Sunday, July 29, 2012

Twistee Treat

When Mary and I are out shopping and we get warm, we like to stop at the soft-serve ice cream place called Twistee Treat.   I like the buildings because they are so unique in that they look like a giant ice cream cone.
Chocolate is my favorite and I get chocolate 99% of the time.   I guess that I am a chocoholic.   Sometimes Mary gets vanilla and sometimes she gets chocolate.   Boy, doesn't this picture below look good?   Makes me want to run out and get one.   But tonight we are having Klondikes later in the evening while watching television. 
We get the brown waffle cones.   They hold more ice cream than the other type of cones.   When I lived in Arizona there use to be one of those ice cream trucks come down the street jingling out a tune over its loudspeaker.    The truck had a soft serve ice cream machine in it and all the kids would run out to it to get an ice cream treat.   Yeah, I ran also.    The kids would always ask for "rabbit ears".   What they got was a soft serve ice cream cone that was half vanilla and half chocolate like in the picture below.
I asked them why they called the cone "rabbit ears" and they said because it looks like a rabbits ears:   brown fur on the outside of the ear and white fur on the inside of the ear.   So I joined the kids and started asking for "rabbit ears".   The guy on the truck knew the term and so knew exactly what I wanted when I asked him for "rabbit ears".   It was a lot of fun and brought back memories of when I was a kid waiting for the Good Humor man and his truck.   I always got the same thing:   a Dixie cup with a picture of a  movie star on the underside of the lid.   
I should have kept those lids with the movie stars pictures on them.    Maybe they would have been worth money by now.  
The memory for me is very vivid of sitting on a low rock wall waiting and waiting with a dime clutched between my fingers along with all of the other excited kids.   Summer was a good time because it was filled with nothing but play all day.   Day after day until school started again.

Mary made lemon-pepper chicken breasts and a baked acorn squash with brown sugar and butter inside.   The acorn squash was for me and Mary had a baked potato.   I don't have a picture of the acorn squash but it was good.   We also had cheese "drop" biscuits which were really good.   Just like the ones at the Red Lobster seafood restaurants.   I put some honey on mine from a small honey bear dispensing squeeze bottle.
Time to sign off.   It is almost time for a Klondike ice cream.   
So many different Klondikes and so little time to sample them all.   Yum.    Lew

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ominous cloud

I came across this old picture.   I don't remember where I got it from but I think that I saved it because of the ominous cloud formation.   I found it fascinating.    But now in retrospect I wonder what the captain of the freighter must have thought as he stood on the deck of the bridge looking at this cloud.    What would I have done if I were in his place.   Would I have "stay-the-course" and continue straight ahead into the storm?   Or would I have made a hard turn to the right?   I think that I would have probably made a U-turn and got the heck out of there.   What would you have done?
      I use to do environmental surveillance for a power plant.   The plant provided a small open boat and a driver for me to go out on the ocean and collect samples.   It was summer and there were numerous small rain storm  cells all over the place.   The driver suggested that we go back to the dock.   I told him that we could navigate between the cells if he were afraid of getting wet.   He said that it wasn't the rain that he was worried about, he said it was the lightning.    He said that we were the highest thing out on the water plus we were in an open boat.   I immediately agreed with him and said "Let's go back to the dock".   I was nervous until we finally made it to the dock without incident (fortunately).   So now I am cautious when it comes to being out on the water and as Captain Lew I would have turned that freighter around and high-tailed it out of there.   What would you have done?   Best regards.    Captain Lew.     

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I stopped by the parking lot of an automotive store where I discovered some passion flower vines are growing wild.   I wanted to check on the seed pods. But they are still green and not ready for picking yet.
Note the three bladed leaf design just to the right of the green seed pod that looks like a lime.
A number of weeks ago I planted what I thought was the last remaining passion flower seeds. I planted some in a "topsy turvey" hanging planter that was originally used last year for planting tomatoes.
I held my camera over the open top and snapped a picture. And this is what I got.
Look at the three-blade design of the center leaf. Just like on the passion flower vine near the automotive store.    I had also planted some of the seeds into a regular pot for plants and that plant also has a three-blade leaf growing.
So I may yet get a passion vine growing with those beautiful flowers.    Where else but in Florida can you get such a beautiful flower as this.
I have my fingers crossed that the plants do well. In the meantime I still plan to harvest the seed pods that are growing when they are ripe.
Has anyone had any experience growing passion vines from seeds?    Got any tips that you could share with me?    Well have a nice day.   Not having a nice day so far?    Have some ice cream (preferably chocolate) and it will end up being a nice day.   A dish of ice cream just seems to solve all of the world's problems.    Lew

