Monday, June 30, 2008

Love is . . .

This one just cracked me up, so thought I'd share it with ye socks:

"Love does NOT mean never having to say you're sorry. It means having to say you're sorry over and over and over again, in new and different ways, every day, every week, every month, even when you don't want to, every year until God grants you His mercy and you finally, blissfully, die."

A little over the top, especially there towards the end. But, the overall sentiment is spot on, don't ya think?


Oh. OK, then. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it . . .


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some sad news out of Missouri

I received a distressing email from my Aunt Diane this evening.

Her son Danny woke up this morning to discover his wife Norma had passed away in her sleep.

Some of ye socks may recall that Danny and Norma had moved out to Missouri recently to be near Aunt Diane, and help her take care of Uncle BG (who is suffering from Parkinson's Disease).

Well, on top of the shock of Norma's death, I now learn that BG has been confined to his bed for the last few days and is basically unresponsive.

They have a lot on their plates out there in western Missouri. So, if you're the praying kind, I'm sure Aunt Diane, Danny, and the rest of the Browns would greatly appreciate it now more than ever.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hillary supporters just won't give up in Orlando

Apparently, they didn't get the memo about the kiss-and-make-nice session up in Unity, New Hampshire today.

"Someone" in this little corner of heaven let it be known in a big way today that they are not happy about the outcome of the primary "process."

Unfortunately, the medium they chose to express their frustration was spray paint, and their canvas consisted of a bunch of city-owned vehicles in the big parking lot at 401 South Orange Avenue.

It was ALMOST comical to read the vandal's words. I think the funniest was "OBOMA SMOKES CRACK," not because of the alleged drug use but because they misspelled the surname of the junior senator from Illinois. And, I will point out that John McCain had his fair share of painted criticism. Only the former first lady received any praise from the vandal(s).

Seriously, though, Mayor Buddy Dyer should really be embarassed by this little episode, especially since it occurred across the street from his office. How can he, or any downtown booster, expect to recapture any of the nightlife mentioned in yesterday's posting if they can't get a handle on all the crime--petty or otherwise--that is going on right under their noses?

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Friday, June 27, 2008

What to do on a Friday night?

You know you've entered a new phase of life when Friday nights no longer hold the allure of night clubs, and instead center more around popcorn and a DVD.

But, there was a time, ye socks, when things were very different around this little corner heaven.

So, it is with a little sadness--just a little--that I heard of the demise of Disney's Pleasure Island.

That's right. The once hip and happening hot spot that dominated much of my 20's is slated to close on September 27th.

What will we do without all those themed dance clubs and bars like the Soundstage, Mannequins, and 8-Trax?

I guess, we'll just have to make more popcorn and rent more DVD's . . .

Or, maybe Bob Snow can come riding in on his white horse and revive Church Street Station again?!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to describe today's weather . . .

gullywasher - gul·ly·wash·er [ gúllee wòsh er, gúllee wàwsher ] (plural gul·ly·wash·ers) - noun - a heavy downpour or its runoff ( informal, regional) See also trashmover.

I nearly drowned crossing the parking lot from my car to the front door of the Home Depot.

But, I had some serious appliance purchases to make.

The sweet and condensed version: Mission accomplished.

Shivered the entire way home, soaked thru and thru.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Henry Luck Burden

Congrats to David and Jessie Burden on the arrival of their firstborn late last night at Winnie Palmer.

The little guy tips the scales at 6 pounds 5 ounces. And, according to the proud papa, is already a bundle of energy.

Both he and the new mom are doing well, and should be able to return home on Thursday.

Ain't life grand?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Guess what's rolling into Orlando . . .

A GREAT BIG WHEEL, that's what.

If you've ever been to London, or have seen cityscapes of the British capital, you have an idea of the scale of this new tourist attraction to be built on the infamous International Drive in our little corner of heaven.

Orlando's "Big Wheel" will be capable of transporting nearly 1,000 riders at any given time, taking just 30 minutes to complete a circuit that culminates in a peak viewpoint that will allow ye socks to see more than 25 miles in any direction.

Pretty cool, huh?

Another cool thing is the projected cost of a ticket. (You knew a miser like me HAD to go there.) They're saying it will only be about $15.

Anyway, at least this landmark will be more aesthetically pleasing than that stupid glass pseudo-asparagus stalk outside City Hall . . .


