Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Steve!


My younger son Steve drew his first breath on Oct. 31, 1970.

He’s grown into a fine man, good husband and terrific father and I’m very proud of him.

They know what (or who) they like


Here are a couple of signs (boxed in red) that I noticed on the door of a rural Mississippi gas station where we refueled en route to Sturgis, Miss., yesterday.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of these “We have the right to refuse service to anyone” signs, but they were not uncommon – even in Indiana – when I was a kid in the 1950s. I remember seeing one in a little café on Main Street in Delphi, Ind.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was code for “We don’t serve black people (or any other racial or ethnic group we don’t like).”

The “No sagging” sign refers, of course, to the fashion statement adopted by many black youth of wearing their pants below their underwear line.

The place also sells guns, ammo and fishing supplies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Amazing day


I rode shotgun with BMW friend Charlie Parsons today as we drove 244 miles down to Sturgis, Miss. and Craig Vechorik’s Bench Mark Motors to pick up Charlie’s 1939 BMW R12.

The bike needed transmission work and new tires and, in the process, Craig fixed a whole bunch of other things that weren’t right, including the exhaust headers that didn’t let the centerstand fold up properly.

Vechorik is the premiere restorer of pre-1970 BMW motorcycles and his personal collection is a wondrous thing to behold.

LAH 72The first thing I noticed when he led us into his display room was this 1942 R75 with sidecar done up in the livery of the Craig Vechorik's 1942 BMW R75 in the livery of the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.

It’s painted a panzer gray with a special flat finish paint.

vech sign


Here’s the distinctive sign out front of Craig’s place.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reality can be scary

It’s so easy to think of abortion as a women’s rights issue… until you confront the reality of this callous and cowardly destruction of human life.

I’m not going to waste my vote on Randall Terry, but I applaud his crusade against abortion.

Friday, October 26, 2012

GTFO, U.N. observers–you have no authority here

The United Nations plans to send 44 election observers to look for human rights violations all over the U.S. on Nov. 6.

Texas has already said they’ll be arrested and jailed if they try to interfere with the voting process in the Lone Star state.

They apparently don’t know we invented the concept of modern free and democratic elections.

No Arkansas cities are on the list, but they apparently think voting in Indianapolis bears watching.

Here’s the list of observers and cities.

I fervently hope President Romney will get us out of the U.N. and get the U.N. out of the United States.

We’ve seen this before…

This is how a cult of personality works. In Germany, they called it the Führer Principle.

Close, but no cigar

jimmy miller

Scrolling through my online copy of the Carmel Pine Cone this morning, I noticed this story about the Nov. 1 performance of the perennially reconstituted Glenn Miller Orchestra in Pacific Grove, Calif.

Unfortunately, whoever put the page together didn’t realize the photo of Glenn Miller isn’t Glenn Miller at all.

It’s a promotional still of Jimmy Stewart in the title role of the 1954 movie, “The Glenn Miller Story.”

This is the kind of thing that happens when your staff is too young to know the difference between one of the most famous actors of the 1940s and ‘50s and one of the most famous big band leaders of the 1940s. And this is why you need older eyes to look for details like this before you go to press.

I suspect the paper has already been deluged with reader comments about this gaffe.

Here’s the photo of Glenn Miller that the Stewart pose copied:


Thursday, October 25, 2012


2012 ballot

I just got a look at the way the presidential candidates will be displayed in the voting machines for my county and am wondering how the order was decided.

Obama is listed first and Romney is listed fourth out of five. The candidates are not arranged alphabetically by name or by party.

Who the hell came up with this arrangement?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More straight talk from Clint


SONY DSCI bought a two-pack of Hostess Cupcakes yesterday as a dessert for my Subway sandwich.

I imagined I was in for a rich chocolaty treat because they look so damned inviting.

I was wrong. It tasted flat and nasty. So nasty that I threw the second cupcake away.

It was a singularly unsatisfying experience.

No wonder the Hostess Company filed for bankruptcy – for the second time in two years – in January.

Ever use one of these?


This is a Keuffel & Esser slide rule, just like the one I have in a box in my closet and am too lazy to drag out and photograph.

I’ve had it since my high school days when my physics and chemistry teacher Charles Geheb taught us how to use this handy little calculating device. Serious science geeks wore one of these on a belt scabbard, just like an SA or SS dagger in the Third Reich.

