Thursday, July 31, 2008

And So It Goes In BFE

In a previous post I talked about a homeowner East of BFE who recently erected a sign explaining to travelers on Route 150 that his property rights supersede their quest for scenic Illinois. Drove by last evening and took these pics, and then got the Hell out of there. And I was wrong that it was painted on plywood. Actually, to add to the "class" quotient this almost looks like it was beautifully executed on the back of a bench seat out of a car.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Major Sullivan Ballou's Civil War Letter

I had the opportunity to watch the last 20 minutes of Ken Burns Civil War documentary of 1990. It reminded me of Sullivan Ballou's letter to his wife. It was such a haunting note that I thought you would like to hear it again. It is a stunning letter of one mans love of country and wife. Seems appropriate again as we are at war once more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good Ad

Side Note on trip to Bishop Hill

It takes 5 miles to get to Route 150 from BFE. Yesterday I turned left to head up to Alpha and then to Bishop Hill for the car show. Right past the tracks after getting on 150 is a rather rundown house on the left with some junk in the front yard. There have been some old derelict cars/trucks and there appeared to be rusted metal machines of some sort lying about. Then I noticed a big poorly painted sign on plywood, "If you don't like what it looks like, then don't look."
I didn't stop to take a picture of it then, but wish I would have. After I got home yesterday afternoon after the show I hopped on my bike with my camera, but sadly, the sign had been taken down. I'll check off and on going to work and if it reappears I'll take a picture of it.

Interesting But Sad Truck At Car Show

I decided to take my Plymouth, aka Baby, to the Bishop Hill car show yesterday. The Chrysler is not quite ready for showing but will be by next Friday's big cruise-in in Monmouth. Anyway, I saw a sad exhibit of a father's love for his son. I didn't ask any questions, but I gather a young man, Charlie, passed away at the age of 26, and his dad had a newer truck painted with several vignettes depicting his kid's life. By the way, I didn't win anything but Baby is always a popular addition to the usual T-Birds, 55-56-57 Chevys and street machines. Blah!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old Commercial Sunday - Edition #2

Old Old Joke, But Still a Good One

A man was riding his Kawasaki along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, 'Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.'
The biker pulled over and said, 'Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want.' The Lord said, 'That request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.'
The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, 'Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand our wives; I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing is wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy. '
The Lord replied, 'You want two lanes or four on that bridge?

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Been 4 Years Since My Summer of Trips

I had just taken early retirement from Mary Davis Home and had a summer off. I traveled approximately 7000 miles on my bike that summer with 4 trips:

1. Boscobel, Wisconsin
2. Moab, Utah
3. Deadwood, South Dakota
4. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Here are some pics of the South Dakota trip:

This is the site of the Wounded Knee massacre. Really strange I thought at the time because signs were minimal, and once I got there, really no presentation whatsoever. No tourist information area, no signs describing the carnage, and no gift shops. Found out later that Wounded Knee is on Indian Territory and they choose not to commercialize this tragic incident. The Federal government continues to offer money and incentives to turn it into a National Park, but so far the Lakota Tribe continues to spurn any offers.

SD9 This is a pic of me in front of Mount Rushmore. It was a cold morning and I had on 7 shirts to keep warm. Nice thing to see, and especially liked the long walk to viewing area flanked all the way by the flags of all the states.

SD9 Not sure where I took this right now. It was somewhere in Northern Iowa just south of Albert Lea Minnesota I think. Nice view across the prairie.


Just about home with this picture of my poor bike after all those miles. This is at a rest stop in Davenport on I-80.


Oglala Lake in South Dakota, I think.

I wrote a journal on my Utah trip and I'll try to dredge up some pictures and check out the journal for anything interesting.
It was a great summer that marked an end and a beginning.

Happy Birthday Drew!

