Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baby Siting

As much as I love to complain about the giant rats at our house, I still like that they are around. They have a lot to teach, and apparently they like it here too. Allow me to explain.

It's birthing time for the deer. If you don't know the drill, it comes as quite a surprise to a homeowner to find a new born on your doorstep. Suddenly, you're a foundling home. Momma deer, to gather her strength after her ordeal, will leave her new born with a trusted family. In this case, Mrs. T and I.

When I first saw it, I thought it was dead, or dying and mom had abandoned it.

Being new to this myself I called the local animal control folks. They were most helpful. They explained that we were baby sitting. Mom went off to eat and rest for a while, while her baby gathers its strength. In a couple of hours mom will return and all will be well.

Also, put the pets away, and keep away from the doe. It will imprint almost immediately, and they make bad pets. so that is what happened.

About 2 hours later mom came back looking for her baby.

This was fascinating. As you can see the baby has a rock ledge on one side and a fence on the other. Mom would walk up and down the perimeter of the fence calling its baby. I'd never heard a deer call. They sound like ducks.

As soon as the baby heard the quack it was up, and walking the fence line. Mom would saunter up the drive and call. Baby would follow. Mom would walk down the drive and call. Baby would follow. This went on for almost an hour. I had no idea how the baby would get out, so eventually I opened the tractor gate.

Soon without so much as a bye your leave, mom and baby were through the gate and into the woods.

Another day at The Park, cigars all around.


Friday, May 29, 2009

A Shout Out

I would like to give a shout out to an large metropolitan police force on the east coast today. I'm going to be unusually evasive, but I think as you read along you will understand why.

Several people I care a great deal about are room mates. While they may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, eventually they came to realize that one of the room mates was unusually social, and had friends stop by at all hours of the day and night, but they were never interested in coming in. They would knock, say hi and be gone in several minutes.

So they had a come to Jesus and the social room mate admitted he was performing a service to a community in need. It was unanimously agreed the social room mate would leave NOW. And so the roomy left.

Next morning the remaining group went to visit their local gendarmes. To the person at the desk they explained the why of their visit and were invited to have a seat and a magazine and they would be visited soon. So they were, and were whisked to a very nice conference room in the bowels of the police store.

Immediately they were met by 6 suits, put at ease, and asked to tell their story. The men in blue listened, took notes, asked pertinent questions and offered useful advice, and several hours later sent upon their way, with the promise that the men in blue would clear this up quickly, which in fact they did. At no time were the roomies asked their names, asked to sign statements or in any way asked to provide a trail back to themselves.

Now friends, if I went to the Mayberry station house, I have no doubt that within minutes I would be patted on the head thanked and sent home, and nothing would be done.

One great American city police force did their community proud. I thank them.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

An exercise in futility

Ever had one of those days? Forecast Wednesday was for sunny skies temps near 80. We've had 3 inches of rain so far today. So I've been an inside Toad much of the day, beating my head against the wall in an attempt to come to grips with rampant stupidity. Not just mine.

First the bank calls about our refinancing. "It appears from your tax return you only earn $50 per year. How do you expect us to approve your application?" Life's more than a tax return I replied. Ya, but..... Sheesh

Next. Have you ever attempted to buy a fish? Not a gold fish in this case. I am trying to buy a pair of grass carp, to eat the weeds in our pond. The going rate is $5 per fish. Delivery is $100, cash. I suggest I'd pick it up from the hatchery. Well no, I'm not a licensed fish hauler.

Do fishermen need to be licensed fish haulers too? Apparently After half a dozen calls I find an outfit that will sell me a pair of fish. Did you know fish can't leave the state? I can pick it up. It's 150 miles away.

Don't even get me started on the insurance adjusters report, or the house appraisal. I feel like Scarlet O'Hara.

Sorry for the rant, I needed to vent.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Onion News Network

OK, we are mostly adults here, and I will be first in line to state The Onion is more than a bit childish, crude, rude, and socially unacceptable. It's also pretty funny.

While part of the family The Onion News Network, is just as funny, but not as childish. To prove my point its available on TIVO, as well as on-line.

If you found Chuck Lorre's Vanity Cards funny I think you may enjoy this.

Nation's Girlfriends Unveil New Economic Plan: 'Let's Move In Together'


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a recuring theme

To continue our theme, this lifted from Mr. Mort's fabulous blog.