The reign of the slide rule as a scientific calculating tool ended abruptly in 1972 with the introduction of the HP-35 pocket scientific calculator by Hewlett-Packard. My brother-in-law Bob Teerman was in architecture school at Purdue University at the time and had the first HP-35 I ever saw. I recognized it as the breakthrough product that it was at the time.

I’m hanging onto my old K&E slide rule out of nostalgia and the realization that it doesn’t need batteries and will still be functional if a nuclear magnetic pulse or solar storm wipes out all of our electronic devices.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Poor sensitive, neurotic Pete


Pete, who will be seven next month, is the sweetest, most affectionate dog I’ve ever known.

He was born Nov. 6, 2005 on a farm just outside Crawfordsville, Ind. His dad was a miniature Australian shepherd and his mom was a full-size Aussie. We brought him home six weeks later on Dec. 17. He was Maria’s Christmas puppy and was full of fun. He drove Ruthie, our older dog, crazy but probably added some years to her life by forcing her out of her couch potato ways.

But Pete has always been timid and easily spooked. Maybe if he’d had a few more weeks with his mom and his littermates he would have had more confidence.

Over the years, he developed some quirks, like studying the sky and going into a frenzy of barking if a jet contrail defaces an otherwise clear blue sky. And when he hits the back yard, he almost always heads for a spot on the chain link fence on the west side of the yard where he bites the fence and barks hysterically for a minute or two.

He has also developed a habit of pacing back and forth on the back porch, peering into the dog-level windows at us and barking non-stop.

We’ve worried that his barking is disturbing the neighbors and one of them mentioned it the other night.

So Maria determined we need to fit Pete with a bark collar that will shock him into comparative silence.

We used one of those on Ruthie and she resented the hell out of it. In fact, she went up to our bedroom and pissed on our bed in protest. Fortunately, it was a waterbed and was easily cleaned, but we got the message and used it sparingly.

I think we sold that bark collar, or it quit working and got thrown away. Anyway, I found a $120 unit on sale for $26.99 at today and ordered one.

I wish it hadn’t come to this because I’m afraid that Pete will decide we don’t love him anymore. Yes, he’s that sensitive.

So I’m going to let Maria put the thing on him. I don’t want my little buddy to blame me for it.

Foward, indeed


The compound stupidity is amazing. Who’s the bigger moron – the person who produced a bunch of Obama t-shirts misspelling “FORWARD,” or the unconscious sheep who are willing to wear them in public? Or the rally organizer who put them behind the speaker?

Or maybe it’s ebonics.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I can hear Liberal heads exploding already…

This piece in American Thinker by Steven Rittenberg, M.D., should be required reading for every Liberal. An excerpt:

An important aspect shared by liberalism's true believers is their self-flattering conviction that they are good, smart, better in every way than non-liberals.  Infantile rage results when infantile fantasies go awry.

Almost any Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd column is illustrative of the grandiose self-regard and rage of frustrated infants in grown-up bodies.  Notice the glee expressed when Joe Biden, the "elder statesman," behaved like a six-year-old.  They loved it!  Tantrums are a way helpless children sometimes force concessions from adults.  It is the effort by the powerless to coerce the powerful.  Bullies who compulsively smile and address the objects of their bullying as "my friend" are actually cowards.

Read more:

Back in business

The replacement 64GB solid state drive arrived in this morning’s mail and now, after about six hours of loading Windows XP, 116 updates, and a shitload of other software, I have my netbook close to where it was when the last drive crashed after less than a year of use.

This is my first blog entry on the newly revived netbook.

It comes on the 5th anniversary of the day we closed on our Arkansas house and on the birthday of the late great Timothy Leary.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Renate’s album (continued)

renate teacher

Renate Schmidt’s inscription on the back of this photo identifies the woman as “My beloved teacher, Fraulein Essen,” along with the notation “K.L.V. Lager Buchdovnetsch (sp?) 1942.”

KLV stands for Kinderlandverschickung and Lager means “camp.” The KLV camps were created for two purposes – to provide safe refuges for children from German cities that were being bombed and also for the indoctrination of youth by the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls.

I haven’t been able to pinpoint the location of the camp Renate references here, probably because I can’t be sure of the spelling, but I suspect it was in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.


