Thursday, June 30, 2011

I love

Four years in Arkansas have wrought some changes in my motorcycle wardrobe.
I made it through several Indiana summers with a BMW AirFlow jacket, but found it was a little toasty for blazing hot Arkansas summer riding. So I bought a silver Fieldsheer mesh jacket that was on sale at Grass Roots BMW back around the spring of 2008. It was cheaply made and had a liner that didn’t breathe very well but it had armor in all the right places and let the cool air in.
Then, at the BMW MOA Rally in Johnson City, Tenn., in 2009, I got seduced by a Fieldsheer High-Viz mesh jacket. It meshtexjacketwas a longer jacket with generous pocket space and made me feel a little safer for being conpicuous. The liner doesn’t breathe very well, but I have windstopper stuff that I wear under it to much better effect. I wore it to MotoGP in Indy and Colorado in 2009 and on my three-week tour of the West last summer with no complaints.
So I wasn’t really in the market for another mesh jacket last week when I stumbled across a closeout sale of the Firstgear MeshTex jacket, which normally sells for about $150, going for $29 at I had just bought a pair of Firstgear MeshTex pants for a mere $59 (MSRP $150) from and jumped on the opportunity to complete the ensemble with a jacket that zips to the pants. The only color they had left in my size was blue, but that’s fine with me since my bike is blue. The jacket arrived yesterday and I was pleased to see it’s much better constructed and armored than the Fieldsheer jackets. So I ended up with a $300 Firstgear MeshTex riding ensemble for $90 plus shipping.
I apparently acted just in time, because the $29 jackets are all gone this morning and the size choices in pants are dwindling rapidly.
So I now have four mesh, flow-through jackets hanging in the foyer closet, stuffed in among the cold weather riding gear that doesn’t see nearly as much use as it did in Indiana.

Jailbird journalism


Here’s a new trend in publishing – jailbird magazines.

Busted is published in Columbus, Ohio, and covers central Ohio, with photos of perps. They even have their own Facebook page.

Kristy Cassell recently posted to the Busted Facebook page: “My baby daddy was BUSTED last night for felony child support. PLEASE post his picture on here!!!”

Jessica Butts wondered “where can i find an old picture of myself? been in there three times lol..... and ain't ever seen the pictures?.....”

lockedupLocked-Up covers all of West Virginia.

Locked-Up is edited by Corey Fregoso with CSJ Publications. The magazine was launched in 2008 and became a runaway success with some stores selling as many as 400 copies a month.

The magazine includes sections on missing people, wanted criminals and unsolved crimes.

The information is public record once a person is arrested and booked. The publishers emphasize that a person’s picture appearing in the magazines does not necessarily mean they are guilty of a crime, just that they have been arrested.

There are similar publications in Florida and North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free food for Buddy

I set out a big pile of macaroni and cheese as trailcam bait last night, but our neighbors’ dog Buddy got to it before the nocturnal creatures like coyotes and raccoons had a chance.

He found it about 8 p.m. – an hour after I put it out and an hour or so before it got dark.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

43 minutes and $20 later…

john drivers license blur

My driver’s license expires next month, so I made the trek to the State Revenue Office – the Arkansas equivalent of the BMV/DMV – this afternoon.

I regretted my timing as soon as I entered the building and saw the end-of-the-month mob of customers.

All things considered, it wasn’t that awful. The worst part of it was having to listen to one of the clerks referring to a driver’s license as a plural (as if it were one “licen” and two or more “licens.”)

Plumbing problem solved


Terry Guest with ABC Plumbing showed up last evening and solved the mystery of the dead outdoor faucet.

After confirming that water wasn’t leaking from a broken pipe by checking the water meter, he determined the problem was a malfunction in the Nidal Vacuum Breaker, seen here on another of our outdoor faucets.

This appliance, which sells for about $40, is designed to protect hose connections from contamination where freezing temperatures are expected. Considering that we never had anything like this in frigid Indiana, it seems a bit of overkill that the builder put them on all of our outside faucets.

