Subscribing To My Blog & Following My Blog

I have had several people tell me that when they use the reader in your "Dashboard section of their blog, under Blogs I Follow, that they aren't showing any updates to my blog. In order to show my latest blog entries, you must first go to my main blog page and then on the right hand column you will see a followers section. From there you can click on follow and that should take care of the issue. You might want to un-follow me first and then start from scratch. To do this, click on manage blogs that I follow. Then click on settings next to my listed blog and click on the small "stop follow this site". Then you can go back and then you can go back to my main page and click follow again. I fixed my "Subscribe to My Blog" section also and it appears to be working properly least I hope so. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Worlds Largest Snake Found Dead

My friend Ken Gauthier, from Canada, sent me this video. This is the worlds largest snake ever found and it was found dead. This snake is over 50 foot long. This snake is a whopper...really amazing!!!!!! Ken....Thanks for sending me this video so that I can share it with others.

My Days In Soddy Daisy

Back in 2001, Veronica and I bought our first house in Soddy Daisy, TN. are reading it correctly....Soddy Daisy. C'mon..who names a town Soddy Daisy??? How about Stumpy Petunia or Plodding Daffodil??? Me thinks that whoever named the town was hitting the ole hookah a little bit too much that day. After moving in, I decided that I would give creative landscaping a try. Below is the outcome of my creative endeavors:

Although you can't see it in this picture, I placed bricks all along the front gardens.

This was one of my pride and joys. I built this fish pond from scratch. It was about 3 foot deep and we had various types of gold fish in it. I also put underwater lights in the pond. I placed them in such a way that they pointed up at the waterfall and illuminated the falling water at night. We also had some water lilies in the pond. It really looked sharp at night especially since the light that was pointing directly up at the falling water was red. I also added this fountain in our front gardens. I had lights pointing down and spot lighting the fountain at night.
Here is a view of the back of our house.
Closeup of the gardens in our backyard.

This was my second pride and joy. I placed underwater lights near the front of the water tub and had them pointing up at the statue and the water falling. I used the white background of our house as a "movie screen". At night, when the lights were on, there would be a big shadow of the fountain and of the water falling, displayed on the back of the house. The lights were strong enough to make the shadow pretty detailed. You could actually see the water falling and moving. It was really sharp.

A Snowy Day Near The Beach

These photos were taken a few years back. We only live about 10 miles from the beach. We usually don't get much snow. This year a few flurries but that was it. One year we did get about 4-5 inches but that is about the most we ever get around here...most years we go without the white stuff.

My dad taking a break from shoveling.

