Friday, August 31, 2007

Powerful Women

Perhaps as a way of commemorating the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's Death, Forbes Magazine released their annual list of the most powerful women in the world.

I was impressed that, of the top 25, thirteen (just over half) are Americans:

1. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State.
2. Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
3. Patrica A. Woertz, Chair of ADM.
4. Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft.
5. Patricia Russo, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent.
6. Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox.
7. Mary Sammons, CEO of RiteAid.
8. Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee.
9. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court.
10. Oprah Winfrey, Chair of Harpo Studios.
11. Margaret Whitman, CEO of Ebay.
12. Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates.
13. Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton.

What impressed me more than the overwhelming number of Americans on the list was how they got there. Most of the foreigners made the list because of their role in government. While the overwhelming majority of the U.S. listees made it because of their business acumen. That says something about the power of the marketplace in this country, doesn't it?!

And, of course, judging by the last two listees, it doesn't hurt to marry the right guy, either . . .

Labels: , , , ,

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Yes, sport socks, tonight we witnessed the kick-off of the '08 college football season.

I know, I know, it's Thursday. And, traditionally, games are played on Saturday. But, you have to do something special to get things started, right?!

Well, LSU certainly did something special tonight. They TOTALLY obliterated Mississippi State. Blanked em. A shut-out.

But, I think even the losers would have to concede that some southern fried football is exactly what we need right now, if only to distract us from all the depressing stuff the media has been using for fodder lately. "Let them resume reporting football scores!" I say!

Oh, and a special side note to Urban Meyer: I hope you watched what LSU was serving last night. The race for the SEC championship is NOT going to be a cake walk this year. Please prepare accordingly.

Orange and blue!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wardrobe Malfunction?

I don't know if this qualifies for that category, but the old clothes washer finally died.

You socks who know me well, know how fashion-conscious I am. So, this mechanical break-down is really going to cramp my style.

Oh, well, if some resolution is not achieved by Friday, I guess I'll just pack up all my stinky laundry and bring it with me when I go visit my sister for the holiday weekend.

Get ready, Sister! Love me, love my laundry!!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Huckabee comes to Orlando!!

I was proud to see Mike Huckabee came to town last night to address the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club.

Might I add, he was the ONLY Republican candidate to accept the union's invitation?!

Again, he is showing himself to be unique in the GOP field for his willingness to reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans.

Unfortunately, the local press paid him less attention than he is due, because our favorite former first lady was also in town. Star-struck as they were, they just gushed about her canned speeches about how bad George Bush is and how much better we will be when she is our fearless leader, etc. And, of course, she ended up whining about her plight, being the "best known but least understood" candidate.

Boo hoo, Hillary. To quote your illustrious husband, "I feel your pain."

On the other hand, Mike Huckabee may be one of the lesser-known candidates, but he is the easiest to understand. He speaks about real issues that affect real people, and he speaks in a way that connects with them.

Case in point, look at the respect he gained from the union members last night when he spoke about our China trade policy. He accused the communists of manipulating the value of their currency to flood U.S. markets with their cheap, unregulated goods. He talked specifics. And, he made sense.

Too bad the other speaker was too busy whining about her celebrity and the evil Bush to make any real points of her own. And, too bad the media continues to allow her to get away with it.

I think I'm going to write a letter to the editor in protest . . .

In the mean time, major kudos to Mike Huckabee (again!) and thanks for coming down to see us in Central Florida! Come back soon!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Winnie!

Today, I received a wonderful handwritten letter from my Uncle Richard in Waynesville, North Carolina.

It's not often that one receives a handwritten letter nowadays, so I was impressed.

What impressed me more, however, was the newspaper clipping he enclosed. It was all about the recent 108th birthday celebrated by a lady named Winnie Morgan Crawford Cathey of Andrews, North Carolina.

Mrs. Cathey was born 22 August 1899 in Macon County, NC, to William and Mary Morgan, and now has about 150 living descendants.

My question, however, isn't about her descendants. Rather, I'd like to know about her Morgan ancestry. I mean supercentenarians are a rare breed, and I'd certainly like to know if this one may be included in our family tree . . .

I'll keep interested parties posted as I research the possibility.

In the mean time, Happy Birthday, Winnie!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back to reality, sort of.

