Meeting Cindy Brady

The story behind the photo: A few years ago, we went to the Fluffernutter Festival in my hometown of Somerville, MA. It’s a yearly celebration now honoring the invention of the product Fluffernutter, which was invented by a door to door salesman in town, Eventually he sold it to the company that still makes it today with their factory in Lynn but originally it all started right here. Anyways, this one particular year they somehow got Susan Olsen to come down and check it out, How could I not go? I grew up watching the Brady Bunch. I would get out from school and go home and put on Channel 56 which reran them everyday. I think it was a couple of cartoons, and then the Bradys and then the Monkees – amazing how TV has shaped me. In fact, I believe everything about life can be explained in various Brady Bunch episodes but that’s a discussion for another time. (Perhaps one day I will write a thesis about it but I digress.) Anyways, she was amazing. Kind of makes me want to meet the rest of the “Bradys”. As a side note, Florence Henderson visited the local hospital here a few years back and had I known this at the time I probably would have met Mrs. Brady, but it was sadly not to be. Also Peter Brady has visited Dedham a few times at Kings in Legacy Place so there was a possibility of seeing him as well. We missed Jan once in NYC, she apparently was downstairs from a restaurant we were frequenting at at the time but another miss. I figure Greg and Marcia would be the hardest to get to meet. I have no desire to meet Bobby (sorry!)

Meeting “Cindy Brady”

Party a Smashing Success! Plus Lenny!

Finally got to meet Lenny!

The party was a great success and I think everyone who attended had a great time! We were scrambling a little bit as the party start time drew near, with getting tables set up, and picking up the cake, getting a balloon and such, etc. Everyone who said they would attend did and we even had three dogs visit, including Boomer all the way down from Maine, and Lenny, a dog I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time. He was one solid boy weighing close to over 50 pounds! We played a game that made you meet and talk to people to learn things about them and it actually worked and everyone was into it. Another one of LD’s friends was kind enough to pick up the main entrees from Canton so that was a great help. The camera was all set up for the selfie station and I promise to set up a shared google drive directory so that folks who took one can download their pictures. The weather was perfect for a party day! We had some pretty great homemade props which I’ll be saving to use for future events.

People also got to see the new basement and bathroom to help us decide on colors by voting. So we had a lot going on, between everyone meeting everyone, eating all the various dishes, watching LD smash her piรฑata, cutting the cake, playing the games, and having a good time. LD even went out of her way and cooked some gluten free things for some guests who could not partake of the main entrees. All the desserts were a huge hit, from the cake which truly was delicious to the special ice cream sandwiches we got from Providence. As the party was ending (the last guests didn’t leave till around 10 pm!) we saw the SpaceX rocket in the sky although at the time we didn’t know what it was, circled around the fire pit. The main thing was that everyone who came genuinely came to celebrate LD and you could feel the joy. We have to remember that we really are surrounded by wonderful people who care and love LD and I’m very appreciative that I was also able to partake in that.

Now that we’ve cleaned everything up we are taking a well deserved nap!

A Case of the Mondays

Beacon Hill Alleyways

For the start of the week I finally decided to swap in some new hydroponics. The lettuces we had growing there were mostly used up by now, from me either eating them or giving away some of the leaves for a friend’s Guinea Pig pets. So this time around I’m mostly going with herbs such as chives, mint, parsley, lemon basil and oregano. Also had an extra spot so I stuck in a mini cherry tomato. If it all goes to plan they should start sprouting in a bout a week or so. I find that herbs and lettuce do the best in this little hydroponic garden of ours.

All the Feelz

Been trying a new meal kit delivery service but so far this one hasn’t been impressive. It seems like they are all kind of the same after a while. They generally start out good but sooner or later, something goes awry with the shipping or you just get bored with the choices. I did learn how to cook a bunch of things though so it has been somewhat educational for me and given me skills that I can use to cook up own own creations or even just recreate some recipes that they’ve shown me in the past.

Would like to try to get through a bunch of little things tonight. Work is changing their communication systems over to Google from Zimbra so I need to go through some setup and change a couple of passwords and such for that to work. Set up 2FA, all that fun stuff. I’ve been putting it off because I had changing settings but if I don’t do it by early October I won’t be able to log in. Speaking of work, they’re also changing up their CPR scheduling so we all have to take that again in a month or so even though we just had it a few months ago but that’s cool.

