Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Disappointing, but 59 miles more than last year

both k bikes

Since I don’t expect to ride between now and midnight, I checked the odometers on both bikes yesterday afternoon, crunched the numbers and found that I rode 5,075 miles in 2014.

That’s downright pathetic, but it’s still 59 miles more than in 2013 which was the worst year since I’ve been keeping records in more than 30 years.

I had high hopes for 2014, but finances and weather persuaded me to skip the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky., and the BMW RA Rally in Birmingham, Ala.

I did, however make it to the BMW MOA Rally in St. Paul, Minn. in July and the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. in October.

I put 2,883 miles on the 2003 K1200GT, my big touring bike, and 2,192 on the 1994 K75S that I use for running errands and day rides.

Just for the record, my best year ever was 1993, coincidentally the year of my divorce, when I racked up 21, 928 miles on my 1991 K100RS.

Weather and finances permitting, I have high hopes for 2015 with plans to ride to the BMW MOA Rally in Billings, Mont. and then on to Portland, Ore. to visit my son Sean and see his new home on Sauvie Island.

The 1015 RA Rally will be in the Ozarks – Harrison, Ark., to be precise. Perhaps I can persuade some of the Indianapolis BMW Club folks to overnight at our place before we ride over to Harrison.

Monday, December 29, 2014

CNN has gone crazy again

CNN’s executives apparently didn’t learn anything from their idiotic wall-to-wall coverage of the Malaysian airliner disappearance earlier this year.

They droned on and on and on for weeks, ignoring other stories, to tell us minute-by-minute that there was nothing new to report.

And now they’re repeating their ratings killing blunder with the disappearance of an AirAsia airliner.

Hour after hour of “expert” panelists are being asked inane questions about things they can’t possibly know.

If I were an advertiser on CNN, I’d have some very serious concerns about buying commercial time on a network that just about nobody is watching.

There were no Americans aboard the AirAsia plane, so there’s nobody involved that American viewers can identify with. No relatives in Muncie, Indiana to interview, no hand-wringing tearful wife in Albany, New York to show us.

It is beyond me why they can’t just move on to other stories and come back to this one if and when there is a new development.

This obsession with missing airplanes is not news. It’s embarrassing and tedious and terrible TV.

I keep waiting for someone to speculate there were snakes on the plane.

Another classmate gone

marciahuntThe Class of 1963 of Delphi High School lost another member last week.

Marcia Hunt was one of the very few of us who went to all 12 grades in the same building – the old brick school on Monroe Street.

Here’s her obituary:

Marcia E. Hunt Matlock, 69, of Delphi, died Fri.-Dec. 26, 2014 at 4 p.m. at her home.

She was born Aug. 14, 1945 in Lafayette, to the late Lowell & Georgia Mae Felthoff Hunt. Her marriage was to Robert I “Bob” Matlock in Delphi, on Mar. 2, 2001, and he survives.

She was a 1963 graduate of Delphi High School. She worked at the former Peters-Revington Furniture Factory in Delphi retiring after 19 years. She is a part owner of JC’s Bar & Grill in Delphi, and formerly worked at the Carroll Manor Home.

She was a member of the American Legion Women’s Auxilliary, enjoyed reading, baking, and NASCAR, especially driver Jeff Gordon, and the Indianapolis Colts. She dearly loved her husband, son, daughter, sister’s, and her grand and great grandchildren, they were her life.

Surviving: husband-Robert I Matlock of Delphi; daughter-Michelle & Kip Zarse of West Point; son-John and Melissa Allen of Camden; sisters-Pamela & Larry Farner, and Leta Hunt both of Delphi; 4 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren survive. Preceded in death by an inf. son Scott, a brother Lowell “Butch” Hunt. Services: A graveside service will take place on Tuesday at 11:30am at Masonic Cemetery, Delphi. Memorial contributions to the Carroll Co. Cancer Association. Abbott Funeral Home, Delphi, in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fusion Media reconsidered

fusion media

It’s been almost two weeks since we started having problems with Fusion Media – first it was our Internet connection, then it was cable TV.

