Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday Trip To Bishop Hill

Tim and Chris resting and talking about their visit to a quilt shop. Who knows, maybe we'll soon see a quilted Harley seat.

Dave, Olie Olson, taking a much needed respite from the many and varied shops that litter Bishop Hill.

Olie Olson posing suggestively at a Bishop Hill shop.

Strange and erotic windvane with a farmer seemingly beating his pork.

The North Henderson Mild Ones strolling the shops at Bishop Hill.

"You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."
Dorothy Parker

Even those of us in BFE have a craving for culture. On Saturday the North Henderson Mild Ones saddled up and biked to Bishop Hill. We checked out the pottery and quilt shops and soaked up some history at the chapel. This is photographic verification that beer is not the only thing we bike to.

Chris and CG joined us and it was great having them there. The wind was brutal but any day riding is fun.

Saturday Breakfast Run To Aledo

Tim and Richard.

Everyone had the 2 - 2 - 2.

Richard looking studly.

The weekend started with a trip to Aledo to have breakfast at the Garden. The weather was great and we didn't want to end it too soon so we jogged up to Preemption to an open house at Hammer's and then over to RT 150 and then home to BFE.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Other Pictures Just Laying Around

Picture of Missy smudges at window. Can't bear to wash it off.
Sunset near BFE.

Odd painting called "Isle of the Dead".

Sign of the economic times.

Florida bar sent by Patti.

Award winning monument from Lackey's in Galesburg.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Pictures From the Weekend

From my rear-view mirror: Carrie and Tim in the foreground, and Dave in the rear.
View from my bike. Wonder if I'll ever see open road in Florida?

Looks like a chicken riding a motorcycle, but actually two separate cement sculptures. We stopped shortly attempting to find the Mississippi Fairgrounds, new home of Sturgis on the River.
Tim's funny quip: "Hey Mike, ever see a c__k that hard?"
Stopped in Aledo on way home and had a beer and supper with Mark & Holly at Scooter's, via BeerBellies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wild Trip to Keithsburg

From Muscatine we wanted to have a barley pop in Keithsburg so we went across the river and
headed South. When we reached the road that goes into town, we discovered they were oiling the road...both sides...on a Saturday. We pulled off and decided to head further east and catch another road. We found a gravel road not too far down and at an intersection tried to catch the road again hoping that the oiling was just that section. We were wrong. Once again we tried the oil road but bailed where a guy was holding a stop/slow sign. Once again we tried a gravel road and came upon another intersection. We turned right and after a while came to a dead end! OK, back we go and turn right this time, hoping to catch the original gravel road we tried before. This is what we came upon. Rushing water over the road. But Tim sent Carried down to see if she could come up with navigable road. Down to the end of the road she walked - and Tim decided to take his bike down to see the situation.

Water rushing across the road.

Ankle, shin deep water.

After asking Carrie to see if she could find solid ground, and not finding any we couldn't use this road to get back to civilization.

Back to the oiled road and the guy holding the stop/slow sign. I drive up to him and ask him if the road is oiled all the way to Keithsburg. He replies that the road is fine from this point all the way into town on the right side. OK, so it dawns on me that we spent an hour or more on gravel, going to a dead end and then risking flooded roads, when we were OK all along at the stop/slow sign.

Monday, June 22, 2009


My renter bailed on me yesterday. I had just gotten done cancelling the power, cable, and garbage pick-up, and so I called to tell him that he could go ahead and make the calls to get his stuff lined up. I could tell he wasn't talking too much and then he said he and his wife/girlfriend were getting back together. Why didn't he tell me when he knew? Jerk. Now I have to get rolling to find someone again, and fast.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday Ride To Sturgis On The River

Carrie took these videos of me on my bike this past weekend. What is really strange is that 99% of the time I'd have a helmet on. It was a hot day and wanted to cool off. It was a great day for riding: breakfast at 11th Street Precinct Pub in East Davenport, over to the Fairgrounds for the Sturgis event, then off to Muscatine and Keithsburg, Aledo and back to BFE. Interesting things along the way. More on this trip in the coming days.

Bummer event for the weekend: I missed a call from Brendan in England.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And Yet More Inane Ramblings...

1. When asked to write a story using only 6 words, Ernest Hemingway wrote, "For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn." Neighbor Tim was able to do the same: "Tits and tires, nothing but trouble."

