Monthly Archives: June 2011

New Songs From Playing For Change

Playing For Change (Peace Through Music) that puts together the most wonderful music videos combining musicians from all over the world has release a new CD and it’s as great as their first.

There are many familiar faces on the new videos like Grandpa Elliot, Washboard Chaz,  and Roger Ridley, but a lot of new faces and locations. Sadly, Roger Ridley who starts of this song and the one that captured the world, “Stand By Me,” died November 16, 2005.

It is my firm belief that with such songs as “Redemption Song” and “One Love” that Bob Marley was truly a Holy Man and prophet.


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Addendum To Yesterday’s Post

Again one wonders if, in a Spanish-speaking county, people know what the English phrases on their tee shirts mean…

I saw a lady at a bus stop today with a tee shirt that said…


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Tee Shirt Wisdom–Food For Thought

It’s strange where we pick up nuggets of wisdom and food for thought. Some people find them in Holy Scriptures like Ecclesiastes, and there’s some good stuff there. Sometimes we find those nuggets in secular books we read. I’ve found good mental nudges on bumper stickers, too, though the only thing that pops into my mind at the moment is “My kid can beat up your honor roll student!”

Today as I was riding down the hill to do some grocery shopping in David the young kid who is sort of the bus “conductor” was wearing a tee shirt with a phrase written in English. I wonder if he knew what it said or if he’d had someone interpret it for him. I’ve often wondered whether people in my travels know what it says on the clothes they wear. I remember once seeing a Mayan Indian woman in Fronteras, Guatemala, with a tee shirt that said “Sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let him sleep in.” I doubt if she had a clue.

Anyway, what this young man’s tee shirt said I liked so much that I dug out my shopping list and wrote the phrase on the back of the list. It read…

The Most Important Things In Life Aren’t Things



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Allowing Gays To Marry Would Destroy The Sanctity Of The Union And Destroy The Moral Fabric Of Society

From today’s Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper…

Lighthouse Point woman accused of domestic violence hours into marriage


Newlyweds from Lighthouse Point spent their first morning as husband and wife telling the story of their honeymoon night — to police.

Bernadette Besario Catan-Keeler, 30, was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery Sunday morning. Police said she attacked her husband and bit him.

The couple told authorities they got married Saturday.

Judge John “Jay” Hurley set her bond at $4,500, and ordered Catan-Keeler to stay away from alcohol and her husband.

“For newlyweds, this is not starting things off on the right foot, for sure,” he said.



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Links I’ve Neglected Too Long…

A while back I got hit with a particularly nasty virus and had to take my computer back to its original state. That is so that it was back to the way it was the day I bought it. Fortunately I regularly back up projects I’m working on and such things as my photos, etc., so I didn’t lose any of the really important stuff. However, I did lose all my bookmarked links. That had the small blessing of eliminating literally hundreds of links I rarely visited. But today I decided to check out some of the links I have here over on the right-hand side of the page to see what they’ve been up to…started with:

If you love all kinds of boats and the sea you really need to bookmark this blog! It also led me to this site that you absolutely have to visit.

The name of the blog says it all.

There’s a bunch of us “old salts” hanging around out in cyber space.

More posts about small boats.

Lots of maintenance tips and tool links.

If you’ve been out of sight of land a little too long you’ll love the photos from the Mermaid Parade.

Learn about small craft outside the western tradition.

But there are others I check out all the time like:

Linda’s very literary blog.

My friend Omar in Panama City. If I spend the rest of my life working to learn Spanish I’ll never get as good as he does with the English language.

Don Ray keeps me up to date on what’s happening in the area where I live.

There, now you can fritter away the rest of your day like I did.


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Alvin Straight Goes To Sea (Maybe?)

Did any of you see the wonderful movie “The Straight Story” starring Richard Farnsworth? Directed by director David Lynch who did such oddball productions as “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks” presented the touching and straight-forward account of how Alvin Straight who, hearing about his estranged brother suffering a stroke decides to visit him and make amends. But Alvin’s legs and eyes are too impaired for him to receive a driving license, he hitches a trailer to his recently purchased thirty year-old John Deere Lawn tractor and sets off on the 240-mile journey from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.

Well, John Hinton, of Washington state decided to take HIS lawnmower to sea.<br /><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Inventor creates unique amphibious vehicle</a> <i>por <a href=”; target=”_blank”>itnquirky</a></i>


Filed under boats, homemade boats, Uncategorized

Wondering About Wheat

We all wonder about silly stuff. At least I think people do. For example, the comedian Steven Wright wonders what it would be like to skate on the OTHER side of the ice.

In October 2009 I wrote a post called “Who In Hell Figured Out Coffee.” One of those things I wondered about every now and then.

Yesterday at the supermarket I made an impulse buy of a 1 lb. package of pancake mix which set me off to wondering, once again as I have over the years about wheat.

Thanks to the serendipity of the internet I got answers to some of those things I’d wondered about.

