Friday, April 30, 2010

Craig Miller's new video

Ye socks who live in Florida's 24th Congressional District should give serious consideration to replacing Suzanne Kosmas with this guy:

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

I thought he left the party a long time ago . . .

There has only ever been one conservative in the U.S. Senate race in this little corner of heaven, and it's never been our illustrious governor . . .

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got any roots in Union County, NC?

If so, you may want to check out this new online treasure trove of genealogical information:

Yours truly has been having a field day at the site as one of his great-gradmothers was born in Union County back in 1900 . . .

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Frisco before the quake

Ever wished you could go back and time and see firsthand what life was like a century ago?

If so, you may enjoy watching this film clip, taken from a camera mounted on a trolley car as it rolled thru the streets of San Francisco before that city was rocked by its infamous earthquake:


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Be careful with your root diggin' . . .

We genealogical sleuths never know what we're going to uncover when we begin pursuing our ancestors.

Recently, that was proven true for yours truly . . . for perhaps the millionth time!

Without boring ye socks with all the details, I recently enjoyed a breakthrough on one of the many brick walls that litter the landscape of my research world.

A kindly researcher up in Tennessee was able to supply me with a veritable treasure trove of information that not only carried the ancestral line of my mystery forebear back to her German emigrant ancestors, but also included about 600 pages of fellow descendants . . . distant cousins, some many generations removed.

Anyway, 600 pages of this type of data is too much even for the most intrepid investigator to weed-thru. Fortunately, it did contain an index of names. What surprised me as I was checking out said index is that I recognized a couple of them as belonging to some folks around this little corner of heaven who I encounter on a regular basis and yet had no idea that we were related by blood . . . looking forward to springing this on them!

Shock and awe!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Magic 90, Bobcats 86

In case any of ye socks missed last night's Magic game, it looks like it may be time to break out your brooms.

Despite a decidedly lackluster performance by the guys in blue and white (including 21 turnovers!), they managed to take a 3-0 lead in the best of 7 series with Charlotte.

If . . . nay, WHEN they win game 4 on Monday, they should be able to enjoy a nice long rest before the second round of the playoffs begin . . .

Smellin' a sweep!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Did you hear about the Morgans?

No, I'm not about to regale ye socks with tales from a recent family reunion.

Believe me, said tales would be much more interesting than the recent flick bearing that title.

To call the movie "predictable" would be too kind. Cliche after cliche played out to its foregone conclusion as the at-odds couple from the big city found themselves unwillingly transplanted in America's heartland. Familiar with the formula?!

Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are unwatchable in their "leading" roles.

In fact the film would have been better if it focused instead on the supporting roles played by Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen.

Bottom line: Skip it, or prepare for a nap.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Orange and Blue forever!

Well, ye socks, I guess I just became a Denver Broncos fan. At least they have the right team colors . . .

Still can't figure out why the Jacksonville Jaguars passed on drafting Tim Tebow. Instead, they used their 10th pick on Tyson Alualu out of California. Yeah, that's going to pack the stands . . .

I was half hoping #15 would end up in Minnesota, learning from Brett Favre and reconnecting with Percy Harvin. But, it became fairly obvious where he was going when the Tebow family was sporting Broncos hats well in advance of the team's 25th pick in the first round last night.

Somewhat ironically, Superman has the opportunity to show the Jags the error of their ways during his first game with the Broncos.

That's right, ye socks. Mark the calendar. Septhember 12th the Broncos will be playing the Jags in Jacksonville. Should be a good one.

Orange and Blue!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

And, then there were FOUR?!

The political scuttlebutt around this little corner of heaven is that former State Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster will join the already crowded field of candidates in the Republican primary who are seeking to unseat the shame of Central Florida: Alan Grayson.

Nothing's official, yet. Just heard he's going to be making a statement tomorrow. But, I think we can read the tea leaves on this one . . .

Already in the race are Orlando businessman Bruce O'Donoghue; State Rep. Kurt Kelly of Ocala; and local attorney/radio show host Todd Long.

Hold on to your seats, folks! This could be a game changer!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Star-gazing at Game 2 . . .

Well, the Magic dished up an even more lop-sided victory over Charlotte in Game 2 of their play-off series.

The final score was 92-77, and it was an UGLY game. Especially if you were a Wildcats fan. (They only scored 3 points in the first 8 minutes!!!)

Somewhat ashamed to admit this, but as the play on the court was so poor yours truly found himself checking out the notables seating along the sidelines.

