Friday, November 27, 2020



...Y'all!  The big day for 2020...has come and gone and like almost everything else this year, it was a little different...

ready for the big crowd...

...a little smaller...

...of two guests.

...but still a time to pause and give thanks to God in heaven for His manifold family...

grandson Isaac and #1 son Micah

daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Alex were welcome late additions to our festivities

some of the feast Karen prepared

...and of course, football...

not sure watching the Lions lose again actually qualifies as a blessing

In spite of this year's many challenges, I hope you were still able to gather with ones you love and give thanks.

Did you know cigar aficionados are natural born heros?

That's 74 year old Richard Wilbanks of Florida.  He was walking with his puppy who wandered too close to the water when a baby 'gator decided to snatch "Gunner" for lunch.

As the now viral video shows...


...Wilbanks jumped into the pond, ducked his head underwater to find the thieving gator then proceeded to pry open the gator's jaws, freeing his mostly unharmed puppy.

And he did all of that while smoking his cigar.

I enjoy a good cigar as much as anyone, but that takes it to a whole 'nuther level.

I've heard people downplay his heroism with dumb remarks like "c'mon, it was just a little alligator!"

My question for them is simple: where do baby alligators come from?  You think mama gator...

...wasn't somewhere close by?

It might not have been the smartest thing Mr. W ever did, but it was clearly one of the bravest.

And there's no doubt Gunner appreciated the gesture.

As one cigar lover to another I say "Well played, Richard!"

But speaking of cigar lovers, here's a word to the wise, boys...DO NOT deal with these guys:

They're great at taking your money and I freely admit most of the time your cigars will arrive on time and in good condition.

But woe! woe! woe! to you if your order does not arrive and you fall into their Pit Of Despair, euphemistically referred to on their website as "customer service".

Les bouffons in the CS department have elevated the art of indifference to dizzying heights, and if incompetence was a penny, they'd all be billionaires.

A recent order of mine made its way via the USPS to Philadelphia on November 2nd, which date you may recall was the day before the greatest political theft in United States history occurred.

My only guess as to the fate of my cigars is they were loaded onto a truck full of Trump ballots and so immediately directed to the nearest landfill.

After many fruitless attempts to communicate with the corpses that populate CI's customer non-service department...

...I have finally given up and conclude it would be easier to re-grow my right ring finger...

...than it would be to get a response from these clowns.

Check their rating with the Better Business Bureau...

...then buy your cigars somewhere - anywhere - else.

You've been warned.

No secret Karen and I are mid century modern fans, and every year I put up at least one of my authentic mid-1960's aluminum trees...

...but this year it's mighty tempting to stray a wee bit from "mcm" to just "m"... in "modern".

That's the "Wall Tree" from the Modern Christmas Tree company, and as you can tell it's half a tree you hang on a flat surface like a wall...or a window?

I'm pretty positive this 6' tall objet d'art would look magnificent against one of our floor to ceiling windows along the back patio.

It's clever, elegant and minimalist, but at the moment I haven't quite convinced myself it's worth the hefty price tag.

And in reality by the time I'm done waffling it will most likely be sold out for this year.

That's one way to make a decision.

Managed to cry my way through what used to be one of my favorite movies...

...yep that's Hoosiers, the 1986 hit about tiny Hickory High in Indiana - enrollment 64 - back in 1951 that played its way to an unlikely state championship in March of 1952 against a mega school - enrollment 2800.

It's loosely based on the true story of little Milan high school doing just that in 1954, back when Indiana's state tournament was not divided into classes based on school size.

It's not a tearjerker by any means, but Hoosiers was a big deal to my clan when one of my sons was playing ball for a small school that fought its way to the state championship game in two

...and football...

Too complicated to go into here, and a whole lotta water has gone over that dam since those halcyon days, but memories from back then are still as poignant as ever.

Before we toss you and the leftover turkey out the door, let's take a stroll through the "sights around town" department, shall we?

