STORM RECOVERY SOURCES 1 Oct 2017
Below are generators currently offered on Amazon
HURRICANE RECOVERY 21 Sept 2017
Following is a compilation of useful articles and websites that relate to damage/flood recovery in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose
AMAZON BOOKS THAT CAN HELP
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM 1 Sept 2017
Like the rest of the world I am watching the horrendous tragedy of the destruction and flooding in Texas. As a displaced Texan, now living in Missouri, I did live in Houston for over 45 years. We have many friends there that have suffered immeasurable losses. During our time in Houston we experienced numerous severe storms and hurricanes, but nothing to compare with the scope of the damage and human tragedy that has been inflicted on the Texas Gulf coast.
The ongoing saga of the rising death toll and heroic rescues cannot help but make a lasting and gut wrenching impression on most folks. The incredible stories of help and support, by both victims and neighbors, does wonders to restore faith in human kindness and generosity. We have seen Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians helping one another without reservation. The tragedy and response are clearly color blind and apolitical.
A lot has been reported about the resilience and fortitude of Texans in dealing with this epic storm. As a native Texan I know this to be true. I also know that Americans across our country come together in times of need. Sure, Texans are tough, but so are New Yorkers, Bostonians, Floridians, people in New Orleans, and all others that have been tested.
As we all know we are living in a time where the country is severely divided. Political and racial division is rampant. Hate groups, from both the left and right, and their protests and riots dominate our news. I don’t know anyone who really feels good about living in this current environment.
Houston, can you help bring us together ?
In my lifetime there has been precious few moments in history that truly unite and galvanize our society. Unfortunately, the ones that I recall are World War II and 9/11. My hope now is that the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey can deal a blow to partisan politics and racial divide. While this is clearly not on the scale of the big war or the Trade Center attack in New York, it does come at a time when reconciliation is badly needed. Maybe Houston can help. I think we all would like a turn for more harmony in this great land.
DOGS FOREVER 22 Aug 2017
Can’t remember a time in my life that we didn’t have a dog. Started when I was about ten years old with Bambi, a Boston Bull dog, followed by: Frosty, a cocker spaniel; Shirley, a blond Lhasa; Beano, a black Lhasa mix; Gromit, a black poodle and Wilson, a white Lhasa/bull dog/something. Naming dogs is something I am really good at. Oh and don’t forget Trish’s dog Pepper (never got to meet him, before our marriage).
Currently in our house we still have Gromit and Wilson. Also a nice cat, Wallace. Recently lost our old cat, Otter. Cats are cool, but dogs are really the “cat’s meow” (ironic).
It is difficult to imagine not having pets. They bring so much unconditional love. Just wish they could all live longer.
At some point in time we gained a realization that if you want and need a pet, you should adopt one that has been abandoned. Unfortunately, even good people find it necessary sometime to give up a pet. These folks will send them to a shelter or put them up for adoption. The rat-finks in our society will dump them along a road or do something worse.
A sad reality is that there are hundreds of potentially great animal friends that can be adopted. These come from well run shelters, adoption organizations and/or foster parents. Most are available at a minimal charge that may cover vaccinations and possibly some necessary veterinary care. In most towns the assortment of dogs includes pure and mixed breeds. The availability of kittens is mind boggling (careful, turns out kittens grow up to be cats).
Bottom line here is that if you want, and can care for a pet; RESCUE, RESCUE, RESCUE. In addition, you will feel like a better person and the rescues are typically so appreciative to find a good home.
RADIO DAYS IN THE WOODS 15 Aug 2017
I think most folks these days listen to radio mostly in their cars. I know I do, with a preference for the FM band. But there is a small problem in the greater Branson area, that is: most stations are decidedly country western, bluegrass, religious or pop rock (yuk).
Very little to choose from if you like standards, big bands, great singers (think Sinatra, Bennett, Torme, etc.). Also for old coots like me who think they stopped recording any good music after the 50’s, you will find almost nothing with a signal that can be received in the Branson area.
