Daily Archives: November 11, 2020

Happy Veteran’s Day To All Our Veterans!

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, both my father and mother were in the U.S. military during WW2. My father was in the Navy Shore Patrol, which was a perfect fit for him, since when he enlisted, he was a  Birmingham, AL police detective, while my mother was a Captain in the Army Nurse Corp.

I think this photo was taken when she was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.

Mother In Uniform


Later, she was Chief Of Nursing at West Point, where this photo was taken.

Mother in the Army


She even has her own display area at the Alabama Veterans Museum in Athens, AL.

Mother's Exhibit at Athens Vet Museum

Those are patches she collected from the many wounded soldiers that passed through her wards. And that is one of her actual uniforms.


After driving our new baby into my client’s this morning, (with no tags still) I had hoped to get it insured and tagged this morning. but I ran into a problem.

My first task was to get it insured with National General, and that went very quickly. Then as soon as they emailed me my proof of insurance, I was online to the South Dakota DMV, hoping to do as much as possible there. But it looked like I was going to have to talk to someone.

But that’s where the problem came in. Though I obviously knew it was Veteran’s Day today, for some reason I didn’t connect that with the fact that the South Dakota DMV wouldn’t be open today.

So I get to drive another day or so without any tags. As soon as I get it registered with the DMV, I can then download a temporary tag that I can print out and use until my real ones get here.

So maybe tomorrow.


Dec. 8th… States Certification of Votes, each state has their deadline.
Dec. 14th..Electors Announce their Votes.
Jan. 6th… Joint Session of Congress reads aloud the votes of the Electors

Thought For The Day:

Just In Time For Your Pandemic Thanksgiving!

The Turkraken!


November 11, 2009

Smirnoff and SIX…

Sounds like a new drink, doesn’t it.

Today was a twofer.  We saw Yakov Smirnoff at a 3pm matinee,  and then SIX, a singing group at 8pm.

But first we stopped off for lunch at Sadie’s Sideboard, a well-regarded buffet restaurant on the Branson Strip, and not too far from Yakov’s theater. The fried chicken was really good!

Yakov’s show was great!  And as I expected, very pro-American.

What I didn’t expect though, was how decidedly conservative some of his comments were.  Having been born and lived in Russia until he was 26,  he says “ I know socialism when I see it, and I don’t like what I see”.

Smirnoff 1 Smirnoff 2 Smirnoff 3

He also had a team of Russian folk dancers that were really good.

Smirnoff Dancers 1

And the “Santa Claus and the Pirates” was cute , but corny.  As Yakov said during the scene, “Maybe we should have hired real writers”.

Smirnoff Pirates 1

Smirnoff 4

And his President of the United States skit was pretty good, too.  He took real questions from the audience and answered them both seriously, and hilariously.

Smirnoff President

And everyone seem to enjoy his Secret Service detail.

Smirnoff Secret Service

And of course, the obligatory dancing toys Christmas skit.

Smirnoff Xmas 1

Smirnoff Xmas 2

Smirnoff Choir

It was a great show, and as good as we had heard.  It was easy to see why Yakov has been filling an 1800 seat theater almost daily for the last 17 years.

What I didn’t know is that he is a well-recognized artist.  His large mural painting “America’s Heart” has hung at Ground Zero in New York after 9/11.

Yakov Artwork 1

And this one is called ‘God and Country”

Yakov Artwork 2

Leaving the show we decided to eat dinner at El Portal again, since we liked it so much last night.

A little before 7 pm we drove over to the Hughes Bros. Theater to see SIX.  We had never heard of them before, but we saw their billboards coming into Branson, and the ticket guy said it was one of the most popular.  We only got tickets because of a cancellation.

SIX is a group of six brothers who have been performing since the late 70’s.   They are six oldest of ten boys and no girls.  As they said, their parents really wanted a girl!!

The really neat thing is that they perform everything a cappella, but not without instruments.  They make the instrument sounds, too.

They do drums, trumpets, trombones, clarinets, etc., and they are dead on.  It’s really amazing.

And their harmony is fantastic.  Check out their version of the Star Spangled Banner on YouTube.  And this one too is done a cappella.


And they do dead-on voice impersonations of Elvis, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, etc.

SIX Elvis

They also did a great “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons”.


And they tribute to their mother who died of cancer in 1992 brought tears to everyone’s eyes.


If you’re in Branson, this is a show to see.

