Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday morning report

jack before trim

We’re in a cleaning frenzy this morning, getting the house ready for company since my son Steve and granddaughter Lisa arrive tomorrow from Las Vegas.

The new dog door flap arrived via FedEx this morning and I fervently hope Jack will refrain from gnawing on it or yanking it out of its track once I get it installed.

He ripped the old flap out again a couple of days ago and consequently the back porch is full of mosquitos, many of which eventually find their way into the house. This will never do with company coming.

In the meantime, I drove down to the post office to collect our mail and photograph Postmaster Sandra Sandborn on her last day of work before she retires.

Sandra has been with the U.S. Postal Service more than 36 years, 12 of them at Brookland, and was the 2008 Arkansas Postmaster of the Year. She will be missed.

I’ll post the photo after it runs in the paper.

Here’s a photo of Jack before his summer trim. We can’t wait for his hair to grow back so he’ll look like an Aussie again.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Held hostage

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s almost 8 p.m. and the heat index is still 106° (air temp 96°).

The temperature sensor in my Lexus read 104° as I drove home from town at 2:53 p.m.

Being a prisoner of this damned heat wave feels eerily like being snowed in by an Indiana blizzard. Except for essential activities, we just hole up in our air conditioned house and dream of milder days when we can sit on the back porch, play with the dogs in the back yard, go for a motorcycle ride… But all we can do is just hunker down and wait for it to be over.

There were a few rain showers to our north and northwest earlier this evening but they missed us. There’s always a chance of rain, since there are pop-up showers all over northeast Arkansas this evening.

The good news is that, after spending about $350 to resurface the rotors and replace the pads, my brakes are buttery smooth now.

Charlie stopped by this afternoon on his way home from work to pick up the new tires for the K75S. The plan is to re-tire the bike at his place tomorrow evening, but the heat may make that an unwise decision. The Weather Channel says it will be 97° with a heat index of 105° at 6 p.m. tomorrow and Charlie’s shop is not air conditioned.

Next Sunday or Monday evening are expected to be slightly cooler, but I’m prepared to wait much longer if necessary. I’ve had the tires for several months already. Another month or two won’t matter.

But at the moment, I must undertake a mission of mercy. I’m drinking the last of the Coke Zero, which leaves none for Maria. Fortunately, the new Dollar General just down the road has 2 liter bottles of the stuff for a good price.

Nothing like a brisk, sweaty hike first thing in the morning


I took the Lexus to Gateway Tire this morning to have the brake rotors turned. My son Steve and granddaughter Lisa are coming to visit this week and I want to have the car in good shape for two runs to the Memphis airport and lots of to-ing and fro-ing in between. The pulsing of the brakes has been an annoyance for several weeks.

I had the car in for an oil change and lube and brake diagnosis last Thursday and determined my best option for the rotor work was to show up at Gateway when they open at 7:30 a.m. today. I was there at 7:25 but there were already three guys ahead of me and I was chagrined to learn my car won’t be done until around noon.

I had anticipated a much shorter wait and figured I’d just stroll across Caraway Road for an IHOP breakfast and come back and collect my car.

The prospect of a longer wait inspired me to strike out for Panera, about a half-mile distant as the crow flies. I picked the wrong route and ended up hiking twice that distance. (My route was dictated by a deep, weedy swale behind the businesses and shopping malls that front on Caraway, blocking my path to Panera.) Even though it was only 77 degrees, the humidity was about 80 percent, making for a sweaty march, punctuated by a clap of thunder from an ominous cloud. Fortunately, the only rain I saw was way over on the eastside of town (see photo).

I’m seriously considering asking Maria to meet me here for lunch so I can catch a ride back to Gateway, since the Weather Channel says it will be 98 degrees with a heat index of 106 by noon.

In the meantime, I’ll stay cool and amuse myself with Panera Wifi.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My kind of place

guns welcome02

This is the kind of business I prefer to patronize.

