Saturday, December 31, 2022

The punchline comes first. How do you know that a comedian is a time traveler?

Seemed like the proper one liner to use for the last post of a year.

And speaking of being timely, I was sent this particular little story a bunch of times since Thanksgiving and maybe it's a good time to use this one too.

A burglar breaks into a house. He begins to search the home for valuables when hears a quiet voice say
“Jesus is watching you” he dismisses it as paranoia and carries on with his crime. 

He hears the voice again “Jesus is watching you”.
He’s knows this time it’s not in his head so he looks around the room and sees a parrot in the corner.

He walks over to the parrot and it repeats one more time “Jesus is watching you”.
The burglar says to the parrot. “Is your name Jesus?”
“No it’s Moses” the parrot replied.

The burglar laughs and says “Who names a parrot Moses?” and
the parrot says “The same person who named the Rottweiler Jesus”

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Looking Really Closely At Zinnia With A Macro Lens

You know, being under a cloud deck for a week is really annoying.  It is especially annoying when you are in a place called the Sunshine State but I am certain there are other places that feel the same.

In fact, it’s December 27 as I write this.  It is supposed to be the Dry Season.  I expect no rain for months.   Weather has been somewhat upside down this year so we’ll just ignore all that wet and dry stuff.

I am certain that places in England, Ireland, and the Pacific Northwest are rolling their eyes at this thing I am missing.   Sunshine indeed.

I may even have to put on some sunblock next time I go for a skate this week in the park.  It may be Winter for most, but here, we’ll see the 80s before long.  U have a bunch of rather nice tan lines from my watch, cycle shorts, skating T shirts from last week’s workouts.

Grey skies or not, the color palate here is typically green.  In a State named after Flowers, you have to have a lot of green plants to make the blooms.

I have always grown plants.  They entertain me.   I enjoy watching them grow.  There are pots everywhere on the property under drip-feed irrigation to make it easier and more ecologically friendly to engage in this obsession.   For the most part they are green – Basil for the salad stays green until it goes “to seed” then it puts out tiny flowers of white tinged with lavender.   

That’s one for the future.  My cheap little clip on Macro Zoom lens that magnifies things by about 22 times will help there.  

For now, I have been enjoying my Zinnia.  I have grown these all my life.  When I was a child in New Jersey, I’d harvest the blooms each year and replant in spring.  Here, it has not gotten cold enough for me to worry about them freezing because I am 8 miles (13KM) from the southernmost freeze line in Boca Raton.   Clint Moore Road if you’re keeping a record.

I’m bothered that I am only getting two colors, Brilliant Orange and a Riotous Pink, so I will keep planting them hoping that one or more of the other dozens of colors will leak in.  

I have a bag full of interesting seeds I have collected here and there, and thought that this would be a great time for me to plant them.  I had Mint, Milkweed, Salvia, and yes some more of those Zinnia seeds.  Since I have plenty of seed heads, I can make plenty of flowers.

You know, I have this pot that I started with all those seeds and the only thing I got so far was one single orange Zinnia.  

Yes, they look pretty, but I really did want some Mint Tea when I planted this stuff.

Oh well, back to the seed store in January.  The Peppers did not come up either so I will have to try again!  

Besides, someone gave me as a White Elephant a box that says it’s a Psychedelic Garden.  Root vegetable seeds and pots.  Radishes, Beets, Carrots, Zucchini, and Cucumber I believe.  In Pots.  It seems implausible but let’s see what we get!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy Holidays, Whichever you choose!

Cold Holidays to you too!  I just got back from the first one mile walk with Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) in what passes for the frozen tundra of South Florida.  Sipping over creamed Coffee in the big green rocker watching the palm trees sway in the winds off the ocean here.

So no matter which holiday you celebrate,
Happy Kwanzaa
Happy Hanukkah (Facebook Spelling, I apologize),
Happy Christmas (As the British say),
Or even Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Enjoy your festive season from me shivering in South Florida, to you wherever you are in the world.

