Thursday, April 29, 2010

Whatever you do today; Don't say anything about the combover. Lives may be at stake.

Fashion Fail - I Like Everything About This Picture
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Silly sailing dude in UK

This story begins with a gent deciding to buy a sailboat and sail to Southampton without charts or apparently, a compass.

We have sailed in the Medway river many times, and always made the overnight stop in Queenboro for pints and weather.

A question for this silly person, "Wouldn't you have started to ask yourself why that Safeway sign at Sheerness kept showing up by those same docks, over and over again?"

Thanks to "Bruce", currently in the sandbox, for that link.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday night end of action report

Our normal routine is to never do concerts or movies, (At least it's my routine)but last night was the exception. We parked downtown in a church parking lot for a "donation" of five bucks, which was fair because we were a block from the Florida Theater, which is a good thing. Seventy five yards later we were at the theater, walking up the red carpeted stairs to the Loge section where we would soon be watching Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes, in his latest music experiment.

Appalachian/Bluegrass music, that is.

The Spousal Unit has been wanting to see a Declan McManus concert since 1980 and her parents and I have been successfully avoiding those opportunities for almost thirty years. In fact, as recently as two years (I can't really remember) ago, I talked her out of us going because I said it would just be a mess, and besides, I hate standing in line for anything except government cheese.

The tickets were an outrageous $52.00, each and I purchased them over the phone when they went on sale at 10:00 AM some Friday morning in February. No problem, I thought, this is months away...

Well, time passed, as it usually does with lots of fun and frivolity and a Buffett Concert that cost us $350.00 to attend, and we were miles away from the stage.

Suddenly, $52 wasn't such a bad idea. This McManus cat seems to have a sense that music fans should not have to go in debt to see quality music. Looking back to the 70's and the 80's, 52 bucks is like 15 bucks back then.

The Florida Theater is a relic from the 20's, cozy yet ornate. I was in the balcony, second row and was no more than 45 feet from the performers, only about 25 feet in the air. Every seat is a good one.

My Elvis Costello listening has mainly been his early stuff, This Years Model, Get Happy, Spike. I have been aware of his critically approved music experimentation with other notable writers and performers, but I always preferred the old stuff, especially the punk/rockabilly style with social commentary. The music Costello did with Nick Lowe is still on the favorite listening list. One other thing; An Elvis Costello album was always jammed with many more songs than the average eight songs, of which five are listenable. Not Elvis Costello; He made sure you heard at least 15 songs (It seemed that way) of which the last song always cutoff because there was no more room.

Just like his concert last night.

The set list only contained a few of the old songs, but I never expected him to perform some covers of anyone else's music like this;

Double Click Image to get full Size.
Grateful Dead???

I used this bootleg from four days ago because one, it only has a moment, (So McManus won't want to sue me for ripping him off, this is just a taste of the good stuff) two, that is the same view of the performance we had.

All that said, last night was incredible. There was not a bad song in the set (One exception was when Costello was doing "Allison", and when he slid into the Jim Reeves number, "...Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone..." some bimbo screamed out, "I love you, Elvis...!" in the hushed auditorium, which blew his concentration forcing him to restart the song. Not cool, especially since the performer was putting on an intense performance for our benefit. He seemed annoyed for a brief flash, because the performer is such a perfectionist and there had been no mistakes in the previous two hours of rapid fire songs. Even the crowd felt the penetrating stare of disappointment.

No doubt about it, Elvis Costello has more musical talent in his right shoe than just about any other well known performer, and that is in any style of music. This concert rates as one of the very best performances I have seen, which includes a 1992 Meatloaf concert at "Pappa's Bar" on Beach Blvd in Jacksonville, that had a ten buck admission.

It's not just the music that was enjoyable, because there is something to be said about watching Blue Grass live, but a concert goer must also include the experience of good acoustics, comfortable surroundings and nice fans who are there for a good time and not to get sloppy.

I prefer intimate concert settings.

Anyway, the songs came at us one after another, with no jibber-jabber other than a fast intro to the next song, if he felt like saying something after a quick sip of tea. "This next song is a rock and roll song from 1921..."

After two hours and fifteen minutes of almost non-stop music, Elvis jammed in two more songs while the Bass player was packing up his music briefcase!

Value. Period.

The last Buffett concert will be exactly that; last. Unless it is at a venue like the Florida Theater. We will be sure to not miss the next Costello concert.

The Spousal Unit just walked by and said, "Are you critiquing the concert?"


"Why don't you write, 'I was dragged to the concert and had fun'."


