Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Local Woman Hit By Lightning While Praying

We didn't get a drop of this much needed rain but a few miles over in Daphne,
Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for her family's safe return from the beach as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through her part of Baldwin County, Alabama.

But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

She said 'Amen' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire. The 65-year-old Brown said she is blessed to be alive.

Firefighters said its likely she was hit by a bolt of lightning that apparently struck outside and traveled into the house yesterday afternoon. She was found lying on the floor by her 14-year-old granddaughter.

Fire officials think the lightning likely struck across the street from the couple's home and traveled into the house through a water line. The lightning continued into the couple's backyard and ripped open a small trench.

A family member said he will no longer assume it is safe to be indoors during a lightning strike.

Dime-sized hail and wind gusts of up to 45 miles-per-hour moved across coastal Baldwin County. As much as three inches of rain fell in some areas in three hours.
News Story Here

And speaking of drought, I have figured out that grey grass means that with just a little rain eventually, the grass CAN turn green again, but brown grass means....its over....centipede anyway, what is over on the Hardwood Drive 'so called' lawn.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Foundation Engineer just left

Anil Babve, P.E. just left. He is such a nice guy. I first met him several years ago. He is a Civil-Structural-Ocean-Architectural Engineer and he is gonna work on the foundation drawings for the addition and also for a DAC-ART bulkhead and sidewalk along the wateredge.

Anil had several ideas that will save me money that I need to now relay to Ted. He has worked on several DAC-ART projects, including the tall 3 story Mary-Jerry Italian home down on Mobile St off Ft Morgan Rd now underway.
He thinks I should proceeded with the replacement bulkhead at the same time as the home addition. So I am moving in the forwrd direction on this project.......

Hunter & Stewart Givin it Up

My nephew and his buddy ran into several glitches today in their plans of working down here this summer. They have decided to give it up and return to the familiarity of Greenwood. But first, bless their pea-pickin hearts , they want to stay a day or two and help me unpack and organize some of the boxes that I brought from Memphis and some of the stuff in the Hardwood house garage. So we will work on that tomorrow--they will play miniture golf tonight and I will treat them to a big lunch tomorrow.

Peddle Boat

Thanks to OH-SO-HELPFUL and energetic bro Stephen, we , or rather, he drilled out the rivets and investigated the problems w/ my hurricane-ill peddle boat. Seems the problem is really with the rudder assembly, not the rudder control system as we previously thought. We think there might be an "O" ring that has shredded in the rudder stack that is just causing friction. I plan to call the manufacturer and ask questions. The co that made mine was sold off to a small outfit that is very nice about chatting with you about specific components and maintanence issues.
So my lime green boat is no longer an eyesore, sitting on the road side of my house, out of harms way (read--storm's way). One problem is that I no longer have a boat ramp due to IVAN and Katrina. Two have been destroyed, so I'll have to build another, from purchased wood this time, as all usable wood has been scavaged already. Just getting heavy , long boards out here from HD or Lowes is difficult.
For now, I will have to keep it up on the grass, move it around so the grass is not killed under it, and have two people around to get it in and out of the water if any kind of a storm is coming, otherwise it will slam against the little seawall and get beat-up.

And thanks to Hunter and Stewart (my two new slaves ;o), my petunia bloomin' window boxes are in place for the summer. I always wait until it is mostly A/C time to put them up. I have plenty of other windows to open , but those three facing north provide nice breeze and can't be opened with the windowboxes on the deep sills.

So Much Happen'

My neat-o blow-up pool is full of water and ready for me to loll around in now, my VW Thing is back at Gary's Garage so that Gary can determine exactly what is needed to make it a car that RUNS ! I heard last night that my nephew, Hunter has gotten a summer job down here and starts today at 2 p.m.---more on that when I find out myself--he and his bud, Stewart are living in the twin bedroom at the Hardwood Dr house for the summer if they both find work.
Can't believe that these two 16 yr olds have been left in my semi-care and I have not even spoken to either of their moms ! Must be my exemplatory reputation ! News Flash---they have both been hired at Surf Style, one at G.S. location, one at O.B. location but the owners are going to let them work the same hours the days they work so Hunter can drop off Stewart and pick him up. $7 per hour, they start today. They can wear shorts and will need to wear a Surf Style shirt.

