27 December 2009

Six Pence Pub

Fourteen beers on draft and eight of them I have not only never tasted
but never heard of them. I can taste them three at a time on a paddle
to go with my Ploughman's lunch.

26 December 2009

Road Trip, Part 2

Mickey is as tough as they come and makes due during rigorous trips.

Road Trip

Highway travel can be tough. Shannon is a trooper.

24 December 2009

The Gathering Begins

At 2:30 pm, some of the family has begun to huddle around the tables
near the oven. Alcohol is flowing in a number of varieties. Everyone
is getting loud and saying things that they normally might not. It is
early, we may be in for an historic event.

The pig us on schedule and there are a few side items coming out for
snacks. To tell you about what kind of snacks, we have had our first
"defribillator" reference.

Pig On

Enough said. Pig and fire have been introduced. Stay tuned.

Tied and Quartered

While the oven is heating the pig is brought downstairs and wire tied
into the rack that will deliver and turn him throughout the day over
the fire.

Firestarter

The fire is started to heat the oven and get ready to cook.

Good Morning, Key Largo

videoWhen I get up in the Keys, I first like to step out onto the porch and smell the air and feel the breeze. This morning, the wind was blowing and the back porch was spectacular. The accompanying video and the wind chimes should give you an idea of how the air is moving.

Under Wraps

The pig is marinating and will be unveiled in the morning after the charcoal is good and hot for his trip to the oven. Abuela could tell you the exact proportions of naranja agria and criolla that goes into the marinade but then somebody will have to kill you.

23 December 2009

The Night Before

When you arrive after dark on the 23rd, you miss some of the preparations that go into getting ready for Noche Buena. What you can't see in the photo here is that the block oven that we will use to cook the pig is already constructed and the tables for dinner are already set.

We meet and greet with all the assembled family at two different houses and receive others as they arrive. The truck is unloaded and we settle in for the holiday.

SW 8th Hit the Brakes

I will try to share a Christmas in the Keys with those of you following.

Step 1 - Florida Turnpike South until it ends and then a little further. While you drive through Miami, if you think that everyone is driving too fast and aggressively, then you are part of the problem. If you get to MM 99.5, give us a call.

22 December 2009

Dare to be Fair, Chairman Rangel, and Schedule a Hearing on the FairTax!

The Congressional Committee that considers and writes federal tax laws is the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by New York Representative Charlie Rangel. We're joining together across the country to demand a fair and open hearing on the merits of the FairTax by the Ways and Means Committee. This is where FairTax legislation should first be heard and debated. And yet, there have been no hearings devoted just to the FairTax over the last 15 years! Not even a hearing! Join us now to demand a hearing on the FairTax the true measure of fairness for a new tax system that can repair the economy, replace a corrupted tax system with one that is fair and transparent and one that gives the American people the ability to see and control unchecked government spending.

Are you ready to get the FairTax moving? Go to http://www.fairtax.org/hearing to send your message to Chairman Rangel on why the FairTax deserves a Congressional hearing. Hundreds of thousands of active FairTaxers and millions more Americans who believe in the promise of the FairTax must raise their voice together into a powerful force for positive change. It falls to the American people to correct the corruption of tax policy and the damage the mind-numbing, unfair and expensive tax system is doing to the American economy and the peace of mind of every taxpayer.

Now is the time for FairTax members to roar. Our voices must become so loud, persistent and reasoned that Washington can no longer ignore doing the right thing--the American FairTax revolution has begun. Let's get going!

21 December 2009

Miss Me?

I have started a few posts in the last week and none of them have been published. I missed a good talk back last week for Bill of Rights Day on December 15. I did not talk about the Seminole "A Day at the Races" Swim Meet. I also did not talk about a house full of family on Saturday, December 19 as my half of our family celebrated Christmas together. We also got to start a rare fire in our fireplace as last weekend the temperature dipped into the 40s. I also have not shared any of the pictures that would accompany all this.

December 15, is Bill of Rights Day. The Founders recognized that it was important to be specific about what government must not do.

The Libertarian Party platform expresses support for the Bill of Rights in many places. For example:

First Amendment:
"We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion." (1.1)

Second Amendment:
"We affirm the right to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition." (1.6)

Fourth Amendment:
"We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property." (1.2)

Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments:
"We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied." (1.5)

Of course, one of the most serious problems America faces today is that the federal government completely ignores the Tenth Amendment, which says the federal government only has the limited powers granted by the Constitution, and no other powers. Unfortunately, our federal government has usurped a long list of powers that are not granted by the Constitution.

On Saturday, the kids swam in the morning in temperatures when the meet started in the 40s. They could not make hot chocolate fast enough. Afterward, my mother, brother and sisters came to our house with their families. The kids all racked up lots of gifts and the older folks played gift exchange games. There were lots of cookies to go around. Everybody had a great time. As the sun set and the temperature dropped we made a fire and settled in for an evening of family and football. After all, the fantasy football playoffs are underway.

I will again try to keep you informed as the holidays progress. Happy holidays.

videoy

13 December 2009

December Sunday


I love weekends at home with family any time of year. In December, there are some added things to enjoy. The picture here is one of those things that I will explain later.

Our Christmas tree is up in the family room and the outside of the house is lit. We have a decent tree that is not the biggest that we have ever had but is probably as big as we would ever need. The timers on our exterior lights are on so that every night from 6-10 p.m. we are doing our part to contribute to the holiday lighting in our neighborhood. We braved the stores and mall yesterday to make sure that most of our shopping for extended family was completed. While out at the mall we even caught Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" last night. It was much better than I expected. I would recommend it for anyone that is not cynical to enjoy a good story.

Today, we had thought about getting out to the Magic Kingdom to see the castle lit up before our seasonal passes get blacked out. Instead, we did a little grocery shopping that should hold us until we get out of town for Christmas. I made my famous, secret recipe pancakes. Some had pecans and others did not. I made enough for the kids to reheat a few times for breakfast this week before school. Analexis and Shannon got the silkscreening supplies out and made some Blue Dolfins paraphernalia. They made stencils for shirts and shorts and even made a few test runs before also making a couple finished products. They were very cute. The shirts and shorts were nice too. Ana and Mickey proceeded to wrap all of yesterday's purchases and get them under the tree. If our nieces, nephews and cousins don't like the loot, I will take it. NFL football is in week 14 which, of course, means that the fantasy football season is getting ready for the playoffs. I secured my spot in the post-season last week and can kind of enjoy today's games. Shannon is reading Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" for a school project and has to finish it today. I made a steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans. The steak was of average quality which afforded me the opportunity to break out the steak sauce. If you do not have Peter Luger Steak Sauce for enjoying affordable at-home steaks, I would recommend getting some. I can't, however, imagine putting it on a steak at Peter Luger's.

