Sunday, May 22, 2011

Practice What You Preach.......

"Matt, I agree with your concern about the courts issue. And admire your dogged efforts to shine the light of day on council’s sneaky actions. But, seriously man you need to get a life. You are blogging here and elsewhere on this issue 24/7 – don’t you have a stamp collection that needs attention or something?"
Comment on Free Lance Star Blog
May 16, 2011 1:37pm

"Hey, Rube!" carnival workers used to holler when they needed reinforcements in a melee with townspeople. Mr. Kelly has hollered it for all he's worth for months, but the Bearded Lady and the Indian Rubber Man have not rallied."
Free Lance Star Editorial
May 20, 2011

Some people need gentle reminders to step back, take a deep breath, and take a look around. In fact, one of the reasons for this blog is to make that exact point.  As the quotes above suggest I need to practice what I preach. Got a little too focused and lost perspective. Whether intentional or not both Gramps and the Free Lance-Star Editorial Board brought this lesson home with the proverbial baseball bat to the side to the head.  Life is too short to waste . There are new discoveries to be made,  moments to experiences, people to meet, and relationships to nurture. So let's get back on the road........................

A Parental Moment..........
The last time my eldest son appeared on this site he was behind a 50 cal. on a humvee in Iraq.  On Mother's Day weekend he received his degree in Criminal Justice from Methodist University. His older sister, single mother of three, received two degrees in Biochemistry from Minnesota Sate  the following weekend.  And finally our youngest Josh will be leaving for James Madison University in August where he plans to major in music.....If you can call heavy metal music.  Three months away from an empty nest and the moment when my wife and I look at each other and say, "What now?"

May My Garmin Burn In Hell!

Madison Co. VA--My Garmin said, "turn right here," so I did.  It is not unusual in rural Virginia to find yourself on gravel or dirt roads. But in this case I'd have to say without exaggeration that this road ranks in the top 100 of The World's Most Dangerous Roads. Actually considered sending in a suggestion for them to film a segment on this piece of Johnson Road. Is that a smirk I see? Hey, quit with the rolling of the eyes!

I'm driving a 2010 Ford Fusion which does not have big road clearance. Actually the worst section of the road starts after the next rise. But because I had a death grip on the steering wheel as I drove through small lakes and clay morasses while also trying to avoid foot deep ruts as my wheels spun and the steering wheel kept trying to jerk me to the left or right, I didn't think much for reaching over to get my camera. The "high point" of this adventure came as I glanced back up from my (expletive deleted) Garmin which was telling me I still had another 1.5 miles to go and I saw a tree had fallen across the road. Then I had a fun time backing up about 100 yards to a point where I could turn around.

I made it back to where I had started. Got out of the car, Waited about five minutes to get some circulation back in my hands and then took the picture. I later discovered that if I had continued on Rt. 522  I would have still reached my destination while only having to drive another mile!

Orange Co.-- I had arrived to inspect damage to a barn roof.  I was told by the matronly insured that the damage was on the pasture side of the barn and I needed to watch out for the "horny cows."  While most of my experience with bovines usual involved a bottle of A-1 steak sauce  this was not my first encounter with cows.  However it was to be my first experience with "horny cows." (Start humming the theme to "Jaws" here) As I crossed under the fence I noticed  that 1) these were in fact horny cows and 2) they all seemed to be staring at me. Then as I took a few steps forward to try and get a look at the barn roof the "horny cows" took a few steps towards me.  As I took a step the horny cows took a step and in about five more steps we were going to be up close and personal.  I began to get this feeling that I would be really pressing my luck if I turner my back on a bunch of "horny cows" (Again her words not mine). So I decided to walk backwards, back under the fence, and took my photos from inside the barn. Sorry boss.

God I Love Rural Virginia!
Locust Dale, VA on Rt. 15 in Madison County.  It has it all--An old boarded up building, a beat-up trailer for a post office and a two door outhouse in the parking lot!  Who could ask for more. God's country.

Great Time At A Piano Bar....I Think

Orlando, FL--During a trip to Florida to see the Daytona 500 my friends and I (guy road trip) stopped in a local piano bar.  Enjoyed it quite a bit but this was the fifth bar we had been to that day. Thought I would pass on  few tips to help you enjoy your experience should you find yourself stumbling into a piano bar:

1. Never hurt to start with the old standard. Not that it's really going to do any good. No that's not Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt making eyes at you from across the room.

