Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The above picture was an ad for subscribing on the back cover of HUMBUG magazine, which was edited by Harvey Kurtzman and this picture was drawn by a fellow Georgia-corn fed boy Jack Davis.

The key word in the above illustration is OR. It means you have a choice tonight.

Real Ghost or a Broken Record?

A reportedly true ghost sighting:

A man was driving his car with his son as passenger very near Kennesaw Mountain.

Kennesaw Mountain is a Civil War battlefield. Thousands of men lost their lives there in June, 1864.

The man and his son were in the car and suddenly a horse leaped across the street in front of them. The rider had on a Yankee blue uniform. They also saw enough in that instant to know the rider was an officer. He and his horse ran through a fence on the other side of the road like it wasn’t there.

The father and son both saw it and he had to pull over to gather his wits about him to before he could continue driving.

There is a ghost hunting organization who joined forces with the Marietta Ghost Tours Company. An expert on ghosts of that group said he believes what they saw was not an actual ghost, but a action caught in time which keeps playing over and over at unpredicted times – that moment in time is locked in that certain area – it is almost a matter of electronics

The Great Pumpkin Flight Route cont -

Around 2am this morning some early bird residents of Kill Hill, NC, on the Outer Banks claimed to have seen the Great Pumpkin in flight. Some other early risers said that "wasn't a pumpkin, it was a Hunter's Moon!" Others said it was a Harvest Moon. The believers retorted by saying they know a Pumpkin's Moon when they see one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Flight Route

You better watch out! The Great Pumpkin is on his way!

He is so wicked he eats his young!

Another Tale of Terror from Nichols’ Barn

Old Mr. and Mrs. Nichols had a grandson named Eddie that lived in Newnan, Georgia. Eddie was about a year older than me and twice as strong – strong as an ox. He was also mentally challenged. He often sucked or slobbered on the back of one of his hands.

Eddie and his older sister came to visit their grandparents voften and even had permanent bedrooms in the big house.

On one of their visits I was trailing along after the local rough bunch. They were a couple years older than I was. This local rough bunch mostly cursed a lot, smoked, resented authority, and they all were always constantly wise-cracking. My wannabes.

The boys were pretty useless but mostly harmless. I remember one of them was named Jack. In school one time he sat behind me for a while and kept me giggling over his wise-cracks. It never occurred to me he was in my class because he already failed two grades. He quit as soon as he legally could, at age 16 – so did the rest of this bunch.

One evening before dark I was hanging around with them in the yard of the Rich (that was their name) family on the corner of Manget and Glover Streets. Somehow the mental challenged Eddie wandered by. They called him over.

They asked him questions and he gave them the only answers his mind could draw up which kept them laughing. In other words, they were making fun of him.

I don’t remember how it started, but for kicks they thought it would be neat to see the two Eddie’s fight. They kept telling Eddie I was saying bad things about him. Then they pushed us into each other and Eddie begin swinging his fist at me.

I say ‘fist’ because the other fist was in his mouth. It is hard to swing and guard with one fist. He missed me with his wild fist and I socked him in nose. Blood went everywhere.

Eddie ran to his grandparents house crying.

Later that evening Eddie’s sister came up to the group of boys and wanted to know who broke her brother’s nose – she was going to have me arrested. When she found it was me, the son of the Chief of Police, she changed her mind (I heard this later from Jack).

Months later, Eddie was visiting again and apparently didn’t remember or had no ill-fillings about our fight. We went up in the loft of his grandfather’s old barn and were looking around.

The loft had rafters. The flooring of the loft was not nailed down, just boards and sheets of plywood were held to the rafters by balance and gravity.

I don’t remember what was stored in the old loft… old farm tools and things no longer needed.

One of my so-called friends reminded Eddie of me breaking his nose. He pounced on me and started choking me. He hands were like a vice on my neck. I was pretty sure I was going to die in the next minute or so… I could not breath and could not even holler out.

What we didn’t realize when Eddie leaped on me we rolled to and end of a long plank balanced only by the rafters. After our movements the plank lost what hold it had on the rafters and tilted like a see-saw and emptied us like a dump truck onto the ground floor of the barn. We fell five or six feed but I was lucky enough to land on my feet and I ran home like a scared rabbit.

On the other hand, I heard the fall knocked the breath out of Eddie.

I do not remember what happened to the plank that slid me to safety. I suppose if fell a fraction of a second after we did. I only remember two things: (1) my life has been spared and (2) I was out of there!

Someday somebody will probably remind Eddie (if he is still living) that I threw him out of the loft and reminded him how bad it hurt. And he will come looking for me.

Just like old times.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Scary Story That Really Happened!! heh heh

This is a true story.,, really, I was there, I was part of it. Hold on to your seats:

Glover Street in Marietta now is the home of a Sears Warehouse, a Texaco Warehouse, the Cobb County Board of Education, and at the corner of Glover and Fairground Streets is the Marietta Daily Journal. Across the street from the Marietta Journal is the Little League field, which was fairly new back then.

There used to be houses and patches of woods up and down the street. Before the Marietta Journal was in that location, behind the area was a patch of woods that led by a small branch and the trail continued up the hill beside an old barn which belonged to the Nichols family who lived in a nice white two level house in front. We called the trail "The Hollow".

The barn was haunted. And so was "The Hollow". Or at least we thought so.

One summer evening in our preteen years several of us boys were standing on Glover Street at the mouth of the Hollow. It looked like a big dark opened mouth. We were daring each to walk in. We heard a noise in the tree thicket banging around. I don't know about my peers but I imagined ghost of some kind, insane and on a rampage.

Wanting to be known as a brave person - after all, image is everything - I told my friends I would alone go into the Hollow.... I felt some silent "ooohhhs" and "aahhs".

I went in.

Although, standing out on the street the hollow gave the appearance of a big black hole but on the inside, because of the strong field lights from the Little League park I could see the outline of some of trees and bushes to make out how the trail went. My memory also helped.

Again, I heard the thrashing of something. I thought I could not run out, I would be labeled as a coward. I walked up the little hill that led to the Nichols' barn.

Half way I looked up and in the middle of the trail was a pair of green eyes looking me.

I slowly backed up. The green eyes started moving towards me at a speed faster than I could walk backwards.

The green eyes was at me and went to my eyes! I tripped (try to walk backwards down a hill without tripping) The next thing I knew my dog Skipper (part bird-dog and part collie) was standing over me licking me in the face.

I think the Little League lights caused Skipper's eyes to reflect green - like a photo-flash's red-eye... same principal I think.

And that is the scary story.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Erma Holtzclaw Brown

This is Erma Holtzclaw Brown (1816-1901). She is Anna’s Great-g-g-grandmother, or Rocky and Adam’s. Great-g-g-g grandmother. She married Joe Brown who was born in South Carolina. I have that she was born in Forsyth County, Georgia – which if she was, she was born in that area before Forsyth County had been established, which is not impossible. Up until 1832 there was a treaty with the Indians that whites would not settle north of the Chattahoochee River, but many whites did anyway. Treaties were meant to be broken.

Imagine all the history she saw: From a pre-removal of the Indians, to electricity, telephones, photographs and many other inventions. Who needed television?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Claim to Fame

My ancestor Joseph Bookhout was born in Holland in the year 1700 and died in Rameur, Randolph Co, N.C., in 1806 – yep, he lived 106 years.

Joseph and his family Americanized their name to Bookout when they got off the boat, so to speak.

But this is not about Joseph. It is the Halloween season. It is about his brother John Bookhout. Here is what notes I have on him:

"The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" (the Headless Horseman) started in the cemetery at the Dutch Reform Church, Tarrytown, New York (near the Hudson River).

John BOOKHOUT, or his son, was serving on the Board of Elders when the legend was born. Later Washington Irvin made the legend into a published story.

