Friday, November 30, 2012


tire change 02

The Subaru had a flat tire a few weeks ago, so I rolled out the mechanic’s stool and the air compressor to put on the spare.

Jackson, our neighbors’ 4-year-old, is fascinated by tools and all things mechanical, so he assisted.

Here he is supervising me as I crank up the jack. His mom, Sophie, shot the photo with her iPhone.

Naturally, I thanked Jackson for his help.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

44 years ago

Christmas, 1968

Sean, my firstborn, was only about six or seven weeks old for his actual first Christmas, so the Christmas of 1968 was the first one he had any real awareness of.

We lived in a townhouse apartment at 1306 Sandy Ann Lane in Indianapolis at the time.

Notice the gifts included his first musical instrument – a toy xylophone.



Meet the new mug, (not the) same as the old mug


Last Sunday was “Mug Day” for members of the Boscos Mug Club at Boscos Squared in Memphis. That’s the day new and renewed Mug Club members receive their mugs for 2013, which will spend the next year in racks above the bar, waiting for their owners to come in and have a beer at a reduced price. If you were a member in 2012, you get to take your 2012 mug home on that day.

boscos_0005[4]I was unable to attend last Sunday because we were in Indiana, so I drove down to Memphis this afternoon to meet my new mug.

Maybe I’ll grow to like it after I have a taste of Hop God Ale. One of the guys drinking at the bar opined that it looks like something from his grandmother’s kitchen. Maybe something to pour gravy out of. That’s not exactly high praise.

At least the first mug of Midtown Brown was free.

The 2012 mug, with its Mayan calendar motif, was a brilliant design and a very hard act to follow. Mine now resides in my stein collection display case here in my upstairs office.

This is what a REAL newsroom looks like

news52I saw a photo of a newspaper newsroom on Facebook a few minutes ago and I couldn’t get past the vision of cubicles.

Whoever came up with the idea of cubicles in a newsroom should be banished from print journalism forever (although they probably retired a long time ago).

This (substitute computers for typewriters) is what a real newsroom looks like – wide open with lots of give-and-take and cross-pollination of ideas among the reporters and editors.

This cubicle idiocy is now the rule, rather than the exception, at newspapers across the nation. It was present in the suburban bureaus of The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star, at the Crawfordsville Journal Review and at the Jonesboro Sun.

I think it’s stupid. It promotes isolation and inhibits camaraderie and makes a newsroom look and feel like a goddamned insurance office.

For the record, the guys in this photo of The News City Room are Terry Curry, who is now the Marion County Prosecutor in Indianapolis, and Phil Allen, who is probably retired from public relations by now. He moved to Colorado to do PR for the phone company decades ago.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Kerstan and Raph Bayless converse after the group photos on their parents’ porch Sunday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snowdrift Vanilla Porter

leinenkugelWe cruised the newish Walmart Supercenter in Lebanon, Ind., Friday evening.

The visit was ostensibly to pick up disposable plates, cups and plasticware for my in-laws’ Golden Wedding Anniversary on Sunday, and I was shopping for a wireless router so my in-laws could have Wifi at home.

At one point, we found ourselves in the beer, wine and liquor department. Earlier that evening, we’d had dinner with my stepson’s girlfriend and her parents at an Applebee’s where I got my first taste of Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter.

(After five years in Arkansas, living in a dry county, finding booze at Walmart seemed deliciously, wonderfully sinful.)

So when Maria pointed out a 12-pack of the stuff, I naturally had to buy it.

Here’s what Leinenkugel says about it:

Introducing Leinenkugel’s® Snowdrift Vanilla Porter™. Where roasted malts and real vanilla reveal layers of cocoa, coffee and caramel. With its creamy body and smooth finish, Snowdrift Vanilla Porter makes winter easy to drift into. Available November 1st - January 31st.

I like it. I really like it. I just had my first of the evening and, when I finish this blogpost, I’m going downstairs to have another.

I will, of course, need more to get through the winter – or at least to the Mayan apocalypse next month. I hope my favorite liquor stores have the good sense to stock it.

