Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BMW steins


I got an email the other day from someone who works for BMW Motorrad in Germany expressing surprise and curiosity after they stumbled across this image of my two WWII BMW motorcycle steins online.

I explained that they are not uncommon and turn up occasionally in stein auctions like The Stein Auction Co. (tsaco.com). And there is also a 1 liter version (see photo below).

Phew!

We lucked out on the error notifications, etc. on the Lexus.

I turned the guys at Gateway Tire loose on it and they solved the problem(s) for only $70.53.

I feared we were going to have to spend $2,300 for a new catalytic converter, but it appears the error codes and the three non-functional power windows were the result of the kids at Sam's Club not knowing what they were doing when they installed a new battery last Friday afternoon.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hayden and us


We had breakfast yesterday with Austin and his daughter (Maria's granddaughter) Hayden in Lebanon, Ind.

It's always something


We put a fast 950 miles on the Lexus over the weekend after getting it fitted with a trailer hitch and a new battery.

As we set off for the weekend, I noticed that the driver's power window was the only one functioning and made a mental note to check with the U-Haul trailer hitch installers. In retrospect, I think the marginally trained kids at Sam's Club who put in the new battery may be the culprits.

Driving home from the U-Haul store this morning, I was startled to see the Check Engine light come on, along with the VSC and TRAC OFF warning lights.

A little online research leads me to believe (worst case scenario) I may need a new catalytic converter, or maybe sensors, or a tighter gas cap. One can make a case for the catalytic converter since I occasionally smell sulfur dioxide when accelerating rapidly.

I have an appointment with the guys at Gateway Tire tomorrow morning and hope they can solve the seemingly unrelated problems of power windows and warning lights as cheaply as possible.

The village has more than its share of idiots

I joined a news group on Facebook today to keep current on a crime in my home county.

Now I wish I hadn't.

I realize that, having been a professional writer (newspaper journalist and freelance writer) all of my adult life, I risk being called an intellectual snob or an elitist, but I can't help but be horrified at the barely intelligible gibberish many people are posting there.

Like run-on sentences that go on forever without capitalization or punctuation, egregious misspellings (even through Facebook flags misspelled words), and garbled sentences that leave you guessing at what the writer had in mind.

I am a product of public school education in that county, so I see no excuse for people not knowing basic grammar and syntax.

I am embarrassed to say I came from the same place as these people who lack the writing skills of a competent third-grader.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lights


The electricians retuned to our commercial building this morning to make the final lighting improvement.

Now all we need is a new tenant.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chairs



The folks at the Justice Network left a few things behind when they cleared out of our downtown commercial building, including these three chairs from the waiting room.

I advertised them for sale on a local Facebook yard sale site over the weekend, but nobody wanted them for a paltry $20, so I gave them to our remaining tenant, the Pregnancy Resource Center. They seemed happy to get them.

Bad winter for the PCH


My favorite road is having a hard winter.

This map was posted on the Big Sur Information page on Facebook with the statement:

"Highway 1 from Carmel to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is in good shape so you still have access to all the restaurants, hotels, art galleries and businesses in the Big Sur valley.

"Nacimiento-Ferguson Road closure listed on this map goes into effect at 5:00 PM, Wednesday, February 15."

The winter storms are always a threat to the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur, but this year is worse than most.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I killed my Brother


I accidentally murdered my Brother all-in-one printer last night.

We are moving stuff around in the office and I plugged it in at its new location without shutting it down properly before I unplugged it at the original site. I noticed a small spark when I plugged it into the power strip, followed by a spontaneous power up and power down. After that, it was dead as a doornail.

I called the Brother customer service line this morning and we determined that:
1. It needs professional service and
2. It's out of warranty.

Since I got it free a few years ago from the Amazon Vine Program, I'm not out any money and happily I have a nice Canon all-in-one printer that I got from the Vine Program that has now taken its place as our prime printer.

I hate to throw it into the trash, but I'd useless to me and takes up space.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I found my old Palm Treo 700p PDA/cell phone in the garage yesterday, along with its charger and a wireless keyboard.

It was a big deal when I bought it in October, 2006, but it is positively primitive compared with today's smartphones.

I hooked up the USB charger and the battery still shows 100% more than 24 hours later. That made me confident enough to offer the whole bundle for sale on Ebay where the phones alone are going for about $15.

Terry's Cafe


We went to Paragould for breakfast this morning, but found our first two places closed - one didn't serve breakfast and the other looked like it was out of business. So I suggested asking Siri for a good breakfast spot and she came up with Terry's Cafe in downtown Paragould. She obligingly guided us there.

The place is wildly popular with the locals and serves a good breakfast with a charming down-home ambiance.