Vignettes of Ones Life

Today I went for my morning walk. Although the stiff 17-28 mph winds were causing temperatures to hover around 22 degrees, I forged ahead against the bite of Winter. I have found that most times during my walks, I can daydream in such a way as to have my body in an almost semiconscious state. I would be walking along deep in thought and my body will seem like it is on auto pilot. Step by step, over curbs and rounding the corners. My body would move along on it's own while my mind was entrenched in thoughts of days gone by. As long as my semi-conscious self could feel the firmness of the concrete sidewalk below my feet, my body knew that all was going as it should. I find it very easy to lose myself in a vignette or chapter of my life. There are good things and bad things in each vignette or chapter. Some vignettes are more vibrant than others just as some chapters are longer than others. But when you piece them all together, like a jagged 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, then end up forming the totality of ones life.
This mornings walk was one which took me back to a place in time that I usually don't visit much. 2 years shy of 3 decades ago, I worked at a mid west university as a Police Officer and as a Detective/Investigator. Due to my job, an awful lot of things occurred while I was there. There are some thoughts that stand out more than others for me....for a multitude of reasons. I would like to share just a few with you. Part of my job functions were to provide site and/or personal security to visiting "dignitaries". This particular function provided me with an opportunity to meet people from the fields of entertainment, politics and a few higher up military personal. They would visit the university for various reasons. Here are just a few that I had the opportunity to meet... Madame Jehan Sadat...the late Anwar Sadats wife, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, Don, Roy Clark of Hee Haw and country western entertainment fame and then there was Bob Hope..who I would think that most folks have heard of. I actually got to sit down and dine with the late Mr. Hope. I should clarify that last sentence. I actually did sit down next to Mr. Hope while he was having dinner. I was supposed to be eating with him but as my luck would have it, I had a bit of the flu bug accompanied by a high temperature. This was at the end of a long day of personal security with Mr. Hope and I ended up having to be replaced due to the flu bug that I had. These security details all occurred after I was promoted from Police Officer to a Detective/Investigator position.
There was one event that stands out more than any other during the time that I spent at this University. It is not one that I think of very often but on today's walk, it re-entered my thoughts. This event occurred shortly after I joined the Police force at this University. It was night and I was on patrol. A call came out from our dispatcher that there was a student with a handgun that was suicidal.
This student was supposed to be walking in an area around one of the ponds that were on campus. I parked my patrol vehicle just down the hill from the residence hall, where this student lived. I walked around in the dark looking for this young male student. Eventually I saw his shadow as he was sitting near a small foot bridge that ran along the banks of one of these small ponds. I slowly approached this young man and asked him if he was ******. The young man stated that he was ******. I could see that he was visibly upset and shaking. I could also see that he was armed with a semi automatic pistol. I later learned that he took this pistol from a location where his grandfather had hid it. Without giving it any thought, I walked up to this young man, kneeled down next to him so that we were on the same eye to eye level, spoke very calmly to him about why he was feeling the way he was and I eventually talked him into handing over the gun to me. This whole encounter lasted about 10-15 minutes but seemed to linger a lot longer than that. After him handing over the gun to me, I handed it carefully to my Sergeant who was standing back a little ways while I was talking to this student. As it turned out, the gun was "locked and loaded", with a bullet in the chamber. For some reason I did not give it a second thought, about walking up directly to this young man while he was holding a weapon. I guess that was pretty foolish but I just went on instincts that nothing bad was going to happen and that this young man just wanted to talk. I sat with this young man for a period of time and then brought him back to headquarters. I don't remember what this young man was distraught over and we ended up calling his parents, who drove a ways to pick him up. I never heard anything more about this young man but i did receive a nice letter from his parents thanking me for what I did. I know that this young man has grown up and is out there somewhere. I would like to think that he got help for whatever issues he had and is now living a good life...maybe with a family of his own. This is one of the few times in my life, that I have truly felt that I had a positive impact on an individuals life. It is not pride that I feel, when I think about this situation and how it ended, but more a feeling of fulfillment and a warmth inside. I could go to my grave today knowing that this one time, I had a major impact on someones life and it was a positive impact. After thinking about it, I guess what I really hope for, is that this young man got whatever help he needed and turned his life around and then did something that had a positive impact on someone else's life. To me, that would be a beautiful ending to this story and the only ending needed. And now its time for this vignette to slowly fade to darkness.

Forget About It And I Mean It

This morning there was a news segment on television, about a drug in pill form, that could eradicate bad traumatic memories and strong fearful memories. Dutch scientists have found that in humans, a fearful memory can be erased by a drug that is usually used to control blood pressure. The University of Amsterdam ran a study using the drug ß-blocker propranolol. I found this to be very interesting. Each of us have gone through something(s) in our journey that has had a big dramatic or traumatic impact on our lives. These events have an impact on our emotional feelings and help mold who we are and how we react to different things. Imagine what it would be like or would have been like if we took a pill like this after each event that caused us emotional or physical pain or fear. After the breakup of our first love, the death of a loved one, a divorce, being in a war, physical abuse, a victim of any type of criminal act or any number of things that have a negative impact on us and has molded us into who we are and how we feel. We would probably all be totally different people...less emotional scaring and probably much happier with our lives. We would not be carrying around as much excess baggage in our daily lives. There are many times in my life where I could have used a pill like this and at times used multiple doses.
For more info about ß-blocker propranolol and the study mentioned above, please click on the link below:


I just popped in to wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day. And no, this cupid is not me.

The WINNER Of My OWOH Blog Contest

Sorry I am late in announcing the winner of my blogs OWOH contest. I got caught up in doing my own taxes. The winner of my blogs OWOH contest is........drum role please.....Deborah Sloan....
Congratulations to Deborah and I want to thank everyone that entered on my blog. See you all again next year!!!!!