Gun-free zones scare the hell out of me because they invite attacks by armed criminals. I’m not big on boycotts, but I make a conscious effort to avoid businesses that ban guns.

Hey, Pete! Add a Memphis concert!

who tour

The Who just announced a North American tour beginning Nov. 1 in Sunrise, Fla. and ending Feb. 26 in Providence, R.I.

Unfortunately for us, the nearest concert venue is Nashville, Tenn., some 5 hours distant. Even so, it’s probably worth the effort.

The Who concert in Indianapolis in March, 2007 was the best live concert Maria and I have ever seen.

FWIW: Quadrophenia is my “desert island” album. I never get tired of it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No slaughterhouse for me, thanks


The sign on the left is on the door of Boscos Restaurant in Memphis, but it could be any place in Memphis that sells alcoholic beverages because it references a city ordinance.’

The sign on the right is in the front window of Grass Roots BMW Motorcycles in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Given recent events in Colorado and elsewhere, I feel decidedly uneasy patronizing a place that tells crooks and crazies that there is no one inside who is prepared to resist or thwart an armed attack. It just strikes me as an open invitation for bad guys.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Conversely, I feel right at home with the sign on the right. It tells me – and anyone with malicious intent – that this is a hardened target and bad behavior will likely be met with lethal force.

A few patrons of the theater in Aurora packing heat could have saved a lot of lives the other night, just like the old guy who broke up the holdup in the Ocala, Fla., internet café earlier this month.

An armed society is a polite society.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Belated birthday lunch at Boscos


Being a faithful patron of Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co. in Memphis, I got an emailed certificate for a free birthday lunch a couple of weeks ago, redeemable anytime during July.

Since Maria was off today, we drove to Memphis for lunch.

Here I am with my Wood Oven Planked Salmon – North Atlantic salmon marinated in a soy-pineapple glaze and roasted on a cedar plank and served with roasted asparagus. Also, my Boscos Mug Club mug filled with their very own Midtown Brown.

Maria had one of their Germantown Purist wood-fired oven pizzas – BBQ chicken and shaved red onions with smoked and whole milk mozzarella.

Damned fine lunch.

Thursday, July 26, 2012



Here’s Jack, exiting the dog door with his Friendly Fox. I really like the play of light in this HDR image. It reminds me of some of the surreal paintings of Salvador Dali.

This was before Jack’s extreme haircut and before he ripped the dog door flap from its moorings for the fourth time one day last week.

It happened as I was preparing to leave for the BMW MOA rally and I haven’t gotten around to re-mounting it. As a consequence, the screened porch is filling up with mosquitos and some are finding their way into the house. I killed two in the bathroom this morning.

Ruthie and Pete never bothered the flap. They just blew through it. Jack, being a puppy, gnawed at it. When he got big enough and strong enough, he discovered he could yank it out of the mounting track.

It’s about a 10-minute job to undo some screws and reattach the flap and I probably ought to do that before it gets crazy hot again this morning. In the meantime, I went online to www.petsafe.net and ordered a new flap.

I have no illusions about Jack respecting my expenditure of $49.50.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Too bad this guy wasn’t in the theater in Aurora, Colo. last Friday

OCALA, Fla. -- Surveillance cameras captured a botched robbery that ended with both of the armed men shot. It wasn't what they expected when they walked into an Internet cafe the evening of July 13 in Ocala.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said the two teens tried to rob the customers inside, but one man wasn't having it. In the video, you can see 71-year-old Samuel Williams fighting back.

"This guy kept popping. He didn't stop,” one witness who didn’t want to be named said. “He just kept popping, so I think he shot both of them and then they managed to get out of the door and started scrambling out the door, but we were so shocked. It happened so fast that we couldn't hardly move."

Williams was one of about 30 customers in the Palm Internet Cafe when the two suspects walked in. Because of him, everyone inside was safe. The armed teens, one with a gun and one with a bat, were chased out the door. Both were shot.

"After he started firing, they took off,” sheriff's office spokesman Judge Cochran said. “They fell on top of each other trying to get out of the café."

