Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hanging with Happy Jack

Waiting for dinner.

Queen of the Lightning Bugs

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

Mark Twain

A woman I dated back in the 1990s has become a blogger. She and her husband live in Florida and she writes about their life in their seaside condo and their time away from home in their RV. She’s a retired teacher, but you wouldn’t know it from her writing. Mark Twain would call her the Queen of the Lightning Bugs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mission accomplished

lexuskey02I borrowed Maria’s Lexus key, rather than use channel lock pliers to operate the disembodied key shaft that was once my key, and drove to Lexus of Memphis where I had a new master key cut.

It comes with a one-year warranty, which tells you that they expect it to break eventually.

Anyhow, I now have a fully functional car key again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lexus stuff

lexuskeyYou’d think a supposedly classy company like Lexus could make a sturdy ignition key, wouldn’t you?

I’ve gone through two key shells since I got this car in December, 2011. The problem is that the shell, which houses a remote control that locks and unlocks the doors, lowers the windows, and raises and lowers the tailgate isn’t strong enough to handle the torque forces involved in starting and stopping the engine.

My key shell started disassembling itself last night when I drove to Firehouse Subs to get dinner for myself and Maria.

And it came completely apart this evening when I prepared to drive up to the Paragould Papa John’s Pizza to collect the free pizza I earned.

The key shaft broke out of the shell when I tried to turn the key clockwise to start the car, leaving the shaft in the ignition. Fortunately, I had a set of channel locks handy, so I was able to start the car and later stop it and extract the key shaft.

This is, of course, an unacceptable state of affairs, so I’ll drive to Lexus of Memphis tomorrow to have a new key assembled. (It’s an exotic key that can’t be replicated at the corner hardware store or the local Toyota dealer – Lexus being a Toyota product.)

The one bright spot was the discovery that Siri, the artificial concierge who lives in my iPhone is smart enough to know what to do when I tell her, “Call Lexus of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee” when I didn’t have Lexus of Memphis in my Contacts list. She went out and found the number and placed the call.

How cool is that?

From out of the past comes SPOUTO!


I inherited all of my mother’s kitchen doodads, some useful, some not.

This is the Spouto, made by the Keyes-Davis Co. of Battle Creek, Mich., back in spouto02the 1950s. You can still find them on Ebay, but like they say on TV, they are “not sold in stores.”

I’ve been using the Spouto a lot recently, since we stocked up on Red Gold tomato juice.

It’s made to pierce the top of a big 46 ounce juice can and, with a squeeze of the lever, bend the side of the can into a convenient pouring spout. Then you use it to poke a hole on the opposite side of the can top to let air in and facilitate pouring.

I remember my mother using it to put spouts on cans of Hi-C orange drink when I was a kid on Columbia Street in Delphi, Ind.


Pretty cool, huh?

Testing, testing

Just downloaded the Blogger app for iPhone.

Monday, February 25, 2013

And furthermore…

Ted Turner, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Walt Disney never graduated from college. Consequently, they would be unqualified for employment by any business that requires a degree.

This is in support of my contention that a college education is not essential to success and that any enterprise that requires a college degree for employment cuts itself off from an enormous pool of genius and talent.

I recall a young photographer who had just graduated from Ball State University in Indiana who thought he knew all there was to know about photojournalism. Turns out, he was practically useless when he went to work for a medium-size daily newspaper. He kept shooting photos in which the people were turned away from the camera. When his editor kept pestering him to shoot photos where you could see people’s eyes, he asked if that was some new trend in photography. Ball State let him believe he had an education for the thousands of dollars he or his parents spent.

A college photography instructor once said all students have to do to pass his class is just show up. The quality of their work is apparently of little consequence. I’ve seen plenty of graduates of that school and only meet a handful who impress me.

Conversely, none of the really good reporters and writers I’ve known are college graduates.