I Won One Of The OWOH Blog Prizes

I just got an email from Susan Hess, , that I won one of her prizes for OWOH....I won a 12 pack of botanical notecards. That is so cool.
Thank you so much Susan. I greatly appreciate it. Rick

A Little Humor For Your Day

Please click on the link below for a really funny video called Baby Boomers. Make sure that your volume is turned up so that you can hear the lyrics. Enjoy!!,0,1036393.blurb

Catching Butterflies

Have you ever tried to catch a butterfly? You follow them as they are fluttering around. Darting and diving...going this way and that. They land on something and you approach them ever so cautiously and just as you think that you might have them in your grasp, they are gone. But you don't give up and you keep trying over and over again, trying to do everything you can to catch those ever elusive butterflies. Eventually you tire over trying to obtain something that maybe you were never supposed to have. So is the way of trying to obtain someones respect, approval, acceptance, appreciation or even their love....these are the butterflies that I am speaking of. Could be from a friend, a wife, a husband, a sibling or maybe even ones parents. Since an early age, I have been chasing certain butterflies. No matter what I did or how many times I tried, those butterflies always alluded me. After not just years but decades, of trying to catch these butterflies, I have had to finally admit to myself that I was spending years in denial. I was never supposed to have those butterflies in the first place. It just was not meant to be. As the years have gone by, it has been like someone was using a very fine grit sandpaper that was being rubbed over my mind, heart and soul. Slowly but surely it had been smoothing out any feelings that I had until there were none left....totally void of any emotions. I have given up on chasing those butterflies. Maybe I am just getting too old for it or maybe because I am married to a great woman, making those other butterflies a lot less important for me to catch. Sometimes life without all of those other butterflies can be an ok thing, especially when you accept the fact that you have tried your best, it is out of your control and that you are just too tired to continue chasing them any longer.

More Manly Man Maintenance Bloopers And Blunders

Previously I had wrote about my attempts to do some maintenance on our bathroom tub/shower sliding glass doors. A project that went so extremely well....NOT...that I decided to share a couple of additional maintenance battles that I have had. My story begins on a nice Summer day. We have a Crepe Myrtle tree that is planted adjacent to the driveway. When this tree is in bloom, the tree is not sturdy enough to hold up the flower laden branches and the branches dip down into the driveway in such a way that when you drive the car into the garage, the branches rub against the top of the car. Being the ingenious maintenance person that I am, I figured that I would just pound a few steel poles into the ground and use something to wrap around the branches and the pole in hopes of pulling the branches up and out of the driveway area. What I would call a simple and easy no brainer fix. I had three 4 foot steel "posts" that we had got from Home Depot. Before pounding them in the ground, I looked around to see if I might hit or damage any piping for the underground sprinkler system. It appeared that the coast was clear and I could proceed without a hitch. The 1st post went in without a problem at all. I then started to pound in the second post. I was just about done when I decided that it needed one more whack to be in the ground deep enough. As soon as I gave the post that last whack, the next thing I know is that the earth is moving and a flood of water is bubbling up and shooting into the air. The usual verbiage flows out of my mouth as soon as I see the water gushing went like this...oh sh*t, wtf and of course the typical WHY ME???!!! with a few hair pulls thrown in for good measure. It turned out that with all of the yard area that I could have placed these posts in, I just happened to pick the 1-2 inch area where the main water line runs into the house and I ruptured the pipe. Now I am running around like a swarm of bees are after me trying to figure out what to do next. I ran into the garage and turned off the water to the house...DUHHHHH...a lot of good that does me...that only closes the water valves from the garage into the house. I finally figured out that I would have to go to the end of the driveway and turn off the main valve that feeds into the house. Unfortunately the water company people are the only ones that have this specially designed water valve turner offer gizmo. I had to call them and eventually they made it out to our place and shut off the water. I then called a plumber so that I could get the ruptured pipe fixed. Of course I had to dig about 2-3 foot down in order to get to this pipe so the plumber could fix it. You know what really amazed me is that the main water pipe that feeds into our house is so small in diameter. I was expecting a 4-5" diameter pipe but it was an inch or less. Several hours later, all was back to normal, poles were securely placed in a safe area in the ground, the water filled hole had drained and was filled back up with dirt, all of the water and mud caused by the burst pipe had been cleaned up off of the driveway and the tree branches had been pulled up and were blowing in the wind, a full 5 inches higher than where we started this adventure at.
Oh, but I am not done quite yet. Another day, another job. I had planted a young Weeping Cherry in the center of our front yard. I planted it in the late Summer to early Fall. After planting this tree, I placed some landscaping concrete bricks in a circular pattern around the tree. I had then put mulch around the tree to make it all look nice. By the time the following Summer came along, the tree had died. So I quickly dug it up, took it back to the nursery and got a replacement. Before planting this second tree, I had to dig some of the dirt out so that I would have a bigger hole to put this tree in. So now I have concrete blocks moved out of the way, a pile of dirt on the grass from the hole I dug and another pile of mulch that I had to move aside. Now please understand...I am flat out in the middle of our front yard. There is no way anything could go wrong...yeah right. While digging out the hole for the tree to go into, maybe 18" deep, I end up hitting some type of pipe. Well wouldn't you know it, the next thing I know is that I have the fountain of youth squirting up in the air and water filling up the hole that I had dug. Once again, of all the areas in the yard that I could have dug and had absolutely nothing bad happen, I ended up digging and rupturing the water line that they bury for the sprinkler system. Who runs the sprinkler system pipes diagonally in a yard???? They should run from one sprinkler head to another and the sprinkler heads are usually on the outside portion of the yard...not in the middle. I ended up turning off the sprinkler system in the garage, got the sprinkler man to come out and fix the damage I had done to the pipe and several hours later, finished getting the new tree planted. Although both jobs went wrong very quickly, I did manage to complete my tasks. I will take my wins anyway I can get them even to the point of "fudging" on my scores. Maintenance Man 2 Murphys Law 0. But something strange has come from all of these challenges. When my neighbors are doing some type of job outside and are having a hard time and they see me
putzing around in the yard, they make sure that our eyes never meet...I never ever get asked to help them out. For the life of me, I can't understand why. Is it something I said?

