Monday, November 23, 2015


Great weekend in NYC.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 19, 2015


That trip over to Iowa City on Tuesday night was worth the drive.  Airliner pizza is always a hit, but for some reason, the one we got on Tuesday was better than the last couple I have had there.  We each took some leftovers home...and I finished mine off for dinner last night.  (We did a little Freakshow as our pre-dinner libation.  Always a good choice.)

The local weather forecast has some snow in it for the weekend.  I don't think that we are supposed to get a lot of accumulation, but it does signal that Winter is nigh.  We've had enough rain this week to have my sump pump kick on a few times.  So getting that fertilizer down on my yard Sunday was a good thing.  (I already have another light cover of leaves on my front yard.  Thanks again, neighbors!)

Here's a topic for debate:  Is the money aspect of NCAA football and basketball more insidious than the politics of open border immigration?  Who thinks the other side is the most gullible?  They had a basketball double header at the United Center in Chicago this week with Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Michigan State student athletes.  Apparently, these four schools have agreed to play each other in prior and future years at different sites.  It makes sense from an entertainment perspective, but really, the charade of calling these guys "students" is almost insulting.  Especially the way Calipari and now Krzyzewski have embraced the "One 'n Done" baller.  Whatever.

Then you have the debate on whether the USA should open the door to all of the illegal immigrants already in the country, as well as anyone else that may come knocking.  Let's face it; the Democrats see their humanitarianism as the right step to get results at the ballot box.  The conservatives are racists for raising any question on the propriety of the whole idea, or on the process that might be necessary.  Again, whatever.

That said, I think the current debate on the Syrian refugees is a slippery slope.

Big doin's at Homestead, Florida this weekend.  Jeff Gordan goes for a season championship Sunday in his last NASCAR race.  He is actually just running against three other drivers as they have gone to a system in recent years where the last ten races are set up to eliminate drivers to get to a Final Four for the last race.  I'm not that big of a fan of the new system, but if the 24 comes home a winner on Sunday, I'm gonna be OK with it.  The key will be to keep out of trouble for the first 2/3's of the race and drive hard to the checkers.

I head out to NYC to meet my new grandson on Saturday at oh-dark-hundred.  Can't wait.  Staying at my fav hotel...the Westin at Grand Central.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I am back in a continuing education program again today. This one is being conducted at the iWireless Center in at least there's not any travel involved. The program is one presented by the University of Illinois...that is actually an outgrowth of what they used to call The Annual Farm Tax School.

There was a time when the U of I would do the program specifically directed for preparers with agricultural clients. Farmers have always had a lot of industry-specific tax issues...deductions, elections and filing requirements. In recent years, they have shed the "Farm" designation in the title, but they still bring in any special updates that are obviously relevant to farmer clients.

Remember the old Michael Jordan and Spike Lee commercials where the tag line was always, "It's the shoes!!"? (The gratuitous punctuation is mine.) Anyway, my pal Pete always used that line whenever I (or anyone else for that matter) complained about muscles strains, ankle issues or other leg problems (from running or other workout experiences). Yesterday, I had made a nominal effort to spiff-up my appearance just a bit due to a meeting with with a group of client employees. That spiff-up included a dress shirt and a newer pair of Rockports from my closet.

Yeah, that choice of shoes was a mistake. I had forgotten that those shoes had been purchased over a year ago to replace a similar pair that had been showing some wear. As is my wont, the intent was to acquire a new pair of the exact same style of shoe (since the shoe had been a success for me). Of course, I immediately learned that the exact pair of Rockports was no longer available. Rather, they had a "new and improved" version. Right. But the new version "fit" my foot so I made the purchase. Well, that was a mistake.

After the first few days of wearing the new shoes, I noticed an extra ache in my back and some soreness in my knees. The new model had a harder sole and my rotation through a normal step was disrupted. I finally suspected the shoes, took a few days wearing the old ones, and those aches went away. "It's the shoes!!" So rather than get rid of them, they went to the closet. Smart move.

Fast forward to yesterday. Nicer shoes for the meeting? Here we go, right here! How do you say, "Slow learner!"? Now the word is, "Salvation Army".

Here's a daily dose of 3.01.