The beer pictured above is a funny story. That bottle of beer is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. This particular type of beer is like a wine in that it can improve with age. I bought a six pack in of this particular "2002" dated beer back in 2002. Ralph and I tried a couple back then and after a few uncomfortable moments of silence, we agreed that we did not like it. Over time, the six-pack only had one left. I decided to keep it and save it to see how it aged. I had no particular plan or date as to when I would drink it. This bottle made it through three moves and a wife that loves to throw things away. What it did not make it through was sending Mickey to the refrigerator to get me a beer. I have, more times than I can count, dispatched one of my children to the fridge for the purpose of returning with a beer. They are now quite learned in the beer serving arts. I know what beers I have and as this beer approached I was wondering what in the world he had found. It was not until I saw the bottle that I realized what had happened. He was momentarily frozen when I told him to look at the cap and he saw 2002. It was very good and so different than those I tasted years ago as to seem like a completely different beer.

The NFL games were fun, but I think watching the MFL (Margarita Football League) games with text messages from involved owners may have made them even more fun. The next couple weeks have a lot of work and fun planned. I hope to write often, but imagine that there may be more quantity than quality as I enjoy the holidays. If I don't get to tell you in person or see you soon, I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday and that it is filled with gratitude and love.

Peace!

11 December 2009

Root for America

In the wake of Mike Huckabee losing his ever-loving mind and supporting the neverending stupid train that is the Obama administration, I have had to go hunting for a new candidate. As you all know when you make an unchangeable decision, that intention goes out into the universe and comes back with results.

I am now declaring W. A. R. Wayne Allyn Root. Now some of you are wondering if you have heard that name before. You might have if you supported Bob Barr in the last Presidential election. Root was Barr's Vice Presidential running mate. Bob Barr says that Wayne is being called "the Anti-Obama" by the media. Wayne has been hitting the airwaves promoting his book and our shared libertarian values with great success. Let me send along his message attached here and the quotes about him that follow in italics. I am going to get this book and read it immediately.

Take action and get involved in creating your reality.

THIS IS W.A.R!

Dear American,

W.A.R. is a man conservative readers need to know and liberal politicians need to fear!

Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R.) reminds us in his new book, which has been prominent on three Amazon.com best-seller lists, that there is another choice for voters in America: an independent, common-sense, Libertarian-conservative path.

Root doesn't just criticize Obama and other big government politicians — HE OFFERS LIBERTARIAN-CONSERVATIVE SOLUTIONS.

As a regular guest on FOX News and FOX Business, Root's heroes are Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. His father was one of the original founders of the New York State Conservative Party.

As a Reagan Libertarian, Root has known Obama's policies longer than most — He was Obama's college classmate at Columbia University (Class of '83).

And this Libertarian-conservative small businessman, home-school dad, and citizen politician is the INDEPENDENT many in the media expect to become the Ross Perot of the 2012 presidential election.

Root's dynamic new book is entitled The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts

Every conservative voter and thinker in the country should read Root's book. He describes why both Reagan and Goldwater would no longer recognize today's big government GOP.

But Root does more than talk or criticize — he offers common-sense, pragmatic Libertarian-conservative SOLUTIONS to all of today's biggest political issues.

This "Anti-Obama" has burst on the national political scene with guns a-blazing against Obama's Big Brother socialist agenda (see the czars, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, universal healthcare, cap and trade, card check, etc.), and all the corrupt, arrogant, morally bankrupt Beltway politicians.

Root calls himself an equal opportunity offender while referring to Democrats and Republicans as "big and bigger, dumb and dumber."

And he has four words for all politicians who voted for bailouts, handouts, entitlements, stimulus, and tax cuts for people who didn't pay taxes in the first place:

"Throw the Bums Out!"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Party vice-presidential nominee and he is the 2012 Libertarian Presidential frontrunner.

W.A.R is a self-made businessman, capitalist evangelist, national spokesman for several companies in the financial world, as well as an author, business speaker and television and radio personality and producer.

His talk radio show airs in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. He began his career as an anchorman for the Financial News Network (now CNBC). For more information, go to: www.ROOTforAmerica.com

Wayne is declaring WAR on the "big government" politicians of both parties.
He is declaring WAR on the Beltway insiders.
He is declaring WAR on the biased-liberal media elite.
He is declaring WAR on big government, big spending, big taxes, big unions, and big corporations, including their armies of lawyers and lobbyists.
He is declaring WAR on the out-of-control bloated salaries and pensions of government employees.
THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERTARIAN is the story of a blue-collar S.O.B. (son of a butcher) who came out of nowhere to become the Libertarian vice presidential nominee of 2008, who some say will become the Ross Perot of 2012.

Living proof that his message works, Root is a dynamic, charismatic, telegenic, limited government, anti-tax, pro-school choice, citizen politician, and capitalist evangelist who believes PASSIONATELY in economic and personal freedom.

In his new book, Root illustrates how . . .

Obama wants to turn America into one big California — the most debt-ridden, bankrupt, insolvent state, with the lowest bond ratings in the country; the worst business environment; the worst education rankings; and the most U.S. citizens fleeing for their lives (more than 1.35 million in the past decade). California is ground zero for economic Armageddon. Root shows you why.
His common-sense vision, to follow the "Nevada model" — with smaller government, less spending, dramatically lower taxes, far fewer government employees — will lead to far more personal and economic freedom. Result: Nevada has been No. 1 in population growth for past 25 years!
We can and must end reverse racism by eliminating affirmative action.
We can and must save our schools with school choice, parental freedom, and encouraging competition on the state and local level. WAR doesn't believe it takes a village or a teachers union to educate a child — it merely takes two dedicated parents!
We can and must end or dramatically downsize social and entitlement programs, government spending, bailouts, handouts, and economic stimulus plans, which he contends are all unconstitutional.
Government will run "universal healthcare" just like legal brothels in Nevada and O.T.B. (off-track betting) in New York — into bankruptcy.
Cap and trade represents nothing more than a scheme for government to take control over business, triple electric rates, and redistribute wealth.
We can and must save our economy by eliminating or reining in the Federal Reserve; and how to ban bailouts and corporate welfare.
We can and must empower entrepreneurs and small business owners to create their own union: the Private Sector Taxpayers of America.
We can and must end expensive foreign wars and bring about dramatic reductions of foreign aid and Pentagon waste, reducing bureaucracy and eliminating entire government agencies, such as the IRS and the Education Department.
We can and must force members of Congress to read every word of every bill they vote on and install term limits for all politicians.
We can and must solve the economic crisis via a one-year "income tax vacation" for all taxpayers — thereby reinvigorating the economy, encouraging savings and consumption, and rescuing small business owners.
We can and must end the IRS forever.
We can and must dramatically cut spending with "Constitutional Impoundment."
We can and must use the Nevada model of legalizing and taxing "sin" to reduce taxpayers' burden by $260 billion.
We can and must end illegal immigration forever with one simple step.
And so much more. Wayne Allyn Root's powerful, thought-provoking new book will teach Americans how to protect and preserve the Constitution and their inalienable civil liberties once and for all!
Now is the right time to read what a true Libertarian-conservative citizen politician would do to save America from Obama, big-government bureaucrats, and Beltway arrogance and corruption:


Let's make a difference!