In September 1940, the National Socialist regime launched a program of “Sending Children to the Countryside” (Kinderlandverschickung, or KLV). The main goal was to get children out of cities and away from strategic bombing, much similar programs in Britain. But the KLV also served the revolutionary transformation of youth: at KLV-run camps and hostels, children were exposed to paramilitary drills and political indoctrination, often for months on end, well away from the influence of parents, teachers, school principals. The National Socialist Welfare (NSV) was charged with arranging the transportation children in the first four grades of school; the Hitler Youth took in children in the fifth grade and higher.

This poster dates from 1943 and was published by the Reich Youth Leadership (Reichsjugendführung). The original is 60 x 40 cm.
Source: Deutsches Historisches Museum,

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Renate’s album (the detective work continues)

renate roadsHere’s yet another image from Renate Schmidt’s photo album from Germany.

I bought the album at a militaria show or an auction several years ago. It contains 40 black-and-white 3½” x 2¼” snapshots.

It’s starting to look like Renate may have lived in the Sudetenland – the portion of Czechoslovakia populated by a majority of ethnic Germans that was ceded to Germany has part of the infamous Munich Agreement in 1937.

The inscription on the back of this photo says, “This is how high the snow was in the winter of 1941 - 1942 in Bohemia.” The road signs are bilingual – the German place name on top and the Czech place name on the bottom.

At the time of the photo, the Sudetenland had become the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. This road junction was in southwest Bohemia about 65 miles east and north of Regensburg, Germany.

If Renate and her family lived in Bohemia, I suspect they fled to the west as the Red Army struck deeper and deeper into the Reich. Otherwise, her album probably wouldn’t have fallen into the hands of an American soldier to turn up years later in the United States.

renate google

This is where the road signs were photographed. The map shows today’s national boundaries.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The horror. The horror.

chicken paws

Blogger Laura Ledford found these at a supermarket in Charleston, S.C.

This is not food. I don’t care what anyone says.


pinecone obit

I get the online version of the Carmel (Calif.) Pine Cone every Friday. I signed up for it after the weekly paper ran an exclusive interview with Clint Eastwood about his appearance at the Republican National Convention last month.

I scan the whole paper, even the obituaries since I noticed that a recent obit subject had a Martinsville, Ind. connection.

There are two obits in today’s paper – well actually only one, since Donald Robinson’s obit was repeated under Merle Murphy’s headline.

This is the kind of screwup that gives editors fits because families tend to freak out over it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another reason to dislike the mainstream media

Here’s an interesting piece from Bryan Preston at PJ Media:

During the second presidential debate, President Obama uttered a line so full of ignorance that, if he were a Republican, it would be all anyone talked about afterward. Mitt Romney noted that gas prices are roughly double now what they were when Obama took office. Obama replied that gas prices were so low because the U.S. economy was about to go into collapse.

Obama never mentioned the effect of supply or demand on the price. He never mentioned the effect that Middle East instability has on the price of gas. He never mentioned that the mere possibility of an energy giant like the U.S. making the public decision to get serious about energy independence can bring prices down. He never allowed that his own energy policies have had any detrimental effect.

He blamed a collapse that had not happened yet for prices that had been lower for years than they are now.

What an economic buffoon.

Read the rest of it at:

Renate’s album (continued)

renatesled01Here’s another image from Renate Schmidt’s photo album from the late 1930s in Germany.

I bought the album at a militaria show or an auction several years renatesled02ago. It contains 40 black-and-white 3½” x 2¼” snapshots.

Several of the photos have inscriptions on the back. This one says, “A memory of the beautiful Bad Welchow - our sleighs.”

Bad Welchow, renamed Velichovky after World War II, is in the region of the Czech Republic that was known as the Sudetenland before the war.

Apparently Renate visited Bad Welchow after the Sudetenland with its majority of ethnic Germans was ceded to Germany as part of Neville Chamberlain’s infamous Munich Agreement in 1938 and became a Reich Protectorate.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jack’s new best friend


Jack and Samantha, an American Bulldog, are in love and having a wonderful time in the back yard. Jack has amazing agility and Sam has speed and power, making them an interesting and fun match.


