Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Got my replacement Bang & Olufsen H8 headphones this afternoon

My replacement Bang & Olufsen H8 headphones arrived this afternoon - the same day Betina U. Bertelsen of the B&O Play Team guessed they would show up from Denmark.

Am I a happy camper? Hell, yes! I love these 'phones.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Riding and walking

I overcame weeks of inertia this morning by riding the K75S down to St. Bernard's Fitness Center and knocking down 1.55 miles in 40 minutes on a treadmill. It's the first time I've made it down there since sometime in May, but I came away with no undue discomfort and plan to repeat the process more often.

Friday, June 24, 2016

49 years ago today

Forty-nine years ago today I married Diane Kroon at the Christian Reformed Church in Lafayette, Ind.

This is one of the few surviving photos of the event. The official photographer did all of the bridal ceremony setup shots with no film in his camera.

I don’t regret it. We had some good years and raised two handsome and exceptionally talented sons before the wheels came off 26 years later.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Like new!

The FedEx guy showed up a little after 11 a.m. today and delivered my repaired and refurbished Swiss Army knife with functioning altimeter and thermometer. It really is like new and Victorinox only charged me $10.

Yay, Victorinox.

Speaking of thermometers, when I rode my K75S into town yesterday morning to pay our electric bill, I noticed the sign at the Dairy Queen north of town said the temperature was 93° - at least seven degrees hotter than any other time/temperature sign I saw. Come to think of it, if I ran a DQ in the summer, I'd think exaggerating the heat is a good business strategy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Good news emails this morning

I got emails from Bang & Olufsen and Victorinox this morning saying I will soon have my H8 headphones replaced and my Swiss Army knife repaired.

Kudos to B&O for their quick response, since they only received my wonky headphones on Monday afternoon. I got email correspondence from Betina U. Bertelsen at B&O saying it would be late August before they could give me a replacement set of gray hazen H8s, but I could have black leather or natural leather almost immediately. I opted for black leather and expect them from Denmark around June 29.

Victorinox says they shipped my knife today via FedEx and the FedEx tracking says I should get it tomorrow. This is the second time they've had it and, hopefully, it's finally fixed and will again have thermometer and altimeter functions.

Stay tuned. (As if you care.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday rant

This is one of those days when I almost wish I was like some folks I know - blissfully self-absorbed and oblivious to world events.

Or maybe so naive as to believe that things are going just fine in this country and that our elected and appointed officials know what is best for us.

Life is so much simpler for those folks. They are puzzled by the things we, who are actually paying attention say and believe.

How idyllic it would be to believe we can get rid of guns and we can "coexist" with adherents to a Satanic cult who are hell-bent on murdering every last one of us. (I was shocked into silence recently when I saw a "Coexist" sticker on the motorcycle side case of an acquaintance's bike.) How nice it would be to think the government can solve all of my problems and provide for all of my wants and needs and make everything free.

The problem is that I've been paying attention for too long and think everyone has a civic duty to understand the issues of the day in the light of the U.S. Constitution.

I could go on, but I'd rather sit quietly with my dogs. They truly are enlightened beings who have mastered the art of living in the moment.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Since I am a dogfather to two Aussies, Maria gave me this cool denim shirt for Fathers Day. It's from Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies of Phillipsburg, NJ.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Off they go to the repair shop

My fabulous $500 Bang & Olufsen H8 Bluetooth headphones are on their way to the repair shop in Arlington Heights, Ill. The Bluetooth pairing crapped out a couple of weeks ago and I finally completed the repair order form online with the patient help of a B&O customer service rep. The hangup was that the system didn't recognize the serial number, probably because it was a pre-release example that I got through the Amazon Vine Program. We finally came up with a workaround and generated a repair order that went off this afternoon via heavily insured Priority Mail.

This will give me an opportunity to amend my review with some observations about B&O's customer service.

In the meantime, I'll just have to make do with my Parrot ZIK Bluetooth headphones, which are pretty damned good in their own right, but not quite up to the Bang & Olufsen quality and comfort.

