Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Haunted House

Pumpkin Carving Ideas

What about this for a carving design?


I'm the Pumpkin Pie King Pied Piper

More Public Art...At Private Expense

Well, the phone call came in here about 11 AM.

I have a 150 pound pumpkin, and now on October 30th I have an audience of 95 kids to watch me carve it into something as yet to be determined.

Anyone got any good Ideas?

Where Do We Go?

And How Many People Do We Have To Slap?

Forget my head exploding...

Forget my head rotating (even at supersonic velocity)...

I'm just turning red in the face and standing up while writing this posting.

Just look at this crap:

ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

"I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

Another Willett parent, Celeste D'Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. "I've witnessed enough near collisions," she said.

Dang it ladies and gentlemen, but I think that, instead of carving my big Pumpkin, I'll just drive up to Massachusetts and drop it on one of the school board member’s feet.

My pumpkin obviously has more brains than all of these Politically Correct Boston liberals.


So Many Lawyers...

So Few Legitimate Torts Little Time…

Would somebody please take a look at this stupid crap this so called “news” story for a moment and explain these peoples' logic to me?

Go ahead and take your time…

I’ve got the rest of my life…

Here’s an excerpt for those of you too lazy to click on the link:

MARION, Ind. - Relatives of a university student misidentified as a classmate who was killed in highway accident have told officials they plan to sue over handling of the crash.

The so-called tort claim on behalf of survivor Whitney Cerak, her parents and sister targets the actions of Grant County Coroner Ron Mowery in identifying four Taylor University students and one employee who were killed in the April 26 crash.

Grant County officials on Monday received the tort claim, a legal step required under state law before a government agency can be sued. The claim argues Mowery was "not properly trained and educated" as a coroner and that he "failed to exercise reasonable care" to avoid the misidentification.

The claim seeks unspecified damages for emotional trauma.

So think about this with me for a minute...someone you love with all of your heart is reported to be killed in a car accident, then two weeks later you find out that they are actually still alive.

What do you do, sue the messenger?

If that were the case, the US Army would have gone out of business in WWI as a result of lawsuits over inaccurate killed/missing in action reports delivered to mothers and wives here stateside.

Two wrongs never make things right, and in this case this lawsuit appears to be totally unwarranted and totally absurd.

That's not to say that there's not a good chance that, given our current legal climate, they might not win a judgment in their favor, but will their windfall be based on additional medical costs caused by the coroner's proported negligence (and there were no costs--the young lady went straight to the hospital from the accident scene...) or our "jackpot mentality" touted by the legions of Tort Lawyers wandering late night TV commercials and printing ads on the back of your local Yellowpage Phone Books.

Some of you may remember the original story about the April 26th crash involving a tractor trailer and a College van, killing five and severely injuring four of the vehicle’s occupants.

The Cerak family’s argument and resulting lawsuit results from the fact that at first they were told that their 19 year old daughter, Whitney Cerak, was killed in the accident, and continued to believe that she was dead for a couple of weeks.

It was actually 22-year-old Laura VanRyn who was the fatally injured victim.

The VanRyn family kept vigil beside Whitney’s bedside for a couple of weeks, only realizing her true identity when she awoke from her coma and was able to speak coherently.

So why aren't the Cerak's suing the VanRyn's also, since they couldn't tell their own mutilated daughter from the Cerak's mutilated daughter?

I also like to point out that a key point of the lawsuit questions the coroner's "handling" of the accident victims.

Let's see here...the dead people were buried, and the live people were sent to the hospital, weren't they?

It's not like that the coroner sent the live girl to the morgue (thereby denying her of emergency medical treatment) or hit her in the head with a hammer to stop her from thrashing around at the accident scene--at least as far as I've heard.

So are the VanRyn's out there somewhere waiting to see the outcome of the Cerak's legal follies, in anticipation of hitting the financial jackpot themselves?

Probably, but maybe not...

