Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More Bang & Olufsen audio stuff

I'm evaluating the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2 wireless speaker for the Amazon Vine Program. It's 5.5 inches long and weighs 7.2 ounces, so you would expect just so-so sound.
But this is a Bang & Olufsen product and their Danish engineers know their stuff. This little speaker delivers big rich sound with characteristic B&O clarity way out of proportion to its diminutive size.
I got it for my wife to use at work. She synced it with her iPhone last night and played several of her favorite songs. She remarked that she was hearing stuff in her music that she never heard before.
That's one of my requirements for an exceptional audio device and Bang & Olufsen never fails to deliver.
She bought a Bose wireless speaker a couple of years ago and the P2 - at about half its size - blows it into the weeds.
At $169, it may seem a bit expensive for a pocket-size Bluetooth speaker, but quality like this doesn't come cheap. I also ordered a hard shell carrying case for it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Going home to Indiana

Our 10-year Arkansas adventure is drawing to a close.

We made the decision late last year that we want to go home to Indiana. It's where Maria's family is, including her new granddaughter, and most of our friend are in Indiana. And we have a sturdy old 1903 house waiting for us to come back and show it some love.

I swore I'd never do another Indiana winter, but I've decided Arkansas summers are just as painful.

We have tenants who have lived in the house for about eight years and we informed them of our decision yesterday. We're giving them plenty of notice - our Arkansas house isn't on the market yet and it takes 30 days to close, so we won't be needing our house in Thorntown until sometime in August at the earliest. We also pledged to give them a good reference if they apply to rent somewhere else.

A lot of our stuff is already in Indiana in storage and with relatives and we reckon we have one more 5x8-foot U-Haul trailer load before we can stage the house for selling.

We had U-Haul install a trailer hitch on the Lexus RX330 in late February and have made half a dozen trailer runs - one with my two bikes on a motorcycle trailer borrowed from a Jonesboro friend - since then. There have also been a few trailer-less runs with the Lexus or Morgan's Honda stuffed to the gills with boxes.

As a consequence, with so much of our stuff in storage 450 miles away, we're subsisting on just the essentials in household goods and clothing. I'm getting tired of the same old selection of t-shirts and jeans and I'm having serious motorcycle withdrawal. The project has pretty much killed my riding season. I had to pass on the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky. at the end of May and won't be able to ride to Salt Lake City next month for the BMW MOA National Rally. It looks like the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. on the second weekend in October may be my only rally of 2017.

We've busied ourselves making repairs and improvements to get the Arkansas house looking good. I had the mower serviced and new blades installed that result in a much nicer looking lawn. We trimmed low-hanging tree branches that block the view of the house, spruced up the shutters, pressure-washed the exterior, painted the front door an attractive dark blue, replaced the dog-ravaged back door and porch furniture and replaced the broken-down ceiling fan on the porch.

Maria brought home a dry erase white board to list to-do projects and it's helped us both stay on track.

We also have a business property in downtown Jonesboro to sell and are hopeful for good news soon on that front.

The Thorntown house will need about 200 feet of chain link fence to keep the dogs in the back yard, we'll need to build a garage for cars and bikes, and the hot tub will need to be refurbished or replaced. There is plenty to do and now that we've been able to share our plans with our renters, I can report the progress here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Google finds

Every now and then, I Google my sons to see what turns up. Here are a couple of photos I've not seen before.

Did I ever tell you how proud they make me?

Monday, June 19, 2017

The "A" Paper

Pattie Doty, former News correspondent and Metro North administrative assistant, found these two old-fashion/rocks glasses at a Goodwill store and sent them to me.

My guess is that they date from The News's 100th anniversary in 1969. We always were the "A" paper.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Three Dog Morning

Most mornings these three pups, or some combination of them, come running when Maria opens the garage door to go to work. We hit the trifecta this morning. They are (clockwise from bottom right) Sammie, Joey, and Harper Lee.

We keep a box of dog biscuits handy for them in the garage.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Steve at work

My son Steve hard at work in Las Vegas.

Friday, June 09, 2017


Maria found some planters to add a little color to the front of the house.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

More audio

Meet the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound2 wireless speaker.

I'm sitting here evaluating this phenomenal speaker, listening to the original version of "Who Wrote the Book of Love" by the Monotones and I suddenly flash back to the winter of 1957-58. I'm in the home of seventh-grade classmate Jack Klepinger in Delphi, Ind. and he's playing that 45 rpm record on his older brother's high-end (for the time) hifi system. He's more impressed with the song than I am, but it still sounds pretty damn good on his brother Dick's system.

We couldn't possibly have imagined that one day this recording would be digitized to be played through a cell phone via Bluetooth to a $1,900 Danish speaker. It was monaural then and is still mono on the B&O speaker, but the clarity is simply astounding. No background hiss and pop, just pure pristine music.

This is a quantum leap from the Bose Bluetooth speaker we bought a couple of years ago and even the Bang & Olufsen S3 wireless speaker Amazon sent me about a year ago. I wish it was stereo, but then I'd have to worry about how to position two speakers rather than put one wherever it works best.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Thank you very mulch

Maria and I spent several hours last weekend on landscaping in the front of our house.

We put down 20 forty-pound bags of red mulch and planted an evergreen and a couple of boxwood shrubs and are rather proud of the result.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Absolutely stunning 3D surround sound

This week, I found myself in possession of Sony's new flagship sound bar - the Sony HT-ST5000 7.1.2ch 800W Dolby Atmos Sound Bar (2017 model).

We had an inexpensive home theater setup when we lived in Indiana. It had six speakers - left, center, right, bass reflex and left rear and right rear - all of which were wired to a receiver/amplifier. We really loved it, especially with action movies like Band of Brothers in which we could hear bullets whizzing all around us.

When we moved to our Arkansas home, we never hooked up the rear speakers because I was loathe to run wires through the walls or under the carpet. I thought wistfully of the day when I could buy a wireless speaker system to replicate the surround sound.

It never happened, but this week I received this kick-ass Sony system to review for a major retailer. It was startlingly easy to set up and I had it up and running within an hour of when the freight company delivery guy brought it to our house. I was greatly relieved that it works just fine with our 10-year-old 42" Sharp Aquos LED TV.

The 3D surround sound works even better than our old six-speaker system. I confirmed it by playing the Day of Days episode of Band of Brothers and was excited to hear the same realistic whiz of bullets.

The 3D surround sound uses a couple of speakers mounted in the top of the sound bar that bounce rearward sounds off of the ceiling. You can fine-tune the sound, based on the distance from the sound bar to your seat and the height of your ceiling. The separate bass reflex speaker is wirelessly linked with the sound bar, so the wires and cables are kept to a minimum.

You can also play music through it from your cell phone or other device via Bluetooth and the quality is absolutely stunning.

We bought a Blu-Ray copy of the first Guardians of the Galaxy as an inaugural test movie and the effect was every bit as impressive as watching the movie in a quality theater.

We were streaming the most recent version of The Jungle Book the other night and my wife complained that the dialog was hard to hear. No problem - just press the button on the remote control marked "voice" and the dialog comes to the forefront and is immediately clearer and more understandable.

The system has myriad other features that I have yet to explore, including capabilities for Spotify and Google Home for wireless multi-room home listening.

The price tag - just under $1,500 - may be intimidating, but once you experience the Sony HT-ST5000, you'll understand it's worth the investment.