This may all seem self-serving, since I’m a two-time college flunk-out, but I find it infuriating that people with really impressive ability and life experience are excluded in favor of applicants with a room temperature I.Q. who hold a degree of dubious worth.

The most talented and creative designer I’ve ever known or worked with repeatedly ranked as the top ad designer in Indiana without the benefit of a degree. (She just earned an associate’s degree from a community college, graduating magna cum laude.)

I’ve ranted before about businesses putting too much emphasis on how an applicant scores on mostly mumbo-jumbo personality tests, which leads me to believe that most hiring policies are based on erroneous benchmarks created by people who lack the confidence or competence to properly evaluate an applicant.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting rid of a big-ass freezer

freezer03It’s time for the big Imperial commercial freezer to get out of our garage.

A friend gave it to us back in October, but we can’t use it because it requires a 20 amp circuit and our garage is wired for 15 amps and it’s not worth rewiring the garage for. Besides, the service guy who checked it out and gave us the bad news about the amperage issue opined that it’s an energy hog and would cost us about $1 a day to operate.

So we bought a smaller, more energy efficient freezer from The Home Depot which turns out to be plenty big because we have yet to fill it.

Our friend then planned to give it to someone else, but the intended recipient finds himself in the middle of a major family crisis and our friend’s trailer is loaded with railroad ties and thus not available to freezer transport, so she told us this evening to just sell it and keep the money.

Consequently Maria cleaned all of the stupid magic marker graffiti off of the front and side and I photographed it for an ad on Craigslist that will go live tomorrow morning.

I’m waiting until tomorrow morning because I don’t want to be hassled with calls tonight. These things go fast, so I expect it to be gone by this time tomorrow night.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday afternoon in Batesville


It’s been about nine months since Maria last visited her all-time favorite fabric store, Marshall’s Dry Goods in Batesville, Ark., so we gassed up the Lexus and headed west around noon today.

Maria found some great stuff, including an enormous roll of batting. I poked elvisfabricaround and amused myself with odds and ends like a surprising (to me, anyway) assortment of Elvis Presley fabrics.

We came away with renewed optimism that we actually can have a small business, buying great fabric at wholesale prices and reselling it online for a modest markup.

One of the women working there opined that really stupid people are making money doing it. Surely we could do well.

josies01Once the car was loaded, we motored over to the west side of town to the banks of the White River and Josie’s, our favorite Batesville eatery.

Moments after our appetizer arrived, the Marshall’s clerk who had handled Maria’s order appeared at our table with the two quilts Maria had taken for color matching and inadvertently left at the store.

We had mentioned we were headed for Josie’s for a late lunch, so the woman was able to quickly track us down. Needless to say, we were dazzled by her dedication to customer service.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday morning stuff

You know I’m short on topics when I blog about the weather, but we did dodge a major ice bullet yesterday.

The folks in northwest Arkansas weren’t so lucky. They had to deal with widespread power outages, while the lights stayed on at our house.

There was still some ice on the trees when we got up this morning, but it was melting so fast that it sounded like rain.

Now, at 11:30 a.m., the sun is out, the ice is gone and it’s 40 degrees.

And the other good news is that I just filed my final story for the big Outlook project and can now turn my attention to figuring our taxes.

I see the National Weather Service has just named Winter Storm Rocky, which is churning ashore in the Pacific Northwest. Rocky is expected to reach us on Monday, but the forecast models indicate it will just be a rain event for us.

Now, I’m going to defrost an Alaskan salmon fillet and cook it for lunch.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Right on the edge of the icing


It’s raining and 32 degrees and the Weather Channel radar shows us very close to the pink, which is freezing rain.

We’ve been lucky so far. Aside from heavy ice on Maria’s Subaru windshield and driver’s side glass this morning (which I scraped and melted away before she left for work), the menacing ice storm as spared us.

The Weather Channel forecasts rising temperatures the rest of the day, topping out at 39 around midnight, so it looks like we’ve dodged an ice bullet.


