Sunday, December 29, 2019

Why is Santa so damn jolly? Because he knows where all the naughty girls live!

Tis the Season and all that.  Every time I hear about a little man in a Pointy Red Hat, I have to think about one of Santa's Elves.

In this little story about a little man in a little hat, if he is indeed one of Santa's Helpers, he got lost.

The little man in the hat.

There was the short man, about 2-3 ft tall, who had a tall pointy red hat and a big white beard. He would walk around subways and metros and find those people who sit on the ground play music for money.

This man would go up to them and start to stomp and clap a beat for them. Most of the time the musicians would enjoy and encourage the assistance.

One day when this man was off doing his thing, a talent agent who happened to be commuting through the same metro station heard this man’s percussive assistance and had a brilliant idea.

The talent agent realized that his clients, as good as they were with singing lacked a steady rhythm. So the talent agent decided to try to hire this man who had a gift for rhythm.

The agent approached the little man and asked him, “ Hello sir, I represent a certain talent agency that works with famous singers, and I couldn’t stop my self from hearing your rhythmical talents. I was wondering if you would want to come and work for me assisting famous singers maintain a solid beat?”

The little man replies with delight, “Boy, I’d love too!”

The agent says, “Great! What’s your name, I’ll start the paper work as soon as I can and get in touch with you.”

The little man says, “they call me the metro-gnome”.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

I called the tinnitus helpline today. It didn't stop ringing!

Then again, if you were what they called "An Aspirin Baby" your ears would be ringing too.

Lets see, Tylenol simply doesn't work (for me).
Aspirin has my ears ringing.

Got a headache?  Heck let's have a beer.  Beer is proof that God Loves Us and Wants to Keep Us Happy.


An engineer, a psychologist, and a theologian were hunting in the wilderness of northern Canada.

Suddenly, the temperature dropped and a furious snowstorm was upon them. They came across an isolated cabin, far removed from any town. The hunters had heard that the locals in the area were quite hospitable, so they knocked on the door to ask permission to rest.

No one answered their knocks, but they discovered the cabin was unlocked and they entered. It was a simple place ... 2 rooms with a minimum of furniture and household equipment. Nothing was unusual about the cabin except the stove. It was large, potbellied, and made of cast-iron. What was strange about it was its location ... it was suspended in midair by wires attached to the ceiling beams.

"Fascinating," said the psychologist. "It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated this stove so that he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to the womb."

"Nonsense!" replied the engineer. "The man is practicing the laws of thermodynamics. By elevating his stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin."

"With all due respect," interrupted the theologian, "I'm sure that hanging his stove from the ceiling has religious meaning. Fire LIFTED UP has been a religious symbol for centuries." The three debated the point for several hours without resolving the issue.

When the trapper finally returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung his heavy potbellied stove from the ceiling. His answer was succinct. "Had plenty of wire, not much stove pipe."

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays Where Ever You Are

It's still early, you really can have a good holiday.

Choose one, pick a tradition, it doesn't even have to be your own.  Then make it your own and enjoy it.

In my case, we're going to cook Boeuf Borguignon in the Instant Pot.  We'll have it for lunch and enjoy the company here even if it just talking to the dog and going outside later to get complained at by the Blue Jays that have come down from Up North for the winter.

Now, if you are a good cook and are a little confused about cooking Haute French Cuisine in a pressure cooker, consider that every recipe is a tradition.  It's a set of instructions that are handed down through the ages to perform an act and receive a result.  Traditions do change but are meant to be adapted to the way you live today.

Since we were gifted the Instant Pot and are taking to it very well, we have decided to adapt that recipe to our own tradition. 

Julia Child did that when she simplified and popularized the recipe. 

After all, isn't that exactly what you do with your own holiday traditions?

Heck we didn't even put up lights or a tree this year. 

The lights because we got the house painted and the hooks STILL aren't up.  The tree because the table has four pounds of soap curing. Plus I felt all Meh about a table top tree.

Oh the batteries are charged for the lights on the table top tree but ... well you get the picture.  I even charged them via the Solar Charger so it would be carbon neutral as a point of pride.

So have a happy holiday, what ever holiday and which ever tradition you choose.  I'm going to sip coffee until the house wakes up, then try not to get involved. 

You know, too many cooks spoil the Adapted French Cuisine, and all that!

That picture?  Seen it before did you?  Then you're paying attention.  It's my tradition.  I rather like the picture so I tend to reuse it when I can.  As in once a year.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The nice about putting a strangler behind bars. Is that afterwards everyone can breathe a little bit easier.

