near you soon.

4. Speaking of the middle east, the US will attempt to free itself form its dependency on overseas oil by partnering with our neighbors to the south. The next time you go to fill up, keep your eyes open for Mexxon.

5. As part of the trickle down effect even the nation's farmers will find the need to outsource. Vegetables will now be picked fresh and then shipped to the Mediterranean where the new Del Monte Carlo will can them. Unfortunately a 10 oz. can of green beans will now cost approximately $278.00

6. In order to stay competitive with the far east in retail electronics, Americans will now have to shop at Budapest Buy for their new computers and video games. This will undoubtedly leave consumers Hungary for more selection.

7. The Dollar store will be taken over by the European Union and will be renamed the Euro Store. Americans will no longer be allowed to use good old fashioned greenbacks to make their purchases. Instead they will have to convert their currency to the Euro. The exchange rate against the weak dollar will unfortunately make it impossible for the average person to afford anything in the store.

8. The British will finally get a some pay back for that little tea party America threw a couple hundred years ago when it takes over the fast food industry by combining all the the current chains into the new conglomerate to be called Burger Queen of England. Every item available will now come complete with a side order of Imperial Tax.

9. Realizing that this global takeover of previously American held companies will lead to extremely large unemployment rates, resulting in the increased number of homeless, the White House will revamp the nation's leading home improvement store into a new social program known as The Homeless Depot. The shelves that used to be lined with power tools and lumber, will now be stocked with shopping carts and cardboard. Sign making workshops will be held at freeway off ramps at each location during the morning and evening commutes.

Feel free to share any others I may have overlooked.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Field of Frustration

(Photo from the movie set Field of Dreams)

A few months ago a group of about a dozen teenagers started clearing brush and debris off of a vacant city owned lot in Greenwhich, NY. They managed to fill three dumpsters with overgrown vegetation, some of which included poison ivy, as well as an assortment of trash that had been discarded over the years. They did this on their own too. No big earth day type of movement or anything fancy like that, and what's more is that the costs for the disposal bins came out of their own pockets.

Sounds pretty noble so far doesn't it? OK, they did have an ulterior motive behind their actions. Seems they were bored and wanted a place where they could play Whiffle Ball. (Similar to Baseball, but played with a plastic ball and a broom stick or a skinny plastic bat) Rather than vegetate in front of the TV playing video games or find some type of mischief elsewhere to engage in, they came up with the idea to turn an unused lot into their own field of dreams.

For the next three weeks they worked and cleaned the area then cut baselines and even built a 12' replica of the "Green Monster" (outfield fence) like the one at the Boston Red Sox home field. They hung an American flag on one side and a banner from Taco Bell on the other depicting some type of frozen drink they sell. The reason for the banner is that if a batter hits a home run, then the pitcher who gave it up must buy him one of these treats.

This was some good ole' fashioned, clean fun when it started, but then as the new play area became more popular, the surrounding neighbors started to complain...loudly. They (the boys through their actions) were creating parking issues, they hadn't obtained the proper permits to build this field, there were no public restrooms on site, no handicap access, it was too noisy, and probably the biggest complaint was the old liability card. Who would be responsible in case there was an accident?

Oh, did I mention that the lot has an estimated value of $1.25 million? Obviously the neighbors who are doing the complaining are also whining about how this "eyesore" is going to bring down their property values.

Egad, all this because a handful of kids wanted a place where they could hang out and play. I know there are valid arguments to both sides of the story here, but what have we come to as a society when we place more value on a piece of dirt and weeds than our youth?

What do you think should happen? Should the kids be allowed to continue playing or should the city force them to shut it down?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Is It #10 - Solved

Just got home from work and am sitting down for the first time all day. Sorry for the late post on these, it seems to be my theme for this week. I put a lot of miles on my truck with all the different jobs this week. My feet saw quite a few miles too. Tomorrow will be considered a day off. Wahoo!!! Oh wait, I better check with the boss to see if that's ok. I'm back. I just asked myself and I agreed with me, so I guess we're all in agreement. No worky for Jeffy manyana.

