The Gull Reef Club

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9/17/2019 · 2:03 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
sometimes waiting and watching is all you can do. The weather has been oscillating quite a bit this... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · Good Bye Blue Sky
It's summer. We don't adventure much in the summer. It's too hot & buggy. We hibernate and wait... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 2:25 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
So how goes the summer of adventure? Inquiring minds want to know.... | Read More

6/6/2018 · 12:46 am· Michael (Net2007) · My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife
I've often felt this way, it's strange and divisive times in many ways. As far as this goes, I... | Read More

7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More


Short Story Reading

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:19 pm

As I mentioned here, Edna Ferber’s Cheerful – By Request was the next on my list. I can’t say I liked it as much as Buttered Side Down. While it had the same flair for character development as my previous reading, many of the stories came off as irrelevant, as they were somewhat outdated. And while I usually can find ways to relate to historic, obsolete emotions, I just couldn’t here. It was an easy read, nonetheless, so at least I didn’t waste a lot of time on it.

I next spent a little time with Twain’s How To Tell a Story and Others. It’s a baby-sized read, and told in that lovely Americana style that Twain defines. Obviously, the theme was to let the audience in on the details of creating a narrative. It worked well. Although, I can’t say that I am any better now at writing a humorous story.

I’m on a short story kick, so I’ve now taken up Saki’s Beasts and Super Beasts. Compelling reading so far. In fact, I had fitful, disturbing dreams involving an Edwardian English countryside last night. More on this some other time, beachcombers.


Tomfoolery with Statecraft

Filed under: — Jaime @ 7:24 pm

The members of America’s Debate are doing a bang up job of mocking the War on Terror vocabulary adjustment I mentioned the other day, over in this thread: New Names for the ‘War on Terror’, Lets give Bush our suggestions…

The best part is that the thread was started by lederuvdapac a/k/a Meli – the quintessential young Republican of AD

Who says Republicans can’t laugh at themselves?


The Community is Patriotic

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:12 pm

The Savannah Morning News offers an explanation for the psuedo-invasion yesterday:

600 Marines, sailors land in Savannah to train

You’re right, that gray helicopter you just saw land in Daffin Park wasn’t with the Army.

In fact, it was a CH-53E Super Stallion, used to move heavy equipment and supplies for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The idea is to deploy forces in an unfamiliar location, and have them react to a combat scenario that will evolve over the next several days.

(Captain) Dent said Savannah was chosen for two reasons: The community is patriotic and receptive to a military presence, and there is already a military infrastructure in place. (Savannah Morning News, Registration Required)

They were landing those things in Daffin Park??!? The same Daffin Park that is home to historic Grayson Stadium and sits along the famous palm-lined Victory Drive? Captain Dent clearly acknowledges there is military infrastructure in place here – so go there. Why was Hunter Army Airfield all of the sudden not sufficient?

Further curiosity – is the military now gauging the patriotic levels of various cities? How did Savannah receive such an honor? I guess the old girl just can’t say no to a strong military. We fluttered our eyelids and flashed a bit of ankle at Sherman and fanned ourselves in Forsyth Park at the G8. C’mon fellows, just land your birds near those century old trees. Those folks in the mansions across the street won’t mind, they’re patriotic.

Final curiosity – why does the phrase ‘receptive to a military presence’ sound so sexually charged?

God bless the USA.

Fools of Statecraft

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:31 am

Today from the BBC:

The Bush administration is abandoning the phrase “war on terror” to better express the fight against al-Qaeda and other groups as an ideological struggle as much as a military mission.
[ snip]
In recent days, senior administration figures have been speaking publicly of “a global struggle against the enemies of freedom”, and of the need to use all “tools of statecraft” to defeat them.

Tools of statecraft?!? What the hell does that mean?

This just in….White House calls for new policy of porcine lip decoration application exercises. Please adjust your vocabulary accordingly.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:17 pm

Just to balance out any negative voodoo I may get from sassing the military, may I introduce you to Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, the blog of Lt. Rusten Currie of the USMC. He is an active duty intelligence officer, stationed in Iraq. He also happens to be one of the most articulate and informative military bloggers I’ve yet to come across. I can’t recall how I first learned of this blog, but since my discovery, I’ve been lurking there for months. I should probably drop kudos sometime soon. Give Lt. Currie’s blog a read. If it doesn’t make your blood run cold or your eyes well up at least once, I’ll give you your money back.

