Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I read this book by Michael Crichton years ago and it was a dandy.   Last evening we saw the movie in 3-D, no less.  That was an amazing experience--in spite of having to deal with the cumbersome glasses.  These were a plastic variety; much better than the cardboard ones I remember from many years ago, but I still had to near constantly re-hang them on my regular glasses which was a very annoying problem.

The technology made a spectacular presentation of the awesome special effects used in creating the pre-historic creatures that were central to the show's theme.  The film also was the best I have ever seen in being a faithful presentation of the book's story-line.

One other thing amazed me with this movie experience:  The four of us were the only patrons for this 7 p.m., showing.

I sat there wondering if this was because a couple of cartoon-like movies also were playing in this complex.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

To the victims of the nation's third largest natural disaster

Estimates for the death toll from a 1928 hurricane that ripped south Florida range upwards to 2,300 but nobody, to this day, knows for sure.

Coastal residents from Miami to Palm Beach were somewhat prepared but inland, largely rural, residents around the south shore of Lake Okeechobee were mostly unaware of the approaching disaster.

The storm was carried by 125 mph winds and immeasurable rain which swamped the shallow lake, crumbled it's dikes and flooded swampy farmland for miles.  Homes and people were swept away with the destructive force of a tidal wave.

Countless of the dead were lost forever by burial in the sawgrass muck of the storm's aftermath.

To this day the storm is regarded as the nation's third largest natural disaster.  Only the Johnstown, PA flood of 1889 and the 1900 Galveston hurricane took more lives.

"Ironically, for all its impact and ecological implications, the storm is anonymous -- it has no official name."

We learned of this mostly forgotten disaster while exploring and logging a virtual geocache with its memorial sculpture now located in front of the library in Belle Glade (above).

Our day of exploration involved a recent, vehicular circumnavigation of Lake Okeechobee beginning and ending at the town of that name located on the lake's northern coast.  It also involved finding eight geocaches along the way.

Our second find also involved a virtual cache in the town of Okeechobee; our first view of this huge lake which is about 30 miles across and 110 miles around.  The lake is about 1/2 the size of Rhode Island and second in size only to Lake Michigan of lakes contained totally within the lower 48 US states.

At this cache we posted photos of the near shoreline behind the viewing pier to help the cache owner document the lake's ever changing water level; his and our tiny contribution to the science of the lake.

We trundled south along the west shore and, except for the palm trees, remarked about the similarity of fish camps and cottage areas commonly seen on the shore of Lake Erie.  Our lunch stop occurred in Clewiston; one of the towns devastated in the 1928 hurricane.

Here we enjoyed finding a geocache in the town's chamber of commerce and having a very informative chat on the lake's hydrology; its dike and canal structures with very friendly officials there.

A highlight of our day's adventure was Sue finding her 500th geocache (left).  It was in a small park along the south shore with a display of aging pumping equipment now retired from the duty of helping maintain lake levels.

The dike itself is visible, often stretching to infinity in straight-line precision.  The lake, with a maximum depth of 13 feet can contain a capacity of a trillion gallons of water and is on the north border of the Everglades.  It is the headwaters of that vast swampy area of south Florida.

During our trip we crossed two high-level bridges allowing traffic to cross the inlet and outlet canals that give salt water mariners a very convenient shortcut through south Florida.  It reminded us of an experience of our long-ago and continuing friend from Bellville, Dave Richardson, who has sailed his large, mostly canvas propelled vessel from his home near Port Charlotte to the Atlantic Ocean and on to a prolonged romp in the Bahamas via this canal system.

(His 50 year old craft is yaw rigged with the fitting name of Essay--Dave being a man of letters, of course.  She was born in England but had her final dress fitted in Holland..., her discovery in Texas and recovery by Dave and modest crew all representing material for a future story, I hope.)

Here and there along the perimeter of the lake and its surrounding canal, a system of locks allow local mariners access from the canal to the lake proper.  Fisherman know the lake as "The Big O", a celebrated Largemouth Bass fishery.

Lock-tender Nancy (right) prepares to move a fisherman and his small craft from the lake to the canal (below) as he returns from a day's fishing.  

Sue and I knew our visit to this caching site was going to be fun.  When we were walking toward this resting and reading lady we noticed her deck chair was from the Cleveland Browns.

