Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Caturday

Wendell is planning a trip
Click on pic to enlarge

Friday, January 29, 2010

Goodbye Robert and J.D.

For our most favorite person, this has been a bad week, seeing the death of two odd gentlemen.

PAT W. is mourning the passing of two of her "most favorite" writers. J.D. Salinger died at 91, not leaving enough stories.

“I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.”

Robert B. Parker, who has left a ton of books behind, created one of Pat's favorite characters ever in literature, Spenser (with no first name.)

Well, you give me too much credit for foresight and planning. I haven't got a clue what the hell I'm doing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scot Recommends

... some bad news about Manatees


Regular lookers at BIRCHES will know that SPARTY is our friend, one who has a cynical view of the "News" programs these days. I mostly agree with him. Here is his latest thought about how the current information medium, television news, spreads falsehoods:

A couple of items in Eric Alterman's column in the most recent The Nation reinforces my decision to visit the televison news programs only in my weak moments: The most frequent guest on Meet The Press in 2009 was Newt Gingrich, who got away without challenge with "In the Obama administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans" and on ABC's Good Morning America Rudy Giuliani said "We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama," and George Stephanopoulos did not follow-up.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

something skeptical

I plan to watch the State of the Union address tomorrow evening, and hope to hear from Obama something novel and powerful to address the matter of unemployment.

I have to say that I've entered a phase of skepticism about this President. This does not mean I've stopped supporting him. He's the best thing going so far, and I would be very unhappy with his failure. But I am not truly impressed by his performance so far.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Add to your day -- a little Irish

from a long time ago

Black and blue

It's NOT that I don't appreciate comics who "work blue." I shamelessly watch Chris Rock's "specials", and I laugh heartily at Lewis Black even though he assaults my ears with all sorts of swearing just picked from thin air. I have seen some comics on TV -- The Comedy Channel -- who can't get past bowel movements and other seamy subjects that have lost their allure for me.

What I do miss are some of the very clever renderings of old comedians like Jack Benny. In fact, I wish there could be a radio network that at least once a week would carry a full schedule of NEW comedians working clean but clever and adult-like; and they could throw in a good radio mystery, too. Modern technology ought to be able to render some fantastic sound effects.

Anyone agree with me?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

some snapshots

Asleep in the balcony of Church-On-The-Square, the Villages.

From the balcony, at Church-On-The-Square

In line for ice cream at Kilwin's

The Word from Dashmann

Supreme Court rolls back campaign spending limits (AP)*

I think this hurts all of us, no matter which side we are on. If you think Congress is bought off and in the hands of the big corporations now, you ain’t seen nuthin yet !!!

This is our Supreme Court at work !!!

I would like to know what you all think – I am sending this to all my politically interested friends, right left and in the middle. Maybe I am making too much of this -----


This is my Starbucks world in Florida.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Capitalism is not shining

I have heard that lots of groups of people have been organizing to raise money for the Haiti relief effort. Among these are many movie stars who have given millions, individually and collectively, including folks like Madonna, and the Brangelinos, and Clooney. I have heard of communities coming together to hold events that would raise money. Millions of Americans have contributed some amount.

What has happened to American capitalism? I haven't heard that any great corporations or wealthy Wall Street individuals have given anything. Here are people rolling in millions in salaries and bonuses, but not being counted among the generous. Did I just miss it? It reminds me of the Katrina effort. Everyone got into the act of trying to help others except American capitalists who were busy trying to find ways to profit from the calamity.

When it was all over, the critics went back to condemning the government, not because it helped, but because it was not efficient enough in its processes. Now we have this immense socialistic rescue mission in the process of saving lives and bringing help to the needy. Mark my words! Before it's over, the capitalists will be condemning the operation while they sit on their fat asses doing little or nothing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

without further comment

DURHAM, N.C., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Officials at Duke Unvetsity said three members of the North Carolina school's football team are facing felony firearm charges. Duke officials confirmed freshmen players John Drew, Kyle Griswould and Brandon Putnam were charged with felony possession and discharge of a weapon over an incident on campus last weekend, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer said Monday. Police allege the three football players were connected to several gunshots fired near a Duke residence hall early Sunday morning.