Urban Assault: Historic District Destruction Simulation

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:40 pm

At the risk of ending up an ass for complaining about this, I am compelled to account for my annoyance at the military choppers that having been buzzing Savannah since this afternoon. We have a number of military facilities around here so I don’t know if I am to pin the blame on the Army, Airforce, Marines or Coast Guard. At one point, I thought one of them was about to land on Broughton Street it came so close. Here is it going on 11pm and they are still out there. My house, like thousands of others in Savannah, is old and on brick stilts. I am not interested in having this old place shaken so much. So time to put the big machines away folks and get to bed. You’ve been at it all day.


Cheeseburger, cheeseburger. No Coke. Pepsi

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:52 pm

Must-haves and wanna-try-to-gets when Mike and I fly to Chicago this fall:

  • Canfield’s soda – Swiss creme, in particular
  • Jay’s potato chips
  • Italian beef
  • Bratwust, with onion & mustard only
  • Horchata from El Burrito Loco
  • Vienna Beef hot dog
  • Aurelio’s pizza
  • Steamboat’s gyros
  • Pop’s (for Mike)
  • Harold’s Chicken
  • Frosty’s
  • Willie’s Wee-Nee Wagon
  • White Castle
  • Tommy O Burger
  • JMK Nippon
  • Undoubtedly, I am forgetting something and I will either remember later or Mike will chime in. Damn, that’s a lot of beef-related food items. I’m going to weigh 300 lbs. when I get back.


    Point of Order II

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:43 pm

    Attention all visitors to Savannah who have or may in the future patronize The Plantation Carriage Company:

    When you get to Johnson Square the guide will tell you that the locals often refer to it as Banker’s Square. This is false. They are wrong. I know Johnson Square. I spend a lot of time in and around there nearly every single day. The ONLY people I have ever heard refer to this square as Banker’s Square are the black-brimmed hat wearing tour guides for The Plantation Carriage Company.

    The first time I heard one of their persistently, perky guides say this to a cart full of gawkers, I raised an eyebrow. The second time I heard this, I made a face. The third, I intentionally made eye contact with some of the tourists and shook my head no. I have chosen this last option for each subsequent misspeak by these seemingly well-intentioned, albeit misinformed, guides.

    Thank you. That is all.

    Point of Order

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:35 pm

    It has come to my attention this Gull Reef Club gets a few visitors every month seeking this Gull Reef Club. Please be advised, visiting beachcombers, that we are in no way related. Our only similarities seem to be a love for Georgia’s coast and Herman Wouk.

    I would be happy to share a rave Postcard about my condo compadre were they willing to comp me a night or two. Nudge…


    Which State are You?

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:48 pm

    Via Wertz

    You’re Bikini Atoll!
    You once believed that your biggest concern would be a shark attack. Now
    you know just how much more destructive humans can be than any other creature. While you
    don’t like mushrooms, you’ve had to eat so many of them that it’s become almost a way of
    life. Exiled from your home and forced to wait for someone to clean it up, you’ve become
    bitter but remain powerless. Most people like to gawk at those who share your

    Take the State Quiz
    at the Blue Pyramid.

    This seems rather fitting.


    The Iron Heel and Buttered Side Down

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:29 pm

    I recently finished two books (ebooks if you’re going to make me be specific). The first one, Jack London’s The Iron Heel, took me at least a month, likely longer, to complete.

    The Iron Heel is one of those books I so wanted to like and just couldn’t. The basic storyline could be a good one – political upheaval in the U.S., class warfare, yada yada. The plot details surrounding the merciless, mercenary oligarchy and the terrorist acts of the proletarians, at times, were eerily metaphoric of life as we know it. Even the way the story was told was rather clever and unique – it had a double narration. It begins with the unseen/unnamed Narrator Of The Far Off Future who is reflecting on the distant past. NOTFOF hands over the narration to one of the main characters, who tells of her recent past involving her rise as a leader of the proletariat struggle. NOTFOF chimes in from time to time to fill in details. This could be so good. But it’s not.