Turns out both she and Sue were born in Lancaster, OH.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Occasionally the packaging design, corporate whiz-kids come up with a good idea.

That happened recently when the Oreo cookie folks introduced a new package where you simply peal the front open and help yourself to their tasty product.  When you release that flap-like package front it flops back shut, securely, helping retain freshness.

No fuss.  No muss.

No more annoying clips or rubber-band concoctions to achieve what this new design does so creatively.

Thank you Oreo!

*          *          *

Then, there are the whizless-kids at the Orville Redenbacher popcorn palladium.

Their latest effort at a packaging design improvement is called a Pop Up Bowl.  You simply flop this thingy in the microwave, right-side up, of course, and pop it.

The theroy is, I guess, to replace having to use a real bowl and all the imagined fuss that entails.

Their directions tell us to "See it Pop", "Peal Off the Top Film", and "Enjoy Right out of the Bag."


Unless your wait until your popcorn hunger subsides to peal off the top film you likely will be treated to a dose of scalded fingers.  In fact, I've never been able to safely accomplish that task no matter how long I wait.

My technique is to pause after removing their contraption from the microwave, then doing a surgical attack with a long bladed knife to make an incision in that blood red membrane of sufficient size I can--yup, you guessed it--pour the contents into a real bowl.

Good grief.  This design is a prime candidate to prove my often held position that not all progress goes forward. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ahoy from the Pirate ship Calypso 

Read on and you shall know a tale of a modern Treasure Coast skipper who lives the glamorous dream of square rigged ships; of they who raced to the starboard tack with the night's storm winds howling in the lanyards and his aquatic stallion pounding through the wave troughs with a bone in her teeth.

"Somewhere out there, just o're the horizon, no doubt, sails the quarry befittin' me comfortable retirement with her holds stuffed with plundered riches just a-watin for me and the lads to put a 15 pounder across her bow and bring her to a merciless end."

"Well, one can dream can't I?" Cap'n Daniel mused.

That's Pirate captain Daniel Red (above) pondering the 19th century drama on the seas from the comfort of his home in the main cabin of his square rigged sailing ship (above) rather firmly attached to his moorings in Sebastian, FL.

Yup that marvelous replica is his home.  He gets free dock rent and electric and lives on his ship which began Pirate life as a well worn Chris Craft yacht.

Daniel, once a minister who grew weary of tainted church dogma, stripped the old yacht to its bare bones then hand built the superstructure and sail rigging.  Hand built I said!

These days Daniel and friends do a Pirate show every Monday and he rents his ship/home for private parties.  One of them recently involved a wedding aboard where crewmen dueled the groom until he forced his way aboard and into the waiting arms of his about-to-be betrothed.

"We used to do some charters", he said, but the economic reality of spiraling insurance costs and regulatory compliance pretty much put an end to that side of his business.

"Besides it takes about a mile to turn this thing around and on our last voyage we hung up on several sandbars in the shallow and often narrow channel of the intercoastal waterway," he lamented.

Dan also draws maps of the many islands in that nearby waterway then buries "treasure" somewhere on the island selected by his customer who has bought his very "original" map, and with the purchase helps fund Dan's enterprise, and either uses his own vessel or a local charter to reach his island and begin his very own make-believe treasure search.

That's Dan regaling Sue with map stories under the overhang of the foc'sul deck above.  Note the darker green cylinders in the port and starboard foreground.  Those are canons suitable for discouraging unwelcome visitors.

Meanwhile, all the mysterious going's on above and below decks are presided over by the visage of Tinkerbelle hanging from the port yardarm; haunting the vessel day and night with her neck stretched by this glowing gallows rope and slipping noose.

The Calypso is "...anchored down at the carbunculously old Sembler Marina"...behind Squid Lips--a notorious waterin' hole in Sebastian "...so come yee down an' visit anytime."

Should you accept the invitation from the ship's web site, Fogeyisms can assume no responsibility for your safe return.

Just kidding, of course!


Friday, April 19, 2013

and flattered and humbled...

Now in my seventh year of publishing Fogeyisms I just today discovered my provider Google/Blogspot compiles fairly exhaustive readership statistics.

