Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Propagating Bougainvillea - Two Months Later

It may sound strange to you if you live in an area where the temperatures are closer to freezing, or below, instead of being a Beach Day in the middle of December, but I did manage to catch the season right for planting.

In October.

When I went to propagate the Bougainvillea, it was because the vines were being eaten away by Subterranean Termites.

We get those termites here in South Florida, and protecting things here requires creating a toxic soup barrier around your house.

I expect that the Bougainvillea arbor that is the "mother plant" is just outside of the Toxic Soup Zone.

These vines are as thick as my thighs in some places, and I have very large thighs as I am an inline skater who considers a 2200 calorie workout "light".  But these vines were also eaten to the point where I may lose the plant in a year or so.

They wobble freely on their roots.

I trimmed off random sections of the older growth to start new plants.

Half of them began putting out tiny leaves, the others sat there looking like dead sticks.

Since this is my life, weirdness ensued.

The ones with the tiny leaves either died or went dormant.   I will leave these alone in my highly watered propagation pots.

However the ones with no growth on them began to sprout leaves and some are already blooming.  On a two month old cutting.  In a pot.

I find it strange too.

My expected date of planting is the first day of Spring, March 21.  It is currently (looks at my watch) December 10th.

So I have more time to grow.

The Sticks not withstanding, are fine.  The ones that have gone "dormant" or have died will
have until March to make up their flowery mind whether to live or to be turned into mulch.

In the interim I have high hopes for some cuttings that I made from the mother plants that were new growth.   Yes, in December, these things are putting out new shoots. 

They are in the "nursery pots" and are not drying up like some of the other cuttings have been, so who knows.

I'm also nursing 55 Rosemary cuttings and none of them have decided to curl up and die yet.  We will be using them for ground cover.  Ground cover you can use to make a pizza or spaghetti sauce.

March, being three months away, gives me time to obsess and wait to see what survives.

All that Rosemary came from what a good friend of mine in Atlanta described as "One of those sad little xmas trees that they try to guilt you into buying at the supermarket".

I've been told that I truly need to stop doing this though.  I'm seriously running out of space.  Just this morning, I snipped what I thought was a twig.  Finger thickness branch was cut off the salmon bougainvillea.

By the time I got that "twig" to the ground, it had pulled off two other "twigs" with it and was
over six feet long.  Two meters of nasty bitey thorn filled branches.

If I get any spare bougainvillea I'll let people know.  FOB My Front Porch.  I never have any luck giving anything away but I will make the offers.

That Gardening Bug.  I guess really it is "Landscaping" because I'm rapidly approaching an industrial scale.  It gets under your skin and makes you feel like you're doing something productive.

Guess what?  You are.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

I was washing a car with a friend until he said “Can you use a sponge?”

This deal with the jokes on the weekend... At least this joke.  It had me laugh out loud, over the noise of the dishwasher. 


I've always liked jokes and comedy.  It was a bone of contention with my mother since in those days we had one big TV and smaller ones in the Bedrooms.  The thing was, it was always better to watch things on the big TV.  So since she wanted to watch her cop dramas, we'd have to "discuss" things and share. 



Remembering those evenings, I think I was being given the benefit of the share more nights than I wasn't.




The police came to my door today and told me that they had to take my dog to court.

At first, I refused, but when they showed me the warrant, I was forced to let them take him.
I couldn't believe it! My precious pit, going to court!

"How long is this going to take?" I asked.

The officer replied, "Well, if he's a good boy, it shouldn't take too long. But if he'd been a good boy in the first place, this conversation wouldn't be happening."

I was still confused. I watched the officer walk back to his car and get in before I found my voice again. I ran to the car and asked the cop, "But what did he do? Why is he being brought into court?"

He looked at me, an uncaring look on his face, as he said, "Unpaid barking tickets."

Saturday, December 7, 2019

I just crossbred a crocodile with a homing pigeon. I guess that will come back to bite me

I have always said "The basis for humor is a hard right turn off of the trail that logic has planned."

There are whole series on American TV that lasted for years where the story line or the jokes were based on that. 

Beverly Hillbillies is a perfect example of this.  It lasted 9 years until the "Rural Purge" by CBS "kicked anything with a tree" off the air. 

CBS Made a huge mistake, it's still being run on syndication to this day, at least here in South Florida.

This little story is a perfect example of that kind of humor so hold onto your shrubbery.



The Jones didn't have any children and decided to use a proxy father to start their family.

On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Jones kissed his wife and said, "I'm off, honey. The man should be here soon."

