Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Laissez les bons temps rouiller!

Not sure if I spelled that correctly, but French never was my best subject in school.

Still, the sentiment is clear this Mardi Gras, and not just in New Orleans.

I am marking this last evening of pre-Lenten hedonism (yeah, right!) trying to figure out what to give up during the 40-day fast.

I saw in the news today that some Katrina refugees in Galveston, Texas, are marking the occasion by writing down all the things they're going to "leave in the past" and dropping the lists in a casket, presumably to be buried tomorrow.

It's a good idea. Especially for those amongst us who failed to really commit to a New Year's resolution.

Whatever I decide on, and I have a pretty good idea, I'm not going to make a big production of it. But, watch this space some 40 days hence, and perhaps I'll report back on my success (or failure).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Cat scratch fever

I thought I should warn any of you who might be seeing me outside of cyberspace in the next few days: I got in the middle of a cat fight at 5 am today.

Big mistake.

That's the short story. Here's the longer, gory version:

So, the cats were acting funny in the wee morning hours, kept jumping up in the bed and waking me up WAY before the alarm clock was due to go off. I tried ignoring them as long as I could. But, by 5 o'clock, I figured they must be out of food downstairs, so I trudged down to the kitchen to fill up their bowl.

Well, when I flipped on the kitchen light, I immediately noticed something was awry: I had a flock of geese on my back porch!

I stand corrected. They weren't geese, but Muscovy ducks. You know those really big, ugly ones with all the red bumps all over their faces. Although, in my present condition, I shouldn't be making fun of anyone's appearance.

Anyway, the cats went absolutely nuts, and commenced to body-slamming my sliding glass door. It was all I could do to grab them both by the nape of their necks and toss them into the downstairs bathroom.

The geese/ducks were tame by comparison. They skedaddled off the porch and out of my back yard as soon as I walked out the battered sliding glass door.

Well, I figured, "I'm up, now. Might as well go ahead and get ready for work." So, I went back upstairs, and flipped on the bathroom light to start the bath water.

Then, and only then, did I realize that I had blood streaming down my face!

In the adrenaline of the moment, I never felt the wound. But, one of those cas got me GOOD!

So, if you see me out on the streets, I will not be offended if you cast your eyes in the opposite direction to save your lunch!

Just give me a few days, and I'm sure I'll be back to looking like an Adonis!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

When cooler heads prevail

I was proud to read the lead story in today's Orlando Sentinel.

Proud of the Central Florida community, that is.

For those of you who live outside of the area, we were targeted by the same group of neo-Nazis that caused so much trouble up in Toledo, Ohio, last year.

But, they got absolutely nowhere down here . . . well, nowhere but the designated, barricaded "free speech" areas set-up by local law enforcement officials.

Check out some of the press coverage here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-bk-marchpg022506,0,4585360.photogallery?coll=orl-home-headlines&index=10

All the pre-planning really kept a lid on what could have been a combustible situation, as these morons marched thru the historic black Parramore neighborhood just west of downtown Orlando.

There were only a few arrests made, as most counter-protestors chose to follow the "Be Cool" program formulated by community leaders who kept a visible profile in matching blue t-shirts. Others chose to completely turn their backs on the idiots by attending a memorial service for Coretta Scott King in nearby Eatonville, one of the oldest black townships in the country.

I love it when cooler heads prevail!

Way to go Central Florida!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Missing Mayberry

How wierd is it that I was listening to that Mayberry song by Rascal Flatts this morning when I got the news that Don Knotts had passed away?!

Whether you think of Barney Fife or Ralph Furley when you hear the name Don Knotts, the odd little guy with the tremendous gift for self-deprecating humor made an impression on everyone who ever saw his performances--either in first-run or re-run.

And, don't forget his movies. As a kid, I couldn't get enough of him and Tim Conway in The Apple Dumpling Gang.

If you want to take a longer trip down Memory Lane, check out this online Don Knotts Shrine. How they got it on the internet so quickly is irrelevant. Just enjoy the fact it's there.

Rest in Peace, Funny Man.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Calling all Jernigan descendants!

Ninth Annual Jernigan Family Reunion
Saturday, March 18, 2006
at 10 a.m.

The reunion committee would like to invite you to join us for a gathering of all Jernigans, related families and connections, and of course we welcome all you honorary Jernigans.

