Monday, December 31, 2007

Dirt Doesn't Need Luck

Today is my last day off for a while. Well, jut for a few weeks. So that's not too bad. Plus, I have the first 18 days of Feb. off. I must say, no really, I must, that it was good to have some extended time off at home. I did a lot of stuff around the yard that needed doing, plus had a good half dozen nights out sitting around a fire, plus did a whole bunch of nothing!!

We were lucky enough to have warmer than usual weather, with the temps being in the low 80s most days, and 70s at night. Real pleasant. Today and tomorrow we are supposed to drop into the 50s during the day and 34 tonight, 29 tomorrow night. Yowser!! Not looking forward to that. Spent this morning winterizing the papaya and mango trees, and bringing the violets and staghorn fern into the shed.

Another big event this holiday season was the re-establishment of household policy. I have always had a fair idea of what constitutes proper order. You know, who's giant recliner it is (mine) and what rooms dog peeing is allowed in (none of them). In other words, I reset the notion of acceptable levels of dog behavior. A stern tone and nose thump works wonders for getting a point across.

Ramblin' made me laugh, though. As a dog, he really tries to learn the rules. He's just a tad slow, his thoughts moving along like half speed cartoon scenes. Which just reminded me of how amusing I always found the "Slow Children At Play" signs.

He was busy playing at a high level of intensity, which mostly involves running in circles around me as I walk and yipping with glee. Not a real complicated game, especially my part of it, but he never seems to tire of it.

We were a couple of minutes into the latest round (no pun intended) when he paused just long enough to pee in the living room. Then he immediately went back to running around me like some noisy, idiot shark dog. I rubbed his nose (almost) in it and scolded him but good. Then dragged him by the collar to the door and tossed him out for a few minutes, fussing at him all the way.

Later in the afternoon, same bat dog, same bat game, he paused near the kitchen to pee. I scolded, rubbed his nose, and as I went to grab his collar and haul him out, he got the most quizzical look on his face. He looked up at me, then looked back in the living room where I scolded him last time, and kinda went, "What the heck, dude?" Then, you could almost see the light come on. "Oh, I see. No peeing in the house anywhere. Got it."

As Josef Stalin supposedly said, "It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes."

Only one skull short of a Mouseketeer reunion, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, December 28, 2007

Comatose Cow : Meat... or Vegetable?

The question popped into my head at the surprise 80th birthday party for a neighbor of mine. My own mom was trying to decide what she was eating, or as she so eloquently put it, "This is some fried I don't know what." I don't do "I don't know what", be it fried, sauteed, or lightly breaded. I had darn well better know not only what it is, but also what it was. And what it was had better have been something either mooed, oinked, or made whatever noise it is that cheese makes. That's all I'm saying.

While we are on the subject of food, and I preface this with the fact that I am indeed a bona fide Southerner, what exactly is the point of okra? I mean, I know that technically the small, kinda tapered end is the point. But seriously, it looks pretty disgusting cooked, and just looks like a weed uncooked. If you don't know what okra is, that's cool, enjoy your snow.

I built a pretty secure, Fort Knox like chain link kennel over the last 3 days. I took everything in to account that I could. I laid fence along the floor, so as to thwart digging. I hose clamped every wall, corner, joint and door down every 3-6 inches to eliminate gaps that can be squeezed through. I bolted the top down. Then I fenced in the gaps that appeared too small to worry about. Bella should not be able to dig out, chew out, jump out or squeeze out. Watch this space for stories of Bella, the amazing teleporting dog! I mean, so far, everytime I figure I have her outfoxed I am quickly proven wrong.

Speaking of Bella, does this look like my wife spoils her? Just a little?

Devoted to bringing you as much information as possible on the sweet herb stevia, out
Ramblin' Ed
A little Neal Coty for you. Couldn't find the song I wanted, When I See Jesus (Walk Across Lake Pontchartrain), but I like this one a lot too. Yes, it is true. I am tainted. Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled by request, so you gotta click THIS HERE LINK.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Knee Knockers, Aye

To follow a thread in AI's comments section, there is a reference from Gunner about our shipboard hatches. They are like doors, but are smaller, ovaler (more oval?), and are designed to be dogged down to stop fire and flooding. I only laid myself out across the forehead two times , and both times I was cutting the fool. So I have no real complaints in that department.

But knee knocking? Yikes, that hurts like the dickens. Because it isn't your knee it's your shin, and that shin knocking HURTS!! Yeah, yeah, yeah... i see the purpose in 'em. Watertight integrity and all that.