I can hardly believe in the last 30 days the blog has had a readership of 1082 folks--in the US. 

World-wide the stats are: Russia 157, Germany 106, United Kingdom 77, Sweden 51, Romania 53, France 23, Ukraine 23, Hong Kong 20 and Canada 13.

All-time page views total 44,688.


I'm not sure I wanted to know this.  I produce this blog for fun.  It is a nice outlet for what remains of my creative juices in this, my 73rd year of being amazed with life.  Daily.

As I publish these pieces I visualize an audience of my children, assorted relatives and close friends.  I think of my work as somewhat of a journal--a device that saves me from having to write lots of letters.

It never occurred to me you folks would be an audience of this size, and this global in magnitude.

Thank you for riding along.

My appreciation defies description.

Photo by cell phone

We were wrapping up a strenuous 36 holes of miniature golf last night when I was moved to attempt a night photograph with my new cell phone; a Samsung Galaxy S III.
With the flash turned off I held the phone firmly atop a bridge post, composed the shot and gently triggered the shutter icon.  The phone quietly sputtered and buzzed while it figured how to do the somewhat challenging exposure then Click!

I caught up with my foursome of Sue (left, behind the palm frond) who had just aced the hole while our Syracuse friends Dick and Dee prepared their final shots--two more aces.  Stunningly, I managed an ace too.

Turns out the tricky green funnels all shots into the hole as a nifty, public relations treat for the happy customers.

The camera aced its task too.

As far as I know this camera is fully, fully automatic.  Truly a point and shoot.  No boosting the ISO setting to help with the challenging lighting.  No manipulating the shutter speed and aperture to compensate for testy shooting conditions.

Hold it steady, squeeze the trigger and this thing will do its job quite nicely.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Yup, you are seeing what I saw that morning on my way out of the Environmental Learning Center near Wabasso, FL.  It is a Hoover vacuum cleaner hanging on a traffic control sign.  Sue opined it could have fallen off a vehicle and a good Samaritan hung it there, making it easier for searching folks to find.

As good a guess as any--I guess.

Shortly thereafter I was geocaching near this very old cemetery between Wabasso and Sebastian.  It reminded me of those I had seen in New Orleans years ago where the underground water level is so high that full burial of the casket is impossible.

These events were early in the start of my caching day which produced 22 cache finds of the 24 that were on my schedule.

A bit later I was parked in a Sebastian neighborhood and pondering access between private homes to a canal in their rear when I had eye contact with a fellow mowing his yard.  I dislike appearing suspicious while pursuing this delightful activity and we quickly joined in a pleasant conversation.

Turns out he is an unemployed machinist and we soon discovered a mutual penchant for flying.  Whereupon he said, "Want to see the airplane I am building?"  "Where is it," I asked.  "Mostly in my living room," he smiled, pointing toward the house.

Sure enough, we walked into the living room and there was a quite recognizable fuselage with its nose resting in the dining area.  There was a wing over there against a wall and another in the formative stages with rivet clamps everywhere.

Parts of the empennage were in another room and a closet.  Even recognizable parts of the future engine were visible here and there.  He was doing every bit of the work himself--except for two seat cushions which had been expertly sewn by a friend.

"With any luck I'll be flying it this summer," he smiled.

The curiosity must have been obvious in my face.  "I'm not married," he smiled again.

My caching day concluded with a heart-stopping encounter with this small rattlesnake.  I backed carefully on my hands and knees away from its resting place under a local park's wooden boardwalk and was relieved it appeared to accept my retreat graciously.

It was then I noticed a shiny little Bison tube geocache container in the leaves beneath it.  Still, I very carefully prodded this charming rascal with a looong Palmetto branch...and the snake tumbled very stiffly on its side--evidently in a state of permanent rigor-mortise.

I prodded it gently again.  And again; then retrieved the tube, signed the cache's log and silently saluted the owner of this cache for his marvelous creativity as my heartbeat slowly returned to normal. 




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today's standard of excellence is mediocrity

Have you noticed the pathetic marketing gimmick that has been appearing on radio ads these days?

The gimmick where the announcer concludes his pitch by repeating the telephone number, usually three times.

By the time he has reached the third iteration of this jaw-jacking annoyance I have long since forgotten what the heck he was trying to peddle in the first place.