I'll recycle that old picture I made up years ago for the link above, I still haven't had my coffee yet!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

What do you call a four man rock group that doesn't sing? Mount Rushmore

So here in the depths of a Bomb Cyclone, where every state in the "Lower 48" has freezing temperatures (not completely uncommon, truth be told) here's a wee little Once Upon A Time kind of Story to warm your heart.

A moral tale

Once upon a time, in the depths of a swamp, there lived a man who had a beautiful daughter that he loved dearly. He knew that she would soon be of marrying age and he was determined to protect her from all suitors who may not be worthy of her hand.

The first suitor to come knocking on the man's door was a young prince, who was known throughout the land for his charm and good looks. However, the man was not fooled by the prince's charms and he knew that the prince was only interested in his daughter for her beauty and not for her heart.

So the man politely but firmly turned the prince away, warning him that the swamp was treacherous and that only a fool would attempt to traverse it. The prince, wisely realizing that he was no match for the swamp and the man's determination, quickly retreated.

Next, a wealthy merchant came along, offering the man a fortune for his daughter's hand in marriage. But the man knew that money could not buy true love and he again turned the merchant away, telling him that the swamp was not for the faint of heart and that only a brave and worthy suitor could hope to reach his daughter.

As the years went by, many more suitors came and went, all of them failing to navigate the swamp and the man's formidable defenses. But finally, a man came along with a large truck equipped with massive tires that could easily navigate the muddy terrain.

This man, however, was not deterred by the hazards of the swamp or the man's fierce protectiveness. He was a foolhardy adventurer and he was determined to win the hand of the man's beautiful daughter.

Despite the man's warnings and obstacles, the foolhardy suitor managed to reach the daughter's side and she, impressed by his bravery and tenacity, fell in love with him.

And so, the man was forced to reluctantly accept the foolhardy suitor as his son-in-law, knowing that he had finally met his match.

The moral of the story? Treads rush in where wise men fear to fool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Macro World of a Wet Backyard Mango Tree

 After a long walk, and a long think, I got home.  I have many long walks, actually four a day minimum, and as a result I am lucky enough to have a lot of time to think.

Truth be told, the mind wanders when I bike or skate since I stopped listening to music when I go forward.  Since I'm typically on a public trail, it is for the best.

I had gotten home thinking about what to write, and frankly most days I sit at a keyboard and a blank screen and unless I prepared something, I "Wing It".

Creativity is that way.  You do your best work when you are allowed to be unconstrained by conventionality.

Getting home just as the 8AM Zone 3 watering happened allowed me to go out and inspect the gardens.  In the middle of the yard there is a Mango Tree that I am very happy to have.  It's its own world and has fed me many times of some wonderful fruit.  Trust me, if you have not had a fresh mango that just has dropped to the ground, you are missing a treat.  That can be said of any fruit you enjoy as well, I am sure.

I got out there and the world was still drying off.  Shades of green sprayed with water tend to take a while to shake things off.  The overnight rains gave everything a good strong soak.  I am still waiting for things to dry enough to go out for a workout as it is.

But under a dark green leaf was an eye looking back at me.  Or so my own eye thought.  It turned out to be a water drop reflecting the scene from behind in miniature.

"I really need my macro lens" I said to Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) and went back into the house to prepare.

Now that macro is not a really good one.  22 times magnification that clips onto the back of a smartphone camera.  But it gave me a view into a world at miniature.  I could see where things were hazy before.

My favored tree was growing happily.  Putting out buds in the December Morning.  I'm thinking it will be an early fruiting season since the big trees nearby already had an inflorescence, but I could be wrong.

Walking around my world in miniature, I wandered into a web.  A Crab Spider.  We have many of these creatures near us here in South Florida.  They are small spiders, about the size of your smallest finger nail.  Multiple colors and really not harmful at all.   They can bite but their fangs are too small to do any damage to you or I.

But they are fascinating to watch if you are willing to take the time and slow down to nature's pace.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

What did one hat say to the other? You stay here, I'll go on a head...

Here's one for the holidays! 