I suspect I over-torqued the unit in question when I attempted to fit it with a dog-watering attachment and the fractured internal valve finally went to pieces this week.

The oddly made locking screw had to be undone with a pair of needle-nose pliers, but once removed, the faucet works perfectly.

And he didn’t charge us for the service. What a guy. What a company. Their business card has a permanent place on our refrigerator door.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The surrealist and the cartoonist

dalidisneyThis curious photo of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney examining a model locomotive is from an equally curious web site called Awesome People Hanging Out Together.

Check it out.

Couldn’t be much clearer

Water mystery

Maria observed that the dogs were almost out of water this morning.

Le Bistro Microban Waterer Small

Since the weather continues to be insanely hot and humid, we make sure they have a good water supply on the back porch. So I removed the big plastic jug and took it to the back yard spigot where I usually fill it.

I turned the tap and a dribble of water came out. Then it ran dry.


I checked all of the other faucets and outdoor spigots and all of them have normal pressure and flow.

So why would one faucet run dry when all of the others have pressure?

Naturally, the mind runs to extremes and I visualized a broken line somewhere in the foundation with water gushing through cracks and undermining our foundation. Ack!

I have a call in to a plumber to get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, I think I’ll turn off the water at the main shutoff.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


batman-golden-age-61 We went in to town after dinner last evening to spend some time at Barnes & Noble.

We gave up on our table in the cafe because of the annoying chatter from the next table where an associate was helping an obviously technologically impaired older woman come to grips with the Nook she had just bought.

dragonball Settling into one of the four easy chairs in the reading area, I grabbed a book abandoned by the young boy who had been sitting there earlier. It was one of the Drazonball Z manga graphic novels. I’ve been peripherally aware of manga and other graphic novels for years, but never spent any time looking at one.

I found it graphically interesting but the story line was utterly baffling.

Then I noticed the page numbering and realized it was organized in the back-to-front Japanese reading style. Starting at the back and working my way to the front, I could make a little sense of the plot sequence, but quickly realized I’d come in in the middle of the story with no knowledge of characters or motivation. It was all just random action – kinda like an episode of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on TV.

As literature, it’s junk, but its real value is that it gets kids to read.

My parents’ generation thought the comic books of the 1950s were junk – sometimes harmful junk at that – but I owe much of my literacy to comic books.

thehorror_p173_bottomright They only cost 10 cents when I was a kid. (The Dragonball Z book costs close to $18.)

I’m old enough to remember the lurid pre-Comics Code Authority horror comics of the early 1950s. After the CCA was created in September, 1954, comics got a bit tamer, so the pre-code books were much sought-after by my pals and me.

CCA My friend Jack Klepinger, who lived a block north of my house in Delphi, Ind., had a huge stash of old comic books, many of which he inherited from his older brother. The Klepinger house had a breezeway with crank-out jalousie windows between the house and the garage and I spent many a summer hour sprawled on the big breezeway couch poring over everything from Donald Duck to Batman to Green Arrow to Superman.

I learned to read at Monroe Street Elementary School, but I honed my reading skills with comic books.

Friday, June 24, 2011

An impending storm, a fire and an anniversary

The sun is peeking through a partly cloudy sky, but it’s going to rain in an hour or two.

How do I know?

  1. Weather Channel radar, and
  2. Pete the Aussie, who is terrified of storms, is hunkered down under my desk.

I dragged a few fallen limbs over to the fire pit this morning and chain-sawed them into 3-4-foot lengths before piling them up, dumping the contents of my office shredder into the mix and putting the flame to it.

The pile was blazing along merrily when I left it a few minutes ago, safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to spread. I hope to get most of it burned by the time the rain shows up to extinguish the flames.

J&D wedding 02

I noticed this morning that today is June 24. Forty-four years ago today I married Diane Kroon at the Christian Reformed Church in Lafayette, Ind.

This is one of the few surviving photos of the event. The official photographer did all of the bridal ceremony setup shots with no film in his camera.

