Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Light

Today I finally managed to hang lights on our Christmas tree.........and every bulb lit up!

Now we are ready for Saturday. On Saturday, we intend on decorating the tree fully. We also plan on baking Christmas cookies with the grandchildren. I hope everything goes according to plan.

I also put some lighted candy canes in the front garden............Frosty the Snowman is missing and when we find him, we will be putting him in the garden too. I won't be overdoing it this year since our electric rates have jumped higher than kangaroos on crack.

Here is something I bet you never thought never see any brown christmas lights.

Word is going around that putting blue christmas lights in one of your windows is a way of honoring fallen police officers...........hmmm.....this could get out of hand.......imagine all of the possibilities.

Tonight I baked some preliminary chocolate chip cookies. "Preliminary" cookie baking is the only time you actually get to have some for yourself because nobody else is around to get them.

The Ravens lost to the Bengals tonight 13-7. They deserved the loss. The Ravens are now 9 and 3. I ain't complaining.

I read today that Stephen Hawking hopes to go into space one day. That should be interesting.
Wheelchairs in space!

I seem to remember that there was a time when Jay Leno had dark hair with one white splotch. Now he has gray hair with one dark splotch. My mother says it aggravates her when she sees it.

Is it just me?.....or do YOU aso think Emeril Lagasse looks a bit like Mario Lanza?

Until next time..............keep smiling!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit

Ho - Ho - Ho!

The mood is kicking in. The Polish Christmas carols has gotten me pumped up. Christmas can be a very stressful time.........if YOU let it be. Of course, sometimes the stress comes through no fault of your own. I am determined to enjoy this month in spite of any or all the things that manage to irritate me. I am off to a good start. For the past two days I have been, slowly but surely, removing the factory installed Christmas lights from the Christmas tree that we have been using for five or six years. As it was, I began setting up the tree, which is in four sections, and plugged in all of the wires and BINGO!.........nothing lit up. These trees are not I tried hard to find out what was wrong. All of the lights were in working order when we packed it away last year. I tried checking everything.....the connections......the plugs.....the electrical socket...........and I even tried replacing some of the bulbs............and all I got out of my efforts was about fifteen or sixteen lights that actually lit up. Very frustrating.

I did NOT want to have to buy a new tree.......and I knew what I would be I decided to take the easiest and most sensible way to fix the problem............remove all of the pre-strung lights and put new strings of lights on the tree. This should work out just I thought............I finally finished removing all of the lights from the tree tonight. The Chinese people that strung those lights must have been insane! Each wire in between each light had been viciously coiled around a branch of the tree. It was an unbelievable labyrinth of wire. I had to use wire snips to get the job done. Two bags of trash later and a set of sore tree is ready for some new lights.

Sadly, one of those stressful things that you have no control over, reared its ugly head today. My wife took her mother to the hospital this morning. Her mom had not been feeling well and had been having some difficulties and none of this seemed to be getting any better. In a previous entry to this blog, I wrote about her mom having cancer and that I bargained with her. I would donate my sixteen inch pony tail to "Locks of Love" if she would start chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She went through with it and I donated the hair. Well, the doctors had said that the lump of cancer in her chest had "cleared up" and was essentially gone. There was hope of that anyway........but we all knew the real deal.....the inevitable would eventually come. This morning she had a CT-Scan and the news is not good. The lump is back and it is twice the size it once was. Everybody is handling this pretty far........but it is going to be a rough time for us all. I will write about this in the very near future, since there are many issues that will have to be dealt with.

Meanwhile, I shall be doing my best to lighten up the mood in our home. My wife is having to go through what nobody is ever really prepared to go through.............nobody enjoys saying goodbye.......and if that isn't hard enough as it is...........nobody wants it to be a sustained event. Today, we do not know how long her mom has left with us. We suspect, though, that things are much worse than just a returning lump of cancer.

So here are a few words offered to anyone that may happen to read this:

  • Cherish each and every day.
  • Hug your children, be there for them, help them.
  • Tell your mother and father that you love them.
  • A family needs each other. Let nothing destroy it.

.......and strong and thank God for the reason of the season.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Michael Richards Fiasco

A sure sign of the end of the world is the Michael Richards fiasco.