It's a bit interesting that the financial markets have kind of shrugged off the Paris attacks, actually moving higher this week. Part of the explanation for that result might be that there had been some selling last week that had taken the averages off of their recent highs. I had been telling clients before the attacks that the trends were suggesting a soft holiday season, there was likely an interest rate hike next month, and slow growth in China was still a factor. All are true. This geo-political event hasn't caused a ripple. Yet.

There's A LOT of chatter in the USA political class on the Paris event. And I think most of it, at least from the POTHUS and all of the current presidential candidates, is ALL politics. I mute them all. Prime Country on Sirius is my go-to audio choice.

The plan is to head over to Iowa City tonight to participate in half-price pizza night at The Airliner with 3. Always a choice. We'll most certainly be doing a selfie for the Twitterverse.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 16, 2015


I am deficient for failure to recognize 3.01's one-week birthday yesterday!  So Happy Birthday, one day late, Bear!

Its a bit unusual for this time of year that I was out on the golf course yesterday, but it was 65 degrees out there.  My pal Ron really wanted to play, and I had no good reason not to, so we teed 'em up.  No money changed hands...meaning that we both played poorly enough to finish in a tie.  My back survived.

I still had plenty of time when I got back home to finish picking up leaves and mowing my back yard.  As a bonus, I noticed a half-bag of weed 'n feed lawn fertilizer in the garage as I was putting the mower away, and did an application to stop the advance of some broad-leaf weeds that are coming over from the neighbor's yard in the back.

I have almost twenty bags of leaves for the city to pick up later this week.  Most of these are attributable to a couple of big trees in a neighbor's yard two houses to my West.  All the while I'm raking, I'm thinking what a useless endeavor I'm being required to effort simply because of this guy's trees.  There's my time.  There's an out-of-pocket cost.  Really an irritant.  There oughta be a law.

One bright point of the experience was that, after having a bit of an ineffective time of it with the leaves around my front bushes in Act I on Saturday afternoon, I found/discovered/remembered the yard vacuum/blower that I had in my garage.  (Another example of CRS.  I'm sure it has been years since it was last used.)  So I was able to go in and suck all the leaves in the hard-to-get place in both the back and front yesterday.  Its a loud tool, but it is efficient.

It was a year ago this past weekend that we had the clan gathering in LV to remember Aunt Martha.   Lots of water under the bridge since then.  I miss her.

Internet Explorer is evil.  Just sayin'.

For the record, I don't think climate change is on the radar screen of the jihadists.  I don't think that the Left would have any problem naming them as Christian radicals if they came from a murderous segment of the that religion.  And "vetting" hundreds of thousands of immigrants is a pipe dream.  Leading from behind ain't gonna cut it.

Make it a good week in your neighborhood.


Saturday, November 14, 2015


So I am finally getting back here after an unanticipated hiatus.  No real explanation for my failure.  I simply haven't managed my time well the last couple of weeks.

First things first.  Our family has had the joy of welcoming a new member this week!  Hello 3.01!!!  You are Grandson of the Day!!  Congratulations to 3 and 3.1 for this bundle of joy.  It is truly a wonderful time for all of us.

3.01 will remain in the headlines here on the blog over the next several weeks as there will be a steady stream of visitors to The Big Apple to welcome him to the fam.  Grandma is there now, I head there next weekend, and the aunties are also on the schedule.

Anything I write further in this entry is really of insignificance.  3.01 is the only news that matters right now.  But, I will go on anyway as I need to get back on the horse.

There is an item of news that does come around on this date every year.  November 14th is the anniversary of 4000 Days.  This year marks, a bit unbelievably, 10 years(!) since the first entry to this tome.  I'm not sure what that means...other than that as a wannabe writer, I have been persistent, if not always creative.  By the math, I'm in the 90th percentile of reaching the destination.  But it was never about getting to a destination, really.  The fact that I still come here regularly (this recent hiatus accepted), is of note. 

I made it through Friday the 13th without incident...I think.

My week started off in The Windy City.  I had scheduled myself for a two-day continuing professional education (CPE) program at the Illinois CPA society in the West Loop.  (CPA's need 40 hours of CPE each year.)  My original plan was to meet my pal Lee (who lives in Wheaton) for dinner on Sunday evening, but I got a late start and had to reschedule him for Monday night.  I stayed at a hotel in another western suburb, Lombard, and then took the commuter train downtown both mornings.

