Friday, March 27, 2015


Not a lot new here.  At this time of year, I fall into a work routine that leaves nominal time for extra-curricular activities.  I did leave the office early last night to catch the early games...with a glass of vino!  No real surprises in last night's games, eh?  A bit eyebrow-raising that the Irish made it look fairly easy against Wichita, but their demise will come quickly enough against Kentucky.  Four more games tonight.

The plane crash over in France is a bit scary.  The crash site is not all that far from the high mountains used in the TdF.  The origin of the flight, Barcelona, is where we will be flying to this Fall, and the destination of the doomed plane, Dusseldorf, was our connection airport on the Sicily trip in 2013.  How does society protect itself from ordinary people who go off the reservation?

Speaking of this Fall, 2 and I have made our September flight reservations for Barcelona-Bordeaux.  We leave out of ORD on the 17th (to ATL and then direct to Barcelona), and return to ORD from Bordeaux (via Paris) on the 29th.  We drove to ORD for these trips in the past so as to eliminate one of the possible connection snafu's.  There's not any cost-savings, but it is just easier on the stress-factor.

I've had the idea in the last couple of days that I may go the route of buying a lower priced mid-range bike in Spain rather than take as additional baggage my primary bike from here.  The fee to bring a bike is usually $150-$175.  If I can find something for $600 or so, I like the cost-benefit result of a purchase.  I'll be doing some on-line shopping in the near future to lock-in on that decision.

Life is full of times when the hand dealt to a person is just a bad hand.  Case in point, the lot drawn by the wave of golfers who were given Thursday morning tee times this week at the TPC San Antonio.  Understand that the PGA constructs tee-off schedules each week (randomly?) that have half the field starting in the AM on Thursday, then that same group gets their start in the PM on Friday.  The other half of the field goes off in the PM on Thursday and AM on Friday. 

Conditions on Thursday AM were just awful with high winds.  Scores were predominately in the high 70's and a few in the 80's.  The winds died down in the afternoon, and scores dropped accordingly.  So that morning group from Thursday gave up at least 6-8 shots to the afternoon guys.  Friday has been even-steven between morning and afternoon.  So almost all of the golfers making the cut to play the weekend (top 70 and ties) were the Thursday afternoon guys.  Some days you get the bear.  Some days the bear gets you.  (And you hope you get a better draw next time.)

Speaking of the bear getting you, two crowd fav's in the peloton have hit the deck in recent races and won't be starting some of the sport's major one-day races these next few weeks.  Belgium Tom Boonen (on the left) separated his shoulder in a crash a couple of weeks ago, and the Swiss star Fabian Cancellara (Spartacus, on the right in the pic) went over his handlebars today doing damage to his back in a couple of places.  He'll be out for a while as well.  Both of these guys are warriors...and have not been caught in the doping scandals.  (I think Boonen had a cocaine issue at one point, but who's perfect?)

Here's my TBT offering on Friday.  One of my all-time favorite pic's.  How cool is it that 4 is shown reading a book on a trip to Kohl's as what, a second or third grader?  (That Suburban was a monster truck.  Can't imagine driving one of those on a daily basis today.)

Working both weekend days.  But not all that hard...or all day.  Might be time for the application of the crabgrass pre-emergent treatment Sunday.  And I need to get my garage spiffed-up for a possible MCSC event next Friday.

So hope the weekend goes well for the Peanut Gallery.


Monday, March 23, 2015


The report from the Minnesota weekend is pretty tame.  Twitter captured all of the best moments.  That route up through Rochester is definitely shorter, and we even took the Hastings Cut-off (same as the Schlossen Cut-off) to lop off another few miles.  Friday afternoon traffic tempered the benefits.  @srh4 did her imitation of 2 in the navigator' seat.  The Hastings leg is definitely a two-man operation.

Total Wine gave me a full refund-trade for that bottle of the 2010  Dominican Oaks Cab from the last case.  No questions asked.  I thought their stock was a little better this time.  I had one of the sales guys give me some advice on Bordeaux's.  Bought two.  Not the cheap ones either.  They had the 2012 J Lohr Cab on sale for $9.97.  Woulda coulda.  Didn't.

The book on tape for the trip was pathetic.  Catherine Coulter spy thriller that never thrilled.  I almost never select my standard political/spy/espionage books with female authors.  Not sure why I let down my guard this time.  Just soooo much time spent working the feminine/feelings/romance angles to   humanize" the protagonists.  This novel had two couples and a total of four kids to weave into the story.   Really bad.