I got an email from Indianapolis News buddy Skip Hess a few minutes ago, indicating my Gmail account has been hacked.

Skip wrote:

You may have a virus. I got a lose weight advertisement from your email.

That, or you're calling me a lardass.

I immediately changed my password, which of course will affect everything else run by Google, including Blogger.

Oh, hell yes!

Spectacular chocolate cake

chocolate cake

From the Cross Implement, John Deere Facebook page. The company is in Minier, Ill.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A hard rain’s gonna fall

gascansThe prospect of an ice storm looms on the western horizon and officials of the state’s electric utilities are preparing for the worst.

Those of us who lived through the ice apocalypse of 2009 are taking the warning seriously.

At Maria’s prompting, I made a fast run down to the Citgo station and filled a couple of 10 gallon gas cans to back up the already-full tank on our generator.

I’m waiting for a couple of phone calls for a story I’ve been assigned and as soon as they’re out of the way, I’m going out again to pick up a spare tank of propane in case we need the grill for cooking.

Mel Coleman, CEO of the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, put this message out to the media this morning:

Plans are well under way by North Arkansas Electric Cooperative for what appears to be a major ice event from tonight into tomorrow. Our management team has been on full alert since yesterday morning, and planning is under way at this moment to respond to whatever happens over the next two days.

Should the worst case scenario (immediate worst case by the NWS) play out, we will have extended outages that will exceed a few days. It appears we are not talking about the same severity of the 2009 storm, but I will say some of the weather models are close to that.  Predictions now are for .25 to .75 inches of ice over our entire service territory. That is not good news. But keep in mind, weather can and will change. Let's hope for the best as we plan for the worst.

Please stay abreast of the weather conditions.  We will have updates through the media, email, Facebook and Twitter. I would strongly encourage you and others to "like" North Arkansas Electric Cooperative on Facebook, and follow my personal Twitter account, @melfly1 (MelColeman).

Thanks for your assistance during these times of bad weather.  We will stay in touch.

And this from Entergy in Little Rock:

Little Rock, Ark.  – Entergy Arkansas is monitoring the progress of two rounds of winter weather. While the weather conditions remain dynamic, Entergy Arkansas teams are fully engaged in preparing for the possibility of a significant ice storm in the north and central regions of the state, and thunderstorms in the south, could affect all or parts of Entergy’s service territory Wednesday evening into Thursday.
Nearly 1,000 additional restoration workers, including line, vegetation and scout personnel, have been secured to join the expected power restoration effort and will be in the state by Wednesday evening. Entergy storm teams are currently working  to secure additional linemen and vegetation workers.
“We understand what an inconvenience it is to be without electricity, and we will be doing everything in our power to get it back on,” said Brady Aldy, transmission and distribution operations director for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “We will have more crews in the field, and will provide frequent status reports to make sure customers are well informed.”
In addition to securing additional resources, Entergy Arkansas crews arrived early Wednesday morning to service centers across the state packed and ready to relocate by Wednesday evening, if necessary. Preparing for a storm is an essential duty of all Entergy Arkansas employees. Some serve on logistics teams to prepare for out-of-state crews. Others have been double-checking stocks of materials and reviewing circuit maps.
All crews are prepared to work long hours after the storm passes to restore service to customers as quickly and as safely as possible.
In the hours remaining before conditions deteriorate, Entergy urges customers to prepare for the possibility of extended power outages by gathering flashlights with fresh batteries, a supply of water for several days, a first aid kit, canned food and a non-electric can opener. Having necessary medications in hand and a plan for pets are also recommended measures.
Entergy reminds customers, who have not already done so, to download the Entergy app for their smartphones. Storm-preparedness tips and online services are available to customers through “Entergy Storm Center.” Customers can also sign up to send and receive text information about power outages through their cellphones. To use the service, register a cellphone number by texting the message REG to 368374. The system will respond and ask for an Entergy account number and ZIP code.
“Most importantly, we encourage our customers to include safety in their preparations. Whether it’s spotting a downed wire or other potential hazard after the storm has cleared, be sure to make safety a key ingredient in your storm planning,” said Oscar Washington, director of customer service for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “Call 1-800-9OUTAGE if you see a safety hazard, or fill out the convenient Safety Hazard tab on our Facebook page.”