Still no rain down here, bright and sunny, but it is meaning that I am doing a lot of watering to make sure my bamboo is going to continue to thrive. I'm thankful to have my well.

Great dinner at Becky and Warren Gottsegen's last night down on West Beach. They are building a new home in Baton Rouge, very modern on two huge lots, and I got to see the plans.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Link Worth Calculator

What is a text link on your website worth?
Who has the time to do an exhaustive analysis ?
The guys at 'Text Link Ads' have put together an automated caculator that uses a number of factors like the Alexa data, IBL's Google PR, etc position on the page .... and I find that my sites have pretty valuable real estate. Not that it is totally accurate or reliable but it is sort of an indicator, or starting point for discussion with a potential advertiser.

If you have a website that was previously a brochure website, and your local business has fallen off for any reason, why not utilize your website real estate as well as possible by selling some links to complementary non-competetive sites ?

Gettin' High

My photos of the American Idol finals of Taylor Hicks 'fan-a-rama' at Lulu's on Thurs night drew an all time high number of visitors, most of them from a link from the comments at the popular J-Walk Blog.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lively Celtic Music In Gulf Shores

The City of Gulf Shores had a free concert outdoors Thurs nite. The band was Mithril , a regional , 4 piece instrumental group who have made 3 CD's. Most of the members played multiple instruments and the music included jigs, reels, etc...nice show. I sat on the grass.

Holiday Laptop Bargains

Remember that the best buys on auction computer , camera, etc, equipment on B2B auction sites, like Ubid, are often on national holidays and national disaster days.
I have always been a great sleep-thru-the-nite person, but ever since the the so so sad news I got last weekend, I often wake up around 3 or 4 with thoughts whirlling thru my brain.

In the middle of the night, remembering that it is a national holiday, I got online and went to Ubid and grabbed a long needed Sony Vaio Ultra Lite Travel laptop that weighs only 3.1 lbs. The battery technology is so improved that you can even get up to 9 hours on a charge. After lugging my old 8 lb laptop to Boston recently, I decided that I was going to get a modern travel type ultra mini for the next trip--and I just feel an overseas trip in my future.

Memorial Day Weekend

Nice to have Mississippi Visitors. Bro Stephen, his wife Deanna, her family friend Bridgette from Austria originally , now a resident of Granada, Stepehen's son Hunter and his buddy Spencer are all staying at Hardwood Drive.

Everyone who knows Stephen , knows what a ball of energy he is. My grass is cut, bare pine limbs are burned, as is all the packing material from the bookcases I bought from Bombay Co last week that BFI refused to take away.

Hunter brought down a case of bottled muscadine juice from Miss State. He and Spencer are checking the newspaper classified ads for summer jobs in hope that they can stay down here and work for the summer.

We are having fabo weather, warm sunny and breezy. Eatin' fish and crawfish.

Just Saw Pop-UP

Hate to say it, but upon opening Blogger this morning, I saw an-upper-left-hand pop-up ad for something. Is Google doing the unthinkable?
Maybe not, perhaps I picked up some adware.

Give Me a Simple Phone

Wired Article Confirms it--I'm not the only one, well,.... me and Commenter

Friday, May 26, 2006

Taylor Hicks Wins AMERICAN IDOL !!

Live from Lulu's Homeport in Gulf Shores, AL....Taylor, a local favorite, drew huge crowds to watch the final episode of American Idol on Wed. Night. People were streaming in , in droves when I got there.

Cars were parked EVERYWHERE...but as far as I know, no towing occured.

Fran Thompson colored his hair grey in honor of Taylor !

