Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Journey to Kenya's Slums

What strikes me about these photos
of my daughter and her film crew in Kenya
as they film a documentary about Kenya's runners,
is these kids.

Look at the smiles on their faces.
The same smiles that are on the faces of kids in Philadelphia,
or San Diego, or Tampa.

The conditions they live in......

just unbelievable.

More photos of this project are right here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Slum Runners

As I sat at my dining room table the other day talking to my daughter on Skype as she sat in a hotel on the outskirts of Kibera, Kenya I thought, I LOVE TECHNOLOGY.

She and her crew have been on the ground about 7800 miles from my dining room, filming her documentary that she has planned for the last 8 years or so.

I can't say how proud I am of her for following her dream.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Every time we join our boat for our 3 week hitch, inevitably someone says, "I hope we get some anchor time this hitch."
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Today is day 17 of either being anchored or being tied to a dock. Some hitches go by quicker than others.....this is NOT one of those hitches.

With so much "down time", I ventured back into the world of twitter. I was prompted by the non stop coverage of one Donald Trump by the news media. I had a feeling twitter was blowing up.
It is.

What a character this guy is. I love watching him on TV. Would I vote for him to be the President of the United States. NEVER. Would I like him to land that chopper in my backyard as he attends my vegetarian cookout and throws down a couple of beers? Yes.
If he was the only one running I would vote for me. If he ends up winning the election, I will move to the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland before he can say one word at the swearing in ceremony on the Capitol steps.

With that being said, I don't think he has a chance in hell. Once we get down to the nitty gritty where he actually has to answer questions with more substance than just saying, "I'll fix everything. I hired plenty of mexicans over the years."

Mark my words, Trump is just like a traveling circus. If the circus stays in town too long, people stop going. This lead he has in the polls will start to wane as the months goes on. This Trumpsteria reminds me a lot of the Sarah Palin circus that took place. And we know how that worked out.


The views, comments and opinions are my own and do not represent the views of Genesis Energy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This and That.

I admit it, I am not a cook.
Never have been.
Tried following various recipes a few times.
It never works out. 

The other day while on the boat I had a hankerin for eggs.

I enjoy over easy...or over light eggs.

But I can't flip those babies without the inevitable breaking of the yoke.

So I cheated and went sunny side up.
I think my plating skills are second to none. 

I was so proud of this plate
that is so simple to most people,
I of course took a picture
( don't we all?)
and sent it to my wife ( foodie )
and my daughter ( foodie )

And then the boob jokes started.......
I don't get it.


Below is either the most unimaginative company name
or the best ever.
The jury is still out.


Right before I left home
my wife called to me,
"get your camera, get your camera."

So I did.

Happy Hump Day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

One good deed deserves another.

I was going through some photos today, and while I was deleting and organizing various shots I came across these and it put a smile on my face. I thought I'd share this little story.

A few posts back I mentioned that on our vacation to Panama, the gardener where we were staying, called us over as we returned from another stressful day at the beach, and offered us some coconut water. Right out of the old coconut. One wack with his machete and whaa-laaa. Instant refreshment.

Below is Guiermo, the machete wielding gentleman who out of the kindness of his heart made our day as he shared a bit of his culture with us.

About an hour later my wife and I were cleaned up and relaxing on the porch, eating some cheese and crackers and finishing up a bottle of champagne. It was our last night on the Island so we were celebrating one last time as well as cleaning out what food we had accumulated during our stay.

As we looked on and saw Guiermo still hard at work, my wife put together a little something to eat as well as pouring a healthy portion of champagne into our water glass. She then stood up and headed out on a mission.

She left the porch.....

 and walked the path with champagne and snacks

until she came upon Guiermo.

She shared a bit of our culture with him. I asked her if he liked it, she smiled and said, oh yeah, he liked it.

The last we saw him, he had walked across the street to the beach, sat down and ate an unexpected snack while drinking his champagne.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Just let me be.....

Ok, I'm not the "normal" tug boat guy when it comes to eating. I try to eat somewhat healthy. Most tug boat people don't. And most are way over weight, and I could care less, I don't say a damn thing when a dozen donuts disappears from the galley in a 6 hour period.

So today, I sit down with my bowl of oatmeal and my fruit smoothie and start to eat. A fellow crew member was eating a frozen Philadelphia Cheese steak that came in a box and had to be thawed to eat. That alone will kill a large horse, not to mention the bag of chips he was sucking down, but I don't give a crap what other people eat. I just don't care. Just let me be.
Our conversation went like this:

275 lb deckhand: "What's that?"

Me: " Oatmeal....I hate the stuff."

275 lb deckhand: While stuffing his face with chips..."Then why do you eat it?"