For instance, more foods are made with wheat than any other cereal grain. Like pancake mix when you take out the other things in the one pound box like, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, sugar, sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, dextrose, nonfat dry milk, partially hydroginateed soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium carbonate,  defatted soy flour, sorn syrup solids, soy lecithin, sodium casseinate, mono and diglycerides, soybean oil and lactic acid. ( I may rethink the whole idea of pancakes for breakfast after writing this out.)

One of the things I wondered about the most was how much space did it take to produce that pound of flour?

In the United States, one acre of wheat (depending on wheat class and where grown) yields an average 42 bushels of wheat.

One bushel of wheat contains approximately one million individual kernels.

One bushel of wheat weighs approximately 60 pounds.

One bushel of wheat yields approximately 42 pounds of white flour.

One bushel of wheat yields approximately 60 pounds of whole-wheat flour.

A bushel of wheat yields 42 commercial loaves of white bread (one-and-a-half pound loaves).

A bushel of wheat makes about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.

One bushel (Weird word, bushel. Say it over real fast a half a dozen times in your head.) takes up 1/42 of an acre. There are 43,560 square feet in an acre, so 1/42 of that is 1,037.14 square feet.  The size of the average American home today is 2,700 square feet which is up from 1,400 square feet in 1970. To get one loaf of this

you need an area roughly 5’X5′ and that loaf of whole wheat bread grows on less than half that space.

So now I’ll just have to find something else to wonder about.

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Four Piano Boogie Woogie Duel

It used to be very rare to see more than one piano player performing at a time simply because there would only be one piano available. With the advent of the electronic keyboard it’s possible for several pianists to get together and play.

Way back in the mists of time for this blog I posted a video of Professor Longhair, Tuts Washington and Allen Toussaint playing together for a PBS special.

Today I stumbled on this video with FOUR great piano-pounders on one stage, Ann Rabson (from Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women), Dona Oxford, Arthur Migliazza and Daryl Davis. I know that Ann is the woman sitting at her keyboard. I’ve seen her perform before and talked to her between sets. So, by elimination the other woman has to be Dona Oxford. I’ve never seen or heard of the two guys before but other YouTube videos show that Arthur is the guy sitting at his keyboard.

The dancers are also great.



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As many of you know, I wrote a book about Christopher Columbus’s failed fourth voyage. Naturally I want people to buy it so I thought I’d put this little teaser here. The first chapter of the book.

It’s available at for you Kindle people. The price is only $2.99.


The Old Man

I don’t remember how the old man, Juan, came to live with my mother and me. It seemed he had always been there. He was no blood relation of ours. Not that I knew of, anyway. He was simply there.

As a young child he scared me. It wasn’t anything he did. It was just him. Short of stature, tiny almost, his sun-weathered skin was wrinkled like a piece of dried up discarded fruit. He was forever hunched over. Even standing and leaning on the old piece of tree limb he carried with him everywhere he was never straight. His back was always bent as if he’d just spotted something on the ground and had stopped for a second to get a better look at it. When he’d been drinking he wasn’t just bent forward, he leaned to one side or the other, too.  You could tell, looking at his arms, that he had once been very strong. The muscles still rippled under the faded designs permanently inked into his skin.

He never combed or brushed his hair.  It was blindingly white and what little there was of it grew in isolated spots on his head. It was as light and fine as dandelion fuzz and the slightest suggestion of a breeze would cause it to flutter nervously.

His eyes were the darkest blue; like the color of the sea where the straight line of the horizon meets the lighter blue of the sky and it often seemed that he was staring intently at that distant line where whatever a seaman is looking for will first appear. And his large, hawk-like nose cleaved the sea of his face like a shark’s fin slicing through the calm waters inside a reef.

He scared me, old Juan did, but that was when I was young. As I got older and he slowly revealed his story to me I grew to love the man and marveled at the adventure of his life.

Juan would spend his afternoons at one or another of the taverns on the waterfront in the port of Cadiz below our house. I don’t know where he got the money to buy his wine but the old sailors, merchants and dock hands who worked along the waterfront always paid him some deference and bought him a cup every now and then. I had also seen him, once or twice, pouring the leftovers from someone else’s cup into his own when they left their tables to answer a call of nature. If he moved from one bar to another during an afternoon he was usually able to cage enough so he would be staggering as he climbed the small hill to our house in the evening.

It was a rainy, early spring evening when my mother insisted I go down to the docks and fetch Juan back to the house for dinner. He and I stood in the doorway of the tavern looking out at the rain-soaked street and the caravels anchored in the river dreading the idea of having to leave the cozy warmth of the bar to journey into the cold night air when Juan mumbled, “It was just like this on the night I first met them.”

“Met who?” I asked.

“My friend Ferdinand and his father, the Admiral.”

We stepped out into the rain, our chins tucked deep into our soggy cloaks in a vain attempt at keeping out the cold, and trudged back to the house. Juan didn’t utter another word the rest of the evening.

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