Not because he got ticked off and went on a tirade about a heckler while onstage in a comedy club.......but because of the results of it. This wasn't the first time in history that somebody blew a fuse and got verbally nasty to the extent of uttering things that someone might feel is offensive. Last time I checked, when you are being nasty or blowing a fuse, you never think real deep about what you might say and you never care who hears what you simply start uttering verbal diarrhea. It is not really a big deal.......BUT........there is aways SOMEBODY that wants some attention and there is always SOMEBODY that will try to cash in on this crap because, as it happens, Michael Richards is SOMEBODY has a decent amount of money. Not only do we have Gloria "Scandal-Ho" Allred getting herself involved but also Rev. Jesse "Rainbow Extortion" Jackson and Rev. Al "Not So" Sharpton, and more than a few alleged "comedians" getting in front of cameras and microphones and telling us all how bad it was. Its not like he killed anyone. If anything, all of this has somewhat revived Richards career. He was a big hit as Seinfeld's "Cosmo Kramer". Since that role, most people have no clue what he has been doing. For me........I never watched every episode of Seinfeld. I never found Seinfeld to be all that funny. Okay, sure, there were some "humorous" moments, but I never did see what all of the rage was about regarding the show.

So the big deal with the Michael Richards verbal fit is he "offended" somebody. Not only did he "offend" somebody, but he did it with a barrage of "n" words. Oooooooooh........I am so shocked! You have to be living under a rock to never hear the "n" word to the extent that you are devastated when you hear it uttered. I can understand how the "n" word can be seen as offensive, however, that word has been so overused and abused that it now has many definitions. The very people that can find that word offensive also happen to utter that word repeatedly themselves when other words could be used instead. This is all nonsense. People need to get over it. But this isn't it is as if other groups that can be offended want a piece of the somebody reports that Michael Richards MAY HAVE previously offended Jews because he may have said something anti-semetic in the past. Well gee golly......Michael Richards is Jewish! He would not be the first comedic performer to ever utter something derogatory towards Jews. Jewish comedians have a long history of such talk. Even black comedians say things that is derogatory towards blacks. Everybody needs to get over it!

So now, the owner of the comedy club gets his mug on television and says that Michael Richards will not be welcome to be on his stage until he donates $500,000., to a charitable organization, for each "n" word that he uttered. What next?............this is just getting too way out of hand. It is ridiculous and its even more ridiculous when people want to cash in on it. Michael Richards career was essentially over before he even got on that stage that evening. Over. Done. He will be forever remembered as "Kramer"......that's all.........but NOW, because of all of this attention, he will most likely write a book, he will be on every talk show on tv, they will make the book a movie, he may end up hosting a benefit comedy show for sensitive ears........geeeshhh....... get over it!

I just happen to have Polish heritage. I have "suffered" through countless "polack" jokes over the years. I never felt compelled to whine about it on tv, and I never had a notion that I might be able to suck any money out of those who "offended" me with what they said. It is's as ridiculous as me being sued by a Jew and a dude from Alaska named Nanook for saying the following:

"You never see any Jewish Eskimos."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's A Wonderful Thing

The Baltimore Ravens embarassed the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 27-0 victory on Sunday. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this game. The Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger got sacked NINE TIMES! It's a wonderful thing.

I can smell the aroma of another Festivus Maximus. The Ravens have been under the radar and after Sunday's game, they probably will still be for the most part since Baltimore never gets the respect it deserves from the morons that host the pre-game shows. Even the play-by-play announcers always sound like they favor whoever opposes the Ravens. The joke will be on all of them in the end.

While I am on the subject of wonderful things............ steamed crabs for Christmas ain't a bad idea.

Here are some other wonderful things:

  • Tastykake chocolate cupcakes (none better)
  • Old Bay seasoning spice (absolute necessity in the kitchen)
  • Emeril's Essence (BAM!)
  • French Fries with Gravy (ketchup is for dummies)
  • Carabbas' minestrone (Oh My God this stuff is fantastic!)

Now you know you just gotta have some.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ancient Ruins & A Humongous Pile Of Dirt

I was watching television today and while channel surfing, a show about the Mayans caught my eye.

Now I have been to the Mayan ruins in Mexico. I've stood on the sacred grounds of Tulum and Coba. I never really gave it too much thought except for being amazed at the history of the Mayan civilization. So I watched the program about the Mayans with more interest having been there personally. It was absolutely fascinating and I would recommend that people check into the history of the Mayans.

There was something, though, that jumped off the television screen and caused me to ponder. The narrator of the program was telling how new satellite technology was helping archeologists to find previously undiscovered ruins. He said that there are unknown amounts of Mayan ruins hidden by forestation and overgrowth. I had to think about that one.

