Monthly Archives: July 2009

Beauty where you find it

I went over to our dock facility on the far side of our campus this afternoon. I was a little early to take some pictures, so I stopped by a series of freshwater ponds that serve as a wild bird sanctuary. I have driven by these ponds dozens of times, but never stopped to take any pictures.  Well, I had my camera with me and I had a few minutes to kill. These pictures aren’t that great, but they do demonstrate just how pretty the area is.Pond 1

A Great Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret

A Great Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret

After I took a few pictures, I finally noticed a “giant” banana spider that had been on his web about three feet in front of me the entire time.

Bannana Spider

Banana Spider

I walked across the road to see what the pond there looked like and saw a flock of maybe a dozen woodstorks on the far edge of the pond, about 70 yards away. Unfortunately, I made too much of a ruckus walking through the woods and high grass trying to get a clear shot of them, that they were startled and took off. Bahsteds! Better luck next time.

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Back to “booniestomping”

I was back out in the field again this morning taking more pictures of the same project that I was working on last week. This is a geology project. What they are trying to do is to “drill” out core samples of the marsh material to determine the depth of the earlier ice-age era marsh surface. Fun, huh?

This is what it looks like. (This was early in the day, so everyone is still fairly clean.)Vibracore 3

It’s called a Vibracore. That vertical pipe is 20 feet long and the device hooked to hit causes it to vibrate and slowly sink down into the marsh, collecting a core sample for later analysis.

I don’t mind going out and taking pictures. I was only out there for a couple of hours. I don’t envy the rest of the science crew who stayed out all day. It was hot, humid and buggy, and the labor was an awfully lot like work. As I indicated in an earlier post, the ground there is also about eight inches of sucking muck. I fell only once. I tried to take a step backward but the marsh muck wouldn’t let go of my foot. No damage. I was wearing a pair of rubberized overall-pants so my clothes actually stayed clean. One of the crew helped me up. (Placing your hands down to push yourself backup doesn’t work well. Your hands just sink to your elbows so you get no push-off. Also, your hands and arms are covered with the lovely, black, stinking muck, which is great when you have an expensive camera to operate. It’s always better if someone can give you a hand.)  I got to return the favor to the same crew member later. Nice to know I’m not the only klutz on he crew.

There was one cool thing I had never encountered before – snapping shrimp. (not my photo)Snapping ShrimpI didn’t see any, but I heard them. When you are quiet you can here them snapping. It’s a very audible popping sound all around you. Pretty neat.

A valuable part of the team

We received a lovely gift in the mail today. The Gator Boosters sent us a miniature model of the Gators’ national championship trophy.Gator trophy The enclosed card said in part:

“…Along with the Gator players and coaches, you played a vital role in this championship and we want you to have your own trophy as a thank you…”

Who ‘da thought? We always thought we did our part but we never realized the importance of our role, or that the coaches and players really acknowledged and appreciated our efforts. I’m touched. We do try. Our efforts include:

  • Mrs. Poolman’s telepathically “channeling” Coach Meyer to get him psyched up for every game.
  • Sometimes driving on-campus before dawn on game-day to get our favorite tailgating spot for an early game.
  • Joining 92,000 of our closest friends to scream our throats sore to drown out the opposing quarterback’s signals.

    92,000 of our closest friends on a Saturday afternoon

    92,000 of our closest friends on a Saturday afternoon

  • For the away games, sitting in front of our TV and intently concentrating on every play of every game, yelling encouragement to the team; and even sending in plays (via Mrs. Poolman’s telepathic link.)
  • Very important – controlling the game atmosphere in our family room during televised games. No extraneous conversation. No distractions. And when things are going our way in a close game, NOBODY MOVES! You don’t want to break the mojo.
  • We decorate the fireplace mantel in our family (TV) room with Gator flags, stuffed alligators and other memorabilia in late August and leave the “shrine” up until Christmas, when Mrs.  Poolman replaces it with Christmas stuff. Of course, it all goes back up in time for the bowl game.
  • At the end of the third quarter of every game, even when we are watching at home, we stand up, join arm-in-arm, and sing “We are the boys of old Florida.” Some of our non-Gator fan friends think this is a little strange, especially when they see it for the first time.

It’s nice to know we’re appreciated. I wonder if we’ll get an invitation to the President’s Box.

Thanks for the mammaries!

Recently, a fellow blogger, “Hey, there Pammy-Girl!” commented that she didn’t appreciate men talking to her breasts before they looked at her face. I understand this completely. I have a wife and an adult daughter, and I wouldn’t appreciate them being objectified that way. However, as a middle aged guy, I am also a bit confused by the mixed messages I get out there in the world.