2. My former boss but constant friend, Gay Johnson wrote me:

two word marriages made in heaven:
school's out
summer time
July Fourth
fireworks extravaganza (what it lacks in fluidity, it makes up for in anticipation)
chocolate cake

3. Speaking of Gay, she used to bring us our paychecks with a little bonus. She handed out PayDay candy bars. In fact she kind of got me hooked on them. Well, Hershey, bless their hearts, has created the Avalanche, a PayDay covered in chocolate. They are extremely difficult to find. Can't find them anywhere in Galesburg except for the Dick Blick commissary. I had to travel to Aledo to find them. After you guys watch The Wire and Gran Torino, go find an Avalanche.

4. I'm going to have a difficult time submitting my letter of resignation this week. It's crazy to quit a job in this environment, Blick has been a darn good employer, and it represents the final formal attachment to this area. There were four main reasons for not traveling to Florida a year and a half ago, three of which were: 1. job, 3. Missy, and 4. my old cars. All will be gone by the end of this week.

5. When I traveled to Keithsburg on Sunday we ran into Lee Frick. He still remembered a funny time we had at Blackies bar many years ago. Mark and I were there with my mother for supper. Blackie came over and we were chatting. He had a hard time hearing and when I asked how his sex life was, or something to that affect, he misunderstood and thought I was talking about his diabetic toe: "Its still there but draining every so often." Don't think he ever knew why everyone in the place was laughing. Blackie (Julius) Bushong has been gone awhile now, but Helen, his wife is still around but has diagnosed with of Alzheimer's Disease.

6. I alternate between excited to get on with it and dreading the city.

7. Tried to watch Big Love but couldn't get into it.

8. Things to do before I leave: climb grain bin tower in BFE, Jerry's Pizza in Mt. Pleasant, see Calvin in London Mills who was in an ATV accident, and I hear someone wants to do a cookout.

9. Things to do when I get down there: lose weight, buy a bicycle (there is a long city-wide bike path right in our back yard), learn the roads, find the beach, get a job.

10. My friends aren't making it easy to leave.

11. This was in the Aledo Times Record around the turn of last century regarding the arrest of a fellow who had had a bit too much adult beverage:

Another poor unfortunate victim of intemperance was arrested on Saturday evening, and had until Monday morning to "sober off" in the seclusion of a private apartment in the County jail. On Monday morning he was fined $5 and costs, and being in an impecunious condition, was set to work in the streets, to "work it out."

12. Where St. Pete resides in population:

71 Glendale Arizona 253,152

72 Fort Wayne Indiana 251247

73 Henderson Nevada 249386

74 Lincoln Nebraska248744

75 Greensboro North Carolina 247183

76 St. Petersburg Florida 246407

77 Chandler Arizona 246399

78 Jersey City New Jersey242389

79 NorfolkVirginia 235747

80 Scottsdale Arizona235677

81 Birmingham Alabama 229800

82 Madison Wisconsin 228775

13. I see there's a Joe's Crab Shack in Clearwater about 16 miles away from our apartment. Hmmm. Wonder if I can get someone to go with drive.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Miscellaneous Pictures

This is my buddy Nick Campagna, a Securitas guard at Dick Blick.
He is a horse follower. Used to own one and always checks the paper for the latest line.
This guy fashioned a hat made of balloons at the Scooters at Hooters bike show lst weekend.
You really have to be secure to wear this thing at a biker rally.

Old postcard of the Pier in Downtown St. Petersburg.

I love this old photo of a foggy street. It has a mysterious aura about it like something is about to happen, and it ain't good.

Ryan and I at the Crab Shack last weekend.
I think that waitress in the back was shakin' in that dance they do. Just serve the food.
I had the crispy shrimp but Ryan had the crab pot: a neat large pot full of crab legs, potatoes, sweet corn and anything else they could scrunge up in the kitchen. Nice meal. Thats what i'm having next time I'm there.
(Pic compliments of Carrie)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nice Sunday Ride

Tim in front of Tweety's Hi-Way Tap.

The first hole at the Club. I hit many bad shots from here, but at least its a downhill shot so I always got a good roll.

Neighbor Tim and I took off Sunday for a trip to Seaton, Keithsburg, Aledo and Burgess. The old homestead looked a bit rundown in Seaton, and old Blackies is nothing like old Blackies anymore in Keithsburg. Apparently the floods have caused entire renovations to the place. As Lee Frick told us, the basement has been filled with cement and the bar is now on the other side of the room. They have $1.00 Bloody Mary's on Sundays so had a couple, and off to Aledo and the Club. Looks like they were setting up for a band with ancient people with cowboy hats and bad hairpieces getting prime spots in the beer garden out back.

Ran into bro Mark at the Club, had a couple of free beers and then off to Burgess. Ran into everyone and heard a hair-raising tale from Andrea. There's luck and then there is really good luck, and I'm glad she found Richard. Anyway, I 'spect we'll see them again before I leave.