Davis Dawkins, 19, and Duwayne Henderson, 19, stopped by the hospital on their way to jail.

Both face charges of attempted robbery with a firearm and felony criminal mischief. Dawkins was released from jail Sunday on $11,000 bond, while Henderson was released Tuesday on $31,000 bond, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said Samuel Williams has a concealed weapons permit, and will most likely not face charges thanks to Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pathetic patch of the day


This is the patch from the 2012 BMW Motorcycle Owners of America International Rally that concluded Sunday.

I could find no one who could explain the “Howlin’ at the Moon” theme. Since the new moon was on the 19th, there was virtually no moon to howl at.

Also, I am chagrined to note that due to BMW’s anal retentive attitude about the use of their name, the patch and pin reflect the organization’s new identity as simply the MOA. Pathetic.

The attendance was only about 5,200, even though several thousand more people registered in advance, but chose not to endure the blazing heat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Senior Discounts

This was forwarded to me by a friend at the BMW MOA Rally:

Keep this list - - - and Send a copy to your senior friends and
As I was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy's recently,
I heard him ask for his senior discount. The girl at the register
apologized and charged him less. When I asked the man what the discount
was, he told me that seniors over 55 gets 10% off everything on the menu, every
Being of 'that' age myself, I figured I might as well ask for the
discount too.
This incident prompted me to do some research, and I found a list of restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, travel deals and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements. I was actually surprised to see how many there are and how some of them start at the young age of 50.
This list may not only be useful for you, but for your friends and
family, too.
Dunkin Donuts gives free coffee to people over 55. If you're paying for a
cup every day, you might want to start getting it for free.
YOU must ASK for your discount!
Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
BostonMarket: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili's: 10% off (55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)
Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker's: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
Gatti's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: free smal l drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silver's: various discounts at locations (55+)
McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney's: 10% off Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)
Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks: 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 20% off (50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)
Modell's Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month
Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60 +)
Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
RogersMarketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 5% off (62+)
AlaskaAirlines: 10% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club
& special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
U.S.Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+
Car Rental:
AlamoCar Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
EnterpriseRent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending
on location (62+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
Over Night Accommodations:
CambriaSuites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30%
off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle BeachResort: 10% off (55+)
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S.National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services
including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket
SeaWorld Orlando, FL: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nati onwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).
Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)
NOW, go out there and claim your discounts - - - and remember --- YOU
must ASK for your discount --- no ask, no discount.

BMW MOA Rally recap


Last weekend’s 2012 BMW Motorcycle Owners of America rally in Sedalia, Mo. will go into my memory book as my least favorite.

The venue was excellent – the Missouri State Fairgrounds – and the local people were gracious hosts who seemed genuinely glad to see us. I was accosted Wednesday evening in the Walmart parking lot, while loading my $10.71 canvas chair, by the president of the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce who welcomed me to town and made sure I knew he was the guy who spearheaded the effort to bring the rally to town. The rally was well organized and, with the exception of the horribly mismanaged shuttle operation, was among the best. (At least two people suffered minor injuries when they fell off of the shuttle trolleys. I witnessed one of the spills.)

But it was all for naught, as far as I was concerned, because of the insanely hot weather. The image above is of my Garmin Zumo 550 on Thursday afternoon when the official temperature hit 104° with a heat index of 108°. I rode up to Sedalia on Wednesday, arriving about 1:45 p.m. and very nearly suffered heat exhaustion putting up my tent in the blazing sun.

Thank God and the Indianapolis BMW Club for the shade provided by the club’s canopy and an ample supply of bottled water!

Wednesday night was stifling and I quickly stripped off my tent’s rainfly. It remained off most of the rally, except for a brief period of showers Thursday morning.