The Tall Old Man and the Remote Car

Speaking of Mayor Flouronoy (I can not remember his first name – Robert I think): By profession he was a lawyer. He was a tall man – so, tall, you would think somebody like that tall would be awkward and as graceful as a bull in a China Shop. Keep reading.

He had two sons, who were very tall also.

After his run as mayor he became a judge, and what I read he was very controversial and fair.

Not many years before he died one of the concerts in downtown on a Friday night also had a “Mayor Appreciation Night” and all the living ex-mayors of Marietta were there. We sat in our usual place just across from the ropes that separates the elite from us commoners and less than 20 feet from the Flouronoy table. The table was lined with his wife, sons, daughter-in-laws, and at least one grandson.

The family as a whole was caught up in family talk. That is all but the ex-Mayor/ex-Judge/grandfather. He completely focused on his grandson, who looked about 3 or 4 years old.

The little grandson has a remote control little car that looked like a super racer. The ex-Mayor/ex-Judge/grandfather and his grandson walked around the park guiding the car by remote control until his wife told him for them to come back to the table.

Back at the table the ex-mayor/ex-judge/Esquire had his grandson sit next to him and they continued playing with the car on the table.

I wish I had a camera – being a silent unobtrusive observer, I saw it happen: Granddaddy Flouronoy pressed a button on the remote and the car shot down the length of the table, turning over wine glasses, candles, and at least one plate of food…. The old man and the kid let out a laugh together.

So did I. My cover was blown.

Friday, October 26, 2007

How True!

Dilbert with the truth. Scott Adams knows.

Costume Contest

This reminds me of a Halloween costume contest Marietta had downtown one year.

We took Adam and Rocky. There were plenty of loud rock music furnished by a radio station and people were all over the downtown area dressed up in some outlandish costumes.

Behind Shillings Restaurant in the parking lot of what now is a lawyers’ office, and one time the stables of Marietta, and another time a trolley terminal the contest was held. The head judge of the event was Mayor Flournoy who sat a table along with the panel to decide what costumes should win first prize, 2nd, and so on.

They had not counted on a few entries that made a mockery of the whole contest. Two man had on long rain coats. At the opportune moment, he would jerk his rain coat open and out sprung a huge penis – maybe 3 or 4 feet long. We ran into both men near the park before the contest at different times and if I was the judge I know which one I would award the prize to. The one with the maniacal laugh when he opened his coat and out sprung you-know-what. Timing was everything.

Another trio of men had a similar outfit they had to work in unionson. The middle man had material that gave the appearance he was a huge, well, you-know-what. And the other two buddies, each had what looked like a foam rubber ball around them, and the ball had wild hair drawn on it. The had to work as a team. If one turned to go a certain way, they all had to turn.


Although they had one this past weekend in the daytime for young kids and pets – what gives?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little River Methodist Church Cemetery, Woodstock

This is Little River Methodist Cemetery in Woodstock, Georgia.

It was, until recently, out in the countryside of Cherokee County. Now, there is a huge Super Wal-Mart directly across the road. Wal-Mart and Little River Methodist Church share the same traffic light.

This is my cousin Anthony, who is living, and his late wife’s marker. Martha died March the 7th of this year. Anthony is lost without her. Behind them is Martha's parents' marker, who are still living.

Top - The Paynes in this cemetery are Anna’s relatives. They are Anna’s great grandmother’s family. I don’t have much information on them

Gene Latimer was a friend who I grew up with. He died in a wreck – the results of a drag race he was in. Less than an hour before the wreck I was sitting with Gene and another friend in his car at Varner’s Drive-In. I had to leave and go home to go bed – I had to get up early and go to work at the Big Apple Grocery Store the next morning. I never made it. Before I left for work my sister called me from her office and told me about Gene. I was upset and called the manager at the Big Apple and told him a friend of mine had died and I couldn’t make it in. He told me if I wanted to keep my job I would come in. I quit instantly. The two cars dragracing were racing down Roswell Road and hit a Cobb County Police Car with its lights out. He was pulling out of his driveway after he and wife ate dinner. He probably forgot to turn on his headlights. His last name was Hood. He was killed too. The place where the wreck occurred is where the Marietta Loop crosses Roswell Road. I was a pallbearer. I remember six of us friends were Gene’s pallbearers, as we toted the casket across the hilly cemetery terrain one friend let out a big fart then the seriouis one of us scolded the one farted – the remaining five of us we got tickled, and trying to hold it back made it even harder to hold back.

Gene’s second cousin, once removed, was Dean Rusk, future Secretary of State.

Gene’s father had died just the year before. His mother and brother must have been miserable.

Gene’s mother died 35 years later at about age 82. After Gene died, which was the first week of June, 1960, the following March we had a blizzard in Marietta. All schools and businesses were closed. Kids gathered at the Marietta Country Club and used their golf course as a ski place. People were using serving trays, flattened carboard boxes, car hoods, and many other creations as sleighs. I used a round metal Coke sign. As I went down the slope and the round sign started spinning – I had not counted on that, so I could not lean or control the direction in anyway. I spun right into a lake. It was only knee deep, but I went in it sitting down. So, I climbed out wet, cold, with bits of ice and snow clinging to me. I don’t remember my reasoning, but somehow I thought it was a good time to visit Gene’s mother.

She was glad to see me. She and I had hot chocolate and banana bread. She pulled out some of Gene’s clothes and insisted that I replace them with my wet ones. We had a nice visit. I still think of her over 46 years later when I eat banana bread.

Opal Petty is/was my mother’s sister, my aunt, and Anthony’s mother. Opal was a lively lady who had a great wit even though her life was laced with hardships. Opal’s parents had nine children to reach adulthood. All but Opal moved out and started their own families. Opal cared for their mother until she couldn’t. She worked all her life. They moved a lot to rented dwellings… one requirement: be within walking distance of a bus line.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Working Hard To Fight The Drought

You Are Welcome Georgia!

Think nothing of it! (I’m sure you will oblige me)

The drought got a boost of rain that will surely help some. It has been raining here for the past three days. I am probably responsible.

It happens every time I plan an activity that must be done outside it rains. I should have thought of that earlier. Monday I had planned to rake the back yard. It rained. Tuesday I had planned to cut up several fallen huge limbs with the chain saw. It rained. Today I had planned to a good long bike ride and work with Willow and her ball chasing skills. Guess what it did.

If I had only thought to start planning some outside activities months ago we wouldn’t be in the fix we are in today. Sorry!

Alfred Charles Hunter

This is a continuation of recycling the old photographs I have shown here once before – just to get more mileage out of them.

The above picture is Alfred Charles Hunter (1891-1973). He was the son of Charles Jefferson Hunter and Paraline Dobbs. His father Charles was the oldest son of my great-grandfather, William A. Trammell/Hunter. The picture is his graduation picture from Southern Dental College, which later was named Emory.

After Alfred graduated he moved to Texas to set up a dental practice. He married Mamie “May” Akridge (1892-1933).

They had one son Akridge Charles Hunter (1917-1997) who also became a dentist.

Alfred died in Kerrville, Texas.

It has been said that once Alfred moved to Texas he never returned to Georgia. His son visited in the late 1970s, I met him here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Is Easy!


Willow here. While my master is hunkered on the john in the bathroom I thought I would slip over and see what is so fantastic about this thing he keeps poking at.

I said “Master” in jest. I decided what to do and what not to do. Master, sheesh!

After much hard work I finally taught that slob a trick and I am so proud of him, and myself, I just wanted to share it.

With just a nudge of my nose onto his left arm just above the elbow he hops up and lets me outside.

He has not gotten the full hang of it yet – it is still not the automatic response I want, but we are working on it.

