Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Friday, January 30, 2009

Aunt Fannie's, Ocala, Florida

Well you all know how addicted I am to food and when I find something out of the ordinary, I just have to write about it. Such is the case for Aunt Fannie's. It is located on Route 441 right in the middle of Ocala, Florida. We stopped by for breakfast this morning on our way from Gainesville to Ocala...home of the Santos Mountain Biking Trail (that we drive miles out of our way to ride when we are anywhere in northern Florida). This is an older mom and pop NJ type diner. They give you plenty of good food, endless coffee and many smiles...for very little cost (when compared to any standard fast food joint). Just in case you are blowing through town in the middle of the night, they are open twenty-four hours.

So for breakfast I ordered corned beef hash and eggs, it came with hash-browns and toast for a mere $5.99. Chuck got the bargain of the day. They call it 2-2-2 (two eggs, 2 bacon and 2 pancakes, all this for $ 3.99. It had me dreaming of New Jersey.

Since we are staying the night here in Ocala...well, we went there for dinner too! Oh my gosh!!! There was just too much stuff to pick from. They have a printed menu but the handwritten specials are where you should be really be looking...
They have (on Fridays) all you can eat fish. They call it AUCE. Chuck wanted to know what kind of fish AUCE was and I had to admit that I did not know. the waitress explained it later, AUCE today is Pollock, as much as you want.

Well, as luck would have it, neither of us was up for fish tonight. Chuck had pork chops and I had pot roast. Man oh man!

Everything is fine...

I left without my laptop powercord two weeks ago and am using a loaner laptop. It is great to be able to check email and such but I miss my own pc. Saturday I should be getting reacquainted with my powercord and will be able to blog in my old usual manner then.
So for those of you who may be wondering what happened to me...look for some posts by Sunday of this week. Everythng is just fine!
If I keep doing this it probably won't be long before I move to Mac world...it has a lot of interesting features that my pc doesn't have.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gulf Island National Seashore--Fort Walton Beach Florida

So we drove through the panhandle section of Florida on our way to central Florida and stopped in Fort Walton Beach for two days. This is an area that I have always heard a lot about but have never actually been to. It was nice to see; they call it the Emerald Coast...probably because the sea water takes on a pale green or maybe because i is a little pricey. Well no matter, that's what they call it.

We got out one day for some bike riding; actually it is the first riding we have done this year. Fortunately it was flat. Little did we know the wind was at our backs when we first started, so it was real easy to fall into complacency. We rode for about 8 miles on the road in Gulf Islands National Seashore (it was closed to car traffic since there was still damage to be repaired from Katrina) and turned around to return and then realized that the wind was in our face and adding a little resistance for the second half. No matter, it was all good. Here are some shots I got along the way

Here is a pelican sitting on a post in a marina. He seems quite at ease.

A man fishing on the beautiful beaches here, I didn't see him catch anything except a litle sun.
Here they are plowing the sand. Yes it looks out of place, it should be snow but they don't know what that is down here...
Shells and more shells...I just couldn't help myself
The tracks of those who came before me...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Bay Steamer, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I WAS going to blog about the cruise that I took last week...but tonights' dinner was so exceptional that I had to write about it now. We debarked yesterday mid-morning in Galveston, Texas and headed in the direction of Florida. Today we made it to Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle section of Florida. The beaches here are white and lovely. One can ride for miles and see inter coastal water on one side and ocean on the other with just a few hundred feet of beautiful sand on each side. I know that this is still the off-season, but it is a time that I really like best. I hate the crowds, so I feel like the beach and the roads are pretty much mine to enjoy at my own pace. A perfect end to the cruise we took last week.

Anyway, I searched for an affordable place to stay here for a couple of days and came up with the Emerald Coast Inn and Suites (almost directly across the street from the Old Bay Steamer restaurant). I used Orbitz and got a normally rated room of $98. for $ 55. I love a bargain! So we settled in and then scoped the neighborhood for a place to eat some seafood...that's when we stumbled on the best seafood we have had in years!

Old Bay Steamer is a restaurant that has scrupulously fresh seafood and the preparation was perfect. We had steamed lobster tails, king crab legs, Snow crab and a full pound of tiger shrimp. See the before and after pictures and you will understand what a magnificent dinner is all about.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ever Have a Favorite Picture?

I have two...

Winter = Dry Hands and Brittle Nails

I suppose I should have seen this one coming. I did spend quite a few quality hours outside pulling weeds in coolish temperatures. My hands have been complaining ever since. Every winter my hands go into semi-hibernation and begin to crack, bleed and nails break by just looking at them.

Over the years I have tried just about everything on the market with little or no success in stopping this annual assault on my hands. This year while I was picking up just a few stray items for my upcoming trip(s) I noticed something new and being the sucker that I am for advertising ploys...bought it.

