Friday, January 29, 2016

Staying Warm

Thought for the day:  ♪ ♫ Oh the weather outside can bite me. My muscles ache, despite me. I don't have a happy glow. Winter blows, winter blows, winter blows...♪♫

Looky there. We actually had a little bit of snow in our neck of Georgia last weekend. It didn't last long, and very little of it stuck to the ground, which was supersaturated from all the rain we've had. Mostly, a dusting of it stuck to rooftops and vehicles.

But a promise is a promise. I told Joanne that if it snowed here, I'd make a snowman and post a picture of it on my blog. So here he... it... is. All two and a half inches of him. Frosty he ain't.

[courtesy of Seniorark]

It was sixty degrees here the other day, and is gonna hit near seventy today, so no, it isn't really all that frosty here, but it has been brutally cold and snowy in some parts of the country... and world. Then again, this isn't a real post, eitherbecause I'll be doing that next Monday for a blogfest. (It might not be too late for YOU to participate, too. Just click on that badge in the sidebar to find out...)

This is more of a quickie keeping-my-place-because-it's-Friday kinda howdy. I hope some of these pictures of critters trying to keep warm put a smile on your face.

Smart dogs!

Smart cats, too!

How to get the most mileage out of a single sunbeam.

Radiator, I love you, I love you, I love you!

Hey! There's more than enough room in here for both of us.

This heat lamp is MINE, all MINE!

So, how cold is it? It's so cold...

*  Hitchhikers have been holding up pictures of a thumb.
* A recorded message at the  911 center says to call back in the spring.
* I saw a squirrel throwing himself at an electric fence.
* My friend chipped a tooth on her soup.
* The old lady across the street couldn't believe how badly her teeth were chattering on Tuesday night. They were sitting in a glass at the time.
* Chickens have been running into KFC, and begging to be thrown into the deep fryer.
* Starbucks started selling coffee on a stick.

                        Have a super toasty weekend. Hope to see y'all on Monday!

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, January 22, 2016

One Block at a Time

Thought for the day:  During darkened conditions a bare foot can serve quite well as an inexpensive device for finding every missing LEGO®  left lying on the floor. 

When we were kids, we played with erector sets and Tinkertoys, which are both probably considered far too dangerous for children to have in today's world. Too many sharp edges, I suppose. As opposed to LEGOs®, which are definitely more colorful, and allegedly much safer. (Ever step on one of them? They feel pretty darned sharp to me...)

At any rate, they're a lot of fun for kids of all ages. (Just between you and me, Smarticus and I may or may not have been known to remain on the floor assembling some of those brightly-colored marvels long after the grandchildren have lost interest and moved onto something else.)

When we visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in 2014, I shared some pictures of the fabulous  mosaicultures they had on exhibit. Well, towards the end of last year, we visited the new branch of the Gardens, located in Gainesville, where a LEGO® exhibit was on display. Let's just say the stuff they had there is a heckuva lot more sophisticated than I ever imagined anyone building with those blocks. Wanta see...?

This first one is rather simple. (Albeit, beyond my skill level.) It shows a couple squirrels and birds at a feeder.

Here's a closer look at a couple of the birds.

A gardener tending a plant.

A true-to-life sized roto-tiller.

A sundial.The bushes surrounding the dial had clocks hanging from them. (Yes, that's my shadow... time for me to pay more attention...)

A hummingbird and trumpet plant.

A mallard duck and his babies... and an egg.

Praying mantis.

A woodpecker on a tree that's wrapped in a web of red yarn.

A majestic bald eagle.

A corn snake... according to the sign at the gardens. According to my brother, who KNOWS his snakes, it's actually a milk snake.

And a monarch butterfly.

Pretty cool, huh? The gardens in Gainesville are considerable smaller than the ones in Atlanta, but they're still quite lovely, and feature lots of walking trails through the surrounding woods, too. It made for a terrific way to spend a beautiful day in the great outdoors.

Oh, and check out this picture. This most impressive LEGO® knight and dragon weren't at the gardens; I found this pic on morguefile. The things some talented people can make out of these simple, but ingenious, blocks, is nothing short of amazing. Seems to me, there must be some sort of lesson to be learned from this...