One side effect of learning Spanish is that I have found myself wanting to use different syntax and Spanish words in English sentences.

My heart goes out to those learning English because it is a true mutt of a language with influences from many others and has not been "normalized" as much.

So anyone getting confused with linguistics, this one is for us!

Shavers only

A man (from Kentucky) has just checked into his ensuite hotel room and is admiring the view of New York City from his window.

He walks into the bathroom and washes his hands. He then sees a sign which reads "shavers only".

He frowns, curses and then looks at himself in the mirror.

He promptly opens one of the bathroom drawers, finds disposable razors and begins shaving off his entire beard (took him 5 years to grow) and shaves off all his chest and leg hair.

He shakes his head, miserable and depressed.

Later on, he is leaving his hotel to go sightseeing when the man at the check-in desk waves at him with raised eyebrows.

"Hello sir, I hope your room is fine? I see you've shaved your beard. You look very different!" The front desk assistant exclaims.

The gruff Kentuckian shakes his head sadly and replies "Yeah, I'm not one to break the law. Never been to New York before, guess they have different laws here. Would have appreciated it if someone had at least told me first."

The front desk assistant frowns, saying "What do you mean, sir? I'm not sure I understand you..."

The Kentuckian stares back. "Only shavers allowed in that room, huh? Would have liked to have been informed prior to check-in."

The front desk assistant's frown deepens and then realization creeps in.

He roars in laughter, "Sir, you mean that sign in the bathroom?! That's for the SOCKET!!!"

Saturday, December 21, 2019

How did the dentist suddenly become a brain surgeon? A slip of the hand.

A Morbid Subject for a story but I do wish I had this one in October.

A man dies of a heart attack at 62 years old.

His widowed wife, after days of mourning, has to arrange the funeral service. She goes to the morgue and makes arrangements. During the detailing, she explains his last few wishes.

"He always told me, if he dies without disfigurement, he would like an open casket funeral so he would be remembered for his bravery. He also always stressed that he would like to be buried in his favorite blue suit. Unfortunately, he ripped his blue suit just a month ago, and tossed it out. He was furious. Is there an option for you to provide a blue suit? I'll pay whatever the cost."

The morgue employees, with these last wishes, prepared for the service, and it was held on schedule, open casket, the deceased in a strapping blue suit. Great service, very emotional.

Once it was over, the wife goes back and thanks them all profusely, and asks to personally thank the man who got his amazing blue suit. The man comes to the lobby, the wife is so grateful to him, and asks him the cost of the suit.

"Funny story!" Said the man, "As luck would have it, on the day I was scheduled to buy a suit, a different deceased man was taken here, and he was wearing a brand new blue suit! I was amazed, he was the same size measurements and everything! No tears or stains! I double checked, and HIS family did not care for it. They said 'keep it.'"

"Oh..." Said the woman uncomfortably, "So... you switched the suit over to my husband?"

"No!" He exclaimed, feeling very clever, "I switched the heads!"

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Water Roux Or How Wallpaper Paste Can Help Your Bread Baking

This really is a very easy process. 

Since I am not doing a video here, but text, I am going into deep detail.  I'm probably overdoing it, and once you do this once, you will remember it forever.

Besides, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to video and a bit camera shy so lets dive into text!

Perhaps it's a bit silly to call the result of this "wallpaper paste" but it's the result of an Asian technique for pre-baking some of your flour to get it to retain water. 

Flour and Water in the right proportion can stick paper to the wall, make papier mache, and will make your breads and pastries wonderful!

There are various names for the process:  Water Roux, Tangzhong, and others.  The process locks up extra water in the dough, gelatinizes it, and gives extra lift to the breads.

When that is used in baking, it allows your breads to rise taller, last longer, and the resulting loaves are softer and more tender.  I did not notice a difference in the taste however the texture was definitely changed.   Until you get the hang of this, you are going to be more hands on and manual than usual.

Intrigued?  I was, and I tried it.  The best hint I can give you about this is to take your time while mixing.

I can't say about the longer life because the rolls I made today were the first using this process.  Allow things to "come together" on their own until you get used to the new proportions.

I can say that they were interesting and I certainly will do this again.  Obviously there are times where this process is inappropriate.  For Bagels this would be wrong because you want them to be chewy.

The resulting dough from this process is soft and pliable so it's best for sandwich rolls and I can see it in pastries as well.  Burger Rolls definitely will be improved by this.