The gang’s all here

whole bayless clan

The entire extended Bayless family assembled on Gene and Sandra’s front porch Sunday afternoon for a group photo to mark Gene and Sandra’s Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy 50th Anniversary


We drove home last night from Thorntown, Ind. where we celebrated Maria’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary yesterday.

We organized all of the grandchildren for a group photo and here it is.


And here are the happy couple – Gene and Sandra Bayless.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Back home again in Indiana

We’re up in frozen Indiana for Maria’s parents’ 50th anniversary.
At the request of her brother Raph, we stopped at Boomland 10 miles east of Sikeston, Mo., and bought a big bag of fireworks for Raph and Deb’s sons Marek (left) and Lucien.
The bottle of bourbon is included in the photo just for effect.
We had a delightful dinner last night with Austin’s girlfriend’s parents and then met Lauri and Jim and their kids for brunch this morning at the new Crawfordsville Cracker Barrel.
I just installed a wireless router for my in-laws and will now turn my attention to other computer stuff to make their lives a little easier.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

At last–a freezer in the garage

Our new Maytag 15.8 cubic foot freezer is humming away in the garage, lowering its internal temperature to 0ºF.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe bought a freezer Sunday at the Home Depot with delivery scheduled for this morning. Sure enough, the phone rang about 7:45 a.m. with the driver announcing he would be here soon.
He unloaded the freezer and went on his way and I set about unboxing it. That’s when I discovered it was damaged. There was a puncture in the metal on the starboard side that, upon inspection, coincided with a hole in the cardboard packing box. I would live with a small dent, but this was through the enamel and would eventually rust.
So I phoned the Home Depot and, to my surprise, the woman in charge of deliveries hunted up a replacement, unboxed and inspected it and sent it our way pronto. The replacement freezer was in our driveway by 10:45 a.m. and I had it unpacked, leveled, door handle attached and running by 11 a.m.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think I would have gotten the same quick response out of Lowe’s on the day before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving thanks


I’m in an early Thanksgiving mood this afternoon and I’m thankful for a glorious warm sunny day, a fine German motorcycle to ride and a six-pack of Spaten Oktoberfest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMr. T’s Riverside, just over the St. Francis River in Missouri is my go-to place for good German beer and it made for a soul-satisfying ride.

I took back roads, riding east from Brookland on Ark. 230 to Dixie, which amounts to a few houses clustered around the intersection of Ark. 230 and Ark. 135.

I paused for a shot of my bike in front of the Dixie sign. (I think I’ve blogged it before.) Then I turned north on Ark. 135 and rode up to U.S. 412 on the east edge of Paragould where I turned east and rode the short run to Mr. T’s.

The guy behind me in line said he liked my German POLIZEI leather jacket, asked where I got it and was surprised when I told him it was only $179 from This jacket has won more compliments than any I’ve ever owned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I’m home, having poured three bottles of Spaten to fill a one-liter seidel.

What’s a seidel, you ask”

A Krug is an earthenware or stoneware beer mug with a handle. The litre version is called a Mass Krug. A glass version of the Mass Krug is called a Seidel -- this is the one you see in Munich beer gardens. Some people tend to call both the Mass Krug and the Seidel "steins". In fact, a Stein, or "Steinzeugkrug" is a stoneware beer mug with a hinged, thumb-tabbed pewter lid. It is widely believed that the lid was introduced as a hygiene measure after bubonic plague, or "black death", killed about a third of Europe's population in the fourteenth century. Some areas made lids on beer mugs compulsory after plagues of flies caused understandable concern about hygiene in the sixteenth century. Decorative steins, often with ornate relief decorations, became a symbol of status and can be quite collectable. However, some of the steins you'll find are modern corporate marketing gimmicks and have no connection to German beer whatsoever, including some that are produced by industrial lager giants like Anheuser-Busch and Coors. I'm not a fan of steins, as I think you can't appreciate the appearance of a beer if you drink it from an opaque vessel but there are many other websites dedicated to beer steins and stein collecting (see, for example, – From

A little morning romp with Jack & Sam

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mitch does it with style

mitch bike

Mitch Daniels, the smartest, most personable guy to ever occupy the Indiana governor’s office, opened a 60-mile stretch of the new I-69 extension, riding his Harley-Davidson from Evansville to Washington, Ind.

