Sunday, October 31, 2010

Undivided attention


Maria has Pete and Ruthie’s undivided attention when she slices meat. They’re hoping to score some beef here before it goes into steak fajitas.

BMW Motorcycle Pin of the Day

This is the South Daytona Lions Club commemorative BMW pin for Daytona Beach Bike Week in 1993.
This was my first Bike Week and, of course, I rode from Indianapolis and camped with the Space Coast BMW Club at the now-defunct Bulow Campgrounds north of Daytona. Happily, I found several Indianapolis BMW Club friends there.
It was below freezing and there was snow on the ground when I left home. I’d bought a huge Carhart coverall to wear over my leathers and I’m sure I looked like an overstuffed sofa rolling down I-65. I replaced it with a purpose-made cold weather riding suit I bought from a vendor at Daytona and the ride home was much more comfortable and considerably less embarrassing.
Indy Club members Mike Moore, Bob Cross, Jerry Lomax and Greg Miller around the campfire at Bulow Campground during Bike Week ‘93.

Happy 40th, Steve


Happy 40th birthday to my son Steve, born on Halloween 1970.

Here he is with his mom and grandparents 39 years ago, going for the cake. Steve is a Force of Nature and has never stopped “going for it.” His daughter Lisa is the same way.

You make me proud, Steve.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drinking for two

pregnant_woman_drinking_and_smoking So I'm in the liquor store just across the county line (we live in a dry county) and two women come in. One is very conspicuously pregnant.

She picks up a six-pack of beer.

"Better get two," her friend suggests. "You're drinking for two."

BMW Motorcycle Pin of the Day

You’ve seen all of my rally pins, but there’s more.
Like this pin from Daytona Beach Bike Week in 1992.
The South Daytona Lions Club makes commemorative pins of various bike brands to sell at Bike Week and the one for 1992 featured a white K100RS, just like the ‘91 K100RS I had. A friend picked it up for me, since my first trip to Bike Week was still a year in the future.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hanging with Blanche and Mike

I photographed the VIP open house at the new Nordex wind turbine plant here this morning.blanche

The place is impressive and immaculate, like a barracks ready for inspection. There were only a few of the 28 production workers there, so the photo opportunities to shoot people actually doing something were pretty sparse.

Among the guests were Gov. Mike Beebe and Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Even though she’s a Democrat and helped further President Obama’s agenda, I can’t help but like Blanche. I think she’s a good person who has worked hard to bring federal dollars and projects to Arkansas and has done this state a lot of blanche02 good. She’s putting on a brave face and exudes a restrained optimism about next Tuesday’s election when she will almost surely be trounced by Republican John Boozman.

While she’s outwardly calm and focused, I noticed she fidgets with her left hand behind her back while listening to Nordex officials explaining their operation.

There’s nothing phony about her. I like that in a public official, regardless of their party affiliation. Mike Beebe has the same quality.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1996 BMW Riders Association Rally in St,. Agapit, Quebec.

I didn’t attend because the forecast was for heavy rain from a hurricane aimed at the East Coast. I’m glad I stayed home. Friends who went said the weather was miserable.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Burning the rice fields


This is the time of year when you can look in almost any direction and see one or more plumes of thick white smoke rising from the rice fields here in northeast Arkansas.

It seems odd, given the fact that it compromises air quality and could turn disastrous in this near-rainless summer and autumn when we have a ban on outdoor burning in most counties in the region.

This photo was shot about 3 p.m. today east of Jonesboro.

My casual online research indicates that the whole point of the exercise is to dispose of the rice straw left after harvesting since there is no significant market for it. Burning leaves about 70 percent of the unharvested grain available to waterfowl on the surface of the ground. And, as we know, duck hunting is a very big deal around here.

If farmers didn’t burn the fields, their options for disposing of the straw would be to plow it into the soil or haul it away. Both are way more expensive than burning and don’t benefit waterfowl.

So they burn.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1994 BMW Riders Association Rally in Farmington, Minn.

I think it was the first time I’d ridden a motorcycle in Minnesota. It felt like any other state.

irmi11 I was deep into one of my annual mid-life crises and had let my Korean hairdresser dye my hair to match hers. I’m the second from the right in this photo.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You can call me Dijon

dijon john

When Lauri and Jim discovered the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at the Meijer store in Lafayette, Ind., last weekend, Lauri fired off a text message to me about the sighting, followed quickly with some phone camera photos.