Thanks to Tim for joining me on the spur of the moment: it was a nice day, great ride with lots to see and great people along the way.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Scooters at Hooters Weekend

The North Henderson Mild Ones took to their bikes this past weekend and journeyed to Peoria to check out the Scooters At Hooters bike show on the Riverfront. Lots of nice bikes and those girls in the orange shorts sure are talented: one was a world class hula hooper, and others sang and danced.
We walked down to Joe's Crab Shack and really liked the crispy shrimp. Cool place except for the "Shakin' thang" that they did once. Waitresses of varying shapes and sizes come out on the patio and do some dancing and choreography. It smacked of those creepy violinists that stroll disrupts the meal and conversation and it gets old after 20 seconds. I can do without the entertainment and the spotlight, just give me the good food. Of course, that tends to be my personality: leave me alone. I glanced at other patrons and they seemed to enjoy it so...keep on shakin' (just don't shake around me)! But then again, these guys didn't have the orange shorts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This was a Fed Ex envelope that was on my desk to be processed yesterday. For the want of a single typo, the entire address became comical. You go, Harry!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The old Econo-Inn, next to Thornton's gas station burned Thursday morning. One guy from Monmouth died. Don't know any other details at this time. Thought you ex-Galesburg residents might like to know.


Remember this? Miss it? Hell, out here in BFE we even get stuck in Rio. This is for all you train lovers down in Florida, or Birmingham, England who miss the waits, the horns and the sounds of rolling stock.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tasty Morels

Almost forgot to post this. Someone at work gave me a pound of morel mushrooms and I gave a half pound to a friend. So I ended up with this tasty batch last month or so. Just wanted you guys in Florida and England to feast your eyes on the Midwest's finest seasonal delicacy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carrie Takes the Wheel - Part II

The Hope of Mating In BFE

Last night I went over to NHCC to have a beer with Tim, CO Chris and CG. When I left I heard a couple of frogs in the full throaty cacophony of love in front of my house. This sound is one I love especially having had three ponds in our back yard on Chambers street. It is, for me, a sound of summer.

Oh, and by the way, it was not my intention, but in recording the sounds I inadvertantly captured Richard upstairs in his bedroom. Not sure what is going on but it was not my intention to spy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

You'll Never Believe What My Neighbor Did This Weekend

Neighbor Tim, a compulsive cleaner of his beautiful blue Harley, turned his attention to my bike this weekend. While I went to the Blick picnic this past Saturday, where I won a $25.00 gift certificate, Tim came over here are took my Kawasaki and cleaned it! I admit to being a clean-aholic with my old cars, but bikes are tougher: too many nooks, crannys, and other unnamed places hard to get to. So, I kind of let it go and just wipe down major parts and forget the rest.

Evidently Tim was embarrassed to be seen with a dirty bike, so out-of-his-skull bored that he couldn't conceive of doing anything else, expects to be paid (remember "I hope..."), or just plain wanted to do something nice. Anyway, it was a damn nice thing to do so, "Thanks, Tim". You know, that kind of thing could only happen in a small town like BFE, where there is a sense of we-are-all-in-this-together mentality. I bet it won't happen in Florida. More likely it will get ripped off. Thanks again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Inane Ramblings

1. Had a great breakfast last Sunday with bro Phil and Jeanne. Went to Iowa Machine Shed since you can't get to Port Byron from here. They had the biggest cinnamon rolls I have ever seen. Maybe softball size?

2. Saw "The Reader" this week. Powerful film. Winslett won an Oscar. I'm not sure it is for everyone, but I sure liked it.

3. Speaking of powerful films: I am reminded of a teacher at the Mary Davis Home who rejected my pleas to show "Schindler's List" during Holocaust Week. She said the film was inappropriate NOT for the Nazi atrocities, of which there were many, but rather for a short scene of two people making love without showing nudity. One of the more dumber thought processes I had ever seen. Speaking of Schindler, I think it should be shown in every classroom of every grade in every year. Like the survivors of the camps, we should "Never Forget." And shame on those who have bought into the extreme notion that the Holocaust never happened.

4. Kathy and Judy were fired from their 9-Noon slot on WGN last month. I keep a radio on for background noise and enjoyed them. They were fun, thoughtful and no topic was off limits.

5. My fantasy baseball team is languishing in 8th place. Looks like my 2 year supremacy will end, unless my guys can get it going. There is still time, but Lordy, the West Lake Dragons have a big big lead.

6. Pete's Plumbing and Heating in Galesburg is a questionable firm. They said I needed venting on my furnace and hot-water heater in an inspection for a prospective buyer. Tony's Plumbing and Heating said the furnace was properly vented and you don't need venting for an electric water heater. Think they may have been fishing for work? Hmmm.