(I'm entering this from the laptop at home.  Blogger is messing with me.  Sorry.)

The computer problem on my desk machine actually was apparent Friday.  The IT contractor identified a missed update on the exchange server.  I think they just overlooked my machine on the update protocol since no one else in the office had any issues.  Love IT.

Spring has arrived with some attitude.  We had two hours of major winter driving conditions in southern Minnesota yesterday.  We had freezing rain for a while this AM.  I could handle some days in the 60's.

Augie's run hit a big bump in the road in their championship game against Wisconsin Steven's Point..  The Pointer's were a good team, bigger at most all positions, well-coached, and made the shots.  Augie has played them in the regular season a time or two in recent years, so I'm sure that they were prepared to defend against the Augie offense.  In a 10-game series, Augie could maybe win 2 or 3, no more.

But LBH, the Vikings had a successful contrast to ISU, Iowa and UNI.

Another example of "You're not below radar."  When I bought the new Buick, I agreed to the trial period for the OnStar service.  Among the "services" was a monthly update via email on the fluid levels, tire pressures and oil-life status.  Next came the call from the dealer to remind me that OnStar had alerted them that I was due for an oil change.  Now OnStar wants me to sign up for the service on a regular basis.  Yuck.

On the one hand, I'm offended at the Big Brotherness of an internal monitor feeding data to the Cloud without my consent.  On the other hand (drink for the title of a country song), I'm thinking seriously about accepting the Siri GPS advice for travel.  Is a reminder on car service that bad of an idea for a senior citizen?

I saw a curious article today about how the U of Tennessee is phasing out the name Lady Vols for their women's athletic teams.  This had been a topic that gave indigestion to the PC crowd every where.  How come the women's teams weren't just The Vols?  Its demeaning to refer to them as Lady Vols.  Except...that the name Lady Vols had become synonymous with excellence.  Thanks in large part to Pat  Summitt.  Most interesting was that Nike, who became the outfitter for UT last Fall, suggested in writing that the name Lady Vols was inconsistent with the university-wide effort to be "One Tennessee".  Yeah, Starbucks is not the only PC-obsessed corporate citizen in the Great Northwest.

Hope it is a good week in your neighborhood.


Thursday, March 19, 2015


Not a good afternoon for lower seeds, eh?  The 'Clones played awful.  Their star(?) couldn't throw it in the ocean.  The play they ran with 15 seconds to go when they were down one was pathetic.  The Mayor didn't deliver.  Whatever.  Take solace ISU fans, you have company from Baylor, Texas and SMU followers.  There'll be others too by the end of Friday.

This all makes concentration at work a lot easier.

I'm giving recognition to Margaret today on her tax birthday.  We'll be on the road tomorrow, her birthday, and I doubt if I'll have time to write.  She would have been 107.  She passed away in February 2001.  I still think of her every day. Happy Tax Birthday, Mother.

This is not the best pic, but it is historically significant.  It would have been taken in the early Spring of 1971 at ND following a baseball game.  Mother and Daddy came to see me play just a couple of times in my career.  On this occasion, Aunt Martha and Uncle Phil came along.  I'm thinking that that is Phil in between Mother and Daddy...and that has to be nephew/cousin John in front of Daddy.  Martha must be taking the picture.  As I recall, Phil, Martha and I hit one of the close-to-campus watering holes that night...and did some damage.

In 1971, Daddy would have been 61, Mother 63, Phil almost 30 and Martha nearing 34.  Wow!  Comparing to moi now, they (we...all of us...) were all youngsters then!!!

In the FWIW Department, I did switch over to golf once the damage was done to my picks and kept it there the rest of the afternoon.  I mean, the market was trolling South as well, so why not catch the tour at Bay Hill in Florida, hosted by Arnie?  The interesting point actually came after 1700 hours when PGA feed ended and they switched to the LPGA tour...which is in Phoenix this week.  I didn't know that until I started picking up on the fact that the desert course that they were playing looked pretty familiar.  In fact, the course is within 4-5 miles of Grayhawk.  So the same mountains pop up in the horizon camera shots.  I like the scenery.

The resort is a JW Marriott luxury spa/hotel with two championship courses immediately adjacent at Wildfire Golf Club.  Those JW Marriott places are really nice...that's where we had the family gathering in Vegas in November...and I've been to one in San Antonio where they play a PGA event later in the year.  They're not too shy about charging $20 for a lobby-bar glass of vino.

The local golf courses here are beginning to open.  A couple already are.  My pal Ron is on Spring Break this week and he says that he is playing tomorrow.  Its a little cool for my tastes.  I mean, there still are some piles of snow not quite melted away at the edges of the big parking lots.  I'll be waiting until after April 15th before I pull my golf bag from the basement.