The Angel on the Christmas Tree

Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip. But there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More Stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hid the liquor and there was nothing to drink.

In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from.

Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said: "Where would you like to put this tree Santa?"

And that my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

How do you keep a turkey in suspense? I’ll tell you later.

Three shorter little stories in a row.  Why?  Because I am feeling a little generous!

Mike stopped by the bar and ran into his friend Jack.

"I've been taking evening classes at the university," Mike told Jack, "and I'm learning so much."
"Who is Hobbes? Who is Mill? Who is Bentham?," Mike asked Jack.

Jack replied, "I gotta admit I don't know any of them." "But do you know who Richardson is?" Jack asked Mike.
Despite everything he'd learned in his classes, Mike was stumped and admitted that to Jack.
"Well you should," Jack said. "He's the guy who's been visiting your wife every time you head off to class."

A lawyer was interviewing a doctor about the death of a patient

"When you examined the patient, did you check his pulse?" asked the lawyer.
"I didn't" said the doctor.

"And did you listen for a heartbeat?" said the lawyer.
"No, I did not" the doctor said.

"So in other words" the lawyer said "When you signed the death certificate you had NOT taken adequate steps to confirm he was dead."
"Well, let me put it this way," said the doctor- "At that point, the man's brain was in a jar on my desk. But for all I know I guess he could've been out practicing law somewhere!"

A grandfather and granddaughter were sitting and talking when the young girl asked, "Did God make you, Grandpa?"
"Yes, God made me," the grandfather answered.

A few minutes later, the little girl asked him, "Did God make me too?"
"Yes, He did," the older man answered.

For a few minutes, the little girl seemed to be studying her grandpa, as well as her own reflection in the mirror, while her grandfather wondered what was running through her mind. At last she spoke up.
"You know, Grandpa," she said, "God's doing a lot better job lately."

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

According to Rack the McNab Dog, Every Cyclist is Me

I should not be such a booster of the McNab dog.  Especially in an Internationally read Blog.  However, I'm constantly amazed by my own boy Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).

You see, He's an amazingly intelligent creature.  He just does not get everything right all the time.

In this case, he's decided everyone on a bicycle is me.  Whether it is me or not, it's me.  Until that cyclist gets close enough to disabuse him of that belief, of course.

Once someone was walking Rack because I was training.  I have a very aggressive workout schedule who is not a professional athlete.  I walk average 4 miles a day.  Let's call that 28 miles a week.  Add to that another three cardio workouts, minimum of 1000 calories each.  I say it that way because when my inline skates are broken in, my preferred workouts are upwards of two times 30 miles a workout on skates, another two times 20 miles workout on the Bicycle.

That Bicycle workout is getting longer over the months as well.

All that cardio has a habit of feeding into itself so you truly need to keep all that going.  My "support team" knows that I am much easier to get along with if I am resting up from a workout, so one of the walks will get done by a friend occasionally if I am out carving a groove in the bike lane near my house.

Back and Forth, back and forth, North and South.

I find that while some people would find all this repetitive, I don't.  In fact, I have a habit of zoning out and forgetting that I am actually out there zooming along - at a heart rate average over 155 bpm.   I quoted all of this "biometric stuff" to my doctor when he suggested that I was getting near the age where I would be taking a stress test and he replied "we won't be doing a test, you just gave me the results".  Former (US) football player types make good doctors for sports inclined people.

The first time I had Rack out with my friends, I called to him and rolled to a stop to tell him that he was a Good Boy, of course.  That was all it took and he was imprinted on my bike, and on every other one who rides past.

Watch your neighborhood, you have more cyclists around you than you would expect.  Rack now wags his tail at every one.

I can't bring him along for a run.  My workouts are hovering around 21 miles, at speeds as fast as 24mph, and dogs are decidedly sprinters.  So he gets his four long walks and so do my support people.

Friends don't let Furry Friends stay at home, when everyone needs a walk.

He gets home and watches the door for me to return, but every cyclist he is passed by he expects to be me even when he's ahead of me.