This is one of the best Brooks Brothers shirts I have ever seen. I already own a few variations of this shirt by them, but thats not why I didnt buy it. I was beaten to it by the boys who were shopping for Ralph Lauren inspiration. I felt better when i saw that it was priced at $145. To make it worse, it was 14.5 (my size) and if all goes as it should, will be seen in a Rugby store near you. We can only hope and pray it wont be embroidered with skulls and flags all over it. These dealers make it way too easy, I cant blame these designers for not bothering to really dig, wether it be on ebay or our nations thrift shops. And by thrift shops, I dont mean WCGA or Stock..

Nupts- an irregular series

A banner week girls and boys. Love is in the air, and this is over achievers week.

Sabrina & Jamie:The couple met while earning law degrees from Yale. She graduated from Michigan and picked up a masters from Harvard. The groom, no slouch himself graduated from Stanford, picked up a Master's in secondary education from the University of Mississippi (go figure) as well as an MFA in creative writing from Iowa.

Sara & Doug: Sara is an OB/GYN. Doug is in radio. Both grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, attended Brown, and have long time mutual friends, they did not meet until they were fixed up on a blind date. A year later they proposed to each other with Doug's dog along for the show. "We met relatively late in life, but just in the nick of time, says Doug. We were both looking for love and didn't know if we would find it. I'm really happy we did." Doug's dog had no comment.

Harlyn & Srinivas: Classic immigrant kids. She: Wellesley, Boston University, Harvard. Dr. Srinivas: Princeton, Harvard, Harvard.

Georgia and Micah: Did I mention that Georgia is a soprano? She is. Sings opera. Who would have guessed that Micah is a stage manager. See if you can follow along. They met when she ...(sang) in one of Micah's..... operas. Very good. It was love at first sight even though she did not show for the first day of rehearsals. At the end of the run, Micah knew he was a goner. Before they parted ways at the airport, suave Micah picked up a piece of pink string and tied it around her finger with a bow. She said yes.

Brittany and Carlyn: This is one of those things we are going to have to get are arms around if this is to become a better country. Brit is a mental heath counselor. Carlyn is in finance. Carlyn aunt is performing the ceremony. Brittany will take Carlyn's name. How would you ever come to that decision?

Last one, and the one I believe offers the most hope for the future.

Maria and Daniel: Maria is a post doc working in economics. Brown, Chicago, Chicago. Daniel U of Wisc, master's in sociology education from Cambridge, masters in sociology (Chicago) ABD Chicago in sociology. Both are addicted to student loans.

The couple met at a bus stop in Chicago. "He seemed nice", she said. The happened to get off at the same stop, and walked into a grocery store. As he was leaving he bumped into her again. They began a short conversation, ABOUT BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS.

Gents, as a pick up line, I wouldn't recommend it, but it worked for him.

Our best wishes to the happy couples. Thank you NYT.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I promised myself the weekend off, but couldn't resist

Stolen completely from Yahoo news

Horror story printed on toilet paper in Japan

TOKYO – In a country where ghosts are traditionally believed to hide in the loo, a Japanese company is advertising a new literary experience — a horror story printed on toilet paper.
Each roll carries several copies of a new nine-chapter novella written by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese author of the horror story "Ring," which has been made into movies in both Japan and Hollywood.

"Drop," set in a public restroom, takes up about three feet (90 centimeters) of a roll and can be read in just a few minutes, according to the manufacturer, Hayashi Paper.

The company promotes the toilet paper, which will sell for 210 yen ($2.20) a roll, as "a horror experience in the toilet."

Toilets in Japan were traditionally tucked away in a dark corner of the house due to religious beliefs. Parents would tease children that a hairy hand might pull them down into the dark pool below.
I offer this to any would be storytellers as an example of the oldadage that hope springs eternal, or to sales folks as a reminder that PT Barnum may have been right after all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Hat Episode

This is the episode where the charming narrator, blithely speaks from both sides of his mouth.

I've long been a hat guy. My aunts used to chide me during my misspent youth to give up on the hats. "It will make you bald", they said. So by age 10 I was warned off one thing would make me bald, another would make me go blind. Today I wear glasses and am bald.