I made a morning run into town today to pick up a couple of prescriptions from the Sam's Club pharmacy. The temperature was in the mid-80s and I was pleasantly comfortable in my FirstGear MeshTex pants and jacket. I think it's the first time I've worn the MeshTex pants since July, 2012, when they helped me survive the blazing heat of the BMW MOA Rally in Sedalia, Mo. I'd forgotten how well they work - it was like riding in shorts and a t-shirt, but with the security of CE armor in all the right places.

I upgraded my HJC flip-face helmet yesterday with the arrival of a set of new visor base plates. Now the visor ratchets like new. I like HJC helmets because it's so easy to remove the visor to clean both sides.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hostage situation

One of the books I have listed for sale on sold yesterday, but the heat index was well over 100 degrees and I didn't fancy a painfully hot motorcycle ride or un-air conditioned drive in the Subaru to mail it. (The Subaru has a costly AC malfunction that we haven't gotten around to fixing, so I insist that Maria take the AC-equipped Lexus to work on hot days.)
It was already a toasty 88 degrees at 9 a.m. when I rode to the post office today and dispatched the book. Taking off my helmet at the post office, I noticed the starboard side of the chin vent had broken loose. I superglued it back into place when I got home and expect that will be the end of that problem.
The last time I checked, the temperature stood at 97 degrees with a heat index of 109. The dogs are in their kennels in the bedroom and I broke down and turned the air conditioning back on. These are the days when I hate living in northeast Arkansas - when the oppressive heat holds me hostage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Welcome to the eve of summer in Arkansas

You know it's gonna be a miserable hot day when you wake up to find the windows covered with condensation.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Maria!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful bride Maria.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Yard work for Morgan

We did some useful yard work at Morgan's house this morning, despite rapidly rising temperatures.

The shrubbery in front of her house was chest-high - high enough to conceal a lurking intruder - so we attacked it with our electric hedge trimmer and then with chainsaws, taking it down to about 24 inches.

Then I chainsawed a bunch of tree limbs in her back yard that were menacing her fence. It was hot, hard work, but we were persistent and got it done by 11 a.m.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Everything is broken (Dylan song)

My fabulous Bang & Olufsen H8 headphones have lost their Bluetooth connectivity.

It happened yesterday after I used a new charging source and I am trying not to be despondent. I just sent a query to B&O to see what can be done.

In the meantime, I got my Swiss Army knife back from Victorinox earlier this week, but the altimeter/thermometer electronics were not repaired. Instead, they enclosed a new battery, but with no explanation. I sent them a query this morning, also.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Helmet improvements

After five years of use, the latch mechanisms on my HJC helmet are wearing out. The one on the right side has become increasingly hard to work when it comes to reattaching the face shield after cleaning it. And the one on the left side let go of the face shield as I was getting onto I-40 at Jackson, Tenn. a couple of weeks ago.

I found replacement parts online for $15.99. They arrived this morning and now, after simply undoing and redoing five screws, they are in place and the improvement is noticeable. Now, I'm waiting for the UPS guy to bring me a replacement face shield later today.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Yes, I still consider myself a Hoosier

The Indiana bicentennial stamp was issued yesterday, so being a good Hoosier in exile, I stopped by the post office this morning and bought two sheets of the new stamp.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

History lesson

I found this German beer stein - actually, it's a seidel because it's glass and not ceramic - on Ebay this morning with this supposed provenance: "It was previously owned by WWII "Flying Ace", SD Governor, Joe Foss who flew numerous missions in Europe."


Joe Foss served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps exclusively in the Pacific Theatre of operations and never flew in Europe during the war. He was an ace with 26 aerial victories over the Japanese and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. After the war, he served as governor of South Dakota and president of the National Rifle Association. The seller claims to have had the seidel for 25 years. Foss died in 2003, so he must have parted with it late in his life. If he ever owned it at all.

The Marines played no significant role in the war against Germany and Italy and virtually all of their action was in the Pacific.

The are no bids on this item which starts at $75.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Fixing my helmet

The HJC helmet I've been wearing since September, 2011, gave me a nasty surprise a couple of weeks ago when I was riding to the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky.

I had refueled at Jackson, Tenn. and was on the entrance ramp to I-40 eastbound when I snapped the visor down and suddenly realized that the left side of the visor had come loose from its baseplate. I held it in place until I could get off of the Interstate and reseat it. It held the rest of the trip, but it's the first time that has happened to me in the nearly 40 years I've been riding and it shook my confidence in the helmet.

