Tag Archive | Entertainment

On haunted, hallowed ground.

 

The "King's Highway." This piece of American history is haunted.

The “King’s Highway.” This piece of American history is haunted. It wandered its way from Fort Brook (Tampa, FL today) to Fort King (Ocala). A bloody massacre occurred on the sands pictured here.


 

Have you ever been on a spot that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck? I’ve been to several, but I’ve never been to one that had my ESP on alert more than the one pictured above. My fur, and I have plenty of that, was at full attention during my entire stay at this place.

You might ask why. The shaded, sandy lane is the place a war started. It was one that those who fought its battles, at the time, saw as necessary. History would add “unjust” as a descriptor of the conflict, but would also have to  add “inevitable” during the era it was fought. On December the 28th, 1835, Major Francis L. Dade and a group of 108 soldiers were attacked and defeated by 180 Seminole warriors under Chief Micanopy. Only three of Dade’s command survived; Seminole losses were later reported to be less than a dozen braves.

The reason the Seminoles attacked was fear that Dade’s troops were there to enforce a treaty that some of their leaders signed agreeing to relocate to west of the Mississippi in what is now Oklahoma. The soldiers were on their way to strengthen Fort King which settlers feared wasn’t strong enough to protect them. Reality, harshly stated, was 30,000 settlers wanted access to the lands belonging to 5,000 Seminoles. Tricked, bribed or coerced, some Seminole chiefs signed treaty papers ceding their lands to the US Government at Fort Gibson after visiting Oklahoma in 1833. Legality and morality became opponents.

My human, the Geezer, is doing research for a four book historical series he’s writing on the birth of modern Florida. It was a pregnancy that covered a period from the 1780’s through the 1950’s. Ohhhhh, my! That makes the canine gestation period of 9 weeks and the human pregnancy of 9 months, pieces of cake.

We walked over the well-documented battle site trail at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. I could feel cold hands reaching out, touching my coat. The dead’s spirits hadn’t left this spot.

I asked, “Geezer, do you feel something?”

“Like what?” he answered. He grinned at me. His expression was wry, not mirthful. The old boy knew and felt their presence, too.

“Ghosts!” I said and he simply nodded, yes. It is a haunted, hallowed place.

There is a great museum there and the battlefield is very well marked. I’ve included a few photos.

Flintlock rifle, bayonet, and sword in the Dade Battlefield Museum.

Flintlock rifle, bayonet, and sword in the Dade Battlefield Museum.

 

An artist's recreation of the battle scene.

An artist’s recreation of the battle scene. The Seminoles wait, hidden, as Dade’s column approaches.

 

Recreation of the log revetment the survivors of the initial assault built. They made their last stand behind the logs they cut down.

Recreation of the log revetment the survivors of the initial assault built. They made their last stand behind the logs they cut down.

1835 soldier in uniform

1835 soldier in uniform

Seminole ready for battle.

Seminole ready for battle.

 

These two figures are in the museum on site. The information provided is excellent and portrays both sides fairly.

 

 

 

The Dade Battlefield park is well worth making a trip to visit or swinging by if you’re traveling past. It is just a few miles off I-75 near the town of Bushnell, Florida. The address is 7200 County Road 603 (Battlefield Parkway). You can get more info from the website – http://www.dadebattlefield.com.

 

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The most popular place to shop … The Two Sizes Too Small Mall

 

a shopper at the Two Sizes Too Small Mall

a shopper at the Two Sizes Too Small Mall

 

I’ve noticed more and more people are going to one place to buy their clothes. It has to be the “Two Sizes Too Small Mall.” My humans take me with them everywhere they can, so I can attest to the growing popularity of this shopping Mecca. More and more people I observe while sitting in the car, walking down the street, or curled up under the table at one of Geezer’s book signings are packed into clothes that would make sardines sweat.

