Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some good news

Just received this good news from my old high school classmate Lisa (Johnson) Troupe:

Hi guys,I just wanted to give you an update on Sam’s teacher who has the inoperable brain tumor (and after her biopsy she had 8 seizures!) She saw a new doctor in Houston and they told her that it WAS operable and they think they can get all of it! Mrs. Cerruti was even back in school today and goes back to Houston in mid-February. I was talking to Paul about how the docs here in town aren’t very good saying it was inoperable and Paul reminded me how we are to truly believe in the power of prayer and maybe it WAS inoperable…he is probably right.

Thanks for all the prayers. I don’t know how long she will have to recover after her brain surgery, but the doctors seem very optimistic. Samuel was just so excited to have his wonderful teacher back today.

As far as my other friend who had brain surgery, I have called 3 times and e-mailed twice and have yet to get a hold of anyone, so I just keep praying.

Hope this finds you well.

God bless,

Monday, January 30, 2006

Spin the Bottle

Wow. Times have changed. Did you know that kids today still play that old game "spin the bottle."

But, today they do it in cyberspace.

I heard my 17-year-old cousin was playing with this type of fire recently and thinks she may have found the love of her life. About all I know about him beyond that is that he has a broken arm (too many spins?!) and his last name.

It was the last name that threw me for a loop, because it pops up in our family tree. I hope I don't have to break some bad news to the new lovebirds. But, it's just possible that they're cousins.

More later after I've done some genealogical sleuthing.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good intentions

What do they say about the road to hell?!

I had a ton of plans to do some work around the house and in the yard today. My "to do" list is about a mile long . . . and that's front and back in very small print!

Instead, I kicked back on the old Duncan Phyfe, popped in some DVD's, and worked some sudokus.

What a lazy bum, huh?!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The most important meal of the day

Ever notice how breakfast kinda sets the tone for the rest of your day?


Well, it does for me. Generally.

Actually, I usually skip breakfast, which I know is bad for my metabolism, etc. bla bla bla.

I usually just don't have the time.

But, today, I took the time. Enjoyed some good conversation (which meant I only cleaned half my plate before I had to go, another good thing). And, generally had a good rest-of-the-day.

I guess what they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day might just be true.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Know your neighbors!

Ok, I may not live by that mantra myself, but Donna Earnest sent me this really interesting (if not SCARY) link:


At that site, you can enter your home address (or any address, for that matter) and it will generate a map showing the location of registered sex offenders.

Warning: Some of the results will be too close for comfort.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Florida Pioneer Descendants

In helping my distant cousin Doug Doudney do some research on his family history, I became re-acquainted with the Florida State Genealogical Society's Pioneer Descendants program. For those of you with deep roots in the Sunshine State, click the link below and learn how you can get a certified:


I got a certificate myself several years back, and would be happy to help anyone else out there to fill out the paperwork.

Hillary & Bill in '08?!

No, I'm not referring to the Clintons. Well, not both of them. I mean Hillary Clinton and Bill NELSON.

I just got done watching an interview with two of the most dastardly individuals on the American political scene: Paul Begala and James Carville.

Based on the way those two yay-hoo opinion leaders were singing the praises of the junior senators from New York and Florida, I'm ready to go out on a limb some two years ahead of schedule and make a prediciton:

Hillary and Bill will be atop the Democratic ticket in 2008.

Mark my words.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Free Trade . . . It's a good thing

News today that El Presidente has cut the tariff on Mexican cement by 90%, with plans to do away with it altogether by 2009. I can't figure out why his papa imposed this obstacle to free trade back in 1990. But, I'm pretty darn sure that Hurricane Katrina had something to do with the cut/repeal. If the battered Gulf Coast is going to rebuild, its going to need more than politicians' platitudes. Its going to take a lot of material, and the cheaper the better!

Of course, I'm also anxious to see the positive impact on the Central Florida construction industry . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2006

King Tut - Parte Dieux

I hit the King Tut exhibition as soon as it opened this morning at 9, since I heard the crowds were ridiculous. And, I was so glad that I got that Marriott package deal, which included VIP tickets. Without the VIP tickets, I would have been left standing in a line that snaked around the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art and sometimes took hours in the unseasonably warm/humid weather.

The VIP tickets not only put me at the head of the line, they included complimentary audio guides narrated by no less than Omar Sharif.

But, once I got inside, the whole VIP thing went out the window. All the trappings of status evaporated as I was herded together with the "peons" into what seemed like increasingly smaller and smaller chambers.