I don’t regret it. We had some good years and raised two handsome and exceptionally talented sons before the wheels came off.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Real Story of America’s Founding

“We hold these truths to be revealed after careful study by Ivy League-educated people, that all men are in need of constant care and supervision, that they are endowed by the highly-educated intellectual class with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are free Health Care, strict and expansive Regulations on all activities, and the pursuit of Big Government.”

Read Frank J. Fleming’s hilarious Pajamas Media piece here.

Prayers, please

This is my ex sister-in-law Janice Cusack.

Janice is fighting what appears to be a losing battle with cancer and may soon enter hospice.

She was my first wife’s youngest sister. She lives in California and I last saw her at my son Sean’s wedding in Portland, Ore. in September, 2004, which is when this photo was taken.

She and her husband Pat have a son, Colin.

If you’re the praying type, please take a moment to offer a prayer for Janice and her family.


Gas prices still going down


Regular gas is going for $3.37.9 a gallon at Sam’s Club in Jonesboro today, but there are a couple of stations in Little Rock selling it for $3.15.9!

At this rate, we may get back into the $2 range by the end of summer. But I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So much for referrals…

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed the occasional ad embedded in my blogposts.

They represent an effort to monetize my blogging and generate a little income. To date, I have yet to see a dime from the referral ads. And thanks to Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and a dull-witted majority of state legislators, I never will. They caved in to Walmart and other big-box retailers and are imposing a tax on such referrals, forcing to terminate the Amazon Associates Program for those of us in Arkansas, effective July 24. (If you want to help me make a couple of bucks, scan the blog for something you were going to buy anyway and buy it through me.)

Here’s the email from

Subject: Notice of Upcoming Contract Termination Due to New Arkansas Law


For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with a large number of Arkansas residents. Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Beebe compels us to terminate this program for Arkansas-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by Arkansas-based affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that its enactment forces this action. The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Arkansas residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Governor's staff.

As a result of the new law, contracts with all Arkansas residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated on July 24, 2011. Those Arkansas residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to,, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.comPlease be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before July 24, 2011 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Arkansas. If you are not currently a resident of Arkansas, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after July 24, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to continue to offer the Associates Program to Arkansas residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from [ ].

We have enjoyed working with you and other Arkansas-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Arkansas residents.


The Amazon Associates Team

Good news from Sierra Vista!


The Monument Fire appears to have been stamped out in the flatlands east and north of U.S. 92 and fire fighting is concentrating on the mountains and canyons.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First-rate hometown journalism


We’ve been following the Monument Fire south of Sierra Vista, Ariz. closely for the past 10 days, largely through the online presence of the Sierra Vista Herald.

As a guy who’s been associated with newspapers all of his adult life, I know good work when I see it and the Herald staff of writers, photographers and editors have done their community a huge service through their persistence and hard work on this story of vital importance.

Their home page at and their Facebook page at kept residents and those of us far away informed about the heroic fire fighting effort to save lives and property.

I know journalism awards are the farthest thing from the minds of the Herald staff as they do their work through this crisis, but surely they’ve earned an honored place in Arizona journalism.


I found this 7” male Eastern Fence Lizard on the concrete driveway this morning when I went out to fetch the newspaper and bring in the trash bin.
I nudged him with the toe of my boot to see if he’d scamper away, but it quickly became apparent that he was dead. So I left him there in the hope that birds or bugs will return him to the Great Circle of Life.
Wednesday morning update: Mr. Lizard was still on the concrete last night, but was gone Wednesday morning.
These guys like to hang out along forest edges, rock piles and rotting logs or stumps from the Mid-Atlantic states to Texas, according to Wikipedia.
Summer begins at 12:16 p.m. CDT today, but it’s felt like summer – with highs in the 90s – for the past three or four weeks. The temperatures have been averaging 7-10 degrees above normal since mid-May and it’s only going to get hotter.
I rode down to the UPS Store and the Parker Road Walmart yesterday afternoon at a time when the temperature was 93 and the heat index was 100. My new First Gear Mesh-Tex riding pants and Fieldsheer mesh jacket made it bearable, but not exactly comfortable.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just for the record


These metal and glass bottle trees are popping up around here. This one is in front of the new yogurt place and I saw one Saturday at the Farmers Market.

