Blown to hamburger by a guy with a joystick sitting in an air conditioned room in Las Vegas.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The arrest this week of a homegrown jihadist who wanted to fly big radio controlled planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol piqued my interest in big RC aircraft.
After looking at a few YouTube videos of RC jets, I started checking out videos made by enthusiasts who mated GoPro Hero HD video cameras with their planes. There are a lot of really good videos of this genre, but this has the most spectacular scenery I’ve seen.
Maria’s HJC FS-15 “Terror” helmet arrived yesterday and it’s a perfect fit.
This is the first time since we bought a pair of Schuberths around the turn of the (21st) century that we’ve had matching helmets. Now all we have to do is ride together.
Or, I suppose we could wear them in the car.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Who knew carpet cleaning could be so gratifying?
Maria and I shifted the dining room table and chairs into the foyer and I shampooed the carpet, eradicating four years of neglect and pet stains.
The living room carpet looks splendid in the wake of yesterday morning’s cleaning and now I’m eyeing the master bedroom carpet.
A quick check with my Indianapolis BMW Club friends indicates nobody is planning to ride to the Return to Shiloh rally south of Savannah, Tenn. this weekend. The weather promises to be dead-solid perfect – highs in the mid- to low 70s and lows in the mid- to low 40s with zero percent chance of rain. It seems a shame to pass up rallying in weather like that, but I prefer the company of friends, so I think I’ll skip this one and plan for another rally where I can hang out with my Indy friends.
Besides, I’ve pretty well tapped out all of the National Parks Passport stamp opportunities in the Shiloh area – my only other motive for going.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Under normal circumstances, I would never consider buying a helmet like this, especially since I bought an HJC flip-face helmet for $200 a few months ago.
But this was an exceptional deal from MotorcycleGear.com – a $270 Snell-rated helmet for $50.
I can overlook the bizarre styling for a deal like that. Actually, it’s so far from what I would normally buy, I kinda like it.
It comes with a rubber piece to deflect the rider’s breath from the face shield and a fabric air dam under the chin that made the helmet feel overly tight and claustrophobic the first time I put it on. Happily, those features can be easily removed and once they’re gone, it feels fine. I think it’s lighter than my other HJC and a late afternoon jaunt up to Paragould and back made it clear that the ventilation system is superior to the other HJC and probably the best I’ve ever experienced in a helmet.
I showed the ad to Maria after I ordered mine and, having a similar capacity for whimsy, she wanted one too. UPS says it will be delivered tomorrow.
If this is a deal that appeals to you, MotorcycleGear.com still has some left in Small, Large and Extra Large. Just go to their web site and click on “Closeouts” and then “Helmets.”
I filled the new Bissell Bronze PROheat2X Cleanshot Pet carpet cleaner with water and cleaning formula and attacked the living room carpet this morning.
I’ll know for sure when it’s completely dry, but it looks like it removed all of the stains from dog accidents and the carpet looks better than it did when we moved in four years ago next month.
We’ll haul the furniture out of the dining room tonight and I’ll do that carpet tomorrow morning. Or maybe tonight, if I feel ambitious.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Pete the Aussie got the squirts, which makes for really tricky cleanup. The ShopVac does a passable job of snatching the stuff up, but there are invariably some stains left behind. Spot Shot, a cleaning formula made for pet stains, usually does the trick, but today’s stains are more stubborn.
I did some online research and concluded that the Bissell Bronze PROheat2X Cleanshot Pet carpet cleaner looks like what we need. It has lots of well-written enthusiastic positive reviews on Amazon.com. I found it on Amazon.com for $228, but discovered it was also on the Target web site priced at $225. Target said they have some at their Jonesboro store, so I drove there right away and was delighted to find this model is on clearance for $188.89!
Assembly was a breeze and I plan to study the owner’s manual this evening and put it to work first thing tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, Pete will sleep on the back porch tonight.
Saturday’s mail included a large envelope from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Why are we getting mail from the EPA, I wondered?
Inside was an Endangered Species: Save Our Species coloring book.
We don’t have any coloring-book-age kids, don’t use pesticides that imperil any endangered or threatened species of wildlife and have absolutely no use for this propaganda from what I consider the most wrong-headed, economy-destroying branch of the federal government.
It had to cost them at least $1 to send this thing to us and God knows how many others they wasted on households without kids or pesticide use.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Problem: The eight remaining bagels from the dozen-and-a-half I bought nine days ago at City East Bagel in Memphis have become hard as rocks and inedible. Should I throw them away or is there a way to revive them?
Solution: Google the words “revive” “stale” and “bagel.” This led me to bagelbuoy.com and their Helpful Bagel Facts page where I learned “Several-day-old bagels tend to harden. They may be freshened up by toasting, broiling, microwaving very briefly (15 seconds), or moisten with water and bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.”
So I dipped the eight bagelrocks in a bowl of water, arrayed them on a baking sheet and popped them into a 350 degree oven. When I pulled them out 10 minutes later, I was pleased to note the delightful fresh-baked bagel aroma and see that they yielded when poked with a finger.
I let them cool for about 5 minutes, sliced, toasted and cream cheesed one of the chocolate flavored bagels and was delighted to find it was just as good as the day it came home from Memphis.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Filmmaker and propagandist Michael Moore is in the news again, this time making veiled threats against the rich for not wanting to give their money to people who have no inclination to work.
“The smart rich know they can only build the gate so high. And, and, sooner or later history proves that people when they’ve had enough aren’t going to take it anymore. And much better to deal with it nonviolently now, through the political system, than what could possibly happen in the future, which nobody wants to see,” Michael Moore said on Current TV’s “Countdown” program.
Moore was alluding to riots, which he was discussing with “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann prior to his comment to deal with things nonviolently now.
And once again my thoughts turn to Clint Eastwood’s warning to Moore at a National Board of Review awards dinner in New York six years ago.
"Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common - we both appreciate living in a country where there's free expression,” he said.
Then fixing Moore with a cold steely glare, he added, "But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera - I'll kill you."
The New York Daily News reported the audience erupted in laughter, and Eastwood grinned, and said, "I mean it."
Perhaps Moore would like to lead the charge at Eastwood’s house.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
It’s the last day of summer and I’ve ridden fewer than 6,000 motorcycle miles so far this year.
With only a couple of rallies on my fall calendar, it’s unlikely that I’ll earn my 10,000-mile award this year from the Indianapolis BMW Club. Again.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
If you never watch another video, please watch this one. The speaker is an Indian Muslim who is warning us to wake up. He has tremendous courage and pulls no punches on what is happening with Islamist fascism. Make sure you listen to the end of the tape where he says we now have three members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House (and names them).
He is elderly and in a wheel chair recovering from cancer treatments - perhaps that's why he has the courage to speak out. This is probably one of the most important messages of our day.
“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Today’s ride took me up to Van Buren, Mo. to the Visitors Center of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
I left the Citgo station down the road from our house at 9 a.m. and arrived at the visitors center about 11 a.m.
I got my stamps and, as I was shooting the photo above, Bill Hutchinson, a Floridian hauling a red BMW R1100RS in his pickup truck, drove up with his wife on a similar quest.
Bill offered to shoot a picture of me with my bike and the visitor center in the background and we ended up in a pleasant 10-minute chat about BMWs, the BMWMOA, and, of course, great roads. Bill and his wife are headed for Rocky Mountain National Park where I sang the praises of the Trail Ridge Road.
The Ozark NSR is the nearest passport stamp location in an online database I downloaded to my Garmin Zumo 550. I also consulted a similar database for McDonald’s restaurant and found the listing for Van Buren to be off by about a mile.
I took a few minutes for a double cheeseburger and water (lunch for under $2), then hit the road for home, stopping for gas south of Poplar Grove, Mo. and rolling into my garage at 1:54 p.m.
It was hardly an epic journey, but it was fun riding to somewhere new.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I have successfully resurrected the Garmin Zumo 550 GPS that died during a day in my saddlebag in the hot August sun at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It failed to start when I put it into its handlebar cradle that afternoon and subsequent attempts to bring it to life via a USB connection to my netbook failed.
So I bought a new Zumo 550 from Amazon.com, had it delivered to the home of friends south of Crawfordsville, Ind., where I was staying after MotoGP, and did the rest of my 3,045-mile trip with the new unit.
I searched the Zumo Forums for clues after I got home and decided it was worth paying $24.95 to BatteryShip.com for a new Zumo battery (free shipping). It arrived last week, I installed it, and my old Zumo 550 sprang to life with all of its data intact.
I noted earlier that the new unit speaks the names of streets and roads and destinations instead of just saying “turn left” or “take ramp right.” I figured that was just a software update not present on my old Zumo.
I learned from a post on the Zumo Forums that my old Zumo had the same capability – I just needed to pick the right voice in the “Locale” settings. The trick is to pick a voice with (TTS) after the name. In my case, I picked “American English-Jill (TTS)” and now my old Zumo has an expanded vocabulary.
Of course, I would have known that if I had paid attention to page 40 of the owner’s manual.
I’ll recoup some of my expense by selling the old Zumo unit on Ebay.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Mixed fruit jelly is an abomination. It doesn’t taste like anything in particular and adds nothing to whatever you put it on.
When a waitress brings me a packet of this shit, I send her back to get something with real flavor, preferably strawberry, but grape will do in a pinch.
I did an internet search and was stunned to see several manufacturers, including Smuckers, actually sell this crap in jars, but I can’t imagine what kind of boring people would buy it.
I don’t hate many things, but I hate the very idea of mixed fruit jelly. It must be made for people who have no taste buds and no imagination and are unable to express a legitimate preference.
Friday, September 16, 2011
We brought home 18 bagels of various flavors, gave several away to Arkansans who hitherto had not had a bagel experience, and consumed almost all of the rest.
I decided I’d had enough of hand-slicing bagels, so I bought one of these murderous-looking bagel slicers from Amazon.com. It arrived yesterday afternoon.
With only a couple of bagels left, I figured it was time to re-stock, so I drove the del Sol to Memphis and bought another 18 bagels for $22 and change. I gassed on the way home and determined I’m getting 29.1 mpg.
So with gas at $3.39 a gallon, that makes the total cost per bagel about $2.38. Not counting the $19.95 I spent on the slicer.
I don’t care. They’re damned good bagels and I’ve not seen their equal in
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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I’m on the email list of Delphi (Ind.) High School alumni and was startled this morning to see this obit:
MISHAWAKA - Thomas W. Goff, 67, of Mishawaka, formerly of Delphi, Indiana, passed away at 4:24 pm on September 8th, 2011 at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Mishawaka. He was born April 8th, 1944, in Lafayette, Indiana to the late Ernest L. Goff and Marie H. Goff. Tom served in the Air Force and was honorably discharged. He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Friend of Downers Grove, Illinois, his brother, Jim Goff of Wabash, Indiana and his sons, Kenneth Goff and Scott Goff. He is also survived by a daughter-in-law, Cheri Goff and step grandchildren, Cory Clemmons and Tori Clemmons of Mishawaka, Indiana. He was a dedicated Substance Abuse Counselor and was an active member of AA. The family would like to thank the Indiana Methodist Transplant Unit (Tom received a lung transplant in May of 2000). Also they would like to thank Clarian Health, Doctors Reynolds and Roe, Danielle Gooch and Nephrology Inc., St. Vincent de Paul and also Stone Soup Organization. He was a Delphi High School graduate in 1962 and in May of 1997, he earned a BA degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. He also attended Indiana University, Bloomington from 1963 - 1966. Funeral services for Mr. Goff will be held at 10:00 am on Monday at Bubb Funeral Chapel, 3910 North Main Street, Mishawaka where friends will be received from 3 until 7 pm on Sunday. Burial will follow the services at the Masonic Cemetery, Delphi, Indiana at 2:00 pm Monday. The family wishes memorial contributions be made to the Indiana Organ procurement Organization. They may be contacted at 574-246-9473 for further information on donations.
Published in South Bend Tribune on September 10, 2011
Tom was a year older than I. His family lived in a big old stone house on the edge of “the hollow,” a wooded ravine that separated the newer eastside neighborhoods of Delphi from the older part of the town. He introduced me to rudimentary rock climbing as we scaled what seemed like real cliffs there.
He also played a significant role in my destiny on two occasions.
It was his bicycle that I commandeered during neighbor Tom Popejoy’s 10th birthday part in April, 1956, when I set out to chase friend Jack Klepinger who was astride Popejoy’s new 3-speed bike. Goff’s bike was also an “English” style bicycle with hand brakes, unlike my bike which had coaster brakes.
Jack sped south on Lafayette Street, flashing across Monroe Street with me in hot pursuit. As I entered the intersection, I noticed a Cadillac convertible approaching from the left. I tried to veer to the right, but the car hit me, breaking my left femur in two places and gashing the inside of my left index finger. Goff’s bicycle was wrecked beyond repair.
The driver, a local physician, put me into his car, checked in with my parents and drove me to Home Hospital in Lafayette.
Flash forward nine years to the summer of 1965.
I was 20 years old and had lost my student deferment at a time when the Vietnam War was heating up and the Selective Service was drafting for the Marines as well as for the Army.
I became aware that Tom Goff had enlisted in the Air Force and received a medical discharge – I don’t recall the reason.
That, plus the realization that the Air Force has no infantry, factored into my conclusion that I stood a better chance of surviving the Vietnam era if I enlisted in the Air Force, rather than wait to be drafted into the Army or Marines.
Turns out I was right. I had a brief 41-day career in the Air Force that ended with a medical (honorable) discharge for allergies.
Godspeed, Tom Goff.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I found a fresh bottle of Kefir hiding in the refrigerator this morning.
I finished what I supposed was the last bottle a couple of days ago, but we haven’t been to Kroger – the only known source of Lifeway Strawberry Kefir in Jonesboro – since I got home from my motorcycle travels last Thursday.
I had a sneaking suspicion there might be another bottle lurking in the cheese drawer, so I did a little rooting around and voila! there it was!
And yes, it really is stupid simple little things like this that make my day.
I followed that up with a mocha cappuccino and chocolate bagel with cream cheese and my day is off to a splendid start.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
We had a hankering for authentic Jewish bagels this morning so we drove to Memphis for breakfast at the City East Bagel & Grille.
Breakfast was splendid and we brought home a couple of bags of assorted bagels (you can’t get a good bagel in Jonesboro, Ark.) – some for us and some for our neighbors.
Then we were off to Bass Pro Shops where we bought some clothes.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Our set of two 29” bar stools arrived this morning from Amazon.com.
They came with hardware and assembly instructions:
Notice something missing?
No reference to glue and no glue included. Without wood glue to secure the stretchers (C), the leg pieces (B) will wobble and spread, shearing them off of the seat (A) and send the sitter crashing down onto his/her ass.
They list for $159.38 a pair, but were on sale for $50.25 a pair. They get 4½ stars from reviewers but they look to me like a lawsuit ready to happen.
I’m off to the hardware store for some Gorilla Glue, but I predict they will wobble and break within six months.
Sixty years ago this morning, my mother snapped this photo of me with her Kodak Duaflex II camera in the back yard of our home at 609 E. Franklin Street in Delphi, Indiana.
It was, as she noted on the border of the resulting print, the day I began the first grade. I was in Mrs. Kathleen Baum’s class at Monroe Street Elementary School. The big brick building about three blocks from home, also housed the junior high and high school and it was there that I attended all 12 grades.
I have no idea who was peering over the hedge in the background. The brick house next door was where my classmates Jeannie Taylor and Susan Kent lived, but that doesn’t look like either of them.
Friday, September 09, 2011
I’ve neglected my blog for the last several days because I was on the road – a 3,045-mile jaunt up to Indianapolis for the MotoGP races and a ride west to spend time with Tim and Linda Balough in Alma, Colo.
I left at 6:18 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 26. I had hoped to leave a day earlier, but UPS foiled my plans by taking an extra day to deliver my Kathmandu riding pants. I’m glad I waited for them because they came in very handy later.