We were beyond frustrated until yesterday when Maria found the Fusion Media Facebook page with the information we needed to start getting back to normal with our TV reception.

Turns out we needed to re-scan with our digital TVs to reacquire the new digital channels.

A neighbor sent me this message today:

A lady associated with the current owner of Fusion Media clued me into some recent history this morning. Dr. Marc Monte, Oncologist at Clopton Clinic purchased the company within the past year. (I'm not sure the specific date of acquisition.)

Assume that's about the time when we received the first letter stating upgrades on the horizon. The doctor invested an considerable amount to complete this endeavor.

Well, the operating manager at that time … was released from his duties. In the past ninety days "Chris" was hired as the manager.
From the posts I have read on Fusions' FB page Chris appears determined to solve our problems. But it takes a while to clean up a train wreck! I wonder if Dr. Monte has the fortitude to go all the way.

I re-scanned the channels yesterday afternoon and was delighted to see much of the old lineup, now in high-def digital.

I just did another re-scan before I came up to the office this afternoon and am eager to see what’s been added.

It’s heartening to see that a genuine effort it being made to give us the service we’ve been paying for. I just hope they don’t go broke in the process.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mystery solved

k75s left side72
I have a 1994 BMW K75S with a custom paint job by Holt BMW in Ohio. I bought it for Maria to ride in October, 2000, but her interest in riding has waned and now it’s my favorite errand-running, short hop motorcycle.
From time to time, I’ve wondered about its precise date of manufacture and the original paint color.
The mystery is solved with the discovery this evening of the BMW VIN Decoder -
My K75S was born on Jan. 26, 1994 as a red bike, specifically Mysticrot (Mystic Red) Metallic paint job. The previous owner also swapped the stock seat for a Sargent seat that turned out to be very comfortable.
mystic red k75s
I like it better in its current paint color.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy 2003 BMW K1200GT was manufactured in Berlin on Jan. 14, 2003. It showed up at Revard BMW Motorcycles about a month later and I took delivery of it on March 29, 2003.
I don’t have a record of the VIN for my first BMW bike, a 1971 R50/5, but I do for the other two that came after.
My gray 1981 R100RS was built in March, 1981, and my pearl silver 1991 K100RS was built on Feb. 27, 1991. I took delivery of it on June 24, 1991.

Coming up: My 35th season as a motorcyclist


As 2015 nears, it occurs to me that I am about to embark on my 35th season as a motorcyclist.

This Kawasaki KE175 was my first bike, purchased in the summer of 1980 from the now-defunct Keystone Kawasaki in Indianapolis.

I loved that bike and rode the hell out of it.

I somehow managed to avoid crashing for the first few months until the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's first beginning rider course in Indianapolis was offered in the autumn of that year. I was so impressed with the course that I became an instructor and taught in the ABATE of Indiana Motorcycle Safety Program for 10 years.

I don’t have a good photo of the bike in profile, but I found one just like it online:


It could go pretty much anywhere anytime. I remember taking it out in the middle of a heavy snowstorm one day when there were several inches of snow on the pavement and reveling in how well it handled.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Past


Here’s our granddaughter Lisa in the red cowgirl boots that Morgan gave her for Christmas 2006.

Steve said she loved them so much she wanted to sleep in them.

We saw a lot more of her and her parents when they lived in Cincinnati and we were still in Indiana.

Lisa is a Force of Nature.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


steve&nicky engagement

I spent several hours over the last few days scanning negatives from my son Steve and his bride Nicky’s engagement and wedding in 2001.

Their official wedding photographer shot more than 630 images and I was particularly struck by his studio work on their engagement photos.

They make a stunningly handsome couple and many of the photos look like the kind of pictures that frame manufacturers put into their frames to make them more attractive for sale.

Friday, December 19, 2014

In today’s mail

ato gold circle

I was pleasantly surprised to find this certificate in our mailbox this morning.

My oldest computer device


I’ve been spending a lot of time this week scanning photographic negatives from a wedding I shot back in 2001.

And at some point yesterday it struck me that at 13 years, my Nikon Coolscan IV transparency scanner is the oldest piece of computer equipment I have that is still in service.

