Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday

That run over to Iowa City Monday night was a successful venture.  The weather was a bit sketchy for driving 80 on 80, but we made it over to 2's in just a little over the normal trip-time, and the way back was a piece of cake. 

Lots of empty seats at the game.  The students are gone for Thanksgiving.  Lousy weather.  People are busy.  I parked in the public lot down the street toward the Coralville strip, and there wasn't even an attendant there to collect a fee.  We sat midway down at one corner of the court as no one was checking proper seat-taking.  The game was "meh".  The Hawks should win more than half of their Big 10 home games, and maybe steal 3-4 road games.  They have no real go-to guy who can score at crunch time.  If you don't have one of those guys, its tough in tight games against good teams.

(Side bar for 1.1:  One of the referees at the game was Gene Stenatore who also happens to be an NFL referee.  He
definitely had a Sunday football game...and then travelled to Iowa City for that game.  He has a good reputation in football, and the coaches didn't say much about the officiating during or after the Monday game.  Guys like him who keep a full calendar must never know what town they wake up in.)

We left at the 12 minute time-out to go for Airliner pizza.  We found a parking space downtown on the street just a half-block away from the AL.  That never happens.  And the AL was basically deserted.  Literally, maybe one other table occupied.  As reported on Twitter, the pizza was a hit. 

Over wine at 2's, I made a comment about having seen on CNBC's Squawkbox morning business program that Estee Lauder had selected Kendall Jenner as the new face/personality for their glamour products.  If that isn't an illustration of pop culture passing me by, I don't know what is.  I mean, I think of Estee Lauder, and I think of an older target market.  Wiki lists Elizabeth Hurley...who is still very attractive...and Paulina Porizkova from SI swimsuit issue days...as former spokespersons.  I'm dating myself, I know. Still.   Kendall Jenner?

So anybody out there wanna be Secretary of Defense?  The job is open.  The POTHUS served Hagel up as a Thanksgiving appetizer to show how much he is shaking things up after the disappointing election results.  Right.  There's gotta be another progressive political hack inside the Beltway willing to carry some water for BHO.  Can you say, Ebola czar?  Whatever.

So we have 1 and 1.1 delivering the goods from the new Total Wine store in Woodbury today.  Perfect training for my Turkey Trot effort.  (No, I'm not running.  Coffee for Lt. PC.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the peanut gallery.  Happy Tax Birthday to @srh4.

BCOT

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday

The Thanksgiving weekend got off to a good start here on Saturday with 4 arriving for a week's visit to her old stomping grounds.  She is Daughter of the Day!  With 2 coming over for a function on Friday night, it was a mini fff.  We are all looking forward to the Harvest Path contingent getting here on Wednesday.

My weekend was dominated by my scheduled colonoscopy at oh-dark-hundred on Saturday morning.  Understand that this was not my first rodeo.  My pal Pete and I had been talking since late Summer about taking up the offer from my pal Cal to do a double header, and Saturday was the day.  Let me just say that the experience was everything that I remembered it to be from the last time.  The results: no problems, no worries.  "Nuff said on that.

Hard to believe that we were on The Strip this time a week ago.  Another vapor trail.

4 had requested Bloody Mary's as her drink of choice for watching the Hawkeye game yesterday afternoon.  Obviously, a good Bloody has always been one of my fav's.  So we loaded up with the fixin's at Hy Vee, including the fresh lime and celery.  @srh4 had a stray bottle of hot sauce in the fridge left over from a 1.1 effort.  Pepper. I'm thinking that we should add Worcestershire sauce next.  We had success.  Reinforcements were already required at today's grocery run.  Those go-cups that went to the movies last night with 2 and 4 might have been the reason for the vodka shortage today.

1 has volunteered for a Total Wine stop on the way to Bettendorf Wednesday.  I may take her up on it.

Yesterday was November 22nd.  The 51st anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  Never saw it mentioned in the news reports or Internet pages yesterday.  For us Boomers, its a day that we don't forget.  Freshman biology class.

This is an article on a guy that Augustana College brought in for some Liberal love-fest to dump on the wealthy.  Among his professional credentials is a stop at the NYT.  Of course.  Now I agree, the tax system is totally screwed up.  I'm all for taking out the tax breaks for special-interest groups.  And get rid of all those obscure deductions and credits.  Lower the rates.  Tax more stuff.  But raising the minimum wage and opening the immigration pipeline will not help the long-term income disparity.  Socialists like this guy make me sick.  And where do they bring him to give him a forum?  To impressionable students who want to save the world.  No wonder our colleges turn out so many wimps.  http://www.qconline.com/news/local/tax-system-redistributing-wealth-to-the-wealthy/article_de700f99-fe8c-5d3e-8dc0-ff4a5b27e2a9.html  I, of course, have no opinion on this.

