Thursday, November 13, 2008

Countdown to th....

We have found an apartment in downtown Keene NH.
We are both working, we are NOT traveling. The Adventure is done and now I am just facing the usual craziness of day to day living which severely limits my story possibilities.

During the Adventure I wrote a lot of stories about people. Strangers, people that I had just met, people that I saw from a distance and never quite met. People that I would have liked to meet.
I could write about these people without them being insulted because of the simple fact that they were NOT going to read this blog. Many times I would give them my calling card with the address of this site and suggest that if they wanted to read about whatever had just happened they should look it up. I would go with the assumption that they would never look it up and so I could write about them without embarrassing them. Of course, I have always tried to be nice, and I only had to remove one post through the entire trip, but writing about people that I am going to be seeing next Thursday and again the following Tuesday would affect what I may write, and I imagine would affect how my friends behave around me.

So anyhow, I won't be writing about all of the wonderful people that I am meeting every day because I will not be meeting that many new people. In fact I will be meeting very few new people.

Now the good news is that I have started writing a lot more lately. I went through a real dry period for a while but for the last month or so I have been writing chapters for my novel.
I haven't figured out the entire story line but the bits and pieces are shaping up. I also joined the local writer's group, but they only meet once a month.

Last week I had to write a post about our buddy Cris losing her battle with cancer. I have to write when I get emotional. It helps me even if I don't come to any clear-cut conclusion in my writing. Venting. Sorting things out.

What surprised me was that there are still some people that check in.
I still cannot tell how many folks are reading the page versus the HIT count. The HIT count includes all of the folks that get here by mistake and don't actually read anything.
My next site will have to include a simple check box to mark if you have read the post.
People don't enjoy rating an article because they don't want to be insulting. A thumbs up will do it. I'll avoid the whole up/down dilemma by maybe displaying a sideways thumb.

The question is what to call my site. My site that will be full of little stories that are not about new people that I just met. OK, maybe it won't be FULL of little stories, but there will be SOME stories. Real good ones. I think.

I don't know what to call it. "" sounds a little pompous (even though I AM They).
"Gruntled" is already taken. is too difficult to spell. is a little too personal. is more of the same. is planned for a project that I am going to do some day. has already done more than enough and deserves to be retired.

Still thinking...

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

and another life begins...

Cousin Nancy & Tom are grandparents!
Subject: Elliot Arthur C.
October 29, 2008
For the grandparents -- your first baby picture to email around!

Born this morning at 4:01 am, weighing 5 lbs and 14 ounces. J. is resting comfortably at Holy Cross and we are up for visitors.  More pictures and info to follow.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

The miracle of Cris...

We just said goodbye to our friend Cris.  

Cris has always hated goodbyes and so every time we have visited her or she visits us there is always that dreaded time to say goodbye when Cris cries like she is never going to see Beth again and then Beth gets weepy and then I have to find something to distract me, like starting the car and adjusting the mirrors because I can't seem to talk at that moment.  It is always difficult because we leave Cris with tears running down her cheeks as she waves with her big toothy smile and her eyes squinted shut like she does whenever her smile is bursting out.

On Wednesday we said our goodbyes in an entirely different way.
Cris' eyes were dry and wide-eyed.  She was calm as we kissed and said thank you to each other.
Normally when we leave we always thanked her for the good time we had during the visit, but on this three day visit, we really were not having fun, and when we were thanking Cris on our way out, we were thanking her for the friendship we shared for the last 33 years or so.  
We will never see Cris again and we are going to miss her so terribly.  
She has lost her battle with Cancer and is just "waiting for the miracle".
Up until recently she seemed to think that the miracle would be to wake up one day and be healthy and energized again but I feel that she might finally have realized that the "miracle" that she has been waiting for is the gift of peace.  She has finished her work, it is time to rest.  She will be remembered fondly by all those that knew her, her laughter, her caring, her laughter, her mothering, and her laughter.  Cris loved to laugh.  She made other people laugh.  

I was sorry to hear Cris say that she was scared of death and we tried to make her feel better by reminding her that both of her parents and Derek had already done it and we haven't heard any regrets from them.  It is a natural process that is something to be looked forward to.  The timing isn't always exactly when you planned, but it is better to be early than late, which goes against Cris' entire "if I am not very late, I am waaaay too early" philosophy of scheduling.

Cris is always late for everything.  Everybody lies to her about the time of an appointment and she STILL will be very late.  Cris did not like to have other people drive her places because she might get there early which really irritated her.  I remember taking Cris and Beth to the airport once many years ago.  I was worried that we were running late because there was only twenty minutes to go before the flight when we pulled up to the sidewalk but Cris surprised me with a hissy fit "I knew we would get here too early! NOW what are we going to do for twenty whole minutes!".  I couldn't stop chuckling for a week.
This was the only flight that Beth took with Cris that the plane's door wasn't held open by a stewardess as they ran to the plane and slammed shut behind them.  Cris could never see the point of sitting on a plane waiting for other people to board, there were too many things to do.

If you flew with Cris you had to wear shoes that were good for running.

A few weeks ago Beth met Cris, Louise (Cris' sister), Rachel (Cris' daughter), and Jeanne (Cris' bestest Florida friend) in Sedona Arizona for a "going away" vacation.  They shared a lot of tears and visited the Grand Canyon in a limousine that came with a tour guide (the cost of the limousine and guide, the hotel expenses, and Cris' plane tickets was a gift from her many friends in Florida).  It was a wonderful way to spend your final vacation and Cris has since decided that she would like her ashes to be placed in Sedona.  

The three or four of you that read this blog probably remember Cris from occasional visits to the Annual4th parties.    Cris and Beth first met when they started working at the Foxboro Company on the same day in the mid 70's.  They quickly became friends and made arrangements for the "guys" to meet.  There were a lot of warnings and disclaimers to try to pre-apologize for each other's guy and what they may say or do while out in public, but I got along great with Dan S the first time we met, and between the good food, drinking, and constant laughing, the four of us couldn't help but become very close friends.

Eventually Beth and I had to move to New York so we moved there via a three day visit at the annual blue grass festival that Cris, Dan, Beth, and I went to every year.  The same festival that we met Jeff R at.  Dan and Cris had "the Peanut", one of those impossibly little round campers that was handy to hide in when security came around to check our wristbands.

Cris eventually drifted off to Florida searching for the unknown and settled in Clearwater, got married to Rick Gard and had a cute baby named Rachel.  Rick works on huge construction projects that take two to ten years each, so Rick would only be home a couple of weekends a month.  
Rick told me that he was looking for two qualities in a woman.  She had to be strong because he would never be home, and she had to be a good mother.  Cris was both.  They didn't always get along but she was very very strong and independent, and she was a great mother.  Rachel is a happy beautiful girl in her early twenties, Cris has a multitude of friends in Florida, and Rick takes a leave of absence from work when Cris needs help to battle her cancer.   He is taking VERY good care of her, being very patient and strong when she needs it the most.
Cris liked being good friends with guys but never really liked being a "wife".
If Cris ever felt that there was a chance of being forced to conform, even if she wasn't but Cris suspected that others just may expect it of her, she would rebel.  Above all, Cris was a rebel.   
Her rebel instincts would sometimes cause her to make decisions that she would later regret.  She would admit to Beth and I that a mistake had been made as she told us about some event, but she would never even consider backing down.  She was a stubborn cuss.  If she had committed to something that she knew wasn't going well, she would see it through to the end.