It cost about $600 when it was introduced in 2001. That’s about $800 in today’s money. I was surprised to see several of them offered on Ebay for what I consider are very low prices, considering how well they work.

( shows one retailer with a new-in-the-box Coolscan IV for an outrageous $1,499.99.)

The only thing wrong with the Coolscan IV was the Nikon Scan software that came with it. Nikon makes superb optical products, but their scanning software was clunky, slow and rather limited – in short, a huge disappointment.

I only know how bad it was in retrospect because Nikon did us Coolscan IV users a big favor five years ago when they chose not to write a 64-bit driver for the scanner to make it compatible with Windows 7.

I managed to keep my scanner working by buying the version of Windows 7 that enables a virtual 32-bit Windows XP simulation, but it was a very awkward workaround and I was still stuck with Nikon Scan as my scanning software.

I found the ultimate solution in scanning software called Vuescan, available at Vuescan works with a dizzying array of scanning devices and offers much more control over the scanning process without making things too complicated.

Using Vuescan is like having a new scanner and it’s the main reason I’ve been able to easily digitize long-lost images from my negative and slide archives.

When you consider that the average lifespan of a computer is 3-5 years, it’s downright remarkable that this scanner is still performing like a champ after 13 years.

I suspect some of the Coolscan IV scanners offered on Ebay are going to cheaply because their owners think they can’t be made to work with 64-bit operating systems. Maybe I should pick up one or two more…

Yay, Dull Tree Farm!

Only In Indiana: The Dog Days of Christmas - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It’s a dining room again


After six months as a storage room, our dining room is cleared of boxes and other stuff and ready to receive company again.

Maria celebrated the occasion with a new festive holiday table cloth.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why I like Arkansas winters

indiana winter

This is how the driveway of our Thorntown, Ind. house looked at 8:08 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2005.

This is not my idea of a good time and, as I have said previously, I never want to experience another Indiana winter.

I can cope with 3” snows that go away in a day or two and the occasional ice storm here in northeast Arkansas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I love Indianapolis

monument circleThis is the center and heart of Indianapolis – the Soldiers and Sailors Monument – and for my money, it’s the most beautiful centerpiece of any city in America.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the practice of stringing lights from the top of the monument to form the World’s Tallest Christmas Tree, which is why a bunch of people were assembled on the south side of the monument to form a “50.”

Friday, December 12, 2014



I ordered a couple of cell phone auxiliary battery chargers from a few weeks ago and they arrived in today’s mail.

They’re about the size and shape of a roll of dimes and cost $4.99 each, so we haven’t lost much if they turn out to be useless.

I have them charging from a USB hub on my rat’s nest of a desk and assume the red light will change color when charging is complete. They were made in China and came without instructions. The hype claims they were originally $49.99 each and that one of them can give you an extra 40 hours of cell phone talk time.

We shall see.

The solar panel powered charging device that came with my Nelson-Rigg motorcycle tank bag impounded enough of the sun’s energy to fully recharge two iPhones at the BMW MOA rally last July, so I remain guardedly optimistic.

Carmel, Calif. enigma

farmer phil

The Carmel, Calif., weekly newspaper has a cartoon feature based on entries in the area police logs.

Today’s issue included this cartoon based on an April 4 log entry.

I have no idea who Farmer Phil is or why anyone is concerned about him.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brain fade

I got the December rent check in yesterday’s mail from one of the tenants in our downtown office building.

I also received a light bill from the electric utility for a security light that illuminates the back of said building. A whopping $6.22 a month.

I dutifully wrote a check, tore off the return portion of the light bill and stuck it and the check into the appropriate envelope and affixed a stamp.

Then I shredded the extra part of the light bill and before I realized what I was doing, I put the tenant’s rent check into the shredder.

Oh, shit!

I reversed the shredder about halfway through the process and backed the check out, but it was damaged beyond retrieval.

Happily, our tenants are responsible, friendly people and it probably didn’t hurt that I had dropped off a holiday tray of cheese, meat and crackers at their office the morning previous.