I am using this recipe for the bread dough, Pat's Pizza Dough.  I have been using it for years, decades really.  I know what the rolls and dough should be like so I was able to tell right off that this technique has its place.

First, that specific recipe uses 10 ounces water, 3 cups of flour.  Since you are going to pre-cook part of that, keep those numbers in mind as you will adjust your normal recipe downward for this process.

Second, of those three cups of flour, you will want to reserve a quarter cup of it.  The Water Roux process absolutely changes the texture of your dough.  Since the dough is changing, you will have to add in either more water at the end. 

If you overshoot and end up with a dough that isn't smooth and silky, adjust as needed.

Third, to make the paste:
  • In a small mixing bowl, I took all 10 ounces of the water from the recipe and added in 2 ounces of flour.  
  • I then whisked the flour into the water for 5 minutes by hand.
  • Then warm the flour to 140F/60C (in the microwave) in bursts.
  • Whisk that mixture again until smooth.  You will notice a thicker "gel" forming in the bottom of your mixing bowl.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to 105F/40C or cooler before making your dough.  After all, you want to give your Yeast a chance to thrive!

Fourth, Make your dough.  Add your salt, sugar, yeast, oil.  Mix the roux into the flour slowly, watching how the dough comes together.

Overview: What you just did was to release the proteins in the two ounces of flour.  Those proteins bound to the water in the mix.  Now you really don't have 10 ounces of water any longer since some of it is bound up, you now have to add back an appropriate amount.

What is appropriate?

For the Pat's Pizza Dough Recipe, I added in an extra ounce of water to a total of 11 ounces.  For our Metric Audience, each ounce is two tablespoons or 28.3 mL.  283 mL originally plus another 28 mL or so.

Its an adjustment not a whole re-do of things.

The dough is in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, and it was now too "wet".  Adding in one tablespoon of the reserved flour "tightened" the mix back up to where I could make rolls and allow it to rise and bake.

The dough was silky smooth and very easy to work with.  The usual recipe tends to be on the sticky side and a bit rubbery due to my all purpose flour. 

You will want to take your time with this process.

What happens is that while baking some of that "extra" water gets released in the form of steam and your dough gets taller.  It acts as Leavening to make for a lighter and more fluffy roll.

At least that was what I found.  Those rolls were sliced open, and had with some tuna salad.  Quite good!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Mountain ranges aren't just funny, They're hill areas

I need a raise.

Employee: Excuse me sir, may I talk to you?

Boss: Sure, come on in. What can I do for you?

Employee: Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this prestigious firm for over ten years.

Boss: Yes.

Employee: I won't beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first.

Boss: A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time.

Employee: I understand your position, and I know that the current economic down turn has had a negative impact on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro- activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade.

Boss: Taking into account these factors, and considering I don't want to start a brain drain, I'm willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound?

Employee: Great! It's a deal! Thank you, sir!

Boss: Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you?

Employee: Oh, the Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company and the Mortgage Company!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

You know what really grinds my gears? Insufficient lubrication.

I suppose this could be a joke about a dentist.  Unfortunately they are a rather difficult bunch to joke about. 

As usual, it ends up being about something else.

A man phones a dental clinic to inquire about the price of removing a tooth

"Hello. How much is it to get a tooth removed", asks the man

"That'll be $700, it includes anesthetic, tooth extraction by myself, and assistance from a nurse", replies the dentist

"That's a bit much for me, how much if the nurse extracts it?"

"Well I guess we could do that, it might not be as painless if I did it, but we'll do that for $500"

"Hmmm...", thinks the man. "Still a bit high, what if we didn't have any anesthetic?"

"That would be highly unusual and very painful, but I could do that for $300", explains the dentist

"I don't know, I'm not made of money. Could your receptionist tie a string around the tooth and yank it as hard as they can, how much for that?"

"This is extremely uncommon, but I suppose we could that for $100"

"Great!", the man says excitedly. "I'll book an appointment for my wife for next Tuesday please".

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. 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.


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 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
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 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.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Where did the mango go? I don't know, the mango goes where the mangoes

Mmm Mangoes!  As I looked over my shoulder and out back and looked at the tree that I 'hacked back' three weeks ago.

It did help.  Now it's growing crazy.  Hopefully that will translate into more fruit, that's a really sweet tree!

A young man decides to move out of the country. He has a problem though, because his cat is left with no one to care for it, and his mother, old and frail, cannot even take care of herself.

He decides to leave it in the hands of his neighbor, an old woman. He thanks her for taking responsibility and leaves.

One week later he calls.

“Hi, how are you doing?” He asks.
“Fine thank you.” She responds.