Half an hour later, a door-to-door baby photographer rang the doorbell with the hopes of making a sale.

"Good morning madam. You don't know me but I've come to....."

"Oh, there's no need to explain. I've been expecting you," Mrs. Jones cut in.

"You have?" the photographer asked. "Well, good! I've made a specialty of babies."

"That's exactly what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat. Just where do we start?" asked a blushing Mrs. Jones.

"You just leave everything to me," he replied. "Usually, I try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. Sometimes the living room floor is fun too; you can really spread out."

"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work for George and me," stated Mrs. Jones.

"Well, madam, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. However, if we try several different positions, and I shoot from five or six angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."

"I certainly hope we can get this over with quickly," gasped Mrs. Jones.

"Madam, in my line of work, a man must take his time. I would love to be in and out in five minutes, but you'd be disappointed with that, I'm sure."

"Don't I know!" exclaimed Mrs. Jones.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus in the downtown area," he proudly declared.

"Oh my word!" Mrs. Jones exclaimed.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well, considering the fact that their mother was so difficult to work with," he said, handing Mrs. Jones the photograph.

"She was difficult?" Mrs. Jones asked.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to Central Park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep, pushing and shoving to get a good look."

"Four and five deep?" asked Mrs. Jones, her eyes the size of saucers.

"Yes," said the photographer. "And for more than three hours too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling. It was very difficult for me to concentrate. Then darkness approached and I began to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just packed it all in."

"You mean they actually chewed on your, umm, equipment?" Mrs. Jones asked.

"That's right. Well madam, if you're ready, I'll set up my tripod so that we can get to work."

"Tripod?" asked a very worried Mrs. Jones.

"Oh yes, I have to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big for me to hold while I'm getting ready for action."

"Madam, madam? Good Lord, she's fainted!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cord Cutting - Over The Air TV Requires A Good Antenna and Research

I was talking with a Neighbor in front of a different neighbor's driveway one dog walk before the sunrise and it turns out we're both working to cut the cable TV expenses out.  Broadcast TV since the conversion to Digital is movie quality and stable.  A Major improvement over the bad old days of square TVs and low resolution unstable and foggy pictures.

I dove into this and found some quirks, some challenges, and ended up going with the flow. 
TVFool.com Plot for Zip Code 33305

Basically if you have a "flat screen" TV that is 20 inches or larger, and it is "recent", you already have most of what you need.

There are always "However"s.  That caught me in the end.

It starts with a TV that has all the hardware I need except an Antenna.

For me, it ends with a geography and geometry lesson.  You just have to research where your transmitters are and if you are shaded by a mountain or a hill, you are stuck.

I even had the antenna, and when I tested it out I got good enough results to try more.  I will keep this simple, and an "Ongoing Discussion" so we can Divide and Conquer.

I had an old square antenna that I got at a computer show, remember those?  It wasn't any big deal but it did have the wires built in and had a handy signal amplifier that actually helped.

Plug that into the back of the TV Set and go into settings and tell it to find all the channels.  I got all the major broadcast networks, including some secondary channels that I actually enjoy.  Old Movies, extra content in Spanish which helps my education efforts, and some things that had me scratching my head dismissively.

Come on, do we really need two copies of everything?  Do we even need "Religious Shouter" TV at all?

The two copies saved me, literally.

Florida is flat as a pancake.  South of the I-4 interstate, it is flatter than Kansas.  There is nothing between me and Titusville High School but some construction and bridges.  That is about 200 miles.

The terrain being that flat is great for Radio and TV since there really isn't anything to stop a signal.

However.

I am sitting between Miami and West Palm Beach.  That means I have both sets of channels split between the two cities.  It isn't on a straight line, so I have choices to make.

I could go with an Omnidirectional antenna since I am only 30 miles to the WFLX West Palm Beach transmitters.  Or I could gang two antennas together and point one there and the other at Miami.

I went Omnidirectional.  It's screwed into a 2x4 in my attic.  I now get Fox 29 in WPB crystal clear, but the closer WSVN in Miami is still fighting me and I won't win that one.

It should have clued me in sooner but I'm stubborn.

I went back to the websites and one of them has access to all the information for the transmitters. 

Here is where the geometry comes in.

WPB is at 350 degrees on the compass.  About 11 o'clock.  30 miles West Northwest.
MIA is west of due south at 203 degrees, about 6:30 o'clock. 14 miles West Southwest.

I couldn't understand why I could get West Palm Beach in Movie Quality when Miami would get blocky and break up if I could get it at all.

It wasn't all Miami channels, looking at the map and the charts it was only the one specific transmitter for me that was unusable. 