Weird kid, isn't he?

Now the Skating?  I'm out for a couple hours training.  Crazy hours in summer, I have to get there at sunrise so Rack gets walked, and waits at that door until I come home.

There's no way he could handle 30 miles so I get my own time by myself doing my sport.  Those new full ceramic bearings are really sweet, but having Rack at the door, it's sweeter.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Mom is complaining about the cost to pump up her tires at the garage. Well, that's inflation for you!

The moral of this story is No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!



 There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail with illegible addresses…

One day, a letter came addressed in shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about. The letter read:

“Dear God,

I am an 83-year-old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment. Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?

Sincerely, Edna”

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman.

The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends. Christmas came and went. A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God.

All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened. It read:

“Dear God,

How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends about your wonderful gift. By the way, there was $4 missing. I think it might have been those bastards at the post office.

Sincerely, Edna”

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Did you hear about the guy who lost his hearing aid? WHAT?!?!

 Huh?  Sounds like me following someone on a dog walk and trying to continue a conversation!

Sugar tongs

A mother from Brooklyn decides to pop in on her son Michael to see his new Manhattan apartment. When she gets there she's shocked to learn that her son has a female roommate.

Her son assures her that there is nothing going on between him and his roommate, that they have separate bedrooms, that Manhattan apartments are very expensive and that he needed a roommate to afford the place and that Maria was the only one who answered his ad.

The next day Maria said to Michael, "Michael, I can't seem to find my silver sugar tongs. They are a family heirloom. We used them when we served tea to your mother and nobody has been here since. Now, I'm not saying she took them and I'm not saying she didn't, but can you please call her and subtly ask?"

So Michael calls his mother, saying, "Ma, Maria's sugar tongs are missing and you were the only one in the apartment. Now, I'm not saying you did and I'm not saying you didn't, but could you have taken them accidentally?"

The mother replies, "Michael, you're my son and I love you, and I want to believe what you tell me. You say there is nothing going on between you and your roommate. Now, I'm not saying I believe you and I'm not saying that I don't, but if she was sleeping in her own bed you wouldn't be asking me where the sugar tongs are."

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Croton Flower and Propagating Croton

I was talking with a neighbor and got a complement.  "Your yard looks so nice!"

We were talking about placement and variety of plants here, and I said "You know, everything I have a lot of I propagated myself."  After getting a semi-blank stare, "It's all from either seeds or cuttings."

The property was planted well by the prior owner, and we liked what we saw.  So when we settled in, I took the attitude that I would figure out what grows, what works, and what I can make more of.   I have a row of pots in the back by the pool in the sun that has all sorts of cuttings in it.  That row is on "drip feed irrigation" which gets a blast of water for only 10 minutes a day, and it is legal even under water restrictions in South Florida.

All by design.

If you are moving into a place where you can garden on your own and wonder what you can grow, look at your neighbors, and take a general view of what they have.   If you like the stuff, plant it.

When I lived in Horsham, PA, I liked the Rose of Sharon that someone had about a mile away that I saw during my walk, so I grabbed a few seeds.  That Rose of Sharon grew, bloomed, and was planted when I got my own house 10 years later in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA.

Here I did the same thing with all sorts of things.  Dracena, Screw Palms, Mango (of course), and Podocarpus.  Mango from seed, the rest from cuttings.

But everything here was only green with no color.  I introduced that with Croton.  Now if you are above the freeze line, Zone 8 or so, you really only know Croton as a house plant.  It was a house plant that was a plot point in a British Sitcom called the "IT Crowd" where they brought a palm sized plant I would use as a cutting in their dank basement office and then went back to "Switching things on and off again".

Here, it's everywhere.  It grows fairly slowly even under ideal conditions.

To propagate the stuff from cuttings, you take a hand to arm sized piece cut on a bias, remove the lower leaves, dip in rooting hormone, and place in wet soil.  6 weeks later it should be growing.  I get about 90% success rate.