When complete, the I-69 extension will create an Interstate route diagonally across the state from northeast to southwest and create the first four-lane divided highway link between Indianapolis and Evansville.

Barred from seeking a third term by Indiana’s term limit law, Mitch will become president of Purdue University after the first of the year. His successor Mike Pence is a smart guy, but Mitch will be a hard act to follow.

Blogging, 1960s style


This is where it all started. The genesis of my blog was a cheesy little five-year diary that I bought in July, 1959 – the summer before my freshman year of high school.

It had a lock that was inconvenient, so I ripped it off.

I kept a daily log, condensed into four handwritten lines, from July 6 to Aug. 16, then took a break from journaling, making occasional entries until June 6, diary021960. From that point on until Dec. 31, 1963, I kept a regular daily account of the events in my life – mostly trivial, but most of the entries trigger a specific memory.

Like, for instance, on this date in 1960 (a Saturday) a tree service cut down the elm tree in our front yard – killed by the Dutch Elm Disease epidemic that swept through the U.S. at the time – and I went to the Roxy Theatre in downtown Delphi, Ind., with friends to see “The Time Machine.” It was a forgettable movie, even though George Pal’s special effects won an Oscar.

It’s astonishing how many memory triggers a teenage boy can cram into such a little book. There’s also a lot of embarrassing adolescent emotion there that can make me cringe a half-century later.

Here are a couple of pages with the embarrassing stuff redacted.

No excuse for stains and rings on tables


I haven’t been to the post office yet today, but the USPS online tracking says I have a package of 100 brand new Spaten beer mats waiting for me there.

I bought them on Ebay, throwing out a minimum bid on impulse and not expecting to win.

I like Spaten beer and I think their logo is cool, maybe because I’m a German history buff and it evokes images of the Reich Labor Service.

So now I have a lifetime supply of Spaten beer mats.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


waddells delphi

My dad bought a building on the north side of the courthouse square in Delphi, Ind., in 1955 for an insurance agency.

It was a very old building and had once been a tavern and hotel. When we explored the vacant upstairs, we found lots of interesting artifacts including a carriage clock and this bill of fare for Waddell’s Dining Hall.

Click on the image to see it larger.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tommy, can you see me?


This is Tommy at Lowe’s, cutting shelves for our new bookcases.

Rather than depend on a tape measure, I took one of the shelves to make sure the new ones were cut to the right length.

Tommy cut nine shelves from three 8-foot-long boards. None of them were exactly the same length. He couldn’t seem to figure out how to compensate for the width of the saw blade so they were all slightly short, but no more than 3/8 of an inch, so they should all be usable.

Based on our experience with Lowe’s carpet installation, precision just isn’t their thing.

My longtime friend Lonnie Miller, who lives in Lafayette, Ind., offered this observation:


I ran into the same thing at Von Tobels on Earl Ave. Found two things the kids don't get trained to understand. First, the run-out, or wobble of the blade at high speed makes the real world cut wider than the width of the blade itself. Then the kids make the initial measurement with the blade cranked up way too high for the thickness of the material being cut which makes the cut even wider. The safe bet is to figure the actual cut to be twice+ the thickness of the saw blade.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pete thoughts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s almost exactly 24 hours since Pete left us.

Maria said a prayer over him in the final minutes telling him to go into the Light and asking God to send an angel to guide his soul. Pete was a worrier and we wanted him to not be afraid.

He wagged his stubby little tail at the very last. It may have just been an involuntary muscle twitch, but I like to think he saw the angel or maybe my dad coming to welcome him. Dad loved dogs and would have thought Pete was “a dandy.”