Trying to sleep while bathed in sweat is not my idea of a good time. My sleeping bag stayed in its stuff sack until about 4 a.m. Friday when the temperature finally dropped into the 70s. The only thing that made sleep possible in that heat was the extreme comfort of my new Big Agnes Q-Core air mattress. It clearly is the most comfortable air mattress I’ve ever used and the CampTek inflator worked flawlessly. My only complaint is that I have yet to master the technique of deflating the mattress well enough to get it back neatly into its stuff sack. I’m either going to have to master complete deflation or buy a slightly bigger stuff sack.

The heat was made bearable by the fact that the vendor buildings were very well air conditioned. There was plenty of good food available on the grounds including excellent barbecue and great ice cream. One place advertised “plate-size breaded tenderloins.” That’s a Hoosier delicacy unknown in Arkansas, so I was eager to get my mitts on one. Unfortunately, it was substandard. They could learn a lot from the tenderloin experts at the Spartan Inn in Wingate, Ind. or Stookey’s Family Restaurant in Thorntown, Ind.

Sedalia is close to Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the Stealth bomber fleet. We were treated to a fly-by of one of the bat-winged bombers late Thursday afternoon. And the guy who does the anvil shoots at the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo., did an anvil shoot at 4 p.m. every day of this rally.

I can usually gauge how much fun I’m having by the number of photos I shoot. I only shot about 50 photos at this rally and never got out the GoPro HD video camera I packed.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed camping with my Indianapolis BMW Club friends, renewing old friendships and meeting folks who joined the club after Maria and I moved to Arkansas five years ago.

The internet café in the ‘MOA Country Store building was tiny and the struggling air conditioning made it even more uninviting. Ditto the charging station there.

So I rode a couple of miles each morning to breakfast at the Sedalia Panera Bread Co. The food was great and I could get my Wifi fix in comfort.

Arriving a day before the rally opened afforded me a good spot to pitch my tent, but it made the rally last a day longer than I really cared to be there. I was glad to strike the tent, pack the bike and head for home about 7 a.m. yesterday.

I paused for breakfast yesterday at a McDonald’s somewhere east of Springfield, Mo. and was invited to sit with an older couple from Alabama. It turned out that the woman won the Oldest Female Rider Award at the BMW RA Rally a month ago at Copper Mountain, Colo.

I’ll keep an eye out for them if I make it to the Return to Shiloh or Falling Leaf rallies this fall.

Just for the record, I rank this rally experience close to the 2003 MOA rally in Charleston, W.Va. It was the organization’s first and only “urban” rally and was spread out all over town. It was the only rally Maria has experienced and I think it soured her on the whole idea.

Crude but catchy

I woke up Sunday morning with this song stuck in my head.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home again, home again…


I rode home from Sedalia, Mo. today – arrived at home at 1:47 p.m.

It was an uneventful and not terribly hot ride. Now I’m going to take a nap.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rally report


I’m enjoying breakfast and Wifi at the Sedalia, Mo. Panera and watching this little boy being fascinated by the BMW rider at the next table. I caught him here at the end of a wave.

The weather lightened up on us a little yesterday with breezes and temperatures in the low 90s. We have 38 club members here at the rally, which may win us something in the Percentage of Club Membership At the Rally competition. Good sleeping weather last night, but it’s gonna get hot again today and tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Beats walking


Riding the shuttle in 104 degree heat with Wayne and Peggy Garrison and Dave Stech.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bright idea


My bike is much more conspicuous in traffic now with new high output LED bulbs in the MotoLights driving lights.

Just call it $130 worth of insurance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


A BMW riding friend has come down with a very nasty case of shingles. I got this email this morning and am sharing it as a cautionary tale to everyone who ever had chickenpox.:

To all my friends (particularly over 60 or someone you know over 60),
I want you to know how debilitating shingles is. I've had it for the last 10 days and it's got some more time before its over. I happen to have in the head area and the shooting pains in the right side of my head bring me to total incapacitation.
It started 9 days ago as some bumps on my forehead and slight flu-like symptoms for the first three days and progressed to more severe flu feelings. Then I had headaches with the flu at day 5. The flu-headaches added shooting pains in the right ear, temple along with extreme scalp sensitivity on my right side. (I couldn't brush my hair)
The only way I have felt comfortable after day 5 was to lie flat on my back. I feel good enough to get up but the "shooters" begin about 5 min after I get up and they are like I stick my finger in the light socket. But I feel the "shooters" in my head not my fingers.
I've tried to time the intervals and it seems they come every 5-7 seconds. The fear of the known pain wears me out  along with the pain experience is debilitating. Sat and Sun I spent 75% of the day in bed.
I have to go back to work in 36 hrs and I'm terrified it won't stop soon. I take Zovirax and don't know if it helps. I'd hope it does if this thing is potentially worse if I didn't take it.
The point of all this, friends, is that you want avoid what I'm going through.  I don't care that the vaccine is expensive - get it anyway. I don't know what the efficacy of the vaccine is. If it could prevent you from getting this ------

I had a milder case of shingles in June, 2008, so I have some limited appreciation for what he is going through. I also recommend the vaccine. If you can dodge this bullet, you really ought to. If you had childhood chickenpox, there is about a 50 percent chance you’ll get shingles by the time you’re 70. I was 62 at the time.

Walmart parking lot, Jonesboro, Ark.


I’m not bold enough to photograph the bizarre people I see in Walmart, but the parking lot is fair game.

Monday, July 16, 2012

News flash to the gay community and the Left: You’d be surprised how many people see this as a reason to support Chick-fil-A


Equality Matters continues to track the anti-gay donations made by Christian-run Chick-fil-A, finding that in 2010 the fast food chain gave nearly $2 million to groups like the Marriage & Family Foundation, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council. Chick-fil-A gave a similar amount in 2009, and an additional $1.1 million over the six preceding years, so in total, the company gave over $5 million to anti-gay organizations between 2003 and 2010. Groups like the National Organization for Marriage and One Million Moms continue to be unsurprisingly silent about whether Chick-fil-A should instead “remain neutral in the culture war.”

Revised forecast for Hell


The Weather Channel forecast now calls for even more heat at the BMW MOA International Rally in Sedalia, Mo. this week.

Diagram this sentence. Oh, yeah, you don’t know how, do you?

What's wrong with this sentence?
"The parade of RVs pull out in front of us."
The writer succumbed to the error, made ever more popular by brain-dead broadcasters, that the verb should agree with the most recent noun, not the subject of the sentence.
In this case, the subject is "parade" so the verb should be singular - "pulls."
Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nothing to see here…


I drove over to Frierson Lake State Park this afternoon to try out my Tasco Offfshore 7x50 binoculars, there being no vistas of any consequence anywhere near our house. (The one thing I hate about living here.)

Turns out there was nothing to look at. The park was practically deserted and there were no boats on the lake – something that I found hard to comprehend, since it was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon in July.

The binocs work fine, but all there was to see was water and trees and a few stumps sticking out of the lake.

Looking forward to four days in Hell

moa weather

This is the weather forecast for the four days of the 2012 BMW MOA International Rally late this week at Sedalia, Mo.

Undaunted by last year’s disastrous infernal heat wave at Bloomsburg, Pa., the geniuses at the  ‘MOA decided we would enjoy central Missouri in July. If I hadn’t already paid $100 for a sweepstakes ticket, which includes my admission fee, I would skip this one too and just wait until next year and Salem, Ore.

I predict people will stay away in droves and those who do show up will have nothing good to say about the venue choice.

X rides again


My son Sean and his friends performed yesterday afternoon at Centaur Guitar in Portland, Ore., playing songs of the seminal LA punk band X.

That’s Sean on the right, playing the role of John Doe on bass, with Morgan Grace as vocalist Exene Cervenka, Geoff Clarkson as Billy Zoom on guitar, and Greg Odell as DJ Bonebreak on drums.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Birthday beer run


It’s my 67th birthday and Maria is grilling a salmon steak from the fabulous cache of salmon Sean and Ruth sent us for Christmas.