We will meet for a day of fun, food, conversation and the exchange of family information at the Club House of Lakeland Junction, E. Griffin Road, Lakeland, FL.

Once again we will feast on smoked ham & turkey. You are asked to provide side dishes and desserts. Please bring recipes to share with others. We are beginning our own Jernigan cookbook and will make copies of all recipes for each attendee.

Please bring any old photos or other family memorabilia that might be of interest to the rest of us.

We will share family stories; vote on a name for our cookbook; have prizes for various catagories; and also auction off items donated by one another.

We look forward to seeing you all once again and to meeting many more for the first time.
To make reservations and for additional information you may contact:

Kay Stone at 863-858-2738 or kaystone@prodigy.net

Mark Hall at 863-646-4004 or mhall4@tampabay.rr.com

Grace Yeager at 863-687-6446

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 4

This week's reward challenge was a water puzzle. Not worth any more detailed explanation. Suffice it to say LaMina lost and Casaya voted to send Terry to Exile Island.

Oh, yeah, and the "reward" was an outhouse with careful product placement by Charmin and Olay. Bobby quickly christened it by "dropping a deuce," much to everyone else's chagrin.

But, the real drama in camp involved twin spats. The first was between Aras and Courtney after she failed to keep the fire stoked while he was leading Shane and Bruce on a snail-hunting expedition. The second was between Shane and Danielle, whom he justifiably declared a lazy bum. Meanwhile, Cirie was loving it, because it took the spotlight off of her.

Out on Exile Island, Terry quickly deciphered the clues to locate the buried talisman that can save him from eviction up to the "final four." So much for the banishment being a punishment to him.

Terry's tribe felt punished, to be sure. Because, without his leadership LaMina has absolutely no direction. Nick tried some fishing, but eventually they all curled up in fetal positions on the beach and did a lot of whining.

So, it was no surprise when LaMina blew the immunity challenge, which can only be described as a "reverse dunk tank."

After some campaigning, during which Austin revealed his Jesus complex, the boys were split over whether to dump Sally or Ruth Marie.

In the end, Dan threw the old lady a mercy vote. But, her torch was extinguished by a 4-2 decision.

The tribe has spoken.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, George!

On this, the birthday of our first (and, I believe greatest) president, I have been persuing a book that I received as a Christmas present:

The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West, by Joel Achenbach, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2004. [ISBN 0-684-84857-0]

It's been laying woefully neglected in my study for nearly two months, so it's about time I cracked it open.

Achenbach's work asks what was going thru Washington's mind after he won the Revolution? How could he fashion a nation out of a bunch of former colonies? What could he do to bind them together in a common purpose after defeating the British?

His premise was that the father of our country saw westward expansion (initially along the route of the Potomac) as a grand enterprise that might distract the disparate colonists from their many differences. Get them to set those aside to achieve a new collective goal, and the states might actually be united.

Interesting premise.

And, since there's nothing good on tv tonight, I might make it thru a chapter or two . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The first punk rocker?!

I got my March/April edition of Archaeology magazine in the mail today, and see that some 2,300-year-old remains were pulled out of an Irish bog recently. And, they may belong to the world's first punk rocker.

Well, that's my interpretation of the data.

The remains belong to a 5'2" tall young man who apparently used pine resin as hair gel to fashion one heck of a Mohawk.

The short stature of this dude makes me think he sufferend from a pre-Napoleon complex . . .

Anyway, his fashion sense apparently went unappreciated by someone. The forensic evidence indicates that he was murdered.

Talk about your "cold case" files!

Presidents Day

I hope all my Democrat friends spent this Presidents Day reflecting on how very lucky we are to have the current occupant of the White House instead of one of those losers they choose to nominate every four years.

As for me, I caught myself watching a C-SPAN tribute to the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Sounds lame, but it was actually pretty interesting for the first 20 minutes or so. They had Liam Neeson portraying Old Abe and Holly Hunter portraying that nutcase Mary Todd.

Neeson was great. No trace of his Irish brogue. Hunter, on the other hand, had a very distracting lisp and a fakey Southern accent that made her almost unwatchable.

The moderator mentioned that Stephen Spielberg has optioned Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book about the Lincoln administration, Team of Rivals, and that Neeson is the leading contender to portray the president. Based on the C-SPAN performance, he deserves it. Let's just hope they find someone other than Hunter for First Lady. Or, maybe, Stevey-boy could just cut out that part or limit her to a cameo. Listen to me, the big Hollywood producer over here.

