House Hunt Update II

Yeah…I know it’s not really an original post title…but it pretty much fits.

Between the house hunt…although at this stage it’s no longer a hunt but a ‘get the paperwork done’ drill…and our somewhat busy social and church calendar…since it is December…we been runnin’ ‘round like a one armed paper hanger as we usta say back in the deep south…

We had our house inspection…and after some discussion between Neil and Connie they called our agent and gave her a list of what we wanted them to fix…we skipped overall the cosmetic stuff but the 3 things that were actually broken/didn’t work we figgered they should fix. The agent wanted us to just accept the inspection results and pay to fix everything ourselves…’pparently that’s the way it’s done down here…but after 6 total home buying experiences (3 buyer, 3 seller) in 3 different states before we figured that the report was a negotiating point. One of the windows was broke in that the retaining spring that holds it up wasn’t attached so it won’t stay open, there is a roof tile broken, and 3 of the 7 ceiling fans didn’t work. The spring is the only hard one though…that requires a repairman. The tile…well, roof tiles are only decorative as the underlying seal is what actually keeps the water out…is relatively simple to slide in a new tile and seal around the edges. The fans…are most probably just dead batteries in the controllers as there are no normal switches on the fans…but again it could be the fans. We insisted on the addendum and after a day or two the seller agreed to fix those things so we’re waiting on them to finish.

Meanwhile…the mortgage process rolls on…we still need the survey and elevation certificate before we can start the insurance policy. Neil has found all the info for turning all the utility accounts on and talked to the financial folks so we have getting the down payment and closing costs out of investments all figured out. Closing is scheduled for 1/15 and then after that we’ll start moving in.

Connie is going to check with her friends who live down here and find out which is the best furniture to go see. They’re going up to Port Charlotte to see…Neil really likes this name…Waterbed Willie’s…they slept on a waterbed for their entire married life until 2012 when we hit the road and would prefer to have one of those again. Apparently the state of the art in waterbeds is much more sophisticated than the old bag-o-water in a frame from the olden days…but they need to go and see what exactly is the state of the art these days. If that doesn’t work out…they’ll probably just get another Sleep Number like they had in the rig…it’s right comfy to sleep on…but not up to the standard of the waterbed they were on for so many years.

We’ll also need a new TV…but luckily our friend Bill is (a) an ex TV guy so he knows both the broadcast and reception ends and (b) just bought a new set for Linda and himself a few months back and (c) he’s an engineer so like Neil he does copious research before buying anything more complicated than a Big Mac…so we got some recommendations from him. Basically…it boils down to “get the biggest one you can” and “get the high end model, you won’t regret”. He’s right about both of those of course and we can afford whatever we really want…but I think we’ll pass on the 105 inch model as just too darned big. We were thinking 65 but have seen his 77 inch model so we’ll have to see.

We also need some new IT toys of course…a router, desktop file server and associated network gear…Neil’s in charge of picking that out. There are some mesh wifi systems available these days but he thinks that before he goes that route he’ll try a high end standard router…he’s planning on running an ethernet cable back to the office for the server/desktop anyway and everything else that needs to connect will be in the main kitchen/great room area  anyway. He’ll probably also upgrade his laptop during the transition as well…with them planning on overseas travel he wants to have one with sufficient drive space for all the photos he’ll accumulate during a trip and that will be up to about a half a terabyte or so per trip depending . Maybe a Network Attached Storage (NAS) is in his tech future as well. Internet will likely be cable as will be TV…basic cable is included in the HoA fees and while DirecTV antennas are allowed it’s hard to justify 180 a month for that and another 75 or so for internet when the additional cable packages and internet will be less than 180 in total. Antennas are allowed though…and they’re still gathering info on TV options. There’s also an option to cut the cord and get all of the programming online…but there are issues with that as well and you usually end up with a bunch of 10 dollar a month subscriptions to get what you want and no single guide to search all of them simultaneously so we’re unlikely to go that route.

He’s also going to need another car once we sell Big Red and the rig…but he’s still thinking on what he wants. Probably not a pickup…and Connie can’t ride in a convertible…but maybe a coupe sports car or something slightly bigger and comfortable enough to take driving trips in though…he’s starting to research alternatives.

Let’s see…other news. Nah, really not much else going on…so let’s move on.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Just in case you’re wondering…a US submarine is pretty hard to sink as indicated by the photo below. This is of the USS San Francisco…a Los Angeles or 688 class attack submarine. Back in 2005 about 360 miles southeast of Guam on the way to a port call in Brisbane Australia…they finished operations and with the captain’s approval went down to 525 feet depth and all ahead flank (maximum speed)…this is generally available on the internet at 33 knots or about 37 miles an hour (a knot is 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.125 statute miles per hour). The chart they were operating on dated fro 1989 sounding survey data and showed a water depth of 6,500 feet and no navigational hazards. After the fact investigation showed that there was a peak coming up to within 100 feet of the surface…note that this is significantly shallower than 525 feet. Well…the ship ran smack into the side of the peak and essentially came to a complete stop with 98 of the 130 crew injured and one fatality who fell down a ladder he was climbing at the time. The ship emergency surfaced and limped back into Guam for repairs. While the outer hull, forward ballast tanks, and sonar dome were severely damaged…the pressure hull was intact and it limped back to Mare Island CA for repairs. The bow was replaced by the bow from another decommissioned 688 and the ship served another 7 years before retirement. The shot is of the ship in dry dock in Guam before it went back to the mainland…the green area is the forwarded of the pressure hull and the smashed area in between the blue tarp and the green area is the remains of the formerly 18 or so feet diameter 4 inch thick steel sonar dome. The very front under the blue tarp is the remains of the 3 inch thick fiberglass bow dome which is used on current ships as it provides better acoustic performance and is lighter than the former steel bow structure.These ships are built tough…here is a
if you want to read more about the grounding.





Can’t fault his logic.


Number 2 is confused.


How am I supposed to try the sample at Costco?


