Monday, February 8, 2016

Two Ships Passing In the Night - Part Two

Last week these two barges were navigating the river in Keithsburg as they met each other, one heading north, the other downstream.  Again, I leave you relatively wordless for this aquatic encounter.  

As I mentioned in some past post, my objective in these nighttime barge photos, besides the sheer beauty of it, is to master a most difficult camera task:  shooting movement in limited light.  I suppose I could get online and find other people's settings and then replicate it but that almost sounds like cheating.  This complicated machine called a Nikon d7100 is a camera and a puzzle.  It has an "AUTO" setting where it tells me it will do all the thinking for me and then this "MANUAL" setting which demands me to solve the riddle myself.   But the Auto will not work in the dark.  Even it seems to understand the futility of my mission.  So on I go, like a chimp in front of a typewriter, attempting to write War and Peace.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Flashback Friday

Here I am at the desk at the fraternity house in college.  I guess I was into casual.  Let's take a look at other items in the room.

1.  It appears to be 7:15 in the evening.  Must have been either a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday since the other nights would have been our party nights at the West Side Tap. Unless it was Tuesday in which case we would go to Mt. Hamel for chicken night.  

2.  Looks like some mix is ready at hand in case we need a boost to keep alert.

3.  That is a stein that held a 12 ounce beer and was emblazoned with out frat crest.  Next to it is a button with W.C. Fields who was popular with college kids at that time.  

4.  This old radio was something I had for a long long time.  Eventually the antenna would crease and flop around until it fell off.  

5.  A photo album that held Polaroids and which I still have. 

6.  That red bordered book was George Patton's autobiography "War As I Knew It".  Fascinating memoir and a fun read.  I also had a full blown poster of George framed as a constant reminder "Audacioux, audacioux, toujours audacioux."

7.  Cool shoes, even today.  Cool guy too, even today.  (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)   

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Sorry about the second straight post with nighttime pics, but as I try to do this as chronologically as possible, then we have to brave such things.  Bear with me.  Today's post is obviously related to the "two ships" post yesterday.  

These pictures won't knock your socks off, or anything else for that matter, but I wanted you to see the stars that you can't see with your naked eye.  By creating a timed exposure of say 20 seconds, the camera is able to pick up fainter light that you wouldn't be able to see if you stood out there like I did and looked up.  This is in Keithsburg looking out over the river easterly.  

Another pic looking over the river.  The three straight horizontal stars smack dab in the middle are referred to usually as Orion's Belt.  I'm not much into constellations mostly because I don't care.  If I were I could very likely point out some constellations.  Alas, because of my apathy you will have to look them up on your own.  

While heading back to Emerald City, I stopped by the old baseball field in Shangri-La.  This is, again, a timed exposure so as to bring in as much light as possible.   All of the pictures in this post were taken with my Tokina 14-16 mm wide angle lens, which I really like.  I parked at the old ball diamond up where the school used to be and  pointed Northward for the shots.  The grain elevator is to the left while the water tower is just about in the center.  There are no ballgames anymore here, and the diamond and scoreboard return to nature.  The elevator has been closed for decades and it, too, is falling victim to the elements.  But when we were kids there were games here all the time in the summer, the elevator was humming along and the village was a bit more vibrant than it is today.  

This is where the school used to be.  My dad taught here briefly after the war, and all three of us boys wandered through its halls.  I recall the ungodly heavy purple curtain at the stage.  The time I fell off the slide which caused a bit of a stir.  The time I received the "board of education" from Don Clute for misbehavior.  The many times my grandmother would be up from Quincy and sit with Mark and I in 1st grade class.  That class was helmed by Miss Anderson who, when vexed, would get both eyes swiveling independently like a chameleon, which scared the bejesus out of all of us.  That was also the grade Mike Sponsler's mother would make "glass candy".  It was the place we learned to play the tonette, and get a milk break in the basement in the afternoons. 

It is empty now.  A couple sidewalks left that speak of a time when kids were running outside for recess to play dodgeball.  I didn't hear any voices on my night out alone in this lonely place.  The only witness left of those days long ago are the eternal stars in the endless heaven above.     

