Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Ghost in St. Augustine?

Rose and I took a trip to St. Augustine just before the new year. On Saturday Night we had dinner at an Italian Restaurant called Nonna’s Trattoria. We sat outside for dinner and afterwards I took the photograph of the area where we were sitting. When I got home I noticed a strange figure in the photo (left center).

The figure appears somewhat transparent. I know that a long shutter speed and a moving object can have a similar effect but I hand-held this shot at a shutter speed of 1/4 second. Slow but not that slow. In addition, the person would have had to move more than the width of his body to produce this effect which does not seem to be the case. Also, his shadow is very distinct and not from a flash.

I don’t believe in ghosts but this sure is strange. If someone can explain it, please leave a comment.

Is this a ghost?


Only 4 Shopping Days ‘Till The End Of The World

December 21, 2012 is the day our world will end, at least according to the Mayans. Actually, according to some person or persons who “interpreted” what the mayan calender meant. My calender ends on December 31st, so I would assume that day will be the end of the world, but alas, I am not an expert at predicting future events. Just ask my wife.

This time I think I can predict that most of us will be here to see December 22nd. I predicted that the Y2K scare would amount to nothing and I was right about that. Okay, so I am good at predicting some things, like when the world is not going to end and the outcome of certain movies and tv shows. Just don’t ask me to predict anything financial.

I base my prediction that the world will not end on three things:

  • The Mayans did not even come close to surviving until the end of their calendar. Are we going to trust the predictions of a race that could not survive the Spanish?
  • People have been interpreting signs that the world will end for years. So far they have all been idiots. If the world does end, it will be because humans can’t handle the power we have in the world today and that end won’t be predicted by some moron reading an ancient tablet.
  • If I am wrong, who will know?

I also think preparing for the end of the world is stupid. You know there will be plenty of gullible people buying “survival kits” from a crafty entrepreneur that will be spending their money long after the day of reckoning. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on a vacation rather than supplies you won’t be around to use. Perhaps if you are rich, you can buy a ride on a Russian spacecraft and watch the destruction from a safe distance. What a great gift that would be.

Abraham Lincoln and Getting Old

Rose and I went to see the movie Lincoln yesterday afternoon. I wanted to see it because I have always admired Lincoln. I read several books about him and thought of him as somewhat of a role model because of his great character. Rose also wanted to see it, but not as much as me, and since I saw Breaking Dawn with her Saturday, we decided to see Lincoln on Sunday.

I quickly looked it up and found that it started in twenty minutes so we hurried out the door without doing something I should have done first. I did not read what the movie was about. I assumed that since it was titled simply “Lincoln” that it was about the life of Abraham Lincoln, from birth to death and all that meaty stuff in the middle.

I assumed wrong. This movie is about securing votes to pass the Thirteenth Amendment in the House of Representatives at the beginning of 1865. Sure, it’s a good history lesson but if the producers wanted to put people to sleep they could have made a movie about the passage of Obamacare and saved money on costumes.

Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to learn things I did not know before. I just would have been happier learning it a from Redbox a few months from now. If I am going to pay big bucks to see a movie at the theater, I want to be entertained, and if I can be educated at the same time, that’s even better. Apollo 13 was an entertaining and educational movie. This was an educational movie. See the difference?

I noticed something else about the movie that disturbed me. Almost everyone there was older than me. Considering that I will be fifty years old next July, I think that says something about the type of people who are interested in a movie about Lincoln. I am one of those people! Does that mean I am entering into old age?

If I start driving slow in the left lane during rush hour with my blinker on when I really have nowhere important to be, you have my permission to slap me.

Optimism is Based on Pessimism

I don’t want the title of this post to make you think that I am negative or pessimistic. I am actually a very positive person but I am also logical and realistic at times. This came up the other day at work. A job was coming up that I knew was going to suck. I did not know this because of a negative attitude. I knew this from experience. I joked to my boss that I was going to be sick that day. She told me that if I thought bad things than that is what was going to happen.

I understand the power of positive thinking. I also understand the theory that the “universe” gives you what you think about. I think it works, but the universe has nothing to do with it. It is your thoughts that guide your actions and your actions get results.

But you can’t just think positive or be optimistic about everything. As I told my boss, if I imagine what could go wrong, I won’t be disappointed when it happens, and the possibility that things will go better than imagined are much greater.