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Truth Always Outs . . . even if it takes more than a century!

Thanks to my Uncle Bill for turning me on to the New York Times' searchable database of old articles dating back to 1851. It was there I found the details of a long-suppressed family "scandal" surrounding the marriage of my great-grandparents, which I will now shamelessly broadcast (verbatim) across the blogosphere:

March 10, 1905

Marriage Discovered by St. John's
College Faculty Member.

Thomas A. [*] Norton, a student at St.
John's College, Fordham, was married on
Feb. 26 last to Lillian [**] Irving of 179 Mont-
gomery Street, Jersey City. Norton is a
son of ex-Alderman Patrick Norton of
Jersey City, and was preparing to study
medicine. He is twenty years old. His
bride is two years younger, and was grad-
uated from St. Aloysius Academy two
months ago.

The marriage was kept a secret until
yesterday. It then was discovered by a
member of the Faculty, who informed the
young man's father.[***]

[*] Tom's middle initial was actually J, for Joseph.

[**] My great-grandmother's actual name was ELIZABETH. Her nickname was LIL, and a lot of people (including the reporter, evidently) assumed this was short for Lillian. It doesn't pay to assume, does it?!

[***] I bet daddy was so happy to receive the news from a third party . . . but, given our family's notoriously even disposition, I'm sure he handled it well!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ikea experience

Well, ye socks, I got talked-in to going to the Ikea down by the Millenia Mall today.

I won't make that mistake again.

Don't get me wrong, it's a very . . . er . . . "interesting" place.

But, it was more crowded than the theme parks.

I guess the secret is to go during the week, but who has the time or inclination for that?!

Besides, I need to be focusing on kitchen appliances for the Elizabeth Avenue house, not Swedish interior decor . . .

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


Took a break from the packing in this little corner of heaven to explore a cool website that I thought I would share with ye socks:

It allows you to create playlists of your favorite tunes.

Check it out!

Incidentally, I posted my first playlist at the bottom of this blog. Click the little "play" arrow to listen to it.


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Reason for Bottled Water

Disclaimer: I am NOT a dog person. At all.

In fact, I am beginning to become not a "dog person" person.

Here's why:

So, I'm driving home, along my usual route to the Lake Hammer Chalet, when I came to a red light near a public park that shall remain unnamed here.

It was there I noticed a youngish lady walking two dogs. Lest you think I was merely ogling the girl, let me also say that the two dogs in question were such a stark contrast that they would have attracted anyone's attention. One was a Great Dane, and the other was a Boston Terrier.

Anyway, the point of all this is the woman walked her two canine companions to a water fountain in said park. I thought she was getting a drink for herself. Instead, she flipped on the water and allowed the Great Dane to quench his thirst.

It was absolutely disgusting, his big slobbery mouth all over the font where we humans are expected to derive our own libations.

But, what happened next was equally as bad.

As the bigger dog was getting his germs all over the hardware, the little terrier was hiking his leg and releasing a golden stream all over the side of the fountain!

The now-unattractive walker seemed oblvious to it all as she chatted on her cell phone.

I, on the other hand, have made a commitment to never use a public water fountain again . . .

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cabinetry pictures

An update for ye socks who are following the renovations at the Elizabeth Avenue house:

My new built-in desk.

Alan got all the corner cabinets up . . . now, yours truly just needs to get a fridge, stove, and microwave delivered.

This is where the new avonite countertops will be going . . .

A view of the new laundry room (former pantry) . . . gotta order a washer/dryer set, too . . .

The sink and dishwasher will be going here.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First "wild release"

View Larger Map

OK, ye socks, I have officially released a book into the wild.

I left a Carlos Castaneda novel in my shopping cart after getting groceries this afternoon.

So, if you find yourself in the vicinity of SR436 and Wekiva Springs Road, join the bookcrossing adventure!

But, make it quick. It looks like rain is headed our way . . . maybe, I should have released the book in a Ziploc bag?!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What is it with us and lists?!

Okay, I have to confess this post was inspired by two DVD received recently from

The first was "The Bucket List," which I'm sure all of ye socks have heard of and/or seen. You know the one with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Two old geezers find out they've got only a couple of months left on the planet and finally decided to live a little.

The second was simply called "The List," and didn't get much play in the "mainstream" media . . . probably because it had a Christian message at the end. It also suffered in the production budget department.

But, I digress.