ND is on target for a 5-loss season...6 if they draw a credible opponent in a bowl game.  (I think I said here on the blog that 5 losses were possible even when they were still undefeated.)  The loss to Louisville yesterday was not really an upset.  ND's defense can't stop the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Then Coach Kelly threw his kicker under the bus in his post-game comments.  (He'd better walk those back this week.)  The game this week at USC will be one of two struggling programs.  That may not draw much of an audience.

(Side bar.  Louisville is coached by Bobby Petrino.  He's the guy who got caught in an affair while coaching at Arkansas when he had a motorcycle accident...with his substantially younger girlfriend on the backseat.  His subsequent firing led to 4's favorite coach, Bret Bielema, leaving Wisconsin for the Arkansas job.  Petrino is as prime of an example as you can get that winning is the only thing that counts in D-1 football.  The Louisville Board of Trustees had to swallow pretty hard when they let this guy come back.  At least I hope they swallowed hard.  Not that that matters.  Winning is the only thing that matters.  And Petrino can win football games.)

Hope everyone has a good start to the Turkey Day week.  Thanks for reading.

BCOT


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday


 

I've selected these three pic's from the files Carrie graciously shared from the Strine photo library.  Lots of good photo's on the download.
(Not sure if the George Strait hat was a hit with all wearer's.)

That marathon had 35,000 participants.  That has to include all the races and all of the members of teams that ran portions of the route.  Still, big numbers for that kind of event.  The Kenyan's stayed home as the winner's time was a bit on the slow side.  I would never have thought of Vegas as a marathon destination.

Special props to all of the second and third generation attendees for the event.  Cousin Matt gets the award for max effort on a short clock.  Molly and Kate were not far behind.  Family is always worth the effort.  Good for all you guys.  The Elders notice.

I see where the POTUS heard we had such a good time in LV that he has decided to make a visit.  They'll be shutting down LV Boulevard again, eh?  Can you imagine trying to catch a flight near the time that he arrives?  (Is the honeymoon over when the Big Three broadcast networks decide not to air his speech live?  Or is that just the reality that the election is over and they're reading sweeps-week tea leaves?)

I went to The Big Golf Sale at the local events center down the street yesterday.  Twice.  Once with my pal Roy (in the AM), and again with my pal Ron (in the PM).  This after having stopped there on Monday night after work.  All of the pro-shops at the area clubs combine to have a single garage-sale like event to get rid of slow-moving inventory at the end of the season.  I bought a couple of gloves and a black pull-over shirt.  $30 total. 

Roy hasn't played since Scottsdale in January.  And he bought the least amount of stuff that I have ever seen him walk away with from that sale.  Ron resisted big numbers too.  As we left the building last night, I was thinking that there was a whole lotta inventory that was going to be going to a re-sellers market on E-Bay.

Speaking of my pal Roy, he's on a quick-hitter over to France for business.  Taking the chunnel from England.  Just a 4-day trip.  My body would have no clue by the time I was back from that kind of trip.

Enough for now.  Thanks for reading.

BCOT




 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday

So this is coming from our flight back to Moline on Walmart Airlines (aka Allegiant). I do have to admit that this was a better experience for me when compared to my only previous experience on Allegiant last year going to Arizona. Since 2 handled the reservation procedures, I more or less only had to show up and do the normal check-in and security clearance.

(I would also point out that Allegiant uses McCarran Airport in Vegas just like the other airlines. This in contrast to Arizona where they fly into Mesa. The Mesa experience is much more Walmarty for some reason. Whatever.)

Vegas will never be a favorite destination for me. Too many people. Too much noise. Everything so over the top. Not sure if Sunday was any more congested because of the marathon (or if the marathon contributed to the long lines at check-in today), but I'm betting that it's something every week/weekend. With 40 million visitors in a year's time, it's gotta always be busy.

But this was a good weekend for the family. Saying a formal good-bye to Martha was a healthy experience. It was great to see all of the family. Saturday was well done, well attended and I think would have been well liked by Martha (given that doing nothing was not an option for her!)

A special thanks to Tahoe Phil for hosting the post-service social gathering.

I'll try to complete a Martha entry for the blog later this week.

