Saturday, May 31, 2008

3 . . 2 . . 1 . . blast-off!

I know a lot of ye socks in this little corner of heaven are jaded to the whole Space Shuttle program.

But, I don't know how anyone can experience a launch like today's and NOT be left breathless.

(And, that's coming from someone who's seen DOZENS of these things.)

Hope they get that plumbing repaired up there . . .


Friday, May 30, 2008

Scott McClellan: The proof is in the pudding

I hope none of ye socks will waste your money on the book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan when it is released on Monday, and not just because it's a bunch of hogwash. But, also because I just don't believe in rewarding bad behavior.

Those of you from the great and sovereign Lone Star State probably saw this coming as long as I have, because we're more familiar with Scotty-boy's family background than most folks in this country.

His mother, Carol Keeton Strayhorn, is a political opportunist of such magnitude that she could only get away with it in a state as big as Texas. We all remember her as the liberal Mayor of Austin who backed Walter Mondale for president in 1984; figured out how dumb that was and became a RINO; then sought to unseat the incumbent Republican governor in 2006. Fortunately, she's basically harmless, as she was unsuccessful in all three of those endeavours. Unfortunately, her boy inherited her lack of integrity.

His paternal background, however, offered an even more obvious clue about Scotty's lack of a moral compass. His father, Oliver Barr McClellan, worked as an attorney in the Lyndon Johnson administration, only to later become the author of tripe that has become fodder for countless conspiracy nuts: Blood, Money, and Power: How LBJ killed JFK. That's right, his daddy backstabbed the president he worked for, too.

Like father, like son, I guess.

Fortunately, in Papa McClellan's case, people quickly clued-in to his lack of character and forced him to surrender his license to practice law.

I don't know what lays in store for Scotty-boy, but hope it is slightly less than the proverbial 15 minutes of fame followed by the perpetual irrelevance he so richly deserves. To paraphrase the motto of the great Commonwealth of Virginia: SIC SEMPER PRODITOR!

Until then, I will leave you with a few quotes:

It appears to be more about trying to justify personal views and opinions than it does
about looking at the results that we are achieving on behalf of the American people.
-- Scott McClellan, on former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's book.

Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise them sooner?!?
-- Scott McClellan, on former anti-terror chief Richard Clarke's book.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

I blew it!

One of the tires on my Blazer, to be specific.

Here's the scene. I'm flying down the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, yakking on ye olde mobile phone with my cousin. Then, just as I was approaching the lovely overpass pictured here, POP!

Not a great place to be when you need to change a tire, to say the very least. I mean, half the traffic cones and barricades on that little stretch of highway had already been knocked over by my fellow motorists. I could only pray I wouldn't be next!

Anyway, I broke out the old jack and got all the lug nuts removed from the offending tire without any curse words.

But, then, when I went to pull the flat off, the jack buckled and the chassis fell back down to the turnpike. Sprained my bird finger in the process, which was probably a good thing.

The good news is, before I fell into deep despair, a Road Ranger named Dan Robinson appeared out of nowhere and rescued me. He had an industrial strength jack and quickly had the flat replaced with my "donut."

The other good news is my buddy Paul at the Goodyear place in Apopka was able to squeeze me in at the end of his busy work day and got me up and rolling again by 6pm.

I know things could have gone a lot worse. So, I'm focusing on the positives, and sending out thanks to all "the good guys" out there--like Dan and Paul!

Now, let's roll!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I prefer caffeine

I mean, if I'm going to have to pay a lot of money for some stimulus, I'll trot down to the Starbuck's on the corner.

Because, trust me, the stimulus checks the federal government is being so kind to mail all of we taxpaying socks does not come without strings attached.

I got mine, and I'm really conflicted about it.

Most of my consternation stems from the fact that I know where it came from. Our esteemed representatives up in Washington went out and borrowed $168 Billion, and are now "loaning" it back to us. In the mean time, debt is accruing that we, our kids, and probably our grandkids are going to be paying back for years to come.

Worse than that, the injection of all those extra dollars is going to make all the dollars we already had in our pockets worth LESS (worth less = worthless?!). Think about simple supply and demand, folks. The more you have of any thing, the less demand there is for that thing. So, it's relative value to other things DECLINES.

If that's too much talking over your head, let me be a little more plain. This is going to cause inflation.

That's already a large part of the pain we're all feeling at the gas station and grocery store. Our dollars have no buying power any more, so it takes more of them to get what we want.

Now, we have billions and billions of more dollars floating around out there. So, hold on to your socks! Gas prices are going to continue to climb, and milk and rice are going to become even more precious commodities.