I was out of beer, so I made a fun beer run up to the county line liquor store for a 12-pack of Budweiser, the most popular import beer in Ireland.

It was 67 years ago today that Robert Oppenheimer’s boys hoisted the first atomic bomb to the top of a steel tower in the New Mexico desert. It was on a Saturday. They lit up the desert with the world’s first atomic explosion the following Monday, so I am two days older than the Atomic Age.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A sure winner as a VP pick

Allen West is my pick for Romney's VP. By funding an anti-Allen West Super PAC, George Soros and the Left just told us who they fear the most.

It’s Friday, the 13th



Walt Kelly’s Pogo never let a Friday the 13th pass unnoticed. Sometimes, it was just a panel about Friday the 13th falling on a Tueday or some other day besides Friday.

This is from Aug. 13, 1965.

Pogo was clever and subtle and I wish Kelly was still alive and drawing today.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

UPDATE: A happy ending


Our Pete ran away because of a Fourth of July fireworks incident in which a beefwit neighbor shot a bottle rocket over his head. He was gone for 43 hours before he turned up on the porch of some friendly folks about 6 blocks from home who read his tags and contacted us.

Pete and Quince are about the same age. If you live in Irwin, Pa. or know anyone who does, do whatever you can to help Quince get back home.


quince found

O, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! Quince was found this morning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A dream within a dream

John Flora, shortly after moving to 917 E. Columbia St. in the spring of 1954.
I usually don’t remember my dreams. They vanish like smoke when I open my eyes. And, unlike a lot of people, I don’t assign any particular meaning to them. I was on a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course in Arcata, Calif. in August, 1971, when I heard Maharishi Mahesh Yogi posit that dreams arise from the nervous system releasing stress and are of no consequence. It made sense to me then and it makes sense now.
That said, I had a dream this morning that hung on with uncharacteristic tenacity. I dreamed I woke up in my upstairs bedroom in the house I grew up in at 917 E. Columbia Street, Delphi, Ind. It was sometime in the mid-1950s, probably around the time my mother took this photo in the summer of 1954.
And as a boy I was waking from yet another dream. I realized that the experiences of that past 50 years – high school, college, marriage, two sons, a career in newspapers, divorce, 300,000+motorcycle miles, a second marriage, the past five years in Arkansas – had all been the dream of an 8-year-old me. None of it had happened yet and I was still a kid about to go into the fourth grade at Monroe Street Elementary School. It was the first term of the Eisenhower presidency, space flight was just science fiction, there was no Internet or cable TV and I hadn’t even been fitted for my first pair of glasses yet.
I was just starting to marvel at the opportunities all of this knowledge of the future represented when I realized I was actually waking up in my bed in northeast Arkansas, listening to my two Australian shepherds stirring. And I was three days short of my 67th birthday.
It was interesting while it lasted…

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



Here’s our next-door neighbor Sophie at age 6 or so with her dad, who passed away last evening at St. Bernards Hospital in Jonesboro.

I had the honor of digitizing and enhancing 30 of her favorite images of her dad today for use in a funeral home slide show. This is one of them.

Just a reminder… Even attorney generals can go to prison.


John Mitchell, attorney general under Richard Nixon, served 19 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury charges in connection with his role in the Watergate scandal. Mitchell, who served as AG from 1969 until 1972, died in 1988 at the age of 75.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sorry, Jack


We decided to have Jack shorn in the interest of keeping him cooler in the blazing Arkansas summer heat, but I wasn’t prepared for the sight of a nearly shaved Aussie when he emerged from the back of the vet’s office.

I wasn’t prepared for the $191 grooming bill, either.

That’s a lot of money to make an Aussie look silly.

In this morning’s mail


I won the Ebay auction last week for this 9” wide, 3⅛” tall serving bowl. It’s from the Wallace China Westward Ho Pioneer Trails series and was made sometime in the 1940s or ‘50s.