This is Bjarnarey Island…it’s part of the Vestmann Islands which are south of Iceland a bit. It is one of 18 islands that make up the town of Vestmannaeyjar…the population of the entire town/archipelago is 3. I’m not quite sure how you get onto and off of the island unless there’s a lower piece around the back side…don’t think so though…I googled and it appears there’s a trail down the side of the cliff with guide wires and you have to have a harness attached to them while you climb up the almost 400 foot tall cliff.


Only readers of a certain vintage will appreciate this.


Ya know how owls up in the far northland hunt pretty by flying over the snow and using their very sensitive hearing to detect and then locate dinner as it scurries along through tunnels underneath the snow…then it swoops in silently…that’s an owl thing…and momentarily touch the ground while plunging their talons through the snow to grab dinner? This is what one of those attacks looks like after the fact…pretty cool eh?


And finally…



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House Hunt Update

We have continued to search for our new home…and this morning we have news on that front…we’ve submitted an offer and after negotiation have a signed contract. The search was not without some drama though.

We ended up with our second choice instead of our first one. The first choice was about 2500 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths with a nice spa on the lanai. It didn’t have the water view Connie wanted…it looked over the golf course instead…but she was sold on the spa so we put in an offer on that one. Some research with comps on our end and with the sales history of the home revealed that the current owners had paid about 25-30K more than it was worth at the time. Accordingly…they were determined not to lose any money on the deal. Add to that an unreasonable…in our opinion…real estate agent on their end who believes in listing houses above their value to (a) increase her paycheck and (b) increase the property values in the neighborhood (again good for her as she lives there as well). Their agent justified the list price using comps that were based on list prices instead of actual sold prices…which everybody knows isn’t the way that comps are supposed to work. However…in her world…that is the way they work hence they wanted about 20K above market value based on actual sold comps.

So…we offered less than actual market value and figured we would negotiate to the middle to match actual sold prices. They rejected our offer as insulting…but did lower their price by 10K while simultaneously deleting the furniture (it was listed as partially furnished) so deleting the furniture and lowering the price 10K really didn’t change the price. Further…they stated that their initial counter offer was their final counter offer and we could take it or leave it. Long story short…they and their agent are jerks…wanted to use another word here but this is a family blog ya know.

Based on their jerkiness and the fact that it would continue to be a battle with them arguing over everything through the inspection, appraisal, and closing…we moved on. Connie was disappointed but decided it was for the best, everything happens for a reason, and that if we were supposed to have that house it would have worked out…so she got over it and we moved on to our second choice. In reality…it was more house than we really needed but the spa was nice.

We moved to our second choice…a 3 BR 2 bath very similar floor plan to the first choice. No spa but plenty of flat yard to expand the lanai to add a screened patio and we could actually put in a spa without expanding if we wanted to. It also has a nice water view of a pond behind the house.From Neil’s standpoint…the kitchen and great room/living area is better anyway as it’s more connected into a single space…not to mention that at a bit under 2000 square feet it’s more in line with what we originally wanted…at the start we wanted 3BR/2 baths but the spa enticed Connie

Offer submitted, negotiations and accepted. Unfortunately the same agent listed it as listed the first choice…but the owner was more reasonable…and Connie is ready for the whole thing to be done so that’s what we did. She doesn’t feel like she settled for less than what she wants but wasn’t interested in over paying and dealing with jerks no matter how much she liked the first choice.

We had a nice dinner down at Marker 92 Restaurant last evening for her birthday…the food was pretty good but it was an hour drive each way so hopefully she will not pick it again for a couple of years…and even then we might go have lunch instead of dinner so we don’t have deal with the rush hour traffic to get down there…the food’s good but maybe not good enough for 2 hours of driving to get it. The Argentinian/Italian steak place has better steaks in our opinion. There’s no view but then if it’s after dark there’s no view of the marina at Marker 92 either. And most importantly…the glasses of wine at Che Tito’s are much, much bigger for the same price…and the wine is better. Nice imported Malbec from Argentina for the same price as a smaller glass of house wine at Marker 92. Traffic in North Fort Myers has picked up considerably in the 8 years we’ve been coming down here. The road out to Pine Island used to be pretty much empty but there are entire neighborhoods and large shopping centers almost all the way out there now with the attendant massive increases in traffic load. There are several spots now where it takes 3-5 cycles of the light to get past at rush hour. 

Hasn’t been much fun stuff…so here are a couple more from Neil’s trip down to the eagle nest from last time.

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You can’t really see it in these two shots…but it was struggling to get airborne with the dead bunny.

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Harriet just about to grab the 2 wire on landing.

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Interesting stuff found on the net.

It’s past Thanksgiving…but these are appropriate for that holiday.



From the Unfortunate Paint Job Department








And from the
Science Alert Center

Atoms…although you might not know it…are almost all empty space with the nucleus being much smaller…about 100,000 times smaller…than the total atom size which is represented by the orbits of all of it’s electrons…to put that into scale if the atom was the size of a baseball stadium the nucleus would be the size of a peanut…although whether that’s the whole unshelled peanut or just one of the nuts inside the shell is not specified in the article. So…if you could get rid of all of the empty space which is 99.9999999% of the space in each atom…how much space would you take up?


Kinda makes ya feel small…don’t it.

And finally…is there anything a pretty girl can’t do? Heck…it restored this blind guy’s sight.



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Movin’ Along

Things are progressing on the house hunting front…first off the adults have narrowed down their wants…they’ve eliminated the smallish 1,000 square feet range places as too cramped, well actually there’s plenty of living space but storage wise they’re too cramped and in addition they’re mostly duplexes or quads which they’re not interested in. So…they’re concentrating on houses in the 1,700-2,200 square foot range with 3 bedrooms, an open floor plan, a great kitchen that opens out into what they’ll call the ‘where we live’ area but what most would call the den/family room or something like that. In any event…he wants to be able to see the TV and participate in whatever conversations are happening with Connie or guests while he’s whipping up his culinary masterpieces. Almost all of the houses they’ve looked at so far have a kitchen/den combo like this with an eat-in bar separating the kitchen proper from the living spaces. Connie also has a requirement that the view has to be nice…in other words not the back of somebody else’s house…what she really wants is water…one of the places we rejected had canals on 2 sides of the yard but unfortunately the house was from the 80s and is pretty closed in…completely lacking the open plan that they want. Pretty much everything down here has HoA fees that cover lawn and landscaping maintenance so he’s on board with that…and most include basic cable and wifi throughout the neighborhood although whether that also includes high speed internet to the homes hasn’t been determined.