I spotted golfer Michelle Wie and Michael Jordan.

Did any of ye socks see any other "stars" in the O-rena? (I mean, besides the ones on the Magic logo, of course!)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shifting Sands Reveal Revolutionary War Ship

Check out this article:

Fascinating, no?!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh, yeah, the play-offs started . . .

Yours truly just realized that he had neglected to mention the beginning of the NBA play-offs in this little corner of heaven.

In case ye socks missed it, the guys in Blue and White beat Charlotte, 98-89

A lot of those points came from Jameer Nelson. 32 points to be precise. If he can consistently throw up numbers like that, he may just be the difference between making it to the finals and actually winning the championship.

But, even with Nelson's shot of adrenaline, the Magic still played to form. It looked for a while like they were going to blow their 22 point lead in front of the home crowd. That surely would have happened if they hadn't been playing a team like Charlotte.

I hate to say it, but Larry Brown's team is one dimensional . . . at least when it comes to dealing with the Magic. They have absolutely no offensive game, and focus almost exclusively on hacking Dwight Howard.

Methinks a series sweep may be in the cards if the next three games play out like the opener . . . stay tuned!

Go Magic!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010


How quickly we forget.

There were many reasons why Ronald Reagan was correct in labeling the former Soviet Union as "The Evil Empire."

Recent events in Poland have brought one particularly heinous incident back to light.

Somewhat eerily, yours truly found a DVD waiting in the snail mail box this weekend that dramatized the Katyn massacre. (I hadn't added it to my queue, yet it just happened to arrive on its own?!)

Heads-up. This film was shot in Poland. In Polish. So, you have to get used to the subtitles.

But, it's worth the effort.

If, like yours truly, ye were completely ignorant of this sad chapter in WWII history, this film by Andrzeja Wajdy brings it (more than somewhat disturbingly) back to life.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Fling, anyone?

Today's agenda includes a visit to Belle Isle's annual "Spring Fling" event at Warren Park.

Yours truly is going to drop off some flyers to promote Pine Castle Pioneer Days.

But, there's supposed to be a bunch of other things going on down there. (Including a reported appearance by Elvis?!)

The event kicks-off at 9am.

Hope to see some of ye socks there!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Crist campaign is toast

Our illustrious governor was twice burned yesterday.

And, that's not a tasteless reference to his famously perennial suntan.

Ye socks who have followed his inexplicable career to date have no doubt noticed his predilection for hitching his wagon to greater stars in the political universe.

Remember in the rosy days following the dawn of the ObamaNation how he gleefully embraced the disaster-in-waiting otherwise known as "the stimulus plan?!"

More recently, he's been pimping whatever conservative credentials he thought he had left by invoking the name of his supposed-mentor Connie Mack.

I can only imagine how he felt when his hug buddy paid a whopping 27 minutes of lip service to the future of Florida's Space Coast. It was painfully clear the real presidential focus was on getting away from Cape Canaveral as quickly as possible to attend a big Democratic fundraiser down in Miami. His announced policy shift essentially left the country's space program in shambles, and thousands more Floridians worrying about their jobs.

And, as for Mack, he walked away from Crist's senate campaign in the wake of his veto of the education bill.

Whispers abound this morning that Mitt Romney will soon be joining Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani in endorsing Crist's primary opponent Marco Rubio.

Methinks in the past 24 hours or so that Charlie may have discovered just how few real allies he has.

So, could he seriously be considering a run as an independent?!

Stranger things have happened, I suppose. I mean, this IS Florida, after all!!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

All about the Benjamins?!

Some strange things are afoot in this little corner of heaven today, ye socks!

I suppose it's to be expected given the big tax deadline.

Driving home this afternoon, I actually spotted some folks in the vicinity of Lake Eola who apparently chose to mark the occasion by playing dress-up.

The lady dressed up like the Statue of Liberty cut a fine figure.

But, I think what I liked best were the three . . . yep, THREE . . . dudes who were portraying Benjamin Franklin.

I regret to report that none of them were engaged in kite flying . . .

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book site suggestion

After my recent posting about excess books, another bibliophile (who shall remain anonymous at their request!) shot me an email to suggest I check out this site:

Enjoying it so far, thought I'd pass it along!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why does this only happen once a year?!

It's pretty hard to fret about growing older when your day starts off with cake for breakfast and goes on to feature a free lunch consisting of BBQ spare ribs . . .

Thanks to all of ye socks for the greetings (and extra calories)!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

I suppose I should feel SOME relief . . .

