Category Archives: Seeking info

How does McAfee keep doing this?

McAfee 2

I have Webroot on my laptop. That’s my antivirus software. I’ve had it since I got the computer. I’ve never installed or tried to use any other security software on this particular platform.

So how come McAfee periodically — as it did this morning, until I stopped it — launches itself and starts scanning my computer?

I’ve never asked it to.

Yeah, I get that computers often come with such software. But I never activated it. So how come?

Seems… intrusive to me…

Is it safe to use my prescription specs with my eclipse glasses?

error 2

Stupid Internet! Nobody had this problem the last time we had a total solar eclipse.

We have been drowning in information, much of it useless, about today’s celestial event. We’ve had no end of warnings, all of which should be unnecessary, since anyone who’s spent five minutes on this planet should know not to stare at the sun. But we are a curious species, both in the sense of “strange” and “interested in novelties,” so we need the warnings.

And a lot of those warnings involve not looking at the phenomenon through lenses. You know, “Don’t look at the eclipse through a telescope,” etc.

So… what about my glasses? Can I look through them, with my special eclipse glasses over or under them?

Reasonable inference tells me that it’s safe. After all, there have been SO many warnings about unsafe practices, and anyone with any sense knows that people who need their prescription spectacles to see anything won’t be able to see the eclipse without them. So, you know, telling those millions of people it’s unsafe to do so, if it is, would be one of your very first important safety tips to share.

Still, reasonable surmise doesn’t seem enough where my eyesight is concerned. So I’d like a definite affirmative from an authoritative source: Yes, it’s OK to use your eclipse glasses with your regular glasses.

And surely someone out there has answered that question.

The trouble is, it’s a tricky question to ask clearly on a search engine. You end up repeating “glasses” in a confusing way. I tried being technical and saying, “Is it safe to wear prescription eyeglasses with eclipse glasses?”

But however I search, I only find one web page that seems to answer the question directly. (The second result Google offers in response to that query says, “No, You Can’t Use 3D Movie Glasses As Eclipse Glasses – Here’s Why,” a response so idiotic that it makes me want to slap somebody upside the head.)

But there is that one page, the first result, with the headline “Can I wear eclipse glasses over my regular eyeglasses …

Yes! Just what I need!

But every time I try to call it up, I get the above error message.

So… can anyone help me out her in the couple of hours we have left? Preferably, by giving me a link to an authoritative source?

If so, it will be appreciated…

What WERE those fighter aircraft that flew over the beach?

F-111 with its wings swept back.

F-111 with its wings swept back.

At midday Monday, I was in the backyard of my parents’ beach house, about to pull the jon boat out of the lake and secure it before driving a couple of my grandchildren back to Columbia. The house is a couple of blocks from the beach at Surfside, on a small man-made pond.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of high-performance jet aircraft, and looked up. As they flashed by between a couple of pine trees, I saw two fighters for a split second. I tried to identify the planes, but could not.

Later, my wife mentioned having seen a freakishly large plane go over, which I assumed was a C-17 from Charleston.

Later, hearing that there was a beach flyover in connection with celebrations of the Fourth, I looked for news stories to learn about what I had seen. What I read wasn’t helpful:

Beachgoers at a packed Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island were in perfect position take in the annual Salute from the Shore on Monday, July 4, 2016. Two F-16 fighter jets and a C-17 transport plane from Charleston Air Force Base roared over Coligny around 1:45 p.m., with onlookers applauding and waving American flags, saluting the country’s real heroes.

OK, what I saw were not F-16s. Maybe I hallucinated, but I could have sworn that they had variable-sweep wings, and I actually saw the wings on one of the planes sweeping back toward a parallel position with the stabilizers in that split-second.

There are no current serving military aircraft with variable-sweep wings. It that’s what I saw, that makes them either F-14 Tomcats or F-111s. They also seemed to have single tails rather than double, which would count out the F-14. (I’m not certain about the tails. Maybe the angle was bad. I saw them from 3 o’clock low, at a distance of about half a mile. One was yawing slightly, which is why I could see what the wings were doing — if I really saw that.)

The website for the event wasn’t helpful, either:

The bad news is that unfortunately, only three of the eight vintage planes are able to fly today due to mechanical issues…

However, the good news is that the one of the biggest transport planes in the American military will fly today! Charleston AFB and Joint Base Charleston will fly a C-17 on the SC coast in support of the 169th Fighter Wing F-16s and the vintage planes. This year’s Salute promises to the the best yet….

