What Do You Do With An Overexposed Headshot – Picture

What do you do with an over exposed head shot anyway?

The picture is pretty good overall, it was taken with an iPhone 4 and sent to me as is.  I didn’t retouch it at all.   The white towel Lettie is resting on is bleached by the flash and the eyes are glowing with a peculiar gold glow that the tools don’t do well in correcting.   Red Eye is a bear to get right.

I guess I should be honest, after sitting in the chair doing my daily routine with the laptop and the third mug of coffee, she was entertaining me by running in her sleep at around 140 beats per minute.  I could have made a good Youtube video with a Happy Hardcore Techno music bed out of it.   But the reality is that it gave me an excuse to post a picture of my dog online. 


Here is how I fixed it.   Simply bring it into my favorite picture viewer and convert to black and white.   I’ve seen countless profile pictures fixed like that over the years.  

I guess it’s my turn to post one.  Of my dog. 

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many “Lolcats”?

After being stopped by a couple in their car and their two point three kids yesterday and being quizzed about whether she was ok with kids (somewhat, Mc Nab Dogs and Border Collies require a “soft hand”) and whether they were loud (if they don’t get enough mental stimulation they can be an absolute terror), I told them that the breed is hands down the most intelligent breed around and that this particular dog is a life saver. 

Kids?  Don’t know, but for someone who has a very active lifestyle and is willing to get a dog that will learn you better than you know yourself, they’re an amazing breed. 

I’d absolutely do it again.

For those who come to this blog looking for Border Collie information (I get about 10-20 hits a day on Border Collie Related Stuff), and how she’s doing after the second stroke… She’s doing well.   She is an older dog now, 10 1/2 and the stroke has taken her energy down.   We don’t do the three 1 mile walks we did until recently.  Now its around 2 miles a day total, and it is on her terms.  She doesn’t seem to like the walks in the 90 degree Florida Sun, but you put on a black fur coat and see how you like it.  We have specific walks for specific times of day to maximize cooling shade.  She’s content to curl into a dog ball and sleep with one eye open while sniffing the tip of her tail for now. 

We’re in it for the long haul.  I’ll have her as long as I am able. 

Like the Bumper Sticker says “Who Rescued Who?”

A Visit with Uncle Sal at the Airport – Picture

Back in 1977 the French Club took a trip to Paris, Nice and what felt like most of France.   It left out of JFK Airport in New York for one of those trips you will never forget if you have never been overseas. 

It was my one and only trip over the ocean to another country.  Sure, I’ve been to Mexico and had such a fun time I’d like to go back but I think that was more because I was with a good friend, Tim, who showed me around. 

When I was a kid we drove to Montreal and took a very cold trip on too small of a “cruise ship” to Gaspe and St Pierre and Miquelon.  The latter was a trip to what the BBC calls the last French Territory In The New World.  Interesting trip, but it convinced me I don’t have very good sea legs.

In this case, Mom, Pat, and I spent a few hours sitting at JFK cooling our heels and visiting with My Aunt Betty and Uncle Sal.  That’s Betty’s head in the foreground talking to Sal and Mom.  Mom and Sal are gone, but the pictures remain.

See, they were all great people.  I miss them both.  Betty is up in New York giving orders and being the wonderful woman who will whip up a meal out of leftovers that you couldn’t find anywhere else, give you the recipe that you will ask for, and while you’re at it have one of the most wonderful conversations you’ve ever had.

Some of my best memories of childhood were with these three people.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I think of them well and fondly.

Just like now.

Hey Sal, love the hat!  That fedora was his trademark back then.  Now the hipsters have taken it over, ironically, but to Sal, it was The Thing To Do.  Somehow I think he’d like it that they are back in fashion.

Arrogance and Grandma – Jokes Galore

Velma’s been my joke writer for a while, and today’s the second day in a row.  

Hey!  It’s a Holiday! 

So enjoy and think of me out back by the pool under the Lanai waiting for the Shish-kabobs to be done on the grill.  Yum!  Grab a beer before you head on out.  The Yuengling is in the fridge, and it’s ice cold!

The Arrogance of Authority

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.  He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”

The rancher said “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there…..”, as he pointed out the location.  The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!”

Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.  “See this badge?!  This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish…. On  any land !!

No questions asked or answers given!!  Have I made myself clear……do you understand ?!!”  The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the  DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull……

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety.  The officer  was clearly terrified.