Irene fingers fiend

This is Irene's nominee for evil man of the month.
He's Lloyd Blankfein.

Irene says he's really "Bank Fiend!" --- the arrogant, and of course very rich, Chairman of Goldman Sachs.

What has particularly angered her was his testimony last week, in which he refused to accept any blame for Wall Street misdeeds, or welcome any government regulation.

The last line put Irene over the edge:
When asked to elaborate on his statement last year that, ''we
participated in things that were clearly wrong, and we have reasons
to regret'', Mr Blankfein was not inclined to revisit this subject,
except to acknowledge his firm ''contributed to elements of froth in
the market''.

Monday morning.

Most mornings while I'm here in The Villages, I try to get out to the local Starbucks where I can have an overpriced drink of some kind, and answer or send email, update BIRCHES, and read some news --- and other peoples' blogs.

I don't alway get here. But here I am today.

Then there is the people watching aspect of it. Some of these older folks are pretty far-out with their fashions and behaviors. Sitting here today is a lady with an obviously self-made outfit. I curse myself that I forgot my camera. She is wearing blue slacks made out of that heavy material, like drapes, you know. Her jacket matches it, She'[s wearing a hat made out of the same material --- a turban-like affair. AND, on the floor beside here is a bag/purse made out of the same stuff. It's this color:

Last evening, we went over to the Church on the Square and heard a concert by a guy named Cahal Dunne. He says his name translates from the Irish as "Charlie Brown." He is an Irish tenor and plays a piano as well as anyone. We took Liam, of course, as he is so well-behaved in public, and we sat in the balcony where he wouldn't be such a problem if he got restless.

This is Cahal:
Liam danced in the space in front of his seat for awhile, then he climbed into Trase's arms and fell asleep. It was an excellent way to spend two hours.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

a few Liam pictures ...

... for those who know him.

Sunday morning thoughts

Generally, while I'm here in Florida, I get on the computer once a day, if at all. Today, I went out with the skies threatening rain, but in shorts and T-shirt, while the rest of the household is trying to get organized.

I have been happy with some of the things Obama has accomplished and some of his approaches and policies. Not that he calls me and asks what I think, but then, I am a voting American, so that's what I think. Some of the Obama moves have not been pleasing to me. The worst so far was that I suddenly saw George W. Bush on my TV screen, again. Where the hell did he come from to haunt my happy hours? Why, it turns out Obama has resurrected him to help rescue Haiti. This is so idiotic on some many levels that I am speechless, so I write about it instead. My motto here would be to let sleeping bastards lie.

Here in Florida, a deputy sheriff has been shot to death in a face down with a guy with a gun. The man had shot four people earlier, killing two. Motive: "domestic dispute."

We have texted to 90999 to contribute to the Haiti relief effort. I know that hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent by or government in this effort, and since we're taxpayers, we will also give that way. It is our hope that our individual contribution will help make life easier for a couple of people in extreme distress.

I'm always disturbed, but never surprised any more, at the extreme stupid prejudices of many people in my generation , and even more particularly in the generation just before mine. That generation is dying out and let's hope, taking some of the worst unchristian attitudes with them.

There is a mentally retarded man sitting at the table next to me in Starbucks staring at me. I don't blame him. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a bit of sarcasm from Irish Mike

"I am glad Pat Robertson is out there keeping us straight about God's handiwork."

Pat Robertson Haiti Comments Spark Uproar - CBSNews

Controversial Preacher Says Haiti Suffered Earthquake because of `Pact with the Devil`

This would be a perfect place for my scornful laugh, if only I had one! I think Robertson has slipped over the edge into total unreality. (Bud)

Headline of the Day: Seek and ye shall find

Girl Who Lost Leg Returns To Soccer Field

notebook stuff

Here I am sitting at Barnes and Nobel, minding my own business and clacking away on my MacBook, and this gentleman of prodigious girth says to me, "How long have you had that computer?" A few months, say I. "Well, it's gonna be totally obsolete on Jan 27th," he says, "because Apple is coming out with a new notebook, like a scratch pad, that'll blow that thing out of the water."

I'm disconsolate. So, should I go slash my wrists?