Time to put a close to the tenth installment of the world's favorite new game. Alright maybe that's a stretch. . . no that's actually quite a leap, but none the less, it's time for the answers and awards portion of our show.

As you realize now, this week's pictures weren't exactly the most difficult ones to date, but hey what can I say? I was thin on time and didn't want to completely abandon it for a week so, like Lisa and I tell the kids on occasion, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

I wonder if the majority of these Fire Hydrants are painted yellow because of the decorations that dogs like to give to them?

These Cell Phone Towers are sprouting up everywhere lately.

Catching the ball will be much easier with one of these Baseball Mitts

If you said trampoline (and most of you did), you would only be partially correct. How does this object remove pizza and sodas? By burning calories of course. That's because it's a Exercise Trampoline.

So who gets the Cracker Jack award this week? Well let's see Crystalchick of Mary Says did have all four of the answers that were mentioned by the majority of you first. And because she checked back in and read through the comments I left explaining that it wasn't in fact a full sized trampoline, but a small exercise type of one, she should be rightfully declared this week's winner.

Congrats Mary, aka Crystalchick!

Now for the Horse Laugh award. There were a few good ones in the mix this week, but the clear cut winner was Rhea of Texas Word Tangle who gave us these little treats:

1.The kind of helmet I put on my kids when they do ride their bikes on the highway
2. Something from the parasitologist's office
3. What the doctors use to catch babies during delivery.
4. A spanking net

Love her parenting skills from the first one. I'm definitely putting off my yearly exam after her second answer. I can just hear the doctor yelling, "You're outta here!" on number three. And I think I can speak for the majority of us when I say, "We want some clarification on number four." pictures are optional.

Congrats to Rhea, who by the way is the first one to bag both awards. Double points !!

Feel free to grab your awards from my sidebar

One last bit, if you enjoy reading the Wordzzles each Saturday, but missed mine from yesterday, it's there, but I didn't post it until late last night. There's my shameless plug for it.

Enjoy the last waning hours of your weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The phrase "better late than never" applies to my post this week. Although I wrote my two short offerings for Wordzzle last Sunday, I've been so ridiculously busy with work this week that I haven't had the time to type them up and get them posted until now, Saturday night at about 10:00pm, yeesh!

If you'd like to check out some of the other participants in this fun little weekly challenge of word usage, please go by and visit Raven. You'll be glad you did.

The words for the week: gouged, symmetrical, Spanish moss, ATV, parallel parking, Luscious, origami, amphibian, turkey, gravy train

And for the Mini Challenge: pouring rain, mastiff, church bells, wedding dress, stock car races

I created the shortest ten word story I think I've ever done. I generally have a hard time controlling the urge to ramble on as I write, but thought I'd try a condensed version for a change. Here goes:

Luscious Leftwater the self appointed amphibian origami master gouged symmetrical lines through the Spanish moss as he practiced parallel parking his ATV. "Taking my driving test tomorrow is going to be like riding on the gravy train," he said. "Don't be such a turkey Lu," his friend replied, "now focus and try again."

And now the mini, which is just a slightly longer the previous one:

Bonzo was a mammoth sized bull mastiff with a bad case of the slobbers. His master had to leave him in a makeshift kennel in the back of his pick-up when the gate attendant at the stock car race told him there were no dogs allowed inside the stands. Not wanting to be caged, Bonzo broke free and ran through pouring rain, across the dirt parking lot following the sound of distant church bells. Like a beast possessed, he barreled through the doors and charged up the isle to the alter. The guests jumped to their feet and gasped in horror as Bonzo shook wildly, flinging mud and mucus all over the brides wedding dress.

I'll be looking forward to a much quieter week coming up. Should have the time to do some catching up with you all then.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Is It #10

Hello boys and girls. Know what time it is? Well it ain't no Howdy Doody time, but is is time once again for a little bit of mental calisthenics. I origonally had a series of pictures with a theme to them all planned out to put up this week, but this crazy thing called life got in the way, so those will have to wait one more week. These I already had on hand, so that's what we're going with.

