Saturday, December 24, 2016

gold chocolate coins

When I was a young lad my parents would include a small bag of gold chocolate coins.
These presented quite a dilemma to me.   The gold coins were so pretty and it was easy for me as a child to pretend that they were real gold coins.   But I also loved chocolate.   I was a choco-holic at an early age.    All these years later I am still a choco-holic. 

But here was my dilemma.   To get to the chocolate I had to remove the gold foil covering it which resulted in the gold coin being destroyed.
And so, one by one over time I ate the chocolate coins.   I always regretted it but I wanted the chocolate more than my regrets.    So that is my Christmas tale.   Do you have one?   Please tell about in the comment section.   Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.     Lew

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Man on the Moon

Merry Christmas to all.   This time of year there are all kinds of Christmas videos.   Here is my favorite one which is very touching.   I wonder how many people are spending the holidays alone.   Enjoy the video.   Lew

Friday, November 25, 2016

Jack-O-Lantern Mushrooms

A bouquet of mushrooms sprung up in the front yard.   They were so tightly packed together.  
I had no idea what kind they were.   So I went looking on the internet.    The internet is just a fountain of information.   What I found was surprising.   First the name, Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms.   What a colorful and unique name.   Secondly, they glow in the dark due to a mild phosphorescence.   No, I didn't go out at night to see them glow.   I probably should have gone.
They are probably not edible.   I would never eat wild mushrooms.    Some people do and some of those that do, die each year from eating poisonous mushrooms.   If I want mushrooms I get them from the grocery store in a can.    Well, the mushrooms must have dispersed their spores and then they fall over and die.   But not to worry, they will be back.   They always come back after a period of time.   Can you spot a couple of acorns in the picture?    Yep, it was growing in the shade of a big oak tree.
Well, that was my adventure thanks to my wife who was the one who spotted it and brought it to my attention.   Does anyone know why it was given the name of Jack-O-Lantern?    I mean, it doesn't seem to look like a jack-o-lantern to me.    If you have an idea on the name please leave a comment.   Have a nice day wherever you may be.   Lew

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Publix supermarket

My wife and I went grocery shopping earlier in the week.   We went to a  grocery store called Publix.   Publix is a chain with grocery stores in the southeast United States.   We like the store because it seems to me to be an upscale store.   It is always clean and the employees are all super friendly.   They have a clearance rack towards the front of the store with items at a very big discount.   I always check it and I was surprised.   They had caviar on the discount rack.  
Let me repeat that, they had caviar on the clearance rack.    Only an upscale store would have caviar on a discount rack.   
This store has to be a real class act.   Did I get any of the caviar?    No, I am not real big on fish or fish products.   What is your favorite store?    Lew

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Florida.  

All of the computer models seem to be in good agreement.   Coming right up the east coast.    They want people living near the beaches to evacuate inland to avoid the storm surges, coastal flooding, high winds, and all the other bad things associated with hurricanes.   Where do the people go?    Come to Orlando.    Because of the tourist industry here in Orlando there is an incredible number of motel rooms and restaurants to supply evacuees with all their needs plus lots of entertainment at the theme parks like Disneyworld and Universal Studios.

Just look at all of the red areas where hurricane warnings have been posted.   Fortunately, I am not in the any of the red areas.   But this graphic has to be scary for those that are in the red zones.
But there is another storm system out in the Atlantic Ocean.   It is called Tropical Storm Nicole.   And at the moment it is heading almost due west.
 And what do the various computer models show as its future path.    What a mess.   Now I know why they refer to these tracks as "spaghetti tracks".   Would anyone like to make a guess as to which computer model is correct?
But let me tell you what is really scary, the graphic of the ocean heat.   The weatherman says that it is the warm temperatures of the ocean that gives hurricanes their energy.   This graphic makes the ocean look like it is on fire with all of the oranges and reds.  
However, that warm ocean water is great to swim in.   No need to slowly walk into the water to get use to the waters chill.   When the water is nice and warm like this you just walk right into the ocean.    It makes for a great day at the beach.   So if you are in an evacuation zone, come to Orlando and have fun at Disneyworld.   And if you aren't in an evacuation zone, come to Orlando anyway and have lots of fun at Disneyworld.    Lew

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Mascots.   College mascots.   After graduation from high school, off I went to college:   Dade County Junior College located in Miami, Florida.   It was the first year that they were open.   Their mascot?   A shark.   Very appropriate for Miami Florida with the ocean and the beaches and the threat of a shark attack.

