Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three Times Lucky?

One of the unfortunate downsides of infrequent postings is that in the absence of new stuff, the last piece hangs out there fronting the site for as long as it takes. In terms of current status, the pic of Monica reclining on a couch has been in place since May 7th, and this photo, like every other aspect of the seemingly  unsinkable "Sphere of the Clintons", is, as supported by the New York Times, incredibly exhausting. Our apologies.

While the thought of Hillary becoming the next U.S. President is problematical from a political perspective, she couldn't possibly do worse than occupant of the White House. But the prospect of four years, if not more, of the daily media drivel of the continuing Clinton  saga, starring Bill, Chelsea, the new grandbaby and co-stars yet to be named, all overseen by Hillary channeling her parallel truth universe, is painful to contemplate.

So the question becomes, who would we rather see as president? While many people might be tempted to answer, "anybody", the question requires deeper consideration, especially if we envision that this country will be in when Barry finally leaves town. And, arguably, this exercise in collective soul searching applies to voters of all stripes.

Recently Mitt Romney has been touted as a possible candidate. As much as we would like to see Mitt run, I'm not sure that he and his family could withstand the process for a third time. And Mitt was our man last two times around. This would be a lot to ask of anyone.

But given the current condition of the U.S. Government, we clearly need someone capable of putting the house in order. Before introducing any more grand schemes, the new president must take the necessary steps to regain fiscal control. And we should not  dismiss the concept that the first step to solving a problem is admitting that the problem exists. The budgeting process, not continuing resolutions, must be re-introduced and government spending brought into line with the runaway deficit. Federal Agencies, starting with the Justice Department must be brought to heel. Organizations like the IRS, the VA Homeland Security, Border Control, and even the recently-politicized U.S. Patent Office, all must be brought back to their basic mission. The President cannot do this all alone. The Cabinet, and senior administrative positions, must be filled with capable managers that are able to execute in accordance with specific directives. Can we say "delegate"?

Lacking a president who would at least make a forceful attempt at restoring a significant measure of fiscal and administrative sanity, especially if we hire another Progressive, not hindered by reality, the outlook is bleak indeed.

If Mitt could see his way clear to  run, there might be a possibility of fulfilling the "three times lucky" proverb. But the luck would be ours as much ours as Mitt's. If not Mitt, then who?.........Exactly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Can we miss you when you won't go away?

We Think Lynn Cheney has it right:
"I -- I really wonder if this isn't an effort on the Clintons' part to get that story out of the way. Would "Vanity Fair" publish anything about Monica Lewinsky that Hillary Clinton didn't want in "Vanity Fair"?

Be prepared. As we approach 2016, Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" is sure to be the retro hit of the year, but with a twist: "Stand by Your Man, Even During Impeachment". It may not be perfect, but if it takes some attention away from Benghazi, Hillary will run with it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring is Sprung

Forget about the Groundhog (sorry, Bill Murray) and don't bother searching the flower beds for early crocus shoots. The only reliable indication of the arrival of Spring is the appearance of the golf carts at your local links. All the pertinent information, known and inferred, is reflected in the appearance of those cute little two-seaters with a couple of bags of sticks hanging off the back end. Yesterday, we had our first sighting as the carts began their determined crawl over the front nine. So don't delay, get out those spring togs and dig those niblicks and mashees  out of the corner of the garage. Give your copy of Caddy Shack (Bill Murray, again) a last pre-season viewing and head for the first tee.

Contrary to popular belief, Yamaha has not introduced a cart with a front plow hitch, ........yet.
Long and straight, gang, long and straight.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Check Out Day

Closing time. Last call, on steroids. The end of a brief stay in ArnoldPalmerville, aka Paradise. The trim Gulf waves are still rolling up on "our" beach, but by noon it will fall to others to bask in this measured spectacle.

It's I-95, northbound, for us. We have stops planned along the way to ease our way back into reality. Planning to arrive in the Bay State by St. Patrick's Day.

There are a lot of factors involved in comparing locations, especially when one is home, the other an interlude. When it comes to February and March weather, however, there's no comparison. Even if every day is more boring than the last, which is clearly not the case, the warmth and sun of south Florida reigns supreme.

So,  with a big collective sigh, we switch out the Jimmy Buffet beach tunes for Willy Nelson, as we get back on the road again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Haute Culture in ArnoldPalmerville

Tools of the trade
Just so no one gets the idea that Neapolitans are just a bunch of deep-pocketed slugs who spend all their time driving their pricey cars from restaurant meal to restaurant meal, we took advantage of an invitation last night to attend a concert, held at one of the town's leading Christian churches, which looks like it was somehow transported from the village green of a classic New England Town.