After a few minutes of thought, I figured it was reasonable to say that ruins can be hidden by overgrowth. It makes sense.........but what about other ruins in other parts of the world?

The "dig" pictured above is in Iceland. I don't know about you, but I am not understanding this "dig" stuff. It seems to me that if you are digging for foundations and relics, old bottles, jars......stuff like that......burial makes sense..........BUT to dig for a large structure or city or monument?..........well........I just ain't able to buy into that.

I did an internet search of pictures of archeological site digs and there are a few things that are obvious. Most of the pictures show stuff below the surface of the earth. If you don't think about it, it is easy to accept.........but I happen to think about things. So I am thinking.....okay.....the majority of stuff that is discovered could only be discovered because somebody started digging. The deeper they dig, the more they find. So now I am thinking about the well known and huge stuff that most of us go visit when we go on vacation........stuff like pyramids and ancient cities. I have a hard time believing that some of these places were completely hidden by gigantic amounts of dirt or clay. I just can't buy into that idea. I have never read in any history book where various areas of the planet had random tons of dirt drop from the sky, covering everything! Stuff like that just doesn't happen.

One might argue that years and years of sediment can accumulate. Okay.......but then again one can argue that there are years and years of erosion that also occurs. Winds and rain can wash away some earth and make it pile up where there is resistance. That's reasonable, but common sense tells me that if you have a large structure, big enough to provide some resistance to wind or accumulation of dirt or sand coming from a particular direction, then only one side of such structure would show any accumulation or erosion. You follow me on this?

There must be some sort of rule. Ancient cities that were decimated, were "leveled"......that would be easier to cover over. Most ancient cities, though, were NOT "leveled" and they are easily seen still today....except for places such as some yet undiscovered Mayan cities.

So I thought about the things we see everyday in our lives and whether or not somebody will be "digging" to find it several thousand years in the future. Let's see..............if dirt accumulates over a period of time........I will have two steps up to my front door instead of the three that are there today. The bottom step and sidewalk will be gone!........hmmmm. Another thousand or so years and I will have a story house with a two level basement!.......hmmmmm. If this is the case and is how it goes, then there was a point in time when people walked the planet amongst all sorts of half covered buildings and monuments. I do NOT recall ever reading about THAT in any history book.

My house is one thing, but imagine something larger in the Trump Tower or even Oriole Park at Camden Yards, being half covered by a huge pile of dirt. I just do not see that ever happening. All of the most ancient writings..........from the Bible to the cave walls..........not even the Mayan temple walls...........ever have any indication of anything other than water or fire completely engulfing cities or towns..........well........there was that salt incident in Sodom and Gommorah. Somebody needs to explain this to me.....they have alot of explaining to do.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Jehovah's Witness Litter Removal Project

I love this video!
Edyta Gorniak / Niesmiertelni

I have always liked the song "Who Wants To Live Forever?" by the rock group Queen. Edyta Gorniak is a Polish singer and her version of the Queen tune is something to behold. Enjoy!

The Thanksgiving Dinner

It was excellent. Not one complaint about anything.

Thanksgiving 2006 is one for the books. You gotta love the Thanksgiving holiday...........great food, great desserts, and the family gathering together all in one location. In addition to all of that, we celebrated three birthdays as well. It was my birthday, and we celebrated two other family member birthdays as well since their birthdates are so close to mine. That made sense to do it that way........considering everybody's busy schedules.

The smell of the food hits you when you enter the house. I close my eyes and can just about picture all of the previous Thanksgiving dinners over the years. There was always someone missing, no matter what year it was. You wish it was possible that everyone in your entire family tree, if still alive and breathing, could be there with you on this day.........ahhhh but they ARE!..........even if only in your heart and mind.

My son-in-law did a great job again with the turkey. Twenty-one pounds or so of one of the best tasting turkeys yet. In this picture, it looks fantastic sitting there before we had at it.

Well, "somebody" had to be the one to get it started.........and he did pretty darned good. Of course I got involved and started hacking away at the turkey. I say hacking because that is exactly the best word to describe it. Maybe chefs know how to slice up a bird, but I sure do not. It seemed that I always got the "honor" over past years to dish up the turkey......arrrgghh. Actually, I do not mind that as long as people do not mind the end result of my effort......hehehe.

All of the food......and plenty of it........was setting there begging to be gobbled up.

My daughter had the various foods set out buffet style. Come and fetch it. You will notice, of course, the green crock full of Polish kielbasa and can't have a holiday without that stuff. ( "I" brought that! )

My daughter and son-in-law did a great job. They worked really hard at it and they should know their efforts were very appreciated.

