Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Waiting for Brown again

The UPS waiting game is on again.

This time I’m waiting for the big brown truck to deliver a new Garmin Zumo GPS. Then I get to call SiriusXM to synch the new unit with my account.

Filled with optimism that UPS put my package on the right truck this morning, I went ahead and booked an appointment for new tires for tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I left my Garmin  Zumo 550 GPS in my saddlebag while the bike sat parked in the hot sun all day yesterday.

And when I hooked it up again, it refused to come on.

Further investigation determined it is fried.

Fortunately, they are still available from Amazon.com, so another is on the way.

It will be treated more carefully.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


UPS is pissing me off today.

Their online package tracking site said my FirstGear Kathmandu riding pants would arrive “By end of day” yesterday.

I waited around all day. We watched an old Humphrey Bogart film noir movie after dinner and finally, at 9 p.m., I went online to see what was happening.

For whatever reason, my package rode around all day in a big brown truck, but never got to my door. The message on the UPS web site indicated I should pick it up at their facilities in Jonesboro.

So I looked up the address of the UPS Customer Center, noted that they open at 8 a.m. on weekdays, and resolved to be on their doorstep when they opened this morning.

I went online again this morning to print out a copy of the tracking info, including the tracking number, and discovered that they have apparently put it back onto a truck and will drive it around all day today before bringing it to me. And once again, the package is listed as scheduled for delivery “By end of day.” That has been known to be way past sundown on some occasions.

I had plans for today that involve those pants and it’s annoying as hell to sit here at 11 a.m. with no idea how soon I can get the package and move on with my day.

Kathmandu comes to me in a box

ups pants

The UPS guy, obviously puzzled that I’m photographing him, strides across the lawn to deliver my Firstgear Kathmandu riding pants at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. Better late than never, I suppose. I just don’t do “late” very well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Service vs. working the system


Which of these guys would you trust with your wallet?

Yeah, me too.

Now ask yourself, “Which of these guys would I trust with my country?”

Yeah, me too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is this the future of motorcycling?

San Carlos, Calif. – Lightning Motorcycle has set a new land speed record by becoming the first electric motorcycle manufacturer to exceed 200 mph during the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week, Aug. 13-19, 2011.

The production Lightning Electric SuperBike achieved an average speed of 215.960 mph with a best speed of 218.637 mph – more than 40 miles-per-hour faster than the previous record of 173 mph, also held by Lightning Motorcycle.Lightning-Motorcycles-land-speed-record Lightning Motorcycle’s record is recognized by the Southern California Timing Association/Bonneville Nationals Inc. (SCTA/BNI).
Driven by Paul Thede, principal of Race Tech and the developer of the Lightning SuperBike’s suspension system, the SuperBike made a run of 214.209 mph, followed by a return run of 217.712 mph.

This new land speed record maintains the manufacturer’s position as the fastest electric bike in the world in its class, and also makes the Lighting SuperBike the fastest motorcycle available for sale in North America.

“Our team was confident and excited to participate at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which is the ultimate proving ground to validate the performance of our Lightning SuperBike,” said Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycle. “We not only succeeded in shattering our previous record, but we confirmed that electric motorcycles will be an important part of our industry’s future.”

The Lightning Electric SuperBike features a Remy HVH250TM electric propulsion motor, an Ener1 battery pack and additional enhancements. It is factory equipped with track mapping data acquisition. The SuperBike, which is equally suited to track days, weekend rides on your favorite back roads or record runs at Bonneville, has a usable freeway speed range of over 100 miles and a combined city/highway EPA range of over 150 miles.

Interested buyers can purchase the SuperBike by visiting www.lightingmotorcycle.com.

About Lighting Motorcycle

Lightning Motorcycle is dedicated to the belief that world class performance is compatible with clean tech transportation. The company believes that choosing to ride an electric motorcycle should not be a compromise, and the team has honed its understanding of vehicle development as lifetime racers, using competition to refine their technology. In addition to the SuperBike, Lightning Motorcycle is producing prototypes of electric commuter bikes, scooters and ATVs.