(Note: I’ve never met Pammy Girl, so I have no idea how she dresses, and none of these comments should be misinterpreted as to pertain to her. She just brought up the subject.)Cleav 3

While women like Pammy Girl have an absolutely valid point and have every reason to take offense, it seems like many, many women out there are taking an exactly opposite approach and are doing everything possible to attract men to look at their chests.

I know this is nothing new. I haven’t been completely asleep all my life. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it seems that over the past couple of years the amount of décolletage that previously had been appropriate only for formal evenings or pick-up bars is showing up everywhere you look. Push-up bras and low scoop necks are common in the office and the grocery store.Cleav Tat (That doesn’t even count tee-shirts with “These are real!” on them or strategically placed tattoos that cry out, “HEY, LOOK HERE!”)

A week or so ago, a college student stopped by my work to pick up some information. She was wearing a loose, scoop neck sweater-thing. When she bent over to put something in her purse, everything from her neck to her navel was there for the world to see.

Mrs. Poolman says, “Well, you shouldn’t be looking!” You don’t have to look. It jumps right out and hits you in the face.

Please understand. I’m not complaining. I’m a big fan of female breasts. I’m just confused.

On a related subject, I was stumped for the proper protocol when a friend of ours had a breast enhancement (aka boob-job). She is roughly our age and has always been rather slender without much up-top. So, I did what I always do when perplexed with questions of social interaction; I asked Mrs. Poolman, “What is the proper breastiquette for this kind of situation?”

Clearly, our friend had the surgery so people would notice her breasts. If she died her hair, lost a noticeable amount of weight or got a tattoo on her forehead, she would expect some comment and would be disappointed if no one took notice. But what about the “tatas?” Should I compliment her on the surgeon’s work? That might be taken as inappropriate, but on the other hand, would she be offended if no one even noticed?

Mrs. Poolman cleared up my confusion quickly.

“If you dare say anything to ### about her boob job, I’ll kill you in your sleep, and I know where you sleep!”

No more confusion.

So long, farewell Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight!

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin officially stepped down from the Alaska governorship to return to private life. If only it were so. 2012 is just around the corner, and you know she’ll be back.

Until we meet again?

Until we meet again?

I have nothing against Sarah Palin’s political ideas. I agree with some of them and disagree with others. For that matter, I agree with most of my friend Craig’s political ideas, and Lord knows, he is outspoken. However, as much as I like Craig, I would never suggest he should be President of the United States, no matter how much I like what he has to say. The same goes for Sarah Palin. My problem with Ms. Palin is simply this; she is totally unqualified to be President of the United States. She doesn’t seem to understand that and neither do legions of her followers. Ms. Palin has spent too much time reading her own press releases and has started to believe them.

The job of President of the United States is probably the most difficult in the entire world with stakes higher than any other. Along with the obvious, and current issues of the economy, Supreme Court, health care, Iran and Korea’s nuclear programs, Israel and all its neighbors, immigration policy, taxation, defense and so on, there is that other gigantic elephant in the room. Nuke ExplosionThe President is one of maybe two people in the entire world who have the power at their fingertip to destroy all civilization on the planet. I’m not trying to be an alarmist. I’m just using that as an example to demonstrate how huge the responsibilities of the job are. This isn’t like hiring someone to manage a fast food restaurant. Agreeable ideas and a cute pair of glasses aren’t enough. The person who undertakes this job should have a strong intellect and a depth of knowledge and experience.

Famous for being famous?

Famous for being famous?

Ms. Palin’s rise to stardom reminds me of “celebrities” like Paris Hilton –famous for being famous. It is an unfortunate symptom we can see so often in today’s society. Celebrity means everything; substance so much less. They look good and they talk well. What else do you need?

When the Republican Party reached down (FAR down) to pull Palin out of the obscurity of the Alaska governor’s office to run for vice president, I thought maybe they had placed the names of every state-wide Republican office holder in the country in a big jar and pulled out a name. Whatever her political ideas, then-Governor Palin had absolutely no qualifications to be President. She was a relatively recently elected first-term governor of one of the smallest (population-wise) states. Prior to that, she was mayor of a town the size of Pooler, Georgia. Her total hands-on experience with any of the pressing national and international issues was then and continues now to be zero. The thought of someone only two years removed from being a small town mayor in position to be the most powerful and responsible person in the world, scared the heck out of me. As the campaign ran on, it became obvious that my initial concerns were correct.

I know many people who might have voted for John McCain, but they couldn’t stomach the idea of Sarah Palin being just one blood clot away from the Oval Office.

The argument could be made that George W. Bush’s only political experience was also as a governor. However, he was a two-term governor of a state large enough to be a country of its own. And besides, would you hold him up as a success story?

Sarah will be back. You can count on that. I can see the press releases now – “the feisty, outspoken hockey mom who is ready to take on the Washington establishment.”