Mmmmmmmm, after stuffing your guts with all of the food, you have to always go that "one step beyond" and have some dessert. In this picture, my granddaughter was waiting for her share of the sweet stuff. Blueberry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie........and a chocolate birthday cake.

They all sang "Happy Birthday" while I took their picture. I had a difficult time when I was reading the stuff written in the birthday cards. I had to hold back the emotion. To know that they all feel the way they do about you..........well...........I am blessed to have this family and I am extremely grateful that they all are a part of my life. I am a lucky guy.............

............but that turkey wasn't. You have to wonder............if that turkey ever knew that it would one day have such an important part in our lives.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY! we go again. It's a big day for me. I not only get to give thanks and eat a huge meal, but it also just happens to be my birthday. Damn, I am getting old although I already had reached the point where the mind says "Go" but the body says "No". I try to look at the brighter side of everything........I try real hard to do that.......but I am gonna have to get a new set of eyeglasses..........hehehe....not that THAT will change anything. In spite of it all, I will continue to be who I am, regardless of all of those that offer resistance......hehehe.

I do not plan on leaving the house on Friday. You gotta be a complete idiot to actually want to suffer through that which is called "Black Friday". Not me, I am staying home.

I will be sitting right here at home, and cranking up the Polish Christmas carols on the ole stereo. I will be in my recliner, with a full stomach, grinning from ear to ear, with the televison set on but the sound muted............and I will watch the news reports of the thousands upon thousands of idiots stuck in traffic and fighting each other as they kick off the Christmas shopping season...........oh what joy!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Baltimore Bogosity

Word came out in the news this week where Maryland politicians announced that they will do their best to add another dollar in taxes to cigarettes. I am trying to understand the logic behind such a notion. Let's see........they say it will discourage about 500,000 kids from smoking. They say it will help defray the cost of the high rate of smoking related illnesses. I could understand that line of thought except history has shown that such thoughts have proved to be nonsense. Consider the ramifications of such bogosity. The State has had no policy that has been effective in discouraging the drinking of alcohol by anyone at all. In fact, the State has done more than its share of taxing alcohol, too. I cannot think I have ever watched the local news on any day and saw where thousands of people said they are discouraged and no longer drink. It just has not happened. Furthermore, consider gasoline. Our roads are overcrowded and log-jammed continuosly. Nobody has reported that as a result of the ridiculous amount of State and Federal taxes on gasoline, droves of people have given up their cars. It just has not happened. The idea sounds good and it sounds possible...........but the truth of the matter is that it is wishful thinking, and worthy of the 100% Bogosity Award.

To add insult to injury and not be left out of the latest democratic orchestration of "concern" about the health and well-being of the citizenry, the elected officials of Baltimore City has decided to pass legislation to ban smoking in bars and restaurants located within the city limits. Again, echoing their comrades, the "reasoning" behind this nonsense is the same as mentioned regarding the previously mentioned bogosity. Stuff like this should be decided via a referendum vote.......but then again.......any kind of voting here in Maryland is corrupt as all hell, so that wouldn't be a good idea. Okay, so the democrats won the election..........but nobody voted them in to give them free reign to tax us to death and tell us that we cannot have a cigarette with our beer. Before you know it, they just might try to enact a law prohibiting farting while driving with your car windows open. Lord knows all of this wholesale flatulence that people let loose on a daily basis is depleting the ozone. Don't can happen folks! I saw on the news where some people interviewed said "Well, I will just have to take my beer home so I can smoke" if that is gonna someway retaliate against those that make such regulations. The politicians are very calculating..........they believe they have their constituents pegged. Surely they are counting on the majority of their constituents thinking exactly like the one that will take his beer home so he can have a cigarette with it.........and they know we do not really have any control over them, therefore, the result of this bogus proposed regulation will be the closing of many businesses in Baltimore. What a concept..........they lost thousands of residents in the city over the years and have managed to somewhat stay afloat because of the people that work and visit here. So some idots decide it isn't bad enough for this historic city that they come up with an idea that will ensure that people will have yet another reason to stop spending their money here. Brilliant. These "powers that be" cannot even come up with a solution to make Baltimore a safer place to visit. Check out their track record on this crap............but wait..........SOMEBODY has to be feeding this brainless thought process to those idiots. The must be one person that came up with a dastardly scheme to "stick a fork" in Baltimore once and for all. Brilliant. I think I am getting the big picture now............Baltimore must actually need more Federal money and the only way to get it is to become a total wasteland. I have to give the Baltimore City Council the 100% Bogosity Award as well. They deserve one.

