Friday, July 21, 2017

Flashback Friday

I had a house rule in G-Burg that we would not turn the heat on until Thanksgiving.  Prior to that date the screens would come down and the glass windows would go on.  It wasn't always an easy project. 

Step One:  Screened windows unlatched and lifted off sill hardware.  Twisted just so as to allow them to be brought into the room.  Take them all up to the attic.

Step Two:  Bring glass windows down from attic.  They are not light so can be a hassle bringing them down the narrow steep attic steps.  

Step Three:  All the windows must be washed.  

Step Four:  Sit on sill and maneuver the heavy and large glass window through the opening and across your lap.  It is now fully outside so don't lose your grip.  (I actually did once and almost hit Brendan with a an old Victorian window.)

Step Five:  Lift the window from horizontal to vertical and attempt to place window latch's into the outside sill hook.  This often means a person must push down on your legs so you don't fall out the second story window opening, thus breaking the window and numerous other things on your body.

Step Six:  If you have followed the state-of-the-art window numbering system, then you simply, and slowly, close the window and latch the hook.  You are now ready for winter.  You will repeat the process in reverse in the Spring.  A long ways off and at least 6 heating bills away.

Not all the windows in the 2700 square foot old Victorian was the old fashioned storm window type.  I bought a dozen windows from Sears when I moved in that were modern, easy and energy efficient.  The others, however, either kept their winter glass on year around or we went through the above procedure every Fall with the rest. 

Thus the picture above.  Someone, I suspect Kenzie, decided to take a picture of Dad cinching up his warm and woolly robe on a chilly cold day.  I recall always getting a slight lump in my throat every time I'd hear the furnace start whirring in the basement.   When we moved in we had one of those giant octopus type furnaces and while it wasn't efficient, it was effective.  And a bit expensive. 

We would eventually buy a new furnace with a cool air filter attached and a service agreement for a yearly check up.  We do what we have to do.  Others depend on it.  We provide.  

And, of course, if you got too chilled you could inch a little closer to the fire burning in the fireplace.  Or climb in bed with your electric blanket, take the dog with you.  But touch that thermostat and you will be terminated.        

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Single Picture Post #3

Taken on 6-5-2017
4:14 AM
30 sec exposure
ISO 800
South Lagoon looking North East, Emerald City

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Emerald City After Dark

One early morning I took my camera downtown in Emerald City and took these black and whites.  Alleys in the dark.  No cars.  No people.  No sounds.  This is why I like the early morning.  Mystery. Shadows.  Hiding places.    

Just another way to look at our world.  Night is much more thrilling than daylight.  The shadows aren't just black, they make our hearts race just a bit.  It's not a horror movie race either.  It's an almost otherworldly excitement.  What lurks in the blackness - is it malevolence?  Is it benign?  Is it something in between or nothing at all?  We never know, until daylight.  But by then our hearts have resumed their unburdened beating - normal, unexciting, lacking the thrill of night.  Until the sun sets again.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

As I ponder my next stay at the Cabin in the Woods, my thoughts go to all the things that make it rewarding to have it.  Whitey's, Papa's Fish Market,  BFE, my Peeps, roadtrips, Jerry's, dark skies, the bike, Miss Frump and... 

...all the regulars at Beer Bellies.


It isn't always blue skies and sunshine in Central Kitschland.  You never get one of those really neat day-long rains that are so wonderful up North, but when it does rain it does so like an old cow pissing:  fast and hard but short.  This was taken at the Sunset Grill in St. Pete where we went for breakfast.


 Did you know you can buy a keyboard that mimics the old fashioned typewriter?  Yup, you sure can.  Even down to the occasional sticky key.  It costs about $140 and for all you old-school reporters or novelists who yearn for the good old days then go ahead and pop for it.

I was lucky enough to have an old electric typewriter the folks got me when I was in college.  It was blue and mostly plastic but it was a godsend for all those reports.  I also recall all the ribbon and key problems.  Nostalgia isn't always that much fun. 


Adventures In Babysitting


GOOD BUSINESS (Sci-Fi Short) 2017 from Ray Sullivan on Vimeo.


Why Trump supporters don't care about the Russia thing: it was to stop Hillary. 



I get that we live in a capitalist country.  I have something you want, then pay me for it.  But there are some things that are just wrong:

1.  Air at gas stations.  Charging $1.50 on your credit card to fill up a tire is a type of gouging, especially when you most likely just paid $30 bucks to fill up your  gas tank.

2.  Not having a tiered ala carte TV cable and dish system.  If I watch 5 channels on a regular basis why should I be forced to pay for 150?  Let me buy my five channels for an elevated price and let  someone else by their 100 channels at less cost, but why should I buy crap I don't want? 

3.  Crappy American healthcare insurance system.  Why not have both Obamacare and Repub systems plus single-payer and we all get to choose which one we want?  It'll sort itself out in a couple years. Guaranteed.