If we really wanted to do this economy a favor, we would all refuse to cash these "stimulus checks." They may be worth more than their face value if we just wait a couple of years. We should then be able to sell them on eBay or craigslist as souvenirs of a failed economic policy.

But, I talk a big talk. I'm still going to deposit this sucker in my account today . . .

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Renovations and Sole Searching

As renovations of the Elizabeth Avenue house officially commence today, I have been told by others who have been down this road to look out for certain things.

Probably the wierdest thing I'm supposed to keep my eyes peeled for is stray shoes.

Apparently, it was a tradition up until at least the 1930s to conceal an old shoe whenever you were building or renovating. Supposed to bring you luck, I guess.

Case in point, the folks who are renovating the old Hancock-Clarke House up in Lexington, Massachusetts, found a veritable cache of old footwear and other odds and ends secreted between the walls of a 1768 addition. (Ye socks may remember "this old house" as Paul Revere's destination during his famous 1775 ride to warn John Hancock about the British a-comin'.)

Anyway, stay tuned. I'll let you know if I encounter any lost soles . . .

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day observations

I had to interrupt my staycation to drive down to Orlando this morning to take care of some personal business anyway, so decided to use the opportunity to observe today's holiday at the old Greenwood Cemetery downtown.

The city was marking the occasion with a variety of events, including an address by Robert Stuart (who will be my city commissioner after I move, hopefully soon).

But, it was more important for me to pay my respects to the many veterans who are buried there.

They include my dad (Lt. Col. Skip Morgan, USAF) and my great-great-great grandfather (Pvt. Edson McClure Blakesley, Co. F, 145th Ohio Volunteers). Indeed, the cemetery is final resting place for many, many veterans of all the wars fought by our nation's armed forces since the Civil War. It is indeed hallowed ground.

It struck me as I was strolling beneath the moss-laden oak canopy at Greenwood, that it is really a very beautiful place.

The sexton, Don Price, informed me that he will be leading a moonlight walking tour of the grounds in just a few weeks. (June 20th, from 9 to 11pm to be precise.) He will be pointing out the graves of the famous, semi-famous, and infamous. (Including Francis Eppes, the favorite grandson of Thomas Jefferson; and baseball legend Joe Tinker.)

But, today was all about paying respect to the lesser known folks who humbly served in their country's uniform so that posterity might enjoy the many freedoms we have around here!

Take some time away from the BBQ to do a little of that yourselves, why don't ya?

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Which way the shadow?

I was really inspired this morning by a sermon I heard on 2 Kings 20:1-11.

(Yes, you can still "go to church" on staycation!)

Anyway, for ye socks who don't have a Bible handy, those verses are all about Hezekiah, King of Judah.

It seems the prophet Isaiah came to him one day and said "set your house in order," because his days were numbered.

Well, after much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing (my editorializing), God demonstrated that only He has the ability to turn back the hands of time.

He did so by causing the shadows on the king's sun dial to reverse course . . . at least temporarily.

The bottom line is, none of us can stop the march of time. So, seize the day! Or, carpe diem if you prefer the Latin! But, don't sit on your hands, or you'll end up being just as distraught as old Hezekiah!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Staycation

For ye socks unfamiliar with that term, a "staycation" is what many of us are having to resort to in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices and an otherwise-sluggish economy.

That means, staying at home instead of traveling for vacation.

And, that's exactly what I am doing this Memorial Day weekend.

Some tips for the uninitiated:

1. Set the date(s). Block off specific days, just as if you were going out of town.

2. Hide the welcome mat. This is your time. I mean, you wouldn't take your neighbors with you if you were going out of town. So, don't let them intrude now, either. In fact, close all the blinds and turn off the ringer on all your phones.

3. Set a budget. Even though you're saving on gas and hotel expenses, see how much more money you can save by eating at home. Even delivery is okay. Whatever you have to do to keep from starting the car!

4. Go to the movies. Not literally. Utilize your home theater instead. Catch up on all those recent movies you missed, and maybe even watch some of your old favorites. But, do it up in style. Turn off the lights, and make a big bowl of popcorn.

5. Take pictures! No, seriously. You'd do it on a "real" vacation. So, don't hold back now.

6. Take a bath. I am not impuning your personal hygiene. But, think about it. How many of us take the time for a bath nowadays?! I know it's showers 100% of the time around here, because they're expedient. Expediency be damned, this is staycation!

7. Read. Books, magazines, newspapers, whatever.

8. Rearrange the furniture. Even if it's only for the duration of your staycation, moving things around will make your place feel different enough that you may delude yourself into believing it's actually a vacation home. Worked for me, and the stuff is actually going to stay when I "get back."

9. Plan a real vacation. Hopefully, the staycation has saved you enough money to do this. Because, let's stop fooling ourselves, we all need REAL get-aways every once in a while . . .


