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Sunday, August 17, 2014

SO LONG RICK


     He was the only friend I ever had who could easily operate an abacus, slide rule, and an algebraic calculator.  Ricky Rodgers was that smart.  I went to visit him in the hills of Oakland last month. The solar energy scientist told me about his latest invention, his son's amazing accomplishments, and  he took me on a garden tour where the weeds were winning.
                                                                            Rick and Ricky Jr., 1999
    
    Rick and I traded stories since we were fraternity brothers in Gainesville almost fifty years ago.  In the late 60's we were neighbors sharing the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  For a while our version of a commune was awesome.   
   Over the years he'd show me his latest solar energy designs including a unique cooling system for a huge Buddhist temple, and his latest musical discoveries.  I noticed he entered the age of Facebook a little late. Hooking up last year he gathered 38 "friends" and recently responded to a post asking, "Could a paper clip traveling at 90% of the speed of light destroy an asteroid similar to the one that killed the dinosaurs?"
www.quora.com .
My brilliant friend had answers to all things technical.  He responded, "I think so - easily. E=m*(.9*c*.9*c) ".  How Ricky.

     A few days ago I got a message that he had died.  I know a month ago he told he wasn't feeling well.  He said, "They must have spent $40,000 on tests but they still don't know what my problems are".  His Oakland memorial sevice starts in five-minutes and I guess, his problems are over.  
Peace be with you, brother Rick.

Friday, August 15, 2014

INDOOR POOL, FULLY-FURNISHED


       This is my youngest son, Ian. 
 When I introduce him to friends they often say, "My, you're as tall as a tree!". 

 As you can see below, he clearly is not.

    Ian sitting in front of his Tallahassee apartment, the one that flooded this summer.

     When a rusting pipe "went geyser" his duplex was transformed into a fully-furnished swimming pool.  If you think that's funny wait 'til you hear what the landlord, "Tammy", told him.  She said it was partially Ian's fault because he'd come home for the summer, she might have to hold on to his damage deposit.  
    Had he been summering in Tallahassee, I guess he might have called Tammy to asked, "Am I dreaming or is my bed really floating in a fully-furnished swimming pool?".

   By the time we arrived last weekend the pool had been drained and somewhat dehumidified.  Mold was climbing the walls and the smell?   Cousin Benny, who'd been there a week before,  described as it as "rotten bodies".
      
    Ian and I tiptoed through the mildew and moved him out.  His new place smells much better and his bedroom, being on the second floor, will be much harder to flood.

     My son begins his junior year at FSU this fall.  He is studying computer science with a minor in Mexican wrestling (a/k/a "Lucha Libre").  This may be hard to believe
                      "El Diablo Rojo" 

because Ian is such a friendly, pacifistic young man.  He doesn't care if the Seminoles win or lose.
I find that refreshing. 

      I found the red mask during the move. It belongs to a friend and Ian was nice enough to model it.  That's it. No fighting future for him but  he should hold onto the mask for another month.

     Ian may need it when he asks Tammy to return his damage deposit.
                           ______________

 

 Glennito Gordito 
(a/k/a The Grove Guy)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

NATASHA & GILES

    A two-person parade rolled past our house today. Natasha and Giles just moved to Linden Lane.
    The artists came from NW Miami where they had witnessed crazy things, "kids throwing rocks at us" and adolescents racing over the roofs of parked cars. 
   We assured them that their roofs would be safe in Coconut Grove.
    Giles grew up in the neighborhood and has performed in many King Mango Struts.  You may remember him jumping his bike over bodies as the 2003 parade's "Evil Knievel".  He is quite the showman, a talented carpenter, and an illustrated man.  One of his many tattoos is an 9-inch comb inked on his forearm.  It's looks nice enough but isn't very effective in arranging hair.

   Tasha and her sister, Monica, are South Florida's most amazing performance artists, "The TM Sisters".
                         Their work takes them all over the world where they tackle a wide range of theatrical subjects.  