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On a lighter note;

I was morosely reading the Sailing Cruisers Forum about the antics of rude boaters who have no couth when it comes to anchoring. For instance, you might be anchored in a serene quiet bay when some jerk comes along with stereo's blaring, drops his tiny lunch hook about five meters from your cockpit. You know that his boat will swing and hit you in the night, hopefully gently.

By tomorrow morning you will be sleepless and coughing from the loud music, those generators running loudly belching carbon monoxide fumes that are choking your boat.

It happens, believe me.

Everyone has a story, but this is the funniest quote I could find, written by a cruiser named, "Terry";

One of the funniest things I have ever seen was a German boat in Greece with mum, big breasted, huge and ugly as a hat full of spiders, and dad, barrell bellied and hairy as yeti, both stark naked and waving to the new arrivals as they dropped anchor.

Talk about imagery. That quote paints pictures, baby.

Have a humorous day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some boating happened

Over the weekend, maybe not enough. Definitely too much beer drinking, I had enough on Saturday to last me a week.

Sunday morning was a bit cloudy and storms were predicted for the afternoon, so underway we were at the crack of 1030. As we passed the sailboaters, we made sure to get some action photos of them under sail.

We had our Navy Jack up (Thanks, Gary G!) and headed north to dodge the weather front. Winds were southwest at about 20 knots. Uncomfortable until we passed the Shands Bridge.

Celtic Cross was at Black Creek and the other two boats were about five miles past them.

Very nasty day to be sailing.

We arrived at the base at 1330, just as the first thunderstorm arrived. Winds picked up to about 30 and lightning began it's noisy show. We decided not to stop at the base to drop off Phil, the wind and waves would have dashed us against the F-Pier so we smartly turned east and north to the Yacht Club,

Pirates Cove was getting slightly squirrelly in the thunderstorm, but we expertly placed the Barco between the uprights and docked just as the heavy stuff arrived.

After the tie up was complete and the packing of trash was ready, I turned down the offer of the post boat-trip beer.

That's how fragile I was feeling.

Dropped Phil off at the base via truck and returned for the Spousal Unit and we departed for home.

At least the Kitteh's were glad to see us, I have a Mali cat watching me as I type!

Our friends on "Beaujolais", Roger and Janice, have arrived at Hiva Oa, Marquesas! I think it was a 22 day trip from Galapagos to the Marquesas, I look forward to reading about the journey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some fun stuff

Strange week already, eerie stuff in the air. I got in to work and started the day normally, but at 0904 the windows practically burst from the frames; The double pump/slap of a sonic boom caused by the good folks in the Shuttle "Discovery" as they made way for a landing at Canaveral.

I wish I had been outside. Glad they made it home safely to Florida.

My wandering of the blogosphere is changing. I used to visit several military related sites such as The big aviation one, an amphibian and a few others. Daily, for the past six years in some cases. It's time I stop following most of these web sites because it all has stopped mattering to me. There is nothing coherent I can add and any inane comments I might make are meaningless. As for prattling on and debating for and against, well, I will just disengage and return to having a good time and keeping mostly to my own business. This means I shall keep my snide commentary to myself and my six loyal readers.

There will be a couple places I will continue supporting such as Babalu, Lileks, Iowahawk and his buddy Coop, and of course Exile in Portales and Great Reader. LL at Mirage will also be a regular stop, too. End result will be a great reduction in anything military.

One of the fun things about wandering this great internet is seeing other people's stuff, like on the site called Flickr. Today, I was reading the Coop blog and he had a link to his Ed "Big Daddy" Roth cartoon collection.

Man, back in 1970, me and my buddies at Argonaut Elementary school in Hayward California lived for those little decal cartoons! Just look to the right of the picture and you can see a little block titled, "Browse" and you can move to the right or left.

There will still be the boating and I will get back to the successful conclusion of our Atlantic crossing in the next day, or so.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Back to the Monday routines, the weather is cloudy with a chance of rain. Matches the moods around the office and we have four more wake ups before the we become happy again.

Here is a wine we enjoyed on Friday evening;

We were given a couple of these from sometime reader Erik's private stash. Apparently, Erik and a few friends in California commissioned a local winemaker to make up a special batch. Erik offered me just one bottle, but I asked for two because I like to be able to look forward to the second bottle.

My experience with newly tasted wines is that I might really enjoy a bottle and forget to write down the name and variety in our wine log. Then, I recycle the bottle and have no record or idea what that great wine was from Friday night. Never. To. Be. Seen. Again.