Monday, August 22, 2011



This female Black and Yellow Garden Spider has woven its web on our back porch screen.

The Argiope aurantia is also known as the Writing Spider or Corn Spider and is common throughout the lower 48 states.

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web's center, but it may also attract insect prey, or even warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web. Only those spiders that are active during the day construct stabilimenta in their webs.

To construct the web, several radial lines are stretched among four or five anchor points that can be more than three feet apart. The radial lines meet at a central point. The spider makes a frame with several more radial lines and then fills the center with a spiral of silk, leaving a 5/16 to 3/8 inches (8 to 9.5 mm) gap between the spiral rings, starting with the innermost ring and moving outward in a clockwise motion. To ensure that the web is taut, the spider bends the radial lines slightly together while applying the silk spiral. The female's web is substantially larger than the male's, who builds a small zig-zag web nearby. The spider occupies the center of the web, usually hanging head-down, waiting for prey to become ensnared in the web. If disturbed by a possible predator, she may drop from the web and hide on the ground nearby. The web normally remains in one location for the entire summer, but spiders can change locations usually early in the season, perhaps to find better protection or better hunting.

The Pete & Ruthie report

I took Pete and Ruthie to the vet this morning for their annual vaccinations and exam.

Pete’s liver function is back to normal and the vet says we can discontinue the liver medication we’ve been giving him. He suggests a re-test in three months to see whether we need to resume it.

That’s good news for a couple of reasons:

  1. It means he’s healthier than we thought and
  2. It will save us about $180 on liver meds.

He also confirmed that Ruthie is mostly blind in her right eye, but otherwise is in pretty good shape for a 14-year-old dog (that’s 108 in dog years).

Here’s a photo from January, 2006, when Pete was just two months old and we lived in Thorntown, Ind.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Feeding the dog


We went to the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society’s 20th Annual Auction Fundraiser – “Wine and Whiskers” – last night at the Holiday Inn Express Holidome.

They had a couple of dogs and a cat being shown off for adoption, including this female hound who really really wanted some people food.

As usual, it was great fun.

Marshall’s Dry Goods – the ultimate fabric store

Fabric galore! Notice the John Deer fleece.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another reason to love MotorcycleGear.com

kathmandu pants

I ordered a Hi-Viz FirstGear Kilimanjaro jacket from MotorcycleGear.com on closeout a couple of days ago for $189 (down from $299.95) because it was a killer deal on an all-weather riding jacket.

But what good is a breathable, waterproof jacket without breathable waterproof pants?

In answer to my question, this morning MotorcycleGear.com announced a week-long sale on all of its FirstGear stuff. They don’t carry Kilimanjaro pants, but they do have Kathmandu pants that are well-engineered, breathable and waterproof, on sale for $125 (down from ($199.95). I pulled the trigger and they’re on their way to me – both items shipped free!

So I end up with a $500 waterproof FirstGear riding outfit for $314. And I can leave my rain gear at home. How cool is that?

Time to re-tire?

I’m contemplating some motorcycle trips between now and when the weather turns to shit and wondering if I should buy new tires for my BMW K1200GT.

Charlie and I used his No-Mar tire changing equipment to mount a set of dual-compound Michelin Pilot Power 2s back on May 22 of last year. I’ve put about 8,700 miles on them and reckon they have maybe 2,000 miles left before the tread depth gets too shallow for safe riding in the rain.

Back in June, when I thought I was going to the BMW MOA rally in Bloomsburg, Pa., I considered buying a set of tires from an online dealer and having them shipped to the rally where the No-Mar guys would mount them free, since they need tires to mount for demonstration purposes. It’s about 1,000 miles from here to Bloomsburg, so I reckoned the Michelins would be close enough to the end of their useful lives that I could discard them without wasting much rubber.

But Maria’s back problem flared up as I was about to pull the trigger on the tire deal. It was a good thing that I waited until the last minute to make the decision. Otherwise, I would have had to figure out how to retrieve a couple of tires from Pennsylvania by phone or email.