    The Iron Heel is dreadfully predictable and there is little to no character development. Therein lies the worst part of this book. I could have gotten past the predictability if I could have at least liked the characters. Unfortunately, the characters were hideous, especially the wholly unlikable Ernest Everhardt, whom I wouldn’t let led me into 7-11, much less a proletariat revolution. I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief that others would follow the unlikable and unrealistic proletariat leaders that London created, which led to my ultimate distaste for this book.

    After The Iron Heel, I was looking for something a little lighter. I was not disappointed with my choice for this, Buttered Side Down by Edna Ferber.

    I confess, being an Chicago ‘burbs expatriate I really should have been familiar with Ferber before now. A had a number of old school feminist teachers in high school and college that raved about Ferber. I disregarded their ravings. Old school feminist teachers always seem to be raving about something.

    Funny thing is, in her day, Ferber was considered quite the feminist. While I understand this is reflected more in some of her other works, I certainly did glean a bit of this from the short stories collected in Buttered Side Down. Where London failed in character development, Ferber is a master. Most of her stories were 10 pages or less and yet, she artfully created characters that were instantly real, lovable and detestable. Her women characters were untimely headstrong, focused, and often pert and sassy.

    This was just a tiny little book and I knocked it out in a day. Ferber made it easy. Buttered Side Down was well worth my time.

    Last night, not having enough of Ferber yet, I started into another short story collection, Cheerful – By Request. I’m a little over a 1/3 of the way through. I’ll try post a review when I’m done – if only for my edification. The old brain ain’t what it used to be and I need to record this stuff so I don’t reread something I didn’t like.

    No Offense

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:13 am

    No offense but…When the conversation starts this way, you know you are about to be on the receiving end of an offense; unless, of course, it is you who is initiating the conversation in this way. This friendly qualifying phrase gives us license to deride and insult others under the guise of constructive criticism.

    No offense but that dress makes you look fat.
    No offense but your take on (pick an issue) is patently absurd.
    No offense but your kids are brats.
    No offense but your house needs some work.
    No offense but your dog smells.

    The English language, the only one with which I am intimately familiar, is full of such qualifying phrases. In our efforts to be courteous and well-mannered we’ve mastered the art of the polite insult.

    No offense but this blog entry sucks.


    Vacation from Virtual Vacation

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:32 am

    Good morning beachcombers. After 11 straight weeks, I’ve become slightly burned out on postcards. Because it is a feature I really enjoy doing, I thought now would be a healthy time to take a week or two off. So, no postcards today.

    Enjoy your time at home. I’ll be making yet another attempt to get to the beach (I have been thwarted from doing so a number of times this year). Wish me luck. Happy Sunday.


    What did you order?!?

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:21 pm



    Me in Myanmar

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:14 pm


    A day late and likely more than a few dollars short, we find ourselves for this week’s Postcard in Myanmar’s capital city, Yangon, aka Rangoon (and Myanmar is aka Burma, fyi – keep up, the names don’t get any easier to remember).

    It’s fitting that I’m stuck on where to begin discussing our travels in Yangon. A dilemma of balance seems fitting for a country with a deep Buddhist ancestry. On one hand, Yangon offers up some of the world’s most exquisite architectural sites. On the other it is home to an oppresive military dictatorship. Which path to travel first?

    Let’s start down the dark path so we may leave in the light. No travels to Yangon can be made without turing our attention to the plight of Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. Her story has fascinated me for years. I hope she has an opportunity to see her homeland free.

    While I was at that site, I came across this interesting news article. Scroll to “junta pondering leaving Yangon for somewhere “safer”",

    Talk of an “escape city” for the generals has spread throughout Yangon. The plan was apparently reinforced by the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which heightened the junta’s fears of attack by the United States, analysts say.

    Some observers believe the generals think the United States could invade by sea, which would put Yangon — a port on the Andaman Sea — and all the top command on the front line.

    I won’t be the one to break it to these folks that they don’t have anything worth offending for.

