Saturday, March 31, 2007

The purring of a pussycat

Listening to Parker purring and feeling the rumble it makes in her body as I scratch her head is a soothing experience for me.

" God made the cat in order that humankind might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger."
Fernand Mery
It doesn't solve my problems -- or anyone else's -- but it sure helps me keep some of life's stresses in check. If you don't have a cat but are feeling a bit stressed, I'm sharing some of Parker's purring with you. She usually finishes our time together by doing "happy feet." Happy feet is when she digs her claws on my chest and stomach like she's kneading dough. Painful at times but pleasant. Hmmmmm. I wonder if that says something about me?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Something funny for your Friday

CONTENT WARNING ... That means you, Mama.

Here is Dane Cook's official site.
Here is Dane Cook on MySpace.

Happy birthday, Natalie

Natalie is celebrating her 35th birthday today (she's at the spa getting a full massage as I type this). At top is a picture of Natalie at 4-months-old with her grandmom. At right is a picture of Natalie taken when she was 5 or 6 from the looks of it. But I'm horrible with ages.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thing-along

This song -- Skateaway -- goes back a couple of decades. Hard to believe it's been that long -- at least for those of us who lived through the 80s and 90s. It's off the Dire Straits album (yes, album) Making Movies that was released in 1980. The video features a girl roller skating and wearing a Sony Walkman. The Walkman was new at the time.

Here is the wikipedia site for Dire Straits.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wayback When-sday

This is a picture of Mama and Daddy getting their picture taken at a dance -- I think a high school prom. Mama is sitting on a porch swing in the picture. I guess the swing was a prop for the pictures of all the couples at the prom.

Here's a video featuring film from a prom from 1953 in Racine, Wisc.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Parker swipes at Toby

Parker the cat was hanging out on top of this box that was delivered today and I was throwing a tennis ball for Toby the Jack Russell. Whenever the ball would go near the box and Toby would go after it, Parker would take swipes at Toby. Luckily Toby has gotten smarter over the past year and is pretty good at avoiding the claws.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Meltdown Monday

I'm going to say the scale says 249 so that makes it an even 25 pounds so far for my Meltdown Monday quest. I'll use the extra half pound the scale seems to show I lost as a head start for this week. The weather is finally starting to warm up so I'm looking forward to more outdoor activity to help in my quest.

The picture beneath the scale is a side-by-side of me from January 1 (on the left) and from today. You can see more open space between my arms and my gut in the one from today and I think my neck looks thinner. The shirt is also looser. I still have plenty of melting to go, but it's nice to see the difference.

My progress:
Weight 01.01.07: 274 pounds
Weight 03.26.07: 249 pounds

Here's what has me moving this morning .....

Connecting words

I wrote the above column in August 1995 while working as a sports reporter and columnist with the Cecil Whig in Elkton, Md. Click on the picture to open it bigger in a new window to read it. I wrote it after going to a sailing regatta in which Special Olympics athletes and their partners competed.

I didn't have a short story to put up right now (sorry Mara), but I'll get around to it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A question for you ...

What are you now? And what would you be if you were something different?
Have you ever thought about it? Are you doing what you want to be doing or is it a job you started and just never stopped doing? Is it something you went to school for and never had the strength to say, "Ef this. I don't really like this even if I spent four (eight) years of my life learning how to do it." I am a news editor for a daily newspaper. Newspapers aren't really your up and coming hot commodity but there are still plenty of people who read daily papers and look at newspaper Web sites.

I always wanted to be a writer and got my start in this business as a reporter and columnist. I loved it, especially the columnist part. I also took pictures, designed pages, edited stories, made "stop the press calls" and made decisions to do Extra Editions. Although I love newspapers, I got into this because when you want to write, there aren't a lot of steady, daily job choices.

For a while, I wrote all the time. But promotions and choices and other promotions left me in the position of a news editor -- a position in which I write very little. I miss it dearly. So.... If I wasn't a news editor, I would be a writer of short stories. Not novels that can take forever to write, rewrite, edit and publish -- not to mention read. But short stories and collections of short stories. I'd breathe in the air of each day and then put it into words for people to taste and feel.