A ride to Indiana and back would only put about 1,000 miles on the tires. Ditto the two rallies on my calendar, although I heard disturbing news that the Return to Shiloh Rally campgrounds are being savaged to accommodate RVs. That could be the death knell for what was once the best local club rally venue I’ve ever seen.

So if Shiloh is out, I may have enough tread to get me through to the end of the year.

Unless, of course, I go crazy and ride to Colorado…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The last AT&T bill

last billThis is the last AT&T phone bill I’m gonna pay!

That’s the technician from Fusion Media kneeling behind me, making the final connections to switch our home phone service over from AT&T to a bundled cable/internet/phone package, dropping our monthly phone costs from $75 to $30.

I may be imagining it, but it seems like the new modem he installed gives me a faster internet connection.

And, yes, we’re keeping our phone number, even though we’re still getting the occasional bill-collector call for the deadbeats who had the number before we got it four years ago.

Waiting games

The middle of an Arkansas heat wave is a bad time for an ice maker to fail.

Ours crapped out last week. The auger dispenser works fine, but the ice making mechanism doesn’t. I’ve been buying 10 pound bags of ice from the convenience store down the road for $1.70 apiece and dumping the contents into the ice hopper. That works nicely, but it’s only a temporary fix.

So I went online this morning, found the nearest authorized Whirlpool service technician and left a voicemail requesting service.

Now the waiting game begins.

Actually, two waiting games are in progress – the fridge guy and the guy from our cable/internet provider who is supposed to show up this morning to switch our home telephone service over from the insanely expensive AT&T to a bundled cable/internet/phone package.

Of course, this means I’m held hostage until both contacts occur.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nothing worse?

“There’s nothing worse than going to the post office and standing in line,” says the commercial for Stamps.com.

I can think of lots of things that are worse:

  • Violent projectile vomiting
  • Painful rectal itch
  • Ebola
  • A tornado
  • A head-on car-truck crash
  • A plane crash
  • Being mauled by a grizzly bear
  • Being eaten alive by piranha
  • Having your eyes gouged out
  • Being burned alive
  • Falling into a pit of broken glass
  • Dinner with the Obamas

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Tired of cutting bait, I need to fish

I need to go for a ride.

Make that, I desperately need to go for a ride.

Most of what I’ve done this year is prepare for rides.

My 2003 BMW K1200GT was serviced in the spring.

I updated my riding rear with:

  • A FirstGear MeshTex jacket and pants
  • A pair of Bates Gore-Tex boots
  • A pair of Olympia airflow gloves
  • An HJC flip-face helmet
  • A pair of TourMaster CPX Cortech cargo pants

I figured I had it all covered until this morning when I got an email advertising a MotorcycleGear.com closeout on FirstGear Kilimanjaro 5.0 jackets. I’ve got kilimanjaro5more than enough hot weather mesh riding jackets, but the prospect of an all-weather breathable waterproof $300 Kilimanjaro jacket for $189 – in Hi-Viz yellow and gray – was something I couldn’t pass up. Especially with free shipping.

I’ve admired the Kilimanjaro line ever since I rode U.S. 50 from Indy to Sacramento and from Indy to Ocean Beach, Md., with Rich Nathan in 2001. Rich had a new Kilimanjaro jacket and pants and the outfit served him well, especially since he didn’t need to carry raingear. Of course, we never saw a drop of rain on either trip, but that’s beside the point.

MotorcycleGear.com is blowing out the 5.0 because a new version of the popular jacket is coming for 2012. I’m not too cool to wear last year’s model, especially at that price.

But I still have to get some rides in before the weather turns bad. I have a couple of weekend BMW rallies on my calendar and maybe a trip to Indiana to check on our rental property (it’s deductible), but I would dearly love to ride out to Colorado to visit my friends in the High Country.

We shall see.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Must ride more

I crunched a few numbers this afternoon and came up with an alarming statistic.