My point in posting this entry is to pose the question to ye sage socks: What is it about our culture that makes us obsess with lists?

It seems like every day you see some new list come out either in print or on tv or on the internet or wherever. The 10 best places to retire . . . The 100 richest people in the world . . . The 50 most powerful people in Hollywood . . . 7 easy steps to improving your memory . . . blah, blah, blah.

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Monday, June 16, 2008


Alright, ye socks, in the continued spirit of late spring cleaning, I thought I'd share a site with you that I recently discovered:

You will find it handy if, like me, you are the type of person who has a difficult time throwing away a good book (and, thus, end up with shelf upon shelf--or pile upon pile).

Check it out.

I did!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Natalie Portman

Have ye socks ever had this happen with an actor/actress? They're only sorta on your radar, and then out of nowhere you see them everywhere?

This is happening with me and Natalie Portman lately, and I don't know why. Maybe, the Hollywood publicity machine orchestrated it?

Anyway, she appeared on my radar about a decade ago when she starred as Queen Padme' in "The Phantom Menace"--the Star Wars prequel otherwise known as Episode One.

But, I was never really impressed with her, mostly because I didn't care much for the supporting casts in her projects.

Example #1: Susan Sarandon, who played her idiotic mother in "Where the Heart Is."

Example #2: Sally Field, who was so crass in "Anywhere but Here."

This weekend, though, by some twist of fate (?!), I received two DVD's starring Miss Portman.

The first fell in to the same category as her other works. "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" was absurd. I'm sure a lot of kiddies enjoyed it. But, no effort whatsoever was made to appeal to an adult audience. Take it for what it is, I guess.

But, Portman actually became a "movie star" with her performance in the second DVD selection: "The Other Boleyn Girl." Wow! She really brought the notorious Queen Anne to life for a new generation, portraying her in all her witchiness--a woman who not only got the most powerful man in her world to ditch his wife, declare his firstborn a bastard, and lose his religion, but also managed to stab her sister in the back and get her brother sentenced to death in the process.

So, check out "The Other Boleyn Girl" if you get a chance. Even if you don't usually go for historical dramas, you'll like this one for Natalie Portman's peformance.

[Disclaimer: I may be slightly biased, as a descendant of Ann Boleyn's aunt Alice, but so what?!]

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garage sale!

Well, ye socks, the mission today was to clean out my Mom's garage so she could actually park her car inside.

What a concept, huh?

Actually, another part of the mission was to clean out my own garage in anticipation of my move.

And, our friend Sarah needed to clean out her attic.

So, we decided to have one big sale today.

I think we picked one of the hottest days of the year to do it. That plus the soaring cost of fuel prices kept a lot of people from garage saling today.

At least, that's what I'm blaming it on.

We only netted about $140.

But, raking in the cash wasn't our primary objective, and we did succeed in our overall mission. There are now two clean garages and one clean attic in this little corner of heaven!

And, one seriously dehydrated sock in the dryer. Think I better go grab another bottle water.

Enjoy the remains of YOUR weekend!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Cuzzins and cabinets

Well, ye socks, progress continues on the Elizabeth Avenue remodeling. Alan got the kitchen cabinets hung.

My cousins Jonmichael and Harrison stopped by to check things out. One of the first things they noticed was the bathroom door has been rehung.

We had more fun in the backyard, where Jonmichael discovered the lime tree was bearing fruit.

More fun was had "playing basketball."

The boys had to catch their breath after all their shenanigans, so took a spell on the old front porch swing.

Speaking of the front porch, how 'bout this really cool shadow of a vine across the tile?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting ready for the new cabinetry

I thought ye socks might like to "meet" Alan and Lin Fennell, the couple behind Regent Interiors.

They are anticipating a big cabinet delivery over at the Elizabeth Avenue house today, but wanted to get some fresh paint on the walls first!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Peanut Butter Campaign

Alright, ye socks who know me well (or, have been reading my posts here for awhile) are aware that the dastardly fiends at CBS programming canceled one of my favorite TV shows AGAIN this year: JERICHO.

The last time they did it, a bunch of us fans got together and inundated them with tons and tons of peanuts. The ploy worked, and they gave us a second season.

I don't think the same tactic will work this go round.

But, that isn't stopping the good fans of Jericho from banding together to do some real good. They've put out the all call for PEANUT BUTTER this time, and are asking NOT to send it to CBS.