Some random thoughts from the weekend:

1. The Strip has changed quite a bit from the '80's when I met Wally there a couple times a year. Bigger hotels. So many big places off The Strip too.
2. I don't remember previously renting a car in Vegas. The car rental facility reminds me of PHX. Hertz rates were reasonable. The email receipt was in my Yahoo in-box before I got to the gate.
3. 2 and a half days, three nights in Vegas is an eternity.
4. Vegas beer is cheap, coffee not so much so. Not saying it's double, but the Starbuck's tab for three, with a couple of pastries was always $20+.
5. The publicly piped-in music never stops. Never country.
6. Didn't see a clock outside the room. The 24-hour Starbuck's didn't stock the NYT.
7. The marathon completely shut down LV Boulevard beginning at 1400 local for the rest of the day. Bet that doesn't happen often. It was a marathon in the Rock 'n Roll series of marathons, so they had bands playing at various spots along the route. Loud bands. Other than getting to run on a shut-down LV Boulevard, and finish in the neon lights, the route didn't seem that great too me.
8. The Flamingo Hotel goes back a long time. Far from luxurious, but adequate. Excellent location. The math on tearing it down and replacing it with a newer model must just not work for now. A crowd not much different than what you would see at one of the Iowa casinos.
9. Sidewalk hawkers everywhere. Tickets to shows, tickets to dinners, invites to strip clubs, yada, yada, yada.
10. Buffets. Good grief.

I'll get back here later today. Now MLI.

BCOT

Just a little later...

I'm giving the nod to 2 as Daughter of the Day for her patience in being my roommate in LV.  It was another successful trip where we accomplished our travel goals while simultaneously not driving the other party over the edge.  Thanks, Kiddo!!

That Home Page pic taken with the Canon mini-digi yesterday won't stay here long, but it is a good remembrance of the weekend with the fam.  It was obviously a lower-case fff.  We missed the NY'ers and the rest of the Dornies.  Maybe a March Madness venture to C-town?

Then there was the fact that I had two Hertz cars waiting for me at McCarran.  My name was on the Gold Card sign twice as we hit the Hertz garage for car pick-up.  I consciously looked in my email on Friday morning before leaving my office for my reservation and couldn't find one...so I made the second one (as it turned out).  The counter agent who then assisted me to remove one of the cars was amused.  Sometimer's strikes again.

Cold here upon our return.  But the BEATER fired and we all made it to our respective homes.  Hello work!

BCOT...again

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday

This pic out of the Dornies' hotel room in SF is such a postcard, eh?

This is go-away day for Vegas.  Departure a little after lunch on Walmart Airlines (Allegiant).

I'll do a entry from the flight and then post once we hit Vegas.

The reason to jump on here now is that today is the nine-year anniversary for 4000 Days.  Think of all the water under the bridge since that first entry!  Why not celebrate in Vegas?

Hope it is a good day in your neighborhood..

BCOT

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday

We'll make this a little Veteran's Day addition to the blog.  Some random thoughts from my days of active duty.

2 used an old photo of me in my USAF ROTC dress blues on Twitter today that would have been taken at Notre Dame in May 1971.  In a separate on-campus ceremony before graduation, I received my 2nd Lieutenant commission into the AF.  Not sure if I have previously shared this photo which would have been taken minutes later when I turned the camera on Mother and Daddy and my St. Mary's friend.  Mother would have been 63 then, and Daddy just 61.  They looked pretty damn good, eh?

My active duty began around July1st when I reported to my first duty station, Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.  They had me in a 12-week training school to be a Vehicle Transportation Officer.  It was all classroom training with lots of familiarization with manuals on policies and procedures.  We never so much as lifted the hood on a jeep.  It was hot and smelly in Wichita Falls.  I made one trip back to Iowa for a wedding near Iowa City...driving all night after Friday class to get there...and all day Sunday to get back after a long night Saturday.

Following that class, I drove to Dover, Delaware for my first permanent assignment.  For the first year there, I ran a shift on the flightline, loading and unloading cargo jets.   That first year was tough duty as it was six days on, two days off, and rotate shifts each week...days, then swings, then graves.  Your body never got used to the time.  Viet Nam was winding down, but there were still casualties...all of which came through Dover.

I made at least two driving trips back to ND that first year for games.   And I drove home at Thanksgiving to pick up that Datsun 240-Z which was my first new car.  $3,900.  I wrecked it before leaving Iowa.  Never told Phil and Margaret about that one.  I lived in the base BOQ (Bachelor Officer's Quarters) for the first few weeks, then to an apartment with another Lieutenant on a different shift.  Almost never saw him.  My junior and senior year college roommate was working for the FDIC in Washington, DC, and I made several trips in to see him as well.

My second year at Dover was in the role of Motor Pool Officer.  It was great duty.  8-5 Monday-Friday.  There was a civilian working as my "assistant", but he had been doing it for years, and my position was largely unnecessary.  I spent lots of time in DC, took a few other trips, switched roommates with another guy who also had regular hours, and life was pretty suite.  I also had my first trip to Europe...two weeks of temporary duty at a base in Germany.  Not much travel, but I did get in for a few beers.  There was another accident with the 240-Z, this one on base when a guy just pulled out and slammed me on the passenger side.  It took 2-3 months to fix the damage. 