Fortunately, Omar Sharif guided me to the most important exhibits in each room, and I didn't have to kill anybody. I know I missed a lot of the lesser exhibits. But, I was getting claustrophobic, and decided it was best to just hit the highlights. For me, this meant:

(1) The golden "coffinette" of King Tut, the image I'm sure just about everybody thinks of when someone mentions the "boy king of Egypt."

(2) The gilded Mask of Tuyu, one of the female members of the Egyptian royal family.

(3) A pair of gilded wooden figures of Tut, depicting him first as King of Upper Egypt and then as King of Lower Egypt.

(4) A make-up jar with a lion on the lid, mostly because the regal feline was depicted with a lolling red tongue and a stupid look on his face . . . a lot like my cat Keegan looks when she stops in mid-bath!

Bottom line: Lots of cool stuff to see here. The crowds are a hassle, but can be made tolerable by springing the extra bucks for the VIP passes and the audio guide.

Fort Lauderdale!

I drove down to South Florida to visit my dad this weekend. He recently got moved-in to a VA nursing home in Pembroke Pines, and I hadn't really had a chance to see the entire facility, etc. So, since I had nothing else to do (yeah, right!), I figured I'd go on a little roadtrip/adventure.

Well, the visit with Dad went as expected. His Alzheimer's Disease has progressed to the stage where he recognizes me, but only after I introduce myself. He looked really old to me. That was depressing. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I could only take about an hour and a half before I'd had enough and had to get out of there.

I didn't want to drive all the way back up to Central Florida after that ordeal. And, since I knew the King Tut exhibit was going on in downtown Fort Lauderdale (more on that later), I decided to make it an overnite stay. I found the North Fort Lauderdale Marriott had a package deal. Reserve a room get free VIP tickets, audio passes, and gift shop coupons, etc. So, I signed-up online not quite knowing what to expect.

Let me just say that I had NEVER been to that part of Florida before. Anything south of Vero Beach might as well be a foreign country as far as I'm concerned. And, it had slipped my mind that they got hit by a hurricane a few months back. So, it was a bad dejavu experience driving around town and seeing all the blue tarps that we grew to know and hate in metro-Orlando back in 2004. But, I digress.

As I exited I-95 and approached the Marriott, I had a lot of misgivings. It had obviously been hit by the hurricane. (It was still missing it's marquee "Marriot" logo.) But, what could I do? I went in, got my keys and Tut passes, and braced myself for the worst.

I cannot say how pleasantly surprised I was to walk in my room to discover some of the nicest accommodations I have enjoyed at a hotel in a very long time. The front desk clerk told me after the storm they had to buy all new linens and redo the rooms. Well, they did a GREAT job. And, she was kind enough to give me a room on the 4th floor, with down-the-hall access to the pool, sauna, hot tub, and excercise room--all of which passed muster and offered a great view of the skyline of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

So, bottom line, if you find yourself down in that neck of the woods, I can highly recommend the North Fort Lauderdale Marriott . . . and maybe they'll give you a room on the 4th floor, too!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Search the New York Times archives

My Uncle Bill forwarded this link that allows you to search old articles from the New York Times (1851-1980):


I don't much care for the liberal slant of the modern newspaper. But, these old articles are interesting!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brass monkeys

This one from Janice Higgins seemed appropriate to share, since the temps dipped into the 30's last night. BRRRRR!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck?

The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.

There was only one problem...how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others.

The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations.

However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make "Brass Monkeys."

Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey! Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!"

(All this time, you thought that was a vulgar expression, didn't you?!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Grandpa G!

Today would've been my Grandpa G's 92nd birthday. Check out this web page a guy up at Arlington National Cemetery created in his memory:


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

King Tut - Part I - The prelude

Already looking forward to the weekend! Isn't that terrible?!

I was planning on going down to visit my dad down in South Florida anyway, then saw a show on the new King Tut exhibition in Fort Lauderdale. Looked cool, so I checked out their website and found a package deal thru the Marriott chain of hotels.

Is it Friday, yet?!

Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK Day Excuses

So, it's a federal holiday. At least that's what the calendar tells me. But, almost everybody I know has to work anyway. Must be the crowd I run with. No government workers around here!