I wear all kinds of hats. My favorite are the geographically challenged Panama hats. I wait all year for summer so I can wear my Optimo with the Bentley Drivers Club hat band. I keep in a supply of each in case I lose one.

Winter its Irish walking hats, fisherman hats, flat caps, deerstalkers or occasionally a Coke.

As much as I enjoy hats, all my life I have had mixed feelings about skimmers, or if you prefer boaters.

Every year about this time come the ads showing boaters and seersucker suits. Skimmers and linen, boaters and...

I just can't wrap my head around it. Somehow to my eye they appear like they are trying too hard. As I write this I've got a Don Ameche movie on in the background. He looks pretty dapper in his, but that was 70 years ago.

I've been ably warned off items I can't wear with aplomb. As much as I want to, as much as I may enjoy buying one, I just can't wanna wear one.

Have a great weekend friends, I'll be back Tuesday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember your favorite summer?

Back in my day...

Memorial day came at the very end of May. It marked the end of another school term, which would not resume until after Labor Day. Three glorious months free. Those were fabulous days.

Remember your very best summer?

My mom had a very laisse faire attitude about child rearing in the summer. Her attitude was sleep as long as you want, do your chores, dinner was at 5:30. I have no idea what happened if you were late for dinner. It must have been awful, since no one ever did it.

When I think back on summer two stand out. First was that between 3 and 4 grade. We lived near Mrs. Blandings neighborhood. Absolute best was the summer between 8th grade and freshman year of high school.

The world was our oyster that summer. Right after school let out two friends and I pooled our grass cutting money and paid $25 cash to buy our first car. If memory serves it was an 1957 Peugeot. A most purposefully contrary car. Remember we were maybe 13.

We had to be very quiet about it. No way we could get it licensed, and the car needed everything repaired. I did learn to drive a stick shift in it though. Over chocolate colas at the bowling alley a bit of sense hit us and we arranged to trade it.

Some older guy had a boat we was willing to trade for our Pug. Sight unseen on all our parts. He put the boat on a trailer, which happened to be a wooden hydrofoil looking thing. It is probably worth a fortune now, if it still lives. New boy dropped it off, and took the Pug home with him.

So imagine, maybe we're 13/14, just sold our transportation, now we had a boat, in the middle of the city, 20 + miles from water. The boat seemed like a good idea at the time, because one of us thought they knew someone with a trolling motor we could use. Turns out we didn't.

The boat was a pleasant diversion for a few days, until friends mom began making noise about the boat killing her grass, and half a dozen boys eating her out of house and home all afternoon. The boat had to go.

So if you were among 3 barely high school boys with a boat to be rid of what would you do?

You're exactly right.

We traded it. This time for a case of beer and and a carton of cigs.

Took our stash to our hideout, divied up the cigs and began work on the beer. I had my first and last cig that day. Gave the rest to my mom, who never told my dad.

Spent the rest of the summer playing baseball in the school yard.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grand Prix of Monaco

Sunday is the annual running of the Grand Prix of Monaco, the most stylish venue in motorsports. Sleek cars, brave drivers, a city street course and beautiful women. It's a pleasure watching rich people having fun, at one the world's most renown pleasure domes.

Once upon a time, Monaco had a contest to select its frumpiest citizen. The winner was selected to hand out prizes to the race winner. The photo below shows winning frump #1 in the early 60's. The hand shaker is the guy who puts on the race. He is also advising on deportment. Note the fins on the Caddy.

By 1966 the citizens of Monaco had planned to retire the prize. Apparantly, there was but one frump in Monaco, and she was having trouble finding parking downtown on race day, and wanted to give up the honor. The locals chipped in, bought her a decent hat and a make over. Seemingly, she decided to stay on.

1966 winner Jackie Stewart

It's a shame they didn't pick this chic. She lived nearby and had time on her hands.

(1955 Vogue out take)

(sorry Mel)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bird Catcher

Tintin's recent post recalling his summer in a Fiat X1/9 took me back to my cousin's high school graduation.

Cousin Bob hailed from the rich side of the family. He was a year older than I, and for his graduation he received a brand spanking new Opel GT motorcar.

It was a pretty car, but like many imports of those days, the admonition to buy, in this case, a German car only when in Germany applied. The rule applies to all French cars to this day. 2CV's are cute, but you do not wish to own one.