By time we got home it was almost 11 pm.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a road trip about 90 miles up the road to Colaws RV  Salvage in Carthage, MO.

Thought For The Day:

Remember, every bad idea once seemed a good idea to somebody.

November 11, 2011 Uncategorized No comments

It’s a Small World After All . . .

(Insert annoying theme song here.)

About noon Jan and I headed over to Huntsville for some lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina. We had first eaten here several years ago, and we always make sure to go back when we’re in the area. It’s that good.

After lunch we made a quick stop at Sam’s Club for kitty litter and vitamins, and then it was back to Athens, where we found a note on the door telling us to come over to my Uncle Ed’s for dessert about 5:30.

We ended up going over earlier so I could see my cousin Anna Jean, who had dropped by for a few minutes.

And now back to the small world.

Our regular blog readers may remember the story of this picture. It was taken at Busch Gardens in Tampa FL when we visited there in April of 2009. Jan and I were riding the ‘baby’ roller coaster in the kiddie area. Jan still swears it wasn’t the ‘baby’ coaster, but Busch Gardens disagrees and says it  it, but it’s now called the Sand Serpent.

To quote:

Travel to Timbuktu and you’ll find young kids’ favorite ride in the park, Sand Serpent, formerly Cheetah Chase.

This fun-filled family coaster zips, zooms and climbs five stories into the air before bringing riders back down in a roar of laughter.

As you can see one of us is having a good time, and one of us, not so much.

Anyway, when I first posted it here on our blog in 2009 it was apparently picked up by a reader and posted here on Awkward Family Photos.

Thanks a lot!


A few months later, we got an email from some friends back in Houston who told us our photo had gone viral. They said their son was in class the last day of school, and to kill time the teacher had brought in his laptop and was showing the kids some of the photos on AFP.

Finally the teacher said “And this last one is my favorite”. Our photo popped up and the class roared.  Then after a few moments, our friend’s son pointed at the screen and said “Hey, I know those people.” And the class really broke up.

But wait, there’s more.

In November of 2009 we were back here in Athens on our way back to Texas, and visiting relatives. Coincidently, my cousin Glee and her husband were up here visiting from Florida. Now, I hadn’t seen Glee since I was about 13, and I had never met her husband before, so we had a good time catching up on things.

Sitting around talking, it turned out that Glee and her husband lived in Tampa. So I then related the story and showed them the photo on my phone. I also mentioned that I had wanted to ride SheiKra, the big vertical dive coaster, and had convinced Jan to do it with me by not telling her that it was 200 feet high, and that at the end of the ride, it drops you straight down from that 200 feet at 70 mph.


Well, my devious plan was working until we took the train ride around the park right before riding the coaster. As we pulled into the station nearby, the conductor who had been narrating our trip, said he had ridden SheiKra once, and he never would again. He said it scared him to death, and he almost wet his pants. Well, of course, that ended any chance of getting Jan on the ride.


As I’m relating this story, Glee’s husband looked over and said, “At the end of the ride, did the conductor say, “If you enjoyed your train trip today, my name is Dave. Otherwise it’s Mary””.

I said, “As a matter of fact, he did.”  And then Glee’s husband Dave said, “That was me!”

You can start humming the ‘Small World’ theme here, because there’s still more to come.

On our visit here this time, my cousin Jimmy who is visiting from Fort Myers with his wife Beth, and who I also don’t think I’ve seen since we were kids, mentioned he was a Chiropractor there.

I then said that one of my clients, Dr. Heimlich, that I do the computer and website support for in Houston, was a Chiropractor.

Jimmy then said, “Well I went to chiropractic school with a Myron Heimlich in Texas.”

OMG! Segue the Small World theme into the Twilight Zone theme.

I don’t know what it is about coming back to Athens, but strange things happen here.

Tomorrow Jan and I are having lunch with two of my second cousins, Anna Jean and Marjorie. We got to see Anna Jean for a while this afternoon, but with both of them together, it should be a hoot.

Thought for the Day:

Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain were talking about the problem of people plagiarizing their work. Describing one particular egregious example, “He’s dead now,” Twain said to Kipling, adding reflectively, “I didn’t kill him.”

November 11, 2012

B. D. I. F. D.

After coffee for breakfast, and our leftover Sonny’s BBQ for lunch, Jan and I just enjoyed the day. Good coffee, good BBQ.

