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.