In the case of the Opel, beauty was only skin deep. The looks were evocative of the then current Corvette., but all similarity ended there.

For those interested in such things, the GT came equipped with an astonishing 1.1 litre engine. that's 70 cubic inches to you math phobes. Maximum horse power was 67 at 6000 RPM's. Sadly, you couldn't push the engine to 6000 revs. Talk of all show and no go, this car couldn't pull the hat off your head.

In 1970 engine capacity was increased to 1.9 L (123 cubic inches), but in 1971 emissions equipment sucked the life out this little sewing machine motor.

All in all it wasn't a bad looking car. Cousin Bob took the Opel and matriculated at Loyola of New Orleans. Was introduced to Jax, stayed drunk and flunked out at the end of his first semester. His dad soon sold the car.

History buffs may remember Maxwell Smart drove one.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My American Idol Prediction

Imagine Ryan speaking:

The winner of the 2009 American Idol Clay Aiken award is presented to Adam Lambert.

Playing Reuben Studdard this year is Kris Allen, who will have been forgotten this time next year.

Have a nice summer.

Nupts- An irregular series

Once again we pay a visit to the pages of the Sunday New York Times Vows section.

Not everything Girls and Boys is for our amusement. Some of these little treasures enlighten, some frighten. The improbability of the first story moved me. If this doesn't defy gravity nothing will.

Lt. Christine and Lt. Jeffrey: Lt C and Lt. J began dating when C was a high school freshman and, and he a sophomore at Homestead High in Mequon, Wisconsin. They broke up when he was accepted to the US Naval Academy. C fixed his ass and went to the US Air Force Academy. Must be one heck of a high school.

Both became pilots, he's a fighter jockey stationed in Virginia Beach, she pilots tankers from a RAF station in England.

They met again at a Navy/AF football game and rekindled their romance. In the mean time he became an Oxford fellow and picked up a masters degree at Oxford.

"She will hopefully be restationed somewhere near Virginia by next year...I can't wait for the two of us to be closer together-it would be nice to take a weekend drive and be able to see her"

And I complained of his and her apartments.

Sada and Brendan: Yale grad Sada is a 3 time Olympic medalist in the sabre. The groom, a Penn State boy epees. After a bit of parry and thrust they were married in Atlanta. "..he just struck me as a very loyal person" says the bride.

Gents I'd recommend caution while dating a woman trained in the deadly arts.

Olivia and David: Met as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford, and each are doing post doc work at MIT. Obviously they are both bright kids, and their parents are gratified to find that Cupid found matches for their nerd kids.

"The brides paternal great grandfather, opened a department store in London." Is this relevant?

Alyssa and Bretton: Married in Charleston, the couple met at University of Michigan where she just graduated from Law school, and he is doing post grad work.

So she was able to land a job. As an associate in the Hanoi, Vietnam office of a Chicago law firm. He had to pick up a Fulbright to work on his dissertation in Hanoi. The job market is tough.

Friends, Nupts are one of two times in your live that are absolutely, positively an affirmation of optimism. We wish these kids well.


Monday, May 18, 2009

An unsolicited, unpaid testimonial-Sitemeter

How many times have you seen The Hunt For Red October?

Remember Jack Ryan's line as Jeffery Van Pelt signs Jack up to recover the Russian sub? "I'm just an analyst", sayeth Jack.

So am I. Most of my professional career was spent as a management consultant. I loved digging through mounds of nonsense in an attempt to identify a clients real problem. I hated symptom solving. I had to know the details.

After retiring my brain went on hold for several years, and then I began this blog.

As night follows twilight, I wanted to know more. Being simple minded, my first thought was how many people come here? So I added a peg counter.

That wasn't enough, so I devised spread sheets. How many per day, then how many by day of the week.

After a very short time I realized that this was way too male, and clearly I had too much time on my hands. So I got over myself. For a while.

Last week the counter died, and I said good riddance. That didn't last.

A month or so ago, on MOTR's blog Abnormally Normal I found IT.


If you have a lick of curiosity about your own blog, I highly recommend it. It answers many of your most curious questions. Everything but why. Click on the bug at the bottom of the page, and look around. It will tell more about you than you ever imagined.

Tells from where, when, how long, by day, by hour..... The analyst in me is doing back flips.