Some otherwise rational people are going apeshit over these things. Just for the record, I think they look stupid.

At last! An updated burn zone map

june 20 afternoon fire map

Posted to the Sierra Vista Herald Facebook page about 3 p.m. PDT.

Ripped on Friday, replaced on Monday morning


The Olympia gel palm hot weather riding gloves I bought through a week or so ago failed last Friday.

Specifically, the elasticized fabric ripped away from the leather of the right palm as I pulled the glove on Friday morning. You can see the rip in the photo above.

I went to the “returns” page and told them of my problem, noting that I would happily accept a replacement pair now that I know you have to grip the leather when pulling on the gloves.

They immediately emailed me the paperwork for returning the gloves, including a prepaid UPS shipping label.

The replacement gloves arrived before noon today and I’m using their box to ship the damaged pair back to this afternoon.

That’s the kind of customer service that impresses me and keeps me shopping at

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Latest Monument Fire map

sunday night map

Sierra Vista/Monument Fire sitrep

fire map june 17

As of last night, the fire is 27 percent contained and has been kept south of Hereford Road. Forecast for today is hot and windy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Telephoto lens coffee mugs!


Somehow I found myself the recipient of a Camera Strap Buddy from It’s a device that screws into the tripod mounting hole on the base of an SLR for use as a strap attachment point. It makes it possible to hang the camera diagonally over your shoulder for easy access, but eliminates the annoying swinging and bobbing you get when you wear it around your neck. I didn’t order it. It just showed up in my mailbox last week.

I finally got around to visiting the web site this evening and was stunned to see these insanely cool coffee mugs made to look like Nikon and Canon lenses. The longer Nikon is $30 and the Canon is $24. Looks like the ultimate coffee mug for a photographer. Click on the image to see the details.

How to become a famous “well educated” idiot in less than a week

Meet Hermon Raju, a 20-something woman who blew up when a conductor on the Metro North rail line asked her to stop audibly cursing on her cell phone.raju

Raju, who attended plain old New York University, goes on at length about how well educated she is and the prestigious(?) schools she’s attended.

The result: Google her name and you’ll see more than 21,000 items containing her name posted in the past four days. None of them are complementary.

People who claim to know her say she’s an insufferable arrogant twit who is generally disliked at NYU and elsewhere.

And, based on this performance, I don’t like her either.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yikes! The fire is out in the flatland and spreading fast!

Here’s the latest map from the Sierra Vista Herald showing the Monument Fire, evacuation and pre-evacuation zones, including the areas where the fire expanded yesterday.
Compare this with the map from my previous blogpost.
The good news is that a lot of the dark blue area that burned yesterday between East Hereford Road and 3 Canyons Road is apparently undeveloped open range. As of 6 p.m. yesterday, authorities said no structures east of U.S. 92 had been burned.

Sierra Vista update


The latest report on the wildfire south of Sierra Vista, Ariz. (where my stepdaughter Morgan and her husband Andrew live) has the fire still raging out of control in the mountains of the Coronado National Forest south of town.

The fire jumped U.S. 92 yesterday and has consumed more than 16,000 acres of mostly forested mountain terrain – bad news for the folks with homes and property in the canyons.

Here’s a map from the Sierra Vista Herald, showing the growth of the burn area from Wednesday to yesterday, the evacuation zone and the pre-evacuation zone:


Ramsey Canyon Road marks the northern boundary of the pre-evacuation zone and it’s about 5 miles south of Morgan and Andrew’s place and maybe 4 miles south of Andrew’s parents’ house. From my uneducated perspective, much of the terrain between the burn zone and the south edge of Sierra Vista is flat and more easily accessible to fire fighters than are the canyons.