Five years later…


This big oriental rug covered the century-old quarter-sawn oak floor in the living room of our house in Thorntown, Ind.

It’s been rolled up in the garage since we moved to Arkansas five years ago. We’re trying more efficiently organize the stuff in the garage, so I dragged the rug out yesterday afternoon, vacuumed it and shampooed it. I left it out overnight and it’s been in warm sunshine and gusty winds all morning, so it should be thoroughly dry by now. The plan is to plunk it down on top of the carpet in the living room.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Renate’s album


I picked up a small photo album at a militaria show or an auction several years ago that was created in the late 1930s by a young German woman named Renate Schmidt.

The album contains 40 black-and-white 3½” x 2¼” snapshots.

My best guess is that Renate is the young woman on the right in this photo. The inscription on the back indicates it was taken at some kind of family celebration in Duisburg, Germany, in 1938. The photos on the table are probably of brothers or husbands serving in the Wehrmacht. Everyone looks happy and prosperous because the war is still a year or so in the future and British and American bombs haven’t begun raining down on their homes.

(Duisburg is in the Lowland Rhine area at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers and near the outskirts of the Bergisches Land. The city spreads along both sides of these rivers.)

westwallThe only other photo among the 40 snapshots with a military connection is this shot of the Westwall, or Siegfried Line as the Allies called it, which stretched more than 390 miles along the western border of Germany from near the North Sea to Switzerland. It ran about 25 miles west of Duisburg and this photo shows an array of “dragon’s teeth” – concrete tank barriers.pig of renate

This photo has an illegible (to me) German cursive notation on the back. I appealed to a friend whose mother was Eva Braun’s seamstress for a translation. She found some of it puzzling too, but we think it involved a visit to the Krausener farm near Koblenz in July, 1936.

renateguyThis guy may be Renate’s boyfriend or husband. The round pin on his left lapel is the right size and shape to be a Nazi Party membership pin.

I hate being taken advantage of

I am very angry this morning because we are getting jerked around by the fuck_shittenant in our Indiana house.

I got a text message from the tenant on Friday, Oct. 5, informing me that he planned to mail the rent check, plus the $75 late fee, on Friday, Oct. 12. (The rent was due Oct. 1 and the late fee kicks in if it is more than 5 days late.)

As of this morning’s mail, I had not seen a rent check from him. Then he called at 10:18 a.m. to assure me that he put the check, plus the late fee, into the mail this morning. Maria and I picked up separate phones simultaneously to answer the call.

“You said you were going to mail it Friday. Why didn’t you?” I asked, my head exploding.

“We got really busy and we had soccer practice all weekend…” he offered.

Barely able to control my rage at being jerked around and played, I said through chenched teeth, “We really would like you to take this a bit more seriously. Maria, please handle this.” And I hung up.

Maria, however, had already hung up, so we left him hanging in the ozone.

Paying at mid-month pretty much guarantees that his cash flow will be compromised to the point where paying the November rent on time will be impossible.

It may be time to start looking for a new tenant.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bad Karma


Last week, a fire badly damaged the home of a new Fisker Karma owner, and authorities are saying that the electric car was the source of the blaze.

According to Fort Bend County, Texas, Chief Fire Investigator Robert Baker, a Fisker Karma started the fire that spread to the house.
“Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don’t know at this time,” he said. The car was a complete loss.
According to Baker, the driver arrived home in the Fisker, pulled into the garage, and less than three minutes later the car was in flames. It reportedly was not plugged in at the time of the fire and the Karma’s battery remains intact.
Right before the fire, the owner reported a smell of burning rubber.
“The car was brand-new,” said Baker. “He still had paper tags on it, so it was 60 days old at most.”
This is very troubling, obviously someone from Fisker Karma got in and stole some of GM's secrets.

Getting unblocked


lucas fuel treatmentAfter sitting in our driveway for about 10 months with a dead battery, my ‘94 Honda del Sol fired right up this afternoon.

That is after I went to AutoZone and bought a $100 battery and a bottle of Lucas Fuel Treatment.

I’ve been wanting to get it ready to sell for months but shifting scenarios of other people needing it and my lack of willingness to spend money on a new battery kept me blocked.

And I was worried about the quality of the gas in the tank, since I didn’t bother to add fuel stabilizer when I abandoned the del Sol in favor of the Lexus late last year. I had visions of a hopelessly inert piece of junk with no resale value sitting in the driveway for another six months or longer.