Orders for Korea came at the end of my second year in Delaware.  I really don't remember much about the time frame, but I think I drove to Iowa in July/August, and then flew to SF for a few days of R&R before the USAF charter to Korea from Travis AFB outside of SF. I spent time that week with Uncle Phil and Aunt Margaret, but I think I stayed with another college buddy from ND who was working for Phil at B of A.  We did some partying, including with one of Aunt Margaret's divorcee friends (which didn't sit so well with my sister), and I think I had to get some emergency dental repairs for a front tooth that popped off a retainer...bad timing as I recall.

The flight to Korea was a 24-hour exercise.  I read Winds of War. The final leg of the journey was a bus trip from Seoul to Kunsan AFB, a remote outpost on the Yellow Sea.  I was the Base Vehicle Maintenance Officer.  I couldn't change a spark plug.  But if it didn't fly, I had a shop that had to fix it.  I had 30-40 Korean Nationals working for me in addition to at least that same number of enlisted guys.  It wasn't the worst duty, but it was remote Korea.

A Top Ten list of the Korea assignment:

1.  Bought my first decent stereo equipment.  It all came back to the USA with me.  The speakers at srh4's are part of the original package.
2.  Bought my first bike, a Bridgestone, I think.  Never rode it there.
3.  Lived in the BOQ with 35-40 other young officers.  Had daily maid service.  Suite.
4.  Owned a motorcycle for about a week.  Went down once and immediately sold it.
5.  Wrote a daily newsletter for my troops.  Called it the Pink Sheet.  I was blogging even then.
6.  Drank a lot of beer.  Played a lot of cards.  Blackjack (kinda like).
7.  It was an F-4 fighter base that had two planes on alert 24-7, loaded with nukes.  The runways, which were serviced by my maintenance plows and heavy equipment, were not allowed to go down.
8.  Couldn't wait to get back to the US of A.
9.  Had orders to Bolling AFB outside DC for my next assignment.  It was where I had chosen to go, but I asked for, and received, my "early out" papers before leaving.  I was discharged at Travis when I returned to the States.
10.  I'm leaving out a few things.

Pretty sure that there is no new news here.  But I enjoyed the exercise of remembering some of these things.

Hope it is a good day in your neighborhood.  Thanks for the good wishes.

BCOT

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saturday

Looks like a pretty good Fall Saturday in the QCA.  In the Scott Street days of the 1980's, this would have been the time for caulking the brick and casing points on the window openings, and maybe for swapping out the screens and storms.  So glad that that part of my life is history.

I actually toyed with the idea of a quick trip to either the Twin Cities or Phoenix this weekend to see one of the football games...Iowa-Minnesota or ND-Arizona State.  But really, that wasn't going to happen.  Both teams could lose, and who wants to spend gratuitous time on the road for those possible outcomes?  (Good choice...Minny up by 4 touchdowns at half...and the game not that close.) ASU in particular, has a lot invested in this game.  They are favored by 2.5 and ND will be lucky to find a way to win in the Valley of the Sun.

Special recognition needs to go out to the Augustana men's basketball team.  They won that "exhibition" game the other night against D-I Bradley.  Really a big accomplishment.  That said, I had the feeling that they could be competitive given their experience last year against the Hawkeyes.  My pal Pete was giving me live reports from the game.  Good for those guys!

My pals Pete and Cal and I had post-work wine at Biaggi's last night to process the accomplishments (or lack thereof) of our respective weeks.  Cal was the instigator, setting the plan as he went into his hot yoga session in a gym(?) near Biaggi's.  He's kinda hooked on hot yoga.  Whatever.

The highlight of the evening occurred as we left.  Walking out, I caught a glimpse of a guy at the first high-top table in the bar area who somehow registered in my long-term memory.  I went up and spoke to him and confirmed the connection, calling out to Pete to come over to the table.  The guy (John) was the host of an impromptu RAGBRAI party on the patio of a hotel in Decorah, Iowa some 10-15  years ago or so.  I don't think I have seen or spoken to him since.

The story has lots of sub-plots, but I know that it was a Thursday night at the end of a tough day.  And the day before the Friday that Pete and I frequently recall as the Worst Day of Cycling, Ever! John concurred on that fact.  Pete and I were scheduled to tent outside the Decorah hotel where the guy who had a Suburban that carried our over-night stuff was registered.  But we didn't know where the hotel was (pre-Smart phones), and so we just guessed a direction...that was wrong.  We end up at John's hotel, where there's plenty of beer and we stay for a couple of hours to partake.  (I had known John through some other people with Village of East Davenport drinking credentials.)

The evening didn't end when we eventually made our way to the other hotel, as RAGBRAI nights tend to not end early.  Then the next morning, we were sweating profusely immediately.  We never passed a water stop all day, and never had to use a corn field or Porta-Potty. Hills, heat, head-winds.  Ugly day.

So not much else to relate.  Enjoy your Saturday.

BCOT