All for tonight.  Look for Twitter updates from the road tomorrow.  Make it a Good Friday in your neighborhood.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I decided to update that Home Page pic to get some color to the blog.  This is a shot of one of the Par 3 holes at Grayhawk from a few years back.  Pretty hard to screw up that scenery, eh?

So the tournament gets underway tonight with the first of the four "play-in" games in Dayton.  There are a pair of 16 seeds in the first game...playing for the privilege to meet Kentucky...and then BYU and Ole Miss play for one of the 11 seeds in the late game.  The format is repeated tomorrow night, with host school Dayton getting a home court game against Boise State in the 11 seed knock-out game.  While eye-brows were raised a little to have the selection committee put Dayton on their home court, that angst was nothing compared to the hackles voiced for UCLA getting an invite to dance, period.  Whatever.  All these teams will be watching, not playing, in a few days anyway.

Augustana is taking the bus option to get to Salem, Virginia for the D-III Final Four.  13 hours of luxury coach ridin'.  The coach is putting in a nice wrinkle to break-up the trek:  they're doing a practice Wednesday afternoon in Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis.  (Hinkle Fieldhouse as in "Hoosiers".)  They play their semi-final game on Friday early-evening, and the winners play Saturday afternoon. 

I actually looked at travel alternatives to get to the games, and it became quickly apparent that the D-III folks aren't all that worried about fans' travel issues.  If I were more of a fan, and they won on Friday, the best choice would be to get 6-8 other guys and charter the King Air from my pal Roy to do an in-there and outta there one-day deal directly to Salem.  Yeah, that ain't gonna happen.

Little interest at this end to do any serious celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  In years past, I've sampled a green beer or two, but those days have been long gone.  I see where NYC did a parade today.  Chicago dyed the river green last weekend.  All the bigger parties around here were last weekend as well.  I think that they've figured out that they can keep people out later (and sell more green beer!) on the weekends.

In the For What Its Worth Department, I just checked Stub Hub for Shania for the Target Center.  The eleven tickets currently offered in our section go for a low of $335 each.  Hmmm.

I didn't adequately recognize 4 for her half marathon on Sunday.  I was in a hurry to get to an after-work client party...last night and Blogger was uncooperative when I pulled those pics up from Twitter.  Sorry, Kiddo.  She had a really good finishing time, had a great support crew, and incurred no injuries.  All fabulous results!!  And from the looks of things, she is developing into the fam's expert on Bloody Mary's.  In that regard, she is her father's daughter.  With warmer weather in the offing, she should be able to train more regularly for the May half that will have @srh4 in The Big Apple to provide support from home.

Anyone catch the I hate Christian Laettner documentary on ESPN Sunday night?  I caught a few minutes here and there.  I never disliked him as much as some players, but I've never been a big fan of the Dookies either.  (Trivia factoid:  Who was the lone college player on the original Dream Team?)  Anyway, Laettner did have a decent career in the NBA, making millions over 10 years or so.  He has had a lot less success in the business world following his retirement.  He got caught in some bad real estate deals in the financial/real estate bust of 2007-10...and has been sued for millions by some of his investors.  He's also been tainted by accusations of oral mis-information in promoting his various projects.  My experience suggests that developers shade the truth always.

All for tonight.  Hope it is a good Hump Day in your neighborhood.


Monday, March 16, 2015


4 is Daughter of the Day for her work in the NYC Half Marathon yesterday.  You go Girl!!!  Props to 2 and 3 for being the Support Crew.


Friday, March 13, 2015


Anyone else notice that the numbered days in March fall in the same week pattern as the days did in February?  How long has it been since we had Friday the 13th in two consecutive months?  That can't happen that often.

Most of the snow is gone here.  It will take a few more days for the piles at the edges of the parking lots to melt, but like on Duck Creek Golf Course, the ground is clear of the white stuff.  It was actually so warm in my office at times in the afternoons this week that I had to open windows to cool things off.  And we thought Spring would never come!

Yeah, the Hawks laid an egg yesterday at the Big 10 tourney.  If they play that way next week, their season will be over in another 40 minutes of playing time.  Funny how a team can come out flat in big games.

Augie has their game tonight against Mt. Union.  Augie is another team who has an evil twin who shows up for some games.  Hope that is not the case tonight.  They play the second game.  It will be a full house.  I be headed over early to find a seat.