Anyway, something told me that there would be some "I'm too sick to come in" phone calls at the office this morning. And, I wasn't disappointed. Unfortunately, the excuses weren't as colorful as these "20 best excuses" that appeared online today:

1. I was sprayed by a skunk.
2. I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious.
3. My bus broke down and was held up by robbers.
4. I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity.
5. I forgot to come back to work after lunch.
6. I couldn't find my shoes.
7. I hurt myself bowling.
8. I was spit on by a venomous snake.
9. I totaled my wife's jeep in a collision with a cow.
10. A hitman was looking for me.
11. My curlers burned my hair and I had to go to the hairdresser.
12. I eloped.
13. My brain went to sleep and I couldn't wake it up.
14. My cat unplugged my alarm clock.
15. I had to be there for my husband's grand jury trial.
16. I had to ship my grandmother's bones to India.
17. I forgot what day of the week it was.
18. Someone slipped drugs in my drink last night.
19. A tree fell on my car.
20. My monkey died.

Well, at least #14 is believable . . .

I was serious about that football thing

I really am done with football til August.

I know it's hard to believe, but after this weekend's games, you can't blame me.

The highlight of the entire weekend, at least for me, was seeing Peyton Manning's exhibition of good sportsmanship both before and after the Colts game. He started off by calling the kicker Van der Jagt an idiot. (Maybe, that's why he missed that field goal?!) And, he ended up throwing his offensive line under the bus.

Good team-building skills there, Peyton. No wonder you never beat the Gators during your entire college career.

I'm done with this!

No, really.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Ok. New favorite movie. Or, at least "movie of the week" status should be conferred upon "Sideways."

I know. I know. It came out like a year or so ago. But, I've already told you that I'm backlogged on my DVD "queue."

Anyway, I uncorked a bottle of wine to watch this flick. And, it was the perfect combo for a lazy Saturday evening.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Whittier's "The Exiles"

A recent family history query from a Macy cousin had me digging thru some old notebooks, where I came across an interesting ballad called "The Exiles," written by the notable poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1841. It's all about our emigrant ancestor Thomas Macy and how he fled religious persecution by the Puritans of Massachusetts to settle on the island of Nantucket.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the ballad has been posted at several online sites, including http://humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=l&p=c&a=p&ID=20925&c=328 . Kept me from having to re-type it all here. So, check it out. Makes for an interesting read.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Morgan and the Christmas Tree

Ok, I know Christmas has been over and done with for a while. But, I just got this picture of my niece Morgan, and had to post it here.

I hope my sister and brother-in-law made a New Year's resolution to send pix like this in a more timely manner in '06 . . . hint, hint.

Alito hearings

Is it just me, or does the Senate Judiciary Committee look like a bunch of buffoons?

The "funny" part of all this is that they are sitting in judgment of Samuel Alito, but what they're really showing the American public is their own lack of qualifications. Well, at least a few of them.

I think Dick Durbin has been particularly snide. Chuck Schumer is as weasely as ever. (BTW, is "weasely" a word?) And, Ted Kennedy . . . what can one say about Teddy, except how in the name of all that is holy do the people of Massachusetts keep re-electing that jackass?!

And, what's with Joe Biden and the ball caps?

Even John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham look like blowhards in all this mess, and I usually like those two guys.

The only one on the committee that seems to have his head screwed-on straight is Arlen Specter. And, fortunately, since he's chairman, he has some control over the other blowhards. I just hope he can rein them in and get this little circus over and done with as soon as possible. It's clear to me that everyone up there shooting their mouths off has already made up their minds which way they're going to vote anyway. So, let's just get on with it and salvage whatever dignity may be left to the Senate.

What a display.

I can't believe this is how we confirm judges to the highest court in the land. Just disgraceful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You can keep your "Bradgelina" . . .

I've been getting my DVD's in the mail from Blockbuster for about a year now. I have them set up to send me out the three top new releases every week. Anyway, there's been a bit of a backlog in my "queue" lately due to the holidays and the flu bug. So, I just got a copy of that Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

I am so glad I didn't waste my time, money, and effort going to see this dud in the theater.

Now, I hear on the news that these two hacks are reproducing.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Chasing trouble

This awesome picture was forwarded to me by Cathy Craft. I guess it can be used to teach that valuable life lesson: "Be careful what you pursue, you could be chasing trouble!"

Watch that last step, it's a doozie!

Stupid dog. Cats rule!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Double Prayer Request

This one from my high school classmate Lisa Troupe:

"Hi, all. I'm asking that you put Samuel's teacher Mrs. Cerruti in your prayers. She just found out she has an inoperable tumor that they think may be malignant. She is having a biopsy done on Wednesday. [Jan 11th] We are just sick about it . . . Also my friend Karen Ungerman is having brain surgery on January 17th, for an aneurism. She has a baby Aaron's age and a son Kyle's age. The power of prayer is so powerful. I ask that you keep these ladies in your prayers. Thanks so much. God bless."