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Two Ships Passing In the Night - Part One

Today is one of those almost wordless posts where the pictures do the talking.  I left you running toward the truck when I was down at the New Boston bay watching for a barge.  One came by and we raced to Keithsburg to catch it again.  There just happened to be another one heading northward as the once we saw in New Boston headed in the opposite direction.  Two ships passing in the night.  

And so you might think I have better things to do at 5:00 am in the morning.  You would be wrong.  I can catch up on my sleep anytime, but you seldom see a dance like this.  Oh, one other thing, its a lot more fun in the summer, when it is warm.  More later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

Would it surprise you to know that some Buick and Cadillac automobiles are being made in China?  Would it also surprise you to know that the venerable Swedish Volvo was bought by a Chinese firm and is being made there as well?  Me too.   


And just like that, I was on break.


I'm not a nanny - I'm a manny.


Today, fellow Northlandians, you will awaken with no more political ads on TV.  When I was up there they were constant.  I can only imagine how the constant barrage has turned your brains into mush.  Take a rest, but you know they will return this summer.  


Bedlam is undergoing some renovations.  A month or so ago they closed the gym and just this week began tearing down the raquetball courts.  

Ordinarily I wouldn't care but this was a place that held some fun memories with Norah, and you know how us old guys handle that sort of thing.  This was where we went to look at wasp nests, went throwing tennis balls in the three racquetball courts, and generally walked, explored and bonded.  Besides the pool, this place was the other Bedlam area that we had many fun moments.  Kind of sorry to see it go.



Overused phrases and words within the punditry:

"Listen" or "Look" (Chris Christie starts every other sentence with one of these words.)

"Retail politics"

"At the end of the day"

"We have to leave it there..." how hosts end an interview.

"Americans want..." how politicos try to sway.  None of them have ever asked me what I want. 

I'll even throw in the word "Caveat" just becasue it pisses off Neighbor Tim.


Ayla, aka, Alfred 


Why do Iowa Evangelicals think a religious president will be a good one?  The most religious president was James Garfield, an unmitigated failure (second was Jimmy Carter, also a failed presidency).  The least religious?  Thomas Jefferson.  


Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Happy Birthday, Kenze

This is more Flashback than New Week, Let's Go! kind of post, but when it is your kid's birthday, you make modifications.  I posted this seven years ago today (have I really been doing this that long?). 

First Picture

Mother and Daughter

Practically Inseparable...Still Are

Ain't She Cute?

Moving down in the pecking order.

Have a great day, Kenzie. I have enjoyed every moment. You have been a source of pride and admiration, and I thank you. Enjoy your youth.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Flashback Friday

It is mid winter up North as I write this.  15th of January is the halfway point almost everywhere.  This is the week, historically, that is the coldest for Florida, too.  Overall its been a good one so far, and since I am paying a heating bill up North, it is no longer a giggling, "Ha, ha, your freezing your ass off and I'm down here in warm Florida" thing.  I now have a dog in the hunt.

So, to give us all some hope for an early Spring and a cessation of cold (and heating bills), I present past moments in time when Springtime began.   

Our old fraternity house had flat roof which allowed us to head out after morning classes to soak up some early springtime sun.  

Here I am back in the day standing on the roof, casting my shadow onto the lawn, where I am being saluted by my frat brothers.  Yes, I was loved.  They seem to have a single finger jutting out from their otherwise closed fists which, I presume, means they are saying I am "Number 1!". 

While up there I took a picture of the campus.  The building in the middle is the Student Union building and I would surmise the tent to the right is where that year's graduation ceremony will take place.  

We lost the house after my sophomore year because the school decided to require all Greeks to reside on campus.  The home is  still there, a private residence, and they open the place during Homecoming so those wanting to revel in nostalgia can walk through it.  

And since this was taken, the student union was added onto all along where the big top was erected.  

If the graduation tent was erected then this had to have been around mid-May when these pictures were taken.  The mattresses from our beds were brought up to party/sun/hide.  That fellow is Tom Ross-Barnett, mentioned often here, who was from England, via Liberia and sponsored by the Stanley's from Muscatine for his studies. He presently lives in Colwin Bay, UK and was the recipient of one of the funniest pranks I ever pulled.

So, fellow Northlandia heat-bill-payers and not so cold other places in the world, take heart, it won't be long till we can measure the winter torment in days instead of months.