Had a smoothe drive back from the beach. That is, it was smoothe all along I-95 and I-4. But, something happend on SR417, that had traffic backed up on the causeway spanning Lake Jessup.

That was a treat.

For you out-of-town or otherwise oblivious socks, Lake Jessup is famous for only one thing: Gators.

And, I'm not talking about the orange and blue national championship variety.

As we sat there waiting for the friendly officers of the Florida Highway Patrol to get the situation in hand, I casually surveyed our surroundings. And, within a matter of just a few seconds discovered we were completely surrounded by gator-infested waters.

Thank God for sturdy concrete construction!

I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally made it to the other side of the causeway and exited the 417, more than glad to take the winding back roads to avoid further tempting the hungry reptiles.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last throes of summer

Decided to get in one last beach weekend before the end of summer, and what a nice relaxing blessing it has been.

The weather has cooperated fully, and allowed for a lot of beach-combing and contemplation.

The one thing I couldn't get out of my mind this evening as I strolled along these sandy shores, just close enough to allow the occasional foamy edge of surf to tickly my toes, is what this place must have looked like to the first colonists.

They certainly had a lot more intestinal fortitude than me, at least at this stage of life.

I mean, minus all the condos and magnificent beach house compounds you see today, this place must have looked like another planet to them. And, this is just a barrier island. Imagine landing here, thinking you've discovered "the new world," only to realize you've still got to cross the intracoastal.

Of course, they probably had better navigational skills in addition to their guts, so they probably figured the whole island thing pretty quick.

Anyway, hats off to the pioneer explorers.

Oh, and pass the Margaritas so we can give them a toast!


Labels: , ,

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mike Huckabee!

Yep, it was fifty-two years ago today that the NEXT president of the United States was born.
Ironically, it was in Hope, Arkansas.
Anyway, if you want to learn more about the greatest former Governor of Arkansas, check out:
And, if you're inclined to present him with a gift on this momentous occasion, consider joining the growing number of his presidential campaign contributors.
I've even made it easy for you by adding the little "widget" at the bottom of this page.
So, go ahead! It'll make you feel good!

Labels: ,

Bridge to Terabithia

Just got done watching this Disney movie.

About halfway thru it, I started remembering the story line and realized it is not an original work.

Terabithia first came onto my radar back when I was about the age of the main characters.

Back then, we read books more than we watched movies. And, this was a fairly popular book in the late 1970s.

I, on the other hand, preferred C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia series. And, that's how I first became aware of the story in question.

You see, there was a bit of controversy back in the Stone Age, because a lot of Narnia fans were convinced the author of this book had "stolen" the name Terabithia from Lewis.

If you were a big Narnia Nerd like I was/am, you may remember the Isle of Terebinthia in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

But, it turned out that Lewis himself (a reformed atheist) lifted the name of the island from the Biblican terebintha tree, a source of turpentine in the Mediterranean region that has been mentioned in written works since at least the time of Virgil's Aenid.

Anyway, I guess the point of all my ramblings here is that this is not an original story. It doesn't have an original name in its title. But, it is still quite entertaining.

Warning, though, it takes a sad twist toward the end that may be upsetting to younger viewers. (One of the main characters dies.)

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't mess with the Jenkses!

That's the lesson Cash America Pawn Shop in Apopka learned today.

Last Thursday, while they were attending an orientation at Apopka High School, some piece of human debris decided to steal a bike I had loaned them.

They immediately went to the pawn shop in question, described the bike, and asked the staff if someone had brought anything matching the description within the last hour.

That's when things STARTED to get nasty.

The idiot behind the counter was completely uncooperative, dismissing them with a recommendation to go file a report with Apopka Police Department.

Well, they did that.

And, lo and behold, APD found the bike in Cash America Pawn Shop's inventory.

But, when the Jenkses went up there for the second time to claim the stolen property, the bozos working there insisted they pay the $35 in cash that they had foolishly given to the aforementioned piece of human debris.

Since when do you have to pay somebody for dealing in stolen goods?!

Now $35 is not a great deal of money in the grand scheme of things. But, as Aaron Tippin would point out, you have to stand for something.

So, the Jenkses called Central Florida's News Channel 13. Got a reporter with a camera to interview them at my house and take a look at the police report, the pawn shop receipt, etc.

Then, the reporter went over to the pawn shop and put a camera in their face.