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Daphne Zydeco Festival

Stephen, Deanna, and I went up to Daphne near I-10 into Mobile for the Second Annual Zydeco Fest at the very nice Civic Center. The music was great Zydeco bands from S.W. Louisiana or East TX and as last year, Mona "Zydeco Queen" Wilson was on hand to give lessons and dance with the regular folk ! She's in the photo w/ black top and denim shorts.

Everyone I spoke to agreed that the Fest should be moved outside, sure A/C is great, but big fans are nice too and the interior of the very civilized Civic Center is just too 'sterile' . It was a 3 day event but we only went for Sat afternoon. Ran into friends from Memphis, N.O. , etc who asked me to dance, but I was still feeling really bad and my heart just wasn't into it.

I am inspired to get out my Zydeco instructional DVD's and do a little practicing at home, as I saw some really smooth Zydeco moves that I wish I could do. Stephen and Deanna are coming back this weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) , so maybe I can get them interested in learning the basic footwork. They didn't dance at all on Sat. We did all eat some 'rightly seasoned' crawfish tho.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Anyone need a Zydeco partner ? I was dumped !

This is the weekend of the long awaited Daphne Zydeco Fest. My' fruit basket turned over' this afternoon when precious boyfriend, Bill came to town and announced that he had met someone last weekend in MN and as a result "we" were history. (read: I was DUMPED).....This is not easy on me to say the least... ...And I thought last weekend in Memphis was bad !
;o( .....whoa!!!!)

It was totally unexpected. I got up at 5:30 a.m. today, (not my nature) ...To finish all house and web work so I could REALLY enjoy this weekend,,,,then BOOM (think load of coal off a tanker suddenly dumped on top of me), when he arrived at at 4 p.m. Friday while we were sitting out on the porch in the gorgeous breeze and sunshine, drinking Henineken. It was very surrealistic to say the least,.

I wish him well with his new love interest. At least he had the decency to come to me straight away and tell me face to face very forthright.

We had a great 3 months but based on obviously missleading stuff he said to me as recently as last week, I think he needs to read Google's How-to Tip of the Day for yesterday:

Guess I'll go to Daphne Zydeco Fest solo tomorrow.

Tom Hanks' Hair

You may not agree with the musings that go along with the photos on this blog-like site, but since I think my hair has similar characteristics to Tom Hanks, I found it mildly interesting. Of course, thank goodness, I am not losing my hair--(no receeding hairline here)
Tom Hanks Hair thru the Ages

(from Robotwisdom via J-Walk)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Daphne Zydeco Festival

Starts Tomorrow.
Three days, free dance lessons.

Gulf Coast Zydeco Music & Crawfish Festival

Turn your speakers on !

Great dance band line-up. CLICK HERE
Nice website--good photos

Alabama conservation officials consider a legal alligator hunt

MOBILE, Ala. Alabama conservation officials are considering a hunting season for alligators in Mobile and Baldwin counties -- the first such hunt since gators came off the federal endangered species list nearly 20 years ago.
Many of the thousands of alligators in the state are killed illegally, sometimes to eliminate a threat. Others are captured and relocated.

Florida this month has had three deaths attributed to alligator attacks in the span of a week, but such attacks are rare in Alabama.

Under a proposal by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, hunters would be required to attend a training session on August 18th conducted by conservation officials in Spanish Fort.

The department's advisory board votes Saturday at its Gulf Shores meeting on allowing the proposed hunt, set for August 18th-24th.

It would be open to 50 applicants randomly drawn by computer on July 17th. The hunters will be allowed to capture one alligator six feet in length or longer. No use of bait is allowed.

On the Net:

Shall I apply ??--I have my black cardboard shotgun.... Or I could recruit MaryJo or girlfrinds who have waved their personal hand guns in my presence recently.

Cross your fingers (they say )?