They contacted their home office in Memphis and I received a replacement check in this morning’s mail. I took it directly to the bank and did not shred it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just another Lost Angel

lost angelMaria bought a few bottles of wine the last time we were at our favorite liquor store just over the state line in Missouri.

I opened one of the two bottles of cabernet sauvignon last night, mostly to test the wine bottle pour spout I got from the Amazon Vine Program, but I didn’t pay any attention to the name on the label.

When my eyes fell upon it this morning, I immediately thought of the Doors album “L.A. Woman” and its title song:

Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows
Are you a lucky little lady in The City of Light
Or just another lost angel...City of Night
City of Night, City of Night, City of Night

A Doors tribute winery? There’s nothing on their web site to suggest it, but I like to think this company name exists because of Jim Morrison.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

51 years ago tonight


I became a pledge of Zeta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity 51 years ago tonight.


There were 23 of us on Preference Night when this photo was taken at the Tirey Memorial Union Building on the Indiana State College (now University) campus. Three guys, whose faces are blacked out and whose names I don’t recall, dropped out.

I’m the guy in glasses in the front row.

The actives then took us to a union hall in Seeleyville, about 2 miles east of Terre Haute on U.S. 40, where we all got thoroughly drunk. One of my few memories of that night was watching Alan Freeman (front row, second from right) sucking beer out of a can faster than it would flow on its own. Al is a retired college prof living the life of an expatriate in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Being an ATO was probably the proudest achievement of my rather spottyato pledge pin college career. I still cherish the memories and the friendships and I can name most of the guys in the photo.

We had to surrender our pledge pins when we were initiated into active membership in the Fraternity, but I bought one on Ebay years ago. Maybe I’ll wear it today to mark the occasion.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Loose garnet, darn it!


One of the product review offerings from the Vine Program last week was a pair of 18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Garnet Twisted Hoop Earrings.

Maria can never get enough earrings and these looked pretty nice. The list price is $104.99, and Amazon’s price is $49.18. But since they’re offered to Vine Program members for review, they were free to me.

Maria loves garnets and other red gemstones so they seemed a perfect choice.

I was excited to hand her the little black box that arrived in today’s mail, but the excitement turned to disappointment when she noticed that the center garnet from one of the earrings was out of its setting and loose in the little zip lock bag in which they were packed.

Fortunately, I was able to superglue it back into place and managed the process without making a superglue mess on or in the setting.

Now that it's repaired, she's eager to wear them for the Holiday Season.garnet02

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Our favorite Batesville restaurant burned last night


Josie’s, a rustic restaurant overlooking the White River on the west side of Batesville, Ark., was damaged by fire late last night.

Details are sketchy. The only report I can find says the fire was reported at 11:10 p.m. when a private party was in progress at the restaurant.

So why do I care? After several disappointing restaurant experiences, we discovered Josie’s a few years ago on a trip to Batesville so Maria could stock up on quilting fabric at Marshall’s Dry Goods. We found the menu and the atmosphere to our liking.

I hope the owners rebuild and it’s not the end of Josie’s.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Could be worse


A multi-acre tract at the northwest corner of Pine Log Road and U.S. 49 sold earlier this year and land clearing commenced earlier this fall.

The workers torched three burn piles of trees and brush this week and they’re smoldering and smoking this morning after last night’s rain.

There is no signage to indicate what will be there, but my neighbor Tony, whose property backs up to part of the tract, tells me he heard it will be “mini storage buildings.”

Since this is right next to the entrance to our little wooded subdivision, most of us would have preferred that it remain woolly and undeveloped, but a storage facility won’t generate much traffic or noise and may be a useful landmark for people looking for the turnoff on U.S. 49 to get to our house.

Tony opined it’s preferable to a tattoo/body piercing joint and I can think of any number of commercial uses that would be worse.

Besides, we may need a handy place to store stuff someday.

Like, for instance, our lawn tractor could winter there, freeing space in the garage.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Thursday morning report

dozing doraWe had a wonderfully calm evening with our dogs on the couch last night as Morgan and her bulldog Samantha spent the first night in more than six months back in their own home.