“How’s the cat?”
“Oh, he fell off the roof and died.” She deadpans.

The man is extremely irritated, and says “Just like that? After I groomed him, fed him, and took care of him for 6 years? Now I call you and you tell me just like that?” She shrugs.

“At least make it slower, one day tell me he is on the roof, the next day tell me he fell off, the next day tell me his is injured, and the day after that that he is dead. Pacing woman!”

Sighing deeply, he asks slowly “how is my mother?”
“On the roof, she responds.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The road to inner peace begins with three words: NOT MY PROBLEM.

A young cowboy from Montana goes off to college.

Half way through the semester, having foolishly squandered all his money .... he calls home.

"Dad," he says, "You won't believe what modern education is developing! They actually have a program here in University that will teach our dog, Ole' Blue how to talk!"
"That's amazing," his Dad says. "How do I get Ole' Blue in that program?"

"Just send him down here with $1,000" the young cowboy says "and I'll get him in the course."
So, his father sends the dog and $1,000.

About two-thirds of the way through the semester, the money again runs out. The boy calls home.

"So how's Ole' Blue doing son?" his father asks.
"Awesome, Dad, he's talking up a storm," he says, "but you just won't believe this -- they've had such good results they have started to teach the animals how to read!"
"Read!?" says his father, "No kidding! How do we get Blue in that program?"

"Just send $2,500, I'll get him in the class." The money promptly arrives. But the young lad has a problem. At the end of the year, his father will find out the dog can neither talk, nor read.

So he shoots the dog.

When he arrives home at the end of the year, his father is all excited.
"Where's Ole' Blue? I just can't wait to see him read something and talk!"
"Dad," the boy says, "I have some grim news. Yesterday morning, just before we left to drive home, Ole' Blue was in the living room, kicked back in the recliner, reading the Wall Street Journal, like he usually does".

"Then Ole' Blue turned to me and asked, so, is your daddy still messing around with that little redhead who lives down the street?"
The father went white and exclaimed, "I hope you shot that lying son of a bitch before he talks to your Mother!"
"That's my boy!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wilton Manors At Sunrise

I have to admit, I really do like walking through this town before sunrise.

The time is quiet.  I-95 is only barely audible.  The trains aren't necessarily here and if they are here, I can pretend they aren't.

When I am not talking to Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM), on a day like this with almost no breezes, all I am hearing are our footsteps and the ringing in my ears.

Thanks, Mom, all that aspirin you fed me left me a present.

I get to stargaze, and while I am looking up at the skies, sometimes I get to indulge myself.  This morning, since I am still trying to adjust to the time change to standard time, I lay in bed an extra half hour or so.  When I do finally get out there, the skies were no longer completely dark.  More of a purple.

Stepping outside, I let Rack walk to the front of the property so he could water His Rock.  I almost always look up and noticed that there were enough clouds out there to make things interesting.  Not quite yet, but later.

Rounding the block, Rack told me that he wanted a Short Walk by herding me one way.  A mere four tenths of a mile today.  Even though I have to break him of that habit, I could use the time to do other things.

We went down a residential street that had a good view of the skies toward the beach.

That is a good view once I stopped looking at what Rack was sniffing at.  I never did figure that out. 

The skies were getting brighter and the sun was rising above the Bahamas at this point.  They really aren't that far away from me.  When that happens, we get the undersides of our clouds lit up by the distant orange rays that are just beginning to peak up over the horizon.

Or so I tell myself.

Walking around the block I hear the neighbor ask "What-cha lookin' at?"
"It's a really pretty sunrise.  I'll have to try to get a good picture of it!"

I may have ringing in my ears, but I have a very stable hand when it comes to photography.

"Good luck to you!  I have pools to take care of!"  As he went off looking for his pool scoop for the back of his pickup truck.

I walked down the block with my neck craned over my shoulder saying to nobody in particular "Yep!  I'm going to get that picture".

I got a wag out of Rack for that.  He does that often.  Good, I have an excuse for talking and I'm not really talking to myself.

With light breezes and a pleasant temperature, this is why people live here.

It's also why the Snowbirds come down here and drive stupidly on my roads.  Since it is currently snowing in the big cities up North like Philadelphia and will be in Boston, I'm thinking that the airplanes will be all full up very shortly.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

What happened to the frogs car? It got toad!

A young man decides to move out of the country. He has a problem though, because his cat is left with no one to care for it, and his mother, old and frail, cannot even take care of herself. He decides to leave it in the hands of his neighbor, an old woman. He thanks her for taking responsibility and leaves.