In an attempt to access web-based Gmail, I just got this odd error message.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Whole New Thing

Google Coop

Today was Awful

Yesterday was bad but today was horrible. I will be heading back to Gulf Shores tomorrow. It's going to be better. EDIT a week later: Worng--it got WORSE

Friday, May 12, 2006

Memphis Bound

I got a Reese type trailer hitch on my Trooper yesterday and and headed to Mempho today to pick up a U-Haul trailer tomorrow and load up my odds and ends from the Wilderwood Lane house to head back here on Monday. It is Mother's Day (Don't forget--a hint to you all) so I will get to see Momma and Daddy while there.

I am thinking too of those of you who no longer have mothers to celebrate is a tough day for you I'm sure. I know that I am reminded of the funny and sweet things that my boys did for me on Mother's Day and that makes me really miss them. I still have a mental picture (and photo print as well) of a pancake breakfast that Miller brought to me in bed when he was about 12. So cute, he had thought of everything, like ketchup for the pancakes, etc....boy scout style.

Looks like nice weather from the road, traveling north is easier, as the sun is still somewhat in the Southern sky...I just realized, the wise sun prefers the South as so many of us do.

I have never driven pulling a trailer before, so Monday will be interesting, no putting the car in reverse ! I have GOT to remember that. And I better s-l-o-w down too.

How Considerate

TOKYO (Reuters) - How about a little relaxation with your robbery?

A burglar gave a 35-year-old woman a shoulder massage for several hours after breaking into her apartment in central Tokyo and tying her up, police were quoted as saying Friday.

He stole 210,000 yen ($1,900) in cash and her bank cash card, though he later mailed the card to her as she requested after withdrawing 980,000 yen from her account, Kyodo news agency said.

It said Lee Jin-se, 29, a South Korean, admitted the burglary and told police he lingered in the woman's apartment and gave her the massage "to relax her."

Police believe Lee waited there until business hours began for bank cash machines, virtually none of which operate around-the-clock in Japan, Kyodo said.

A police spokesman confirmed the robbery but declined to comment on the reported massage. He said the woman did not appear to have been physically assaulted.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Google has Funny Quotes of the Day

Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
- Howard Aiken

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Giving Tree Hugging New Meaning

See the Photo Gallery

Record Breaking

More than 3700 mothers gathered in Manila to break the world record for simultaneous breastfeeding.

New Orleans JazzFest

This was my first time to go to JazzFest. They have it over two weekends, but not the days in between. I was there for Fri and Sun of the second weekend. Many of my Memphis WEVL friends never miss it, but it just happened that I'd never gone. What's it cost? $40 per person, per day. It is $30 if you buy your ticket in advance and they have some $300 and $500 special priviledge catagories.

The whole thing is on the area around and in the race track. The track grandstand is visible in one of the photos. There are 10 stages, some in huge tents and some smaller ones outdoor. They seem to pay a lot of attention to getting the BIG sound right across the board.

The weather was really perfect, a bit overcast and breezy. That way we saw fewer bad sunburns and even in the 97 % humidity, we were pretty comfortable. Lots of variation in the music presented. Some of the most fun was in the gospel tent. One high School choir made up of about 30 or 40 kids was really rockin'.

Chairs are set up in the tents and lots of people carry in folding chairs for the outside stages. We didn't, so we spent a lot of time standin'...hard for me.

I was happy to run into some old friends in N.O. last weekend. We went to the Rock 'n' Bowl on Thursday night and Sharon & Rick were there. They taught me to dance Zydeco at Idewild Pres. Church in Memphis when Sharon was head librarian at Christian Brothers. Now she is chief librarian at Univ. of N.O., they moved down there a couple years ago and Iposted photos of their post Kartina house on this blog. Also saw Susie and Al from memphis at Rock 'n' Bowl. I had never been there, always heard of it, and always wanted to go. A very unusual place, Bowling and Dancing to live bands all under one roof plus a bar, of course.