So now I either have to get rid of it quickly, or find something more productive to do.

Don't be too surprised if you see it gone in a few days. Information overload may take over before I begin. Better yet, I find a more useful use for my time.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wild Mountain Grape

We make every attempt to put on a good spread for our annual Preakness Stakes get togethers. This year we dusted off the chairs, bought plenty of ice, put the dogs out, washed the plastic cups, untwisted the Boones Farm, and waited for the fun to begin.

Go ahead and gasp at the extravagence. We know these are hard times, but our friends have come to expect a feast and who are we to deny them. An afternoon to forget their troubles, is that too much to ask? "Let them use plates", that's my motto.

I'm sorry. I've skipped my meds and have those ugly flashbacks again. Allow me to start over.

Remember this swill? Don't kid yourself, you've had it. Boone's Farm Wild Mountain Grape, Strawberry Hill. Served very cold, when you are 16 it isn't half bad. Did you know they still sell it?

Trick is, its not wine anymore. Its a malt beverage. Saves on taxes I understand. I found several reviews on Google. Seems it's still the perfect summertime quencher.


Saturday, May 16, 2009


To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the English are different from you and I, and no its not that two countries separated by a common language nonsense.

To American eyes many English people are just plain strange. Their habits, humor, mannerisms and occupations are simply foreign to American tastes. As an a devoted Anglophile I find this disturbing.

For instance, according to The Telegraph two people who were quite famous in their field died recently. Each had stellar, long lasting careers. Both would have starved in the US.

To wit:
Margaret Gelling, age 84 when she passed, was a noted historian of English place names. If you have ever wrestled with a map of the English countryside you may have noticed that towns and villages names are generally very place descriptive. Anglo-Saxons had more names for hill, than Inuit have for snow. Over millenia, invaders and languages came and went, and names changed as languages changed. Margaret knew the how and why of many of the places on the map of England, having spent a distinguished career as a scholar and researcher. Later she served as President of the English Place Name Society. Sounds like a Monty Python skit, doesn't it?

American place names are too young, and often too egotistical to merit a place name society. Someday maybe, but not yet.

Peter Dennis: Mr. Dennis was a character actor who gave voice to the stories of A.A. Milne. Imagine making a career of presenting Winnie the Pooh on stage, and providing the voice for numerous books on tapes, and their successors? Mr. Dennis realized that Christopher Robin, Winnie, Piglet and gang were as much children stories as Sesame Street. Milne didn't believe they were either. The Hundred Acre Wood came alive in Mr. Dennis's retelling.

I have spent several happy hours this week, replaying Mr. Dennis's cherished stories. They are more real to me than today's newspaper.

My condolences to both their families.


photo from The Telegraph

As easy as a knife through butter

Ever have a good knife blade snap while cutting butter?  I have.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Beacon

Ever had a hankering for a menu item that's likely to cost the last shred of human decency you have? I used to be a travelin' man. The phone would ring and I would find myself somewhere that wasn't home. Every now and then I would wake up in or around Spartanburg, SC.

What's to do around Spartanburg you ask?

The Beacon Drive In. That's what.

My o my what a dive.

Looks can be deceiving though. For almost 100 years you'd be greeted by the same man at the end of the counter. "Call it out" he'd bark. In Yankee, he's asking what would be your pleasure today. "Move it down" he'd then say. In your heart of hearts you knew this order was going to be messed up. It never was.

Plates were more a metaphysical concept than a reality. A Plenty was generally served in the middle of a bar tray, smothered in fries and rings.

Their real claim to fame is their home made iced tea. Its The Beacon's claim that they sell more iced tea than anyone in the country.

To put things in perspective the Beacon weekly shopping list includes:
1.5 tons of sugar
3 tons of onions
3 tons of potatoes
4 tons of meat and seafood.

And only heaven knows how much fat.

Sometimes late at night I get a need for a Beacon fried chicken aplenty. Later I dream of meeting my cardiologist. I do love it though. Stop in if you happen to be near.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

something for Mrs Blandings

This top left number, Mrs. B?

Photo from Heavy Tweed Jacket


Patch Mad

For it or agin it? Either way blame the guy below, on the right. He is credited with inventing patch madras. His name is Sidney Winston, and he was tailor to the man on the left. Mr. Winston is also credited with several other preppy wardrobe staples. Embroidered corduroy pants and

the god awful 4 panel pants.