They visited 10 homes in 4 developments last week…and 3 are on the short list for the finalists so far…two of them are up in Magnolia Landing which has the advantage that it’s across the street from Saint Therese parish where we go but the disadvantage that it’s not down close to the Elks and other places we frequent…in fact there isn’t much entertainment wise up in that area but (a) it will eventually get built up, (b) it’s only 5 miles or so down to Pine Island Road where most of the stuff is and (c) we’ll just develop new favorite haunts like wing places, bars, Chinese takeout and the like.

Neil’s rounding back into bike riding shape…60 miles this month so far with another week to go so he should be up around 80 on the way to his normal 100ish. 

Gordon (our local mobile RV tech) fixed the leaking seal on our toilet so that’s good to go…Neil could have done it himself…but it’s plumbing and he and plumbing generally don’t get along. He also replaced the burned out thermostat on the electric side of our hot water heater…the gas still worked but we generally use the electric when the weather is warmer as it’s more economical.

Big whoop-de-do down at the Elks with the Ladies of the Elks at our old lodge. Can’t provide a whole lot of detail…but it’s been causing stress in Connie’s life a bit…but it’s all working out for the best as things progress toward a resolution. We went over to the lodge for the Snowflake Ball…unfortunately she didn’t have a gown to wear but we’ll solve that problem once we get a little more closet space. There’s a Gatsby Ball the end of December and Neil already told her to buy herself a flapper dress for the occasion.

Saturday Neil headed off to the eagle’s nest down the road 4 miles for his first visit of the season. Harriet laid 2 eggs on November 12 and 16 so they should hatch right around Christmas again. This means that either she or her mate M15 is always on the nest incubating the eggs and protecting them from predation. He got there a few minutes after sunrise at 0656 and found that M15 was on the nest and Harriet had been gone for over an hour by that time…atypical for her as normally she’s not gone more than about an hour or so at a time during nesting season.

You can’ see it…but here’s the nest where M15 is dutifully incubating the eggs…yeah, I know it ain’t much to look at but trust me, he’s there. They just built the sides of the nest tall enough to keep the eaglets in which means there’s no visibility from the ground either. If you want to check the nest out…it’s
. The second image is M15 sitting on the nest…it’s a screenshot from this morning and not from during yesterday’s visit…but it pretty much looks like yesterday’s would have looked like.

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Screen Shot 2019 11 24 at 11 01 50 AM

With no eagles to be found…he and his assorted friends started looking around for something else to photograph until something better happened along to see. Over on the ‘snag’…that’s the local nomenclature for a dead tree that the eagles frequently perch in…they spotted this Red Shouldered Hawk. He/she looks pretty rough…like it is suffering from a hangover from a hard night of drinking or something…it apparently hangs around this area along with another Red Shouldered…after a few minutes it flew off and wasn’t seen again for the remainder of the time he was there.

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Here’s an extreme closeup so ya can see what Ima talking about it looking rough.

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A bit later…they spotted the other Red Shouldered sitting in the fallen over dead tree…it doesn’t have a specific name yet…from Hurricane Irma a couple years back…not a real great shot as it was in amongst the branches and shadows but at least it doesn’t look like it is having a bad feather morning.

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A bit later…this one hopped farther out to the left on the same branch and posed with its back towards him looking back over its shoulder…very nice indeed.

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The next find was this American Kestrel…not the world’s greatest shot of this really small member of the falcon family…its only about 10 inches long or the size of a Blue Jay…and it was about 75 yards or so out there so even with Neil’s bigger and better bird lens…a Tamron 200-600 G2…it’s a long reach out there for a photo.

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About that time…the 2nd Red Shouldered above hopped down into the grass below the branch, picked up a grasshopper for breakfast, and then hopped back up to a different branch that was in full light and posed perfectly for us…only about 20 yards away from the fence the photographers were standing behind.


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Showing its back as well.

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A little post snack preening.

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And it was off…

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Back to it’s original perch in the branches making it difficult to see

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At this point…the photographers figured the show was over and that…even if we remained eagle-less…it had been a very successful day. It’s not often that you can get a raptor to pose that close to you for 10 minutes in just about perfect lighting conditions. Wow!.

However…either the Red Shouldered wanted to really show us something…or else it was still hungry…I figure the latter as a single grasshopper ain’t much of a breakfast. It decided to do what raptors do…and went hunting.

We weren’t sure what it was on down here…but the prey was clearly struggling as the hawk kept obviously clamping down on its talons in an attempt to finish off the prey so it could eat. Normally raptors kill their prey in the initial strike typically by breaking its neck with their talons…but in this case the hawk just hopped down on top of it so that obviously would not work. I don’t k now if it they kills the prey by constricting the lungs with talons or by puncturing vital organs with the knives on the end of the talons…but the unknown prey was clearly struggling and took 4 or 5 minutes of trying to escape before it expired. 

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Ah…dead now so let’s see about properly positioning it and myself for takeoff.

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Well…let us try the other way.

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Having a rest.

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Yeah…it has to go this way so let us try once again.

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And we have liftoff…turns out the prey was a bunny that’s almost as large as and clearly heavier than the hawk is…so it was clearly struggling to achieve liftoff.

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And we’re airborne…

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For about 20 feet before landing in the grass.

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After a brief rest…let’s try this again.

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For about another 20 feet before settling into the grass again.

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Rinse and repeat several more times…the third time was clearly not the charm. This is about the 5th or 6th attempt at takeoff. I think the only reason it eventually succeeded was because it got to the edge of a depression and the ground fell away a few feet allowing more time to gain airspeed and lift.

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Almost touched down again but at the last minute managed to gain a little more height.

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Kicking in the afterburners and finally was able to get enough speed to climb into this tree across the way.

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The photographers all agreed that it had been an outstanding day…even without any eagle shots.

