Friday, March 31, 2017

Godspeed, Mike

This guy changed my life and gave me the skills to save my own life and the lives of hundreds of other motorcyclists. He will be missed. Here is his obit from the Brown County (Ind.) Democrat:

Michael Williams Farabaugh, 68, of Morgantown, died Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in his home.

He was born May 7, 1948 in Norwalk, Connecticut, to David Farabaugh and Dorothy Williams Farabaugh. He was a freelance photographer and director of the Lucas Oil Motorcycle Division.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Debby Crotty Farabaugh; a son, Ryan Farabaugh (wife, Holly) of Morgantown; a sister, Nano Farabaugh of Elkhart; a brother, David Farabaugh (wife, Sherri) of Thornton, Colorado; and a granddaughter, Phebe Lynn Farabaugh.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

His friends knew him for his honesty, integrity and loyalty. Family and friendship were the most important things in his life. Michael was a founding member of ABATE of Indiana and the Motorcycle Rights Foundation; he was instrumental in starting the motorcycle safety program in Indiana. Michael was inducted into three different motorcycle halls of fame. He was a board member of American Motorcyclist Association for 30 years. He started Miracle Ride, a huge fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children; and he started MDA motorcycle events. He was a lobbyist for motorcyclist rights. His last endeavor was to author a book “Freewheelin’,” documenting his photographic inspirations of traveling on two wheels throughout North America. His life could be summed up by saying he was the most avid motorcyclist in the world.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25 in Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home, 1682 State Road 135 North, with a gathering of family and friends at 9 a.m. prior to the service.

A pitch-in celebration will follow the service at the Farabaugh residence.

If friends so desire, memorial contributions may be made to Riley Hospital for Children, 705 Riley Hospital Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Online condolences may be left at

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Got my Lexus back with a new dashboard

I met a guy from Lexus of Memphis about 11:30 a.m. today at a Jonesboro gas station and swapped the fancy loaner Lexus for mine.

The new dashboard, replaced under a warranty recall, is a perfect fit and I am more than pleased with the level of service.

My only complaint, and this is barely worth mentioning, is that the guy who drove my car up from Memphis is a smoker. I'm pretty sure he didn't smoke in the car, but it was on his clothes and my sensitive nose picked it up immediately.

No problem, though. I stopped at an auto parts store on the way home and bought a new Febreze air freshener.

The only cost of the project was the gas to and from Memphis. I would have bought the air freshener anyway.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Waiting in style

The service writer at Lexus of Memphis figured my car's dashboard replacement probably won't be done today, so he advised me to take the loaner - a 2017 NX200t worth about $50,000 - home and they would drive the 80+ miles to my house tomorrow to deliver my car and retrieve the loaner.

That is so far above and beyond my expectations that I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around it.

The NX200t drives like a dream. It has radar assisted cruise control that automatically slows the car when it overtakes another vehicle, then resumes the programmed cruise speed when you move to the passing lane. I has Bluetooth to pair with my iPhone for communication or music, and also SiriusXM satellite radio. The list goes on, but without an owner's manual, I can only guess at how to make some of it work.

Stuck in Memphis with the Mobile Blues again

I'm hanging out at Lexus of Memphis today while I wait for the technicians to install a new dashboard (under warranty) in my 2004 RX330.

The service writer said they may not get the work done today since they have only 3 guys doing 5 dashboards, meaning I'll have to come back tomorrow to claim my car.

The good news is that they gave me a loaner - a like-new crossover model that has an amazing array of electronic gizmos. I was sufficiently intimidated by it that I just drove the car from the service department to the nearest parking space where I swat for a half-hour puzzling out some of the essential stuff. It had a half tank of gas and I think I know where the gas filler door control is, if I have to refuel.

The on-board GPS is sufficiently complex that I'll use my Garmin in its place if I need to do any fancy navigating.

Fortunately, they have a splendid customer lounge with lots of amenities,including free snacks and beverages and a couple of quiet little cubicles for wifi use. Which is how I'm posting this blog entry.

Friday, March 17, 2017

WCP attaboy

I covered the Indiana State Fair for The News for 10 years. WCP seemed to like my work.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Artwork inherited from my parents

My two favorite Carroll County paintings.

Jeanie Taylor's painting of the fountain on the southwest corner of the Carroll County Courthouse square. I lived next door to Jeanie on East Franklin Street when we were little kids. This is a print on canvas.