0613-Fire18_petersenConsidering the assets being brought to bear on the fire, I think it’s unlikely that it will be allowed to advance into the urbanized areas of Sierra Vista, but what do I know? I’m mostly just guessing and high winds and continued dry conditions could conceivably make the fire virtually unstoppable.

The Sierra Vista Herald is doing a splendid job of keeping on top of things. You can follow the fire fighters’ progress at the paper’s web site here.

Who is that Hot Ad Girl?

As I mentioned before, most of my blog hits in the past several months have been the result of searches for information on Suzi Barrett, the actress/comedienne/writer who plays the sarcastic girl in the Esurance insurance commercials.

There is a web site - “Who is that Hot Ad Girl?” – dedicated to identifying all of the attractive women who appear in TV commercials and they include Suzi in their listings.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The cost of staying mobile

I’m blogging over breakfast at IHOP while the guys across the street at Gateway Tire work on our Subaru.
The car sounded like the battery was near death when I started it this morning. The battery terminals have a lot of corrosion on them, so I’m hoping a good cleaning will fix the problem, but I’m also bracing myself for the need to buy a new battery. We repaired the Subaru’s air conditioning just last week.
The A/C failed on the del Sol last week too, which required a new compressor. Maria picked up the del Sol from the repair shop this morning and drove it on to work while I took the Subaru down to Gateway.
Hot weather finds weaknesses in cars and makes them fail and we’ve had weeks of highs in the 90s lately with no end in sight. I was reminded of the way heat kills cars last July as I rode past dozens of stranded motorists along I-15 in the Mojave Desert.
So it’s no huge surprise when automotive systems fail in this absurdly hot late spring (yes, summer doesn’t begin until next Tuesday) in the Mid-South.
LATER: It was a dying battery. I think it was the original battery, which means it's been cranking that car for a long time and we got our money's worth from it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cheap gas at Sam’s Club


Would you like an order of flies with that Reuben?


Cregeen’s, the faux Irish pub at the north end of the downtown entertainment district, has one of the best Reuben sandwiches in town.

That is, if you don’t mind a few flies with your food.

I started out at the table nearest the window, but got tired of shooing away 3-4 flies. Asked for a fly swatter, the waitress returned empty-handed.

“We don’t have one. Would you like to move to another table? They seem to like the light from the window.”

But they also seem to like food at the table farthest from the window.

I managed to shield my Reuben from them long enough to wolf the sandwich down, but gave up on the potato salad after one broke through my defensive screen and settled on the plate (see photo above).

The waitress didn’t seem interested enough in the fly problem to send the manager over or offer to reduce the bill – things that should have happened without prompting from the customer.

So I’m done with Cregeen’s, at least until winter when the flies are all dead.

A Mini 9 for Charlie


BMW friend Charlie and his wife Deb are riding their R1200GSs to Alaska next week.

Charlie wants to write a blog on and asked me to recommend a computer for the job. He wondered about using a tablet, but I argued against it because typing on a touch pad is a pain in the ass. I told him I have yet to find a solution better than the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook I’ve been using since March 2009.

The Mini 9 was soon replaced by the Mini 10 which has a larger, more user friendly keyboard, but its big advantage was its Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD) – no moving parts and thus far less vulnerable to vibration and dust. The Mini 9 is out of production, but you can find used  Mini 9s on Ebay.

And that’s exactly what Charlie did. He scored a Mini 9 with a black case with the same tweaks – upgraded to 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSHD – as mine. (Dell originally shipped the Mini 9 with 1GB of RAM and an 8GB SSHD.) Charlie’s computer arrived yesterday and he brought it over last night for a tutorial and some software installation with my stand-alone CD/DVD drive.

The previous owner had removed the antivirus software, so I gave Charlie the third installation of the review copy of BitDefender Internet Security 2010 that I got through the Vine Program. I also downloaded and installed Irfanview as a lightweight, simple image management program, and the Google Chrome browser. I like Chrome on the Mini 9 because it has less menu crap at the top of the frame than do Firefox and Internet Explorer. He brought along a copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips, so we loaded that too.