If the first time the slob doesn’t get, I lightly nibble in the same spot with my teeth. Then if he still doesn’t get I bare down with those sharp incisors of mine and boy, does he get it!

He quickly responds before I try to deliver the request with a little more enthusiasm.

Another thing, while I got you here: The other day we went to a pet store and they bought me what they call a toy. It is a little red thing about the size of a mouse. When I bit it in the correct way it lets a out a squeal.

They think it is a toy. It is not a toy. It is a live being and should be treated as such, in other words, it is to be eaten.

I like to make friends with the little animals before I make the final chomp to end their life… but frankly, this one is giving me a hard time. Each time I chomp and it lets out a cry I cry too. I back up a few paces and whine too.

But instinct is instinct. Nature built me to kill that little creature and eat it, just like I did those chipmunks. But, before their death I played with them and got to know them.. they were so sweet and cute! Afterwards my masters (Hah!) called me “Chipmunk Breath” .

Why would they make light of a poor little chipmunk’s death? They have no heart.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scary Stuff!

With Halloween quickly approaching, now is the time to show you two seasonal pictures of the two creatures that used to live here and still return from time to time to rattle their chains and shake their bones... great balls of fire!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Puppeteer

Yesterday in downtown Marietta was a Fall Festival. There were arts and crafts booths set up to hawk their wares and other booths for special interests, such as animal rescues, Ghost Tour of Marietta, eats, and so on.

These kind of festivals happen for different reasons – most of the time we are lured there. We like to watch the people. Yesterday was a Halloween costume contest for kids and apparently a costume contest for dogs too. There were plenty dressed-up dogs walking around. Willow as with us, but we know better than try to but some kind of garb on her – she will have none of that…. How is a lady to squat and pee with dignity if she has clothes all over her body?

It seems that Marietta has plenty of these type of festivals and just looks for an excuse to have one. It must be a good money-getter. They must have 4 to 6 a year, maybe more.

Last year at one of these things in downtown Marietta along the row of booths was a short solo young man with a puppet in his arms. It looked something like a big bird like creature… with strings and little sticks he could control its mouth and arm movement. It sat on his arm and moved its head around as its controller moved among the crowd.

The puppet was so naturally moving life like, in his arms. People were ignoring him – I thought probably the parents told their kids not to go near him.

Apparently people ignoring him did not discourage him. At the next festival he was there, walking around with that puppet sitting on his arm. Again he was alone and ignored.

The thought occurred to me that he was a ghost – and nobody could see him or his puppet – however, if that was the case, what was I looking at?

The next festival we were eating in a little eatery when he and a girl came in. He had a date! Maybe that was the plan all along, maybe he had hoped his puppet would be a chic magnet. He looked nervous and ill-at-ease. I don’t think the girl even noticed. They walked in holding hands… or she was holding his hand anyway.

A few festivals have came and gone since I saw him. Then, yesterday he reappeared with a new puppet.

As we were walking back to our car he walked by, alone. He and a new one. This one had a white fur with something like a red hat – maybe it had a white beard… I’m was watching him more than I was watching his make-believe friend. He bent the puppet over towards Willow and made its naturally move an arm or its head or something. Willow kind of backed up untrusting. The guy never said a word or even smiled.

I wished I had taken his picture. I got a feeling his name will be a household name some day.

Charles & Ardella

Again, I am going to show some old photos off and on. The reason is that you may not have been reading my blog when I first showed them, or I may have acquired them since I ran them, or – heck – why not get more mileage out of them? This time around I may have a different slant in what I say… again, I might not.

These two people are Anna’s great grandparents Charles and Ardella. On the back of the picture it states that it was taken behind the kitchen chimney. Charles was born 1856 and died in 1928. Ardella was born in 1857 and died in 1933. They were married 1876 and had five children, which they raised in or near Roswell, Georgia.

I think the picture was probably taken between 1920 and 1925.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dining In Cobb – again continued

The Genealogy of a Restaurant

Once there was a Waffle House between the Cobb County towns of Kennesaw and Acworth on the 4-Lane at Blue Springs Road.

The Waffle House closed and an ex-postal employee bought it and converted it into a restaurant that specialized in deep fried oysters, shrimp, scallops, catfish, and hushpuppies.

Then he sold it to a group or family of Koreans.

At work a carrier told me about how good he thought he was. I told Anna and one day we drove up the 4-Lane looking for this place, which the carrier, told me the name was Oyster King.

We found it. The place lived up its expectations. The jumbo shrimp was delicious. They were deep fried in a very light batter. Very good. I think there is almost no variance of what comes with your entrée – it is always french fries and cole slaw. The only variance is you can also order hushpuppies if you want.

The staff people were very efficient. They usually had one Caucasian waitress and the rest of the staff seemed to be Koreans who hardly knew any English at all.

The Waffle House size restaurant was always crowded. The crowd usually consisted of, well, the blue collar crowd – if we went on Saturday evening we could count on seeing most of the customers in their Saturday night dancing clothes. If they were not blue collar they used to be… you could tell somehow… they were still rough around the edges, so to speak.

We heard the original owner went back in the business and we went to his restaurant to check it out. He named his new restaurant The Original Oyster King. As far as we were concerned it didn’t even compare to the Korean owned Oyster King. For one thing, the food just wasn’t as good. The clientele were more than blue collar, they were more of a redneck species… loud and obnoxious. Also, they were clickish. Everybody knew each other – we felt like outsiders.

At the Korean-owned Oyster King nobody knew you – which is a good dining arrangement.

We went there often for a long time. We carried Anna’s mother and she liked it and went back often with us. For a few years, it was our tradition to have our New Years Eve dinner there.

Then, everything changed. We went there one evening to eat and there was a sign up saying, “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon”

Over the next two or three years we checked often. First, the building was bulldozed down and the sign saying “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon” was put on a sign by the empty space that was once the restaurant. Then, the old closed motel next door that families of Mexicans was demolished. Then the next time the whole area was bulldozed away, maybe ten acres of exposed Georgia red-clay with the sign “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon” still standing.

Then sometime early this year streets were cut in the big vacant bare field and in one corner a nice looking building went up.

Then, one big storefront of the building said “Oyster Café” with another sign, saying “opening soon”.

Around mid July we dropped by and saw a worker outside and asked when was it going to open – he said he thought they were going to open at the end of the month. They didn’t.

Since then we have checked and checked. I wonder why they changed the name?

Yesterday, after letting at least a month go by, we checked again. It was opened! Yea!

We called Anna’s mother and told her and told her we would pick her up that evening.

When we arrived the parking lot of the little shopping center was packed with cars. There was a line of people waiting to go in. But it wasn’t too bad of a wait, we only waited about 15 minutes.

When we went in we saw the place was lively. A lot of tables and a lot of people – and many waitresses rushing to tables with trays of plates carrying what they were known for, shrimp or catfish, cole slaw, and french fries.

Honestly, the french fries and cole slaw has not been all that good. I don’t anybody there were there because fo their french fries and cole slaw.

I overheard somebody say they have been opened 3 weeks and it has been like that every evening. We wondered what is going to happened when more businesses move in – where will their customers park? I think the only solution is for them to expand.

At the table next to us were two couples – one of the men was drunk, loud, and obnoxious. I wonder if they were kicked out of The Original Oyster King and came here?

We ordered and also ordered an appetizer of steamed oysters.

In the Oyster King before the waiting staff was a Caucasian woman and Asian woman – and I think they wore what they wanted to. Now, I think there are at least six waitresses, all wearing the same type of blue shirt – about 4 Asians and 2 Caucasian now. Then there were others who wore maroon shirts. Only the hostess that seated the people had no uniform… before in the old Waffle House building, the waitress seated you.