Anyway, all the Lincolnia on tv tonite brought to mind one of the skeletons in our family's closet. It turns out that Old Abe's first love was NOT Mary Todd, but a young lady named Anne Rutledge--a distant cousin on the Arnett side of the family. (That's a portrait of the star-crossed lovers above.)

Unfortunately, Anne died of some dread disease before they could marry. Spared the gene pool, I guess. But, I wonder what affect an Arnett cousin in the White House would have had on the Civil War.

Ah, well, musings for another day, I suppose . . .

Sunday, February 19, 2006

St. Malachy's prophecy

I was sitting around the house watching History Channel this gloomy Sunday morning, as I am wont to do, and caught the tail end of a program about prophecy.

They were talking about some medieval Irish saint by the name of Malachy who apparently came up with a list of all the popes up to the end of days.

The scary part of that story is that it looks like Benedict XVI fits that description, chronologically and otherwise.

Check it out for yourself at http://www.catholic-pages.com/grabbag/malachy.asp.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Motorcycles and museums

Who'd have thought those two things would go together, huh?

Well, the Orlando Museum of Art thought the combo worked. So, I had to check it out.

Actually, they were running an antique fair and appraisal in conjunction with the motorcycle thing, but just this weekend. What a bonus. All that for just $8!

Anyway, it was pretty interesting. Catch the show if you can, but I'm afraid you missed out on the antiques.

Don't worry, though, you could pretty much see any of that stuff at one of the local antique shops any day of the week without having to pay admission.

Call me Mr. Cheap.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Raising eyebrows

I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about eyebrows lately.

I mean, have you ever looked at your friends and relations . . . or complete strangers for that matter . . . and wondered how different they would look if they didn't have eyebrows?

Before you think I'm really "out there," let me just explain the cause of all this contemplation.

I think almost everyone will agree that Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. (Sorry, Nicole, but your star has lost its shine since you started cavorting about with that Keith Urban guy.)

Anyway, check out what Theron looked like when she was playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster."

I wondered, how could someone so beautiful make herself look so homely?! Then it dawned on me: IT'S THE EYEBROWS!

Now, besides the cosmetic, can anyone out there explain to me what exactly eyebrows do for a person? I mean, do they actually have any useful function?

The things I spend my time thinking about . . . I amaze me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Surivor Exile Island - Episode 3

Well, it looked like La Mina tribe was going to continue its dominance by winning what was possibly the most awesome reward challenge in the history of Survivor. The competing tribes had to run down the beach, dig up some big bags of sand, and race back to the starting point. But, they were both looking for the same bags and were allowed to tackle, wrestle, sit-on, and otherwise hamper their opponents. It was great! The black chick that almost got voted out in Episode 1 really proved her worth in this one.

Oh, yeah, the reward was a tarp and some rope and a couple of water cans.

Anyway, Casaya lost . . . again. Bad enough they missed out on the tarp, etc., but La Mina also got to banish one of their number to Exile Island. They really stuck it to Bruce, the Asian guy, who had just returned. They made him go back!

That must've been enough to light Casaya's fire. They came back and won the immunity challenge the next day. So, La Mina had to face its first tribal council.

After a lot of politicking, it came down to two people: the older lady Ruth Marie (who I couldn't pick out of a line-up to this day, no personality) and Misty, the chick with the cowboy hat who got stuck on Exile Island in Episode 1.

Despite her best efforts, which included numerous massages of her fellow tribe mates, Misty took the walk of shame.

A note from Gaga Lois

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, and as evidence of the ever-present need for prayer, I received the following request from my cousin "Gaga Lois":

My daughter Joanna will have a hysterectomy tomorrow morning, because the medicine she is on for the next5 years can increase the risk of uteran cancer.

My other daughter Patricia flew down from Spartanburg, SC, to be with her.

I cannot go myself, because I have a problem with my left knee. I had to go have a "scan" thing done today, which will help the doctor determine if I need an operation. I will see the doctor again 2weeks from today. In the mean time, I am limping around and have some pain, but not terrible. I am just asking for prayers.

Love to each one of you.
Lois Lee

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day prayer request

Got this great pic of some future Texas Tech Red Raiders from my high school friend Lisa Johnson Troupe, along with the following prayer request:

Hi everyone!

I’m here again asking for more prayers!