Cris loved to perform in plays and she loved to dance to bad music.  That thumping dance beat music that has always been lurking around, will continue to be produced, and will be played by radio stations with "kiss" in their tag line.  I would be shaking my head in disbelief that anyone could like this stuff and I would look at Cris and she would have her eyes closed, her teeth displayed like a peacock and she would be bouncing with the beat.

Cris loved good food.  She was a great cook and loved eating.  
Cris loved to take naps.  I always enjoyed visiting Cris because a group nap was always involved.
Taking a nap in the same room with someone has always been quality time for me.

Cris loved parties.  Especially costume parties.  I think there are pictures on this blog from last year's Halloween party .  

Beth had been on the phone with Cris constantly until a little while ago when Cris would sometimes be too tired to talk.  Cris not talking on the phone, that was heartbreaking.
Fortunately she is still talking, she just isn't long winded.
She has not eaten in many weeks, so is very thin.
She is still able to smile when asked and she is still in command.
Louise is staying there for a while so that she can tag-team with Rick for trips to the store.

If you would like Cris' contact info, just let me know.

We are really going to miss Cris, she is such a good friend.  A Rebel, a mother, a friend.
Beth's bestest buddy.

I am praying that the miracle comes soon.

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A week in Hell

Beth and I went to Bowman's beach a few days ago and this young woman sat down in a large pile of shells right behind us to start playing.  Sanibel has truckloads of shells washed up on shore every day.  There are more than anyone could imagine.  This island is known as a shell collector's mecca.

This woman was thrilled with the shells.  I commented to Beth that she reminded me of a teeny bopper sitting on the floor with all of her 45's strewn around her.  Beth said that she agreed, that woman DID look like little Bethy did at thirteen years old.

I went off into the water to collect some Lightning Welks, Lettered Olives, Flame Augers, and Lace Murex.  During my hunting expedition the couple behind Beth left the beach.  Beth said that the woman didn't want to go, but the guy left for the car and she eventually followed.

Five hours later Leslie, Beth, and I were walking along our beach when I noticed a pretty thin woman with little shorts standing at the edge of the surf excitedly cupping two hands worth of shells and letting the sand and water fall out while wiggling her fingers to filter the "perfect shell" from the rest.  It is a common technique around here.  
There is the "Sanibel Stoop" which is walking along with your head hanging forward scanning the sand and holding a plastic supermarket bag in one hand.  People are in such a trance looking at the dazzling array of shells under their feet that we have seen porpoises swimming right offshore from a "sheller" and they never even notice.
There are the petite collectors, that walk with a black plastic bag from a jewelry store and only select the finest of the finest.
I myself use the harvesting technique.  My pockets bulge out like the cheeks of a chipmunk from all of the shells that Beth and I put in them.  They get  sorted later.
This excited young woman was using the "lift and filter" technique.  If you stand in one spot, enough shells are removed and deposited at your feet with every wave that you can bend over and pick up another fresh batch every ten seconds or so.
This woman was going to check out every batch.  She seemed a little too excited.
She would jump up and down while waiting for the shells to expose themselves, then she would dump out what was left in her hands and scoop up another batch, hold them up at eye level and bounce in anticipation.
Her guy was trying to distract her so that they could move on.  It wasn't going to happen.
She was going to be planted there until the ocean stopped giving her shells.
If he tried to get too close to her to convince her to move on, she would move her arms out in the universal "keep away, I am busy" sign language, and then bend over and scoop.  She would attempt to get him to help find "the perfect shell" and he would look around a little and then go back to staring at the horizon.  This was a busy day on the beach so there were people walking by finishing up their beach combing before the spectacular sunset would signal the official end of shelling for the day.  This guy was going to be there for a while.
When I went by him the second time he was staring at the horizon and clenching his teeth.  He did not seem like he was having a good time at all.  The waves were splashing his knees while his very cute lady was almost hysterical at the joy of shell shopping.

Don't ever ever bring your O.C.D. girlfriend/wife to a beach that is known for shelling.

Much later as the sun was going down, you could see her silhouette far away, bending over, hold em' up, bending over.
Can you imagine him describing his vacation to people at work when they ask if he had a good time?  "Yeah everything was fine until she found the freakin' shells!"  
"All week long, those freeeeeakin' shells!"

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Where to vote.

Television stations don't really put a lot of effort into public service announcements because they just don't seem to make any profit on them.

In Florida they start two weeks early with "Early Voting" which is a system that they use down here because there are just so many registered voters and so few residents who can count, and from what I understand, it really frees up the pressure on election day.  
At a friends house, I saw a silent Public Service Announcement displayed between commercials that listed voting locations (any time the TV stops barking at me, it gets my attention).  My favorite was a polling place that could be easily found because it was across the street from the "Quaker Steak Lube".
OK, I am not eligible to vote in Florida, but I drool like Pavlov's old Harley every time I think of that retaurant and what the after effects might be.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Safety Flag

We pulled up to the PB&J before heading up the hill.

There was the usual assortment of vehicles at random angles in front of the store. I was stopping for milk but the bulk of sales at the PB&J is beer. Milk was the “convenience” at this store, beer is a “necessity”.
...”Honey, I'm just running down to the necessity store for my beer, smokes, and lottery tickets, do you need some milk while I'm there?”

As I walked from our car there was a pickup truck loaded down with pieces of a telephone pole in front of me. The pole was quite a score. It had been violently snapped into at least two pieces and then the remaining parts had been cut into ten foot lengths which hung out of the back of the truck at awkward angles.
The unshaven passenger slumped down in the cab looked really pleased with his awesome load of extremely toxic firewood that was free free free.

What stopped me in my tracks was the warning flag that was affixed to the end of this very long load.

In accordance with New Hampshire state law, loads that extend beyond the taillights must be marked with a red flag to avoid having a tailgater being skewered.

Now these two future firewood barons had probably come across this stash of insect-proofed lifetime-guaranteed firewood right there on the side of the road just waiting for harvesting at the peak of perfection. After their truck had been loaded to approximately 230% of it's maximum load capacity these two guys realized that they need to find a flag to avoid breaking the law.

Time for some Yankee Ingenuity. It seems that there is a new variety of Budweiser called “Select” that comes in bright RED 16 ounce cans.

Are you aware that stomping on an empty can of Budweiser “Select” creates a very serviceable red flag that can be nailed to your load to satisfy the letter of the law while simultaneously “red flagging” local law enforcement? Try it for yourself.

As I was chuckling to myself I saw the driver of the truck happily bouncing down the front steps of the PB&J with, you guessed it, a six-pack of “Select”.

Two quick pops of beer cans, the engine fires up, a quick U-turn and off go two of the happiest lumberjacks you've ever seen.

Maybe the cop that was on duty that day had his radio turned up loud enough so that he couldn't hear the “RED flag” clanking in the wind.

“Hey man, like, how did that cop know that we were drinking?”

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

A teenager hanging around the fire.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Pacing around in the lobby of the maternity ward

Beth and I moved back to the Hamster Ranch last Monday because Mama was going to let go "at any time" and we were going to take the pictures of the event.
Monday: it was hot and nothing happened.
Tuesday: it was even hotter and nothing happened.
Wednesday: things were calm (and hot) until evening and then "the storm" moved in. First the wind came. Amazing. The porch light was on and we see this fine mist blowing sideways past the door. I stuck my hand out and it didn't get wet... it was a fog of pollen. Beth stuck her head out to see where it was all coming from and instantly realized her mistake. Her eyeball was instantly coated with pollen and she bent over and started blinking and rubbing her eyes frantically while I looked over my shoulders to make sure that there wasn't a herd of bees zooming in for a free meal.

