Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday II

Very successful day in NYC where 4 stepped-up to senior-produce three straight hours of non-commercial-interrupted national coverage on the capture of the second escapee in upstate NY. She's a star!!! And DAUGHTER OF THE DAY.

Way to go, Kiddo....:)



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Not really sure how we got to the end of the first half of the year already.  To say, "Time flies when you're having fun" just doesn't capture the speed that my life seems to be passing.

I need to offer up that Aunt Rosie has corrected my dates on Aunt Martha.  Date of birth is June 25 and anniversary is June 27.  Its not the first time I have mixed up dates in my past.  Both on the calendar...and on more than one Saturday night.

The Cardinals won their 50th game of the season last night.  Sorry Cubs fans.  Pretty impressive since they have their best pitcher (Wainright), two Opening Day power hitters (Adams and Holiday) on the DL, and some position guys in the lineup whom I have never heard of.  Of course, doing well in the regular season just means that you get into the play-offs.  In the second-season, they'll still have to beat the Giants and an American League champ.  And its a long way till October.  Lots can happen.

1.1 refereed numerous games of Tyus Jones' when he played high school ball in the Twin Cities.  With the Timberwolves making a draft-day trade with the Cavaliers to bring Jones to Minnesota, 1.1 will get more opportunities to see the kid in the NBA.  After just one season at Duke, Jones will now play with the big boys. 

 I was cruising through some channels last night or Friday evening while trying to get the StL game when I came across an airing of Top Gun.  (Remember getting that video tape at the baseball game in Davenport?)  I always thought Kelli McGillis was very pretty.  She and Val Kilmer (Iceman!) were both popular poster specimens back then.  I'm not really a Tom Cruise fan, but he seems to have had better results in the years since then with his plastic surgeon, dietitian and yoga instructor.  Just sayin'.

As I grab more couch-time in my injury recovery days, I've been watching more golf telecasts.  Both the regular tour and the senior tour are getting coverage.  I find the telecasts more visually appealing with actual green grass on the courses (as opposed to the browned-out fescue from the US Open last week at Chamber's Bay).  FOX has the Senior Open.  I haven't paid that much attention to their announcers...who were uniformly panned for their work at Chamber's Bay.  Holly (Eye-Candy) Sonders remains a work-in-progress, and Greg Norman continues to pontificate.  But the bar is pretty low...Jim Nance, Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, et. FOX will survive.

That's about it for today.  Check out these Throw Back Sunday pics from the archives!

Make it a good day in your neighborhood.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


This has been a bit of a tough week. The body still aches from the bike incident on TOMRV. Mostly the left elbow. If it wasn't broken...and I'm not convinced that it wasn't...the bone bruise was as bad as a fracture. It's been difficult to sleep. It takes so long to do simple things like showering and getting ready for work. I've compared the experience to the pneumonia episode of a couple years back. I hope that progress to feeling better picks up in the next few days.

As I have reported on Twitter, The Winniferous is camped out on Maplecrest for a few days. 2 is headed to a conference in Austin. We will do fine together.

The latest rush to politically correct ground with the cause-of-the-week on the flying of the flag of The Army of Northern Virginia has greased the slippery slopes for our Thought Police enforcers. Are there any concepts on the right side of center safe from mob enforcement of progressive thought?

I was alerted to the absurdity of possible acceptable elements when Becky Quick offered the question on early Squawk Box yesterday to the governor of Arkansas as to whether his state needed to rethink their state flag because there was an extra star on it...that was a possible reference to the state's participation in the confederacy. There be a lot of history that needs to be rewritten to satisfy the righteous.

I want to recognize Aunt Martha...a day late. Her birthday was the 24th. She would have been 78. Her wedding anniversary with Uncle Doyle was the 25th. I actually remember the wedding day! Big days in their lives. I miss her.