Here’s a screenshot from the camera overlooking the nest with M15 sitting on the eggs. For orientation…the road in the background runs pretty much east to west and this is looking southeast. On the far left you can see the cars and the photographers lined up outside the fence…Neil is the one farthest to the left just about out of the frame. There is another viewing spot out on the road about 2 o’clock from M15v in this shot…that will become important. The third primary viewing spot is behind the view you see here over on the road into the real estate company looking east toward the nest. That’s not a great location for the morning as everything is backlit…and in any event it’s farther from the nest and has less of a view into goings on…but it’s an OK place to go later in the day. The feature known as the ‘snag’ where the ratty hawk and Kestrel were perched is about even with the nesting tree but out of frame 100 or so yards to the left and beyond that is the pond where the adults drink and bathe…Neil’s gotten some pretty good shots there in the past. Neil texted Connie and had her grab a screenshot for him at about the time of the hawk/bunny shots above.

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At this point…something spooked the horses in the field below the nest and they came galloping over past us towards their paddock.

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Somebody yelled “Incoming!”…and we thought it was Harriet returning…but alas it was just a juvenile. The locals think that this is one of her previous eaglets that has come back for a visit. He landed very briefly in the tree 20 feet or so from the nest and M15 shrieked at him…followed by a rapid departure.

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There was another lull in the action…so Neil grabbed a couple of shots of one of the Cattle Egrets that live in the field.

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Finally…getting on to about 1000 and Neil was about to give up for the day…since it had already been labeled an outstanding photo day. Suddenly…lo and behold…somebody yelled “Incoming!” again and this time it was actually Harriet returning from the northwest after an absence of about 4.5 hours…far longer than she’s been gone in the past during nesting season with eggs or eaglets on the nest.

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Approaching the nest…airbrakes deployed.

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Flaps and landing gear.

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And a perfect landing.

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She perched here and screamed a bit…the nest is just below and to the left of this frame.

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M15 left the eggs…it was plenty warm enough to leave them for a bit…and first perched below and to her left.

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Then decided slightly to her right was a better location.

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Here…she’s on the left and they talked back and forth for a bit.

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Then he took her place and she hopped down onto the nest rim and shortly afterward disappeared into the nest to turn and incubate the eggs. He remained in that spot but it was kinda hidden behind the branch so Neil wandered around to the left from the primary viewing area to the one on the sidewalk by the road…at which point he was looking north toward the nest.

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Got a couple of really nice shots of M15 perched there.

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Before he gathered himself and launched off to find his breakfast…or more likely an early lunch after his turn on the nest.

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He flew almost directly overhead where Neil was standing and then disappeared off towards the southwest to hunt or more likely fish as that’s over towards the river.

With that…almost all of the photographers called it a day…and a really successful day at that.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

A new form recently introduced by the Army.




This is the reason that the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich is in short supply I guess.


This one needs a little setup. All of you adults know what the term SOB means…at least metaphorically. Actually…the term refers to any male dog as a female dog is known as a bitch…but as we all know the term has other connotations. In the picture below…you’ll see an EOD…emergency ordnance disposal guy…he’s the one in the bomb suit. The guy behind him that’s about to smack the paper bag he blew up…well, he’s a sonofabitch…and now you know what the term really means.



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House Hunt Saga Begins

Yup…the title pretty much says it all. We found a real estate agent…she and her husband are members of the parish up at St. Therese where Connie sings in the choir and we’re members there as well. I have to admit…she had a different way of figuring out which houses we wanted to see.

Usually…the agent asks you about bedrooms, bathrooms, garage, and other particulars you want and which are mandatory…along with some geographic data. Paula did that…except the first question was about where we wanted to be geographically. We told her that we wanted to be north of the river, east of Slater Road which is about 4 miles west of Seminole, and not in Cape Coral…that gave her about a 6 by 6 mile area to start looking in. Her next question was down a strange path though…she asked why we picked that location. We replied because that’s where our friends are and it’s close to the Elks Lodge, AmVets chapter,  and American Legion posts that we intend to frequent with our friends. The next question was “why do you want to be close to your friends”…and on down that rathole with “Why do you want to be near those places”…she said that our replies of “because they’re our friends” and “because they have inexpensive beer” were shallow and didn’t get to (her words)…the root of our desires. We assured her that they did and then she asked for the particulars we wanted…3 bedrooms, 2 baths, large lanai (what we used to call a veranda in the South but essentially a screened outdoor living area…lanai is actually a Hawaiian language, we have no idea how it came to be commonly used in Florida. Two car garage, den that’s visible from the kitchen as those are the two places we live our lives mostly. A few other less important wants…and off she went. Hawaiian by the way…is a Polynesian language with 5 vowels and 8 consonants…

We’ve got 8 or 9 viewings set up for today…then we’ll see if we need to expand either our budget or our geographic area…I don’t think either will be necessary though. I’ll update more later when we know something on that front.

In other news…I have to pass on some info about the obituary of
Captain Dick Stevenson of the Yukon
. He died in his home in Whitehorse, Yukon last week and his daughter has a rather bizarre detail to carry out as part of his last will and testament.

Whaddya mean you don’t know who Captain Dick Stevenson was…I thought everybody knew the legend he started. Apparently not…so let me clue ya in.

Nearly 50 years ago in the early 1970s…he bought a cabin outside of Dawson City and while cleaning it out he discovered a pickle jar with a dried up human toe inside…and some anecdotal information that it had been amputated from a prospector decades earlier due to frostbite and then left in the jar. Later that night he was out drinking with some reporters…you just knew that alcohol had to be involved…and they got to talking about the toe…and in their inebriated state invented the idea of a cocktail with toe in it. The next day…the reporters were gone but Captain Dick was still there and still had the toe. So he headed down to the local pub…the bar at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City…here’s a photo of that fine establishment which you might recall we visited back in the late summer of 2015 on our Alaska adventure.