It occurred to me then that all optimism is grounded in pessimism. Think about it. If a salesperson says to himself, “I am going to make a sale today,” that’s great, but why not two sales, or five, or ten? Sounds pessimistic to me.

Lets go higher. What if someone thinks “I am going to be President of The United States?” Is that the best you can do? Is the CEO of Apple already taken?

The point is, to be truly optimistic about something you also have to be realistic. You can’t just say, “the Cubs are going to win the World Series next year.” That’s just being stupid.

Take me for example, I am very optimistic that at least five people will read this post and at least two people will leave a comment, think about leaving a comment, or think about what they are having for dinner tonight. Let me know because my fridge is empty.

Things I Don’t Understand

This list is by no means complete but here are a few things I don’t understand.

I don’t understand…

  • Why some women wear clothes designed to show off their boobs and then complain when men look at them.
  • Why people with 60 years of driving experience can’t drive.
  • How someone can buy five drinks at a bar for eight  dollars apiece and then complain that gas is four dollars a gallon.
  • Why someone with one type of hair needs nine different shampoos (I’m not referring to anyone in particular that may or may not live with me).
  • Why mountain bikes are sold in Florida.
  • How there can be 32,000,000 laws and regulations, and only 10 commandments.
  • People who a) drive with their dogs on their laps, b) bring their dogs to the supermarket, and c) push their dogs around in baby strollers.
  • Why anybody gives a crap about the Kardashians.
  • Quantum Mechanics (at least the Quantum part…and the Mechanics part).
  • Rosie O’Donnell

The full list is a work in progress and is actually much longer than the “Things I Understand” list. If anyone has any answers or wish to add to the list, please leave a reply.

Rise of the Ebooks

Rose and I used to have a large library of books (if you can call a closet a library). After several moves we have reduced our books to about three shelves of a four-foot wide bookcase. My goal is to eliminate most of what is left.

For some time I have wanted to get a tablet computer. There was several reasons for that but one of the main reasons was so I could use it to read ebooks. With that in mind, I decided about a year ago, perhaps more, to stop buying physical books. I knew I had enough books that I haven’t read yet to keep me busy for quite a while.

At Christmas I finally found a great deal on an Android Acer Iconia Tablet
that I really liked but the rear camera didn’t work. When I returned it to Best Buy I discovered the item was discontinued (which their web page failed to mention) and it could not be replaced. I was fine with a broken camera but I wanted a little compensation for it but the Best Buy manager refused to do anything for me, so I returned it.

For my birthday in July I found another Acer Tablet but this one was running Windows 7 and came with a dockable keyboard, which were both a plus. Finally I had a nice tablet that I could use to read in bed, or wherever I wanted, but then Rose needed one, so I bought her a Kindle Touch, which was recently replaced by the Kindle Paperwhite.

It is nice that we can both sit and read together now. I know, we could have done it before with real books, but we didn’t. It is interesting that all of our ebooks appear on both of our devices and I find myself reading my books on Roses’s Kindle when she is not using it (don’t tell her). I like having my tablet computer but for ebooks, I am a little jealous because Rose’s Kindle is so light and easy to read.

Now my dilemma is that I will never catch up on reading my physical books so I can get rid of them because I keep buying new ebooks.

Kitten Update

Puck playing with cotton swab

Puck playing with cotton swab

After having the kitten for a week, we finally decided on a name for him Saturday; Wolfgang Puck, or just Puck for short. We picked that name because he loves food and he shoots around the room like a hockey puck.

So far he is doing well. He always uses the litter box, unlike our Bad Cat Chris, who is old enough to know better. He eats like a pig, he plays hard, he sleeps well (also unlike Chris) and he has already figured out the cat door.

Vacation Part 4: Grand Cayman

Carnival Destiny in Grand Cayman

Carnival Destiny in Grand Cayman

After our ship, the Carnival Destiny, arrived in Grand Cayman we took the first tender boat to shore and waited for the rest of the group that had booked our tour, which was the Marineland Tours Amphibious Bus Tour. We did not have to wait long because there were only three or four other couples, which was nice..

We started with a tour of part of Georgetown and then we entered the water where we drove over a couple of the nearby shipwrecks. The bus has an underwater camera so we could see what was down there.

Snorkeling with Marineland Tours Amphibios Bus in Grand Cayman

Snorkeling with Marineland Tours amphibious Bus in George Town, Grand Cayman

After that we snorkeled for about twenty minutes, maybe longer. The fish are accustomed to being fed so many showed up when we arrived. I was able to get a number of photos and videos underwater before my camera’s battery went dead.