I suggested he get a 32GB or larger SD card to live in the SD car slot and serve as a D: drive. I keep all of my images on an installed 32GB SD card so as not to load up the SSHD.

Now, he just needs to spend a little time with the Mini 9 to get used to the keyboard and also to do some dummy blog posts for practice before they hit the road on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nice to see vehicles here that are legitimately entitled to these parking spaces


Maria’s K75S and a Harley-Davidson in two of the four Fuel Efficient Vehicles Only parking spaces at Best Buy yesterday morning.

Monument fire grows to 4600 acres, no containment

 The Monument Fire continues to burn uncontained south of Sierra Vista, Ariz., which is where my stepdaughter Morgan and her husband Andrew live. Andrew's parents, brother and brother's girlfriend also live there.
At last report, officials were optimistic they could stop the fire from spreading into urban areas. Morgan shot this photo from her home last night.
Here's a report from KOLD TV in Tucson:
Monument fire grows to 4600 acres, no containment

Monday, June 13, 2011

Routers and riding pants



I woke up this morning to discover, through the process of elimination, that my D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G Wireless Router had died.

So, after picking up the mail at the post office, I continued my ride down to Best Buy where I inspected their wireless routers and settled on a Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router that was on clearance.

I’m embarrassed to say that I never bothered to secure my old D-Link, so our wireless network was wide open to anyone who cared to sniff out the signal. I wasn’t particularly worried, though, since we live in a rather remote spot and anyone close enough to the house to steal our signal would be immediately noticeable.

The E2000 automatically creates two signals – one a heavily encrypted secure access point for authorized network members and the other a password-protected guest access point – so we’re locked down tight, or at least tighter than we have been for the past six years.

The signal seems much more stable than the old router and preliminary tests suggest our Wifi-enabled Blu-ray player may not have the infuriating signal drop-outs with this new router.

mesh texIt was a steamy 92 degrees about 2 p.m. when the UPS guy delivered my First Gear Mesh-Tex pants, so I pulled them out of the box, put them on and went for a ride.
I was absolutely stunned at how much cooling air gets through the mesh. Wearing these on a hot day is like riding in shorts. They have padding and armor in all the right places, but it doesn't seem to interfere with the air flow. I can see right now that this will be a good summer. In fact, these pants may be downright chilly on a cool morning. I have some nylon warmup pants that may provide a windstopper barrier when worn under the riding pants.
I'm used to riding in cargo style riding pants, so I noticed the reduced pocket space right away. There are two zippered front pockets with horizontal openings at the waistband and another zippered pocket just above the right knee. I can get my wallet into the thigh pocket, but the two front pockets don't seem particularly useful.
The overall fit is good. I normally take a 30-inch inseam, but the 33-inch inseam on these pants works out just fine with my knees bent and my feet on the pegs.
If you shop around, you can find these for less than $60, which is an absolutely killer deal.

Scary stuff


My stepdaughter Morgan and her husband live in Arizona, which is going through the worst wildfire outbreak in its history.

So far, the fires have been far away from their home in Sierra Vista.

Until last night when she looked out her front door last night and saw this.

Maria just spoke with her and she reports it looks like the fire may be out, but there’s a lot of smoke.

Our Internet connection is down this morning and I can’t be sure whether it’s us or the cable tv/internet provider.

I’ve reset the modem and router twice and now can’t even see the router’s Wifi signal, although I can see the signal from a neighbor’s wireless router. The cable tv is working, so I know the cable is physically intact. I tried calling the cable/internet provider, but their number is busy, suggesting other people are having a problem too.

Our router is at least six years old, maybe older, so it may be time to replace it. Happily, the way technology works, a replacement will cost less and be more powerful. Hell, I may just replace the router regardless of where the problem is.

In the meantime, I’m using my Sprint netcard to connect.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Great BMW bike for sale–just like mine


BMW friend Gail Hatch, who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, is selling her Blue 2003 BMW K1200GT on Ebay.

It’s the same year, color and model as mine and it only has 35,600 miles on it, compared with the 59k on mine.