I have ridden fewer than 2,500 motorcycle miles this year. At this rate, 2011 will be my worst riding year since I bought my first BMW and started keeping personal mileage records in 1986.

That is utterly depressing.

I’m going for a ride.



We came very close to adding this 10-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy to our pack over the weekend.

I found him on Craigslist and Maria called to ask about the “re-homing fee” (the way people disguise a selling price for animals on Craigslist). It was a very reasonable $75, which was probably negotiable.

Great Pyrenees dogs grow to be huge – as in St. Bernard huge. They’re great with kids and typically are used to guard sheep from coyotes and other would-be predators.

I think this little guy is excruciatingly cute, but worry that our fenced back yard would be too confining and the dog door on our screened back porch is too small to accommodate a full grown Great Pyrenees. And then there’s the issue of maintenance. As he grows, he’s going to eat way more food than Pete and Ruthie consume.

Bottom line: he’s not a good fit for us. I hope he ends up with the right people.

New content

It was only last Thursday that I went on about how important it is to put up new content every day if you want people to read your blog regularly.

Then I take Monday off.

Sorry, I was engaged with financial stuff I don’t care to discuss here and it pretty much took up all of my thought process.

It’s still in the front of my mind this morning, but I refuse to neglect the blog for two days in a row.

I think it’s time to up the ante on my trailcam bait. The neighborhood deer have made it clear that they’re not interested in the salt block I set out for them last month, so it’s time to try something else.

I was thinking about getting some corn to scatter around the salt block, but some quick research suggests that deer prefer acorns over corn and soybeans. We have several oak trees in our 1.23 acre yard, so maybe I should collect a bunch of acorns that now litter the ground and make a nice little pile of them next to the salt block.

That would be a nice project for one of these cool mornings.

And I see that deer love peanut butter. Perhaps a dab of peanut butter on the salt block would do the trick. Seems a lot easier than crawling around picking up acorns.

In the meantime, I’m editing Mowercam 2.0, a video of me mowing the lawn with our John Deere LA125 lawn tractor. Jackson, the little kid next door, is apeshit over our lawn tractor and was entranced by the first mowercam video that I uploaded to YouTube. I’ll burn the new video to a DVD so he can pester his parents to play it 24/7.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bad news from Indiana

I was in charge of The Indianapolis News’s coverage of the Indiana State Fair for 10 years (1976-1985) and lived about a mile from the Fairgrounds for about 20 years.
All things considered, I’m a little surprised that there was only five fatalities since the superstructure came down on the standing and seating area in front of the stage.
All events were canceled today, but the 17-day fair resumes on Monday.
I’m still waiting for a list of the dead and injured and hoping nobody I know was involved.

Back on the treadmill


There’s nothing like seriously contemplating my mortality to get me back on the treadmill.

I did an easy mile in a little over 20 minutes this morning. The temperature was in the mid-70s, which made the treadmill in the garage bearable. The trick now is to make this a regular part of my morning routine.

I just have to keep reminding myself how good I feel after I finish. And how much regular exercise improves my overall physical and mental condition.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here’s to you, St. B’nard!

sbhc cup

Here’s a mocha cappuccino salute to St. Bernards Healthcare for the friendly and professional way they handled my supposed heart emergency yesterday.

This was my first real encounter with the folks at St. Bernards and I came away very impressed. It’s a great facility staffed by caring, knowledgeable people. I’d recommend it to anyone.

My doctor examined the stress test data and concluded that not only did I not have a heart attack, I have a healthy heart with no trace of heart disease. Not bad for a 66-year-old whose dad had open heart surgery in his 70s and whose grandfather died of a heart attack at 72.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Off to the E.R. in the middle of the night


This isn’t how I expected to spend today, but it could be worse.

I noticed an achy feeling in my left bicep last evening and, knowing that’s a possible indicator of a heart attack, we called my daughter-in-law the doctor in Las Vegas. Since I had no other symptoms, we decided to throw a couple of Naproxins at it and see what happens.