    The dark path of Burma continues as I learned about the travel ban debate surrounding this nation. Land of the Golden Temples provides a good summary of what is at issue. Since we’re only virtually traveling and none of our money is landing in the pockets of the government, I think we’re cool if we continue on.

    To the galleries now, beachcombers. The brighter path of Rangoon brings us to some of the world’s most detailed pagodas (payas). Worldsiround and Wit VerHoogt’s Individual Travel in Burma are good places to start.

    A number of professional and semi-professional photographers have been enchanted by Yangon. Goto Osami does a magnificent job of capturing Yangon in his three galleries, one, two, three. Mike Rogero provides us with a look at Rangoon’s people, be sure to read his commentary for useful and relevant information. Alfred Molon rounds out the general sightseeing with his extensive overall gallery.

    Alfred Molon also does us the favor of photographing some of Burma’s cuisine, Burmese Food. Who’s not hungry after viewing that? Also of miscellaneous interest are the 12 Month’s Festivals celebrated throughout the year.

    It’s time to leave Yangon. Before we do, however, we must stop at the Mother Land (2) for some Engrish fun. Now, we are proud to say that after the 5 years in services, we can fulfill our dream of “100% Guest Satisfactory”.


    Stuck in the airport

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:15 pm

    This week’s postcard isn’t finished yet. While we’re stuck in the airport waiting for our flight, I have some good reading material for you. Three more America’s Debate members are blogging these days.

    First, we have the appropriately named hosted by nemov, of course. Also a good read, when she has a chance to post, is Brief Prolixity from the cookie queen, kmsouthern. Finally, we have the four-alarm blog of Suzy Steamboat – The Upward Spiral – spicy stuff.

    I also want to mention Mike and I had the great fortune to meet Ms. Suzy Steamboat for breakfast this morning, as she happened to be in town. We had a lovely time. Mike took a few pics and we’ll post them soon (with Ms. Suzy’s permission, of course).

    Postcard tomorrow. :)


    Sleep well, London

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:08 pm

    So it’s late in London now. I shouldn’t let the night end without sharing my sympathy to those over there. No politicking tonight. There will be time enough for that later.


    Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:54 pm

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, (more…)


    Down Where the River Meets the Sea

    Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:56 pm

    Postcard courtesty of USGenWeb, Chatham County

    Happy holidays, beachcombers! Lots of festivities abound so I’m shorting you guys on a super-groovy postcard, while still providing the illusion I spent a great deal of time on it.

    Four years ago this weekend, Mike and I kissed living in Illinois goodbye and we settled here in the Coastal Empire. Since that time, I have declared myself the best unofficial tour guide in Savannah, so please allow me to show you around my adopted hometown. Get your ‘to -go’ cup ready, we have a lot of walking to do.

    Much of what I will share with you is an amalgamation of things Mike or I have written at other times about Savannah, so no kvetching about a lack of originality if you’ve seen this before. I really shouldn’t be in front of this computer anyway on a gorgeous day like today.

    Savannah, Georgia is on the southeast coast of the United States. The heart of Savannah, the Historic District , is 18 miles west of the Atlantic ocean. We are situated on a 40 foot bluff on the southside of the Savannah River. The best of all galleries is ours, of course, Mike and Jaime’s Photo Gallery.

    Savannah was chartered as the first city of the colony of Georgia in 1732. James Oglethorpe established it with the approval of the British crown as a colony for debtors to go to escape prison (much like Australia). It also served as an outpost to protect the larger city to the north, Charleston, from Spanish Florida. We have a number of historic forts in the area including Fort Pulaski, Fort McAllister and Old Fort Jackson. Virtual tours of each are provided by Quantum Tour. These historic forts have battle reenactments and cannon and firearms demonstrations during most of the year.

    Savannah is the first “planned” city in the US; Oglethorpe was the designer. We have 24 squares that are placed in a symmetrical grid throughout the city, which is likely the reason I love it so. Chicago is on a grid, too. Cities on grids are just so logical.

    Savannah’s squares are a mix of lush tropical gardens and ancient live oak trees covered with Spanish moss (the spooky stuff of haunted movies). Check out this map of downtown Savannah to get an idea of the planning. Also, please check out this link for another photo tour of Savannah.