On TVFool.com you put in your zip code, or your address, and it will plot on a map where everything is.  There is also long spreadsheet of all of your channels and angles and distances.  That was the proof I needed.

It turns out that when I plot any channels that were out of one specific transmitter, they go
Green Lines Over Downtown FTL from TVFool.com
right through Downtown Fort Lauderdale.  When the transmitters were built "Back In The Day", the dinosaurs roamed the earth in the 1940s, Downtown Fort Lauderdale was just a blip.  Since then there have been high rise apartments, towers of offices, and government buildings built up.  If you look at it from an airplane it forms a wall of buildings that is sprawling east-west along Broward Blvd, east from Andrews.

That's what stopped my signal.  One of those lines that TVFool.com plotted goes right through the Broward County Courthouse that was "recently" built.

It effectively blocks me from watching half of the channels out of Miami.  It's entirely possible that some of the other channels is going through a gap in the buildings.  Some day for a laugh, I'll put my USB TV Stick in the car and drive to the west side and see if I can watch WSVN from the laptop.  I bet I can!

That reminded me of the story of the first Cable TV System where someone stuck an antenna on a mountaintop and ran it down into the valley so that the people there could watch TV.

My mountaintop is Downtown Fort Lauderdale, and I have to be happy with watching West Palm Beach since I am only a little more than two miles North of Downtown.

The moral of this story is that your equipment may be excellent but someone may build a tower between you and your Simpsons reruns.

Since I can't live without The Simpsons, I get my fix out of Channel 29 in West Palm Beach.

We're good.  We get crystal clear tv from there, 30 miles away.  Where when I try to watch Channel 7 or Channel 10, it's impossible.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Why do cows wear bells around their necks? Because their horns don't work!




As someone who does "Board Level Repairs" on electronics, I know to always keep myself grounded, and always keep myself insulated from any risk of electric shock. 

The other week when I was up in my attic installing a TV Antenna so I can get Over The Air TV without a cable, I was a bit uncomfortable.  The place that I stuck my fat head into had conduits on two sides.  Luckily it was all well insulated.



Then again there's always an engineer around to give you plenty of unwanted advice. 



An engineer who having worked for several years, decided that he and his family should have a weekend getaway place.

He searched the surrounding country, and found a lovely spot with frontage on a small river. They built a cabin, and began spending time there every chance they got. The kids loved it, and friends came for the quiet and fishing.

The engineer, however, wanted something unique for his cabin. He had been an award-winning pole vaulter in college. He therefore built a set of poles with a crosspiece, and a mulched run. He bought a new carbon fiber vaulting pole, new shoes, and was set.

He would set off down the run, plant his pole, soar over the crosspiece, and land in the river with a satisfying splash. What a great way to spend a hot afternoon. He tried to teach a few friends to vault, with no success.

He enjoyed his cabin for years, and went out early in the spring one year. It had been a very wet winter, lots of rain afterward. When the family arrived, the river was up and flowing at a good clip, with twice the usual current flowing.

The engineer was determined to enjoy a few vaults into the water, although his wife didn't think it was safe. But he was a good swimmer and proceeded to have a go at it.

His run and jump were flawless, he hit the water in good form, but upon surfacing, he was swept downstream and disappeared. His body was found later that day, tangled in streamside debris.

It was a sad end for the engineer and the family sold the cabin, with no desire to return to the scene of such tragedy.

Our lamented engineer was a civil engineer. Had he consulted one of his electrical engineer brethren, he would have been warned that "It's not vaultage that kills you, it's the current!"

Saturday, November 30, 2019

An old cannibal saying: "The more you eat, the lonelier you get."

I can imagine being alone on an island.  Even one with as many people around you as this town.  On the other hand, having three people with you might be worse.  Just think of it.  Three people sitting there trying to keep each other company and probably getting tired of the same stories and so on.


But when a genie is involved, there's always a chance for some silliness to ensue.


Three guys have been stranded on an island for several years.

One day, they come across a genie bottle. After rubbing it, a genie appears and says he only has three wishes to give, so each of the three guys will only get one wish.

The first guy says, "I really want to get back home, but when I get back home I want to have millions of dollars, live in a big mansion, and have a smoking hot wife."

The Genie says, "Wish granted." And poof, the first guy is instantly sent back home with his new wealth.

The second guy says, "I too really want to get back home, and when I get back home I also want to have millions of dollars, a large mansion, and a smoking hot wife."

The Genie says, "Wish granted." And poof, the second guy is instantly sent back home with his new wealth.