Wow, two Bogosity Awards in one day!

I can't wait to hear about the next brilliant ideas our corrupt politicians have in store for us all.

God, I wanna go back to Punta Cana and get away from these idiots.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Signtopia Says..........

...........NEVER eat chili and sauerkraut within an eight hour timespan.

...........TRY SAYING "I prefer leather" when the cashier at the grocery store asks you "Paper or Plastic?"

...........NEVER try to call Fuddruckers restaurant while drunk.

...........IF there is a sign on the counter at your local 7-11 that reads "Change Needed".....ask the clerk "Why?.....Don't you like things as they are?"

Jehovah's Witnesses Need To Be Investigated

Of course they should be investigated..........just as any "non-profit" corporation should. It should be a no-brainer, but for some reason there either has to be some sort of groundswell of public demand for action, or just one person in a position of authority to start the ball rolling because his own family was destroyed by such an entity. Here is someone that has taken the ball and started running with it. Bill Bowen, a former Jehovah's Witness elder, noticed that things just were not right with that "organization" and decided to try to do something about it. He has been called all sorts of names by the current Jehovah's Witnesses that I would not be able to type all of them here in one entry. I figure if you get called that many names, you must have hit a nerve. Bowen hit a big nerve apparently. He has been interviewed by major media, he started a website, and has devoted countless hours pursuing the notion that when something so very important needs to be made known, somebody has to step up and do exactly that.

Bill Bowen is a hero. I have never met him, nor have I ever spoken to him. But I know he is a hero because he has been a vehicle for those people who have been physically, mentally, and sexually abused in the Jehovah's Witness organization. While the Jehovah's Witnesses go around denegrating all other "religious" organizations, they have been either uninformed or in denial about their own house. Sure, it is easy to talk about the Catholic Church simply because of the fact that it is a huge entity and there are far more Catholics on the planet than there are Jehovah's Witnesses. In the grand scheme of things, the Jehovah's Witnesses are just a small group of somewhat radical fundamentalists, but if you take the opportunity to get a closer look at them, you will discover that the Jehovah's Witnesses seem to have a higher percentage of abuse........more, perhaps, than any other comparable organization. There have been many lawsuits and the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Inc. of NY had been relatively quiet about its dealings with the situation. It wasn't until someone, such as Bill Bowen, stepped forth and got in their faces. It was then the Watchtower began its efforts to put out some not so public explanations for their policies. Case in point.........the Watchtower corporation operates two "official" websites, one of which is entitled, which is led by their "official" spokesperson named JR Brown. Brown states that the Watchtower organization does not encourage its members to withhold information about suspected pedophiles among them. Sounds nice doesn't it? I am sure there are some idiots on the planet that will get their ears tickled by that kind of statement. A further look into what is written by Brown and his employer, reveals the true policy that is in effect in the organization. "We report those individuals to the authorities in those areas where we are required to do so." That sounds real good when you first read it......but think about that. The powers that be at the Watchtower figure that most people are morons that could not think their way out of a paper bag.......after do you think they were able to suck in an estimated 6.5 million of them? In their own words, they tell us that it is ONLY when they are REQUIRED to do so. Got that? many people actually know if there is a law in their own city or state that "requires" people to report anything at all? "Gee Martha........there is a law that says that you MUST report it to the authorities that your brother Irving violated something......uhhh......let me call the Watchtower and check it out with them........Hello Watchtower?......we have a pedophile in our congregation.........can he still go door to door?" Well, you know the answer now don't you? Sure he can still go door to door as long as they do not have to report him. You have to wonder about the brain-dead............ anyway, if you have a relative or a friend that is a Jehovah's Witness, you might want to show them Bowen's website...... ......... there is much to learn there.
You also have to wonder why the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society headquarters entrance in New York looks like they copied something out of the State Penitentiary. As I think of it, prisons DO have watchtowers.......go figure. Why would anyone be surprised to see bars at the entrance to this entryway into the abyss? Yep, that's a news cameraperson in the photo.

Meanwhile, speaking of can expect to see alot of those during the next two years. The Democrats are already chomping at the bit. While they will be busy investigating the Bush Administration, they will also be trying to raise your taxes again and again. Once again Charles Rangel is wanting a military draft..............who elects these morons?.........oh....I forgot about the corrupted election process. How could I forget that?!!!! Oh if it wasn't bad enough...........I regret that I have to break this news to you.........but, in case you forgot how corrupt the politics in Maryland are all gonna get a rude awakening.......because Maryland-style political corruption will now be at the forefront of action in Washington DC. That's right.......the Democrats have two "leaders" in place.......Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.......and Steny Hoyer as Senate Majority Leader.

