A Boy Comes Home From School Early One Day

A boy comes home from school early one day to find his mother having an affair another man.

Not wanting to be caught skipping school, he hides in a cupboard.

Pretty soon, the boy’s father comes home from work and the stranger hides in the same cupboard as the boy.

“Its very dark in here”, says the boy.
The man replies, “Please be quiet, I don’t want to get caught. I’ll give you anything.”
“Ok, I want a baseball.”
Finally the man managed to leave through an upstairs window, and the next day the boy finds a baseball waiting for him when he gets home.

The following week the same situation happens.
The boys father comes home and the boy and the stranger are both hiding in the cupboard. “It’s very dark in here.” says the boy.
The man begs, “I’ll give you anything you want, but please be quiet. I don’t want to get caught. .”
“Ok, I want a baseball bat.”
Finally the man managed to leave through the cellar and the next day the boy finds a baseball bat waiting for him when he gets home.

For the third week in a row, the same situation happens and the boy and stranger are hiding in the cupboard. “It’s very dark in here.” says the boy.
The man pleads, “I don’t want to get caught. Please be quiet, I’ll give you anything.”
“Ok, I want a baseball glove.”
Finally the man managed to leave through attic skylight and the next day the boy finds a baseball glove waiting for him when he gets home.

That weekend, the boy asks his father if he wants to play catch in the yard.
The father agrees and the boy rushes for his new baseball gear.
Noticing it was new, the father asked where he got it from.
The boy replied he got it from a friend.
The father didn’t believe him and thought they were stolen. “I’m going to take you to church so you can confess your sins to the priest.” Said the father angrily.

Once at the church, the father sat the boy in the confession booth.

The priest said “Confess to your sins.”
The boy replies “It’s very dark in here”.
The priest, shocked at what the boy had said, responds “Oh no! Not you again!”

An older couple were having a hard time remembering things

They arrived home from a walk and after a few minutes watching Television, the wife suddenly looks at her husband and says to him:
“You know, I could really go for some icecream! Would you mind going to the kitchen and getting me some?”

Her husband, always happy to be kind, walks to the kitchen, but on the way out there, he suddenly hears his wife yell to him:
“And could you bring some strawberries as well? I really like those with ice – and you better write that down, so that you won’t forget it!”

Her husband, somewhat insulted, yells back:
“I don’t need to write this down! Ice and Strawberry, I can remember that!”

“OK, but I would also like a glass of Cola!” – the wife yells.

“And you should really write that down, so that you won’t forget what it is you where going to the kitchen for!”

“Nonsense! Icecream, Strawberries and Cola – That’s easy to remember!”

About fifteen minutes later, the husband walks into the living room with a plate in his right hand, having bacon, some fried eggs and sausages on it. In his left hand, his holding a glass of milk.

He tries to put it on the table before his wife, when she looks angrily at him and screams:
“Where’s the toast!!”

Black Friday? I’ll Pass

Tis the season, finally?

Maybe, but today is the day of Gladiatorial Combat, the annual Running Of The Bulls in the Malls.

The websites are full to the bursting with deals promising deep discounts.

Sure, and we all spent time in the bathroom going through email accounts on our phones deleting email “bacn” promising 75% off of something we just can’t live without!

“Bacn” instead of “Spam”.   Stuff you signed up for when you bought or downloaded something.  It’s called Bacn – bacon. 

No, I don’t know why either. 

Shh, I am sure there’s a shiny object somewhere to distract you… oh well, have a picture of my puppy instead.

For no reason.

Yes, it is Black Friday.  Every store of any size is offering sales to entice you to come in and buy something else.

Why do I phrase it that way?  Am I grumpy?  Do I need yet another mug of coffee? 

Because, Nope, and not just yet.

Here’s the deal.  Businesses are not in business to lose money.  At least in the United States they aren’t.  Here the businesses are required to have some of the item on sale and state their policy if the item is sold out.  In other words, way down in the small print they will have a disclaimer.  That may be “No Rain Checks are available on Black Friday Specials.”.

What does that mean?  It’s the retailer’s gotcha.  It means that they were required to have at least one of that item on site, on sale, at that price advertised, with the printed conditions, at the opening of business today.

Complex huh?

It means that the manager put it out, and could have immediately bought it himself.   The owner of the store could have come out and bought it for herself.  If neither of them wanted it, the intern fetching coffee could have grabbed it.

If none of that happens, someone camped out since midnight the night before who was first in line grabbed it.

They tend to chase campers away from the door until the day of, although that could just be a rumor.

