An Elderly Couple Gets Pulled Over By A Cop

The wife is driving, but she has a bit of a hearing problem.
The officer notifies her that she was doing 38 in a 25 zone.

The wife turns to her husband and asks “What’d he say?”
The husband replies “He says you were speeding!”
The wife turns back to the officer and says “Oh, sorry officer.”

The officer goes on; “License and registration please.”
The wife again turns to her husband. “What’d he say!?”
The husband, growing irritated, says “He wants to see your LICENSE.”
The wife replies, “Oh, sorry officer. Here you go.”

The officer inspects her license and comments, “Ah, you’re from Brownsville. I’ll never forget that city… I had the worst sexual experience of my entire life in Brownsville!”
The wife once more turns to her right and yells “What’d he say!!?”

The husband replies “He says he knows you.”

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An Engineer Opens A Medical Clinic

An engineer who was unemployed for a long time decided to open a medical clinic. He puts a sign outside the clinic: “A cure for your ailment guaranteed at $500; we’ll pay you $1,000 if we fail.”

A Doctor thinks this is a good opportunity to earn $1,000 and goes to his clinic.

Doctor: “I have lost my sense of taste.”
Engineer: “Nurse, please bring the medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient’s mouth.”
Doctor: “This is Gasoline!”
Engineer: “Congratulations! You’ve got your taste back. That will be $500.”

The Doctor gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days later to recover his money.

Doctor: “I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything.”
Engineer: “Nurse, please bring the medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient’s mouth.”
Doctor: “But that is Gasoline!”
Engineer: “Congratulations! You’ve got your memory back. That will be $500.”

The Doctor leaves angrily and comes back after several days, more determined than ever to make his money back.

Doctor: “My eyesight has become weak.”
Engineer: “Well, I don’t have any medicine for this. Take this $1,000,” passing the doctor a $500 note.
Doctor: “But this is $500…”
Engineer: “Congratulations! You’ve got your vision back! That will be $500.”

What’s Cookin’ Dad? Hedgehogs?

You just can’t make this stuff up.

My dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) has a thing for Hedgehogs.

When I say a “thing” I mean a “I’m going to carry this around the house until it falls off” thing.

Every house that has pets, or rather pets and kids because after a fashion they are the same thing, has toys.  Toys that go everywhere.

I have a dog and a parrot and there are toys, fur, and feathers here.  If you are expecting a 1950s Mrs Cleaver house where everything sparkles I suggest you try the house down the block.  The one where I dropped off the mangoes the other day?  That one.  They have a housekeeper.  I’m too busy trying to live something that passes as a normal life while keeping up to date on technology.

Ever feel like you’re out hunting a moving target?  Yo.  That’s me.

The other day I was migrating from the dining room where I had my laptop set up, to the big green chair next to the window.  It was late enough after the dog walk that I wanted to push everything away and actually do what passes for relaxation here.  Turn on the TV, set the laptop on the table, plug it in and sit down and I hear….

SQUEEEEEE!

That lump under my butt would be the hedgehog.

That noise called Rack over.  I didn’t really mean to call him over, but it was going to happen.  He left his new hedgehog on the chair.  I say “New” because we had found one in a thrift store for a dollar and got it to replace the original hedgehog.  Then there were two.  Recently having the pleasure of a house guest, Craig, bring us two more hedgehogs, we’re set for quite a while.  My little monster, Rack, is very gentle with his toys although he does have an unsettling habit of chewing the eyes off the stuffed beasts.

Handing the toy over to my dog with a cheerful “Hedgehog!  You’ve got a Hedgehog!”, I went back to what I was doing not thinking too deeply about it.  Getting goosed by a stuffed toy is one of the hazards of having dogs in the house.

The next day I started cooking.  It was time to make some pork tenderloin for lunches.  Since you can get a really good slice of pork for much less than the price of some really cheap hamburger beef, I go for the pork.  Besides, it can be leaner.  Crock pot cooked to 140F in barbecue sauce and slice in the sauce will finish the pork by bringing the entire pot up to safe temperature and you have a meal better than Mrs Cleaver ever made.