I caught some of some local documentary yesterday entitled Chet’s Last Call which was about a Boston dive club just above another dive bar called the Penalty Box where Mafia guys hung out across from the Boston Garden in the 80s that hosted local bands. It was sort of a dedication to the bar’s owner, named Chet, who gave a lot of these groups a chance. This was 20 years before I had gotten interested in the local scene so most of this was before my time but some famous type groups who did play there were the Beastie Boys, Hรผsker Dรผ, Bim Skala Bim and the Mighty Bosstones. It was sort of interesting, it definitely was a very different time. Anyways it got me in a Boston remembrance state of mind so I’m reposting this photo from Beacon Hill. I also spent some time at the gym to watch LD do her swimming thing. She invited me to see her do her thing so I obliged. She’s doing great and loves it so much. I found my old ‘All the Feels’ shirt so I wore that trying to make a statement.

Which brings to mind my next point. Is this blog getting stale? Feel like I really haven’t put up any interesting content in a while.

Been Making New Additions

There hasn’t been too much updating lately partly because it’s been busy here getting a new bathroom put in the basement/man cave part of the house(!) Also been working on getting the new appliances for the kitchen finally and working on some upcoming tasks for a major party blowout coming up. More updates on these exciting subjects as the month of September rolls on through.

We did find some time this afternoon to spend a little bit of time at the beach. Although the water was a little bit chilly it wasn’t too bad once you were in. Unfortunely we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked because these annoying flies kept trying to bite our legs, even though we doused in bug spray, the little bastards! I got a bunch of little itches on me but thankfully the itch is starting to fade away on them already, but it was really annoying trying to deal with it there.

For dinner tonight a cooked up some Burundi along with some lemon infused potatoes and side of Greek salad. Now that’s not something I make/eat everyday!

“Udderly” Fun

Utterly delicious fun

Hibiscus ๐ŸŒบ slush with vanilla ice cream on top…YES! ๐Ÿฆ Plus the Fox Point neighborhood is sooo cute! Yes, LD wanted to do a quick trip to Providence RI to check out this dairy free ice cream and bakery type place. Truly delicious, and truly 100% vegan ice cream shop. You can’t tell the difference that there’s no dairy, at least I couldn’t! The nice part is that we were able to get down there, do the stuff, and get back just in time as the skies were starting to darken and the rainstorm was about to occur. The timing of everything could not have been more perfect.

Birthday Shenanigans in a Treehouse

Nubble!

Too many things to say about my birthday getaway right now. But the highlights were hanging in an Airbnb in Dover NH that had an actual treehouse overlooking the scenic Piscataqua River, watching baby robins being fed by their mother in another tree in the back yard, getting clean in the shower that had two showerheads almost opposite each other which was really cool, grabbing burgers at the BRGR Bar in downtown Portsmouth, getting some shots over at the Nubble, hanging out and swimming at Long Sands beach, eating clams at Bob’s, and getting a gravity chair that I wanted and a book about Rumi that I also wanted to read! It was really hot outside but it is Leo Season as they say! Naturally I must thank LD for making my birthday amazing and every day, as always!

I’ll need to expand upon this at a later date, but all in all, totally amazing!

Friday Frolics For New Kicks

Enjoying life one lighthouse at a time.

Watched this documentary last night which was about the debacle that was Woodstock ’99. Crazy crazy! This afternoon LD and I went down to the New Balance Factory Outlet and bought matching sneakers. She thought it a little ridiculous but I think it’s cute. Maybe we’ll both wear them at the same time! Haha!

Here’s a flashback photo of me visiting one of my favorite places along the eastern seaboard, Pemaquid Point in Maine.

Hiking the Coastal Trail to a Scene of Beautiful Paradise

What did we do this morning? After a quick dip in the pool, we went over and hiked the Eddy Trail, probably one of our favorite locations to hike of all time. As an added treat they had the story of The Lorax all laid out along the trail, a page or two every so often along the way. The finale (well, really the half way point since you have to walk back) is ending up upon the cliff face. It just so happened to be high tide, so we got to see various boats floating along the flats. We even got to see a baby bunny along the trail. Of course it was scared but very cute as we said hello and went on our way.