After lunch I started looking at my Battery Control Center problem again. I printed out some schematics of the box, and with my voltmeter, I went outside and started tracing out the circuits. It took an hour or so, but I finally got it mapped out on paper, and was starting to get a picture in my head, too.

Now for some studying and thinking about it.

About 1:30 I emailed our friend’s Jeannie and Eldy to see if they wanted to get together for dinner tonight. Thought we might go to DeSoto’s. We’ll see.

One thing I noticed while I was outside is that the wind is really picking up. We’ve got another front moving through, a cold one this time. Tonight’s low is supposed to be 63 and tomorrow’s is supposed to 41, with a 70% chance of rain, and maybe even some flooding.

About 3:30 after some more time looking over the schematics I suddenly had a B. D. I. F. D. moment.

Could it really be that simple? And if that is the cause of my BCC problem, then there’s something else I don’t understand about the system. Of course that wouldn’t be the first time.

At the entrance to the coach, on the left hand side, there is a control panel for inside/outside lights, the manual step control, and the chassis and coach master disconnect switches. The disconnect switches are right at floor level and the indicators are hard to see without moving some stuff.

But when I checked, the indicator lights were not lit on either the chassis battery or the coach battery. Pressing the buttons turned the lights on, but did it fix the problem? My first check was to toggle the step switch and close the door.

Eureka! The step retracted!

Next I went back to the BCC and checked for the missing voltages. And they were all there. I’m going to assume that the engine will now crank normally too. So the BCC problem is fixed.

But now I have two new questions. How did both disconnect buttons get pushed? And more importantly, I thought that with both batteries disconnected, everything electrical on the coach would be shut down. Why did only the step and the ignition crank signal not work?

And a third question just occurred to me. Could this chassis battery disconnect have anything to do with my fuel problem up in Athens last week? Did something happen to the power feeding the fuel pumps or injection system?

Well, I guess it’s back on the phone with American Coach tomorrow. At least I’ll have a whole new set of questions.

BTW B. D. I. F. D. stands for Boy, Do I Feel Dumb.

About 4 I checked back in with Jeannie and Eldy to find out that they were out running around, so they haven’t seen my email, and had already grabbed a bite to eat. So we’ll have to get together another time.

About 4:45 Jan and I headed into Gulf Shores proper to have dinner at DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen, another of our favorite must-eat-at-while-we’re-here restaurants.

DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen

Jan had the Fried Seafood Platter, and I had the Shrimp and Grits, with Fried Green Tomatoes and their wonderful Sweet Potato Casserole.

Shrimp and Grits

It’s all good every time we come here.

Before we set down I went to the restroom to wash my hands and found this sign over the lavatory where the mirror would normally be.

You Look Fine Mirror

Glad they think so.

Thought for the Day:

Remember you can only have a new experience once, so make it worthwhile.

November 11, 2017

A Piece Of Cake . . .

After a really quiet, really nice morning, about 12:30 Jan and I headed up to the Clear Lake area for lunch, shopping, and package pickup.

Our first stop was at our long-time favorite, King Food.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been eating here since December 1978. In fact it was December 18th. I remember the exact day because it’s where I ate my very first day at NASA.

I had been Chief Electronic Tech for Alabama and Georgia with Storer Cable in Montgomery, AL since 1975.  (Storer later became TCI, with part of it split off into Comcast.) But back in October I had seen an ad in the Birmingham paper looking for technicians to work at Johnson Space Center on the Space Shuttle Project.

How could I resist that?

They flew me down to Houston in October and hired me on the spot, but I ask to not start until the 18th of December, the start of Chris and Brandi’s Christmas vacation.  So the moving van came on Thursday, (NASA moved us. Nice!), I finished work at Storer Friday afternoon and then we hit the road for Houston along with my parents, a caravan of 3 cars.

We spent the night in Meridian, MS before getting into Houston around 8pm Saturday night. Of course now we needed to find a place to stay, and quickly, because the moving van with our furniture would be there Monday afternoon.

But luckily for Jan and I, we were used to coming into a strange town and getting set up ASAP. When we spent those years working for the DOD, we regularly moved to a new town and in one day had an apartment, and the utilities turned on. So Houston was a piece of cake.

So Monday morning I started work at JSC while Jan waited at the house for the movers. And when we all went out to lunch from work, King Food is where we went.

So we’ve been eating at King Food for 39 years next month, and as it happens we’re on our 4th owner, though the present ones have been here the longest.