Yup, today's version of creativity sometimes fails to even reach the level of mediocrity.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dick and Dee Weeks and Dee's brother Brad Smart enjoy a mural of fresh water, Largemouth Bass in downtown Lake Placid, FL while Brad's shirt sports another very popular Florida, salt-water game fish.

and Artistic Trash Containers and...,  Lake Placid, Florida

Reader's Digest magazine has named Lake Placid, FL "The most interesting town in America".  It also is famous for its 44 murals painted on downtown buildings in this small town with a population of about 2,000 folks.

In 1995 and '96 it also was recognized as Florida's Outstanding Rural Community.  Nestled in the ridge highlands of south-central Florida it boasts near countless, freshwater lakes known for producing largemouth bass in the 18 inch plus range.  Bass over 9 pounds are not uncommon.

The showcase lake is Istokpoga, spreading across 27,692 acres near downtown. 

Lake Placid also claims the title of the Caladium Capital of the World, has its own clown college and museum, boasts artistic trash containers all over the place and challenges visitors to find clown and bird pictures as they wander about.

In this container (right) visitors place their trash through the driver's door window which swings when pushed.  That also was the location of a geocache I nabbed during my visit.
Artists also hid a variety of things in their paintings--or left some not-so-obvious things out--then challenged visitors to find the objects; a popular activity as tourists strolled the town.

About 1200 local acres are devoted to growing the Caladiums, a plant with colorful leaves, popular for landscaping because it is easy growing, shade loving, has no natural pests and requires no insecticide or fertilizer.

Daisy, the Red Hat clown, is popular as she greets visitors to the town's Chamber of Commerce.  When she winked at me I told her I thought I was falling in love.  She chortled, "Me too"!

Dr. Melvil Dewey, founder of the Dewey Decimal System, developed a club in Lake Placid, NY in 1895.  About 35 years later he discovered a place he thought well-suited for his wealthy NY friends and convinced the Florida legislature to change the name of that little town, Lake Stearns, to Lake Placid in 1927.

An unexpected highlight of the day for me happened during an impromptu visit to the town's newspaper, The Journal, where friendly folks met us on the sidewalk with a free copy of their current issue and the offer of free bottles of water.  A conversation ensued with the paper's veteran editor, Mat Delaney, who then offered me a job if we ever decided to relocate to their very desirable town.  Hmmmm.   

Brad is enjoying original paintings (above) submitted by artists for approval before work on the actual mural began.  The paintings are on display in the chamber's welcome center.  Sister Dee (below) is doing a shot of a clown mural while ever-wandering crowds enjoy yet another mural under a Spanish Moss-festooned oak tree (far below).


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


--or choose not to.

Last I heard the officials who run this mobile home/RV park where we snowbird--and where the above picture was taken--are considering a more robust solution.


Just kidding of course.

But I have heard they are in the market for a camera-equipped robot capable of inserting explosives in the shorts of future offenders.

Maybe I should go to work on such a contraption.

Maybe it could be adapted to capture and treat drivers who habitually run red lights or who regularly commit another felonious driving act; that of never using their turn signals.

Millionaire's row, here I come!

What, you think I am dreaming of a miracle.

I just saw a headline that advised the president of North Korea had regained his sanity.

Now, that would be a miracle.

Happy April Fool's Day!


Guess I am a few days late.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Vero Beach High School Symphonic and Jazz bands present...

...the 20th Annual RED, WHITE AND BLUE CONCERT
Made In America

Nearly 150 young musicians strong filled the school stage to overflowing Sunday and filled their auditorium, already stuffed full of enthusiastic patrons, with the powerful and enduring music of such giants of the industry as John Philip Sousa, John Williams and Glen Miller.

The walls reverberated with two hours of timeless, patriotic compositions including a stunningly moving Symphony No. 1--In Memoriam, Dresden, 1945.  From the program:  "The symphony's four short movements are:

Prologue which established the mood of the impending disaster and presents the thematic material upon which the rest of the piece is based. 

Seeds in the Wind which represents the method of seeding the bomb target with jellied gasoline and incendiaries--the movement portrays the fury of the bombing attack.