To make a long story short (or is it too late for that?) it took what seemed forever to get our food. We saw people come in after we were seated and got about the same thing we ordered before. We let our waitress know that other people after us were getting their food before us and she blamed it on the cooks – she said there were only 3 of them tonight.

I think we may have confused the situation by ordering an appetizer of steamed oysters on the half-shell before our meal… good thing we did or I may had to resort to crawling on the floor and sneak food off our neighbors’ plates.

Either that or it was our waitress’s fault. Maybe plates with jumbo shrimp, cole slaw, and french fries is a pretty standard thing that most people get… and at the counter that separates the cooks from the bar, it is just the first waitress up to the counter gets it.

Either way, it seems with their new building with a plush atmosphere, and the bigness of it all – they seemed to have lost their efficiency.

After it was all said and done, eaten, and burped we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t all that good after all…. Or it was as good as it always has been – it tasted the same, and it was great for a non-pretentious building the size of a small diner with a big video machine by the one restroom. But, now, it has lost something in its own luster.

And again, our mind-sets have changed since they closed to re-do themselves - with heart attacks and strokes we usually avoid deep fried foods.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Water or the Lack of

The above cartoon was in THE REALIST magazine, #61, August 1965.

Georgia is in a drought and is about to declare war on the Army Corps of Engineers for not giving us our share of the water from the Chattahoochee River. And Alabama is mad at Georgia for hogging for not selling them water… tensions are building.

I think the only thing we can do is bring Blackwater and Hallyburton Corporations down here to see that everybody that counts gets water.

Now, the law makers are thinking of different solutions to save water but enforcing what they dream up is another matter, such as Don’t flush every time and put a brick in your water tank.

Restaurants now only give your water if you ask for it. New York City Restaurants did the same during their shortage.

I remember in the 1960s New York City was having a water shortage which inspired the above cartoon.

Also, the cartoon reminds me that in the late 1960s or early 70s Anna and went to New York City and one day we ate at a restaurant in Chinatown. During the time we were there I felt the need to use the restroom and the waitress directed me to it. It was a one commode restroom, no urinal. While I was standing over the commode doing my business an Asian man came in with an apron on, I think he was probably the cook. He looked at me, muttered something that I was not meant to understand, then pissed in the sink and rushed out.

I don’t think he even washed his hands. I know I didn’t.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Morning Trip To The Cleaners

It was about time for my truck to be service. The $5 coupon for an oil and lube job from the Chevrolet dealer gave me an extra incentive. I am beginning to think that $5 coupon had a big 6” fishhook with an unbreakable line was attached to it.

I got to the dealer’s service department about 7:30am and found that they were already opened. The service representative that waited on me asked me did I want to $29.99 deal or the $57.99 deal. With the latter, they make sure your tires are ok with the proper psi and check all everything. I said I would take the $59.99 deal.

In the background I think a heard the whirling noise of a fishing reel spinning, like a big fish had just took the bait.

While we were talking a mechanic had the hood up and was checking the fluids. He gave it to the representative and there were two rows of various colors liquids. One row was clean fluid, which they should look like ideally and the other was what was drawn out of my car. He said the automatic transmission fluid was a contaminated color and really should be flushed out and new put in…. ok, ok.

I went to the waiting room.

One young lady in there looked to be college student was sitting and reading. Another representative came in with a clipboard and told her all with her car – it would cost about $500 he said. She said she didn’t but $400. He said she could probably do without this and that to bring the price down to about $350. She said ok.

He left and returned later and said her water pump was completely gone. It was shooting water out like a water faucet. How much? He said $400. They walked out of the waiting room talking. She didn’t come back.

Then another young lady came in and sat down. She had dark hair and a pleasant face. We nodded and smiled at each other.

Not long the representative that dealt with me came in with a clipboard. He said my front wheel brake pads were way down – need to be replaced. He also something was corroded so that needed replacing… the part itself wasn’t that expensive but it the time to put a part on… bla bla bla. Something else too needed adjusting while they had bla bla opened. In my head I calculated as he spoke and it totaled over $500.

I said ok, do what has to be done. He left.

I spoke to the lady with the dark hair. I told her my wife and I took a cruise to the Bahamas last week.

She smiled and said, “Yeah?”

I went on to say that our 4 night and 5 day cruise with all you can eat for two people cost less than this 2 hour car job.*

She almost laughed like she saw the irony in it and said, “Yeah!”


Shortly after that a representative came in with a clipboard and went directly her to and started talking. His whole dialog was Spanish. So was her dialog.

Evidently, they have a Spanish speaking on site to take care of the people who can’t speak English.


Speaking of the much needed Latino speaking employee, over three hours visit with the dealership over the loudspeaker three or four times, well spaced out announcements called Fernando to the used car department. I don’t know if Fernando is the same person who helped the lady “Yeah Lady” but I would almost bet he was.

*I was wrong. The cruise cost $30 more than my visit to the dealership’s service department. And when I said it I thought it was going to be 2 hours (what they told me) but it ended up 3 hours.

December 12, 2012

What will be you being doing December 12, 2012?

Some people believe you will be running around in circles screaming and in a panic or dying. That is the day that two groups independent each of each other believe the end of the world (as we know it) will come. Some mystics predicted it hundreds of years ago and some scientists believe them.

On the other hand there are others that believe the day of destine is a 9 days later on December 21, 2012.

Run Google on “December 12, 2012” and see what I am talking about.

One of the many hits on the subject reminds us of the Y2K scare. So, maybe there is nothing to it…. Hopefully.

I recommend that we, as a member of the masses, not to worry. I try my best not to worry about things that I have no control over.

Don’t worry, be happy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Atlanta Municipal Auditorium

This is an old post card of the old Atlanta Municipal Auditorium. It more or less has been replaced by the Atlantic Civic Center. It has been taken over Georgia State University, which is next door. According to something I found on Google it is the GSU Alumni Hall.

As a kid we used to go there to see inside circuses, wrestling evens, and many other kind of big crowd getters. It seems Holiday On Ice was held there and maybe went to that once too… maybe not.

If I had a good memory I would have many fund memories there.

Anna and I went to see the opera Rigoletto there. What can I say? Nothing intelligent about the opera – but at the time, reading the program I thought it was pretty good story lilne, although I think I may have nodded off once or twice. I think we probably went as a college class assignment.

It seems awful big to be an alumni hall. Old landmarks like that just don’t remain the same

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jean and Her Blog Sites

I think I have known Jean for 20 or 25 years. We met electronically, doing genealogy research on the Pullen family. We share Greenville Pullen as a common progenitor. According to my genealogy program Family Tree Maker’s Relationship Calculator Jean is my 3rd cousin, once removed.

She has several blogs. Three of her blogs interest me. She also has at least two gardening and landscaping type of blogs and a high school reunion blog and I wouldn’t doubt it if she had more.. She is very productive and she has plenty to say in a kind of jazzy way.

One of her grown sons was killed by a careless driver (bald tires in the rain). She calls him “Monkeyman” and has a very funny story why that is his nickname. Jean does an excellent job in her blogs gently and lovingly keeping her son’s memory alive. She also has other interests and pulls out old photographs to share sometimes too.

Jean's Dotty Pants blog is the one I first go to of hers , then, once I land on it, I can check out her other blogs she has listed. I don’t think all of her blogs are listed on every one of her blogs, if that makes sense.

Her stuff is a good reading.

Day 5- High Ho! Or is it Land-Ho!?

OK – this is it! This is the final posting about our cruise (maybe, unless I remember something else).

I just remembered something that I should have put on an earlier cruise post: I guide of Nassau told us that Columbus discovered Nassau – that was the first thing of the world he discovered. I think I remember it is not clear just what island he first landed on.

Now, on with the last day.