Long story just a little bit longer: the Jenkses got a phone call this evening. Miraculously, Cash America Pawn Shop in Apopka has finally seen the error of their ways. They're going to give them a full refund.

But, if they really want to mend their ways, perhaps they could just stop giving money to obvious thieves . . . not to mention trying to take advantage of the victims of crime.

I love it when people get what they deserve. Good or bad!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Latest photos of the niblings

That's my nephew Tater hanging out at the bottom of a slide, and my niece Morgan apparently playing hop-scotch on a shuffleboard deck.

Labels: , ,

Mark McEwen's "Miracle of Love"

Just got done watching a great special on our local CBS affiliate, channel 6.

You socks who live out of the area probably recognize Mark McEwen as the jovial weather man from the CBS morning show.

Well, back in 2002, he moved down here to Central Florida to become an anchorman.

Unfortunately, he wasn't on the air for very long before he suffered a massive stroke.

Tonight's special broadcast detailed how he and his wife Denise and their family and friends came together on the road to recovery.

Mark's speech still isn't what it used to be. And, he has some difficulty using one of his hands. But, his mind is as sharp as ever, and his sense of humor is still disarming.

What amazed me most is that he is not only walking unassisted, but is also driving himself--and the destinations aren't just therapy sessions and doctor appointments. He's also taken on a variety of speaking engagements. Check out these links for more info:

Mark's is certainly an inspiring story!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Who should "own" your healthcare decisions?

You should!!

Not your insurance company.

Not your employer.

Not your government.

That's what Governor Mike Huckabee had to say in his appearance on FoxNews' "Weekend Live" this afternoon.

And, he's right. Health insurance converage should not just be universal, it should be PORTABLE!

Talk like this (and about the fair tax) is what distinguishes him from the rest of the pack, and not just on the Republican side of the aisle.

Folks, he's the only candidate out there with bold vision, executive experience, and consistent values. He needs to be our next president. And, I cannot encourage you enough to do what millions of others have been doing since last weekend's straw poll in Iowa. CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE AND LEARN MORE ABOUT HIM:

Go, Mike, go!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Longwood Estate Sale

Got up early, like a regular "work day" so I could be one of the first people at an estate sale up in Longwood this morning.

And, I was glad I made the extra effort.

The big purchase of the day was a framed commemorative poster from the 1992 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. (You socks who know my mom are probably familiar with her burgeoning collection of these posters.)

The big suprise came at check-out, when the lady running the sale (Cece) let me have my choice of one bottle out of the liquor cabinet, because everything had to go and she doesn't have a liquor license!

In case you're wondering, I got the creme de menthe. Not because I'm particularly fond of the cordial, but because it was the only unopened bottle!!

Anyway, thanks to Cece for the heads-up on this estate sale. I'm looking forward to the one in College Park next month! (Already wondering what may be in the liquor cabinet in THAT neighborhood . . . probably Dom Perignon or Grand Marnier!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rita Norton McCann

I am sorry to report the death of my great-aunt Rita last night following a heart attack in Clinton, Massachusetts. She would have celebrated her 92nd birthday in just a few weeks.

Her passing marks the end of an era, as she was the last surviving child of Thomas J. Norton, Sr. and Lil Irving Norton.

You socks who know me well have probably heard me tell tales about my Grandma G. Well, Rita was one of her three older sisters, a twin to Aunt Marie (the subject of many equally priceless tales).

In addition to her parents and siblings, Aunt Rita was preceded in death by her husband Thomas Lincoln McCann (1910-1994).

She is survived by her only daughter Sharon, son-in-law Tom McQuoid, and grandsons Darren and Kyle . . . and, of course, numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, and friends.

Robert J. McNally of Clinton will be handling funeral arrangements. The immediate family will accept visitors on Sunday. And, a funeral mass will be held on Monday.

Expressions of sympathy may be made directly to Sharon at

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Calling all Morgans

I know how much we Morgans enjoy free stuff, so thought I'd pass this along to any of you who will be visiting Britain this summer.

To celebrate our "pirate heritage" the Brits are opening up a variety of historic sites to us, free of the usual admission charges! They include:

  • Pendennis Castle

  • Dover Castle

  • Whitby Abbey

But, lest all this special treatment goes to our heads, they are also allowing free entry to other pirate "descendants" with the surnames Kidd, Teach, Rackham, Bonny, and Read.

