Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Exorcising the demons

More than anything else, last night's State of the Union address struck me as an exorcism.

The demonic Democrats were obviously intensely uncomfortable. Illinois Congressman Gutierrez even had to flee the chamber when people started changing "USA, USA."

I truly believe those people are under a Satanic influence and are bent on destroying everything good and righteous in the country.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Eye Caramba!

I got a bill this week from the surgical center where my cataract surgeries were done last month.

It appears that the bill is just for the left eye surgery that was done on Dec. 12. The total cost is a staggering $13,232! Happily, all but $197 is covered by Medicare. That's the same Medicare that was deducted from my paychecks since 1965.

I assume another bill will be forthcoming for the right eye surgery performed on Dec. 26, raising the total charge to $26,464.

So it wasn't really free. I paid for it over the 52 years I've been contributing to the Medicare fund.

Whatever. I now have perfect vision for the first time in my life.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

One year ago today, the world changed

Politically speaking, this may have been the happiest year of my life.

President Donald Trump has yet to say or do anything that I haven't liked and he makes all the right people crazy.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Best Civil War book I've read so far

I've been reading a lot of books about the Civil War, including biographies. Being a Hoosier in exile in Arkansas can do that to you.

The most interesting one I've read is the one I'm savoring now on my Kindle Paperwhite -
Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence
by Heros Von Borcke.

Von Borcke was a Prussian cavalry officer whose appetite for adventure inspired him to run the Union blockade and join the Army of Northern Virginia where he became a friend and confidante of the legendary J.E.B. Stuart. His dash and elan in battle earned him the admiration of such luminaries as Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee (whose 211th birthday is today).

He apparently kept a journal filled with exquisite details of the ebb and flow and the day-to-day life of a Confederate officer. He distinguished himself in combat and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before he was gravely wounded in fighting leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. Following his recovery, Confederate States President Jefferson Davis sent him on a diplomatic mission to England where he was serving when the war ended in April, 1865.

After the war, he returned to Prussia and eventually bought an estate where he flew the Confederate flag over the battlements.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I should have taken better care of it

My 1973 North Face daypack has a terminal case of mold and mildew, so out it goes for tomorrow morning's trash collection.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at the North Face website and was stunned to see that they have the 1968 version of the daypack, brought back out of nostalgia, for $275. That's almost enough to make me trudge through the snow to retrieve my 45-year-old pack, mildew or now.


I left it on top of the trash can, in case some passerby wants to snag it before it goes to the landfill.

Bang & Olufsen is releasing new and improved versions of their brilliant H8 and H9 headphones. The H8 is an on-ear headphone and the H9 is an over-the-ear 'phone.

I was fortunate enough to receive review copies of both of the originals. Now, I'm hoping I get to get a chance to review the new H8i and H9i. It makes sense (to me, anyway) to let me review the new headphones, since I have a basis for comparison.

We shall see.

Checking the mail

Box 101
Thorntown, IN 46071-0101

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sitting here at my desk, listening to music on my fabulous Bang & Olufsen H9 headphones when a song from the first Jefferson Airplane album comes up in the random rotation.

And I am suddenly transported back to February, 1967 in my first apartment - Apt. 1A, 3360 Meadows Court - in Indianapolis. I had just started my career with The Indianapolis News at the tender age of 21.

Ahh, if I had only known what I know now. I can't recall those early days at The News without cringing over how naive I was.

The B&O headphones reveal details in the music that were hidden by the limitations of vinyl records and my rudimentary RCA console stereo - the only good thing to come out of my soul-numbing time as a drone in an RCA cabinet factory in Monticello, Ind.

I was newly engaged and living in rudimentary bachelor squalor. My 1965 VW beetle was parked in snow at the curb in front of the apartment building.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday morning stuff

The temperature rose above freezing yesterday for the first time since Christmas.

As a consequence, the snow is melting and the frozen water line to our dishwasher thawed. We can wash dishes automatically once again and can put away the plastic plates and knives, forks and spoons.

It is my fervent hope that we can get some proper insulation in the east wall of the kitchen before next winter and make frozen pipes a thing of the past.

In the meantime, I finished the course of eyedrops for my left eye this morning and have only a couple of weeks of daily drops to go for my right eye.

When we moved to Arkansas 10 years ago, we lost the homestead tax credit deduction on our Thorntown house, as it was no longer our principal place of residence. We moved back last August and I applied for the deduction two months later with the county auditor's office, with the understanding that it would take effect Jan. 1. I supposed that the auditor's office would communicate with our mortgage holder and we would receive a new coupon book reflecting a lower (by about $200 a month, I think) mortgage payment.

That doesn't seem to have happened, so I called the mortgage holder this morning and have subsequently sent them a PDF file of the homestead tax credit application.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I can see clearly now!

Last night was the first occasion I've had to evaluate my night driving vision since my cataract removal/lens replacement surgery.

The cataracts had compromised my night vision to the point where it was a struggle to maintain proper lane position on poorly marked two-lane rural highways. It was bad enough that I abdicated my night driving responsibilities a couple of months ago to Maria and became a passenger.

The surgery was transformative. I see amazingly well in the dark and Maria remarked how much more confidently I maneuvered in Indianapolis traffic during a trip down to the Peyton Manning Pavilion of St. Vincent Hospital. We made the trip to deliver a dinner of comfort food to friends whose young son is in the hospital.

BTW, that's not me in the photo.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Organization in the face of sub-zero weather

We've been juggling several remote controls for months and I hope I've found the solution - a remote caddy from

In addition to the remote that came with our Sharp Aquos TV, there's one for the BluRay player, one for the Sony soundbar, one for the Metrolink cable/TV, and more recently the Amazon Fire TV Stick. All five fit nicely with room for more.

In the meantime, we remain in the grip of near record cold. The water supply line to the dishwasher has been frozen for about a week and we fervently hope it doesn't leak when it thaws. We had Maria's extended family here on New Year's Day and got by nicely with paper plates and plastic cups. I think the coldest morning was Tuesday when it was -13°F. The good news is that both cars have started and run in this insane cold and the house is reasonably warm. We are oh so glad we got all new windows installed before the bottom fell out of the thermometer. This 114-year-old house is the tightest it has ever been, which isn't saying a lot. We'll know more when we get the next gas bill.

The forecast calls for highs in the low to mid-30s for a few days starting on Sunday and it can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

DIY again

The Whirlpool microwave that our renters installed crapped out a second time last week - bad switches in the door.

I called the appliance repair guy who worked on it the first time for about $100 and he determined we needed another $175 worth of parts.

We decided that was a bad move - we'd still have an old microwave after spending nearly $300. So we went to Lowe's in Lafayette on Saturday and bought a handsome Samsung model that was on sale for $269.

Maria insisted we could install it ourselves and damned if we didn't do just that on Sunday.

The old Whirlpool goes to the curb for trash collection Friday.