Anyways…old Captain Dick and his buddies decided as a lark to carry out the cocktail invention they had come up with the previous night…a beer glass filled with champagne and…of course…the toe…with the only requirement that the toe had to touch your lips. Captain Dick said in 2017 that he didn’t think more than 10 or 12 people would follow the tradition and drink what has become known as the “Sourtoe Cocktail”. This made the newspapers ‘round the world and put Dawson City on the map as a place to visit. To date…more than 90,000 people have had the cocktail…although there was a change made somewhere along the way. An 80 year old lady said “I don’t mind the toe, but I can’t drink a beer glass full of champagne.”…so the rules were changed slightly to include the drink of your choice with the toe in it.

The way it works is the ceremony is open every evening for 3 hours or so. You belly up to the bar and order your drink of choice…which has now traditionally become a shot of Yukon Jack which is Canadian whiskey flavored with honey…very similar to Southern Comfort down here in the US. Then you go over, pay your $5 entry fee, read the rules which specifically state that the toe must touch your lips and that if you swallow it there is a $2,500 fine to be paid.

So sure enough…back in 2015 Connie and Neil participated in the ceremony.

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Neil didn’t get an in-focus shot of her with the toe/lip requirement met but trust me, she met it.

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He paused while she got a good shot…needed more Yukon Jack if ya ask him.

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They even got certificates to prove it…62,189 and 62,190.

Sourtoe Cocktail Certificate 2015 815

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Sourtoe Cocktail Certificate 2015 815b

So it is with a great sense of loss that we honor the passing of Captain Dick…and acknowledge our membership in his club.

Oh yeah…that special requirement of his will. His toes are to be amputated, preserved in pickling salt, and donated to the Downtown Hotel as spares to continue the tradition…the original toe got lost somewhere along the line and although they did have a spare they were down to the last one as of 2015. So as a dutiful daughter…she had his big toes amputated and will be spending the next few weeks getting them properly dried in salt and preserved before passing them along to the Downtown Hotel.

Interesting things found on the net.

Didja ever wonder why people still go out and hunt deer…or doves or duck or rabbit or whatever?




Sad but true.




More signs that humanity is doomed.







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Posting From The Home Front

It’s been a busy and somewhat meaningful 9 days since my last post.

What with the trip up to Tampa for new military ID cards, getting setup for the winter, and whatnot…we barely had time to breathe. 

Gordon our local mobile repair tech was here and fixed our water heater electric heating issue…the thermostat had failed and one of the wires going to it burned through. No thermostat…no heater workie. A quick fix with part from the truck and it was back in business. We also talked about the toilet issues and he recommended replacing it…at 8 years old it’s on it’s last legs and by the time you buy and pay labor for all the replaceable parts you’re almost up to the cost of a new one…so we’re ordering a replacement and he will install it when it arrives.

We got an email from the fellow coordinating the trip for some NHOG folks up to Calgary Alberta for the Stampede saying it was time to send money for tickets…which pushed up the timetable on a decision we need to make as well.

The last travel seasons have been much harder on both of them physically than the previous 6 combined…and by the time we got here Connie was pretty much ready to be done with this RV lifestyle. Our original intent was to wait until the end of the year to make a decision to get some separation from the immediate stresses of the travel season but with the need to pay almost $800 for tickets at the Stampede that decision got moved up.

Neil had already told her that she had earned the right to decide when/what/how for whatever comes next in our life…after all, she’s followed him ‘round the country, cross the continent a bunch of times and such in the Navy then for 8 years as we full timed in the RV. All of that came at some expense to her career…although she’s pretty happy with her work career as it turned out anyway…but given that she’s followed him without much complaint all these 43 years he said he would support whatever she wanted to do…as long as there was no snow or yard work involved.

She thought about scheduling the travel season for next summer…and we considered numerous options involving a shorter travel season with longer individual stays at campgrounds. That doesn’t change the number of travel days…but traveling 1 day at a time and staying a week for a month vs traveling 4 days in a row and then staying a month in one place is a whole different experience…the latter is a lot easier. We considered that we did have a 7 week stay in Cody this past summer for the kidney stone treatment…and mostly that was not a difficult process, but it’s not really where we would have picked to stay for 7 weeks on our own.

After some thought…she came out and said she was done and ready to get off the road, sell the rig, and move back into a Sticks and Bricks house…and with very little additional thought she decided that staying in this area was her choice…she’s got choir, hair stylist, Elks, friends, and all that so this area has become home to her.

After very little thought on his side of the discussion…he agreed with her. First, as noted above it is the right thing to do…and second he actually does agree with her.

So…looks like we’ve arrived at our terminal campground for the full time RV lifestyle. We’ll find a real estate agent down here, look at some places and pick the one that’s closest to what we really want. Then after closing we’ll do whatever remodeling, renovation, painting, or whatever it needs to be perfect before moving in. In the meantime…we’ll continue living in the rig and it as well as Big Red won’t go up for sale until we move into the house. In any event…we anticipate all of that taking until at least the end of April when our current commitment here at Seminole runs out.

So what does this mean going forward to this new phase of our life? 

Beats me…we haven’t figured it out yet. We know we want to do some international travel as there are places that we want to see…Iceland, Spain, France, Australia, New Zeland. Add in Africa for a wildlife safari, a visit to the South Pacific to stay in one of those grass hut hotel rooms out in the lagoon and alll the other places we’ve either been before and want to go back to or haven’t been to and we’ll still be traveling. Our initial thought is that we’ll travel for a month or so two or three times a year with some rest periods back at home in between…that may change as we get into things and see how taxing a month on the go at a time is. What I’m pretty sure we won’t do is anything of the “If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” sort of travel with a lot of travel days…our initial thoughts are to go someplace and get an apartment for a month with both day trip and overnight excursions around the area but coming back to the home base and eating more meals in instead of all out like hotel travel normally entails. On the other hand…our initial thoughts may be completely out of whack with either reality or whatever we decide to do later.

Will there be another RV in our future? Again…beats me. We would like to get out of southern Florida for the serious parts of the hurricane season if possible…either for the aforementioned international travels or perhaps up to VA to see the kids and Alex. We could do the apartment thing up there…or we could get a small RV that’s sufficient for a month or so at a time. Our…well Neil anyway as Connie has yet to express an opinion either way…going in thoughts are that we would not be using an RV enough to make the investment worthwhile and that in the long run doing the apartment thing when we visit longer term up in VA is right…but heck, we can afford it either way so it will really come down to what we feel like doing I guess.

