Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mission Accomplished

Yesterday and part to of today was spent moving my things out of the old storage unit (the purpose of this trip). I owe a lot of thanks to my friends Richard, Sue and their two grown sons Allen and Richard Jr. for their time, muscle and help with the move. We moved some of it to a new storage unit, some I am donating to Goodwill and a few of my favorite pieces are going to live with Richard and Sue. I put Richard and Sue’s name on my new storage unit contract so they can manage my stuff and move it if it becomes necessary again. If Dooley pushes me off a cliff, it all goes to my sister. Here are a couple of things now living with my friends.

This medical cabinet belonged originally to a doctor who lived in Charleston W.Va. During the early part of WWI German spies broke into the building where he had his office and set fire to the place. If you look you can see scorch marks on the cabinet. On the back side of the cabinet is a mirror that is cracked from the fire. The doctor lived to be one hundred.  Below that is a picture of his office taken around 1909 that shows the cabinet (far left) in his office. It is filled with old medical and chemistry items I collected over the years. I’m happy to see them out of the boxes and bubble wrap and on display again.

This is a wicker rocking chair that belonged to my grandmother. There is a picture somewhere (I think my sister has it) that shows her in the chair holding a six-month old me.

I am also taking some of my books back to W.Va., including all of my Carl Sagan books, few history books I think Firewood Kenny will like and this old 1930’s Pharmaceutical Recipe book that belonged to my dad. I am particularly anxious to try the sulfur and tar ointment for dogs (just kidding Dooley).
Dooley is overwhelmed with so many things. For one, he is living in the same house with a large black male cat named Saboo. I have tried to get a picture of them together but have not been successful yet. He is fascinated by the electric gate at the front of the neighborhood, stop lights, sirens, the number of cars on the road, the course saint augustine grass, air conditioning, palm trees and Richard’s 50 inch TV. I can’t wait to see his face at the beach tomorrow.

My friend from Tampa is working as a music teacher in the public school system and she can’t join us at Disney World until Saturday.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013


We made it to Florida!

Along the way I discovered:

1. McDonald’s doesn’t taste as good as I remembered.

2.  My windshield wipers need replacing.

3. All BMW owners exceed the speed limit.

4. Dooley has a bladder the size of a walnut.

5. Never camp in a state park on a weeknight.

Since we were only going as far as Charlotte the first day we left the woods about 10am. When we got to Charleston I drove Dooley up into South Hills to show him where I grew up. I showed him the old home place, where my dad’s drug store was, the high school where I played football, the little league baseball field. I also showed him my elementary school where I met the friend we are going to visit. Of all the things I showed him, I think he was most impressed by the size of the Kanawha River. I forgot he had never seen a real river before.

The next stop was in Wytheville Virginia to say a quick hello to friends of mine who owned the local KOA campground. After twenty years of camping there on my trips from Florida to West Virginia I got to know them pretty well. Unfortunately, they had sold the business and were long gone.

It was still early when we got to Charlotte. I drove to the little campground and we set up for the night. I had my beloved Clark Jungle Hammock and Dooley had his own little tent. Dooley was exhausted and turned in early. I stayed up and kept the fire going.

A little after 8pm a guy came down from a site above ours and asked if I had anything he could use to start a fire. It wasn’t hard to tell he was drunk. He said they were having a party and wanted to start a fire in a 55 gallon drum they had. I reached in the back of my truck and gave him a quarter filled can of Coleman fuel I had for my lantern. A little while later he brought the can back, thanked me, and said his brother was coming out later and he was going to bring me a new can of fuel. I wasn’t hopeful.