Because of some erroneous information I was led to believe your birthday was in late August. Sorry not to be able to give you your present, so I will send it next week. Hopefully by a week you will have it. Hope you guys have a great birthday and if work schedules prevent it, then pick a day and have it again!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nice Story

Saw this last week, didn't watch it because I don't like cats nor do I trust them but then Andrea sent it to me. Of course cat lovers will claim felines have extraordinary powers, while dog lovers will just surmise the cat is hungry. Regardless, its still a nice story that has heart. (And it doesn't hurt having Whitney Houston singing in the background.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This Part Scares Me About Riding a Bike

I've seen this for some time now, it is not particularly new. This is one aspect of riding a bike that scares me, and in some ways may make me a better rider. The prospect of running into one of these is always on my mind and even more now that I am in BFE. Regardless a cool video.

Caddy's On The Beach - St. Pete Florida

Wish I was back there. Fun bar on the ocean called Caddy's On The Beach. Googled this pic and remember those silly relaxation technique seminars? You know, the ones where some trainer says to mentally place yourself in a pleasant place. Well, for me, it would be Caddy's Beach which is part of Treasure Island.

All "ma bitches" close by, gentle waves lapping on the beach, cold beer close by, lovely looking ladies, warm water, cool ash-like sand, and a feeling like it can't possibly get any better in this world.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Pics of Daughter #1

As you can see, it is impossible to get a shot of Mackenzie without someone else close by. She's got a thing for a guy named Drew, and a guy named Bishop. Bishop is the one with the big ears. Drew is doing his Personal Training thing, and constantly calling me for secrets to staying buff and cut, while Kenze does her New York Store management gig.

Free 'Welcome Home' Banner

This company,, is offering a FREE welcome home customizable banner to military families to help welcome home their loved ones returning from overseas. They are proud to offer 3 x 6 foot banners until FRIDAY July 25th!. So Hurry. You have to pay for shipping which cost me about $13.00, but without the promo code it would have cost over $80.00. If you have a loved one "over there" or know someone who does let them know about this great offer. Go to"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Storage Unit #9

Here is a shot of Unit #9 that we used to store things for close to a year. It came in handy and we couldn't have been without some storage, but I'm glad we don't have those monthly costs anymore. Storage is like buying shoes: doesn't seem like you are getting much for your money. Of course I'm liable to get an argument from Kenzie, our little Imelda, with the shoe reference. You can use any reference you like, for instance, underwear, roof shingles, sump pump, well, you get my drift.
Posted by Picasa

Fine Dining In BFE

This is Chef Tim, breathlessly calling Rachel Ray on one phone and Tyson Chicken on the other to talk up a new recipe involving chicken and beer. It ain't exactly French cuisine and you'll likely not see it on the menu at the Pierre Gagnaire or the Chez Panisse, but perfect for BFE.

Beer-Butt Chicken Recipe

Take one chicken and jam an open can of beer up its ass. Cook on the grill for an hour or hour and a half. Eat.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Starbucks Closing

Galesburg received word Friday that Starbucks is closing less than a year in operation. I also heard on Thursday that not all is rosy with the newest shopping center farther East at the new Wal-Mart. That company designated several area organizations and/or charities as beneficiaries of $500.00 donated by the Wal-Mart. Word is that that is being reduced to $100.00 due to financial considerations.
This is an article from the Register-Mail regarding the Henderson Street business climate.

Shuttered and silent on Henderson Street
The Register-Mail
Posted Jul 18, 2008 @ 10:52 PM

GALESBURG — If the prospect of Starbucks’ imminent demise on Henderson Street bothered store baristas, the four employees working the post-lunch hour Friday tried not to show it.

“We can’t say anything at all,” one barista said. “We’ve been told to pass on the number of our home office. We really can’t say anything at all.”

Another soon-to-be-unemployed barista chimed in with a scrap of information.

“The Channel 6 news van came through the drive-through,” she said. “We couldn’t tell them anything, either.”

The four employees returned to making coffee drinks, so the muted atmosphere inside Starbucks was nowhere near as profound as the silence inside nearby buildings.

Henderson Street has become the home of vacant structures. The silence is spreading and no one talks about the environmental dangers posed by decaying buildings and untended parking lots.

It’s a lesson Abingdon learned the hard way, as an entire block of decayed buildings on Main Street has a date with the wrecking ball. The buildings sat empty, or partially occupied for years. Now the city is paying the bill for a lack of planning.

Just a stone’s throw from Starbucks is the empty stucco-covered store built to house Fazoli’s. When the Italian food eatery closed, corporate took down all the signs and boarded over the windows.