I got unblocked yesterday afternoon when our neighbor said one of his coworkers is interested in buying it. Well, I’m interested in a new camera and in getting this unused vehicle out of our driveway and off of our car insurance policy.

In the meantime, we did some serious reorganizing of the space in the garage, making it possible to move around with much greater ease. We still can’t get a car in the garage, but the bikes have more room.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The 13th of Dogtober


We met this happy little pup this morning at the ASU Farmers Market.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHis owners got him recently from an animal shelter, so they can only guess at his lineage – possibly a blue tick hound and a chihuahua.

He was very friendly and got lots of attention from market patrons who petted him almost non-stop.

We found ourselves next to his car as we waited for the light to change at Aggie Road and Stadium Boulevard.

In other dog news, I noticed this poster on the post office public notices bulletin board this week advertising three dogs available for adoption from the Brookland Animal Control folks.


Friday, October 12, 2012

The intellect

clint biden

In case you watched football last night

Bring it, Mofos

45As I got out of my car in the driveway just now, our cul-de-sac neighbor hailed me and said there are a couple of seedy looking characters going around the neighborhood ringing doorbells.

She said she caught them in another neighbor's garage, the door having been left open. They told her they were looking for gasoline for their car, which was down on Pine Log Road. She drove down and found no car, so she called the cops. A deputy or Brookland cop - couldn't tell which - pulled up in an unmarked pickup truck while we were talking.

I'm packing the .45 and ready to welcome them if they try to break in.

Last night

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

Proverbs 29:9

I pretty much never quote scripture, but this sums up last night’s vice presidential debate.

Republican political consultant Ed Rollins characterized Vice President Joe Biden’s performance as being like a loudmouthed drunk sitting next to you at a bar. He was rude, overbearing, boorish, arrogant, and a bully.

And that’s what all but the most deeply hypnotized Lefties will remember this morning when they recall what they saw last night. Whether Biden scored any debate points will recede into the background and fade into insignificance.

Most of us wanted a legitimate exchange of ideas. What we got was a polite, smart young Congressman suffering a fool for 90 minutes with little or no help from a conspicuously biased moderator.

Joe came to kick ass and, instead, screwed the pooch.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Big Bird




Today is the 12th anniversary of my departure from The Indianapolis Star and Gannett newspapers.

I don’t miss it one bit.

I quit/took early retirement after my mother died and left me a modest golden parachute.

Gannett had bought The Star a few months earlier and was systematically sucking the last bit of fun out of newspapering in Indianapolis.

Nearly all of my friends and colleagues have since quit or been laid off as Gannett’s suicidal economy measures make a once great paper irrelevant.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Two powerful ads

NRA calling

Just got a call from the National Rifle Association, of which I am a member, with a poll.

The first question: Who is the biggest threat to your gun rights – Barack Obama, Eric Holder, or Hillary Clinton?

WTF? They’re all criminals.

I laughed. The NRA woman laughed.

I finally decided on Obama, since the other two ostensibly work for him.

The real purpose of the call, I think, was to make sure I’m going to vote and to invite me to do an early renewal of my membership.

I passed on the membership renewal at this time, but assured her that we’ll vote in support of gun rights and the NRA.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A long-overdue repair

solid cedar chest 1

A solid cedar hope chest very similar to this one that I found online was among my mother’s oldest possessions.

About the only difference is that mom’s had wooden handles and lacked the brass strap over the center. It also had casters under the four legs. Other than that, the brass straps with their staggered studs, the hand cutouts under the front of the lid and the style of the feet tell me it was made by the Roos Manufacturing Co., Chicago, Ill., sometime in the 1930s.

There is a price of $35.00 penciled on the inside of the lid. My parents were married in April, 1939, so that price in ‘39 would equate to $580.09 in today’s money.

We lived in two houses during my time under their roof, moving to the second house in April, 1954. I can’t recall where the chest was in the first house – probably in my parents’ bedroom, since I can’t visualize it anywhere else. From 1954 until we cleared out the house in 2001 following my mother’s death, it stood at the top of the stairs outside my bedroom door.