At JazzFest on Sunday we saw Jeanne & Dan, old friends from WEVL FM90. They both did radio shows for years. Dan was also pres. of the board when I was on the board. Dan's show was 'New Orleans Under the Influence' and Jeanne did 'It's a Girl Thang" highlighting female recording artists. Also ran into Gulf Shores friends Becky and Warren who have a place in N.O. as well.

One amazing thing to me was the quality of the food at JazzFest. One of my photos shows the bumper to bumper food booths and the long lines on Sunday...fortunately we got our lunch when we first got there and there were basically no lines. Never have I seen mass feedings where the quality was so high. Everyone I chatted with agreed.

Remember Sam & Dave...this (photo 3) was Sam Moore of that duo w/ a big band and three hot chick back-up singers.

We saw a lot of really old guys making BIG music. I saw two men in the audience wearing T-shirts that said "Old Guys Rule"

Monday, May 08, 2006

Amusing Amazon Review

I was reading Philip Greenspun's blog and he had written about shopping for an electric blanket, he ran across this one w/ a entertaining review. And I thought Amazon actually reviewed the reviews before they allowed them to go live. A surprising 90 out of 107 people found the review helpful, the others must be sour-puss types.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Google's quote of the day:
The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.
- Walter Bagehot

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Packing for N.O.

I am headed over to New Orleans for the second weekend of Jazz Fest. Back on Monday.
Looks like great weather for it. I have never been.

Russ Conn, Heather's husband is putting an attic floor down over the garage in the Hardwood Dr. house so when I go to Memphis over Mother's Day weekend to bring back a bunch of my stuff out of the Wilderwood Ln house, I'll have somewhere to put some of it.

I found out yesterday that U-Haul no longer rents the bolt-on trailer hitches, so I am setting up an app't to have a hitch put on my Trooper next week. I need one anyway. I suppose it is a sign of independence and completeness to have one's own trailer hitch here in Alabama. High time I got one.

Well, BROWN IS the NEW BLACK. I had been told that by Joy last week. I went up to the Outlet Center in Foley and sure enuf, stores like Ann Taylor's merchandise proved her right. Now I just hope the other thing she told me is true, that 60 is the new 40.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Phone Crazy

About the time my cell phone battery gives up the ghost I always find that for same price or less than the cost of the battery, I can get a new up-dated phone. This is not always a great idea, I am learning.

I thought it might be neat to have a phone w/ a camera and if I ever travel abroad , I SWEAR, I will take a phone w/ international capabilities (my old one wasn't). So I thought getting a nice shiny free camera flip phone would be the thing. Wrong.

Maybe I will grow to like it, but it is like getting used to an artificial leg at first. Nothing on this LG phone works or is even called by the same names as my old Nokia.

I was told that if I drove up to the 'official' Cingular store they would swap the address book chips for me, but I mistakenly thought that I could weed out old useless numbers by reading the info off the old phone and entering the names and numbers by hand. It is day 3 and I am on the K's and my head hurts.
My advice, no matter how long the drive or how bad the traffic, go to the official store and swap chips.

My old Nokia had a vibrate function and would dance all over the place. This new one, is a very lady like's vibrate mode is barely noticible, even in my shorts pocket. My old phone would light up along both sides when ringing, made it really easy to spot it in a dark purse. New phone, ... it has a tiny light that you can see after you have the phone in your hand.

I sat w/ the instruction book tonight for about 30 min and finally got the ringer turned up loud enuf to hear I think. Mostly, I have spend the last 3 days returning Missed Calls.

I hate to say that I hate my new phone, but I think I do. It can do all sorts of stuff that requires a magnifying glass to acomplish. It probably figures betting odds and such, but I will be lucky to make outgoing phone calls successfully.
The text is so much smaller and the "0"s have a line thru them so you CANNOT tell them from "8"s without going up a strength in reading glasses and w/out them it is hopeless.

If you don't hear from me, you'll know why.

