Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dora at 13 weeks

She went to the vet for booster shots today. She weighs 13.5 pounds.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Good morning, Jack. Good morning, Dora.

kitchen window dogs

On the porch, peering in through a kitchen window.

That’s the dogcam on the windowsill.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The home phone is back in action

MagicJack has succeeded in porting our old home phone number over to their service, as of this morning.

The system also has a nifty voicemail feature that records caller messages and then emails them to Maria and me as .wav attachments. We can access them on any of our computers or on our iPhones.

That makes it much easier for us to check our messages and less likely that we’ll overlook one or fail to respond in a timely fashion – a big problem with the cumbersome voicemail arrangement we had before switching to MagicJack.

So, if you’re a friend or relative who might have occasion to call our home number, rest assured it’s working again and the message system is better than ever.

Good for the soul


One of the most wonderful things about Catholicism  is the ability to be forgiven your sins through confession.

How lucky is this kid that his confessor is Pope Francis?

The banner says, "God speaks in the silence of the heart."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Phony scandal? I think not.

stevens torture

This is one of the “phony scandals” Barack Obama wants us to ignore. Just a bump in the road or, as Hillary Clinton famously said, “What difference does it make?”

As hideous as this image is, every American needs to see it. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was deliberately abandoned by the Obama regime for reasons yet to be revealed.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Easy rider

Dora likes to ride in the car.

Spreading joy at the Farmers Market with Dora


We took Dora back to the ASU Farmers Market again this morning and, as usual, people went crazy over her.

How can I blame them?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hosed by the Chinese

dead hose

I’m a member of the Vine program and, as such, receive products to read, watch, taste, or use for the purpose of writing a review.

I was invited to join the program in June, 2009, and over the years I’ve received and reviewed more than 50 products ranging from a pasta maker to an impact driver to several books, a floor steamer, and most recently the 75-foot Rumford
Gardener Expanding Hose (Lime).

The worst rating you can give a product on is one of five stars. That effectively says you hate it. More than half of the 377 reviewers gave this product one star. So did I. Here’s what I wrote:

Considering that the majority of reviewers hate this product, I figured it might not last long when I put a nozzle on it and screwed it onto my driveway spigot to give my motorcycle a wash.
It did that creepy snakelike expansion thing when I turned the water on and, as expected, was long and light handling as I walked around the bike wetting it down.
I gave the bike a good soaping and was almost done with that process when I heard a "pop" and saw the hose had blown out a seam about 10 feet back from the nozzle. It didn't even last long enough for me to rinse my bike.
So I hooked up my cumbersome (but indestructible) old school heavy-duty Walmart hose and finished the job.
The Rumford Gardener Expanding Hose went into the trash can.
The Chinese must find the thought of thousands of us cursing their workmanship to be highly amusing.
I am not amused.

The photo shows the hose in the bottom of my trash can. If I had paid the $59.95 list price for this thing, I would be livid.

The chick’s in the mail


One of the books I had listed on sold overnight so I got in line at the post office to send it on its way.

One of the people in front of me was this woman who took delivery of two loudly cheeping boxes of chicks from a hatchery in Texas. I’d forgotten you could ship live chicks in the mail.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Email from Reed

I got an email this morning from my fraternity brother and fellow Delphi Oracle Reed McCormick.

What makes this worth noting is that Reed died in April, 2012.

Apparently, someone has hacked his moribund account and sent out a group message with the heading, “How wags the world?”

It contains a hypertext link which I will not click on because it is sure to lead to bad things.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My day so far

lighteyesI was all set to mow the lawn right after lunch. I backed my K1200GT into the driveway to give the mower a free path out of the garage and I arranged the garden hose and utility trailer accordingly. Then I put my in-ear monitors in so I could listen to my iPod while mowing.

But the mower battery was dead, so it was all for naught.

So I hooked up the battery charger and resolved to pressure wash the back porch, which Dora has turned into a dog toilet.

Even though the temperature was in the 80s, it was insanely humid and that turned into a miserable sweaty job. I left it to air dry and drove in to town for a few minutes on the Spinalator machine in my chiropractor’s office – something that seems to be helpful in restoring proper circulation to my vagus nerve and reversing my diabetic gastroparesis.

And now I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and my free birthday pastry at Panera.

And I’m sure I’ll find fresh Dora poop on the porch when I get home.

Were it not for the unscheduled departure of my wife from the Sun, I would be somewhere on I-5 right now, riding from Portland, Ore. to Redding, Calif. or somewhere near it. And tomorrow night I would sleep in Monterey, the northern gateway to Big Sur and my favorite motorcycle road in the world.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It’s magic, Jack

It’s been a couple of weeks since we strolled into our local Best Buy and plunked down $65 plus tax for magicJack Plus.
I finally got around to installing it this afternoon and the registration cost us another $25 and change.
The whole idea was to stop paying our cable/internet provider about $30 a month for their iffy telephone service. When I called them to let them know we were taking our phone business elsewhere, I learned there is a $25 service charge for disconnecting us.
So it will be a few months before we’re back in the black with our new arrangement.
Our home phone number will remain the same but it will be 5-10 business days before our old number can be ported over to the magicJack system. That means you’ll have to call us on our cell phones if you want to talk to us between now and maybe Aug. 6.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Scanning memories


The 50th anniversary reunion of the Delphi High School Class of 1963 is coming up next month and I volunteered to scan classmates’ photos for an electronic slideshow for the event.

I did this for years for the Indianapolis BMW Club’s annual awards banquet, so the process is second nature. The trick is to get a decent balance of as many people as possible so it doesn’t look like it features one clique over everyone else.

I was the chairman for the 30th anniversary reunion in August, 1993. Here’s a planning session with (from left) Vernon Cripe, me, Juanita Lane Stickrod, Nancy Cheesman Simmons, Marsha Alberts Rossetter, and Nina Shaw Kibler held June 20, 1993 at Vernon’s house in Delphi.

By the 1993, the building on Monroe Street where some of us went to school from grades 1-12, had been demolished, but the freestanding gym, with cafeteria and band room, was still there.

Previous reunions had been held at a local park, a restaurant near Monticello, and at the Carroll County Country Club.

I decided it was time to revisit the scene of our misspent youth and arranged to have the 30th anniversary reunion in the old cafeteria, with dancing down on the gym floor. We knew the school board would never approve the serving of alcoholic beverages, so I let it be known that we’d drink the way we did in high school – serving ourselves out of our cars in the parking lot. What could they do? Expel us?

It was the first time most of us had been back in the building since the evening of May 27, 1963, when we marched out with our diplomas in hand. I like to think it was a great success, but maybe some would disagree.

At any rate, the 35th was back at the Country Club and the 40th was in the spiffy new Wabash & Erie Canal conference center. I missed the 45th, which I think was at the Country Club. The 50th will be at the VFW hall.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


dust sign

This photo from World War II, shot near Anzio, Italy, makes me want to put a similar sign on the main gravel road through our subdivision.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comin' through

We put the flapper back on the dog door last night for the first time in more than a year because the screened porch was filling up with Mosquitos.
It took a little coaxing, but Dora finally summoned up the courage to push on through, even though the magnets on the bottom creeped her out.

Close, Claus, but no cigar

july20woundbadgeSixty-nine years ago today, Col.  Claus von Stauffenberg tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb placed under a conference table in Hitler’s East Prussia headquarters.

One person was killed outright and three others died later of injuries suffered in the explosion.

A special 20th of July Wound Badge was struck and presented to all of the men who were injured in the blast. The Wound Badge was the German equivalent of the U.S. Purple Heart.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

The 20th of July Wound Badge is by far the rarest of these awards, as it was only issued to those injured during the failed attempt on Adolf Hitler's life at the Wolf's Lair headquarters in Rastenburg, East Prussia. Twenty-four were present when the bomb detonated. One officer was killed and three succumbed to their wounds a short time later. Hitler, believing this to be a "moment of destiny" for him, personally directed the designing of a special badge commemorating the event.

The 20 July Wound Badge is based on the common Wound Badge, but the helmet is slightly higher and larger; it also bears the date "20 Juli 1944" and a facsimile of Hitler's signature below the helmet and date.

The 20 July Wound Badges were made in all three grades of black, silver, and gold. All of these wound badges were made by the Junckner firm and were made out of solid hallmarked silver. Recipients who had already been previously awarded regulation Wound Badges were awarded the 20 July Wound Badge in a higher grade.

Unlike the Wound Badge in Black, the 20 July Wound Badge in Black was not all black. Only the helmet and wreath were black; the background was in silver so that the date and facsimile signature could be seen. The 20 July Wound Badge in gold also had a silver background with the helmet and wreath colored gold. The 20 July Wound Badge in silver has black highlights on the helmet swastika, the date, and the facsimile signature. Unlike the standard Wound Badges, these were of two-piece construction.

Hitler presented the survivors with the special wound badge as well as a unique award document in a ceremony on 2 September 1944. Although Hitler had been injured in the bombing, he did not give one of these badges to himself. Hitler had earned his own Wound Badge (in black) in World War I. He had awarded himself the Golden Party Badge number 1, but this was a political badge and not a military medal.

The four posthumous awards were sent to the recipients' next-of-kin. These medals were all plated in gold, including the background.

The badge replaced the basic 1939 Wound Badge on those persons who were presented the 20 July Badge. It is important to note however that this badge was more a personal gift from Hitler to those involved, and was intended to be a treasured one-off souvenir of a momentous historical event, and thus was not expected to be worn. While Field Marshal Keitel and Colonel-General Jodl for example did wear their 20 July wound badges on their tunics, other recipients preferred to wear their regular wound badges.

Recipients of the 20 July wound badge could have their 20 July wound badges upgraded if they earned higher grades of the Wound Badge. Konteradmiral Hans-Erich Voss eventually had the 20 July Wound Badge in all three grades, earning it in black on 20 July 1944, and having it upgraded twice for subsequent battles.

Dora returns to the Farmers Market

farmers mkt01

farmers mkt02

farmers mkt03

We took Dora to the ASU Farmers Market again this morning and, as usual, were mobbed by people who wanted to pet her and hold her.

I scribbled the breeder’s URL, name and phone number onto a Sam’s Club receipt I found in my pocket to give to a woman who is looking for a puppy. I hope she ends up with one of Dora’s brothers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

More Police Log Comics

police log comics

From this week’s Carmel (Calif.) Pine Cone.

Friday morning stuff

starbucksjuly19I’m at the newish Starbucks on Stadium Avenue, having ridden the K75S into town to pick up insecticide and a prescription at Walmart and some documents for Maria.

The coffee is free this morning, thanks to Starbucks’s offer of a free 12 ounce coffee for an empty bag of their coffee. Now that we have a real Starbucks in town, I may never throw one of their bags in the trash again.

If I were a hard core ideologue, I would be very conflicted about patronizing Starbucks. They have gone on record as encouraging patrons with permits to bring their guns when they come for coffee, but their CEO recently proclaimed he doesn’t want your business if you don’t support same-sex marriage. What’s a pro-Second Amendment Catholic to do? I just come for the coffee, not the politics.

I’m itching to blog about the circumstances surrounding Maria’s departure from the Sun, but the timing is not right. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another milestone

wet dora portrait

Dora discovered this afternoon that she is big enough to climb into the big rubber water tub we keep on the patio for dog watering.

The inducement was a half of a bag of ice that we no longer needed since we got our icemaker fixed. I dumped it in and she went after it.

That’s why she looks kinda wet here.

jd playfight72

It's only play fighting, but those little teeth are still sharp. Jack doesn't seem to mind when Dora is feeling full of herself.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The U-505, or part of it at least


When the folks at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago turned the U-505 into an exhibit, they cut doorways at either end of the port side of the hull so visitors wouldn't have to clamber up and down ladders.

They made paperweights of varying shapes and sizes from the steel that was cut away and sold them at the museum gift shop.

I bought this one in the winter of 1957-58 while on a junior high school field trip. It measures 1"x1½"x1½" and weighs 9.3 ounces.

Hans Goebeler, who served on the U-505 from its first voyage to its capture, wrote a history of his experiences titled Steel Boat, Iron Hearts. After the war, Goebeler moved to the U.S. and settled in Chicago to be near "his" boat. He would occasionally give guided tours to lucky museum visitors and also organized several reunions of surviving crew members.

Goebeler died in 1999 of lung cancer.


Hans Goebeler on the deck of the U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.


Dora on Dogcam.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New ice maker

An Arkansas July is no time to be without ice. Even if it costs $226.76.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still not goin’ nowhere…

If I had my druthers, I’d be somewhere in Utah right now, sipping on water from my CamelBak and looking forward to a good dinner and a pleasant night’s sleep in Twin Falls, Idaho.

I would have already called in my reservation to the newly renovated Motel 6 and dinner would be a block up the street at Jaker’s Bar & Grill. I’ve been there a couple of times before and know a good thing when I see it.

It’s about 700 miles from Chateau Balough in Alma, Colo. – a full day’s ride, but all of it on the superslab with little to do but twist the throttle, listen to XM-Sirius satellite radio, pay attention to the traffic around me and wait for Twin Falls to show up.

Tomorrow’s ride would take me 574 miles across the high desert of central Oregon to the BMW MOA national rally in Salem and a rendezvous with dozens of my BMW riding friends from Indiana and here.

Instead, I’m hunkered down at home trying to figure out ways to avoid spending money until we can get a new revenue stream going. Today’s project is switching our home phone over from our cable/internet provider to MagicJack. I’d prefer to dump the land line altogether, since we use our iPhones for almost everything, but MagicJack is cheap – way cheaper than the $30 a month we pay now.

Fifty-one years on the streets and highways

This is the 51st anniversary of the first day I woke up with an Indiana learner’s permit in my wallet.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I began the path to my first driver’s license on my 16th birthday, which was 51 years ago yesterday. I completed driver education at Delphi High School and got my license on Aug. 16. We left the next day on vacation in the family’s 1960 Ford Galaxie, with me at the wheel most of the time, driving through New England and returning through Canada. I got my first motorcycle endorsement when Indiana created the requirement in 1980.

God only knows how many million road miles ago that was. I know I have more than 300,000 BMW motorcycle miles behind me, so my total miles driven and ridden have to be in the millions.

I bought my first car – a 1965 VW Beetle – on Aug. 1, 1966. Since then I’ve had an English Ford Cortina, Pontiac LeMans, VW Karmann-Ghia convertible, Mercedes Benz, two Cadillacs, Mercury Topaz, Chevrolet Chevette, Nissan Sentra, Honda del Sol, Buick LeSabre, Subaru Forester, Lexus RX330, Kawasaki KE175, Kawasaki KZ650, BMW R50/5, BMW R100RS, BMW K100RS, BMW K75S, and BMW K1200GT – 14 cars and seven motorcycles.

The English Ford was the worst by far – shoddy construction and poor design. It’s hard to say which car was the best – the Benz was old but elegant and smooth as glass on the highway, the ‘94 del Sol still runs like new and is great fun to drive, the Forester has been rock-solid reliable, and the Lexus is by far the most luxurious.

I’ve loved all of the motorcycles, maybe the ‘91 K100RS the most since it gave me more than 160,000 miles of smiles, but I still have a soft spot for the ‘81 R100RS, since it was my first real sport tourer and opened up a whole new way of life for me. The K75S, which will be 20 years old in February, is still a blast to ride because it’s so light and nimble. The GT, which turned 10 this year, continues to be a comfortable ride, decked out as it is with XM-Sirius satellite radio and Garmin Zumo 550 GPS.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The continuing adventures of Dora and (the infinitely patient) Jack



Happy Birthday to me

birthday breakfast

“What would you like for your birthday breakfast?” Maria asked this morning.

I thought for a moment and then my mind focused.

“Corned beef hash and eggs,” I said, “but I don’t think we have any hash.”

“I’ll bet they have some at Dollar General down the road,” she offered.

She was right. We needed a gallon of milk anyway, so I donned my Firstgear MeshTex motorcycle jacket, fired up the K75S and savored the sunny 79 degree weather the two miles down U.S. 49 to the Dollar General where I found lots of Hormel Corned Beef & Hash.

A half-hour later, I was sitting down to this repast, complete with cowboy china and a mocha cappuccino.

My 68th birthday is off to a splendid start.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday morning stuff

dora farmers market

We took Dora to the ASU Farmers Market this morning for socialization and to, well, let people admire her.

And they did. She got petted and cooed over and held by several people, including this boy whose mom knows Cowboy, the mini Aussie who was Jack’s best buddy in puppy school a year ago.

We loaded up on a dozen roasting ears for $4, $5 worth of tomatoes and a seedless watermelon for $3.50.

We had some of the corn for an early lunch and decided the corn from another stand, selling for $5 a dozen ears was probably more tender.

After lunch, I rode the K75S down to pick up the mail and a bag of Dollar General ice. The ice maker in our Whirlpool refrigerator has crapped out and the middle of an Arkansas July is not a time to be without ice. I have a call in to the appliance repair guys and I expect to hear from them on Monday.

BTW, the speedometer on the K75S continues to perform flawlessly.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Not goin’ nowhere

Ordinarily, I would be packing and loading my bike this evening, getting ready for an early departure for the West.

My plans envisioned me riding to Topeka, or maybe Salina, Kans. tomorrow, then on to Tim and Linda Balough’s lovely Rocky Mountain chateau in Alma, Colo. Sunday.

fuck_shitFrom there, it’s a day’s ride to Twin Falls, Idaho, and another day’s ride to Salem, Ore. for the BMW MOA rally.

The rally ends on Sunday, July 21 and I planned to ride up to Portland for a few days with my son Sean, then down the California coast to Big Sur, before heading back east across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas to visit my son Steve and his family. From Vegas, it’s a day’s ride to Albuquerque and another day’s ride to Oklahoma City where I thought I might drop in on a high school classmate. I’d take my time about leaving OKC to let the rush hour play itself out, then cruise east through Fort Smith and Little Rock, arriving at home sometime in the afternoon.

That was the plan, anyway.

But I crunched the numbers this week and came to the cold hard realization that the capricious, cowardly, baseless firing of my wife blew my riding season into the weeds.

I made a similar ride three years ago and my expenses averaged $50 a day. They would have been considerably more if I had not spent several nights enjoying the free hospitality of friends and relatives.

I have much to say about the way Maria was mistreated, but I’ll save it for later. Suffice it to say that in the two weeks since she was fired, she is less stressed, better rested, and generally more happy and relaxed than at any time since we moved to Arkansas six years ago. She noticed this morning that she’s losing weight – down a blouse size since June 26.

So my grandiose riding plans, that included the European Riders Rally in May and the BMW RA rally in June, have come to naught. All I have to show for 2013 so far is Daytona. All I have to look forward to is the back-to-back Return to Shiloh and Falling Leaf rallies in October.

In the meantime, I’m cleaning out my closet and selling unused riding gear on Ebay.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

K75S Speedometer Saga continues

speedo cx01

Ron in Texas (on the BMW MOA Forum) advised me that the speedometer cable has brown and yellow wires and lives near the rear brake fluid reservoir.

I pulled off the right side cover last evening and found it right where he said it would be. Examining the contacts, I found lots of dust and crud.

speedo cx02Fortunately I have a can of Radio Shack contact cleaner that I used to use on the on/off/volume switch of my Radio Shack Weather Radio. I gave each plug a shot of the stuff, let it dry and reconnected the cable.

There were thunderstorms about last night, so I postponed my test ride until this morning.

I noticed the speedometer needle wavering a few times en route to the post office. It never dropped to zero, but it looked like the connection wasn’t all it should be.

After I collected our mail and put it into the right saddlebag, I pulled off the right side cover, undid the connector, then reconnected it, making sure it was as well-connected as I could make it.

Then I went for a 50-mile ride on Crowley’s Ridge, up to Paragould and back. The speedo needle was rock solid the whole time.

I am guardedly optimistic that I have fixed the problem without resorting to an expensive repair bill at a BMW dealership.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Looking for trouble

Sorting out a problem

k75s hdr

The speedometer on my ‘94 BMW K75S has been acting up – dropping to zero and staying there when I hit a bump. So I turned to the BMW MOA online Forum for answers:

Me: The speedometer on my '94 k75S is malfunctioning. If I hit a bump, the speedo needle drops to zero and stops registering speed or odometer mileage until I hit another bump. The tach remains unaffected. Does this sound like anything I can fix, or is it a case for a BMW certified tech?

Any diagnostic ideas?

Ron in Texas who rides a K75RT: Do the turn signals self cancel when the speedo is inop? If so, the final drive sensor and the connector near the rear brake resevoir are good. If not, the connector near the res. is probably poor. Both times my speedo quit, it was a dirty connector.

If this doesn't fix it then check the connector that goes into the instrument pod.

Doug in British Columbia who rides a K100RS: A tip I got from this forum when the speedometer intermittently quit working on my 91 K100RS was to "remove and replace each of the fuses several times." To this day have no idea why that worked, but it has for several thousand miles. Even the mechanically challenged (like me) are capable of trying this trick, along with the previous one, before we start handing over the bucks. May be that a questionable contact with a fuse is moved by bumps in the road to cause your speedo to quit (or again start) working. 

Let us know how this works out.

Me: I removed and replaced all fuses, then went for a ride on a bumpy road.

I hit a bump less than a mile from home and the speedo dropped to zero, then revived briefly, then crapped out again.

I rode for a couple of miles with the right turn signal on and the needle on zero and the signal never canceled itself. On the return trip, the speedo revived and another check of the turn signal cancelling showed it was working properly.


It appears the problem is at the rear end of the cable.

Not being a mechanic and not even sure what I'm looking at when I examine that part of the bike, is this something I can disconnect, clean and reconnect myself or is it beyond my meager abilities?

(I'd be grateful if someone could provide a photo of the connection in question.)

Vergeltungswaffe Eins!


Most well-traveled Hoosiers know there is a WWII German V-1 “buzz bomb” on display on the Putnam County courthouse lawn in Greencastle, Ind.

It’s the real deal, the world’s first real cruise missile, captured by the U.S. Army at the end of the war in Europe and shipped back to the States for study. Frank Durham and the Greencastle Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars acquired it and it was dedicated as a war memorial on Veterans Day, 1947 with a plaque listing Putnam County soldiers, sailors and airmen who died in WWII.

It’s the only V-1 on display that I knew of, until today.

One of the guys who posts on the World War II Buffs Facebook page pointed out that there is a U.S.-built V-1 replica on display in Milford, Ill., a short distance west of the Indiana-Illinois state line between Danville, Ill. and Watseka, Ill. It’s 105 highway miles northwest of Greencastle.

milford buzz bombThe Milford V-1 replica was created so U.S. pilots could develop a defense against V-1 as well as to be able to study it thoroughly. It’s on display in the village park, thanks to the efforts of Gene Seaman, commander of the Forrest Ballard American Legion Post No. 723.

Officials at Chanute Air Force Base in nearby Rantoul, Ill., offered the Milford Legionnaires their choice of a large bomber or the V-1 replica. The bomber was too big to haul home, so they settled for the V-1.

The GPS coordinates, in case you want to go look at it, are:

N 40° 37.653 W 087° 41.873

The name V-1 is short for Vergeltungswaffe (vengeance weapon) 1.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Which one?

Which stein for your beer?

Damn Yankee

Sitting here the other evening while Maria downloaded free country music from the public library website, it occurred to me that I have come home - to the South.

The longer the culture war between the effete snobs on the Left and the normal folks on the Right continues, the more Southern values resonate with me.

I don’t want to go hunting, but I love that it’s something my neighbors do as a matter of routine. Even though Arkansas is considered a Democrat state, most of the people here have conservative values and are more like the Dixiecrats of the 1940s and ‘50s than the socialistic Democrat party of today.

I love that the spark of Confederate rebellion and state’s rights still flickers and may be fanned into flame here someday.

