An Art Thief Broke Into The Louvre

Through careful studying of the building plans and months of meticulous planning, he was able to evade all the security and stole several priceless paintings.

He then loaded the paintings into his van parked nearby. Just as he was about to leave, he heard the alarm go off in the building.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he kicked the van into high gear and sped away. However, his van ran out of gas less than 5 minutes later, and he was caught and arrested by the police.

“I don’t understand”, Said the police officer. “How could you plan all that so carefully, yet forget to fill up your gas tank?”

To which the thief replied: “But monsieur! Zat is exactly why I stole ze paintings! I had no Monet, to buy Degas, to make ze Van Gogh!”

Excuse Me Sir…

Excuse me Sir, How Much Have You Had To Drink Tonight?

A cop waited outside a popular pub hoping to nab a drink-driver.

At closing time, as everyone came out, he spotted his potential quarry.

The man was so obviously inebriated that he could barely walk.

He stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes looking for his car.

After trying his keys on five others, he finally found his own vehicle.

He sat in the car a good 10 minutes as the other pub patrons left.

He turned his lights on, then off.

He started to pull forward into the grass, then stopped.

Finally, when his was the last car, he pulled out onto the road and started to drive away.

The cop, waiting for this, turned on his lights and pulled the man over.

He administered the breathalyzer test and, to his great surprise, the man easily passed.

The cop was dumbfounded.

‘This equipment must be broken,’ exclaimed the policeman.

‘I doubt it,’ said the man. ‘Tonight I’m the designated decoy.’

Why Does FPL Want To Ruin My Pizza?

Sundays.  They have turned into Pizza Day.

Specifically, one half 7 cheese, one half 7 cheese with Mushroom, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Grilled Onions.

Made from scratch.  Scratch Crust, Scratch Sauce, and the toppings are my own mix.

I have this pizza recipe down.  The dough is Pat’s Pizza Dough.  The recipe comes from my sister.  She had it in a recipe book that she was given when she got married back in The Nineties.  I sat at her table with a stack of little square pieces of paper and wrote a whole bunch of recipes down and kept them.

 

I still have the original square paper for this.  It’s faded, water spotted, stained, and just about everything else you can think of that can happen to a piece of paper after some 20 plus years.  But the recipe is bullet proof.  Never fails.

Oh sure, I have adjusted it for Florida Conditions.  Bad water that comes out of the tap slightly brown and tastes like it has been sitting in a garden hose in the heat.  Flour that is commercial high grade, and rather thirsty and seems to like brown water.

Instead of what the recipe says, I’ve bumped it up to 12 ounces of water.  I know what the dough “feels” like when it is right.  Every experienced cook has a recipe they do By Eye and get right.

Pizza is mine.

In fact, I’ll put my own pizza up against anyone else’s on the island now.

The dough makes 1400 calories of bread, I weigh that in grams, divide by 10, reserve 30 percent and that makes one crust.  The cheese is exactly 6 ounces.  Sauce is exactly 7 ounces and is a home developed clone of the best sauce on the island from a closed Pizza Shop.  Yield is a pizza that is just about 1000 calories total depending on whether I go with 30% or 33% of the dough.

The point of that is I Know This Recipe.  It goes well with a single beer for Sunday Lunch.

I start this all at 9 AM.  Make the dough, weigh and separate it out.  This pizza was 30% crust, allowing me to make 6 rolls out of the remainder.  101 grams per roll.

It got rolled out and allowed to rise in a protected place.

11:30, I put the pizza together.  The vegetables were sauteed to drive out the moisture. Cheese mixed.  Sauce layered, followed by the cheese, and finally the veg.

I reached into the refrigerator, grabbed a fine ale, and sat down to enjoy a brief rest as the oven came up to temperature.

About 20 minutes later I hear the oven snap.  “It’s ready!  I guess I should get up.  The pizza will be ready in …”

BOOM.  I hear that apocalyptic sound of a “Pew” as capacitors in all the appliances discharge.  The fans stop.  It is silent except the ticking of the mechanical clocks.

You see this part of Florida, Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, and Oakland Park is in Broward County.  The East side.of the county was built up first and it was built to the edge of the Everglades National Park until no more room at the inn.

Florida is full.  If you’re moving here from somewhere else, don’t think it is an open place of palm trees and wading birds.  It is, but those places are usually redneck, infested with evil things like alligators, mosquitoes that would carry off a large car, and Republicans.  Swamp People.