Now This Is What I Call Serious Ice Fishing

Thanks again to Ken Gauthier up in Ontario, CA for sending me this great video. Not sure who took it but whoever it was...Thank You for sharing.

Tale of 6 Bears

My friend Ken Gauthier, from Canada, passed along this great story and photos. The story and photos were done by Tom Spears. Thanks go out to both Ken and Tom.

Black bears typically have two cubs; rarely, one or three. In 2007, in northern New Hampshire, a black bear Sow gave birth to five healthy young cubs. There were two or three reports of sows with as many as four cubs, but five was, and is, extraordinary. I learned of them shortly after they emerged from their den and set myself a goal of photographing all five cubs with their mom - no matter how much time and effort was involved. I knew the trail they followed on a fairly regular basis, usually shortly before dark. After spending nearly four hours a day, seven days a week, for six weeks, I had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and photographed them. I used the equivalent of a very fast film speed on my digital camera. The print is properly focused and well exposed, with all six bears posing as if they were in a studio for a family portrait.

I stayed in touch with other people who saw the bears during the summer and into the fall hunting season. All six bears continued to thrive. As time for hibernation approached, I found still more folks who had seen them, and everything remained OK. I stayed away from the bears as I was concerned that they might become habituated to me, or to people in general, as approachable friends. This could be dangerous for both man and animal.
After Halloween I received no further reports and could only hope the bears survived until they hibernated.
This spring, before the snow disappeared, all six bears came out of their den and wandered the same familiar territory they trekked in the spring of 2007.
I saw them before mid-April and dreamed nightly of taking another family portrait, an improbable second once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
On April 25, 2008 I achieved my dream.
When something as magical as this happens between man and animal, Native Americans say, 'We have walked together in the shadow of a rainbow.'
And so it is with humility and great pleasure that I share these photos with you.

Is KKK the new C Cup? I Sure Hope Not!!!