Good luck to 4 in her half marathon on Sunday in NYC.  No big goals except finishing.  She has 2, 3 and 3.1 out there to cheer her on.  2 left here at oh-dark-hundred this AM, with a ride to MLI from LtPC.  Which means I have The Winniferous on Maplecrest for the weekend.  At least it isn't a hundred below zero for our walks.

For those not on my Twitter feed, the news is that 1, 2 and I will be going to the Shania concert at the Target Center on July 28th.  I don't have quite the same level of interest in seeing her as I did to see George, but I do like a lot of her music...and she has a good look.  I doubt though if there's a concert tee in my future.

I had the screen on my iPhone go blank when I tried to make a call one day earlier this week while at 2nd Coffee.  I did a variety of efforts to clear open apps to see if I could bring the phone screen up for use...unsuccessfully.  My pal Terry O was at the table and I asked him for advice.  He said to push the on/off switch on top of the phone with the navigation button at the bottom of the face at the same time to do a "hard reboot".  I did this and it solved the problem.  I realized long ago that the first effort to clear a Microsoft/PC problem was to do a reboot.  So Apple has descended to Microsoft levels?  Great distinction.

Prime Country on Sirius XM is billed as a blend of 1980's-90's traditional country.  If they stick with that time frame...and they seem to...they get through most all of the hit songs in a 5-day period.  I've noticed the same thing on the classic country channel on DirecTV.  There's a whole lot of repeating going on.  Not that that it is a problem.  It is a finite universe of music when you choose to go to classic county hits.

We've enjoyed the Twitpics and other social media updates from the Harvest Path family in Arizona this week.  You guys are lucky!  Maybe next year you'll have company!

OK.  Gotta go.  I may try to add something on Saturday.  Hope it is a good weekend in your neighborhood.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015


We are making 4 Daughter of the Day to celebrate her 3 year anniversary in The Big Apple.  This is the other shot I have of her departure day.  This one may have been taken at Dunn Brothers Coffee where we figured out that her departure time was a little earlier than anticipated.  Lots of water under the bridge since this day...almost 1100 days off the calendar.  You've done a lot of great things since then, Kiddo.  We are all extremely proud of you.  I never get tired of telling your story.

One of the side benefits to me of her move to NYC has been the opportunity to hang out with her, 3 and 3.1 several times over the last three years.  We've had culture, cuisine and wine in some very with-it spots.  While, yes, I would have visited 3 and 3.1 regardless, the fact that 4 also calls New York home certainly adds to the experience in the city.  Washington Square Park is on my Top Ten List of favorite spots to visit in any year.  So thank you, Dear Daughter, for widening my lens on life.!

In other news...
They announced the full RAGBRAI route over the weekend.  We already knew the over-night towns, and I had figured that I would do some riding on Friday and Saturday.  Now we also know the roads that will be used by the moving state fair.  With Friday night in Coralville, the mileage each day only in the 65 range, and 2's extra bedroom beckoning, those two days will be easy for the LtPC. 

My pal Pete may do Thursday as well, but he wants to get back to Davenport Friday night so that he can run the Bix road race on Saturday morning.  We may drag a couple other TOMRV friends along for at least Friday as well.  2 will be in charge of hosting our delegation.

This Springing Forward has put a small hitch in the giddy-up for myself and several of my friends.  Funny that a single hour has that effect.  The circadian rhythms run deep, eh?

I do need to weigh in on the HRC email kerfuffle.  Interesting that the Feds let her get away with this stuff.  It gives "Too Big To Fail" an entirely new meaning.  In the investment securities business, I would be fired from my broker dealer if I conducted any securities-related correspondence that did not go through their servers.  Fired.  As in, it's not an elective policy on archiving correspondence.  So, let's review: a two-bit broker in Podunk, America must abide by a relatively black-and-white (sorry for the racist non-comment) procedure to conform with rules set by a government agency...while similar rules for compliance on documents-retention don't apply to the Secretary of State?  Absolutely restores my faith for those folks living in their dream world inside the beltway.

Sorry.  Couldn't let that one just sit on the tee.

We are roaring into march Madness.  The major conference tournaments began today for the teams at the lower ends of the conference standings.  It used to be a Friday-Saturday-Sunday deal for most conferences.  Now with those major conferences with sixteen teams, they have their own set of play-in games.  Whatever.  Let's have at it.  Selection Sunday in five days.

Augie gets to host their regional this weekend.  They Play Mt. Union from Ohio on Friday night.  If they can win two games at home, they go to the D-III Final Four.

Enough.  Hats off again to 4.  You are a Star.  Love you.