Broward is nice.  It’s diverse, having lots of interesting people from lots of interesting cultures, and everyone is from somewhere else.   The Native Floridians here are comparatively few on the ground.

But all that demographic nonsense?  You see what happens is that every so often we get, yes, a Hurricane.  The last one that hit here was Wilma in 2006, and we’re overdue.

 

The telephone poles look like they were here before Wilma.  You may ask, how can I tell?  Simple, they all seem to lean slightly to one side.  They’re almost all sun-bleached on the South side as well.  Southern exposure here is redundant, they’re kind of a grey color.   I know, I’m looking at one now.

Motley assortment of old beat up infrastructure.  Old Beat Up Infrastructure fails.  Randomly and spectacularly at times.

That would be that boom I was talking about.  It happened as I was just out of my chair and took my very first step across the living room to the kitchen.

What caused it was a two or three year old repair to a High Voltage wire on a pole about 100 feet from my house.  We were told it was “done badly” and “it just let go”.

I walked into the kitchen.  Oven temperature was 450. It was dropping.  I slid the pizza in anyway, and went into the living room.
“I really don’t want to finish this off in the grill.”

Crappy infrastructure means we have backup plans here.  In places where the weather is more gentle, like, say New Jersey in my sister’s native Cherry Hill, you talk about power outages, but they never last more than two hours or so.

My friend works for the power company in Atlanta.  When I tell him what I go through here with the power, he shudders and says “Southern Company would never accept that sort of failure rate” and then segue into a long conversation about how awful the power is here in Florida.

When I moved here, I lost two computers because of the twice daily “Power Pops” I get.

Trust me, it really is that bad.

Six minutes passed.  The pizza was actually done.  A wee bit under, but since I opened the oven, I lost the rest of my heat.  It was now down to around 300F.

“Well, lunch is served.  I’ll put the rolls on the grill.”

The pizza was actually quite good, better than most here.  But it wasn’t exactly a crispy cracker crust I obsess over.

Freaking FPL.

I go outside and put the rolls on the grill and close the lid.  I know exactly where to turn the knobs to get the grill to heat to 430F.

Setting the timer for 11 minutes, I come back later.

The first rolls are done.  Surprisingly good looking for something that was cooked under the Lanai.  I put in the second set.   They come out perfect too.

Actually the grill hot spots, so I will remember next time to put bricks in the grill to keep the cookie sheet up off the actual grill work.

“Now what?”  We were without power.  Full but no power.

“Luckily the house has hurricane glass and new roof.  We’ll have to see”.

The day went up to 92F here.  I watched the indoor temperature inch up a degree an hour or so.  It started at 76, and by 5PM it was up to 84.

We had some small battery operated fans for when it was warmest, but it served to remind me that while we do have a generator, it won’t power the Air Conditioning in the house without some more work.  Yes, we’ve got more hurricane prep to do or else it’s pile the dog and the parrot in the Jeep and drive North in case of a power outage.

Wilma did that.  My block was without power for two weeks.  I was told this over and over.  Two weeks of sitting on a floor and using D Batteries to power a small battery powered fan in an emergency is not fun.

So please, FPL, fix your infrastructure.  I don’t want to get used to baking rolls on a grill.

How Did You Die?

Two men waiting at the pearly gates strike up a conversation.

How’d you die?” the first man asks the second.

“I froze to death,” says the second.

“That’s awful,” says the first man. “How does it feel to freeze to death?”

“It’s very uncomfortable at first,” says the second man. “You get the shakes, and you get pains in all your fingers and toes. But eventually, it’s a very calm way to go. You get numb and you kind of drift off, as if you’re sleeping. How about you, how did you die?”

“I had a massive head injury,” says the first man. “You see, I was sure my wife was cheating on me, so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly. I ran up to the bedroom, and found her alone, knitting. I ran down to the basement, but no one has hiding there, either. I ran up to the second floor, but no one was hiding there either. I ran as fast as I could to the attic, and just as I hit the top step, I tripped, fell three flights of stairs, and landed square on the back of my head. Dead.”

The second man shakes his head, “That’s so ironic,” he says.

“What do you mean?” asks the first man.

“If you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we’d both still be alive.”

Bacon Tree!

There are two guys who have been lost in the desert for weeks, and they’re at death’s door. As they stumble on, hoping for salvation in the form of an oasis or something similar, they suddenly spy, through the heat haze, a tree off in the distance.