Friday, May 23, 2008

Old photos of some Morgan sisters

I thought ye socks would get a kick out of these two old sepia-toned photos my cousin Patricia emailed me today.
These two ladies were sisters of my great-grandfather (and of Patricia's grandmother).
The first (in the pearl necklace) was the baby of the family, Laura Morgan Oliver.
The second is Lola Morgan Newell.
Pretty cool, huh?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Princess

Oops! I'm afraid I was a little remiss in my post from yesterday, in that I only featured a photo of my nephew.

Lest my niece get jealous, here's one of her, too!

I think at the time the picture was snapped, she was engaged in a hands-free fly-catching competition . . . something she undoubtedly learned from her dad's side of the family.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WD stands for . . .

Well, it doesn't stand for my favorite grocery store. ("Winn Dixie")

Nor, unfortunately, does it stand for "Walt Disney." That's where I wish I had been today. But, some of us have to work around here, I guess.

And, oh, what a day it was, ye socks.

So, that's why WD stands for "Work Day" or "Whatta Day" or "Well, damn" in this little corner of heaven today.

It's hot. It's humid. Everybody's cranky. And, it seems like there's a severe lack of pacifiers around here . . .

Maybe, that's why my nephew was making that face. (Or, maybe, it's because he just takes after his uncle way too much . . . I mean, check out that ball cap shielding a furrowed brow full of fop sweat!)

But, at least his WD did stand for "Walt Disney" today!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Estate sale photos

Well, Cece (the estate sale lady) is at full throttle in preparation for this Friday and Saturday at the Elizabeth Avenue house.

You can check out preview photos at:

I must warn you, as I was somewhat taken aback myself, she has brought in several consignment pieces.

In other words, there's stuff in the pictures that did NOT belong to anyone I know.

I think most notable would be the huge framed poster of a naked and pregnant Brooke Shields wrapped up in a snake . . .

For the most part, though, I think Cece and her crew have done a nice job in staging the place.

So, if you find yourselves in this little corner of heaven on Friday or Saturday, I hope you'll stop by and do a little shopping. You might just find something you can't live with out.

But, don't count on seeing that poster when you get there!


Monday, May 19, 2008

The Orlando Science Center

I took an unplanned PDO today to accompany the Simmons clan of Mount Pleasant to the Orlando Science Center. (Web site: .)

If ye socks have not yet visited this awesome little attraction by Loch Haven Park, I can highly recommend it.

Especially if you have kids in tow.

But, big kids will enjoy it, too.

For one thing, it's entirely air-conditioned, a claim the big theme parks around here cannot make.

For another thing, the IMAX theater is amazing. (We watched "Roar," a film about a pride of lions from Botswana.)

Check it out if you ever find yourselves in this little corner of heaven!

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Welcome to Moe's!

That's the greeting you always get when you walk into our favorite semi-fast-food chain around here, whether you fully appreciate it or not.

Today, though, was more special than most, because this was the rendezvous point established by the Simmons clan of Mount Pleasant.

Yep, they're gracing us with their presence for a couple of days!

I couldn't believe how tall my niece has gotten.

My nephew looks like a little man with his new "big boy" haircut.

I had forgotten how striking my sister's different colored eyes are, especially now that she has a "big girl" haircut.

And, my brother-in-law just never changes.

Anyway, after scarfing down some calorie-laden delicacies, I took them over to the new/old house on Elizabeth Avenue. We couldn't really get a full appreciation, as the estate sale crew is in full swing right now. But, we did have a nice walk down to Lake Ivanhoe and back up nearby Harrison Avenue.

A fun day!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

No rest for the weary . . .

You know, with all the effort expended at the new/old house on Elizabeth Avenue over the past month, yours truly has virtually neglected ye olde Lake Hammer chalet.

It's really a shame.

Other Cat is nearly always shooting me fierce looks of scorn these days.

So, today, I decided to finally do something about it.

No, we're not talking your typical "spring cleaning."

We're talking bust out the cardboard boxes and do more than a little surface cleaning.

I guess it has finally dawned on somebody around here that I'm going to have to sort, pack, toss a bunch of stuff on this end, too.

But, that's okay. I've gotten pretty good practice these last few weeks.

Exhausted . . .

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Friday, May 16, 2008

My niece "graduated" today

From pre-school.

I put the "graduated" in quotation marks, because I'm not sure if that's really the proper term.

I guess it is a big deal to move up to the Kindergarten level in South Carolina.

Kinda like it was a big deal to have an 8th grade banquet where I grew up in West Texas?!

At any rate, eyewitness accounts at the event report my niece actually leapt from the stage after receiving her recognition.

I hope someone caught that on camera.