A Houston woman, Sheyla Hershey, 28 years old is going for the worlds record for the biggest breasts. According to Guinness World Records, the current record for the worlds largest breasts goes to ....drumroll mistro.....a porn star by the name of Maxi Mounds...duhhhhh who wooda thunk that. Originally Guinness did not have a catagory for the largest breast implants until Ms. Mounds plopped her 36MMM, 20 pound implants (each one) into the Guinness ring. Now back to Ms. Hershey who is trying to fill her way into the Guinness record books. Mrs. Hershey has had 11 breast augmentation surgeries since 2001. All of which have been performed in Brazil. Mrs. Hershey can't get the implants done in the U.S. because she is already over the maximum allowable size as regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA can keep track of ladies breasts size but can't do squat when it comes to tainted peanuts and peanut butter. I apologize for my digression. Currently Mrs. Hersheys breasts are at the 38KKK mark and she claims Brazils equivilant to the Guinness Wolrd Record. Now I am not a rocket scientist nor am I an expert on all things mammary BUT I have played a little poker in the past and I am sure that 3 Ms beat out 3 Ks all the time. And just for the for record...I might be a somewhat typical male but neither of these sizes appeal to me. I might prefer large breast but I don't want to have to use 2 weeks of vacation time just to circumnavigate a pair of MMMs. I just wanted to set the record straight on that point. What is really sad is that these women will only be remembered for
their breast size, not for who they are as human beings.
Below is Maxi Mounds

This is Sheyla Hershey
This is both of them in 40 years

Knock Knock- Who Is There - Hopefully Karma

I want to share a story with you. My wife has an Etsy store in which she sales her new duplicate mounted and unmounted rubber stamps for the use in creating craft related art. Recently we had a new customer buy 4 stamps...2 unmounted and 2 wood mounted. Because of the combined weight of the stamps, I shipped them out in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. The customer declined having the shipment insured. This customers bill came to over $35.00, which was promptly paid via PayPal. A couple of weeks after the shipment was mailed out, my wife received an email from the customer...this was the 1st of many emails that went back and forth between my wife, the custumer and myself. In this email the customer stated that she received only one stamp in an opened envelope about a week earlier and wanted to know when the others were to be shipped. When we asked about the shipping envelope, the customer wrote that the envelope was partially opened upon arrival and that she thought that her husband had opened the shipping envelope. The customer had thrown the envelope out so there was no proof that the envelope had been opened when it got there. I know that the envelope was securely closed because I used extra shipping tape on it. As the emails went back and forth, this customers story changed. My last email to her explained that I personally packaged all of the stamps in the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope and that she should have held onto the shipping package so that she could have taken it to the Post office to show them how she received it and try to get some sort of explanation as to what happened. I reminded the customer that she had declined insurance on the shipment and there was not much that we could do at this point in time. This customer wanted us to ship the 3 stamps again, that she claimed she did not receive. Because her story kept changing in her various emails. I was unwilling to do that. A couple of hours later, we found out that a hold was placed on my wife's PayPal account because this customer filed a claim for the complete amount of her purchase along with the shipping charges. My wife called PayPal and was told that this customer claimed that she had not received the shipment at all. My wife told the person at PayPal about the emails that we received where the customer stated that she did receive a shipment that included the one stamp in it and that the shipping package was damaged upon its arrival. PayPal told my wife that if we did not have proof that we mailed the stamps, something in the form of a receipt or delivery confirmation, there was nothing that they would do other than refund the customer her money. All of the emails, with the changing of the customers story included in them, were of no use and PayPal would not accept them. In the end, the customer got at least one of the rubber stamps( I use the words "at least" loosely) and she got a complete refund.
My wife and I consider ourselves to be very honest people and I really find it hard to see how people can go through life acting in this fashion and no, I don't see life through rose colored glasses. It is a shame that there are people out there that will do anything they can to get something for nothing.....lie, cheat, scam...etc. I have many feelings towards these type of people but most of all, I hope that good ole Karma comes around and provides them with just a small dose of what they truly deserve. Oh hell...who am I kidding...make that a LARGE dose of what they truly deserve. With all of this said, I now would like to return you to our regular programming......

