Saturday, 3 June 2017

Observed and overheard in SRQ today

I was at Target Optical this morning to have new lenses fitted to my existing frames.

As I waited I watched a thirty something  couple, complete with a child aged about eighteen months who sat in the shopping cart.

The man was more than six feet tall. He looked like a Marine.  He wore a "wife beater" (yes I hate that term) shirt, with his tats and muscles in plain view.

She was picking out new sunglasses.  She chose three designs and tried them one, one at a time.  Each time she asked her partner "do you like these?":  His responses were "yes I like them" (frame #1); "I really like them" (frame #2), and "I like those too" (frame #3).

I started to laugh out loud..  He was clearly hedging his bets.  His body language said "get me out of here right now!"

Meanwhile the little child was opening and closing a "Target" leaflet as he chattered (OK. - "babbled") away.  Mum and Dad seemed to be oblivious to him.  I wanted to babble away with him.


A bit later I was at my local pharmacy to pick up some prescribed meds.

The woman ahead of me seemed to have a very complicated order, and there was much to-ing and fro-ing between her and the pharmacist.  That being done the pharmacist asked "would you like a bag?".  The customer responded with a curt "yes".

Before I could stop myself I said out loud "yes please".

Without turning to look at me the customer said "oh, yes please".


I can be such a snob!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Cardiac Rehab - ouch!

I began my cardiac rehab. programme today at Sarasota Memorial Hospital's gym facility on Rand Blvd. (off Clark Road) in Sarasota.

My body has aches in places where I didn't know that I had places.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cameron May Trump


From Downing Productions


Developed and Perfected by David Cameron and Theresa May

The Game In Which You Will Always Be The Loser



From The Makers of "The incoherent Twitterverse"

"Take America Back.....  to the 1950's and to hell with the rest of the world"

*Written, Directed and Produced by Donald Trump
*Starring Donald Trump.

* With additional material by Scott Pruitt
* And a cameo appearance by Mike Pence


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

I'll have another one next year!

I love my birthday.  I advertise it widely in advance of the day.


Thursday 25th May  (the night before)  Dinner at Cafe Baci with my besties Allan, Rick P, John C, and Rick R.

Friday 26th May (the day) wonderful table fellowship and a home cooked meal with my dearest Ron and Char, and with Ron's sister Karen and her husband Den.  Just what the Doctor ordered!

Saturday 27th May a "special edition" Ben's Bar at my home with Gordon and John, Bill and Patrick, Rick and John, and another Rick at my home

Tuesday 30th May  Drinks and nibbles at the home of Jack and Donna C, with dear Muriel Q, and with Chris and Clare (Brits who live and work in Germany),

Some lovely and unexpected gifts:  wine, and more wine!, ginger preserves, chocolates, Scottish shortbread, "best" English tea bags, a book about Alexander Hamilton, and a Barnes and Noble Gift Card (ear marked for a book about the Amish).

Scores and scores of greetings via birthday cards, e-mails and Face book messages, together with  'phone calls from family members in the U.K.

I should be so lucky.  I am grateful.   I plan to have another birthday in 2018!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

English Euphemism

My Dermatological Surgeon and I got to be very silly this afternoon.

Dr. Bogart related that last Christmas she was with her family on a beach in Antigua.

An English couple of a certain age walked by.  They had been sitting on the beach.

The wife said to her husband, "I've got sand in my bits and pieces".


Monday, 29 May 2017

More MOHS surgery on Tuesday

I have this so often that I should probably move in with my Dermatological Surgeon  (but I haven't asked her yet)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Town of Lee, MA and Memorial Day

The central Berkshire County town of Lee, MA calls itself "The Gateway to the  Berkshires". That's indisputable as Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike is right there. If you are traveling in I 90 west from Boston or east from New York State and Albany you will get off the Pike in Lee for your travels south to Stockbridge, Great Barrington or Sheffield you will use Exit 2.  If you are going north to Lenox, Pittsfield or Williamstown you will use Exit 2.

The story is that the original design for the Mass Pike has it taking a more northerly route with an exit near the industrial City of Pittsfield.  But a powerful south Berkshire County State Senator prevailed so that the Pike took its present route with the exit in Lee.

It's a mixed blessing. Easy access on and off the Pike is a plus. But Lee also bears a cost. All the traffic from north County has to go through the heart of Lee using the two lanes Main and Housatonic Streets. In "the season" all these streets are clogged with all manner of vehicle: trucks, 'buses, R.Vs and cars with the consequent noise and air pollution.

I was dreaming about Lee the other night (as one does!).  I cannot remember the dream, but as I was emerging from sleep I began to imagine Main St  Lee in 1917.  I saw a parade of newly enlisted doughboys as they prepared to go off to Camp and thence to France to fight in "the war to end all wears" in what was then called "The Great War".

Then I thought of Lee  (and so many other small American towns) two years later, a Lee which had all too many widows, orphans and bereft parents.

The Great War was brutal,  Contemporary accounts speak of young men (cannon fodder) writhing and dying in agony as they cried out for their mothers.

"War is Hell" said Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Only unthinking romantics, filmmakers novelists, corrupt politicians,  and those who have never served in battle would say otherwise.

"War is hell" says the widows, the orphans, and the bereft parents.

Which brings me to Memorial Day.  It is not designed to honour Veterans - they have their own day. It is not designed to honour those who currently serve -  we have Armed Forces Day for that.  It does not mark the beginning of barbecue season in northern States.  It is not (as an NPR reporter said) "the holiday weekend".

It should be a day for solemn marches with muffled drums, for dirges, for mourning.  It should be a day on which we honour the memory of those who died, and share the tears of those whose grief is unquenchable; a day for fasting and requiems.


Note some of what I write is rooted in my visits to French, American, British and German War Graveyards in Europe. I particularly remember three graveyards near the town of Soissons in France - a place for some of the most brutal fighting in World War I. Many of the graves in the French Cemetery were of  Algerian Muslims, fighting for Mother France.

And of my visit to the infamous Viet Cong tunnels in Vietnam into which young G.I's were made to crawl on their bellies in an attempt to root out the enemy, but to their almost certain deaths (the Tunnel Rats), The place made me shudder. War is hell.


World War I Memorial, Franklin St, Lee MA

Memorial Day Cake at Publix. This made my blood boil -   talk about trivialising  a solemn day. I wanted to call Publix Corporate and remind them "this is Memorial Day, not friggin' Valentine's Day".