Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pomchi On Board

Beginning today, I’ll be on the road with my little furkid Sophie for two weeks.  My plans include visiting my best friend at the beach and then heading to Hotlanta to catch the home stand of the Braves against the Washington Nationals.

So far the Nats are 7-7 and my Bravos are 8-5.  Atlanta is on the road battling their division rivals the Mets who lead the NL East 11-3.  Next week the Nats come to Hotlanta and I will be there rooting for my boys.  My seat is behind the Bravos’ dugout.  I’ll be wearing my home jersey, a Braves ball cap and holding a cool, refreshing brewski so you should be able to pick me out of the crowd pretty easily if you catch the games on TV. *snicker*

I’ll get to the Ted (Turner Field) a few hours early to watch batting practice and get some autographs to add to my awesome collection of Braves memorabilia.  I hope my boys are able to beat the Nats.  If they do, I’ll being tweeting their No. 1 fan, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, to give him some guff.  If my Braves lose, of course, I’ll keep my big mouth shut.

While I’m away, co-blogger Proof will keep the place going with content.  This time however, I’ve queued up “Flowing Curves of Beauty” so there won’t be any Star Trek hotties unless, of course, Proof decides to throw some in the mix.

I am always grateful to Proof for taking the reins here when I’m on my “Obama-esque” vacations.  Meanwhile, thanks to all of you for your loyal readership.  Take care out there.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Field Of Empty Chairs

A day can turn in an instant.  At 9:02 AM twenty years ago today, two men along with John Doe No.2 conspired to terrorize a nation.  It was the deadliest attack on U.S. soil until the horror of the 9/11 attacks.

Where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood in Oklahoma City there is a reflection pond, a museum and an expansive lawn with 168 sculpted bronze chairs commemorating each of the victims of the bombing.  As you look out over the field there are two sizes of chairs:  the larger chairs are dedicated to the adults who perished that day and the smaller ones for the nineteen children.

In 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed in a federal penitentiary for setting off the bomb. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, was also convicted and is serving a life sentence.

The picture above is but one of the iconic images from that day.  The Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken by AP photographer Charles H. Porter shows Oklahoma City Fire Captain Chris Fields carrying the lifeless body of one-year-old Baylee Almon.  Baylee celebrated her first birthday the day before the bombing.  She would have been 21 yesterday.

There was another photographer, Lester LaRue, standing just three feet away from Porter who snapped yet another photograph that centered on innocence lost that day.  The now famous photo shows Sgt. John Avera carrying little Baylee out of the rubble and into the arms of Captain Fields.
All memorials face the impermanence of original memories. From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, a day will come when no one alive will have known first-hand any of the people whose engraved names they read.
How can one look upon such photographs and not be somehow changed.  They evoke such emotion that I cannot find the words to express my sorrow.  When will man’s inhumanity to man end?
Twenty years after the Oklahoma City bombing, words overlooking the memorial plaza speak of reverence for the past, but also of a mission that reaches beyond memory:
We come here to remember those who were killed,
those who survived and those changed forever. 
May all who leave here know the impact of violence.  
May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Plant Whisperer

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Original art by John Cox. More at John Cox Art

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

When I was a young girl and television was broadcast in black and white, I remember joining my dad in the living room to watch the New York Yankees play. I became enamored with the game and players like Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Tony Kubek, Mel Stottlemeyer and Mickey Mantle.  The games were called by LA Dodgers HOFer Pee Wee Reese and St. Louis Browns’ HOFer Dizzy Dean on NBC and by Pee Wee and Curt Gowdy on CBS.  My dad would always laugh when ‘ol Dizzy would say, “He slud into third.”

According to club chronology, the Boston Beaneaters changed their name to the Braves in 1907.  The Braves played their first game in Milwaukee in 1953.  Their first season in Atlanta was 1966.  They played in what was arguably the worst-kept field in baseball—Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium—where, in 1971, “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron hit his 600th homerun.  Just three years later, he broke the Babe’s homerun record by smashing No. 715 off Dodgers’ lefty Al Downing.

Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s the Braves were pretty much the worst team in baseball, but when Ted Turner decided to buy the team in 1976 he began broadcasting the Braves’ game on TBS and after a while the Braves became known as America’s Team garnering fans everywhere as Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray, and Joe Simpson called the games. 

The Braves made history in 1991 after going from worst to first to reach the World Series.  I never forgave the Twins’ Kent Hrbek for his thug play at first base in game two.  It was a highly controversial play in which Hrbek grabbed Ron Gant’s leg and pulled him off the base.  The call by umpire Drew Coble was ranked as one of the Top Ten Worst baseball calls by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated.  I know what you’re thinkin’.  You’re thinkin’ I’m biased in favor of my boys, but I challenge you to watch the video.  Even announcers Tim McCarver and Jack Buck knew it was a bad call and said so on air.

The Braves went on to play in the 1992 World Series losing to the Toronto Blue Jays, but, but there was yet another chance for glory in 1995 as World Series Champions against the Cleveland Indians.

I had me some kind of a serious crush on Steve Avery, Atlanta’s young pitching phenom.  There was also Smoltzie and Maddux and Glavine whom I adored.  Hell, I loved all those guys.

And so it was for 30 years until the advent of ESPN when ratings began to plummet and Turner ended the affiliation between TBS and the Braves.

I had been on the road with my employer from 2002 until 2007 and it was a joy to be able to tune into a game and wash away the dreck of the day.  When I came off the road, I was working the night shift, usually 1 to 9:30 PM or 2 to 10:30 PM and wasn’t able to follow the boys from Atlanta.

