September 4, 2008
Frequent Visitors

Frequent Visitors

Growing up within the city limits of Pittsburgh, the critters we encountered were few and far between. We, unlike many city dwellers, never had any real rodent problems, but we certainly had our share of bugs. Again, we were fortunate in that most of the bugs we encountered were outside. I’d say my Mom did a good job of keeping things clean and less than inviting for unwanted guests.

I don’t recall many butterflies, but I do remember lightning bugs, bees, wasps, and hornets. By the way, did you know that the original name for butterflies was flutter-bys? That name seems much more appropriate to me.

I don’t recall ever seeing a garden spider until I moved to Imperial, Pennsylvania. The only raccoons and possums I ever saw were around my sister’s home in Ingomar. Back in the neighborhood of my parent’s home, we’d see an occasional stray dog, but I don’t ever recall seeing a stray cat. Perhaps the stray dogs took care of that.

Very early in my life, we’d sometimes see a horse and wagon, but those sightings were very infrequent.

While birds were abundant in the warmer months, very few of them wintered in Pittsburgh. Our assortment of species was limited to wrens, robins, starlings, and a rare crow or two. The only time I heard the call of a Blue Jay was when we were visiting my Uncle Lewis in New Jersey.

Moving to Castle Shannon, a suburb of Pittsburgh gave us the joy of watching Ring-necked Pheasants pass through our back yard almost daily. Of course, had I been an avid hunter, I may have seen them in a different light.

But moving to the woods of North Georgia has broadened our horizon. There are times when I think we might be living in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary.

Our Wildlife Sanctuary

Our Wildlife Sanctuary

I’ve been living on this plot of land since 1993 and have seen everything from turtles to geese. We’ve been visited by foxes, squirrels, lizards, hummingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Penguins, yellow finches, snakes, and some of the strangest insects you’d ever want to see.

Bug Eyes

Bug Eyes

I should add this picture to my list of contests. If you know what it is, feel free to tell us with a comment.

The most recent visitor managed to find his or her way inside.

A Cousin of Kermit?

A Cousin of Kermit?

I always thought frogs ate bugs. Wasn’t it Kermit who said, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”?

Perhaps the frog realized that the bug was bigger then he or she, and opted to drop in for a visit rather than face the uncertainty of trying for peaceful coexistence with an insect.

At any rate, we’ll continue to keep our camera handy and see what else might drop in to visit with us.

And yes, I lied about the penguin, although we have been visited by Pittsburgh Penguin fans.

Still no Winner!

August 12, 2008

Let’s take another look at that mystery photo:

Where was this picture taken?

Where was this picture taken?

Surely someone has seen this geography. While you’re wracking your brain trying to figure out where on earth this rock formation might be found, let’s have some fun. As they used to say on TV, “And now, this…”

That commercial brought back many childhood memories. As I recall, Rube Goldberg inventions were sometimes featured in the Sunday comics. But while we’re thinking about that photo and enjoying old time commercials, let’s look at another.

Are we having fun yet?

While we’re tripping down Memory Lane with these old commercials, please don’t forget that our main purpose today is to look at that photograph and find the answer. Where was it taken?

Let’s try another question. What product aimed at children was the first to use a silly rabbit as it’s animated spokesperson? My guess is most people would say Trix; after all, “Trix are for kids, not silly rabbits.” Let’s see how right you are:

I just love the kind of humor displayed at the end of each of those clips. Maybe that explains my warped way of looking at things.

Before I end this post, let me add two more things. The first is a web site of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. If you go to this Post-Gazette site you’ll find information on how Carnegie Mellon University is honoring the late Dr. Randy Pausch.

And finally, I’ll leave you with this thought sent to me by Clifford “Doug” Graham (a high school classmate).

A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles in a year.

Another study found Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.

That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.

Kind of makes you proud to be American.

In Search of the Perfect Wallpaper

August 10, 2008

Today’s post is going to end with a contest… mainly because I’ve been trying to find the answer to a puzzle for a number of years. I’m hoping someone who reads this will be able to solve the mystery.

I’m going to insert a number of pictures that would be suitable to use as wallpaper on your computer screen. Some might even be acceptable as wallpaper for your family room… or dentist’s office. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin with picture number 1. See if you can guess where it was taken. Try not to peek at the answer below.

Picture Number 1

Picture Number 1

If you’re thinking that it might be Denver or Kansas City, you really need to get out more. I can tell you that the walls were built in the 1500s and no army or navy was able to penetrate the defenses until the people who lived here allowed the Americans to gain access during the Spanish-American War. That’s right. It’s the bay at Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Let’s try another.

Picture Number 2

Picture Number 2

Would it help if I told you there’s a town called Campbell River just south of this lake? How about if I mention that the lake is on an island, and the name of the island is the same as a large city that can be reached by ferry? I could also mention that a city on this island is the capital of a Canadian province. That’s correct. It’s a lake on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It’s about a hundred miles north of Victoria.