Then the lightning came. Oh yeah, then there was the gush of water. This wasn't just "precipitation", this was a wall of water that would have set off alarms if we were sitting in a submarine at the moment. Lots and lots of water. Ooooh look, one of the guests for the B&B is coming up the driveway. I hope she can find the door because I would rather not run out there.
But wait! Carl realizes that the door was open on the camper so that it could air out and Carl knows that this wind was going to rip the door right off. So he got out of bed, pulled on his pants and scurried out into the darkness.
The guest splashed through the door and dumped one load of luggage and then splashed out again, when she came back in she was still standing in the doorway marveling at the weather when out of the darkness popped Carl. An eighty year old man dressed like one of the guys from the Chippendales, barefoot, jeans, red suspenders, and absolutely no shirt. Fortunately he also forgot his glasses and hearing aids so he wasn't aware that he had popped out of nowhere and had scared our guest so badly that the storm suddenly seemed trivial. Carl wasn't aware that the person that he was stepping by on his way back to bed was somebody that didn't know him, and he really didn't care, he was going to bed. Noel told our guest Enid that "That's Carl, he lives here" and left it at that. Enid told us about how she had made it up the hill before everything had let loose and was glad to be here even with the "all male revue" part of our little B&B. I would like to note that I was wearing most of my clothes at the time. I was pretty proud of that.

We all settled down to watch a movie and the lightning was still zapping around. I spent a lot of time out in the glass room enjoying the light show, and Beth was in her room reading. I came in to sit back down on the couch and Barnum had taken my spot (Barnum is the farm manager disguised as an orange tabby), well I was bending over to negotiate with the cat when lightning hit a tree right behind the house. Barnum's eyes opened up to the size of.... wait a minute... did I already write about this? wait here, I've got to check something...
OK, I'm back, Yep! I had already written about the lightning strike. Sorry. Well anyhoo, I hadn't told you about Carl the male dancer or Enid, so there you go.
Anyhow, as I was saying, Leslie was on her way with proper eatin' supplies and we partook (which is the past tense of partaken) of strawberry shortcake ice cream and anything else that we could shovel in. After a lot of chatting tweaked the lighting for the Barn-O-Cam so Noel would have a good view of the Mother to be if things started to happen.
Leslie, Enid, Noel, Beth and I all went to bed. Carl had been sleeping a while and Barnum wasn't going to be sleeping for quite a while if his wide eyes were any indication.

Ten minutes after we were in bed Noel let out the alarm. "It's happening, lets go!"
We all jumped up and pulled on our stuff and headed out to the barn.
Mama was laying down but jumped up as soon as our large crowd stumbled into the "viewing area". We backed out of the barn and stayed as quiet as we could while we waited for Mama to feel safe enough to proceed. We slowly stepped in to sneak peeks. While Mama paced around I ran up to Noel's bedroom and turned on the VCR to record everything. When I got back down to the barn I started taking some pictures.
There was a splash that was similar to the deluge that happened earlier in the evening and we knew that her water had just broken. [insert scratch and sniff sample here]

My camera is lousy in dim light so I wasn't expecting much.

Then through the viewfinder I saw a large white egg where an egg wasn't supposed to be.
I dropped my camera to see what I had been looking at and quickly wished I hadn't.
I went out of the barn and told Beth that she should get back in there so that one of us was going to see this in all of it's grand lubricity.
Beth trotted in and I tiptoed carefully.
Mama dropped to the floor right against the wall that the camera was mounted on so that she could assure her privacy and avoid the paparazzi. Noel went in to see if she could help. Mama looked back at Noel with a "let's get this over with" look and started to push. Five seconds later Noel called for Beth to help and of course, Beth was all too glad to dive into the activity. I was attempting to take photos while Noel is barking out commands to Beth "grab there, move this, now, OK, hard, yes, perfect, wow, good" and lots of other things that just confused me.

Noel had told us that the delivery would be in the form of a hundred pound "envelope" and then when the foal is out of the envelope and then it is like somebody puffs into the the foal balloon and everything inflates and takes shape. That was a pretty good description except that the "envelope" looks more like a bright white lubricated condom that you might see on the "Paul Bunyan in Las Vegas" DVD. Noel showed no signs of queasiness while sitting on the floor next to a condom that was as big as she was and in fact she didn't notice me jump like I did when she suddenly tore into the condom right above the baby's face and she wiped the forehead and yelled out "It's a CHESTNUT!" and then happily unwrapped the rest of her present.
It had a banana shaped head with large ears and very very long legs with knobby knees.
Mama kept looking back and seemed impressed with her little wet chestnut colt.
The entire delivery took about 90 seconds. There was more wetness and grossness and wonderment in that minute and a half than I have seen in a very long time.

I have some pictures of a long awkward goofy looking creature nose to nose with mama.
Then mama stood up, the umbilical cord breaks and the goofy baby is officially on his own.
At this point we were supposed to sit back and wait for the kid to figure things out.
At this point we had NO idea that our long night was just getting started.
more later...

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Waiting for the puppy...

Remember how I was whining about nothing exciting happening and nothing to write about and how whining was really the most important thing that I could whine about?

Well here we are on the cusp of a new puppy up here at the Hampster Ranch.
I know, I know, we don't live here anymore, but we came back for the big event.
These creatures are prey animals so they only drop their hundred pound package during the night and they do it quick. Stop eating, a little kicking, lie down, a few grunts and stand up again. Then it's time to eat again. Noel has a camera set up in the barn so she can know when to run down there, but we had a whopper of a storm, and when the lightning hit the tree behind the house the barn-o-cam got fried along with the electric fence unit, some fencing, and my Tivo.
Noel called around for people that had old video cameras that they weren't using and we found that there were several available that were missing their power supplies, so I did some fudging and patching and we now have a functional barn-O-cam so we can wake up and run when the time comes. Beth and I have been here for three nights already but tonight is the night... for sure. Milk dripping from the appropriate places and other signs of impending changes.

So tomorrow I shall have some interesting pictures, I will leave out the "surprising" ones and just put up the cute ones. Tonight... for sure...
When the lightning hit I was face to face with Barnum (the primary farm cat) and when the big bang actually banged, Barnum's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he wondered just HOW I was making that noise. I was surprised that his eyeballs didn't fall out. As I looked around Beth came out of the bedroom and she had the same eye condition plus her hair was standing on end from all of the static that was in the air. Pretty cool. You should have been there, it was pretty cool.
I couldn't finish enjoying the moment because Noel put me to work fixing things so we could monitor the "progress" during the downpour.
Today I finished fixing the fencing and now we are watching a movie while waiting for Leslie to arrive with the proper supplies to get through this ordeal (whipped cream and shells for the strawberry shortcakes).

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Bicyloco Supremo for da big bucks

I almost forgot...

Linda Blake is doing an extremely loooooong bicycle ride to raise money for cancer research.

The Annual4th folks know her well and if you don't know her, she's my cousin.

A looooooong ride. All up hill.

She needs some sponsors, so I've got to go donate right now.

Here's the link Linda Blake Bicyloco Supremo

Go there or be square.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Life Explained

  • On the first day, God created the dog and said: 'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'
  • The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you
    back the other ten?'

  • So God agreed.

  • On the second day, God created the monkey and said: 'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

  • The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'

  • And God agreed.

  • On the third day, God created the cow and said: 'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'

  • The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'

  • And God agreed again.

  • On the fourth day, God created man and said: 'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

  • But man said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

  • 'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

  • So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.

  • For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.

  • For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.

  • And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

    Life/lifespans have now been explained to you.