But, getting pictures out of that neck of the woods is about as easy as finding cheap gasoline . . .

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ancestral Peregrinations

Ok, some of ye socks have emailed me about my genealogy-related posts.

Some like 'em.

Some don't.

I get that.

In an effort to keep everybody happy, I've created a separate blog space for this sort of material at:

That's not to say I won't still occasionally post some things here, too. But, now at least there will be one place to go if you need your family history "fix" on a more regular basis.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The miserable loafer and his prostitute wife

No, that headline does NOT refer to our illustrious former president and the ambitious junior senator from the great state of New York.

Rather, it refers to a hillarious census enumeration I stumbled across in my ancestral peregrinations.

I know, I know. Some of ye socks scold me for too many family history posts. It's not your cup of tea, or whatever.

But, this one has cross-over appeal.

In case you're unfamiliar with these old records, the census taker had to collect all kinds of information on everybody in town.

Well, back in 1880, the person who collected this sort of info in Flint, Michigan, was either an aspiring comedian or a very judgemental person.

Click on the image above, and take a good look at the occupations listed for everyone in this household on Saginaw Street.

If it doesn't make you laugh, then you're missing a funnybone somewhere!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Huckabee on MSNBC tonight!

Our favorite former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be on MSNBC tonight, helping that wayward network cover the West Virginia primary.

I say "wayward," because I am convinced that MSNBC stands for "Must Show Non-stop Barack Coverage."

Hopefully, Huck can class-up the place tonight . . . or, at least give another perspective than the jackboot high-stepping of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and the parade of idiots they lead on behalf of the junior senator from Illinois.

Matthews has lost any credibility as a journalist. Remember last year when he confessed to Don Imus on the air, "I want a president who doesn't have a f***ing ranch!"

He also admits to getting "a thrill running up my leg" when he hears Barack Hussein Obama speak. He has even gone so far as to say on air, "If you don't cry when you hear Barack Obama speak at a rally, then you're not an American."

Olbermann is not much better. While less overtly-pro-Obama than his buddy Matthews, he makes up for that with anti-Hillary rants--the likes of which he used to reserve only for George W. Bush.

Frustrated that the New York senator and former first lady is still in the race for the White House, he suggested finding "somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out."

These "stars" of MSNBC have become nothing less than cheerleaders for Team Obama. And, I am looking forward to seeking Huckabee shoot down their ridiculous comments.

Something tells me, he'll have an easier time handling those two dead-heads as he did hooking these two fish in the Ouachita River!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Please, pray for rain!

And, for all the firefighters battling blazes over on the coast.

And, for all the homeowners over there who must be freaking out right now, worried about whether or not all their worldly possessions are going to be there tomorrow.

For ye out-of-town socks who may not be in tune with the situation down here, the governor has declared a state of emergency in Central Florida.

Recent high winds coupled with low humidity to transform all the pine and palmetto around this little corner of heaven into parched tinder.

The results have been horrific.

The local television coverage has been nothing short of gripping.

There are a lot of heroic folks over in Brevard and Volusia counties fighting those fires and trying to keep people and property safe.

I think the most compelling scene I saw tonight was the firefighters evacuating a crowd of screaming students from Bayside High School in Palm Bay.

The aerial shots of the fire-affected areas stretching along I-95 from Malabar to Daytona Beach are epic in proportion.

All of this brings back bad memories of our last rash of fires back in 1998. Ye local socks will recall that as the year of no fireworks on the 4th of July.

Anyway, I'll ask again for ye socks who do not live down here to do a rain dance or something.

Ye locals can help out in the same way, but also STAY AWAY from the burn areas so the fire fighters have all the room they need to battle the blazes. And, if you're one of the foolish few who still smoke, put your CIGGY BUTTS in the ASHTRAY instead of throwing them out the window!

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

So, who was your mother's mother's mother's mother's mother?

Interesting question to pose on this Mother's Day, no?

Modern western genealogy (the study of family history for ye socks who are not "in the know") generally focuses on groups of people associated with specific surnames.

Isn't that terribly patrilineal of us?!

I mean, half of our genes came to us from the maternal side of ye olde family tree.

So, if you'd like to begin the addictive oddyssey of tracking-down your elusive female ancestors to honor Dear Old Mom, check out this online course:

Happy hunting!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like . . .

BBQ Chicken!

At least, that's what ye socks from Apopka have taught me over the years ...

Since my primary maternal figure has to work tomorrow, I decided to mark Mother's Day a little early this year by making her a meal.

She actually had to work today, too. So, I was able to go over to her house and do all the food prep before she got home.

Note to socks: Nothing will make you appreciate your kitchen more than trying to cook in somebody else's.

But, I digress.