I ask myself “Why bother” every year.   I did the Black Friday thing once.  Swearing never again, I left that year and didn’t come back. 

I generally don’t shop in malls from now until after December 26th anyway.  If Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after the holiday, December 26th is the second busiest one on average.

As for online deals?  Be careful.  You can at least grab the model number and look online for reviews and comparisons. 

I’m actually in the market for a good printer.  I came to the conclusion, at least for myself, that inkjet printers are a bad idea.  I print so little that having one means watching the ink cartridge dry out and be unusable when I actually need to print.   Add to it the price of new cartridges and that while I am heavily into photography, I don’t actually NEED to print color photos…

Why bother at all?

Coupons, Resumes, Cover Letters, and Thank You Notes are about it. Even then I print out about 50 to 100 pages a year.

What am I planning on doing?

Laser Printer, Black and White ONLY.

Why that kind of printer?

Simple – the toner does not dry out.  Toner is a black dust that sits in a cartridge until it is needed and will last much longer than a tiny tank of ink that costs more than gold per ounce.

Why black and white?

Color laser printers may consume ink when they are idle.  Black and white printers do not.  It is why you generally do not see Color Laser printers in the “consumer” market segment. 

That and cost.  The color laser printers are quite expensive at times and you have at least four toner cartridges to replace.

So I looked.  Found a laser printer that I will watch and grab if the price comes down a bit more.  But while I was looking I found an entry level printer that cost $30. 

I got all excited.  You know, that rush you get when you think you found a good thing that nobody else knows about?  Yeah the Shopper’s Rush, that one!

Since money is always tight around here, I loaded the model number into a search engine (not the big one, but one that hides your presence from the big one so you aren’t monitored) and found the price of the toner.

Twice the price of the printer at $60 per cartridge.  At least it only needs one.

Let the sucker, er, Buyer Beware.

Always do your research.  If I can give you a helpful hint, that’s the best one.

Pot Roast, Cherry Pie, and a Stuffed Thanksgiving

Our non traditional Thanksgiving feast is planned.  Some of it is even pre-fab, yes, frozen.

In this house?  Go figure?

I’m not really all that fond of mashed potatoes, so they’re frozen.

The Roast is top bottom round, and there’s over 6 pounds of it sitting in the bottom of the refrigerator.  That will be made with Port Wine so that it could be made into Port Wine gravy.  Trust me, if you have never had Port Wine gravy, it’s a great excuse to try something new.  When it’s made, it is great for slathering on a thick roll to soak in as you pile on the leftovers for sandwiches that seem to linger on into some time in Spring.

The pie crust is rolled out and will be filled with cherries.  My favorite, cherry pie.  Well, that and a Key Lime but I didn’t have the time to make Key Lime pie this year.

Where all this will go I am not sure, but there will always be room for more. 

We’re also going to try something different.  Our standard recipe is cook by time.  That irked me.  It would result in a “Well Done” beef roast that ended up having ends that are hard and dried out. 

This time we cook by temperature.  I’m planning on a roast cooked to an internal temperature of 150F.  That is the border of Medium and Medium Well.  It’s a compromise since I prefer rare, and Kevin prefers well.  We’re meeting in the middle. 

Other than that, have a great Thanksgiving feast. Like I said on the Wilton Manors Development Alliance Facebook feed earlier:

May your homes be full of friends and family,
May your main courses be tasty and perfectly cooked,
May the side dishes be savory and good,
And May your pumpkin pie be sweet and wonderful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rack In The Car, Oscar in The Yard, Weather, and Pests on the Phone

Having a picture that just refused to be cropped correctly for a month, I settled in to work on it.

It just wasn’t going to be an easy one.  Most people would shrug and say try again.  I am too stubborn.

The first problem was it looked like something from the criminal’s lair in the campy old TV show from the 1960s, Batman.  Tilted to the one side, it was a picture taken behind my back.  I was trying to be slick.  I didn’t want my dog to be distracted.

One day we had piled into the big blue beast and drove down to the office.  This was one of Rack’s all time favorite things to do.  We would head down A1A and he’d stick his head up just high enough to watch the endless summer parade by with accents of tourists and palm trees.  For a dog that I see shut down way too often, the joy in his canine brown eyes was a pleasure to see.

So I stuck the camera under my left arm, between the seats and tapped the trigger a couple times to fire off a couple shots.  It wasn’t like I expected much.  But I did like the picture if I could “Do Anything With It”.