She knows I am a huge fan of the Wienermobile fleet.

She also thoughtfully got me a “Hot Dogger” name tag which will be displayed in a prominent place in my office.

I am now known in Oscar Mayer circles as Dijon John.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 2003 BMW Riders Association Rally, Oct. 3-5 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala. I forget what the three Bs represent. I know Barber and Birmingham are there, but I can’t remember what the other B is for. Maybe bikes.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - BMW R90S, Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum, Barber Motorsports Park.The Barber facilities are possibly the best rally venue I’ve seen with a world class track and a world class motorcycle museum.

Attendance was 2,039 (including me). The organizers were unable to secure a permit to sell beer at the rally, but since they had already bought the beer, they gave it away. Yes, free beer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The NRA weighs in on Arkansas races

I got my National Rifle Association magazine last week and it included the NRA candidate endorsements for Arkansas.

They use a grading system that takes into account a candidate’s responses to an NRA questionnaire and their voting record, if any, on gun rights issues.

The grading system:

A+ A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.

A  Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.

AQ  A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s NRA questionnaire responses and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.

B A generally pro-gun candidate. However, a “B” candidate may have opposed some pro-gun reform or supported some restrictive legislation in the past.

C Not necessarily a passing grad. A candidate with a mixed record or positions on gun related issues who may oppose some pro-gun positions or support some restrictive legislation

D An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted to vote wrong on key issues.

F True enemy of gun owners’ rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owner’s rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts or sponsors anti-gun legislation.

? Refused to answer the questionnaire, suggesting indifference or hostility to the rights of gun owners and sportsmen.

So here’s how the candidates line up. You might think all of the endorsements are for Republicans, but that’s not the case.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Boozman gets an A, while incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln rates a D+.

In the race to replace Dist. 1 Congressman Marion Berry, Republican Rick Crawford and Democrat Chad Causey both have an AQ rating, since neither has a voting record.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, gets an A-, and his GOP challenger Jim Keet rates a B+.

Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate Shane Broadway earns an A. His Republican opponent, Mark Darr didn’t return his questionnaire and gets a ?

Atty. Gen Dustin McDaniel gets an A.

In the Secretary of State race, Republican Mark Martin has an A rating, compared with Democrat Pat O’Brien’s B.

In the District 75 Arkansas House of Representatives race that involves Jonesboro, the NRA likes Republican Jon Hubbard with an AQ, compared with incumbent Democrat Joan Cash’s C+.

Up here on the Ridge in District 76, it’s a toss-up between Republican Jim Martin and Democrat Homer Lenderman, both of whom rate an AQ.

Let’s vote Tuesday to avert this disaster



We seem to get a lot of weather at the same time our Indiana friends and family and that’s the case this morning.

We’re supposedly under a tornado watch until noon, but the rain is pretty much over here on our part of Crowley’s Ridge. This is the most rain we’ve seen in weeks and may be just enough to lift the burn ban and let us enjoy our outdoor fireplace and fire pit.

I see the temperature at Tim and Linda’s place in Alma, Colo. this morning is 12 and they’re under a winter storm warning until 4 p.m. I love the Colorado High Country, but I love the extended riding season here in the Mid-South more. Before we moved here three years ago, we thought we wanted to live in or near Alma. No more. Three years here have ruined me for an abbreviated riding season and winters that come early and stay late.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1985 Land of Lincoln BMW Rally at Starved Rock State Park, about 45 miles southwest of Chicago.

The 1985 rally was dogged by rain and had a relatively small attendance.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My favorite Simpsons clip

There’s just something hilarious about someone taking an electric shock.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1998 Iowa Rally at Coralville, Iowa.

This is the last of the Iowa Rally pins in this feature.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bazzar sandwitches and setting



Two more postings from the post office community bulletin board.

For the Yankees:

Boston butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. This pork cut, from the shoulder, combined with the way it is prepared and served, makes it a distinctly American dish. Smoked or barbecued Boston butt is a southern tradition. As a mainstay of Deep South cuisine, particularity in Alabama and Georgia, it is often smoked and sold as a fundraiser on road side stands by charities and local organizations.