Ave Maria reflects upon the religious and artistic heritage of Dresden and becomes a prayer for the victims of the attack, and

Fire Storm which recreates the sounds of the attack and serves as resolution to the tension built up in the three previous movements."

The piece was introduced by a WW II veteran who spoke poignantly about the real meaning of Adolph Hitler and Nazism in that bleak period of our world's history.

An attentive audience and the young musicians listened in pure silence as the old veteran displayed a Nazi flag then left it drop ignominiously to the stage floor.

The arrangement rumbled with artistic, musical passion, then after the audience caught its breath the show rolled into a section of tribute to Glenn Miller with his tunes like Moonlight Serenade and A String of Pearls.

Veterans in the audience were invited to stand to rousing renditions as each of their individual service melodies were presented.

The audience was treated to a sing-along segment of pieces like America the Beautiful and Battle Hymn of the Republic followed by a mournful rendition of Taps then an atmospheric closing jolt with Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever as colorful balloons cascaded from the ceiling with a movingly reappearing American Flag.


Saturday, April 6, 2013


You have to realize my lady Sue loves her arcades and casinos.

You also need to know she is likely to get seasick watching ducks splash around in the local park pond.

That's her in the aqua vest (above) mustering her courage and preparing to board this small ocean liner/casino.

She was well equipped with anti-seasick pills taken precisely as prescribed and fortified by a wrist band offering equal assurance of tummy-comfort while we journeyed somewhat beyond the 3 mile-limit offshore for about 4 hours of feeding money into the ship's uncountable collection of slot machines...

...bracketed by about 1/2 hour of sailing out and back through the terror of waves estimated to be about 6" in height.

This casino cruise launches twice daily out of Port Canaveral, FL just north of Cocoa Beach, the winter home of our retired, square dancing friends Dave and Maryann Lanahan and two friends of theirs, Bob and Sally, also from Ashland and wintering in Cocoa Beach.

This quintet was anxious to find and severely rattle the "Pot of Gold" emblazoned on the line's slick brochure while I was destined to lazy through the day with other non-gaming folks like those shown below loitering on the ship's sunny fantail. 

I was disconcertingly amused to find this sign wrapped in its comforting tropical foliage instructing me where to go in the event of an emergency--especially with lingering memories of the cruise ship that wound up half submerged on its side near that Mediterranean island just a year or so ago--and, of course, with vivid memories of the cruising fiasco recently in the Gulf of Mexico.

I had confidence in our survival given the obvious attention to life saving apparatus aboard our ship.  Even with the unlikely specter of a slow rescue, I probably could swim to shore; maybe even walk a good bit of the way.

Actually the day proceeded quite nicely without embarrassment.  About the most discomforting roll of the ship occurred when we crossed the wave created by a passing kayak.

Occasionally I drifted through the 4 decks of gambling activity.  Flashing lights blistered the visual senses and 100 decibel crashes of sound terrorized my hearing aids as the cacophony of whooping celebrants tried to outdo the whistling jingles of machines announcing the latest winner.

It looked and sounded like a colorful, circus sideshow on steroids.

I even enjoyed the companionship of this passing seagull who swooped down to his perch all the while squawking his hope for a treat while dancing to and fro on this lifesaving device then launching in search of a more promising human when it appeared to him (or her, of course) that I was more interested in conversation than I was equipped with culinary rewards.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Betty Maus, my day's geocaching companion, is dwarfed by this huge Florida cactus plant we found while caching in the D. J. Wilcox preserve north of Ft. Pierce, FL.

Betty, from Tupper Lake, NY, is slightly height challenged but otherwise nothing was done in this photo to change the apparent height of this giant plant.

I suspect it towered above 12 feet and, believe me, a strong sense of self preservation prevented closer examination.

Just before encountering this giant, we met a security officer on the property of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.  He enjoyed learning of our geocaching effort and went on to tell us about sightings earlier that week of wild cats within sight of where we were standing.

He also told of an institute professor who had recently been bitten by a young raccoon on the property.  At the institute, cache site I was visually probing a cavity up on a tree trunk with my flashlight and a mirror--and discovered a small, very bright yellow snake in residence.

I promptly begged its pardon.

Flora and fauna, vastly different from our home-state, Ohio variety, are a very interesting part of the geocaching experience here in sub-tropical Florida.