Friday, October 9, 2015

Flashback Friday

In some place, roughly 70 years ago, my parents went out with a little Kodak Brownie and did what we do now with our smartphones.  By the looks of the results it is either Fall or Spring but nice out.  The clothes don't look particularly casual, maybe before a school function?  Again there is no info regarding these pictures.  

After Herb's stint in the the Navy during World War II, he returned to Monmouth College to finish up his degree.  I don't know if these are pre-war or post-war, however, I look into his face I see not a rambunctious college kid thinking of pranks, but a man who has seen things he never dreamed he'd see.  


By this time Marj's folks have moved the Ponemah house into Monmouth.  She is a college girl who has waited for her guy to return home from war.  Notice her shoes?  They are a lot like Herb's     - must have been a unisex style in those days.

I'd love to have that car.  Looks like a '41 Chevy.   Can't determine who's car it is. Herb's Dad was a Chevy guy, and Marj's Dad was a Mercedes owner when we knew him.  What he was in the War years is hard to tell.  Driving that thing couldn't have been easy for eh fairer sex:  These things were huge and heavy, probably no power anything.  

Where is the setting?  Because of the pond I thought out in the country somewhere, but the last picture shows a brick gate of some sort.  Could it have been some place on or close to campus?  

I recently read an article that every photograph contains secrets.  Going through these old photographs turns one into a bit of a detective, attempting to uncover those secrets.  We can't ever come close to the real facts of these moments:  the emotions, the topics of conversation, the underlaying feelings of these two people on this day.  Secrets.  Eternal secrets. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I had every intention of putting this on a Tuesday Tidbit series of pictures - one among many.  But I thought that this was something bigger - something not tossed around lightly and then "keep moving folks, there's nothing here to see".  I think there is something to see.  Something to savor.  Something to warrant its own post.  This is big, guys. 

Background.   While hunting for Norah's cicada shells at the park where the Bushnell car show was held, I came across this tree carving.  

This post is to all the guys who have had their hearts broken.  Not just the kind that gives you that feeling of emptiness for a couple days and is filled by the next set of long legs that winks your way.  No, the kind that darkens everything you do and see not for a couple days but for a lifetime.  The kind that makes you want to shout it to everyone who can and will hear.  The kind that compels you to wander lovelorn in the park to search for the perfect tree to carve your heart's broken song for eternity, or at least as long as the tree lives. 

This is no small mission.  Besides the laws that may or may not exist for such an endeavor, one must have the right tool, the best bark, the time to devote (easy enough now that you have been cast adrift by the love of your life),  the privacy,  and the perfect poetic phrase.  

Shakespeare wrote of love's promise of "enduring and unchanging love", Poe of a love that "made even the angels jealous".  Keats wrote of love akin to the the "heaven's brightest star", and Tagore of all the "songs of every poet past and forever."  OK, so those are already taken.

How best to convey the longing of lost love for the ages, when so many of the world's great poets have covered the topic with the elegance of the ages?  Perhaps less flowery and more earthy.  And so to add to the heartstrings of the Masters, simple yet elegiac, more Midwest that Lord Byron's England, words that have sprung into every young man's damaged heart, "Your Love Was A Load Of Crap."  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Early Morning Meditations - Part 1

One of my favorite pastimes in Northlandia is to grab the camera and head out in the wee hours of the morning to experiment.  As I have said many times I am still learning everything that my camera is capable of;  I don't know how good a student I am, its more miss than hit.  But like the good soldier I am, I dust myself off and keep heading out into the trenches.  I made four trips to New Boston and Keithsburg hoping to continue to learn the facets of light, or lack of, and a moving object: nighttime pictures of a moving barge.  

In the next few weeks I'll post some of those pictures.  These are the first.

There is a floating dock just off shore.  I found this to be a pretty good place to set up my tripod.  It wasn't too wobbly and it put me out into the action, so to speak.   The grain elevator is to one side of the dock while the two boat ramps are on the other.  

The picture above shows the layout and was kind of a nice shot in its own right.  The moon is trying to peek out in a cloudy sky, the red light in the elevators dump area, the street light reflecting off trees to the left and the faint city light over on the right which is likely from Burlington, Iowa.  

On the other side is the park and viewing area including the newly placed wood stature of Chief Blackhawk.  There is a small island on the right and of course a look at the floating dock.

Straight ahead is the Mississippi and the route the barges take.  I included this picture because of the bugs/mayflies/whatever they are buzzing around that were unseen to me in real time.  However, in this timed shutter you can clearly see them becaobject(s) use of the reflection of the moon.  This would have been a three or four second exposure.  

These guys would also make sense of what I was hearing as I stood out not he dock.  Besides the owls in the woods, I kept hearing fish breach.  Making a supposition I'd say the fish were lapping up these bugs when they hit the water.

This is the small island that was just off shore.  The lighting source is from he park area and boat ramps.  If you look just under the shore line of the island in center-left you see about three small floating objects.  

I couldn't figure out what they were at first because they would move around.  I thought perhaps some geese at first.  It ended up a recurring  thing with every trip.  They are fluffy, effluvia stirred up by something floating in the river.  Could they be from the churning waters from the lock and dam?