Wayne Allyn Root
2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

P.S. Here is what some very prominent people are saying about my book.


"Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R.) means business. In 'The Conscience of a Libertarian,' he is declaring WAR on big government, big spending, big taxes, big unions, big business, arrogant career politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, and the media elite. This book is a must read for libertarians, conservatives, disillusioned Republicans, independents, and anyone who wants to cut the size and scope of government dramatically, and return power to individuals. Instead of just criticisms, Wayne provides common-sense solutions for limited government, economic and personal freedom, and protecting our Constitution. I can feel our Founding Fathers looking down and smiling."
— Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Fox News Channel, Senior Judicial Analyst
Host of "Brian and the Judge" and "FreedomWatch"

"Wayne Root is the Anti-Obama. His book is a fast-paced read that reminds us of what has made and kept this country strong: free market principles, risk-taking, capitalism, and a deep-seeded belief in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — not a government-guaranteed happiness based on bailouts, entitlements, stimulus, waste, welfare, and tax cuts for people who don't pay taxes. You want to save America and capitalism — READ THIS BOOK!"
— Jerry Doyle, Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host
The Jerry Doyle Show (No. 7 rated talk show in the United States)

"Wayne Allyn Root might just be the most powerful new voice for the cause of liberty in America. If every U.S. citizen would read 'The Conscience of a Libertarian,' most of the power holders in Washington would be thrown out of office. In his trademark dynamic style, Root leaves no doubt that government is not the solution, but the problem."
— Robert Ringer, Author of New York Times No. 1 Best-Sellers
To Be or Not To Be Intimidated, Looking Out for #1, Restoring the American Dream
Publisher, A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World

"Wayne Allyn Root is a dynamic Libertarian patriot and freedom fighter. He lives and breathes freedom and free markets. If you value your liberty, READ THIS BOOK. 'The Conscience of a Libertarian' explains how government is the problem — not the solution — and calls for a dramatic reduction in government intervention. Root is a Citizen Politician whose passion and message can spearhead our Citizen Revolution."
— Manny Klausner, Co-Founding Editor of Reason Magazine
Co-Founder, Reason Foundation

"In your heart, you know he's right. Channeling Barry Goldwater for a modern audience, Root does a great job of adapting his mentor's classic for 21st century America. My guess is that the principles of Goldwater, shepherded by Root, will be a benchmark for reform in this age of political and economic crisis."
— Peter Schiff, President Euro Pacific Capital
Author of Best-Seller "Crash Proof"

"Republican or Democrat? It seems no matter who wins, we lose. Only Wayne Allyn Root can save the USA from the morons, thieves, and frauds in Washington, D.C. He is our last best hope to lead a political revolution. Read this book to stop the insanity, to save our nation, to protect our freedom. None of the sex, violence, and profanity, I usually read, but just as exciting, and more important to our future."
— Mancow Muller, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host
The Mancow Show

"'The Conscience of a Libertarian' is the most important and potentially nation-changing book you have read this decade. Wayne Root has penned the final solution to stopping the United States of America from being pushed off the cliff by government. Every citizen of conscience will read this book and immediately understand the gravity and urgency of the crisis our country faces at every level. The enemy is not in Russia or Iran, it's in Washington, D.C., and, we can stop it before it's too late."
— Kevin Hogan Psy.D.
Author of "The Science of Influence" and "The 12 Factors of Business Success"

"(Both) Wayne Root, the Libertarian Party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, and Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 United States presidential candidate of the Republican Party, are blunt, outspoken, straight-talking politicians who do not see 'liberty and justice for all' being compatible or existing for long with federal government spending-gone-wild. . . Root has solutions. To me, he's the only candidate who's articulate, powerful in presentation, and RIGHT. He comes across great because he speaks truth from the heart, of America, to America, for America. There's time: ROOT FOR AMERICA. Bring in 2010 and 2012: THROW OUT THE BUMS, AND CRIMINALS!"
— Dr. John Hospers
First Libertarian U.S. Presidential Candidate
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Southern California

06 December 2009

Saturday at Gator Holiday Classic

Up bright and early for day 2 of big meet swimming. Shannon got the day started in the early session with a near best time 50 Free at 26.67. She then got a little tied up on her 100 Back start by bottoming out in the shallow end and tried to recover, but finished with a respectable 1:11.69. The Blue Dolfins 13-14 Girls 200 Free Relay was awesome, swimming a 1:46.70. Shannon did her 50 split in 26.3, an unofficial best time. Leah Sims brought the team back from a body length deficit in the final 25 (25.5, 50 split.)

Visit the cafeteria again and pig out on the buffet. Then off to the afternoon session.

There has been a Mickey sighting. Repeat. Mickey Kennedy is in the building. With one chance to show that he was serious, Mickey put up a huge time on his 50 Free. He dropped his personal best by over a second posting a 29.01.

We then made our way around campus for a few stops at various stores and got back to the hotel for a little rest and some birthday cake. (Happy birthday, Rachel Patterson!). At the same exact time as the SEC Championship kicks off, we are back in the van headed for Finals.

In the evening finals, we saw lots of teammates with awesome swims, individual efforts (glad to have Paige Mooread at Oviedo) and some great team effort in relays throughout all age groups. The Dolfins rocked despite how bad the Gators sucked in a 32-13 loss to the better prepared and better coached Alabama squad.

05 December 2009

God Bless CBS

I assure you that you will not hear me often give credit to broadcast television for getting something right, but today I will do just that. In this smart phone application crazy world we find ourselves, CBS has done quite a few good things. I'm not talking about there news app or even the fantasy football app, although both are decent. I am celebrating an app so brilliant that I can hardly believe they have done it. CBS Sports College App has all the "Game of the Week" broadcasts for SEC football and basketball. Live streaming video right to your smart phone. If you do not have a smart phone, I am sorry but that is dumb.

Why would somebody need that, you ask? Well, I will hazard a guess at an example where it might come in handy. Let's say, for example, both of your children are racing in an invitational swim meet in Gainesville during the SEC Championship game between #1 Florida and #2 Alabama, which of course is the SEC Game of the Week. I am sure there are other reasons why it might come in handy. Maybe your kid has a Christmas recital that starts at tipoff of Kentucky at Indiana. You can now be a good parent and not miss a note of the performance or a rain of threes on the Hoosiers.