We were to vacate the room by 8:00am. We were to hang out someplace and wait for them to call our number after we had breakfast.

I woke up at 4:30am and went for a walk. I went for a walk every morning. The 7th level deck has an unobstructed walk all around it. It was about 1300 plus feet… I forgot exactly. A sign on the 7th deck that went completely around the boat said 3 and 1/3 laps equaled a mile. I walked around it a couple of times and went to the top deck and walked around it a couple of times. On both decks up front, or stern I think, was very windy… I could not wear my baseball cap.

On the aft side of the 7th floor I thought of hanging over the railing and spread my arms and say, “I’m Servant of the World”. But I didn’t.

Also when I passed a woman out for a morning stroll I thought it might be witty to say, about the strong wind, “Thar she blows!” but she might misunderstand what I was trying to say and throw me overboard.

We more or less had to only do our bathroom duties, change into some day clothes, throw our toiletries and sleep stuff into a small luggage and leave the room. We went to breakfast.

A man, woman, a boy about 10 or 11, and a younger girl were seated already. We sat beside them. By their body language and the way the adults addressed the children I don’t think they were the parents. But, I could be wrong. After they got off the ship they were going to some kind of kung fu match in Jacksonville.

The little girl was very sleepy. She rather be curled up and dozing than sitting up and eating.

Out of the blue her eyes opened and she said, “Bubba ate snails last night!” We coughed up our orange juice. – not really.

As soon as we finished eating we left wondering where we should go and there stood a man and woman with clipboards that looked like they should be on the staff.

I asked one of them, I forgot which, has Brown-One been called yet. I went on to say we were eating breakfast and we could hear them call out something, we just didn’t understand what. The woman looked on her clipboard and said we were next – we could wait right there…. Which we did.

I am glad she was really using that clipboard instead of just getting out of work. That was a standard joke at the post office, if you wanted to get out of work, just bring a clipboard to work and walk around with it… no body will ask you what you are doing with that clipboard – they are afraid to.

Sure enough, they called Brown-One. We proceeded in a line that lead out of the ship, into the terminal and through customs. I looked at my watched as we stepped on the ship and it was 8:39am.

The customs agent welcomed us to the United States and we got our luggage and the porter we enlisted knew exactly where to take it, to the Radisson Inn shuttle. We were back at the Radisson Inn in the parking lot looking for our car by 9:00.

Before we left the area I waned to check out Manatee Park. I like Manatees. We went to the park which was an opened air building overlooking the Red River (I think). We stood there a while and saw some fish jump up from the water and splashed back in. Anna saw a large thing come out of the water and back in – it may have been a dolphin.

We left and drove back towards Georgia.

In the same area as coming down, north of Orlando we got into another slow-poke traffic situation. We finally saw what the holdup was, the gawkers were looking at a tractor-trailer turned over in the southbound lane. The cab was burned to ashes. Up the road about 5 miles or so, and almost an identical type of wreck – an 18 wheeler with the cab burned to ashes. I think we were in the Orlando Triangle.

We only stopped, other than one time for gas, once. Near Cordele, Georgia, we stopped at a big store that sold quality name-brand clothes cheap. I bought a pair of Levis and a North Face rain jacket for a slightly more than fair price.

If you have read the journal of the Westmoreland family that I put in a few pages from time to time, Arthur and Gwen Westmoreland Hunter lived in Cordele and were mentioned often.

In the store Anna and I were walking around checking out what all they had and a little girl about 2 years old was in the shoe department whining. As we got closer we heard her whine, “I farted!” That was the 2nd time that day that little girls said the Darnnest Things.

The next time we stepped out of the car was in Marietta. We were surprised how cool it was… but nice and home-like!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 4 – Thursday – I see the sea, si?

After talking to the lady about her daughter that works on the ship, I am beginning to understand how big companies sidestep paying unemployment taxes, and maybe taxes in general. Just conduct your business three miles outside the U.S. of A. and you don’t have to pay taxes on it. And I thought Hallyburton only had the right to do that.

Almost all the ship’s personnel that you make contact with have an accent. Sometimes it is a Spanish accent, sometimes an Asian accent, sometimes anything else. The cruise line, apparently is a company without a country – it is cheaper that way.

Thursday was a day with no port-of-calls, not to be confused with potty calls. We headed back to the U.S.A. at a slow rate, I think I heard somebody say, 19 knots ph. I do not know how that translates into mph, but I think it is slow. It just seemed like we were peacefully gliding alone.

It is a small world. Here is a good example:

There is a Johnny Rockets Restaurant above the top deck. You have to pay extra if you to eat there. We decided to try it out. It is a hamburger joint, we knew that, they have one or two in Cobb County and at least one in Atlanta we have eaten at. But, we haven’t ate at a Johnny Rockets while at sea.

There was a line. We had to wait maybe as long as 30 minutes to get up to the front of the line. The young man ahead of us and his girlfriend asked us to join them when the waiter came to show them a table. That was very nice. The guy was very polite.

When we sat down we made small talk. The most common thing is to ask, “Where are y’all from?” – which I did. They both said they were from Statesboro, Georgia. I meant to tell them my two of my neighbor’s daughter go to college in Statesboro, at South Georgia University but never got around to it, the conversation drifted.

The girl said her father use to own a Duncan Donuts in Marietta. I asked was it on Sandy Plains Road, which is near us. She said she thought so. We said it is a small world, our son Adam worked at Duncan Donuts on Sandy Plains Road about the same time her father owned it we thought….. but adding up, I was beginning to question it.

The girl’s mother materialized and sat down. We talked about Duncan Donuts. They got rid of the one in Marietta and bought the franchise in Statesboro. I asked the mother was the one they owned on Sandy Plains Road. She didn’t know… she thought it was on East Something.

I carefully mentioned another person that I knew worked at Duncan Donuts on Sandy Plains Road, Scott O’Dell. The mother showed no recognition and kept picking her daughter’s french fries. By that response I was sure they were not there when Adam worked there. Scott O’Dell was a co-worker’s son. Scott married one of the daughters of the man who owned the franchise on Sandy Plains Road.

Then the father materialized. The father was dark like his daughter, or actually, that would be visa-versa. I asked him was it the Duncan Donuts on Sandy Plains that he owned and he said no, he owned the one on Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta – two brothers owned the one on Sandy Plains Road. He was right. I forgot until he said that, but two big Italian brothers owned that one.

Mystery solved.

After we had eaten we went out on the top deck outside the door and enjoyed sitting in the shade and attempting to read with the nice warm breeze. Three middle aged women were sitting next to us reading. I noticed one was reading a Stuart Brown book and I asked her how she liked it. The reason I asked was that I have two Stuart Brown books I bought used to read some day but keep putting it off for books I know I want to read.

Then, all 5 of us talked books for a while. And they went Parasailing on CoacoaCay Island the other day and had the time of their lives. They left their husbands at home and made it a girls thing. They all had school teacher personalities and all were loving seeing how many different drinks they could order and how many souvenir glasses they could collect. In Nassau they all rode around the countryside in those two wheeled things that you stand upright.

They also told us they were Statesboro, Georgia. We said, “Really? We just talked to a family and the boyfriend that lives in Statesboro.

“What is their names?” they asked.

We didn’t remember it, but it sounded German.

About that time the boyfriend walked by. I called him over and told him those ladies lived in Statesboro also. He asked them where they lived and when they told him he said that was near where he lived with his parents. He left and in less than a minute the Duncan Donuts mother walked up. She told us she wanted to talk to the Statesboro ladies.
We pointed a them and she walked over and started talking. She lives in the same subdivision as the three ladies, and just around the corner from one of them.

Small world.

We ran into the same couple who owned a 3-day BBQ joint that lost so much money. They told us they won their money back and then some.