About 10:30pm I saw the same guy coming back down the hill. I was sitting behind the fire and apparently he didn’t see me. He reached in my truck, took the can and left. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want a confrontation with a group of drunks. I forgot to mention that this was a state park. Because state parks are cheap places to camp, it has been my experience that they sometimes attract loud, rowdy and potentially dangerous groups, especially on weeknights. Shortly thereafter, I put out the fire, locked my truck and crawled in my hammock. Around midnight I woke up to headlights glaring in my hammock. It was the police. After some shouting and scuffling, they arrested two of the people at that site and made the others leave. As they walked down past my site I was sure they were thinking I must have been the one who had called the police and they would soon return to chop me up, throw me in the 55 gallon drum and burn my remains with my own Coleman fuel. I woke Dooley up, threw our gear in the back of the truck and drove to a KOA we had passed on the way in. Fortunately, the owner of the KOA was still up and we got a nice warm, safe KOA “Cozy Cabin” for the rest of the night. Gee, my first night back in the “other world” and I am already paranoid and in fear of my life.

Today, the rest of the trip was uneventful except for some rain along the way. We are staying tonight with an old cameraman friend of mine and his lovely wife. They are big fans of the blog and asked me to mention them. So, thank you Richard and Sue.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Road Trip

Dooley and I are leaving for Florida tomorrow morning. The animals were picked up Saturday afternoon by FFA. The truck driver was afraid to cross the river so we herded the goats down to the river road. I put the chickens in an improvised coop and drove them down in my truck. Dooley supervised the whole operation. After dropping off the chickens we drove to town to Harry’s grocery/ hardware/ feed and seed and stocked up on Slim Jims , Honey Buns and Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum Cigars for the road. The cabin is shuttered and secure. Tonight is uncomfortably quiet.

We are only driving to Charlotte N.C. the first day. There is a neat little park by a lake there where we can camp. Should be in Orlando by 3pm Tuesday.  I’m taking the laptop so we update how the trip is going.

I told Dooley it almost feels like we are two Amish kids heading out on Rumspringa. Hope we don’t get too crazy.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Story For Dooley

Dooley couldn’t understand why I was spending so much time planning next year’s garden. It was true that I had spent most of the morning at the kitchen table drawing plots and listing possible vegetable variety combinations for not only my main gardens but also for the decoy gardens. Planning in great detail has always been fun for me in everything I do. The execution of my plans, secondary. (They say Alfred Hitchcock visualized his films so thoroughly before shooting that he considered the actual making of the movie tedious.) Dooley is more of a “seat of the pants”, trial and error kind of guy. Both approaches are valid. We make a good team.

“Maybe it would help you understand if I told you about the fungus that saved America”, I said, hoping that telling him a story would give him the attention he was obviously wanting. Dooley doesn’t know much about human history or geography so I tell him stories every chance I get in hopes of making him a well-rounded dog.

“Far away, across the great ocean……” I started.

“The same ocean we are going to see?” Dooley asked. He’s very excited about seeing the ocean next week when we go to Florida.

“Yes, Dooley.....”

 “Far away, across the great ocean is a beautiful Emerald Island. The people who lived on this island 170 years ago loved potatoes. They loved them so much that they filled their gardens with potatoes. They ate them boiled, mashed, roasted, pan fried, deep fried, colcannon style, and au gratin.”

“French fried, too?”

“No doubt they did, Dooley. The odd thing was everyone grew the same kind of potato. They were strange looking potatoes with lumps so they called them Lumpers. The potatoes grew so well on the Emerald Isle that the well fed population of people grew in leaps and bounds.

One summer day, a great sea bird fished some food cast off by a pirate’s ship out of the ocean and carried it to the Emerald Island. A piece of the food dropped from the great bird’s grasp and fell into a potato garden. Riding on that small piece of food was a fungus called an Oomycete. Looking for a place to live, the Oomycete found its way into a nearby potato. It turns out that, just like the people on the island, the Oomycete loved Lumper potatoes, too. Soon, there were so many Oomycetes living in that potato that some of them moved to another potato. Again, just like the people on the island, the population of the Oomycetes grew and grew until they were living in almost all of the potatoes on the Emerald Isle.  When the people dug up their potatoes that year, they found them black, rotting an inedible. Since potatoes were the main food of the people, they soon began to starve.”

“Didn’t they have fungicides?” asked Dooley.