Marineland Tours Amphibios Bus in George Town, Grand Cayman

Marineland Tours amphibious Bus

After snorkeling we toured more of the town and stopped at seven mile beach for fifteen minutes. I, of course, can’t show you pictures because my camera was dead. After the beach, we were taken back to the ship. The whole tour was around two hours but it was way better than the beach in Ocho Rios.

I posted some videos of this trip at

Vacation Part 3: Jamaica

Our hot waiting room.

We arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on the morning of the second full day of  our cruise on the Carnival Destiny. We bought an excursion to Paradise Beach and after waiting in a hot tent for ten minutes, we got in a big van and traveled less than a mile to the beach. It was so close, it would have taken less time to just walk there.

We chose the beach because Rose didn’t want to go to the falls and since we are going snorkeling in Grand Cayman, we did not want to do it in Jamaica too. Unfortunately, we did not do our research like we usually do and had to choose something the ship offered.

Paradise Beach, Jamaica

Paradise Beach, Jamaica

I mentioned we could walk there but I don’t think we would have been allowed on the beach. There were security guards at the entrance and when we arrived we were escorted to our little section, which was maybe 400 feet long. One side had a resort with a no trespassing sign, I’m not sure what was on the other side besides jet ski rentals and security guards.

I think the entire beach is controlled by private companies, including Carnival. I suppose living so close to the beautiful Gulf beaches of Florida has spoiled us but we both thought Paradise Beach was an inappropriate name, this beach was far from paradise. It should have been called Mediocre Beach. It certainly was not worth the $50 apiece we spent to go there.

Carnival Destiny in Jamaica

Carnival Destiny in Jamaica

The description talked about walking on  a beautiful white sands beach while you look for shells. Well the sand was not very white, there was not a shell in sight and if you wanted to take a walk you would have to turn around a lot. There was also a large amount of seaweed in the water and you could only go out about wast deep before running into the ropes.

We left there after about two hours and got a ride the stores. We could have walked there too but we were warned that the locals would accost you for money. We shopped for about twenty minutes and Rose bought gifts for everyone on her list.

Afterwards we waited for the ride back to the ship. After ten or fifteen minutes, no ride showed up so we decided to walk. We did get asked for money a couple of times but it was no big deal. It was worse inside the stores where the merchants followed us around and tried to push everything we looked at. It was very annoying.

It was a very controlled environment. We felt like we were allowed out on a day trip from the asylum. Jamaica may be a great place to visit but unless you know what you are doing, don’t go there on a carnival cruise.

Vacation part 2: Carnival Destiny

When we got on board the Carnival Destiny, we got a good table by the window and had lunch. It was a nice view but the windows were very dirty. It looked like Godzilla had sneezed on them and nobody bothered cleaning them. The curse, of course, was that since we could not go to our cabins until 1:30 or so, we were tethered to that table, lest we lose it to someone who was not as prompt as us.

Our room was actually ready after 1:00 but our luggage did not arrive until 5:30.  Despite the late luggage arrival, we managed to get to dinner almost on time. Fortunately it was casual night.

After dinner Rose wanted to gamble, so I gambled too, even though I have no luck for games of chance. Rose won a little and I, of course, lost almost as much. This was how it went the entire trip except sometimes Rose would lose too.

I must say that, for me, playing the slots is about as exciting as watching grass grow, and significantly more expensive. I usually played video poker. At least there was some strategy to that and I could keep my losses to a minimum. Between the two of us, I don’t think we lost more than $50 the entire trip.

The next day we sat through a show about the shore excursions and other things to do which was basically a big pitch from Carnival designed to steer your money towards them and their affiliates.

Every cruise has at least one formal night and our cruise was no different. It is something that I hate because I am on VACATION and I shouldn’t have to lug a bunch of extra clothes with me so I can pretend I am at a business meeting.

They do it for one reason only. THEY WANT TO SELL YOU PHOTOGRAPHS. So even if I do not want photo of me, I still have to dress up or I wont be allowed in the dining room. I would only be allowed at the buffet upstairs, which is fine by me, but the formal dining does give you a better opportunity to meet new people.

After the formal dinner we went to the theater to see the show, which was singing and dancing. Rose loves that stuff but she actually found it boring and I was more than happy leave.

Next time I will talk about our first stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.