OK, so if “vintage planes” were involved, they could have been 14s or 111s. But what were they?

In the information age, it should be able to answer such a simple question, when thousands of people saw the things.

But the info just doesn’t seem to be available.

I know it’s a small thing, but stuff like this bugs me. Partly because, as a longtime newspaper editor, I’ve had to deal too much with most journalists’ combined ignorance and lack of interest in military hardware and a number of other topics (firearms, religion, science) that tend to hit news media in a numb spot.

If you assume people are interested in these “vintage planes,” whether you are the organizer or a reporter covering the event, why wouldn’t you tell people what they were?

F-14 Tomcat

F-14 Tomcat

Any of y’all vote early? Why? And how did it go?


A couple of things we talked about last night on Cynthia Hardy’s radio show (there I am with host, crew and fellow guests above) stuck with me.

One was all the talk about voter turnout. I joined in with the others in urging people to get out and vote — I even threw in the cliche about “If you don’t vote, don’t come crying to me about what happens after” — but I also shared my personal doubt about get-out-the-vote efforts. Basically, if you have to be reminded, cajoled, begged and prodded, I’m not at all sure I want you voting. I’d rather have elections decided by people who care enough that they would never consider not voting.

Then, I was struck by all the talk about early voting. Not “early voting” technically, but “absentee” voting — which is engaged in more and more by people who won’t actually be absent. My fellow guest Jim Felder kept urging folks to get out and vote today rather than wait until Tuesday, in case the weather is bad on actual Election Day. Various anecdotes about busloads of folks voting early were shared.

So I thought I’d ask: Did you vote early? If so, why? And how did it go? And anything else you’d like to share.

I know that Doug, at least, voted on Friday, because he texted me about it, saying it was very busy at the Parklane location. Perhaps he’d like to share some more about that.

Anyone else?

Urgent! This van and trailer stolen, last seen in Cayce


Burl Burlingame, way off in Hawaii, sends me a heads-up on this dire situation right here in Cayce:

URGENT!! PLEASE READ!! Our van (Oregon license plate: 146 FRN, white 2010 Ford Econoline 350 w/tinted windows) and trailer (white 18’ double axel) were stolen from outside our hotel room last night in Cayce, South Carolina. We are stranded here in Cayce now and are figuring out how to proceed. Unfortunately we will have to miss the show tonight in Charlotte NC with Foxy Shazambut we want to carry on with the rest of this tour if at all possible. If anyone in the North Carolina or South Carolina area has a van we can borrow and return to you after this tour ends in Ohio on June 28th, we would be more grateful than you can possibly imagine.

And if anyone wants to DONATE any money in any amount towards helping us buy a van/trailer, you can do so via PayPal at Needless to say, we are deeply and humbly grateful for any help in any manner than anyone out there can provide. Thank you all so much for always supporting The Flask…we hope and pray we can get through this horrible situation and carry on.

If any friends or fans or other kind souls can possibly let us BORROW any gear (ESPECIALLY a banjo, an upright bass and a trombone) in each city for the rest of the tour, we would be incredibly grateful…this is the only way we can continue on this tour and we want to carry on for sure. If you can help in any way, please email us at You can see our upcoming shows with Foxy listed under the “EVENTS” tab here on our Facebook page, under our main photo.

Here is what was stolen in addition to our van and trailer, if you have any leads once again email us at

King trombone
Holton trumpet
1952 olds baritone horn
Pbone trombone
Palomino upright bass
2 Deering good time banjos
SJC Custom Drums drum kit
Phil Jones 1200 bass amp
2 Godin 5th ave. guitars
Breedlove Guitars acoustic guitar
Ampeg 6 by 10 bass
Carvin 600 bass amp
3 venue DI’s
Fender Guitar blues junior
Camp gear
A ton of Larry and His Flask merch (tshirts mainly)
Nikon d-50 camera
Sennheiser USA wireless systems
2 summit audio tla 50
DBX 1231 dual 31 band eq
BBE 4821 sonic maximizer
@Gator rock case

If you’ve seen the missing vehicle and equipment, or can help in any other way, contact the Cayce police, or these guys at their Facebook page. You can email them at

They were supposed to play tonight in Charlotte, so hurry.

Below is video of the band. They seem to have a sort of “Willy and the Poor Boys” feel about them…

Yo! Who’s out there blogging (actively) in the Midlands now?

Since we’re on the internet and all, I should probably specify — I mean the Midlands of South Carolina, not England.