A letter from 54 years ago

When I was a kid, I had a pen pal in Australia whose name was Winston Sleaford. He lived in a village called Kabra, just inland from Rockhampton on the Queensland (west) coast of Australia. Rockhampton is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn.

We exchanged letters, starting around my sixth grade year, in a correspondence that lasted a year or so before our lives took us to more urgent interests.

Winston and I reconnected a couple of years ago on Facebook. He’s retired from a railroad job and recently posted about a local basketball game in which the Crocs beat the Snakes in double overtime.

I checked Facebook as I was going to bed last night and was stunned to find a scan of a letter I sent Winston about a month before my 13th birthday back in 1958.

He wondered if I remembered sending it. I don’t, but then you could show me a lot of stories I wrote in my newspaper career that I don’t remember writing either.

Aside from some mildly embarrassing details (“Esq.”), I think it’s a pretty well written letter from a 12-year-old kid. And, it’s typewritten. It was done before I took a typing class in summer school because I had not yet learned to double-space after a period. That’s something a lot of folks never un-learn when they transitioned to a computer where that’s no longer the style.

I suspect the jokes came from “Esar’s Joke Dictionary,” a book published in 1945 that my dad bought, probably around the time he took the Dale Carnegie public speaking course.

winston letter

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jack and the Kong

kongThis is a Kong, a nearly indestructible hollow rubber dog toy that can be filled with treats, like peanut butter.

A loaded Kong can keep a dog happy and busy for several minutes.

Maria got the jar of dog peanut butter out of the cabinet this morning and loaded one for Jack.

Jack apparently was paying attention and understood the process because once he had licked the inside of the Kong clean, he strolled back into the kitchen and, Kong in mouth, put his front paws on the counter where the peanut butter had been and looked around for the jar, presumably hoping for a refill.

Of course, he got one.

Good dog, Jack.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Post Office has been stolen and the mailbox is locked

PO closed01

That’s a line from Bob Dylan, in case you didn’t recognize it.

This is what I saw when I went to the Post Office a few minutes ago to mail an Ebay sale item and some other stuff. (I added the red “CLOSED’ with Photoshop.)

It’s Presidents Day, which hardly seems like a reason for celebration anymore, but government employees seem to think so because they take the day off.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One that got away

wallace mutant

I noticed this cup on Ebay a couple of days ago, advertised as a Wallace China Co. Boots & Saddle item.

I was ready to dismiss it as a counterfeit until I saw the photo of the Wallace stamp on the bottom, which pretty much guaranteed it was a special product, apart from their usual brown-on-sand Westward Ho stuff.

Corinne Joy Brown, author of what I consider the definitive reference book on Cowboy-themed dinnerware, “Come and Get It!” opined it was “a customized version for a restaurant no doubt,” adding, “I've never seen anything like it. I'd say that was rather collectible!”

The cup had four bids topping out at $26 and change up until the last 10 seconds of the auction this afternoon.

That’s when I threw what I considered an extravagant bid of $50.01 at it. To my astonishment, the bidding surged, topping out at $136.49!

I guess a few other folks thought it was collectible too.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

You can’t teach brilliance

I think I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating.

The following writers could not get hired for a newspaper job if the criteria required a college degree:

  • James Baldwin
  • Ambrose Bierce
  • Erskine Caldwell
  • Truman Capote
  • Agatha Christie
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Theodore Dreiser
  • William Faulkner
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • Ben Hecht
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • William Sydney Porter (O. Henry)
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Jack London
  • Henry Miller
  • Dorothy Parker
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Geneva Grace Stratton (Gene Stratton Porter)
  • William Saroyan
  • Mickey Spillane
  • John Steinbeck
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Leon Uris

No bang for my buck

jb gunshow01

I went to the Jonesboro Gun Show at the new fairgrounds this morning in search of a deal on an M1 .30 carbine. I found only one (see red box) and it was overpriced and the vendor wouldn’t deal, so my half-hour in line and my $8 admission were for naught. The only thing I got my money’s worth on was the $1 coffee in a Styrofoam cup.