Oh, well, at least they put "Morgan" at the top of that list, right?!


Labels: , ,


Just got done watching Sandra Bullock's latest DVD: Premonition.

I figured it would be a no-brainer, perfect for a slow, middle-of-the-week type night.

But, I was wrong.

This flick had more time twists than her last movie (The Lake House), but was only about half as good.

One sub-theme made it somewhat redeeming. Trying to figure out what was going on, Bullock's character consults with her parish priest. He reminded her that we are all vessels and that we can either carry what God intended us to carry (faith, hope, and love); or, we can go searching to fill that void with something else. But, that something else will be un-Godly, and ultimately unfulfilling.

Kinda heavy. Not what I was looking for tonight. But, maybe I'll pop it back in the DVD player on Sunday . . .

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Amasa Blakesley

That's the name of one of my Civil War ancestors.

I've known about him for awhile, having traced the old family tree for many years now. And, I even wrote a book about some of them who fought in the War-Between-the-States.

But, imagine my surprise when I discovered his name appears on the national African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC!
(If you're in the neighborhood, check out plaque #C-76.)

If you've ever watched the movie "Glory," you're probably aware the "all-black" regiments in the Civil War were not really "all-black." All of their officers and most of their non-commissioned officers were white. My Amasa fell into the latter category, serving for a time as the regimental musician for the 66th U.S. Colored Troops.

Apparently, in memorializing the "colored" regiments, the designers of the memorial made no distinction between the men and the officers, black or white.

And, that's appropriate, don't you think?

Labels: , , , , ,

Charley Anniversary Reminder

I know hurricane season technically started two and a half months ago. But, those of us who live in storm prone areas know things really don't get cooking in the Atlantic until August.

So, on this, the 3-year anniversary of one of the worst storms that ever ravaged Central Florida, I want to take the opportunity to warn all you socks against complacency.

And, perhaps appropriately, I saw on tonight's news that we have not one but TWO storms a-brewin' out there. One's about 10 days out in the Atlantic and headed this way. The other is in the Gulf and more likely to hit Texas.

The thing about hurricanes is that you get PLENTY of notice to prepare. So, do it now if you haven't already. There's really no excuse to play the victim with this much warning.

You read it here first.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Straw Poll by Numbers

You socks out there in the blogosphere who know me well in the "real world" know I'm a numbers guy.

So, I'm going to let yesterday's numbers out of Ames, Iowa, speak for themselves.

Mitt Romney's campaign spent an estimated $5,000,000.00 to garner a whopping 4,516 votes. That works out to over $1,100 per vote.

Mike Huckabee's campaign spent about $150,000.00 to come in "second place" with 2,587 votes. That's less than $58 per vote.

Which of these two guys has assembled a more efficient team?

You decide.

Use the numbers.

Now, who do you want to be in charge of the federal budget--your tax dollars?

We all know who got the most bang for the buck in Iowa yesterday . . .

Sorry, Mitt.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ames Aims

I am heading out the door to do some weekend type running around, but a little event out in Iowa will be on my mind the whole time.

I'm talking about the straw poll in Ames.

There's a lot riding on it.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of the lovely little commonwealth of Taxachusetts, has invested an inordinately huge amount of money on this event. And, why shouldn't he? I mean, the man is obscenely wealthy.

So, if the result is a foregone conclusion, why the big interest?

Well, because, all the politicos are going to be focused on who comes in second.

And, my hope is it will be Mike Huckabee.

Stay tuned if my hopes are realized. The former Arkansas governor could get a big bounce out of this little straw poll despite his comparatively meager budget. Good numbers in Ames will show his campaign's organizational ability, not to mention his supporters' level of commitment.

Oh, and if you're going to be anywhere near Ames today, I'll spring for the $35 cover charge if you promise to cast your ballot for Mike. And, any wavering Romney reporters are welcome to change their minds at the last minute!

Keeping my fingers crossed as I head out the door . . .

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, August 10, 2007

What a roller coaster ride, huh?!

"Volatility" continues to be the keyword in today's economy.

I made the mistake of checking my portfolio balance three times today, in the morning, at lunch, and again this afternoon. And, each time, I got a wildly different balance.