The bidding starts at $4,500 and the auction runs for another 6 days and 22 hours.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Too damned hot

It’s 98°F, with a heat index of 100°, and the only significant rain is a line of showers dancing across the southern edge of Missouri.
That kind of weather kills my enthusiasm for riding, yard work, or doing anything that involves leaving the air conditioned comfort of my home.
We hit the post office, Farmers Market, Dillard’s and Kroger before it got really hot and I was pleased we found a really spectacular purse for Maria’s birthday.
I tried to talk her into an iPad, a Nook or even a Kindle, but she couldn’t bear to see me spend that kind of money.
TWO HOURS LATER: The temperature dropped about 20 degrees in a half-hour and it's raining like a mofo.

Friday, June 10, 2011


flamingosonstadium I drove Maria to work this morning in anticipation of car-shuffling later today when we hope to pick up my del Sol from the shop where its air conditioning is undergoing surgery.
344gasNow I’m sipping coffee at Seattle Grind where the grassy strip along Stadium Avenue is covered with a flock of pink plastic flamingos, placed there to attract attention to the new yogurt shop next door.
But first, I drove down to Sam’s Club where I filled the tank for $3.44/gallon. Considering the spike in oil prices this week, the falling gas prices seem counterintuitive. Whatever. I’m gassing up and moving on.
I was listening to a local radio station on the way to Seattle Grind. Two drive-time radio guys were going on about sweet tea (For the Yankees, that’s pre-sweetened – usually with sugar – iced tea) and listing the restaurants that serve it. The conversation turned to the making of sweet tea when a caller shared her recipe – a little less than a cup of sugar in the bottom of a gallon jug, put a family sized tea bag in the basket of a drip coffee maker, brew the tea, pour the contents of the carafe into the jug and stir to dissolve the sugar, then top off with water.
One of the radio guys opined that the only way to make tea is to boil it on the stove in a pan his mother always used. This prompted his partner to call him “psychosomatic.”
Really. I swear it’s true.
But wait - it gets better.
I related this story to a local woman. She responded to the punch line with a blank look, then offered, "Well, there are different ways to make sweet tea..."
Lord help us.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Suzi Barrett for SNL

I wrote a very brief blogpost back in March noting that Suzi Barrett is the name barrett_suzitwoof the actress who plays the sarcastic girl in the Esurance insurance commercials.
If you Google her name, my blogpost comes up second, right after her Facebook page.
As a consequence, Google searches for “Suzi Barrett” now constitute something like 90-95 percent of the hits my blog gets every day.
I have no idea how my casual mention of her name shot me to the top of the Google search rankings, but there it is.
Here’s a brief biography from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre web site:
Originally from Michigan, Suzi got her degree in theatre at Western Michigan University, then moved to Chicago where she studied improv at The Second City and io. From there, she headed to Amsterdam, and spent 3 years performing with Boom Chicago-- or as the Dutch often call it-- "De Chicago Boom Boom." A member of the UCBTLA community since 2006, Suzi has studied with Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, and makes frequent appearances in "Worst Laid Plans,""Soundtrack," and "the line in the bathroom at Birds." She also tours the country with the UCB tourco, and plays weekly with the greatest improv team in the universe: Sentimental Lady.
Hometown: Rochester Hills, MI
She has a helluva following and I hereby nominate her for inclusion in next season’s Saturday Night Live cast.

Remembering Revard BMW Motorcycles

revardcupHere’s my morning mocha cappuccino salute to the late, lamented Revard BMW Motorcycles in Indianapolis.

Bill Revard and his brothers Jimmy and Charlie opened their dealership on the city’s northeastside, just northeast of the I-465 – I-69 interchange, in the summer of 2000.

The Revard brothers were guests of the Indianapolis BMW Club at our February, 2000, awards banquet and I had the pleasure of giving Bill his first business dollar that evening.

Sadly, Revard BMW went out of business in December, 2004 for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was BMW Motorrad’s bizarre business model.

Bill was a good friend and a great supporter of the club.