What are you now?
What would you be if you were something different?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Something funny for your Friday

Here's more about Eddie Izzard:
His Web site.
Eddie on Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Car wash

My truck was getting pretty dirty from all the salt put on the roads recently. But the one good thing about working a late shift is not having to wait in line at the car wash. So this is what I did at 2 in the morning today.

Thursday Thing-along

The new song from Feist.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Toby and his tennis balls

I collected all of Toby's tennis balls and put them in a bag and then dumped them on him. He loves tennis balls. I didn't tape it all, but he walked around sniffing each one of them after they stopped moving. He also tried to hold more than one in his mouth. He couldn't do that either.

Wayback When-sday

It's spring today. Swimming pool weather is just around the corner -- sort of. In this picture from June 1970, we have taken a small plastic children's pool and put it close enough to our metal swing set that we could put the end of the slide in the pool. Look at the top of the slide and you'll see the garden hose. Water would come out of the hose and onto the slide and like magic, we had our own backyard water slide. There are probably laws against letting your kids do that now-a-days. Safety, shmafety. Thanks Mama and Daddy for being such cool parents. We all have the scars to prove it :-)

Anyway, Stephen is sitting on the slide, I'm lounging with my feet up and the other three are our new neighbors -- as it says on the back of the picture.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Testing 1, 2, 3

Testing a new flash mp3 player... What do you think about it? (Not the song... I know that's not for everyone.. what do you think about the player?)

Rush was a great "riding around the valley in your car" band in high school. Windows down, tape playing .... It's sort of cool to hear the song Tom Sawyer remixed.

Meltdown Monday

One more pound, but I haven't eaten anything or had any coffee yet this morning. I've usually at least had coffee by now. So this one pound may be sort of cheating. As you could tell in earlier posts, we had snow and ice and cold again. I just can not get motivated to go walking in that stuff. I know it sounds like an excuse not to exercise -- maybe it is a little. So my goal this week is to walk for exercise at least three days. I may have to do it at work on a break, but I have to start doing it.

My progress:
Weight 01.01.07: 274 pounds
Weight 03.19.07: 250 pounds

UPDATED What I'm moving my feet to this morning:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sledding ... well, sort of sledding

This is video of one of my brothers with his son and daughter at my parents house earlier today. We had stopped up to see them, help get the ice off the driveway and eat a free lunch :-)

I kept thinking one of the kids was going to smack the mailbox post and I would get some good accident video. But it never happened. Maybe next time.

Decisions, decisions

I've always been one who thinks long and hard when it comes to life's decisions. Let's be honest. I worry -- a lot. But in doing some research, I found that some people think that when facing tough decisions, thinking too much about the decision is the wrong approach to take.

Anyone ever tried that approach and if so, how'd that work out for you?

This will make you think

Working for a newspaper, I can tell you, what this shows isn't that far from the truth of what could be happening.

A big thanks to Dawn for sending that to me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Slipping and a sliding ...

A storm moved through the region Friday, dumping freezing rain, sleet and snow on the parts of Maryland and Delaware I deal with. The video is of a salt and sand truck doing its work on U.S. 40 in Delaware. The picture is of northbound traffic on the Chesapeake City bridge at a standstill because of an accident on the bridge. The sleet caught the salt trucks off guard. They usually do the bridge early and often. I'd say I sat up there a good 20 minutes or so until they got the wrecked cars out of the way.

Friday, March 16, 2007

'I love Jesus but I drink a little'

A little something funny for your Friday. This woman caller on the Ellen DeGeneres show is hilarious ...

Web site for the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fixing the boat seat

On Monday after my trip to the dentist, I helped one of my brothers remount a padded seat to the gun box on his fishing/hunting boat. A lady he knows (sorry, I don't know her name) reupholstered it for him with some new Gore-Tex camo and a thicker cushion. Here's how the installation job went:

WARNING: If you are an anti-hunting person, don't read these next couple of lines.
The only thing it cost him was a goose from one of his hunts. Since she wanted a whole goose and not just one that had been breasted, he paid someone $4 to pluck it. So for $4 and the cost of one shotgun shell -- he's a good shot -- he got his seat redone.