Currently Reading: From a little library in Chatham by the lighthouse: Hell’s Half-Acre: The Untold Story of the Benders, a Serial Killer Family on the American Frontier. I think I might have heard bits of this story before but not really sure. You can look it up on Wikipedia, talk about a strange family.

In case you missed it, I decided to add my shot Where Time Has No Meaning to the shop as well. A nice relaxing Cape scene I think I captured pretty well.

Wellfleet Wellness (Day 02)

Typical Wellfleet Harbor views

All the fun things we did yesterday with a couple of guests we had over for the overnight.

  • Swimming in the outdoor pool in the afternoon to cool off a bit
  • Getting lunch sandwiches from a local deli
  • Checking out our favorite spots at Nauset
  • Heading over to Macs on the Pier in Wellfleet enjoying a dinner on the beach
  • Passing by an amazing property and then noticing some crazy cottages and their asking prices for essentially a unheated shack
  • Heading over to Rock Harbor to catch the last rays of sunset
  • Grabbing some desserts at the Sparrow as per our usual routine!
  • Winding down with the charcoal grill doing up S’mores and turkey burgers and washing them down with beers
  • As always, illuminating conversation!
  • Falling asleep as midnight approached

All in all, a quite full day!

From Here to Tanglewood

Visiting Symphony Park in East Somerville, MA

From the sculptor: “โ€˜We Are Still Listening,โ€™ was created from a magnificent regal tree which once stood in front of the Hadley-Conant home, a family of musicians of the 1880s. I wish to dedicate this sculpture to the honor of the Hadley-Conant family, the residents of East Somerville, and those musicians who will continue this tradition through musical performances and events in Symphony Park.”

I wanted to check this thing out after hearing it mentioned about a week ago as they did an unveiling. I also did a little lookup on Henry Hadley, I had no idea. That’s what learning is all about! He would later go on to create Tanglewood, and to think it all started right here in East Somerville!

Firepit Party Night Leads to a Beach Afternoon

Meeting the Day

Had a fun night last night having a friend over. I grilled trout, something I’d never done or even eaten before, and it came out great. We finished it off with turkey burgers and zucchini. Our guest also brought over one of the most delicious salads we’d ever had! Thanks so much L! As the night wore one we did a fire pit and enjoyed some s’mores. It was a beautiful evening. We definitely hope to do this again. Wonderful way to spend a few hours together.

This afternoon I was jonesing to go the beach so we went and spent some time in the sun and the waves. I was feeling hot and getting in the water just cooled me right down. I will say that the beach was pretty packed today. Guess everyone had more or less the same idea. Grabbed lunch over at The Green Harbor Lobster Pound again, love that place. I went with the clam plate and LD went with, naturally, the lobster roll.

Visiting King Tut: The Immersive Experience

Finally got a chance to check out the Immersive King Tut Experience over at the South Boston Sowa Power Station. It was interesting, definitely focused more on the religious afterlife beliefs that the ancient Egyptians had, after you learn a little about the Boy King’s life you watch him go on his journey through the Afterlife. We went with another couple friends of ours. Afterwards we hit a famous Quincy restaurant with has great views of the Bay and had lunch there on the deck. It was a beautiful day!

Currently reading: For One More Day by Mitch Albom. A little library find from a visit to some of them a few days ago. In a bit, I’ll list a series of books both new and old that I’d like to get a chance to read over the summer and maybe why I’d want to read it.

When in Jersey

You know you’re in New Jersey when the sunsets are as pink as a Jersey girl’s nails and the parkway rest area is named after Jon Bon Jovi”

-The Ladydoc 6/28/22

Spent the morning checking out some things in Spring Lake, Wall and Manasquan, having donuts by the lake. Saw a nice blue heron which I’ll put up later. Stopped at the Jon Bon Jovi rest stop on the Parkway heading back, because why not? Plus we were curious as to what was inside. I’m not sure what happened to the holographic JBJ which apparently used to be there. (Thoughts from someone else). Oh well. Most of the day was driving back to Boston, it took about 5.5 hours, mostly due to various crashes people had along the way. But we made it back safe and sound and that’s what matters. Carson was very pleased to have us back. He’s being all the love tonight. A nice thing that happened while away is that the vinyl flooring in the basement is almost done and it looks amazing! Very pleased with the look. Time to wind down now, it was a long but good day!