I was encouraged to see my chiropractor and Jack’s veterinarian there, along with maybe 500 other folks.

Did I mention the temperature was in the upper 30s and it was snowing as I stood outside in line?

jb gunshow pano

Friday, February 15, 2013

I feel much more secure knowing that NASA officials think they can protect me from an asteroid

asteroid trackPASADENA, Calif. -- NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.

The half-hour broadcast from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.

At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth's surface.

The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at: and

OK, ready to rally


My Spaten beer hat arrived in this morning’s mail and I think I know why it was for sale on Ebay.

It’s marked L/XL, but I can easily pull it down over my ears.

My hat size is 7¼, which is on the large side. I wear an XXL in a Schuberth motorcycle helmet, so I think the factory in China where this was made got the sizing a little wrong.

I was able to shrink it a bit by washing it in hot water and setting the dryer on High Heat, but it’s still kinda roomy. Maybe Maria can sew something into the hatband to take up the slack. Or I could just beat lumps on my head with a hammer.

Anyway, I expect to have the problem solved by the time the first rally rolls around.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

False alarm

shoulder holster

Authorities around here have spent the last day or so chasing a guy who fled – presumably armed – after being involved in a domestic violence incident.

The chase centered on a wooded area a couple of miles north and west of here last night and the speculation was that he could be somewhere in northern Craighead County or southern Greene County. We live in northern Craighead County.

So after we got home from our Valentine’s Day dinner this evening, I loaded my Colt Combat Commander with Hornady Critical Defense hollow point .45 ammo and stuffed it into my shoulder holster.

Then I checked the web and found they got the guy earlier this evening up in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Just as well. Now he’s safe from me.

Needs help

Having a son in the recording business made me a more informed listener when it comes to technical details.

That’s why I cringe whenever a local pastor’s daily micro-sermon comes up in the rotation on my favorite talk radio station.

He speaks too far from the microphone, which lets his voice bounce off of the walls, adding ambient sound.

The result is the sound of a guy yelling into a trash can.

The guy needs professional sound help.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not a Harley in the bunch

bmw gang

If you look closely, you’ll notice that all of these bikes are BMWs, albeit with some modifications.

Someone posted this photo on Facebook a few weeks ago and it captured my imagination. The look of the bikes and the people leads me to believe it was shot in Germany, sometime in the late 1970s.

That said, it’s hard to believe these folks could survive long on the Autobahn with its casual attitude about speed. I see only one helmet in the bunch and an open face lid at that.

These people would be roughly my age, if any are still alive, that is…

Checking the trailcam

A check of the trailcam shows we’re getting frequent visits from neighborhood deer. In this case, it’s a group of four does who showed up around midnight on Jan. 28.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


When our road was included in the official county road system a year or so ago, it became possible to have mail delivered to our homes, instead of to the row of mailboxes down where our road intersects with the main county road.

So far this has been of no consequence to me since I use a box at the post office for my mailing address.

But several of our neighbors erected mailboxes in front of their houses and now a carrier brings their mail to those boxes.

I still enjoy the security of a post office box and, come August when the U.S. Postal Service ceases Saturday home delivery, will continue to enjoy Saturday service at the P.O. box.

I heard tires on gravel a few minutes ago and looked out to see the rural mail carrier’s blue pickup truck pull into the banker’s driveway across the cul-de-sac from our house.

Because I wondered what was up, I grabbed my WWII German Leitz 15x60 binoculars and checked him out.