Me: "It lowers my cholesterol."

275 lb deckhand: laughing hysterically AT ME, as he jams a grease laden roll into his mouth and takes another bite.

A few things crossed my mind. Punching him in the face was priority one, but I didn't. Having a conversation with him about his dietary habits and how it is killing him, was thought # 2. But I put on my big boy pants and just ignored him.

If they have burgers or steaks or a freekin pot roast, I get asked AGAIN AND AGAIN why I don't eat it. I don't ask them why they smother broccoli with velveta cheese!! I SHOULD BE THEO ONE ASKING THE DAMN QUESTIONS. A burger or a steak once in a while is not the end of the world, I get it, I just CHOOSE NOT TO EAT IT. LEAVE ME ALONE!!

This is nothing new. I like avocados..don't give me THAT LOOK when you see one on my plate.

Please just waddle back to the galley table and leave me the f*#^ alone.

Thank you for listening...I feel better.

Friday, June 26, 2015

If I Were King.......


Bigotry would be non existent

Baseball games would be faster

Hockey games would be slower

Blogger would pay me...just because 

Oatmeal would taste this

I would win the lottery

I would start playing the lottery

Donald Trump wouldn't call Mexicans rapist.

Donald's 2 foot comb over would be illegal.

The Supreme Court of the United States
would rule to allow same sex marriage.....oh.......wait.

Sepp Blatter, the big cheese at FIFA would not be allowed to run for President of that dysfunctional organization. He has done enough damage.

Speaking of FIFA and the World Cup
Qatar has won the rights to the 2022 World Cup, well actually
they bought the votes. 
There is no earthly reason why this small country of 300,000 people
should hold a soccer tournament. It's a damn dust bowl and the players will
be playing in temperatures close to 120 degrees.
That's just ludicrous.

But money talks.

Qatar has no stadiums to speak of, no hotels to put up the worlds citizens
as they descend on this small country in South East Asia, no facilities for the athletes,
nothing. But that's not a problem. Since this pimple  of a country is one of the richest in the world
they'll just build what they need. Money is no object so they're just going to build whatever it is they need to host these games.

Qatarians won't be building anything, immigrant labor from the surrounding countries are spilling into Qatar and living in labor camps and being treated like animals.
8 to 10 people sleeping in one room that may have one working toilet. They have no showers. I saw video of these workers showering in the toilet by filling up 5 gal buckets of water and dumping it over their heads.

They come to make money for their families back home.
Once they sign up for the job, they are not allowed to leave, it might slow the progress down.
They are paid next to nothing by a very rich country for working in brutal conditions with temps in the 120's. The citizens of Qatar wouldn't think of working like this, so they don't.

Advertisers like COKE, MCDONALDS, BUDWISER and many others don't seem to care
that the 2022 World Cup is being built by modern day slaves.

Watching the 2022 World Cup will be very difficult to do.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Let's call a Spade a Spade Huh??

I've often blamed this stagnate government we have on politicians. I stand corrected. It's the people of this nation of ours who are responsible for the fighting and gridlock that permeates Washington DC.

The representatives who sit in those big offices in the Capitol building are just that, representatives, representing their people.

President Obama, who has miraculously won two elections has had a historically difficult time trying to get the things accomplished that he set out to do about 7 years ago. There is only one reason for it.
He's a black man. Let's quit tiptoeing around this.

You can't tell me that when some of these old time Senators are sitting around after hours scratching their crotches, sipping on Johnny Walker Red, neat, that the "N" word isn't being tossed around in regard to their commander in chief.

Those same representatives are representing some of the bigoted people that I have to work with on a daily basis, and believe me, the "N" word makes a daily appearance around here. With the news today about the Affordable Care Act, another barrage of hate was launched around the galley table. I can't stand it. I know this for a fact, because I have asked them, not one of these prejudiced individuals has EVER once walked into a voting booth. I've had discussions with them, I've had arguments with them, it's like they have a common sense firewall up.There is no getting through to them. I could spit confederate flags I am so pissed.

So I escape from the hate and go to the engine room where I had some issues to attend to. When I was finished I had to call my boss, who lives in Louisiana. We talked about generator engines and coolant samples, and I swear to god, 10 minutes into our conversation for no apparent reason he veers off and says, "....and that fucking Obama and his god damn fucking Obamacare.........."

I can't escape it. Some citizens of this country scare the crap out of me.

With that being said, I want to share a FB post a friend of mine wrote. He is in his early 30's. He owns a beer company, that he started from scratch a few years ago. His name is Luke, here's what he said.