We are in trouble now, folks. Both of these people are Marylanders.........just another little sign of The End Of The World!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back To The Grind

It's quite a contrast to the beach in Punta Cana. Nothing lush about Baltimore right now. All of the leaves are falling. Some of the trees already completely bare. A cold chill permeates your body and Thanksgiving will be this Thursday. Before you know it, it will be Christmas.....and a whole new year. I should take time to reflect on this past year and remind myself of just how good I have lucky I am to be alive..........and thank God for the opportunity.

Now.....let's see........the Baltimore Ravens have 8 wins and 2 losses as of today. I am loving every minute of it. They play against Pittsburgh next. I cannot stand the Pittsburgh Steelers. They ain't doing so good this year.....and I am loving THAT as well.

My wife tells me that there are alot of people coming into the emergency room with respiratory infections.............a real nasty dose of it. She also tells me there is talk about how they are seeing an increase in illnesses in children which they believe is the result of parents opting to not get their children the recommended immunization shots because of the controversy over Thimerosol which is used as a preservative in those shots. Seems as though it could become a major problem. Measles....mumps....diptheria and rubella ......may be on the rise again. This is not good.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I have much to be thankful for, and know.......there is a reason for the season...........a child was born.
More on that later!

Punta Cana Vacation Souvenirs

This is my final report regarding my vacation at the Iberostar Bavaro resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Wherever I travel, I must take home something instead of a sunburn, illness, or just some pictures. I read all sorts of reviews before going to Punta Cana and I have to say that alot of those reviews were probably written by boneheads, morons, and some reprobates with no inkling of grey matter between their ears. A few would say "you can't take home any wood shells.......don't bother to buy stuff that will only be confiscated at the airport before departure". I ignored that advice.

You gotta bring home some jewelry and it doesn't have to be the expensive stuff you find at Harrison's. You can get a pretty good deal at those souvenir shacks on the beach. And it ain't plastic stuff.....its real coral.

In our room was a small "mini-bar/refrigerator". Always stocked with some sodas, water, and of course......some beer. I saved up about four unopened bottles of beer and packed it into our carry on bags. No problem. Dominican airport security did find a bottle while searching our bags.....they asked if we bought it at the airport......we said yes.....they said okay.....end of story.

We bought something made of wood, too. The wife wanted the parrot. They wrapped it up in paper and taped it up. problem. They never ever touched it at the airport.

No alcohol? cannot go to Punta Cana and not bring home some rum and mamajuana. Again......not a problem at the airport.

This stuff tastes like liquid cinnabons................and what a kick!

Larimar is a gem only found in the Dominican Republic. You will pay a small fortune in jewelry stores for it. Some people DO buy the expensive stuff. I opted for the "flea market" on the beach. Of course I had to haggle with the salespeople in those beach huts, but it wasn't too difficult to come out of it with a great deal. You have to "negotiate" in a creative way. I quickly figured out that you can work out the best deal if you stick to a certain limited amount of money you are willing to spend on something. Let's say you want a larimar necklace. The salesman says it costs $160 dollars. You balk at that price and he then figures up a 30% discount and offers it to you. This is where it gets interesting because you balk again at his price. He will act as if you just hit him below the belt when he asks you what price you would want to pay for the necklace and you say to him "I will give you $25 dollars for the necklace"...........but you want that necklace........and you want him to agree with your price. Here is the this stage of the game you indicate that you also want the matching earrings. Still, his price is way too high and you ain't getting a good deal. Then you ask about the matching bracelets. Now you have him trying to negotiate a package deal......and a good price for an entire set of jewelry. You might ask "How in the world is that gonna get me my price? I will end up spending far more than I would for just the necklace". Not true, if you know from the onset that you really wanted the whole set of jewelry. The salesman doesn't know this unless you indicated that at the beginning of the negotiation. He will be thinking that he found a sucker at this point. You tell him that you have no intention of spending so much money and that you didn't really want a whole set. He will look again like you just punched him below his belt. Here is where you have the upper hand. He will again ask you what you would be willing to pay for the whole set. You tell him you would pay 40 dollars. Again, his response will be as if you were insulting him. Now here is the reality of the situation. A very reasonable price for four pieces of larimar jewelry (large necklace, set of earrings, two bracelets) would be anything ranging from FREE to $60. Anything more and YOU are starting to be insulted by the price. Now you can close the deal. Remember that the salesperson asked you what you would be willing to pay? Hold to that. In his world, he is merely a go-between guy. He works on commission. He is told by his bosses that the higher price he gets for items, the more commission he will get. That's fair and understandable and makes sense to me. But consider this.............his bosses allow for a wide range in negotiated price. Surely you must know that he buys this stuff in bulk at very low prices and he has a minimum price he would allow any item to be sold for. As a tourist, you have no idea exactly what that price might be but you can find out rather quickly. During your negotiations, you have to keep in mind that the salesperson absolutely could care less how much money the owner of the establishment makes.......he is only interested in how much money HE HIMSELF MAKES. Got that? Like I said, you have the upper are the one with the money. The salesperson wants as much of your money as he personally can get. If he only gets 20 dollars for his boss, he will not be making much in commission. Remember that. Now, looking back, anything ranging from FREE to 60 dollars is a price you would be willing to pay......and you already told the salesperson that you would be willing to pay 40 dollars for the entire set. He already stalled on that offer, but you can close the deal if you offer him a "tip" of 20 dollars. That's right..........for a total of 60 dollars you can get that whole set of larimar jewelry........a very reasonable price to pay! He will take it. The "tip" of 20 dollars will be something his boss cannot get a piece of.......and that's the trick. Remember that originally he wanted 160 dollars for just the necklace! That is what closes any deal with these guys. Now you know how to do some creative haggling!