If you happen to be new to the site here's the quick run down. I'll give you four pics to look at today. Your object is to determine what the are. On Sunday I'll post an expanded view of them along with the answers. Clues to the answers are at the bottom of the page if you think you'll need them. I'm thinking you might not this week though.

Good luck.





Don't read if you don't want any hints

#1 They say dogs are a man's best friend. Well this might be a dogs.
#2 Can you hear me now?
#3 You're out!
#4 A pizza and soda remover

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Sky Is Falling Chicken Little

If you haven't already heard, then I'm truly sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the end of civilization as we know it is just around the corner. Hate to blurt it out like that, but there really isn't any good way to say your life expectancy is going to be shorter than my willie after seeing a porn flick starring Rosie O'Donnell and Mr Bean.

Now if this latest news of the apocalypse comes as a surprise to you don't feel too bad about being uninformed. I too didn't know of our impending doom until yesterday when I turned on my computer and there right before my very eyes was a story on the AOL sponsored news site telling me about it. Of course I knew it had to be true, because after all it was on the Internet!

Speaking of the net, let us all pause for a moment of silent praise to the distinguished Nobel Prize winner Global Warming Gore. (.............................) Where would we be if he hadn't have invented the world wide web? Thanks Al baby, you're such a true humanitarian.

Hmmm, where was I? Oh ya, the end of time. I'm sure at this point you're wondering just how much time we all have left on this little marble we like to call Earth. Well according to the ancient Mayans, it's just under four and a half years from now. More specifically, December 21, 2012 or 12/21/12 if your a numerology freak. Hope I didn't insult Tom Cruise with that one. Oh wait, that's Scientology, damn I always get those two mixed up.

Let's take a look at that date shall we? It happens to fall on the winter solstice, which, I guess if your going to end the world isn't too bad of a day to do it. I mean come on, it's the shortest day of the year, which means it's going to get dark really early, probably be really flippin cold and none of us will have finished our Christmas shopping by then anyway. Why not cut your loses and just end it all then. It's not like you'd want the world to end during the middle of summer when it's pleasent outside and there's a chance you might get invited to another pool party.

Personally I think it's going to be the Republicans fault and here's my reasoning. Obama is likely going to win this year's election, because come on, who in their right mind is going to vote for nuke 'em all McCain. After four years of Barack's stay in office we will realize that he is just another greasy politician who has promised us the moon and the stars but has delivered to us the same load of crap about how it's not his fault that things aren't changing, it's because the House and Congress can't agree on anything. This will in turn irritate the American people so much that they will finally elect Ralph Nader to the office of Presidency in 2012. The Green Party will at long last have their victory during that November only to watch the world end a month later, thus once again seeing their candidate miss his chance at siting in the directors chair. And why you might ask will this be the Republicans fault? Come on everybody knows when crappy things happen to our country their always the ones behind it right?...I mean left!

So with my last few years here on Earth I'm going to:
  1. Cancel my long term health insurance.
  2. In the last month, use up every one of my roll-over minutes on my cell phone plan.
  3. In the same day sign up for a ten year contract to get that shinny new phone.
  4. I'm going to refinance my home with a balloon payment due in five years.
  5. On the last day I'm going to run around the house with a sharp pair of scissors just to see what happens.

What will you be doing?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What Is It #9 - Solved

Before we begin, I've finally updated my blog roll, so please take a look at it and if I've missed anybody feel free to let me know in the comments or by email and I'll be sure to add your name.

OK time to take a look at this week's winners and an expanded view of the picture(s).

This time around there are two winners for the Cracker Jack award. (Awards in my sidebar if you'd like them) First one is a fellow north westerner, Travis from Trav's Thoughts. He jumped right in and recognized all of them right off the bat. Nice going Travis.