My position here is that this family should be content to rejoice that Whitney actually survived her ordeal, then shut up and go sit home and in church with their recently recovered daughter, all the time counting their blessings, rather than hiring a lawyer and suing the county for a coroner’s innocent mistake.

After all, it’s common published knowledge that the girls bore a striking resemblance to each other, and in this day and time of many kids having virtually cavity free teeth, even dental records might not have provided any assistance in the identification process.

I also suspect that some member of the Cerak family was asked to do an initial identification of the body of VanRyn, and there might not have been an autopsy, but the family could possibly share some responsibility for the mistake.

Further, maybe these two young women were in the 2% small minority of young women in the US that don’t have rings and studs protruding from their faces and tattoos covering their breasts and the small of their backs--making the identification process even harder.

Regardless, I think that if anyone should be the target of the lawsuit, it should be the truck driver that caused the accident and possibly the trucking company that operated the equipment.

And in a final moment of political incorrectness, I have to admit that if I were the coroner, I’d be tempted to ask if the Cerak family would drop the lawsuit if I rented a truck and finished what the other driver started.

(OK, I just felt like saying the last paragraph, but I really don't think like that, so don't be e-mailing me with your whiny complaints...)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's The Great Pumpkin

Where's Charlie Brown & Linus When You Need Them?

Late this afternoon I wandered over to Harris Teeter looking for only TWO things--a newspaper and a bag of Sauerkraut to go with my Knockwurst and Bratwurst for dinner tonight.

Fifteen minutes later, I ended up coming home with THIS MONSTROSITY…

That creature would be a 30” diameter PUMPKIN that weighs about 150 pounds.

It took the efforts of myself and two bag boys to load it into the back of my Suburban, and the cargo net, bungee cords, and various blocks and shims were installed to keep it from rolling around in traffic, thereby killing me on my way home from the store.

In the back of my suburban is exactly where it’s going to stay too, at least while I cut a hole in the top of it, scoop out the seeds and extra flesh, then I hope to haul it over to one of the local elementary schools to do a pumpkin carving demonstration.

You see, I like to make my own 3-D patterns and do things that look like this two years ago…

And it looked like this in the dark…

No...that's Herman Munster, not John Kerry... And last year I found a Georgia Tech logo in a little pumpkin:

Unfortunately, today on my way home from the store with my newly purchased vegetable prize I suddenly had the grim realization that most politically correct schools don’t officially do Halloween anymore, so I may just have to lug the darn thing up the stairs and let it sit and rot outside my own front door until the end of the month.

Not to worry, because now I have my friend Keenan, the owner of Ziggy Mahoney's (the most popular dance club here on the island) checking out his kids' private school's interest in having their own Pumpkin carving.

One way or the'll get carved and displayed, and finally I guess I have to ask the obvious question…

“Anyone need a couple dozen Pumpkin Pies?”

Feeling Small? (Part II)

This One's For The Ladies...

Feeling a bit small?

I Do Now...

Ghee Whizz

Should I Buy a Motel 6, Or A Seven-Eleven?

Anybody out there know what “Ghee” is? I’m proud to say that I do now…

“Ghee” is the Indian word for a batch of carefully clarified unsalted butter, and I had no idea until last night what the heck it was myself.

You use it in cooking Indian cuisine, and I used some of my Ghee to make a variation on this version of Chicken & Vegetable Curries.

I lightly steamed some broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and celery, then cubed up some boneless chicken breasts, and cooked up a nice batch of Basmati rice to serve everything with for dinner.

The other fun thing was that I did everything from scratch, including making my own batch of Garam Masala--the spice blend that puts the “Curry flavor” in your Indian Curry.

Garam Masala includes things like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black cumin seeds (shahjeera), dry ginger, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and crushed bay leaves.

Turmeric powder and coconut milk finishes off the sauce and gives it it’s characteristic yellow/green color.

The house still smells fabulous right now.

