Talent Returned To God

This 17th of February 2021 brought the sad news that Rush Limbaugh had left us at the age of 70.

Along with Howard Stern, Rush has a household name from the radio profession these past few decades. I had the good luck to listen to Rush’s first show carried here in Tampa on WFLA. I was a few weeks shy of turning 18 in the summer of 1989, working at a microfilm company in Clearwater at the time.

I listened to the show with headphones on while working – and even at that age I thought he was a talent. If someone has ability, opinions don’t matter too much.

Anyone who can make it in the radio business has my respect, for it’s not an easy life for most of those in it. I will always have respect for his professionalism, and I thank God for loaning him that talent – as he often said on his shows.

The Artiste In Me

It’s one of those times in life that I haven’t found a hobby, but yet a hobby has found me.

Clip2comic is an iPhone app where you put in a photo and it makes cartoon out of it. And so, I’ve been taking photos of famous people and ran them through the app.

Sometimes it comes out well, sometimes it doesn’t, but I always seem to find the one color setting that works the best.

I think it gives these photos a bit of fresh air.

My Lightning Rules

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

It’s one of those afternoons I am writing this blog when I hear distant thunder rolling in the background and the pitter-patter of some rain. In the Florida summer, this happens quite a bit – and it wouldn’t be totally unusual that you can get several days in a row where it rains at last part of the day.

It also isn’t that unusual that the storms get a little loud and rowdy. Having lived in Florida all of my life except two years (I lived in Georgia for about nine months in 1996 and North Carolina for a year in 1999 and 2000), I thought I’d mention my go-to tips for those of you when you get one of those kind of storms.

If you see the power flicker in your home, or you hear thunder within three seconds after you see a flash of lightning – that would be a good time to turn off the more important appliances in the house or apartment. Turn your air conditioner off, and turn your TV off before mother nature turns it off for you. If your landline phone rings or you’re in the middle of a call on one – get off the phone as soon as you can.

I leave a computer on but on battery power – and I usually have some device handy where I can count off 30 minutes which could also be a cell phone for you, alternatively. Most summer storms in my area are over within that much time. However, if you’re still hearing loud thunder or there’s still a three-second or less gap between lightning flashes and hearing thunder, wait it out a bit more.

Finally, it’s also a good time to check on any animals you may have. I usually put my cat Harry in an indoor back area for the evening to get a well-rested sleep, but if there’s a storm making noise after I’ve done that – he comes back in for the time being. I wouldn’t say he’s afraid of storms like a dog would more likely be, but he definitely “thanks” me for taking him in a bit longer.

As this entry concludes, the claps of thunder are still soft enough to be distant – though the rain’s intensity has picked up some. That’s not a bad sign, because the ground will now be damp enough to prevent more ear-splitting thunder claps. Today, turning off the A/C or the TV shouldn’t be an issue, but no two storms are alike.

Flashback: “Just Another Night” by Mick Jagger

With Mick Jagger in the news as of late needing a heart valve replacement, I’d thought I’d look back at his biggest solo hit – peaking at #12 on the Billboard charts in 1985.

Rae Dawn Chong, the daughter of comedian Tommy Chong, is the female lead in the video whom Jagger’s character is trying to woo.

Kitty Shrink

A recent photo of my cat Harry, who turned nine July 4th.

They cut the lawns on Monday morning, perhaps other times during the week depending on whether or not it rains while they attempt to do the work. 

If I’m home, someone will complain about the lawn crew adamantly in his own way. That being is my cat, Harry. He will jump up on my bed and sleep, or go under it if the lawn personnel are nearby. 

In my observations with cats in my life, which wasn’t all that much before Harry came into it, cats simply don’t like noise. Yet it’s something to see a middle aged cat cower like an infant and display a sudden need for protection and attention. 

The Green Apple Quick Step

At my local DMV, July 13, 2017.
I’m not going to say where I had lunch Thursday afternoon, but something I ate there gave me a bad case of diarrhea that I haven’t had in a few years. 

Nothing worse than that feeling of having to go to bathroom, and having to sprint to it before things get really messy, if you catch my drift. 

Sleeping the past few days was a bit difficult, because I’d go to bathroom, get in bed, hear my stomach rumble like a Florida thunderstorm, rush to the bathroom, and then the whole process repeats itself a half dozen times over. Grabbing a few winks was not a desirable option, because then you might miss a few procedural steps, if you get my drift. 

The moral of the story? Always keep some Coca-Cola or some other soft drink handy. It does work wonders on an upset stomach. Oh, and a good supply of toilet paper doesn’t hurt either. 

Might not hurt to stay away from undercooked egg rolls too. 

Practice Makes Purrfect 

At Petco, April 27, 2017, Pinellas Park.

A couple of weeks ago, I took Harry for his once every three months nail clipping at Petco. 

But, I had to take Harry to the store twice in three days. The first time I took him, I learned that they had adjusted the hours they offer pet grooming, from noon to 8pm.  Before that, you could go anytime they were open. 

Harry doesn’t like being caged up, as I figure most cats wouldn’t. He hangs on to me and meows what sounds like a “No!” when I put him in before eventually concedes. 