But it has its own challenges.  It makes me hungry enough to chew my leg off.  It perfumes the house with whichever recipe I choose to make for that day, and usually a hint on the air for a day or three after.  It gets the parrot saying Hello every time I walk into the kitchen.  He begs.  Constantly.  I am a soft touch, so I usually toss a bit of fruit at the parrot because if he doesn’t get what he wants, he can get loud.

Ear shatteringly loud.  Like Mount Krakatoa loud.  The noise that circled the world four times loud.  All from a pirate parrot bird.  SHADDAP!

But that merely brought Rack into the kitchen snuffling around.  He’s looking for handouts as well.  I didn’t want to get him started doing that begging thing but I’m used to it.  Practically every time I go into the kitchen, he’s on task with the twin brown laser beams.

I turned around and stopped.  “How on Earth did you?”.  He had a hedgehog stuck to his collar.

He also wanted some of that pork tenderloin that was swimming in the red Char Siu Barbecue sauce I had made up that morning.

Laughing I said “No matter how creative you are going to be with that toy, I am not giving out samples at this time!”.

He merely licked his lips and went back to staring at the crock pot.

A loud “HELLO!” came from the other room.

I freed the toy from Rack’s Collar and pet him on the head.  I was wrong thinking that would send him on his way.  He simply sat there and stared me down.

“Sorry, boy, you’re out of luck this morning.  This is for lunch!”.

It only takes 3 1/2 hours to get a 3 1/2 pound pork tenderloin to cook to temperature. 

Lunch was going to be a good one for me, and a sample for Rack.  Oscar the parrot? Nope.  Not happening.  I didn’t have the right vegetables for him.  But we did all enjoy it.

Even the hedgehog.

No Good Mango Goes Unpunished

Mangoes.

There are two kinds of people.  Those who eat them and those who don’t. 

By. The. Bucket.

There’s a tree in the neighborhood.  It’s on the property of an apartment building.  We know the owner and he told me to go pick my fill whenever I want to.

Well “Woo Hoo!” I said and have been picking that tree for a couple years straight ever since.  He keeps elevating the tree, trimming the lower branches, and that does make it difficult. 

With a Mango Tree, you do not want to do that.  The shape you should go for is an Umbrella – not very high but broad.  Why?  Keep the fruit as close to the ground as you can.  Since they can grow as large as two pounds a fruit, a solid Kilogram of sweetness, they can cause damage when they fall.

Imagine a melon falling from 32 feet in the air.  It takes a second to fall that distance.  21.9 MPH.  Imagine someone smacking you with an under ripe fruit at almost 22 Miles Per Hour.  An under ripe mango is about as hard as a rock…

Yeah, that’s gotta hurt.

In Mango Season I go out with our trusty orange fruit picker pole and pick what I can.  When I get a bucket, I over-pick for my needs and hand some out to the neighbors.  Usually I keep a couple extra “dog bags” in my pocket so I can grab them when they fall.  The fruit tend to roll out into the street and make an awful mess if they haven’t bashed in a windshield or dented someone’s head.

But I have been watching our neighborhood tree.  It has been a good fruit year and there’s plenty more where that came from.  It’s going to take a ladder to get the ones up above the 20 foot limit of my reach at this point.

I got out there, picked my fill, and picked another dozen for a neighbor.  That’s where my own size got in the way.  The neighbor’s house is right around the corner, so I dropped the bucket on my porch next to the planter and pole and walked on over.   Up the drive to the front door.  I was in luck, there was someone inside cleaning.

Tapping on the window I said “Hey, I’m leaving this for the family here, can you bring this in when you are ready?”.  

After all, the ants will get to a mango on the ground in 10 seconds flat, and it will be eaten away to nothing in a day.

I was greeted with a lot of yelling and hand gestures.  Ok, I can speak English, a bit of French, a tiny bit of Spanish, and a whole lot of Stupid.