He took a package from his truck and walked around to the front door, where he left it.

And as he walked back to his truck, I noticed something.

He can walk and chew gum at the same time.

I like that in a government employee.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My 2013 Rally Season Hat

spaten hat

I’ve been hankering for a suitable hat for wearing at motorcycle rallies and other such events, having grown tired of the $3 hat that I picked up a few years ago at Mr. T’s Riverside, the Missouri state line liquor store.

And then I found this ultra-stylish hat of a similar design, promoting my favorite German beer, on Ebay.

The auction closed about an hour ago and I got it for the minimum bid of $5, plus $6.50 shipping.

Let the rally season begin!

Like drinking beer in High Definition

spiegelauMy BMW riding friend Charlie Parsons dropped by Friday evening to gift me a pair of Spiegelau wheat beer glasses.

I’d never heard of Spiegelau glasses, but I was immediately struck by the clarity and thinness of the glass.

I did some online research and tried one of the glasses out last night with a couple of bottles of Beck’s new Sapphire beer.

Since I’ve not tasted Beck’s Sapphire, it was a poor choice for evaluating the glass other than to say it was smooth and flavorful. I should have done a side-by-side test taste with Sapphire in a regular glass.

I found an  excellent review of the glasses at and now realize that Charlie gave me something really exceptional and I owe him a large debt of gratitude.

Here’s the review:

The last thing I needed as a beer geek was something new to obsess about.  Let’s face it, there’s a lot on my plate already; finding interesting beers, storing them properly, learning how to brew my own, serving beer at the right temperature, on and on and on it goes.  Now, thanks to the Spiegelau Glass Beer Classics Connoisseur set, we can add “glassware” to the list of the things that I need to be *just so* for me to truly enjoy the beer I’m drinking.

Simply put, these puppies are amazing.  It’s really night and day tasting beers side-by-side in a regular glass and one from the Spiegelau set.  My wife thought I was being a little precious by saying there was a difference, but then she tried some New Holland Dragons Milk, a beer she knows very well, in both a standard snifter and the Spiegelau stemmed beer tulip.  She actually said “whoa!” because the difference in flavor fidelity was so much better in the Spiegelau glass.

That’s for better and for worse.  In some beers, the clarity of flavor these beauties provide will help you find new things to love in your favorite beer.  I always knew I liked Dale’s Pale Ale, but I never realized it was the interplay between grapefruit and caramel that makes me so crazy for that stuff until I had it in the Spiegelau lager glass.

In other beers, the flavors that are diminished by ordinary glassware can take over and make you reevaluate your relationship with that particular brew.  I use the example of Victory Prima Pils in the video above, which is awesome in an ordinary tall pilsner glass, but becomes a peppery hop menace (to me) when poured into a Spiegelau tall pilsner vessel. I adjusted to it and still like the beer, but the herbal sweetness that drew me to Prima Pils in the first place is largely blotted out by the beer’s aggressive hop profile.

I reached out to Matt Rutkowski, a VP at Spiegelau USA, and asked him what black magic the company has worked to make these glasses so superior.  Here’s his reply, which was so well written (and I’m so lazy) that I’ve pasted it in its entirety below:

The chemistry and production of Spiegelau is what sets us apart from all others. It all starts with using the purest base ingredients. For Spiegelau, that is quartz silica (some people call this “sand”). We source our quartz silica (the primary ingredient) from the purest natural quartz mineral deposit in Europe, the Hirschau-Schnaittenbach Basin. This source is renowned for ultra pure quartz with almost no iron impurity. Iron, when is present at high levels, as is found in cheap glass, creates a green hue  (ever look at the edge of a glass table or shelf and see the green color? That’s iron in the glass). Impurities also demand that glass be made thick and rigid for structural integrity. Worse, this kind of cheap glass is full of distortions when you look through it.

Pure glass like Spiegelau does not need to be thick to be strong, because pure glass is flexible, and flexibility is where Spiegelau’s strength is derived. Just as a building in Southern California needs to be flexible, not rigid, in order to not break when under stress. The principal is the same with glass.