“Since the fungus had never been a problem before, the island scientists had not invented fungicides yet”, I explained.

“So many people starved, that a lot of them decided it was time to move someplace else. They got into boats and sailed to America. Back then America was a much smaller place and at first there weren’t jobs for all the people from coming from the Emerald Isle.  American business men, however, said to themselves “We have all these extra people who want to work, so let’s build something”.  Many of the new immigrants were put to work on the railroads that were being built, and some worked in factories and foundries. As a result, American industry began to grow and expand out to the west. There were so many jobs now that the immigrants wrote to their families back on the Emerald Isle to join them in America for a better life. Eventually, over two million came.  Before this time, some Americans had gotten extra help by kidnapping Africans and bringing them over to work for free. This went on mostly in the southern states. The Americans in the north, who now had plenty of English speaking workers, began to denounce the people in the south for the immoral practice of enslavement. As a result, the southern states decided they would make their own country. The north said,” No you won’t, we are the United States of America and will remain that way. A fight broke out. At first, the south was winning the fight. Then the north realized they had all these immigrants coming into the northern ports, so as soon as ships from the Emerald Isle landed they would give the new young men from the Emerald Isle a uniform and a gun and put them into the fight. Because they were such good fighters the north eventually won the war. Slavery was abolished and we remained the United States of America. If it hadn’t been for that fungus……..

“What has this got to do with you spending hours planning your garden?” Dooley interrupted.

“Well, we farmers learned a lesson from the people of the Emerald Isle. It is important of have a wide variety of crops, and if you like potatoes, you should plant different varieties of potatoes so if some fungus, insect or disease attacks your garden, you won’t lose your all of your potatoes. Every year I mix things up to confuse cooties that find my garden.”

“I don’t know about the cooties, but I am very confused”, Dooley said.

“On one hand, you tell me a terrible story of starvation because of a fungus. Then you tell me another story about how, because of the fungus, the United States of America was saved. Was the fungus good or bad?”


“Oh, Dooley, a fungus isn’t good or bad like people can be good or bad. It’s just a simple living thing doing what it has to for survival. By the same token, I do what I can to protect our food for our survival and sometimes that means not giving a particular fungus a comfortable place to live for very long. I suppose I told you the story of the United States and slavery to show you that a terrible thing can sometimes lead to a wonderful thing.”

“So, basically, you could have just said, don’t put all your eggs in one basket and every cloud has a silver………”









Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Flannel Solution

Joe, one of the oil guys that works my property on the other side of the valley, came puttering up to the cabin on his ATV yesterday. Since I was the property owner he asked if I could join in on a meeting about the truck accident last week. All I knew up to that point was an oil truck had slid off the road and rolled over a hillside. Turns out the truck had cut a cut a pretty serious swath through the woods and had spilled a mixture of salt water and oil over a pretty wide area. The driver and passenger had time to get out and were not hurt (thank goodness). Since a hazardous spill was involved they wanted to assure me that an all-out clean-up was underway. I’m sure there must have been legal reasons for having me survey the site so I rode along and expressed appropriate amounts of concern to the officials at the meeting. I knew they were officials because they were wearing clean hardhats. By its nature, the clean-up will involve the removal and replacement of lots of dirt and will leave a scar on the mountainside. I told them I was fine with that as long as they replanted to prevent future erosion. I hate erosion.

Since I was already over on this side of the property (a rare thing), after the meeting I told Joe I would walk back so I could look things over.

 The accident happened very close to the NE border of my property so first I followed the frosty dirt road up the mountain to a gate that separates my farm from my neighbor, the “Cattle Baron”. I call him that because he lives in a big beautiful home down along the river road and because, obviously, he raises Holsteins. If I knew him better, I probably wouldn’t call him that.

Standing at the gate beside an old red pick-up truck with “farm use only” painted on the tailgate, smoking a Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum cigar,( ok, that last part isn't true but I had to work the cigars in someplace) was slim young lady with truck matching red hair, jeans, flannel shirt and a waist length leather jacket (not that I was taking any particular notice, mind you). She was the cattle baron’s daughter.