The next winner hails a bit farther to the south. Rhea of Texas Word Tangle was the second to get all three correct but gets the crown too because she went for the bonus by identifying one of the two themes as camping. (the other was red, white and blue) Congrats Rhea!

A couple of you asked, "Do you ever use these things...they look so clean?" To put your minds at ease ( because I know you've been loosing sleep ever since) yes they do get used, but here's why they look the way they do:

The sleeping bags were bought a couple of days before this trip. Nice 25 degree bags from Costco, good price too. This was their maiden voyage so they are in as good of shape as they'll ever be. The cooler, well let's just say I'm really anal retentive about things that are touching my food or Dr Pepper being tidy. If it makes you feel better, the outside of it does have a couple specks of dirt on it. So yah, I do live in the real world...kind of. That leaves the chair. The photo you were looking at was was taken from the ground looking up at the underside of the seat. As a result you wont see any butt prints, residual marshmellow goo, or spilled soda on it.

Well there you have it, they're used but not abused. May you all have a peaceful night's slumber this evening.

So who tickled my funny bone this week?

I initially thought Akelamalu was going to walk away with the honors with her guesses of:
1. A coat for a snake
2. A Bobsleigh
3. A parachute

But as it turned out Nitebyrd of A Dust Bunny in the Wind edged her out when she offered up these creative gems:
1. Robert The Bruce's kilt in the clothes dryer.
2. Storm Trooper vest.
3. Your fanny pack.

Congrats Nitebyrd.

I've got a theme for next week too and I'm pretty sure there are a couple of pictures that will be quite a challenge. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wordzzle - Strangers

After taking last week off from the fun that is Wordzzle, I'm joining in again with a small entry. It's been pretty busy around here lately, so I didn't do all three challenges this time, but I also didn't want to miss out on another week. With that I decided to stick with the mini this week.

The words were: sympathetic, filet of sole, mysterious stranger, elephantine, music

Wordzzle is the brain child of the talented Raven of Views from the Ravens Nest. Do go by and visit when you have a chance.


Sitting in the dining room of an extremely posh downtown restaurant, Charles was enjoying his entrĂ©e, a fabulously prepared filet of sole served with a champagne beurre blanc, lemon scented rice and delicately steamed asparagus tips. The music coming from the nearby piano bar caressed his ears and added to the overall ambiance of the evening. “Ahh, this is the good life,” he thought. That was until he glanced out the front window.

There on the sidewalk in the cold drizzle sat an elephantine sized man. It was obvious from the soiled and shabby clothes he had on that this gentleman was another of the city’s homeless. Suddenly Charles was taken back in time. He watched as one by one people walked past the man trying their best to dismiss his existence, rationalizing in their own minds that if they pretended not to see him, that somehow there wasn’t a problem.

Charles knew better though. It hadn’t been that many years earlier when he was in the same position as the tired and lonely man on the street now was. Although he didn’t know the particular circumstances of what had brought this other man to his current situation, he did remember if it hadn’t been for the kindness and compassion of another intervening in his own life, that he may very well have still been out there too. This mysterious stranger had come into his life just as he had nearly given up all hope. Through a simple gesture of a warm meal and an engaging conversation, this individual, who Charles had never met before, but showed genuine interest and concern, had turned his life around forever. He recalled that, that one encounter in itself didn’t restore his life completely, but it was a catalyst to a new beginning.

Charles had come so far from that day and he vowed to never forget how one sympathetic individual could make an impact in the life of another. “Waiter,” he motioned, “would you please ask the chef to prepare another meal. . . and I’ll need this one to go!”

Friday, July 4, 2008

What Is It #9

In honor of all of you who aren't up at the crack of dawn or before, I'm posting this weeks photos a bit later in the morning for a change. Funny thing about having readers from around the globe is that no matter when things get posted, some of you are awake and others are in the middle of slumber.

Well this week will only have three photos to ponder. Why? Because it's part of one of the themes for the week. If you figure out all three, then you'll know what the other theme is too. As an added bonus, can you tell me what the two different themes are?