As far as lunch, we started with our usual Hot & Sour Soup, the best we’ve found anywhere in the country during our travels. But somehow I’ve never gotten a photo of a bowl, I guess because we’re always in a hurry to dig in.

After the soup we both had our usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce and Jalapenos, XXXXX Spicy.

King Food Chicken Garlic Jalapeno

It really doesn’t get any better than this.

Next up I made a drive-by to my client’s office which also doubles as my Amazon package receiver. I had gotten texts that said that several had come in so we stopped by to pick them up.

Then it was on over to Harbor Freight for a few things before going on up I-45 to Wal-Mart for a couple of prescriptions and some groceries.

One of the things that came in from Amazon was a new bottle of Biobor JF Diesel Fuel Biocide.


I use this to keep the algae from growing in our rig’s diesel tank when we’re parked for long periods in cold weather. We try to keep our diesel tank full during these times so that a cold snap doesn’t condense moisture in the tank, which leads to algae growth, which then clogs your engine fuel filters.

In the past I’ve found Biobor in the Marine sections of sporting goods stores like Academy and Cabella’s, since it’s used in marine diesel engines as well. But lately it seems they’ve stopped carrying it, which is strange since it’s actually made here in Houston.

Tomorrow Jan and I are planning to see Blade Runner 2049 before it goes away.  It’s only being shown in one theater in the south Houston area, and that’s the AMC 30 one up by the Sam Houston Tollway and I-45. So I wouldn’t be surprised to find it gone next weekend with all the new movies coming out.

The Word of the Day is:  Fortitudinous

Thought for the Day:

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. — Mark Twain

November 11, 2018

We Really Lucked Up . . .

We were out the door and into a dreary 50° morning about 8:15, heading for the IHOP over in Kemah to meet our good friend’s,  Barb and Tom.

Barbara and Tome

The place was really crowded, and on a wait when we left, so since we had bogarted the table for almost two hours,  I slipped our patient waitress a $20 when we left to to make up for her lost tips.

Saying our goodbyes and leaving the IHOP we headed back over to the WalMart to pick up a couple of Jan’s prescriptions.

Coming down Bay Area Blvd, we noticed that Snooze, The AM Eatery, the new Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch place, had done a soft opening. So soft that they didn’t even put an OPEN sign or banner out.

The prescriptions were two different drops for before and after her upcoming cataract surgery on Dec. 6th. Why is it that these drops, $15 and $183, costs more than the cataract surgery itself. I can only hope that this covers both eyes, but for some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t.

Then, as I’ve been doing lately, I asked if they had gotten any of the Shingrix Shingles vaccine in, and as it turns they got a box in last night. So we put our paperwork in and sat down to wait for the Pharmacist to stick us.

When I ask the cost, I was told $167 each, but we had GoodRx coupons out in the car for $155. So did I walk back all the way out to the car at the far end of the lot to save $24?

What do you think?

They didn’t seem to appreciate my humor (a lot of people don’t. Just ask Jan) when I suggested that I could just give us the shots to save time. I mean, I’ve given them to hundreds of dogs, cats, horses and cows. Can’t be much different on people. Just grab’em by the scruff of the neck and . . .

Well, maybe not.

I spent the summer after 10th grade working as a Veterinary Assistant for a large and small animal practice. You haven’t lived until you’ve chased an angry bull around the pasture trying to give him a Brucellosis shot. Though it was more like, sometimes I chased him, sometimes he chased me.

And as I said, we really lucked up. A box of Shingrix contains 10 doses, so we got two of them. Now if we can just manage to get our recommended second dose in the next 2 to 6 months.

Leaving WalMart, we headed down the feeder to get some of the $1.99 gas from Costco. They’ve got 36 pumps, 6 rows with 6 pumps, 3 on each side, and the place was packed.

I did notice that they’ve started putting seals on the credit card slots.

Costco Gas Pump Seal

Hopefully this will deter scammers from installing their own readers on top of the real one.

Remember the good ole days when Cheerios were good for you?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios

Apparently, not so much now.

Several readers pointed out something that I missed on the Zombie commercial. They didn’t just re-edit it to not show the arm falling off. It’s a completely new ending, because the guy and the girl have switched sides.

And they didn’t just flip the video, because the statue is still on the left. Of course it all may have been done deliberately to keep us talking about it. If so, it worked.

Thought for the Day:

Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.