Thanksgiving Covid style

I won't tell if you won't

remember when snowy winters were actually fun?

one of our sputnik light fixtures for all the mcm fans out there

remember, no politics at Thanksgiving

big media, big government, big tech

best part of Thanksgiving?  leftovers...

sunrise up north at Larry's cottage...lucky stiff

first real snow of the season

It's finally official:  both All Hallows E'en and Thanksgiving are rapidly receding in the rear view mirror and we're now careening recklessly...

...toward Feliz Navidad...

...a mere 4 weeks ahead.

Hold onto your hats ladies and gents, it will be here in an eyeblink.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Late November Sunrise...


...a week before Thanksgiving...and in spite of the current - and constant - political turmoil swirling around us, we have much for which to be thankful.

The Apostle Paul said "having food and raiment, let us be therewith content." (I Timothy 6:8).

Note he didn't even include shelter in his abbreviated list!

Be honest...could you be content if the sum total of your earthly possessions consisted of the clothes you wore and your daily bread?

No home, no car, no cell phone, no big screen TV, no <insert favorite vice here> ?

Well not to God's grace most of us have far more than just food and clothing.

And while I certainly do not take those for granted, above all I'm thankful for loved ones...the people who bring joy and kindness and happiness into my daily life.

Karen and I plan to gather with a few of them this coming Thursday to break bread and share some laughter and love for a few hours.

I hope you do, too.

But speaking of political turmoil, the election drama continues...

ah, the good ol' days...

...and like most folks I really only want a couple of things:

1) count EVERY legal and legitimate vote  -and-

2) count ONLY legal and legitimate votes.

In other words, if there's Fraud, expose it; where there's Truth, reveal it; and let Justice be done, whatever that may mean.

That's it.

By doing so my faith in our electoral process will be restored.

Doesn't sound like too much to ask, but the more I learn, the more cynical I become.

Our journey through all 13 seasons of Heartland has finally come to a sad end...

...and I have to admit I'm truly going to miss our visits to Jack Bartlett's ranch up in Hudson, Canada.

What we raced through in a few weeks took up 13 years of their lives.

The actor on the far right is Chris Potter who plays "Tim" in the series...he was 47 when it began and is 60 now.

"Amy" (Amber Marshall, 3rd from the right) was 19 when Heartland began; she's 32 now.

There's a real sense where folks who watched from the beginning grew along with the cast as they experienced life on the Heartland Ranch.

Makes me think Toby Keith got it right when he sang "I shoulda been a cowboy...shoulda learned to rope and ride..."

And hey, as a native Texan I at least had a shot at it back in the day.

But in the good news department, Amazon Prime just picked up the 6th season of our favorite Danish TV series...

...and most of the cast is back, with the notable exceptions of Fie (Rosalinde Mynster) and Morten (Morten Enevoldsen).

Definitely going to miss them.

But thankfully Herr Weyse (Jens Jacob Tychsen) is still on board...

...and still treating the other guests to his piano playing and singing (in English, no less) of American jazz classics.

The story has jumped ahead a few years to 1939, when Germany was cranking up its war machine...

...and their beloved Denmark is only a year away from being invaded by their aggressive neighbor to the south.

More drama right around the corner, and so far the 1st 2 shows of season 6 have been peppered with ominous historical references (e.g., kristallnacht).

So...our nightly routine of sitting on our backsides while staring at the TV screen for a couple of hours remains intact...for now...

A quick trip through the parting shots department...

Larry's up at his cottage for deer season enjoying the sunrise over the lake

the Holland Kerstmarkt is back

Thanksgiving wreaths adorning our courtyard 

saw Mr. Tiny Frog perched on the remains of an hibiscus the other night...

...along with 2 of his friends on the patio / fence.

new pic of lake michigan for the tv room

As America hangs in the balance, I wrap up this edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe with a heartfelt plea from God's Word:

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on!

Get your paperback books here:

Get your ebooks here: