Monday, November 28, 2016

Sadie Jo

I was in my upstairs office about 45 minutes after Maria left for work when I heard barking- from the garage. I investigated and found our neighbor dog Sadie Jo looking forlornly out the window. She apparently slipped into the garage and got trapped when Maria put the overhead door down. I gave her a handful of IAMS and made sure she was outside when I lowered the door.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

19 years gone

My Dad died on Nov. 23, 1997 at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center in Delphi.

I miss him every day.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Five years of Gentleman Jack

We brought Jack home from Briarbrook Kennels in Carthage, Mo. five years ago today.

Like today, Nov. 20, 2011 was a Sunday.

Maria found Briarbrook online and we narrowed our choices down to a black tri puppy initially named Luke who had charmingly stuck his tongue out and smiled for his online portrait.

Maria held him much of the way home after he pooped and barfed in the crate we brought along in the back of the Subuaru Forester.

He made unearthly, bizarre sounds that first night away from his mom and littermates, but quickly adapted to his new forever home.

Two of his grandfathers were Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows and he has a very noble bearing, in addition to a very sweet disposition.

Dad's jigsaw

I bought this Black & Decker jigsaw as a birthday or Christmas present for my dad way back in 1964 or 1965.

I don't know that he ever used it and it was still in the house when we cleared it out after Mom died in 2000.

I haven't used it since then - until yesterday when we ran into a problem threading a steel braided water supply line for the new dishwasher through two offset holes in cabinet partitions. Maria asked if we had a coping saw and I suddenly remembered this saw on the bottom shelf in our tool/utility room.

It worked like a champ and saved us much time and anguish.

Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dishwasher problem solved

I never got a return call from Strong Arm Appliance Service yesterday so Maria and I drove down to Lowe's and bought a $350 Whirlpool on sale for $270. We had it loaded into the Lexus and spent most of today removing the old machine and installing the new one.

All by ourselves.

Thank God for YouTube instructional videos.

Friday, November 18, 2016


We've been without a fully functional dishwasher for more than three weeks and spent $353 on repairs that didn't fix it - $148 to put in a new heating element and another $205 for a new circuit board. Today saw the arrival of a third technician who determined that we need a new keypad - the buttons you push to select various features and start the wash cycle. It will be another $180.

That would mean $533 to get the dishwasher working and we still have a 10-year-old dishwasher.

Lowe's is running an early Black Friday sale and will sell us a new, more energy efficient model for $279.

I left word with the appliance repair folks that they have until 5 p.m. to tell me they will waive the charge for a new keypad (since there is now some question about whether I needed to spend $205 for a circuit board) or else they can cancel the keypad order and I'll go to Lowe's.

I didn't mention that I will share this nasty little saga on social media.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I didn't realize what a toll the political scene was taking on my mental well-being until I woke up Nov. 8 to a Trump victory.

Now, more than a week later, the sense of relief is still present and strong.

We may still be in grave peril, but at least my gut feeling that the country would repudiate the Democrat policies and vision was validated beyond my wildest imagination.

At first, I was annoyed by the liberals who posted endless screeds cataloging every imagined evil associated with a Trump presidency. I cut them a lot of slack, remembering how crushed I was eight years ago when those same morons elected Obama.

Now, reflecting in the wake of their week-long temper tantrum, I've come to regard them as just pathetic. They imagine they can reverse the will of the electorate, pretending that Hillary won the popular vote, which she did not, and that they can somehow influence a huge change in the electoral college through maverick electors or by abolishing it altogether.

I would pity them if their aims were not so dangerous.

This is what we get for letting progressives run the schools and teach revisionist history to a couple of generations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Carpe diem

The 5½-year-old battery in my BMW K1200GT is on its last legs and I had serious doubts whether I could nurse it through the winter on a trickle charger and wait for warm weather to ride to a dealer for a replacement.

The forecast for today and tomorrow was sunny and warm, followed by a rainy cold front on Friday and cold and rain for the rest of the month.

So I called Performance Plus Specialists, the Memphis BMW dealer, this morning and discovered they could put a new battery in for me today. I left about 10 a.m., arriving at their shop around 11:50. About a half-hour later, they were done and I was loading my tank bag and GPS for the trip home. I arrived home about 1:15 p.m. from a trip that I fully expected would have me still on the road when the sun sets at 4:53 p.m. The cost was about $20 more than the $247 I paid in May, 2011 at Bloodworth BMW Motorcycles in Nashville, but there is something to be said for working quickly.

Now I can look forward to the 2017 riding season with confidence.

Who knows? I may make it to Daytona next year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Four years gone

Our beloved Pete, our first Aussie, left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge four years ago today.

He inherited a defective liver that finally caught up with him a little past his seventh birthday.

He was the sweetest dog I ever knew and I miss him.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Facebook continues to abound in hateful screeds by idiots suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

They're making up all kinds of excuses for his smashing victory and trying to dream up ways the Electoral College can nullify the vote and make Hillary Clinton president.

One of the most unhinged is a guy I went to high school with who is absolutely certain that Donald Trump is the anti-Christ and the reincarnation of Adolf (he spells it with a ph) Hitler. Every few hours he posts a new rant, each crazier than the one before. I have chosen not to respond because, as we all know, the only thing crazier than a crazy person is trying to reason with a crazy person.

I am convinced that the Liberal trauma would have been less if the mainstream media had not spent the past year assuring us that Trump could not possibly win and deluding people with bogus polls showing Hillary with a commanding lead. It great measure, this shock and disbelief is a consequence of deliberate misrepresentation and self-delusion by the very people who are supposed to be objective truth-seekers.

As one who spent most of his adult life in journalism, I spotted the bias early on. I also recognized that a lot of Americans weren't buying it and hated the direction the country was headed under Obama. Anyone who paid attention to the repudiation of Obama policies in the off-year Congressional elections knew this was coming. The political pendulum had swung so far to the left that it was time for it to swing back to the right. With a vengeance.

Now, all we can do is wait for George Soros's paid minions to exhaust themselves and fade away, just like his Occupy Wall Street people did.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