"Sycamore Row," an original painting by Mary Swisher of the sycamores that grew from a stretch of corduroy road on the old Michigan Road south of Deer Creek.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My fortunate son

That's my son Steve on Sousaphone (often improperly referred to as a tuba) backing up John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

I played Sousaphone in the Delphi High School marching band. I never could have imagined that I would have a son playing the same instrument with a headliner in Vegas.


I wore my Michael Kors smartwatch to the fitness center this morning to see how accurately it measures steps.

It didn't do very well.

The treadmill said I covered 1.13 miles and burned 100 calories.

But the smartwatch, which had been counting my steps since I got up a few hours earlier, said I only covered .4 miles and burned just 31.4 calories so far today.

That's a pretty significant discrepancy.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A smartwatch for grownups

I'm evaluating the new $295 Michael Kors Access Hybrid Brown Gage Smartwatch for the Amazon Vine Program this week and I think I like it.

When I think of smartwatches, the first thing that comes to mind is the Apple Watch, which is actually a wearable little computer. This is NOT an Apple Watch. It looks like an ordinary analog watch with an easy-to-read silver-on-black face and a couple of function buttons.

There is no way to change the face and have all of the tricky features that come with the Apple Watch, but therein lies the feature that makes me prefer the MK watch - those features come at a heavy energy price. The Apple Watch has to be recharged every 18 hours or less, depending on how much you do with it. The MK watch has a battery (CR2430) that is expected to last about 40 days - maybe more, depending on usage.

After nearly 20 years with a self-winding Breitling, the idea of charging my watch every night tells me the Apple Watch is a toy that is not to be taken seriously as a daily wear timepiece. The MK watch makes a lot more sense to me in terms of energy requirements.

The MK watch uses a proprietary MK Access app that you download free from wherever your smartphone gets its apps. It walks you through the initial setup process, which synchs your phone and watch via Bluetooth.

The MK watch is also an activity tracker of modest abilities - it calculates how many steps you take each day and estimates what that means in terms of calories burned.

It also monitors your sleep pattern. In both cases, you get to set your step and sleep goals and you can tell at any time where you are in your pursuit of the goals.

The top button swivels the hands around to indicate the day of the week (hour hand) and day of the month (minute hand).

You can program the bottom button to ring your phone, control the music on your smartphone, trip the shutter on your phone's camera or track your goal progress.

It can buzz when someone you deem important calls you (a handy feature if you're in a place where you have to mute the ringtone on your phone).

The MK watch may be short on entertainment, but it has lots of features that are actually useful. In short, it's a smartwatch for grownups.


There's something supremely liberating about having a trailer hitch on your car.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Adios, wicker loveseat

Soon after we moved to Arkansas, one of Maria's reporters gave us a white wicker chair and loveseat for our front porch.

The squirrels decided they might be food and spent the last several years gnawing on them to the point where they are no longer an asset. I put the chair out for the trash last Tuesday and the loveseat went this morning.

Monday, March 06, 2017


Today has been fairly productive so far.

I pulled all of our tax information together, filled out some forms our tax preparer sent us, and dropped it all off at his office.

I also picked up the foyer rug at the run cleaners, had lunch with Maria, and bought some wood screws and Gorilla Glue at Lowe's to repair a dining room chair.

Now I'm off to make the repairs.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Watching for a new watch

The Amazon Vine program has offered me one of these $295 Michael Kors Access Hybrid Brown Gage Smartwatches to review.

Naturally, I said yes.

Unlike the Apple Watch, this smartwatch doesn't have a changeable face, but it does interface with an iPhone or Android device to work with a dedicated app to track activities and sleep. I'll post a copy of my review here after I have a chance to evaluate it.

I kinda hate to put my titanium Breitling Chrono Avenger aside for a watch that costs only 1/10th as much, but we all must make sacrifices now and then.


James Reddig, who works at First United Methodist Church with Maria, is always on the lookout for free firewood, so we offered him the two trees that have fallen out of the woods onto our property in the past few months.

He showed up today with his 4WD truck and logging trailer and spent about five hours cutting up the logs into manageable lengths and loading them onto his truck.

Before he arrived, I dug out the diagram showing the location of our septic field so as to avoid damaging it with the weight of truck and trailer.

There is stil a lot of deadwood to be cut up and burned, but James gave us a headstart on cleaning up the property.