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New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras Parade in 1837.  The first floats appeared twenty years later.

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    The food has arrived, but no other news to report...  


Tuesday, February 17th, 2015...  The next time that you look in a mirror - stop for a long second or two.  What do you see?  Do you see yourself or do you see an older version of yourself?  I am lucky.  I truly see myself standing there.  They say the mirror doesn't lie so I am happy with what I see.  I may have mentioned this already, but a year or two after my father made the transition - I thought I saw him in the mirror standing behind me.  Naturally, he wasn't there, but I was glad that he was still keeping an eye on me.  What about pictures?  When I look at our old photos, I smile when I see all the folks in my past and present that I have loved and who have loved me.  However, when I look at recent pictures of myself, I would rather look like the image I see in the mirror.  What do you think - does a mirror or photo do a better job representing how you really look?  Moving on....  This cold weather is forcing me to read more so I checked out all my various spots for stories that don't make it to FOXNEWS.  This one is about a seventeen year old lad who, last week, had to have a penis reduction.  It is the first of its kind.  I hope he doesn't regret it later on in life because my friend, PC in Tennessee, who is a few years older than I am said that things on his body started shrinking.  He said that at the age of 75 his penis started shrinking so much that his wife renamed it Turtle.  I am digressing.  Let's get back to the seventeen year old who had to face this drastic surgery.  I am not going to get explicit here, but his penis grew so large that it prevented him from having sex or playing sports.  I wonder which one was more important to him.  The urologist at the University of South Florida, who treated the teenager, said that the request left him speechless.  Again, I am leaving out details about how it looked after the surgery, but I am happy to say the surgeon was quite pleased.  To me, that is not important - I hope the seventeen year old can now play sports.  ALL SPORTS!!!!!  (March 3rd is our next date.)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015...  "Get out of my way, You Old Fart!"  No, I didn't say it; however, I may have thought it last Thursday when I was coming home after picking up the groceries.  Actually, the old man, driving the 1996 Buick in front of me, may have saved me from being involved in an accident.  Yes, this happened on the 210 cutoff heading back to the island.  The speed limit is 45mph, and he was going about 25mph.  Well, maybe it was really 35mph, but it sure seemed slower.  There aren't many passing zones on the cutoff so I just sat back and listened to the songs emanating from my entertainment center.  GMC calls it something else, but right now, I can't think of the correct name.  Finally, we reached the traffic light at 210/50.  Yes, it turned red just as we approached.  The Old Fart was first.  Traffic going to the island at eleven in the morning this time of year is not heavy.  There was a break in traffic so four or five cars could have turned to the island.  However, Slo-Mo was looking every way.  At last - he pulled out.  I was next.  The light was still red for me and no cars were coming so I started to make the turn.  OMG, a car on the opposite side of 50 was pulling out towards the island.  The light was still red for me - turning right and red for him, but he continued to make his left turn and forced me to hit the brakes.  I didn't hit him, but I had a few choice words.  The "Runner of the Red Light" turned into the Food Lion.  I continued toward the island without waving goodbye to him.  Hey, guess who was in front of me the rest of my short ride home.  Yup, the Old Fart.  But he is not the rest of the story.  The damn light where that person was turning left is the real problem.  Okay, bottom line - The next day, Helga and I checked out the light on the north side of 50 - which Helga swore had no turning arrow.  It did!  Helga said it was new.  Great!  There is no sign on the south side of 50, which is the busier side, warning drivers that folks coming out may be running what seems to be a red light.  The state highway department down here does not use NO TURN ON RED.  Thank God, I hate those signs.  However, NC has to come up with something to warn folks that the opposite side may be running a 'red' light.  Give it a shot folks - What would the warning sign on the busy side say?  See you on February 17th.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015...  How are our checkbook, MacDonald's, and the birds at Soundside Park connected?  Well, let's start with our checkbook.  I have taken care of our checkbook since we retired.  About 90% of our transactions are done either via the internet or electronically.  Six months ago, I asked Helga if she would like to learn how to work the system and take over that chore.  She was reluctant, but she accepted the challenge and did quite well except for one thing.  Let's just say three trips to New Jersey and Christmas took its toll on the balance we had in the checkbook.  She always complained that we kept too much in the checking account that pays next to nothing in interest.  She was correct.  I guess we were too busy (lazy) to stop at our favorite bank - Marine Federal Credit Union, which is on our way to Jacksonville - and make a deposit.  When we came back to Topsail after the holidays, I decided to give her a break and catch up on the bills and bring everything up to date.  Well, to my surprise, our excess of funds in our checking account was no longer there.  I said to Helga that we were going to have to replenish our checkbook with a withdrawal from savings.  Helga, being quite frugal, was against that move.  She wanted to take some austere measures to return our checkbook back to normal.  I agreed to it and said the first thing we should do is stop going out for lunch so often.  That statement brought tears to my wife's lovely eyes.  Oops, how do I recover from this?  The MacDonald's sign flashed through my mind.  I said we could go there instead and save money.  Helga started smiling.  She always told me that she did not care where we lunched as long as we went out.  Remember - Helga is semi-retired when it comes to cooking.  So we sat down and planned a meal from MacDonald's.  Here it is - two dollar menu cheeseburgers and one diet coke.  If we were really hungry, we could get three cheeseburgers and split the third one.  The total for the original order would come to $3.38.  Oh, yes, take-out only because if we went inside, we might be tempted to order fries.  Next step would be to take our healthy meal to Soundside Park and enjoy our repast with the wonderful sights on the Intracoastal.  Now, the birds enter the picture.  Did you know that they will fly to your car when they hear the power windows going down or up?  I know my youngest is not going to believe it, but it is true.  Oh, yeah, one bad aspect of this phenomenon - if you don't feed the birds when the windows go down, they will poop all over the car.  Yes, we found a new location to enjoy our well-balanced dinner at the beach.  I will return on February the 3rd.    