Samuel’s teacher is having her brain surgery to remove the tumor on Wednesday morning. She is supposed to be awake the whole time and they are going behind her ear to get it and they are hopeful that they can. They do not know if it is cancerous yet (you know the doctors missed when they tried to do her biopsy here in Wichita Falls so she is in Houston now) so we will find that out soon.

I know she said she feels the prayers and she is so appreciative-she says it overwhelms her so many people are praying for her. So please, put Mrs. Zoila Cerruti in your prayers. We really appreciate it!

God bless,

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sanborn Fire Maps

Another cool link, especially if you're an Orlando history buff:

Sanborn Fire Maps of Orlando in 1919

Apparently some insurance company made these maps up "back in the day" to determine fire risks, etc.

They're pretty detailed. Check 'em out.

If you choose map #23, you can even zoom in on the old Morgan homestead at 405 Raleigh Street.

See it?! Huh?! Huh?!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

History-related links

Joy Wallace Dickinson provided these really cool links in two of her most recent articles in The Orlando Sentinel:

The Turpentine Camp - Some UCF history professors are trying to document a site that a local Siemens employee stumbled across while doing some lunchtime orienteering.

Lincoln's "Book of Days" - The Ivy League egg heads up at Brown University have put together a database on the "The Great Emancipator," that you can search by date or key word.

Myth Busters - If you ever get those emails that you don't quite believe, you can check their veracity at this site. The one I checked-out was the Oliver North - Osama bin Laden myth. Turns out it was Abu Nidal who was out to get him back in the 1980's, not Al Qaeda.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Congratulate me on my doctorate

You know, when dealing with an insidious disease like Alzheimer's, you can either wallow in it or you can try to see some humor in it.

I guess the same could be said for life in general.

Anyway, I tend to do the latter. And, I'm pleased to report that my father, who suffers from the disease, has conferred a doctorate on his favorite son.

I'm not sure exactly what the degree is in. He didn't specify in today's award of the lofty title. But, I'll see if I can follow-up. The inference has been that it's in medicine, which blows my mind.

In the meantime, his nursing staff is quite impressed, and treat me with way more deference than I am due.

Maybe, I'll start wearing a white lab coat when I go visit him . . .

Friday, February 10, 2006


Yes, there really is a place called Narcoossee. I should know, I drove out there today with a couple of other guys to look at a piece of land.

It had been a long time since I'd been out that way. It's changed. A LOT!

It occurs to me that I had seen something somewhere about the town being founded by English "remittance men."

I'll have to see if I can find anything in my files at home tonite.

If we wind up building houses out there, something in those files might just provide us with a good name or two to use for the models . . .

Good project for what promises to be a cold, blustery weekend.

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 2

This week was all about getting back to the formula that has worked so well in the past. I guess someone put a bug in Mark Burnett's ear. Anyway, they narrowed the 4 tribes back down to the typical 2: "Casaya" and "La Mina."

There was one person left over, the Asian guy. I think his name is Bruce. No, seriously. They just call him Bruce. Anyway, because he was the odd man out, he had to go sit on Exile Island by himself. Sounds like a raw deal, but the up side was that he was guaranteed not to get voted out this week.

OK, back to the two new tribes. I still haven't sorted out all the personalities, yet. But, suffice it to say that La Mina is the stronger tribe. They won both the reward challenge (fishing gear) and the immunity challenge. So, Casaya had to put somebody on the chopping block.

There was a big drama back at Casaya's camp, because Shane the loud-mouthed ex-smoker was running around begging people to vote him off. But, then he did an abrupt turn-around, and his "ally" Aras went straight to the two "Older Women" to tell them that one of them would be going home in Shane's place.

It ended up being Melinda, the blonde from Tennessee, which was really a shame. Not only did I enjoy her cute accent, but she actually wanted to play the game.

I can't stand Nicotine Boy very much right now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Latest Tater Pic

Tater at 6 weeks.

I think the picture speaks for itself.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Danish cartoon of Mohammed

If you're like me, you've been taken aback by the furious reaction of Muslims worldwide after some obscure newspaper in Denmark of all places had the audacity to publish a cartoon poking fun at the Prophet Mohammed.

But, what's driven me even more crazy is the fact that our free-thinking, open-minded press here in the good old US of A has almost uniformly refused to allow us to see the images that caused all the big stink.

Do they think we can't handle it, or what?!

Anyway, I was able to find this image thru online sources.