4.  Why can't I go into a store and buy a single yellow highliter?  You have to buy them in packs of two or four or more and all have a different color.  

5.  My house taxes should have a reduced cost if it is nice and well-maintained.  The grub down the street with crap all over the yard should have to pay more.  And even more if you are flying a symbol of hate, intolerance and treason.

6.  River barges should keep a room available for people like me who'd love to take a river cruise on one.

7.  Cover charges. Period. 


I wonder?

I loved these as a kid.  Do they even make them anymore?

I wonder whatever happened to Darrell Vice who got hurt bad in his father's drug deal gone wrong in Oquawka in 2001?  I hope he's happy and healthy.

I wonder if there is a dog out there now that is destined to end up with me and we just haven't found each other yet?

I wonder if its true creepy bugs and spiders crawl into our mouths when we sleep?

Guys, you know those openings in our underwear?  I wonder if anyone actually fishes their whitchie through those?

I wonder if Shep Smith will get fired from Fox for going anti-Trump last week?


Movie fans will want to check out this article on filmdom's most iconic props.


One of the reasons I like St. Pete.

Sidewalk eateries are always ready to take your order and water your furry friend.

Love your pooch?  Take it with you wherever you go.  No cats, please.


1934 Studebaker President

I've got room in my garage for this beauty, if it's OK with Miss Frump.  Oh, Studebaker!  What happened?


At first I suffered a little involuntary anal leakage when I read that Kid Rock and Caitlin Jenner are considering running for office.  I figured we've got enough amateurs running the country and why get more.  I figured it was just another symptom of a dumbed-down America.

But I was wrong.  I think it would be great.  What is America after all, if it isn't the nation where anyone can be a Senator, or Representative, or President?  Participation and particularly entering the "arena" should be admired and encouraged.  Good going guys (or girls or whatever), I'm happy to hear of your ambitions and best of luck, and thanks for putting yourselves out there.   

Monday, July 17, 2017

OK, One More 5K

It's not often one can test one's mettle.  Our soldiers do it often, sometimes daily.  Inner city teachers do it.  Politicians not so much.  Mettle is defined thus: "a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited or resilient way."  

I signed up for the Rhubarb Days YMCA 5K in Emerald City the first of May.  I had lost a little weight, was doing some jogging in Kitschland and thought I'd be up for a 5K.  The more I thought about it the more worried I became.  What little jogging I had done didn't mean I could jog 3.1 miles.  Who was I to think because I had done it 15 years ago I could do it again?  Especially since my arrival in Northlandia my training consisted mostly of getting off the recliner at the cabin and walking to the kitchen.  Stupid big mouth.     

This was a shot at the activity at the Y after the race.  Free water and old man strut.

The day came and in the couple weeks prior I made several deals with myself.  OK, if you are going to do it then the only goal is to finish.  Go all the way, even if you have to walk some or most of it. Money spent, goal established, and a couple early morning walks/jogs from the Cabin across the woods toward Emerald City so as to get a feel for the damn thing.  It had been a long time since my last 5K and the only thing that I remembered was how tough it was.  Now I was older, creaky knees, with more ambition than ability.

The good party was I'd get a damn cool T-shirt out of it and maybe I'd avoid a heart attack.    

This was the ultimate goal.  The finish line.

The race began and I hovered toward the back not wanting to get trampled by the good runners who take this sort of thing seriously.  Unfortunately, I was never able to recover from that hover.  Once the pack separated from the good, the okay, the slow and the walkers, I set my pace.  I should also say at this point that for the first mile or so I was toyed with by a nice young yuppie couple who also happened to have a kid in a stroller.  We jockeyed back and forth for while and then I remembered to set my own pace and not let a stroller dictate my race.  really can't remember if I ditched them or they ditched me, and I don't want to know.  

The first mile was also remarkable for a plum colored Chevy Trax that was parked bear the Apollo ball diamond.  As I glanced over I didn't think much then noticed the driver was holding a long stick out the window with a Scream mask attached.  I was being bird-dogged by the Wombie.  That mask has been around, first in the front yard at the cabin and now taunting me.  

Once I'd established my pace the going got easier.  I ran into a couple people who knew me and we chatted a bit but what I needed to concentrate so I removed my self from most everyone and simply jogged.  On the Oakview Terrace section in the second mile I came across a youngster who was walking.  I told him to get going and not be outdone by an old guy.  He turned around, smiled and scampered off like a hyper squirrel.  

A guy in a lawn chair cheered me on and I told him I was working on my second lap.  It was also fun to grab water at the end of the second mile and throw the cup away like you see on TV.  

Now it was down hill from the gold course and entered the third and final mile.  Problem was, once you got down hill you then had to go up hill again before you leveled off for the finish line.  This part slowed me down some and I lost time but I never quit jogging.

At the final corner a young girl told me only 5 blocks to go and I knew then I'd not only make my goal of finishing but jogging all the way as well.  In the last block I sped up some to pass a couple people and I heard some cheering as I sauntered into the finish chute and then it was over.  