I’m not talking about the right to hold slaves, I’m talking about state’s rights as articulated in the 10th Amendment that simply states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Folks around here still believe in local government and local control and regard the ever-expanding power of the Federal government with apprehension and suspicion. Damn that Interstate Commerce Clause and its increasingly perverse interpretation!

I like living in a neighborhood where everyone owns guns and we’re the only ones who don’t have a pickup truck. Yet.

And I like the values espoused in country music.

I never imagined I could love living in Arkansas, but I’m damned if I don’t.

There are things about Indiana that I miss – the fall colors, the excitement of May and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the breaded tenderloin sandwiches and sugarcream pie, and my lifelong friends – but I never want to live through another Indiana winter.

We don’t get many visitors from Indiana here because we’re not close to any Interstates and we’re not on the way to anywhere.

But the cost of living is lower here and northeast Arkansas continues to be a curious little pocket of prosperity. And we know and like more of our neighbors than anywhere we’ve lived before.

After six years of living in Arkansas, I like it enough to say I don’t see myself ever leaving.

There’s a saying in the South that there are two kinds of Yankees. Yankees are Northerners who come and then go back home. Damn Yankees are folks like us who stay. Just call me a Damn Yankee.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Jack loves Dora

photo (83)

Jack continues to impress me when it comes to the way he treats little Dora.

Jack got a beef bone a couple of days ago and was happily gnawing on it under the chaise lounge on the patio.

Naturally, Dora wanted a piece of the action and tried to take it away from Jack.

Jack administered a stern correction in the form of a growl and a snap.

Dora yelped and limped away crying before flopping down on the grass about 15 feet away.

After about a minute, Jack got up, walked over to where she was lying, nuzzled her and then lay down next to her to share his bone.

Dora visits the vet


Dora had her three-week checkup and vaccinations this afternoon and Dr. Jon Huff pronounced her healthy and hookworm-free.

She gained four pounds in the past three weeks and is up to 9.5 pounds.

Here she waits for a treat from Maria while we hang out in the examining room.

I had a routine checkup with my doctor this morning and also got a clean bill of health, so it was a good day all around.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Jack and Dora

Jack is disinclined to share his bone with Dora, but he drops it when he’s offered a water bottle. Dora seizes the opportunity, but her victory is short-lived.

Sunday morning and our guests have gone

reich war flag

Austin and his fiancĂ© Megan and Megan’s parents, Mike and Kim Gill, and their four happy little dogs left a few minutes ago to drive home to Indianapolis, via Mr. T’s for booze and Lambert’s in Sikeston, Mo. for lunch and throwed rolls.

It was the most company we’ve entertained in the nearly six years we’ve lived here and we had a wonderful time.

I was inspired to pull out most of my Third Reich collection last night, including the two big boxes full of flags. Austin helped me display them.

reichs service flagThat’s a Reich War Flag in the top photo and a Reich Service Flag in the lower picture. The Reich Service Flag is the largest one in the collection and measures 10 feet on the short side. My son Steve and I once ran it up the flagpole at his elementary school early on a Sunday morning to see how it looked.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Not what you think it means


In most circles, STFU means “shut the fuck up,” but at the Tenant Farmers Museum it stands for Southern Tenant Farmers Union.

The museum in Tyronza was the last stop on our historical tour this afternoon as we showed Austin and Megan and her parents Mike and Kim some of the sights around our part of the state.

painted houseWe drove first to Lepanto where we scoped out the house featured in the movie version of John Grisham’s “A Painted House.”

Then it was down the road to find Johnny Cash’s boyhood home near Dyess. The home is managed by Arkansas State University and the address and GPS coordinates are listed on the web site. We followed the GPS directions and ended up on a county road miles from the Cash home.

cash houseI put the address into the Garmin and it came up with a completely different location that turned out to coincide with directions we got from local folks.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Big Ass Beer

At Silky O'Sullivan's on Beale Street in Memphis.

She said yes

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My stepson Austin Dunbar proposed to Megan Gill last night at the fireworks show right after the National Anthem. He figures the National Anthem is "their song" now. She said yes, of course.

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Engagement champagne.