Wayback When-sday

With the warmer weather and spring training underway, it seemed fitting to post this for today's Wayback When-sday selection. This photo is of the Police Club baseball team my brother Stephen and I played on in Grifton, N.C., in the mid 1970s. I'm the guy kneeling in the center with the goofy hat and goofier checkered pants. If you are looking at me, Stephen is the guy behind me and to the left -- he's standing there with his hands straight at his sides. The field we played on was surrounded by corn and tobacco fields. There was a dirt road that cut from our neighborhood through the fields to the baseball field. Sometimes Mama would take us to practice that way and we'd sit on the flipped down tailgate of the Ford Country Squire station wagon dragging our feet in the dirt and hanging on. While we were riding back there, we'd look for soda bottles and yell for Mama to stop if we saw one. They were worth a nickel each so we'd collect them and when we had enough we returned them to the Piggly Wiggly on Queen Street. Mama would let us keep the money for all the bottles we found. Sometimes we'd use it to buy those wax bottles filled with that sugar gunk.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Older than dirt

Although it's just early in the a.m., it is officially March 13 so I can post this video. Happy 64th birthday Pops. You don't look a day over 67 :-) ..... You know I love you, that's why I kid.

Brandon (my youngest brother) stopped by after I went to the dentist and saw the video I was working on. He decided he wanted to leave Pops a video message also. Here it is for all to see. It's short and sweet.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Shooting rubber bands

Here's a Web site dedicated to shooting rubber bands, including the pistol method in the above video.

Not in a smiling mood right now ...

On my other blog, I had posted about how much I disliked/feared going to the dentist's office. I broke down and went today after a mammoth-sized hole was exposed in a tooth. Apparently part of the filling broke away exposing the decayed part of the tooth and it got worse. You can see the big hole in the second tooth from the right in the x-ray. It's right on top of a nerve and they were wondering how I could be living with the pain. Basically I weighed the pain against the humiliation/fear factor of going to the dentist and decided I could live with the pain. That was until today.

So now I have another appointment to get the tooth you see in the x-ray removed along with the two wisdom teeth on that side of my mouth. The other two wisdom teeth were removed about five years ago.

The dentist and the technician were both really nice and not once made me feel humiliated or ashamed about letting something get that bad. So after I get these teeth removed I will start going to this dentist and let him get me back into decent dental shape. I need to get over this fear of dentists thing.

Meltdown Monday

The meltdown is slow but steady, much as how I walk. It's at a tortoise's pace. But we all know how the tortoise and hare story ended.

Anyway, I lost one pound making the total so far this year 23 pounds.

My progress:
Weight 01.01.07: 274 pounds
Weight 03.12.07: 251 pounds

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sloth hugs for the entire bar the nails

I must share this.... I'm sorry for the cuteness factor ...

This is the comment beneath this video on YouTube. The links are added by me ...

The sloth in this video was orphaned, and is now cared for by the good people at Aviarios del Caribe. For more information, visit adopt a sloth at this site .... This footage was taken while on a country-wide excursion through Costa Rica. Regretfully, this is not my pet sloth and I have no involvement in its upbringing. I'm sure the experienced and knowledgeable staff at A.D.C. will release it back into the wild when it is old and healthy enough to be able to survive on its own.

Sure sign change is in the air

A previous owner of this home -- and there must have been a few in the 158 years since it was built -- must have had a flower bed in a different spot because every year these crocus come up across one section of the yard. It's always nice to see them come up in the midst of the still-brown grass because they are a harbinger of the days to come.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

He's not really a puppy ... but close

Toby playing the part of a calm, model citizen for about 10 seconds.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Funny Friday

UPDATE: IF YOU ARE A KID OR MY MAMA, don't watch this..... This is a new video. YouTube killed the other one.

Just a little something funny for your Friday. Language warning if a kid is near....

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Find more Katt Williams on his MySpace.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thursday Thing-along

A little Corinne Bailey Rae info for you:

Here's her official site.
Here's her MySpace site.
More on this songstress from

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Way Back When-sday

Russell, one of my three younger brothers, celebrated his birthday last Thursday. It was the day after Wayback When-sday so I had to wait until this week to post these. Here are two pictures from his first birthday in 1971. In the photo at top, Russell is in the center, Stephen (another brother) is to the left in the yellow shirt, I'm to the right and at the far right is Robin. Robin lived next door to us in North Carolina. In the small picture, Russell is sitting in the middle opening his presents. In that picture from the left around Russell it's me, Stephen, Mama, Sandee (Robin's sister), and Robin.