We went to a cooking demonstration by the chief chef. He kept it simple. He demonstrated how to cook a chicken breast with apples and a splash of brandy, which flamed up, like it was suppose to do. He also demonstrated how to prepare a delicious strawberry dish.

His assistants handed out small samplings of the chicken and apples. It was very good. When the assistant came back to get the small empty plates, or saucers, I took mine and Anna’s and handed it to the assistant by reaching between two people. We were on the second row and the assistant was facing the first row. He signal to past the stuff to him which I did… A fork, with food goo all over it fell off the plate, and bounced off the back of the lady in front of us. It left a big gooey mess on her blouse. Anna sprung into action and wiped it off her. It was the same nice lady that worked at Disney World and wants to move back to New Jersey to be close to her kids and grandkids.

All over the boat there were people floating around with their portable trade – some were hawking drinks, some were hawking to let he or she take your picture.

Which reminds me, there was one long hall on the 3rd deck that all pictures of people were in little slots. You could walk around and pick out your pictures that you wanted and take them to the cashier and pay for them. We, on the other hand, looked and found two pictures of us. We took them down and threw them in a garbage can.

Bingo! Fairly often over the PA system they made an announcement to have fun playing Bingo. I thought that might be relaxing and fun plus the thrill of lightly gambling… well, that was my thought until I asked the price. $35. I think that is just for one game.

We walked through the casino a couple of times. The slot machines look nice and classic like, and there are blackjack and crap tables.

We just don’t know the games, so we kept our distance. We knew we would be throwing money away. A lot of people go cruising for that reason alone – to gamble. Not us, we go to look at people.

As we left for dinner we started handling out envelopes the ship furnished us to put our gratuities in. In all cases we put in a voucher, which we had already paid in a kitty, so to speak. With our waiter and the lady who kept our stateroom clean and neat we put in a little more.

At dinner, our dinner companions, the PHD and the Masters, forgot all about it – they didn’t realize this would be their last chance to personally give whatever to those who serve us… so, they said.

The lady that kept our bed made, ice in the bucket, new fresh towels, towels folded like little animals and whatever else, is a very easy going lady from St. Thomas. She goes months without seeing her family also.

After dinner we went to the Follies Theater for the last time. The singers and dancers had a tribute to old songs of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and even the 80s. Knowing of one of them made it more interesting, but she looked tired…. She was sluggish compared to what we have seen of her before. After thinking about it, I think the other times we went at the 7pm show, but this was the 9pm show. She was tired…. And I think some of the other cast members kind of dragged around also… I mean “dragging” compared to what I have seen them do… jump and leap high in the air, twist endlessly in a very high energy fashion…. Maybe that snout soup was settling in them.

This time we sat in the balcony. There are brass bars that runs just above the 3 ft retaining wall – I suppose for safety reason – but it blocked the view. Before, sitting down in the main part of the audience I was envious of the people up in the balcony because there always seem to be a support pole or something blocking your view. Now, a brass bar blocked the view and the only way to avoid it was to stand up then we would be blocking the view of people behind us.

I heard theaters advertise of no bad seats in the house. Well, this one must have been designed by somebody else.

After the show we dropped by the lounge we dropped by a day or two before. A Latino group was playing Salsa music. It was very good I thought. The same aged ballroom dancers we watched before were out dancing. This time the man had on denim. When in Rome? The lady danced as expertly as before. The guy is good too… the difference I think is the lady is expressive in her face, smiling and showing emotion. He on the other hand, rarely smiled, then it was a token half-smile, but probably technically his dance movements were good.

That got me thinking what if the Drifter character Clint Eastwood portrays in the spaghetti westerns danced to the Salsa. He would rarely change expressions, then only to grit his teeth, and was very stiff while he danced.

Also there were three other couples dancing. One couple I think the guy was almost two feet taller than his partner, another couple blended in, but the last couple stood out in a way, they were both drunk women. One time one of them fell over a chair and table. Should I have clapped?

We went to another lounge where a game of trivia was about to start. We got a card to write on. This is the same bar that the Chinese man had the Name That Tune contest. This time a Chinese woman was running the show.

A waitress served us Cokes and we talked her. She is from Chili. She has a child. She will not be home again to see her family until March. She said they normally pull into the home port in the morning, we get off by noon, and after noon a new bunch of people get on and off they go again. She said that was no problem, she had time to go to Wal-Mart and other shopping before the ship pulled off.

We found out from the mother of the dancer that the boat’s employees are not allowed to eat in the “guest” restaurants or gamble at the casino… which the mother seem to indicate that her daughter was unhappy about that. This waitress from Chili was perfectly happy with the system.

I also wondered legally could she even work while they were in port in the U.S. I think people that work on the ship from other countries could not legally earn any wages unless they were out to sea or at a port, other than the U.S.

Another couple walked up and asked could they join us (we were sitting by two empty seats). Sure. The lady asked could they be on our team for the trivia game. Sure, we again said.

To avoid each question, which I mostly forgot, we won the trivial game which was played by 11 groups. We were tide with another group and the Chinese lady asked one more question and the first one of the two groups to get it would be the winner. We slam-dunked it. All four of us were given a Navy blue baseball hat with the ship’s logo on it.

Then we went back to our cabin to finish packing and then we had to have our baggage’s out in the passage way by midnight, with color-code bands on each luggage. Ours were Brown-1.

I wonder who picks them up and sorts them through the night. Leprechauns?

Day 3 – Wed - Getting Fleeced in the Bahamas

When we woke up and looked out our porthole we saw the city of Nassau. We went up to the top deck to get a better look and from the ship we could see plenty of buildings painted the rainbow fashion near the docks.

At breakfast all but one morning we ate in the dining room instead of the buffet. There you order from a menu – in the buffet you are liable to pick up anything that looks tasty. I think all three or four restaurants the food is probably prepared in mass quantities by the same people, but sitting down and eating is a method of saving us from ourselves. And besides that, the conversation meeting new people is always pleasant and educational.

The restaurant we had our breakfasts is the same breakfast we had our dinners. In the evenings the tables are arranged to hold about 6 people. In the mornings they are lined up to make long tables. In the evening you have the same assigned table and in the morning you sit where you are guided to each morning, which will be different – I think it is based on filling up one table at a time.

This morning after we were seated the couple across from us told us they lived in northern New Jersey in the Pocono’s until they retired and moved to Florida. Their children still live there. She got tired of sitting around doing nothing so went to Disney World and got a job. She had rather live in New Jersey nearer her children and grandchildren. The man would rather live in Florida. They are thinking of buying a second house in New Jersey. My my.

A handsome couple came in after we were seated and sat next to us. The lady asked every couple but us where they were from, making small talk. She didn’t ask us, we were invisible again. From her comments to other people I learned they are from Toronto, Canada, and their daughter works on the ship. Then, the more she talked, I realized they were the parents of one of the dancers that we really enjoyed at the Follies Theater. After listening invisibly some more, sort of like a fly on the wall, I learned that their daughter was the blond. I could not remain invisible, I had to add to this conversation which included her doing all the talking and the retired couple living near Disney World, not saying much.

