Monday, October 31, 2011

Ye Olde Halloween Pumpkin Patch Adventure

I partnered up with my girls for a trip to the local pumpkin patch.

My granddaughter, Alyssa is clearly the ORIGINAL Snow White. 

They're all mine.

Liam's first pumpkin

Everyone is a winner on the Midway

And then there's the Pony Ride.

I haven't blogged much because work has been very intense lately, but no so intense that I can't spend a little quality time at the Pumpkin Patch.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Prep

My grandson, Liam, at 2 months (in a bunny suit, if you can't tell). I don't know how much trick-or-treating will be accomplished on Halloween with Liam. More of a photo op at this age.

Liam's Mother, Heather, is living with us while her husband is deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore Liam is a regular, where other grandchildren simply visit.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What does he do for a living?

I wonder what my blog readers can draw from a face and perhaps from an 'attitude'? This man is known to at least one of you (so no spoilers).

He is:

  • Hated by many.
  • Admired by a few.
But WHAT do you think that he does for a living?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dome of Heaven

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer 

Walt Whitman first published this in, Leaves of Grass. 

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

I live in a city where the 'light pollution' blanks out much of the night sky. You can only see the brightest stars. However in the desert, or in the high mountains where the air is dry and clear, the Milky Way bursts brilliantly overhead.  And sometimes it seems that you can reach out and touch heaven.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hey - Dude!

For those of you who know me personally, my idea of a great vacation (because most people don't share my interests in this department) is driving across the mountains or deserts in the most desolate place I can find. Because the best place on Earth to be is in the middle of nowhere.
It's why I turned a perfectly good Toyota FJ Cruiser into THE SCORPION (a very capable Toyota FJ). 

A friend of mine from the East Coast (of the US) recently invited me to go to a dude ranch with him and some of his buddies. They're in the computer software business. While software engineers aren't all 'soft', the name "Rancho de los Caballeros" (Ranch of the horseback riders) struck me as odd, even for a dude ranch. I asked him where it was. He said, "Wickenburg, Arizona". I've been through Wickenburg before and it's a wide patch of desert, about half an hour outside of Phoenix, on State Route 93 (a major drug trafficking route).

I asked him what 'we' would be doing. He said that everyone was planning a 'spa day', a golf day (I golf poorly), a morning riding on (local nag) genuine cow ponies (elderly, saddle weary, sway backed, flea bitten horses) and a genuine old west cookout.

He had offered to pay for everything, which was very generous when you consider that the room alone is over $500 a night (for a joint outside Phoenix, nowhere near NOWHERE).

He referred to himself and his buddies as "the Three Amigos". I could be the fourth amigo if only I joined them. But somehow, I don't think it would work out.

While I was flattered to be asked, I declined once I checked my schedule.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Portable Island Vacation

Are you thinking far enough out of the box when it comes to the concept of an island vacation? On what is coming to be known as a 'traditional island', you're stuck in one place. If the diving isn't up to your expectations, you can walk around to the other side of the island, but that ends it. There is also the matter of tourist trash and flotsam washed up on the shore. What do you do about these problems when you're on an island vacation? THIS may be your answer.

This is part of the company's promo:
The design as you can see is inspired by tropical islands, with huts, a pool and to top of that, a whole volcano that is sure not to erupt. Since this is a yacht, it comes packed with special VIP rooms, arcades, gym, lounges, spas and even a helipad. The volcano adds a lot of beauty to the whole look of the yacht, it also happens to have water flowing out of it onto the pool creating this amazing river complementing the whole tropical look. 
The back of the yacht has a retractable beach deck where structures float on the sea making the sea accessible to swim in and of course allow access to various water activities such as wake boarding and jet-skis. The whole concept is pure genius and the result looks even better.

This may be the ultimate in 'plastic', canned vacations where you can lounge on your simulated island, be served an umbrella drink by a hostess clad in a skimpy outfit and eat frozen food from the ship's galley without ever having to risk the 'danger' inherent in a genuine land mass.