Pure Spiegelau glass, being colorless will visually present beer with optical-grade clarity.

Pure Spiegelau glass, being thin, will retain the cool beer temperature far longer than a thick, pint style glass. Thick glass actually draws temperature from the beer…and puts it into the glass itself, making your beer get warm quickly.

Pure Spiegelau glass is thin AND its surface is ultra smooth when viewed with an electron microscope, helping retain the precious effervescence of your beer. Cheap glass is thick AND porous which allows the beer to get warm to fast, thus robbing a beer of its fizz in a hurry.

So yes…the unsurpassed glass chemistry and high tech manufacturing process of Spiegelau absolutely does matter in how your beer will perform. Every beer is better in Spiegelau glass.

I’m not sure I agree with that last point, that every beer is better in Spiegelau glass (see Prima Pils above), but these glasses offer a clarity of flavor that makes you feel like you have the palate of a food critic.  And just like HDTV makes Adriana Lima look breathtaking and Maria Shriver look even more like Skeletor, these glasses bring out the essence of the beers served inside of them like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, for better and for worse.  I shudder to think what my homebrew might taste like in a Spiegelau glass!

You can find a starter set of these glasses on Amazon for about $40.00, which I think is a small price to pay for superhuman tasting abilities.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Another reason to love Arkansas

During the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association Winter Conference, it was voted and agreed upon by the body of Sheriffs to take the following stance regarding the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment Rights of our citizens. This resolution has been posted on the ASA website and is now being distributed to the media.

"The Arkansas Sheriffs' Association supports the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment Rights of our citizens. We recognize the recent increase in violence and mass shootings have raised questions relating to the sale and possession of firearms. The Arkansas Sheriffs' Association further believes that we must hold offenders responsible, not the law abiding citizens."

"The Arkansas Sheriffs' Association does support enforcement of the existing gun laws and the strengthening of current background checks, including identifying individuals with mental health issues. The Arkansas Sheriff's Association does not support legislation that restricts current gun possession and current gun sales to our citizens that weakens our 2nd Amendment Rights."

Short, true and hilarious

Early Valentine’s Day gift


I just bought Maria a membership in the National Rifle Association.

Depending on whose figures you trust, NRA membership has surged between 250,000 and 500,000 since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and subsequent misdirected calls for tighter restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.

She probably won’t want to put an NRA sticker on her car though.

If you don’t watch another video this year, you gotta see this

This is utterly inspiring.

Friday morning check-in

jackkitchenwindowI’m sitting at the kitchen table with my mocha cappuccino and netbook and the dogs are outside.

Then Jack pops up in the window at my right elbow to see what I’m doing. I guess I should be flattered that he’s interested.

It’s Friday and time for me to dig into the writing assignments Maria gave me earlier in the week. I need to organize myself to get everything finished in time for Daytona Beach Bike Week.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Christmas in February


Austin’s girlfriend Megan Gill sent us a belated Christmas package that included these scarves she created for us, a couple of boxes of snickerdoodles and treats for both dogs.

Thanks, Megan! We love them!

A tall glass of Indiana goodness


Red Gold is an Indiana tomato product company and we love their stuff.

Their ketchup blows Heinz into the weeds and their tomato juice is superior to Campbell’s.

Until recently, it was difficult if not impossible to find Red Gold products in our area, but now there’s a supermarket on the southside of town that not only stocks it, but periodically puts it on sale.

I went there yesterday and got $24.66 worth of stuff for $11.90 – tomato juice, sloppy Joe mix (some of which we enjoyed last night) and salsa with various degrees of heat.

Monday, February 04, 2013

In the mail today


A Wallace China Little Buckaroo child’s plate for my cowboy china collection.

It’s an original with the Till Goodan signature, not a True West reproduction. Got it on Ebay.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Bulldog approved


Maria finished her first quilting project with the Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter vikingand Inspira frame yesterday and applied the binding last night.