Now that is a mascot to be feared.

Yeah, I know that it is a blurry picture, but you get the idea.   Many years later the movie Jaws proved this to be true.

Ever hear of the Miami Dolphins football team?   Another fish for a mascot.   However, Dolphins have a more gentle persona than a shark.   After all, how many people are bitten each year by Dolphins as compared to shark bites.

Then I went to the University of Miami.   But the University of Miami mascot is an Ibis.   A wading bird with a long curving delicate bill for picking up crustaceans and snails in shallow water.   Doesn't look like much of a tough mascot.   I was disappointed.   Why couldn't they have chosen a really tough animal like bulldogs or panthers or wolverines.

But leave it to the graphic artists to turn this sweet little bird into a rough and tumble mascot.   Now the Ibis looks pretty tough.
But the costumed Ibis that goes running out onto the football field with the football team doesn't really look like an Ibis to me.
With that beak it looks more like a duck.   What do you think?
But putting the mascot aside, the University of Miami was a fantastic place to go to college.   They were the best years of my life.   But I  moved to Arizona and finished my college at Arizona State University.   Their mascot?    A devil.   A Sun Devil.   I didn't care having the devil as a mascot.
I must admit that a devil was a bit appropriate because of the intense heat in Arizona.   It really was hot as you know where.   LOL.     For the logo on the football helmets they adopted the pitchfork of the Sun Devil.
But the Sun Devil does seem to be a rough and tumble mascot.
The ASU students and fans have adopted making a pitchfork with their hand by holding down the ring finger with the thumb.   The remaining three fingers form the pitchfork trident of the Sun Devil.

So where am I going with all of this?   Her comes the "grand finale".   We have all heard of the expression that "No matter how bad you might feel, there is always someone worse off".   So what kind of a mascot can be worse than an Ibis or a Devil?   How about an artichoke.
Yes, an artichoke.
And he has a name.   They call him Artie the Artichoke.   The artichoke is even on the college's football helmet.   Although it is highly stylized it is still recognizable as an artichoke.
And what do they call the football team?   The "Fighting Artichokes".   Really.   How did all of this come about.   This information I got from a Wikipedia article on Scottsdale Community College under the "History" section of the article.

"An important part of the college's history is encapsulated in the name of its football team and mascot.   During a period of campus unrest in the early 70's, many in the student body felt the administration was funneling far too much money to the school's sports teams and not enough to educational needs.   The student body was asked to vote on a new name and school colors for the football team;  the vast majority of participants opted to call the team The Fighting Artichokes, and chose team colors of pink and white.   The administration chose to ignore the election and continue with the 'Drover' mascot and the colors of red, white, and blue.   The students were furious.   Since the election was facilitated by the League of Women Voters, the results were binding and could not be overturned except through another election.   A second election followed and the student body overwhelmingly kept 'Artie the Artichoke' as their representative.   Some 30 years later, the colors were changed to green and gold.   Artie the Artichoke was adopted as the school mascot;  originally intended to be a source of embarrassment, Artie has been embraced by the students, athletes, staff, and the community as a beloved character."
I saw these t-shirts for sale.   The green and gold is the current schools colors.
I assume the pink and white colors of the t-shirt below must be the previous school colors.   What is your guess?
Scottsdale is an affluent community on the east side of Phoenix.   I lived in Phoenix at the time and I remember all of this happening.   I remember hearing that some of the football players didn't want to have to go out on the football field in pink and white uniforms with an artichoke on their helmet.   I am glad that the artichoke mascot has been accepted.   I guess that I shouldn't have felt so bad about having an Ibis bird for a mascot at the University of Miami.   If the students at Scottsdale Community College can accept Artie the Artichoke, then I should be able to accept Sebastian the Ibis.   Have a great day.   Lew