So if I have two bottles, we get the log updated and we might be able to remember how and where we got the goodies. Plus, there is the anticipation of saying , "Ooh, we have a bottle of so and so, this is going to be great when our friends come over for dinner!"

Erik might have thought I was being a jerk when I asked for that second bottle but the wine was truly outstanding with our dinner. And we have one more bottle stowed in the wine locker, so Kudo's to Erik's family wine and I pass full thanks and gratitude for the gift we received.

Saturday morning was a bit blurry so we had breakfast and coffee and turned to for some Barco scrubbing and washing the topsides. Afterwards, we fired up the diesels and headed to NAS Jax just to see if it was still there.

Yep. Still there. Called Navy Jax Yacht Club on the VHF and asked for linehandling assistance.

Good ol' Phil came stepping down the dock. Instead of tying up to the dock, we changed our minds and asked if he would join us for a river run.

Phil had a seat and said he was up to a river run so we headed Southward at ten knots. Next thing we knew (about two hours later) we passed under the Shands bridge and decided to take a lunch at the dreaded Crab Shack.

Plenty of room at the dock, so we were moored and ready to eat. Our friend Wyatt came by so the four of us dined well.

Gator relaxing by dock and same gator after sunset, hunting.

It was a beautiful evening and we 'people watched' the locals who promenaded down the dock. There were plenty of No-See-Ums and other bugs, most notably the blind mosquitos. As the evening wore on the temperatures cooled and the bugs (The biting kind) were soon gone and we settled in to conversations related to the Tea Party Protests and the Federal Government in particular.

Midnight on the water came quickly, and Wyatt was sent safely home and we decided to make a night of it down below. The Barco crew secured the flybridge and left the rubble in the sundeck area for pickup in the morning. Only about forty empty beer cans and an empty Jim Beam bottle to account for ourselves.

All wreckage was contained in sundeck area.

Taps came at 0030 and we secured the generator and silently snoozed until the 0800 reveille.

Motors started and the Spousal Unit piloted us off the dock as we made way for home. After securing our lines I went below to make coffee X 2 pots and six waffles for to break the fast. Three hours later we discharged our Shanghaied crew at the base and returned to our home berth in Pirates Cove. We rapidly secured our boat and was out shopping by noon where we bought new clothing and other sundry items.

Let's do it all over again in a few days.

Friday, April 16, 2010

We are back, finally

After our nice guests left last week, there was some hustle and bustle to get household business back on regular track. A new keg of Fuller's "London Pride" was acquired on Friday, and everything slid down hill from there.(Here is a discussion on brewing London Pride)

A nice Prime Rib was roasted on the Weber Grill which was served with green veggies and a fine bottle of Cabernet from Napa. While figuring on a dessert, a phone call from my good buddy Phil was received.

I guess Phil could tell that new beer was presently available.

Phil was given the "ok" signal to approach the Serengetti Spa for replenishment, and Phil phoned El-Mer, another one of our ne'er-do-well crew of good time seekin' fellow Navy retiree's.

Fifteen minutes later, there was a great hub-bub as we all went out back by the pool for night time beer swillin' and for some, cigar smokin'.


I insisted that all reveler's stay the night so as to prevent any unsafe situations on night time roadways. Besides, we have two spare bedrooms. Taps was called at 0100 and all good Barco Crew were sent to their bunks for much needed rest.

My physical situation was quite deteriorated by 0800 the next morning. I think I contracted some kind of flu, and had it been Monday, I would have had to phone in sick. So I got up and cooked a package of bacon which was served with a large bowl of red potatoes that had spent time with hot oil. And eggs. Flu has to be treated properly with greasy diner-like brekky. That's what I always say.

After the last guest standing (Phil) had departed at 1130, I retreated for an extended session of inspecting my eyelids for light leaks. After a tough night of trying to empty that keg of it's contents, I was sure that the collateral damage would surely be ocular.

None were noted despite three hours of very intense, careful inspection, with the sure and everpresent help of the Mao and Mali Cats. Them care, ya' know?

Absolutely nothing was accomplished for that Saturday. Or Sunday, for that matter. My new moniker could be "Johnny Sloth", alright.

This week has been another futile five days of trying to pay taxes and sell quality Auto and Life insurance. Hardly anyone buys, they just rebuff my offers by claiming penury. Just can't afford to protect my family after I'm gone, that twenty bucks can be better spent on something else. This is always a big frustration on my part since many of my customers really do need a small term policy in case they check out of life early, leaving children and spouses to make it without the passed on person's presence or paycheck.