2. If you are not a Billy Joel fan don't go in.  You will hear Piano Man and a lot more.

3. Don't, I repeat, don't request Guns N Roses "November Rain" or anything by Lady GaGa.

4. Alcohol affects your musical judgment too.  

5. Pace yourself. One song and one dollar per napkin. Sending up 5 napkins with four songs on each and a lot of dollar bills isn't going to get your songs played any faster. (See #4 above, delete "musical")

6.  The song you really want to hear will be played while you are in the bathroom.

7.  Ignore rule #4 in one respect. The people you are sitting with really can't sing. I have proof but they won't let me post it.

Architecture and Speed--It will All Make Sense

Orlando FL--The main drag in front of our hotel. Eight years as an elected official changes you.  You see the world in a different light. To most of you this is a rather mundane photo of a mundane street scene in Orlando. Now let's take a look at it through my eyes. Note the sign. How in the heck do you come up with a $262.00 fine for running a stop sign. I Google searched this and came up empty. Also note that the amount on the sign can be switched out. That does not bode well for local residents. Elected officials have a real problem reducing numbers.

Now let's look at the hotel across the street. I bare the scars from what is fondly referred to in our city as the third Battle of Fredericksburg--The construction of a downtown hotel. While you may be wondering what the pineapple is made of  I've broken out in a sweat and am having flashbacks about EFIS, scale and massing, and downtown character. And I forgot the prozac in my room!  

Need More Gas Pumps

Louisa, VA--No I have not lost my fascination with abandoned gas pumps. What makes this pair all the more fascinating is that they are located on a rural dead-end road with no signs of a building structure nearby.    The pumps are set at a price of 31 cents a gallon which takes us back to around 1957. For those economist among us based on the rate of inflation the comparable price would be around $2.41. Some fun facts about 1957:

Average cost of a house was $18,000.00. A car $2,100.00

Some music chart toppers were, Pat Boone, Jonny Mathis, Tab Hunter...

The Surgeon General links cigarette smoking to lung cancer

 FORTRAN (computer language) is introduced

Milwaukee Brewers won the World Series

Yours truly wasn't born yet.

English Gardens vs.  Continental Gardens, Democracy vs. Totalitarianism
Orange, VA--Ah the idyllic spring day on the back roads of Virginia. Isn't nature wonderful! Note the beautiful carpet of little purple weedy things. The English have it right, why mess with mother nature. Just sit back and let it happen. Not like those high brow continentals with their formal well manicured gardens. Faux nature that's what it is! And such gardens perpetuated serfdom, servitude, and the bondage of the masses.  How undemocratic. And this oppressive practice continues to this day. Only the names have changed. Today servants are called husbands and serfs are called teenagers. And my last serf, I mean teenager, is leaving in three months!  Dandelions and little purple weedy things are mother nature's way of adding a little color to our lives. Why must we fight mother nature? Its undemocratic and unnatural. Sometime I wish we were still the colonies. Rule Britannia.

A Guy Moment.......

Ladies if I may have a moment alone with the guys.............Picture this--Laid back with your feet up on your barber's chair with remote in hand and the big plasma screen in front of you. A brief turn in the chair and there is a small refrigerator within easy reach  filled with (insert preferred beer here. If your thinking either wine or soda please leave the room.). You place the cold one on a small metal dentist table attached to one arm of the chair. On a similar table on the other arm  sits your munchies of choice........

OK the chair doesn't fit with the room decor and the red leather clashes with all the other colors in the room  but we can dream can't we?  And maybe, just maybe, some brave soul will grab for his dream. And though he may not succeed, and suffer the consequences of his actions, he could inspire others and someday this dream will be a reality.

This barber's chair could have been the one.  It could have been some guys chance at immortality.  A moment of silence please to mourn this lost opportunity (shed tear here).     

Don't See This Everyday
Madison County off Rt. 522--This area had some serious brush fires recently.  This is actually a house not too far behind me.  It was saved when a fire department tanker truck got stuck at the back of the house.  The owner and his son continued to operate it till it ran out of water.  No damage to the house.