I assume humans pinch their body into what amounts to a sausage casing because it’s one of those fads humans are fond of pursuing. Fads! One more reason to be thankful I’m canine! Why would these folks reveal secrets better kept cloaked, if it wasn’t for some misguided fashion whim? Most men would like others to think they have abs, not flabs. Isn’t the hour-glass the vision most women would like others to believe lies under their garments? Clothes purchased at the Two Sizes Two Small Mall give many ladies the appearance of a stack of tires in a used auto parts store.

Maybe this fad is a guilt trip on which humans are embarked. They seem unable to speak the truth. Is this their way of being truthful without having to verbalize it? They display what’s there whether it should be or not. Maybe clothes bought at “Two Sizes Too Small Mall” are a form of truth serum. It’s like them saying, “This is what I got.” Unfortunately, more often than not, what they got is one hell of a lot.

Not all the men and women who buy their clothes at that mall look bad; in fact some look just fine. This isn’t just my opinion. I can tell from the straining eyes, the snapping sound of necks turning, and dripping saliva that I observe as human members of the opposite sex saunter by each other. I guess many of them don’t really mind being objectified after-all.

I asked my human why the fad was so popular. He answered, “Sandy, it’s not a fad. Many of these people suffer from fatassia disease.” I didn’t know what fatassia meant, I asked, and he explained. “It’s pronounced fat-ass-ia.” I asked why the thin ones and humans with good shapes wore clothes from the Two Sizes Two Small Mall. He grinned and replied, “All humans are marketing experts. They’re advertising.” I told you humans can’t tell the truth.

Humans! I glad my coat fits fine all the time.

 

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First there was the Chinese Water Torture, then the Spanish Inquisition … Now TV!

I long for the days I was too young to understand what's on TV.

I long for the days when I was too young to understand what’s on TV.

I have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment! The Geezer has gone to far this time. My humans have company so the doors that are normally open to the bedrooms … are closed. The circular staircases to the upstairs make me dizzy so escape by going up is impossible. Escape you say? Escape from what? Torture! I’ve been relegated to staying in the living room and subjected to mistreatment by television. Aaaahhhhh!! I can’t get away from it. Humans have to be in the lowest intelligence percentile of all life forms on planet Earth; they actually enjoy watching TV. The people staying with the Geezer and Mrs. G are addicted to the tube. If it isn’t turned on, they’re turned off.

TV is just plain pathetic. Several weeks ago I talked about the advertisements that appear between what is supposed to be entertainment, or news, all of which should be placed in the visual trashcan. Remember my comments on the six is greater than one revelation? That rates a Gomer Pyle reaction: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! There are ads  that bring into question if the human species actually has a brain. I have my doubts. There isn’t any doubt about the Madison Avenue humans that dream up these brain farts.

Have you seen the one about the free range chicken? That rascal gets around. From the barnyard to hopping freight cars, everyone in the ad extols the chicken’s masculine free spirit. They even talk about how “he” keeps sending pictures back to the home folks. The problem – the super hero chicken they filmed isn’t a rooster, she’s a hen. Evidently, those smart folks in Manhattan don’t realize there are sexual differences in chickens that the public can discern. Maybe they were taught by that MIT professor that believes American humans are really dumb. Maybe the professor was right.

Then there are the ads for new films. I’ll describe one. There’s a dark background, men with guns are shooting each other, there are several huge explosions, some woman is shown taking her top off, one of the characters delivers inciting, complex dialogue, “Get down!” (which exhausts the actor’s vocabulary), a decaying corpse comes to life in a zombie state, and finally there’s the absolutely, positively, indispensable speeding vehicle that does a triple flip in the pike position. I said one ad, but that covers 80% of film trailers.