Well, that does it. I have met the terms of this Public Service Announcement. It is now up to you to do what is best for you. For everybody that wants to hate on Tebow today, and all the talk about what not having Carlos Dunlap will do, imagine one thing for me. What would this Florida team look like and what would the Tebow stats be if Percy Harvin was putting on that awesome new Gator helmet today? For some, the "F" comes after the "U". For me, it always comes before.

Check out the app.

04 December 2009

Friday Night Lights

Friday evening at Finals of the Gator Holiday Classic. We have been up since 5am and everyone is excited for the Finals to get started.

Shannon swam two events and a 50 Breast leg of a medley relay this morning. In the first event, first heat, Shannon had a best time in her 200 Free of 2:09.19. Later in one of her best events the 100 Breast, she did not come close to her best, but the 1:16.something was good enough to finish better than her seed and get into tonight's Consolation Final (Final is top 8 and Consolation Final is finishers 9-16.) Her contribution to the relay in the 50 Breast was a strong split around 35 seconds.

A big portion of the team ate lunch at the cafeteria next to the O-Dome here on campus and we got some rest back at the hotel for a few hours.

Now, here we are. The teams are done with warm ups and they have done their screaming and drummed on the cowbells. It's all done but the swimming. Wait just one second. Before the meet can get started, Shannon takes a chance and winds up with a photo opportunity with Ryan Lochte (if you need to, Google it and be ashamed of yourself.) The photo gets taken about 25 yards from the sign posting about 6 of the University of Florida records that he still holds.

The finals were a blast and the swimming and cheering really go to another level. It is awesome to watch so many swimmers in so many age groups fight to be the best. The team atmosphere and effort was outstanding, too. My favorite part of the team was how when each swimmer was getting up from where the team was sitting to go get ready for their event everyone on the team got up on their feet and gave them high fives and sent them off right. In the end, Shannon had a new best time in her 100 Breast of 1:14.02 (34.58 at the 50 turn) and finished 3rd in the Consolation Final giving her at least 11th overall in the event.

Mickey did not swim today as his events are on Saturday and Sunday. We expect some big things to happen this weekend. We're going to get some dinner and maybe a drink before getting to bed. 5am will come just as early tomorrow.

03 December 2009

Worth Doing Right

When someone is standing in front of you lying to you and to themselves, what do you do? I watch often when it is family, friends or colleagues and see people do nothing. They hear these lies and allow the teller to at least think that they are believed in order to avoid confrontation. I believe that this does an injustice to everyone involved and enables the teller to build these lies into bigger more ridiculous situations that will eventually fall apart. However, I also do not want to contribute to the drama or waste energy defending my point of view to someone that is not capable of understanding it. When that lie is about a promotion at work or your financial situation, the damage may be limited. When the lie is about national security or the economy, the damage is massive.

I sat a couple nights ago and watched the President give his Address on his plan for Afghanistan. [I had hoped that ABC would be airing the Christmas special "Prep & Landing" afterward, but it was moved to 12/8 at 8:30.] No President has ever selected a more home-cooked audience than Obama regularly does. I guess if you can't keep Congress from pointing out your lies in the middle of your speech, you had better go to a military institution so that you can literally order everyone to smile and keep quiet and applaud when appropriate. I can tell you how disappointed I was with Obama's lack of substance and double talk and half truths and statements about things that have not been done but discussing them as victories, but none of that really surprised me. Don't get me wrong. I was mad at all that and I sat there arguing with the television throughout.

The most disappointing part for me was the next day when my candidate for President, Mike Huckabee, sent an e-mail through his PAC supporting the President's plan. I guess there really was something for everybody in that speech, or everyone is more dumb than even I imagined. The right is all excited because they get the troops that military leadership has asked for and the left is appeased with an exit timeline. You should all know lies when you hear them. No new troops will deploy for months, but the 18 month exit time is already ticking. Why 18 months? Well about that time, somebody will be campaigning for President. What, if anything, will 30,000 more troops accomplish? What countries will supply the other 7000 troops that Obama promised? Was he serious about the 5000 Afghan troops counting toward the number? Do you think that when the General asked for 40,000 more troops, that any old troops would do? There have to be 40,000 Girls Scout troops available. I bet their moms would rather do anything than sell cookies this year.

If you were writing a plan for the Middle East tomorrow, what would you want to know and how would you make it happen? I ask only because I know that, like me, you have not thought about it that way. Your government believes that you are not capable of making an intelligent, unemotional decision. To a certain extent, they are right. The reason they are right is because that is how they want you to be. They want you to be dumb and emotional, so that your behavior is more predictable at election time. Believing what you are told as an electorate, though, makes you worthless as a citizen. Believing that your government is anything more than a collection of fellow Americans, using your money to ineffectively offer services to your neighbor is a mistake made by too many of us.

I am trying to be open minded. I have walked into the ballot box for over half my life and blindly pulled the levers, connected the arrows or pushed the buttons of the Republican candidates in the hope that of the two evils their values were most like mine. I am not doing that anymore. In the last two elections, I have apprised myself of the issues and even considered candidates outside the two "controlling" parties. Even more than listening to what politicians are telling me, I am listening to what they are not saying. In my opinion, the things that they do not say are far more truthful than those they do.

If you are ready to be open minded, too, read the Libertarian party response that I have attached in full below. My favorite part is the information from the Cato Institute that advises that in order to stabilize a country of the size of Afghanistan that it would take 600,000 troops. I don't know what you think about that, but let your elected officials know. If you do not know who your elected officials are, visit the home page for the county you live in and follow the link for the Supervisor of Elections. There you should find the contact information for your Mayor, County Commissioners and so on all the way to Obama. If you want your voice to be heard, open your mouth and say clearly what it is that you think. Don't be a hypocrite. Don't allow them to get you emotional and act dumb. Represent yourself as well as you want to be represented and demand the same from those that you elect.

Make it happen. Take it to the next level. Raise the bar.

Libertarians opposed to new war plans for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party (LP) today expressed its opposition to the Afghanistan war plans announced by President Barack Obama last night.

Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the LP, said, "Rush Limbaugh should buy Obama a nice cigar. The liberal president has done exactly what the conservative leader wanted: escalate the war."

William Redpath, Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee (LNC), commented, "This is further evidence that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are, at most, rhetorical. This president, whose votes made him the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, has just announced an escalation of a foreign war. His campaign promise of 'Change' now sounds a lot more hollow."

Redpath continued, "Some congressional Democrats may make a rhetorical show of opposing Obama's decision, but that is all it will be. Obama is guaranteed to get the additional troops and funding that he wants."

Redpath continued, "Instead, Congress should re-assert its authority in matters of war, by passing legislation that terminates the president's authorization to make war in Afghanistan, and that calls for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. If the president vetoes it, Congress should override the veto."