The discomfort abated, but came back strong enough to wake me about 1:30 a.m. I lay there in the dark for an hour or so trying to wish it away, but finally decided better safe than sorry and woke Maria to have her take me to the St. Bernards Medical Center Emergency Room in Jonesboro.

One chest X-ray, two EKGs and three blood tests later they concluded that I had not had a heart attack, but my doctor strongly recommended that I hang around for the day to take a stress test. I was given a room, but I can’t eat or drink anything until after the test. The worst thing about it is having to wear one of those humiliating backless hospital gowns.


I’m back from my stress test treadmill workout at about 11 a.m. Now the waiting game resumes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Revelations and observations

I realized today that the blogosphere is enormous, vast, huge, damn near infinite and it’s astonishing that anyone stumbles upon my little curio stand along the Information Highway.

I came to this realization because I was bored and started clicking that “Next Blog” link at the top of this page. It directs you to another blog, chosen at random. Sometimes the next blog doesn’t have a “Next Blog” link, so you just hit the “back” button on your browser and try again.

And the other thing I noticed is how few bloggers stay at it and post new content on a daily basis.

If you want people to read you, you have to give them a reason to believe that they’ll see something new if they come back a day or two later.

In the seven years I’ve been blogging (I started on May 10, 2004), I’ve tried to post at least once every day. The quality of the posts ranges from crap to brilliant (if I do say so myself), but at least it’s something new.

I’ve seen some really really really good blogs founder and hate it when that happens. I enjoy reading good blogs. It’s a shame when they fall silent.

So this is my effort for today. If I think of anything more, I’ll be back after dinner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No taste for salt?

Deer continue to frequent the yard, but as this somewhat murky video shot at 1:55 a.m. today shows, they refuse to touch the 50-pound salt block I put out two weeks ago.
My mother-in-law suggests moving the salt block closer to the woods. So I did this afternoon.

Will we see a $50 million bill?


This is a 50 million Mark banknote issued in the 1920s during the period of hyperinflation in Germany.

Inflation and hyperinflation are consequences of trying to solve economic problems by printing more money - like Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are doing today.

Am I concerned? Hell, yes, I'm concerned!

Dick Morris, who is one of the people I pay attention to, has a column today that warns we are on the verge of a serious, serious economic downturn - possibly on the scale of the Great Depression.
I and a lot of other people have had the feeling for a long time that things are about to go to shit very soon and very quickly.
This may be the moment to cash in 401Ks and annuities before a market crash wipes them out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011



There are few things more satisfying in life than petting a good dog who wants to be petted.

Every city in the country needs this ordinance

My BMW riding friend Rich Nathan sent this to me this morning. I always question stories like this that seem too good to be true, but this is the real deal. Nothing about it on Snopes and plenty of news stories validating it.

Has Dallas got a good idea or what??
Recently, (passed in May, 2008, went into effect Jan. 1, 2009) the City of Dallas, Texas, passed an ordinance stating that if a driver is pulled over by law enforcement and is not able to provide proof of insurance, the car is towed.
To retrieve the car after being impounded, they must show proof of insurance to have the car released. This has made it easy for the City of Dallas to remove uninsured cars.
Shortly after the "No Insurance" ordinance was passed, the Dallas impound lots began to fill up and were full after only nine days.  80 + % of the impounded cars were driven by illegals.
Not only must they provide proof of insurance to have their car released, they have to pay for the cost of the tow, a $350 fine, and $20 for every day their car is kept in the lot.
Accident rates are going down and... Dallas' solution gets uninsured drivers off the road WITHOUT making them show proof of nationality.
Wonder how the ACLU or the Justice Department will get around this one.
Just brings tears to my eyes.
GO Dallas!

Here’s the ordinance.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Keymaster


This is my next-door-neighbor Shannon and his son Jackson.