The decision to stay in Lombard was mostly financial as the downtown hotels usually run in the $150 range per night, plus $30-40 per day for parking.  Then you have the traffic to get outta the city.  So with the dinner with Lee and a familiarity with the trains (from days of old), Lombard worked out just fine (and my total out of pocket costs weren't even half of a downtown scenario, all in).  Lee and I had a good meeting on Monday evening, Lombard train parking was $1.25 per day(!), and the train rides were all on time and not that crowded.  I'll likely follow the same protocol for future CPE sessions.

One C-town sidebar of note...I did wear the black Cowboy hat all of the time.  It was a big hit with counter people, doormen and numerous other strangers whom I encountered.  It has been a learning experience to have such a favorable response to the hat...throughout the globe.  I ask myself why I didn't go for it at an earlier time.

Big doin's in Iowa City today.  They have a wrestling meet scheduled this morning/early-afternoon with Oklahoma Kinnick(!)...and then the undefeated football team takes on Minnesota at 7 PM this evening.  I think they sold 38K tickets for the wrestling meet, which is huge, but the football game may not even be a sellout.  Go figure.

My pal Pete managed to have a minor accident at his home last weekend while cleaning gutters. There was a ladder involved.  The result was/is a boot on his right foot.  Even more data to support my position that tasks that can be hired-done need to be hired-done.  (I then found out late in the week that a client of my proximate age also fell off a ladder at his home...doing similar chores...had to do 9-1-1...broken humerus in his arm...immobilized for weeks.  Yeah, maybe we have Rule # 4: Call a handyman.)

All for now.  I have leaves to rake.   I think I may be qualified to do that.  Looks like it will be a good afternoon to do it.  The wind that has been howling here all week has subsided, mostly.  Mid-November.  Vapor year.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, November 02, 2015


Hello Daylight Savings Time!  We may have some sun in the morning now, but come 5 PM, it be dark outside!  We now have that march to December 21st when the days will finally start lengthening.

As a small sidebar, I think I have all of my clocks switched to the new time except my new, $10 Walmart special.  On that one, I can't figure out which buttons to push to get it to 12-hour timing.  I now have it on the full 24-hour cycle.  And I threw away the instructions from the purchase...and I refuse to go on-line for help.  Maybe after a glass of wine or two I'll try again...or not.

It was a good weekend for the LtPC up in Woodbury.  I continue to use the Iowa City-Waterloo-Rochester route, with even a final leg on decidedly country-pavement up through Cannon Falls and Hastings.  While I tend to test the speed limit on the Interstate portion, I try to keep it within reason on the two-lanes.  With just a single pit-stop, it can be a trip of maybe 5 hours 15minutes.  Even with slower Friday evening traffic in Minnesota.  Not so bad.

The book on this trip was (is!) an odd, murder mystery.  I don't think I have read (listened to) this author previously.  I still have one full disc and part of another to finish.  There's the possibility that I may punt.  After eight discs and 10+ hours of listening, I'm still not sure if it has been a good investment of my time.

The timing of my visit obviously co-insided with Halloween and the Trick or Treating celebration.  Of all of the manufactured holidays(?), Halloween is my least favorite.  From the nonsense of the retailers, to the uncontrolled production of sugar-coated everything, to the too-old-to-be-doing-this teens, I'm just always glad to get to November 1st.  That said, we had a couple of keepers on Harvest Path.  Let's make them Granddaughter and Grandson of the Day!

There haven't been many Saturdays when all three of the football teams that I follow come away with good-feeling victories.  But the Hawks, 'Clones and Irish all made the grade last weekend.  Full disclosure...I had to read about ND and ISU on-line on Sunday morning.  How the heck does Iowa State beat up Texas?

And how does KC win a World Series?  All that money in New York and LA, and the Royals are the guys left standing?  Pretty impressive.  Further proof, money can't buy you happiness.  Find a good GM who can evaluate talent, and leave him alone.  (Listening Jerry Jones?)

Election Day tomorrow.