7. Said goodbye to an old friend this week. Baby, my '62 Plymouth left for a new home in Massachusetts. Thanks to Tim, Chris, and Dave for consoling me.

8. Sammy Sosa officially retired last Wednesday with this remark: "I will calmly wait for my introduction to the Hall of Fame" and " I will not allow anyone to tarnish what I did on the field."
Mark McGwire got what, 23% and needed 75% for the HOF. Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. If you want in the Hall you'll have to buy a ticket like the rest of us.

9. Had a nice bike ride with the North Henderson gang last Saturday up to Brenny's. Then turned around and went to Davenport on Sunday. Trying to enjoy the "open road" while I can.

10. Speaking of "good-byes", and certainly less traumatic than the loss of Baby, but I also did not re-up my subscription to the Galesburg Register-Mail, after approximately 30 years. What I miss most is not the news (I get a lot online now), but grabbing a section to put my plate on when eating in front of the TV.

11. Best two words in English language? I don't know but I can come up with some:

"I hope" (see the last 5 minutes of Shawshank Redemption)
"No Regrets"
"You win"
"Kiss me"
"Kickstands Up"
"Family Reunion"
"Baby Girl"
"Baby Boy"
"Puppy Dog"

You get the idea. How many can you think of?

12. I recommended the HBO series "The Wire" last year on this blog. OK, who went out and got the series and watched it? No one! Your loss: the best series ever on TV. Not just my opinion but most TV critics agree.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For Drew...

...after our chat, I thought I would send you pictures of glorious emptiness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marley And Me

I just got done watching Marley and Me and I hated this movie. I had it and saved it for a special afternoon because I thought it would be good. But I hated it. Mostly because it got it all wrong. OK, I liked the last 10 minutes, only because it finally got it right. The book and the movie played on the phrase, "...the world's worst dog." The last 10 minutes saved this from being "...the world's worst movie."

Most of the movie centered around Marley eating answering machines, linoleum, entire bags of food, and drywall. Ha ha ha. Then it centered around John and his wife trying to get pregnant, dissatisfaction with work, and the problems of child-rearing. Ha ha ha.

But mostly it was about an undisciplined dog which created havoc for them, their neighbors and from the looks of it the entire South Florida population. Of course there was the untrue, contrived and unrealistic attempt at dog obedience school with a cartoonish 1-dimensional teacher. Ha ha ha.

Owen Wilson played John Grogan. He usually plays stoners in movies. Evidently he has a market on stoner types because his voice inflections and delivery never vary from that of his stoner movies. After 15 minutes it became awfully grating. Marley was played by several different Labs and I hope they get a better agent for their next movie. For instance, there's a scene where Marley is at the vets and being told that he won't make it through the night. He then delivers his stoned monologue to the vet telling her how strong he is, and then leaves the office without saying bye to Marley or even petting him goodnight. And Marley is right there on the table!

The fact is, dogs that run roughshod over their owners aren't lovable or even likable. They are a social pestilence. Oh, watch Marley take a dump in the ocean and close the only remaining pet-friendly beach. Ha ha ha. Watch Marley jump out of a car in a busy street. Ha ha ha.
Watch the frazzled dog-sitter race out of the house without being paid when the Grogans return from a vacation. Ha ha ha.

Dogs need discipline because we have domesticated them and they have allowed it. They need structure. They don't need to break birdbaths, take off with the outside cafe table tied to it or tear, eat, chew houses to bond with us. They rely on us for boundaries and if we don't provide it, then shame on us.

Marley and Me missed the quintessential aspect of the bond between dog and man: "We give our hearts to them and they give us theirs." It's not the broken screen doors that make us love them. It's not the eaten pillows, couches and teddy bears that make us love them. That's why Marley and Me got it wrong. Its the quiet moments, the sad moments, the times when we think we haven't got a friend in the world, when a dog gently grazes an arm or leg with that tender wet nose, that makes us bond with a dog. It's the times that it comes over and spoons with you that make us bond with pets. The times when it sits with you and then nudges your arm as if say, "I'm being good for you, wouldn't you like to pet me?". Its the times in our lives when we take a second to look back that we see clearly the loyalty, love and devotion that a dog provides us unconditionally.

The movie finally got it right when in the last seconds of their lives, we truly see the darkness ahead for ourselves.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Carrie Takes The Wheel

Carrie and Tim, my neighbors, completed the Motorcycle Safety Class over the Memorial Day weekend and she is just itching to get her own wheels. Yesterday she practised on one of Tim's bikes, and here, exclusively on the blog, she reveals to us she has the right stuff. Except for a hiccup at the first she handled it like a pro.