I guess things were headed for a pretty big plunge until mid-day when the Fed announced it would be "injecting liquidity."


From the low-man-on-the-totem-pole perspective, I can tell you there's a lot of uncertainty beyond 401(k) balances. Fuel prices have dropped to an "affordable" $2.65 per gallon around here. But, is it just me? Is the cost of produce at the supermarket high lately?

And, I've never seen so many "For Sale" signs popping up. I guess a lot of people are stressing in the real estate market.


Let's hope the weekend brings some calm and reassurance.

And, we'll start all over again on Monday, ok?!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

The smartest woman in America?!

Hillary Clinton's private jet broke down at a rural airport while she was criss-crossing the country in her campaign to become our next president.

Fortunately, she ran across a friendly pilot and his ten-year-old daughter who were preparing to take-off on a trip of their own and offered her a free seat on their plane.

Unfortunately, the plane's engine blew somewhere over the Great Plains, and the worried pilot had to inform his daughter and passenger that he only had two parachutes on board.

"Well," announced Mrs. Clinton, "I have to use one of them. I mean, not only am I the wife of the illustrious Bill Clinton, I'm also a sitting U.S. Senator from the great state of New York. And, because I am quite possibly the smartest woman in America, in a matter of just a few months, I am going to be the next President of the United States!"

With that, Hillary grabbed the nearest pack, opened the door, and jumped out of the plane.

The pilot looked at his daughter and said, "Go, ahead, honey, take the other 'chute and save yourself."

"Are you kidding?!" She replied, "I'm not jumping without you!"

"You have to, honey," he told her. "There's only one 'chute left."

"No, there's still two," she informed him. "The smartest woman in America was in such a hurry to get outta here, she grabbed my bookbag!"

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Huckabee on Hardball

My favorite former Arkansas governor continues to wow the press. Tonight, it was Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

Matthews led in to Mike's segment with an interview of a retired steel worker named Steve Skvara who is having a tough time finding health insurance for his 56-year-old wife. He's covered by Medicare himself, but had been depending on his former employer's health care plan to cover her until she qualifies for federal assistance. Unfortunately, that former employer (LVT) had gone bankrupt, leaving no health care coverage in the aftermath and taking one-third of the employee pension funds.

Naturally, Matthews followed-up on this segment by asking the governor what he would do to fix problems like this.

And, Mike hit the ball out of the park.

He correctly pointed out that the Republican Party is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street, and shouldn't act as such. We need to stand up to "sheer, unadulterated greed" that rewards high-level executives with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses while asking front-line workers to accept deep pay cuts.

As to health care in this country, Mike reminded Matthews and his viewers that he has long been an advocate of a major paradigm shift. First, we need to discard the post-WWII mentality that tied coverage to a person's job. People don't work at the same place for 30 years anymore. So, their coverage should be tied directly to the person, not their employer. Keyword="portability." Secondly, we need to approach health care in terms of PREVENTION, not just intervention.

Finally, Matthews uncharacteristically threw Huckabee a softball, asking him how democratic the upcoming Ames Straw Poll really is since it costs $35 to vote in it. Obviously, it is not an exercise in democracy. Rather, as Mike reminded him, it will show both organizational strength/ability of the candidates AND (more importantly) the level of motivation of their supporters.

"Everybody likes you, Mike," Matthews concluded with a big grin.

"Like me on Saturday," was Huckabee's response, with an even bigger grin!

Go, Mike, go!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Authenticity, Sincerity, and Candor

Those are the three words former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used while speaking to the National Press Club in Washington today to describe Mike Huckabee's campaign to become our next president.

Newt gets it.

The national media does not. At least, not yet.

Witness Bill Sammon on FoxNews tonight, who framed the contest underway in Iowa in terms of Romney v Giuliani and implied that Huckabee is simply angling for a VP nod. Tripe!

What Huckabee IS doing is what people like Gingrich and millions of others across this country have been wanting to see for a long time: He's growing as a candidate with each passing day. He's speaking in terms of patriotism over partisanship. And, hopefully, he will (as Newt predicted) emerge as the most interesting dark horse candidate in American history.

Cynical reporters like Sammon assume that Huckabee steers away from attacks on the other candidates, because he is shooting for #2.

Clearly, Sammon doesn't know much about Mike Huckabee.