Spring Lake Beach Days and Nights

Nights on the beach down the shore

Today was pretty much an all day all out beach day down the shore. The day started out by us getting some bagel sandwiches at a recommended place down the street. We were not disappointed. After that scarf down we headed over to the beach which is within walking distance of where we are staying. Got the chairs and umbrella out, found a spot, and enjoyed the day, splashing in the waves and drying off in the sun, both under the umbrella and later on, out in the full sun of the day and enjoying some fun activities. I guess we ended up having such a good time there that when we got back to the cottage we pretty much unintentionally fell asleep and took a nap. As evening started to roll around we went out for some air and picked up a pizza from a cute little local place which we brought back and ate. This town really is so cute, from it’s little downtown area, to the lake area, and of course it’s seaside beach!

Thursday Doings

Pleased to say that the correct desk mat arrived today. Looks good, it’s just what I wanted.

There’s a new Aldi’s that opened up in the next town over. I’ve been meaning to check it out and see what the buzz is about. Maybe I’ll check it out this weekend sometime.

What do you think of me as a comic strip? I thought it looked pretty interesting. Just playing around again, you know me!

No Gravity? No Problem!

We finished cleaning out more than half of the basement yesterday in preparation for the new flooring. A lot of rearrangement and getting rid of stuff that had accumulated over time. We got in contact with a couple of people who came and took a lot of the items, which was fantastic. A bunch of stuff will find a new home with someone else who can benefit from it! There was a ton of things we were going to have the junkers take away, but now there isn’t as much because so much of it was taken by these other people. Actually, everything worked out pretty well! We were feeling very accomplished by this task which seemed a bit daunting at first. We celebrated by downing an eggplant pizza from Bertuccci’s.

No gravity? No problem!

This afternoon was mostly spent getting to enjoy a BBQ with LD’s old landlords who actually live a few blocks away. Didn’t realize we ended up spending as much time there as we did, but it was a good time. Hot dogs and hamburgers – classic! One of their kids got them these gravity chairs and I got to try it out and I got to say that I was liking it. Might just have to end up getting one for myself soon. I do have to say though that being social is a bit tiring, especially when you haven’t done that much of it in a while! After that we headed into the office to pick up some things and then over to Home Depot to look at the flooring we’re going to use for the basement. The choice has been selected!

Just before the BBQ I got a text notifying me that my new glasses are ready. I’ll probably go down there sometime tomorrow and pick them up. Spend a couple of days getting used to them and all.

The Struggle is Real

The Struggle is real.

Happy Friday Everyone. Today was a pretty good day. After my morning shift, we decided to head into downtown Boston because LD had one final loose end to attend to in town. It was a fairly quick visit. Since we were down there afterwards we decided to have lunch over at Revere Beach. It was actually a little bit chilly there, so much so that I had to borrow one of LD’s sweatshirts to keep me from actually shivering. We both got some roast beef sandwiches from Kelly’s on the beach and ate it in the pavilion across the street, always being watchfully eyes by the various seagulls patrolling the area. After that, it was back to the ranch because I had to get ready for my next shift. Naturally after we left the sun came out and it got warm but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It was still a fun outing.

Today’s main photo is from a robin’s nest that I was privileged to get close enough to watch the birds being born. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I do.

I decided to transplant and pot some of the stray spearmint that was poking its head out in the late afternoon. My mother had asked for some, so I’ll give her one of the transplants tomorrow morning. I also attempted to weed whack some of the thick grasses that had sprung along the fence in the ‘prairie area.’ Sounds like a nice idea for the environment, but the problem is that LD believes it attracts bugs, and they prefer to bite her because she is so sweet.

I’m going to grill some turkey cheddar burgers with a zesty homemade horseradish dressing on the side for dinner. I figured I’d best cook it now because tomorrow is supposed to be a no-cook day due to the extreme heat and humidity. Excellent for tomorrow’s 14-mile cycling trip! On another note, they are not all success stories in the kitchen. The other night, I burnt a nonstick cephalon pan. The dinner turned ok, but the Japanese BBQ sauce I used stuck to the pan I got a while ago and I can’t get it off no matter what I try, so I’ll have to go get another one. Total bummer but I suppose that is how one learns the adventures of home cooking.