That sound you hear is that of our British friends leaving about now.

I was well into my dotage before encountering patch mad in the wild. The spring before Katrina, I attended my bonus son's Tulane University graduation. Outside, in the smokers section was a Ted Turner looking guy. Good looking in a way, appeared to know his way around a beer bottle and probably a G&T or two. Looked liked the sort you see hanging around the bar at the country club.

He was wearing a well used pair of khakis, polo shirt and a patch mad blazer. I thought he was the best looking guy I had ever seen. Having never seen a patch jacket before, I had to have one for myself. NOW.

It wasn't to be. Took me a season to find the name of what I was looking for. Longer to locate one.

Mine is the one above. Its an off the peg Jos Banks. Took a lot of fixing to get the Banks out of it, but I get lots of compliments every time I wear it. Naturally, I wear it a lot.

Deep down I suspect PM is really for the young, trim, and tanned. Looks especially fetching on young trim, tanned girls. Actually, all girls look better than all boys in PM.

Unfortunately,as labor cost for a cheap cotton jacket are the same as that for a fine wool, it doesn't pay to have one made, so blazers are catch as catch can.

If you are crafty the following sell the cloth.

Just Madras


I take a size...


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A red letter day X 2

Desperately in need of good news I present for your consideration our family's red letter day times two.

First, today marks the annual celebration of th birth of my beloved son in law, darling daughter Katy's husband, Gary. Better known to many of you as the chap who saves me from myself on blogging issues, especially correcting white fonts on white backgrounds. He is the tall lad in the white shirt. Happy Birthday to Gary.

More importantly today is also Katy and Gary's third wedding anniversary. They were married in a beach side service in pre-flu infested Cancun, Mexico.

On that most special day I wished them much happiness, and hopes for many splendid years together. I redouble those wishes today. They make a cute couple,and since each knows they are in charge, they should be happy for many years to come.

Happy Anniversary to two of my favorites. They always make me smile.


All ideas gladly accepted

Choosing to ignore technology does not make it go away, it merely postpones decision making. So once again friends I solicit your help.

I need to replace our CD player, why do they only last a year? I don't necessarily need to replace it with a CD player though.

The new device has several requirements.

1. Needs to be fairly cheap.
2. I need to be able to connect it to our A/B box, so I can hear it wherever I want.
3. A shuffle feature would be nice.

Sounding to me like I finally want an IPOD, but do they hook up to external speakers? Would magic box 442 make it work?

Sorry to be back to the well so soon, but y'all seem to know everything.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So I'm laying in bed, mentally preparing for the day.

As beloved granddaughter Paige says, "it's a beautiful sunshiny day".

Working through my mental list. It's dry and I can hear the grass grow. Why not start by cutting the grass. Sounds like a plan.

So I spend an hour catching up on my friends and then mosey down to the barn, open it up. Seems unnaturally bright. The mind reels. Did I leave the light on again? No. Why is it so darn bright?

Then it hits.

Yon tree has tumbled through roof.

So then the litany begins. What's damaged? How's the Bentley? (first things first) Everything seems OK. Then I see the jeep. Suddenly, I'm wishing it was mine, so I wouldn't have to call the owner.

Owners are not as understanding when your cars are ok.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Nupts-An irregular series Part 1

Does this count?

From Sunday May 10, 2009 New York Times


Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

Wanna liven up your party mix? Getting tired of Roy and the Buena Vista Social Club? Jimmy Buffett sounding tired around the pool?

The most popular band in the world is one you may have never heard of. It's Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

They are a 9 piece South American band from Columbia, Argentina, and Brazil. Tunes are a mix of ska, rock, big band, and traditional Latin music.

In Spanish and Portuguese speaking locales these guys are the bees knees, yet obscure enough in the US to impress your Hispanic friends.

Follow the link and try out the LFC radio channel. YouTube has disabled the enbedded link so I can't post a video, but I think you'll like it. If nothing else I think you'll find the upbeat music will brighten a gloomy day.


Sunday, May 10, 2009


I'm rarely allowed in grocery stores. Mrs. T contends she would rather supervise a kindergarten field trip to the store than go with me. That my friends, as Mark Twain would say is a statistic.