How about the birdies looking for a new home. That’s the one where a flock heads one way, lands at a place where the phones “buffer,” their little bird brains get upset, the birds do a reverse course, and an announcer proudly proclaims these birds returned for three hundred bucks and getting their old phone network back. What he doesn’t tell you is there was no food where they landed. None. Nada. Zilch. Geese aren’t that dumb. They’d be looking for a corn field or rice paddy. They put down on flat barren tundra. Mama goose didn’t raise a dumb gaggle. They needed the $300 to go to McDonald’s. Oh yes, the announcer keeps saying “birds.” Evidently he things a goose is something you do with your thumb.

The Geezer is showing me some compassion, however. He’s promised to take me outside, turn on the hose and drench me. I sure can use it. The people upstairs have been watching news shows all day with a continuous mud slide of politics spewing from the screen. It makes one feel dirty, filthy, like one has been dipped into a two hundred year old outhouse. A bath, a bath, my country for a bath. I guess I’ll forgive him if he throws in a hamburger for supper tonight.

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“Shudder” – My friend Tina

In my last blog I mentioned how living out of my home while its being re-mediated has allowed me to meet new friends like “Gofo” the horny old Gopher tortoise. I thought I’d introduce you to two more new acquaintances. You’ll meet “Shudder” this time.

Shudder is Tina the tiny rabbit. I’ve nick-named her Shudder because when she first met me she shook and shuddered when I got close. Tina lives in a huge asparagus fern in the front yard where we’re staying. The first time I saw her, she was hiding from the Geezer who’d walked around the house one way while I went around the other. Shudder was less than half the size of other rabbits I’d seen. She had to be very young, not much more than a baby. I walked up behind her and got within two feet before she realized I was there.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

I said, “Hi, I’m Sandy. I’m a Golden Retriever. I want to be your friend.”

Shudder earned her nick-name right then. She vibrated like a banjo string, her ears stuck out at odd angles, her eyes were wide and her nose and tail twitched. She said in a terrified voice, “You’re not a Golden Whatever, you’re a dog! I know about your kind. Go away or I’ll hurt you!” Tina covered her eyes with one tiny paw and pitifully swung the other in my direction.”

“A Golden Retriever is a dog. It’s just the type dog I am. I’m not a rabbit dog … I’m a duck dog. You don’t have anything to worry about. Let’s play.” Each time she’d head for the fern I’d get between her and her home. I call the game block the other animal unless I play it with humans. Then I call the game block the dumb butts. Finally, Shudder tired of the game. She froze, put her paws up in a prayerful manner, and implored, “Make it quick, please!”

“Make what quick?” I asked.

“Aren’t you going to eat me?” She asked.

“No. I don’t eat my friends! Where did you get such an idea?” I laid down in the grass and rolled to let her know I wasn’t going to harm her.

“My momma told me dogs eat rabbits, cats too. She told me not to trust anyone.”

I reflected on that for a couple minutes, before saying. “Generally speaking, she’s correct. But, hey, I’m Sandy, the most unaggressive, but protective dog in the universe. If I’m around, I’ll keep you safe. But if I’m not, you better hide if you see some other animal. Besides dogs and cats, snakes, racoons, eagles, owls, hawks, all would make you lunch. You’d better hide if I’m not here. By the way, where is your mom?”

Tina began to cry, “She left one morning and never came back.” I consoled Tina and promised to look out for her. I hope she grows fast enough to be safe on her own. Anyway, we play every morning when I go out for my constitutional. I sure do love little kids.

 

Sandy

I’d like to meet you! Go “Bluegrassing” with me.

Get out your toe-tappin’ boots!  The Geezer is taking me with him this weekend.  We’re going “Bluegrassing.”  Yep, I can hear the banjos strumming and the mandolins humming.  I’m going to the Yeehaw Bluegrass Festival with my human and Mrs. G.  I’m excited, I’m just a country dog at heart.

The Yeehaw Festival is one of the best bluegrass music events held in Florida AND the US.  Nothin’ Fancy, Pine Mountain Railroad, Lorraine Jordan, Florida Bluegrass Express, and many more super groups will appear.  It will be going on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Yeehaw is about an hour south of Orlando right off the Florida Sunshine Parkway.  It’s easy to get there.  If you want more info, go to  http://www.yeehawbluegrass.com.