Godspeed, Pete. We’ll meet again someday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stocking up on coffee


These 12 ounce packages of Starbucks coffee are normally almost $10 each, but my World Class Couponer stepdaughter Morgan scored them for $5.50 each today at Kroger.

And, yes, Sandra, we will share.

Pete Flora: Nov. 6, 2005-Nov. 15, 2012


We had to say goodbye to our beloved Pete this morning.

He nearly died in early August but rallied when we put him on a liver cleansing diet. It bought him another three months of life, but we knew his liver was in precarious shape.

He was unable to jump up onto our bed for the last few days. Maria noticed his abdomen was distended last night and it was worse this morning.

We took him to the vet this morning and Dr. Heather Curry determined his abdomen was full of fluid as a consequence of a completely failed liver. He might have lived another week or two with daily draining of the fluid, but there was no recovering and he would have been miserable.

I'm so glad that I lifted him onto the bed last night and he got to spend his last night sleeping with us and poking Maria in the face with his back legs.

He's over the Rainbow Bridge now, getting reacquainted with Ruthie, who died a year ago.

Pete was born Nov. 6, 2005 on a farm just outside Crawfordsville, Ind. His dad was a miniature Aussie and his mom was a full-sized Aussie.

He was the sweetest dog I ever knew and I will cherish his memory forever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The 1980 Janitor Calendar

janitor january

This is “Forgy” who was among the more colorful janitors at Washington State University in 1979 when Mark Moore and Bob Coronado created the 1980 Janitor Calendar.

Forgy was Mr. January.

I haven’t been able to turn up any information on what became of Coronado, but Moore went on to a distinguished career in film. Here’s a biography from IMDb:

Mark Moore grew up in Washington State. Before he entered Graduate school, Mark made the "1980 Janitor Calendar." He photographed a number of the more colorful Janitor's working at Washington State University.

He talked the University Press into publishing the calendar so the University could distribute the calendar to the Staff and Faculty. In return, he received copies of his calendar without paying for the printing.

He sent a cover letter and a copy of the calendar to every major Museum and Gallery in the United States. The cover letter asked the curator to give the calendar to the janitor of the museum or gallery, and asked that it be hung on their Janitor's room Wall for the Year of 1980.

After this was done, Mark contacted every major art critic and art magazine writer to visit the nearest art museum or art gallery of their choice and ask to see the calendar on the janitor's room wall.

Upon Completion of his Master’s Degree (Master of Fine Arts) in 1986 at WSU, Mark moved to Los Angeles.

Mark contributed to the growth and success of a small film production company, which was nominated for several Emmys and winning a Prime Time Emmy for "The Last Halloween" (1992) a CBS-TV/Hanna-Barbera Production. Working on all aspects of production projects from models, miniatures, producing, editing, visual effects and motion control, as well as working with camera, lighting and grip, he learned all aspects of production, which he took with him as he freelanced as a producer, producing several projects and feature films. Building a reputation for himself, Mark was asked to head up Physical Production at Digital Domain a new start-up visual effects company in Venice, Calif. Digital Domain (1993) was the brainchild of Scott Ross (ex-president of ILM) (Gorge Lucas's Industrial Light and Film), Stan Winston (a multi Academy award Visual Effect Director) and the third co-founder, James Cameron, (the Director of "Terminator," "Abyss," and "Alien. At Digital Domain some of the projects he oversaw were "True Lies,” "Apollo 13," "The Fifth Element," "Dante's Peak," "Interview with the Vampire" and Titanic" and many many other projects like "Terminator 2 3D" and Michael Jackson's "Ghost," the most expensive music video every made- 23 Minutes long – $23 million  and many commercials and music videos like the Rolling Stones "Love is Strong."