Ha, but there are neat solutions. I personally have a XM/Sirius portable receiver that I can move from car to car, the house or the boat. Many great channels, but mine mostly stays on “Seriously Sinatra” (to the dismay of my young wife). Sirius/XM is a paid subscription service for either their online radio or satellite broadcast. You need to purchase a receiver in addition to subscribing to the service. I could not survive without this, been using it for years.
A great free solution is internet radio. Several sites allow you to listen to real time radio stations from all over the country with a fantastic collection of music preferences. Of course this solution mostly is applicable to your home based computers and/or something like Amazon’s Alexa/Echo devices. Would work in the car through an iphone, ipad or laptop. Tip; don’t fiddle with your device while driving and smash into a tree.
Some of the sites offering this free service:below:
I can highly recommend Pandora with its free service and minimal ads. This is where our Amazon Echo really shines: e.g. “Alexa, play Jackie Gleason, Pandora radio” – music starts, this is magic.
One great exception to the radio void is KBFL coming from Springfield (96.9FM, 1060AM). As you drive north from the Branson area you will soon start to receive this great station (Music of our Lives, etc.). This station can be streamed also to your computers. Their online link:
YOU LIKE VIDEOS ? 11 Aug 2017
Ok, I like videos too. The link here will give you a broad selection of videos on: shows, attractions, lodging and dining in Branson. Not all are current, and by no means do they cover everything, but they paint a pretty good picture of what the town is all about.
Also a good composite video on Branson:
NETFLIX SERIES; “OZARK” 2 Aug 2017
I have been binge watching the new Netflix series entitled “Ozark”. Wow, this is brutal. Supposedly filmed in and around Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, but apparently mostly filmed around Atlanta. Series stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Bottom line is that Jason and his family (the Byrds) are forced to flee their Chicago home, and move to the Ozarks, because he is caught up in a money laundering deal with a really bad ass drug kingpin.
They soon discover that some pretty bad stuff goes on around the area and that almost everyone wants to kill the whole family. They long for the good old days in Chicago, which is a little ironic in that Chicago is notably the murder capital of the U.S.
My takeaway from the first six of the ten episodes is that, while interesting and well done, the series paints a really poor picture of folks living in that part of the Ozarks. I hope that this is not really representative of the area. Lake of the Ozarks does have the reputation of being the “party lake”, unlike our part of Missouri in and around Branson and Table Rock Lake.
I would be very interested to see comments from folks that actually live in the area that Ozark portrays.
Link to YouTube trailer on Ozark:
THOUGHTS ON THE LOCAL HOUSING MARKET IN AND AROUND BRANSON AND TABLE ROCK LAKE 29 Jul 2017
The market for homes in and around the Branson/Table Rock area consists of the usual types of housing:
- single family homes
- condos for purchase
- condo timeshares
Generally speaking I consider the whole area to be a “buyers market”. For starters home prices are an incredible bargain if your frame of reference is almost any large city and especially if you are coming from the west or east coasts. In short you can buy a lot of home for your money.
Due to the fact that there are few major employers in the area the majority of folks moving into the area are retirees. Many of these folks will build nice new homes or remodel and update an older home. Unfortunately retirees typically croak within ten to fifteen years of having moved here and their lovely homes go on the market. Many of these are disposed of through estate sales which can yield particularly good deals. Some also wind up in the hands of lenders through foreclosure and add to the market supply.
When searching for a home of any kind here it is almost imperative to get a good real estate agent that knows the area. This is probably more important than in most other areas in that homes can be hidden away in heavily wooded areas.
The condo market in the area is particularly soft due to years of over building. Condos can be a good option if you don’t like mowing grass and other annoying maintenance chores. Main thing to look out for here is home owner association maintenance fees, etc. They will all have fees and/or assessments, but some are really punitive.
About “timeshares”, in short don’t do it. Many owners of timeshares get to the point that they don’t travel anymore, etc. and just want out of their commitment to the contractual fees. There are numerous businesses in the area that specialize in time share disposal – bottom line you will wind up paying to get out from under the timeshare with little hope of selling outright.