30 years ago today

I made this ride 30 years ago today. Here's the story I wrote for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America magazine:
I knew when I woke up in my Baton Rouge, Louisiana motel room I had to go for it.
My end-of-the-season ride to the warmth of New Orleans and Louisiana was about to end. The 'Siberian Express," a killer blast of Arctic air, was charging into the eastern half of the United States, dropping temperatures to record lows and threatening my return ride to Indiana.
Even without a proper cold weather riding suit, I figured I could handle a little cold, but the vision of freezing rain in Tennessee or snow in Kentucky added a real sense of urgency.
The alternative of holing up for a couple of days meant I'd miss seeing my son star in his high school musical, I knew I had to race the Express to Indianapolis.
The massive cold front was advancing on a northeast-to-southwest diagonal, and my plan was to avoid it as long as possible by riding northeast to Birmingham, Ala.before making the dash north.
It was in the low 50s and misting when I rolled out of the motel parking lot at 7:15 a.m.
Over jeans and a turtleneck, I wore my Eclipse electric vest and chaps, and my lightweight Fairweather riding suit. A fresh pair of
foam earplugs were firmly in place to fight wind noise fatigue, and a silk balaclava and pair of Thinuslate-lined riding gloves completed the ensemble.
About two miles up the road, I pulled over to add a heavy wool shirt to the outfit.
In doing so, I had the optimistic thought I'd probably shed it soon as I rode east and into the warmth of day.
The 1000cc BMW made quick work of Louisiana, boring a neat hole in the wind east along I-12 to Hammond and north on I-55 to the Mississippi line. The mist came and went. But after a refueling stop at McComb, Miss., it got heavier. And colder.
I tucked in behind the RS fairing,looking for warmth.
Despite the nagging realization that frequent stops were counterproductive, I pulled into a rest park to see if my Rukka rainsuit would fit over everything else I was wearing.
It did, but zipping it up meant rerouting the power cord from the vest and chaps down my right sleeve to the outlet near the right handgrip.
Back on the road, I was relieved to find I was - at last - reasonably comfortable.
Now for some serious riding.
Except for a 15-minute breakfast stop at McDonald's somewhere east of Jackson, Miss. (the hot air hand dryers in the restroom were great for restoring feeling to chilled hands), the only stops for the next eight hours were for gas.
My Rl00RS goes onto reserve around 200 miles, but I started looking for ethanol-free stations whenever the trip meter rolled up 175 miles.
The I-20 run across Mississippi and Alabama dissolved into a blur of impressions-log trucks laden with long, dangling, bouncing pine tree trunks; a dead deer at the side of the road, leapfrogging the some slower traffic after each gas stop.
The sun came out around Birmingham and I was able to switch off the electrics for a couple of hours as I rode north on I-65 through Alabama's autumn colors.
Crossing into Tennessee, however, it become clear I was on a collision course with the Siberian Express.
The light was fading and it was misting as I wolfed down a bacon cheeseburger at a Hardee's south of Nashville and studied the map. Time was running out, and it was getting colder by the hour.
I wondered if Bowling Green or Louisville might not be prudent overnight stops, but realized it would be colder still the next morning. There was no choice but to go on.
As I sped north, I noticed people in cars were beginning to stare at me in surprise. The temperature was down to 38 when I stopped for gas north of Nashville, and the cashier questioned my sanity.
At Horse Cave, KY, I stopped for coffee. Hoping my rainsuit seams would hold, I added another pair of pants and a light jacket to my outfitand stuffed a t-shirt into my helmet for added insulation. I was beginning to look like Mr.Bip, the Michelin tire man, but that was the least of my concerns.
At a gas and coffee stop near Jeffersonville, Ind., a motorist cheerfully announced it was snowing when he left Indianapolis earlier in the evening. No matter. This was the home stretch.
The cashier at the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Columbus, lnd., stared in disbelief as stomped up to the counter for a cup of coffee some 50 miles farther north.
The final 50 miles were the toughest as the mercury continued dropping and nasty crosswinds developed.
I occupied myself searching for on elusive spot in the air envelope where the wind couldn't knife around the edge of my face shield and sear my face.
A time-and-temperature sign just off l-65 in Indianapolis read 25 degrees when I passed it on the last few
miles to home.
It was about this point when I realized that, other than being excruciatingly cold, I didn't feel all that bad for having covered 880 miles in 15 hours, Had it been summer, I might have ridden another 120 miles just to make it on even 1,000.
Maybe next time.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mr. Buck

Mr. Buck has peered out of our garage window for a couple of years now and wants to move on.

Happily, I got a response to his ad on the Jonesboro Online Facebook Yard Sale and am making arrangements to transfer him to his new home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Smart dog

I'm Facebook friends with a guy I worked with at the beginning of our newspaper careers. He and I were flaming liberals in those days and supported Eugene McCarthy in his quest for the 1968 Democrat nomination for president.

I grew up, but he didn't. Even though he's retired and old enough to know better, he supported Hillary Clinton this year. He just posted this on his Facebook wall:

This really happened. We went to the dog park today. A nice border collie sauntered up and peed on me, with no warning. His owner was mortified. Strange thing is, it wasn't the worst thing that happened in the last 24 hours. Not even close...

If you ever needed proof of the intelligence of border collies, here it is.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Our prayers were answered

A lot of my Facebook friends are throwing tantrums today because their liberal fantasy blew up in their faces overnight.

I know how a defeat like this feels. I experienced it eight years ago and again four years ago. Get the fuck over it.

I somehow managed to suppress my schadenfreude on Facebook, although I'm sure I wouldn't have been granted the same courtesy if the vote had gone the other way.

But it didn't.

The American people, as Greg Gutfeld so aptly pointed out last night, gave a huge collective "Fuck you" to Hillary, Obama, the liberal elites, the liberal sheep, a mass media that has become an arm of the Democrat National Committee, and anyone else who wants to tell them what to think and what to do. I'm honored that I could play a minuscule part in this historic swing of the pendulum back to the right.

I went to the Newseum web site just now and scanned the nation's newspaper front pages for an good image. I chose the front page of the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader because they obviously know how to play a good photo.

