A Few Vacation Photos

30 December, 2008

As promised, here are some of the photos from our family vacation down to the inlaws in Florida:

mod-florida-december-2008-015Here, from Germany at Epcot, is the ultimate holiday tree.  A Gherkinbaum.  Though the tradition of the Christmas Pickle (Die Weihnachtsgurke) on the tree is an American invention, the Pickle ornament is definitely German (and my favourite ornament).


We also rode the Test Track ride at Epcot.  I thought this (viewable from the waiting line) tickled my fancy.  The thought in my head?  I always wondered where they came from.  And in retrospect, it helps explain the “Abner’s Church of Reason'” pickup truck I saw on the way home.


Another photo from Epcot:  a magnificent Little Blue Heron standing on a rock in China.  I wonder how much Disney pays him?  And does he get the same break times that the costumed characters get?


Birds are non-avian dinosaurs, so this shot fits in nicely.  The reproduction is part of a restaurant called T-Rex at Disney Market Place.  The exterior is decorated with non-avian dinosaurs at 1:1 scale.  The interior was loud, crowded (we did not eat there — way too expensive) and the gift shop was wall to wall kitsch (plus a wide selection of the Carnegie miniatures).  I fled.


I know that one of my regular readers is known among her cognoscenti friends as the ‘Broad Ass Sauropod Girl.’  So, Julia, can you tell me what is wrong with this model (1:1 scale) of the pelvic region of an Argentinosaurus?  Something I always wonder about when I see something like this is, “If you morons are spending the money, why not do it right?” which may explain why I am in the Government, not a for-profit business.


And one more dinosaur:  a beautiful Great Blue Heron posing next to a canal.  We saw him (or her?) on a boat ride up to one of the Disney resorts.  We did it just for the ride and didn’t really care about the destination.

All of the photos were taken with an ambient temperature of between 70 and 80 degrees.  I’m now back in Pennsylvania.  Today’s high was 34.  It will snow tomorrow.  My favourite wine?  I wanna go to Florida!!!



  1. Since I can’t have Florida, I’ll settle for champagne. 🙂

  2. Re your last photo, I’d take issue with your identification. I’d say it’s an Acceptable Blue Heron, maybe even a Pretty Good Blue Heron, but a Great Blue Heron? Nah, not quite THAT good (tongue in cheek).

    We go to Harrisburg on US 22 a lot of times, and there’s a stretch along the Juniata that you can see a lot of the river from the road. Once we saw a guy fishing, and a big heron came down and ran him off the fishing spot. It looked like some kind of bizarre fencing match, and the human took off. The heron definitley had attitude, looked about himself, you could tell it was saying, “OK, who ELSE wants a piece a me? C’mon, I’m here…”

    We have owls in our garage and they hork their pellets and shit all over our truck. Since we live on a hill and it’s been icy we use the garage a lot in the winter. My wife isn’t at all amused or gratified at these experiences with nature.

    A neighbor is experiencing somewhat the same, called Fish and Wildlife who came, and he reports that his experience wasn’t all that different from that of Homer Simpson with the screaming caterpiller. So, we ain’t sayin’ NUTHIN’.

  3. Chappie: But what KIND of champagne? The champagne of beers?

    Sarge: I kayaked Antietam Creek many, many times (I lived in Sharpsburg at the time (about 100 yards downstream from Snavely’s Ford)) — usually during floods. One time, I was chased for about 3 miles (much of it through the Devil’s Backbone up above the dam) by a rather irate Great Blue. Why he was pissed at me? No idea.

    At the very least, though, you have a chance to determine the rodent population percentages within your area, right?

  4. We seem to have a lot of rodents, and to the owls and hawks: “eat hearty”, says I. If we could juuust get them to use city hall and the county courthouse as their main feeding grounds…

    I used to live in Blue Ridge Summit, my father was stationed at Fort Ritchie. Loved the area.

    We get some herons in town, for some reason. Our Vector Control/Dog Law Enforcement Officer had to remove one from a bad situation a couple of years back. He’s in his late seventies, but he said that his appearance caught up with his true age. He mentioned that the expression, “It’s always fun ’til someone loses an eye” was proved wrong. He said NO ONE had any fun, and everyone involved, heron excepted, came close to losing eyes. Shuddered visibly.

  5. Okay, Sauropod Arse Girl reporting for duty… Where to start? The sacrum should be fused with both ilia. It doesn’t look like it from here. The sacral vertebrae are so separated from the rest of the dorsal vertebrae in front that that poor Argentinosaurus would be paralysed, incontinent and approaching DEAD. The ilia are at least the correct way round, but the femur is backwards. The condyle you can see at the very bottom of the picture should be at the back of the knee joint, not the front. And finally, there isn’t enough room between the pubes or ischia for a turd to pass through, let alone a sauropod egg the size of a soccer ball.

    Were they the errors you were thinking of, or have I managed to miss something even more obvious?

    Have a look at the Apatosaurus in the AMNH (admittedly from a different angle) to see what a decent sauropod arse looks like. That baby got back!

  6. Sarge: The phrase my kids use is: “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Then it’s fucking hilarious.”

    My sister worked a couple of summers at the Jewish summer camp (Campy Airy and Camp ???) just up the steep hill west of the Forth Richie main entrance. I once threw a rod with a 67 VW Beetle going up that hill. Beautiful area. Maybe the most beautiful Army base in the world. My vote, anyway.

    And happy (belated) birthday.

    Julia: I noticed the ischia fusing. But what struck me more was that the bottom outer parts of the pelvis are broken off, moved in about a foot, and the broken pelvis provides the attachment point for the femur.

    They obviously spent some serious bucks creating this monstrosity. How hard would it have been to have found a struggling palaeontology student who needs the money to help them do it right? This pisses me off whether it is a dinosaur, a war movie (Patton with the M-47 tanks (and the only Jeep they blew up was an actual WWII Jeep (the rest were Korean-war-vintage))) or any other historical (or pre-historical) setup. Drives (((Wife))) nuts when I point out that, in the most recent Pearl Harbor movie, they had late-war P-40Ns (or a moderate facsimile thereof) rather than early B models.

    And thank you. I knew I could count on you.

    I hope you had a happy Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education-Doesn’t-Work Day. And a Happy New Year.

  7. I think I would like the Herons over the asshole Seagulls we have here.

  8. I’m told the Ritchie is closed now. When I lived there the girl’s camp used the big lake (most of the camp) and Ritchie was the smallest post the army had. My father was the G2 officer. Later, my father’s oldest brother was the post engineer.

    When I was there, the post commander was a fellow who rejoiced (he really did!) in the name: Percival Hotspur Lash. I believe he was from Georgia. Two bird stories:

    The lake had quite a few geese and swans, and Col. Lash was very proud of the swans. If any took off and left the area, the MPs had to send someone to follow them and bring them back. And they always seemed to. Sometimes the’d go all the way to Hagerstown.

    The fall before we went to Ethiopia my father had the duty of Field Officer of the Day. He was a major at the time. The Post Staff Duty Officer was a young lieutenant who was very insecure (and probably not overly bright, it would seem)and (this was a Sunday) he called our quarters about once an hour about things.

    The final straw for my father was a phone call about the status of the parade ground. It was literally covered with starlings, you could actually see it from our quarters. This lieutenat wanted to know what he should do. My father bellowed, “Well, FEED the damn things”! and slammed down the phone. The phone ranf again and my father was about to really let fly, but it was the staff duty NCO. He was telling my father that the OD and driver had gone to a messhall to get bread or something. My father got his coat on, got in the car and was gone for about an hour. My sister and I stepped light, sang small, and laid low for the rest of the day, I can tell you.

  9. My wife reminded me of this:

    The last time I was in Sharpsberg was for one of the Sharpsburg Days celebrations. We actually camped in people’s back yards, and it was a trip. If you come into Sharpsberg from the battlefield side there is an old church. Turn right and you go to the center of town, turn left and start up the hill there is a cemetary on the right. We were about half way up the hill, the house had a historic marker on it. The summer kitchen had been used as a mortuary. Know the place?

    Some of us went up on a Friday to set up and have everything ready, and we were permitted to have a fire. The people in the house and nieghbors came over to sit and talk, and the kids were roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, and one of them said “Look at the moon”!

    The moon was full and looked huge, and across it was V upon V of geese. I’d never seen that before and haven’t seen it since.

  10. Champagne of Beers? Surely you jest! Can there possibly be such a thing?

    The bottle that the deacon and I opened last night is Domaine Carneros, from California, so it’s technically a sparkling wine and not a true champagne (which they tell me can only come from France; I must admit that the French stuff is very good). Still, the Californian sparkling stuff worked just fine for last night’s New Year’s toasts and did very well for this morning’s mimosas.

  11. Sarge: Quite familiar with the whole town. I lived on East Antietam Street in a house which had some ordnance lodged in the chimney (until some nice gentlemen from Aberdeen removed it). I rode up that hill six days a week as part of my paper route. I marched up that hill (playing (we had a sadistic band director)) in wool uniforms for the Memorial Day parade for seven years. I played taps at the cemetary. And (if it is the wooden house between the civilian cemetary and the national cemetary on the south side of Main Street) I have had dinner in that house.

    Chappie: Miller: The Champagne of Beers. I cook with wine (sparkling or other) but cannot drink the stuff. At about age 8 I had a very unpleasant experience with some partially fermented Welch’s grape juice and I just cannot taste wine without that memory resurfacing. C’est la vie!

  12. Odd thing. I’d never been to Sharpsberg or Harpers Ferry until I started reenacting. Showed horses and rode all over that area, hiked the Appalachian Trail, but never once even passed through those famous towns, even when we were taking horses to Chalestown to race.

    Life, she is odd.

  13. I thought they were jalapenos. Pickles? What’s cool about pickles?

    They had champagne in cans where I was. I didn’t partake.

  14. Sarge: It was a weird town. Without the battlefield, no one would even know it existed.

    Philly: I think it has something to do with the lack of refrigeration. Once the fresh stuff is gone, you have cabbage (which keeps for a while) and apples (both of which can be sanded for preservation), dried veggies, and pickled veggies. I bet, after a month of dried shit, pickles taste like manna. A holiday treat for die kinder. Jalapenos? Why would they have jalepenos on a tree in Germany?

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