One week later he calls.

“Hi, how are you doing?” He asks.
“Fine thank you.” She responds.

“How’s the cat?”
“Oh, he fell off the roof and died.” She deadpans.

The man is extremely irritated, and says “Just like that? After I groomed him, fed him, and took care of him for 6 years? Now I call you and you tell me just like that?”
She shrugs.

“At least make it slower, one day tell me he is on the roof, the next day tell me he fell off, the next day tell me his is injured, and the day after that that he is dead. Pacing woman!”

Sighing deeply, he asks slowly “how is my mother?”
“On the roof, she responds.”

Saturday, November 9, 2019

How do you turn a stew into gold? Add 24 carrots.

Funny thing about weekend mornings.  Sometimes I have projects to do and sometimes I end up cooking.  Some of the recipes end up here on the blog because I like to share.

Today, I've got to get up and make some dog food.  I don't think my dog shares.

On the other hand people have been sharing one-liners with me, and I have so many in my jokes file that I will share them with you.

I guarantee they taste better than dog food!

  • We'll we'll we'll...  If it isn't autocorrect!
  • Well well well...  If it isn't my 3 favorite places to get water!
  • What's so bad about stalking?  How else do we get corn?
  • Two goldfish are in a tank and one says to the other: “How do you drive this thing?”
  • Why can’t a T-Rex clap?  Because they’re dead.
  • Two bodybuilders walk into a bar.  "Ouch," says the bar.
  • I use Occam's razor to shave with.  It's really the simplest solution.
  • My landscape gardener says he can’t help me.  It seems my garden is in portrait.
  • My friend thought that an onion is the only food that can make you cry... So I threw a coconut at his head
  • It's easy being a humorist when you've got the whole government working for you.
  • What’s the bets part about time travel?  No overdue library books.
  • Did you hear about the fly that entered a cow's ear and ended up in the milk pail the next morning?  It went into one ear and out the udder.
  • What do you call a problematic person with a gun?  A troubleshooter.
  • What's the most expensive hotel in the world?  An American hospital.
  • Teaching babies to walk is hard but you just gotta take in one step at a time.

And one bonus longer one

A 90 year old farmer goes to the banker for a loan to buy land.

The banker has some concerns due to the old codgers age.
"What happens if you die before the loan is paid off?" The banker asks.
"I'll send you a check from heavan, because God would want all my obligations taken care of," The old farmer answered.
"But what if you go the other direction?" the banker queried.
"Then I'll deliver it to you in person."

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Butterfly At The Pool

The thing about gardening is that you have a lot of visitors. 

Through the years, I've been visited by various reptiles, more lizards than I can count, insects, and other neighbors.

Both two and four legged.

This morning, going out to inspect my nursery pots and see how my bougainvillea cuttings are doing, I noticed that there were literally dozens of monarch butterfly caterpillars happily eating my milkweed down to pegs. 

As a gardener it is at once frustrating and pleasurable.  I would love some seeds from those milkweeds, but courtesy of a neighbor and friend here, I have a cage that I could put the plants inside so they would go to seed.

As one who enjoys nature, that is why I plant the milkweed.  It's there so the butterflies come to my yard.   It is a rare day that I don't see a number of those Monarchs on the wing, floating around, coming to a landing somewhere.

To paraphrase:  If I build it, they will come.

Home (plate) I guess is in my backyard.

I don't wander around aimlessly back there, there's a purpose.  Usually I'm being herded back to the back door by my boy Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM) after only a few minutes, so standing at the back door and taking one last look means I am trying to think if there is anything that needs to be cared for.

I let him back inside because I realized I needed to deal with a visitor.   This Butterfly was perched, resting, on my sad little Hibiscus that so often is ravaged by Iguanas. 

Yes, we have herds of those beasts running around.  The Iguanas turn the neighborhood into something reminiscent of Jurassic Park, and usually result in my thinking "I hope there will be a solid cold snap this winter".

Their muscles can't function below 45F, and if it gets into the 30s it will kill them.


But this Butterfly seemed to be enjoying the rest and watching me go about my own stupidity. 

Good.   They're welcome here.    One of at least five different daily visitor species here. 

If you're seeing Butterflies in the yard and want more, the next step is to leave a little fruit out there for them to find.  The Fairchild Gardens in South Miami does exactly that in their butterfly house.  A little banana or orange goes a long way to help these beautiful creatures survive.

As for the Iguanas?  I hear they're good in a Curry Sauce.  Chicken of the Trees!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Did you set your clocks back?