But the worst was my time on the Aegis cruisers. All the piping and valves and whatnot runs in the overhead. It ain't covered up by a false cieling or anything like that. I cleared the lowest stuff by about 1/2 inch. Which means I would go weeks traipsing up and down the passageways with no problem. But every few months I would be passing under a low hanger and be on the ball of my foot part of my step, and Wham!, right in the noggin. Laid out on my back, eyes glazed over. A big culprit in not seeing it coming was the fact that we wore ball caps with a bill jutting out over our eyes.

So anyway, AI & Gunner, yep, I've knocked knees and banged noggins my fill over the years.

But, by way of a little truth in advertising, check this out. Navy Recruitment Ad

Nothing reminds you more that it is Christmas in Florida than the transplanted old yankee woman, wearing a Santa hat with a cig in her lips, barrelling into the Wal-Mart parking lot at a high rate of speed.

There was a young woman standing at the exit of said Wal-Mart with a baby in her arms. She was holding a sign that I couldn't read, except the part at the bottom that I could tell said GOD BLESS. She was thin and pale, which was stark because she appeared to be at least half black. I wasn't positive about that, and it never turns out good when a Southern man tries to explain what makes him think someone has black in the family tree so I won't, but she looked quite beat down by life. The kind of beat down and skinny you see in drug abusers. I gave her some money. I had just gotten paid and also recieved my Christmas bonus, so I was flush. It wasn't an amazing amount, but would buy a good meal. I folded it up and called her over. I handed it to her. We didn't lock eyes. We didn't speak. It was not dramatic and it was not real warm and fuzzy. Made me wonder again if she might have a drug problem, but I pulled away without wondering too long. Maybe she does. Or maybe she doesn't. Maybe she just has demons to confront. But what I did know was this: the baby was real. And I at least wanted to be sure that not having any money was not the reason he would go hungry tonight.

To quote Homer Simpson, "Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."

This is our hotel in Bangkok. Millennium Hilton

You know you know this story. But it never gets old:

Our late night discussions also involved careers in corn snake breeding and genetics, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do what?

I have spoken before about all of th '07 Acuras and such around here with "W '04" stickers plastered on. I don't see the point in it. Really, I don't. Even if I didn't consider it advertising that you helped make a big mistake, which I did too, but c'mon people. That was almost 4 years ago. It's over now.

However, I saw a bumper sticker on a late model Chevy yesterday that made me smile. It was driven by two young women (well, OK, only one was actually driving) in their early 20's. I always read bumper stickers since they are not so prolific as they once were. Anyway, these girls had "Ross Perot in '92 Take back your country". I could not help but smile at that.

My first mother in law was dating a guy from Plain Dealing, LA, and how can you not love a town named that? Anyway, his name was Cecil. He wasn't as big as who done it and he looked, and sounded, just like Ross Perot. He cracked me up. He couldn't read, so he'd hand me a map and say, "I have a way I usually go, but look at this and tell me what you think is the best way to get to Ft. Smith, Arkansas." I'd do it and not call him on the illiteracy thing. One thing about him though, he was wily, in a country way. He had money. He was a pretty successful farmer. Since he was alone, rather than change the implements on his tractor as the need arose, he bought a new tractor for each implement. Need to disc? Go get that tractor.

Alright, in keeping with my new criteria, this was again the perfect post. How so? It was not something and not quite nothing. So there.

Still ouchless, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Favorite Sailor Songs

As you know, Ramblin' Ed is a squid from way back. Soon, if I can find 'em, I'll post my favorite sailor poems I wrote. In the meantime, these are all songs that inspired me. Obviously, this one has to be #1


This is a strong #2. I always have wished that I had written it. I know I could have.

Southern Cross

Son of a Son of a Sailor

OK, I apologize. This is a cover, as there was no original to be found on YouTube. The words are almost right. Right enough that you can get the gist. Ol' boy shoulda speeded it up a beat or two also. Oh well, whatdya want for free? (There wasn't even a cover of Buffett's "Cowboy in the Jungle", which I always felt was my own personal theme song. otherwise, it would surely be proudly posted here.)

Take The Star out of the Window

There's a cowboy in the jungle

and he looks so out of place

with his snakeskin boots and his cheap cheroots, out

Ramblin' Ed

Friday, December 14, 2007

3/5s of a Mile in 10 Seconds*

So, as I was sitting in the Tampa Airport, waiting to fly out I kept hearing the same announcement over and over. It was a while before I realized just how stupid it actually was.

United had started up a twice daily, non-stop route between Sarasota and Miami. So far, so good, you say. But I say, in fact have already said, so far, so stupid. I shall endeavor to explain. Or for my Cuban readers, of which I believe there are pretty close to none, let me 'splain.

A quick check at World Airport gives you the following info:

Distance between SRQ and MIA
We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and do not take any responsibility if it is incorrect.

The distance has been calculated as being: 289 kilometres (181 miles)

181 miles! First off, that's only a 3 hour drive. You spend 4 hours, or more, navigating the airport, flying, and retrieving luggage. Plus it'll cost more than a tank of gas. So why do they even need that route?

