My father wrote

“When you were about 5 years old and Ricky was about 2, we made the auto trip from Atlanta to Marcus. Stopped in Missouri to pick up my Dad’s sister Sue, and made it to Iowa for a wonderful family Christmas. All 3 of Grandpa and Gandma Reed’s kids were there with our kids, so there were 8 kid’s presents under the tree and beeg candy canes, (one foot long) courtesy of your Uncle Warren. The presents were piled high– up to one half of the tree. You were so exited that you couldn’t sleep on Christmas eve and wandered out worrying and crying that if everyone was not asleep,Santa wouldn’t come. We assured you and you finally fell asleep. What a Christmas morning it was! And what a trip!

Domestic Eavesdropping

Certainly you’ve heard that George Bush is using the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance on American citizens without the consent of any court?

According to our Democratic party and others, this is specifically against the law. Bush says political appointees in the Justice Department outlined the legal authority to get around the restrictions in our laws and the Constitution, but those legal memos are classified.

I’ve added my name to a formal Freedom of Information Act request to see these documents. Perhaps you will too. go to


Good customer service

Via help desk chat, 12/19

[Live Help: Thank you for contacting L.L.Bean. Please wait. A representative will be with you in a moment.]

[Live Help: Welcome to LLBean.]

[Live Help: You are now connected.]

Bob_Reed: Can I get a replacement tent fly pole for one that splintered in a strong wind? Tent is #6 dome, purchased approx Jan 2005.

benjamin_k: Hello, My name is Ben. I will be happy to help you with that…

benjamin_k: Please hold while I check that for you, Mr. Reed…

Bob_Reed: thanks

benjamin_k: Thank you for waiting, Mr. Reed. I see what you got in January was the XT33 # dome tent with fiberglass poles. I will connect you to the Sporting Goods line they will confirm if we can send a replacement, please hold…

Bob_Reed: ok

[Live Help: doug_b enters the call

[Live Help: benjamin_k left the call

doug_b: Hello. I’m Doug. We can indeed get you a new fly pole……

doug_b: The pole that broke was it in the front or the rear of the tent?

Bob_Reed: It was the short one in the rear.

doug_b: Thanks, one sec and I’ll check stock.

doug_b: Thanks for your patience. I can get you one right away Mr Reed. Should I ship it your Little John Rd address?

Bob_Reed: yes, 2915 Little John

doug_b: No problem. We typically mail such items which will likely get it there shortly after Christmas. Will that do?

Bob_Reed: No rush at all. Check my campsite photo of the tent this last week at

doug_b: Thanks. Nice beach. And Johnny Hammond! I’ve caught him a bunch of times. $15 is a small price to pay.

Bob_Reed: Its the indian river lagoon in east central florida. Winds gusted to about 30mph. must’ve been a flawed pole.

doug_b: Yeah, no doubt. We had a small run of them, but I think we got it licked. Let us know if you have any other problems.

Bob_Reed: thank you. merry christmas.

doug_b: You too. Thanks.

Camping Update

It was a really good week, especially the last 48 hours. There was some wind (broke a fiberglass pole on my new tent), and the fishing wasn’t spectactular, but I got a lot of time on the water, and the boat ran well.
Friday night I returned to town for a caroling gig — which went very well — and then slept at home and saw the family.

Saturday was quite rainy, so I didn’t go straight back to the campground. Linda and gina had plans for the day, so I got in some christmas shopping around Melbourne, and got back to check on my camp and bail out the rainwater from the boat about 3pm. I went out fishing for an hour and managed a couple of small trout just by trolling around the river.

Late Saturday I headed up to Cocoa to meet the guys for a Makeshift gig at a Knights of Columbus dinner event. We were the after dinner show, and it also went very well. Especially considering we’ve had one rehearsal in the last month. But the set list went smoothly, the gags worked, we did a couple of christmas songs, and we were asked for an encore. After the performance they fed us well, and we split and I headed back to my camp, about an hour away.

On the way back I thought to stop in for a drink at the Sebastian Beach Inn, which is a divey beach bar way out in the middle of nowhere on A1A about 3 miles from the campground. Turned out that grammy winning blues singer/player John Hammond was giving a solo show there, and I gladly forked over the $15 cover to catch the last hour of his set. It was great, the place was packed with middle-aged blues fans, but I had a good seat at the bar…he talked a lot between songs and dropped a lot of names. It was a real treat.

I crashed back at my camp before midnight, and then was up again at 6:30am for one last shot at the river. I spent about 3 hours on the water, the weather was dead calm and things were heavily fogged in, so I had to pull my compass out of the tackle box to keep my bearings. The fog persisted all morning, occasionally lifting enough that I could see a shoreline. I managed 4 nice sized sea trout, 1 large sail cat on a topwater plug(!), and a 10″ grouper. A great ending to the week.

Camping and Fishing

I’m camping at Long Point park in south Brevard county this week. Heading back for a caroling job friday night, and then a Makeshift gig in Cocoa saturday night.

Weather’s been pretty good, I’ve had some really nice days. Fishing is good, catching is not so good, and its not just me; everyone is getting skunked. The flounder run was in full swing last week, but this week nada. I’ve had some action just nothing worth keeping. Even the 23″ trout I caught is out of season.