Pay no attention to the wraiths passing through the photo - when you shoot an iPhone panorama, things that move turn out weirdly.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The fabulous Flora Building


After installing 16 new fluorescent light fixtures, having the carpet professionally cleaned, having a cleaning crew wipe down the woodwork and clean all of the glass and restrooms, and having a painting crew touch up the scrapes and glitches and screw and nail holes in the walls, the vacant side of our commercial building is ready for inspection by prospective clients. To that end, I went to Sam's Club this morning and bought a bale of toilet paper to make sure that the four restrooms are well stocked in case prospective tenants need to use the facilities.

As I mentioned earlier, the former tenants were forced out of business by a vindictive newspaper campaign and a couple of judges who were intent on fixing something was wasn't broken.

The former tenant has until the end of June on his lease and has promised to keep paying rent and utilities until then or, ideally, until we get a new tenant to take over the space.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Locker room memory aid


I had finished my 1+ miles on the treadmill at the fitness center yesterday afternoon and was in the locker room getting ready to shower when I noticed a guy who had obviously forgotten which locker he used to stash his clothes. The lockers have electronic keypad locks that let you enter your own four-digit combination. Once you unlock the locker, the lock waits for the next user to enter a combination.

As I walked off to the showers, I made a mental note to help him search if he hadn't found his locker by the time I finished showering.

Happily, he found it on his own. So I shared my secret for never losing track of my locker number.

I snap a photo of the number with my iPhone. I keep my phone with me when I work out because it pairs with my Bluetooth headphones to provide one of two exercise playlists I've created.

I'm proud to say my memory is good enough that I've never had to resort to the iPhone photo backup, but I'm not embarrassed to say that day may come. And I'll be ready.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Michael Lindberg


I found this 8x10 in a box in the garage this afternoon. It was creased and torn and I restored it as best I could.

Michael Lindberg struck me as an interesting, but enigmatic guy. This photo reminded me that he was a Vietnam vet and set me to wondering if PTSD factored into his suicide.

Rest in peace, Michael.

Dog gate

News relic


The Indianapolis News gave subscribers these little pocket Rand McNally road atlases back in the 1990s. Here's one that turned up yesterday.

Monday, February 06, 2017

50 years ago today


Today - Feb. 6, 2017 - is the 50th anniversary of my first day at The Indianapolis News.

I came to The News after five months at The Tipton Daily Tribune in Tipton, Ind. The News, also known as The Great Hoosier Daily, was Indiana's largest evening newspaper with seven editions daily, Monday through Saturday. My starting pay was $110 a week.

Over the next 33 years, I was a city desk rewrite man, city desk reporter, makeup editor, state and suburban desk reporter, suburban bureau chief... I shot my own photos to illustrate my stories most of the time and came to believe that a reporter who wasn't a shooter, wasn't a complete newspaperman (or woman). Happily, Maria wrote and shot photos too. I did about everything except over sports in my years at The News.

I started my newspaper career in the latter days of the hot type era when we wrote our stories on typewriters and printers set them in type on Linotype and Intertype machines. (In those days, a printer was a human being who worked with type, not a printing device attached to a computer.) Consequently, I know most of the arcane minutiae about printing with lead type, including the old "type lice" trick printers loved to play on rookies.

My career saw the advent of computers in the newsroom and the gradual phasing out of a whole generation of printers and typesetters and the transition of photography from film to digital.

I began to lose my enthusiasm for the job when The News staff got merged with The Star folks in 1995 and when The News ceased publication in 1999. I hated working at The Star and by October, 2000, Gannett had sucked the last bit of fun out of it.

So I fired The Star for wasting my time and took early retirement at age 55.

Since then, I've been a volunteer at Maria's newspapers in Crawfordsville, Ind. and Jonesboro, Ark. and can honestly say I've spent my entire adult life watching bean counters and other idiots ruin perfectly good newspapers.

Paper


I found these two certificates recently and decided to immortalize them on the blog.

Maria and I attended a one-day session of the Nikon School on June 8, 2002 at Cincinnati. That was back in the days when just about everyone was still shooting film and the handbook we got with the course dealt exclusively with film shooting.

The other certificate is in recognition of me serving as principal for a day at College Wood Elementary School in Carmel, Ind. on April 15, 1999. I was education writer for the Metro North Bureau of The Indianapolis News and Star at the time and was invited to be principal for a day by College Wood Principal Jane Boultinghouse. Jane's brother Wayne was my roommate for a semester at Indiana State University back in the 1960s.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Same message



Two wildly different Bill Murray movies were released in 1984 - Meatballs and The Razor's Edge. Interestingly, they had the same message - "It just doesn't matter."

Indy Club breakfast


We had a delightful breakfast yesterday with our Indianapolis BMW Club friends yesterday before racing home and concluding a whirlwind 26-hour Brookland-to-Indiana-to-Brookland trip. I'll explain the purpose at a later date.