Picture Number 3

Picture Number 3

This one would be easy if you know where the Ten Bells pub is located. I’ll give you a hint. The town in Kent is named after me. Or, is it the other way around. OK. So my family most likely got its surname from this town in Kent. This is the village of Leeds… just down the road from the Leeds Castle. Would you believe they made me pay to see that castle? As if I were just another commoner. Fie on them!

Moving on, let’s look at picture number 4.

Picture Number 4

Picture Number 4

There aren’t any camels and there is no sandy desert. So it can’t be California. But it could be a country whose people are spending Euros in Chicago. Right you are. The Louvre Museum in Paris. That was too easy.

Let’s see what’s next.

Picture Number 5

Picture Number 5

You might as well give up on this one before you give yourself a headache. Compared to the other pictures I’ve shown you, this required the least amount of travel. In fact, all I had to do was step out onto my front porch. I call this one Sunset in Cumming. Pretty poetic, don’t you think?


Picture Number 6

Picture Number 6

I’ll give you a big hint on this one. We’ve been there before. If that’s not enough of a hint, I can tell you that a number of my good Spanish speaking friends would immediately recognize the Atlantic Ocean as seen from Puerto Rico… the home of Roberto Clemente.

And that brings us to the final picture. I honestly have no idea what location is depicted. I can tell you I took the picture at my dentist’s office. It’s a wallpaper mural and nobody seems to know the location of the rock formation. Take a look and see what you think.

Mystery Picture

Mystery Picture

The clear spot to the right of the mural is where a door used to be. If you don’t know where this scene is located, invite your friends and family members to visit my blog and take a look. Somebody must know where the photo was taken.

I guess I should have a prize for the person who comes up with the correct answer. I’ve already offered my warmest personal regards as a prize in a different contest. How about I plaster your name all over this blog? Will that work? If you send me a picture of yourself, I’ll post that as well.

Speaking of pictures, we’re having a professional photographer come to our house in a few weeks to take a group picture of ten of our grandchildren. We have Bridget come over once a year to capture the growing brood… and it ain’t easy. The toddlers have a tendency to toddle off just as she snaps the picture. But she has the patience of Job and a computerized program that allows her to swap faces to make sure she gets at least one good picture.

In truth, she usually gets several great shots without using the computerized magic. She’s great with kids. If you’re considering getting pictures made, I highly recommend Ms. Bridget McLean. You can contact her at her web site .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008

I added a sermon today (it is Sunday!), but I won’t take credit for it. In truth, it’s an inspirational video sent to me by my good friend Bob Jessep. It’s much longer than my typical sermon and you’ll get the gist of the message in the first minute or two. It’s your decision if you want to watch the rest of it or move on to something else.


I’m adding this section today because I want to see the number of daily visitors increase. I’m trying very hard to keep things interesting to justify the time I spend on this each day. My bride would prefer I go and get a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart. Personally, I think I might drive the average Wal-Mart shopper crazy. Thus, for as long as I can, I’ll work to get my numbers up. The rest is up to you, your friends, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else you can coerce to visit this blog.

So here’s the contest. I’m part of a group that entertains at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Occasionally I have to kill some time while one of our musicians searches for a piece of music. My jokes are getting repetitive. I need some new material.

One of my favorite jokes is one the group won’t let me tell to a group of senior citizens. It’s about an old guy in his eighties who gets all dressed up and goes to a lounge. As soon as he walks in he spies a woman in her late seventies who is sitting by herself at the bar. He straightens his tie and moves in. He orders a drink and tries to act nonchalant. When his drink arrives, he turns to the woman and says, “So tell me, do I come here often?”

Obviously, I need clean jokes. A little innuendo here and there is O.K., but I’m trying to keep this a family oriented blog.

Use the comment link to pass along your best joke. If it’s good and clean, I’ll let everyone see it and when I use it, I’ll tell them who gave it to me… although most of the folks in our audiences will probably forget before the show is over.

While you’re here – and trying to think of a good joke – take a look around. If you see something you find interesting, make a comment. Better yet – tell someone else about it so they can drop by and see it for themselves.

Thanks again for your support!

Experimental Contest

June 30, 2008

Forgive me for not having a set of radio buttons so you can tell me what word or phrase brought you to my blog. Please click on the comments button below and fill me in. Because you may have come based on almost anything I’ve written, radio buttons might not be enough. So, please feel free to comment away! Thanks.

This post was made around 6:30 AM EDT. Based on the low number of visits, I’d say my experiment has failed. This comment was added around 3:15 PM. I guess there is still time for flocks of surfers to appear, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Making it Interactive

June 26, 2008

A few people who have visited this site have taken the time to make comments. It’s nice to get feedback of any kind. So, to encourage you to make a comment, I’m holding a contest.

In my writings I’ve mentioned that I love to travel and have been to all fifty states. The question is… Which state represents number 50? Which of the United States was the one that allowed me to finally say, “I’ve been to them all”?

Give me your answer by adding a comment to this article.

The winners (Yes, I’ll allow more than one winner!) will receive my warmest personal regards.