It's that time again.  Here in Los Estados Unidos, we are setting our clocks back an hour in
an effort to "save" daylight.

I am not fond of it.  

Neither is my dog, Rack.

Personally I don't care if it is 5AM when I get up, or 6AM.  I get up when I get up.

Here in Florida, they were going to make Daylight Savings Time permanent.  It was one of those non partisan things that the people in Tallahassee could decide on.  But with the gridlock that they have had in Washington since the Clinton Administration, nothing has happened about it.  It needs to be passed by the Federal Government apparently.

I think they're preoccupied with getting some other trash taken out right now.

Regardless, I get up about the same time every day, gather myself and the dog up, and go for a mile walk before sunrise and will continue to do so.

See, there's a lot of oddballs out there at that hour, along with the "early" dog walkers. 

I have a nice conversation with the dog.  He does talk back, or at least responds with a hearty tail wag.  I have a Dog Directed wander around my block, or my neighborhood.  Do a little window shopping, and then come home for dog food, coffee, and breakfast.

I will say if they could Set It And Forget It, that would be great.   Make up your mind and set things right.

Won't matter though.  Rack will be hungry at 5pm, er make that 4pm.  I'll have to feed him when his time comes, regardless.

It's like snipping an inch off a belt and attaching it to the other end and thinking you've saved something.

It also means that I have thirty clocks in this little 1200 sq foot (110 sq meter) house to set. 

I'm not obsessively buying clocks, I simply don't throw something out when it works. It takes decades for a clock to break and time pieces are a great "Guy Gift".

I have one sitting on top of a shelf in my bathroom that was a give away back around 1984.  Chaz it says on the face.  Chaz was a brand of cologne that was mass marketed as a push to sell women's cologne to men in the US.  It didn't last all that long.

Reminds me, hey you get off my lawn, it's too early for that!

Way too many clocks in this house.  Now I need to set some clocks, if you'll excuse me...

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Bread is like the sun... It rises in the yeast and sets in the waist.

Speaking of bread, you can rise dough in a couple hours.  Make the dough in the morning, have pizza for lunch or make rolls.  Enjoy. 

Lately I keep reading about a Long Rise Fermentation in the refrigerator for more complex flavor.

Since bread is kind of an obsession here, I'll let you know how that all goes.

On the other hand, all that has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than the topic.  Here's a story on a completely different subject.

There was once an island kingdom whose people were all fabulously wealthy.

Even though they could have afforded to live anywhere they wanted, tradition dictated they stay on their tiny island home.

Eventually, their king became frustrated and called a meeting of the tribe's elders.

He said he wanted them to figure out a way he could enjoy his wealth, and stay within traditional guidelines.

After much consideration, the elders suggested he build a magnificent throne.

When he objected there was not enough room in his hut for a throne, the elders suggested he call in an engineer to solve the problem.

Soon, the king's tiny hut was rigged with an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys.

He could lower the huge throne for use during the day, and at night, he could haul the throne up, and lower his bed.

This was truly the best of both worlds for the king.

Unfortunately, after a few months of constant use, the ropes frayed, and one night, the throne slipped and came crashing down on the king, killing him.

The wise men of the island recognized a lesson in this experience and added to the lore of their people this statement: "People who live in grass houses should not stow thrones."

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Lowering the Mango Tree

Some of us can't get near the fruit, or they hate it.

I'm over the moon with it. I can't really get enough mangoes.

I even have a tree in the backyard.  Therein lies the problem.  You see, Mango Trees can get insanely big.  In South Florida they can get to 40 or 50 feet tall.

Lets call that 17 meters for the imperially impaired.

There is one that big just a short walk from my front door.

So unless you want fruit that is upwards of two pounds or a Kilo falling from 50 feet onto your head, or breaking glass in your car, you want to lower the things.

I've been telling people this for years.  Don't let it grow up, make it grow out.

Yes, I am turning my mango into a bonsai.  Not one of those little trees in a pot, but a tree that could be huge is going to be cut back to about six feet.

It's a manageable height for these things.

I know it is something that works because I did a test cut a month back and I am trying hard not to allow myself to finish the job.

I had gone out there and found that my tree was almost 20 feet tall and growing out of control.   About the time I took cuttings from the Bougainvillea, I walked to the Mango with saw in hand and lowered the tree on one side by about a person in height.  It also got narrowed to about 10 feet.

How do I know it worked?  Simply because the plant told me. 

I didn't do a simple beheading of the tree, I cut back long arms to the core.