Yeah, my call on that GOP debate was exactly on point.  Not that I watched it at all.  But I did enjoy reading the trashing of the moderators.  In the aftermath, the candidates are now talking about trying to gain more control of the format, time allotments etc.  I don't agree with that angle.  Get grown-up, legitimate news people (oxymoron?) and roll the cameras.  Unfortunately, we're in a situation where you can't determine who are the inmates and who are the caretakers.  And don't think for a nanosecond that I limit that brush to the GOP easel.

Here's a shot of the kids from their family-pics session on Saturday.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday...Return from Phoenix

I gotta say, two nights in Phoenix isn't long enough for the hassle of the travel. In this case, I was able to have successful meetings with my clients yesterday, but my original goal to have a little me-time on the extra day just didn't happen. Thank you, United Airlines.

Phoenix/Scottsdale has more road construction going on now throughout the area than we may even have back in the Midwest. I was never substantially inconvenienced by the detours, but I was never trying to fight the clock on any of my destinations...and I wasn't driving much in rush hour. They really don't have any public transportation in the Valley beyond busses, so you have no options once the construction hits your routes.

That Dodge Charger that I had from Alamo Rental Car was a nice ride. Plenty of room. And it handled the road well. I'd rent it again. And the Alamo experience rivaled Hertz for customer service. At a significantly reduced price.

I found a new coffee shop near the Country Inn and Suites where I usually stay on these non-golf trips to Arizona. It's a local brand of some sort, but it has a similar menu to a Starbucks. I actually stumbled on to it when I was looking for a Starbucks for 1st Coffee on Monday morning. Well designed indoor and outdoor seating. Off the busy street. Appealing enough that I returned there for 1st Coffee today. I could become a "regular".

And I did make a token visit to the western-wear store where I bought my George Strait hat a couple years ago. If I had had that extra day on my visit, I might have looked a little harder at a couple of western dress shirts that coulda fit in my wardrobe, but I needed more time to decide if I actually "needed" the they stayed on the rack. Maybe next time.

You will note that I have not commented on politics here recently. My interest is at an all-time low. I'm not sure if the GOP is just incompetent as a party, but they certainly struggle to convey a message that resonates favorably (even within their own party). Of course, the MSM does them no favors, giddily highlighting every item that can be reported in an unfavorable standards that the admittedly Left-leaning MSM have elected to set. Whatever.

The only reasons that I note politics in this entry are: 1) When I go on the road, I often pick up the NYT, perusing all of the sections. And I am always amazed how the Progressive meme is presented in EVERY section, from news to the theater, from society to business, from sports to the obits. Talk about an echo chamber.

And 2), I learned through the SquawkBox show today that NBC's John Harwood, a regular contributor to CNBC...and a blowhard whom I ALWAYS to be one of the moderators of the GOP be broadcast tomorrow on CNBC from Boulder. OK, let me first say that I certainly won't be watching the debate. Why the GOP is holding it in Boulder is curious in itself...I mean the U of Colorado wouldn't let any of that group speak to a campus gathering of any university-sponsored event. Whatever...the Big Tent and all. But allowing Harwood to participate is giving audience to a complete tool (or fool...take your pick) of the Left. Why not bring back Gwen Iffel instead? Yuck and double-yuck.

Moving on...

There have been some interesting stories in the media recently about tipping at restaurants following the decision of a highly regarded NYC eatery going to a no-tipping policy. This topic came up regularly on our recent trip to Spain and France where 2 routinely reminded me that tipping in Europe was no where near as widespread as it is here in the USA. There's a part of me that appreciates the well-intentioned goal of the no-tipping concept. But figuring out a way to get to fair-pay for all restaurant employees may be a conundrum more complex than even a Nobel Peace Prize winner could resolve. (The cynical part of me also senses another element of the cultural-police's "Europe does it better" movement...and that alone gives me the doubts.)

Finally, I was never a big fan of Flip Saunders...nor was I a critic. I just never paid much attention to his teams. His recent death came as a bit of a shock to me as his cancer diagnosis earlier this year was never portrayed in the press as of a fatal variety. And he was only 60 years old. It's another illustration of Rule #3...Don't look back. And I don't think he did. He kept in the game and kept looking ahead. That's not a bad epitaph.

Enough for today. Back to Maplecrest tonight. A busy 2 and a half days at the office and then a weekend trip up to see the goblins on Harvest Path. And then it's November!!!! The vapor year continues.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad