Friday, April 29, 2016

Shots Fired!

If you're the type to watch the news then you have, no doubt, heard of the shooting which took place this week in Nashville, Tennessee.  The shooting took place in the downtown bus station (aka Music City Central) and is both tragic in its circumstances and outrageous in how it all went down.  

To recap, two teenagers rode up and down the escalators for a long time looking for their 'target.' Once spotted, one of them produced a handgun and proceeded to fire 10 times. His intended victim was hit, as were 3 innocent bystanders.  

It is unimportant to note that this is the bay where I pick up my bus, and that this was, in fact, the same number bus I take every afternoon, but this one leaves 20 min before I get to the bus station. What is important to note in this story is that the teenager who fired in cold blood upon another fired 10 times and only hit his intended target once.  This, from a mere 20 feet away.  

I could talk about the crowds running in terror from this terrorist. (Yes, anyone who fires a weapon in a crowded area regardless of intention spreads terror and is, therefore, a terrorist.) I could talk about the unintended victims who were shot only because the shooter was such a bad shot. (Fired 10 times from only 20 feet away and hit him only once.) I could talk about my own involvement in this entire scenario, but in fact, I didn't arrive at Music City Central until the crowds were out and the large gates were already pulled down so that the police (who arrived in 2 minutes) could do their job. 
Gates are down - nobody in or out!
I could talk about all that, but so many other news agencies, blogs and tweets have already said as much. What hasn't been said is what happened to the large crowds who, like myself, ride the bus nightly and rely on those buses to get us home.  

What happened was this: The MTA supervisors, walkie-talkies in hand, stood in the street, directing the onslaught of buses as they arrived, directing them to the curb.  Once at the curb, passengers got off, passengers got on, and the bus pulled away.  Immediately, the supervisor directed another bus into the vacated spot.  It was like a well rehearsed dance. 

Oh, but wait, there's more.  The entire time the supervisors were out in the street, the crowd milling around, talking loud about the whole thing, cars pulling through to pick up friends or family; the supervisors never lost their cool, calm, professional demeanor. There was no shouting on their part, no exasperated pointing or waving of arms. It was the most incredible display of 'being in control' I have witnessed.  

The police also responded cool and calm, and took over the situation quickly as has been said many times over. It seemed to me that no one mentioned the bus station employees; drivers pulling into a street loaded with other buses, cars and supervisors vying for their attention.  There were few, if any, problems. This can only be attributed to the pre-planning on the part of Music City Central Staff and well trained bus drivers. 

And the true temperament of the South.  
Thanks to you all.   It needs to be said, and said again.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Crepe Murder Most Foul!

Living in the south, and doing the amount of lawn work I do, it's a darn good thing I don't have a Crepe Myrtle Tree. They take a lot of understanding. The Crepe Myrtle is a beautiful shade tree with blossoms that run from white, to lavender, to magenta to ruby red.  These trees start off their lives as rather unassuming diminutive things. However, if left to grow in their natural beauty, these trees become majestic monuments to the charm of the Southern landscape.  My goodness it all but makes you want to put on a white suite and sip a Mint Julep!

But there's some (cue dark menacing music) who lurk in the shade that know not the beauty of the Crepe Myrtle.  In the late fall, they cut away at the branches, hacking and sawing until all that is left are bare stubby trunks and all but nonexistent branches.  Murder!  Crepe Murder, Most Foul!

Crepe Murder, Most Foul! 
So, since again, no Crepe Myrtle in my yard (and thankfully, no Crepe Murder) I thought I'd look into what it really takes to trim one of these beauties, without murdering it, and post it here.  And, here's what I found. When you chop a crepe myrtle, the branches will grow back.  However, the shape of the tree is destroyed and you will produce a stunted shrub-like tree that lacks the grace of a naturally-shaped crepe myrtle.  The pic above shows a tree hacked just above it's 'knees.'  This tree will be short and stuffy and lack any definition. But, I hear ya, what DO you do to trim such beautiful lawn guardians? ok, so now we present:

Marv's Notes on How To Properly Trim a Crepe Myrtle
When the tree is dormant (in late winter/early spring), you can lightly prune a crepe myrtle in order to encourage a particular shape or to remove limbs that are in the way. The key words here are LIGHTLY and SHAPE.  You're not trying to start over, you're just making 'adjustments.' In addition, when the tree starts to put out new growth, you may see shoots that appear at the base of the tree. These should also be removed cutting close to the ground. Look back at the top and you can see that tree has been trimmed lightly, allowing the several 'legs' to grow naturally, no knees, no hacking and chopping.

The key is to use a light touch and your tree will grow to be a true Southern beauty. Sort of like me.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Chimney Master Update

It's been a long winter and I've been trying to finish the living room project (don't ask) so I've been out of pocket (read: not wanting to blog) the last two weeks. I figured I'd better get my blog on and catch you up on some things. 

As you can see above, the living room is now painted, but my abilities with mud and tape are none too good so I'm going to have to redo a few areas.  Slowly, a section at a time, I should be done by the time I retire sometime next century.

The chimney cap has been in place now for nearly 6 months.  A half a year.  And with all the rain we've had lately, I thought I'd get up there and check it out.  Ok, so no, I didn't go skulking around on the roof at oh-dark-thirty but I did take some time to examine the piping in the attic, and the chimney cap itself.And from what I can tell, there are no leaks and the chimney cap itself is still as bright and great looking as it was the day I put it up.  I took this picture early this morning and you can see it's still looking good one winter under its belt.

When the weather is better, I plan to get up there and give it a thorough going over to see how my hand made invention fared.  Look for updates here! 

Stay tuned!