The beautifully grilled chicken breasts were served on a bed of dirty rice that included (but was not limited to) some French style green beans and diced tomatos. The rest of the ingredients are the closely-guarded secret of the chef.

It was preceded by a tossed salad that yours truly spiced-up just a little with a grated red onion, and topped with some of that awesome Marie's brand dressing that one usually feels guilty about buying because it's too expensive.

Of course, the meal was accompanied by a light wine.

And, dessert consisted of a finger food tray of fudge, California cherries, and thin cheese slices.

Jealous much?!

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Good news from Elizabeth Avenue!

Just a quick post to let ye socks know that Alan Fennell stopped by the house this afternoon to do a spot check on the kitchen floor.

Remember, we can't begin renovations until after the estate sale over there on the 23rd and 24th.

But, we were anxious to find out what may lay beneath the linoleum in the kitchen, because it will dictate our budget for tile.

We were hoping the original hardwood floors would be in tact, so that we could forego tiling there to splurge a little on the backsplash.

Well, guess what?

First, we found another layer of linoleum.

But, underneath that was BEAUTIFUL HARDWOOD!

To be sure, they will require a little sanding and refinishing. But, that was already in the budget.

So, look out Jim! (That's the tile guy for those of you not "in the know!") You're going to get nice order for glass and stainless steel tile on Monday!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

I smell smoke!

This is the view of downtown Orlando commuters had on the East-West Expressway this morning.

No, it's not your typical morning fog.
That's smoke!

Evidently, the hot and dry conditions down in this little corner of heaven have produced a rash of wildfires. And, even if they're many miles away, we still have to contend with the smoke.

I could smell it as soon as I opened the front door of ye olde Lake Hammer chalet this morning.

Kinda gross.

Let's all do a rain dance or something . . .

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Statehood for South Florida?!

Well, ye socks, here's the craziest idea I've heard out of South Florida in a long while . . . and, that's saying something.

It seems there is a movement afoot down there, led by the level-headed city commissioners of North Lauderdale.

They passed a resolution last week calling on other South Florida municipalities and counties to band together to secede from the state.

In the words of Commissioner Rick Moyle, they hope their little resolution will "stir something up."

The nearby city of Margate it taking them seriously, and are scheduled to vote on the resolution themselves tonight.

I guess, I have just one thing to say to those two commissions: Be careful what you wish for.

They might be surprised to find a lot of folks in other regions of the Sunshine State would respond with a big GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH!

Not me, of course. Just a lot of other folks.

As a 10th generation Floridian, I think dividing up our great and sovereign state would be a travesty.

However, I am open to the idea of finally rescuing our capital from the cesspool of Tallahassee and moving it down to a more central location . . . say, Orlando perhaps?

Engaging in this sort of sectionalism is dangerously fun, isn't it?!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Mist

Ok, this is one of the few times ye socks will hear yours truly admit that a film adaptation is better than the book.

But, that statement certainly applies to director Frank Darabont's version of the old Stephen King novella "The Mist."

Some folks panned the film, because it strayed on a few key elements of King's original work. For instance, the extramarital affair between the hero and another primary character was thrown out the window. And, there was a darker ending. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it, yet. Suffice it to say, it does NOT end like the book, with the survivors hearing the single word "Hartford" on the radio and driving off in the direction of that Connecticut city.

But, the new ending sent chills down my spine. And, I like it better than the ambiguous ending that appeared in print so many years ago. Heck, even King himself gave Darabont kudos for this change.

So, what attracted me to this film in the first place, ye might ask. Film noir and Stephen King are not generally my cup of tea, so to speak.

Well, I'll tell you: The film was produced in and around Shreveport, Louisiana, where I spent several of my formative years. And, the primary location was set in an old grocery store in the little town of Vivian--a place that brings back a lot of good memories thanks to my mom's old friend Peggy Browning.

But, if trips down my memory lane and the new darker ending aren't enough, how 'bout the ultimate message of this film?

That is, sometimes the monsters on the outside are less frightening than the ones inside you and your friends/neighbors.

At least, that's what I got out of this film . . . and, the book for that matter.

Go rent the DVD, if you think you can handle it.


Monday, May 05, 2008

My own personal sauna

So, after work today, I decided to spend some time over at the Elizabeth Avenue house rather than sitting in traffic.

My cousin had a moving company come during the day to remove some of the items that she wants shipped up to her place in South Carolina.

This left a large unoccupied space in the dining room.

And, we can't have that, now can we?

I don't know what possessed me, but as I have pretty much already gotten every room on the first floor prepped for the estate sale later this month, I decided to venture up to the attic.

Now, mind you, it was 90 degrees outside in this little corner of heaven today.

But, up in that un-airconditioned attic, the thermometer was pegged-out at over 100 degrees.