(source unknown, so I will attribute it to 'that internet thing')

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Thank You

Exactly four years ago today we were busy saying goodbye to Derek. I was holding the telephone to his ear as Tess in Florida said her tearful goodbyes, I couldn't hear what she was saying because the breathing machine made so much noise. People talked to him. At noon his heart finally rested. I still remember standing up and looking around after we were done and seeing the entire room crammed full of family and friends. FULL. A lot of you. I didn't realize that everyone had squeezed in. There were certainly a few speed limits broken that morning as people traveled long distances. The rule about how many guests in a room was overridden by those wonderful nurses.

I will never forget turning around and seeing everyone there. Thank you.
During the next week we were surrounded by a large crowd of loving people and we supported each other. Our little towns pulled together and opened town halls, inns, and other resources to make everybody's transition a little easier.

Wow. Thank you.

I know that most of you do not check back here because I haven't been writing at all,
but just in case you are reading this....

Four years ago we said goodbye to Dude.
He was a really good kid.
At noon today just take moment to say Derek's name.
Thank you.

Thank you Derek for being all that you were.

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A note.

Yesterday Beth was planting some flowers at Derek's stone and there were a few items that were there. His car key and the little Buddha are still there but someone had placed some silk flowers, and there was a prom corsage with a note, since Beth didn't know what it said, she brought it home for translation.

(We do too)

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Monday, May 26, 2008


Re: Annual4th 2008



Get the picture?

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Charleston SC

We just got back from Charleston and the 2008 Mighty Marmon Muster.
We had a great time and I have a few stories to tell.
It was great to be back on the road again.
But first there is another post that I have to do.
please stand by...

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Monday, May 12, 2008

None of the above

Hi folks, YES i am still here, but I haven't been traveling and life hasn't been particularly strange lately. I was asking Beth what my next blog site should be about and she said that I haven't poked around in my big bag of nuggets from the trip.
I will find them and see what bubbles to the top.
I will.
I am looking for actual employment and while I am waiting for "the right opportunity" I am doing odd jobs for people that need things done. It's fun, different every day, and doesn't really pay very much. No complaints here....

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some Medical News from the source that you trust.

OK, I've got to run off for a day of errands but I will leave you with one quick item for you to practice over the weekend.
There are many things that we do that may not have been thoroughly explained to us. We do these things every day, but we may do them badly. "It's simple, just do it", but we have difficulties until someone "happens" to explain it to you as an offshoot of a conversation about tuberculosis at a late night cocktail party or something.

If this cocktail party was too late night, we are burdened with that odd problem of saying "yeah, there was a trick to doing this that somebody told me about, but I can't remember what it was...". Give it up, you won't remember it, until someone tells you another solution for the same problem and you perk up and exclaim "I HEARD that, no wait, that wasn't it, was it?".

Well here is a simple solution to a common problem and you can come back tomorrow and read it again and then maybe you will remember it.

Reeny is a veterinarian and has to give horses medication. Horses don't enjoy getting medication any more than you did when you were six years old. Their throats are not as proportionally sized in comparison to a six year old kid as you would think, especially since they weigh 20 to 30 times more while their tummies and poopers ARE at least 50 times bigger.
Because of the large body, long neck, and relatively small throat they really "kick up a fuss" when you try to get them to eat an aspirin that is 240 grains per pill. That means it is a large white brick with "rounded corners for comfort", which is very similar to those calcium or glucosamine tablets that you are supposed to choke down every day.
You know those wooden plungers that butchers use to stuff "parts" into the meat grinder when they are making "low-fat ground stuff"? I always thought that it would be a good marketing idea to include a plastic version of one of those (with a breathing hole down the middle) with every jumbo bottle of oversized "good for you" type pills, to make short work of loading your mouth with the morning pills, lean your head back, aim, and pack.

"Maybe there is a better way" you say? Well there is. Here it is. Right here. Pay attention.

What you need: A glass of water. A pill, and that's all.

Place the jumbo pill UNDER your tongue.
HOLD the pill down with your tongue.
Take a large gulp of water.

Try this with small pills first. Or some M&Ms.
It's wonderful. Don't try to do anything with the pill but hold it down.
Try it again.
If you do this enough times with M&M's you could get really fat without the perils of developing an addiction to chocolate.
Try it this weekend and let me know how it works for you.
You would think that with pages and pages of documentation included with every packet of pills that they could devote a paragraph explaining how to get your body on the outside of the pill.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

Monday, April 7, 2008

a ping... (returned in 1,814,401,736ms)

Alright, I know, it HAS been a while. I am sorry. I realize that I have lost most of my daily customers because nobody likes to go to a inactive blog.

I have started to receive the "Where ARE you?" emails. I have now received MORE emails than the number of votes that I get on any post. I wish I could change my "rating" stars to only ONE so that maybe people will click to let me know that they are there without worrying that they are insulting me.

Two of the recent comments let me know that some folks from the very beginning of The Adventure were still watching. Chris S. from Indiana has the exact same name as a long time friend of ours who lives in NH and just happens to be female. So when Susanna wrote a comment with the tag (Chris S's wife) I realized who was actually there.
Hello Chris & Susanna from Indiana, it's great to know that you checked in.
I really want to come visit again... but then again, I would like to do the whole trip again.

There were SO many people that took us in and made us feel welcome. If we were just on our own looking at "the sights" the trip would have been just a sight-seeing trip. Instead we experienced The Adventure which truly was the best of America and was so much fun!
The friendship and trust that was shown to the two traveling hobos was amazing.
It is wonderful to be reminded that the entire country has not become so paranoid and untrusting that they are afraid to show hospitality to strangers. You hear and read the news about stupid people being mean to other people and trying to take advantage of others, which ruins it for everyone else, but we found that in most of this country you can still help and be helped by others with no fears of theft, violence, or severe halitosis (although I did suffer from a bout of it myself, sorry Rookie).
We were told by several folks in Montana that it would not be considered strange to walk up to any house if you were hungry and you would be fed, just like it was just about anywhere until about 45 years ago. I suspect that this would not be wise thing to do in some areas.

The Adventure was great, I cannot imagine that we could top it, although I would LOVE to try.

I WILL be writing again soon. I have been very busy re-wiring the house that we are staying in. It is an old house that had a few "issues" that had caused half of the lights to stop working.
I spent quite a while just trying to map the existing system. It was originally wired by someone that wasn't very concerned about little details like positive/negative.
It turned out to be an effort comparable to mapping the human genome but includes a LOT more stairs. The attic is a VERY long way from the cellar and even farther the other direction.

Tonight all of the lights are working.
I am going to rest and take care of some other commitments tomorrow and maybe by then I will think of something to write about.
So check back and maybe I will have something soon.
[story suggestions would be appreciated]

The ONLY subjects that I have been dwelling on are politics, media, and the war of the arborists.
I will see what bubbles up.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Shuffling around.

It looks like we are going to settle in New Hampshire. We evaluated the options that we had, the areas surrounding the cities that we liked, the taxes, the pay scales, and charted the number or sunny days per year in 15 spots around the country.

We are going to collapse in a heap just about where we are right now. Well, not exactly right here. We are shuffling to another domicile this weekend because our room here at the Inn at Hamster Hill is going to be needed soon for the hoards of horsemen that will descend on this place very soon. Some people can tell that Spring is coming because of the sound of little birds. At this place, Springtime is announced by the sound of many hoofs arriving for "the season".

I posted a resume in a public spot on the Internet and I got a hit right away.
A headhunter wants to send me to a company that I have known about for years that has a position that might be fun. I will probably be a "contractor" until I confirm that the current management has recovered from the years of "reorganization" that it was forced to live through when it was being bought and sold regularly.