".....I know a lot of business owners, myself included who have used the Affordable Care Act to obtain good health insurance for themselves and their employees. The program isn't just used by people draining assets from the system, but by people like me who's products and services you purchase daily. While nothing is perfect and the system needs improvement, hopefully now we can build upon what was created instead of working to destroy it."

There is hope for us after all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I took a surprise trip.....planned it myself.

I recently turned 60 and I wanted to reward myself for....well, making it to 60. So I started thinking about where I could go to celebrate. I wanted to go someplace special, someplace I haven't been before. 

I decided on Panama, Iowa just didn't seem appropriate for the big SIX OH.

If you enjoy relaxing vacations in a country with super nice people, and beautiful beaches I found the place for you. Isla Colon is a small island in the Caribbean a 45 minute flight from Panama City, Panama. If you like hustle and bustle and nightlife than stay away from this laid back one road island.

This is my kind of get-a-way.

We stayed at a B&B 50 yards from a beach. We stayed for 9 nights. 8 of those nights we were the only occupants of the B&B, the beauty of traveling in the off season.

 We began each day sitting on the porch overlooking a beautifully manicured property with "our" beach in the background, awaiting our coffee, tea, fruit smoothies and breakfast. Seriously, there is not a better way to start the day.

After a leisurely breakfast we had one tough pressure packed decision to make each day. Should we go to the right, or to the left. There were no car rentals on the Island, that's not needed when there is only one road that stretched form one end to the other. Our main mode of transportation is pictured below.

 Our goal each day was to find an even better beach than we found the day before. Some days we were successful.

 Some evenings were spent in the little town of Bocas Del Torro grabbing dinner at one of their restaurants, other evenings were spent winding down on the porch of our B&B eating whatever we had decided to pick up. I just turned 60, open the damn champagne!!

 A bus ride ( it's actually a van ) with the locals to starfish beach at the far end of the island was cool, the starfish were like nothing I had ever seen before. The one pictured below I would guess is at least 12 inches wide, and that was not unusual to see.

 And this boat........

 if only it could talk.

 Soon after I made the decision to stay on Isla Colon for 10 days, I wondered to myself, "will that be too long?" Um, no. Could have stayed another 10 days.

On the day we flew home, because of the flight schedules we found ourselves with most of the day to kill on the mainland of Panama before we flew out. So we got a cab to one of the Panama Canal locks, where they have a museum, video and history of the canal. We killed a few hours there and witnessed a few ships going through the Miraflores Locks.

Just a footnote. In case you think your local highway tolls are bad, the toll for one particular ship that we saw going through the locks, was $400,000. Let me re-type that so you know that wasn't a misprint. $400,000 was paid by a ships owner to go through the canal. 

The toll varies with the size of the ship and the cargo of the ship. Crazy huh?

Anyway, you can thank me now for not posting another 40 or 50 photos of this beautiful Island. I was tempted.

I can't wait until I turn 100, I'm thinking New Zealand.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where did the time go?

I was very fortunate while growing up. You're familiar with the saying, "It takes a village" aren't you?I know, from first hand knowledge that this is true. As a young kid roaming the suburban tree lined streets just outside of Philadelphia, the village that helped raise me consisted of my next door neighbor, and my Aunt and Uncle who lived about 2 blocks away. 

Aunt Jane and Uncle Fred, they had 5 kids. They lived between my house and the grade school that I walked to. Guess how many times I walked into that house. Thousands. Guess how many lunches I ate at Aunt Jane's house? Thousands. (When my mom made my lunch, she cut the sandwich squarely in half. Aunt Jane always cut my sandwich from corner to corner, diagonally, you know?) Guess how many times I "slept over" their house? Thousands.

You can probably imagine how close I was to my 5 cousins. Like siblings actually.

But then we all get older, and get jobs and move and get married and have kids and...well, a natural drift takes place. But that was 35 years ago or so. I only live about 1 hour from most of them. It's been years since I've seen them. ( Funerals don't count.) No excuse.

A few weeks ago I attended a little "retirement" party. You see, my cousin Mimi retired. Yes, the same Mimi who lived 2 blocks away when I was a kid, the same Mimi I saw almost daily while growing up.

The whole gang showed up. Cousins Drew and Mike and Terry were there along with some spouses. Their brother Brian was not there. He was taken from this world way to early many years ago. He is now again with his mom and dad. Many of my cousin's kids were there, with their kids.. Watching the grandkids running around, I couldn't help but think to myself, "how did so much time pass so fast?" 

It's easy to look back and say things should have been handled differently. I should have kept in touch. I guess life just got in the way.

I'm happy they are all doing so well. From the moment I arrived at the party until the moment I left, I had a smile on my face. Good people have that affect on me.

We have plans to get together again in the coming months. Let's hope life doesn't get in the way again.