She laid it out on the living room carpet today and we posed Samantha J. Bulldog on it.

Maria was pleased with the outcome and is preparing to load another quilt project onto the frame later today.

She has a backlog of quilt tops waiting to be quilted and has a special one for son Sean and his wife Ruth that she’s eager to complete.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Authentic yet mild


We had dinner last night at La Cascada, a Mexican restaurant just down the road from our house.

La Cascada owner Ignacio Patino serves up a hearty Mexican meal.We haven’t been there in more than a year. I think the last time I was there was when Rick Nelson and his girlfriend passed through here on their motorcycle adventures.

Maria and I were seated near the door where I had a view of the cash register area. Gazing about, my eyes fell upon this framed newspaper story about the restaurant and it dawned on me that I had shot the photos for the story.

Curt Hodges and I went there on Dec. 31, 2009 for information and photos and Curt wrote the story a few days later.

It was around 3 in the afternoon. I already had lunch, but Curt had not. Even so, when the manager offered him some of their fare to sample, Curt made it very clear that he doesn’t like spicy food. The manager assured him their food is tasty and painless and Curt agreed to try it.

I’ve known lots of people who are terrified of spicy food. My parents were that way. A Lafayette, Ind., couple who were in the Indianapolis BMW Club, chose to flee to a restaurant on the nights that I whipped up my jambalaya during club’s Colorado weeks in Breckenridge back in the 1990s. And, for the record, there wasn’t that much heat in my jambalaya.


I was reminded of this last night when I noticed this proclamation on the front of the La Cascada menu – “authentic yet mild flavor.”

That means “dumbed down for Gringo palates.”

I hate it, but I can’t blame them for leaving out all of the interesting spices. That’s what their customers think Mexican food is and that’s what sells.

(El Rodeo, a splendid little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Lebanon, Ind., is a notable exception. Their excellent camarones al diablo has me sweating after the second bite and slamming down glass after glass of iced tea.)

I asked the waiter last night if they could spice up my chicken fajitas, but his  English and my Spanish got in the way. When it showed up, it was hot in temperature, but not in spice. It was tasty, yet with “mild flavor.”

Maybe if I brought my bottle of Cholula…

What you can do

Hint: More meals at home means less exposure to the flu from restaurant workers and patrons

First of the month, rent is paid via PayPal

Getting a rent check to us within the five business day window has been a big challenge for our Indiana tenant.

He somehow figured he had to send a cashier’s check, which meant he had to go to the bank and his bank is not handy to his home or his work. And he never could get his mind around the fact that the $18 and change he was wasting on U.S. Postal Service next-day delivery was wasted because you can’t get next-day service from his local postoffice or to our small country postoffice.

Consequently he was late and the majority of the time last year it meant he also owed a $75 late charge.

So last month I suggested he save the time and the effort and the postage and pay his rent with PayPal.

He seemed excited about the idea and emailed me earlier this week that he had set up his own PayPal account.

And, sure enough, his rent payment rolled into my PayPal account at 7:46 a.m. today.

Now I wonder why it took me so long to thing of it.

Time to buy a lottery ticket.

who cares poster(1)

If only I had unlimited resources.

The top tier of tickets is the VIP Meet and Greet Experience at $3,750 a person. It’s a curious price, but there it is.

Who Cares VIP Meet and Greet Experience

Package includes One Incredible Top Price Reserved Ticket in the First Five (5) Rows, One Exclusive Meet & Greet with Members of The Who *, One Exclusive Photo Opportunity with Members of The Who *, One Special Invitation to The Who's Preshow VIP Sound Check, One ULTRA-Exclusive, Autographed 'Who Cares' Limited Edition Lithograph, One Entry Into the Official 'Who Cares' Preshow VIP Preshow Party and more! * Meet & Greet and Photo Opportunity will be in the group as per your booking