We recently met Ralph the "Arborist to the Stars" who is a fellow that LOVES to cook and to feed others. He is a refugee from California with a long story that I was able to track down on the Internet. Very Interesting. I will write about the "Perils of being an honest Arborist" soon.
We are very busy, we are moving our possessions from this spot to another and in general, things are REALLY going to snap into place soon.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

blabber in process

OK, unless you have a LOT of patience, you shouldn't bother reading the post that is right below this one. I try to write and edit my rants as two separate sessions. This one posted right away, so it stayed. I just woke up from my nap and it seemed 'a tad wordy' and maybe a little disjointed.
I will edit it down to a quick little blurb, but I will leave it here for those that are looking for anything to read. This came pouring out after I read a little blurb about iPods and electronic picture frames coming with pre-installed viruses.
All of a sudden it just came out and I couldn't stop it. I usually park it and edit it later if it deserves to be revived.
I also had read that a woman had sat on her toilet for two years and the ambulance was called because "something was wrong with her legs" and she couldn't walk anymore. It seems her skin had grown around the seat and it had to be surgically removed.
Boy am I glad that story didn't cause the same sort of uncontrollable writing spree.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

How to control the WORLD -- bruhahahahahaha

*** message **** Status: Approved by assistant-Poobah #6489.5 ****
ParaType: History/included:blendedadvertising:GetRich:ExplanationThereof:
Dateline 2025 with references to history, political, incl: ViraMaticUcontrl opportunity
Display until 11:59am March 31, 2025.
[cue standard "excited consumer jingle 234"]

This is simple.
How many of these apply to you:
[ ] I am Evil
[ ] I am Wealthy (50% of respondents to the first question will be)
[ ] I have control of a large number of people in my country
[ ] My country or company is a manufacturer of consumer goods
[ ] I work for/in a company that manufactures some part of a consumer good.
[ ] I seem to have an urge to control other people.
[ ] I would prefer, if at all possible, to control the world. (bruhahahahahaha, [rub hands together and hunch shoulders like a vulture while glancing from side to side)
[ ] I work in quality control, shipping, receiving, customer setup, programming, assembly or know or control someone who does.
[ ] I am the Grand Poobah of a sinister police force and can make offers that can't be refused.
[ ] I am a staunch supporter of the Patriot Act and will obtain the necessary retroactive subpoenas as needed.
[ ] I haven't got a clue. I just go to work and do what I am supposed to do.
[ ] I have purchased an electronic device before (ANY electronic device).
[ ] I have plugged some devices into my computer at one time or another.
[ ] I have an Internet connection.

If you have selected more than 3.5 of these choices, then you may have an opportunity for fame, fortune, and power. If you didn't check off the wealthy or powerful choices then you are NOT disqualified from this event.
You can HELP someone else, (possibly even somebody that you approve of) control the world.
You could be eligible for all of the benefits of belonging to the "Universal Henchman for Evil-Doers Union".
Imagine the pride that your grandchildren will feel when they tell others that their grandfather or grandmother was an actual Henchman for the "Revolution of Alignment of 2012".

OK, enough of this bubbly excitement about how YOU will gain from this... I will tell you what got me so excited. The secret word today is "OUTSOURCING".

Outsourcing is the way that manufacturing operates in the modern world. A company has a product that needs to be made, well they can't make it themselves so they hire somebody else to make it for them. A company that is going to sell a product just has the ideas, marketing staff, financial people, etc. They usually do not actually anything, they ask for bids and companies from China, Mexico, India, Portugal, Malaysia, Trenton NJ, or Chicago all submit an estimate of how much that they can make a product for. The bids from "somewhere else" are usually "less expensive" than making it locally, so you send the paperwork and cash over to them, wait a while, and then they ship the finished goods direc
tly to retailers in your local country. Everybody makes their percentage and everybody is happy. Especially the consumer that just bought a 52 inch LCD TV for less money than it would cost to pack and ship it when you move to a new apartment a year later.

To appreciate the opportunities that await you we will tell you the HISTORY of this exciting opportunity and with a small investment on your part, we will TimeSpurt® you back to the year 2009 so that you can grab your share of the riches/fame/fortune that you could have had if only you had been paying attention.

The year is 2010, a non-descript year with no significant music, no arts, no politics, every thing was calm.
Now Mr. Sinister steps into the picture. He has hired a consultant that knows the nuances of the "WarrenEffect". (This was a scenario published way back in 2008 about how to control the world and the author was universally ridiculed.)
Here is how we think the scenario would have worked:
To accomplish world domination you start with most of the products produced in a manufacturing country that is exceptionally friendly with a consumer country that imports a lot of products. The "WarrenEffect" suggested that someone could develop a long range plan. A ridiculous example using two countries that always had a wonderful relationship was used so that nobody was insulted: Let's hypothetically say that China makes a lot of goods for a country like the USA.

Mr. Sinister has a powerful "Secret Service" that has the opportunity to pay a visit to every electronic manufacturer that they can find. These "representatives" of Lieutenant Sinister "suggests" that every company in China has to log all of the serial numbers of each item that they make "for demographic purposes". They "must" insert this little memory dongle once into every item before it is packed so that each serial number can be logged.
Instead of actually reading each serial number, the dongle actually loads a virus into each unit. This virus is designed to stay dormant until April 1st, 2012.
On the scheduled day of awakening, every electronic device that is attached to the Internet is controlled by a team of "supporters" of Colonel Sinister that work at a single control room at an undisclosed location, who can pretty much define what everyone is going to do.
There are subtle changes at first: The TV shows that you watch are carefully screened by General Sinister to remove all objectionable subject matter.

There is a new "transfer fee" for ALL monetary transactions.

The DieBold ATMs had been sending the paper money tracking data [see Note 1] to General Sinister for the past several years already, and of course, the credit card and "customer discount" cards have been sending in tracking information for a decade.

After about a year of background tracking to build up a good database of everybody, a press release will be sent to Fox News announcing that all other news outlets and newspapers (except for Fox News, of course) are to cease operations immediately.
Some other subtle things would change.
Coffee shops knew what type of coffee you liked and had it ready when you arrived.
Our electronic picture frames seemed to only show photos of Emperor Sinister playing with his cute little Beagallator (the extremely popular designer beagle/alligator mix).
Our toasters will only toast bread Extra Dark because that is how the Emperor wants it done.
There were no more speeding tickets because the cars would not drive faster than allowed.
There was a terrific benefit for ambulances because ALL cars would automatically move over to clear a path, this was a side effect of the 'motorcade alert' that was set up to simplify travel for politicians.
Everybody woke up in time to make it to work on time.
Telephone calls by terrorists, suspected terrorists, potential terrorists, people seeking information about terrorists and all members of their family tree were automatically monitored.
Some people did not like the changes, but most citizens enjoyed the security of not having any enemies.

It would be 8 years before it was figured out how Master Sinister had gained so much power, but it turns out that it was iPods, laptops, televisions, alarm clocks, GPS, automobiles, telephones, the new all-electronic remotely operated micro
personal chainsaws (with Designer names) that everyone went ga-ga about in 2009, and every other "must have" item that we all had.
The "WarrenEffect" had been publicised in 2008 by an insignificant toad who wanted his odd name to live on in infamy, but he did raise the notion that the incidents of viruses being found on Digital Photo Frames and other consumer goods could progress from being an "accident" to being a "plan" [cue sinister music].
At the time, viruses were accidentally being loaded into brand-name consumer goods by the passing of "electronic saliva" during casual contact between different types of electronics. The problem spread a bit, until you had to actually type in your social security number and bank account passwords before you could activate your child's "Yank and Talk, gas powered pointy thing" educational play system. The US government quickly enacted the "Whig Act" to strengthen the previous "Patriot Act of 2001" and "Tory Act of 2008" which made the virus problem completely go away by outlawing any lawsuits, complaining, or whining in order to protect National Security.