And, if last Sunday's debate in Des Moines is any barometer of true feelings in Iowa, Sammon won't be the only pundit with a surprised look on his face after the Ames straw poll.

Huckabee is better at communicating and connecting with an audience than any candidate out there--in either party. Those strengths should take him to the top of the GOP slate and on to the White House.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, August 06, 2007

William John Gleeson (1914-1967)

At peace 40 years today.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Huckabee wins Iowa debate!

It was a crowded stage in Iowa this morning, reflecting the fact that Republicans still have no clear front-runner in the race to choose a successor to El Presidente.

Of course, you know who my pick is: Mike Huckabee.

But, he is still struggling to gain that "top tier" status so frequently used by the media to refer to Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain.

Today, he may have broken that trio's grip on the top tier, at least according to one focus group.

Going into the debate, the 29 members of the group were leaning this way: Romney 9, Giuliani 8, Thompson 5, McCain 2, Huckabee 1, others 4.

After the debate, there was a dramatic swing in support: Huckabee 14, Romney 10, Giuliani 3, Thompson 1, and Hunter 1.

That's right. When voters listened to these guys talk, side-by-side, Huckabee's support skyrocketed from 3% to 48%!

I think what won voters over most was Huckabee's criticism of dependance on Middle East oil. Of course, he was speaking in front of an Iowa crowd that, no doubt, would prefer we all abandon oil entirely in favor of corn-based fuel. But, that's beside the point.

What stuck out in my mind the most was Mike's response to George Stephanopoulos when he asked how a Huckabee administration would differ from a Bush administration. He reminded the crowd how he'd governed in Arkansas, and that he always kept a frame hanging on the wall by his desk. Every week or so, he'd put a different picture of some ordinary citizen in the frame. But, here's the kicker: beneath the frame was a label that read "Our Boss." Huckabee did not want anyone in his administration to forget who the boss REALLY is: the people.

Hopefully the people are hearing Huckabee's message beyond Des Moines. Because, when you listen to his message, he stands head and shoulders above the other candidates out there.

Go, Mike, go!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Doing my best to ignore the heat

I could've very easily stayed home today, enjoying the AC. But, I forced myself to get out and about, and was actually able to forget about the beastly heat we've been having down here.

As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, we saw a sign for an estate sale being held around the corner. It was being run by a really nice lady named Cece, who has now added me to her email list and is going to keep me updated on upcoming events in Longwood and College Park. So, stay tuned on that account . . .

I walked away from the sale with two vintage books (1920s) for a whopping $2. (And, when I got home this evening, I found copies offered online for between $58.50 and $100!)

I don't know how exactly it happened, but I ended up in St. Cloud after driving away from the estate sale. And, you know me. If there's an Irish bar to be found, I will stumble across it. Today was no exception.

O'Doherty's on New York Avenue by the St. Cloud City Hall is simply the most awesome place since they shut down Scruffy Murphy's in downtown Orlando. Huge dining room in an historic building with tons of character. Pool room in the back. But, it was the menu that made it for me (as usual).

The soda bread was so good, we asked if we could buy it by the loaf. Unfortunately, it is baked by the owner herself (Teresa O'Doherty), and she had only made enough to cover that night's anticipated crowd. But, she was kind enough to offer to bake loaves on demand with 24 hour notice.

I don't know how best to describe this bread, except to tell you to picture your own granny's home made recipe. Then add what I detected was oatmeal. Teresa mentioned one secret ingredient is wheat germ. But, beyond that, she wouldn't say much. You know how we Irish like to keep family secrets!

Anyway, we concluded the day with a tour of the Hollants-Parker estate, which deserves an entire blog entry of its own.

All this, and I didn't even think about the heat. Well, not a whole lot about it, anyway. But, glad to be back home, in the AC, with a nice cold drink in hand.

Slainte! (That's Irish for cheers!)

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, August 03, 2007

Snipers take aim at rock star

If you need any proof that my favorite GOP presidential contender is on the verge of becoming a "top tier" candidate, take note of the increased sniping he's been forced to endure lately.

I've already dismissed the "Club for Growth" and their idiotic assessment of Mike Huckabee's awesome tenure as Governor of Arkansas. But, they're still trying to label him as a tax-and-spend liberal. What a hoot! The truth is he made tax cuts of historic proportions while in office.

