Archive for September 2016

09-22-2016 Final Post!!   Leave a comment

I’ve been contemplating something for the last few months and I’ve finally decided to end my blogging career here on WordPress. I’ve been blogging on a regular basis for almost seven years on two different blogs and I’ve had a lot to say. I’ve voiced my somewhat irreverent opinions on everything from politics to religion. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made some good friends over the years as well as a few liberal enemies.

I also have a number of other interests that have slowly but steadily taken over my daily activities and turned blogging into a secondary concern. I’ll be shutting down this blog the week prior to Halloween and it should remain available for a time until my domain renewal next year.  After that who knows . . . .

I’d like to thank all of my followers and other regular readers for stopping by as often as they have and I’ll certainly miss their intellectual and opinionated emails. The email, everyuselessthing@yahoo.com, will remain active indefinitely.

SAYONARA, ALOHA, and SHALOM!

Advertisements

09-20-2016 Journal – Jim Croce Remembered!   Leave a comment

thn185kssn

I’ve had the pleasure over the years of listening to and sometimes enjoying many styles of music.  I have eclectic tastes ranging from opera to blues to jazz but by far many of my most favorite singers have been the balladeers such as Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Chapin, and of course, Jim Croce.

Both Harry Chapin and Jim Croce died before their time which was a great loss to me and remains so to this day. It’s been 43 years sine Croce was killed in a plane crash in Louisiana and 35 years since Chapin died in 1981 in a car accident.

thtqqyozy9

Here’s a short blurb on Croce’s death.  He’ll always remain on my IPod and continue to make me smile when I listen to his music.

“On Thursday, September 20, 1973, during Croce’s Life and Times tour and the day before his ABC single “I Got a Name” was released, Croce, Muehleisen, and five others died when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree, while taking off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Others killed in the crash were pilot Robert N. Elliott, musician Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, manager and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, and road manager Dennis Rast. Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches and was flying to Sherman, Texas, for a concert at Austin College. The plane crashed an hour after the concert. Jim Croce was 30 years old.”

thysmcim6j

R.I.P. JIM

YOU’RE STILL MISSED

09-18-2016 Journal – Nature Trivia!   Leave a comment

ths9h10aqq

I’ve always been a lover of Nature and almost anything related to it.  As a photographer I spend as much time as I can out-and-about communing with Mother Nature.  I come by it honestly because as a kid growing up I spent more than half of my time in the woods with my friends. We lived on the edge of huge state park directly adjacent to the Allegheny River and knew every inch of the place.  My father, a hunter, spent a lot of time explaining about local wildlife and how they lived and traveled in the wild. It was just a very cool place to grow up.

So I thought I’d share a few interesting factoids about Nature with you. Here they are.

  • Every year the world’s deserts produce 1.7 billion tons of dust.
  • Nature reserves and national park cover 3% of the worlds surface.
  • Over 99.9% of the land on earth is not occupied by a person at a given time.
  • A tenth of the world’s population relies on the Ganges for water.
  • It takes one hundred years for the deep-sea clam to grow to the length of a third of an inch.

thapa0xafb

  • Nearly half of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans since the beginning of the nineteenth century has been absorbed by the oceans.
  • An estimated 30% of Earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.
  • Since the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the sun has become 25-30% hotter.
  • More than 90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma (or whatever they’re calling it these days).
  • Lake Baikal in Russia contains about 20% of the world’s fresh water.

thwepmwh7m

That’s it for today. It’s time to turn off this computer and get to work in the yard. Winter’s coming and the garden has to be deconstructed.

thgh1mytg8

ENJOY YOUR DAY OF REST

 

09-16-2016 Journal – Look Out! X-mas is Coming.   Leave a comment

   thmx1ssrmt

Another week coming to an end and we’re already halfway through the month of September. The summer of 2016 went by in the wink of an eye and the holidays are again rushing towards us. I wonder to myself which retailer will strike the Christmas colors first. I suspect that as in years past Walmart will be the one to get things rolling 15 minutes after the Halloween holiday is over. That in itself is supremely depressing but it seems to get earlier and earlier every year regardless of how much we complain.

thkmu877g2

Yesterday I received this list of companies that have already made it known that Black Friday will begin for them by being open for business on Thanksgiving Day. I guess that’s the new approach to companies who put their employees families second on their list of priorities. That seems to be the ongoing retail way of thinking these days and unfortunately I can bitch about it all I want but no one in the retail establishment gives a damn what I think or what you think. Look at the upside . . . you’ll have a great place to spend your holiday if you get sick of eating Thanksgiving dinner, spending time with your family, or God forbid actually relaxing and enjoying the day. The almighty buck rules all. Make sure to thank these folks:

J.C. Penny

Kohl’s

Toy’s r Us

Target

Walmart

Sears

Macy’s

Belk

Sports Authority

h.h. greg

Dollar General

Best Buy

thgb89d93l

While I write this posting I have a Christmas wish that will never be fulfilled. I wish that the population of the millions of so-called consumers in this country would pull their collective heads out of the sand and stop allowing retailers to continue to think that the “great unwashed” are that easily controlled. It’s a lazy population that lets celebrities, the media, politicians, and big business tell them how to think, act, what to buy, and how to be politically correct at all times.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US ALL

You usually get what you deserve.