It’s Like Pulling Teeth Sometimes

It’s me again!

What do you call a bee that can’t make up it’s mind? A maybe! Sorry, couldn’t resist. As for today’s news, since I’ve been MIA for a while, I had to return to Earth-1 today to take my mother’s other cat, Laurel, to the vet for his monthly exam. There was some good news and some bad news in the end. The good news is that his exam went smoothly, and he received his requisite injections, just like his brother Hardy did a few weeks ago. The not so good news is 1) he’s overweight, but we kind of knew that since he weights almost 20 pounds and 2) he’ll eventually need 10 teeth extracted, which sounds a little crazy to me. But they said we could wait up to a year, which also sounds a little weird to me, but I guess it hasn’t progressed too badly yet. Anyways, bottom line is he’s going to have to wait a while for that. Doesn’t seem like an absolute necessity at this time, but we’ll watch it. He’ll also be on a little bit of a diet but you know how that goes.

We finally got around the mulching and replanting some of the plants LD got over the last few days, along with the ones that were outgrowing the hydroponic garden. Now that those are out of there and outside we can start growing some new hydroponics. The area is shaping up beautifully in my opinion. To think that I got LD interested in gardening in the first place, but now I see that I’ve created something of a monster! Nah, just kidding.

Gametime: Nyctoban -You’re know it with me and these Sokoban-style puzzlescript games! This one is particularly intriguing since the crates you move about cast light in regions where your movement is restricted. I thought that was pretty neat. Stuck on level two thus far.

Cool Dewd

Anyone who knows me well enough would know that I am always trying out new and artsy type things. Here’s a computerized drawing of myself that I had been playing around with. Reminds me of a baseball card so here’s mine. Collect them all! And yes, I am wearing a hoodie that says Claw & Order: Boston Lobster Unit.

Today was sort of a busy day as after shift I had to take a drive over to Earth-1 because one of my mom’s cats was due for his yearly exam and shots and things of that nature. I’m glad to say that everything checked out fine. Strangely cool and windy today but it would appear that today is the last day of that crap and the weekend looks to be pretty good. I have a bunch of things planned that I want to get done over the weekend so we’ll see if I can push myself to do them all.

The driver’s side window on my mom’s 2003 Toyota Camry LE won’t go down anymore. It appears to probably need a new regulator and possibly the motor to go with that but she’s been having a hell of a time tracking one down, probably because the car is pretty old by this point. We’ve tried all the usual routes but if anybody has any ideas, let me know. It would only be a problem in the summer because it would get sweltering in there, but she doesn’t drive all that much anyway. And she can still roll down the other windows. Just don’t get pulled over because the window doesn’t go down, would have to open the door!

Playing with Overlapping Columns

A Description of Me:

“In every real man, a child is hidden who wants to play.”

I think that quote describes me pretty well. Also I’ve been playing around with some CSS code to produce that column overlapping effect where the text box crosses over into the other column that contains the photo. Pretty cool. On mobile it just kind of stacks them but in tablet and the computer it produces the effect I desire. Let me know if you agree that this is a cool effect! Also let me know if you think this is a good picture of me!

Marathon Monday Means Goat Baby

Springtime!

Today’s the running of the Boston Marathon but I decided to use the day to get a bunch of work done. Work on LD’s website is just about completed, I got the menus to work and just need to add some graphics. Might spruce it up more or change the layout a bit later but as of now the site is live and working. Today was also the day the electrician decided to show up and put in the new dedicated line for the sump pump, While he was wiring that up I put together a desk that LD had bought for herself and replaced the “bunny nursey” pot back into it’s place on the back deck, just in case some bunny decides to use it again.

Then in the afternoon we went to the beach for a walk and then even later on, we got to hang with a baby goat who is literally one day old! His name is Cameron and he is the cutest little boy!

Meeting one day old Cameron!

Yes, Cameron was born on Easter, and that white goat which you can see in the left hand bottom corner of this photo is Mira, his mother, which is short for Miracle because when she was a baby she almost didn’t make it. She’s turned out to be an amazing mother to her baby – it was fascinating to watch.

Preparing a List for Spring Break

The man. The mystique.
The man. The mystique.

After work, I did a bunch of things today that I wanted to complete today and over the next few days, just in case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to.