Like Starbucks, Fazoli’s asked its employees to stay silent. And most complied. The threat of a corporation’s ire is uncomfortable, even as the corporation leaves yet another site on a trail of abandoned buildings.

The building that used to house Eagle Country Market is still a stone’s throw from Starbucks — if you have a good arm and take a few warm-up tosses. The hulk is silent, too, forming a kind of Bermuda Triangle of business failure.

Eagle Country Market, Fazoli’s and Starbucks aren’t the only empty buildings in the vicinity. There’s an empty storefront in the strip mall between Carpetland U.S.A. and The Vinyl Graphics Store.

The silence at the north end of the Henderson Street doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. Not with empty stores in the mall and the behemoth that looks like a dead twin still conjoined to Hy-Vee. The place used to house Wal-Mart, which moved to a greener pasture out on the north end of Seminary Street.

Galesburg Mayor Gary Smith wasn’t silent when he learned of Starbucks plan to close its store in town.

“Don’t print what I just said,” Smith said after he uttered a very mild expletive.

“When they first announced the 600 closures, I’d hoped Galesburg would be OK because we had just opened a year ago,” Smith added. “You’d think they’d give that spot a little more time.”

The businessman who runs NAEIR said coffee is popular in Galesburg and it’s Starbucks’ loss because the company pulled up stakes.

“This is a very resilient town,” Smith said. “The other, locally owned, coffee shops are doing pretty well in Galesburg. So maybe Starbucks’ departure says a lot about the strength of the local economy.”

That statement will surely serve as fodder in the debate over the health of the local economy, but Smith did say the leftovers from failing and relocating businesses are worrisome.

“Empty buildings always look awful,” he said. “They are eyesores, but I don’t think it is necessarily an indication that our economy is doing any better or worse.”

The mayor said he felt bad about the announced closure, but an empty Starbucks offered a “nice building in a nice location” for a new tenant.

Of course, the immediate area around Starbucks isn’t the only spot on Henderson Street that features silence created by absence.

There are three empty sites in the Henderson Suites, not far from the vacant building that once was Burger King and last housed Get-N-Go. Directly across Henderson Street, the building that was the home of Collins Communications is available.

A little farther down the block, there is space for lease in the Plaza West and the Coney Island is empty. There’s an open store front next to Renzenberger Inc. in the nearby strip.

Some businesses, like Wal-Mart, skipped from older building on Henderson Street to newer digs. Security Finance Loans moved from the building next to Sully’s Cafe & Pub, while half of the old Goodwill building is occupied by TriLutions, which left an empty building a little farther south on the block. Verizon Wireless pulled out completely, leaving Henderson Street for the Seminary Square development near the new Wal-Mart.

The building between Gerleman-Peck Chiropratic and the new Knox Glass location is shuttered.

For those interested in a tally, that’s 16 empty buildings and storefronts on Henderson Street. The sheer volume qualifies as more than an eyesore.

“We will get in trouble if we talk about closings,” a Starbucks employee said. “Please, don’t ask us any more questions.”

The baristas are under orders to remain silent, but the proliferation of vacancies demands dialogue.

Tom Loewy is a reporter for The Register-Mail. Contact him with column ideas at or 343-7181

Italian Police Motorcycle Display

Great Italian Motorbike Display - For more of the funniest videos, click here

I have to tell you, this is amazing. Granted, these are smaller European cycles, and no doubt they practised forever, but this is still quite stunning. Of course, I suppose they didn't release the parts of the display that didn't exactly work.

I'm thinking of doing something similar right here in BFE.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Dare You Not To Be Moved By This Story

As we continue to grouse about the price of gas and a gallon of milk, let's not forget the acts of heroism that continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a great piece on Mike Monsoor, Navy SEAL who selflessly threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. Be sure to click on the YouTube film halfway down the article.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We All Scream For Ice Cream In BFE

Never would have thought that there would be an ice cream truck in BFE. Thought those days were long gone after I left Galesburg, but by golly, guess we need ice cream here, too. Kinda fun to see the kids chase the truck after having to get money from a parent.