Yeah, there was some serious sweat involved.

Aren't you glad I share these things with ye socks?

But, wait, it gets better.

It had to be twenty degrees hotter in the little storage areas underneath the eaves.

Anyway, I feel like I got quite a lot sorted up there, regardless of the extreme heat.

Of course, I may just be suffering continued light-headedness . . .

Fortunately, I know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em. Learned that from my old pal Kenny Rogers.

So, I called it a day, will regroup, and try to tackle the rest of this fun little attic project later this week.

Stay tuned to this frequency for further updates from my own personal sauna!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Chicken Soup for the soul?

This past Christmas, my friend Duran's Uncle Robert gave me a mason jar full of stewed tomatoes.

They've been sitting in my kitchen cabinet ever since, because I wasn't sure what exactly to do with them.

Well, today I figured it out.

I didn't want to make a trip up to the grocery store, but I guy has to eat, right?

All I had in the freezer was a bunch of chicken.

Then that little bell went off in my head, you know the one from your favorite childhood cartoon series that sometimes resulted in a little light-bulb appearing over the character's head.

Anyway, I thought stewed tomatoes + chicken + a little bit of salt + a little bit of pepper = pretty good soup!

And, is there any better way of throwing anything together than ye trusty crock pot?!

So, ye socks, we're eating well here at the Lake Hammer Chalet tonight!!

A wee bit jealous are ya?


Saturday, May 03, 2008

So, who was Charlotte Halley, anyway?

Well, further to my little project of browsing thru the 1930 census records, I deceided to see what else I could find out about the first resident of 1916 Elizabeth Avenue.

Evidently, while the house was being constructed, Miss Charlotte Halley rented another house at nearby 335 Princeton Avenue. She lived there with her widowed mother Mrs. Mary A. Halley, who was born in England about 1846. Miss Halley was born in Illinois about 1877, and worked as a stenographer at a local real estate company. [1930 Census, Orlando, Orange County, Florida, page 152.]

Here's everything I've gleaned on their family background:

The Halley Genealogy

Belton Halley, son of James Halley and Mary Carmichael, was born 15 November 1847 and christened twelve days later at Christ Church in London, England. He married 22 August 1869 in Surrey, England, to Miss Mary Ann Dards, daughter of John C. Dards and the former Charlotte Sommers.

The Halleys came to the United States about 1872, and were living at 3515 Portland Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, by 1880. Mr. Halley worked at the time as a builder and contractor. Subsequent census records indicate he became a naturalized citizen in 1887. By the following year, he had moved his family to 4405 Sidney Avenue.

In 1900, Mr. Halley was working as a real estate agent and gave his address as 72 44th Avenue in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. The 1910 U.S. Census gives his address as 1135 44th Street, and reported that he lived on his “own income.” Part of this income evidently came from renting out rooms as his immediate family grew smaller, as broker Alexander Bower and his family were listed as tenants that year. The 1920 Census lists him as “retired,“ and notes that his mother was born in Scotland. (All previous enumerations had given her birthplace as England.)

Mr. Halley died 20 December 1921 in Chicago, and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in that city. His widow then moved to Orlando, Florida, with her two daughters, and died here 4 January 1938. Her body was shipped back to Chicago to be buried with her husband.

The Halleys had seven children:

  1. Frank Charles Halley, born 10 July 1870 in London, died 2 July 1872, just a few days short of his second birthday.
  2. Belton Henry Halley, born 15 November 1872 in Chicago, was still living with his parents’ family as late as 1900, when he was listed as a mechanical engineer in the U.S. Census. He married 30 June 1903 to the former Helen E. Padgett. He died 11January 1927 in Chicago at age 54.
  3. Ernest James Halley, born 15 February 1874 in Chicago, died there 23 January 1910 at age 35.
  4. Della (or Delia) Charlotte Halley, born 5 September 1876 in Chicago, who became the first owner of 1916 Elizabeth Avenue in Orlando. Early census records identify her by her first name (Delia in 1880, and Della in 1900). But, by 1910, she was going by her middle name of Charlotte and working as a stenographer while living with her parents in Chicago. She never married, and was still living with her parents and working in the same capacity in 1920. She died 14 October 1962.
  5. Ada Cotsworth Halley, born 8 January 1879 in Chicago. She married in that city 17 February 1904 to Frank Wilcox Osmun, Sr. He was born 28 May 1871 in Pontiac, Michigan, and died 4 January 1960 in Orlando. Ada survived him until 23 January 1977, and is buried by his side at Woodlawn Cemetery in Orlando.
  6. Calvin Butrick Halley, born 4 March 1881 in Chicago, no further information.
  7. Percy Cotsworth Halley, born 1 October 1882 in Chicago, no further information.