I toyed with the idea of replacing it - after all, it's five years old. But it's a good Snell-rated helmet that has never been dropped and I figure it has another year or two of useful life left.

So I went online this afternoon and ordered new baseplates and a new visor for a total of about $45.

And I'll keep watching for another such killer deal on a $260 helmet for $50.

It seems like a couple of years since I sat on the screened back porch on a late spring morning, sipping mocha cappuccino and blogging with my Dell Inspiron netbook.

A parade of colorful birds is visiting the bird feeder - cardinal, bluejay, blue bird, finches of various hues, titmice, and of course the ravenous squirrel.

Even with the sound of a wood chipper a mile or so distant, I can still hear the flutter of their wings when they flit to and fro.

It occurs to me that my netbook, purchased in March 2009 when netbooks were the "next big thing," has served me longer than I ever expected. It's still running the Windows XP operating system that came with it, even though Microsoft no longer supports XP. I figure the longer it continues into obsolescence the less likely it is to encounter malware or viruses targeting XP, the bad guys having moved on to Windows 7 and then Windows 10.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Morning Glory war

I planted two packets of Morning Glory seeds along our chainlink fence today - one came from Germany and the other from Holland.

I'm waiting to see if the German plants choke out the Dutch plants.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Change of plans

I was all set to fire up the Lexus and roll out early tomorrow for a few days in the Tampa, Fla. area with my old Indianapolis News compadre Skip Hess and his wife Gloria.

Skip is recovering from a minor stroke he suffered in late April while undergoing a routine heart procedure, assuming there is such a thing as a routine heart procedure. I decided it was time for a visit and tomorrow through the 15th was open on the Hess guest calendar.

Maria and I were at Kroger this morning, buying groceries suitable for her being on her own for a few days when I got a text message from Skip advising that we reschedule because of Tropical Depression Colin in the Gulf of Mexico. The ugly weather system is menacing the west coast of Florida with a potential for torrential rain, flooding, tornadoes and enough unpleasant weather to make for a miserable week.

We agreed that next month is a better time for the trip and I congratulated him on the timing of his call which let us revise our grocery list to include me.

On the Good News side of the ledger, our Thorntown tenant paid his rent via Western Union and I got an email from Victorinox saying my favorite Swiss Army knife has been repaired and is in the FedEx pipeline to me, scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. The knife, a birthday gift from my son Sean about seven years ago, has a built-in digital thermometer and altimeter that quit working a few months ago.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Catching up

It's been a whole week since I posted here and I am very embarrassed.

My only excuse is that we had guests over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Austin and Megan arrived late Thursday night and were with us until Monday morning. I took them on a tour of our commercial building on Friday, not realizing the obvious connection between our tenant the Pregnancy Resource Center and the fact that Megan is pregnant with Hayden Marie Dunbar. The ladies at the PRC graciously offered an ultrasound so Maria and I could meet our new granddaughter. Here she is:

They brought their beagle/boxer mix Louie with them because he is prone to separation anxiety. Louie got along fine with our Aussies, Jack and Dora and with Morgan's Australian cattle dog Tucker. But her bulldog Samantha decided Louie needed to die and the ensuing dog fight left the back porch floor spattered with blood - almost all of it Sam's. Sam clamped down on Louie's lower jaw, which meant Louie's upper jaw was able to savage her muzzle and left her bleeding from several deep wounds. Austin and Maria had to choke her out to get her to release Louie and she went after him again when she regained awareness. Because of this and because we recently discovered a bite injury on Dora's left side that almost certainly came from Sam, we will no longer leave Sam unsupervised and alone with our dogs.

After everyone calmed down and Morgan took Sam and Tucker home, we went to Memphis where we toured the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid and had a late lunch at Boscos.

Sunday was low-key and the highlight was a maternity photo shoot at Craighead Forest Park.

I finally got in touch with the people who repaired the plumbing at our Thorntown house this afternoon and arranged for them to repair the wall damage associated with the ruptured iron pipe.

And I checked all of the obituaries for 2016 so far in my hometown newspaper and discovered that a girl who seduced and ran off with the police chief back in the 1960s died in Lafayette nursing home in February. She was 73.