Walking the Dogs In BFE

Clever way to get the dogs exercised and have fun doing it. This enterprising fellow here in BFE is walking the dogs with his mini-4-wheeler. Heard there was a third dog at home that didn't exactly have the stamina necessary to keep up and is no longer part of the fun.
Posted by Picasa

Rare Picture of the Twins

Going through the family albums can be rewarding. We recently uncovered this picture of twins Mike and Mark after having been kicked off the Seaton to Keithsburg kindergarten bus. Why anyone could have suspected us of foul play is beyond my comprehension. And then to label us as ruffians and hooligans was way out of line. Why, Mark and I have upheld the highest standard of civilized behavior. Do not go back checking the entry detailing an unfortunate and sad incident with M-80's and Cherry bombs on poor Buster Board's new eaves.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hey Nancy, See Our (?) New Sign

Posted by PicasaI drove by the old house last week and noticed a sign in the front yard. We were there for 20 years and we leave and they gussy up the block. This must have been the one in front of Luther and Bonnies house.

What Is This And What Do You Do With It?

A neighbor gave this 2nd zucchini to me, the first I was able to re-gift and give to someone else, but they don't want any more, so now I'm stuck. Just what is done to make these palatable, or do I pitch this in the trash? I think this is one of those nuisance items you grow and give to people to show them how nice you are.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nancy and Lisa Last Week

Nancy and Lisa Makeever during her 4th of July visit. Lisa and Dave still have the most comfortable back yard in Galesburg.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 14, 2008

Missed Neighborhood Friends

Tarasa & John Gerdes, Mike & Nancy, Dave and Lisa Makeever

This time of year reminds me of the wonderful times we had with our neighbors on Grove Street. We would spend time at each others patios on these warm summer nights discussing all manner of things. Lots of laughing, lots of drinking and always the freedom to speak freely with friends. Tiki's were always lit somewhere and this was the very best way to spend a weekend evening. Dave and Lisa remain on Grove, while the Gerdes's moved to North Canton, Ohio.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bike is Fixed!

Just got a call from Willie who has working on my bike. The news is: it is fixed and done and bringing it all the way up to me. I tried to tell him I'd be glad to meet him in Litchfield, but he is insistent and will be here in roughly 5 hours from when he takes off.

Funny Commercial

For some reason this struck me as funny. Its by the Berlitz folks who teach foreign languages.



I got my AmerenIP bill yesterday and for a 29 day period my bill was $14.95!
I'm loving this downsizing. For the same amount of days I was paying monthly with budget billing $219.00 at Chambers street. Wow!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pictures of Brendan's Leave

Not sure what this is.
This is the coastal town of Cobn (Cove).
Another shot of Cobn (Cove).
This is the last port-of-call and berth for the Titanic.

These are pictures Brendan too while on a side trip to Ireland with his friend Karen. This is the area not far from Cork. Brendan said this is a city called Cobn which translates into Cove. Beautiful pictures and glad he had a chance to visit this country. He knew I was a bit of a Titanic buff so took these pictures of the last berth Titanic stayed at before her fateful voyage.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dogs Rule...

...And cats run up phone poles to get away. And so it goes here in BFE.

Open Letter to Brendan

Dear Son,
I was reminded last week on the 4th that you gave me my greatest gift last year on that date. You had a week off and decided to come on up with Karen. I had a car show in Kewanee and everyone was going to come there and see me and check out the cars.
I asked, kind of knowing it was an unreasonable request, that you wear your class A's, because a soldier in dress uniform is just so damn cool looking. You had told me that you most definitely did not like wearing class A's, and that it was heavy and it was just too cumbersome. Besides, you were on leave and didn't have to wear a uniform, just nice to wear grubs. I accepted, and was just glad you guys were coming over and seeing me.
It was getting late in the day, the trophies were going to be distributed in a few minutes, and I had just about decided that everyone had changed their minds. Then I saw your Mother and you and Karen, and guess what. On a day that was close to 90 degrees, there you were in your dress uniform and was the most impressive looking person in the park. God, was that ever thrilling. I ushered you around and loved the looks you got. Just wanted to thank you again, and how you made your father proud.
Love you,