One month later, everywhere I cut, the tree put out lots of little branches like fingers.   I stopped where I did with the tree because I was afraid it would pout and not put out more fruit for next year.  Since flowering and fruiting happens in spring here, I have to wait.

My Theory is that I can gently reduce the height in stages and not shock the plant.

At least it's not a skyscraper any longer.

Motto of this exercise is that if you have a truly tall tree that is getting out of control, take a measured approach and trim it back.  But do so gently, after all you do still want the tree.

I will say mine is vigorously putting out new growth and should be in perfect form for blooming in early spring.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

A man with one leg recently got a job working at a brewery. He was put in charge of the hops.

I guess because it's Sunday and because it has been raining here overnight, this one fits... for me at least.

Jock, the painter, often would thin his paint so it would go further.

So when the Church decided to do some deferred maintenance, Jock was able to put in the low bid, and got the job.
As always, he thinned his paint way down with turpentine.

One day while he was up on the scaffolding -- the job almost finished -- he heard a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened.

The downpour washed the thinned paint off the church and knocked Jock off his scaffold and onto the lawn among the gravestones and puddles of thinned and worthless paint.

Jock knew this was a warning from the Almighty, so he got on his knees and cried: “Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?”

And from the thunder, a mighty voice: “REPAINT! REPAINT! AND THIN NO MORE!”

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cop: How high are you? No officer, it's: Hi, How are you

I just picture this next story as a plot point from the TV show Letterkenny.  Jared Keeto's character Wayne would stand up and have this distinctive and frankly odd stance when he does.  I don't get it but I don't think we're meant to.

A man walks into a bar feeling gloomy walks into a bar

"What's wrong John?" asks the bartender, standing with his legs apart and hands on his hips.

John says, "It's the wife. I feel like she doesn't love me anymore. Our love life feels dull and the sex has become routine."

The bartender starts stroking his chin, legs apart, with one hand on his hip. "Hmmm. Well,I've never had a problem with the ladies. In the years of my happy marriage, distance has always made the heart grow fonder."

John looks at the bartender with a spark in his eye. Without saying a word, he rushes home to his wife. There, she is reading a book in the bedroom, when John bolts in, posing just as the bartender was: legs apart, with his hands on his hips.

In a felt swoop, he rips the clothes off his wife and proceeds to make love to her through the night.

After what seems like hours, she turns to John. Still trying to catch her breath, she asks him what changed.

John gets up, stands with his legs apart and puts his hands on his hips. "It's this stance", he says.

"What about this stance, John?".

He lifts one hand and starts stroking his chin, legs apart and with one hand on his hip.

"This stance makes the heart grow fonder."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Propagating Bougainvillea is Easy

The first time I propagated bougainvillea, i used what my family "on the farm" would call "Involuntary Propagation".

There was a pot with a little pine bark mulch in the bottom, and a little soil.  It sat under the bougainvillea arbor that I have behind the house.  I came through one day and trimmed it back and a small bit fell in the pot.

I didn't see or ignored the clipping instead of throwing it out.

Months later when I went to use the pot, I pulled the clipping out and it had begun to grow roots.

Bougainvillea is an amazing looking plant but it has thorns all over it.  Whenever I work with it, I end up having arms that look like I was trying to give a pill to a cat.  Shredded.

But it is one of the reasons why I bought the house.  Standing at the front window, you can see through the house to the arbor in the back, and when it is in bloom, it is a wall of flowers.

It also has a very thin bark that scratches off with a thumbnail to show a little green underneath.

Many plants down here are like that, and it is pretty easy to find a plant that I can propagate easily with better than 50% success.

With the bougainvillea, you will want to find a piece with green growth at the end and some leaf buds on it.

Cut the stem, and trim it to a 45 degree angle to make it easier to stick in the soil.

Treat the cut end generously with rooting hormone.

Push the stem into wet soil deep enough to allow the cutting to stand more or less upright.  Larger stems will need more support and will need to go deeper.

Once in soil, water generously until it is obvious that you have new growth and roots developing.  It can be as long as 3 to 6 months before the new plant can go into the ground, so be patient.

In one case I have seen new growth in about two weeks once all the old leaves had fallen to the ground.

Finally, the plant does not seem to care whether it is getting started in a pot or directly in the ground.  I have cuttings starting in both the soil and in pots on my irrigation lines.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

I can eat sugar with either hand. I'm ambidextrose!

I have a triple play today.  A Three-Fer of strangeness.  A couple dad jokes for you to smile at, hopefully for your day today.