Absolutely beautiful gemstone. Lots of choices at the "flea market" on the absolutely have to buy some of this stuff. We did and my wife loves it. problem at the airport at security.

There was only one item that we had packed up in our carry-on bags that caught the attention of the security/customs agents at the airport................of all things............the cause of our being stopped after the final bag scanner was a "mysterious" item. After our bags went through the SECOND scanner (they do this twice), they wanted to open one particular bag and hand search it........and they did. The thing that interested them that they could not quite figure out what it was.......was one of the souvenirs that we had purchased in the gift shop at the hotel. It was wrapped in paper and taped was that ever dangerous, alarming, and threatening..........ceramic souvenir photo frame!.....hehehe.........when they saw what it was.......they let us continue on.

I must say that they were more thorough in their search at the airport in Punta Cana....than the customs people here in Baltimore. The customs check in Baltimore is a joke...they might as well not even have it. A complete joke. A total waste of time and money........and the only black mark on the entire vacation.

I think that about covers everything. I may have forgotten a few things to tell about the vacation I had, and I may mention those as they pop into my brain. Again, I never had such an enjoyable vacation as this one and I would not hesitate to return there as soon as I can do so.

Now that I have gotten this all out of my system, I can return to writing about other stuff. Thanks for bearing with me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Punta Cana Vacation Part Eleven

There I was. It was very therapeutic to sit on the beach.........listening to the waves rush in..........breathing in the cleansing salt air...........ahhhhhhh. Alot of people, such as the man in the upper left corner, chose to take the time to read a book. Me?...........nahhhhhh........I just sit there and take it all in.
For seven continuous days I sat on the beach at the Iberostar Bavaro resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. A long, long way from home. I didn't care about anything while sitting there. The election was not dominating my mind. There were no Jehovah's Witnesses passing out propaganda to the tourists.............hmmmm.........I imagine I would have had to do something about that kind of scenario..........I wasn't gonna let anyone mess up my vacation. I sat there and it was all good.
If I looked up, this is what I would see. I don't particularly enjoy getting burned to a crisp, so I spent a good amount of time under the canopy. Shade is a good thing to have when you are not conditioned for the tropical sun. Even though it was about 85 degrees with a nice ocean breeze, the sun here is very strong and you can feel it penetrating your skin. Of course, my better half made sure I was nearly embalmed with sunblock. My legs are so white they look like flourescent tubes..........people might think I was a kitchen or an ice cream dealer on the I have to use sunblock because I would burn up like a Watchtower Magazine at an Apostafest!

There are plenty of canopies and chairs for everyone. These were behind where I sat.

To my left was where they loaded up the catamaran and the parasail. The banana boat ride was also available. This was looking north.

As I previously mentioned, my camera was malfunctioning. I apologize for the lack of quality in these photos, but its all I have.......and its better than nothing. During the strong daylight the camera would act up. It couldn't handle the bright sunlight hitting the white sand. Even my own eyes required sunglasses here.