Maria and I awoke this morning with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders and the anxiety and stress of this horrific campaign is gone.

WWII German 88mm fuse

Here's an interesting item I inherited from my late father-in-law.

It's a German artillery shell fuse and its bakelite case. For safety, the Germans kept the shells and the fuses separate until ready for use. The fuses, being more delicate, were shipped in bakelite cases.

This particular fuse is most likely for an 88mm gun, most commonly used for antiaircraft and antitank action. At least the consensus on one of the Facebook militaria groups is that it's for an 88.

That makes sense because my late father-in-law was in the 144th Field Artillery Group. He told me they captured a few 88s as they fought their way across France and down through Germany to Bavaria and eventually Austria. He said they added the German guns to their inventory, so it would be natural that he would have had access to 88mm fuses.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Another day of selling

I met two buyers this evening in the Sonic parking lot and sold a watch and another trail cam.


Fourth sale!

I just sold this humane animal trap to a couple who recently bought a 110-acre farm and have raccoons eating their corn crop. They paid the asking price of $25. This is almost like having a real job.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Third sale!

This is fun. And profitable.

We sold Maria's old 22" Dell monitor this evening to a guy named Jesus for $45. We met him in the Chik-fil-A parking lot. We were the only car there since the restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Second sale

I made my second Jonesboro Facebook Yard Sale deal this evening - a Moultrie trail camera for $40.

Friday, November 04, 2016

First sale

We're offering some stuff for sale on the Jonesboro Facebook Yard Sale page and just made our first sale.

It's a 50-gallon Rubbermaid tank - 12 inches deep and 31 inches wide - that we bought a year or two ago for the dogs to use as a swimming pool in hot weather. They refused to get into it and it sat in the back yard being unused and in the way.

I started getting queries within minutes of the listing going live and Maria and I just returned from the Brookland Sonic parking lot where we sold it to a guy for $35.

I much prefer doing business in a well-lit public space rather than have people I don't know come to our home in a secluded wooded subdivision.

Maria is home

Maria is home!

She rolled into the driveway at 11:25 a.m., way earlier than I expected.

I'm able to track her whereabouts with the iPhone "Find Friends" app and when I checked first thing this morning I was startled to see she was already in southern Illinois. I called her and found her in the Cracker Barrel at Mount Vernon, having left Austin's house in Speedway, Ind. a little after 4 a.m.

I set to getting the house tidied up and in the process discovered the dishwasher that was worked on yesterday would not start. I called the repair folks and they sent the same technician out, which was convenient because he already knew the background. He got it running with instructions to call if it craps out again. I will.

One of the first things I did after she got home was to put her wedding ring back onto her finger after if went missing eight long years ago and finally turned up yesterday.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Fixing stuff

My day started with a run down to our downtown Jonesboro office building to oversee the repair of the asphalt parking lot. We had one monstrous crater that took up a whole parking space. I've been worried about it for a couple of years, but this is the first time we were able to get a paving company to pay attention to us. Thank you Doug Barker and Barker Brothers Paving. They also resurfaced a few small spots and filled a couple of smaller potholes.

I had to leave before they finished in order to be home when the dishwasher repair guy came to complete the heating element changeout that I started Monday and bungled. It turned out that my diagnosis was correct - it was the heating element - and I had a replacement part on hand that I got from for about $23. It would have cost me about $70 from the appliance repair folks.

But the high point of my day came when I unpacked and tried on the Walls Men's Amarillo barn coat that I got from the Amazon Vine Program to review. It was offered in 2XL and I worried that it would be baggy, but they sent me an XL that fits perfectly. It's very well made and has a cool looking red-and-black plaid fleece lining. The exterior fabric is what they call "Heritage cotton duck colth, sanded and stone-washed for a warm, soft feel."

Now, all I need is some cool weather. The 10-day forecast calls for highs in the low to mid 70s.

Home again, home again

I received a medical/honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force on this date in 1965.

Here I am a day or so later in my parents' back yard with their dog Snoopy and still sporting a basic training haircut.