    The city has the largest historic district in the United States. Many of the houses and buildings look very much like they did when they were originally built. Much of the preservation can be accredited to the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

    After World War II, a number of landmarks were destroyed in the name of “progress.” A group of local ladies joined together, as the Historic Savannah Foundation, in 1955 to work to protect the buildings. They had the foresight to use Savannah’s historical charm as part of tourism promotions. Their efforts worked and little by little, parts of the city have been declared protected by the National Historic Registry and tourism has become our strongest industry.

    SCAD came along in the late 1970′s. The school has been responsible for the restoration of a great number of the buildings downtown. Some of the old guard (a/k/a “NOGS” – North of Gaston Street – the really old district) bristled at the idea of an art college, or more specifically, art students and all their eccentricities moving into the “Belle of the South.” Most have come to accept and even respect the hard work (and the LOADS of money) the college has put into this city.

    Many new renovation projects are in the works. You can walk around anywhere downtown and will be guaranteed to see a zoning meeting notice regarding the restoration of a building. The city has VERY STRICT zoning requirements because of the historical preservation. Meetings must be had regarding nearly every change. When a live oak tree must be cut down or even trimmed, a notice is hanged on or near the tree regarding a meeting to be held to determine the tree’s future…I kid you not. Savannah also seems to be home of perputual building projects – such as the Bryan Street Bank Building and the Jepson Center for the Arts. I am honestly beginning to wonder if the construction on these two are ever going to end. The scaffolding has been up ever since I have moved here, and are frankly, making this gorgeous city look hideous. I consider both to be embarrassments.

    One secret of Savannah that you will never learn on tourism websites or brochures is our penchant for eccentric people. I think this may be characteristic of many warm cities (like Key West and New Orleans), but we seem to have a large number of very harmless but very weird people. We have “Particle Man,” a large balding white man with very long dreadlocks, who walks around moving his fingers about as if he were conducting an orchestra. Word has it, he is “counting his particles.” I have not asked him about it. Lately, Mike and I have seen him with a trollish looking woman. I’m not being mean, she really does look like one of those troll dolls. Everybody loves somebody sometimes.

    Another of Savannah’s eccentrics is the “Happy Tooter,” or as I later learned the cops call him “Johnny Two Notes.” This guy plays his saxophone in Johnson Square or on River Street for hours. Problem is, he doesn’t know how to play many songs. His repertoire consists of the National Anthem, Georgia on my Mind, Yankee Doodle, and When the Saints go Marching In. He plays all of those terribly.

    Savannah also has a large number of homeless people that live in Chippewa Square. They all look like ex-hippies who don’t know what to do now that Jerry Garcia is gone. They are a very nice bunch and are always sure to greet you in the morning. The only weirdo that may trouble you is “Forty-One Cents Guy” (whom I’ve not seen in quite awhile). This guy goes around asking tourists if they have forty-one cents. He always uses this specific amount because he has found people cough up the money more often than when asked, “got some change?” As soon as he gets the money, he goes to Wet Willie’s on River Street and gets a “to-go” cup. I could fill another page talking about all the people who carry signs and placards around town, too. The most notable of these sign-carrying characters is “stop the lies” guy. I have searched for information on him but I can’t find any. Eh, another day, then, beachcombers.

    Savannah has served as the backdrop to a number of movies. Mike put together a list of movies filmed in Savannah: Savannah Movie List – which is really odd considering we rarely watch movies.

    Two great spots to visit if you want to venture outside the historic district are the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and Tybee Island. If you head out to the wildlife refuge, be warned that there are no barriers between you and the wildlife. The refuge is home to thousands of aligators. While this makes for some incredible photography, it also requires you to be very alert. Tybee Island is our local beach. Unlike so many American oceanfronts, Tybee retains a charming, residential atmosphere, rather than the obnoxiously commercialized feel you get in places like Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

    Sometimes, I am still in awe that I live 15 miles from the ocean. There are times I can stand on my front porch and feel the wind roll in from the east and smell the salt air and marshes, and hear that wind rustle my palm. Seafood is cheaper than beef and you can buy it fresh off trucks. This is home now. Please come visit, I love to show this place off.

    The Gull Reef Club