Sunday morning report


Ahh, French toast, coffee and the Sunday paper on the screened back veranda. The temperature is a perfect 70 degrees with a light breeze that brings down a slow rain of oak and hickory leaves. It’s late October mornings like this that make we love our home here in the Mid-South. And, yes, that’s Log Cabin Sugar Free syrup, but it’s real butter. No fake butter in this house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I gave breakfast a few minutes to settle, then knocked out a mile on the treadmill.

This is my third day back on the treadmill and I’m relearning how great it feels to get moving. I’m at, or past, the age where our bad habits catch up with us and inertia has always been one of my worst habits.

Ordinarily, a carb-loaded breakfast of French toast, even with sugar free syrup, would skyrocket my blood sugar, but I tested after walking and got a very respectable reading of 133.

We got about a 5-minute shower around 7 a.m. today. The Weather Channel suggests a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms around sunset, but I doubt if we’ll see enough rain to lift the burn ban and make it possible to use our fire pit or outdoor fireplace.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1994 Iowa Rally at Coralville, Iowa.


Here I am with Greg Miller and the guest of honor at the 1994 Iowa Rally hog roast. Yes, that’s my cap on his head.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lauri and the Wienermobile

lauri wienermobile02

Friend Lauri and her family encountered one of the fabulous Oscar Meyer Wienermobiles at the Meijer store in Lafayette, Ind. this afternoon.

There are multiple Wienermobiles. This one has the Wisconsin vanity plate “BOLOGNA.” Lauri’s husband Jim shot this photo of her and sons Judd and Jake.

I saw the one with a “WEENR” plate on U.S. 49 on Aug. 10.

My favorite Juan Williams firing response, so far

“Getting fired from NPR when you’re a fixture on Fox is like Will Smith learning he’s been kicked out of his local dinner theater company.”

Read more here.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 21st annual Iowa Rally in 1997.

In those years, the rally was held near Coralville, west of Iowa City, on land owned by former BMW MOA president Keith Dempster.

Friday, October 22, 2010



I ordered a tote bag from my storefront on Cafe Press to see how my WOOF image reproduces.

The bag showed up in this morning’s mail and I’m delighted with the way Pete the Aussie’s smiling face is reproduced on the canvas fabric. I think Pete likes it too.

I showed it to the postmistress and she thought it was charming as well, but didn’t make the connection with the Obama HOPE poster. Maybe it’s too subtle or too long after the election. Whatever. I like it.

You can get the image on dozens of items from t-shirts, to bags, to caps, to thermos bottles at

It’s good to be in the Mid-South

vermont snow

BMW rider friend Gail Hatch, who lives in Vermont, posted this horrifying (to me, anyway) photo from her phone to her Facebook page around noon today.

It’s sunny and 73 here right now and I’m going for a ride.

Here’s a story you probably missed

isis Angela Dorian, 66, who had about a three-second spot in my favorite original Star Trek episode, has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of her boyfriend.
From the New York Daily News:
A one-time Playboy Playmate may be forced to cover up - with a prison uniform.
Angela Dorian, who in 1968 graced the pages of the men's magazine as Playmate of the Year, has been charged with attempted murder, according to TMZ.
Dorian -- whose real name is Victoria Vetri -- was having a spat with her lover when she allegedly shot him in the chest, the gossip website reports.
He was hospitalized and is expected to recover.
The 66-year-old former model, who appeared in several TV shows, such as "Star Trek," "Batman" and "Mission Impossible," was also featured in Playboy in 1967.
TMZ reports the argument between her and her boyfriend may have turned physical, which sparked the shooting.
Bail has reportedly been set at $1 million.
She played Isis, the woman disguised as a cat belonging to Gary Seven in the “Assignment Earth” episode of Star Trek that first aired on March 29, 1968. Isis morphed into Dorian’s form for about three seconds near the end of the episode. Dorian had no lines.
Robert Lansing played an agent from the future sent to Earth in the year 1968 to prevent an accidental nuclear war. Terri Garr played his clueless secretary Roberta Lincoln. The episode had spinoff written all over it and, indeed, there were plans to turn the Gary Seven scenario into a series but it never came to fruition. Robert Lansing, who IMHO was one of the coolest actors of his day, died in 1994 at the age of 66.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1993 Iowa Rally put on by the Pure Stodge Touring Association, a BMWMOA chartered BMW Club.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Truth is the new hate speech

Special Report with Brett Baier had a text/online poll this evening asking, “Do you worry if people in Muslim clothing get on your airplane flight?”