In September 2008, the LNC adopted a resolution calling for a military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Benedict commented further, "One problem with the president's strategy is that it demonstrates a hyperinflated fear of terrorists. When we act worried and threatened, we make the terrorists feel like they're having their intended effect, which encourages them to keep doing what they're doing."

Redpath continued, "According to the Cato Institute, 'the U.S. military's counterinsurgency doctrine says that stabilizing a country the size of Afghanistan would require far more troops than the most wild-eyed hawk has proposed: about 600,000 troops.' President Obama is proposing to put a total of about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, which won't come close to accomplishing anything."

Redpath concluded, "The president's speech was surprisingly content-free. The speech was nearly all platitudes, which is typical for politicians, particularly presidents. Will someone please restore substance to American political discourse?"

27 November 2009

Big River

Waiting for a boat to Disney's Hollywood Studios can be fun.
www.bigrivergrille.com

Black Friday Swim Practice

6:45am swim practice at Rollins College.

26 November 2009

Alaskan Amber

As a reward for getting my turkey in the oven, I am having an Alaskan
Amber. Thanks, Suegros.

Sticky Buns

I wasn't kidding yesterday when I promised sticky buns. They just
came out of the oven as the sausage, corn bread and chestnut dressing
went in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2009

Dessert is Ready

A long day in the kitchen will pay off tomorrow with more time for
football. Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Relish are in the fridge
already. Whipped cream was just made from scratch and I am calling it
a day.

Preparations are Underway

If you are not going to be at the Kennedy house for Thanksgiving, you
may want stop reading now. Sticky buns are made and ready to go in
the oven in the morning. First pie is out of the oven, and it is
pictured here. Sweet potatoes are nearly done and will get finished
in the oven tomorrow with a marshmallow and pecan topping. Happy
Thanksgiving!

22 November 2009

Chillin' at Starbucks

Sunday evening relaxing at the local Starbucks. The Kennedy's
monopolized all four comfy chairs for an extended period of time.
Mickey had a Strawberry Creme Frappucino. Shannon had a Decaf
Peppermint Mocha Latte. Ana and I shared a French Press pot. We
picked up some more ground coffee (Ethiopia Sidamo) and we all shared
a cookie. We downloaded some free music and they were already playing
Christmas music. Visit your local Starbucks today and chillax.

20 November 2009

Work, Work, Work

Having to run to Ormond Beach to meet with customers to spec a job isn't the same as surfing, but seeing some surfers will have to do.

17 November 2009

Pei Wei

I had no idea that Pei Wei was not ubiquitous, but nobody that I talk
to has been there. Consider it PF Chang's Express, and find the one
nearest you.

15 November 2009

WingHouse

Family, Liter Blue Moon, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich Hot and lots of TVs
with the NFL. What are you doing right now?

Ein, Zwei, Drei...

videoSunday's entrance led by Matt Curby (pink drag suit, future Olympian,
Top 5 in the US in backstroke). The cheer at the end, "Ein, zwei,
drei, Hasselhoff"

Patriot Aquatics Winter Invitational, Day 2

Day 2 always brings back the faithful. A lot of swim families only ever sign up for one day of a meet. Of course, we believe if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. It is also another NFL Sunday which means, of course, that I will be relying heavily on my iPhone and DirecTV SuperCast via NFL SuperFan. I will not miss a score.

Shannon started with a relay again. This time it was the 200 Medley and she took the 50 Breast in 33.8 by my stopwatch.

Shannon, 200 Free 2:09.32

Mickey, 200 Free 2:24.76

Shannon, 100 Back 1:10.50

Mickey, 100 Back 1:21.59

Shannon, 200 Breast 2:43.44

Mickey, 50 Breast 45.25

Shannon, 50 Free 26.98

Mickey, 50 Free 29.90

What a great weekend. The kids had a great time and had great times. They are in the home stretch for the big meet in Gainesville in December.

We closed the night out with a visit to WingHouse. We got home in time to do a couple loads of laundry, homework, music practice and get ready for the week ahead.

As I post this, Sunday Night Football is in the fourth and Randy Moss has just caught another TD to put the Patriots up 31-14. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Blue Dolfins March

video

Patriot Aquatics Winter Invitational, Day 1

We find ourselves spending the weekend at Lake Brantley for another
swim meet. This week we celebrated Coach Joe Auer's birthday and he
asked the team to get excited and make this a team meet. The gauntlet
was dropped for body painting, posters and noise making. Wouldn't you
know it, Shannon and Mickey take the lead and get put in charge.

After practice on Thursday, we had birthday cake and presents, but
then all the kids were painting posters and decorating crowns that Ana
got from Burger King. Needless to say, poster paint and glitter got
all over everything and everyone (sorry about the clean up, City of
Oviedo.) Friday, we went in search of cow bells and balloons. After
practice, the kids coordinated their cheers and worked on getting loud.

Saturday involved hanging balloons and painted posters all around our
corner of the pool. After warmups, Joe marched the kids out the gates
and minutes later they processed in two by two beating on cow bells
with drumsticks and chanting to a cadence. When they were all in,
they huddled and went through a series of cheers. The mood was set.
The other teams were intimidated and unprepared for where we were
taking them.

Relays start the day and Shannon was ready. In the lead leg of a 200
Free Relay, Shannon flew out to an early lead with a peronal best
25.48 50 Free (Note: maybe 26.48, timing was a mess all day.) Mickey
supported his relay too with a near best 50 Free around 31 seconds in
the anchor and hung on for the win.

Shannon, 100 Free 59.48 (28.65 split).

Mickey, 100 Free 1:05.33.

Shannon, 100 Breast 1:16.15

Mickey, 100 Breast 1:40.69

Mickey, 50 Back 38.10

Shannon, 100 Fly 1:10.70 (31.71 split)

Mickey, 100 IM 1:21.25

The Matschner's had to leave and left Wyatt as a Kennedy for the rest
of his day.

Wyatt, 100 IM 1:11.72

Shannon, 500 Free 5:48.07

Wyatt, 500 Free 6:01.24

The hardcore families that stayed to the end all met at Sweet Tomatoes
and took the place over.

We all got home showered and climbed into bed and put "Twilight" on
Blu-Ray to get ready for "New Moon" and everyone was asleep before it
was over.

13 November 2009

Mexican Food Review

I find myself in Kissimmee today and have heard that the Mexican food
here is more authentic and delicious. In my opinion, it tastes
exactly the same.

Terrorist Rights


"One of the worst decisions ever made by any President." - Peter King, R-NY

I won't say that Obama loves terrorists. That is probably not true.

Obama is a terrorist.

Obama has taken giving what we have to others way too far now. Obama is so dedicated in fact that he wants to make sure that terrorists can avoid military tribunals and harsh interrogation tactics that he is going to bring them right into the US and a civilian court granting them all the rights that a US citizen would receive.