My Entertaining Mail

It is a good thing that I bother to open my mail. Being paperwork challanged as I am, this task is sometimes overlooked and doesn't always happen in a timely maner, but today, I brought it in out of the car this afternoon and opened the envelopes at 8 P.M.

My house (home office) phone bill was $251.36 so of course that caught my eye, esp considering that I have free unlimited long-distance on my ground line since I hve this DSL package. Upon closer inspection , I see that it says :

Current amount: 127.52
Past due amount: 123.84

Total amount $251.36
Due upon receipt --$1.50 plus 1/5 % interest charged on past due balance.

Do not pay this invoice--Your credit card will be automatically charged on the due date above. If your date falls on a weekend or holiday, your acount will be deducted the following working day, bla bla, if you have any questions call bla bla...

Your acount is past due. Full payment of your past due amount should be made immediately to aviod temp interruptionof your service, bla bla bla...

(Italics mine)

This makes NO account is on auto charge and has been for ever.

and in a second envelope, the City of Gulf Shores informs me that on Saturday, my trash container was observed at the garbage collection point for longer than 24 hours. (Pick up is Friday. ) It goes on to say that if I repeat this violation, the container will be returned to BFI (they don't seem to know that BFI changed it's name about a year ago) and it will be held for 14 days and if I don't pay the $25 container return fee, it will be destroyed . Whoa !

My brand new, shiny post-hurricane BFI wheeled cart will be destroyed ? And this 24 hour thing is news to me.....nevermind that we had the first real rain in 50+ days and 30 mile per hour wind that day.... AND that I was very careful to make sure that I did NOT put my BFI container in the part of the easement often used as a bike path (as a biker, I am sensitive to that).
At least I can see my tax dollars in action. On a Sat. no less !
I might call Norman H. Anthony , who signed the letter on behalf of the City of G.S. and tell him that if he runs for mayor, I will vote for him as it is obvious that he is ON THE BALL !

Tuesday Busy

Last night Blogger was malfunctioning. I kept getting error messages so I went the Blogger Blog to see if anyone else was too, and they were, a Google employee said it was a server malfunciton. Things seem ok this a.m.

Fabo weather here--BTW.

My utility bills came yest and low-and-behold, the tab for watering the grass on Hardwood Dr (Granny House) during our long drought was about $250 !!!! AND, I looked around and the houses w/ absentee owners that got zero water, and who's grass had turned cardboard grey, now have green grass 3 or 4 days after our big rain......soooooooooo........while I thought the grass might actually die, and it certainly looked dead all around me, I will refrain from using city water to quench the thirst of the 'lawn' in the future. Here on Little Lagoon, I have a well, so it is just a bit of elecrticity to water grass (or bamboo) in times of need. No big deal.

More later.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Napster Launches New Plan

Five Free Plays of Any Song

Napster has announced a bold new plan for attracting digital music customers from iTunes and file sharing networks. Starting today, anyone can register at for a free account that allows them to stream any song in their catalog (there are about 2 million of them) up to five times.

This amounts to a rather expansive free trial of the service's subscription plan, although the trial tracks cannot be transfered to any MP3 players. However, unlike other free trials, this one does not require you to enter a credit card or install software. Once you create your account and sign in, you can search and browse the whole library, listening to whatever you want (clicking Play next to a song or album launches the Napster player in your browser -- Windows, Mac, and Linux supported). While playing back an album, you have the option to fast forward or rewind at will, just as if you had a full subscription. Upon your sixth listen to any track, you'll be prompted to subscribe.

Readable Scrambled Text

There's an email that's been floating around for a while, where the words are scrambled. As long as you don't think about the words as you're reading them, you can read it just fine. The trick is, the first and last letters stay the same, and only the inner letters get scrambled. Your brain reads individual words, not letters.

Ludny sdnpes hruos and huros on the web to fnid the msot isrtnieteng tishngs to tlel you you rlealy bveiele tihs?
Wnana mkae yuor own slrmebcad txet ?