As Mark expanded his reach and joined Walt Disney (1997) as head of the Physical Production; he oversaw the Visual Effect for "Armageddon" directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys). Currently Mark works as a Professor in the Film Department at two local Universities. Chapman University at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles. Mark continues to work in the Film Industry, mentoring his students, collaborating with Movie Industry Professional such ASC (American Society of Cinematographers), SAG (Screen Actors Guild), DGA (Directors Guild), WGA (Writers Guild), IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and major vendors like Panavision, Mole Richardson, Rosco Int'l, Steadicam/Tiffin, J.L. Fisher and Chapman Leonard. Mark has had a long career working as a Cinematographer, Producer, Specializing in Visual Effects. Mark has collaborated with many Directors including Stan Winton, Albert Pyun, Spike Lee, Tony Scott, Michael Bay, John Glen, Neil Jordan, Roger Donaldson, Ron Howard, David Fincher, John Frankenheimer Kathryn Bigalow and James Cameron.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well, crap

The appliance repair guy just left after collecting $59.40 to declare that our free freezer won’t work in our garage.

Being a heavy duty commercial freezer, it draws 20 amps on startup which trips the circuit breaker on our garage outlets.

To use it, we would have to hire an electrician to rewire the garage. And being a 1999 model, it’s an energy hog and would cost us about $1 a day to operate.

So I’m advertising it on Craig’s List to get it out of the garage and recoup our $59.40 service fee.

If we want a freezer, we’ll just have to buy one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Starting to sound reasonable

There was a time when I would have considered this to be lunatic fringe stuff.

But given the criminal regime running the federal government, it doesn’t sound so nutty anymore. I’m proud to see my home state of Indiana and my adopted state of Arkansas are among those listed.

This comes from Yahoo News:

In the wake of last week's presidential election, thousands of Americans have signed petitions seeking permission for their states to peacefully secede from the United States. The petitions were filed on We the People, a government website.

States with citizens filing include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Oddly, folks from Georgia have filed twice. Even stranger, several of the petitions come from states that went for President Barack Obama.

The petitions are short and to the point. For example, a petition from the Volunteer State reads: "Peacefully grant the State of Tennessee to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government." Of all the petitions, Texas has the most signatures so far, with more than 23,000.

Of course, this is mostly a symbolic gesture. The odds of the American government granting any state permission to go its own way are on par with winning the lottery while getting hit by a meteor while seeing Bigfoot while finding gluten-free pizza that tastes like the real thing.

An article from WKRC quotes a University of Louisville political science professor who explained that these petitions aren't uncommon. Similar petitions were filed following the 2004 and 2008 elections. Still, should the petitions garner 25,000 signatures in a month, they will require an official response from the Obama administration.

From the We the People site:

The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it's sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.

Not everybody who wants to secede is polite enough to write a petition. Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County (Texas) Republican Party, wrote a post-election newsletter in which he urges the Lone Star State to leave the Union.

"We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity. But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity... Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years."



Irked because her freezer kept frosting up, our friend Susan decided she needed a new freezer and offered her old one to us.

Our Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator has long been a source of frustration because of its limited freezer capacity that forces us to jam stuff in so tight that it becomes a major project to locate and dig out any particular item that we think may still be in there.

We’ve talked about getting a freezer and were close to pulling the trigger at Sam’s Club on a small chest-type unit about a month ago, but Maria prefers an upright freezer for ease of access.

We helped Susan load her old freezer onto a trailer and she hauled it over to our house yesterday morning. It’s a honkin’ big 20 cubic foot Imperial commercial freezer that won’t win any prizes for its appearance, but should suit our needs perfectly.

I determined it needs a new $80 door gasket. After viewing a few how-to videos on YouTube, I realized I could probably do the gasket replacement myself, but I decided to call our appliance repair guys instead because I want an expert to give it a once-over to check for other problems.

We’re on standby for tomorrow, but it’s more likely the repair guy will come on Wednesday.

Now maybe we can do some serious business with our beef rancher neighbor.

In the meantime, our garage – which is still a work in progress – is looking more organized by the day with the addition of a wall full of storage shelves and the reorganization of boxes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our old beer fridge in its newest incarnation

beer fridge

This refrigerator, in its original plain beige paint scheme, was in the kitchen of the house we bought on South Pearl Street in Thorntown, Ind. during the winter of 2000-01.