More from these trips later.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits

Spotted this Spyder in Le Claire, Iowa.  Nice looking machine.  Weird looking to an old purist like myself, but certainly fun looking.   Neighbor Tim has asked me a couple of times if, when the time comes that I have trouble keeping my bike upright, I would be willing to go to a three wheeler cycle, and I have scoffed at the idea.   But, man oh man, that is a looker.  


Grammatical Pet Peeve of the Week:  People who do not finish their sentences.  "Would you like everything on that burger, er....?"  


That's Patty behind the bar at the "Off The Hook" in Keithsburg. And the "Off The Hook" is the latest incarnation of Blackies Highway Tap.  Patty worked bars a lot in Aledo so she was well known to the Wombie and Holly when we stopped by for a Bloody Mary and beer.  She makes a mean BM, much better than the one up the road a ways at the Eagle's Nest.  And cheaper.     


The Great Bike Adventure of 2015 which was scheduled for September was cancelled.  It has been re-scheduled for 2016.  


Scrawled in the cement sidewalk in front of the Off The Hook bar in Keithsburg.  Too many more BM's and I'd been looking for her.  


This is the old homestead in G-Burg.  Everytime I am in the city I swing by to have a look. I noticed this trip that the owners are going to have to get out the ladder and do what I did 4 times while living here:  paint.  It is no easy job and I always had to use vacation time to do it, but this old girl needs continual upkeep to look her best.  Notice the weathering in the mid section clapboard.  The white trim is fading and there is simply no way to avoid it.  It can't be sided because it is in the historical district (not that you would want to do that anyway), and at this point if the paint looks like that it needs a lot of caulking and trim boards might need replacement.   I always got the best paint available (Sherwin-Williams, of course) and always used Blythe Gray, a custom color.   Sure glad I don't have to worry about that anymore.  The worst part wasn't the climbing, which would be tough on my knees now, but moving that damn ladder.


The Mets will begin their first playoff game in 9 years on Friday. I have my Bloody Marys, or Rum Chata, or Champaigne all ready to go.  


 I just about signed off on this edition of Tuesday Tidbits and discovered I had omitted Norah.  So here she is:

Okay now I can sign off.  Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Burgess + Barton's = Fun

Burgess, Illinois has long been a special place for me.  I've spent many hours at the Burgess Saloon talking to some great people.  Besides Marvin and Janine, the Bartons are special friends.  Andrea and Richard always open their pool and hearts to friends.  They had an end-of-summer bash that I was invited to and wouldn't have missed it.  

Back in the day we had some fun times at this pool.  Late night fun in the hot summer with cold beer.  The pool is even heated for cooler days.  

On this day, however, with a Bloody Mary in hand and all the things you like in a Midwestern party menu, the pool was inhabited by the younger set.  I was perfectly content to watch from afar with my plate of goodies under the utility shed.  

The Barton's took good care of me even though the pool reminded me also of Norah and her burgeoning swimming skills at Bedlam.

One note of unhappiness;  a partygoer was stricken with an illness and the local medical authorities had to be notified.  I didn't know the gentleman, but Richard's loud music that was being piped was playing a somewhat appropriate selection as he was hauled into the back of the truck.  It was Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me".Hell of a party.  Hope I'm invited again next year - how can they top that?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Flashback Friday

Today's Flashback is one of those formal school functions with G who I dated for awhile in High School.  Of course, dating in high school is a lot like being a manager of a big league team:  you are always just a losing streak away from being canned.  I'm not sure of the year but the poster in the background will provide all the clues you need.  G was pretty cool and we had a nice time.   Am I really wearing a vest?  Have I buttoned my shirt all the way up?  

I look at that kid, and the introversion is already evident.  The pose is certainly a "gee, shucks" do we really have to do this?  But what did I know?  A kid just starting out in the world learning the ropes, learning people, and learning comfort levels. 

That may be me up there but in reality it is all of us on our first date.  Awkward, forced, more like a fish out of water.    

G and I also went to a movie in Monmouth.  I was reminded of the date just this week since 2001: A Space Odyssey played on TCM.  Like that kid in the picture above,  that film was wasted on someone who had not yet learned to embrace opportunity or ethereal, sophisticated art.  

High school relationships, while representing the first true kind of ventures into meaningful friendships, are also the most brittle.   We are unfinished vessels - too immature to properly cultivate, too old not to try.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Only In Florida

In what may be a semi-regular feature on BFE, we present the first post that focuses on the strange, creepily different land called Florida.  Quite simply, things happen here that don't happen anywhere else.  It is my conjecture that it was first settled by aliens.  That is the only theory that makes any sense to me.    

      "Here in Florida at Burger King, you can have it your way."  
                                                                    Walt Disney

A Florida man faces indecent exposure charges after allegedly exposing his hot dog at the Home of the Whopper.
Jefferson King, 33, was arrested Thursday after a customer at a West Palm Beach Burger King reportedly saw him playing with his sex organ at a seat near the restrooms.
The woman told police when she asked King what he was doing, he replied, "What? I'm playing with my penis!" according to
The woman then complained to a manager, who asked King to leave.
However, King allegedly refused to move from his seat and kept playing with his genitalia, according to
Officers were called to the scene. When they questioned King, they claim he said he had done nothing wrong, according to the Palm Beach Post.
King was taken to the Palm Beach County Jail and booked on one count of indecent exposure. He was released on Friday after posting $1,000 bond, but not before posing for a very memorable mug shot.

West Palm Beach Post