Jack and Dora have had to spend their evenings out on the porch while Sam was here because the mix of the three dogs in the living room is just too chaotic for TV watching or hanging out.

Jack and Dora settled down after a few minutes of frantic dashing around with stolen toys and socks. By the time we were ready for bed, Jack was sound asleep on the carpet at our feet and Dora was dozing between us on the couch. We’ve missed spending time with them and I’m sure they missed us, judging from the way they would stare at us longingly through the kitchen and living room windows that face the porch.

Morgan came to live with us after a June 5 flood caused by a ruptured toilet supply line which coincided with a hellacious windstorm that destroyed significant portions of her back yard fence and her roof.

She’s spent the last couple of months painting and putting the finishing touches on the interior and moved back in yesterday.

In other business:

My iTunes library finally finished uploading to the Amazon cloud, so I can now stream all 11,539 songs on my iPhone without giving up any of the phone’s 32GB of memory. The process took the better part of three days.

Now I have more room for apps.

I have a fairly substantial to-do list this morning that includes shipping a couple of yards of fabric we sold on Ebay and checking our post office box for mail and purchases, picking up a prescription at the Sam’s Club pharmacy, hitting the new Kroger Marketplace for a gallon of milk and anything else that strikes my fancy, and maybe getting to the fitness center to work out for the first time since Thanksgiving.

I must be off.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

At last! My entire music library on my iPhone!


I have an enormous (by my standards, anyway) iTunes music library and only a fraction of it will fit on my 32GB iPhone 5, so I’ve been rotating music in and out of the phone to suit my moods.

But that’s changing and I credit Morgan with discovering the fix.

Those of us who have Amazon Prime accounts can use the Amazon Music app on our computers and other devices – including iPhones – to stream music from our libraries, making in unnecessary to carry around hundreds and thousands of music files in the local device memory.

When I loaded the app and launched it in my phone, I found I had access to every song and album I’ve ever bought from But wait, there’s more!

You can upload your entire music library for streaming. At the moment, I have 11,539 songs in my iTunes library, which made it necessary for me to pay another $24.99 for a year of storage for up to a quarter-million songs.

Some of the songs display the lyrics when they play on my phone and many offer Prime members streaming rights to several other songs by the same artist.

About half of my iTunes library consisted of songs that matched Amazon’s catalog, which means they didn’t have to be uploaded from my computer – Amazon just grabbed a copy from its catalog, usually at a higher digital sampling rate for better sound quality. Those only took a couple of hours to include in my Amazon library. It looks like it’s going to take about three days to complete the process of uploading copies from my library that don’t match the Amazon catalog.

The original files, of course, remain on my desktop computer hard drive.

And streaming works fine on my Sprint 3/4G network connection. No need for Wifi to stream.

I am very impressed at the way Amazon keeps adding value to Prime membership.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Roxy and my rabbit


Being from Delphi, Ind., I belong to the Facebook group “You Know You’re From Delphi Indiana When…”

Michael George Griffey, who graduated from Delphi High School a few years after I did is a major contributor, having run a photography business and a newspaper in Delphi for several years and inheriting a vast and rich photo archive from local photographers who worked there in years past.

He posted this photo a couple of days ago and it opened the floodgates of memories for me, and apparently for a lot of other folks.

It’s the Roxy Theater, a movie house on the north side of the Carroll County Courthouse square and it was where I could be found most Saturday afternoons in my elementary and junior high school years. In fact, this could easily be a shot of me and my friends (but it’s not).

Every Saturday afternoon in the mid- and late 1950s, the Roxy had a matinee aimed at kids. There was usually a double feature of western or war or science fiction movies, complete with a newsreel, a chapter of a serial, and one or more cartoons.

They upped the ante on holiday weekends like Christmas and Easter.

I believe it was the Saturday before Easter 1954 when they drew for prizes during an intermission between the features. In due course, the number on my ticket stub was drawn and I ran down front to the stage where they handed me a real live rabbit. I don’t think I’d even touched a rabbit before that moment. Never having won anything before, I was feeling very very cool.