Anyway, I’ve been helping out the Urban Land Institute, which is sponsoring the upcoming Midlands Reality Check, a one-day exercise to talk about our community’s future. I’ve written about this before.

Today, I told the committee that I would provide a list of bloggers who ought to receive releases about the upcoming events.

And then, I realized I wasn’t entirely sure who was actually, actively blogging in this area. As Dorothy would say, bloggers come and go so quickly here.

I know that our own Bryan Caskey is staying pretty active with his Permanent Press. And we know Will Folks is going strong.

But when I check my blogroll, which I could swear I just updated a few months ago, I find that many of my links go to virtual ghost towns. Here’s what I find on a spin through my links:

Talk about your devastation.

So what am I missing? What’s going on out there?

Obviously, I need to update my blogroll, bigtime. But I’m going to wait and see what I learn from y’all, in terms of sites I might be missing, before I fix it.

The lines are open…



‘It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift…’

This is a question for Phillip Bush (or maybe Burl, or pretty much anyone who knows more about music than I do, which is a large set)…

After I posted that item about “Sulky Girl” and “So Like Candy” and other Elvis Costello songs that have an appeal to me that is mysterious, elemental and profound, I got to thinking about something else I’d heard in the last couple of days that had an equally mystifying appeal.

I had been watching the film noir comic-book movie “Watchmen,” and there was a scene that was utterly transformed by Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” So I went to YouTube (the one place you can find practically any piece of music you want to hear immediately and for free) and listened to several versions, and tried to plumb why it completely kicked my brain, my being, into another state as reliably as peyote did for Carlos Castaneda (although perhaps a tad less dramatically).

I have no idea. Is the secret revealed in this lyric?

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth

The minor fall and the major lift

Are those particular changes where the magic happens? For that matter, do those words even describe what is happening in the music as I hear that line? I’ve looked up the guitar chords, and I see that they go like this:

  • It goes like this — C
  • the fourth — F
  • the fifth — E
  • the minor fall– Am
  • the major lift — F

Or, in another version, I see it’s G, C, D, Em, C…

Are those even the right chords? I expected them to be something more exotic, with “sus4” or something after them.

Is it even the music, or is it the lyrics, with their mixing of the transcendent divine with the transcendent sexual? No. I mean, yes, they’re evocative, and work as poetry (to my unsophisticated ear, they strike a literary note somewhere near that of the Song of Solomon), but they aren’t the secret. I remember when I first heard the song — the cover version used in “Shrek” — I was deeply impressed with the music without hearing the words beyond “Hallelujah.” (Yeah, I’m that uncool. I’m sufficiently unfamiliar with Leonard Cohen that I first remember hearing it watching “Shrek.”)

And how about the fact that it is used in such incongruous contexts as “Shrek” and “Scrubs” (which I discovered from Pandora), and works?

Speaking of Pandora (which I just did, parenthetically), it was little help. I tried creating a “Hallelujah” station, to see if it would give me other songs with that special something. And once or twice, it has moved in that direction — “Let it Be” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” do have something of that essence — but it’s played Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow” so many times that it’s rapidly losing its charm for me. And “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight,” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'”? I don’t think so. “The Sound of Silence”? Maybe. But I’m not sure.

Help me out, those of you who understand music. What is it?

Why haven’t we seen a word cloud of the whole blog yet?

“Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?”

Stewart Brand, 1966

Here’s something that has frustrated me, and maybe some of y’all can advise me.

Several times, I’ve wondered what a word cloud of my whole blog — since I started it in 2009 — would show in terms of what has obsessed me over these last three tumultuous years. Or, more practically, what verbal habits I need to dial back on.

But all I can ever get, when I enter my URL, is a cloud made of the last few posts, as you can see above. That’s pretty useless. I mean, I know what I’ve written about today. What I want to see is what sort of result I get over time. That might actually tell me something.

Anyone know how to make that happen?

Which blogs are your favorites (besides this one)?

Last night, before driving back from Charleston, I had a coffee for the road with Nancy Mace Jackson. As you may know, Nancy is partners with Will Folks on his blog — she handles the technical side; he does content.

While we talked about other things — as the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel and as a communication professional, she’s very interested in the unfolding scandal at her alma mater — our talk quite naturally gravitated toward blogging.

