Saturday, May 31, 2014


Every year about this time when testosterone is on the rampage with the local Canada Goose population, one of them manages to perch on the roof of my hopper, bird feeder.  I need to train it to go to the local ATM machine then stop by the grain elevator to replenish my supply of bird seed.

I have either two, three or four families of geese with chicks now polluting my pond and surrounding area with copious quantities of their--to speak politely--manure.  My nesting pair on the island incubated a family of 5 and the other pairs are noisy trespassers. 

I've counted 18 chicks and have seen 10 adults here at one time.

Good grief!  It tempts me to put a sign along the road saying "Coyotes Welcome".

Of course, that would make my friend Nancy think unkindly of me.

She's the lady who frowns at the thought of someone swatting a pesky fly.

*            *            *

Then there is this stray critter shown stalking across my upper deck.  From my vantage point I couldn't see what had attracted it's attention but I doubted the outcome would be pleasant.

I called Sue and told her I had a cat for her.  Free!

Even though she shivers in shopper's ecstasy at the mere thought of a bargain her sputtering was unintelligible at the temerity of my offer.  She is waiting on her newly purchased kitten to graduate from maternity care at the Rag Doll Cattery up the road a ways.

That little critter cost the equivalent of 1 and 1/2 Glocks. 

Hard for me to understand her rejection of my whoppingly generous offer.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Have you looked closely at the size of a "half gallon" ice cream container recently?

Yup, with just a casual glance it appears normal but it certainly is not.  It's shrinking; first recently to 1.7 quarts and often now to 1.5 quarts.

Do these marketing gurus think they are fooling the public with their shenanigans?

If they leave the price the same and shrink the product 25% in size that's a whopping increase in their profit while they spew the usual line about holding their retail prices in check to benefit the consumer.

Yeah, right!

Next they will come out with a giant, economy-size package of a full half gallon with only a "slight" increase in price while the corporate big-shot, bean counters chuckle behind the boardroom doors about how easy it is to to dupe the hapless consumers.

A couple of my favorite candy bars were Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patties.  Today's versions are dwarfs at best.  You could wrap the York product in aluminum foil and pass it off as one of those silly dollar coins.

Here's one I'm really keeping my eyes on.  Compare the width of your toilet paper roll to the width of your bathroom fixture in which it rotates.  Around Fogeyland it appears the roll has shrunk easily 1/2 inch, maybe more.

I'll leave it to your imagination what could result if this shrinkage is carried to its potential extreme.

In the interest of good journalism--at least today's version--I did a small marketing survey.  I asked Sue if she could think of any product that has NOT undergone this shrinking process.

After a thoughtful moment she concluded, "Nope."

And, so it goes.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The cruise ship's atrium elevators (right) were like an arterial highway, whizzing between the vessel's 10 decks, 24 hours per day. Other elevators were scattered through the ship.

This photo and those that follow didn't make the first cut but have something to offer as this story of our recent cruise concludes.

Our cabin was on the second of those ten decks and this passageway appeared to continue to infinity.  It traveled a similar distance in the opposite direction, and, there was an identical passageway on the port side of the vessel as well.

The topmost public deck was the center of nearly constant daylight activity for the passengers with either boisterous tendencies (below) or those just seeking serious exposure to the sub-tropical sun.

It took two decks for formal dining activities and still required appointed seating in either of the two dinner schedules to handle those of the nearly 2,800 passengers who preferred this level of elegance. Once the question of timing was settled, passengers were assigned a table where each evening meal was enjoyed.

Here's a view of our modest and modestly priced cabin.  We booked this cruise just a week or so prior to the departure date and were rewarded with a price of just over $300 each for this 4 night/5 day cruise.  That's for sumptuous food, quarters, international travel, and all manner of entertainment--truly one of life's bargains.

I liked the Grouper photo which led the segment on Atlantis but this pal of his in that attraction's huge aquarium was a close second.

Other vessels were a common sight in these busy sea lanes off the southeast coast of Florida.  It is a nautical thoroughfare serving ships originating in the south of Florida as well as all over the Caribbean enroute Europe, northern Africa and who knows where else.

I liked the geometry of this tightly cropped piece of the ship's grand atrium and enjoyed the passage of the silken sea reflected in the lower pane.  I squeezed the aperture to its smallest size and did this exposure for 4 seconds.  Squishing the camera against a support kept the structure in sharp focus but allowed the sea to flow smoothly by.

No matter how many times I wandered by the stern's superstructure, the sight of Old Glory stirred patriotic feelings in this brief experience of pampered life on the high seas.  Long may she wave!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


The captain prepares to introduce his staff followed by a moving presentation of flags representing the countries of the officers and crew. The captain is Canadian.

The ship:  Enchantment of the Seas,  Royal Caribbean International
Port Canaveral, FL - Nassau, Bahamas, April 7-11, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


We joke about it; Sue enjoying spending the kid's inheritance.  Here she is crossing a floor showcase of "gold" artifacts in an entrance to our cruise ship's casino.

And here at another time in the same playground:

And here headed for the Atlantis emporium of similar purpose:

And me after a prolonged tour of duty as a spectator:

Without the benefit of specific accounting it appears the house wins more than the customer.  However, the "kid's" might take comfort in the fact their inheritance is likely not damaged much more than the cost of a dinner in one of those fancy eateries where it is impossible to read the menu.

Damn the torpedoes my dear.  You've earned it.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Delightful creatures such as this critter welcomed us to our cruise ship cabin each evening--compliments of our attendant.  This fellow reminded me of the "See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil" monkeys that brought lasting humor to my youth.

No one appears to know for sure why these sculptures began to appear aboard cruise ships but the origin appears to be traceable to the Carnival Cruise Line folks.

This fellow (right) made a haunting appearance in our cabin for our first experience.  Reminded me of an orangutan hanging from a tree branch.

They are constructed with cabin towels and wash cloths.  Our delightful attendant and new friend, Pedro told us he does about 18 variations of this art form.

Occasionally he does a 17 day cruise, somewhere in the world, so, of course, he needs a different one for each of those evenings.

By the way, these folks work 7 months straight, 10 hours a day until they are granted 2 months to go home.

Then, the cycle repeats itself.

I shuddered as I pondered his story but he quickly pointed out it was a far better life than he could hope to achieve in his native Philippines.