It is (of all things!) Vaseline healthy hand and nail conditioning. That's it no cream, no biotics or botanicals, no salve. I have been using it several times a day for three day. Yes only three days! This stuff is fantastic! I recommend it highly!

Here is what it looks like (it is also relatively inexpensive as well...and you know that warms the cockles of my heart!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Harvest Basket

You know a lot of gardening is imagination. Yep, it starts about this time of year...the garden supply companies send you those glorious catalogues...with pictures of healthy plants, flowers, vegetables and of course, the creme de la creme of garden gadgets. Gadgets in this sense can run anywhere from fancy signposts for each veggie, to whimsical garden statuary and then on to the more functional items. Those would be things that you actually NEED, but presented in such a way as to make it decadent to own it. The harvest basket is such an item...

Use these handy, functional baskets to gather garden vegetables. Galvanized wire mesh design allows you to wash and drain vegetables directly in the baskets. Comfortable wooden carry handles.

Dimensions: 18-1/2" long x 10-1/2" wide x 6-1/4" high

Made in Germany

First, you see it is imported. I actually thought it came from France (I am SURE MINE did!) but other countries make them as well. It is well made, over-priced and a joy to look at and use. While the one pictured here from the Peddler's Wagon is decorated with veggies...I always envisioned mine half full of freshly cut gorgeous flowers or perhaps herbs.

I've owned mine for at least 10 years now. AND I have actually used it for harvesting...not flowers or herbs but veggies. Lots of them, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. MAN, oftentimes the basket was not large enough for my needs. But I digress.

Imagination...dreams starting as little glimmers and then fed slowly and nurtured until they have legs enough to take off on their own. That's what gardening is.

I am back in Fayetteville now after having been away for an extended period. Now is the dead season. The grass is brown, the trees are leafless and flowers, fruits, veggies and most herbs are but a distant memory. The slate is clean and ready for a new dream. Sort of.

I look at my canvas and I actually see some GREEN. Yes, right here in the middle of January...green and lots of it!

Drats! It is a new crop of weeds throughout my lawn that needs tending to. So I grab my basket, my weed removing tool

(This is the best one ever...and likely not to be found in ANY store, it is over 35 years old and still functioning like a champ) and my basket.

Seems a terrible thing to do to my fantasy.


From the National Geographic…

Domestic cats, no matter their breed, are all members of one species. Felis catus has had a very long relationship with humans. Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. Plentiful rodents probably drew wild felines to human communities. The cats' skill in killing them may have first earned the affectionate attention of humans. Early Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess and even mummified their beloved pets for their journey to the next world—accompanied by mummified mice! Cultures around the world later adopted cats as their own companions.Like their wild relatives, domestic cats are natural hunters able to stalk prey and pounce with sharp claws and teeth. They are particularly effective at night, when their light-reflecting eyes allow them to see better than much of their prey. Cats also enjoy acute hearing. All cats are nimble and agile, and their long tails aid their outstanding balance.Cats communicate by marking trees, fence posts, or furniture with their claws or their waste. These scent posts are meant to inform others of a cat's home range. House cats employ a vocal repertoire that extends from a purr to a screech.Domestic cats remain largely carnivorous, and have evolved a simple gut appropriate for raw meat. They also retain the rough tongue that can help them clean every last morsel from an animal bone (and groom themselves). Their diets vary with the whims of humans, however, and can be supplemented by the cat's own hunting successes.

From Cats Trivia

French researchers claim that the domestic cat has a vocal range of as many as sixty notes, from a gentle purr to growls of varying intensity to the howl that sometimes annoys the neighbors.
Cats are the only four-footed animal, with the exception of camels and giraffes, that walk by moving their front and hind legs first on one side and then the other. Only four cats really roar: lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars.

A cat’s teeth, from newborn kitten to the largest lion, are the most awesome weapons in the mammal kingdom. They are very sharp, and finely serrated like a knife. The curved, pointed canines are set in the cat’s jaw so that the molars fit together with their sides intact, like a pair of scissors, rather than tooth to tooth, as is the case with humans and most other mammals.

With powerful leg muscles, especially in their hind legs, the domestic cat has been known to reach running speeds of up to twenty-five miles an hour. A frightened cat can run up to 30 mph -- while the fastest human can only run up to 27.89 mph.
Both female and male cats reach puberty at approximately six months of age. Males will act more territorial, disappear for days and “spray” their scent. Females will lower themselves close to the ground and meow as if in pain when they go into heat.

Domestic cats spend about 70% of their day sleeping and 15% of the day grooming. Non-pedigree cats generally live longer than pedigree cats. Cats were domesticated about 3,000 B.C. in Egypt.