  1. Cleared off the back deck in preparation for us pressure washing it clean. I’ve been doing some research on how best to tackle the job on the composite.
  2. I did some research on how I’m going to implement some of the things on LD’s website.
  3. Because the previous flowers had faded, I purchased an Easter bunch of flowers for the vase. There are some stunning blue hydrangeas in the mix that attracted my eye. Perhaps a photo will be forthcoming.
  4. The lavender seedlings on the windowsill are starting to sprout. Pretty exciting!
  5. Played around a bit with my social media accounts and made this “drawing” of myself.
  6. Disassembled an old dehumidifier for ease of disposal. Also preparing to replace the glass panes with screens on the house doors and to bring out the grill from storage. I have a feeling we’ll be doing a lot of grilling this year, as we did last year.
  7. Cleaned up some leaf/yard waste for the town pick up tomorrow.
  8. As I was cleaning up some stuff out front, I noticed a tiny bunny scurrying about. When it heard me poking around, it raced to safety, but I left it alone and am delighted that they seem to be doing fine. We were so distraught last week when we disturbed their nest unknowingly but they’ve all left now to live their lives.
  9. The town is starting to dig up all the streets in the neighborhood around here to reline all the sewers I believe. It makes getting around pretty annoying and I have to plan my route accordingly every morning so I’m not late. Going to be wonderful I’m sure once they start working on the entire street in front of the house. Not.
  10. I’ve been trying out a new knee brace for my right knee. So far I’m liking the way this one feels. It’s more or less to stop me from overextending the tendons that hurt when I bend it too far. Ah, the joys of aging. Like they say, “I really don’t mind getting older, but my body is taking it badly.”

I’m Getting Lost in Cotton Candy Colored Skies

Cotton Candy Skies above

โ€œSometimes the clouds in the sky are mistaken. They didnโ€™t come to block the sunlight. They came to embrace it.โ€

I thought the clouds were pretty wild looking in this shot. What are your thoughts? This was taken with an older camera when I was initially getting into photography, thus the quality isn’t as high as some of my more recent images. Still, I believe it’s a fantastic shot, and as I previously stated, I’m a big fan of the clouds.

L’artiste

I’ve been working on some special posts coming up so stay tuned for that – all the feels! I saw that NECN shared the photo of the boat “coming in hot” that I took from the Cape so I would expect to see that on the television screen soon. Which reminds me if you’d like to have some of my work (shameless plug) adorn your own surroundings you can always just check out my store for what I consider to have been some of my best photographs which are available on a number of items ranging from small magnets and stickers to large metal prints. Scroll through and see if anything catches your eye – I tend to update it with new images every now and again as I receive some interest. I would appreciate any support – help keep me going!

Gosh darn this was one long month – I thought April would never get here! It had some great moments but also some not so great. Perhaps every month is like that but this month seemed to have some pretty big swings for me. I feel like I’m getting back into equilibrium though and that’s a good thing.

Tomorrow I have a handful of appointments I need to attend to. One is bringing our boy to the vet in the morning, which is generally an adventure in and of itself, and the other is getting fitted for some tactical equipment I need for my job. Onward and upward – that should be fun!

Spring Fever in the Air

Haven’t had much time to update over the last few, getting errands as such done between work shifts. I had a dentist appt. today over at Earth-1 to get a filling replaced that fell out a little while ago. I got stuck in traffic on 95 which made me about 1o minutes late due to an accident with a truck on the highway but they took me anyway when I arrived and the procedure itself only took about 20 minutes. I did learn that they are moving to Wellington Circle in about 8 months from where they are now and have been for years in Winter Hill.

All that snow that fell yesterday afternoon and made warming up and dusting the car off this morning a pain was all gone by the afternoon. I think that’s the last of the snow we’ll be seeing – fingers crossed. What a difference a day makes in New England! One day snow, the next 50 degrees. Just as well, I’m starting to get spring fever.

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.”

โ€“ Gustav Mahler

I saw on the news a couple of days ago that you could send away from more covid tests from the government so I went ahead and ordered a couple more. I guess the demand for them is not as high as last time as this time they arrived in 2 days, and they’re the Binax ones, whereas last time took over a month and a half and was some other brand. Hopefully I’ll never have to use any but I figured why not just have some around since it’s on Uncle Sam.