The Stage was set for young Mr. Sinister to control the world with a single program virus [with the cryptic codename: wwstrikesback.exe] to become the all powerful "Grand Poobah his Excellency" that he is today.

[Message Interruption]
It's noon, remember to turn to Blog #7734 for today's story time, Or we will switch your device for you.

After story time, be sure to check out some more history at: Viruses Come Pre-Installed

[Message resumes at 12:59pm] "and we will continue with the message already in progress..."

through the magic of TimeSpurt® you can go back to the year 2009 and armed with this knowledge, you can play a role in the changing of the world. Upon full payment of $37,989.99USD we will arrange your trip for you including accommodations near the location in China of your choosing and we will include a FREE memory stick with our exclusive ViraMaticUcontrl software already installed!
Note 1:
ATM's made by DieBold sent in your fingerprint data to the General that was gleaned by sorting the majority of prints on the paper money that you have deposited or withdrawn.
Tracking CASH vs credit cards presented a difficult challenge to the designers at DieBold, but they patented a process called Securitrac® which allows the ATMs to match and log the serial numbers on the cash with who withdrew the money. The same system scanned all cash transactions at all cash registers and banks and it supplies real-time reports of where anyone spends cash anywhere. This system was created in response to the public outcry that was raised when CASH transactions were going to be outlawed by the Tory Security Act. It was determined that the system only needed to lift the prints off of five different bills collected from any source as long as the "subject" had handled the particular bill at any time, with a 97% accuracy. Within four years Halliburton Corp has collected the fingerprints from more than 72% of the world population, which is 5% better than projected when awarded the contract. The Tory Security Act was modified to allow CASH transactions to continue.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

Monday, March 10, 2008

America's FAVORITE Tradition

I love advertising and marketing. I am a big fan of Ernie Bernays, the fellow that brought breakfast to America, books to the middle class, soap to little boys, and cigarettes to girls. Some marketing and PR is carefully planned towards the BIG picture, not just a quick boost of sales for the month.
Some marketing is off the cuff, get it done, print it and ship it.

I saw one of these quickie marketing plans in the supermarket the other day.

This wasn't written by a huge marketing firm. This was designed as a grab-your-eye impulse buy, quick no-analysis, no deeper meaning marketing. Of course, I couldn't get it out of my mind and couldn't keep from snickering continuously as I wandered around the store. Let's analyze this...

The advertising copy read

"America's FAVORITE Tradition!".
Now where does your mind go when you think of America's FAVORITE Tradition.

Christmas Trees, Annual4th Party, Thanksgiving Turkey, Formal Weddings, Graduation parties, Valentine's day sex, Superbowl parties, Marching bands, waving flags, bike week, pumpkin festival, protesting, Town Meetings, drinking beer and shooting guns into the air, fishing in the spring, impossible to eat fruitcake, snow angels, (if you live in New Ipswich) burning tires in the road, caps and robes for graduation, (in you live in Cody) going to the Rodeo every night, carving jack-o-lanterns, milk at Indianapolis, standing on podiums at the Olympics, the pledge of allegiance, Halloween costumes, Sunday comics, cocoa on a snowy day, s'mores, group pictures, birthday candles, ...

Nope. That's not it. According to the marketing people in charge of the seasonal point of purchase display that I saw in the supermarket, America's FAVORITE Tradition, not "one of the traditions", or a "pretty good tradition", but according to the marketing person at PAAS "America's FAVORITE Tradition" is Coloring Easter Eggs. Listerine was not allowed to advertise for seven years because of false claims, AAMCO has to be constantly reminded by the court system what "free" means, and now everybody can get loads of money refunded because of "incorrect" packaging by the makers of AirBorne. If anybody would like to start a class action suit so that Americans are not deceived by the PAAS Easter Egg Coloring Company if indeed Coloring Easter Eggs is NOT proven to be "America's FAVORITE Tradition", I would like to get in line for my share. There are many of us that have colored Easter eggs in the past while being unaware that the joy that they were experiencing with vinegar and food coloring was the best tradition that you were likely to ever encounter. If this was true they should have told us sooner so that we could wallow in the full glory of the process, and if it isn't true then we as Americans are once again being flim-flammed by hucksters trying to trick us into having fun again! If it isn't the bestest and the favorite, then why bother.

But you know? It doesn't prevent colds, it doesn't attract women, and doesn't remove the horrible ravages of aging, but it does have a brand name. People do like brand names. And it's messy! Your fingers turn colors and the countertops get those cool colored stains...

You can hide the eggs so well than nobody can find them until August when they use their timed-release "see if you can find me" tracking-odor.

You learn that mixing ANY two food colors produces brown (I think that is why half of the eggs in the supermarket are brown, Easter egg seconds).

They are fun and a complete waste of time and ingredients. And there is those stains.

Well maybe that person in the marketing cubicle at PAAS knew what she was doing.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

No news is....

We have had a busy week... I will try to do some writing early this week.
I know. I know. Soon. Really. Check back in a few days.
The news here: More snow, and a rainy week ahead of us.
Beth and I are trying to narrow down our choices.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

80 Years

Happy 80th Dad, we love you.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Birthday greetings.

Happy Birthday to Blake W.
This is his 7th Birthday.
He was born February 29, 1980

Since he was born I have never complained about the bad timing of my birthday.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A website about politics that a friend created.


I am trying to put together a website and start a grassroots movement called "Reform2008". (
The concept behind this is simple: no matter who gets into office,the American people want government fixed. No fancy speeches, no vague promises... really fixed.
So I am trying to figure out a way to unite voters in all camps to come together and demand real reforms. Right now I have developed a website and petition and I have spent some time trying to come up with the right words to relay the message... but I'm not sure that they do.

The goal is to get most every voter to sign the petition regardless if they are Republican, Democrat, Independent, whatever.

Chris C



I haven't forgot about your political site. I did get a chance to look at it and you did a very nice job. I will write my in-depth comments later but for now you should think of a mechanism (and I have a good one in mind) to allow people to enter their views and let majority votes determine what 'causes' bubble to the top.
All of us may not have the same philosophy, but the "majority" is being ignored with our current system of lobbyists and payola. When set up correctly, the majority CAN have a voice, and maybe someone big will latch on and wield some power.

Great concept, I think it can work, but it must be setup so that it doesn't just promote our views. If you add a forum so that people can launch ideas and people can vote on them causing the good ones to bubble up and the winners can migrate to a Wiki for each proposal. The Wiki can be fine-tuned until it is something that can be passed. Then if there are a LOT of signatures for a proposal that doesn't have objectionable side-effects then it would be embarrassing for a politician to vote against it. (Although we seem to elect some politicians that either weren't born with the embarrassment gland or they had it surgically removed)

Now the proper way to vote for ANYTHING when a large group of people are voting is to use the technique called "Approval Voting". It's awesome! It was developed by a mathematician that is always trying to solve puzzles. A while ago I was reading a paper that he wrote about the proper ways to cut a round cake so that everybody gets a fair share. It sounds strange, but it is important to use a system that works, is fair, and can be audited.