We’re still three years away. Maybe that is enough time for some other Republican to emerge who has both the personality to contend for the office and the ability to do the job if elected.

A lazy summer weekend

It’s been kind of a slow weekend around the Poolman’s house. That’s not entirely a bad thing. We “went a little crazy” with a schedule of activities in June and early July. A slow, lazy weekend to recharge is a good thing. It hasn’t rained enough the past week to mow the lawn, so it will last another few days until a cooler evening.

On Saturday, we got up and did the usual cleaning of house, backyard and pool. Then we had an informal “open pool.” This is like an open house, except it’s an open pool. We frequently have full-blown parties, but an “open pool” is not that. Often during the summer we’ll just tell our friends that we are going to be hanging around the pool on a Saturday (or Sunday) afternoon and if they want to come over and just hang out with us, they are welcome. Open Pool We frequently, as we did yesterday, throw some hamburgers or brats on the grill around dinnertime. Everyone usually brings a side dish and whatever they want to drink and we just have a low-key summer pool-day. Very nice. We had about nine or ten friends, including Writer Princess (daughter) and son in law (SIL.) We started around 230 pm and didn’t break until nearly 11 pm. I guess they all enjoyed themselves.

On Friday, Mrs. Poolman had talked with Poolboy who suggested we all meet at the beach on Sunday. We talked it up with some of the pool-friends yesterday and it looked like we had a beach party in the making. We live around 15 minutes from the beach, so this is an easy trip.

Loungin' at the beach

Loungin' at the beach

It was hot (low 90’s) and windy, but the ocean was just right. It was fairly crowded for Tybee. Beach shotSeveral of our friends were there, but Poolboy and his GF never did show up. Later, around 230 pm, he called to say he was a couple of blocks down the beach and would come by to say hi. Never did see him. Whatever.

I just finished balancing the checkbook and paying some bills. Mrs. Poolman is handling dinner tonight. Tomorrow, it’s back to the salt mine (just kidding.)

It’s a wonderful Friday!

A couple of random thoughts today…

Mrs. Poolman and I went to a meeting at our church last night about an outreach project that should be interesting. It’s called the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. Essentially, the way it works is that churches agree to provide overnight housing and meals for a small number of homeless families for a week at a time. Church members volunteer to provide food and be evening and overnight “hosts.” We are already signed up to be the overnight host couple for a night late in August. We’ve never done anything like this before, so it should be interesting. I’ll keep you updated.

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In this part of the country, college football is a dominating presence. As the summer drags on, die-hard football fans are starting to froth at the mouth awaiting the beginning of the season. It is especially fun being a Gator fan in the heart of Georgia, the home state of what is arguably UF’s biggest rival.

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Some of the annual silliness was back in the news today. A Georgia legislator has come out tying the political and legal “water wars” among Florida, Alabama and Georgia to the annual Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville (aka Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party or WLOCP).

The crowd split 50-50

The crowd split 50-50

He says it should be moved to Atlanta every other year, as leverage against Florida in the fight over water rights. Unrelated to the whole water issue, the fuss over the game-site has become a regular refrain among a minority of Georgia fans for several years. Florida fans think the whole controversy is hysterical and just giggle with delight when Georgia folks suggest it. You see, the WLOCP has been played in Jacksonville for something like 70 years, except for a two-year home and home series played when the new stadium was being built in Jax. It’s a big tradition and, actually, a fairly big money maker for South Georgia businesses.

Florida fans think it the controversy is funny because Georgia fans never suggested such a move in the 1960s, 70s or 80s, when UGA dominated the series. However, since Steve Spurrier’s first year as coach in 1990, the ‘Dawgs have only been the victors in three of the last 19 games.  So every time someone in Georgia brings up the subject, Gators just think “Sore losers!” Better you than us.

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More parking lot woes…

I went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch today (cilantro addiction). I often park in an adjacent vacant lot because it is shaded and it is (usually) easier to get in and out of. Of course, there are no parking lines in this lot. Most people either park around the perimeter or “head-in” in a double line down the middle of the lot with the cars in each line facing each other.

Today, I pulled into the head-in line and noticed that several cars had not pulled all the way up to the imaginary center line. I did –my mistake. When I came out I discovered some jerk in a 25 year old Grand Marquis had pulled in behind me. So I was completely surrounded by other parked cars, except immediately on the left side.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

Many other cars had also not pulled completely to the center line leaving a space between the two lines of cars. Fortunately for me, there was just enough room for me to “wiggle” out of the parking space and no one had “plugged the hole” at the end of the line, so I was able to get back to work. Oy!

Dating back to the days when my late father-in-law drove one (badly), I’ve never trusted Grand Marquis drivers. Today is one more piece of evidence my prejudice is right.