I also missed noting the Summer solstice earlier this week. We now have to face the music of the days becoming progressively shorter for the next six months. I find that fact I choose to basically ignore it until September.

An item of big news in the local sports scene is that golfing star Jordan Spieth will be here in two weeks when they tee it up for the John Deere Classic. He won this tournament a couple of years ago for his first win on the tour. Most players return to tournaments that they have won in a prior year, and Spieth is doing the right thing by showing up to an event that treated him real well when he was just an up-n-comer. His presence will generate huge crowds here. Which will keep me on this side of the river that week.

Finally, there have been numerous stories in the press this week about different failings at the Internal Revenue Service. None of these revelations surprise me when it comes to efficiency, reliability or outcomes. The IRS folks I experience are the ultimate bureaucrats. Extend that reality to other government agencies like the VA and various entitlement programs, and it's no surprise that our government wastes billions every year.

Hope it is a Good Friday in your neighborhood.


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Monday, June 22, 2015


I'm giving Rosie the designation of Sister of the Day for the hospitality afforded to 2 and myself last weekend in KC.  (Who are the old people in that pic?)  Really a low key visit, but we managed to get through several bottles of vino, and generally catch up with our respective fam's.  They have a real nice place in a big golf course development, several miles West of KC in Kansas.  (They don't belong to the golf course...which is very high end.)

The shop that I found for early coffee just a few miles away set a new standard for over-priced coffee cake.  I think it was $3.90 a slice.  And the triple-shot Americano was over $4.  Hello!

Per the plan, I got away Saturday night to have dinner with my pal Jake (and wife Judi).  Always good to see Jake.  He never changes.

On the medical report, I'm still recovering from the bike crash.  That pinkie nail is a real nuisance.  And I'm pretty sure that I bruised some ribs high up in my chest: every time I sneeze, it hurts.  And the left elbow is still no more than 80% of normal.  I don't care what the x-rays showed or didn't show, its a problem.  Still taking drugs for the body aches.  The two stitches on the outside of my lip were snipped-off by the dentist across the parking lot last Thursday.  The interior stitches have mostly dissolved, but I have a couple of loose ends that refuse to fall away.  Yuck!

So my Yard Boy (YB hereafter) came for the first time Thursday night.  In addition to getting the yard done, I had him pull weeds in the mulch areas...and wash the Buick!  He did decently.  He's a little guy and needed some help with the top of the car.  He's due to stop by again for the yard tomorrow after work...and I may turn him lose on Margret.

Let me also give recognition to @srh4 as Master Gardener of the Weekend for her efforts to spiff up the driveway on Maplecrest as a Father's Day gift.  Normally, I plant some annuals in these spots, but my organizational attention to this task had been AWOL this year.  I think she felt sorry for me after my trip over the handlebars.  I'll take it.

I ended up watching a lot of golf over the weekend.  And I'm sure that 2 enjoyed listening to golf for several hours on the car radio as well!!  For a guy who is capable of enjoying the broadcast of a NASCAR race on the radio, it might sound incongruous, but golf on the radio is next to paint-drying in the excitement category.  Why is that? 

Anyway, the course for this tournament looked like a bombed out set of ruins.  And there was a lot of carping from players.  My take?  I thought it was a rinky-dink course that played like a miniature golf set-up.  Send in the clowns.  I mean, they had balls land in the center of a green, only to roll off to a bunker or maybe a collection area 30 yards from the pin.  It'll take some serious dinero for them to go back there for a big event.

FOX had the broadcast of the golf tournament on TV.  Joe Buck was the primary anchor.  I thought they were no better than so-so.  Greg Norman was a tool as a color guy.  Holly Sonders was the eye candy.  She was better at being eye-candy than an interviewer.  Awkward interviews on some serious questions about the course and on player comments.

All that said, I was glad to see Jordan Spieth win.  He's a competitor.  I feel bad for the guy (Dustin Johnson) who three-putted 18 to give Spieth the win.  Golf is a cruel game.

Maybe more from the iPad later.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Yeah, so I didn't get back to this last night.  There was that mental therapy session on the driveway with some Freakshow that got in the way.

We continue to get lots of rain.  My sump pump has been going pretty much continuously.  I'm thinking that I may buy a back-up pump so that if the primary one goes kaput in the middle of the night (like it's predecessor did) I won't be screwed because the hardware stores aren't open.  There's lots of holes in that thought, but right now, I have no back-up plan.  And you always need a back-up plan.  That might be Rule #2 for the LtPC.

3 mentioned in a comment that she was interested in my opinion on Rachel Dolezal, the gal who has been in the news for passing herself off as black when in fact she was born to fully Caucasian parents.  I gotta say, I have little to say on the topic.  The primarily political websites that I follow have carried numerous entries from both sides of the spectrum since the story broke.  It is interesting, sort of, to read the positions supporting or rejecting Dolezal's curious (and I think deceitful) choices.

Most of these columns have referenced the recent headlines for the Bruce/Caitlyn gender bending phenomenon...that has basically been universally accepted by the progressive Left (redundant, I know).  I think that comparison is relevant...mostly because both of these people are nuts!!!  ("Nuts" here being a noun, not an in quacks and looney-tunes.)  Shouldn't Dolezal now get a reality TV show?

This all comes back to the political correctness debate, and Hans Christian Andersen's take on "The Emperor's New Clothes".  The progressive thought-police require acceptance in our modern society of virtually every non-violent life-style a person might choose, regardless of the ick-factor (see Jenner, above).  Reconciling a pro position on transgender with a negative position on transracial requires some logic gymnastics that go well-beyond my attention span.

If Jerry Seinfeld (whose show endorsed every progressive issue from abortion to gay rights) can be trashed from the Left for his honest statements about political correctness on college campuses, I guess Dolezal's transracialness (Webster is turning in his grave!) can be separated out as a cause that just doesn't cut it for the progressives.  But if Bruce/Caitlyn can declare himself/herself a girl, and keep his male anatomy, why not call white black, and get away with it?

So it all gets a big Whatever from me.  As in, "How'd the Yankees do last night?"

Speaking of pants suits.  The Hillary campaign has to love the hubbub about her dress code, her age, and her refusal to address the press.  I mean all of this clutter keeps her from actually expressing opinions on issues or justifying her shallow record of accomplishments.  That's how you win elections.

Make it a great beginning of Ramadan in your neighborhood.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


These last couple of days of recovery have been humbling.  I measure progress on my left arm by dental-care standards.  For the first two days, I had to use one-handed dental picks for flossing.  This morning, I was finally able to raise my left arm high enough to allow for standard, two-handed flossing.  Lots of other stuff is still done with just my right hand.

I finally took the bandage off of the pinkee-finger with no nail.  I'll save the picture so as to limit the gross-out ratio of my readers.  It stings for sure.  Very tender.

I was able to identify and send emails to my Good Samaritans who assisted me immediately after the crash.  Both were very humble.  I truly believe that there are lots of people who simply act to help by natural instinct.  Lord knows, we all need a hand at times.  I've been lucky multiple times in that regard.

My StL Cardinals are in the news today for bad reasons.  Seems as though there has been a modern-day signal-stealing episode through hacking another team's (the Astros) computer banks.  If true, I hope it was just some yo-yo's  down the line and not any of the key offices of the GM.  With hacking being elevated to an international black-market business, it should come as no surprise that the electronic files of sports teams might be a target.  But the Cards?

My recent experience with the IRS is as frustrating as at any time in my career.  If you have a client issue that requires contact with a human body at the Service to solve it, you're basically screwed.  They must be hugely under-staffed.  The automated system now makes no effort to excuse the situation.  On a call, if you do not fit one of the options offered, the voice simply says that they have too many calls and that you should call at another time...and the call is disconnected.  Perfect.

I have one collection situation that has been receiving notices for 6 months.  I have responded to each notice with copious amounts of supporting paperwork to document the client's position of no-additional-tax applicable.  There is no indication that any of my letters have been read, let alone acted upon.  I actually did speak to a collection agent on that one...after waiting on hold for 45 minutes...and she said that she would put the case on hold in hopes that my last submission would get processed. 

In the meantime, I have received a notice on the same taxpayer asking about a large credit balance in his account in the prior year.  This has been my point in all those earlier responses...that they already had the money that they said was due...and that my client was actually overpaid.  Its maddening.

OK.  I'm going to publish this part of the entry.  I'll add more later from the iPad.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday II

Forgot to make 2 DAUGHTER OF THE DAY. Thanks for looking after dear old Dad!

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Sunday - The Real TOMRV Story

Well, it was a memorable TOMRV.

Rule #1 of Cycling came upon me in a flash at the 52-mile mark around noon, just as I was hitting the stretch on the Sabula causeway before crossing the Mississippi River. I was trucking along on my lonesome, in the rain, watching my spot a few feet in front of me to avoid cracks in the road. I glance up, and just a few feet ahead, in the road, is a rider stopped, dinking around with whatever. I have no shot to stop. I BANG into him, go over my handlebars...and face meets pavement...big time.

My TOMRV was over, of course. But the story is not the worst, just a humbling reminder that accidents happen. I keep replaying the incident, and there are several woulda, coulda, should-of's, but bottom-line is that the moon and stars lined up for what I got. So here are the details in a numbered-point basis:

1. Our group generally yo-yo's a bit, and I usually am the slowest. The others know I don't want them holding back for me, and that I will always catch-up at the sag-stops. In this case, my pals Cal and Lee were just a mile or two ahead of me. No biggie.
2. I am ALWAYS the slowest guy in the entire ride. I pass NOBODY all day. It is never in my mental data-bank that I have to worry about a rider in front of me.
3. The stretch of road that I was on is dead-flat. There were very few riders on the road around me...hadn't been for several minutes. Decent pavement, but with the rain coming down, I was very concerned with the slick surface.
4. As a causeway, which basically means that it is a road built up from the water and wet-lands on either side, there is no shoulder to the road. The guard rails are mounted right next to the white-line on either side of the road.
5. A rider has NO business stopping on this kind of a road.
6. I was down in a heap, quite a bit of blood coming from my mouth. I'm sure I was in a bit of shock. But as reality began setting in, I didn't think anything was majorly broken. In the end, that was proven to be a correct assessment.
7. Several riders stopped. Really, virtually everyone who went by, slowed to inquire to make sure the situation was in hand. A rider from Eldridge ( just North of Davenport) and a gal from Panora, Iowa who was with him, proved to be the problem-solvers, contacting emergency services, getting me up off the pavement, and just being the Good Samaritans whom you read about in these types of emergencies.
8. The ambulance from Sabula got there within a few minutes. It was a local, volunteer service, and they really didn't administer much medical care. But they staunched the bleeding, took my vitals, and generally provided a triage service that determined that I was no overly-seriously injured.
9. I made the decision that I could get back to the Quad Cities and called 2 while I was in the ambulance. She was due to pick us up in Galena anyway, so getting her to come to Sabula wasn't a big change.
10. I wanted the others to finish the ride, have the cocktails, etc. in Galena. And they did just that. I didn't want them to rush back to check on me since there just wasn't going to be a lot that they could do.
11. 2 was a star. She picked me up, got me home to clean up some, and then to the ER. She's stood by me all the way.
12. My pal Cal had called in the the ER (from the road ahead of me!) to give the doc's the word that I was on my way in.
13. The ER experience was a longer than preferred, but the staff was all very caring and professional. The worst of it was the pain-killer shots that the doc had to give me before putting in the stitches.
14. The x-ray tech was a classmate of 1's from Lincoln Fundamental.
15. 10 stitches in the lip. See pic below. Bandages on the hand's. Pinkee fingernail on the left hand is gone. A couple fingernails on the right hand are severely blackened. See pic below.
16. We finally got back to Maplecrest around 5 or so, picking up some Biaggi's take-out for din-din.
17. Lots of texting with the crew in the bar in Galena. They had a good time. See photos below.
18. Those guys got back around 7:30 or so. The plan for the day basically worked for them!

So my TOMRV experience for 2015 will be memorable, but mostly in the same sense as the Turkey Trot from a couple years back. Visit to the ER and all.

I can't complete the story without expressing my opinion that the world is full of people like my rescuers on the Sabula causeway. People whose first thought is to help someone in need. The news is full of more sensational stories about negative things. But goodness lives. Pay it forward, friends.

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So that's the deal. Sunday recovery. Life is interesting, eh? Don't look back.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Let's honor 4 as Daughter of the Day.  She gets to start her weekend today.  This pic of course was from last Summer at Tahoe.  How was that 10 months ago?  (I did just book a ticket for an early-August visit there...a three day weekend...flying out of Chicago direct to Reno.  Hate to do the drive to ORD, but the dinero difference was enough, and the direct flight is good.)

As I mentioned on Twitter, I did receive my TSA Known Traveler Number this week that should keep me in the pre-approved line at airport check-in.  The process was not too difficult.  There was a short on-line application, and then an appointment at a Moline business-services office where I had to bring my passport and get finger-printed.  $85 for a five-year period.

Years ago, the finger-printing requirement for the investment securities business required an appointment with a local police department... and you had to do the old ink-on-the-hands process.  Yuck!  I did that for initial licensing in the late '90's and then for the subsequent renewals in the early 2000's as well.  The last couple of times though, I went to a Davenport retail location for letterhead, forms, cards, etc., that had a contract with the regulators to provide the service with the use of digital technology on a print-reader machine.  Whether its x-ray's, fingerprints or legal documents, once they are digitalized, they get run through the system in a flash.  And the fingerprint technology is now the iPhone lock, right?  How far are we from eye-scan identifications?

These privately-owned commercial offices that do this contact work for state or federal government agencies are just out to find small streams of revenue.  They don't own or rent the equipment, and they are already doing other sales or service at their their marginal costs are near zero.   But my guess is that their share of the $85 that I paid is no more than $10-15.  Pretty hard to get rich at that rate.  Then again, there is very little skill involved in processing the paperwork and doing the prints.  But in low-density population areas like the QCA, the income stream has got to be no more than a trickle.

Moving on...
I did go to the bike shop last night to exchange the tires on my ride.  The tires on the bike had been the original equipment last year when I got the bike in exchange for the Lamond that was damaged on the return from Sicily.  At the time, I questioned the sustainability of those "racing" tires compared to the more functional rubber that I had been using for the last several years.  The bike dealer, of course, said the racing tires were fine.  And they probably are.  Still, by going to the more substantial Continental Gatorskins, my mind will be more at ease.  No guarantees against a flat, but I'll take my chances.

In the When Pigs Fly news, I find my self in agreement with Bob Costas.  Wow!  He has come out (no...not that way.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.) with criticism of ESPN giving Bruce/Caitlyn the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at their self-absorbed awards show coming up in the near future.  Actually, ESPN and Sports Illustrated are in a race to see who can be the MPCP (Most Politically Correct Publication) in today's media climate.  I mean, really, a courage award?  I'm surprised that he/she will have time to accept the recognition between takes of the reality show that has to have been in the planning stages months ago.  Excuse me while I barf.

The heat is up and my air is on here on Maplecrest.  Could be a warm ride come Saturday. 

Looks like the folks on Harvest Path have a handle on vacation already.

Make it a Good Wednesday in your neighborhood.