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015....  Wow, where did the last month go?  I don't know where IT went, but I went to New Jersey.......of course, my wonderful wife was with me.  WE had a great time!  We were even able to have four or five dinners with ALL the kids without work or sports interfering.  No, no.......not to worry about Helga, she did not have to cook that much.  When it comes to cooking, she is semi-retired.  She did make her well renowned stuffing and coleslaw (or as they say down here - slaw) for our Christmas dinner.  Okay, enough about food....  The weather was great which means we had warmer temperatures and NO SNOW.  I made a resolution a few years ago that I would never shovel snow again, and I have not broken it.  The kids did take us out to dinner at the 3 B's in Lakehurst.  It was A++ in every respect.  Everyone was happy with their Christmas presents as far as I know.  Four of us made it to Atlantic City before Christmas.  Three of us came home with money, and the winners even took me to another new restaurant for dinner.  It is called Element Restaurant and Bar, and it is in Manahawkin.  It, too, gets an A++ rating.  Two or three of us were going to make a return trip to AC, but guess who became ill.  Yup, you got it - ME!!!  It started on the 22nd - three days before Christmas.  Damn, what could be worse?  Not to worry, it was only a sore throat and cough.  Again, Helga to the rescue.  She started with the pills and the syrups and who knows what else.  Oh, she even tried giving me a pill not for people with glaucoma.  Thank God, whatever it was didn't hit me hard.  It did linger for quite a while, but it did not put me down for the count.  I guess those flu shots do help.  Did someone say - HOW'S HELGA?  Helga started feeling the sore throat on our way home on Sunday, December 28th.  She is still not a hundred percent and has been unable to cook all week!  Hmmm, I wonder if that was her plan.  Well, stay tuned...see you back here on January 20th.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014....  I can't believe that there are only 15 more shopping days until Christmas.  I am sure I will get my shopping done.  I have faith in my daughters.  I have faith in my son, too, but he doesn't do any of my shopping for me.  I wonder if he will accept a dangerous and difficult task - like taking me out for target practice.  This will be our third trip to the Garden State in three months.  I guess we really miss all of our kids.  I am almost ready to go.  I had my yearly physical last Thursday.  I also stopped at the dentist because they have to order some medicine for my old bones that are trying to hold on to my teeth.  They have the medicine there, but it is 'less expensive' for me to order through Express Scripts.  I picked up my new sunglasses for the trip because my 'white out' condition is acting up again.  I was a little concerned about that condition until I read that Bono of U2 fame has the same condition which is caused by OUR glaucoma.  I am sure everyone knows Bono .......my favorite U2 song is "The Hands that Built America."  Well, back to getting ready - as I said ALMOST.  My only problem is our house sitter.  Tina is booked to sit someone else's home.  I guess I didn't get to her soon enough.  Now, all is not bad.  She said she is house sitting Mary's house which is right next to ours.  Mary is heading for Ireland for Christmas.  Hmmm, I wonder if she will see Bono while she is there.  Okay, back to Tina, which is not her real name.  I don't want to advertise for her if she doesn't housesit for us.  Tina said that since our homes are so close she can do both.  Great idea....  One night in mine and one night in Mary's and the cost will ..............what?  She wants to charge us both full price.  Where is the Christmas spirit?  I guess it is the season for spending.  Merry Christmas to all.  May the New Year be prosperous and peaceful for all the nations of the World!  I'll be back on the island for the New Year and back rambling on January 6th, 2015.  


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