Grocery shopping is a competitive sport for Mrs T and her family. Her mother is out at the crack of dawn. She'll then call her 4 children to let them know what's on sale today. A day without the grocery is like a day without sunshine.

While I am not allowed to go, I do get to hear about it though, and for the past year, a constant refrain is how much soda has gone up. I've figured out why.

Let me take you back to the summer of 2007. Everything was expensive. Gas, milk, soda, corn, beef. Much of the grain and beef prices could be laid at the feet of the ethanol debacle. Farmers grew fuel instead of feed.

So all the sudden sugar is cheaper than corn. Want proof? Notice the soda ads lately. Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback. Snapple with better stuff? Pop is being made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.

For years Mexican markets have run a gray market for Mexican bottled Coke. Those bottles have always been made with sugar.

It is hotly debated and vehemently denied by the corn syrup makers that fructose turns off a receptor that says I've had enough. That is one reason Super Big Gulps are possible. It's possibly another reason why we are as big as houses.

I prefer the taste of sugar, and hope it hangs round a while. Happy Mother's Day moms.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tree Art?

Tree faces are a popular method of adding whimsy to an otherwise staid garden setting. My grand daughters gave me one for Christmas, and we spent an enormous energy selecting just the right tree to become king of our Ents. It was worth the added effort, and now we know who is boss.

Yesterday, I was enjoying breakfast, minding my own business, thumbing through the Plow and Hearth catalog and came across these little items. I have a whimsical side, and believe in fairy gardens, unfortunatly this particular need passed me right by.

If you have the need, and your trees are look a little bare, you may want to pick one or two of these little treasures. If you have enough trees, perhaps one for everyone. It would be like having your own hobbit village

I haven't a clue how to decide, and no, my granddaughters are not available to help.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wedding Season

Remember the first time you did hand to hand combat with champagne?

Probably someone's wedding reception. Had too much didn't you? The smell, the bubbles. Took years to overcome the memory of the memories. A couple of years at least before you could go back to the well.

Mayhaps, you tip toed back into the fray via Cold Duck.

Cold Duck was the unholy marriage of NY sparkling wine with California red. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Went down easy, came up fast. Fortunately, I haven't seen it in years.

So now it's wedding season. You're big and supposed to enjoy Champagne. The drug of choice for celebrations. Only in moderation for me please. The memories come back when I least expect them.


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Its been said that theatre goers who heard Olivier's scream as the blinded Lear were haunted by it until their dying day.

The Man in Black's scream, the sound of ultimate suffering, was heard across the sea.

Trifles my friends.

The scream of Toad, who woke to find his prized deciduous Azaleas, eaten to the ground. That was screaming which will forever set the standards of screams. Did I mention they were a day of two from flowering? Did I complain about the hundreds of eaten hostas? No. Nibbles on the peonies. Hardly.

This photo is from the world renowned Exbury Gardens. It shows the effect I was going for. Now imagine mulch where the bushes are.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let us Remember

Gentlemen, let us remember that Mother's Day is Sunday.

Shirts part 3

I suspect you would have never guessed me as a man of pet peeves. Well, you'd have been wrong.

I seem to acquire them every wherever I go.

Last week Kathy asked how I came to know so much about clothing. The real answer is I have pet peeves.

Look closely at the picture above. My second greatest clothing pet peeve is shirts that ride out of a waistband as you stretch, sneeze, shift,reach and grab. There are two reasons this occurs, and each have to deal with sizing.

The two shirts in the picture above are the same size, and are hanging at the same length. But the gingham shirt is 2 inches longer. Why? The manufacturer cares. Longer tails stay in place.

I have only found long tails on American shirts through bespoke shirt makers. Lands End custom does a very good job. The white shirt is off the rack Brooks Brothers OCBD. The gingham is British shirtmaker Harvie and Hudson. English shirts come this way. They are a pleasure to wear. I'd happily pay a couple of extra bucks for a shirt that stays put.

As you can tell, Harvie and Hudson came through, customs received their duties and the shirts arrived Saturday. Well made, good fabric, nice details, no fit.

Returned on Monday. I was impressed enough by the quality to consider their bespoke service, but not soon.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Mint Julep

Some people just love their work. While its hard to hide incompetence, a professional can never hide his light under a barrel.