09-14-2016 Journal – Mother Nature & Dentistry!   Leave a comment

Since our return from our vacation things have quickly returned to the normal everyday insanity. Over the years I’ve discovered that Mother Nature is a fickle friend at best and she got me again this week. We were still enjoying the post vacation afterglow as we visited a nearby Walmart. It was sunny and bright with a chance of thunderstorms. As we exited the store it was pouring rain with wind gusts of 30-40 mph.  We didn’t give it much thought until we heard on the radio about the severe wind advisory throughout the area.

dscn1448

We arrived home to find the huge 60 foot maple tree in our backyard down for the count. It had missed hitting the house by only a few feet. It was a double trunked tree with one trunk now on the ground and the other still standing but leaning dangerously close to the house.  It was badly damaged as well and looked as if it might fall at any moment.

dscn1454

The trunk that was down was partially blocking a nearby road used by our neighbors to reach their homes.  One of those neighbors arrived within minutes with a chain saw and agreed to take the wood in payment for cleaning up the mess. Hooray . . Right?  Not hardly. After doing an inspection of the standing trunk it was obvious that it too had to be immediately removed before it fell and caused serious damage to the house.

dscn1456

The better-half found a guy through someone at work who is a tree removal expert.  Having no real choice in the matter he arrived to inspect the tree and I agreed to his price (OMFG) and told him to proceed.  So yesterday I got to spend my entire day removing limbs and leaves and watching the tree get dismantled.

dscn1458

It’s now the day after and the tree is gone, I’m sore all over, and the house was saved from serious damage.  Nothing can save the damage the entire experience did to my wallet.  Thanks a lot Mother Nature . . . you nasty old hag.

After the last of the limbs and leaves were picked up and removed I took a shower and arrived for my dentist appointment right on time. The day just kept getting better and better as two of my teeth were extracted.  I was packed with gauze, patted on the head, and sent on my way.

THREE DAYS I REALLY WANT TO FORGET

09-12-2016 Journal – The Big Easy Finale!   Leave a comment

This will be the last of the New Orleans postings.  It’s been a lot of fun reviewing the pictures and writing about all of our little adventures.  As you can tell I really love the place and plan on returning as often as possible in the future. Todays post will be nothing more than a few random pictures of the French Quarter that I failed to use this week. You must remember that between my better-half and I we took more than a thousand photographs in our six day visit.

dscn0748

A balcony used by the bead throwers.

dscn1270

Artists displaying their wares in Jackson Square.

dscn1321

Everyone needs a little Voodoo in their life.

dscn0599

St. Mark’s Cathedral

dscn1125

How about a little truth in advertising.

dscn1290

And some Day of the Dead skeletons.

dsc_0034

And finally a stop at Café Du Monde for cafe’ au lait and beignets. Absolutely delicious!

So ends my reminiscences of a truly wonderful vacation.  I should mention that on my last night in the Quarter I made my way to a local tattoo parlor and purchased one as a memento of our trip.  I was going to post a picture of it but my better-half thought that might be a little to much information. Just let it be said that I brought some permanent New Orleans voodoo home with me.

I hope any of you who would love to visit there get the opportunity to do so.

YOU WON’T REGRET IT

 

09-10-2016 Journal – The Big Easy-6!   Leave a comment

Our vacation began to wind down a little as we entered our fourth day in NO. We decided to spend the final day and a half just roaming around the French Quarter and shopping, people watching, drinking, and eating.  It was a dirty job but someone had to do it.

My first suggestion to my better-half was a required visit to a NO must-see, Pat O’Brien’s Bar.  During my first visit to NO many many years ago I was taken first to Bourbon Street and then directly to Pat O’Brien’s Bar.  I loved the place so much I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my better-half.

dscn0749bb

It’s a nondescript hole-in-the-wall or so you think at first glance. You walk through the entry way into a dark tunnel with a barroom on either side.  That leads directly into the terrace filled with tropical plants and tables for patrons.

dscn0756bb

Directly in the middle is a fountain that is somewhat famous.  During the day it doesn’t look like much but at night it’s on fire.

dscn0754bb

dscn0768

It was difficult trying to capture the rising flames in a photo. This was my best attempt.