She had been sent up to unlock the gate for the oils guys and to lock up when they left. Naturally I immediately introduced myself as her neighbor. I told her briefly about the truck accident and why I was wandering up this way on foot. For some reason (I think it had something to do with that flannel shirt) I prolonged the conversation as long as I could. Eventually I blurted out something about going to Disney World and the issues I was having getting care for my animals. She made a very interesting suggestion; Future Farmers of America. She had been a member growing up and was now an advisor for a nearby chapter. My first thought was I wouldn’t want a bunch of kids hanging out at my cabin but then she went on to tell me they would bring a truck to my cabin, load up the beasts and the fowl along with any feed or supplements I had and transport them to a secure place for care. She thought it would be a great project for the members. I would, of course have to pay for the animal’s room and board, but after discussing the details it seemed like an amazing deal.  I told her on the surface it sounded like a great idea, but I would have to go and look at where they would be kept, meet the kids and discuss it with my animals. I’m not sure why, but she laughed when I said “discuss it with my animals”.

We exchanged email addresses and she is going to send me a copy of the liability papers I would have to sign that would protect the club should something, heaven forbid, befall one of the animal.

I’m not sure if goats and chickens like vacations, but I hope they do.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Dooley's One Way Time Machine

Dooley came down off the mountain the other day with a very smug look on his face. He has one of those faces that doesn’t hide “smug” very well. From the look of it you’d think he had just saved the earth from imminent destruction. Since he was coming from the direction of “Area 51” (just over the east mountain is an area I have nicknamed Area 51 because on more than one occasion Dooley has asked me not to go up there) I assumed he had been working on his time machine project.

 Oh, yes, although I have never seen it, Dooley claims to have built a time machine from parts he has “borrowed” from the oil guys across the valley. His big break-thru, according to my sources, came early this spring when an electrical transformer blew out nearby and he was able to salvage the copper windings inside. About the same time, he used my laptop to enroll in an online quantum physics class from some diploma factory in Arizona. I suspect the money to pay for the class came from my Sealy Posturepedic. I don’t mind. It’s good he wants to improve himself and every dog should have a hobby.

He hasn’t told me much at all about the project. He probably thinks I would tease him about it. (I was pretty hard on him a couple of years ago when he was convinced that, with enough rubber bands, he could launch a foil wrapped rabbit into low earth orbit.) He has, however, left his time travel project notes conspicuously lying around the cabin.

As silly as the notion of time travel seems to me, a glance at Dooley’s notes indicates he has already performed a successful time travel experiment using the youngest of the McCroskey dogs as a subject.  According to the notes, the dog was sent back two minutes in time. Because the time machine takes two minutes to warm up and because the dog was told to stay perfectly still while inside, there was no visual indication of success. Dooley’s “proof” of actual time travel was predicated on his subject’s subsequent report of a nagging feeling of always being “late”.

 I would love to know more about his thoughts of the paradigms and paradoxes of time travel. There has been so much written by science fiction folk about the dangers of traveling back in time and changing things. I can only hope he is taking a responsible approach to his research. Not so much because I believe time travel is possible but a sense of responsibility is important in all things we do.

My sources also tell me that his current version of the machine only works one way. If you use it to go back in time, you are stuck wherever you land. Being something of a history buff the thought of witnessing pivotal historical events is intriguing but the idea of living in 1860’s America after experiencing the battle of Gettysburg does not have much appeal. Off- hand I can’t really think of a practical application for a one way time machine. Assuming I would remain the same age as I traveled back there wouldn’t be much time left to enjoy my wealth if I were, for example, to buy Microsoft, Google, or other high yield tech stocks when first offered. Even in my remaining years would wealth improve or diminish my quality of life? How can one predict such things? Perhaps, on my death bed I could travel back to leave notes for my younger self but who’s to say I could steer a young Roger down a better or more fulfilling path than the one I’ve already traveled. I think the fun in life is in the mystery of what tomorrow might bring.  As long as you have the where-with-all to make choices, no matter what path one takes, there is always the chance that something especially wonderful is just around the next bend.