The results, as of 10:10 p.m. CDT:

  • 90.16% – Always
  • 8.74% – Sometimes
  • .62% – Never
  • .47% – Shouldn’t ask the question

Just for the record, I find it very worrisome.

It’s a good thing, Juan

I still think Juan Williams can be a witless liberal tool, but at least he knows a scary situation when he sees it. I hope he realizes that being fired from NPR is a good thing.
From FOX News:
National Public Radio fired Fox News contributor Juan Williams on Wednesday after a Monday night appearance in which Williams said that it makes him nervous to fly on airplanes with devout Muslims.
Williams was terminated following a discussion with "O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly on the dilemma between fighting jihadists and fears about average Muslims.
"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams said.
"But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous," Williams said.
If FOX News had canned him, you can bet there would be loud charges of racism. Rush Limbaugh wonders if Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson will come to Juan’s defense. After all, 99 percent of NPR’s programming is by white liberals and for white liberals. Reminds me of what used to happen on the old plantations when the help got out of line.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1996 Iowa Rally, which coincided with the state’s sesquicentennial.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just don’t care

Here’s today’s list of things I really don’t give a damn about and don’t care to have in my awareness:

  • Major League Baseball
  • Paris Hilton, Lady GaGa, etc.
  • Ice Road Truckers
  • American Choppers
  • Geraldo Rivera and his Enormous Ego
  • Zombies, vampires, etc.
  • Gays in the military
  • American Idol
  • Dancing With the Stars
  • Survivor
  • Facebook apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars
  • The NFL

There’s more, but I don’t care enough to list them.

Aaron Galvin’s “Monsterface”

Thorntown, Ind. homebody Aaron Galvin wrote, produced and acted in this YouTube video, destined to go viral.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the first, and as far as I know, only Southwestern Indiana BMW Riders Rally at Elnora, Ind. in 1996. It’s a classic example of why there is no such thing as a “first annual.” It’s not annual until the second event occurs. That’s why we had a style rule at The Indianapolis News that forbade the use of the term.
The rally was intended to replace the long-running Shakamak rally that was held for several years at Shakamak State Park. That is until the part superintendent decided he didn’t like motorcycles and refused to let the rally continue there.
The county fairgrounds in Elnora proved to be a really crappy venue and the place was overrun with mosquitoes.Here’s the patch (there was no pin) from the final Shakamak Rally, held in 1995.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just sayin’


My garage is full of stuff that I can look at and wonder, “What the hell was I thinking when I bought that?”compressor
But the Craftsman air compressor I bought a few years ago from Sears is definitely not in that category.
For $100 and change I have the luxury of airing up my car and motorcycle tires when they’re cold, just as they should be. If I drove down to the gas station and used their air, I’d be working with warm tires and distorted psi values.
This occurred to me this morning when I prepared to drive to the post office. I recalled that my del Sol’s handling was a little mushy yesterday, so I got the tire gauge out of my motorcycle tank bag and checked pressures. Sure enough, all four tires were low – a couple of them alarmingly so.
So I dragged out the compressor and brought them all up to 29 psi. The difference in handling was noticeable.
And I get the assurance that I’m saving gas and prolonging the life of my tires.
So there.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1992 Iowa Rally, held on the second weekend of June by the Pure Stodge Touring Association.

I’ve been to seven Iowa Rallies and ‘92 was my first. In those days, the rally was held on campgrounds owned by former BMW MOA President Keith Dempster at Coralville, just west of Iowa City. The wonderful thing about the Iowa Rally is that your admission fee gets you camping, two dinners and unlimited beer. You get a plastic cup when you register and can fill and refill it whenever you please. Some years, they would take a keg on a golf cart and cruise the campgrounds to make sure nobody was thirsty.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Croutch rockets, etc.

Craigslist is always a fun read if you’re looking for creative spelling.

    • 2000 Katana croutch rocket 600
    • Parting out v 45 sabar 1984
    • Fixing to have a litter of FREE Chawawa puppies!!!
    • 1950 hopalong cassidy thermas
    • 2 troling moters

Germany is waking up

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany's attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend,image calling on the country's immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.