Nobody is going to audit the cake cutting procedure because it is too dang complicated to even DO the cutting, what with "floating knives" and other such things, but an ELECTION should be fair and uncompromising. The "Approval Voting" technique is simple, easy to understand, and REALLY cuts down on name calling and dirty politics. Recounts are easy.

There is a citizens group that would like our elections converted to this technique, you can see their site at

There is a government site that is a terrific resource about this topic: Approval Voting (gov)

There is a column by a very smart fellow at M.I.T. here.

It is incredibly easy to program your website database to add things up and topics can be sorted by their current standings.

It's the way to hold an election in a democracy. A recent primary had odd results because Guiliani had converted the states that thought he was going to win to a "winner takes all" system. The democratic party has super-delegates which is just asking for trouble.

We just missed being hit by the Diebold voting machine problem. These "no paper trail and no recount is possible" machines were heading towards being required by law to be used in all fifty states. Florida is officially sending them to the scrap pile because the corrupt people that thought that they were a good idea (and obviously don't like democracy) were scrapped at the last election.

So read about "Approval Voting", plan to incorporate it into your website so that people are not just signing up for YOUR ideas. Although forcing them to vote on MY ideas would be fun.
Use a forum to give them a voice, and if you are successful, maybe WE will have a voice.
[add wimpy disclaimer and apologies here]
If any of you readers have helpful (or hurtful) comments about "Reform2008" I am sure that Chris would appreciate it. Just comment here. He reads this blog often.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I added another photo to A New Shrodo

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History versus Retirement

This is a story for the Marmon News.

Stop right where you are. Step away from the car. Eeeeasy. Good, now put down the paint gun. Put it right on the garage floor. Kick it over here. OK, lets review what we have here. We don't want to do anything rash. We should talk about this and review how we got here.
I have had many old timers sit in my car, no I'm not talking about my fellow enthusiasts in the Marmon Club, I'm talking about the old timers that have seen my Marmon out and about and had to sit inside. They were kids when my car was bought by Grandpa Percy 93 years ago. They come shuffling up with their walkers and when they see my car their faces light up, they straighten up, and they never have any problem climbing up into my car. Men get in the driver's seat and women usually jump into the back seat. Everybody grins.
Then they talk. They talk about their memories of riding in cars way back when. They always talk about dating. They talk about their father's cars and how they wish they still had them. They talk about history.
A recurring story from many of the people sitting in my car is about a more recent period: the early fifties. The fifties was when the whole concept of 'antique cars' developed. Detroit was pumping out shiny new cars and everything pre-war were considered jalopies.
Because of the depression and the war, America went without many new cars for more than a decade
. So in 1954 you either had a NEW car or you had a really OLD car. If your family was lucky enough to buy a new car you were offered almost no trade-in for your family jalopy. Jalopies were available everywhere for very cheap prices.

Car enthusiasts were finding their teenage memory cars at attractive prices, but unfortunately, the cars were no longer attractive. They were rusted and beaten and had bald tires, but they were cheap.
There were three things that could happen to these cars.
1) They could be used as transportation and driven until they fell apart. (the Drivers)
2) They could be appreciated for the beautiful cars that they were and undergo meticulous restoration to better than new condition. (the Restorers)
3) They could be preserved as is by keeping the car in good operating condition and driving it as often as possible, but not rebuilding it to "better than new condition". (the Preservers)
There are advantages of each route based on the condition of the car and the personality of the new owner.
The old timers that sit in my car tell me about the fifties and how the two camps, the restorers and the preservers, both disliked the third group that was using and abusing the cars for daily transportation, but they had a particular problem with each other.
The restorers liked cars that showed them in all their glory and the preservers believed in preserving history without revising it.

The advantage that the restorers found is that ANY car could be restored, whereas a preserver needed something that could run and hadn't been abandoned in a orchard for any length of time.
The restorers could buy cars that had to be dragged out of an orchard for much less money than buying a "perfectly good" car from old Mr. Curmudgeon.
By the end of the fifties a third reason surfaced. Restorers found that they could sell their beautifully restored cars to ANYONE. Preservers could only sell their cars to other preservers or to a restorer. The preservers owned a lot of historical cars while the restorers made good money and got to own a lot of historical cars.
During the sixties every jalopy found was restored or was "going to be restored... someday".
This is what the old timers that sit in my car are grumpy about. None of the cars were preserved. They aren't allowed to sit in the "shiny" cars.
They lost the argument.

Some arguments are never forgotten. They keep being brought up again to be rehashed. The answer usually stays the same but the arguer has to try to state his case again.

This time they brought cash. They are putting their money where their mouth is. At the auction at Hershey last October there was a heap of a car on the block. A 1911 Oldsmobile 7 passenger Touring was sold for quite a bit of cash. It is relatively rare because out of 159 made, only three examples of this body style exists. It has only had three owners which increases it's value. It has never been restored and from the looks of it, it has never been preserved either. It is rather rough.
The people in the Marmon Club own very nice cars. Some restored and some preserved. A few of them haven't run in a long time.
There are many body styles that are one of a kind.
The ones that run are fantastic to drive. My Marmon can out perform some minivans and can cruise comfortably above any speed limit in the USA. There is the little issue with trying to stop with those skinny tires and mechanical brakes, but the screeching sound when the two rear tires lock up does get the attention of the car that pulled out right in front of me. Bad weather directly influences the enjoyment of driving, as does the cold, and the heat.
We need a lot of room to park. Our gas mileage is better than a Chevy Suburban and is much more fun to drive. And to park.
We love our Marmons in whatever condition they are in.
Now the owners of the ugly ones can take heart in the fact that there actually may be some retirement money hidden in your hobby. You guys have always told your wives that you will eventually make money from your cars, that they are an "investment". She never believed you, not for one minute.
We are all in it for the love of cars and the people that drive them.

Where am I going with this? I do tend to ramble, but I wanted to be a cheerleader. I want you to appreciate your car as it is, with all of it's flaws and personality. I want to let you know that the 'rough' 1911 Oldsmobile that sold at Hershey got $1.6 million.
Those old timers that told me "don't touch it, leave it alone" were right. Anybody want to buy my car?

The 1911 Oldsmobile Touring (More)

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

USA 193, we hardly knew you...

The 'decaying' spy satellite named USA 193 has been hit by a missile. The debris should have passed overhead ten or twenty minutes ago but I couldn't see anything. It isn't due to fly over New Hampshire again for another three hours and hopefully I won't be awake then. The eclipse was nice though. I was hoping that the bright reds would highlight the larger shards of orbiting space trash for me. Nothing. Maybe it was demolished completely. Maybe it got pushed into a different trajectory and is now silently heading towards Pluto (our estranged planet).
What would be cool (but sort-of impossible) would be for the folks on the Navy ships to be looking up in the sky to watch their $10 million bottle rocket disappear on it's mission and then you see a bus sized super secret satellite barreling straight down, dropping like a duck that has been shot. The flames from re-entry would make it easy to spot. "Full speed ahead boys..."
It will take 24 hours to find out if the missile did more than dent the solar shields, but at least they hit it. USA 193 was doing a complete orbit in 90 minutes so I am not sure why it will take 24 hours to evaluate the situation, but you can be sure that there is a Lear-Jet packed full of lawyers trying to predict where the largest pieces will fall.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Remove the fuel, remove the fame.

Another gunman goes out with fame.
The schools have learned how to do lock-downs.
The police and medical personnel have procedures in place to handle the situation.
The news groups have learned how to mobilize.
The crazy guy still takes out multiple kids in a last ditch grab for fame.

You have a long-term depressed guy or the recently snapped crazy man feeling that if nobody sees me NOW, then they will KNOW MY NAME SOON.