Ya’all come I’d like to meet you!

http://www.dlhavlin.com

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July 3 – The song says, “You must have been a beautiful baby.” I was! I was!

"YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL BABY"

My human was listening to some really old music on his hi-fi. Major old. It was so old the plastic cover for the CD has iron hinges that creak when it’s opened. I mean, U-2 is dated, and the Grateful Dean ancient. But these bands… I’m almost sure they were exhumed from an archaeology dig, maybe Pompeii, or some place in Israel, or the Calusa Indian site here on Pine Island. No electric, you say. Come on, you humans haven’t figured out how the Egyptians did what they did. You know back when they were civilized and built more than they burned.

Anyway, the bands had names like “Guy Lombardo”, “Artie Shaw”, “Glenn Miller”, and “Count Bassie”. I’ve tried getting some meaning out of those names, but the thought process has turned up zero. I figure Count Basie is royalty from one of those small monocracies in Europe, maybe Liechtenstein. Oh, and maybe Artie Shaw painted in his spare time. That’s pure guess.

One of the songs they played was, “You must have been a beautiful baby”. I knew that before the Geezer told me what the title was. Back then you could understand the words when they sang. I guess there were a lot of distractions in the cave. He added, “That song certainly applies to you, Sandy. You were a beautiful baby!”

“Was I?”  I love to hear the Geezer talk about something I already know. Makes him feel good.

“You sure were.”

“That’s nice. You know I can’t see myself. The mirrors are all mounted incorrectly in this house.” Humans are an inconsiderate lot. You’d think they’d be more obliging to the other species in their houses.

“Well, we can take care of that.”

“You gonna relocate all the mirrors?” I got excited for a second.

“Oh no, I got lots of pictures,” he said. The old boy picked out an album and began showing me what I looked like in my frivolous, innocent youth. I WAS a beautiful baby. I’ve decided to share some of these with you. Hope you enjoy them.

Mrs. G and me at four weeks - me not her.

When I picked the Geezer and Mrs. G

The decision is made!

Me with my mom, Breeze, and my brothers

Mom and I were close

Nap time with my bros.

That was a long, hard day!

Yep, it sure was.

I'm on the left with my #1 bro at 10 weeks

Saying goodbye to my mentor/breeder

Goodbye Momma Breeze!

Visiting my older sister "Gracie" at 17 months

I'm the one with the tongue out!

The Geezer, his friend Randy, Gracie and me

And that marked the sunset of my youth and the beginning of my blogging career-so Walla, a beautiful sunset.

See you again soon. Oh, a PS. I’ll be accompanying the Geezer on many of his book signings for his new book, A Place No One Should Go. I hope I’ll meet you at one of them. Check his website for info on the book and in the near future he’ll post book signing dates and locations there.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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April 20 – Reincarnation – it explains a lot, from canines to politics