The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of  his lungs…..(I just love this part….)

“Your badge, show him your BADGE…….. ! !”

 Subject: Grandma Still Drives
Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She  writes:

Dear Grand-daughter,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker ..

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting..

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn’t notice that the light had changed.

It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t honked, I’d never have noticed. I found that lots of people love Jesus! While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, ‘For the love of God!’  Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!’   What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!   I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!   There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach. I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.   I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.   He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.   Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.   My grandson burst out laughing. Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.   I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.  So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.   I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared. So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love, Grandma

Two Jokes for a Sunday Morning

These two jokes come with the Velma Seal of Approval (TM).  Think of it as an internet Good Housekeeping seal for humor.
Or not, but do enjoy.

I did. 🙂

Oh and that second joke, well, I’ll just say I was thinking of two specific people when I read this one.  

Don’t Lie To Your Mom!
John invited his mother over for dinner. During the meal, his mother couldn’t help noticing how beautiful John’s roommate Julie was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between John and his roommate, and this only made her more curious.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between John and the roommate than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, John volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Julie and I are just roommates.”

About a week later, Julie came to John and said, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I can’t find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”

John said, “Well, I doubt it, but I’ll write her a letter just to be sure.”  So he sat down and wrote:

“Dear Mother,

I’m not saying you ‘did’ take a gravy ladle from my house, and I’m not saying you ‘did not’ take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Love, John.”

Several days later, John received a letter from his mother which read:

“Dear Son,

I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with Julie, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with Julie. But the fact remains that if she were sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now.

Love, Mom.” 

A Mule, a Donkey, Or A …?
A preacher went to his church office on Monday morning and discovered a dead mule in the church yard. He called the police.
Since there did not appear to be any foul play, the police referred the preacher to the health department.  They said since there was no health threat that he should call the sanitation department.  The sanitation manager said he could not pick up the mule without authorization from the mayor.

Now the preacher knew the mayor and was not to eager to call him. The mayor had a bad temper and was generally hard to deal with, but the preacher called him anyway.  The mayor did not disappoint. He immediately began to rant and rave at the pastor and finally said, “Why did you call me anyway? Isn’t it your job to bury the dead?”

The preacher paused for a brief prayer and asked the Lord to direct his response. He was led to say, “Yes, Mayor, it is my job to bury the dead, but I always like to notify the next of kin first!”
Badges, dont need no stinkin’ badges……hilarious

Old Italian’s Tomato Garden – Humor

Being an “old” Italian who once lived in New Jersey and who is alone in the house at the moment, I can post this joke without any fear of offending anyone but myself.

Now if you really want to know where the bodies are buried…

Old Italian’s Tomato Garden

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.


A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.


At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.


What is on the Table for Memorial Day

When I was growing up, there was always a neighborhood picnic.  We lived next door to the house that was going to host it and it was fascinating to see it set up and people arrive.   It was a collection of folks that to my childhood brain was overwhelming.   Being that guy who never can remember someone’s name without a lot of effort or some very distinct reason, it is pretty much a swirl of faces and food.

This weekend being Memorial Day we are having over the neighbors across the street, Billy and Lisa.  Great folks.  So there’s beer in the fridge, and I’ll have to figure out something to bake for dessert.  They’re bringing over some Shish-Kabobs and corn on the cob.  I’m waiting for someone to suggest how to make the corn and we’ll tell them our patented burn it on the grill method. 

No, seriously, you soak the corn in the husk for a while before hand.  It refills the ears with water and makes them come alive.   Then you heat up the grill and cook them inside the husk, water and all.   The corn cooks sweet and tender while the husk looks like something that has been through a fire, basically because it has.

Since this is South Florida, we’re all looking at the weather for the old saw that it always rains on Memorial Day.  After all it is the wet season, and they do have “passing showers” predicted.  No big deal, it rains, you get wet, it rinses off the outside of your beer bottle.

Now, where is that recipe for dessert…

Noise Canceling Headphones or Isolation Booth, You Choose

A while back, one of my “finds” was a pair of headphones.  When the List Price was 120, the “refurb” price was originally 60, and you can find them for 16 it’s worth buying.   Especially since money is tight and I spend most of my day with headphones on and music in the background.