Cats were brought to the Americas by colonists to protect their granaries and as pets. As settlers moved inland, cats accompanied them.

"Polydactyl" means "many toes." Perhaps the most famous polydactyl cats were those raised by Ernest Hemingway, who had over 60 of these big-pawed charmers at his home in Key West, descendants of a 6-toed cat given him by a sea-faring captain.

It is a common belief that cats are color blind. However, studies have shown that cats can distinguish between red and green; red and blue; red and gray; green and blue; green and gray; blue and gray; yellow and blue, and yellow and gray.

The top two rows of a cat's whiskers can move independently of the lower two rows. This allows maximum perception of the cat's immediate surroundings.

The lightness of a feline's tread can be attributed to the fact that they walk on their toes--the soles of their feet rarely touch the ground. The pillow-like balls of their paws allow them to prowl noiselessly in the wild.

Feline Philosophy

To err as human means you’re fumin’
To err as cat means, I meant that

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast

Thousands of years age cats were worshipped as Gods…They have never forgotten it.


Cats are rather delicate creatures and are subject to a good many ailments, but I never saw one that suffered from insomnia. Krutch

Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat. - Mark Twain

Actually, cats do this to protect you from gnomes who come and steal your breath while you sleep. - John Dobbin

The sun rose slowly, like a fiery furball coughed up uneasily onto a sky-blue carpet by a giant unseen cat. - Michael McGarel

"Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well." - Missy Dizick

"One must love a cat on its own terms."- Paul Gray

"Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later." - Mary Bly

I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food which they take for granted--but his or her entertainment value. - Geoffrey Household

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Here is a great article from my local daily newspaper the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

  • Bingo is the name of the dog on the side of the Cracker Jack box
  • A dog's nose print is as unique as a human's fingerprint and can be used for identification
  • Dogs have 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth
  • a dog has around 220m million scent receptors in its nose while a human has only about 5 million
  • Dogs yawn to calm themselves and others. And a dog owner can calm a stressed dog by yawning in an exaggerated manner...the dog will immediately take note
  • Dogs' only sweat glands are between their paw pads
  • Normal dogs can learn new things at any age, up until the time when their mental capacities begin to decline in old age
  • Dogs are omnivores, which means they'll eat plant matter as well as meat. Eating grass is normal dog behavior; a dog may eat grass when it has a stomachache, but sometimes it does so for the sheer pleasure of eating.
  • The Glen of Imaal Terrier is the rarest of the world's domesticated dog breeds, with only 500-600 registered in the US and about 35 in the UK.
  • The world's rarest wild canine is the Ethiopian wolf, which has been threatened with extinction because of large rabies outbreaks in 1993 and 2003. There are an estimated 500 Ethiopian wolves remaining in the isolated highlands of Ethiopia.
  • The Guiness Book of World Records lists a 6 inch long Chihuahua named Heaven Sent Brandy as the world's smallest dog. The timy dog lives in Largo, Fla.
  • Bloodhound Tigger has the world's largest dog ears, with the right one measuring 13 1/4 inches and the left one 13 1/2 inches. Tigger lives in St. Joseph, Ill.
Speaking of dogs...in order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog. Edward Hoagland

Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on. Colette

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. Mark Twain

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. Woodrow Wilson

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. John Steinbeck

Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend, and inside of a dog, its too dark to read. Groucho Marx

Sniglets are words that aren't in the dictionary, but should be

Alponium - a gaseous material identified by the initial blast of odor upon opening a can of dog food.

Furbula - The designated chewing place on a dog's back.

Rovalerts - The system whereby one dog can quickly establish an entire neighborhood network of barking

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The REAL stock Market Terms

CEO --Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO-- Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER -- What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW-- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT -- An archaic word no longer in use.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Visiting with Family

I spent New Years' Day with my aunt Rita, Darline and Rugger...

Here's Rugger trying to sneak up on birdie...but KC is too sharp for any of that!
Darline, she seems to be wondering why I take so many pictures...
Aunt Rita. I took all these shots with my Iphone since I knew she would never sit still for a real picture. She did not know I took this. It was the only one I got. I'm glad it is so natural. She was feeling pretty good at the time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Odd Laws...Chicago

With all the ballyhoo going on here with Blago, I thought I would dig up a few odd laws - unique ONLY to Chicago. Enjoy

All businesses entering into contracts with the city must sift through their records and report any business they had dealing with slaves during the era of slavery.

Law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

It is illegal to give a dog whiskey.

It is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe’s neck.

Kites may not be flown within the city limits.

In the Pullman area, it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb.

It is legal to protest naked in front of city hall as long as you are under seventeen years of age and have legal permits.

Other states and/or cities to follow when you least expect it!