I settled in this morning to play with the software.  I could eventually paste it into Photoshop, but let’s see what happens in Irfan View with a judicious crop.  Try to find the rotation tool…

The weather alert fires off for the first time in weeks.  I’m actually happy it “still works”.  Listening to Sneezy The Weather Robot, I try to get a little further.

Try 15 degrees…

Marine Warning?  I’m on dry land.  Ignore.

14 Degrees…

Phone rings.   “No, Dave’s not here, man!”.  Yes, seriously.  Cheech and Chong when the phone rings before 9AM is about the best I intend to do.


13 Degrees… Yes! Close Enough!

Oscar flaps around a bit, and I start to crop.  Like a Barber – A little off the sides, a little off the top.  Maybe a Mani-pedi and a little off the bottom.

Suddenly, Monsoon.

I set the computer back on the table.  Grab Oscar’s cage.  A picture of Rack’s Favorite Thing will wait, I have Oscar’s Favorite Thing for the first time in over a week.  Rain.

I take the top of the cage, bird and all, out to the back yard.  It’s raining buckets, but the water hasn’t even gotten off the roof yet to soak the back of my shirt as I walk him out to the pool deck.

That gives me 15 minutes to work on things.  A pass through the Spanish Tutor.  I could eat apples and drink milk with the best of them but only while I’m on the toilet apparently.  Learning Spanish On The Loo it should be called.

I head back out to the chair to work with the picture more and play Photo-barber.  It’s a square format, it will have to do.

The rain stops as suddenly as it started.  Better go after the parrot before the Opossums or the Raccoons do.  The “scale” on the outside of the cage had washed away in the torrent.

I bring Oscar back in and set the top of the cage on the base.  Phone rings.

“Dave’s not here, Man!”.

Tommy Chong, I am not.  I am however getting tired of the wrong numbers.  There’s a car website somewhere that people sign up to opt in for phone calls from people to help them find cars.

Opt in.
To Find Cars.

Why on earth would you ever want to hear from a shouty car salesman?  I have heard from all the high pressure car dealers in South Florida over the last week.  Most of them are blocked.  I have heard from Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru.  Most of them are insistent that this is Dave’s number.

“No, dude, you’ve been scammed, remove the number he gave out mine”.  I usually can’t even get the sentence out before I’m talking to a dead line and a bloop from my phone.

I start getting texts from someone who insists I need to look at a video on my phone.  No, I won’t bother, the idea that I have to watch a commercial in order to watch a video that lasts less time than the commercial is insane.  All that is blocked on the computer.  Adblock Edge to the rescue.

Phone rings.  More “Dave”.  http://www.truecar.com has my ire.  I will never be able to block all of these things.

Look at the watch.  A 10 minute crop and edit has taken an hour and a half already.

Oh well, by the end of this I will have every single car dealer in South Florida Blocked.  Thankfully I have a modern Android phone that lets me do that sort of thing?

One last burp.  The music in the house.  It stutters, I think nothing of.  I’m almost done here..

The internet goes down.  Damn Comcast!  I walk into the laundry and reset the cable modem.  That doesn’t help.

Comcast is down until 2pm.

(Sigh) One Of Those Days.  I’ll have to use the bluetooth keyboard and finish the post on the phone.

The Rescue Pot

When you’re in a colder climate you have a cold frame. 

They always looked to me as if it were a window into the dirt.  A small box with a glass window on top where you plant your next year’s garden underneath.  The extra warmth would give slow growers time to get started before the season officially starts for them in March or April.

Bell Peppers were always the ones I’d hear about from Mrs Alderfer when I was growing up.  I never liked the green ones but we have to buy extra Red Bell Peppers here whenever a recipe calls for them because  the snack monster attacks them.


Since I am an indifferent gardener and not really that good at keeping things growing in pots for long periods of time, I have a different approach.  The original blush of gardening has mostly faded.  The row of fruit trees and flowers in the pots that we bought when we first moved here have either gotten too leggy, overly potbound and need to be placed in the actual soil, or just gave up and died.

Instead of having a row of pots with nothing in them but weeds, why not put them to use.  But what to do?

The theory of “If a Seed Falls, It Shall Grow” is all over my yard.  I’m constantly using a weed eater to kill off dozens of palm tree seedlings because they not only grow in the garden, but in the mulch under the trees.

The pots gathered a healthy coating of seedlings at one point and one particular palm tree grew so large so quickly that it’s now in the “island” in front of my house.  A year or so later, it’s taller than the Bottlebrush tree that is threatening to die that it is next to.