It was shipped via U.S. Mail and the tracking info led me to believe it would be delivered today, but there was nothing in my mailbox – no yellow slip or parcel box key – to indicate it arrived. But when I got home and checked the USPS tracking site, it said there was an unsuccessful attempt to deliver it at 8:40 a.m.

WTF? There was no delivery attempt notice on our front door. So I drove back to the post office and asked soon-to-be retired Postmaster Sandra what was up. Turns out they had it in the back because the box it shipped in was too big to fit into any of their parcel boxes. The problem was that the woman sorting the mail, neglected to put the yellow claim slip in our regular post office box.

Whatever. I have it now and it is massive and magnificent.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Homeward bound


Austin and Megan are on their way back to Indiana, having left about 11 a.m. (CDT) today.

We had a great time and enjoyed meeting Megan.

A smart guy with a practical agenda

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday stuff


Here are Megan and Austin experiencing Beatles Park in downtown Walnut Ridge, Ark.

For an explanation, read this:


We were in Walnut Ridge this afternoon for sightseeing, lunch at a Mexican restaurant and to visit Ma and Pa’s Flea Market, which is listed as one of the top 50 flea markets in the country. It’s my second time there and I am even less impressed than before.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday stuff

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe took Jack to the vet this morning for his Bordatella booster shot and to have his rash looked at.

Dr. Heather Curry said Jack has a nasty staph infection on his skin around his privates. She and an assistant shampooed the area and the gave us an antibiotic and a topical spray to administer multiple times a day. We have an appointment for Monday morning to bring him in for a summer trim and to shave the affected area for easier application of the spray.

This afternoon, we took Austin and Megan to Memphis for lunch at Boscos where I visited my Boscos Mug Club mug and Austin was introduced to Boscos own Midtown Brown ale.


Then we drove to the Brooks Museum of Art where we ogled paintings and sculpture and objets d’art. Some impressed me, most didn’t.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI liked the detail on this plaster sculpture enough to go rogue and ignore the “no photography” rule.

Thursday, July 05, 2012



Austin and his girlfriend Megan are visiting from Indiana. They picked a hot-ass day to go sightseeing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My new favorite stamp (the one on the right)


I recently discovered this set of stamps that was released on June 12.

I’ve been a Miles Davis appreciator since my high school days, as has my jazz musician son Steve and probably his rocker brother Sean.

Why in hell the U.S. Postal Service chose to pair Miles with French chanteuse Edith Piaf is a mystery to me, even after reading the fluff on the back of the stamp sheet. I can think of any number of American jazz greats, like Charles Mingus or Charlie Parker who would be more appropriate matches.

Whatever. I bought a sheet of them. I’ll pay bills with Edith and save Miles for personal correspondence.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Big disappointment

AP People Andy Griffith

I always kinda liked Andy Griffith until he started shilling for Obamacare in 2010. He went from likeable to a stupid old feeb overnight.

I will not miss him.

Another Colorado fire victim

bmw fort collins fire

This is Jim Key whose Fort Collins home burned, mourning the loss of his BMW motorcycle.

Not to diminish the loss suffered by the hundreds of Coloradans in the recent fires, but a burned BMW motorcycle is a sad sight. And this puts a face on the tragedy.

Monday, July 02, 2012


I got suckered on this one. Snopes says it's bogus and originally circulated as documentation of a phoney iPhone charger meltdown. The actual cause of this damage is unknown to Snopes.

A friend sent me this series of photos over the weekend showing what happened to a Chevy SUV when the GPS battery exploded because of high temperatures inside the vehicle, which was parked in the sun.
We don’t know what brand the GPS was but the odds are it was a Garmin, since more than half of all GPS units sold last year were Garmins. (But, of course, it could have been a TomTom, Magellan or some Brand X.)
The lesson here is to get your GPS off of the windshield when you’re not using it this summer.
The other interior shots suggest a pretty substantial explosion that broke the windshield and generated a fireball that burned and melted the dashboard and overhead accessories.