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dirty Dancing

Much of Dirty Dancing was filmed at Lake Lure, North Carolina.    Around 2 or 3 years after the film was released in 1987 the Lake Lure Inn held a Dirty Dancing festival in the summer and I was lucky enough to be able to attend.   We stayed at the Lake Lure Inn  which is where the entire cast stayed during the filming.   An elegant hotel.
What a treat it was to walk down the elegant staircase in the hotel.
In the evenings we sat in the lobby watching a VCR play the movie Dirty Dancing.   There were plenty of people doing the same and we would talk for long periods about the movie.   We ate our meals at the hotel.   The dining room was, well should I say it once again, elegant.
And the meals were gourmet.   5-star fine dining.   At the time that I went there everything was still there.    All of the buildings, walks, stairs, etc. that were in the movie.   Now I have learned that after all these years they are still having Dirty Dancing festivals there.   This years festival is scheduled for August 17 & 18, 2012.
Here is the website for more information on the festival.
They have so many activities going on at the festival this year.   It really sounds like a great event.    And if you want to see the movie one more time, I think that they will once again have a large outdoor screen for showing the film.
Just look at all of the fans.   I had a good time when I attended the festival.    I don't understand why they call it the 3rd annual Dirty Dancing festival because the one that I attended was many, many years ago.   For me I would try to stay in the Lake Lure Inn since that is where the original cast stayed.
But if you would like to see what other accommodations are available just visit the Lake Lure website.    Remember that this is not a link and you have to type it into your computer.
Remember what a great movie it was and how nostalgic the music was?   How I love those golden oldies.

If you can't make it to Lake Lure for the Dirty Dancing festival then be sure to watch the movie Dirty Dancing once again on August 17th or 18th and pretend that you are there.    Enjoy life.    Lew

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fat Man and Little Boy

This blog is a follow-up on my previous blog titled The Demon Core.
There is an excellent movie on the making of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos.   The movie stars John Cusack as a fictional character in the movie called Michael Merriman.
The character Michael Merriman is a blend of two of the Los Alamos scientists:  Harry Daghlian and John Slotin.   In the scene above he is "tickling the dragons tail" of the Demon Core.   The movie shows the accident that caused the death of John Slotin which was manipulating the beryllium reflectors with a screwdriver.   This is an excellent movie and I highly recommend viewing a copy of it.   The film was released October 20, 1989 and so it has been around for a while but still well worth seeing.
Dwight Schultz on the left in the picture above does a good job in portraying Robert Oppenheimer.   Remember him from the television series The A-Team?   That is Paul Newman on the right as General Leslie Groves.  
John Cusack has a starring role throughout the movie and gives a fine performance.   Check the movie out of your local library or purchase an extremely inexpensive copy from your local thrift shop, pop some popcorn, and have a fun time watching the movie.    Lew

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Demon Core

This is it, the infamous Demon Core.   So what the devil (pardon the pun) is a demon core?   It is the plutonium core of a nuclear bomb.   There were originally two types of atomic bombs:  uranium and plutonium.   The uranium atomic bomb was relatively simple.   But the plutonium was more complicated and difficult.   They ran experiments on this plutonium core.   So why call is the "demon core"?   Why, because two scientists at  Los Alamos were killed by the very same core.   Tragic deaths.   The first to die was Harry Daghlian.    When you see a picture of the individual it hits home a little bit harder.   We aren't just talking about a story of a radiation accident, but an individual.   And so young.

On August 21, 1945 he was performing an experiment with this plutonium core by stacking bricks made of tungsten carbide around the core.   These bricks made a small chain reaction start and as he stacked more bricks around the core the chain reaction increased in intensity.   When he got to the last brick he realized that if he put it on top of the stack of bricks surrounding the demon core that it would go supercritical (a bad thing).   He decided not to put the last brick of titanium carbide and as he raised the brick away from the demon core it slipped and fell from his hand.   Where did it land?   Yep, right on top of the pile of bricks.   The absolutely worst place that it could land.   The demon core went supercritical emitting massive radiation (neutrons).   Harry Daghlian reached down to the pile of bricks and started pulling some of the bricks away from the pile to stop the chain reaction.    He was successful but he had gotten a lethal dose of radiation.   He died 25 days later from radiation poisoning on September 24, 1945 at the age of 24.
      But the Demon Core wasn't finished yet.  Another scientist at Los Alamos by the name of Louis Slotin was also killed by the Demon Core.