This video compresses the race course down to 20 some seconds.  

I ran a Rhubarb Days 5k about 15 years ago, I suppose, and the picture above-above is post-race.  Back in those days we had no cell phones so I found someone with a camera and asked if they would be so kind as to take my photo.  It started over at the old Northside school and had no major hills like the present one has.  The start was done by musket.  

The present run is now conducted by a professional national outfit, everything well conducted and monitored.  Once again I found someone to snap my picture.  The relief that I accomplished my goal and then some was a kind of high that I enjoyed for quite a while.   Old guys like me never get much of a chance to prove our mettle.  I faced mine on May 3, 2017 and discovered it was in pretty good shape.    

Friday, July 14, 2017

Flashback Friday

This is an unpleasant picture.  Time robs us of many things.  It takes away our childhood, our parents, and sometimes our memories.  There is no avoiding it or liking it.

After the folks died the homestead, the home Marj had designed by herself, was sold at auction.  This picture is the final gasp of a warm and loving place that raised three boys and was the center of activity for a family.  Cupboards emptied,  shelves bare naked, family memories and heirlooms distributed.  The rest put on display at auction for eager people looking for a bargain.

It is a cold expunging of facts and remembrances.  A day of "I remember..."  Of quiet sighs and embarrassed glances, like thieves robbing not just "things" but the very stuff of life.  

This room whose walls saw us all grow up.  It is the floor where we wrestled and made the "greatest blocks of the ceeeen-turrrr-yyyyy".  It is the place we eagerly opened the latest edition of the Sporting News or LIFE magazine and read from cover to cover.  Where Phil sat after a bout of hypertension after a basketball game - paper bag in hand.  The folk's bridge games as we would sneak down the hall to see how old people play.  Of Christmases, of Easter egg hunts (three of each).  Warm winter fires and looking out the big picture window watching the snow and hoping there would be no school the next morning.  Of the ding-dong song those bells made on the bikes that one Christmas.  Family gatherings too numerous to count, to laugh, to applaud, to worry, to wonder.  

If the back porch was the informal family hub, and the kitchen the magnet for sights and smells, the living room was the conference room.  And if rooms are a composite of all its laughter, tears, and history of growth and decline, then this room was the warm blanket of comfort to us all.  Always ready for the next gathering, then this final one.

No, this is not a pleasant picture.  It is done and redone everyday.    Until this picture and memory, too, fades away.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Week in Keithsburg One Day

There is a little car show in Monmouth in the summer that gets a couple thousand cars.  It's too big for me now.  But I went to the first 10 or so back in the day.  The first year there were about a dozen of us parked on a couple corners near the bank on Broadway.  From those early beginnings was born a mega-monster gathering that is too big today to see everything.

Maybe it will happen in Keithsburg.  In the past couple of years they have had a truck and tractor show at the First Christian Church on the outskirts of town.  This year they opened it up for cars.

If they had had trophies Ole Miss Frump would have earned one.  Unfortunately they didn't.  We were also one of the first to get here.  Apparently the public information department needs to tighten up next year:  they had 2 different time for its start 8 and 10.  Miss Frump, never one to be late was all set to strut her stuff  at the former.  Sometimes you can get an early indication that it's going to be a long, long day.

The following pictures are of my two trips uptown and looking around a tired old river town.  I'm going to keep quiet pretty much from now on, but I will say that the above picture reminded me of something I haven't felt since I was a kid.  The combination of summer smell, the sight of an empty block and the overgrown crumbling sidewalk really sent an old message to my brain of when we townies would spend time in areas much like this in Seaton.    

The areas of Keithsburg and Oquawka really do seem to have an inordinate love affair with the South and the Confederate Battle flag.  Racist or just embracing their heritage?  I don't know but it is a chilling reminder that we are far from a united people.

Other things to see in this old crumbling town.

Russ and Rosie Hendricks owned and operated a bar here 40 years ago.  Russ died unexpectedly in '76, and Rosie took it over.  Now it is just another old empty stately relic of the past.

These are steps going down to what may have been a dock at one time along the river.  It is in front of the old Lighthouse bar which, while empty now, has the greatest potential for a decent bar and grill overlooking the river.

An actual pay phone.  How many could possibly be left in the state?

An old boarding house built when Keithsburg was more than a dot on a roadmap. A hotel was across the road and was recently demolished.  Look quick, this one will be down soon.

We do love our southern symbols down here, don't we?   

It just takes one person who wants it.

Another set of steps to wet. 

The dark churning and brooding river.

Bet the only time this baby ever gets wet is when it rains.

Wonder what's in it.

There ended up being 3 cars at the show on this day.  The Frump is always a crowd-pleaser even when parked next to a goosed Camaro SS with nitro tanks in the trunk and a large chrome air intake coming out of the hood.  (Lord!)  The best part of the day was the drive to and from.