The Group had a curious name, but one of their members was reputed to be lead violin at the Naples philharmonic Orchestra, no slouch, he. So given the venue and the bona fides of at least one of the performers, we thought that this might be an opportunity to experience a little Naples culture firsthand and trooped on down to see the Bean Pickers perform at the Tuesdays at Twilight concert.

Admittedly, The name, Bean Pickers, did not evoke a wave of recognition, nor did many of us consider ourselves Blue Grass aficionados, but a night out is a night out.

Guitar Player, Scott Ritter, who owns a local painting company, also chipped in on vocals, as did Linda Kallinger who played mandolin and one mean fiddle. Karen Batten, a registered nurse in her other life played banjo, like ringing a bell - Johnny B Goode, style (assuming Johnny B could play a banjo in addition to guitar). Leslie Weidenhammer, a Deputy Sheriff in real life, played a mean standup bass, sang vocals with the voice of an angel and generally stole most of the show.

It's hard having lived through the folk music era of the 1960's without having a passing familiarity with Blue Grass, but this gang, through their eclectic music selections and mind-blurring execution, brought this genre to a new high. Not to mix metaphors, but they played above the rim the whole night. What a show!

And if you are wondering how a classical violinist blended in with this material, you would not have believed the rendition of the Orange Blossom Special which must have darn near melted those fiddle strings. Glenn Basham demonstrated clearly that his talent is as broad as it is deep.

As in all endeavors, we try and glean some wisdom as take-home value. For whatever reason, the following lyric stuck in our minds and may just be trotted out at many an upcoming cocktail party.

There's too many cooks in the kitchen,
There's too many irons in the fire, (arns in the fahr)
There's not enough loving in the front porch swing,
And there is always a drunk at the Bar.

Catch the Bean Pickers at Fred's on the fourth Friday of each month. Call for details

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ArnoldPalmerville II

That was close. We almost missed the Early Bird. Fortunately, we were able to out-maneuver another couple. Those walkers can be tricky on high curbs.

When people ask the great Jimmy Buffet, "exactly where is Margaritaville?", he is quick to tell them that it is anywhere they want it to be. This leaves those of us with limited itineraries to dream big and hang that handle on any place that suits us. On hearing that, we took immediate license to consider Naples to be our version of this Valhalla of song. Of course this is a bit of a stretch, which is why we had to come up with ArnoldPalmerville. Sort of an age-appropriate rendition. And age is a key variable here in APV, which has been called by some  cheeky wags, God's waiting Room. And while this may well apply to some parts of the Sunshine State, Naples has a number of attributes that tend to set it apart.

To say that Naples is upscale is no misnomer. The Bentley dealership tends to set the bar. Then there are the merchants, who collectively offer the best of everything. Who goes to the beach to buy expensive jewelry? Apparently plenty of Neopolitans. And then there are the restaurants. While you might see a few fast-food outlets (the help has to eat somewhere), the number of toney eateries, like the stars in the heavens, defies counting. We suspect that the top grade kitchens in the thousands and thousands of condos are among the most pristine and un-used on the planet.

Gotta run. Today is Donut day and they have just arrived.

Wasting Away in ArnoldPalmerville

We scurried out of Dodge on President's Day, attempting to split the seam between snowstorms. Our first stop was about an hour south of Harrisburg, PA. While we caught some new snow overnight, I- 81 was clear and we had avoided the dreaded Harrisburg rush hour through the new snow. Somewhere around Spartanburg SC, we out ran the snow and by the time we hit Atlanta, it was 70 degrees, which was pronounced balmy, and most of the traffic jam from the previous week's ice storm had cleared up. Then, after a long-days drive down I-75, we entered the Sunshine State and it was straight on to morning.

Naples is, in effect, the southernmost outpost of civilization on the Gulf Coast of Florida. While Key West is due south of Naples, they are separated by some serious open water. Key West has never been confused with Naples and is,I am sure, willing to concede to Naples whatever laurels it may claim. Believe me, no one in Key West cares about the rest of the state.

When Jimmy Buffet sings of Margaritaville, it brings to mind long sleepy days and star studded nights, all observed from the comfort of a Pawley's Island hammock, strung between two palm trees,, where life's biggest problem is limited to locating the salt shaker, needed to finish off the prep of the drink after which the place is named. The basis for the whole Margaritaville experience, starts with  a mid-level tequila buzz..

One of the countless ways in which Naples differs from Key West is in the average daily alcohol ingestion of the respective citizenry. Suffice it to say, it's a lot lower in Naples, where the most popular drink is an Arnold Palmer, which is made up of half iced tea, half lemonade and zero alcohol. Do not, we repeat, do not, order this drink in any establishment located on Duvall Street.