Now, if Dooley could perfect a two-way time machine, I can think of all kinds of fun to have with that!



By the way, the chimney is fixed and billowing as I write. The new smoke detector, however, is still having trouble coming to terms with my Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum Cigars. Also, I am sorry I have no pictures to post but Area 51 is a no photo zone.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dooley The Dog Talks To God


I appreciate you coming up here Dooley.


No problem. I come to this mountain top two or three times a week just to sit and think. When I am down at the cabin it’s like being in a bowl with the hills all around me. Up here, looking down, things seem clearer.


I’ve found a high perspective helpful for thinking as well, Dooley. For me, however, the clarity of the view sometimes creates more questions than answers. You can come up here, think, and then go back down and apply the things you have thought about. It is a very practical method for understanding. I don’t always have that luxury.


Well, I have always considered myself a practical dog.


You are indeed.


So, you have questions, God?


I do. I am consulting with some of my favorite creatures on Earth about a very important question. You spend life, as you say “down in the bowl” and that is a perspective I don’t have. I need your insight.


I am honored, but at the same time a little surprised. I thought you were in everything.


In a sense I am. Cosmologically, however, that is an impossibility for reasons that are unexplainable at this time.


I see.


Here is the issue. When I put the Heavens into motion I intended a purpose and a path for everything. I expect things to evolve and become increasingly complex. Eventually, that evolution reaches purity, perfection and balance. When that is achieved all things in that system become an indestructible, beautiful and eternal energy encompassing all that was or ever had been within that system. Trust me Dooley; it is a…well,... a grand reward.


Like heaven?


Heaven is a reward for the spirits of individual creatures in any given system. It is great place…but it doesn’t compare to the final reward.


There is more after heaven? Cool.


So, here is my problem. The plan is not working on the Earth system. The intended evolution has stalled. It is the first time that has happened…..


Ah,ha, there is life in other parts of the universe. I knew it.


Oh, yes Dooley, the Earth system is just one seed in the garden. There are nearly infinite systems of life; some you would recognize and many you wouldn’t. Many have already achieved their “grand reward”. You have heard of what they call on Earth a super nova…?


Of, course…..


…that flash of light seen on Earth is really a system achieving the end of evolution, the “grand reward”.

( Dooley)

So what scientists here describe as an ending, is really a beginning….


Correct. But let’s stay on point here. I’ll answer any questions you have later.


Sorry, but this is just so, so….well, cool.


Anyway, things were going fine on Earth until the human animal achieved introspection way ahead of schedule. Complex plans sometimes have unexpected results. This was a dandy. The ability to know one’s self and to question their purpose on Earth wasn’t expected for another billion years or so. I uncharacteristically tried to intervene on a large scale, as is somewhat documented in Earth’s various theologies….but things didn’t end as I had hoped. I happily adjust things on a smaller, individual level every day with great results, but the big campaign just muddied the pond. Now, with the human species able to realize they have an advantage over other of Earth’s creatures without the maturity to understand what that really means, Earth’s ability to reach a “grand reward” is in serious jeopardy. For the first time in the history of the heavens I’m seriously thinking of ending a system early.


Oh,…. that doesn’t sound good…..


….not good at all. Any ideas?


Well, the first thing that comes to mind is to eliminate the humans…


A rat suggested the same solution in the Earth’s so called “middle ages” and we toyed around with it...unfortunately, the human animal has a purpose, just like the dinosaur had a purpose once, and to eliminate the species would cause the whole plan to unravel.

( Dooley)

So then, it sounds like we need to de-evolve the humans.


Interesting….but you know, I can’t just do that…..


…..another unexplainable cosmological impossibility?


Something like that. Funny thing, there seems to be some small scale de-evolving in your country…have you seen that TV show “Honey Boo- Boo”?