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court, an Obama administration official said Friday." - Fox News

Obama will do whatever it takes to make one of his campaign promises finally happen. He won't meet the deadline that he promised for closing Guantanamo, but no matter how many Americans are hurt, upset or merely put at risk, he'll try to close it.

Pay me the $6B a day that this administration is increasing spending and I will go down to Cuba and close the base the old fashioned way. At $6B per day, I could be the richest man in the world in less than a month and beat the deadline by two months. Let me know.

Before I could post, I got to hear the sister of the pilot whose plane was crashed into the Pentagon crying about how politicized the 9/11 victims have become. Those families surely have not had enough pain. We should give the mastermind of those attacks a platform to mock us and them. Thanks, PresBO.

11 November 2009

Modern Warfare 2

I would have posted yesterday, but I was deployed in a Campaign and
finished the day with a Team Deathmatch. Hold your fire when you see
Pappagiorgio. Respect.

08 November 2009

NFL Sunday

You spend your Sunday's how you want. This is how I spend mine.

Florida's Changing Seasons

It may be 83 degrees on a November Sunday morning, but we have other ways of knowing what time of year it is in Florida.

07 November 2009

Truth via Bumper Sticker

Had to jump out in traffic to get this picture in order to share its
wisdom with you. Represent.

Saturday Swim Team Run

Up at 5:45 am on Saturday morning for the Joe Auer prescribed Blue
Dolfins 4 miler. Among the rewards is a crisp 60 degree clear day
with singing birds along the Seminole Trail.

04 November 2009

Rock-a-thon Fundraisers

Apparently just asking for donations has been more successful than all
other previous fundraising attempts when they were actually selling
something.

03 November 2009

Are You Happy?

Are you reading the paper or listening to the radio? We will get into which paper and radio station another time. Are you watching the news or talking at the water cooler? Do you know the reality of America today? What version of that reality are you accepting as the truth? If given the choice today, would you take the blue pill or the red pill? Do you know how far the rabbit hole goes?

Either through your action or inaction, you find yourself where you are right now. Are you happy? Are you simply going to take what they give you? Or more correctly, are you going to give what they take from you? If you are looking for the government to solve your problems or to take from you rather than going out to help others in need when you can, stop reading now. Return to your life and forget that I said anything. Your blue pill is on the table.

Good. I am glad that you decided to push through. Now, what are you going to do? I intend to fight for liberty. How? I am going support candidates that share my values. I am going to seek them out in my community and others and offer whatever help I can. I am going to fight where the battle lines are being drawn. Today that is in Virginia and New Jersey. There are others and there will be more. The issues are too numbered to mention. The big rocks for me right now without rehashing the issues are FairTax and less government.

If you agree with me or simply disagree with Obama, check out what you can do to get involved at http://my.huckpac.com/

I hope that you will go check out the website, but to give you a sample, here is some info copied directly from their site:

Our Mission

Team Huck’s mission is to elect strong common-sense Republicans who support the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, lower taxes, fiscal sanity and a strong national defense.

This exciting new grassroots organization provides you with the online and offline tools you need to effectively organize in your community.

Organization

Each state has a team of grassroots Coordinators tasked with organizing the grassroots in their state. Our goal is to have a Group of Volunteers form in every county in the country. Multiple groups can form per county and we hope these groups will work together to support Huck PAC endorsed candidates.

Candidates

Our goal is to identify and support candidates in every state in the country. You can see which candidates we have endorsed by clicking on the candidates section of our website, or by clicking on your home state image in the Team Huck headquarters section of our website.

If you do not see a candidate listed for you state, please suggest one to your state’s Grassroots Coordinator. Huck PAC endorsed candidates must be pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, a fiscal conservative and a strong advocate for lower taxes.


I hope that whatever you believe you get more involved. Be a leader in your family. Be a leader in your community. A little actual leadership repeated will grow beyond your expectations. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what you can do.

LuLu's Bait Shack, Fort Lauderdale

Some lunch stops provide more scenery than others.

01 November 2009

Smashed Pumpkin

Pugsley's Signature Series Smashed Pumpkin from Shipyard poured into the 2009 Titletown Mug Club mug.

Sunday Morning


November 1 and I am up even earlier than usual. It is actually about the same time but the clocks were rolled back last night making it only 6:37 am. Early enough that my Sunday paper has not arrived. I grab Ana's MacBook and head for the back porch. I get in some bitter exchanges on the fantasy football websites adding only more credence to my earlier post on the subject. I check out my weekend matchup and check the driveway again, happily finding my big Sunday Edition of the Orlando Sentinel.

I have some habits when it comes to the paper. For years, I would sort it so that I could save the best for last. I would get through all the news and propaganda first and save my sports and comics to the very end. In the last few years as my kids started pilfering my ads and comics, I now get them out of the way first and leave them in a pile so that nobody takes the things that I have not read yet.

I am back on the back porch and have returned the things that I have no need for like the classifieds and ads for stores that we have no need to the plastic bag from which they came. I knocked out the comics in record time. Are there fewer comics in the paper? "Zits" by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman is my absolute favorite and I enjoy the plot line in "Luann" throughout the week, but she is noticeably absent from my Sunday page. Of course, nothing can ever take the place of growing up with "Calvin and Hobbes", but I don't want to get started on that.

Oddly enough, I have never been a clipper of coupons, but I found myself unable to simply recycle the ads without checking to see the deals and ended up clipping way more than I will ever buy from today's paper. Some of it I should not even show the family as it will inevitably lead to shopping that we would not do otherwise, but "you never know" and Christmas is approaching.

Let me stop here and climb up on my soap box. One advertisement in the coupon pages got my relaxed Sunday morning, back porch, birds chirping, looking out over the calm lake blood boiling. Lenox, those crafty creators of artificial collectibility and heirlooms, have gone off the proverbial deep end. You can now buy a hand-numbered, limited edition, shipped with a certificate of authenticity, and with the Lenox special edition Insider's Guide "President Barack Obama" sculptural portrait. I have seen plates and figurines and many other things just like this that has never given me reason to pause. Something about this made me freeze. Who would buy this? What other presidents have had little statues of themselves sold as collectibles? How much would someone spend on something like this? The price is $295. WHAT? Five monthly installments of $59. WHAT? I am purposely editing out the profanity-laden tirade that my brain is trying to force from me. I am assuming that the use of his likeness for this must be approved. If I am wrong, please correct me. Otherwise we need to form a PAC and make sure that America gets headed in the right direction again.