Merkel weighed in for the first time in a blistering debate sparked by a central bank board member saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants.

"Multikulti," the concept that "we are now living side by side and are happy about it," does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.

"This approach has failed, totally," she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values.

"We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don't accept them don't have a place here," said the chancellor.

"Subsidizing immigrants" isn't sufficient, Germany has the right to "make demands" on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.

Merkel spoke a week after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they pledged to do more to improve the often poor integration record of Germany's 2.5-million-strong Turkish community.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in a weekend interview, also urged the Turkish community living in Germany to master the language of their adopted country.

"When one doesn't speak the language of the country in which one lives that doesn't serve anyone, neither the person concerned, the country, nor the society," the Turkish president told the Suedeutsche Zeitung.

"That is why I tell them at every opportunity that they should learn German, and speak it fluently and without an accent. That should start at nurseries."

German President Christian Wulff was due for a five-day visit to Turkey and talks with the country's leaders on Monday.

The immigration debate has at times threatened to split Merkel's conservative party, and she made noises to both wings of the debate.

While saying that the government needed to encourage the training of Muslim clerics in Germany, Merkel said "Islam is part of Germany," echoing the recent comments of Wulff, a liberal voice in the party.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, CSU, who represents the right-wing, recently said Germany did not "need more immigrants from different cultures like the Turks and Arabs" who are "more difficult" to integrate.

While warning against "immigration that weighs down on our social system," Merkel said Germany needed specialists from overseas to keep the pace of its economic development.

According to the head of the German chamber of commerce and industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, Germany is in urgent need of about 400,000 engineers and qualified workers, whose lack is knocking about one percent off the country's growth rate.

The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a member of Germany's central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves.

The banker, Thilo Sarrazin, has since resigned but his book on the subject -- "Germany Does Itself In" -- has flown off the shelves, and polls showed considerable sympathy for some of his views.

A recent study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think tank showed around one-third of Germans feel the country is being "over-run by foreigners" and the same percentage feel foreigners should be sent home when jobs are scarce.

Nearly 60 percent of the 2,411 people polled thought the around four million Muslims in Germany should have their religious practices "significantly curbed."

Far-right attitudes are found not only at the extremes of German society, but "to a worrying degree at the centre of society," the think tank said in its report.

"Hardly eight weeks have passed since publication of Sarrazin's theory of decline, and the longer the debate continues to a lower level it falls," the weekly Der Spiegel commented Sunday.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1997 Hoosier Beemers Rally at North Vernon, Ind.

It was the last Hoosier Beemers rally that I attended, so this will be the last of these unimaginative pins I’ll bore you with.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh, I love Boscos!


If you’re old enough, you may remember the Bosco jingle from TV:

I love Bosco!

It’s rich and chocolaty.

Chocolate flavored Bosco is mighty good for me!

Mama puts it in my milk for extra energy,

Bosco gives me iron and sunshine vitamin D.

Oh, I love Bosco!

That’s the drink for me!

Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.

I refer instead to Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co. in Memphis. Our local BMW motorcycle friends Deb and Charlie drove us over to Memphis for Sunday morning brunch at Boscos today. The menu is fabulous and the atmosphere, which included a jazz/blues combo featuring Amy LaVere, was wonderful.

Boscos is Charlie’s favorite Memphis bistro and he has his own beer stein that lives there. They also sell half-gallon growlers of their beers and Charlie bought a half-dozen growlers of Boscos Bombay India Pale Ale, two of which he graciously shared with me.


BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the pin from the 1996 Hoosier Beemers Rally at North Vernon, Ind.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Facebook Manners

November 2 can’t come soon enough

I signed up with CIGNA for my Medicare drug insurance coverage when I turned 65 in July.

My packet for 2011 came in yesterday’s mail and I dived into it this morning.

Guess what I found.

My monthly premium increased by 15.6 percent. And the deductible went up by 300 percent.

But wait, didn’t the geniuses who pushed Obamacare promise just the opposite. Malignant imbeciles.

Secondhand smoke threat: More junk science?