I just ordered a Chinese takeaway from a local place just been to pick it up and as i was driving home, I heard the bags rustling and moving!!!

I thought what the hell is that? Has something got in the bag?

I thought I could see a little pair of eyes peering out I was driving so I leaned forward, picked up the bag, put it on the passenger seat and there it was again, more rustling and little eyes looking out behind the prawn crackers, I thought its got to be a rat or a mouse or something, so I carefully pulled the bag down ...

And there it was ... ... A Peeking Duck!!!

My teacher said that unison isn't a proper word.
That's ridiculous, she should know a unison is one buffalo standing by itself.
If there are 2 buffaloes then it's bison.

And finally...

Taking a day off

Two factory workers are talking.
The woman says, "I can make the boss give me the day off."
The man replies, "And how would you do that?"
The woman says, "Just wait and see." She then hangs upside-down from the ceiling.
The boss comes in and says, "What are you doing?"
The woman replies, "I'm a light bulb."
The boss then says, "You've been working so much that you've gone crazy. I think you need to take the day off."
The man starts to follow her and the boss says, "Where are you going?"
The man says, "I'm going home, too. I can't work in the dark."

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Wanna hear a roof joke? Alright, the first one's on the house.


The easiest rule of thumb is to plant what your neighbors have in their yards.  Since you want something to look distinctive, and not copy cat, go a block away and see if you can figure out what they have.

Then when you get home, and have all your precious cuttings in hand, make sure that they aren't invasive.  I found out that some of the plants that propagate so well are deemed invasive by the different groups here in South Florida.

Won't stop me though, I have pots of the stuff in my backyard that are "shovel ready" to go in the yard.


Or you could easily take this old gentleman's idea to heart and plant a forest instead.

There was an old man who lived by a forest

As he grew older and older, he started losing his hair, until one day, on his deathbed, he was completely bald. That day, he called his children to a meeting.

He said, "Look at my hair. It used to be so magnificent, but it's completely gone now. My hair can't be saved. But look outside at the forest. It's such a lovely forest with so many trees, but sooner or later they'll all be cut down and this forest will look as bald as my hair."

"What I want you to do," the man continued, "is, every time a tree is cut down or dies, plant a new one in my memory. Tell your descendants to do the same. It shall be our family's duty to keep this forest strong."

So they did. Each time the forest lost a tree, the children replanted one, and so did their children, and their children after them. And for centuries, the forest remained as lush and pretty as it once was, all because of one man and his re-seeding heirline.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Say Something Sunrise

Ironically this was one of my earlier wake up calls.

Not the morning in the picture, but today, when I am writing this blather.

More than two hours before sunrise, I was up walking around this same spot, a little more than two years later and thought to look East towards the sunrise.

Except it won't be there for a while.

Coming home to sit in the dark house, I'm going about procrastinating everything that I needed to do and did "other things" instead. 

Looking out the back window from my Poang Chair, through the bougainvillea, I saw the same colors starting to show in the eastern skies.  Orange tints began to appear, painting the large banana tree leaves under my mango tree back there. 

After all, I'm in South Florida.  I think it's a state requirement that you have at least one fruit tree on your property and since I know how to propagate plants, I have too many.  Too many banana trees is not really a problem, but the mango can get massive.

My mango looks like it has been mistreated lately, I hacked it down from 15 feet to a more manageable ten.  If you "lower" the top of the tree, you will end up with a skeletal look, but the plant is quite forgiving.  It's putting out tiny little chartreuse leaves from the trunk just below where I butchered the plant.

That's my yard, too many fruit trees in pots.  So many that when I look at it from "space", I can see the trees around the pool.

But that picture.  I was standing at NE 7th Avenue and Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, Florida.  Looking east towards the ocean two miles away and the approaching sunrise there was a sign flashing.

See Something
Say Something

I did see something.  A beautiful sunrise.  It was all for my benefit, at some level.  The city has not awakened on that day, June 24, 2017, at 6:14.  The warning sign kept repeating its mantra, and I stood there, my faithful sidekick, Rack the SuperDog (TM) looking towards the sunrise and up at my face.

"Isn't it beautiful, boy?  It's our privilege to be up this early and see the city like this!"

I got a wag or five out of him and he went back to looking at it.

"Well, lets go home, the house should be waking up soon."

Rack stood up and began walking across the street in the general direction towards our house, tail wagging and leading the way.

Beautiful mornings should be shared.  My dog seemed to enjoy it too. 

Now, two years later, I'm sharing it with you.

Get out of bed early once in a while, go have a look.  You never know what you'll find.