Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014



The hall closet by the back door is where the non-motorcycling jackets and hats live at our house.

I’ve been looking for a particular Buff for several days and this morning pulled everything out of the two upper shelves in the closet. I didn’t find the Buff, but I did come to the startling realization that I was way more caps and hats than I thought.

Thirty-seven of them, to be precise, although I think there are more in boxes somewhere.

This means I could wear a different hat every day from now through Dec. 5 without repeating.

Eight of them are BMW motorcycle-related, four are from our favorite gas stop at Boomland, three from Breckenridge, Colo. (including a Gore-Tex Ski Patrol cap), two from Nepenthe in Big Sur, a couple of Duck Commander camo caps, three from breweries – Beck’s, Spaten and Flying Dog (before they moved from Aspen to Maryland), a fisherman’s cap that Sean brought me from his Alaska adventures, an Irish tweed hat that my dad wore, and a red Nike “swoosh” cap that my mom bought me, just because she liked the look of it.

The unbearable uniqueness of Olioscourge

I coined the word “olioscourge” in May, 2004 when I needed to create a unique URL for this blog.

It derives from my unofficial title of The Scourge of Olio, earned years before when I wiped the town of Olio off of the Indiana roadmap. Details are here.

I did a Google search this morning to see if olioscourge shows up anywhere no connected with me and was surprised to see a few of my images have been purloined without my permission.

Like for instance, this one on a site listing “tips you can learn from your dad:”


Yep, that’s me looking geeky and my dad looking dapper on a vacation to Niagara Falls and New England around 1957. I guess I’m flattered that someone liked it enough to steal it.

And here’s a photo I shot for the local newspaper (which shall remain nameless) and was picked up by the NBC TV affiliate in Chicago. To their credit, they asked my permission to use it:


I can’t complain when my blog images get pirated. I do it all the time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The President


The “President” tree is the name of a giant sequoia in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, east of Visalia, California. The tree is believed to be at least 3,200 years old. It is not the tallest giant sequoia tree in the world with a height of about 247 feet (75 m), nor the widest at about 27 ft (8.2 m) in diameter at the base, but it is the second largest tree in the world, measured by volume of trunk.

It predates the Trojan War, the beginning of rice cultivation in ancient Japan, and the beginning of the Iron Age. It was 1,180 years old when Jesus was born.

That is, this tree is so big you can scarcely look at it all. A team from National Geographic with scientists from Sequoia National Park recently took the challenge to take a global picture of this Giant. After 32 days and 126 different acrobatic pictures merged as a mosaic, here is the stunning result.

Language barrier

After seven years in Arkansas, I’ve come to terms with most of the cultural differences from my native Indiana.

But there are some pronunciations that still set me off.

The local TV weatherman refers to the Missouri Boot Heel as the Boothill and pronounces “hail” as if it were “hell.” (A forecast that includes a “hellstorm” is a real attention-getter.)

Maria once told me she was in the break room at the local newspaper when a coworker remarked about the Big Deal Pickle in a vending machine.

“What’s special about it?” Maria asked, only to discover it was a big dill pickle.

And there are commercials on radio and TV that pronounce “sale” as if it were “sell.” I’m waiting to hear someone say, “sellboat.”

Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership

Monday, October 27, 2014

I ended up with the real thing

postwar hj knife
Sometime around 1957, my parents took me on a vacation to Niagara Falls and Canada where I picked up what I took to be a hunting knife with a fleur-de-lis insignia in the grip.
I thought it was cool – something about it resonated with me. My mother felt otherwise and somehow made it disappear after a few weeks at home. I searched the house diligently over the years, as late as 2001 after her death, but never found it. I guess she put it into the trash.
Fast forward a few decades when I discovered that my knife was actually a Hitler Youth knife, made after World War II from leftover parts with the fleur-de-lis substituted for the diamond-shaped Hitler Youth insignia.
The original Hitler Jugend Fahrtenmesser (hiking knife) bore the motto “Blut und Ehre!” (Blood and Honor!) on the blade. HJ knives produced after 1938 omitted the motto.
My postwar parts knife is long gone, but I do own a nice pre-war HJ Fahrtenmesser (not the one pictured – I was too lazy to photograph my HJ knife, so I found a suitable image on the Internet, although the pictured knife may be a repro). Kids being kids, they treated the knives roughly, so HJ knives in good shape are rare.
I found a photo of the postwar example online the other day, which triggered this blog entry.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coming January 8

maria book

Maria spent several months collaborating with Ben Bizzle, the IT director at the Jonesboro Public Library, on a landmark book on the future of library marketing and outreach.

It will be published Jan. 8, 2015.

I was delighted to find it listed on this morning.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce died today


Jack Bruce died today of liver disease in Suffolk, England. He was 71.

His publicist Claire Singers said: "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.”

That’s Jack on the left in the deerskin jacket along with bandmates Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton in the dressing room of Clowes Hall in Indianapolis, following a performance by Cream the evening of March 22, 1968.

Bob Basler and I were there. Bob did the words and I did the photography for The Indianapolis News.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday stuff

black dogI rode down to the St. Bernards Health & Wellness Center this morning for a stroll on the treadmill.

I chose the K1200GT. I’m always particular about where I park the GT because it’s loaded with valuable stuff like my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS and its SiriusXM satellite radio receiver, along with my tank bag full of useful touring items.

I picked a space next to an extended cab pickup truck that had a friendly looking old (gray muzzle) black Labrador retriever in the back seat, staring out the window.

He was very friendly and let me pet him, so I doubt if he would do much to stop someone from stealing my stuff, but I liked the idea of him watching over it anyway.

You may recall that I went to the main offices of Centennial Bank on Monday to see about getting a new debit card. I was told that, since Maria’s and my card numbers had been compromised in a hack of The Home Depot’s customer database, new cards were mailed to us on Oct. 15.

As of this morning’s mail, they still have not arrived.

Also, the vexing vibration in the Subaru’s steering is still there.

But I was in no mood to remonstrate with the bank and Gateway Tire today, so I’ll let it rest over the weekend and take these matters up on Monday.

In the meantime, the new season of Grimm starts at 8 o’clock tonight on NBC.