To get to Orlando airport by the direct route, I have to stop and pay 6 tolls in and 6 tolls back out. This is $11.00. At one point, there is a construction area with a big sign that says, "Your toll dollars at work." Guess what they're building! New toll booths. This is called toll booth incest: Booths breeding booths.

Some nights here have been so cold that they have canceled the free concerts in the square. BUt, it looks like the cold snap is over. Just in time for the kids to swim while they're here.

I believe that the unhappiest country in the world must be Indonesia. Hardly a week goes by that there is not an earthquake, a ferryboat sinking, a terrorist bombing, a mudslide, a volcano erupting, or some other catastrophe that causes death and misery. After that, it is Haiti. I'm thankful that my country is able to help, because those people are going to need years of it. Even I, cold-hearted and oxen as I am, sympathize with those people.

I miss some of my friends.

at this time

It's Thursday. I jumped on my golf cart, drove over to Barnes and Nobel, hooked up my computer, bought a frappachino, and I'm now in business. The kids are here from Chelsea, equipped with the residue of colds. Liam is as charming as ever, and has made his first airplane flight without a stumble or a fuss. He spent his trip flirting with the women in the seats behind him.

Thursday Smile-Maker


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Here's a weather report for all you who care, and here I mean especially Dashmann who keeps taunting me about the cold spell down here. (When he finds a raw nerve, he keeps on rubbing)

The worst is over. We are slowly proceeding back to normal. It's 60 here now, and yes, I may decide to go swimming in one of these wonderful heated pools --- um, well, any day now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

my stump speech.

I read in this morning's newspaper (right now I'm in a place where the daily newspaper comes out daily) an article about the dangers of going to court these days. This is because in many many places, the security checks are shut down. No one is screening those who come into court because the localities cannot afford the officers to do it.

So, at the very time when the fear of terrorist attack is greatest, we are throwing down our guard.

I can remember some years ago going to the County Clerk's office and having for the first time to pass through the security checkpoint. I was offended. I said, "What does it show about our country when the government has to hide behind armed guards and metal detectors?" No answer! And this was before 9/11.

Well, I doubt whether the guards have ever existed because there is terrorism in the world. They exist because our own citizens, every crazy one, every one with a grievance, everyone who might someday want to shoot daddy, is already armed to the teeth. No court house is safe, no home is safe, no restaurant or theater or sports venue, no car on the highway, no person sitting on their front porch.

A female judge was pictured wearing her black gown and showing her Smith and Wesson which she hides under the bench just in case she has to shoot it out with someone in her courtroom.

This is where our adoration for the Second Amendment has brought us. Nice isn't it?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

a laugh from Alice!

I always keep a cough all winter once I get it. It's one way to irritate everyone around me with out getting arrested. HA. My kind of luck they'll figure out a way to outlaw my kind of cough.

weather report

What a great honor it has been to wake up here in Florida, which is costing us money!, only to discover that sleet has fallen. It can be seen on the roof next door. Now they tell us this is the most prolonged cold spell since the 1980's. What a thrill to be here or this historic event.

Those of you with a pernicious streak are probably chortling over our meteorological misfortune, but this is a simple slight we can afford to ignore, being people of great fortitude and magnanimity. The truth is, you're all worried about the orange and strawberry crops which are at a critical stage of development. So far, there has been little damage because the low temps have been very low for too long. Only around 29-30 degrees. The next two nights are the major worry, so pray for your orange juice and tequila, and hope that Plant City is ahead of the curve!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A poll ---


How many men out there are really upset with Tiger Woods? It's my theory that most men envy him his good fortune. Given the chance ---- ahem!

Answer by the comment method or the email method.
I'm feeling really lonely at Birches these days. I need a more interactive readership.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

NBA Star discriminated against

I don't understand the controversy over Gilbert Arenas.

He's the man who carried his guns into the NBA locker room. The guns evidently got shown around, maybe pointed, maybe used as threats. It's a little hard to figure out what happened when the news has to be strained through sportscasters and other hired mouthpieces whose job it is to deceive and obfuscate.