I am going to move on for reasons of personal sanity. I made it through most of the ads. Can you say Toys R Us Biggest Big Book Ever? Then my beautiful daughter, Shannon, made me an awesome ham and cheese omelet before I had to run Mickey to a retreat for church. I got to listen to him and his friend Wyatt recount their haul from last night's halloween activities and the accomplishments of the morning's adventures playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare live on PS3 this morning. I don't remember being 11 or 13 as clearly as I once did, but I apologize to my mother since I know that I was never as well behaved as my kids are now. On the return trip from the retreat center, I got to hear the radio that was not audible with Mickey and Wyatt in the car and it was all Brett Favre radio as he returns to Green Bay today as a Viking for another rematch.

Back to the back porch and the newspaper, my brilliant wife, Ana, groggy from a few days in Vegas with girls presents me with a french press that reminds me of our breakfasts in Spain last summer. I read in Parade about Sandra Bullock and look forward to her next movie, "The Blind Side", based on a true story. I didn't know that she was married to Jesse James. What a cool couple.

I found it funny that an 8th grader has a group that he administrates on facebook with over half a million friends asking for changes at the social networking site and his parents didn't know until a reporter called. I also read about "slow money". It seems that someone is trying to pattern socially respectable investing after the "slow food" concept of socially respectable eating. It seems a little weak right now, but the article did ask a great question that I hope to think about as I spend my money going forward. "Is this a company I want to support or is there a better choice I can make that's more aligned with my values?" I have done this a little recently in wondering if I am buying something that I could buy a little closer to home in order to support my community and keep local stores open. My local mall is dying before our very eyes and if it closes will be a blight on our community.

The bulk of the news was unimportant. More propaganda from the liberal media. Half truths and poorly reported stories meant to intentionally lead those reading them to a predefined opinion. Maybe this week's elections will show congress and our executive branch that we are not going to take it anymore. The best story outside the sports page was a married couple that were childhood friends and spent over 64 years together and died within 24 hours of each other. My wife only went to Vegas for a few days and I can understand how this happens. If you spend 64 years married to someone, losing them is probably like losing oxygen. Maybe next week will be better. What are you going to do to help? Start by hugging your family and getting out to vote.

31 October 2009

Beer Paddle

From left to right: Erie Railbender, Terrapin Depth Charge, Shipyard
Pumpkinhead and Abita Purple Haze all courtesy of Mellow Mushroom
Winter Park.

29 October 2009

Fantasy Football

What could go wrong with combining two things that everyone loves? Fantasy and Football? Let's look at each of them separately before combining them.

Fantasy. Do you know the average fantasy of the average American male? No, not that one. The one that they have had since they could first pickup a ball and glove. Do you know why people bring their baseball glove to the ballpark when they go see their favorite team? It has nothing to do with being ready for a foul ball or prepared for an autograph. They bring the glove because they absolutely must be ready to take the field when called upon. There is a series of events in which they may have to suit up and get in there and play. I do not care what you are a fan of, Nascar or basketball, jai-Alai or competitive hot dog eating, you have pictured yourself not only participating, but absolutely integral in an emergency call up to help your team. Fantasy is rooted in our psyche, but this is the most prevalent and longest surviving example.

Football. In all its forms, football is the most popular sport on earth. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport by far with no near competitor. American football, whether college or the NFL, could literally print its own currency. Families break up and blasphemy is rampant when college football is discussed openly. Adults actually paint their face and take out a second mortgage for a PSL to watch the hometown NFL team. I have heard that a fan in London can take the tube home wearing his team gear and get off at the wrong station only to receive the beating of his life. The games themselves include battlefield tactics. Offense, Defense, Trenches, Ground Attacks, Aerial Assaults, Field Generals, Flankers, Shotguns, Strikers, and Emergency Medical Personnel. Football is the ultimate team sport and, also, all out war.

What mad man thought it would be safe to mix fantasy and football? What kind of idiot, upon hearing that someone had combined them, would dare to partake in the sheer lunacy? We have seen this before with tragic results: fast women and fast cars, Americans and credit cards, Cruzan Rum and Hope Town. These things would seem to be like oil and water and yet they make terrific pair. They went together like lamb and tuna fish. Lamb and tuna fish? Maybe you like spaghetti and meatball? You more comfortable with that analogy? Rotisserrie baseball begat fantasy football, and fantasy football begat the end of western civilization. The entire recession and my current lack of home value started with the proliferation of fantasy football. When the leader of the free world is more concerned with whether college football has a playoff than life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness, we have a problem.

I think that there are only a couple things left for us to do. I don't know much about fast cars and fast women, but they seem to be holding their own. It is clear that the economy is not going to fix itself and my Obama check was lost in the mail. Good rum is too delicious. We either need a complete and immediate separation of football and fantasy, or someone needs to trade me Adrian Peterson before this weekend's games.

25 October 2009

To Post or Not to Post

I have been pretty lackadaisical when it comes to the blog recently. I set this standard for myself just like I do in keeping a journal and when it is not met production stops. Case in point: I currently have more "unposted" blog entries than posted. Worse than that: I have deleted as many posts as I have left up for display. Why? I try to add too much detail and when too much time passes or another event occurs that I want to blog about occurs the blog just dies unposted.

Going forward, I am going to post as often as possible and on whatever is on my mind at the time. I am going to try to treat it like brainstorming and not edit or censor myself too harshly. The exercise is to write and share. I will write and share and see where it goes. I am going to commit to posting at least once per week and hope to increase the frequency as I go. I hope that quantity will improve quality as a blogger I follow has applied to her ceramics work.

I have also started reading and subscribing to a few other blogs to see what others are doing. I am being selective on those as I already cannot keep up with the the newspaper, magazine subscriptions and e-mail that I have now. If I didn't know better, I would swear that time moves faster for me than for everyone else.

I will try to talk about my observations of the world and what is going on with my family. I will talk about politics and the economy and other mundane but prescient topics. For example: While waiting for Sunday Night Football, Ana has us watching Amazing Race and multiple groups of Americans just showed that they cannot do long division on national television to figure a conversion rate on gold. Fortunately and finally, poker players and Harlem Globetrotters do know simple math. Some of those same people that cannot divide were also frustrated with quality control in the hookah construction market. If you step back from yourself and observe the world objectively, it is not hard to see why the rest of the world is not as impressed with us as we are with ourselves.

On that note, I will wrap up this post and promise to write soon. Assuming of course that I don't delete this before your read it. Just kidding.

27 September 2009

Highlander Invite, Day 2

Back at the pool after a night of rain and a slight breeze promises to make today a little less oppressive than yesterday. We reconstruct our tent that was deformed by last night's heavy rains. As we gather on the deck for the beginning relays, threatening clouds gather from the west.

Q: How do you spend a Sunday afternoon session at the pool watching your kids swim when you are a passionate fan of the NFL?

A: NFL SuperFan DirecTV SuperCast on my iPhone.


This may be one of the greatest inventions in my lifetime. I have enjoyed the cd, and the personal computer, the mobile phone and the satellite dish. For the love of Pete, I have all of them in my hand now wherever I go. What the what?!?