The third guy after seeing his two buddies disappear says to the genie, "Ah man, this island is going to get lonely being here all by myself. I wish my two friends were still here."

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tired of Belly Rubs? Use a Sock on your McNab SuperDog(TM)

Every night it seems to be our routine.

Find some sitcoms after dinner.  There are plenty both on local broadcast TV and on the web.

Wonderfully silly and surreal TV shows about Ditzy Farm Wives with a Pig that is smarter than you are.  Women who once moved to Minneapolis where it was cold and she thought she'd "Keep Better" but now is giving Noo Yawk its "Last Chance".  RCMP Mounties in Chicago with a deaf wolf solving crimes.

Ahh they don't make TV like that now do they?

Sheldon and Leonard or Rachel and Ross aside that is.

Being the tall and Rangy type, my arms and legs go all over the place.  I illegally put my right leg up on the arm of the couch where I have created a divot.  I really shouldn't do that but if I don't Mr Dog can't get back to his corner.

That corner.  It has the foam rubber from an Ikea Poang Chair wrapped in a synthetic
blanket.  It's his bed.  He lays on it, sometimes.  He lays next to it, sometimes.  Other times he melts off the side in some weird origami pattern bent like a sausage and flattened out.

It's the life of having a working dog in a suburban home. 

I don't think I could do this with a pure bred Border Collie.  They're wonderful dogs, but when old Alexander McNab made the breed that I favor, McNab Dog, he bred out the twitchiness and the extreme need to be doing something NOW! at any moment.

While the people on the farms where the McNab was originally created for will scream "He's a Working Dog!  He should be on a FARM", I am proof that one size does not fit all. 

Besides, I am constantly reading about McNabs who decided that life on the farm may be kind of laid back but not for them. 

I swear I'm going to go out to California where these dogs are common, drive around with the roof off my Jeep and if one jumps in for a ride, I won't try too hard to find it's home.

They walk off and find their way to other farms or into homes and these amazingly adaptable creatures do well. 

My own Dog Of A Lifetime has a job.  It's Me.  Living here near the shops and the tourists, he's able to get a lot of mental stimulation that a lifetime of chasing sheep will never give him. 

The only weird affect he seems to be developing is he has chosen guarding as his job.

You see, wherever I am, I must be watched.  If the UPS Truck (or Fed E-Arrow-X) comes by he grumbles.  I'm still trying to teach him that the Postie is our Friend but he's not buying it.

At night when I'm watching Lisa "plug in an 8" and blow out the "electricical", Rack is resting under my hand.  I'm giving him belly rubs with that hand and he's happy.

Dreaming happy dreams where his tail wags, maybe dreaming of running through his wormhole to visit the other realm where Rack is King of the McNabs, or just wandering behind the hedges to have a little peace away from the loud diesel trucks that are servicing the shops.

It's all good, it's all waggable, he's a happy soul that rests next to his job.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

But I do get tired from time to time and have to take my hand back.

That is when we discovered something curious.  I can use a sock.

No, seriously.  If he goes into that trance like state, where he's awake but not really, I can place a sock or two across his belly that is exposed and the weight of the hosiery does just enough.

He thinks I'm still petting the belly that he exposes like a light switch lighting the dark, and I get to shake blood back into my hand and wind my automatic diver's watch a little bit.

Yes, living in Florida with a pool, having a diver's watch is important since you just might get knocked into the pool.  When Rack gets charging around those corners out there, he's been known to fly over the water and into that wormhole where I have been knocked into the deep end once or twice.

Got to work on that there, Cow Dog!

When he finally comes fully aware that he's been duped, we start that cycle again.  Arnold the Pig is grunting on the TV or we're visiting with that Mighty Fine Woman, Kate at the hotel near the tracks.  Rack is guilting me to rub his belly again.

All are happy, all are well in our little land of domesticity.

Would not have it any other way!


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Two antennas were married. The wedding was terrible but, the reception was great.

At home I have a ludicrous amount of projects.  One of those is "cord cutting" - I'm planning on stopping cable soon, so that Antenna in the topic is screwed into a 2x4 up in my attic. 

Yes, folding someone who is arguably the tallest person on the block into an "entry hatch" was comical.

Up there in that small space, I especially enjoyed having some electrical conduit less than a finger length from my own fat head.  But I can watch TV out of West Palm Beach and Miami so it's all worth all that engineering.


Which brings me to this story...



An engineer who having worked for several years, decided that he and his family should have a weekend getaway place.

He searched the surrounding country, and found a lovely spot with frontage on a small river. They built a cabin, and began spending time there every chance they got. The kids loved it, and friends came for the quiet and fishing.