Neil did get drafted to be in the Veterans Day Parade last Sunday as part of the Elks Lodge 1288 Veteran contingent. We were able to rejigger our symphony tickets and trade the ones for that afternoon (that we really didn’t care much about the program for) for another Beethoven concert later on in the spring. So he got to ride in the convertible and wave to the adoring crowds, then went to the ceremony put on by the city of Fort Myers.

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He did see one elderly lady on the side of the road that was really touching. She was about his age, holding a folded up flag like they give you after the funeral of either a veteran or a soldier killed in action, waving to us as we passed with tears running down her face. Don’t know whether it was her husband or a child…or whether they were killed in action or just died after a long life…but it was a touching moment and he wished he had been quick enough to get her photo to post here.

Interesting things found on the net.

More military dog photos.

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MilitaryServiceDog 00011

MilitaryServiceDog 00014

MilitaryServiceDog 00019

Signs that humanity is doomed because somebody found it necessary to post these signs.







And a few more





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We’re Back Home In North Fort Myers

My last post went up our last day in Cedar Key but before Happy Hour and sunset. We had a great last day…did the outside packing up and dumped/flushed our tanks and put away some of the inside stuff…then went over to the Tiki Bar for Happy Hour followed by a great pasta dinner Neil put together. Along the way there was a pretty decent sunset.

Friday Nov 1 we did our usual travel day routine…alarm at 0530 and then coffee and breakfast and then started underway preparations at 0800. We were done, hitched, and pulling out of the campground by about 0930 for the 250 mile trip down to North Fort Myers. The first 100 miles is on 4 lane at grade highways on US-19 and US-98 then we hopped on I-75 for the last 150 miles. Stopped and had a hot dog for lunch shortly after getting on the freeway, got stuck in some traffic in the Tampa area, and proceeded on arriving at Seminole Campground for the winter right before 1500. We quickly got checked in and backed into our normal site 101…then did as much setup as we could until we ran out of gas…that got us about halfway done inside but with all of our utilities connected and some of the outside setup done as well. We ran over to the local Chinese take out and picked up some dinner…this place we just found out about and it’s really good…which is outstanding since we’ve been looking for years for a decent Chinese restaurant down here and the closest we’ve found is the sushi/Chinese place we frequent for raw fish but their Chinese isn’t that great.

I gotta tellya…it’s really, really nice to be back home…we’ve pretty much moved way, way too fast the last two travel seasons and are really ready to be non-mobile for awhile.

Saturday…another setup day…inside done and about 80% of the outside stuff done before it got too hot and we quit again. Besides…we had to run over to church in the afternoon…November 2 is All Soul’s Day and there’s a special indulgence that you can get that will break one person each out of Purgatory. Connie’s got a list of folks to break out going but this year Baby Sis got moved to the head of the line…so Neil went with her so she wouldn’t get any further behind. After that…we went over to the Elks Lodge for a hot dog for dinner and a couple of brews…Neil got drafted to be in the Veterans Day Parade next Sunday since he’s a veteran…he’ll be the guy in the back of the convertible waving to the cheering throngs I guess. We also got our flu vaccines in the late morning…and since there’s a new Shinglex vaccine which is better than the old shingles vaccine we got the first of 2 shots for that as well…Tricare covers all our immunizations with zero co-pay. Pro tip…don’t get multiple immunizations on the same day, especially if one of them is the Shinglex. Neil gets the high dose flu vaccine now since he’s over 65.

By bedtime…we were feeling sort of lousy again…immunizations as you know cause your body’s immune system to kick into gear and create the antibodies which actually protect you from whatever the immunization is for. Well…ours kicked in pretty good, especially with the double immunization…and we were still not back to 100% from the crud before.

Sunday…we felt worse again…low grade fever and a lot of aches and stuff…but that’s what Advil is for. We made it through Mass then came home and took naps in the afternoon. Dinner was supposed to be duck breast which we had taken out and thawed and was sitting in the fridge letting the skin dry out since that helps it to get nice and crisp later…but we felt so lousy we ended up eating the leftover Chinese instead.

Monday…feeling pretty much back to normal although we will most definitely not do the double immunization thing again. We went down to our dentist here and got our semi-annual cleaning…all is well on that front…and were back home by 1100. We picked up our computer shipping box from the office…Neil’s 2015 MacBook Pro got recalled for some sort of battery issue…he’s not having the problem that caused the recall but he’ll get a completely new battery out of the deal…his battery health is down to 84% of original so that will be nice. Apple will pay the shipping both ways as well as the new battery and he’ll be laptop-less for probably 4 or 5 days total.

Gordon…our local repair guy down here…will be by Monday afternoon as well…we need to get out toilet rebuilt as well as figure out why the water heater won’t work on electric the past few weeks…parts will likely be needed but at least we’ll get the ball rolling on that front. We’ll do the duck breast for dinner along with some rice and winter squash that Connie is picking up while she’s in the Publix shopping center getting her nails done as they’re well overdue for a refill and polish.

We’ve got a busy first full week here…a trip Wednesday up to Tampa to get her military ID card renewed and Neil’s fixed as they screwed it up when he got it renewed in April before we left. Thursday…a visit to his audiologist to get his hearing aids checked and then run into Coconut Point Mall to the Apple store to look at the new Apple Watch Series 5…they’re thinking about getting them for their anniversary. Saturday night is the Snowflake Ball at the Elks…dunno what that it is but there’s stuffed pork roast for dinner and dancing so it should be fun. We were going to have a trip to Sarasota for our first Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks concert of the season…but since Neil got drafted for the parade we swapped those tickets for a Beethoven Symphony #3 Eroica concert in early February. Next week we’ll be back to a more normal Fort Myers schedule…thank goodness for that.