Which reminded me…

Personally, I don’t spend as much time on other folks’ blogs as I probably should in order to stay current. So it was that I had trouble helping out the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism when it came to me seeking input recently:

We are currently gearing up for the 2012 campaign/primary and election season and will be tracking political blogs in the early primary states. We are in the process of identifying potential blogs to track, and are reaching out to some bloggers that we are already aware of in these states for additional suggestions and recommendations. Any assistance you could give us in this effort would be greatly appreciated.  We are interested in tracking liberal, conservative and non-partisan blogs.

Here are the blogs Pew’s PEJ was looking at already:

That list made me realize I needed to update my blogroll. It has some on it that haven’t posted in a while, while other active blogs are missing.

What have you been reading that isn’t on that list?

Also, while we’re on the subject…

I’ll be undertaking a redesign of this blog in the near future.  Help me out by pointing me to blogs you like, both in terms of how they look and (more importantly) functionality. Yes, I know many of you want to be able to edit your posts — which will most likely require registration, which I’ve stayed away from thus far.

But which blogs do you find easiest and most pleasurable to read? What are some bells and whistles I don’t have now that you’d like to see?

I’d appreciate the input.

What did you think of the DeMint event Monday?

I’m talking about the thing with most of the GOP presidential candidates here. You know, the come-and-kiss-DeMint’s-ring thing.

I was out of town Monday, and haven’t had time to watch it online. In fact, I haven’t seen the whole thing online anywhere, but here are some pieces.

Anyway, I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations today with people who were there, and that’s about it. Their comments were positive, by the way, and they would probably not agree that it was a DeMint-as-kingmaker thing, even though it was his show and he summoned them each to stand alone without a lectern before him, like prisoners before a judge. And they may be right, because I wasn’t there.


What in the world are these things?

Went to Greenville over the weekend, and was puzzled the whole way by these things, which were spaced more or less 100 yards apart all along the median of I-26.

I have no idea what they are. They appear to be covered in some sort of synthetic fiber, but moving at 65-70 mph, it was hard to tell. (And no, I was not driving. It was hard enough capturing one of these in a frame on my iPhone as we whizzed by even as a passenger. It took a bunch of exposures to get one as clear as the one above. The blurry one below was second best.) I could not tell whether they were solid — made, say, of concrete — or mere covered frameworks. There may or may not have been gravel about the base.

They were four or five feet in diameter.

Drains of some sort? Shock-absorbing barriers for cars that wander into the median? UFOs? I don’t know. If they are drains, they seem … excessive. Like maybe DOT had some stimulus money it didn’t know what to do with.

Anyway, can anyone tell me the correct answer?

Are kids really herded and contained to this extent?

First, help me out, y’all: Remind me why the name “Lenore Skenazy” rings such bells in my head. Yes, I Googled her, and learned her work history (she was canned by The NY Daily News after 18 years — whoop-tee-doo, I was at The State for 22), to some extent her personal life, and the ideas, or idea, for which she is best known.

But none of that explains it. I’m pretty sure I had some kind of interaction with someone of that name at some point. Did she interview me, or did I interview her? Wait — did she used to run in The State? If so, I might have paid for her columns, even though she wouldn’t have run in editorial. There were some weird deals whereby I paid for newsroom features, and the newsroom paid for some of ours. Maybe that’s it.

Anyway, in the course of pushing her one big idea — set kids free (an idea with which I agree, by the way; their lives are indeed too regimented) — she wrote a piece that ran in The Wall Street Journal today.

It was an intriguing piece. It went beyond the usual kids-don’t-walk-to-school-enough theme, to this extent:

Take the bus. Sure, about 40% of kids still ride the cheery yellow chugger, but in many towns it doesn’t stop only at the bus stops anymore. It stops at each child’s house.

Often, the kids aren’t waiting outside to get on. They are waiting in their parents’ cars—cars the parents drove from the garage to the sidewalk so their children would be climate-controlled and safe from the predators so prevalent on suburban driveways.

Sounds pretty horrific. But is it true? I doubt that it’s true here in SC, where we seem to have trouble keeping the buses running at all. Or is it? Your anecdotes would be appreciated.

Most kids, though — including those who live three blocks from school — are driven there and back, to the point that:

…the language itself has changed. “Arrival” and “dismissal” have become “drop-off” and “pick-up” because an adult is almost always involved—even when it doesn’t make sense.

