A most intriguing bumper sticker

by Joey deVilla on March 29, 2017

Yesterday, while driving to host Tampa iOS Meetup, I saw a bumper sticker that caught my attention and hasn’t yet let go:

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Here’s a closer look:

Let that phrase sink in: Soft hoagie rolls.

Is this someone who thinks that hoagies shouldn’t be toasted (I’m leaning that way myself)? Or someone trying to start the next Pizzagate? Or something entirely different?

The phrase has haunted me all night. I’ve decided that I’m naming either my next band or next LLC “Soft Hoagie Rolls”.


If you watched Good Morning America lately, you may have caught them burying the lede in their chyron (a.k.a. “lower third”, the captions superimposed over the lower part of the screen, especially on news channels):

C’mon, Good Morning America, don’t downplay the real story!

Lakeland, Florida is just under an hour east of Tampa and an hour southwest of Orlando. Many people go there — sometimes from pretty far away — just to get a good deal on a new or used car. It might be the cheaper rent, but for some reason, the deals are just better, and it’s worth the drive for the prices. Anitra and I got both of our cars there, and in doing so, saved about $5,000 in the process.

It’s also the home of this guy:

Click the image to see the pancake goodness at full size.

This is Kiaron Thomas, and last Tuesday, he set up a TV tray in the middle of a 6-lane road and had a pancake breakfast for what is presumably a stunt for YouTube:

The cops were called, but Thomas had left by the time they arrived. The video was posted online soon afterward, and with several people tagging it with Thomas’ name, the cops found him and charged him with “placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic”.

Here’s the report from Lakeland Police Department’s Facebook page (read the comments; some of them are amusing):

The final line of Bay News 9’s report on this story reads as follows:

Police did not say if Thomas finished his breakfast.


Signs of the day: Like peanut butter and jelly

by Joey deVilla on March 25, 2017

See on Fowler Avenue in Tampa. Photo by Yours Truly. Click to see at full size.

Seriously, what more could you want?


The history of accordion jokes in “Garfield”

by Joey deVilla on March 23, 2017

Here’s the Garfield for today, Thursday, March 23, 2017:

Thanks to Mike van de Water for the find!

Jon’s (he’s Garfield’s hapless human) love of the accordion has been a running gag in Garfield for a long time…

I once cancelled a date after being told the exact same thing! I have my pride:

Here are the rest. Enjoy!


Jammin’ with The Jackdaws

by Joey deVilla on March 20, 2017

I always bring my accordion when I’m out for a beer — the accordion has proven time and again that it’s a machine that magically transforms music into free drinks. Last Saturday, I was out for beer along with anachronistic fun at Tampa’s Bay Area Renaissance Festival with Anitra:

Joey deVilla and Anitra Pavka at Tampa’s Bay Area Renaissance Festival in renaissance clothing, with a maypole and maypole dancers in the backgrounds.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

While at the festival, we made sure to catch the Gulfport-based Irish-American band The Jackdaws’ performance on the Pirate Pub stage. At one point, their guitarist, Whiplash, saw the accordion at my feet and said “Hey, an accordion in the audience! Do you know how to play that thing?”

“Yes, I do!” I replied, and that’s when he extended an invitation to join them on stage for a number.

The Irish-American band The Jackdaws play with Joey deVilla. From left to right: Constance on violin, Whiplash on Guitar, Joey deVilla on accordion, and Roxy on the drum.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

After giving me a quick rundown of the chords to Three Gypsies — D minor and A major — we launched into the number, where they kindly gave me a solo in the middle. At the end, they led the audience in a rousing cheer of “Joey! Joey! Joey!”:

The Irish-American band The Jackdaws lead the audience with fists raised to cheer Joey deVilla. From left to right: Constance on violin, Whiplash on Guitar, Joey deVilla on accordion, and Roxy on the drum.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

To thank them, and because they’re great musicians, I bought their CDs at the end of the performance. My thanks to The Jackdaws — Courtney, Roxy, and Whiplash — for letting me join them onstage!


Cut it out with the “Irish Car Bombs”

by Joey deVilla on March 17, 2017

For starters, you’re turning the feast day of St. Patrick into a holiday for amateur drinkers. You’re also ruining perfectly good whiskey, beer, and liquor by mixing them together and chugging them like an idiot.

Worse still, it trivializes the violence and death of The Troubles by turning it into a drinking game. That’s about as respectful people in Ireland celebrating their biggest drinking day of the year by downing two flaming shots called the “the twin towers”. Don’t do it.


Kiss me, I’m partially Irish!

by Joey deVilla on March 17, 2017

Joey deVilla posing beside his baby picture at his family’s house in San Juan, Batangas, Philippines.

Two ages of Yours Truly, San Juan, Batangas, Philippines, March 2016.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Pictured above is Yours Truly, standing beside my baby picture, which is mounted on a wall at our family home in San Juan, Batangas province, in the Philippines. Isn’t it screamingly obvious that I’m of Irish-American descent?

It’s true. I’m a direct descendant of one of the men pictured in the photo below, which would’ve been taken in the early 1900s, somewhere in Ohio:

Antique photo of Seven O’Hara men, seated three in the front row, four in the rear, including James O’Hara (rear row, third from left).

O’Hara gentlemen, somewhere in Ohio, sometime in the early 1900s.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Pay attention to the striking gentleman in the back row, third from the left. Here he is, in a solo photo:

Antique photo of James O’Hara, Joey deVilla’s great-grandfather.

James O’Hara, sometime in the early 1900s.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

His name was James O’Hara, and he’s my great-grandfather. Sharp-lookin’ fella, too.

After the Spanish-American War, the Philippines was annexed by the United States, and there was a call for Americans to bring their skills to the newly-acquired territory. One kind of skilled worker they wanted was teachers, and James, who was a teacher with a sense of adventure — remember, the kind of information he’d be able to get about the Philippines or Asia in general would’ve been rather scant — signed up to make the trip across half the U.S. by land, followed by one across the Pacific Ocean on a ship.

If his plans were to do a short stint and return to the States with stories to tell, they were changed when he met a woman who would eventually become my great-grandmother…

James O’Hara and his wife at their wedding.

Great-grampa and great-grandma at their wedding, Philippines, early 1900s.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

…but he stayed, eventually settling in the city of Antipolo, a city 26 kilometers (16 miles) east of Manila. One of his children, Marietta, would become my grandmother, and in the early 1980s, we’d take her to catch up with our Irish-American relatives in Ohio:

Aunt Janis, grandma, Uncle Clayton, Dayton, Ohio, summer 1983.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

That’s grandma in the middle, with Aunt Janis on the left, and her husband Uncle Clayton on the right. They’ve long since passed away, but I enjoyed my visit with them in Dayton.

So, it’s with just barely enough qualification that I wish you a happy St. Paddy’s day!

Yours truly, On Swann, Tampa, last weekend.