Don’t know if we’ll have much Fun Stuff© for the next six months…but I’ll try to make sure that I post regularly even if most of what you’ll read is everyday life sort of things…I can’t report on Fun Stuff© that didn’t happen and we’ve mostly done all of the close to Fort Myers stuff already. We did check and the eagles Harriet and her mate M-15 are back in residence at the nest doing what the
eagle cam
web page reports as nestorations…and they’re having to defend the nest against a pair of Great Horned Owls that are apparently trying to drive them off with frequent nighttime harassment operations…I don’t see that working as the eagles are larger and stronger and the nest is way too large for owls anyway. 

Ok…let’s see what photos I have for you today. We did get a few nice ones the last evening in Cedar Key.

RAW from iPhone XS image

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Interesting stuff found on the net.

This woulda been better last week before we fell back from Daylight Savings Time.


Be afraid…very afraid.


Here’s a few Marvin ones…he’s the male version of Maxine the cantankerous old lady.






And a couple more military/police service dog ones.

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MilitaryServiceDog 00005

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If you still work…try playing B***s*** bingo at your next meeting. Every t time one of these words is mentioned in the meeting cross out that square and when you get 5 in a row horizontally, vertically, or  diagonally…or a postage stamp which is the adjacent 4 in a single corner…or when you get all 4 corners…you jump up and yell B***s***. Your prize is that you get kicked out of the meeting.




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Cedar Key Diaries

As I noted in my last post…we arrived in Cedar Key at the Low Key Hideaway about 1400 or so Tuesday afternoon after the 200ish mile drive from Brunswick GA. Neither Mo or Frank were at the LKH and the Tiki Bar was not open yet…so Connie parked the car and walked out in the road to block traffic until Neil got pulled out across the road. Once he was out there…she ran around the back and was his mom-backer and he successfully got into site 3 straight in one go. After they consulted…he decided to move 3-4 feet to the left in the site to give us more patio space and put the awning out without hitting the tree space. This required pulling back out into the road pretty straight and backing up to get the trailer to the left, but the amount of fore and aft movement available necessitated doing the S-maneuver twice before he was where we wanted to be. Oh…you don’t know what a mom-backer is? He’s the guy riding on the back of the garbage truck down in the south and when the driver is reversing to pick up the dumpster the mom-backer stands back behind him and yells “Mom back, mom back.” Most southerners will recognize the caricature.

We brought on power and leveled…then Connie did the inside while Neil hooked up the remaining utilities and dumped and flushed our waste water tanks as we had transited the last couple of days with half full tanks that had vinegar and Dawn added to help get the gunk washed off the sides of the tanks from the sloshing…we’ll repeat that process when we leave here so they’re as clean as possible on arrival in North Fort Myers.


After arrival and setup…we went over to the Tiki Bar for Happy Hour and had a couple of brews. Came home, made some leftovers for dinner, watched TV, and crashed early as we were tired. Neil did get a couple of low tide sunset photos but they weren’t that great…hopefully we’ll get some better ones during our 10 days here.

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I’m calling this one Osprey at Sunset…he/she was sitting on the dry oyster bed…looking for dinner I guess but the tide was pretty much at maximum low so there were just puddles in front of him. He is actually sitting on the long skinny sandbar left of the sun and below the island just inside the horizon in the above shot but Neil didn’t notice him until later on when the sun was almost gone behind the islands in the background.

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We had declared Wednesday and Thursday to be rest days before starting our scheduled deep cleaning of the rig on Friday…and you’ll recognize a lot of “rinse and repeat in the rest of this post”. We consider this last stop at the LKH to be “vacation” from our travel season so that we arrive in North Fort Myers with a clean rig and enough energy to jump back into our routines down there…but with the way we’re feeling with the cold/flu/crud/whatever it is I hope we actually get the cleaning done.

Wednesday we sat outside in the shade, setup the grill, went to Happy Hour, and had some pan-seared halibut with dill sauce and some Caribbean curry rice to go along with it. Sunset was poop. Colds about the same…stuffy head and coughing for both Connie and Neil but there is some overall improvement so we’ll just hang in there. She is about 4 days behind him in the cycle since she caught it from him but it seems to have mostly hit him worse than her.

Thursday we again sat outside…are you starting to sense a pattern here…made some more roasted garlic in the oven that Neil hauled outside, went to Happy Hour, came home and grilled some bison steaks and fresh corn that we ate with the aforementioned roasted garlic (it was yummy) and some Mexican butter with cilantro pesto, hot sauce, chili powder, and lime juice in it. Both were excellent…then we did dishes and watched TV until bedtime. We had to give up and turn on the A/C units about 1400 in the afternoon as it was beastly hot. Colds about the same although again a little improvement.

Friday…we were supposed to start our cleaning today…but by unspoken agreement since we didn’t talk about it we put this off to another day…sat inside all day with the A/C units on before having Happy Hour and then some grilled chicken and leftover Caribbean curry to go with it. Ditto colds…still hanging on but continuing to improve ever so slowly. Sunset was nice.

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Saturday Connie felt a little better so we started on doing the screens and inside of the windows…got about halfway done and Connie was tired so we stopped with about 60% of them done…Neil took the screens out and hosed the dust/bugs out of them while she vacuumed inside the screens and Windex-ed the glass. We went over to Happy Hour then had some seared Ahi tuna with rice and wasabi…then watched the Alabama-Arkansas game until halftime…41-0 and then went to bed. Final score was 48-7 with the backup quarterback playing the whole game as Tua sprained his ankle last week and is using the Arkansas game and the bye week to recover. They still slipped from #1 to #2 to LSU because LSU beat Auburn by 3…go figger that one. Nick Saban is happier not to be #1 anyway…gives him more things to motivate the team…he’s on record that polls are “rat poison”.

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Sunday Connie felt poorly again…so we skipped cleaning and just went over to Mass…there’s a chapel on the island now so we no longer have to schlep the 24ish miles up to Chiefland…then we had Happy Hour and some carne asada pork with peppers and onions on corn tortillas for dinner. Sunset was pretty nice on Sunday. We had to sit not at the bar since all the weekend riff-raff was here…luckily they all left the next morning.

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Noticed this license tag near where we were sitting.