If the current Indianapolis BMW motorcycle dealer is even half as good as Bill, the Indianapolis BMW community is very well served.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

New hot weather riding gloves

I've had several pairs of Olympia gloves in my 30+ years of motorcycling and have come to regard Olympia as a quality brand, so I wasn't particularly worried when I bought a pair of Olympia 711 Gel Reflector Motorcycle Sport Gloves.
The BMW Air-Flow gloves I'd bought for summer riding in 2006 are finally gel glovesfalling to pieces, so I took a chance on these gloves.
I just completed a 300-mile ride through the Mid-South (Brookland, Ark. to Cape Girardeau, Mo., and back). The temperature was 79 when I left home and 95 when I returned. The gloves are noticeably cooler than their BMW predecessors and my hands felt cool, yet protected, throughout the ride.
The gel in the palm, which makes the handgrips seem slightly larger, took a little getting used to, but I was completely comfortable with it by the end of the ride.
The fit of the XL gloves is excellent - it's almost as if they were custom made for my hands - and enhances the accuracy of my taps on the touch screen of my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS. It's impossible to be precise with some gloves, but these are like having no gloves at all when it comes to working the Garmin's features.
I tested the reflector spots with a flashlight the night the gloves arrived and didn't notice any reflectivity at all. Maybe the guys at the factory forgot the reflective material the day mine were made. That's no big deal because the rest of my apparel and my bike are loaded with reflective stuff.
The closest thing I can find to a flaw is that the inner seams of the fingertips could have been trimmed a little more. But considering how well everything else about the gloves performs, that's hardly a deal-breaker.

ABS problem solved (I hope)

roots I’m enjoying a rare White Castle lunch along I-55 in Cape Girardeau, Mo. after getting my ABS warning light issue sorted out at Grass Roots BMW Motorcycles.
It appears my original guess/diagnosis was right – the tech did not put enough brake fluid in the rear brake reservoir when he installed new rear brake pads during a 12,000-mile service a few weeks ago. They found no leaks in the brake lines and no other cause for the warning light sequence which, according to the rider’s manual, signals low brake fluid.
So the lights are dark and I’m out of there without having to spend any more money.
I was also supposed to pick up a part for BMW friend Charlie but, of course, it had not arrived yet.
illmobridge I decided to make this a three-state ride by taking the bridge over the still-swollen Mississippi River to East Cape Girardeau, Ill. and back.
Then I let Garmin lead me to the White Castle where I got my usual order of 5 cheeseburgers and a large Diet Coke.
schlossweiss It’s only about 11:30 a.m., so the serious heat of the day isn’t upon us yet. I must be off.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hi-Viz Camelbak

I’ve used a CamelBak hydration system every summer for more than a decade and think they’re absolutely essential for hot weather riding.
Being able to sip water as I ride is a far better way to stay hydrated, which means I stay mentally sharp and physically more comfortable, than chugging a bottle of water or Gatorade every three hours or so at gas stops.
My current CamelBak has a 60 ounce capacity. I bought it from an outdoor outfitter in Silverthorne, Colo. to replace a smaller CamelBak that I couldn’t find when I was packing for a ride to the Colorado high country in August, 2007. (I still haven’t found it.)
It’s served me well, especially last summer on a crazy hot July ride from San Simeon, Calif., through the Central Valley of California and the Mojave Desert to my son’s house in Las Vegas.
Summer started early here in northeast Arkansas and it got me thinking fieldsheer jacketabout staying hydrated on the bike and off. It also got me wondering if CamelBak makes a hydration system to color match my Fieldsheer Hi-Viz mesh riding jacket.
Yes, they do.
The Hi-Viz CamelBak has retroflective accents and a 70 ounce capacity – 14 percent more than the one I’ve been using.
I shopped around on the internet and found it as cheap as $39.99, but when you add the shipping cost, it ends up way more than the $50 price I got on with free 2-day shipping.
So I ordered one and says I’ll have it sometime Thursday. How cool is that?

Dave self-destructs


Somebody noticed this SUV in a hotel parking lot and posted it to Facebook.