  • 1880 Census, Cook County, Illinois, page 37a.
  • 1888/9 Elite Directory, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1900 Census, Cook County, Illinois, page 257a.
  • 1910 Census, Cook County, Illinois, page 2a.
  • 1920 Census, Cook County, Illinois, page 46a.
  • Barbara Cousins Osmun, 1200 Kingsport Lane, Richmond, VA 23225, Ancestral File 83-082380, available online at
  • Illinois Statewide Archives,

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Friday, May 02, 2008

1930 Census Extracts

In the pursuit of information about prior residents of my new home in College Park, I came across the following entries in the 1930 U.S. Census enumerations for Orlando, Florida:

Page 1 - 424 E. Central:
* John M. Cook, owner (value = $12,000), 55, married at age 22, bFL fbTN mbFL, no occupation.
* Elizabeth J. Cook, wife, 54, married at age 21, bGA fbGA mbGA, no occupation.
[John was a son of Alice Macy Cook, a sister of my ancestor Paul Macy.]

Page 3 - 624 E. Pine:
* Samuel A. Newell, owner (value = $10,000), 55, married at age 23, bNE fbME mbME, book keeper at auto storage.
* Harriett E. Newell, wife, 52, married at age 19, bCanada fbNY mbNY, no occupation.
* George A. Newell, son, 25, single, bFL fbNE mbCanada, no occupation.
* Kate Phillips, mother-in-law, 78, widow, married at age 24, bNY fbEngland mbEngland, no occupation.
[Samuel & Harriett were the parents of Arthur and Harold Newell below.]

Page 13 - 426 S. Eola Drive:
* John S. Ammerman, renter ($50/month), 51, married at age 22, bKY fbKY mbKY, beauty shop operator.
* Nancy Ammerman, wife, 50, married at age 21, bKY fbKY mbKY, no occupation.
* Harold Ammerman, son, 19, single, bKY fbKY mbKY, no occupation.
[John & Nancy were the parents of Ernest Ammerman below.]

Page 14 - 522 S. Osceola Drive:
* William O. Cox, renter ($40/month), 51, married at age 20, bNC fbNC mbNC, butcher at market.
* Mattie I. Cox, wife, 46, married at age 15, bNC fbNC mbNC, no occupation.
* Willie Cox, daughter, 29, divorced, married at age 21, bNC fbNC mbNC, dry goods sales lady.
* Herbert Cox, son, 25, single, bNC fbNC mbNC, electric company solicitor.
* Howard Cox, son, 20, single, bFL fbNC mbNC, no occupation.
* Thurman Cox, son, 15, bFL fbNC mbNC.
* Mildred Cox, daughter, 13, bFL fbNC mbNC.
* Byron Cox, son, 11, bFL fbNC mbNC.
* Virginia Cox, daughter, 8, bFL fbNC mbNC.
* Martha Cox, daughter, 6, bFL fbNC mbNC.
* William O. Cox, Jr., son, 5, bFL fbNC mbNC.
[Oscar Cox, as he was known by his middle name within the family, was the eldest brother of my great-grandmother Sarah Cox Morgan, the first wife of William S. Morgan below.]

Page 21 - 421 Rosalind Avenue:
* Margaret J. Macy, owner (value = $20,000), 57, widow, married at age 38, bDE fbDE mbIreland, no occupation.
[She was the widow of wagon maker George Macy, elder brother of Paul Macy and Alice Macy Cook mentioned above.]

Page 41 - 17 E. Muriel Street:
* William S. Morgan, owner (value = $4,500), 30, first married at age 23, bMO fbMO mbIN, station superintendent with postal service.
* Eunice E. Morgan, wife, 25, married at age 23, bGA fbFL mbFL, no occupation.
* Sarah E. Morgan, daughter, 5, bFL fbMO mbNC.
* William S. Morgan, Jr., son, 4, bFL fbMO mbNC.
* Dorothy E. Morgan, daughter, 1, bFL fbMO mbGA.
* Richard E. [should be "B"] Morgan, son, 3 months, bFL fbMO mbGA.
[This is my great-grandfather and his family. His second wife went by her middle name of Erma, and lived at the Muriel house until just before her death in 1995.]

Page 45 - 1316 Greenwood Avenue:
* Alfred [should be Albert] C. Cox, renter ($15/month), 28, married at age 19, bSC fbNC mbSC, meat cutter.
* Myrtle L. Cox, wife, 24, married at age 16, bKY fbKY mbKY, no occupation.
* William A. Cox, son, 4, bFL fbSC mbKY.
* Robert C. Cox, son, 2, b FL fbSC mbKY.
* James M. Cox, son, 3 months, bFL fbSC mbKY.
* Clara Childers, mother-in-law, 63, married at age 27, bKY fbKY mbKY, no occupation.
[Head of household was actually known by his middle name Coy. He was a son of Oscar Cox enumerated above.]