As I started to turn and walk away, I draped the “t-shirt” bag on the doorknob.  “I’ll just leave this here!”

More gesturing.  I don’t think she can hear me.  She was yelling something in standard American English, I was wondering why she didn’t just nod and smile.

“It’s OK, I’ll leave this for the family, bring it in when you can.  It’s just a bag of Mangoes!”

More gesturing.  I spun to leave.

As it is, I’m a bit “top heavy”.  High center of gravity.  I nearly fell off the porch.  At this point I realized it was either leave the fruit there and hope for the best or leave the porch and twist an ankle or worse.

I shouted at the door “It’s OK, you don’t have to open the door.  I’m going!”.

Scratching my head in confusion I wandered down the drive.  The bag was left on the door until I was well out of sight.

That night I ran into one of the people there, Marc, and told him the story.   He laughed so loud that his dog looked up at him in some confusion, and my dog Rack dropped down to the ground.  I was told that the housekeeper was telling him about some giant guy that came by and left him some fruit but “She made a rather nice arrangement of them after all was said and done.”.

So the moral of the story is that if you are going to spread the mango goodness, make sure it is jelly or jam.  Get a good recipe first.

Looking Out At The Everglades at 5 MPH

Of all of the activities that are available to people in an industrialized society, this is one of the more pointless ones.

We built a road through one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Everglades.  But true to form, it is not suitable to task so you end up sitting in traffic.

Actually, through all the years and the many trips, maybe even hundreds of trips, that I have taken to the Florida Keys, this was the first time I had been stopped in traffic at this particular spot.

By “this particular spot” I mean the 20 mile long corridor between the end of the mainland at the split for Card Sound Road in Florida City to the beginning of the Florida Keys at Key Largo.

You see, true to form, they widened the road.  But it is still just two lanes for the majority.  One lane up, one lane down.  Any traffic mishap and you’re stuck until someone figures out a way to unstick it.  It used to be exactly one lane down and back.  It’s a road built on an old railroad causeway after all.  Then it gained a shoulder because if it didn’t have one you would have that same road blocked for hours.

The latest iteration was when the roadbed gained an actual barricade down the middle so that people falling asleep in the middle of the night don’t drift over onto opposing traffic.  Improvements in drainage were made as well as the bridges were raised a bit.  This being Florida, they weren’t allowed to say Global Warming or Climate Change because we have a state government infested with Republicans and other climate change deniers, but things were raised nonetheless – “Just Because”.

However, the passing lanes were retained.

Instead of having two lanes down and two back, there are three separate Passing Zones.  Think of it as a place where the absolute best of driving habits come out to play. 

Mom and Dad in their giant motor homes trailing a regular car behind them can’t maintain the speed limit which is theoretically 55 MPH.  They collect quite a few people behind them.  When the road widens for the passing zone, everyone behind the motor home floors it and tries to pass.  When they all reach the end, everyone tries to merge in front of the motor home.  The motor home slows and creates a new tailback behind it.  Each time this happens it gets a little worse.  You end up with a 20 mile section of road that has a permanent traffic problem on the weekends and holidays. 

You never want to drive to Key West on a Friday on a long weekend.

If it does happen to clear, it will happen again. Either a food truck, a motor home, or just some fool from the Midwest who is driving just a little too slow for everyone’s liking will start it over.

My own personal favorite are those large trucks full of food going to refuel the restaurants.  The trucks are typically governed and under orders not to “maintain traffic speed”, which is good and correct, but the cars stuck behind them will drive like fools anyway to get past them.

Since the entire road from Florida City to Key West is 125 miles, everyone everywhere tries to keep in front of those trucks.  All the food comes in on the same trucks.

So you end up checking the GPS for traffic information, see that the road is lined in red or dark red, and decide whether to head to the Keys or not.

When you get there and look out your window you see scenes of natural beauty unlike anywhere else.  You’ll still be stuck, but it is still a beautiful scene.

Celebrating Craig’s Birthday by the Sea

There has to be a reason, a good one, to drive 100 miles.