We wanted a new fridge, so we moved this one to the garage where it served as a beer fridge for the next six years. When we tore down the garage with the intention of building a new garage/photo studio in the spring of 2007, we gave it to our friends Jim and Lauri Shillings. Jim said he’d like to paint flames on it, but other stuff got in the way.

Until recently. He sent me this photo of the now-ultracool beer fridge that lives in his shop. The addition of a bottle opener to the door was truly inspired.

Congratulations, Deb and Charlie


Our BMW riding friends Deb and Charlie celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary Saturday night at Upper Crust Pizza’s new location on Jonesboro’s southside.

It was great fun and the pizza was good too.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Don’t laugh this off. Watch the whole thing.

This is why I don’t trust the results of Tuesday’s election.

This guy wrote a program to skew the results of computer voting – a program that is virtually undetectable. He also believes it, or one like it, was used in the 2008 election in Ohio.

I’ve worried for years that electronic voting is too easily corrupted. And why wouldn’t it be corrupted, given the high stakes of a presidential election?

Friday, November 09, 2012



Samantha, a 5-year-old American bulldog, has come to live with us.

Earlier this week, a vet diagnosed her as incontinent, which explains the puddles she was leaving whenever she sat for awhile. She’s on medication which seems to be helping, but in the meantime, she’s wearing panties with an absorbent pad.

Here she is with Jack watching Maria cook and hoping for a handout.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sean

My son Sean was born 45 years ago today.
I remember leaving the hospital and driving to a McDonald’s at 38th Street and Lafayette Road in Indianapolis where I sat in my ‘65 VW beetle and ate a couple of double cheeseburgers. I could see the screen of the Lafayette Road Drive-In Theater from the parking lot. I watched the chase scene from “Bullitt” and pondered the new life his mother and I had created and what it all meant.
I had no idea.
Sean became a good and wise man and a recording studio genius.
He makes me very proud.

Bring on the apocalypse

I thought I’d never have another miserable morning on the scale of the day after the 2008 election.
I was wrong.
The feeble-minded and the corrupt have done more damage than they can possibly know and we all get to suffer for it.
Stupid. Mother. Fuckers.
All day today I’ve looked searchingly into strangers’ faces and tried to guess how they voted. Some were pretty obvious, others not.
And I unfriended a former Indianapolis News coworker on Facebook after she gloated about Obama’s reelection. She was stupid in the 1980s and she’s still stupid today.
And, to make it a little worse, my Mr. Coffee coffee maker died this morning. I lasted almost six years to the day, which I guess is pretty good for Third World craftsmanship.
Since I’m heavily invested in Mr. Coffee filters, I went to Target and found a comparable machine for $29.99. But when the cashier scanned it, it came up $49.99. WTF? I went back to the display area and confirmed there was another in a box just like it on a shelf labeled $29.99. It was different from the $29.99 display model above it, but there were no other examples of the display model.
Fuck you, Target.
So I went to Walmart and found the $49.99 Target coffee maker for $34.99. I bought it and am now trying to calm myself with coffee and Wifi at Panera.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I discovered my bank hit me with a $217 overdraft charge yesterday afternoon, even though I covered the shortfall first thing yesterday morning. Turns out I trusted the online data to be current and had no clue that our mortgage check cleared Monday afternoon.
My one glimmer of happiness today came when I appealed the overdraft charge on the grounds that the bank touts its online data as current, when it isn’t. So the overdraft charge was waived.
I like a bank you can reason with.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


My old Indianapolis News pal Art Harris, who is a dog lover and has had black Labrador retriever duck hunting buddies for years, forwarded this touching story to me this morning:

abbeydogOur  14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The  day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter  Meredith was crying and talking about how much  she missed Abbey.
She asked if we could  write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to  heaven, God would recognize her.
I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated  these words:

Dear God,
Will you  please take care of my dog?
She died  yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss  her very much.
I 'm happy that you let me  have her as my dog even though she got sick. 
I hope you will play with her.
She likes  to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a  picture of her so when you see her you will know  that she is my dog.
I really miss her. 
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in  an envelope with a picture of Abbey &  Meredith , addressed it to God/Heaven.
We  put our return address on it.
Meredith  pasted several stamps on the front of the  envelope because she said it would take lots of  stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.  That afternoon she dropped it into the letter  box at the post office.
A few days later,  she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. 
I told her that I thought He  had.
Yesterday, there was a package  wrapped in gold paper on our front porch  addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. 
Meredith opened it.
Inside was a book by  Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped  to the inside front cover was the letter we had  written to God in its opened envelope.
On  the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &  Meredith and this note:

Dear  Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.  Having the picture was a big help and I  recognized her right away.
Abbey isn't sick  anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just  like it stays in your heart.
Abbey loved  being your dog.
Since we don't need our  bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to  keep your picture in so I'm sending it back to  you in this little book for you to keep and have  something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you  for the beautiful letter and thank your mother  for helping you write it and sending it to me. 
What a wonderful mother you have.
I  picked her especially for you.
I send my  blessings every day and remember that I love you  very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find. 
I am wherever there is love.

I voted


I cast my ballot for Mitt Romney and a slew of other Republicans about 10 a.m. today at the Brookland City Hall.

I voted for Mitt Romney because:

  • I’m Catholic (and believe in freedom of religion and oppose on-demand abortion)
  • I’m a gun owner and member of the National Rifle Association
  • I detest Barack Obama and everything he stands for
  • I’m pro-Israel
  • I want to see Obamacare repealed
  • I want to see the 10th Amendment and states’ rights strengthened
  • I want to see Conservative justices appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • I want less governmental intrusion into my life
  • I want a military and diplomatic posture that makes our friends trust us and our enemies fear us
  • I want to stop the spread of Islam and Sharia Law in the U.S.
  • I want secure borders
  • I want the EPA abolished or sharply curtailed
  • I want the Department of Education abolished and control of schools returned to the states
  • I could go on…

I also cast my first-ever vote for a Green Party candidate. Kade Holliday is running against the grossly incompetent Craighead County Clerk. During her tenure, the county racked up more than $288,000 in IRS debt and penalties. The clerk is a Democrat and the GOP failed to field a candidate to challenge her, so my vote goes to Holliday. If Holliday wins, it could be the first Green Party victor in the history of Arkansas.

As far as referendi go (that’s the correct Latin plural), I voted against the highway tax measure because it will only benefit northwest Arkansas, for the legalization of medical marijuana, and for the casinos. The Libertarian in me took over and I expressed my belief that people should be free to do whatever the hell they want with their money and their nervous systems.

The voting machines here are dirt-simple to operate, but some of the people in front of us took upwards of 10 minutes to puzzle it all out. I put the stopwatch to my voting time: 2 minutes 5 seconds.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Scanning photos


Maria’s parents are celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary this month and, being the photo-geek in the family, I’m creating a slide show of images for the occasion.

Maria’s mom sent me a hefty package of family photos and I started scanning this morning. Photoshop has tools to restore the colors and make old, faded prints pop once again, so most of the scans look way better than the original pictures. Here’s one of many.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

NRA Post-it Notes

nra postit

The National Rifle Association sent me a pad of these Post-It notes a few weeks ago.

Naturally, I’ve been posting them in conspicuous places. I left three of them at Boscos in Memphis today.

Boscos in Memphis

deb charlie 15th boscos

The renewal period for my Boscos Mug Club membership is here, so we drove down to Memphis so I could re-up.

We arrived at Boscos about 11:15 a.m., after stopping by our favorite bagel place for a half-dozen bagels.

After we learned we had a 40-minute wait to be seated, Maria pointed out a couple of familiar-looking BMW GS bikes parked at the curb and wondered if they were Deb and Charlie’s. I called Charlie’s cell phone and asked if those were his bikes I was looking at.

He confirmed that they were and invited us to join them and two other couples gathered to commemorate Deb and Charlie’s 15th anniversary.

As the photo suggests, a good time was had by all.