Here are some of the Chesapeake Medical Staffing entourage taking a dip. That water was like bathtub just wanted to never get out.

That was worth repeating..................hehehe........On this particular day, the water was very calm with hardly any waves. Very nice indeed.

Looking to my right, I could see this.........sometimes people stretching out in their chairs..........sometimes there were even some women bandying about topless. No big deal.........except there are way too many women that you would NOT want to see in a bathing suit, why would they want to frighten anyone by going topless?

Yep, I could have sat there everyday..........and I did exactly that!

Sometimes the scenery gets a little better. It's all good,'s all good.

Meanwhile, in my chair..................I would look through my binoculars every once in a while. I could see a ship or two in the distance and watch the parasailers go by.........and yes........some of the people that just so happened to walk by......hehehe.

You might look at this picture and think "Gee...look at all of the seaweed". Everyday, the staff of the hotel rake up as much of the seaweed that they can and haul it away. In the water, there was never enough seaweed to complain about. I have been to other resorts where you could not tolerate being in the water because of massive amounts of seaweed. This beach is somewhat protected to a degree by a coral reef. Unless there is a storm or high winds, the seaweed is minimal to non-existent here.

The coral reef also filters what otherwise would show up on the beach. The sand here is pure white and without rocks and broken shells. Pure sand........and great on your feet! I will mention that you will encounter an occasional piece of coral under your feet while in the water. These can hurt your feet and the solution is to move a few feet away from it. There wasn't that much of it to even call it a bother. In fact, I brought some of it home with me as a souvenir............although I heard we were not supposed to do that.

The color of the water................absolutely stunning.
Very roomy place eh? Looking at the trees, you can see which way the wind blows here....hehehe. In the far distance along the beach is the "flea market"......a series of shacks where you can haggle over the price of rum, souvenirs, larimar jewelry, turtle shells, and t-shirts. I got some pretty good deals there, but it is not for the timid because the salespeople are very aggressive and can drive a hard bargain. These guys are not employees of the resort and that area of the beach is on public land. I would recommend that anyone that visits here, at least visit the "flea market" once for the experience. At least you will have a story to go along with your souvenirs!

There is something about seeing a boat on the beach.

Hey..........that's my chair! Darn........I wanna go back and reclaim my space.

This was looking back towards the Iberostar Bavaro beach. I was just leaving the "flea market" when I snapped this off. I encountered a man holding a sign seated to the left of this view (out of camera).......I chose to not take his picture. He was a double amputee and was homeless..........a reminder that there are problems anywhere. If I was him, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but right there on that beach.....legs or no legs. He had a small box on the sand in front of him.......I threw in a couple of dollars and he looked up at me and said "God Bless You".......and I said to him "God Bless YOU Buddy". He smiled and I continued walking.

This is the view of the beach at the end of "Caribbean Street". The left side was primarily the section of the beach where the guests of the Iberostar Dominicana and Punta Cana would soak up the sun.

A few clouds here and there. This was the part of the day when the sun was going down behind me. It brought an entirely different "feel" to the beach.

I love those palm trees. Yep.....God does some awesome work.

This picture does it no justice, but the evening skies are something to behold. Simply put, it is just plain beautiful.

The wind picked up that evening and had its effect on the waves. There is nothing like a walk along the beach in the evening.

You wont find litter in the sand. The staff remove it promptly. It is a pleasure to walk around the beachfront of this resort.

Imagine having a job like that guy........everyday........walking the beach property and picking up any stray cups, bottles or paper. Gee........I could do that! I wouldn't mind that at all.

What appears to be a blue dotted line across the sand is actually a plastic strip that marks of the boundary for beach volleyball.

Romantic, eh?
I am not a jogger......but if I was.....I would want to be able to see this kind of sight while jogging.

Well, that's the beach! It was the nicest beach I have ever been to. Definately the most beautiful. I did my share of soaking it up. I spent alot of time in the water here. (when I wasn't in my chair) I cannot swim, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed the water. It was like a healing experience for me. Very therapeutic. It cleanses your soul. Call it God's idea of a natural spa. And there is no charge for the natural salt scrub and water massage. I wanna go back. I can safely say that I was totally happy during my seven night vacation here. Not one problem. Not one worry. No schedule to keep. No stress. No pressures. Clean air to breathe. Beautiful eye candy. Happy people.


(*****Note to any Jehovah's Witness that happen to read this...............I have been to "paradise on earth" and I didn't see any lions with beachballs.......hehehehe)