Actually it was drive 100 miles, get stuck in traffic for a solid hour at a walking pace, see some beautiful scenery, and finally end up slightly lost.

Yes, we had GPS.  But we had been there before.  We also knew where we were going, but like the saying goes “Not all who wander are lost”.

While I’m dropping the old hackneyed sayings, sometimes the journey is the destination.

Plus I really do like going for a ride in the car.

Next time, we bring Rack, I promise.

You see, Craig came down.  He’s a great friend.  We have known each other for years now, probably safe to say decades.  Knowing he’s from up North, way up North actually, and had never been South of Orlando before, I had to get him to touch toes to the Keys.

I know of a great restaurant down there.  We all do if we go there enough, so I’ll save its name.   Why am I not telling you?  Take me there and I will, but it was crowded enough.  It sits just on the South side of the key, on the water, in a cove.  Ok, so I have described about half of the restaurants in the Keys, from Key West to Key Largo and every place in between, haven’t I?

Good.

You’re looking at the view I had for lunch on Sunday.  I purposely put my arm on the railing, in the sun.  Just the right one.  I wanted a little bit of tan.   I can still see one arm darker than the other a couple days later, and I wasn’t looking to sit on a beach. 

We sat there, I had my Fish and Chips (Mahi Mahi, actually), and a bottle of some rather excellent beer, and some incredible conversation with Craig, Kevin, the waitress, and some of the surrounding tables.  There was, typical to the Keys, plenty of things to watch that were natural.  Just below us were some small fish, and a fish I kept calling a Grouper.  It could have been a Grouper, but might not have been.  That doesn’t matter, it would have made a great meal for two from the size of it. 

The children around us were thankfully well behaved, and I have no doubt that the waitress would have followed the instructions of the sign on the bar “Loose or Unattended Children will be fed to the Tarpon”.

Keep your kids quiet, and at your table.  No matter how much you love them, others will find them annoying.

But we sat there taking in a 2 hour lunch watching the boats come in.  This was one of those places that while you’re enjoying the jazz brunch, debating whether the singer is lip synching or not, and having fun telling R-Rated stories to the waitress, time goes on around you.  I’m not the kind of person who is used to sitting tight for a meal, I tend to be one of the first to finish and one of the first to want to leave.  But for once I was content to sit there and watch the little boats come by. 

Lucky dogs on that one there.  There were two.  One stayed with the owners, the other got bored and went back to the boat and curled up under the shade.  I’m with the dog, it would have been a great place to kick your feet up and watch things go by, slowly, at the Keys pace.

Having finished our main course, the waitress brought Craig a slice of Key Lime pie, and another waitress and the Jazz Singer to sing him a happy birthday while he sat there under the umbrella, smiling away.

You have to admit, if you’re going to take two hours to get to lunch, sit in a 20 mile backup, and have lunch by the water, this was a great way to do it.

So, Craig, if you’re looking for something to do on your next birthday, I know a great restaurant, by the water, with an amazing waitress, good food, interesting lip syncing or singing (we’re not completely sure), and an entertaining view.

We’d like to have you back.  Besides, it gives me an excuse to take a good friend to a jewel that I won’t readily tell people where it is.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of those home grown things.  There were many celebrations of remembrance that came to be around the Reconstruction period, after the Civil War.  People of the day realized that it was right to honor those who gave all in the fight to win the Civil War.

The State of New York was the first one to officially embrace the day in 1873 making it a statewide day of remembrance and by 1890 the rest of the Northern states had followed suit.  The South stubbornly refused to follow the trend and waited until after the First World War to acknowledge the day when it became a day for decoration for those who died in All Wars. 

In 1971 there was a congressional passage of the National Holiday that made it a three day weekend for Federal Workers, and therefore a holiday for all.  

No matter what the history of it, there has been a moment of silence at 3PM since 2000 to reflect on the sacrifices that were given in fighting for this Nation.  This is called the National Moment of Remembrance.

Have a safe day.  It’s not all about the burgers and beers