Sometime during my youth, I did something to break loose the glue holding the block with the caster on the left front leg. My dad, who was not particularly handy with tools, made a game attempt to drive four nails from the inside of the chest into the loose block. I think the repair held for awhile before it failed and the chest has been lame ever since the 1950s.

Since last Friday was the 12th anniversary of mom’s death and since we have a new use for the chest in our guest room, it was a good time to see what I could do to fix it.

The glue surfaces were too rough for a glue repair, so I pulled out the nails and tracked down a couple of long deck screws left over from the construction of the deck behind our Thorntown house. My DeWalt impact driver made pilot holes and screw driving a breeze and the caster block is solidly back in place.

I like to think mom would approve.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Good Father vs. the Abandoned Son

Roger Simon has written an extraordinarily insightful piece about the Romney-Obama faceoff last week. You can read the whole thing here.

An excerpt:

Good fathering is the story of Mitt Romney’s life. He has five sons who are, by all accounts, devoted to him and vice-versa. These boys grew up with a father who, although wealthy and successful, worked like a demon, doted on them, and apparently devoted an extraordinary amount of time to charitable work, in which he also involved them. Indeed, I’ve never heard of a politician who did anything quite like it.

Almost the polar opposite, Barack Obama’s father abandoned him twice and then ended up an irresponsible drunken victim of multiple car crashes. This sad behavior precipitated a search by Obama that brought him in contact with several father surrogates, notably Frank Marshall Davis and Jeremiah Wright, that it would be hard to brand as anywhere near satisfactory. (Davis was a pornographer and about Wright the less said the better.) No Mitt Romneys there.

The sneakiest holiday

Today is Columbus Day - one of those postal holidays that I never see coming.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and Presidents' Day usually catch me unawares as well. Well, not so much MLK Day because there is always plenty of MLK retrospective stuff on TV to tip me off.

I usually discover these days are upon me when I notice the mail delivery is late, very very late, not there.

And, of course, I am unprepared for the U.S. Postal Service and the banks to take the day off, having made plans that involve one or both of these institutions.

New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, even Veterans Day, are no-brainers, just like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But not being Italian, I've never made a big deal about Columbus Day and it always sneaks under my scheduling radar.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

More than a half-century ago…


For no particular reason, I found myself thinking about my high school yearbook, the Oracle (Delphi High School, Delphi, Ind.) and the practice of subsidizing the annual publication through the sales of ads to local businesses.

And this photo came to mind. It’s senior Bill Waymire appearing to pick the lock on the front door of the local bank, the Union Bank & Trust Co. on a snowy day in the winter of 1959-60.

Checking the Delphi alumni website, I see that Bill earned a degree in aeronautical engineering technology from Purdue University in 1964 and served as a U.S. Army intelligence specialist in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Md. He was a retired plant manager from REA Magnet Wire in Buena Vista, Va. and he died at his home in Lafayette, Ind., in January, 2004 at the age of 61.

I was a freshman when he was a senior and remember him as one of the coolest of the upperclassmen.



Go to right freaking now. Click on the photo.

Friday, October 05, 2012


new yorker

This is the same smug leftist magazine that I dumped several years ago for their hateful attacks on President George W. Bush.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Going solar

solar charger top72

The solar panel charging system is installed in my new Nelson Rigg SLR-20 tank bag. It looks pretty cool and probably even works. (I haven’t taken a long ride yet to test it.)

solar charger lid72

The energy from the solar panel travels down a wire ( C ) poked through a special grommet in the lid and plugs into a battery in pouch ( B ). You put your cell phone, iPod or whatever needs to be charged in pocket ( A ), select the correct plug from pouch ( E ), attach it to the output cable ( D ) and connect it to the charging port on your device to be charged.

solar charger pocket72

Here’s the battery showing ( A ) charge indicator lights and ( B ) the “On” button.

bag bottom72

And here’s the lower compartment with gloves, earplugs, flashlight, binoculars, etc. – all the usual tank bag stuff.

Among other things, I expect this will make it possible for me to ride with my cell phone paired, via Bluetooth, with the Garmin 550 GPS. I’ll hear it ring and see the caller’s ID displayed on the GPS screen, but since I don’t have a microphone at this point, I’ll just let it roll over to voicemail and return the call at my convenience. I don’t especially want to have phone conversations while I’m riding, anyway.