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Monday…rinse and repeat…finished the windows and fan blades/screens and cleaning in the bedroom and bathroom with the exception of the floor which we’ll do last and the dusting. Tried opening back up for fresh air…we had been closed since Saturday with the A/C running as it was hot/humid…but ended up closing again as it was hotter and more humid than we thought and was only going down to 78 over night. Happy Hour and a steak on the barbie was dinner and we used up a bunch of leftovers in the process. The leftover dill/onion dip sauce from the halibut last week went into the mashed taters along with a couple cloves of mashed garlic. The leftover onion/mushroom/cream sauce from the last week’s chicken and the leftover Mexican butter from the grilled corn last week got mixed with some white wine and tarragon which turned it into something resembling Bernaise sauce with a little more kick and got poured over the steak. Sunset was poop as it was cloudy.

Tuesday…dare I say it…rinse and repeat again. Finished up the dusting, fan cleaning, overhead hard drive area cleaning, sink scrubbing, and everything but the floors which we’ll do tomorrow…we originally thought we would have 2 more days after today but got more done than we figured on. Happy Hour and dinner which will be (this portion written before Happy Hour, dinner, and sunset) spaghetti with Italian sausage, mushroom and other goodies in a lemon wine sauce. Sunset TBD. Neil did get a photo of the Osprey with a Great Blue Heron in the background while we were cleaning…he noticed it out the window.

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Sunset turned out to be acceptable…but we didn’t have the camera with us at sunset time so Neil took one with his iPhone. With the newly released iOS 10.3.3…Apple has enabled a computational photography technique they call Deep Fusion which is supposed to produce better output but it only works with the newest iPhone 11 models. Fortunately…he also has a camera app named Halide which takes RAW photos instead of the HEIC ones that the built in camera app does and uses the available API to extend the benefit to older models like his iPhone XS Max…I’ll have him take one with Halide Wednesday and see how it works…but here’s one he too Tuesday evening…not too shabby for a phone shot.

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Wednesday we finished up our cleaning…then headed out to the Island Hotel Restaurant for a fancy dinner. Connie had an Island Hearts of Palm Salad…it was supposedly invented here…and some crab bisque while Neil had some loaded baked potato soup and some redfish picatta. All was good except the fish…the first half was excellent but the second half which happened to be the thick end of the filet was overdone and fishy. Neil thinks they put the pan half off the burner to keep the thinner end from over cooking which worked but they ended up overdoing the thicker portion of the filet so it was dry and fishy.

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Here’s a shot of Connie’s salad…and yes…that is ice cream on top of it…I told ya it was a fancy place.

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Neil spotted this in the mens room over the urinal.

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When we got home…he went out and took a couple of those RAW format sunset shots with his iPhone…first one is straight out of the camera and the second was processed to look like it looked to the eye. They’re a little noisy compared to the DSLR shots he’s been taking and not quite as nice…but iPhone image quality is getting pretty close to what you get out of a DSLR these days.

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Today’s our last day here…we’ll pack up the grill, chairs, and other outside stuff and head out tomorrow the last 250 miles of the travel season…over to I-75 and then south to North Fort Myers where Seminole Campground site 101 awaits us. I’ll get some more sunset photos tonight…well actually Neil will as I can’t get the camera up to my eye and my paws are too clumsy to focus and hit the shutter button…and report back in over the weekend.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Can we just get this whole impeachment political maneuvering crap over already? The House is going to do what they’re going to do…and eventually they will vote to impeach despite the fact that it will cost them politically. Then the Senate will acquit the President since it takes a supermajority…67 votes if they all vote…to convict and convincing 20+ Republicans to vote to oust a President based on hearsay evidence isn’t going to happen. The President’s lawyers will say that his duty to uphold the laws of the country require him to ask foreign countries to investigate potential wrongdoings by American citizens and that the Constitution overrides the election law about soliciting foreign assistance…and the courts have never ruled on that question. Heck…at this point…it’s not clear that any actual crime was committed and the Constitution does say “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Apparently Ms. Pelosi has agreed to hold a vote today to approve some “rules” for conducting the hearings but the vote specifically does not authorize impeachment hearings…so whether what they’re doing is even legal is open to interpretation.

Can we get this whole Brexit thing over as well…either leave or stay but quit messing around with it. Now the Remainers…who lost the referendum on whether to leave or not…are demanding another referendum…sort of like the Democrats want to redo the 2016 election because Mrs. Clinton was supposed to win.

So on the
National Geographic
site…there’s an article about this study in Nature that claims that previous science that Homo Sapiens (thats the species of modern human beings) developed simultaneously in numerous places around Africa is wrong. According to this study…which studied Mitochondrial DNA that is passed only from mothers to their offspring…anyway they studied this DNA from various ethnic groups around Africa…and they have “conclusively determined” that there was a single birthplace of our species in a small area in central Botswana. Further…according to this study it’s obvious that “every living human being” is descended from a single female that lived in that area of Botswana about 200,000 years ago.

Now that just defies logic. For every living human being to be descended from a single female would have to mean that she was the only fertile female in existence and that would have to mean that she was the only female in existence…in other words her name would have been Eve. The problem with that scientifically is that inbreeding from a single maternal source would have most likely cause the species to die out instead of continuing to exist…and the math probably doesn’t work anyway…it depends on which googled article you believe. 200,000 years is about 10,000 generations…so starting with 2 people back then there would only be about 2 billion people on earth today. That doesn’t count the ones that died or the fact that some generations had more than 2 children that survived…or the effect of inbreeding or potentially fatal genetic issues.

In the second place…there was another study a few years back that “conclusively determined” that all living human beings were descendants of a single male who lived 160,000 years ago in a completely different part of Africa. Since caveman probably never traveled more than 10 or so miles from their birth place…and since their lifespan was nowhere near 40,000 years…Adam lived in a completely different time and place than Eve.

So…both of these studies are pretty much BS…which is what the National Geographic article says.


Only older folk and Russians will likely get this one.




A friend sent me a whole bunch of military/police dog ones.

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MilitaryServiceDog 00035

MilitaryServiceDog 00002

MilitaryServiceDog 00003

MilitaryServiceDog 00008

MilitaryServiceDog 00018

MilitaryServiceDog 00020

MilitaryServiceDog 00032

Bad ass of the week.

MilitaryServiceDog 00034



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