There is strength in numbers. When the bricks stick together, great things can be accomplished. [Steve Klusmeyer]

And that's all from this brick... or more like blockhead... for now.

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, January 15, 2016

I'm Still Not Buying It

Thought for the day:  The very rich are different from you and me. [F. Scott Fitzgerald]

Yeah, big bucks often make a huge difference in the way people behave, and not always in a positive direction. For some, it's as though they were born with a perpetual winning poker hand stuffed up their sleeve, so they don't even bother to put any effort into playing the game fairly. If they commit a crime, the results too often disprove the axiom that all people are equal under the law.

Lawyers believe a man is innocent until proven broke. [Robin Hall]

Two years ago, I wrote the post I'm Not Buying It, about affluenza, and in particular, how it was successfully used as a defense in a murder trial. If you missed it, or don't remember it, you might want to go check it out before reading this follow-up.

Go ahead... I'll wait.

No? Okay, if you don't want to be bothered to read the earlier post, no biggie. In a nutshell, while inebriated on beer and valium, a sixteen-year-old boy named Ethan Couch killed four people when he plowed his speeding truck into them. Eleven other people were injured, including some of his friends who were in the truck with him, one of whom will be paralyzed for life. But Couch wasn't concerned. He knew he'd get away with it, because he'd gotten away with every other thing he'd ever done. And he was right; essentially, he did get away with it. See, his lawyer claimed a defense of affluenza, and a psychologist testified that the boy was a product of affluenza, and thus, unable to link his bad behavior with consequences because he had been raised to believe wealth buys privilege. And the judge agreed.

The slap-on-the-wrist punishment rubbed me all kinds of the wrong way, and it did the same to a bunch of you who commented, as well. I wrote: If his so-called affliction was caused by a lack of consequences, how exactly does shielding him yet again from the consequences of his behavior cure that affliction? Talk about the ultimate irony. How will "getting out of it" change his behavior?

Turns out, I was right. It hasn't changed his behavior at all, and Couch is back in the news again. He's still in the midst of serving his ten years' probation, (big whoop!) but recently, a video surfaced of him boozing it up and partying wildly with the assistance of a beer bong. Which is, of course, a probation violation, even for someone who's never faced consequences for a damned thing he's ever done before. It seems his mother didn't want her widdle boy to face consequences this time, either. So the two of them skipped town. Skipped the whole country, as a matter of fact. They threw a bon voyage party of a sort, dyed his hair, slapped a fake beard on him, withdrew thirty thousand dollars (pocket change?) out of the bank, and took off for Mexico.


They were caught in a luxury hotel in Puerto Vallarta. I guess they thought it'd be safe to use one of their cell phones to order a pizza, huh?

They thought wrong.

However, the story hasn't ended. Although he remains in police custody in Mexico, his high-dollar lawyers are doing everything they can to prevent extradition. No telling how long it'll take before their stalling tactics run out and he's forced to come back to face the music. Maybe. Maybe for the first time in his life, he will have to pay some consequences.

His mama? She's already been sent back to Texas, where she began belly-aching bitterly about the conditions of the jail cell where she was being held. Earlier this week, she was released on bail. I'm sure she appreciates the accommodations of her home a lot more, but she probably isn't too thrilled with her new less-than-fashionable ankle bracelet.


Because young Couch will be turning eighteen in the spring, the sheriff and district attorney are trying to have his case transferred to the adult court. Then, affluenza or no affluenza, his long string of luck based on his perpetually winning hand of privilege may finally run out, and the only joker left standing may be... him.

So what do you think? Should he be tried as an adult? Serve time in jail? How about his mother? Should she serve time for taking him out of the country?

Ah yes, the rich truly are different. Like a post I saw on Facebook, most of us weren't raised with a case of affluenza... it was more a case of poorlio.

And you know what? I'd say we're all better off for it.

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

Thought for the day:  When the tide of life surrounds you and the water upsets your boat, don't waste your time on what might have been... just lie on your back and float. [Ed Norton to Ralph Kramden on the Honeymooners, 1956]

Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a teensy weensy bit misleading, because my tush hasn't been in a saddle for more years than I'd care to count. But floating on my back, enjoying life while watching the world go by? Now, that's more the real me these days.