And then there’s the picture of the schools’ containment of the masses waiting for Mom and Dad:

…  afternoon pick-up has become the evacuation of Saigon. At schools around the country, here’s how it works:

First, the “car kids” are herded into the gym. “The guards make sure all children sit still and do not move or speak during the process,” reports a dad in Tennessee. Outside, “People get there 45 minutes early to get a spot. And the scary thing is, most of the kids live within biking distance,” says Kim Meyer, a mom in Greensboro, N.C.

When the bell finally rings, the first car races into the pick-up spot, whereupon the car-line monitor barks into a walkie-talkie: “Devin’s mom is here!”

Devin is grabbed from the gym, escorted to the sidewalk and hustled into the car as if under enemy fire. His mom peels out and the next car pulls up. “Sydney’s mom is here!”

She also tells of a school removing its bike racks to discourage kids from pedaling themselves to class.

So is it really this bad out there? I’m curious.

Anyone know what this Wilson “ethics” thing is?

I haven’t written anything about the supposed ethics investigation of Joe Wilson because I don’t have the slightest clue what it is supposedly about. Neither the MSM nor the campaigns themselves have been particularly helpful on this point.

For instance, this release I just got from Rob Miller:

Dear Brad,

By now, I’m sure you have all heard the news.  Congressman Wilson is under investigation for breaking Congressional ethics rules.  Joe would have you believe that this is about some “glorified shot glasses” that he bought on one of his many taxpayer-funded junkets.  You and I both know that you don’t get investigated over $12 in trinkets.

Joe Wilson knows that, too– it’s why his staff won’t stop talking about $2 goblets, but won’t say if those are the limit of the investigation.

I believe in the iceberg rule.  The corruption we see in Washington is only 10% of the problem; the rest is hidden away, protecting the insiders, because if the public knew what was going on, they wouldn’t stand for it.  Joe Wilson was willing to steal $12 from taxpayers in public.  What is he willing to do in private?  Pocketing any amount of taxpayer money is not only wrong, it’s illegal.

From raising his own pay five times, to giving away hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street, to voting against South Carolina teachers and jobs, to being investigated for breaking the public trust, Joe Wilson is everything wrong with Washington today.  We deserve better.  Stand with me and fight for it.

Semper Fi,

… which as you see doesn’t indicate one way or the other what is allegedly going on. It merely insinuates, and lamely. Personally, when I see the tip of an iceberg I at least know, by implication, what lies below. I have no such helpful clues here.

Mr. Wilson himself is no more helpful, merely sending out such nonsense as the following:

Dear Subscriber,

Public disapproval with the liberal establishment in Washington is at an all time high. Folks have become aware that the path of smaller government and Reagan conservatism will lead us out of this dark era of liberal recklessness. This sentiment is felt all across the country, and people in South Carolina are demanding that their legislators respond with conservative solutions.While many representatives are hiding under their desks in fear of the public outrage, Congressman Joe Wilson is out touring the state to help cultivate this rich environment for change and reform. He is meeting with the real economic experts in this state – workers and small business owners.

On the “Joe Means Jobs” bus tour, folks in every corner of the state are talking with Joe and telling him how much they want the era of Big Government to end. Joe strongly agrees with this demand and is under attack from the liberals in Washington because of it. Nancy Pelosi and her liberal friends are funneling money into South Carolina’s liberal campaigns, in an effort to oust honest conservatives like Joe Wilson from office.

It is a long uphill battle that Joe must fight until November, but he is not backing down from Nancy Pelosi’s intimidation tactics. It is imperative that Joe stay out on the campaign trail to help spread the word about what liberals in Washington and even here in South Carolina are doing to bankrupt this state and country.  And to let folks know what he is going to do about it.

Click here to watch a video of Joe while on his bus tour!

Will you stand with Joe today and help him defeat the liberals in Washington? It is obvious that they desperately want Joe gone, since they specifically targeted him with their opposition money.

Please help Joe by clicking here to make a donation today!

I don’t know about you, but “It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault” doesn’t help me any more than when the Dems moan about everything being Bush’s fault. Just another sad attempt at misdirection. In fact, he doesn’t even mention the charges in this particular piece, merely alluding darkly to “Nancy Pelosi’s intimidation tactics.” Sigh.

Has anyone read anything that I’ve missed that would shed a light? If so, please share…

Anyone see a good rundown of what Sanford vetoed?

In the last few days, I’ve run links to a story in The State and another in the Post and Courier giving the 30,000-foot view of Gov. Sanford’s budget line-item vetoes, with all the quotes about political philosophy, descriptions of the state of the political relationship between the governor and lawmakers (somewhat better than in past years, you may be surprised to learn), and rehashes of just how much the governor hates the federal stimulus and is looking forward to saying “I told you so” when the money runs out.