It being intermission, that meant I had to hold the rabbit through the second feature of the afternoon.

A few minutes into the movie, I noticed what I took to be raisins in my lap.

It was not uncommon for kids to throw things around the theater during these matinees, so I just supposed someone was throwing raisins. So I took to throwing them too.

It never occurred to me to eat them because I was brought up to not eat food that someone else had handled.

Imagine my chagrin when I got home and my dad explained that what I thought were raisins were really rabbit poop.

My dad built a small rabbit hutch for Bugs and he lived with us for several months. Rabbits being socially inept and not very interesting, I eventually lost interest and we released him into the wild where I suppose he was eaten by some predator.


Here’s another view of the Roxy from 1951. The theater was demolished and replaced with apartments in 1974.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mug Day at Boscos in Memphis


The Saturday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the day Boscos Mug Club members get new mugs for the coming year and get to take home the current year’s mugs.

Mug Club membership costs $60 a year and gets you your own personal boscos2014anumbered mug that lives above the bar when you’re not using it. You also get reduced prices on the beers from the Boscos microbrewery whenever you visit.

BMW riding friend Charlie Parsons acquainted me with this bistro and its mug club several years ago and I got my fourth mug today.

The Boscos Mug Club became considerably more exclusive this year because all of the other Boscos restaurants in Arkansas and Tennessee have closed.

So here is the 2015 mug – nice but nothing as spectacular as the 2012 mug that had a Mayan calendar theme.

westysOur Mississippi BMW friend William joined us and we had a pleasant lunch.

Afterward, Charlie took me to Westy’s Restaurant and Bar down by the Mississippi River and the Memphis Pyramid, which is taking its own sweet time in becoming the new Bass Pro Shops mothership.

Westy’s is famous for their hot fudge pie, topped with vanilla ice cream. It was stunningly good with a cup of coffee.

I don’t think I will need to eat until Monday.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Apropos of nothing… PIGS ON A HOUSEBOAT!


Sometime in the 1970s when I was on the State/Suburban Desk of The Indianapolis News, we got a tip that a farmer north of Indianapolis was using an old houseboat as a pig pen.

I called the guy, confirmed the report and arranged to drive up to his farm for a story and photos. If memory serves, he lived in Hamilton County, somewhere south and west of Strawtown.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for Maria

pumpkin pie

Maria was up at 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning and by 9 o’clock had THREE of my mother’s recipe pumpkin pies baked.

I am supremely thankful!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mom’s pumpkin pie

recipe pumpkin pie[8]

My mother made the best pumpkin pie I ever tasted.

It was mellow, flavorful and not overly nutmeggy as lots of pumpkin pies turn out.

Happily, she left us the recipe and Maria has been able to replicate it perfectly on several occasions.

So here, as a Thanksgiving gift to everyone who checks in here from time to time, is Mom’s pumpkin pie recipe.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Finally, something that works!


I’ve been drinking a few ounces of warm milk with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of honey before bed nightly for the past two months and am sleeping better than I have for years.

I’ve know for a long time that cinnamon is great for diabetes and a bunch of other conditions. I even bought a big bottle of cinnamon capsules a couple of years ago, but never used them regularly.

Since I’ve been following the nighttime regimen of milk, honey and cinnamon, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with acid reflux or an upset stomach. The result is deeper, more restful sleep and more energy throughout the day.

I bought this big 5 pound bottle of honey at Sam’s Club back in late September. By last week, the remaining honey had crystallized to the point where I couldn’t pour it. Happily, I ran into a guy who was selling Mid-South honey from northern Mississippi at the grand opening of the Kroger Marketplace in Jonesboro last Wednesday and asked him if there was a way to get the honey back into a pourable solution.

His answer: bring a large pot of water to a boil, remove it from the heat and put the bottle of crystallized honey into the water until the honey returns to a liquid state. I did it and it worked like a charm.

Incidentally, he suffers from the same digestive problems that I have and was excited to try the honey, cinnamon and milk remedy. I came away thinking that conversation was probably the reason I was drawn to Kroger that morning.