And I renewed my mug club membership for 2013.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


Crowley's Ridge Parkway route markerThe temperature is in the high 70s on this sunny Saturday afternoon.

This will likely be the warmest day we’ll see here in northeast Arkansas until next spring, so I took the K75S out for a 50-mile romp.

I chose Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, the only interesting motorcycle road in northeast Arkansas, from Jonesboro to U.S. 412 west of Paragould and it was glorious.

The bike feels more nimble and sure-footed than ever with its new tires.

I should be doing yard work, but I think I’ll go for another ride instead.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Serious ammo

Hornady - .45acp Critical Defense 185 gr - 20 Rounds

After a bagel, coffee and Wifi at Panera this morning, I paid my first visit to the new Academy Sports store and naturally found myself in the guns and ammo department.

I have a couple of hundred rounds of target quality .45 ACP, but nothing for serious combat, so I picked up a 20-round box of Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP.

I hope we can get in a little range time this weekend.

My prediction for the End of the World

Keeping in mind that my predictions never come true, the best way I know to assure this won’t happen is to go on record as predicting it.

That said, I predict the End of the World will occur seven weeks from today – on Dec. 21.

The most likely scenario: a solar flare that, at the worst, cooks us all with intense radiation or, at the least, destroys all of our electronics and takes us back technologically to the mid-1800s.

Other scenarios:

  • A massive volcanic eruption, possibly the Yellowstone Caldera, but maybe somewhere else, that obscures the sun worldwide for decades.
  • A meteor impact that likewise throws enough dust into the atmosphere to block the sun for decades.
  • A pandemic that wipes out all or most of the human population.

These are natural occurrences that could conceivably have been foretold by the architects of the Mayan calendar.

But there is always the nuclear holocaust scenario. Or an earth-eating black hole created by the super-collider in Switzerland.

This makes Christmas shopping a real act of faith, doesn’t it?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

I’m re-tired

BRSTN-BTLX-BT021It took a bit longer than we anticipated, but Charlie Parsons and I (mostly Charlie) put new(ish) Bridgestone Battlax low profile sport touring tires on the ‘94 K75S today.

They replace a set that had been on the bike since July, 2002 and had about 8,400 miles on them. That’s not a lot of miles, but 10 years is way too long to ride on a set of motorcycle tires.

We figured it would be a breeze, since Charlie mounted a set of tires on a friend’s K75S back in July with no problems.

We figured wrong.

The old tires came off of the rims easily, but getting the new ones mounted and the bead seated was another thing entirely.

We concluded that the tires needed to be warmed up to be sufficiently pliable, so we laid them out in the sun outside of Charlie’s shop and Charlie was finally able to wrestle them onto the rims. The bead seated on the front tire after some fiddling, but we had to cinch a tie-down around the circumference of the rear tire to force the bead close enough to the groove to pop in under air pressure.

Start to finish, it took about 3½ hours, but the price was right. And the cost of the tires was $188.98. Total.

I paid Revard BMW $327.43 for the previous set of the same model tires. Corrected for inflation, that would be $421.18 in today’s dollars. I think I got a good deal from Motorcycle Superstore, even if I did let the tires sit around for 13 months before mounting them.

Rave review for my steins


I mentioned I had a couple of lidded, half-liter WWII German steins with an R11 BMW motorcycle on them when I visited Craig Vechorik’s shop in Sturgis, Miss., on Tuesday and, as requested, emailed him some photos yesterday.

His response:

I have never seen such a thing!   WOW!!!!!  With BMW R11's on them.   Won't sell one, will ya? 

If I ever decided to part with one, he’ll be the first to know.

The one on the left was a WWII bring-back from my first father-in-law, who was a captain in the 144th Field Artillery Group, ending the war near Berchtesgaden. The other was an Ebay purchase in the late 1990s.

Both are named to sergeants in the same motorcycle unit that trained in Munich in 1937, so they almost certainly knew each other.stein03

These were also produced in the one-liter size, one of which is in the possession of a fellow collector in Indiana.