Shannon borrowed our yard utility trailer yesterday morning to haul grass clippings. He can’t mow his lawn without Jackson wanting to climb up and ride along. And Jackson’s idea of control is to hold the ignition key. Like this.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Not everything stays in Vegas!


Steve and I stopped by BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas last month because I wanted a shop t-shirt as a souvenir of my visit with my son and his family.

Unfortunately, their stock was nearly depleted and they had nothing larger than a medium in the style I fancied. So we left Steve’s name and phone number for them to notify him when the new shirts came in.

Fast forward to yesterday when this splendid t-shirt in my size arrived in the mail.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Help her get home

found rott

From the Brookland, Ark., postoffice public notice bulletin board.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The BMW MOA rally I missed last month


The folks at RevZilla.com created this splendid 5-minute video document of the 2011 BMW MOA rally in Bloomsburg, Pa. and played it at the closing ceremonies.

indyclub bloomsburgIt’s great to see my Indianapolis BMW Club friends hanging out under the club canopy.

The video is the next best thing to being there and I can watch it from the air conditioned comfort of my home office.

Smart cookie


I think I’ve already done a rant about messages in Chinese fortune cookies that aren’t really “fortunes.”

Like the ones that say common sense stuff, like, “Rotate your tires.”

But this one that I got the other night struck me as particularly apropos of what’s going on in the country today.

Fire Eric Holder! Sign the NRA petition.

I got this email this morning from Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. If you think Eric Holder is unfit to serve as U.S. Attorney General, here’s your chance to make your voice heard:

I'm sending you this e-mail after just returning from Capitol Hill and the hearings investigating the crimes committed during BATFE's Operation "Fast and Furious."

Attorney General Eric Holder is stonewalling all efforts to get to the truth.

His minions have directed Federal employees with knowledge about this illegal gun pipeline to the Mexican cartels to refuse to cooperate with Congressional investigators.

I've said all along that Holder is either lying or he's incompetent, and that either way, he can't be trusted with the powers of his office or the sanctity of our freedoms. That's why I wrote you and asked you to sign NRA's Petition to Fire Eric Holder.

If you haven't had the chance to sign NRA's National Petition to Fire Eric Holder, I urge you to do it today by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Your signed Petition will help NRA blow the lid off this conspiracy and cover-up, and hold Eric Holder and other administration officials responsible for the crimes they committed while trying to advance President Obama's gun control agenda.

After you add your name to our petition, I'm also counting on you to help NRA fight and win this battle by making a contribution of $20, $40, $60, $80, $100 or the most generous amount possible.

In Congress, the anti-gunners are cynically pointing to the Fast and Furious scandal and saying that if gun control laws were stronger, then the Obama Administration and BATFE would never have needed to break the law!!!

Using this twisted logic, they're calling for reviving the Clinton gun bans, outlawing gun shows, restricting "ammunition clips," rationing the number of guns you can buy, and requiring the registration of long gun sales.

So now, NRA has two battles on our hands... A battle to tell the American people the truth about Operation Fast and Furious, and a battle to fight off these new legislative assaults on our freedoms.

That's why I'm counting on you to help NRA fight these battles to the end by signing NRA's Petition to Fire Eric Holder and making your contribution of $20, $40, $60, $80, $100 or the most generous amount possible by CLICKING HERE NOW.

The Administration's refusal to fully cooperate with Congressional oversight is a true Constitutional crisis. If NRA members don't fight this battle and restore respect for accountability and the rule of law, no one else will.

Thank you for signing NRA's Petition to Fire Eric Holder. Thank you for your generous contribution. Thank you for standing with NRA during America's -- and Freedom's -- time of need.

Yours in Liberty,
Wayne LaPierre
Executive Vice President

P.S. Please CLICK HERE NOW to sign NRA's National Petition to Fire Eric Holder and make your generous contribution to NRA. With your help, we will hold Eric Holder responsible and defend our firearm freedoms from renewed anti-gun attacks.