The only things I didn’t have on hand was the black cardamon and black cumin seeds, but the resulting flavors of my mixture--even without these two items--roasted and pounded by hand to a fine powder in my mortar/pestle, were quite acceptable.

I'm gonna try to find those two additional spices and then I’m going to repeat my efforts again next week while trying my hand at making some Indian parantha flat bread to go with it all.

In the mean time, I have some other meals planned featuring Turkish delicacies and possibly some Egyptian dishes, thereby completing my tour of cooking my way around the Mediterranean --having already completed my French, Italian, Greek, and Moroccan studies earlier this year.

Don't you wish that you were eating dinner at my house these days?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Poetic Justice

Idiots In Traffic--A continuing Theme…

I was a complete bum most of the day today, after spending much of last night working on a couple of proposals for consulting and construction work and my continued efforts to get this new computer formatted and operational.

Then Pat and I did a late afternoon bike ride, covering the six mile round trip from our home on the marsh up to Fort Frederica in less than 40 minutes, but upon our return I was too tired to face an hour or so cooking my planned entree, authentic Chicken Curries.

As a result of my “Chickening out,” I was forced to drive a few miles south to the local deli to pick up a Greek salad and a Sub sandwich. In the process, I once again encountered another ignorant arrogant asshole one of our indigenous resident’s with a severe case of self-importance.

About half way to the Deli, buzzing along at about 36 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, I looked in my rear view mirror and all I saw was a windshield and the top of a hood ornament on a late model white Mercedes coupe.

I didn’t budge a half MPH.

As I neared my destination in the shopping center, I broke one of my cardinal rules and entered the turn lane a bit early--hoping that my co-pilot would simply continue onward at his desired higher rate of speed.

I was WRONG.

Like a member of the Blue Angels stunt team, he hung right there with me a few feet off of my rear bumper, and then made the left turn into the parking lot still “flying in formation.”

What really pissed me off was that his tight formation position caused me to drift past a couple of parking spaces, and only after he dove into one of the spaces which he caused me to miss did I manage to park twenty yards down the lot on the opposite side.

The son of a bitch had the audacity to glare at me as he virtually sprinted in the door of the deli ahead of me, placing his order…fumbling for exact change, then spending the next few minutes hiding behind the potato chip rack, impatiently drumming his fingers on the top of the stainless steel counter.

I, on the other hand, being the laid back, useless beach bum that I am, calmly placed my order and wandered around out front of the shop enjoying the nice cool evening.

When I walked back inside, I arrived just in time to witness my adversary complaining because “I know I forgot to say it…but you guys know I always have whole wheat bread with my chicken salad sandwich…”

Well now...just let me issure a giagantic "Boo hoo HooooooooooOOOO" on his behalf.

Since he was in too much of a hurry to wait another three minutes for the 16 year old kid working the counter to make a replacement sandwich, he simply left the shop in a huff.

So sad....and although he deserved it, I never said a single word to him, but he did see me smirking at his delimma.

I really hope that he perceived the rest of his evening to be as shitty as the fifteen minute portion which I witnessed.

Maybe he even managed to survive the balance of his drive home without having a heart attack...but you never know.

I, personally, refuse to live here on our little Island and be in that much of a hurry and, in spite of idiots like this fellow encountered this afternoon, thus far I think that I’m definitely getting my money’s worth.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Survival Of The Fittest

More Public Stupidity

My regular readers know that two of my favorite reoccurring themes here on this blog are those of driving autos and riding bicycles or walking as a pedestrian on the public streets and in the parking lots here on our little island.

While I’ve previously issued what I think to be the definitive mandate when it comes to traffic safety, after my trip to the grocery store today I believe that a refresher course is in order…

Today I almost killed three people accidentally, and when the two events were over with, after averting disaster caused by their own STUPIDITY, I almost went ahead and killed them anyway just to get them off the streets and out of the food chain.