As they get closer, they can see that the tree is draped with rasher upon rasher of bacon. There’s smoked bacon, crispy bacon, life-giving juicy nearly-raw bacon, all sorts.

“Oh my, John,” says the first bloke. “It’s a bacon tree! We’re saved!” “You’re right!” says John.

So John goes on ahead and runs up to the tree salivating at the prospect of food. But as he gets to within five feet of the tree, there’s the sound of machine gun fire, and he is shot down in a hail of bullets.

His friend quickly drops down on the sand, and calls across to the dying John.

“John, John! What on earth happened?”

With his dying breath John calls out

“It’s not a Bacon Tree”

“It’s a Ham Bush”

Skip It, I’ll Wait For December

Lately Florida Weather has been odd.

Granted, Wilton Manors is in a Heat Shadow of Downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Storms come from any given direction, and they tend to separate around us.  The Thunderstorms that used to be so predictable will skip over us and rain on neighboring towns.

They can be dramatic to watch.  Giant anvil headed things floating past the window, slowly.  Sometimes lightning will spark and cause a great bass note to arrive some time later.

Flash and Count… One One Thousand, Two One Thousand, Three One Thousand, Four One Thou… BOOM! That was close.

The dog hates those.  Rack, The McNab SuperDog(TM) may be intelligent but he truly turns into a shivering ball of fur in a corner when those storms come through.

When I am walking East on Wilton Drive, an hour or so before sunrise, I see them off in the distance.  Like a picket line, they must be just off shore, a couple miles apart, regularly spaced like a hair comb with a few missing teeth.

Anyone who takes a picture from time to time gets the idea of taking The Perfect Beach Picture.  You know the “Postcard” shot I am talking about.  The beach should be deserted.  Sunrise hasn’t yet happened, but it is close.  The clouds are backlit and glowing gold, brass, and copper on the bottom and sides.  The skies themselves are turning from purple to a lighter blue.  The seas are a mill pond calm with only a few splashes here and there.  The beach sand is a welcoming place.  Warm and coppery in the morning light.

Get your camera out, tripod, take that picture.

That’s it, I’ll have the worlds best picture of Fort Lauderdale Beach!

Fire off a few more in case that doesn’t look quite right.

Play with focusing and timing if the camera will allow it and see what you can see.

Seagulls give more drama, why aren’t there seagulls?

All this was running through my head.  Rack was with me.  I’m at the midpoint of my walk talking to another person who is up at stupid o’clock getting his morning walk in.

I flash back to the house and think the Jeep has gas, it’s not blocked in the driveway, and I’m not too worn out from the walk.  I could do this!

Then I realize that no, I couldn’t.  I’d have to get to the beach quickly, avoid traffic, with all my gear.  Get down there within 30 minutes.  Find parking, it is free until 8AM down in Hollywood, who knows what those people charge in Lauderdale.  Cart all that machinery out to the beach, set it all up, and maybe get a few shots.

All of this running through my head as I look at my watch.  Sunrise was in 30 minutes.  Too late.  Would have to plan this better, get up even earlier.  The people here are used to seeing me walk my dog at this hour.  Walking around there aren’t that many people up and about at 5AM give or take a few.  A half hour earlier and hopefully everyone would be in bed so we could get our walk in uninterrupted.

Hopefully.
Then go through the logistics to get to the beach.

Ugh.  There has to be a better way.

Sure.  Procrastinate.  December.   Sunrise is much later then.  I could drive down there, have my pick of beaches.  They would all be deserted then.  Even the snowbirds would be asleep.

Just remember if you’re in the car from midnight to 5AM, there is probable cause that you have been drinking…

But Officer! Photography Equipment!  Pictures!

So I stand near the house in the middle of the street.  May as well take a test photo, it is just about the right time of day for it.  Looks good on the little bitty screen I’ll have to check it inside on the laptop in big format (TM).

Yuck.  Grainy.  Digital Photography is showing its limits again.  Maybe I’ll just blow it off until the next generation of cameras.

Or December when the later sunrises happen.

Don’t know.  Procrastination for the win!

An Elderly Man Lay Dying In His Bed…

An elderly man lay dying in his bed.

In death’s agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favourite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs.

He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs.

With laboured breath, he leaned against the door-frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven: there, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favourite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted: the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to life. The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.

“Stay out of those,” she said, “they’re for the funeral.”