Here’s the site that inspired me to try honey and cinnamon:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gone 17 years


This is one of my favorite photos of my father – a candid shot of him walking on the courthouse square in Delphi, Ind., headed for his office on a sunny weekday morning in the early 1940s.

Charles M. Flora would have been in his early 30s at the time, married since 1939 and living at 609 E. Franklin Street with his bride, Eileen. They were childless – I was born in July, 1945 and I believe my mother miscarried a baby girl before I was born.

This photo is appropriate today because my dad left this world on this date in 1997 at the age of 87. His last few years were spent in ill health and in a nursing home and he hated it.

My mom was called to the nursing home when he died and swore he stuck his tongue out at her when she went into his room. The facts argue against that, but I prefer to believe mom because that was something dad would have done.

There hasn’t been a day in the past 17 years that I haven’t thought about my father and wished I could share a thought or experience with him.

Mom adored him and only lasted a little shy of three years without him.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

51 years ago today

JFKI was a freshman at what was then Indiana State College (now Indiana State University) 51 years ago today.

I’d just had lunch in the Gillum-Sandison Hall dining room when I walked into the Gillum lounge and found a crowd of guys glued to the black-and-white console TV.

The news from Dallas was grim and we learned minutes later that President John F. Kennedy was dead.

I was a Kennedy Democrat at the time and thought of JFK as my president. So the news of his death was like a body blow.

Nobody knew what to do or say. Classes were cancelled and we all just wandered around like – well, to use an overworked word – zombies. The local rock and roll station, WBOW played funereal music all evening.

I ended up driving to Washington, D.C. with five other students. We drove all night and crashed at the University of Maryland Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity house.

We were somewhere in Maryland, approaching Washington, when we learned Jack Ruby had gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald. Reed McCormick, whose parents’ car we used, was an ATO active and I was a couple of weeks away from becoming an ATO pledge at the time, which got out couch space in the ATO house lounge.

We stood in a chilly line all the next night to file past the casket in the Capitol Rotunda and stood along the funeral procession route the next morning. It was a surreal experience. I had a cheap little box camera with me and got a few shots of the funeral procession, including the caisson and the horse Black Jack, with the boots backward in the stirrups.

That's me on the left, then Reed McCormick and then Steve Dolbow. Reed died of a heart attack in his Arizona home two years ago last April. Steve lives across Chesapeake Bay from the Capital in Easton, Md.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Yeah, it’s unconstitutional. What else is new?

Obama - Peeing on USI didn’t watch any TV news last night and I certainly didn’t waste any time watching Obama sanctioning illegal immigration on the basis of faux compassion.

We all know the whole point of the exercise is to damage America and create more Democrat voters.

And I’m doing my level best to stay away from the outrage being expressed this morning.

We knew this was coming. The guy has always hated people like us and the America we love. He told us all we need to know about him with his offhand remark about people bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jack has been with us for three years

Three years ago today, Maria and I drove to Carthage, Mo. and the Briarbrooks Kennels where we chose Jack as our new puppy.
This video was made three days later when he was exactly 12 weeks old.
Jack comes from a long line of AKC champions and grand champions on both sides of his lineage. His forebears include two grandfathers who were Best of Breed at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
You probably can't see it in this video, but his posture and carriage are impeccable and he has a wonderful "fancy pageant walk," as we call it.
We waited about two years to file the AKC registration papers because we couldn't decide on a proper AKC registration name. I initially favored Jumpin' Jack Flash, but Maria vetoed it because it has Satanic connotations.
After watching his kind and nurturing behavior around little Dora, we settled on Briarbrooks Gentleman Jack Flora.
I'm glad we waited for the name.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Indianapolis-style grocery shopping comes to Jonesboro


Morgan helped to represent the Jonesboro Public Library last night at the pre-opening preview of the new Kroger Marketplace and came home raving about the amazing range of products and features.

The store opened for business at 8 a.m. today. There was a promise of generous gift certificates for the first 100 shoppers. I thought about going for it, but decided there would probably be more than 100 hard-core shoppers who got there insanely early.

That said, I arrived about 8:10 a.m., so I was present during the first hour of operation.