It may be in bad taste, but certainly not worth rioting over.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Kathleen Parker hit the nail on the head!

Loved this article I saw in the Orlando Sentinel:

The night Hillary's funny bone went missing
Kathleen Parker, February 5, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Hillary blew it.

That was the instant reaction in the room where I watched Tuesday night's State of the Union address. It was such a simple thing, but the senator from New York missed her cue. It was this: Smile and show the nice people that you're a human being and that you have a sense of humor.

But no. When President George W. Bush tossed a valentine to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, the senator sat stone-faced, nary a crack in her facade. Catty? Not at all. Shaken, perhaps, but not stirred.

Truthfully, I'm pulling for everyone deep down. I have no bone to pick with Hillary Clinton, no wish to see her stumble. But I admit to being fascinated and I watch her closely. I especially watch her when she's out of sight; listen when she's quiet. You learn a lot about people not just by what they say, but by what they don't say. Or by what they don't do, where they don't show up.

With a Clinton, no move is accidental. And she is, of course, considered the most likely Democratic candidate for president in 2008. Could she win?Polls indicate that people are ready to support a woman for the highest office and that being female is no longer an obstacle. In fact, at this juncture, it may be an asset. Tipping points and all that.

Certainly, Clinton is qualified to be president. Smart and well-educated, she's fluent on issues and hard-working. She's also managed a difficult marriage in plain view and has raised a well-adjusted daughter whose success any parent would envy.

So what is it about Hillary that sets some people off? That thing -- what is it?

I've had a hundred conversations with people who can't quite put their finger on the reason Clinton is such a lightning rod. Or why some dislike her with such visceral intensity. Many don't just disagree with her; they can't stand her.Yet, by other accounts, people who know her love her. Those who have met her attest to her charm, intelligence and decency. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with Hillary Clinton, no critical resume gap.She's not evil, obviously, but her enemies would have you think otherwise. Why?

The answer may have revealed itself during Bush's speech.Clinton is surely self-aware enough to know that wherever she is, the camera will seek her out. Thus, her response to public events has to be measured, safe and controlled, if not studied. She's not going to be rearranging her skirt during the most important speech of the presidential year, in other words.Predictably at such times, she doesn't show approval of the president's policies. Like other Democrats in the audience, she carefully selects when she'll applaud, when she'll stand. Sometimes members of the minority party display a little confusion.Wait, we're life-affirming, right? I mean, we like life, but could we take that with just a sprinkling of stem cells?Fine, stand up slowly, sit down quickly.

Inevitably, when Bush made the one light comment of the evening, which happened to make reference to her husband, the camera zoomed to Hillary Clinton. Her lips, painted crimson, were a bright beacon in a sea of dark suits.Bush was discussing stresses to the Social Security system and mentioned that the first baby boomers were turning 60, including two of his father's favorite people. We're waiting to hear George and maybe Jeb Bush when he says, "Me and President Bill Clinton."

Badaboom! Pan to Hillary.

Nothing, nada, zip. Cheekbones bouncing light back to the fluorescent gods, her ruby lips a door slammed shut for all eternity to the minions of mirth. My mind immediately free-associates to the ancient vampires in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, who, cold and bloodless through the ages, had turned to stone.Clinton was the sphinx the joker couldn't budge. If eyes could emasculate, Hillary's would send a man into the high octaves.I don't know what was going through Clinton's mind in that moment, but her expression said, "Bug off," or sentiments to that effect.

What we do know is that Bill Clinton would have loved it. And laughed. And reminded Americans of his humanness and his ready sense of humor.His wife, by defining contrast, showed the world that she is something else. That thing -- what is it? It is what she isn't: human, gracious and humorous.

Kathleen Parker can be reached at parker@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5202.

Grapefruit cake

Ok, here's the recipe for the grapefruit cake I mentioned in yesterday's post

1.5 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs (separated)
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/2 teaspons grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspon cream of tartar

1. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Add water, oil, egg yolks, juice, and rind.
3. Beat until smothe.
4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in separte bowl until stiff, but not dry.
5. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over whites.
6. Fold gently together, but do not stir.
7. Pour into ungreased pan.
8. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger.

2 six-ouce packages of cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 to 8 drops yellow food coloring
1 one-pound can of grapefruit sections (drain well)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A day in the parks

Here's the run-down of my whirl-wind tour of Walt Disney World:

1. To MGM Studios to activate Annual Pass, heard it was the least-busy park and thus the easiest place to do that sort of thing. Of course the rain and chilly temp did a lot to keep the lines short, too!!