I decided to turn these pots into a rescue.  We don’t need a cold frame here, it doesn’t get below 34F.  Just stick cuttings in the very wet soil and see what happens. 

Everything I stick in these pots takes.

Every Single Thing.

I don’t necessarily have a green thumb, I’m just lucky.

What happened was I noticed that Lisa’s Pentas had begun to die back.  I mistakenly put a green Spider plant in there and it overgrew the pot.  There’s more Spider than Penta.  Reaching into the pot, some of the Penta snapped off.   I stuck it into the Rescue Pot and thought it’s up to you.

It liked it and grew.

When I finally got off my lazy butt and went at the hedges, I whacked back the Podocarpus to a more manageable size.  Grabbing a cutting, it went in there too.

It is taking as well.  This pot is a month afterwords.

This is also pot 1 of 5.  I ripped out the Hibiscus that was in a rescue pot that had liked it so well back there it grew through the pot and into the soil underneath. 

Successful yes, but a bit much.

The same landscaping trip saw me hacking two feet off the top of the Night Blooming Jasmine.  Taking some of the fresher cuttings of new growth, I stuck a row of cuttings where the Hibiscus once bloomed.  It now has a row of these plants, tightly packed.  I figure they’ll soak up the drip feed water from my Orchids and eventually grow into something that will need some more landscaping.

It’s the Circle of Gardening.  You cut, plant, root, grow, and eventually repeat.

Why not?  If you like what you have, simply fill in with more.  Not every cutting will take, but if you get one in three you’re golden. 

I’m getting 9 in 10 for now.  Luckily, I have some spots in the hedge that need filling in.  I can see through to the neighbor’s yard and if I can see in, so can they.

Better cover up next time we’re outside in the pool!

No, You Don’t Need To See My Dog, and the Yellow Dog Project

Yes, I have a beautiful Dog, thank you. 
He’s not a Border Collie.
He’s a McNab Dog.
He is fearful.
He won’t allow you to pet him.

That would be the really brief way of saying Step Off. 

Believe it or not I have actually had to get quite loud to tell some people that their presence is not needed and no they did not need to meet my dog.

Tourists.  Better to send them on their way than try to explain sometimes.

Dog people love to meet other dogs.  They love to tell stories about their dog that they love deeply that they left behind in “Ohio” when they came down for a visit.

Every time I hear one of those stories I think to myself if you really loved that dog, you would have found a way to have your vacation with the dog instead of dumping it in a glorified shelter for a week.

But the thing is that you never know what that dog is thinking.  The old saw “Walk A Mile In His Moccasins Before You Judge” is a perfect description.

That McNab of mine is best described as having PTSD.  If you drop a spoon in the kitchen, he runs and hides in a corner until I go after him and tell him that he can come out.

He’s just a “teenager” at two years, he’s got time to learn.  The PTSD is fading, but not gone.

When my departed dog Lettie got older, her normal mistrust of other dogs became critical.  She would walk slowly around town and other dogs wouldn’t give her room due to their owner’s insistence that they have their dogs meet her.  Being an alpha dog, she wasn’t afraid of showing teeth.

That usually made the other dog back off.

The point is that there shouldn’t be a reason for this sort of thing.  There is no reason why you need to introduce yourself or your dog or your child to any other dog.  My own dog is afraid of adults, but his fear of children is overwhelming.

Luckily I usually can use my own Command Presence and a strong “He Won’t Allow It!” to the others and they back off, usually confused.

I shouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing but since everyone in this country seems to have accepted a culture of entitlement, people with dogs who might need a little space or gentler treatment do have a slowly growing sign.  A yellow ribbon.

No, it isn’t a Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree.  It is a sign to “Give Space”.

That dog that you are trying to force yourself, your child, or your dog on, may have issues.  It isn’t for you to judge.  That dog may have been mistreated before and has memories of that.  It may be older or have health issues where the excitement of the meeting may cause other problems.  It may have mobility problems.  It may be that the dog is “in training” for being a Service Dog or to get over a situation that makes them uncomfortable.

It simply doesn’t matter.  You don’t know what happened or why, just give them space.

Instead of all of that, look for a yellow ribbon on the leash.  It used to be that shelters would use a purple leash or collar to signify that a dog might need a little space, but people simply don’t pay too close attention to that.  I’ve seen that first hand, both of my dogs were purple leash dogs.

Red Collars and Leases used to mean danger.  What the danger was is again, irrelevant, just give space.

The Yellow Dog Project is slowly gathering steam.  The idea is that simple.  Tie a yellow ribbon on the leash and hope that the other person seeing that will give space.

