Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Every so often, on a Sunday, the Internet, Cable and phone will go completely to hell, and by that, I mean, it all stops working. For everyone. It doesn't matter who your ISP is, it just goes away, and it's usually for a full 8 to 10 hours and always on a Sunday. It's not every Sunday, and it doesn't happen with any regularity or frequency that we can report on, so we just all sit here, like clams in the dark, until our Internet, Cable and phones start working again, generally around six pm'ish.


I tried reporting this outage to my internet provider and they were just as much in the dark and mystified as I was. They had also had several other calls from customers in our area reporting the outage and they had no explanation; everything looked good. It wasn't until we read a little blurb in the paper, that we discovered that the Department of Transportation had purchased several of the older houses in and around the areas of I-275 that they were going to expand and rather than tear down these fine old houses, they decided to move them to other parts of the neighborhood.


I'm all for the preservation of history and we do sport some pretty nifty old houses and all, but only in or around Nebraska Avenue, would the Government come up with something so cock-eyed.


Yes, we must expand the freeway, but rather than tear down these old houses, let's buy 'em for lots and lots of money from their owners, (who've skipped off to Key West), and spend lots and lots of money to move them to empty lots that we've ALSO bought from some other people (who fled to Monte Carlo) for lots and lots of money! Then, let's move the houses, but let's move them in the most inconvenient way possible; say, like, by Conestoga Wagons and Oxen, and turn off everyone's Internet, because we're not sure that it's safe to leave it on when we move these here houses, because we're the Department of Transportation, not the Department of House-Moving; I mean, we have to figure out some way to use up all of this money, so we'll get more next year? Right?


And, another house gets moved in a stately, glacial manner down the Avenue. . .

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Ever'body around here wants to be a gangsta, 'cause it's so fly. Gangstas get to ride in nice, tricked-out rides, they get all the babes, and all the blow they want and all the power and money they can burn through in a week. So, ever'one around here tryin' to be a gangsta. They's oney one problem with this plan, man. Dey ain't got no do-re-mi, so what we have is a bunch a damn idiots ridin' around on tricked-out bicycles, and scooters, with boomboxes tied to their handlebars, blasting ghetto shit to the masses and looking more colorful than usual.

Mr. Pimp-My-Ride

Man, I could write a book about this cat. He lived in my house and he tricked out his bike with tin foil. He worked as a mechanic, but couldn't drive; had lost his license, because of too many DUIs. He also was the proud owner of a "Big Booty DVD that someone stole, watched, and sold to someone else for a joint, who watched it, and then sold to someone else in our house for some pills, and then after the pill guy watched it, he sold it back to this cat for twice what he paid for it and the dude still didn't catch on. We had two houses full of folks like this when I was homeless. It was something new every day. Remind me to tell you about the "columnoscopy" story. It's a gem.

We've even figured out how to make a “boombox in a box” which you carry in your hand. It just supplies the rhythm, and you make up the rap for it. Yes, you too, can be a gangsta, with absolutely NO wheels, now. You just have to have a gadget that supplies the beatz, and you can rap to your heartz content!


There are some very, very beautifully tricked-out bicycles on the Avenue, that are worth thousands, that the gangstas proudly ride on.

Have somethin' to say? Say it in a rap! Have nothin' to say? Sat that in a rap, too! Just rap it on out there and prance around like a ninny. Never has the 'hood been so colorful or fun! And people wonder why I stay indoors.


This, and "Mr. Pimp My Ride at the very top, are more typical of what we're likely to see and hear on the Avenue and its environs. People will be happily peddling away, sharing the most god-awful tripe and having the time of their lives. It's fun to watch!

I haven't given in and started wearing headphones on the bus or when I'm on the street for the simple reason that I feel like I NEED to be aware of what's going on around me, either because I might miss something, or because, I suspect, I'm really still bemused by the panoply of humanity that lives here in this area. I never know what to expect, and to be honest? I'm still continually surprised at the things people come up with here in the 'hood. So, let the “gangstas” trick out their bikes and their scooters and have their fun. Let the rappers-in-a-box have at it. It's part of the rich tapestry here on Nebraska Avenue.

Friday, April 7, 2017


Fracas is so appropriate because it is something that occurs with MUCH frequency here and around the Avenue, and they are usually over singularly stupid things that would occur nowhere else on the planet and they generally leave me grinning from ear-to-ear, if not just melted down into a puddle of laughter over the idiocy of the arguments; all fought with the fervor and immediacy of the saving of the Free World kind of passion that we see in the cheesiest of Hollywood Spectacles. Today, I was treated to one of those spectacles and it was priceless.

This is the building that looks like it would be the "Checkers of the Damned" from my "Hysterical Buildings" post from last year's A-to-Z Challenge.

Firstly, I had to go to one of my favorite places to drown my sorrows; my sorrows being that I had to pay my rent, which is a huge chunk of my “Disability” check, more than 1/3 and while I rusticate on the Tampa Housing Authority List, I'm stuck. I'm better off than most however, so I really can't complain. My needs are few and I'm careful, but the insecurity is real and I can't really save much, so I headed off to Checkers, where my favorite building, the “Checkers of the Damned” lies right across the street. See my post “Hysterical Buildings” from last year's A-to-Z Challenge for a description of that place. I still wonder what it was supposed to be.

Anyway, as I'm trying to decide what brand of grease I want to chow down on, this cat comes driving through on the wrong side. Checkers and Rallys are known for having drive-thrus on both sides, but they only go one-way. This dude just careened in from the street in his crappy Ram Pick 'em up and started driving the WRONG way thru the drive-thru, and all kinda folk were hollerin' “man, you can't do that! You goin' the wrong way, man!” Dude hollers back, “I KNOW what I'm doin'! I got dis!” Like he's soloin' a jet plane to Mars or some shit. He parks his ass all fat and happy in front of the window, facing the wrong way. The girl goes up and I can't hear what is being said, but behind me I hear “he KNOW what he doin'... He don't KNOW shit. He gonna get his ass run outta der so quick...”

I see a lot of gesturing going on between the dude and the cashier, and it gets kinda hot and heavy, like Italians at a speak-easy or something, then, she whirls around, hair flying, and SLAMS the window and goes off. Dude sits there for a moment, then he kind of wilts and drives off...


Okay, so it wasn't a full-blown riot, but there was intense muttering for a while. The whole incident was hysterical and Mr. "I Got This" got his comeuppance for being a total cretin.

I can still hear muttering behind me; “Man thinks he GOT dis! He gonna get bitch-slapped. He don't know what direction the sun rises in the morning. . .” Murmurs of assent... I'm just laughing. Pretty soon, the dude in the crappy Ram Pick 'em up, drives up thru the drive-thru the RIGHT way and gets served by the Manager. He's very polite and very chastened. This kind of thing happens ALL the time on the Avenue; so often, that we say, ONLY ON NEBRASKA AVENUE!


The only thing that would have made this better, would have been a full-on tackle or scrum, by the window, but hey, I'll take my chaos where I can get it!

NOTE: I described this entire incident to a very good friend of mine, who is my co-Leader in my gaming Clan. We've known each other for ten years and he's very familiar with this area and my tales. After I'd gone through this entire narrative, his comment? "And I just know this is a daily occurrence around there, isn't it?" Yup, it is!