We all have so many unwanted bills that seem to keep piling up and when there is a chance to say "no" to a new bill, they do it. Since none of us likes to consider that life may indeed be finite, it is easiest to just ignore contingency planning.

Maybe it's me not selling properly. If I could sell four life policies a week, I would be doing much better in doing a bit more for the household budget. Plus I like to think that my customers would really benefit from protection. We lose about two customers a quarter who successfully attain room temperature/forgot to wake up.

I really hate getting that phone call from a grieving family member, usually at 0900 in the morning enquiring if there is any other insurance besides auto or home? My regretful reply is almost always to the negative. I never say this, but usually the deceased thought it was too expensive... Especially when that person was 27, or 32.

Ugh. Sorry about whining, this blog is supposed to be about more positive subjects.

There is six and a half hours to go until I yabba-dabba-do my happy self out into the Florida sunshine for the big weekend. I think there will be some boating tomorrow on the St Johns river. No destination in mind, just buzz over to the base to see my no-account good time friends and spend some time in the sun.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The cats are just beginning to relax

I caught that picture of Peter Lorre from here a book on Peter Lorre's career.

Who couldn't like Lorre after that?

Looks like Mali on his right shoulder.

This weekend, before any fun happens we will have to complete our taxes. Naturally, being without excess baggage, (Children) we shall have to pay a little bit more of a share than others in our income class. No noticeable bitterness here, is there?

The trip from Puerto Rico to the Bahamas wrapping up the trans-Atlantic crossing just doesn't seem to want to come out. You could call it writer's block. But I'm no writer. Please bear with me my delays because it will be fun to read about.

..."Figure ways to disguise, all the half truths and lies..." Jimmy Buffett "If I could just get it on paper"

There was a weather system that passed through at 0455, this morning. Woke me up with very high winds and a load of rain. At this moment, 0900, the sky is clear and blue and promises to be a great weekend.

This is the time to be in Florida, livin' the Floridays.

Have a great weekend... I will update as needed when I have anything fun to say.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cute video

Stolen from Theo Spark

Like, I don't think I know anyone like this...

Certainly not near the Barco Sin Vela. But I really dig the concept. Prolly good for a young and single dude.

The visitors have departed

It was a fun week, having the Spousal Unit's Mom and Sister and two boys was busy, but overall everyone was a good guest.

The three Meezers are probably most relieved that the boys will not be here making noises and moving quickly, which disturbs a cat most of all. Cat's do not like their routines to be adjusted. They told me so this morning.

There are some great amateur photo's of the Shuttle take off, I could steal them but I don't have the energy. Just go to and take a look for your self! Wonderful photographs of a perfect launch. It could only be better if coffee and donuts were provided for free at the dockside.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday arrives

And the Shuttle departeth!

We were up at 0530, the kids were out the door fifteen minutes later. I took my time and left the homestead at 0600. Destination; Yacht Club. The Shuttle was due for the final night launch at 0621 and we were out on the dock waiting at the far end.

Sure enough, as we set foot on the furthest portion of the dock, we heard the radio calling the final ten count.

There was a glow to the South, and soon we saw the chariot of fire heading Northeast. It was a bright orange line of flame and it starting coming to the North and after a minute or so, we saw the separation of the boosters and the small white light propelled into space. We could see the spent boosters slowly sink as the shuttle hauled... We even heard the distant sonic boom as it passed by.

The sun was still under the horizon, but there was a bright blue glow where the booster separation charge had left a puff of radiant vapor.

The Shuttle now was on it's track towards Europe and the exhaust gasses glowed in the sunlight, it was a "Y" shaped condensation trail not unlike a comet.

We watched for about five minutes until the white speck sank into the horizon, just as the sun broke free of the darkness to the East.

What a show. It was sad to know that this was the final predawn Shuttle launch, ever. I wish our President and NASA could get their collective crap together. The American People want a Space Program and want to see the Shuttle (and maybe a better running replacement) continue to soar regularly into space. We should not be relying on the Russians and the Europeans to provide booster capability in support of the Space Station.

It's a National Pride thing, not that the current administration knows anything about that.

How nice that Sascha and Roma got to see something so historic, yet routine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Busy weekend, for sure!

Took out Barco and anchored twice, in the hunt for fish. Not. A. Bite.

A quick word with Randy over at the Club, he says he will take the boys out on his fishing boat and they shall catch trout.
No doubt, since Randy supplies the club with fresh Dolfin and Tuna.

The family unit is at the zoo while I pound out these words, two fingers at a time.