No, Roger and I don’t watch TV…. but I’ll take your word for it. De-evolving America is one thing, but the rest of the world is a tough nut.

 (thoughtful pause)

Wait a minute, maybe we are looking at this backwards. What if, instead of taking something away, you give them something.


Hmmm. I like where you are going with this….sort of a second bite on fruit from the tree of knowledge….


…..exactly. An “accidental” and humbling discovery that demonstrates their collective knowledge to this point is flawed. Their vanity would be shattered and change would be inevitable.


Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins, so it would fit from a theological standpoint….and, the fact is, their collective knowledge is laughingly flawed, so I wouldn’t really have to change anything….just shed a little light, one of my specialties. I think I know just what to “give them”. Dooley, you may have saved the world.


(thinking to himself pridefully, “All in a day’s work, God, all in a day’s work”).


I heard that.


Sorry. Could you do one thing for me, God?

Of course, Dooley.


Could you hold off changing things here on Earth until after my trip to Disney World.


No problem.




Friday, February 8, 2013

"I'm Going To Walt Disney World" PT. 2

What a weird week it has been. First, the near conflagration at the cabin, then there was an accident over on the oil producing side of my land involving a truck sliding over a hillside and, now, I find out I have to go to Orlando to relocate some things I have in a storage facility to another storage facility (or possibly move the stuff up to Charleston). I have mixed feelings about even going to get the stuff, but there are some family heirlooms I just can let go….yet.  On top of that, I live alone and am solely responsible for the care of my livestock. Leaving my cabin for a week is a difficult thing to do.

I hate to impose on people especially since the weather has been so bad and just getting to the cabin is difficult, but I don’t really have a choice. I have emailed Edgar about the possibility of his son looking in on things a couple of days. Firewood Kenny has already offered to help but he can’t stay at the cabin for a full week. My other poker buddies don’t know anything about chickens or goats. Why can’t Dooley the dog run the place for a week? Because he is going with me.

 Although flying would be quicker and make more sense if I decide to move my stuff up to West Virginia, I have decided to drive so Dooley can come along without having to ride in a baggage compartment. He has never been outside of the county and it’s time he sees a little more of the world.

While I’m there I will be visiting the Disney Parks with an old friend who lives in Tampa. Since I am a former Disney employee I still get a Silver Pass every year in the mail. A Silver Pass allows me to get into the parks and bring three guests with me every day (except for really busy holidays). I also get 4 free tickets every year that I can give away friends and family. They typically don’t allow dogs in the parks, but I know a few people who might be able to allow me to give Dooley at least a glimpse inside the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, Dooley doesn’t meet the height requirements for any of the really cool rides. In fact, he doesn’t meet the height requirement for any of the rides. That’s too bad, because I think he would really enjoy the Big Thunder Mountain Railway runaway train. He loves trains.

My friend from Tampa is an interesting person. She was my “girlfriend” while we were in elementary school. She and her mother moved away right after grade school and I didn’t hear from her until I saw in the newspaper she had become Miss Florida. Later that year I watched her in the Miss America competition and she got second runner-up. I still didn’t make any effort to contact her (not sure why). Three years later she came to Disney World as the opening act for Kreskin the mentalist at the Top of the World Restaurant at the Contemporary Hotel. I left several messages for her at the hotel but never heard back. The night of her last performance I went to a play in Orlando. When I got home there was a message on my answering machine from her inviting me to the show. I was already dressed appropriately so I rushed to Disney. She had a table reserved for me. I felt very important.

After she performed (she was a singer/ pianist) she came right over and sat with me. Now I really felt important. After a few minutes of “hellos” she suggested I watch Kreskin while she got out of her show clothes. We met later the lobby of the hotel and spent hours reminiscing. I found out she had also been Miss New Mexico, had been married and divorced from a crazy rich guy, and wrote songs for Lee Greenwood. A very talented young lady.