I didn't wait until the very last minute to mail off my tax return for 2009.

It got stamped and posted this afternoon.

I suppose I should be kicking myself in the rump for not filing sooner, as it looks like I should get a pretty decent refund this year.

Still, it's hard to get overly-excited.

I mean, yeah, I'm getting SOME of what DC swiped from my paycheck all year.

But, they're still holding on to the lion's share of that money pile.

And, it just feels like it's all being flushed down one big toilet bowl . . .

I suppose this is hope and change?!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't touch the books on THAT shelf!

Warning: If you ever get labeled as a bibliophile, books will automatically begin congregating around your humble abode. And, they'll multiply like rabbits.

And, a surprising number of said rabbit-like tomes will be of no interest to you whatsoever.

You'll NEVER read them. NEVER!

At the same time, your appreciation for the printed word will prevent you from tossing them. Instead, you'll expend a lot of fruitless effort trying to find them a proper home because, let's be frank, no one you know would EVER read them, either. EVER!

Another book-nut suggested I take all the books I have around here that fall in that unreadable category and list them on

Don't know why that thought had never occurred to me before.

But, that's exactly what I spent about an hour doing this afternoon.

Now, apparently, I just have to sit back and wait for the perfect match for each of these oddballs to magically appear out of cyberspace.

In the mean time, ye socks, the rest of the lending library is open per regular lending terms. But, hands off the bottom shelf. Those are on consignment!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Where is THAT button on my remote?!

Couldn't seem to find the "dislike" button while I suffered thru two DVD's this otherwise fine Saturday afternoon.

But, why should the home movie system provide any more options than ye olde Facebook page?!

If yours truly was properly empowered, there would have been TWO big thumbs down on the selections our friends at Netflix deposited in the snail mail box in this little corner of heaven.

They apparently have me confused with someone else on the block, perhaps someone with a 16 year old daughter and an angst-ridden younger child . . . the only explanation I could come up with for why "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" and "Where the Wild Things Are" arrived at this address.

New Moon was the typical piffle and nonsense one would expect in a teen flick. But, whereas I was able to sit thru the entirety of the first installment, this sequal was so bad that I found myself reading a book and looking up at the screen on those rare occasions when it sounded like there might be some special effects worth seeing.

I was actually prepared to like WTWTA, if for no other reason than it was not an overbilled saga installment. I half-remembered enjoying the story in preschool, but that was a LONG time ago. Apparently, ye olde memory fails. Or, perhaps this was a poor adaptation. I'm inclined to believe the latter. Definitely not a "kids movie."

Bottom line, if either of these two flicks end up in YOUR in box, promptly re-seal them in the conveniently-supplied return envelope as quickly as possible to avoid wasting hours of disappointment.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Seriously?! THAT is my congressman?!

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Thursday, April 08, 2010


Yours truly finds himself battling against an innate impatience.

It's an ongoing war, to be sure. But, it seems to have escalated a bit over the last 24 hours.

Started off yesterday when I felt like the waiter at one of my regular haunts was ignoring our table.

Then a water main burst on Orange Avenue (one of the primary arteries in this neck o' the woods) frustrating efforts to check-off all the items on ye olde to-do list.

Only now, as I've had a chance to cool-off a bit, do I have the hindsight to see that these events weren't part of some grand conspiracy.

Instead, perhaps these (petty!) annoyances were put in my path to teach me something.

At least, that's what I choose to believe . . .


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Pine Castle Pioneer Days

An oldtimer once told me that Pine Castle is more of a state of mind than an actual place.

I suppose that's because it's so hard to define in terms of physical or geographic boundaries.

The original Pine Castle was a private residence, erected by a fellow named Will Harney who came to this little corner of heaven from Kentucky in the years immediately following the Civil War.

Harney was a poet by nature and training, and composed many tributes to the idyllic virtues of the Central Florida frontier. In truth, though, he endured all of the many hardships that our pioneer settlers encountered in those days. Even worse, he lost his young wife very soon after staking claim to land on Lake Conway south of Orlando. Deeply saddened, but undeterred, this single father tamed his homestead lands and erected a castle using the native pine trees. Dubbing the structure his "Pine Castle," he used it in the by-lines of the various articles he wrote as a correspondent for northern newspapers interested in the area.

Within a matter of just a few years, the name of "Pine Castle" wasn't just being applied to Mr. Harney's home, but to the entire neighborhood. (It was, after all, the most striking landmark between Orlando and Kissimmee!) Basically, that encompassed the modern cities of Edgewood and Belle Isle, and all the pockets of unincorporated Orange County that surround the Conway chain of lakes.