The engineer, however, wanted something unique for his cabin. He had been an award-winning pole vaulter in college. He therefore built a set of poles with a crosspiece, and a mulched run. He bought a new carbon fiber vaulting pole, new shoes, and was set.

He would set off down the run, plant his pole, soar over the crosspiece, and land in the river with a satisfying splash. What a great way to spend a hot afternoon. He tried to teach a few friends to vault, with no success.

He enjoyed his cabin for years, and went out early in the spring one year. It had been a very wet winter, lots of rain afterward. When the family arrived, the river was up and flowing at a good clip, with twice the usual current flowing.

The engineer was determined to enjoy a few vaults into the water, although his wife didn't think it was safe. But he was a good swimmer and proceeded to have a go at it.

His run and jump were flawless, he hit the water in good form, but upon surfacing, he was swept downstream and disappeared. His body was found later that day, tangled in streamside debris.

It was a sad end for the engineer and the family sold the cabin, with no desire to return to the scene of such tragedy.

Our lamented engineer was a civil engineer. Had he consulted one of his electrical engineer brethren, he would have been warned that "It's not vaultage that kills you, it's the current!"

Saturday, November 23, 2019

I attached all my watches together to make a belt. It was a waist of time.


Today it's a Two-Fer.  I have two short stories that made me chuckle again today even though I read them when I formatted them in my little text file I keep here with Jokes.

And of course, I have to share.





It'll grow on you.

One day a man was walking through the woods. He had spent the entire day working hard in order to earn enough money for his wife and children.
He was sore, tired, and most of all he was extremely hungry because he was so focused on working that he didn't even eat lunch.

As the day drug on, he began to feel weak. So much, in fact that he lost all strength and fell to the ground.

It was then and there, beneath the leaves and grass, that this man found a mushroom, and to his delight it was edible!
This mushroom was so delicious and amazing, that it changed this man's whole life. And do you know what that mushroom was?

The Morel of this story!




A little boy gets on the public bus and sits right behind the bus driver.

The boy keeps repeatedly saying," If my mom was a cow and my dad was a bull, I'd be a little calf.…"
"If my mom was a hen and my dad was a chicken, I'd be a little chick.
If my mom was a deer and my dad was a buck, I'd be a little deer.
If my mom was a duck and my dad was a goose, I'd be a little duckling."

The bus annoyed bus driver stops the bus and turns to the boy saying, "What if your mom was a drunk and you dad was a bum?"

The boy responds, "Then I'd be a bus driver."

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Poinsettias Sparking in the Early Sun

If you ever caught the old, I mean 50 year old, TV show called Green Acres, you have an
idea of my back yard.

Mind you I'm not creating a farm on a Park Avenue NYC penthouse with a ditzy blond, I am just doing my planting in my own backyard.

Unlike Oliver Douglas, my own container farm eventually does go into the ground.

All those pots do give me something wholesome to obsess over, and I have been planting things all my life.   The flowers are pleasant to look at, and once in a while I get something to eat out of them.

This particular pot has Poinsettias.   I actually got the plant from a backdoor of a shopping center as they were set by a dumpster so someone else could enjoy them after the holiday season.  This was at least nine years ago that I found them.  Periodically I would take cuttings and stick them in the soil.  They grow well in South Florida and make a showy display of red leaves in Early November for the holidays.

My godmother tells a story how she did something like that after the holidays were done and eventually got a Poinsettia growing into a shrub until some random pests got to it.

That pot also has ended up being a scaled down nursery because it has some of Betty's Vincas and some of the latest obsession, Propagating Bougainvillea.

The Bougainvillea inspection was what drew me to it.

And for the record, after four weeks, I have a couple of viable Bougainvillea plants that are in pots and in the ground already.  Go for it, if you have them, I'm getting better than 2 in 3 cuttings survive.

It was after sunrise but before the sun comes up over the tree line to hit the plants in the yard.  I noticed everything was dusted like it was a coating of sanding sugar on them.  The indirect light was reflecting and sparking at me more than I had expected. 

It made me come back out again about an hour later when the sun did hit them directly and the result was a rather fascinating show.   As you move around I was treated to a series of rainbows, sparkles, and other things that flash in the light. 

I guess it's those "other things" you need to watch out for in life!

A cross between some of those reflective coatings they use in road striping and that sanding sugared surface greeted me.  Luckily that display lasted just long enough to record it.

Once done, I realized that Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) was hovering to go back inside.

There's only so much you can do when you have a wet nose staring back at you to move along.