As is the new tradition, I'm putting some clues at the bottom of the page to help you out.

If you're in the USA enjoy a German frankfurter, crack open a Mexican beer and enjoy the Chinese fireworks later this evening. Ain't America great!

If you have served in the military...Thank you! If you have a loved one or a friend in the service may they be out of harm's way and may they come home soon!

Happy Independence Day





Don't read if you don't want to know

#1 This is much more comfortable if its not in this shape.
#2 This is a pretty cool item that will see a lot of use at BBQ's today.
#3 Butt wait!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And Now, The Rest of the Story

At the risk of boring you all to tears with yet another post about our vacation I offer you the following:

As I mentioned yesterday, the afternoon on Saturday brought us to Tillamook. Actually more accurate would be a very small town called Garibaldi. It was here that we climbed aboard one of two open air rail cars being pulled by a 1910 Heisler Steam Locomotive. In a few moments the engineer blew the whistle and we were chugging along the tracks on a short trip (an hour and a half total) up the coast.

The boys were in hog heaven. There's just something magical about boys and trains. Come to think of it, it made me feel like a kid again oohing and aahing over the whole experience. I took about a million photos along the way and even managed to get a couple that were worth keeping. I particularly liked this one of the boats in the bay.
The boys met a couple of other kids and became instant best buddies. Isn't it amazing how kids will warm right up to each other in a matter of minutes, but as we become older that seems to be more elusive? What a shame. The other boys had a couple of marshmallow guns and all four of them had a grand ole' time pelting each other with those micro sized marshmallows.
When we got off the train we put a couple of pennies on the track and watched as the train flattened them. Which one of us kids do you think came up with that idea?

After returning to our campsite it was time for some dinner and then back to the beach for a little tide pool exploration. It was just past low tide so we had plenty to see as we crawled and climbed around on the rocks. It's amazing how much you can find in a small pool of ocean water when you slow down and take a close look. I told the boys that looking in these tide pools was kind of like diving on a really small scale. That definitely got their curiosity flowing.

I stepped back and took a few shots of each of them as they pondered all the mysteries unfolding before their eyes. This was one of the many highlights to the trip.

As the tide started coming back in I found an interesting angle of the incoming surf. Thought you might enjoy seeing it too.

Back to the camp site we went and built a small fire so we could have....what? Smores of course!

After that whirlwind of a day we settled in and it took each of us about thirty seconds to fall fast asleep.

Sunday was met by some obnoxious campers next to us who insisted on doing their best to wake up everybody within a hundred mile radius of them by talking really LOUDLY at about 6:30am . I really wanted to get one of those air horns in a can like the boaters use and wait until about 11:00pm then sneak over to their camper and let it rip, but Lisa insisted that would probably not be the Christian thing to do. Maybe not, but it sure would have been fun!

We made another day trip, but this time about twenty miles to the south to Lincoln City. After a trip to the beach where we'd found loads of sea shells the last time, we headed back to town empty handed this time around. Bummer.

They were having the annual kite festival, so we stopped and watched for a while. It wasn't terribly exciting, but we had fun none-the-less. As you can see from the picture of the giant squid kites the weather was a bit more gray this day. Overall though still pleasant.

After lunch in town we headed back to the campsite where I made the announcement that for the next two hours I was going to take a much needed nap. I put my earplugs in and it was lites out for Jeffy. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

After I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes we headed back to the beach and climbed the sandstone/dunes at the end of the beach. The view up top was breath taking. The fog from earlier in the day had lifted and you could see for what seemed like miles. Very cool.

It was now Monday morning and the boys were begging to stay for another day, but like all good vacations they eventually have to end...or do they?

On the way home we stopped at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnvile. We'd driven past it many times before and always said, "We should go there sometime." Today was that sometime. This is home to the Spruce Goose built by Howard Hughes. Reading about the statistics or looking at pictures of it is amazing, but seeing it in full living color is absolutely mind blowing! There are several dozen planes around it and under its wings and they all look like Tinker Toys by comparison.