At first I didn’t see much of her after that night until she called and said she was moving from Palm Springs to Tampa. Turns out a drunk singer she was playing piano for in Tahiti (you would recognize the singer, but I can’t reveal the name) stumbled and fell onto the piano keyboard injuring her hand. There was a long, nasty lawsuit after that and her performing career eventually dwindled away. Once in Tampa, we became good and frequent friends. She loved coming over to Disney and playing in the parks. I look forward to seeing her again.

 (I wonder if she would be interested in living in a small cabin in the woods with a clever dog, goats and chickens…..?)

More about our trip to Orlando later.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

"I'm Going to Walt Disney World"....Pt.1

When the chimney expert came on Monday and was looking things over, to make conversation he asked if I had seen the Super Bowl. I hadn’t.

 I love football and I’ve said before that giving up watching football and NASCAR was one of the hardest things about moving to the woods. Now that I have a laptop and satellite internet, I do check in on scores from time to time. (Just so you don’t think I’m wimping out on leaving the “other world” behind, I still avoid reading the news). In this case, however I did not know the outcome of the game. I am one of the old school guys who care little about NFL expansion teams or teams that have moved to a new city or changed their name. The only teams I care about are the old ones like the Browns, Steelers, Packers,  and so on. The Baltimore Ravens? Who cares what they do. The 49ers are an older team but from the west coast, who cares about a west coast team?

 Anyway, somehow the conversation came around to the promotion Disney does with the game’s most valuable player saying “I’m going to Walt Disney World” while still on the field immediately after the game. If Dooley had been there he would have rolled his eyes at that point and walked off as he always does when he thinks I am about to rant.

Why would this spark a rant? I was in the Walt Disney marketing department working as a cameraman when this campaign started. By all rights my department should have been the ones who produced this commercial. I should have gone to the Super Bowl that year. Instead, the marketing execs decided to give the work to an outside production company. We had always kept the production work in-house up to that point.  After that, more and more of our work was given to New York based production crews. It has always been my contention that moving the work up there gave the execs an excuse for spending time and living it up in the Big Apple while “supervising” the shooting and editing. Sour grapes?  Perhaps.

 Fortunately, the Disney MGM Studios opened up a couple of years later and my department re-formed outside of the Marketing Division. We found ourselves working on non-Disney commercials, feature films and network TV shows. It was wonderful. I finally did get to go to 3 Super Bowls after that, shooting footage for Disney Entertainment when they produced the half time shows.

 So, I didn’t rant to the chimney man, but that ‘I’m going to Disney World” campaign will always be a sore spot for me. It’s something I need to let go.

Funny thing is; I am going to Walt Disney World in two weeks. Tell you more about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Holey Smoke!

  Had a close call on Saturday night. Woke up to the smell of smoldering wood. Turns out my old stone chimney had lost some mortar up inside and left a hole exposing the roof joists to flying embers from the fire the night before.  As dry as the wood is up there, I’m not sure why it didn’t just burst into flames. It may have if I hadn’t gotten up to “dispose” of the large amounts of tea I had consumed earlier in the evening and smelled the smoke.

Harry at the grocery/hardware/feed and seed store suggested I call in an expert to look at the old chimney. The expert came out Monday and suggested (among other things) we install a stainless steel chimney liner and a new firebox. Naturally, Dooley and I were happy to comply. Unfortunately, he had to order the supplies and the install won’t happen until Friday.

The fireplace has been my principle source of heat this winter. We fire it up in the afternoon and let it burn till bedtime. The cabin is well insulated and holds the heat nicely. Mornings are chilly but the stove heats things up quickly as we make breakfast. Harry loaned us a catalytic heater to fill in till Friday. We have also purchased a smoke detector and co2/oxygen sensor alarm for the cabin. These high tech items are not exactly in keeping with my simple living theme but a little scare can go a long way towards changing attitudes.

This would have been a much better story if Dooley had smelled the smoke, dragged me out the cabin to safety and single handedly doused the embers with the h2o from his water bowl……if he was a hero that night, it was only in his dreams. He slept through the excitement.