We all know that people need attention. If they can't get good attention, then bad attention will do. We try to avoid dealing in a responsive way to kidnapping, hostage taking, and terrorism, so PLEASE let us issue a gag order on the name of the shooter.
The locals will still know who he is, but the fame will be deflated.

NO NAMES. We can still have all of the information about the events leading up to the event without giving the gunman what he was looking for.

32 people this month
4th event in a week

We can analyze why later, but we have to stop this now.
Remove the fuel, remove the fame.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A new Shrodo


Miss Emelia
Born on February 13 at 12:40 PM
To Dan & Daria
A wee one at 10 lbs

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Icy Scenes on Valentine's Day

Icy Scenes on Valentines Day

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Singles Awareness Day

Happy Singles Awareness Day & Happy Valentines Day!
I sincerely hope that you make the most of it.

Beth and I were asked the other day if we knew of "any single men" and it struck me that we have never been able to play matchmaker. Our friends have single periods at different times of their lives, but I don't really remember any time that one person was looking for another at the same time that we knew of someone else. OK once. And they both forgave us because it was fun while it lasted.
We have some friends that are very good at being single. The life of Garp called them "sexual suspects" and created a fictional movement of single people that enjoyed being single, which eventually turned into a band of militant women that didn't enjoy anything at all -- ever (we've all met one of those before).

Now if Scientologists were going to create an entire religion based on a science fiction novel, why couldn't they choose "sexual suspects" as the theme so that Single people would have the joy of coming out of the closet and being proud to be single. Although that would also mean that they would spend most of their waking hours trying to defend their right to live the single lifestyle while saying 'and it isn't a cult - dammit'.

I would not be any good at Singleology and am very glad to be a Couple, but I still don't have any ideas of what to do for Valentine's Day so I may be looking for their meetings as of Thursday Evening. I wonder if they serve cookies.
p.s. I would appreciate ANY last minute ideas. Anything. Ideas anyone?

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Indian(s) Cooking

A cultural predicament. The men that cooked our dinner last weekend are Indian citizens. Two of the three guys LOVE to cook. They arrived with all of the supplies to cook a meal for the eleven of us. The meal was great but there was an interesting nugget that we learned that is truly a cultural difference. Ajit is the hard core programmer and tech geek who is not married and has no real interest in cooking. Ajit will eventually get married the traditional way, with an arranged marriage: "you adapt, you make it work, it can be very nice" and of course there is the exchange of dowries and such.

Raahi is the programmer with terrific communication and customer skills. He is married and has a little 3 month old child. He doesn't get to see his family very often because he works in the States, Japan, Malaysia, and anyplace else that he is needed. His wife has a career in India and won't be moving.
Raahi keeps his cooking skills a secret. There are traditional roles at stake here, and men don't cook.

Tamal is the curious one. Philosophy, politics, culture, conversation, technical, history, religion, and COOKING. Tamal seems to enjoy everything.
Tamal has a dilemma. He loves cooking. He wants a wife. He is going to have to make some decisions. If he marries a 'traditional' woman the cooking will become a secret, an experimental phase of his 'younger days' that isn't talked about anymore. He will miss cooking. He will have a wife. If he marries a woman who has been 'westernized' he can continue to cook, but of course there are those other 'westernization' side effects that come along for the ride. Just because he likes to cook does not necessarily mean that he wants to do all of the cleaning and other chores that 'westernized' men get suckered into.

Beth has always said that ladies should always marry a man 'who likes to cook'. (Her mother always said that it is just as easy to marry a 'rich man' than a 'poor man') Hmmm a rich guy that loves to cook... this awful image of Richard Simmons doing jumping jacks keeps popping up... (I don't cook and I don't do jumping jacks in silly clothes either)

So the dilema is: Should Tamal hide his love for cooking or does he narrow his prospects significantly by only considering women that are 'comfortable' with a man in the kitchen. After some chatting we learned that Tamal has recently decided to go with Raahi's technique and leave the cooking behind. The world will have one less man in the kitchen.

The names have been changed to allow our Indian friends to keep their secret hobbies truly secret. I will try to cook more.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Credit Card Qualifications

Yesterday Beth and I met with Harv to discuss our finances to find out how long hobos can be hobos, and it reminded me of an odd experience that I had in late November.

We were in Clearwater Florida and I saw an advertisement for a "New! Bank-O-Merica Ultra-Point Mega Card!". The basic gist of it was that the customer (me) would earn one and ONE HALF points for every dollar spent instead of the wimpy little one point that I am earning now with my obviously inferior (Bank-O-Merica) card. A little background: Before we left on The Adventure I moved most of my banking to Bank-O-Merica because I wanted a National bank because even though you can make withdrawals from any ATM anywhere, you still cannot make deposits anywhere but your own bank. It wasn't until a week into the trip that I realized that I would not have ANY deposits to make for a very long time. I closed all of my credit accounts because they were just regular credit cards and I knew that I should be getting 'frequent flier miles' as I am driving along. I did the entire trip with one Bank-O-Merica card and earned a LOT of points. Points that I still haven't used because at this point I feel like I am at the carnival and being told that I only can choose a prize on the Second Shelf while I am looking up at the BIG prizes that are on the upper shelves. So I am not using my points, but I want more more more. This advertisement promises more.

I call them up. I tell the telemarketer that I already have a Bank-O-Merica card and could I please upgrade it to the one-and-ONE-HALF bonus super-duper card? Nope. My error was that I did not call 'customer service' where they do that sort of thing, I had called a telemarketer in North Dakota or Southern Bangalore. She was limited by what her marketing script (that was scrolling in front of her) told her to say. "No, all you have to do is apply for a NEW card". I thought that was silly, but I hadn't figured out that I was at the wrong place yet. "It ONLY takes a few minutes to apply!".

OK, the one thing that I have an abundance of is time.

Your name: "blah blah blah, no that's EEE-ell-ell"

Your Address: "blah blah blah"

and then it got more interesting...

Do you OWN or RENT your home: "Ahhhhhhh, Neither"

"Neither?": "Nope, Neither. We are living in our van"

So do you rent or own?: Well I own the van. So if you haven't got "homeless" or "vehicle" as a choice, you could say I own.

"I'll leave that blank"

"How much do you pay for rent? Oh never mind"

"How long have you been at your current address?"

"Six hours"

"What bracket is your monthly income within:

Less than $50,000?

Less than $75,000?

Less than ..." "Less than Ten dollars", I interrupted.

"I'm not talking per hour here..."

"No I mean Annually, I have NO income"


I could hear some clicking as she starts skipping questions.

"You do not have to disclose any income or payments for alimony or child support that are involved, but with Social Security and other income would you say that your income is less than..."

"Zero! Just say that I have ZERO income. It's all one way here. Nothing IN. NADA. Everything out."

"OK, I'll put in zero"

At this point she just skipped ahead to the spiel about how we will hear from them in x number of weeks and if I am approved I will receive a card in x number of weeks.

"Blah blah blah, is there anything else I can do for you today?"

I asked if there was anything else that she was authorized to do besides sign me up for another card? She replied no, so I said "Well I guess we are done then". She thanked me "for using Bank-O-Merica and to Have a nice day!" even though she has never actually worked for Bank-O-Merica but instead works in a telemarketer's boiler room.

The next day I went on my Bank-O-Merica site to check on something and I noticed that the list of accounts already included my Brandy-Spandy-New-one-and-one-HALF point credit card.

No money, no home, just a willingness to spend money and they are GLAD to give a drifter a credit card with a $50,000 credit limit.

Only in America.

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