I picked up a pair of Sony MDR-NC7 headphones, put in the battery, flipped the switch and was immediately impressed.  Noise Canceling was not perfect but for $16 they didn’t have to be.  Then I plugged in to the MP3 Player and noticed that I didn’t have to run the volume quite as high to get the same effect.  Yes, a pair of noise canceling headphones can actually save your hearing.

For a while, I would walk around the house with the music off because the effect nulled out droning noises like the computers or the air handling units and I was transported from the Noisy Quirky Island of Wilton Manors to the inside of a library.  Once the novelty wore off, I took them for granted and used them like any other pair.  

Not outdoors, because if you were trying to cross the road, you may end up being road pizza.  Just enough silencing to be dangerous.

About two weeks ago, I was given someone’s old iPhone 3GS.   Since I don’t have ATT or a Data Plan on my cell phone contract, I use the thing like an iPod Touch.   It watches my professional email account, plays music, and allows me to do limited surfing.  Sure, all of that can be done on the laptop, but this slips in my pocket and I can listen to music too pretty much all day if I need to.

That would be one of the drawbacks.   I caught myself listening to this iPhone all day and didn’t realize that the iPod applet had a nasty habit of resetting the volume.  I haven’t gotten a good idea where it does the reset or why but I’m watching now.  All the sudden its volume slider is “in the middle” where someone at Apple decided it should be and not at 15% where I wanted it, and I’m listening to Armin van Buuren’s dreamy trance music a bit louder than I’d prefer.

No, not that “Hey Get Off My Lawn and Turn Down That Noise” kind of volume, but more of a “you are enveloped in A State Of Trance and you can’t hear a bloody thing” kind of volume. 

When the washer sounded off it’s beeper, I didn’t hear it.
When the phone rang, twice, in an hour this morning, I didn’t hear it.

Only Armin. 

Or at least until I slipped off the headphones slightly bending over to pick up my cargo shorts after using “The Facilities” and I heard the phone in the other room sing out that I had a message.

Hmmm…. Not one but two I had missed… in 30 minutes.  OOPS!

Ok, I’ll be more careful.  The music’s back on, I’ve got on Armin van Buuren again and it’s down where I like it, around 15%.

Gees, Mom was right!  I really should turn that damn thing down!

Anyway, the headphones are highly recommended.  You can find a pair for around $16 as a refurb, and if you pay more than $20 come here so I can tell you how you messed up.  The iPhone you’ll have to get on your own.  Since it’s locked to ATT (at least this one is) when they swallow up my T-Mo, I’ll be able to use it there.  For now, it’s a pretty good little iPod even if I am forced to use that horrendous iTunes.

Personally, I think iTunes should die a horrible death and I want to do a Dr Johnny Fever with a baseball bat on the source code of that piece of crap, but hey, WKRP in Cincinatti aside, it gets the job done.   Badly.

Hungry Yet? Banana Nut Recipe Returns – Picture

Hungry Yet?  I was.

I had finished off the last bananas this morning.  Why do they all ripen at once and all way too quickly?  I had three ripe bananas left and had one with a mango and a chicken pattie on a bagel for breakfast, that left me with two more.  

I decided it was time for the banana nut bread recipe.  This time I made it with Pecans and no chocolate chips.  The base recipe is simple, add bananas to a bread machine or mixing bowl and puree until smooth.  Add all the rest of the ingredients one at a time to the bananas.  Mix until smooth.  Add an Optional Cup of Pecans to the mix.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes plus.  Mine took exactly 63 minutes today since my oven knows no set temperature.


2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
2 Bananas Peeled and sliced

Optional – 1 Cup Chopped Pecan

Puree Bananas as smooth as you like.  Can be done in a mixing bowl with a fork.
Fold in other ingredients one at a time.  Add the Pecans last so they don’t turn to dust.
Pour the batter into greased and floured bread pan.
Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until Toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center.

Alternately, this recipe will bake in a bread machine.  I used regular cycle and it comes out fine!

Enjoy.  I’m having mine with Peanut Butter and Home Made Jelly (Thanks Cousin Bill!)

Have You Ever Had One Of Those Days?

Have you ever had one of those days?

Getting out of bed on Sunday Morning was difficult.  I looked at the clock, early, since neither I nor Mrs Dog had been raptured and sent to our heavenly reward.

Just like the other 7 billion souls on this planet.