He also, in his older age, vomits in his cage when I take him there. Don’t know how that “car sickness” got started.  But I always give him treats (catnip flavored Temptations) when the ordeal is over. 

Let The Show Begin

Always good to see Dewayne and BA behind the microphone. April 2, 2017.

The older I get, the more appreciation I have for the game of baseball, and those who play it. It is the one sport that spans the ages like no other sport.

Yesterday the 2017 campaign got underway, with the Tampa Bay Rays getting the honor of playing the seasons lid lifter against the treacherous Yankees of New York. 

The Rays prevailed 7-3, with Evan Longoria claiming the first RBI, then the first home run of the season. 

Welcome back, baseball. I think I missed you a bit. 

Keeping Kayfabe With Kareem

Pro wrestler Kareem Muhammad in the camo tights, with Kevin Sullivan behind him.
In the lexicon of professional wrestling, kayfabe is the lost art of keeping the performance as authentic as humanly possible in all aspects of the business. It is not done as much now as it was decades ago, because travel, cable TV, and the Internet changed those aspects of the business. But, back in that era, when wrestlers traveled within regional circuits from city to city, “good guys” and “bad guys” would not usually travel together. If they did that, the public would figure out quicker that the business was staged, or “a work” as the industry calls it.

Back when I was 15 (not quite yet 16) in 1987, my first encounter with a pro wrestler was with a bad guy, better known in their terminology as a heel. That doesn’t mean of course that the performer is a bad guy in real life, but merely the role he plays to help his company draw, or in other words, make money for them and in turn, for himself.

I was roaming around the old Sunshine Mall in Clearwater at the JCPenneys. Most of the sets are tuned into Channel 10 on a Saturday afternoon, airing UWF wrestling, which was the old circuit that emanated from Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas by that time. It was the first time I had seen the UWF on local TV, but I was a reader of the Bill Apter wrestling magazines, which is why I went to the mall to begin with, to stock up on magazines to read at the old Super X drugstore. In the era before the Internet, the mags kept a fan up to date what happened in the territories you didn’t see on local or cable TV. If you wanted to know what was going on in the WWF, you didn’t need the mags, because it was on TV everywhere via cable at the very least. If you wanted to know what was happening in the Northwest circuit based out of Portland, you’d need mags for that.

Watching the TV, I didn’t dawn on me immediately who was right next to me: a large African-American man dressed in a camo shirt and pants, chatting with a larger than average woman of color. Recognition dawned, but the name briefly escaped me. Pouring through the magazines covertly, I figure out who it is: it’s Kareem Muhammad, who got his start as Ray Candy before changing his moniker and becoming part of the tag team known as the Zambuie Express with Elijah Akeem, who used to be Bad Bad Leroy Brown. He’s working in the CWF circuit in Florida, which would wind up folding later in the year when Jim Crockett Promotions (the Mid-Atlantic circuit based in Charlotte, but by then rapidly expanding nationally to keep pace with the already expanded WWF) bought out the circuit, but then expanded too quickly. Ted Turner would buy the Crocketts out in late 1988.

(In the business, it’s not unusual for guys not well known to change names, gimmicks, homes, and go from being a good guy to a bad guy every so often. Remember, it’s all about the promotion finding the best matchups of good guys and bad guys that will get butts in the seats. Now a days, it’s not about getting fans to the local arenas, but getting ratings for the cable TV shows and the pay-per-view cards, the total opposite of the what it used to be.)

Figuring that out, we have a nice, respectful conversation. His tone is a bit gruff, probably because he’s got me figured for a mark (a fan who may or may not know the realities of the business). I wasn’t about to disrespect him, because while I’m a big kid, this dude TOWERED over me.  He’s easily got six inches of height on me, plus about 100 to 150 pounds.

I wasn’t about to razz him for being a bad guy, or to say wrestling is fake. I already KNEW wrestling was stage crafted, and it didn’t seem a good idea to confront someone MUCH bigger than me. Back then, if you questioned the credibility of pro wrestling, it was not uncommon for the one making the allegation, or anyone thinking they could take a pro wrestler, to get beat up or injured. (Hulk Hogan was one such wannabe at one time, who wound up with a broken leg when he first tried to break into the business.) I didn’t know that at the time, but I figured it’s best to keep a level head.

With that, I parted, with a story to tell my pals at Largo High School on Monday, though I don’t remember if I ever did tell it.

An Oldie But A Goodie

This is an old pic of me, going back to around 1975. I put this up to my Instagram page not too long ago, and friends loved it.

The pic was taken by an older couple named Steve and Margaret, whose last names I forget, other than it began with an O. They were co-workers with my mom and dad, who all worked at Publix Super Markets at the time, then a grocery store exclusively in Florida. I believe (though I may be incorrect) that they all worked at the store on Indian Rocks Road in Largo, Florida.

There was a time when both of my parents.worked in the late afternoons to the evenings, so “Steve O.” and his wife would babysit and generally keep me busy. I guess at one point, they wanted me to get out and play, but not get a sunburn.

That’s pretty much the story behind that pic, such as it is.