Yesterday, we got underway around 1100 and buzzed the Naval Airstation. Roma and Sascha have never seen a Navy base, or for that matter, been out on a boat. They do remarkably well, considering they have been in America for the past five months and immersed english after a rough stint in a Siberian orphanage.


I let the youngest, Sascha, take the helm after about one minute of instruction. He gamely took the wheel and hesitantly made course corrections when I indicated. He was nervous but looked fine.

He seemed to be having fun and was quite lively and animated while bouncing around the flybridge. It was now Roma's turn at the helm, he made like Captain Cool while driving;

But anyone could tell the real story; The Boys were having a great time.

We buzzed the parked EA-6B's and S3-B's on the ramp and the boys howled their appreciation at seeing Naval Aviation, even if it was fixed wing. We soon turned for Marker 7 (Green) across the river for some much awaited fishing. We quickly anchored and I baited up our poles with shrimp hoping to catch some croakers. And some Nathan's hotdogs for lunch. I blended up some strawberry daiquiri's for the adults and passed out slightly chilled Sprites for the kids.

Note; They don't care for ice cold beverages. They never saw an ice cube in the orphanage and cold soda's were nonexistent. I think it's because of the recent dental issues that have come up. They apparently have had some dental challenges that have resulted from years of neglect, and I am sure that cold stuff causes pain.

Give them time, they will become snobs who require a glass with ice with every soda. Until then, they are easy on the icebox.

We got underway for Marker five, about three miles North. Dropped anchor and set out with fish killin' sticks, again.

Absolutely nuffin'!

After about two hours (and a desperately needed nap for the Captain) we pulled up anchor for a down town run.

We went to the football stadium and back to the Yacht Club for dinner. Afterwards, the family went to the pool for swimming and showers, I took a shower on the boat and made my way to the Pirates Den bar.

Dinner was at sunset, I had a prime rib, the boys had pizza. The Wimmen folks all had fish. Dining concluded at 2100 and we went back to the homestead for a nightcap for me, and snoozing for the boys. Easter eggs and all sorts of goodies were laid out in the back yard by the Spousal Unit and her Mom and Sister.

A study in Patience;

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday; We start early...

Our guests arrived about 2230, a full four hours late due to unplanned traffic problems in Atlanta.

I could have told them that Atlanta always has problems, but I was not consulted. Guess that all of us must endure/enjoy the Atlanta traffic at least five times, right?

Grandma and sister had some welcome-aboard champagne served poolside in the warm night. We chatted until it was gone, maybe a half hour. All were a-snooze by midnight.

We met Sascha and Roma, two boys from Siberia who have never seen the ocean. They are very exuberant and excited about being here and especially look forward to fishing. They have lived in Michigan for the past six months and they are speaking english better than I would have imagined, this is notable since they were only adopted from an orphanage in September. Imagine having your world completely upended and you get moved to China. Where they use different letters and speak the toughest language in the world...

They are having entirely too much fun!

Since child reveille is held at 0500, they were in the pool at 0800. Really.

Mao is not amused...

Roma in hamming for camera mode;

Sascha is a camera mooch, too;

Finally, two sisters cope with being at a pool at the crack of eight in the morning and supervising two whirling dervishes.

Off to the rain locker and we shall go to Barco in about 15 minutes.

Up and at 'em!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Edition

Well, Good Friday again. I never have understood how this could be a good day, especially since it ended pretty badly with the Roman's botching up yet another opportunity to keep the peace in Jerusalem. Just like the headlines of today which come from that nasty region on a daily basis. Whenever I read that part of the New Testament, I'm always pulling for Pilate to do the right thing as if he can do anything different.

Today, the morning papers were in the front yard as usual at 0600. The only thing different was the box I found on the porch which contains the new battery charger for the Barco. Joy!

Our guests should be here in about nine hours, and I wish that some of our single readers could be coming out, too.

We have ice cream!.

And an eight pound leg o' lamb for Easter dinner. It will be marinaded tomorrow in Indian spices (The Hindu kind) and soaked in a yogurt paste just prior to grilling on Weber charcoal. We are very fortunate here at the Serengetti Spa and Veldt Lounge, and very thankful.

The following is a message to our friends trapped in the occupied zone(Orange Park):

The Chair is by the wall... John has a long mustache... Dinner is on Sunday afternoon... call for times...

There is fishing, boating and the Jacksonville Zoo coming up for the weekend.

And Russians.

And two Mom's under one roof.

Aarrgh, interesting times! Can you say Carmenere? Sure, I knew you could...

Have a great Easter, everyone.