I took several pictures while we were there, but decided not to post any of them. You can click on their website link above if you want to look at some of what we saw. It was incredibly difficult to get good shots for some reason. Once again we all had a great time checking out all the cool displays.

After a few hours it was time to pile back into the truck and head for home. Hope you enjoyed taking a stroll through our vacation. If you're ever looking for a fun place to get away, the Oregon coast has quite a bit to offer.

Oh, one last thing, the best part of the whole trip was this. My oldest son Anthony brought his PSP (hand held video game) for the trip. When we got out of the truck, he picked it up off the floor board and announced, "I guess I didn't need to bring this after all." (He never turned it on once!) That simple statement spoke volumes as to what a good time he and Matthew had.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ahhhh... We Made It

Part two of our weekend at the coast.

As promised, the first two pictures are morning shots of the same shoreline and monolith as the sunset ones from the last post. Scroll down if you missed yesterdays post. I found it interesting how different the shots look even though they are taken from about the same vantage point.

This one to the right is "Haystack Rock" It's just under a mile off shore and is around three hundred feet tall. As you can imaging it is pretty impressive when you are standing in front of it. Some of the birds that use it as their sanctuary include : brown pelicans, migrating geese, cormorants, petrel and orange-footed puffin.

Supposedly the face of Chief Kiwanda can be seen on the south facing side (left side as you're viewing it). Personally I think it looks more like an ape with a pointy head. Who knows, maybe there's something here for all the evolutionist in the crowd.

On a side note, since I mentioned the word evolution, if we are supposed to be evolving from a less advanced civilization, can somebody please let me know how the hell we ended up with such a brain fart as our current president. Oh ya, some disillusioned people like me actually voted for the doofwad.

Alright, enough of that, back to the story at hand.

Day two was about as opposite from the first as one could get. Slept in until about eight in the morning. (I usually am up by 5:30, so eight really was a treat for me.) After coffee and breakfast we headed for the beach. It was one of those letter perfect days that you dream of. About 70-75 degrees with no wind at all. Just a gentle breeze whispering across the waves and sand. The sky was a beautiful clear blue too. No clouds, no fog, just blue in every direction. The icing on the cake was knowing that it was in the mid nineties back home. Ick!

We lathered up the boys and ourselves with sunscreen, pitched our beach umbrella in the sand and pulled up our chairs and the cooler. This is when Lisa and I looked at each other and said, "Ahhhh... We made it!" For the next few hours the boys had a great time testing their skills on the skim boards and boogy boards. They'd stay in the water until they were about half frozen and then come out and warm themselves on the beach like little lizards on a rock.

One really cool thing about this particular beach are the Dory boats that the local fisherman launch there. The first picture above shows a natural sandstone jetty that protects the boats from the surf as they make their way into the water. Watching them perform this acrobatic act is unbelievable. They drive down onto the beach and back the trailer up to the edge of the surf, release a pivot point on the trailer which tilts the back of the boat into the water, then they haul ass forward and park the truck up the beach a about a hundred or so feet away. At this point they jump out of the truck and run back to the boat and start pushing it into the surf, pointing the bow forward as they go. Generally there are at least two people doing this, but I have seen macho studs do this all by themselves. Once they get the boat floating they use long oars to get a little further out, and finally when they are deep enough they fire up the outboard motor and away they go.

Here's a picture of one that a couple I'm guessing who were in their sixties launched. It really is quite an art form.

When they come back in the whole process is reversed. They come ripping in at water skiing speeds and run the boat up onto the beach as far as they can. (The boats have a nearly flat bottom which enables them to do this). One person runs back to the truck and backs the trailer up to the boat and they wench it back up and on. A couple minutes later their off.

Well about this time it was time to get some lunch in us, so we headed back across the beach to the campsite and had a bite to eat.