Friday, September 2, 2016

Swastika Building

It was the late 70's when I lived in a community on the south side of San Diego called Chula Vista.   A pleasant area with an even more pleasant climate.   Remember the song "It Never Rains in Southern California"?    Well, from my own personal experience I can tell you that it is true (except for August).   I liked going to a beach called the Silver Strand.   The Silver Strand is a long strip of land running in a north-south direction.   To me it resembles a barrier island with the Pacific ocean on the west and San Diego Bay on the east.  
 I always enjoyed walking down the beach.   It was a beautiful beach.
When the surf was “up” the roar of the pounding waves was deafening but I loved it.  
Little did I know that there was a building nearby shaped like a giant swastika.   I never had a clue as to its existence.
Can you see the swastika?    Maybe this picture will help you find the building.    What do you think, does it look like a swastika to you?
Now you can definitely see it.
And to make things even more incredible is that the building is located on the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.   This is where the Navy Seal teams are trained.  
By the way here is a picture of an LST1195 (Landing Ship Tank) that got beached on the Silver Strand Beach.
The building was built in 1967 and someone spotted it on Google in 2005.    The Navy said that they could alter the building so that it would no longer have the swastika shape but it would cost $600,000 to make the alterations.   I stumbled across the Swastika Building (as it is sometimes referred to) on the internet.   I used Google maps to see for myself by typing in Swastika Building Coronado.   Here is a link for you.   The internet plus Google maps are just amazing.   Have a good day.   Lew,-117.1598725,453m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x80d953271e9a688d:0xca697b9e0d2ba359!8m2!3d32.6761278!4d-117.1576838







Monday, August 29, 2016

Josh White

It was Miami, Florida around circa 1961.   It was the "Beatnik" generation.    Coffee houses with espresso coffee were popular.   A friend told me of a new one called The Ravens Nest.  It was located in a small shopping center at the northwest corner of the intersection of Red Road and Bird Road for those of you who are familiar with Miami.  

One evening I decided to give it a try and see what it was like.   It was pretty neat.   After passing through the door there were two hallways:  one to the left which was dedicated to poetry readings (I didn't care for them) and to the right led to a room where guitar players would sing folk songs and the like (which I liked).   The hallways were dark and on the walls were designs painted with fluorescent paint illuminated with black lights (ultraviolet) like the pictures below.

You get the idea.    I became a regular at the Ravens Nest.  

I didn't care for the espresso coffee but I liked the music.   In general, the performers were pretty good and usually got a mild applause from the audience.   But then there was one night where the performer was spectacular.   Absolutely spectacular.   The audience went wild with applause after each song.   Not just applause but also loud cheering.    And I was enthusiastically applauding and cheering loudly along with the rest of audience.    I don't have the words to explain how good this performer was.    He played a 12 string guitar which I had never heard of or seen before.   The singers name was Josh White.

The audience was electrified and between songs he would talk.    I remember him explaining about the 12 string guitar and its qualities.   In a sense he was teaching the audience about a 12 string guitar.   When I left The Ravens Nest later he was sitting outside with several young white men and he was talking to them about segregation and discrimination.    I think that he was trying to educate the young men about the racial problems of the day.   They listened intently to him.   He had a mild manner of speaking that put the young men at ease.   At the time I didn't know who Josh White was.   His accomplishments and accolades accolades are much too numerous to list here.   Go to the Wikipedia site on Josh White.   You will be absolutely amazed.

In 1965 I left Miami and moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University.   One day around 1967 while walking to class I saw a demonstration of anti-war protesters on campus.  The students were sitting on the grass.   That grassy area in the center of the picture below.  

They were sitting silently and listening intently to a guitar player/singer.   Yeah, you guessed it.   It was none other than Josh White himself.   I recognized him.    The young college students were entranced by his music and mild demeanor.   I stopped briefly to listen and I heard him telling the students that if they wanted to hold demonstrations be sure not to do anything for which they could get arrested.   He told them to be sure to finish college and graduate.   Then when they were in a position to have some influence to then make those influences manifest.    I thought that was good advice that he was giving to those students about not getting arrested.   Again he was educating others.   I wanted to go speak to him but I was on my way to class and couldn't wait.   I was really impressed by this man.    I honestly never realized how great he really was until I started researching his life for this blog.

I also collect commemorative postage stamps as a hobby.    I was glad to see a United States postage stamp issued in his honor in 1998.

So this is my story of my two encounters with the legendary singer Josh White.   I wish now that I had talked with him on both of those occasions.   Please feel free to add anything that you know of Josh White or encounters in the comments section below.