Page 61 - 1606 Philadelphia Avenue:
* Viola Barco, renter ($25/month), 54, widow, married at age 23, bFL fbGA mbFL, sewing machine seamstress.
* Eunice Vandevere, lodger, 35, single, bTX fbTX mbTX, stenographer with railroad company.
[Viola was the mother of Erma Barco Morgan, second wife of my great-grandfather enumerated above.]

Page 76 - 1327 N. Mills Street:
* Edson M. Blakesley, owner (value = $2,000), 82, widower, married at age 25, bOH fbOH mbOH, no occupation, Civil War veteran.
* Lola E. Morgan, daughter, 58, widow, married at age 17, bIN fbOH mbIA, no occupation.
[My great-great-great grandfather and great-great-grandmother.]

Page 76 - 1218 Montana:
* Ernest C. Ammerman, renter ($20/month), 27, married at age 21, bKY fbKY mbKY, clerk at post office.
* Isabel M. Ammerman, wife, 27, married at age 21, bMO fbMO mbIN, no occupation.
* Ernest Clyde Ammerman, son, 5, bFL fbKY mbMO.
* Anice Joyce Ammerman, daughter, 11 months, bFL fbKY mbMO.
[Isabel was a sister of my great-grandfather William S. Morgan.]

Page 79 - 1329 Spokane:
* Viola Barco, renter ($20/month), 57, married at age 24, bFL fbGA mbGA, hem stitcher at sewing machine company.
[Evidently a duplicate enumeration, see above.]

Page 135 - 529 Clayton Avenue:
* Harold Newell, owner (value = $3,500), 30, married at age 26, bIL fbNE mbCanada, automobile mechanic.
* Lola M. Newell, wife, 32, married at age 29, bMO fbIN mbIN, no occupation.
* Albert S. Newell, son, 2, bFL fbIL mbMO.
[Lola was a sister of my great-grandfather William S. Morgan.]

Page 150 - 1 Princeton Avenue:
* Arthur W. Newell, owner (value = $4,000), 33, married at age 28, bIL fbIL mbIL, assistant cashier at bank.
* Agnes M. Newell, wife, 35, married at age 30, bMO fbMO mbIN, no occupation.
* Lois A. Newell, daughter, 4, bFL fbIL mbIN[!].
* LaRue Kurtze, [brother-in-law], 27, married at age 24, bKY fbKY mbKY, typewriter salesman.
* Laura M. Kurtze, [sister-in-law], 25, married at age 22, bMO fbMO mbIN, bank clerk.
[Agnes and Laura were both sisters of my great-grandfather William S. Morgan. Lois is the wonderful cousin who lived in my new house until it was sold to me this year.]

Page 152 - 335 Princeton Avenue:
*Charlotte Halley, renter ($15/month), 53, single, bIL fbEngland mbEngland, stenographer at real estate office.
* Mary A. Halley, mother, 84, widow, married at age 30, bEngland fbEngland mbEngland, no occupation.
[Miss Halley was the first resident of my new house at 1916 Elizabeth Avenue, which was evidently still under construction just around the corner from where she was renting at the time of the census enumeration. I wonder if she was a stenographer for the company that was developing the Rose Terrace subdivision?! That research will have to wait for another day!]

Oh, I abbreviated a few things:
b=place of birth
fb = father's place of birth
mb = mother's place of birth

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mayor Buddy

A busy day for me in College Park today.

John Parker finally conquered the jungle in front of the house, but only after enlisting the muscle of his son Taylor.

Bruce Mixer and his son came over to haul-off the old avocado green double-wide refrigerator.

Yep, that's right. Avocado. Flashbacks?

In the mean time, I couldn't help but notice all the local news coverage of Buddy Dyer's third swearing-in ceremony as Mayor of Orlando.

What a travesty his time in office has been. And, I guess I need to be paying more attention to this sort of thing since I'm soon to become one of his constituents.

He came to City Hall in the wake of Glenda Hood's departure to served with Jeb Bush's cabinet up in Tallahassee. Remember that?

Since that time, Ol' Buddy has been a one trick pony. It's all about venues, venues, venues with this guy. Oh, and the billions, billions, billions of dollars he wants us to pay to get those venues, venues, venues.

All the while, we've had a murder spree, an explosion of homeless downtown, and a real estate downturn we haven't seen in these parts since the 1920s.

Hey, Buddy, this from a soon-to-be-constituent: Can you maybe use some of those billions on more cops and basic services for residents of Orlando?

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