I have two different sets of the stuff growing in the nursery pots right now because I started them on different months.  They will go in the ground a month from now, minimum.

But the strangest thing I have ever seen is a Croton Flower.  They are tiny things, only about the size of a child's smallest fingernail.  Of all things, this is on one of my original plants that I have butchered and am ignoring to let it recover.  It's little more than a stick with a few leaves and must really like where it is at.

Since I am trying to fill in the front gardens with Croton, I harvest the plants, make cuttings and limit myself to when the plants get waist high.  

For now, that seems to be once every two months, but I have time.

Besides, I still have a podocarpus plant that is chest high that needs to go in when one of the existing plants thins out.

I did say our landscapers are overly aggressive around my plants, didn't I?

The bottom line is that if you see something you like, try to propagate it.  When Lisa across the street was fighting off the cancer that eventually took her, she planted a bottle brush tree.  It's supposed to be able to be propagated but I have had no luck. 

I know, if I don't have luck with it, who knows what I am doing wrong.

But I want some cuttings from Her Tree, so I took some seed and dropped it in my pot with the Basil.  I will look after that every time I make pizza.  Just like Lisa looked after everyone else.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

What do bent lines and war torn countries have in common? Crooked Rulers.

 There's just something appropriate there!  Jus' sayin'!

On the other hand, I'm going out to wear some rubber off my tires on the bike in a bit.  Or as I tell people about all three of my sports "I'm in competition with yesterday.  How about you?"

A guy who was born with no arms goes to the doctor one day and the doc says, ‘I have bad news, you are terminally ill and you only have one month left to live.”

The man was a absolutely despondent - but as he walked out of his doctors office, he looked up at the monastery atop the hill near town and thought to himself, I have always wanted to ring the bells in the monastery tower - if I don’t do it now, it will never happen.

So he walks up the path to the monastery and, using his head, ‘knock knock knock’, bangs on the door. A few moments later, a portly monk answers the door and asks how he may be of assistance. The man with no arms explains his plight and asks if there is any way that the monk can help.

The monk pauses, then looks at his watch, looks back at the man - focusing on his lack of arms - and says, ”well, I don’t know how you would do it, but it is almost time to ring the bells so I will give you a shot.”

The man is overwhelmed with joy and can’t stop thanking the monk as the monk leads him to the bell tower, slowly waddling across the yard and up the long spiral staircase to the bell tower. They reach the bell tower with just minutes to spare. The skeptical monk looks at his watch, and when the hour strikes twelves, he says , ‘ tis time to ring the bell, my son’.

Expecting the young man to grab the rope in his teeth in his attempt to ring the bell, the monk is stunned when instead the man leans forward and runs full speed into the bell. And ring the bell the young man did. When he made contact, the bell let out the most glorious ring - a sound so beautiful that the monk was brought to tears. And as the bell rang, it slowly swung backwards from the force of the impact before swinging back. But when it did swing back, it squarely struck the young man, sending him flying out the window and down to the sidewalk just outside of the monastery.

The chubby monk waddled down the stairs as fast as he could - which wasn’t very fast - and when he finally gets around to the side of the monastery where the man had fallen, a passing police officer had already arrived and covered the corpse with a blanket. When he saw the monk running up in a flustered state, he just assumed that the monk knew the victim, so he pulled back the blanket and said, ‘I am sorry to ask this brother, but do you know this man.’

The monk paused for a moment as he looked down at the newly deceased before he said, “Well, I don’t know his name, but his face sure does ring a bell.”

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mafia have boiled a man to death in a industrial pasta cooker. Police are still trying to al dentefy the victim.

I think this line was from Fried Green Tomatoes and came to mind when I read this particular gem but "Intelligence, and Insurance beats Youth and Beauty every time".

An old man calls his son and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. He calls his sister. She says, "Like hell they’re getting divorced!" She calls their father immediately. "You’re not getting divorced! Don't do another thing. The two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper. DO YOU HEAR ME?” She hangs up the phone.

The old man turns to his wife and says, "Okay, they’re both coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares.