Monday, January 04, 2016

Moving Day

I'm giving it an effort on another blog site.


Sunday, December 20, 2015


Happy Birthday to 1.02!!!  You are Grandson of the Day.  And my favorite Toad!  Hard to believe that it has been four years.  So much water under the bridge since then.  I'm looking forward to seeing you on January 1st.

So much for the 'Clones undefeated streak.  Today's CBS Sports poll punished them big time in the ratings.  No wins across Top Twenty teams.  A loss to an unranked one.  They have work to do.

It looks like the finger nail on my left pinkie will not be returning to full growth from the TOMRV accident, now six months ago.  The very top of the nail seems to have lost the growth plate.  I should be able to file the new leading edge down so that it's shrunken coverage will not be noticeable to the public, but it will remain another scar known to me of my travels on the open road...literally.  Its a good story.

Speaking of cycling...and TOMRV '16...I'll be off that ride next year due to a conflict on my schedule.  And I'll be missing the Geneva Member-Guest golf outing in early June as well because of a trip down to Charleston, SC for a wedding in my pal Pete's family.  So the traditional check-marks on my early Summer schedule will be different next year...but in a good way.

And the fam needs to commit to some specific dates for Tahoe 2016.  Not that its critical, but the Hot August Nights dates for Reno are August 2-7.  The auction was so underwhelming last year, the car show should not carry much weight.  By the calendar, July 24th and July 31st are Sunday's.

We had our office Christmas party last night.  Actually, it wasn't an official office party, but rather a personal effort by my pal Bill and spouse to share some Christmas cheer with all of the folks who work in the building.  All said, it was well done and well-attended.  I was the oldest person there, of course.  I'm more of a "sit down over wine with friends" kind of guy these days.  I don't do so well with party games. 

And speaking further of wine, most of the popular Cabernet's at Hy Vee are 2013 vintages now.  I'm looking forward to spending some time at Total Wine when I get up to the TC on January 1st.  Among other options, they have a lot of Bordeaux and Italian labels from the older years.  (We have Total Wine in Scottsdale as well.)

The bowl season started yesterday.  I'm sure that matters to some.

The Democratic presidential debate was last night as well.  What I said about the bowl games.

Just checked my flight schedule for NYC this week.  I was certain that I had signed-up for an early next Sunday departure, but there appears to be a mis-read on my part...7:25PM, not 7:25AM!  I'm sure that that was just an error by me when I bought the ticket.  It'll be midnight before I get to Maplecrest...driving to/from ORD for this one.  Hello senior moment.  I guess I'll be brunchin/lunching in the city with that ETD.

All for now.  This reads like a long Twitter entry.  Not much creativity.  Sorry.


Saturday, December 19, 2015


I think that we officially have started the Christmas week, probably did so yesterday afternoon.  You can definitely see a pick up in traffic.  A word to the wise: don't be in a hurry.  There's a driver out there just itching to do something stupid.

As I noted on Twitter, its 1.02's Tax Birthday.  You are Grandson of the Day!

AmEx insurance has lived up to my expectations.  I received an email today saying that since they didn't get a response from Hertz Spain they were ceasing work on my claim.  Of course.  I mean send a couple letters to the Black Hole of Europe.  Do nothing else.  Drop the case.  Great work, AmEx.  Now, I have to make the follow-up that you were just too bureaucratic to do.  Insurance companies all operate the same way.  Deny.  Deny.  Deny.

I took the Buick in for an oil change this AM since I was over the mileage and will be driving into ORD on Wednesday.  The days of the cheap LOF at these drive-in shops are over.  With a $5 coupon, it was $59+ today.  You can get an oil change at a dealership for closer to $30, but I didn't want to wait until Monday.  The dealerships use oil changes as loss-leaders to get customers in to their service departments.  But you can end up spending an hour waiting for that work to be done.  I was in-and-out at Jiffy Lube in 15 minutes.  (I declined the swap-out of my air filter!  It wouldn't have felt like an oil change without the offer of an auxiliary filter.)

I saw in the paper this morning that the Bulls lost in four overtimes last night.  Fortunately, I didn't get caught watching the I found out at coffee that my pal Pete did.  Four overtimes is an awful way to lose.  As a player, so much energy expended.  Nothing to show for it.  As a viewer, a game that just won't get over.  (Hoiberg is not having a great run in C-town thus far.  I know that he knows the pro game.  The good and the bad.  There hasta be nights when Ames looks pretty good.)

Vitale is such a Krzyzewski apologist that I need to mute the TV.

The four D-1 programs in Iowa come together today for a double header in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Arena.  Iowa gets Drake and the 'Clones have UNI.  My pal Dr. Doug elected to not buy tickets this year, so no invite to LtPC.  I think the first game will be a mis-match, but UNI could give Iowa State all it wants.  (The UNI coach, Ben Jacobsen, has been mentioned as a candidate for the Wisconsin job next year.)  Somebody makes money on this deal, but maybe not so much for the schools.

I took a drive to Muscatine last night to have dinner at the country club.  (There's a $50-60 minimum each month for the dining room and I haven't been so good about meeting that number recently.)  The wine that I chose from those offered by the bartender was one by the makers of Freakshow.  (I figured out that connection just by the label design.)  Its a petite syrah that I would rate as meh.  I checked online pricing just now and its listed at the winery for $18, and $13 at discounters.  Makes me feel great about being charged $46 at the club.  Ouch!  (And they wonder why I don't make the trip that often.)

Separately, my entrĂ©e selection was billed as a "half chicken".  It was basically the size of an average chicken breast, grilled with some foo-foo sauce.  In both serving-size and taste, it paled in comparison to the chicken breasts that I bbq'd last week for salad-in-a-pot (that was admittedly a home-run). 

So if this were an entry for the food-critic's column, Geneva would be havin' some 'splainin' to do.

Finally, its worth noting that the market sold off yesterday as traders settled up the week to close out various positions on options that automatically expired.  I  think that the Fed's interest rate hike, some concerns in the junk bond market, and the continuing questions on the price of oil combined to give the sellers a reason to head for safety for the weekend.  I don't think we'll see a Santa Clause rally as the year closes.  Bummer.

Make it a Good Saturday in your neighborhood.


Thursday, December 17, 2015


Another quick week in LtPC World.  I'm not sure if I ever get anything done.

We are giving recognition to 2 today.  I noticed on my basement calendars this morning that today is the five-year anniversary of her Iowa MBA graduation ceremony (that was our first visit to the Marriott in Coralville where we did FFF in early September).  So you are Daughter of the Day.  Hard to believe that its been five years.  This pic is not from that night, obviously, but I can't find those pictures right now.  This one would have been from earlier that year.

Are you ready for some Star Wars?  I'm thinking that there will be a dollar or two made my all of the people behind this flick.  I mean, the coverage in the combined media is the equivalent of carpet-bombing with napalm.  Yeah, I'll probably see it in a few years when it makes it way to reruns on TNT.

So I just can't bring myself to applaud Serena Williams as SI's Sportsperson of the Year.  So I'm not much of a tennis fan.  She's not much of a sympathetic figure.  Having her lounge on the front cover in a unitard is not much of a selling point to the casual fan.  I'm sure she has her advocates.

I didn't watch any of the GOP debate earlier this week.  I mean really, I agree with 4 that this process is mostly depressing to keep hearing on a daily basis...with the general election still almost a year away.  If the Donald is the nominee, we will most certainly have the first female president in our history.  And if the Donald doesn't get the nomination and runs as a third party, we will also most likely have our first female president.

The Fed rate hike came in as expected.  1/4 of 1% doesn't seem like a lot, but when rates have not gone up in almost 10 years, any increase is a BIG increase.  The markets had pretty well priced the rate increase into valuations, so the net effect in the common averages between today and yesterday has been ho-hum.  The bigger question is on the longer term...and globally.  There's some concern of international downturns next year that could strengthen the US dollar, that could then adversely impact the domestic economy as a result of the exchange rate.  It gets complicated for sure.  (But I do find that analysis more interesting than US politics.)

I've had a bit of a go-around with American Express this week on my claim for the minor parking-ramp damage incurred on the Hertz rental in Europe.  I really made a mistake by not disputing the charge on the bill that I paid after our return.  I made a bad assumption that American Express and Hertz would have this kind of thing ironed-out to a point of general efficiency.  Wrong O, Bucko! The insurance division of American Express handles this with the customer service expertise of any insurance company...delay, explain, blame others, and basically ignore.  You would think that I would have known better.  Its not like I won't get some reimbursement, but it won't come easy.  "Express" is not part of this equation.  (One of their disclaimers is that the claim can take 180 days to settle!  Of course it could.)

No big plans here for the weekend.  Obviously, I will be spending hours at the mall doing my Christmas shopping.  A week from today, there will be celebrations underway in Brooklyn!

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


We have a heat wave in the Quads.  Its 63 this AM.  But they say we have rain on the way.

The news wires are carrying a story this AM about the Big O's buddy, Rahm Emanuel, being a dead-mayor-walking in Chicago.  I haven't followed the story that closely, but it appears that there was cover-up of a dash-cam video that vividly shows a Chicago police officer shooting an unarmed black kid last year.  Apparently, the video was buried to keep a lid on protests, and to keep the incident from being an issue in the mayoral election earlier this year (that Emanuel won with lukewarm support).

This is how Chicago politics work.  Cover-up.  Obfuscate.  Lie.  Trade backroom deals.  Currently, the city is totally screwed.  They need to raise property taxes because the budget is so upside down.  The teachers' union is set to strike.  Pensions are severely under-funded.  Gang-violence is out of control.  And you have black lives matter people efforting to shut down Michigan Avenue stores on Black Friday.  (Really. Why wouldn't ya?)  And that doesn't even consider that the state of Illinois is essentially bankrupt.  All of this will just incent further exiting of the city and the state by those who can, with a complicit legislature that will most certainly raise taxes to cover the shortfalls.  I'd say that the moniker, "The City that Works" is sadly misplaced.

Hawkeye fans seem to have set off a frenzy in their interest in Rose Bowl tickets.  The latest numbers had over 54,000 requests for the initial allotment of 22,000.  Its possible that some tickets could get reallocated from Stanford, but I don't see anything of the like on a quick News search.  It'll be an expensive trip for anybody making the trip.

I'm guessing that Phoenix is as happy as anyone with that ND-Ohio State match-up in the Fiesta Bowl.  Those teams probably have broader appeal than the four schools that actually made the play-off.

I'm getting weekly reminders from ND that 2016 is my 45th reunion year.  They have a big deal on campus in early June of each year, welcoming back the classes for each fifth-year anniversary.  I think I went to one while we were in C-town, and I don't think I've been back for any others since than.  When you aren't a dyed-in-the-wool alumnus, the reunions don't hold much appeal.  I mean, the last football game that I attended there would have been an Air Force game when Big John was a cadet there.  That would be 25-30 years ago.  (Aunt Martha and I rode a fan bus from here in the Quads with the local ND Club.)

I subscribe to the ND alumni magazine...a quarterly hard-copy that can be tough to digest at times with its persistent liberal dribble.  But each issue does carry a section on the classes and a representative of each year gives news on members and their exploits.  I've never reached out to the column's 1971 author, but I do keep up on a few names that I recognize.  Obviously, at this point, we've lost some classmates to time and disease.  Also of note, a testimony to the passage of time, the class updates come toward the end of the magazine, most recent years at the end of the section...and with each graduation, the notes from the Class of '71 get closer to the middle of the pack.  Think about it.

Auntie Soo seems to be enjoying her stay in NYC.

Lots of main stream journalists have come personally out against Trump on his various Muslim proclamations.  I saw a piece today with Tom Brokaw opining from on-high a soliloquy on the moral outrageousness of such positions.  Other contemporary news (and pseudo-newsy) people have felt a similar need to proselytize.  Gun control and climate change advocates have similar open-season licenses in the liberal-friendly press.  Whatever.  Its no wonder we end up with Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas.  We've come a long way, baby.

All for today.


Saturday, December 12, 2015


Just a few lines today to make sure that I have three entries for the week.

Its unseasonably warm here 54 and could get to 60.  I'm OK with that.  Sure beats shoveling and six layers of clothing.  El Nino.  I'm sure Al can explain it.  Most certainly is Bush's fault.

Lots of stories in the news since Thursday night when the 'Clones came back and beats the Hawkeyes in Ames.  One of the reporters for the Des Moines Register ended up with a broken leg when the students stormed the court after the final horn.  The reporter has really gone out of his way to not blame the students, but most of the stories on-line or in the papers are very critical of the situation.  My opinion is that the injury is a real unfortunate outcome, but I'm reluctant to have the powers-that-be legislate a barbed-wire barrier around court.

I'm not sure that I want to "blame" the students/fans for their actions.  How to more safely handle things is a fair discussion.  Adjustments/changes can be made.  (In a related issue, they have pretty well eliminated the old football celebration of tearing down the goal posts...which I always thought was an act of anal-intelligence...even if your team did beat ND.)    In today's world though, schools have to recognize their legal liabilities (love those attorneys!), and always the safest answer is to ban the activity.

Not to blame the victim here, but really, in that high-voltage environment, a person needs to have an exit strategy if they want to stay clear of the mayhem.  The injured reporter has been around Hilton for a long time.  He knows the drill.

Speaking of the thought/anti-Christian police, I saw this story this morning about schools in Naperville, Illinois.  Now, as an adult, I've been turned-off more often than not when prayer or praising-the-Lord came too much in my face from athletes, coaches, drivers or politicians.  But it never offended me to the point that I thought it should be banned. 

The people who complained in this situation were not even locals.  The story suggests that they saw a picture in the paper.  Yeah, that would lead me to complain about something in another state involving people whom I didn't even know.  Really.  People are nuts.

My afternoon activity will include raking my neighbors' leaves out of my yard.  For the third time.

As I write this entry, I have ESPN on here in my office.  Its the FCS quarterfinals and features UNI and North Dakota State at the Fargo Dome.  Here's a shot of 1 and 1.1 in that arena when were there a couple years back to support 1 at the Fargo Marathon (which finished inside the dome).  I know 1.1 has a soft spot for Fargo.  Me, not so much.

(The Tommies are in the D-III football semifinals today. They get to host their game in St. Paul.  Home games in the play-offs are big advantages. At least 3 points.  Maybe more.)

The Winniferous and I are doing fine.  Her presence complements the exercise routine that I wrote about earlier this week.  She needs her walks.  That gets me out at least two miles a day, and more on the weekends.  With this warm weather, she'll get plenty of fresh air as I take care of the leaves.  Its a win-win program.  Really, win-win-win, as 2 gets face time with her new nephew.

OK.  That's all I have for today.  Hope it is a good day in your neighborhood.  Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015


I'm giving a shout out to 1 and 2 today for combining to inspire my recent effort to get serious about some indoor exercises.  After the last round of golf with my pal Ron in mid-November, my back was killing me.  I had to decline a chance to play another round in the week before Thanksgiving because I just didn't want to put up with the discomfort that I knew would be with me if I teed it up.

So I made just a minimal effort to do so very simple stretching movements on the floor before going to bed...and a few more when I got up in the mornings.  My psychology was further motivated when I saw 1 do just a few stretching exercises at @srh4's over Thanksgiving.  I brought the stability balls into play after a few days.  At this point, I'm up to about 20 minutes or so in the evening, and maybe 10-15 minutes in the AM.

Several things are going on here.  First, I'm sleeping better.  Second, when I wake up, I'm no where's near as achy as I have been in the mornings in recent years.  I'm literally stunned at the amount of improvement in these key lifestyle matters with such little effort/time.  I mean, after just a few days of no more than 10 minutes twice a day, there was absolutely a noticeable difference to the better in both quality of sleep and overall body feeling.

So I'm nodding to 2 here as she has etched in my brain the fact that 21 days of doing something creates a habit.  I'm not quite there, but I am mentally anal about giving the time to the exercises twice a day.  Plus, I've been remembering just a little bit from the Maplecrest Fitness Club (MFC) from three years ago and adding those moves to my routine.  It may not be as fashionable as hot yoga, but I like these results!

I'm a bit excited...well, mostly see if this all helps my back on the golf course come Scottsdale next month.  I seem to recall that the Summer of the MFC, I had a pretty nice run on the course.  It would be great if I could give my retired pal Ron a lesson or two.

Here's a shot of 3.01 from earlier today.  3 reports that he is growing at a good pace.  Regularly scheduled doctor's visit for him today went well.

Lots of chat in the local area today on the Rose Bowl.  Mostly about how expensive the trip might be for the brave souls who venture out there.  My pal Dr. Doug from DSM is definitely going.  Most of the folks I know from around here are doing the math and having a hard time justifying the expense.  Not that I would be one to go, but I think I would rather do PHX rather than LA.  I'm guessing that ND-OSU in the Fiesta Bowl will be a good draw.

Iowa takes on Iowa State in Ames tomorrow night.  I don't have the odds, but I'm saying to take the 'Clones and give the points.

All for tonight.  Hope it is a Good Thursday in your neighborhood.