If you prefer to donate by phone, please call 1-877-672-4632. Or, you can mail your check to NRA, Membership Processing Center, PO Box 420718, Palm Coast, Florida, 32142-0718.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Feels like being under siege

We’ve had only three days with a high below 90 since July 1 and four days of triple-digit heat. And the 10-day forecast is for 90 and above every freaking day.

I hate having my riding season scorched into oblivion. This feels like being snowed in but with blazing heat instead of snow.

According to seasonal averages, we can’t expect below-90 highs until the end of this month.


My former sister-in-law Janice’s obituary

Janice Cusack

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Janice Cusack went to be with her Lord on 7/29/11 after a brave battle with cancer.
Janice Kroon Cusack was born July 29, 1953 in Ft. Monroe, VA to Phil and Jean Kroon. Janice's father was a career military man, and by the time she was five years old, she had moved from Virginia to California to Indiana with her parents and older sisters Diane and Kathy. Janice attended elementary & high school in Lafayette, Indiana and college in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1973 she moved to Southern California where she later met her husband, Patrick. Pat & Janice were married in Orange County in November of 1990 and were blessed with the birth of their son, Collin, in March of 1992. In August 1999 the family moved to Santa Maria CA where Collin graduated from Pacific Christian School, and from St. Joseph High School in 2010. He is now attending Pepperdine University in Malibu. Janice was so proud of Collin, and her favorite times were being involved with him and his schools and the sports he excelled in. God blessed her with many special friends met through school, sports, church, Bible studies, and the jobs that she held. She loved people and got joy out of making them feel special. Her husband, Pat, often called her his "social butterfly" , and she relished the label! Janice will be greatly missed, but she trusts that she will be together again with her family and friends.
Janice was preceded in death by her parents, her brother-in-law Bob Teerman and her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Tillie & Patrick Cusack. She is survived by her husband and son, her sisters Diane (Bill) Morris and Kathy Teerman, as well as nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and her very special, long time "adopted" family-the Grasmeyer clan of Southern California.
Funeral services will be conducted by Pastor Clete Doyal at First Christian Church in Santa Maria on Saturday, 8/6/11 at 11:00 am with a celebration of life reception afterwards at the Santa Maria Country Club. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mission Hope Cancer Foundation at 220 South Palisade, suite 204 Santa Maria, CA 93454 or to the Santa Maria Humane Society.
Arrangements are under the direction of Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary, Crematory and Memorial Gardens.

Published in Santa Maria Times on August 3, 2011

Wednesday morning stuff

I’m at Seattle Grind on what may be the hottest day of the year – so far, at least.

I rode the K1200GT, which is noticeably hotter than the K75S owing to its fairly efficient fairing. It was a little toasty coming in to town, but I see the temperature is now 90 with a heat index of 99, so maybe I should think about packing up and hauling ass for the air conditioned comfort of home.

I’ve been chafing for a couple of years about paying upwards of $75 a month for an AT&T land line to our house when we have other options, including excellent cell phone coverage. I called our cable provider yesterday and discovered we can add telephone service to our cable –internet package for $29.95 a month. It’s even more attractive when you consider we can keep our present phone number, have all of the caller ID, call-waiting, etc., and 911 emergency service.

I will, of course, drive up to the cable office in Paragould later this week and initiate the change.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

He’s right

Tuesday morning stuff

seattlegrindaug2 This crazy-hot weather is getting me down.

I’m at Seattle Grind this morning because I had an urgent need to go for a motorcycle ride and the only way to do it is to get out and back before the temperature soars into the danger zone. It was 81 when I left home at 8:20 a.m. The Weather Channel web site says it’s 87 with a heat index of 94 right now. The forecast high today is 101 with a heat index of 110. Tomorrow’s forecast: 104 with a heat index of 115. Fuck!

My Facebook news feed informs me that a couple of old friends went to the Paul McCartney concert at Wrigley Field last night. They loved it. I never thought he was particularly impressive in his post-Beatles career and given his moronic political pronouncements, I wouldn’t walk across the street to see him for free.