We decided to take a trip up to Tillamook in the afternoon to take a look around. It is about 20 miles to the north and made for a nice short drive. There is the cheese making factory there, but we'd done that tour the year before and decided to skip it this time. We found a brochure that talked about a turn of the century steam train that takes a scenic ride up the tracks next to Nehalem Bay. We checked our watches and determined we might just make it to the "station" by four o'clock when the last ride of the day took off. We made it with about five minutes to spare and it was time for our next adventure.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

As most of you know this past weekend was a much needed mini-vacation for the family. Our destination this time was Pacific City, Oregon. It is about eighty miles west and slightly south of Portland, and from my house it normally takes around two hours to get there.

Our plan was pretty simple. Pick-up the boys from VBS (Vacation Bible School) at noon, hit the road and be at the coast by 2:00pm. Our reality was a bit different than our plan. The boys did get picked up at noon, but we didn't actually get going until closer to 1:30. Not really a big deal most days, but this particular Friday afternoon it became a huge deal in our travel plans.

There is a small rural highway that is about five miles from where we live to the main highway. Again most days this is no big deal, you just jump on and a few minutes later you're cruising down the 205 towards I-5. The one goofy thing about this particular stretch of road is that there is a median barrier that divides the two sides of traffic and for this five mile run there are no other roads to turn off onto. Usually this is not a problem, unless of course your on your way out of town on a Friday afternoon and the temperature is about 90+ degrees and there is a major accident at the intersection at the bottom of the hill.

This brings me to the first picture of our vacation. Not exactly one for the scrap book, but one that we got to enjoy for the next hour and a half. Yep, that was no typo there. It took us ninety minutes to travel the first five miles! Roughly one minute for every burning hot flipping degree outside. Ever heard the phrase, "Not a happy camper"? well I have and in fact I was that phrase for a while.

Good news is that it did pass. The better news is that we weren't the ones involved in the wreck that closed the road. Still don't know what happened, but I can only imagine that it wasn't pretty.

About another hour or so into the drive we got to experience one more stop and crawl session for about forty-five minutes while they cleared yet another wreck on a different highway. I was starting to question why exactly it was that I had decided to travel on a Friday afternoon when, to my joy, we were rolling again. A mere five hours after we pulled out of the driveway, we made it to Cape Kiwanda, the RV park we'd be staying at for the next three days. Whew!

From this point on everything was smooth sailing for the rest of the trip. One of the nice things was, we didn't have any plans set in stone as to what we were going to do with our time. We figured we'd just play it by ear and see what each day brought us. That was probably one of the best things we could have done too. No time expectations from anybody or for any reason.

After setting up our camp site and opting for pizza at the local eatery (too tired and frazzled to cook) we headed for the beach to walk along the sand and to take in the sunset. With full tummy, the smell of the salt air and sand in between my toes, my attitude had improved dramatically from a few hours before. It was time to relax and enjoy the weekend.

I'll leave you with a couple of sunset pics I took the first night, and tomorrow I'll start off the post with the same two shots from basically the same perspective, but during the morning hours. It makes for a neat contrast.

I've got a lot of catching up to do too, so I'll try to make it by to visit you all over the next couple of days.


Back in action once again. I'm going to sift through the pictures from the weekend and put something together later, but wanted to let you know for now that we all had a really great time.

This week's big winner for the "What Is It" contest was Dana from Amid Life's Crises. Right out of the gate she pegged all four of them and even provided the first bit of laughter with her comment about the camel I mean nose. This in turn sparked a discussion among Crystalchick (aka Mary), her daughter and husband. I can only imagine how that conversation went.

Congrats Dana!

Now the "Horse Laugh" prize could have gone to any number of you, but I had to go for Matt-Man's response to the camel's nose as:

"Number 2 is Phyllis Diller's twat."

Now if that doesn't leave a stain on your mental retina, nothing will!

Congrats Matt

Go by and give "Hey" to the lucky couple when you have a chance.

I've got to get ready for work so I'm going to cut this off kind of short this morning. Thanks again for all of your comments, they were mucho fun to read last night. I'll be getting around to visit over the next couple of days too. Lots of catching up to do.