Shannon started the day participating in the 400 Medley Relay as the breast stroker.
Mickey 100 Free
Shannon 100 Free 1:01.52

Thorguard lightning "prediction" came into play as we suffered through two different delays. The first was just 30 minutes, but after one event and only minutes in the pool, the alarm went off and the second delay was nearly an hour and cost the event a majority of the diehards that sat through the first delay. We stayed to get our events done. With everyone that left. The remainder of the meet went fast out of the water if not in.


Mickey 50 Fly just over 41s.
Shannon 100 Back 1:15.62
Mickey 100 Back 1:25.01
Shannon 200 Breast
Mickey 50 Breast 49.29s.
Shannon 200 IM

We are done and heading to Sweet Tomatoes with some of the other stalwart families that stayed to the end for a quick dinner. Nobody wants to cook after the long swim weekend. I am looking forward to getting home to see how my fantasy football weekend continues into Football Night in America on NBC as Indianapolis travels to Arizona.

EPCOT Food and Wine Festival


The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival got kicked off Friday, September 25, and we had planned to meet my brother, Jon, his wife, Tara, and our niece, Grace, for an evening of food and wine Saturday night after swimming. My nephew Jack got left with his grandparents to give Grace a chance to stay for Illuminations (fireworks).

We parked at Disney's Boardwalk and met up with everybody for the boat ride over to EPCOT. Entering near the Great Britain pavilion, a Bass Ale fueled my walk to Future World as I had promised Grace that the first thing we would do is ride the "dragon ride", which is what she calls Imagination, and Spaceship Earth. On our way forward to the rides, we saw Cork, Ireland; Wellington, New Zealand and Montreal Canada. After riding both rides which have been updated since I last rode them years ago, we headed straight back to the Canada Pavilion.

As we passed the Festival Gift Shop on our way back to Canada, I noticed that someone was signing Festival Posters and assumed that it was the artist. Knowing that I would by a poster before the festival ended, I though might as well meet the artist and get it signed. While everyone went on to get in line for food, I bought a poster. I met Tim Rogerson and talked to him about what I liked about his poster and his other art displayed there. My favorite piece was one that he called "The Bartender" which it turns out was inspired at Blue Martini in the Mall at Millenia. I got my poster signed after a short wait and learned that he will be the artist for next year's Festival poster, too.

At Montreal, Canada, we enjoyed the number one selling item at the festival, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. We also tried some Maple Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad, Spicy Chicken Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Maple Sugar Candy. We then began our clockwise "crawl" around the World Showcase. We passed many countries and marketplaces looking at menus and offerings. We enjoyed Beef Empanadas with Tomato Salsa from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mickey really wanted the Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese plate in Barcelona, Spain, but I said the line was to long and he had some in Barcelona. He did not like that answer but we will surely get some next visit.

Grace spent time walking and holding everyone's hand. We looked in some stores and watched as the sky and clouds darkened. By the time we got to Germany, we had felt a sprinkle or two of rain. Munich, Germany rewarded us with a Paulaner Oktoberfest and Nuernberger Sausage on a Pretzel Roll. While enjoying my Oktoberfest, I promised myself that on the next visit I would start in New Orleans, USA for the food offerings and the Abita beer pairing. I also gave a knowing glance to the Sam Adams Beer School off in the distance.

Tokyo, Japan was when the trouble started. When we arrived at Japan, they had one Spicy Tuna Roll left, which Ana claimed. I tried to switch to a Tuna Sensation but those too were all out. I tried to negotiate a deal but was rebuffed. Mickey and Shannon each had a California Sushi Roll. I was annoyed not only that they would run out of food on a Saturday night, but that the manager would explain it away so carelessly. I watched my family enjoy their sushi while I finished my Oktoberfest.

We got to the Great Britain pavilion to grab a couple rugby balls we wanted known as the Adidas Torpedo and mini torpedo. While we walked to setup for a place to watch Illuminations, the rain picked up a bit. As the ten minute countdown to the fireworks began the rain picked up a lot and we were looking for cover. Under a tree quickly became not enough cover so back into the sports store. The deluge began in earnest and Grace became inconsolable because she would not see Illuminations and blow out the torches to start the show. We ran for the boat in a "Forrest Gump with Bubba in Vietnam" downpour of rain. Luckily my kids are swimmers so when we got to the truck, we had towels.

26 September 2009

Highlander Invite, Day 1



We are at Lake Highland Preparatory School for the Elizabeth Kazeck Invitational Swim Meet. This pool supposedly hosted water polo in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Parking is near impossible and the pool deck is so small that we pitch our tent and chairs in a field adjacent to the pool. The younger kids had the early session so we are arriving about 11 am and the heat is building fast. Before the kids are done with warmups, every parent is sweating through their clothes.

Shannon starts the day in the anchor leg of a 400y Free Relay going 28.5s in the first 50 and 1:01.3 for the 100. Then Mickey gets going with a 50 Free in just over 30s. Shannon fires back with a 28.1s in her 50 Free. In his 50 Back, Mickey was cruising and got a best time with 38.38s. Shannon makes a huge move by dropping 4s in her 100 Fly. Mickey lowered his best time by over a second to 1:43.29 in the 100 Breast. Shannon dropped the ball in her best event going 5s slower than her best in her 100 Breast. Mickey finished with an awesome 200 Free dropping 7s to 2:26.1. Shannon finished strong although not a best time in the 200 Free with a 2:15.76.

I haven't seen any college football yet today, but watching my kids give it all they have was fun. I probably lost about 6 pounds sweating as an added bonus. We will see what tomorrow brings. Tonight we are going to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival. I have a good shot at gaining that weight back. I'll let you know.

For more information:

http://www.bluedolfins.com/

http://www.swimmerjoe.wordpress.com/

21 September 2009

Introduction

Welcome to Virtual Mike Kennedy.

I am a thirty-something, husband, father, son, brother and friend. I have spent the largest part of my working life in sales positions. I have extremely diverse interests. I love to travel and watch sports. I love food and music. I love to read and sit on the beach.

Why am I writing a "blog"? I will let you know as I figure it out. The immediate reasons are few. I want to write. I want to share what I am up to with family and friends. And, I want to learn a little more about blogs and the web.

I have always wanted to write. I like keeping journals and exchanging letters. I am not a skilled writer, but I am enthusiastic.

Our extended family has continued to spread around the country and friends around the world. A blog seems like an efficient way to talk about what we are doing and post some pictures.

People are writing blogs about their interests or just about their observations and they eventually get enough readers (and advertisers) that they do it as a job. What? I need to learn more about this.

SERIOUSLY. WHEN IT COMES TO MIKE KENNEDY, VIRTUAL IS BETTER.