On May 21, 1946 he was doing experiments causing a small chain reaction by lowering a beryllium shell over the plutonium core.   He used a screwdriver to keep the beryllium shell from coming completely down on top of the plutonium core (that would be bad).   Scientists referred to this as "tickling the dragon's tail" because it was so dangerous.   As he proceeded with the experiment the screwdriver slipped and the beryllium shell came down completely on top of the plutonium core.

There was a flash of blue light and a wave of heat.    He yanked the beryllium shell away from the core but it was too late.    The demon core had struck again and Louis Slotin died 9 days later on May 30, 1946 at the age of 35 from radiation poisoning.
        Whatever happened to this Demon Core?   It was used in the atomic bomb test codenamed Able of the Crossroads series of Atomic bomb tests at Bikini Island in the south pacific ocean.

And so the Demon Core that had killed two scientists had come to an end.   It just seems incredible that this one plutonium core killed two scientists less than a year apart.   By the way, the Demon Core had an explosive power equivalent to 23,000 tons of TNT.   This is pretty close to the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki which had an explosive power of 21,000 tons of TNT.   In closing, Demon Core seems to be an appropriate name to call this plutonium core for an atomic bomb.    Let me know your thoughts on this blog are, I would be interested in what you think.   Lew

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Buddy

My buddy, Tammy the cat.   When I am outside working in the yard she follows me everywhere.   If I go from the front yard to the backyard and I look down, there she is.   What a loyal and dedicated pet she is who gives me so much pleasure.   If I go into the garage she follows me and jumps up onto the work bench.   Does she get in the way?   Yeah, sometimes a little bit but I just work around her.    I would rather work around her and have her there with me then have her leave.
Sometimes I refer to he as "the Princess" because we dote on her as much as we can.   We are so lucky to have such a pet.   As you can see she has long hair and the warm weather here in Florida sometimes bothers her.   Here she is trying to get cool.
She seems to like the coolness of cement.   We bring her into the air conditioned house during the intense heat of the afternoon.    She has a good life.
She likes to watch the squirrels in the yard.   Does she chase them?   Not really, she is too heavy to get any speed up.   Besides some of the squirrels in our yard are pretty tough.   See what I mean?   No cats want to mess with the squirrels in our yard.   I think that they should be on Smackdown or Raw wrestling.  LOL.   What do you think?    Any wrestling fans out there?
When I come into the room containing my computer she follows me in.   In fact at this moment as I am typing this she is lying on a file cabinet beside me sound asleep.   The red thing beneath her is a nice plush and soft towel to make the top of the file cabinet soft for her to lay on.
She needs to be brushed but she has had a busy day.  Mary does a nice job on brushing and combing her to get her fur all fluffy.   She will stay with us the whole time that we are on the computers.    She has been this way since she was a kitten.   Only back then she use to like to lay on my scanner.   Isn't she just about the cutest kitten ever?   I think so.
Yeah, those are towels on the scanner to make it soft for her.  Even as a kitten she just followed us everywhere.
Here she is sleeping with her head on the hard surface of the table.   Now that is devotion.   She has been a pampered cat ever since Mary picked her up in the backyard as a feral kitten and brought her into the house.
For having been a feral kitten she has developed into a wonderful and loving pet.   And the vet with his multitude of vaccinations has kept her just as healthy as can be.   Does anyone reading this blog also have a fantastic pet?    Please tell me about it in the comments section.   I would be interested in hearing about your pet.    Lew

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Devils Tower

I have started a new hobby of collecting commemorative stamps.    I recently acquired a stamp of the Devil's Tower which is located in Wyoming.   The stamp was issued September 24, 1956 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Devils Tower being designated a national monument.
I acquired the stamp because it reminded me of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Seeing Richard Dreyfuss trying to sculpt the Devils Tower out of his mashed potatoes was a classic scene.
And yes, I tried to do the same thing with some mashed potatoes once just to emulate Richard Dreyfuss.   Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a classic sci-fi movie and I have seen it a number of times.    I don't have the lines memorized yet but I am probably close.   And so I just couldn't pass up a stamp that reminded me of the movie with a depiction of the Devils Tower.
I recommend that you check the movie out of the library and watch it one more time.   In fact, I think that I will take my own advice and watch it one more time.   
Have a good day and enjoy some sci-fi movies.    Lew