Lea Solonga

Recently I had a discussion with family regarding the movie adaptation of Les Miz. Some family members thought it bedazzling and beautiful. I was not among them, having been blessed to have seen it twice on Broadway and once in Tampa . I remembered also being fortunate to have seen Miss Saigon in Tampa with Lea Solonga in the lead. She is a stunning performer and, although Miss Saigon made her career in major theater here she is in one of her most enchanting performances. Lea has also been active in benefits for disaster relief in the Philippines and Samoa.

She is a truly gifted and gracious person. Should you ever have a chance to see her perform don’t miss it.


My Favorite Joke of 2013

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be a Republican.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “You don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You’ve made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect ME to solve your problem. You’re in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now, it’s MY fault.

Jeff Besos Is My Hero

Ok now this is really cool. The potential applications are enormous. Saw this spot last night on 60 minutes. Go Jeff!


Of Capps, Mallomars and Foreign Aid

Being a committed fan of FSU football keeps one on the road a bit during the fall. Since I am an early morning driver by preference I listen to a lot of early morning Sunday NPR stories on the return trips from Tallahassee. It’s just too damn early for Blues or Buffett on satellite radio.

The last several trips have found me driving through Capps during the middle of a couple of interesting feature stories. Capps is a stop light now , home of the historic Asa House and Avalon Plantation owned and protected by Ted Turner founder of CNN, former husband of Jane Fonda and current Florida resident and Philanthropist. It was once the largest center of Tung oil processing in the US. Now it is a stop light. It is quiet and just the place to listen to early morning radio, no traffic, just me and Ted.

Two weeks ago I listened to the history of Mallomars, a cookie I had heard about only in movies and never ever seen. There is a knock off on the shelves but it’s not the same. A Mallomar is a marshmallow cream sitting on a graham cracker covered in chocolate. The occasion of the story was the 100 year anniversary of the cookie. What? How could I have never ever seen or tasted a Nabisco cookie that’s celebrating 100 years? Well it seems that in 1913 there was no refrigerated trucking that was profitable enough to ship the cookies commercially to keep the chocolate from melting, so they were only sold between October and March in the Northeast; 95% in New Jersey where they were manufactured.  Nabisco kept the mystique alive all these years by maintaining that seasonal distribution, although they have now expanded the distribution, but still only October to March. So Mallomars are hard to find and harder to keep, friends and family don’t share. Even Tony Soprano threatens his Consigliore Paulie, in a scene reminiscent of Godfathers Michael Corleone’s deadly Fredo kiss. “ I know it was you Fredo.”


So first thing I did when I got home was stop at Publix and look for them. I bought both boxes. I’m not sharing. 

This past Sunday the best story I listened to was an interview with George Ayitte an African economics professor. He makes the case against foreign aid to Africa. He says it’s killing the African economy as 80% of it is encumbered to stimulate the interests and profits of the donors and not the bulk of Africans population. The other 20% supports corrupt despots who exploit their citizens for their own interests.  In this particular interview he is quoted speaking to a large audience of aid “experts” who are polled throughout the lecture as to their belief in the validity of African aid. AT the end of his presentation the approval rate had dropped from over 70 to 15%.


Don’t know why we continue to send foreign aid to folks that don’t want it. Its gazillions of tax dollars we feed to folks that don’t even vote.  Even the liberals will catch on pretty soon I’m betting. We should follow Nabiscos Mallomar example and allow the market to flourish independent of government intervention. Let them eat Mallomars:)


I know nothing……………

If it wasn’t  so sad it would almost be funny how many of those in Obamas camp want to paint those who are not as extremists; racists, red neck crackers, klanners, and knuckle dragging misanthropes.  I for one resent it. However when I finally got past the angry part of my life I have developed an aversion to negative emotions. Then too, it is obvious that the name callers don’t have anything of substance to defend their steadfast devotion to “the Sargent Schultz” in the White House. The man knows absolutely nothing about anything that goes wrong. He gets a pass from the media so the Sargent Schultz default works wonderfully for him just as it did for Schultzy. Just this week alone he knows nothing about listening to Andrea Merkles cell phone, nor the miserable failure of the UAHC web site. Add those to the growing list of similar “puzzlements” and the comparison becomes more obvious.  He knows nothing about Bengazi, the IRS, ATF, nor the Justice Department.

Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury) said it well the day after Obama was elected for the first term, “the golden age of political cartoons is over, you can’t make fun of a black president.” 

Beg to differ Gary…………..


Still a Country For Old Men?

The country has fundamentally changed since JFK spoke the words “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. “ Since the onset of the dismal “war on poverty” failure much of the American population has retained an entitlement mentality. It is shielded under the flag of “higher civilization “ i.e. America is an advanced civilization that has an obligation to not only protect its citizens but to feed, clothe and shelter them as well and to provide for their wellbeing in all manner.  They become a society of victims seeking heavy handed villains to blame for their slightest discomfort.  They deeply resent people that are not like them and denigrate success by condemning the successful and taking their money (it is their right to do so if they vote it so.)

Not everyone believes that the country has a revenue stream to maintain life support for an entire civilization and still adhere to the notion of self-reliability and self-accountability, and they live their lives and raise their families under that philosophy. Increasingly their voices are being overridden by the victims, and they are demonized and dismissed.  Many of those folks are classified as conservatives. While they have different key philosophical  beliefs, at the core commonality they believe in making life choices and hold themselves accountable for their individual situations.  

That to me is the fundamental axis of all of our political conflict. Our elected officials are increasingly more concerned with their own political survival than the survival of the country so they pander to their constituency to keep their jobs rather than to do what’s best for the country. No one wants to compromise what they feel entitled too so there is no bi partisanship at all. Life in Washington is a zero sum game. Job 1 is reelection.  Cal Thomas calls it Rampant Careerism. It seems to me that many of our elected officials are smart folks but become infected with the Washington flu when they arrive in the asylum.

Increasingly we are celebrating failure rather than success.  Indeed we have different interpretations of what success in America really is. Our President denies that successful business builders are responsible for their own success.  Perhaps there is a deep personal resentment there (I don’t know. Just a guess.)

These past few weeks in Washington just hammered our division home. In the end conflict did not end, it is just delayed, like a nightmare that reoccurs every time you go to sleep.

As for me I am glad to be retired and enjoying the fruits of my labors with my family and friends. While I am not as unhappy as this blogs material, I am almost embarrassed to be an American these days and glad I don’t have to defend our government to anyone. Not sure I could.




Early American Studies

After 35 years of working and parenting I elected to go back to school and have finished my first year of post graduate Early American History study. I have enjoyed it considerably. Having the freedom to search out those areas of specific interest to me, select my own curriculum and learn at my own pace is exactly what I wanted to do. Several observations leap to mind that describe my learning experience this time as opposed to when I was a young man in College. The most striking realization is exactly how little I was actually taught in the 60’s and 70’s. I considered myself fairly well informed and now I find how little I actually knew about early America. Secondly I am thrilled at the progress of historical analysis with subsequent historians, booth older established scholars and the younger emerging set. More than ever I now understand how subjective almost everything historical is and in that light maintain a cautious acceptance of “historical facts” even those written by the participants.

I particularly focused on several areas of interactive interest: what led up to the revolution, how did the colonists progress from day 1 to 1776? Also how did slavery exist in a country that fought a war against being “enslaved.” How and why did liberty and slavery co-exist? Additionally I was and am particularly interested in how the “founding fathers” became who they were. How did the process evolve that led a bunch of different colonies dependent on the might of their European fore bearers decide to forgo the safety of their protection and come to revolution risking the very freedom that they fought for.

After some 20 or so historical books, several quarterly journals and a daily historical blog populated by emerging historians I feel much better prepared to enter into discussion with folks about these topics, but I am still keenly aware of how much I don’t know of the new and emerging historical analysis of early American History.

I find understanding the development of America helps me to better understand current events and sift through the vitriolic rhetoric of today’s constant campaign politics. I would offer that the continuous campaign mode of elected leaders is the biggest single difference between leaders 200 years ago and today.

I am eager for my sophomore year:)