I don't know how the swimming pool on the bow would handle heavy seas. I suspect that you could be sloshed overboard and might end up swimming for a 'real island'. (oh, the horror)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The RIGHT (?) to student loans??

Why would anyone feel as if they have a right to steal from me? Yes, socialists have that as the hallmark of their political philosophy and the younger generation are confident that they are entitled to -- everything (money for nothing, chicks for free [LINK to Dire Straits])

The Occupy Wall Street crowd typify what is wrong with America:

And my rant today focuses on people who make really dumb choices and feel as if the general public should band together and set things right financially for them.

The national policy to award student loans for people, who, based upon their educational decisions, can not possibly pay them back is WRONG. A friend of mine's brother was placed into this decision. The guy had been in a bad auto accident and it left him in a bad way. The lenders gave him a lot of money in student loans and the poor guy was one of those souls who had difficulty maintaining part time work. He was not destined to be a captain of industry or a rocket scientist. The accident took that potential from him. Yet still the loans flowed.

People don't have a RIGHT to money for nothing.

And they should be protected against themselves when we offer them massive debt for an education that is unlikely to help them repay it.

Football Scouts - Start Here

I'll admit that C. Larry doesn't look like a first round draft pick at the moment, but by 2030, this kid will be in high demand.

And the girls will be swooning from here to Dallas - presuming that the Cowboys are smart enough to pick up his contract. I'll allow him to date the Cowboy's cheerleader of his choice. 

One of the best things about being a grandfather is the opportunity to armchair quarterback your grandchildren's lives. Will the grandchildren do what you suggest? Doubtful. However, much like fantasy football, you're able to enjoy the game without having to get any 'skin' in it.

I don't think that being a grandfather is better than being a father. One is simply an extension of the other, except that I think you appreciate the fleeting moments more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is Jazz Dead?

I think not!

There are still audiences for toe-tapping Dixieland Jazz.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

There is a group of people who have decided to 'occupy Wall Street'. They're unhappy that some people are making more money than they are, but that's about as far as it goes from a philosophical standpoint. Some are there protesting whaling, or advocating legalization of narcotics others pine for a return to the 1960's which they missed as an accident of birth timing.

I think that's about a far as it goes.

UPDATE: Commentator WoFat suggests that the woman in the front must be a government plant because she shaves under her arms. Neither WoFat nor I have ever seen a radical woman with shaved armpits. HOWEVER, if you look closely, somebody photoshopped the photo (not me) to white out the hairy pits and make the photo more appealing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reflection and Action

Atonement and repentance are the theme of Yom Kippur (today). It's also a day when the Jewish people ask for forgiveness from people they may have slighted. The concept of approaching people sincerely and forthrightly and setting things right to the extent that you are able is the first step in atonement and repentance. One must do the same with God. 

Life is short, and we don't own the next second of breath. All we really have is those moments that have passed. Humanity is fallibility. So taking a moment to reflect on the past, on the future, on our relationships, on those around us and on our status with them and with God, is important.

This blog has its bawdy side, it's political side, and its personal side. And perhaps today, a moment of reflection is appropriate - maybe every day? The message of Yom Kippur is not merely to acknowledge the need for atonement and repentance but the need to take action in that regard. The first is much easier than the second. 

At least that was Kurt Cobain's take on it - before his suicide.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rules of Polite Behavior

(1) Don't tug on superman's cape.

(2) Don't spit in the wind.

(3) Don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger.

A post by Race Bannon on his blog, Race for Justice, a few days back, got me thinking about the late, great Jim Croce. He was one of my favorites. His wife, Astrid, opened Croce's, a restaurant in the Gas Lamp District in San Diego and I go there for supper occasionally when I'm in town.

"Don't go hustling people strange to you even if you do have a two-piece custom made pool cue." (Croce)

"An armed society is a polite society." -- me.
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