Instead, they're asking everyone to send it to the Kansas Food Bank to help out those in need, especially as a result of all the recent nasty weather. (Remember, Kansas is where JERICHO was set.)

Anyway, even if you're not a fan of the series, it is still a worthwhile endeavor, and I'd encourage you to join us. The easiest way is to send a jar via's link below.

Remember to add the coupon code SKIPPY13 to get a 25% discount.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sarah's a grandma!

I just about fell out of my chair when I got the news delivered to me that way, so thought I'd let ye socks be as shocked as I was!

In actuality, it was her pair of cockatiels (Mama Nextel and Papa Sunny) that grew the family circle over there on the S&S Ranch.

The strange thing, Mama and Papa had shared the same cage for 3 years and never produced any offspring.

I guess anybody--or, any birdie--will grow on you if you're caged up with them long enough.

Anyway, the new addition has been dubbed "Dover."

Don't ask me why. I think it has a NASCAR connection somewhere . . .


Monday, June 09, 2008

A tax by any other name . . .

In case ye socks need any further evidence that Orlando is still a tourism-based economy, I submit the example of the ongoing brouhaha over the so-called "Travel Promotion Act" that is not only working its way thru the halls of Congress but is also being debated just about everywhere in this little corner of heaven.

Essentially, if passed, the act would tack a $10 FEE (read TAX) on every international traveler who dares to book a flight to the good old USofA.

Then, our friendly (and oh-so-trustworthy) federal government will use 50% of the proceeds to mount an annual ad campaign with a projected budget of $200,000,000.

None of the news accounts I have seen or read seem to know where or how the other 50% is being spent. Evidently, it will be eaten up by the typical Washington wastefulness that has made Beltway bureaucrats the perennial darlings of their fellow citizens.

Now, I know folks like Mitt Romney have been trying to disguise TAX increases by calling them FEES for quite some time now.

But, since when is it the job of the federal government to pimp our tourist magnets all over the world?!

Note, the junior senator from Illinois (and heir apparent to John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis) has signed on as a co-sponsor of this piece of trash legislation.


Don't be. Most socialists live for this sort of tripe. Take money out of the private sector. Waste half of it in DC. Then dole it out as needed to increase the power and influence of the central government.

I say, let the market decide.

And, surprisingly, so does John McCain in this instance.

Keep all of this in mind come November, ok?!

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why Huckabee is still a hero

I know this story won't get adequate coverage in the "mainstream" media, so I'll toss this one in the dryer for ye socks.

Our favorite former presidential candidate displayed some real heroism this weekend while attending a convention up in North Carolina.

That's right, Mike Huckabee was in that neck of the woods to deliver a key note address, when he noticed Robert Pittenger (a candidate for Lieutenant Governor) appeared to be choking.

Without skipping a beat, the Huckster leapt into action and administered ye olde Heimlich maneuver with the dexterity of a trained paramedic, doubtlessly saving millions of unsuspecting Tarheels from the horrors of another Democrat in statewide office.

This guy's building up quite a resume', isn't he?

Radio announcer, Baptist preacher, lieutenant governor, governor, bass guitarist, author, fitness guru, outdoorsman, and now lifesaving hero.

With credentials like that, it's going to be awfully hard for John McCain to deny him the vice-president slot!

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

No Crown for Big Brown

I actually set aside some time this busy Saturday to tune-in to the Belmont Stakes up in New York.

Normally, I'm content enough to read the coverage in the local Sunday rag.

But, today promised to be something special.

I mean, there hasn't been a Triple Crown winner since yours truly was a very small child.

And, I was excited by the chance a little horse named CASINO DRIVE (pictured here) had to play spoiler this year. He's a brother to my uncle's horse FORT APACHE (who had a rather dismal showing in the recent Texas Derby). Unfortunately, he scratched at the last minute due to a bruised hoof . . .

Even with the withdrawal of this big threat, BIG BROWN lived up to his name. Not only did he look like a complete turd on the turf today, he managed to add to the embarassment by coming in dead last!

See, it's races like this that keep me reading the aforementioned Sunday rag . . . .


Friday, June 06, 2008

Love is in the air . . . NOT!

This is the time of year our little corner of heaven is generally infested by legions of "love bugs."

If you've ever driven past a body of standing water down here during the months of May or June, you know the little critters I'm talking about.