We took a seat in the bar and ordered dinner. Since O’Brien’s is the actual home of the famous Hurricane cocktail we ordered two. They were huge as was expected and strong enough to give you a glow after drinking only one.

dscn0760bb

My entrée was something I’d been waiting for for years.  This is something the locals call “crawfish etouffee” and believe me it was the best I’ve ever had.  It was hot and spicy and effing delicious.

dsc_0125bb

It was a fun night spent people watching and just enjoying the atmosphere of the French Quarter.  Vibrant, crowded, and as much fun as any person could handle.  We retired to our hotel and the secluded pool to cool down a little before bed.  Another terrific day in the Big Easy.

WE’RE REALLY GONNA MISS THIS PLACE.

09-08-2016 Journal – The Big Easy-5   Leave a comment

Our fourth day in NO took us to one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been.  I’ve always been a big fan of graveyards but this one was the ultimate. It’s called St. Louis #1, the oldest cemetery in the city. Some residents have been there since the late 1700’s.  The temperature was 95 degrees but once we got inside the cemetery it rose to just over 100 degrees.

dsc_0323

Since all bodies are buried above ground in NO the cemetery is just concrete walkways and white tombs.  The heat actually accelerates the decomposition which is important I suppose.  The cemetery isn’t open to the public any longer but I’m sure the Catholic Church is getting their taste from all of the tour groups visiting every day.

dsc_0280

To add to the solemnness of the visit we happened upon what has become a common occurrence these days. A Hollywood celebrity showing up to spend 60,000 dollars to build an eight foot tall white pyramid right in the middle of all this history. Who else would it be but that way-out-there celebrity . .  Nicolas Cage.  Only one word comes to mind and that is A-Hole.

dsc_0299

I think I lost five pounds of water weight in the hour and a half we spent roaming around the place. Our tour guide was an encyclopedia of history of New Orleans and the people resting in that cemetery.  It was a highlight of our trip.

dsc_0303

The vacation continues with Pat O’Brien’s Bar scheduled for dinner and drinks tonight. We both need a dip in the hotel pool and a few cold ones to rehydrate before visiting there.  I’ll cover O’Brien’s in the next post.

MAN WAS IT EVER HOT

09-06-2016 Journal – The Big Easy-4   Leave a comment

Our third day in NO was a special day for me because for most of my life I’ve wanted to ride an airboat through these Louisiana swamps.  We boarded a bus in the French Quarter which took us across the Mississippi River southeast into the bayous. Our destination was a bayou named Barataria where the pirate John Lafitte and his men helped Stonewall Jackson defeat the British at the battle of New Orleans.  A beautiful place filled with as much history as you could ever want.

dsc_0147bb

These boats are just as fast as you can imagine. It’s like flying on water.

We left the dock and proceeded into the bayou and the beauty of the place was breathtaking.  I could have spent an entire week just riding around taking pictures. The guide took us to a rather cool cemetery where the brother of Jean Lafitte is buried. As you can see all bodies are buried above ground here in Louisiana.

dsc_0157bb

This is the ultimate spooky graveyard.

I was especially interested in getting some wildlife pictures and I no sooner had that thought and BAM . . . we found a few gators.  They were almost as curious about us as we were about them. This guy came to visit after we pulled ashore to get a better look at him.

dsc_0186bb

Doesn’t he have the cutest smile?

We played around with them for a few minutes then it was back into some isolated logging channels where we ran into a couple of turtles sunning themselves on a log.

dsc_0215bb

I hated for this day to come to an end but I was able to take some truly wonderful photos.  This last photo is the one that will remind me of this trip for as long as I live.

dsc_0150bb

WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?

 

 

09-04-2016 Journal – Big Easy-3!   Leave a comment

DSC_0043BB

Day two began with a walk through the French Quarter to the Toulouse Docks where the steamboat Natchez was moored.  My better-half has always wanted to ride the Mississippi River in an old steamship and we made that happen. We signed up for a three hour river cruise (hopefully better than Gilligan’s) that would take up south on the river through the busy port of NO. It was a brunch cruise and we had a great meal sitting on the main deck with a fantastic view of NO and the river.. It had been fully restored and was just like you would expect it to be minus the gambling tables and card cheats.

DSC_0053BB

One of the m0ost interesting sights was the massive amount of damage caused by Katrina.  There were huge section of docks and buildings that had been totally destroyed in the storm and had yet to be repaired or replaced.

DSC_0070

On the upper deck we checked out the gift shop and of course the bar. Their specialty drink was the Jazz Punch which was delicious and wickedly alcoholic. I wanted to have a second one but wasn’t sure I could off the boat without injury.  The views were incredible.

DSC_0097BB

DSC_0082BB

We made a U-turn an hour later and proceeded back north to NO which was a sight to behold from the middle of the river.

DSC_0048BB

Another great day of relaxation to help us prepare for day three of the vacation.  Day three was on the top of my wish list and it meant an airboat and trip into the bayou’s.

HOPING FOR LOTS OF GREAT PHOTO’S