I'm a reformed smoker. I quit cold around 1978 after smoking three packs of Viceroys a day for years. I absolutely detest the smell of tobacco smoke and flee from places where people are smoking. Nevertheless, it strikes me as inexcusable that "scientists" have twisted the data to show secondhand smoke is a much greater danger than it really is. First Climategate and now this.
American Thinker: Nanny Bloomberg's Outdoor Smoking Ban

Barney Fwank, then and now

2003 -''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

October 11, 2010 - “Low-income home ownership has been a mistake, and I have been a consistent critic of it,’’ said Frank, 70. Republicans, he said, were principally responsible for failing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants the government seized in September 2008.

Is California Insane?

Is California Insane?
Roger Simon nails it.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the rally pin from the 1994 Hoosier Beemers BMW Club rally at North Vernon, Ind.

I’ve been to three Hoosier Beemers rallies but only on a Saturday day ride down from Indianapolis and never to camp.

Friday, October 15, 2010


My dad was a Ford man and the sight of a 1951 Ford coupe on the street in Jonesboro the other day got me to thinking about his cars.51 ford
We had a brown ‘51 Ford coupe. Dad always bought two-door models when I was little because he and mom thought I might open a back door  and fall out at highway speeds.
We took our family vacations in the ‘51, and I have vague memories of a trip to Washington, D.C. and stopping for lunch in Fredericksburg, Md. My chief preoccupation at the time was getting my parents to stop so I could buy more comic books to read in what seemed a cavernous back seat area.
Dad kept the ‘51 when he bought a 1955 Ford Fairlane. The ‘51 became his daily driver and the white-over-aqua Fairlane stayed in the garage 1955_Ford_Fairlane_2-Door_NUK072 unless Mom needed it for shopping.
I found this picture of a Fairlane online and it looks pretty much like ours.
This is the car that took us to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1956. That was the summer I spent on crutches, having broken my left femur when I rode a friend’s bicycle into the path of a Cadillac. Luckily, the driver of the Caddy was a local doctor and he scooped me up, checked in with my parents, and drove me to Home Hospital in Lafayette, Ind. for treatment.
fairlane front seatI also found this picture of the front seat space of the ‘55 Ford Fairlane. What jumps out at me is that there are no seat belts – seat belts weren’t  standard in Fords until the mid-1960s – and that big, hard, unforgiving steel dashboard. I shudder to think what would have happened to us if we’d had an accident in this thing.
It was our first car with an automatic transmission – the ‘51 had three on the tree – and also our first with a one-piece windshield. The speedo was kinda cool – it had a clear plastic top so it was backlit with daylight as well as with a light bulb when the headlights were on. There was no air conditioning. My parents didn’t have an air conditioned car until I left for college so the controls to the immediate right of the steering wheel only worked the heater and the vents. The chrome inner half ring on the steering wheel, by the way, worked the horn. The next thing to the right is the AM radio with push-buttons for your favorite stations. FM and FM stereo were still years in the future. I think that’s a clock (analog, of course) to the right of the radio.
It was thoroughly modern in 1955, but it seems desperately primitive compared with today’s cars.

My new favorite coffee

After years of drinking Folgers extra dark roast, I now have a new favorite home brew coffee - Starbucks Caffè Verona.
We found it in the coffee section at Sam's Club and decided to give it a try since it's a bold dark roast that suits my taste in coffee. Maria doesn't drink coffee, so she has no opinion about it other than she doesn't like it in any form.
I love coffee that tastes like coffee, not that nasty watery stuff you get at IHOP or Cracker Barrel or Denny's. (Kudos to McDonald's for upgrading the quality of their java.)
Here's what Starbucks says about it:
Starbucks' most popular coffee, Caffè Verona® is a versatile, complex blend combining great Latin American and Asia Pacific coffees with a touch of Italian Roast. Great in a coffee press, drip brewer or even as espresso.
Every Starbucks barista receives a pound of coffee each week, and Caffè Verona® has been their favorite for many years.

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the rally pin from the 1988 Hard to be Humble Rally conducted by the Dinky Dozen BMW Club in Pontiac, Ill.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

BMW Motorcycle Rally Pin of the Day

This is the rally pin from the 1995 Trail of Tears Rally sponsored by the Jugs and Shaft BMW Club. It’s held at Castor River Park, Marble Hill, Mo. on the third weekend in April.