Watch this pro, the barman at the NOLA Ritz Carlton at work. Being Cinco De Mayo the video has some excellent tips to improve your Mojito, as well.



This weekends paper was a bit thin, but I have several observations, I'd be happy to share.

1. I'd hate like hell to have planned a Mexican wedding for this month.

2. Is anyone married in Churches any more?


Monday, May 4, 2009

She may be on to something

I suspect that this may be more of a girl thing, at least socially. Boys don't operate this way. Business maybe. Boys night out-NO.

Immediately follow the link to News Reading Wife I'll wait.

Sign up genius might save your day.


Ya buy him books...

The dog is not bright.

For 3 years he's been warned almost weekly.

Ted, there are 3 things you are not to mess with. Turkeys will kick your ass, so look up periodically. A roosting turkey leaping from a tree limb will knock you cold.

Number 2, if looks sorta dog like but not really keep away. It's probably hungrier than you, and maybe willing to take a nip. You wouldn't care for it much.

Lastly, not only are owls our friends, they can be mean. Don't attempt to come between an owl and its dinner. You'll lose.

So what does he do?

He snatches an owl.

Without explaining what "it" is. Owls do it. Somewhat territorially. Whoa be the owl who elects to do it, in another owl's territory.

This little guy tried. The big guy in the first picture would have no interlopers while he "ited", and whupped this lad right out of the sky. That's when Ted the Wonder Dog got him.

The whole event was over in seconds. The trespasser had the wind knock out of him and came to, in Ted's caring mouth, then let out a screech that sounded profane. Startled Ted let him go.

After bragging to his friends for a bit, he quietly went to the back of the barn and spit feathers for several hours.. Both the owl and Ted survived. The pecking order understood. Ted is a wiser dog.


Why did I ask?

Thank you all for your comments. They helped the discussion a great deal. Mrs. T and I are meeting with the dutch uncle who manages our investments Friday.

At the beginning of 2009 the DJIA fell from almost 9000 to the mid 7000 range, rose to almost 9000 fell and rose again in the same range. I made a very expensive wager when the Dow was at 8900 the second time, that we would see the Dow at 6500 before we saw 9500.

I won, although I'm not terribly proud of that. Now the Dow is back in low 8000 territory again.

In my view of the world, the big banks are still broke, massive layoffs are still occurring, another commercial real estate lending shoe is about to drop, housing prices still fall. The historian in me remembers that during the Great Depression most folks didn't go broke at the crash. Shortly after the crash, the NYSE rallied for almost 8 months. Then the bottom fell out. Not likely to happen again, but...

For the time being I am unhappily content to sit on the sidelines and watch our humble cash reserves dwindle. Mrs. T feels we are missing great investment opportunities.

I badly want to play, but needed a reason to. That's where you came in.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

How's Your World?

Today's topic is somewhat self serving. Mrs. T and I are trying to come to an investment decision and fundamentaly disagree on our world view.

Lest I cloud your opinion, I'll wait until tomorrow to describe my view of the world.

So how are things in your part of the world? Any signs of housing improving? Is anything being built? If you had a truly great idea, could you get a loan to implement it? How are things at work? Company growing? Do you fear for your job? Are your kids working, plan to this summer? Is your local newspaper full of doom and gloom, or is everything coming up roses? Are you shopping? Malls full? Rents holding up? Farmers happy? Restaurants occupied?

You get the point. I seek your biased view, of life in your town, wherever that may be.

Feel free to respond anon, but give a general idea of where you live.

I appreciate your responses.


Saturday, May 2, 2009


There is nothing even remotely funny about this story.

From every angle it's a tragedy, personally, for his family, for the community.

On the other hand, he was a believer, if it was OK by God, it was OK by him, and his God wanted him dead.


Through some flaw in my character, this story just cracks me up. My condolences to his family.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Vanity Cards

Do you know from Chuck Lorre?

Chuck is the creator, producer, god, of such television staples as The Big Bang Theory, Two and a half men, Dharma and Greg, Cybil, etc. etc. etc.

At the end of each program, after the credits he publishes a vanity card. You never see it because your TIVO stops too early, or you think its all the legal stuff and don't pay attention. You are missing a lot.

Chuck is twisted. Painfully. His vanity cards are a brief look into every guys mind. I recommend you pay more attention in the future. Or find your favorites here.