Now that I am retired, I can sit back with my furkid Sophie and enjoy Braves baseball once again, not on TBS but on Fox Sports South and Sports South.  Old friend Joe Simpson is still calling the games.  Though Skip Caray has joined dad Harry Caray in the broadcast booth in Heaven, son Chip Caray is in the booth with Joe and occasionally former pitcher Tom Glavine will join them.

Things change over the years as they always do.  The Braves in conjunction with Sun Trust Bank are building a new stadium in Cobb County, Georgia.  It will be incredibly easier to get to the park there than in downtown Hotlanta.  I’m looking forward to that.

I’m planning on visiting my friend again next week and the following week I will be at the Ted (Turner Field) to watch my boys beat Charles Krauthammer’s beloved Washington Nationals.  If you watch the games, look for me behind the Braves dugout, chanting the war chant and tomahawk choppin’ with the best of ‘em and during the 7th-inning stretch when it’s time to sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” I’ll be the one singing the loudest.  I should be easy to pick out from the crowd.  I’ll be wearing a home jersey, Braves ball cap and I’ll have a beer in my hand.

I’ll get to the stadium a couple of hours early to watch batting practice and get some autographs to add to my other Braves memorabilia  Look out Dr. Krauthammer, your Nats are going to lose.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bugs Ruin Everything

You may have noticed that my blogging has been scant recently.  I have what I think is a good reason.  Regular readers are aware that I am now among the most blessed of Americans—I am retired.  Retirement for me is akin to kids being out of school for the summer.  Only for me it’s an endless summer.

While I was in the workforce, I kept my property up with low maintenance shrubbery and very few flowers except for those I had on the deck.  I have a guy named Ben who comes to cut the grass every week in the spring and summer and scoops up the leaves every week in the fall until the leaves stop falling.

Now that I’m retired, I have the time to beautify my little corner of the world.  I got Ben to go to Lowe’s and purchase 12”X4” retainer wall blocks that mimic the color of the brick on my house to build a circular flower bed for some beautiful Autumn Lilac Encore® Azaleas and Emerald Blue and Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox.

I also had him replace the dozen Emerald Gaiety Euonymous shrubs that lined the front of my house with two Emerald Green Arborvatae (one at either end of the house) and dwarf Gold Mop False Cypress and frost-proof gardenias.  The euonymous were beginning to succumb to mildew and scale.

I put down pre-emergent fertilizer on my lawn and have sown grass seed in the spots where the damn squirrels have dug holes in search of the acorns they hid last fall.  Through all this, I have been afflicted with a major case of “involuntary horror reaction.”

While feeding my Knock Out® roses, I felt something crawling on me.  I looked at my arm and saw a neon-green worm traveling up to the sleeve of my T-shirt.  EWWW.  I flicked it off and continued undeterred from the task at hand.  A week later, I was feeding my roses again.  I noticed dozens of the green worms all over my pants.  EWWW.  Trying not to scream and alarm the neighbors, I rushed into the house, shed my pants and threw them outside.  I put on another pair of pants, fetched the pants I’d tossed outside the door and tried to shake the little monsters off.  When I felt I had been successful, I came inside and immediately threw them in the washer.

Things got worse from there.  For the last two weeks, every time I’ve gone to the mailbox, I’ve walked through silky threads that resemble spider webs.  They are invisible.  Nothing is creepier than silky, webby stuff clinging to your face.

What’s going on you may ask.  The little green worms are known as cankerworms.  Some call them inchworms.  During late November, the cankerworm moth travels up the trunk of trees and lays up to 300 eggs. In March and early April, the eggs hatch as cankerworms.  They munch and munch and munch on the tree canopy.  When they get their fill, they parachute down on silken threads and get in your hair, in your nose and in your mouth if you’re not careful.

Last Saturday, I was planting impatiens, snapdragons and alyssum in 22-inch bulb pans and saw literally dozens crawling around on them.  I smashed ‘em with murderous glee.  When I went to water my roses after feeding them an organic fertilizer, I noticed they had starting dining on the leaves.  I went to my storage shed and pulled out the Sevin™ dust and began annihilating them.

Needless to say, I am at war with cankerworms.  I have spoken with a local arborist and plan to band my trees next fall.  Ben has agreed to help me with that project.  In the meantime, until the cankerworms finally descend to the ground and disappear, I will be tormented by “involuntary horror reaction.”  I haven’t stopped itching since I started typing this story.

Oh, and one more thing about how bugs ruin everything, if you listen carefully, you can hear what sounds like rain.  It ain’t rain.  That’s the sound of the little nightmares pooping.  Their poop looks like poppy seeds and literally covers everything.  EWWW.

If bugs just followed the rules like everyone else, they really wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s their egregious disregard for boundaries that makes them so despicable.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary's Announcement Video Hacked

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Original art by John Cox. More at John Cox Art

Check Out The New Hillary T-Shirts

There’s a big flap on the Intertoobs about Cankles’ new campaign logo.  Lefties are up in arms over the big red arrow pointing to the right.  Others think it’s amateurish.

ABC News contacted a visual communications scholar at the University of South Carolina who said he’d redesign it from scratch. 

"Red is a symbol for danger, and the campaign has a big and bold red arrow pointing right to the right that's dominating the whole logo.  I don’t know if the public wants that. The logo also looks industrial with all the hard edges of the rectangles and arrow. It just doesn't have a warm, fuzzy, welcoming feel."
Clinton's campaign team did not immediately respond to ABC News' calls and email requesting comment.
I wouldn’t change a thing.  She deserves to be mocked often and by those who know how.

Flowing Curves Of Beauty

“The human body is the best work of art.” 


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