The people who settled the area around the original Pine Castle were a neighborly lot. They came together to work for the common good. Republican and Democrat. Baptist and Methodist. Yankee and Cracker. It didn't matter. The classic example of this community spirit was the old Union Church, erected in 1900. Just about EVERYBODY in Pine Castle had a hand in its construction, and it was used by all congregations.

Many years later, in 1974 to be exact, an annual festival sprang-up in Pine Castle to celebrate that pioneer spirit.

Sadly, the event had to be cancelled last year, and looked like it was going to be cancelled again this year due to financial difficulties of the former sponsor.

But, tonight I am pleased to report that Pine Castle's pioneer spirit is still alive and well. An organizational meeting was held, and it was agreed to incorporate Pine Castle Pioneer Days as a non-profit organization. And, a date was even set (the last weekend in February, instead of the traditional October timeframe).

That means we've got less than a year until Pioneer Days comes back to Pine Castle. (Feburary 26 & 27th, to be exact!) So, once again, the folks in this little corner of heaven are faced with a challenge.

If history is any guide, the people of Pine Castle will rise to the occasion!

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Apostle

Don't know where I was back in 1997 when this movie was originally released, but it didn't hit ye olde radar til there wasn't anything to watch on tv last night.

In fact, I almost didn't watch it this go 'round, either. Considered just calling it an early one and heading off to bed.

Glad I reconsidered.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at the ecumenical spirit I found in this story about a Pentecostal preacher. (Best example being the title character's remark on observing Roman Catholic priests blessing a fleet of shrimp boats: "You do it your way and I do it mine, but we get it done, don't we?!")

Robert Duvall, who plays the title character, is arguably the most under-rated character actor of his generation. Over the years, I've enjoyed watching him even in movies that I didn't like. But, this time around, he also deserves credit for writing and directing. "The Apostle" is his masterpiece.

I would encourage ye socks to rent this one, or try to catch it on late night cable some time. And, see how many other actors you can recognize in this cast. (They include Billy Bob Thornton and the two late great ladies Farrah Fawcett and June Carter Cash.)

Bottom line: two thumbs up!

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Monday, April 05, 2010

That'll wake ya up!

Yours truly is a creature of habit. There, I've admitted it.

The morning routine involves checking ye olde email on my computer in the upstairs office.

As soon as I can see the sun peeking over the tree line across the street, I know it's time to power things down and head out the door to conquer the world.

So, this morning I'm following this routine to the letter, when I catch a glimpse of glowing light emerging from the eastern horizon.

Surely, it's still too early for the sunrise, I think to myself.

Before I could turn to scrutinize the world beyond my window, though, the panes started rattling in their frames. It was an awful lot like I suppose a train would sound like if it jumped its tracks and decided to barrel its way down Elizabeth Avenue into the waters of Lake Ivanhoe.

Then and only then did I remember: DUH! Space Shuttle Launch!!!

Oh, the wonders of living in this little corner of heaven . . .

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Morse Museum, Winter Park

The Morse Museum on Park Avenue up in Winter Park is one of those places that yours truly has always thought about visiting but never gotten around to actually doing that.

Well, that was until today when I heard they were having an open house.

Translation, "no admission fee!"

That, as ye socks should well know by now, holds tremendous appeal around this little corner of heaven.

It was well worth the visit.

I was surprised to discover this amazing chapel housed within the museum's walls.

Two thumbs up, and a great way to inspire the Easter spirit!

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Friday, April 02, 2010

WDYTYA - Brooke Shields . . . and beyond?!

This may just be my personal opinion, but this week's episode of "Who do you think you are?" would have been worth watching even if the speakers are busted on your tv.

After all, the featured celebrity root-digger was Brooke Shields, who (as it turns out) is descended from a bunch of blue bloods who lived in some fancy palaces in Italy and France.

Anyway, yours truly was a little perplexed after watching the previews for the next episode, because the kind folks at NBC noted it wouldn't be aired for two more weeks . . .

Do any of ye socks know why they're taking a break like that?

There is some good news to report on this series. Just heard that it has been picked up for a second season.

Stay tuned, I guess. (Just not next week!)

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spring has sprung!

For the first time this year, as yours truly walked out the door to head off to the office, the breeze off Lake Ivanhoe was bearing the aroma of his neighbor's Confederate jasmine vines.

There are worse ways to start the day, no?!

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