What I have not seen is a good rundown of what he was cutting. And boy, am I missing having Cindi Scoppe working for me. Give her a couple of days of communing with the budget document (which might as well be written in Greek for all the good it does me), and she’d tell me everything I needed to know about it. When it comes to writing about the budget, to paraphrase Blanche Dubois,I have always depended on the kindness of… people who know how to read that stuff.

But a number of things have caused me to wonder in the last couple of days.

For instance:

  • The consternation I picked up on over at ETV studios over the massive cut to their budget. ($5.2 million — that detail was in the P&C report)
  • The call I got from someone yesterday whose girlfriend works at the State Museum, and she was worried because the governor had vetoed the museum’s entire appropriation (which would shut it down if not overridden).
  • An e-mail I got saying the same about the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. (I say, is nothin’ sacred?) This appears to be part of the governor’s elimination of the entire appropriation for the Budget and Control Board.

To quote from that last:

Yesterday Governor Sanford vetoed the Board’s entire $25.2 million General Fund appropriation for the Budget and Control Board for next year.  This section of the budget includes the entire General Fund operating budget for the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.  If this veto is not overridden, the museum will have to cease operations.
In his veto message to the General Assembly, the Governor stated that he was taking this action because the “Board has sufficient carry-forward and other funds to maintain its operations in this fiscal year.”  This is not correct.  There are not sufficient funds to make up the $25.2 General Fund cut to the Board, which includes $765,000 for the museum.
This veto represents the greatest threat the museum has faced in our 114 years of existence.  If this veto is not overridden we will no longer be able to preserve South Carolina’s proud military legacy.

Now one can have all sorts of debates as to the relative importance of the museum formerly known simply as the Confederate Relic Room (although I can tell you from having visited that it’s much more now), but what’s bugging me is that, with the vote coming up Tuesday, I just don’t have a clear idea of WHAT all is at stake.

Do any of y’all? And if so, please share.

What kind of flowers are these in my yard?


As you may or may not know, I’m not a work-in-the-yard kind of guy. I’m not one of those guys who gets pleasure, or even relaxation, from mowing the yard, trimming the azaleas, raking the blasted pinestraw, sodding the bald spots, washing the car, rearranging the garage, repairing the steps to the back porch, and on and on and on and…

Hold on, and let me breathe through a paper bag for a moment…

I’m kidding here, but only a little. The truth is, I feel guilty about the fact that I go months and months without doing anything in the yard. Which is not good when you have almost an acre of land in a well-kept neighborhood, and a house built in the mid-70s. We started paying someone to do the yard a couple of years back — in fact, I sold my riding John Deere to the yard man for $400 and a couple of months free yard care — after I had to go on prednisone for six weeks after my last time stirring up great clouds of dust in the yard, I mean, cutting the grass.

But mostly with me, it’s not a health thing. It’s an aversion, and I know it’s a disappointment to my poor wife.

Anyway, though, I actually DID some things in the yard today. I actually nailed down some steps that were loose on the aforesaid back porch — which led to a great excuse to run to Lowe’s when I ran out of 16d nails. And then, a crew of men came to the door saying that they’d sprig the bald spots on our lawn with some centipede leftover from a job down the street, charging just for the labor, because otherwise the grass would die anyway. So we agreed to that.

This led to another trip to Lowe’s (the best part of working in the yard, especially if I can linger a bit in the tool section; I may hate actually working with tools, but I love looking at new ones) to get a Y-valve for my garden hoses so I could water two areas of the yard at once when the guys were done sprigging it.

Anyway, bottom line — when I was done moving the hoses a few minutes ago, on my way in, I noticed this plant in bloom. I had flowers2never seen it before. Now with me, it could have been there forever. My wife might have been slaving over it for years, because she actually enjoys working in the yard (she’s a sunshine person; I sometimes wonder where she got those genes, since she’s Irish).

But not even she knew what it was. All she knew was that it was beautiful.

Apparently, it’s a volunteer. Anyway, I felt smart for asking what it was, since she didn’t even know. For once, not knowing about something in our yard was not a faux pas on my part.

Do y’all know what it is? Looks kind of like a climatis (is that how you spell it?) — I’ve bought some of those for her before, and these flowers look kind of like that. Vaguely. But that’s a climbing plant, and this is bush-like. So what’s the verdict?