   I know roller skates are often incorporated into their act so I asked Tasha, "Have you ever been in a roller derby?".
"Oh yeah!"  she answered with a smile, "But they
kicked me off the team because I couldn't be as  mean as the other girls".

     She and her boyfriend looked anything but as they laughed in the street today.  When I gave them a papaya Natasha placed it her on her head as they road off.  Performance artists indeed.
Welcome to Coconut Grove.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

26,000 MILES AND COUNTING

   One of the best things about traveling is meeting  people. We were beginning a hike in Tuolomne Meadows (Yosemite NP) last month when we saw this huge,


rugged, bike leaning on a rock.  
   I marveled at its gearing, disc brakes, and racks  obviously meant for the long haul.
   
 Just then its tall, lithe owner  sauntered up to exchange hellos. He told us he had started at his home in New Mexico and is now 1400 miles into his current adventure.  He bought the bike -a Raleigh Sojourn- for $900 a few years ago and modified it extensively.
    Loaded for travel it weighs 140 lbs. I noticed the bottle cages holding 3 liter bottles as Jack admonished, "You can never run out of water".
    Everyday he pedals about 100 miles ("I like to ride all day long") and his longest? 140 miles. He explained, "I had some downhill and rear wind helping me".   He's traveled over 26,000 miles so far on his skinny steel steed.  Jack camps anywhere he can and has found Canadians to be the friendliest people saying, "A lot of them let me camp in their yards and invite me in for dinner".
We invited him to our campground but he said it was a bit far for him that day.  We waved as he headed west in the high-mountain meadow.
    Two days later we saw him ahead of us feverishly pumping as we headed up another mountain.  We slowed to say hello but he only had time for a wink. Moving your body plus 140 pounds uphill is serious business. 
    "When does this trip end?" I had asked earlier.   He replied, "I never know.  At some point I'll head back to Sante Fe. I have a great job, installing tile, and there's always work for me there."
                                _________
  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

HUMINGBIRDS CAN'T READ

   


We're staying in a family beach house a short walk from the sea.
 



 The glass doors are so clean I have to put pink Post-its on them to remind me that they're there.


Hummingbirds, who can't read,  sometimes fly into them.
  



   It's a short walk to a beautiful beach on Monterey Bay. 

You head down a small canyon and run under this railroad trestle.

 You move hastily as it could fall down at any time. Rusted steel shards lay beneath  like autumn leaves.  
   Decay has pocketed the once chunky beams to create a fragile lace-like appearance.   

 


On previous visits we watched the weekly train cross the trestle with fingers crossed.  Thankfully there have been no trains, or expected disasters, this time.
 
   There's talk of rebuilding the aging structure.  
But if they do, will its underpinnings look like Franz Kline paintings
                              
a Franz Kline painting

 or Indonesian shadow puppets?



                                             ______________________________________

300-YARD GARAGE SALE

    Moss Landing had its 42nd annual garage sale last Sunday.  The little seaside community calls it "The Antique Faire" but anything anything old IS sold.   Do you collect hats?

Tubs?


Yardsticks or eggbeaters?


 











Matryoshka dolls?



Or California Raisins?  The Faire's got you covered.

Two hundred vendors set up shop on a dusty road in this four-block town. 


    Many of them were as interesting as the things they were selling.



    While the Faire was enough to happily fill a summer day,  you could walk two blocks to the bay to see your fill of humpback whales.
They follow the food and Monterey Bay has a billion sardines this summer.  

      Sea otters swim out to watch them wave

 
This picture was taken by our guide, Kate, on our whale watch boat the day before. 


and the birds go gawking too.  

    Everyday is like this. We do this, that, then return to the beach.  For us these huge dark dancers are the greatest show on Earth.
                             ____________



Friday, August 1, 2014

California Photos

 Berkeley Bike








"Contessa with Squid", Monterey Aquarium

She said it kept him from catching birds