I told her that I knew which one her daughter was, by what they just said, and I thought she was a great dancer and choreographer. The lady looked at me and suddenly realized I was sitting beside her. She smiled very friendly like and told us more about the hard work her daughter was putting in and getting so little in return. She was the dance captain, which means she got a private cabin. The pay is very little. I added that she must really enjoy her work.
Her mother said she is trying to break into show business in Hollywood but it is very hard if you don’t have a Visa.. I said, “So, get a Visa!”
She said, “Ten thousand dollars?”
Me, “Oh”.
Then I added, didn’t she need a Visa to work on the boat? The mother said no, they do not earn their money when the ship is at port, only in international waters – no country’s land, therefore, no rules (or taxes) to go by.
She told us that one of her daughter’s female dancers broke her foot just a day or so ago, so that is like losing two members of the dance team, to keep thing even, she has to whack a boy off the team too for most dance numbers. Each time anybody is subtracted or added she has to plan out a whole new choreograph plan.
She went on to complain about how miserable the ship treats its workers and the food they are fed. She said the day before they only had snout soup.
“Snout soup?” I questioned. “You mean those snouts that lead up to a hog’s nose?”
The mother nodded and said, “Exactly.”
We wished her daughter luck and I think I stopped just short of telling the mother that I think I could recognized her daughters legs every time they had on wigs or a costume that made it harder to recognize. That is because her daughter’s legs were darker and a little more meatier than the other female cast members. I could also recognize two other female cast members legs without seeing their face – one for almost the same reason – her legs were the whitest pair of female legs on stage and the other one was that her legs were hard muscle looking with pointed knees… her legs reminded me of a Wallace Wood cartoon in MAD.
Anyway, I didn’t think it would no good for the mother to know I was sitting their studying the young female adults’ legs.

We left the ship. The Sovereign of the Seas was docked next to a Carnival ship. I suppose that made it all the merrier.

We had no idea what we were going to do next.

On the way through the little official entry point of the city of Nassau we saw a couple we talked to once from Alabama. They were on their honeymoon too (just like the Albany, Ga., couple). They were waiting on something and we asked what. They said they were waiting for their tour guide. The guy said there the guide is not, the skinny guy with a striped shirt on. He was trying to hawk another two customers – if we wanted to go, go talk to him.
How much is he charging?
$25 each.
That sounds reasonable we thought. So, we started walking his way. Then, out stepped a man who looked like he probably belonged. He offered us a tour. How much?
$20 each. And he named all the highlights of the city we would get to see with him pointing things out.
He got another couple that was from Yorkshire, England, and two more American couples. He had a large long van that we all got into and off we went.

Then I realized that there, just like in most, if not all, of Europe people drove on the left side of the street or road and the steering wheel was on the right side of the car. I wonder if you can turn left on red?

To make a long story short we think the man gave us a very bad tour. He rode by buildings such as the first church built in the 1700s and the Parliament building and just pointed and kept on driving. He spent more time showing the ghetto, the area he grew up, than anything else.

However, he did stop in front of Anna Nicole Smith’s house, which faces a road that winds with the shoreline and let us get out and take pictures.

After that he took the bridge over to Paradise Island and parked in front of the Atlantis complex and told us we could have 30 minutes there. We paid him and told him we were going to stay.

He was glad to see us go…. We were complaining because we felt we were not getting what we paid for.

The ghetto of Nassau is interesting – the people standing around socializing in their yards and the stores of different types.

At one point he pulled up to a shirtless man selling coconuts. He told us coconuts are good for the heart. He would give us a good price. There were no takers.

Another point the guide pulled up to a fence in front of someone’s yard and asked the Yorkshire chap to tear him off some of the vine on the fence, which he did. He said that kind of plant is good for anything, hangovers, upset stomachs, cancer, heart, and you name it. He said it tasted terrible but boiled in water made it less bad tasting. I wonder if he meant he made a tea with it.

Paradise Island is an island for rich very rich people. We were told that Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, and Regis Whatzhisname has houses on the island.

Also, there is a huge luxury hotel complex that costs up to $25k a night to stay in, but your meals are included and you get a chauffeur. The whole hotel complex is surrounded by water and bridges. There were some nice boats parked outside, I think, if you knew how, you could hop in a boat and go out sea.

Inside is a big casino. It reminded me a lot of the casino in the James Bond movie Casino Royal.

Underneath the Atlantis Hotel complex is a series of tunnels called “The Dig” and along with that is a huge aquarium that you can see giant sharks, sting rays, and whatever else swim by the windows.

“The Dig” is supposedly a pretend mock-up of the real Atlantis city, that is suppose to be under the Atlantic Ocean that Plato talked about in his teachings. We paid a very good knowledgeable young lady guide to show us it all and explain all the fish and the Atlantis statues and carvings and markings.

I kept asking was there any source other than Plato that talked of Atlantis. For a while she was vague with her answers but eventually she said she didn’t think so, Atlantis could be a myth. She goes to college in Nassau. Soon, after she graduates she plans to move to London and study law. She is a very bright and graceful kid.

After the tour we decided to walk down to the ocean at the taxi landing and take a water taxi back to Nassau. It was longer than we thought. It was probably very near a mile. We stopped at a place called Anthony’s to eat lunch. Anthony’s had a logo much like Johnny Rockets. I suppose the waitress probably gave us the tourist menu – everything was so expensive. But we ate there anyway, we had to choose from that and a Subway.

The next block were three young adults, two women and one man. We asked them did they know where the landing where the sea taxis are. They were British and Scottish. They said that is where they are going, we could walk with them.

After a couple of blocks we were tires. But they waited on us at each street crossing. I thought that was very generous.

Down at the landing we were greeted by an man blowing a conk shell. He made it sound like Gabriel’s Horn blowing for the Heavens to open. He was trying to sell the shells.

While waiting we got into a conversation with a couple from just north of Tampa. They owned a little barbecue joint that was only opened 3 days a week. They could only seat twelve people but had a big carry-out service. We talked in detail about the different methods of cooking different kinds of meats for different barbecue taste. It was very interesting.
His wife said he lost something $450 in the ship’s casino the day before. Something he didn’t look real proud of. To me, he looked like Robert DiNero. He was also very unpretentious.

The water taxi was $3 each. They filled the boat with many more than the maximum amount, I’m sure. On the way over, a slim guy got up with the speaking cadence of a Marine sergeant… he spoke in loud simple short sentences. He pointed out things and gave us a tour as we went over. When we arrived he told us he did not get paid by the taxi service, he worked for tips, so if we thought he was worth a tip, by all means… I gave him three bucks.

As we pulled up to the dock he told us the men over in the next boat was taking the conk out of the conk shells. He said the conk was the Bahaman’s Viagra. The men in the boat didn’t hear him tell us that and one of them hollowed over and said for him to tell us what it is mostly used for.

Where we got out of the taxi was a huge tent which was Nassau’s Straw Market. We went in. There were rows after rows of booths of women selling nick-knacks, straw hats, made-in-Taiwan junk, tee-shirts, and everything else. Each booth literally begged for you to pick them to buy from. They almost cried tears to get your dollars. They made quick offers, of things like two-tee shirts and one photo album book for only $15 and when you start to walk away they would say, “Okay, $12 then pretty lady!”

It was so sad they had to beg like that…. And no matter who you dealt with many more would get left out. We quickly got the hell out of there with the women begging us.

Next we went to the Pirate museum and they had a few displays that you walked around like you were in a carnival fun house and little scenes would light up when you approached and the place was lined with true and false answers… you read the fact and lift the tab to see if it was true or false.

I think there is another pirate museum further from town that Blackbeard (Edward Teach) hung out at briefly.

Next we went to a street that was lined mostly with jewelry stores. Anna is interested in certain things of that nature and I know to keep my mouth shut, I have no idea what they are talking about. She couldn’t find what she was looking for.

While she was in one jewelry store I was standing out front and was tempted to go next door to a cigar store. I saw a sign advertising Cuban Cigars. I don’t care for the cigars, but I think it would be neat to have a Cuban cigar box… maybe I could get one if I asked. I didn’t have the gumption to ask.

At another group of venders Anna bought an angel shape Christmas adornment carved from a conk shell. We walked back to the ship.