Secondly... non-stop?? Hell, you're barely airborne before you start your descent. Where in the world would you stop between Sarasota and Miami. And wouldn't it be easier just to taxi there if you did? There are only two places I can think of between the 2 airports. One is a dying, yet still giant swamp. So that's probably a non-starter. Most landings in the Everglades are both inadverdent and tragic. The second waypoint might be Imokalee, for a little Seminole gambling. But again, you'd probably drive there, saving room in your trunk for all of your loot. Assuming you're a winner, of course.

These little things drive me crazy. I know it's just marketing and "non-stop" sounds special somehow. Just like sending a letter to France via airmail seems faster, when in reality, most first class mail is "air mail" at some point.
There you go. Sorry, you will not get these 3 1/2 minutes back. You may have wasted less, I'm not sure. Not sure how fast you read. Don't even know if you move your lips when you read. But you probably do, only because most of my friends do.
Give me a ticket on an aeroplane. I ain't got time to take a fast train, out
Ramblin' Ed

* I used a song title from Jefferson Airplane. A subtlety to be sure, but I'm just that kinda guy. (The lyrics, dudes)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My 2 Main Men (Jesus and Ol' John Birch)

Last post I was pissing and moaning about my health insurance. Nothing has changed, given the chance there would still be pissing and there would still be moaning. Howsomever, I am sometimes afforded opportunities that others are not. Whatcha talking 'bout, Willis? Let me explain.

I am going to Bangkok in February for 2 1/2 weeks. We have already had the family check for us, and the opportunity is there for us to get some of our major dental work done there. The wife's crown is going to cost less going out the door in Bangkok than the deductible would be here for us. A couple of cleanings and a new bridge for me, again pennies on the dollar. I'm even going to look into some veneers for me. Let's see John Warner take that away from us.

Not sure what happened on the way out here this trip. I showed up at the airport just like I was supposed to. Checked in, me and my carry-on were scrutinized by pompus, bellowing security idiots (securiots), and then all of my flights ran on time. RAN ON TIME?? Yeah, I know. You coulda knocked me over with a feather. Got to the hotel in plenty of time for the Saints kickoff, which here on the West Coast was a reasonable 5:30 PM. Stoked, I was.

My hotel turned out to be in my old stomping grounds right off Rosecrans Street in Point Loma. This is where, in nineteen hundred and seventy nine, skinny little Florida boy Fast Eddie, went to boot camp and basic electricity school to kick off a 26 year oddesy (yes, odd-esy was what I meant to type) in the US Navy. I am a 2 block walk from Old Town San Diego and it's shops and eateries and a mere 2 parking lot walk from the world famous les Girls and Body Shop. Yep, back in the day, we would save up enough for a cover charge and a few drinks, and schlep on down the 6 blocks or so from our barracks to these fine joints to kill a few hours. I keep thinking I'll walk over "for old times sake", but so far have not. My been gonna is a lot stronger than my done did these days.

I got a call asking me to do a political survey the other day, and not being particularly busy, I said OK. Turned out to mostly be an exercise in convincing me to say I'd vote for Mike Bloomberg if he ran. As it turnsout, I apparently would not. Who knew? Still, either the man is an idiot or he thinks I am. His campaign (exploratory commitee, whatever) was promising that if elected he would abolish this and stand up that. Ummm...maybe if elected our king, he would. But his promises were far afield of what any congressthief or senatewhore would ever support, so I am wondering just how all of this would actually get done. So if he doesn't realize that, he is too dim to be president. If he realizes that, and I am sure he does, then he insults me. Either way....

I cannot get over how doggone nice San Diego is. I enjoyed living here in the 80's, but it is so much more beautiful, and functional, than before. I would live downtown if i came back. Well if I came back independently wealthy, anyway. From downtown you can literally walk anywhre you would ned to go. The funky Gaslamp district, the sidewalk cafes near Ketner, Seaport village, The Fisherman's Market, Petco Park where the Padres play all are within a few blocks of each other. The trolly runs through so you can get anywhere from Mexico to the inland malls in just a few minutes. I swear, the city gets more beautiful and more functional every year. It is just so elegant while remaining easy and casual. For me, these trips merely serve to highlight all the more starkly how thuggish and dysfunctional Tampa is becoming.

Mom's fish are fasting this week. It's not so much a religious thing, as I am unsure of any organized religion amongst fishies. It's just that my folks are in Charlotte, I am in San Diego, and the much less mobile (although they do not seem to be that inclined to recreational travel even if provided the opportunity) fish are in an aquarium in the Tampa Bay area.

Gun Sale at the Church

Happy Boy

Baby's Liquored Up

People's jobs are at stake here, out

Ramblin' Ed