Nuff said.

Done with football . . . at least til August

Ok, it's official. I don't have a dog in the hunt anymore. Thanks a lot, Chris Simms. Another year of not caring who wins the Super Bowl. Of course, the fact that it's supposed to be in Detroit kinda tarnished the whole thing, anyway.

Ah, well, I guess I'll have to wait til August for the Gators to kick back into gear . . . No, wait a minute, something about arena football comes to mind . . .

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yankee Test

Scott Pritchett forwarded this gem of a link to me today. Check it out for yourself:


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hook 'em, Horns!

I confess. I couldn't stay up to watch the entire Rose Bowl last nite. It was just on too late for us working stiffs. Don't those yahoos at the BCS realize that real football is an EastCoast thing?!


Ok, I may have taken the Nyquil thing a little too far. I'll admit it. At least, that's what I'm going to blame my tardiness to work today! I completely forgot to set my alarm clock before I went to bed last nite, and overslept about half an hour before my "internal clock" roused me from my slumber.

You know, once you've lost 30 minutes out of your day, the rest of the day just "ain't quite right" for some reason! I felt like I was running behind all day long!

So, no more Nyquil! I'll just have to tough it out for the rest of this lingering flu bug. Better be over quick, though. My will power has been severely compromised . . .

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New book project?

Now that my book is finally going to press, I've been trying to pick a new project to waste my time on. Here are a few I've been toying with:

1. The story of my mother's family and their immigration from Ireland. I figured that would only be fair, since the last book was about Dad's family . . .

2. A history of Orlando. I've always had a problem with Eve Bacon's old 2-volume set. It's too much of a simple chronology. She made no attempt to synthesize all the names, dates, etc. Just printed a bunch of raw data. This is something I've been toying with for several years, and would be a mammoth undertaking if it was done "right."

3. A complete biography of Aaron Jernigan, the first settler of Orlando (and a great-uncle!)

4. Annotated collection of William Wallace Harney's works.

5. Continue research on Joseph Finegan, the "Hero of Olustee."

I'll keep you "posted" on which, if any, of these I actually pursue!

Bowl Mania

Well, I'm finally coming out of the fog of my Nyquil-induced coma from yesterday . . . but, just barely, and only because I ran out and am too chicken to run up to Walgreens for some more.

Anyway, this painful new lucidity allowed me to do some bowl surfing. The best part was being able to flip between the Cotton Bowl and the Outback Bowl to see my two favorite teams playing at the same time! How cool is that?

Unfortunately, 'Bama beat Texas Tech out in Dallas. (Eating my pre-game trashtalk, Mr. Whittington.) The Tide's defense really shut-down the Red Raiders. They controlled the tempo of the entire game, only rarely allowing our gunslinging QB a chance at lighting-up the scoreboard in the second half like he did in that great win over Texas A&M earlier this season. Still, Leach and his boys did rally late in the game, and it all came down to the ugliest field goal I've ever seen in my life. But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. (Right, Bob?!)

On the plus side, the Gators did manage to beat Iowa despite several efforts to blow their lead late in the game. We did benefit from a lot of questionable officiating, especially in the last few minutes. But, a win is a win. Way to go Urban . . . now get out there and recruit some more players!

Ok, I'm going to take the last dose of Nyquil and call it a night . . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Addicted to Nyquil

Ok, the first step in conquering an addiction is to admit you have a problem, right?

Well, I freely admit it. I LOVE NYQUIL!

The whole day was a blur, at least the conscious portions of it. And, who really wants to remember those miserable moments, anyway?!

This flu is really kicking me in the pants. The only thing getting me thru it all is that precious green elixir . . . Knock back another shotglass of it and knock me out for another 6 hours!!

I have some vague notion that Tampa Bay squeaked into the NFL play-offs. But, that's about it for the outside world, if it even exists.

Hack. Wheeze.

Sparkling Wine and a Kiss

Yeah, right! Maybe at YOUR New Year's Eve party!

My "party" consisted of more decongestants and sinus pain medication. Yee-haw!

At midnight, I did force myself to down a swig of non-alcoholic "champagne," followed up with a delicious kiss . . . of the Hershey variety!

And, before you accuse me of living life on the edge, rest assured that both of these little splurges came back to haunt me later as I wished the porcelain princess a Happy 2006!