2. Checked out the new Chronicles of Narnia show. Not worth waiting for. But, as there was no line, I wasn't disappointed. Actually makes me want to re-read those books from my childhood and then go see the movie while it's still on the big screen.

3. Ate my favorie dessert at The Brown Derby: grapefruit cake. Sounds gross, but it's awesome.

4. Zipped over to the Magic Kingdom to see Pirates of the Caribbean before it gets shut-down for renovations on 3/1. They're re-doing it to coincide with the release of the new Johnny Depp movie in July. I guess it was past due. Same stuff since 1973 . . . but, it was a good nostalgia trip. And, again, no lines today, so . . .

5. Oops, forgot to mention the brief interlude at the Polynesian Resort en route to the MK. Had to get some of their famous Kona coffee to fuel the busy day.

6. Checked in to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Got a room with a Savanna view and easy access to the lobby.

7. Took the complimentary shuttle bus to EPCOT. Sampled some of the international cuisine, but split before the laser light show, etc.

8. Got back to the room and did some exploring around the AKL resort areas. Too cold to take a dip in the pool. But, did get the refillable souvenir mug, and filled it with hot chocolate. Sipped that by fireside off back portico.

Jam-packed day. Gotta go to bed. It's rough being a tourist!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

We want Wilkie?

I started reading a book today about the 1940 presidential campaign. Don't ask me why. I guess the cover was appealing. The author seems convinced that FDR could not have led the US to victory in WWII if it hadn't been for his lilly-livered Republican opponent in the last election before Pearl Harbor. I don't know if I buy the premise. But, am interested to see what lessons may be applied to the current political climate . . .

Friday, February 03, 2006

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 1

Wow, how many twists can you throw at us in one night? Maybe, I'm a traditionalist. But, why are these people messing with a winning formula?

Anyway, for those of you who missed it, there are FOUR tribes to start with this season instead of the regular TWO. They are divided into Old men, Young men, Old women, and Young women.

In the reward challenge, the Young women lost. That meant not only would they not receive a fire-starting kit, but one of them would have to spend the next three days on Exile Island. The chick in the cowboy hat got left behind. (Sorry, I still haven't sorted out all the names, yet.)

Anyway, the one good thing about being left on Exile Island is that you can search for some amazing "idol" that you can use to claim immunity from eviction up until the "Final Four." And, unlike past seasons, you can spring the claim even after the votes are cast.

Well, cowboy girl failed to find the stupid thing. But, when she was reunited with her tribe at the immunity challenge, she did her best to try to convince everyone that she had found it. Not exactly an Oscar-winning performance. But, whatever.

The Old women lost the challenge. There was some drama over whether they would vote out the Lumber Jill (female version of a Lumber Jack) or the fat black chick. In the end, they went against the Lumber Jill, because they figured she was too strong a competitor/personality.

Next week's preview had a good tease. Shane, one of the Old men who is suffering from severe nicotine withdrawals, is complaining to the camera when a bolt of lightning nearly strikes him dead. At least that's what they want us to believe.

Until next Thursday, the tribe has spoken.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Light at the end of the tunnel

Well, it looks like my uncle's protracted divorce proceedings are FINALLY nearing an end.

I received word first thing this morning that the respective legal and accounting teams, along with the two contentious parties themselves, were engaged in a marathon mediation session until quite late last night.

But, something good came out of it: a signed agreement!

I'm ecstatic. I saw this thing dragging on for months and months more. Thank God, I was wrong. (I know that doesn't happen too often.)

Anyway, let's hope EVERYBODY involved can put this nasty episode in the past, and MOVE ON!

Cabin fever

I've come to the conclusion that there are just two kinds of people on this earth: beach people or mountain people.

I am a mountain person.

That's right, I'd rather spend what little free time I have up in the mountains, breathing fresh (non-humid) air, and enjoying the change of seasons that is all-too-absent in Florida.

Anyway, my love of the mountains has given me a severe case of cabin fever.

I've stayed up way too late tonite checking out various web sites in search of just the right place. I've narrowed it down quite a bit, and have been exchanging emails with a realtor up there. Looks like I'll be going on a bird-dog mission up there the first weekend in March.

I'll keep you posted. Pun intended.