Now That's One Hell Of A Snake

In Columbia, scientists have unearthed the fossilized remains of the largest snake ever discovered: a 42-45 foot behemoth estimated to weigh more than a ton. "This thing weighs more than a bison and is longer than a city bus," enthused snake expert Jack Conrad of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who was familiar with the find. Paleontologist Jason Head of the University of Toronto Missisauga stated that this beast probably munched on ancient relatives of crocodiles in its rainforest home some 58 million to 60 million years ago. The discoverers of the snake named it Titanoboa cerrejonensis ("ty-TAN-o-BO-ah sare-ah-HONE-en-siss"). That means "titanic boa from Cerrejon," the region where it was found. Now that is one snake that I would not have wanted to stumble upon in the woods. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say that I would hate to have this snake stumble upon me in the woods. Either way, instead of my name being Rick, it would now be Dinner.
For more information about this find, please click on the links below:

What Did I Get Myself Into....Again!!!!

Anyone out there that has done any type of home maintenance should be able to relate to this one. Here is the scenario....In our bathroom, we have one of those fiberglass 1 piece bathtub/shower ensembles. We have sliding glass doors that attach to a top frame and bottom frame. On the top frame, the doors attach via rollers and at the bottom the doors attach to the frame via guides. We have been having a problem with the lower piece of the frame that the shower doors are attached to. The caulking had got so bad that when we took a shower, water would get under that lower frame and sit there. As a result, mold would form and the caulk on the outside of the tub/shower enclosure was turning black and green, where the lower portion of the frame connected to the tub. So I took it upon myself to do a little maintenance on the lower frame. Now technically this should have been a reasonably easy job. Unfortunately "Murphys Law" reared its ugly head. First I decided to remove the top frame piece. This is where the doors were attached via rollers. There was really not enough space to lift the top frame piece away from the doors. To make a very long story shorter, I was finally able to get the doors removed....took about an hour. Due to the difficulty of removing the doors, I knew that I was in trouble and I should have stopped right there and attempted to put the doors and frame back. But being the man that I am, I continued on my journey. I then scraped off all of the old caulk that was on the bottom frame piece. I lifted the frame up as much as I could and cleaned underneath it. What a mess that was. I ended my first day on this job by propping up this lower frame so that any moisture underneath it would air dry. Now to Day #2....inspected under the lower frame and saw that it was completely dry. I put new caulk where the frame met the tub, both inside the tub and outside. I let the caulk cure for about 6 hours at which time I decided to put the doors and top frame piece together again and putting this journey behind me...imagining myself beaming with pride and joy over completing yet another home maintenance project...what a manly man I am...I RULE the home maintenance world!!!! At least in my dreams, this is the way it would have ended. But once again, reality and that old Mr. Murphy, of Murphys Law fame, gave me a good swift kick in the hiney and a strong slap upside my face, enough so that I awoke out of my pipe dream ending for this story. Anything and everything that could go wrong did. No matter how I tried, there was no way that I was going to get the sliding doors to hang right and attach at the bottom of the frame. I even got Veronica involved figuring that she would be able to change the death grip that lady luck had around my throat. After 3 hours of frustration, yelling, cussing and taking my neanderthal aggression out on 2 bathtub glass doors and one aluminum frame...I finally gave up and called it quits......insert heavy sigh and begin playing the theme song to the tv program Two And A Half Men. I knew that this job had got the better of me and all that I had to show for 2 days work was a caulk job that was totally ruined from me trying to get the doors back on, 2 glass doors that were now just hanging by the top rollers because I could not get them to attach underneath that bottom frame, a sore back and blood pressure that had gone sky high which resulted in a bloody nose a few hours later. I ended up having to swallow my pride and call Clarence, our trusty handyman who does a lot of the maintenance work in our neighborhood. He will be here in about an hour and I have got a feeling that he will take one quick look at the mess that I have created and pronounce the whole project as being deceased. I think that I see a trip to Home Depot in my buy a new tub/shower door set. Then comes the tough decision of either taking out the old frame, cleaning up the old caulking and putting the new frame and doors in myself or having the trusty and sure handed Clarence do the job for me. Wisdom points me in the direction of having Clarence handle it but being the stubborn manly man that I am, I foresee more "fun" in my future.
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