Feeling better, thanks

simpsons_nelson_haha2I’m over my apocalyptic doom depression, for awhile at least.

I got in nice rides on both of my BMWs this morning and it isn’t even noon yet.

I rode the K65S to the post office, brought the mail home, and rode the K1200GT down to Panera where I picked up a couple of four cheese souffles for our breakfast.

But I suspect it was last night’s presidential debate that set the tone for an upbeat morning. Everybody seems to agree with my perception that President Obama imploded last night and Mitt Romney mopped the floor with him.

For me, the most significant analysis came from one of Obama’s minions speaking on FOX News when he opined that Romney won on style points but Obama had better arguments.

Guess what, Skippy. If you win on style points, nothing else matters.

I’m old enough to remember the Kennedy-Nixon debates in the 1960 campaign where the consensus was that Kennedy kicked Nixon’s ass. But most of the people who listened to the debates on the radio thought Nixon won. The visual impression of the candidates – style – came through to the TV audience, just as it did last night, making Kennedy then, and Romney now, the clear winners.

And just for the record, I thought Romney’s arguments had far more merit than Obama’s lame, worn-out talking points.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Gary Varvel nails it!


My old Indianapolis News compadre Gary Varvel posted this cartoon on Facebook minutes after the debate ended this evening.

Gloom and doom on a sunny afternoon

I’ve had a strong sense of foreboding all year, probably set off by the coming end of the Mayan calendar.

I’d pretty much gotten past the Mayan apocalypse scare, but there are other things that provide plenty of material for my subconscious to chew on and worry about.

Like the Nov. 6 presidential election. My gut tells me that Dick Morris is right – it will be a Romney blowout because:

  1. Not a single person who voted to John McCain last time is going to switch over to Obama, and
  2. The past four years have killed the enthusiasm of Obama’s base and empowered conservatives to take back their country, e.g., the 2010 midterm elections, and
  3. Despite the mainstream media’s refusal to cover stories that make the administration look bad, the word is getting out about the debacle in Libya, the “green” boondoggle, and more recently Univision’s coverage of more Fast & Furious guns turning up at crime scenes, and, of course border insecurity as underscored by the murder of another Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

But the spectre of our country going down the drain with another four years of unconstitutional corruption won’t go away and it is deeply unsettling.

And then there are any number of people predicting the collapse of the dollar and, with it, the world economic structure. (Yes, I bought some silver, but probably not nearly enough.)

We have a friend who has stockpiled more than a year’s worth of food and water, guns and ammo, and fuel at a secluded hideout, if we have to go into full survivalist mode. We’re invited to her shelter, so that’s some consolation.

Then today I found myself watching a History Decoded episode in which the Rosicrucians – known to me mainly through their Ephemeris publications for astrology – are said to be predicting apocalyptic solar flares either this year or next as part of a 13,000-year solar cycle.

The consequence supposedly is the destruction of all electronic devices and the end of civilization as we all try to function without the necessities of life.

Lump that on top of personal and family turmoil swirling around us and you can see how I have a hard time envisioning a good outcome for us all.

Oh, yeah, and the New Madrid Fault just a few miles northeast of us is overdue for a cataclysmic earthquake.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

nr mounted

The Nelson Rigg SLR-Sport Strap Mount Tank Bag arrived about 5:30 p.m. and I had it secured to the bike an hour later.

The single rear strap was a problem because there is no central attachment point for it under the seat that will also allow the seat to fasten securely. The old Marsee had a long rear strap with two snaps that was secured to the bike with two body panel screws. At the moment, the single back strap is secured to the rubber belt that holds the tool kit in place, but that’s only temporary.

I just realized that I could reinstall a length of the old strap with its two attachment points and secure the new one to the middle of the old strap between the two body panel screws. That will be a job for tomorrow.

The bag is boxy and sits a bit higher than the Marsee. It came with a clear map case but I doubt that I’ll ever use it because it covers the solar panel lid and, besides, I have GPS and just about never use a map, especially since I need reading glasses to see a map.

I’ve shifted everything important from my old bag to the new and there’s still a little room left over.

old marsee

The old Marsee bag.

marsee hole

You can see the back pouch fabric is coming unraveled and is not repairable. That’s the consequence of a decade of UV exposure and use.