     There was a meeting of the neighborhood Canine Chowder and Ham Bone Marching Society yesterday.  Most of our members were present due to a large yard party for all the “snowbirds” (Human folks that live in Florida in the winter and travel North in the summer.) who were getting ready to depart like a flock of geese.
     Of course, over half our Society’s members accompany their humans on the annual migration.  Sparkle the Irish Setter commented, “Well, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all, next fall.”
     “It seems as though I’m always moving.  I bet I did it in a previous life,” Lucy the Cocker Spaniel moaned.
     “You guys believe in that shit?”  Peter the Pointer saw the blank stares and added, “Reincarnation.”
     “Oui.  I certainly do.  I can even tell you about at least one of my previous lives.”  Our French Poodle, Fifi, is into all the metaphysical stuff.  “I was a Doberman ten lives ago, serving in the German Army.  I received metals and was a bonified heroine.”
     “Huhh!” Sarge scoffed.  His German shepherd blood was aroused.  “Yeh, Fifi, was your uniform a toto?  What did you have for rations?  Champagne?  Escargo?  Did you have a maid to dress you in the morning?  You couldn’t have learned to be as snobbish as you are now in fifteen previous lives.”
     Peter said, “I’d pay to see you in a hand-to-hand combat drill.”
     There was a chorus of laughs.  Fifi stuck her nose in the air and walked away in a huff.
     “Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  I remember a previous life, too,” Manny the chihuahua said.  “I was the personal companion to Santa Anna, the great Mexican leader.”
     “Uh-huh.”  Sarge didn’t look convinced.  “Were you his guard dog?”
     “Oh yes, si, certainly.”
     Peter asked, “If somebody tried to attack old Santa Anna, what was your plan?  Bite them on the big toe?”
     Laughter ensued.
     “Oh no.  I was a mastiff in that life.  I was a mucho grande dog.”  Manny tried squaring his shoulders and looking large.  
     Before Peter or Sarge could humiliate the little guy, Opie our Scotty and resident scholar interceded.  “There is a possible scientific explanation for reincarnation.  At least, in the same species.  DNA.  It’s the building block of life.  The potential to hand down memories through parental lineage is certainly a possibility.”
     That made us all think.  Some could rationalize the theory.  Some stared at Manny, visualized a mastiff, and had trouble s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the reality.  That would make for a difficult parental “chain.”
     “Sometimes, I do think I remember things– Well, I might have been Rin Tin Tin in a former life,” Sarge said.
     “Yes, I’m believing that.”  Fifi had rejoined our group.  “And I believe elephants can fly and will be jet propelled if they eat enough beans and cabbage and drink enough beer.”
     Sarge growled and Fifi snarled back, so I decided to change the subject to humans, something we could all discuss without ruffling neck hair.  “Well, I can certainly see that possibility in my human.  The Geezer probably descended from Mark Twain.  They’re both writers, have a strong awareness of human behavior, and a good sense of humor.”
     “Oh, and my human probably has Lady Godiva in her blood line.  She loves to go naked.”  Sparkle was doing her best to support me and lead the conversation in another direction.
     “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.  I bet I know who my human’s great, great, great, great, great, grand-mother was.”  Manny was so excited I thought the little guy would pop like a firecracker.  “She has to be descended from Catherine the Great because all she wants to do is fu–”
     “Hmmmmmm!” I interrupted.  “No exposing family secrets here.”  I did another switcheroo.  “Wouldn’t it be fun to guess who famous people are reincarnated from?”
     “I can see General Petraeus being the reincarnation of Alexander the Great,” Opie said.
     “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.  How about Queen Elizabeth the II being the reincarnation of Queen Elizabeth the I?”  Manny was getting it.
     “I bet both Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin had a common ancestor,” Lucy quipped.  “Attila the Hun.”
     Everyone laughed except for Heintz, the neighborhood mut.  He said, “Well, that explains a lot.  Both Bush and Obama must have the same ancestry.”
     “How’s that?” I asked through my giggles.  Heintz was serious.
     “That’s easy.  Trace them back through Nero, you know, the guy who fiddled while Rome burned, to that famous Greek leader.  What was his name?”  Heintz scratched his head with his rear paw hoping to stimulate his cerebral cortex.  Or maybe a flea.
     “Plato?” I suggested.
     “No.”  Heintz kept scratching.
     “Socrates?” Sarge asked.
     “No, no, no.”  Suddenly Heintz’s eyes shone and he stopped scratching.  “I remember.  It was the king of the city-state of Bankruptkus, Idious the Imbecile.”
     Not one of us spoke.  First, none of us are Greek scholars.  Second, it was too logical to refute.

(Thanks to Lady Marilyn Kaye, one of my readers for the inspiration)

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www.dlhavlin-author.com