I rode first to Thorntown, Ind. to do a cursory check of our rental property there, then cruised down to the Indianapolis BMW motorcycle dealership for a free barbecue dinner and stunt riding exhibition. I spent the next couple of nights as a guest in Rich and Kim Nathan’s home in Southport while Rich and I took in the Saturday and Sunday sessions of MotoGP. The seats, courtesy of Jonesboro friends Charlie and Deb Parsons, were prefect. After studying the track layout, I concluded we had two of the best seats in the house.
I rode up to Crawfordsville Sunday evening after the final MotoGP event and spent the next three nights with Lauri and Jim Shillings while I did a more thorough inspection of the Thorntown house and took delivery of a new Garmin Zumo 550 GPS to replace the one I fried in my saddlebag in the hot Saturday sun at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
I headed west at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, stopping for a set of Michelin Pilot Road tires at Sportland Motorsports, the new BMW dealer in Urbana, Ill. It’s hard to make time when you spend more than three hours languishing in a bike shop that doesn’t even have a proper customer lounge, so I only got as far as Chillicothe, Mo. by the time I bagged it at the Econo Lodge there.
I spent the next day dealing with blazing heat in Kansas after pausing for a McDonald’s breakfast and Wifi to let a band of showers pass through St. Joseph, Mo. This was essentially a repeat of the trip I made at the same time in 2009 and I decided to revisit the Empire Motel in St. Francis, Kans. because I enjoyed meeting the young couple who owned the somewhat seedy old motel.
This time was different. The wife was absent (divorce?) and her husband had a new woman with him. They showed up about an hour after I arrived, apologizing because their car had run out of gas. He asked if I could pay in cash ($37.84) so he could buy gas and I obliged. The room was buggy and dinner at the Mexican restaurant down the street was disappointing. I won’t be coming back to the Empire Motel.
After days of hot weather – it was 104 when I reached St. Francis – I awoke Friday morning to the sound of cold rain. I gassed at the convenience store across the road and took off, wearing my new waterproof Kilimanjaro jacket and Kathmandu pants. I never found any serious rain in eastern Colorado, but it was chilly enough to force me to stop west of Cope and put the liner into my jacket. I gassed again where U.S. 36 meets I-70 at Byers and cruised on up to Alma, arriving about 12:15 p.m.
Tim and I had lunch at the South Park Saloon and I spent the next three days mostly hanging out and taking a couple of short rides.
Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, I headed home, leaving Chateau Balough about 10 a.m. and drawing rein about 6 p.m. at the Clarion motel in Garden City, Kans.
Wednesday was spent boring a hole in the wind until I reached Springfield, Mo. where I returned to the motel I’d visited two years earlier.
I left Springfield at sunrise yesterday – I hate riding east at sunrise – careening through traffic on I-44 before angling south and east toward home.
Maria had left the garage door open and I dropped my sidestand in the garage about 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I expected identical performance to my old Zumo 550, but was pleasantly surprised to discover they’ve upgraded the firmware and my new unit announces street/road names and destinations by name. How convenient!
And, more importantly, all of the linkage to XM-Sirius satellite radio, weather and traffic resides in the ancillary XM receiver unit, so there was no need to call XM and re-synch the new Zumo. All I had to do was put it into the cradle and voila! it displayed all of my XM and premium XM stuff.
I do, however, still need to update the maps on this unit – something I did on my old unit a week or so ago – but that’s not a pressing matter and something I can get around to in a week or so.
The firmware upgrade is kind of surprising, because I thought Garmin had abandoned the Zumo 550 in favor of newer models.
Friday, September 02, 2011
It was 66 years ago today that representatives of Emperor Hirohito, the Japanese government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters signed the instrument of surrender aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II.
Among the hundreds of sailors, soldiers, Marines and civilians watching the proceedings was a young LIFE magazine correspondent from Zionsville, Ind. – Bernard Clayton Jr.
Clayton, 94, author of best-selling bread baking cookbooks, a fellow alumnus of The Indianapolis News, and father of my boyhood friend Jeff Clayton, died March 28 in Bloomington.