A New Coat Of Paint, The (Almost) 2017 Edition

As you may have noticed if you’ve looked at the calendar lately, 2016 is fading, and 2017 is about to dawn.

So, I’ve made a few changes in appearance to the blog. Went with the Toujours Theme I saw my pal Tony mentioning a couple of weeks ago, and I too liked it.  Slick presentation with a lot of options to make things look spiffy.

Coming up in the next three days:

  • Tomorrow: Flashback Friday
  • Saturday: Quotable Quote
  • Sunday: My Predictions For 2017

Catch you then!!!

…But At Least The Phone Stopped Ringing

One of the benefits of getting the IPhone for Christmas a couple of weeks ago was that I’ve stopped getting calls from all the pesky people out there with products I’m allowed to hear about but not see, politicians who pester me for their votes, and the like.

I’ve only given my number to my landlord, my bank, and someone I consider my closest friend. So far, that’s it. The silence is by no means deafening. Rather, it’s quite enjoyable.

Looking back, it was amazing how many people want to hock you crap I don’t need. I figured with all the number blocks the IPhone gives you, they’d stop calling. But some of these organizations must have dozens of numbers to pester you from, so perhaps you win the battle simply by not playing.

Solitary Sage

I’ve been having a lot of fun playing Sage Solitaire lately.

The game combines elements of both solitaire and poker. You remove cards from this three by three board by making either two, three, four, or five card hands. Straights can be made with three cards (like an 8-9-10) but straight flushes require five cards.

The goal of the game is to clear the board with made hands using one card from at least two columns. You’re allowed to trash cards along the way if hands can’t be made, but if there are no hands on the board after two straight trashes, the game ends

Pretty addicting, really. Free to try on your smartphone of choice.

Is The Rapture Near?

Another day, another celeb of renown leaves us. This time, it’s Carrie Fisher.

I wasn’t the biggest Star Wars fanatic growing up, though I remember going to see The Empire Strikes Back twice: once in St. Petersburg, the other time visiting relatives in Geneva, New York. The other Star Wars movie I went to see was Return Of The Jedi in 1983 at the old Sunshine Mall in Clearwater.

I was more of a Star Trek kid. But I never thought of the Trekkies and Star Wars buffs being in competition with each other.

Fisher was a battler, and much like George Michael, she had her demons. Many are fondly remembering her now, and that’s not a bad thing.

I do wonder how George Lucas finishes off the series now…

(EDIT, 12/28/2016, 8:50pm: In a rather sad twist of fate, Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, fell ill the day after her daughter died. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and died a few hours later.)

Blotchicana Field


Even though I tend to think that bowl games are the bane of my existence as a sports fan, I did manage to watch the St. Petersburg Bowl between Mississippi State and Miami of Ohio on ESPN yesterday. Mississippi State managed to win 17-16, the margin of victory being a missed extra point by Miami, then a blocked field goal very late in the game.

Miami started the year 0-6, but won six in a row to get the bowl bid at 6 wins and 6 losses. Mississippi State finished 5-7, which usually makes a team ineligible for bowl games. But with no teams in Conference USA equally eligible, the Bulldogs got the birth based on being one of the higher schools with such a record based on academic performance.

That’s kind of like awarding sports franchises in the pros to cities with the best average income, isn’t it? A very strange rule.

One thing very noticeable about Tropicana Field when it has a football game: all the blotches of dark green in the turf. As you can see in the pic above, you can make out the diamond-shaped dark green section covering up the baseball dirt. Beyond that, you can make out blotches all over the field in what would be the baseball outfield.

It’s not very noticeable when you watch baseball on TV, but because of lower camera angles ESPN used for the game, it sticks out a bit. It looked like an Andy Warhol painting of a football field, really. I don’t know how long this bowl game will be around (they didn’t even have a sponsor this year), but they might want to fix the turf so that it’s all one color outside of the baseball infield. Just my two cents.

Last Christmas


As I type this, there are slightly less than six days left in the year of 2016. Obituary wise, it has claimed another notable victim: George Michael, pop singer, lead singer of the 1980’s group Wham!

I was almost 14 in 1985 when I went to my local K-Mart in Largo (which is now the site of a Walmart Supercenter) and bought the 45 of “Everything She Wants” in their record department, which was another in a string of big hits for the group. Vinyl records…remember those?

George now joins a small group of those who’ve commercially sung a Christmas song to have perished on Christmas. Dean Martin, James Brown, Eartha Kitt, and probably a few others out there that I’m forgetting.

Can we just end the year now and start 2017 early?

Aircheck: CBS, 12/24/1968

It was the first time American astronauts had been in space over the Christmas holiday. It was also the first time ever (unless some ancient trip is ever unearthed) that man had such a close-up of Earth’s moon. That’s what occurred during the mission of Apollo 8, which orbited the moon several times in those last few days of 1968, one of the “dress rehearsals” for the moon landings that began seven months later with the Apollo 11 mission.

Quite fittingly, the three astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, read from the biblical book of Genesis in the final part of their transmission. After which, the legendary Walter Cronkite sums things up. A couple of days later, the astronauts successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean in their spacecraft, and another stepping stone to man’s greatest achievement was checked off.

My Kingdom For A SIM Card

About this time last week, I was having quite an ever loving fit. 

Transitioning from an IPhone 4 to a 5S brought the spectacle of trying to insert a SIM card. That itself took a couple of hours to figure out. 

It turns out there’s a micro door on the right side of the phone you can only open with an unraveled paper clip. If any of you have never had a complicated cell phone, I kid you not. 

When I open up the door, I don’t see the SIM card, which got me thinking what kind of a cockamamie setup is this?  What I didn’t realize is that this microscopic card has to be placed just snugly in its carriage. Luckily, I found it before my cat Harry could eat it off the carpet, where it sat for a few minutes. 

Then the phone initially didn’t read the card. CRAP! I did all of that for nothing?!?  Then, the display flashed like some psychedelic trip for a brief moment. 

It successfully read my card, and was ready to go. 

Sometimes you know where you’re going. Sometimes you have no clue how you get there. This was a combination of both.