It may seem mundane to most people, but this state-of-the-art Kroger supermarket is a very big deal for northeast Arkansas. As of this morning, Kroger dominates a local grocery market they previously shared with Bill’s Fresh Market, Harp’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Hays, Cash Saver, etc. This has to be a Maalox moment for the folks planning to open an Aldi supermarket a few blocks south of the new Kroger Marketplace.

newkroger05The place was crawling with Kroger employees eager to hand out maps of the store and guide you to whatever you wanted.

My first quest was for Kefir, a probiotic yogurt-like drink that occasionally appeared in the specialty dairy case at the old Kroger.

I tried the regular dairy section first, then asked a couple of Kroger guys in suits about it. They blinked like deer in the headlights, being unfamiliar with the product, and sent me off in the general direction of the specialty dairy case.

A helpful Kroger lady led me the last few yards to a plentiful supply of Kefir.

newkroger01I noticed there was a whole aisle full of heavily discounted weekly specials – this week aimed at Thanksgiving with cranberry stuff, nutmeg, sugar, yams, chicken broth, etc.

newkroger03The Deli section is impressive, with a salad bar, sushi, and an amazing olive bar.

newkroger02There’s even a smallish section of products commonly available in European markets, but rarely seen here, including Heinz Spotted Dick, a pudding that is popular in Britain.

There were free samples galore and I ended up buying $66 worth of stuff, including a $14.99 meat and cheese tray for Maria’s office.

And on my way out the door, a guy thrust a free package of Thomas’ English Muffins into my hands.

The new Kroger Marketplace has all of the essential elements of the Meijer and Marsh stores we have sorely missed since we moved here from Indiana. It almost feels like going home.

The only thing missing is beer and wine. The huge section occupied by bottled water makes me think they were ready to offer adult beverages if the statewide alcohol sales measure had succeeded in the election earlier this month.

I'm so happy Sean found this place

Keep watching after the first clip ends for more glimpses of Sean, his Rock & Roll Bed & Breakfast and, of course, his sweet pittie Honey Pie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

California dreaming


The temperature was a brisk 19° here this morning and only 30° at 11 a.m., making me yearn for some Big Sur sunshine. The temperature at my favorite restaurant – Nepenthe – is a pleasant 65° right now.

This photo was shot a few miles south of Nepenthe with the Big Creek Bridge in the background in the summer of 1994. (Yikes, that was 20 years ago!)

I’m not sure what the guy with the camera and tripod is aiming at, since he’s looking out on a rather hazy Pacific Ocean.

This turnout on Calif. 1 just south of the Big Creek Bridge is one of my mandatory stopping places whenever I visit the Big Sur coast. I sit on the same big rock and soak in the amazing mix of wildflower fragrances and salty air, doing my best to burn it indelibly into my brain for mornings just like this.

I can’t think of more pleasing vistas and a more agreeable Mediterranean climate than the Big Sur coast.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Great idea, Homer


Behold the World’s Largest Christmas Tree as it appeared from the observation deck of the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis in December, 1967.

The idea of decorating the Soldiers and Sailors Monument as the World's Largest Christmas Tree was the brainchild of Homer Heusing, an executive of American Fletcher National Bank (later Bank One, later still CHASE) whose office on Monument Circle overlooked the monument.

The monument had been decorated on a smaller scale since 1945, but the big tree lit up for the first time in 1962. I had the pleasure of interviewing Homer for The Indianapolis News in November, 1967.

The first time I saw the big tree was in December, 1966 when I was beginning my journalism career at the Tipton (Ind.) Tribune.

I was abusing Romilar, a popular cough medicine that contained a synthetic morphine, with my friend Steve Power. We were driving downtown in Steve’s mother’s VW beetle and Steve approached the Monument by a circuitous route. When he finally turned on to Meridian Street and the Monument hove into view, my drug addled senses had me momentarily believing IT WAS A REAL TREE!

(At 284 feet, it’s still not as tall as the tallest Giant Sequoia known – “Hyperion,” which stands 379 feet 4 inches tall in Redwood National Park, California.)