Happy Birthday plus six days, Russell. By the way, Billboard's Number One hit on the day you were born was Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A lot of words to ask for a few bucks

I received a packet in the mail yesterday from the Sierra Club. The packet included one of those cool clingy sticker things for the back window of my truck. It's a drawing of the silhouette of a guy backpacking along a trail with mountains in the background. The packet also included some fact sheets about Giant Sequoias and a letter.

Dear Friend,
I write you today with a disturbing update.
Despite being rebuked by the federal courts, the Bush Administration is refusing to back off its plan to log in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. In fact, they are counting on powerful pro-logging allies in Congress to allow logging in the Monument to proceed no matter what the courts say.
blah, blah, blah for four pages
Help the Sierra Club take advantage of changes in Congressional leadership by signing your petitions calling for management of the Monument to be transferred to the National Park Service -- and returning a generous contribution to support the Sierra Club and its work to help protect the Giant Sequoias for the next millennium.
blah, blah, blah for a little bit more

Carl Pope
Executive Director

I'm all up for the tree hugging, but that was way too much to read if you're trying to get me to donate. Tighten it up some and get straight to the point.
Anyway, would it be wrong of me to use the sticker without donating?
But I feel guilty enough about wanting to use the sticker that they may get me as one of their $28 level memberships so I can also get the free expedition pack and bear puppet.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Stop your crying, Jeffrey ...

Something is really messing up my eyes -- especially my left one -- right now. It must be some kind of allergy. I've just washed my face off so hopefully that will help clear things up pretty soon.

For now, I'm dealing with this constant tearing up and itchy redness. And now it's puffing up a bit. Hopefully it will go away soon. It's probably just too much kitty cat scratching at one time.

Bam-ba-lam, she really gets me high

I dislike traffic ... and consequently, avoid Interstate 95 unless I have to use it. I prefer driving on the back roads where billboards are less frequent than farms and houses and 18-wheelers are few and far between. But today I rode with one of my brothers up to our parents' house to get some stuff out of the basement for them. This is part of our trip back from their house. Mainly, the video is an excuse to get the song on this blog. The shaking may make you sick. Consider yourself warned.

Here's a little bit more about Black Betty. It's pretty interesting.

Meltdown Monday

It was another slow week with one pound melting ever so slowly away. That makes for a total of 22 pounds since the first of the year. What's that, like the weight of a 1-year-old kid or so?

Good riddance, Junior. Now it's time to shed your 2-year-old sister.

My progress:
Weight 01.01.07: 274 pounds
Weight 03.05.07: 252 pounds

Someone made me think I have a problem

... That's bull shit -- "cows do too but they don't brag about it"

Anyway .... check this girl in this video out...

Now that is what I call entertainment????

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Drip, drip, dripping of the drink dispenser

We have a potluck dinner every Saturday night at work. Sometimes it's themed, sometimes it isn't. Yesterday, Karen brought in this drink dispenser that has ice in a tube in the middle and the drink is all around it. It wasn't exactly like this one, but this gives you an idea what I'm talking about. Anyway, she poured root beer in it for making root beer floats for dessert. Well, it leaked. A non-stop drip, drip, drip. This is 15 minutes of dripping taken down to 3:03.

Drip ... drip ... drip ... drip ... drip ... drip ... drip.

Watch as the dripped root beer spreads across the paper towel and the darker wet section of the towel grows larger, spreading out toward the edges. It's mesmerizing.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Morning has broken ...

It's 6:30 in the morning. The sun is coming up and there are birds chirping outside the window to my left shoulder. The dog is snoring behind me in his chair. Maybelline, the calico kitty, is walking back and forth at my feet, brushing against my legs and purring softly. And me ... I'm smiling at them all as I bask in the glory of the sounds of contentment around me.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Remember the Titans

Not much time to do anything right now. Here's something for your Friday ....

It's a good movie if you want to see the whole thing.

Thursday, March 1, 2007