I've always called them "kamikaze bugs," because they just seem to have a death wish. It's like they seek out moving vehicles on which they can commit mass suicide.

And, their acidic little remains will ruin a paint job in no time.

But, not this year. The air around here is uncharacteristically free of love bugs.

I guess it's the unusually dry spring we had down here.

There's one positive thing to point to when folks blame all the wild fires on the dry weather . . .

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Elizabeth Avenue renovation update

If a picture says a thousand words . . .

How 'bout this sign in the front yard? Talk about a shameless plug . . .

Where the kitchen counters USED to be.

Where the tile in the bathroom USED to be.

This is what hardwood looks like after being covered with various layers of linoleum for a few decades.

The growing trash pile in the back yard.

At least the new paint job in the MBR looks good.

The living room looks even better!


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary's strongest argument

If the Democratic Party wasn't such a screwball organization, Hillary Clinton would be their presidential nominee.

Not only did she win the popular vote, she won where it counted most. In the "real world" outside of the whacky Democratic primary system, winners take all state delegates. Remember the Electoral College.

Using those "real world" electoral numbers, the junior senator from New York thrashed the junior senator from Illinois:

Hillary's states:
Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), California (55), Florida (27), Indiana (11), Kentucky (8), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), Ohio (20), Oklahoma (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), and West Virginia (5).

That's a total of 311 electoral votes . . . WAY more than a candidate needs to claim the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, who's responsible for the mess within the Democratic Party?

Well, the answer is: There's plenty of blame to go around.

Blame Ted Kennedy and his ilk for creating this "super delegate" nonsense after he failed to topple the political juggernaut that is Jimmy Carter.

And, blame Howard Dean for mismanaging the Florida and Michigan situation from the get-go, then caving at the last minute.

The bottom line is, the weaker candidate "won" AGAIN.

Poor Hillary, I feel so sorry for her . . . wiping the tear from my eye . . . excuse me, I'm going to need a second to get over this . . .


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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is that REALLY the best you've got?!

Well, it looks like the long, drawn-out circus that is the Democratic primary season has finally come to a conclusion.


As an outsider looking in, I am really surprised that this is the best the party has to offer America.

Sure, the junior senator from Illinois has a gift for oratory. But, it takes more than fancy words and syncopated speaking style to actually govern a nation of 300 million people.

He's naive beyond words. How else can you explain his proposal to sit down with the "leader" of Iran, who denies one Holocaust and advocates another?

He's also a waffler, who abandons his "friends" and "principles" when they are no longer politically expedient.

I also find it more than a little ironic that this "young" man sets himself up as a champion of change, because he advocates so many policies that have been tried and failed in the past. Perhaps, he needs to do a little historical research before he makes any more proposals for change.

You cannot run for President of the United States if you are constantly looking in the rear-view mirror.

Where are the forward thinkers in this country?

They're certainly not voting in Democratic primaries . . .

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Preserving the American Historical Record

Ok, it's not often that I ask ye socks to take action on something.

But, this is one of those times.

I'd like to ask you to contact your member of Congress, and ask them to support HR6056--the "Preserving the American Historical Record" bill.

This is a bi-partisan piece of legislation currently being co-sponsored by Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Chris Cannon (R-UT) to increase support for state and local archives, historical societies, and libraries with $50 million in annual grants to be administered by the National Archives.

For more information, including how to reach your member of Congress, go to:

Oh, and thanks in advance for participating in this little bit of civic activism . . .

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mystery, thy name is Arthur.

OK, I'm starting to freak out a little, and here's why.

1. It's the first official day of the 2008 hurricane season, and we already have a named storm: ARTHUR.

2. In cleaning up the attic of the Elizabeth Avenue house, I found an old framed picture of my Uncle ARTHUR.

3. I got a call on my cell phone, but didn't recognize the number and let it go to voice mail. When I checked the message, it was from some guy I don't know named ARTHUR.

4. I got a DVD in the mail from, and it's about King ARTHUR. (Starred Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley, actually very good.)

5. In boxing up old paperwork at ye Lake Hammer Chalet, I came across an old check I never deposited from an old college buddy whose first name is ARTHUR.

6. Flipping thru channels today, I stumbled across a PBS show on King ARTHUR.

7. I quickly changed the channel and found myself watching the Golden Girls. Then, I really started freaking out. If you remember, the cast is headed by Bea ARTHUR!!!!

What could all this mean, I wonder?!?

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