Be advised that IF I ever manage to strike you with a motor vehicle, that under most circumstances, I will shift into reverse to back over your quivering carcass, thereby finishing the job of ending your miserable life.

Sue me…if you will…

Today’s first circumstance revolved around a family of four riding their shiny bicycles parallel to Frederica Road, the main north/south artery here on our little island. The problem I have with groups of bicyclists is that they seem to act like they are a freight train, connected together at the front and rear bumper of their bikes--if one does something, everybody does it regardless of safety and traffic conditions.

You see, Saint Simons has an extensive network of wide sidewalks which also serve as bike trails, and perhaps as many as one out of ten people here on the island either own or rent a bike to use on a daily basis.

The problem comes when the men and enthusiastic older children ride well ahead of the women and younger child(ren), thereby causing a 100 foot long chain of potential dead humans--all because they don‘t pay attention while crossing intersections on side streets.

Today’s adventure included what appeared to be a mid-teenaged daughter and portly dad, dragging a young boy and middle aged woman along the bike path.

When the SUV two vehicles ahead of me stopped dead on Frederica before turning right onto a side street in order to avoid the daughter/father grouping, instead of stopping, the mother son group just sped up and made six or eight vehicles wait as they caught up to the balance of the biking party.

I was almost rear ended by the car behind me in the process.

Having survived that near disaster unscathed, next came the usual adventure visiting the local grocery store parking lot, a place that twenty years ago I would have already been arrested in for assault because of the stupidity that I have witnessed or otherwise been subjected to over the past 2-½ years.

This portion of my shopping trip was relatively uneventful, the checkout lines were uncluttered, but upon returning to my vehicle everything changed. As I was backing out of my parking space, with at least 50% of the Mustang sticking out into the lane and still rolling backward, some silly bitch drove down the traffic isle--blabbing on a cellphone--and cut off not only my efforts but at least two other autos over the next fifty yards of asphalt.

I call this maneuver “the parking lot slalom course”--and all of you self-important assholes out there that do it know who you are and exactly what I’m talking about.

Stop it, dang it…it pisses me off…and it’s WRONG.

If a car is already rolling backwards and is at least half way out of a parking space, STOP.

At least YIELD.

I swear, if I manage to live into my eighties, I’m going to buy an old Studebaker or possibly a Sherman Tank and I’m going to lurk around parking lots and when I see you exhibit behavior like I saw today, when you come back out of the store with your Brie and Champaign you’re going to find your Escalade or BMW sitting there in the form of about six inches of flattened metal and plastic.

Think about it…and to all of the safe, courteous drivers out there…YOU have a nice day...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rechargable Batteries

I Take Mine For Granted These Days...

Way back about 1980 I was employed by a company that designed and built custom low humidity air handlers and "clean rooms."

Most of our customers at the time were companies involved in the manufacture of Lithium batteries for industry and medical products like pacemakers. Lithium batteries made their public debut by powering the “Lunar Rover” vehicle that the Apollo astronauts drove around in the early 1970’s on the moon.

Some of you might remember that in those days most rechargeable batteries were bulky, cumbersome contraptions that, after sitting attached to the wall outlet charging overnight, would last about fifteen minutes in your “portable power screwdriver“, after which time your “portable power screwdriver” worked better as a hammer--as that was the only way to install screws after the batteries had discharged.

Lithium batteries represented a MAJOR improvement.

Now fast forward to 2006, and most of us take rechargeable batteries for granted. Heck, today I think that most children think that long lasting rechargable batteries grow on trees.

Cell phones, portable phones, laptop computers, digital cameras…you name it, most people have a half dozen sets of rechargeable batteries in their home and/or car at any given moment.

About 2 AM this morning, standing on the cart path adjacent to 18th hole of the Sea Palms Golf Course, I found myself to be in possession of only one set of rechargeable batteries after dismounting from my bicycle.

One tripod, one bicycle, one digital camera, and…


We all missed some awesome images of a spectacular October moonrise over the marsh.