We made our way to the lounge chairs on the top deck and was sitting down to read and somebody walked by with an ice cream cone. We wanted one. I walked into the Windjammer Restaurant and asked the greeter where the soft ice cream machine was. She told me up the stairs and pointed. I walked up the stairs and there are two restaurants, the kind you have to pay extra for – one was Johnny Rockets and the other one was a franchised Italian restaurant that I forgot the name of. A server came by in a white paper cap and I asked him about the ice cream. He did not speak or understand English well. Finally I said “ice cream cone” over and over and pantomimed eating a small ice cream from an invisible cone I thought he got the message. He nodded and motioned for me to follow him. I followed him into a little store room and he gave me a big box of ice cream cones. I think he thought I was telling him that the cones have ran out.

By that I reasoned that the soft ice cream machine must be out the door to the balcony deck. So, I carried the cones outside and sure enough there was the machine. They had plenty of cones though. Well, they had more now. I made us up an ice cream in a cone and carried it down.

After dinner we went to the ship’s karaoke lounge.. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching a bunch of drunks trying to sing. That was a joke. There was one girl that really put her heart and body language in it. If I was handing out awards for the best performer she would have came in 2nd.

I would give first prize to this guy that we have seen here and there on the ship with his male companion. He is a tall blond curly hair man with some age on him. I noticed his companion always wore a nondescript baseball cap pulled down. Brokeback Ship?

This guy got up and said this song he was about to sing was to all the guys in the audience that were fans of superheroes.

As he started singing he turned around and unbutton his shirt, spun around, and he had on a Superman tee-shirt. He sung a long song that mentioned all the superheroes – I can’t remember the words, but I think they all were mentioned, like Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Mighty Mouse,…. Or all men superheroes anyway. He was good and he had a good wit and mind.

Lights out!

Thursday next..

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day 2 – Tuesday - on the High Seas

This is good time as any to mention our cabin. About the only thing to say about it is that was small. We had a wall to wall bed with only 6 inches on side. When we first stepped in it we saw no way we would be able to place our luggage and our play things like books, cameras, etc. But, Anna, being the efficient one, found a place for every thing. There was not a single unused space, but it was home.

Our cabin was on the 3rd deck with a porthole. The porthole was mostly covered with salt spray – I think – or it could be fish snot or something.

The bathroom (pardon me, I mean “head”) was a small bathroom, that with no counter space. But, that is about it.

Our cabin we had reminds me of a scene in The Marx Brothers’ “A Night At The Opera”. Grocho gets a cabin on a luxury liner and his brothers are stowaways in his cabin, which his cabin was small too. Then he ordered room service and the waiter brings food and comes in and is setting up the food tray and two women and a man drop by for a social chat, then the ship’s engineer comes in to check the pipes on the bulkhead, then, another friend comes by, then a lady comes in to mop, and by now they are all packed in like sardines and a few more people come in for one reason or another, and one thing so funny is that they are all (except Harpo) carrying on small talk and not mentioning how crowded it is.

Then someone else shows up, it shows he or she on the outside of the cabin opening the door and suddenly a sea of live wiggling people come piling out of the room on top of him…. Much classier than The 3 Stooges.

Anyway, this morning, the ship had stopped for the day at their own island. Well, actually it is owned by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Company the name of the island is CoacoaCay. I suppose it falls under the Bahamas law. If you should kill someone there, the nicely sharp uniform officers with the pith helmets of HMBS will be the ones that throw you in the clink.

We got aboard a boat to go over to the island about 9:30. When you are transported from the ship to land via a personnel transport boat you are being “tendered”. Make a note, someday you might be able to use that word in the right way and impress somebody.

As you hop off the tender boat (?) a score of photographers are there to meet you. And throughout your island visit photographers pop up and snap your picture. The prints will be available to you soon – for a price, of course.

CoaCoaCay is about the size of three or four regular size blocks in a typical subdivision. One area is beach fun. Out in the water a ways is where people snorkel. Out further in the water are people parasailing. Females are all over the island in their tiny bikinis. The population of this island is made up of jocks and cheerleaders, which changes daily.

There is another little section of venders in little huts, selling Caribbean looking things made in China..

And there is a big barbecue going, or at least every time a Royal Caribbean ship’s guests has tendered over. All eats are free, we paid for it in our grand price.

I had ribs, a burnt hamburger, and potato salad.

Everybody had to be back on the ship by 4:30 because the ship was to leave at 4:45. Being the early-a-holics we are, we were back on board by 3:00.

We went back up to the top deck and walked around. The topmost structure is bar which overlooks the swimming pool. We went inside and sat and watched the two or three people in the pool and sunbathing. We were the only ones there. It was kind of nice.

It was formal night. We had to dress up to eat in the dining room. You can choose not to dress up and eat at the buffet – but we decided to go with the flow. We dressed up – or as I usually put it, “putting on the dog”.

When we walked to the dining room the many photographers were there taking pictures. While you were dressed up you could have your picture taken any way you wanted, even glamour photos with you teasingly holding your chin in your hands with a coy look in your eye… there were rolled back drops of the sea, palm trees, rugged sea, peaceful sea, you name it, every place with a photographer trying to coach you into being his next subject.

This Asia trio seemed to be every place we went. The formal night they played Classical. In one of the lounges you should have heard them do their version of Charlie Daniel's Musical Duel with the Devil.

We went to the theater to hear the captain welcome us aboard. As soon as walked into the outside lobby of the Follies Theater there was the captain in his formal uniform with a photographer and a person to ask your name. then the man who asked your name formerly announces you and your spouse to the captain. Then the photographer steps in to take a picture that you think you will cherish a life time… you can show the picture and tell people you and the captain are old sea buddies and you were just giving him a few suggestions. It might bring back old memories of sitting on Santa Clause’s lap and having your picture taken.

We told the guy that got our name we didn’t want to be photographed. When he introduced us he bent over and quietly told the captain “no picture” – with a frozen smile the captain shook our hands and said, “That is fine.”… and we moved off the assembly line to make room for another guest.

They need a full-size cardboard cutout of the Captain with his hand out to shake… and have him at different places throughout the ship. At that very moment the lounge at the top most room on the ship that Anna and I visited earlier was “cigar night” – you could go there and, for a price, I’m sure, puff on the best cigars the world has to offer – probably Cuban cigars too. And a cardboard cutout of the Captain would go nicely – a picture of you puffing on a cigar with your arms around the captain’s cardboard neck, telling him how to run the ship. Or maybe have a cardboard cutout of the captain with a humble studious look as you hold your stogie with clinched teeth and poke him in his chest with your forefinger as you suggest how things could improve. It would do everybody some good, you would get to vent, or get it off your chest, and of course, the ship would have another picture to sell.

Speaking of the cigar night in the high up bar, I wonder if one could smoke MJ there? After all you are in International waters – maybe that is where William Buckley, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush smoke their pot – but even there of course they didn’t inhale.

Seriously, they could have an opium den on the high seas. It would be another money getter opportunity.

When everybody was seated the captain was introduced and he talked. He was a good speaker and has a good wit about him.

Afterwards the ships dancers, about 8 young people in their early 20s put on a great high energy show of dancing and singing.

After that we went to the Schooner Lounge where a Chinese man with a thick Chinese accent was playing “Name That Tune” with a small group. We enjoyed listening to his control of the game.

Then to another lounge, which we discovered on the first day when we met there to be shown what to do in case of an emergency… it is a nice dark quiet lounge. Only one couple danced out on the floor. They were fantastic ballroom dancers, and when a light would hit them just right in the low lit room I saw they was old enough to be my grandparents… well, maybe not that old, but they were not young chickens either, as their very good dancing indicated. Good for them.

At midnight there was a chocolate buffet in one of the dining rooms. Four lines were backed up almost the lenght of the ship. Overall, it was not worth it. It was one of those let-downs one comes across in life - the expectation is much better than the real thing.