Now, it seems Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who has presidential ambitions of his own, is trying to label the ordained Baptist minister as anti-Catholic. His accusations stem from an email sent by a fellow appropriately named Tim RUDE from Windsor Heights, Iowa, who claims to be a Huckabee supporter. But, I don't know how anyone could take Sammy B seriously, especially considering Huckabee's campaign manager Chris Saltsman is a Catholic, as are MANY of his pro-life supporters. In fact, there are quite a few who fall into that category right here in the Sunshine State!

Unfortunately, Saltsman has opened a new can of worms in responding to Senator Sam's ridiculous assertions. He inadvertently misspelled the name of the junior senator from Illinois in an email of his own, demonstrating Brownback's own supporters are blatantly demonstrating religious intolerance. He pointed out the "Baptists for Brownback" website and its claims that Hillary Clinton, Barack OSAMA, and Fred Thompson (among others) are "hell bound." Obviously, this was a typo. But, it's still causing something of a stir, and distracting attention from Saltsman's underlying point.

All of this would be regrettable, as it takes focus off Mike Huckabee's unique message that the Republican Party needs not only to hold tightly to its conservative roots but also to become better stewards of the environment and speak out against corporate corruption and greed.

But, I prefer to see the silver lining in all this: the snipers wouldn't be taking aim if Mike wasn't doing something right.

He had an awesome appearance with CBS's Jeff Greenfield on last night's news, coming off as the common man's candidate. They pointed out how his small budget forces him to fly coach on commercial flights while "top tier" candidates have private jets. The silver lining there is that he is in the trenches even when he travels, shaking hands and getting to know the people he wants to serve. And, who knows, maybe it will inspire him to do something about the onerous flight delays, etc., when he's in the White House.

That's right, I said WHEN he's in the White House (not if)!

Go, Mike, go!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

New kinnections

For those of you socks wrapped-up in fame or genealogy (or both), I've added some names to my list of notable relations:

The new names are all descended from a common ancestor by the name of Samuel Lathrop who lived in Connecticut in the late 1600s:

  • Benedict Arnold, infamous Revolutionary War general and traitor.
  • Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York and failed presidential candidate.
  • John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State and airport namesake.
  • Clint Eastwood, legendary actor and Mayor of Carmel, California.
  • Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and President of the United States.
  • Frederick Law Olmstead, landscape architect who designed Central Park in NYC.
  • Anthony Perkins, the lead actor from the classic movie "Psycho."
  • Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate.
  • Adlai Stevenson, U.S. Senator and failed presidential candidate.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An Empire of Wealth

That's the title of economic historian John Steele Gordon's most recent book. (The subtitle is "The Epic History of American Economic Power.") I got over my own recent economic jitteriness this weekend to actually part with some money and buy a copy, and I have not been disappointed.

How could one feel disappointment after reading anything by Gordon, anyway? I mean, the guy is such an optimist. And, I guess when you approach history from a broad perspective, it's hard not to be optimistic about the good old USofA.

Gordon has good credentials both as an optimist and an economic historian. Both of his grandfathers held seats on the NYSE, and he is buddies with Steve Forbes. Some consider his works the literary descendants of Andrew Carnegie's Triumphant Democracy.

Gordon's critics will charge that he glosses over the stumbles we've had as a nation, and perhaps they have some merit. Indeed, he concludes his ringing endorsement with the events surrounding 9/11, reminding Americans (and the rest of the world) that wars are won by money, not guns alone. And, we have more wealth in the US than anywhere else.

I wonder if he will add a post-9/11 appendix in the next edition of this book, dealing not only with the impacts of the War on Terror, the hurricanes of 2004-5, and the impending credit crunch . . .

Anyway, great book. And, if you socks out there enjoy it as much as I have, you might want to check out some of Gordon's other books:

  • Overlanding - which recounts a landrover trip he took from NYC to Tierra del Fuego.

  • The Scarlet Woman - a history of a whorish Wall Street during the Civil War era.

  • Hamilton's Blessing - in which he exalts our first Secretary of the Treasury for embracing the idea of a national debt as a unifying force.

  • The Great Game - an overview of Wall Street history from 1653 to 2000.

Of course, if you really want to read a good book, I can recommend a true masterpiece . . .

Labels: , , , , , , ,