I got dressed and took her out for her morning walk around town.  We saw nobody.  It literally was a ghost town.   The city was deserted, and it felt like I was in the middle of one of those Post-Apocalyptic movies that I like to watch.   You know, where everyone is gone due to a zombie apocalypse or a giant tomato from outer space collected people up for some weird spaghetti sauce?

Hey, a good Sci Fi movie requires a nuclear blast somewhere!

Everything looked normal to me, and that is to say that Wilton Drive was covered with bar flyers from bars that are not in the city, and other businesses that want the people who visit here to go elsewhere.  That always leaves me scratching my head wondering why the City of Wilton Manors doesn’t simply fine those businesses that are out of town for littering and charge them an onerous fee for “cleaning, recycling, and manpower time”.

Getting back home, I finished my coffee, turned on the music on the iPod, and settled in to do some work. 

Time marched on, and I had my second mug of coffee.  You can set your watch by that, it was around 9AM and I needed to finish the breakfast.

Some time around 10AM I had finished the morning routine as it was Sunday Morning.  Morning Routines are what they are and this one felt kind of pointless in a comfortable way.  Getting up out of my chair, I set the laptop aside and looked down and saw what you see in the picture above.

Yes, I had walked all over town with one grey shoe, one white shoe.   Not to worry though, I have another pair just like this one. As problems go, if this is the worst thing that happens to you in the course of the day you’re doing quite well.  I’d say it ranks up there with having the waist band of your underwear showing over your belt, although that is acceptable now these days in the “droopy drawers” crowd.

I’ll just chalk this one up to “Diversity of Footwear” and say I’m starting a trend.   Maybe I’ll do it again some day, but if I do I doubt anyone will notice.   Tolerance can be an amusing thing.

Confessions of a Data Pack Rat

The nice thing about the digital age is that clutter has become virtual.

I got a deep discount on a case the other week.   It’s an external drive box that allowed me to put a hard drive on the network instead of inside of a PC.  My largest drive is around 3 years old, and is a 750GB drive.  All those numbers aside, it’s tough to put a desktop drive into a laptop.   The technical word for it is a NAS or SAN drive.

NAS – Network Addressable Storage.
SAN – Storage Area Network.

This way I treat the thing as yet another drive when I’m sitting at home on the network and keep a cache of the most needed files in places like a memory stick or on the hard drive of the laptop so it’s available immediately when I need them.

Think of it this way, if I’m at home, I have a new drive that pops up and will be accessible if I need it. 

The case is small, and will be put somewhere better than being hid under clutter, and it’s about the size of a small hardback book.  For $12, it’s a steal.   One of those external cases without the network “upgrade” would be around $30.  They sold out of the one that I got, especially at $1 plus $11 shipping.  If you are looking for something like it, the place I ordered from has a replacement for $23 with free shipping at this link.

Getting that little case to work on the network with some rather odd software that came with it meant I could look around and put files where the belonged.  There’s one thing.  I have a lot of files.  Specifically picture files.  I post a lot of pictures on this blog, and will continue to do so.  On the other hand, I just found out that I have around 3,308 picture files. 

I’m not talking about stuff I “collected” on the web, this is a directory of what I have taken myself over the years.  That translates to 5.08GB according to Windows 7.

I’ve never found anyone who has a “lot” of pictures that had a good suggestion of how to store them.   I use my own pictures here and try to make sense of how they’re stored, but the reality is that it’s kind of tough to remember 3300 of anything.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I have three million three hundred eight thousand words.

Give or take a syllable.

A stroll down a memory lane like that will take quite a while, especially since the Achilles Heel of this drive is that it doesn’t like to do more than one thing at a time.  In fact what got me started writing about this is that I made the mistake of starting a copy to the drive and hit delete on one of the folders on the drive at the same time.  Now, it’s stuck churning its way through all of that.   SLOWLY. 

Ok, but it’s cheap right?

At least if it is doing just one thing at a time, it’s quick.  It’s about as quick as any other networked drive, in fact it’s quicker than trying to grab a file from one of the other machines here.

In the drive, just like any other folder is the “Pics” folder.  Inside that they’re all labeled in sub folders by date and description.  Hundreds of folders.  Bloody hundreds of them. 

If anybody has a better way to categorize this stuff, I’d entertain your suggestions since its rather a lot. 

On the other hand, a casual stroll down that particular memory lane has some things on its swale that may help with writer’s block if I ever get it again.