Hopefully it will get more well known as time goes on.

But really, yellow ribbon or not, unless you know the dog, you don’t need to pet them.  After all, would you want to be petted by someone on first meeting?

I didn’t think so.

Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip…

Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip but there were problems everywhere.

Four of his elves got sick, and the trained elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where.

More Stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

Totally frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey.

When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hit the liquor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from.

Just then the door bell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door.

He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said: “Where would you like to put this tree fat man?”

And that my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.

An old dog, a leopard and a monkey

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An old dog, a leopard and a monkey

An old dog got lost in the savanna…
Noticing easy prey, a leopard prepared for an ambush behind a tree.

However, the dog could also smell the leopard and being quite crafty he took a quick survey of the area and found a bone.

With the bone in his mouth he soliloquized “Oh my goodness, this is so tasty! I love leopard meat! I wish I could find another to eat!”
The leopard became nervous and decided to run away.
A monkey, who was watching the entire scene, ran after the leopard climbing from treetop to treetop.
Upon catching up to the leopard the monkey mocked him and told him how the old dog had tricked him.
Furious, the leopard ran back to the old dog being followed all the while above the trees by the monkey.
But the dog once again caught wind of the leopard and the monkey.
Thinking quickly on his feet the old dog said aloud “DAMMIT, where is that pesky monkey? He promised to bring me another leopard and he still hasn’t come back!”

Cashew, Coleus, and Caterpillar by the Pool

They tell me that the wet season is ending but with El Nino firmly in effect, that may be overruled for a bit.

As a result, bright sunny days are a little more scarce than might be needed. 

When they happen, you escape outside, pull weeds, and get chores done that have been waiting for the rains to stop.  On the other hand, it’s better to do all that when it there is a grey sky than when the sun is beating down on you.

Either way, I still end up pulling great long roots of Virginia Creeper from one side of the yard to the other.  Blasted things are invasive and stealthy.  You start pulling at one side of the property and by the time you’re done you have a coil of 50 feet worth of brown root that looks like an extension cord with a leaf here and there that taunts you.

Why?  Because there’s a snapped end that tells you that the root merely broke off and it will continue growing where you left it.

Virginia Creeper is the Two Year Old of the Garden.  It’s there telling you “NO!” when you’re saying “GO AWAY!”.

But it isn’t all sweat and toil out there.  I have my chain of pots.  They started out as a place to put trophy plants that I wanted because I’m in the tropics-adjacent South Florida and everyone here should have a proper citrus tree at one point or another.

I’m also not that good at keeping them alive.  The original crop of citrus trees died back, but I still have my banana and my mango trees.

When the lemons died off, but the pots and the drip-feed irrigation remained. 

Ever practical, I started using them as “starter pots”.  Where I will put these weeds I can’t say, but they are there soldiering on! 

Instead of that Meyer Lemon that I was making Lemon curd from, I now have a weird collection of plants.  I specifically went out that morning to tend to the weirdness.  The first pot that I started planting weird in was that sad lemon pot.  Of course I needed somewhere to put my Mexican Milkweed so it went in there.

That didn’t work.  The Monarchs use it as a salad and a way station for a quick stop before floating on their way.  “Oh well, that’s why it was there!” 

But the pot looked bare by itself with just a stick of eaten Milkweed, so I added some other things.  My Cashew tree.  The neighbor gave me a fruit, that I ate, and I dropped the seed in that same pot.  The tree needs to be moved since it got knee high and stopped.  On the wind there must have been a stray coleus seed because it too decided to land in that pot.

I now have a small ecosystem.  When the caterpillars allow, there are Mexican Milkweeds, but only until the leaves get out.  They never get as far as flowering, and forget about harvesting seeds, because one doesn’t share with insects, even beautiful ones.  You’ll have sticks, and you’ll like it.

I do like it because I do like the Monarchs.

The Cashew tree and the Coleus will end up elsewhere when I start over.

But walking around looking at this decidedly unartistic collection of plants, I noticed a thread.

Getting closer, I noticed that the thread was a tiny day or two old Monarch caterpillar already eating the leaves that were trying to grow on on what passes for the plant. 

Silly creatures you’re eating yourselves out of house and home!

Of course the circle of life and all that went through my mind as I watched a female Monarch float in, land, and promptly lay an egg on that same plant.

Anyone want to bet whether the egg will hatch or it will be eaten in a day or three by that hungry caterpillar?

Someone, anyone, Beuhler?

The things you see out by the garden when you’re out procrastinating, er, pulling weeds.