Today is Aug. 2, so of course we have not received the August rent check from our tenant. He was about 20 days late last month. This is why I hate being a landlord. I’d sell the place at a loss except that it’s worth more to me for the mortgage interest deduction. If Congress eliminates that deduction, it will be a whole new ballgame. I can’t imagine they would because that would remove a huge incentive for home ownership and drive a stake through the heart of the housing market.

This may be the month that I pull the plug on my AT&T land line. When I get home this morning, I plan to call our cable provider and see what kind of package deal they can give me for cable, internet and phone. It’s gotta be better than the $75/month I’m giving AT&T now for just phone service. If not, there’s still Vonage and Magic Jack and our Sprint cell phones…

Monday, August 01, 2011

Draft Beef!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         We had dinner this evening at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. As usual, the food was great.

We’ve noticed the place has a marquee sign out front that features some slightly off-target messages, so I was curious to see what I could find in the “Drinks Menu.”

I was startled to discover they serve draft beef in either 12 ounce or 24 ounce glasses.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can also get Jonnie Walker Scotch (without the “h”), Marker’s Mark whiskey and Absolute and Sminoff vodka.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The Tall Drinks section includes a Tom collins (with lower case “c”), a Wiskey Coke and a Rum Collin and Vodka Collin (no “s”). And don’t forget the Hwawiian Sling.

Get out your sell phone

The one morning I go to the post office without my camera, I see these two gems on the public notice bulletin board:arkansas literacy

Food for Sale





47:00 delevered

So if you call their sell phone, you can get your mystery food delevered for 47:00.

After I marveled at that notice, my eyes fell upon this:

Do you have an extra Chester Drawers +or wing back recliner chair


I couldn’t make this stuff up.

“He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.”

Peggy Noonan was a speech writer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and has serious Republican credentials. That said, I’ve disagreed with her in recent years on several points, but I think she captured the zeitgeist of the nation in her piece this week in the Wall Street Journal.

I’ve omitted the first few paragraphs that deal with the Republican side of the debt ceiling issue. Here’s the heart of her message:

But that actually is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something that started to become apparent to me during the debt negotiations. It's something I've never seen in national politics.

It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton's troubles there were always people who'd say, "Look, I love the guy." They'd often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.

The past few weeks I've asked Democrats who supported him how they feel about him. I got back nothing that showed personal investment. Here are the words of a hard-line progressive and wise veteran of the political wars: "I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did 'love' him, I can't think of anyone who still does." Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? "Clinton radiated personality. As angry as folks got with him about Nafta or Monica, there was always a sense of genuine, generous caring." With Bush, "if folks were upset with him, he still had this goofy kind of personality that folks could relate to. You might think he was totally misguided but he seemed genuinely so. . . . Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is 'genuine.'" He "doesn't exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine."

Maybe Mr. Obama is living proof of the political maxim that they don't care what you know unless they know that you care. But the idea that he is aloof and so inspires aloofness may be too pat. No one was colder than FDR, deep down. But he loved the game and did a wonderful daily impersonation of jut-jawed joy. And people loved him.

The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics, and he isn't good at politics because he doesn't really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions."

This wasn't the passionate, take-no-prisoners Clinton War Room of '92, it was high-tech and bloodless. Is that what politics is now? Or does the Obama re-election effort reflect the candidate and his flaws?

Mr. Obama seemed brilliant at politics when he first emerged in 2004. He understood the nation's longing for unity. We're not divided into red states and blue, he said, we're Big Purple, we can solve our problems together. Four years later he read the lay of the land perfectly—really, perfectly. The nation and the Democratic Party were tired of the Clinton machine. He came from nowhere and dismantled it. It was breathtaking. He went into the 2008 general election with a miraculously unified party and took down another machine, bundling up all the accrued resentment of eight years with one message: "You know the two losing wars and the economic collapse we've been dealing with? I won't do that. I'm not Bush."

The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing. He's good at not being the last guy, the one you didn't like. But he's not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he's not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.

And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn't serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn't enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it.

So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.