What's wrong with guns? Yes, I'm serious. Everyone knows that entrepreneurs in America need armed protection. We are talking about people who are among the top 1% in income in this country. They're logical targets of the poor and downtrodden who have to pay $75 or more for a ticket to look at their muscles and observe their massive talent to toss a big ball. These gentlemen go into dangerous places like basketball locker rooms which are peopled by thugs who will, under the best of circumstances, often maim and attack each other even right there on the basketball floor. Imagine what could happen in the confines of showers and lockers where the public eye does not watch. And how many of those people in the stands are armed? I believe statistically we expect about 1/4 of them to be carrying.

How can a basketball player protect himself if he hasn't the ability to shoot it out with some malcontent who doesn't approve of the call, or the foul, or the errant "shot".

But, really, in this case, no one actually got shot. Carrying guns in this country is perfectly legal. Showing them around is perfectly legal. In most cases, firing them is perfectly legal. Al's well that ends well, eh?

And as for the morality of the situation? Hey, Arenas doesn't kill people. He's not a criminal. He's a star. The police should concentrate on capturing the real criminals and leave the ordinary law-abiding thugs alone.

Monday, January 4, 2010

friends report on January 4, 2010

AS ALWAYS: Click on Pictures to enlarge them.

Every lady knows that the baby will always be the center of attention - and your baby will be next.

I have seen some peculiar Christmas displays, but this one trumps them all. What the hell is it? Well, it's right here in our neighborhood in Florida and I can't say we sleep better at nights knowing these folks are loose. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, and Freedom of Goofiness.

Two wild and crazy Northerners go to FIVE GUYS to get a great burger and lots of cholesterol. Who would think old folks could have so much fun! :)

Below is the reason that Hanleys won't go to Florida. Too many ugly old people. These were seen at FIVE GUYS, but may not be guys at all.

Good Bye Detective ED HANCOCK

The end of a friendship.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Anyone know why New Year's Eve is such a big deal?

2 updates.

1. I see that the odious Limbaugh has been released from the hospital. The first thing he did, of course, is rush (pun intended) to a microphone to explain what the hell his problem was. You may have heard this; he doesn't know what his problem is. This does not deter him in any way from explaining anyhow.

2. I am happy that Ohio State won the Rose Bowl. We Michiganders respect Ohio State. Incidentally, we rented a golf cart and what do you think? There is an Ohio State sticker on the front of it. There are some indignities I should be spared at my age!

Now we are cheering for S. Carolina to win tonight over whoever.

3. We went to a an art show today and to do some shopping. The sun is shining brightly and the temps have reached 58, as the weather-guesser guessed.

Bang! Bang!

Two kids, I have heard, were shot on New Year's Eve by falling bullets. One died. Just wished to send my good luck wishes to the Italian child still in the hospital after undergoing life-saving surgery here in Florida. Soon you can go home where visitors are a bit safer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, new ramblings.

We have reached out destination in Florida, safely.

Without John and JoAnn here, who will we go to the movies with?

I suppose I will watch the Rose Bowl today, and will hope that Ohio State wins, but you know, as a Michigan fan, I have a tough time adjusting to the rotten fact that we aren't in any bowl games, and haven't been for several years.

We hear that vicious January-like subzero temperatures have struck the north. We aren't chuckling though at the north's bad luck. It's supposed to get cold here, in Florida, also. Right now, heavy rain.

Let me talk about Georgia. It rained all the way through, and for some bizarre reason, Atlanta was practically a parking lot with bumper-t0-bumper vehicles (at 7:30 p.m.) most of them being driven by non-Christians. I knew this because those people were hostile! Maybe they're still fighting the War- Between- the- States- Which- They- Lost, BTW. Let me just editorialize here: The Federal Government should either send back General Sherman, or they should build a new way to get through Georgia North-South, which would totally avoid Atlanta.

I was disappointed to hear that Rush Limbaugh is in the hospital for heart trouble. No wait! I was disappointed that they're talking about releasing him.

There is a small town near here where the python escaped from its cage during the night and strangled the baby in its crib. They arrested the mother and would have arrested her live-in boyfriend as well, but they couldn't find him. Oh, that's right, he's already in jail --- for drug charges. There's just no explaining the dimensions of stupidity. Sterilization anyone?