So how are y'all doing? Happy New Year, one and all. I hope the Holidays were fantastic for you. After slacking off by posting re-runs the past couple of weeks, here I am, back, live, and none the worse for the wear. We had a blast over the past couple weeks, both figuratively and literally. In line with my whole back-floating approach to life, I'm gonna ease into the new blogging year by sharing some pictures, and a wee bit of info about an upcoming blogfest. (Since I haven't participated in a single one of them this entire year, I figured it was about time for me to be get outta the pool and be more sociable...)


As much fun as I made of inflatable decorations a couple weeks ago, I've gotta admit, I loved these. Especially the Minion. These,  a few other inflatables, and a host of other decorations filled one of the rooms in our son's house. The Christmas room, the grandkids called it. (Not that the rest of the house wasn't decorated, too.)

Of course, I liked the inflatables even more when the kids sat still long enough to pose in front of them for me. From left to right, that's Aaron, Jaiden, their cousin McKenzie, Kymber, and Devyn.

Smarticus and Aaron, just before we all watched the Minions movie together. Gotta be dressed in the proper attire, right? It was Aaron's idea to get those snazzy pants for Smarticus. (and me!) Funniest toy ever? Aaron's new Minion doll, which bends over, breaks wind, and falls to the floor laughing. Hilarious! (Goes very well with the fart gun, which he already owned...)

Devyn is entirely enamored with anything associated with the movie Frozen, so this was one of her favorite gifts. She and Kymber have watched the movie so often, they know every word to every song, and darned near all of the dialogue, too.

Here's our handsome son and whiz kid Aaron. (Junior has a heckuva lot of nerve having gray hair, doesn't he...?)

HA! Our daughter-in-law thought she'd grab a wee little bit of shut-eye. Rots o' ruck with that!

Troy (a Husky/malamute) and Stormy (a blue heeler) had other ideas.

Um, yeah... the dogs won that argument.


We saw the new year in with our friends in Tennessee. (The header picture is the gorgeous view from their back deck.) As usual, we did a lot of laughing, swapped a few lies, and played a lot of games. In fact, we were so deep into a board game as midnight approached, it's a wonder we even noticed a new year was about to begin.

Smarticus and Cliff in their usual New Year's Eve garb of  tux tee shirts. Isn't that fireplace fabulous? It's so deep, it looks like a big ol' cauldron should be hanging in there.

The fireplace isn't just for looks, either. There was a fire blazing in it most of the time we were there.

(P.S. Smarticus really does own other pants... ☺) Trust me, he didn't wear these when the guys went off to a gun show...

Meet Squeak. What a cutie! He kinda looks like the dog who was in the old movie Benji. The guys were getting ready to take a walk to the mailbox, and Squeak got unbelievably excited when Cliff pulled out his little doggie jacket.

Squeak and Shelby weren't exactly begging when Kati was trying to eat a piece of pizza. Let's just say they were very... attentive.

Here's the newest member of the family, in spite of the fact they were calling him NOC, as in Not Our Cat. Kati found him wandering around a parking lot meowing pitifully a couple days before we got there. He not only made fast friends with all of us people, he also did well with the other two resident cats Kismet and Miss Groucho... and the dogs. He's such a beautiful, well-groomed, and incredibly friendly cat, we're sure someone must be missing him terribly, but so far, in spite of their best efforts to locate his owner, no responses. I'd say they're gonna have to change his name...

Caught him in the act! (Almost) That glass container holds dog treats, which are doled out to the pooches every time they come into the house. (Nope! Not spoiled a bit!) I reckon NOC thought he would just help himself to a little something-something. I managed to snap a quick, albeit blurry, picture before rescuing the glass jar from being knocked to the floor. However, in the middle of the night, NOC was once again successful in getting the lid off and knocked the contents onto the table so he could nibble a few. Very wily!

About the literal blast I mentioned earlier? It... actually, quite a few of them... came courtesy of this nifty cannon Smarticus built. It's meant to go with Cliff's Pinzgauer, which he drives in numerous parades with other members of his military vehicle club. The cannon is based on a single-shot rifle, and the ammo is courtesy of a bunch of empty plastic prescription bottles. (Unfortunately, Smarticus and I have a LOT of them on hand.) The BOOM was very satisfying, and the best-looking smoke was provided by ashes from the fireplace.

Here's another view of the cannon. The guys had a lot of fun test-firing it to see what would work best. Lots of work to go yet to make it aesthetically correct, but I think it'll eventually be a cool tool for various military demo events.

An inside look, for those of you who might be interested. As presently configured, it doesn't function as an actual weapon. Just a fun toy for grown-ups. (The guys even fired some parsnips through it!)

Okay, enough pictures. Now, about that blogfest coming up. It's gonna be held on February first, and it's called Lost and Found, Valentine's Edition. 

It's the brain child of Arlee Bird, who describes it as follows:

Do you remember that special feeling of love found? And who hasn't experienced the emotional experience of love lost? Some of you might have even lost a love only to find that person later for another go around. 

Tell your story about love lost or found in our special Valentine's blogfest. Your post can be a short fiction, an essay, poetry, or even a song-- let your imagination run free. Any genre is fair game, be it romance, historical fiction, memoir, or even science fiction. After all, there are no limitations when it comes to love. 

The fest, which will be co-hosted by Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman, Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey, and Alex Cavanaugh, sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? I've already signed up... how about you? Just click on that handy dandy badge in the sidebar, and it'll whisk you away to more info and a sign-up sheet. Why not go for it??? I'd love to read your story...

And talking about whisking away, I believe it's time for me to whisk away, too. Those Christmas decorations aren't gonna take themselves down...

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Yowza! Yet another year has gone by the wayside, and here we are, starting a new one. But this post ain't gonna be a new one. (Sorry.) Another re-run. Next week... next week... I'll have something new for ya. Maybe...


Thought for the day:  Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.  Oprah Winfrey

Janus  [Wikipedia]
This is the time of year I usually get a little two-faced. Like Janus, I find myself looking both backward and forward each time a new year begins. There's a certain sadness in closing the book on another year. A sense of loss for the people who've passed from our lives, nostalgia for joyous events now over and done with, and perhaps even a touch of regret for decisions made and opportunities missed. But, you know what? It's a BRAND NEW YEAR, people! It's okay to think about the past year, or even about all our past years, but let's not forget to look forward, too. If we spend too much time staring into the rear view mirror, how can we possibly appreciate the wide open road in front of us, and all the beautiful sights along the way?  Sure, we're all a year older, but doggone it, we're STILL Born to Be Wild. (sorta)

Okay, so we're not as young and fresh-faced as we used to be. Big whoop. We all have a brand new, soft-as-a-baby's-butt year ahead of us, and the possibilities are endless. We're all been given a clean slate, and it's up to us to grab the chalk and start scribbling.

I suppose the notion of a clean slate explains the age-old tradition of starting each new year with a long list of resolutions, and a determination to get it right. As Mark Twain said, Now is the time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Do you make resolutions? Not me. The only resolution I make is not to make any resolutions. I mean, why set myself up for failure? This would be me: Dear Lord, so far this year, I've done really well. I haven't overeatensaid anything stupid, forgotten anything important, skipped my daily exercise, or forgotten to floss. I'm very thankful for that, but in a few minutes, I have to actually get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably gonna need a lot of help.

Oscar Wilde said, Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. And, well, golly, I sure don't want to do that, now, do I? Better to make plans or set goals, but for me? Never, never, never call it a resolution.

[Morguefile image]

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.  Bill Vaughn

Whether you consider yourself an optimist or pessimist, 2014 is kaput. It's a clear case of in one year and out the other. Perhaps the champagne bottle is empty, and the candles extinguished, but there will be other bottles, and hope can always light the way, if you let it.

And, you know what? If you think about it, what lies behind us doesn't really matter all that much, and neither does what lies before us. When you get right down to it, the most important thing is what lies within us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! [Morguefile image]

In the new year, may your right hand be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.