Wednesday, June 30, 2010

KCA These Days

Another ancient behemoth awaiting the wrecking ball.

This is the entrance where the students would gather for another day of learning. This building as you can see, was a Bible college, and KCA on the upper floor.

Worked a while at the Knox County Academy assisting the teachers and doing some goal-setting discussions with the students. It was a different environment from the Mary Davis Detention Home and I saw the staff do remarkable things with almost no support either monetarily or from outside resources. Gay Johnson our leader and compass brought enthusiasm and a core caring for the kids. Matt Warnsing walked a perfect line between stern discipline and a casual relaxed classroom conducive to learning. Mayor Bob Sheehan was our never-say-die cheerleader who always keep a stiff upper lip in the face of poor behavior and anti-authority acting-out. It was an interesting experience and had we the time to further our objectives, we could have made KCA a top-notch model for alternative schools with no money and deteriorating surroundings. The place was "old-school" (hehe) and had the feel of one. too. In fact, I think there was even one room or area that was off limits due to suspected asbestos. But the fact was no one particularly cared about us or our students. The schools didn't want the students back because of their history and the students didn't want to go to regular school because we provided a fairly broad platform for their behavior. Some of the kids were like jackals: they'd zero in on the weak and attempt to cull the herd, i.e. teaching staff. But there wasn't a student there that couldn't benefit from the teaching and discipline KCA provided.
The outer wall of bricks fell down last year sometime and the owner tried to auction it off. The building should be razed; another relic of a time long lost.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Finger





OK, I get it. Most of us don't like cameras. We don't like the invasion or we don't like how we look. Include me in that group. I don't think I've ever taken a good picture. The disconnect with what I think I look like as opposed to how the camera catches it is a mighty wide gulf. I have a mirror that tolerates my visage long enough for me to shave but any longer and I begin to look like my grandfathers did when I was a kid. Somehow Canon, Sony or Nikon just can't get me right. I get it.

From a camera guy: get over it. As a shutterbug I can tell you its not just about you. Get over yourself. Its about me, or whoever is taking the picture. I am recording my life, my joys, my sorrows, my family, and my friends. You are all a part of my world and I treasure each of you. I want to look at these pics at the nursing home and revel in the majesty of a life lived. I'm not interested in your loathing of pictures of yourself, I'm recording you as you are and a part of me. Put your finger(s) down, smile or not, but take it. It goes with being alive and part of others' lives, and living in a world where we have the privilege, honor and ability to record our precious moments.

Flash me the bird if I have wronged you, cut you off in traffic, or just don't like the way I'm picking my nose, but if I bring out my camera, be a gentleman (or gentle lady) and let me get a pic. If it wasn't important I wouldn't bother.


There, I've said it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

This And That

The devastation of the Toronto earthquake last week.

My lilies are beautiful this year. So is my grass. So is my creeping charlie.



Winner of Ugliest Dog Contest has died. Is it my imagination that the winner of this contest tends to die soon after?



I love a color-coordinated bike. And they say guys can't accessorize.

In times of stress it seems we guys either grab our mothers or our winkies. This little feller is Cole visiting Mr. Vader in Galesburg this Spring. Worked at KCA with his Dad.




A good Bloody Mary is a thing of beauty.




Farm in Wisconsin during a bike ride up there a few years ago.



Hachi, a loyal dog. Its a movie out on DVD now that no one seems to know about.





I don't know much about Sonny Liston other than he was the champ before Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali brought him down. Nice epitaph. Simple but says everything.











Yee haw!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Warning! Karaeoke Machine Is On

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING SHOULD NOT BE SEEN BY CHILDREN, AGING ADULTS, YOUNG PEOPLE OR THOSE IN THEIR MIDDLE YEARS. TO PATTI AND GARY, MY NEW FRIENDS FROM CREVE COUER: IF YOU FALL IN ONE OF THE ABOVE CATAGORIES PLEASE BE WARNED THAT YOUR SON CROONS IN A COUPLE OF THE FOLLOWING VIDS. YOU WATCH AT YOUR OWN PERIL/LAUGHTER/ENJOYMENT.

(Unless you have a really fast machine it is best to let these vids "buffer" before playing. I don't know what all that means but I usually get the video to start playing, then I put it on "pause". After a few minutes it should be good to go.)












Nice to see Tim come out of his shell. He and Carrie actually did a good job and always admire those who don't worry about people and just have fun. Like me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farewell David

From left: Ciji's arm, Jen, Carrie, Sterling and Tim.

Dave, Sandy, DIane and Ina.


Dave.








Sterlings new game called "3's". It is much like Ship Captain and Crew but operates on a low score.




Saturday marked the end of a chapter of the North Henderson Mild Ones. Dave Olson found a better job and moved to Litchfield. Dave, or Ole, was always the first to get his bike out and most saddened when the ride was over. While we all enjoy riding our bikes, Dave was a true "biker". Leather vest, dew rag, biker boots and always wanting to ride with no breaks, he was the true biker and the rest of us were just weekend wannabes. He went to rallies, poker runs, met and bonded with other like-minded folks all across this state and Iowa, too. Sometimes I think we slowed him down.



Anyway, his going away party was Saturday, June 12 at the NHCC and hosted by Tim and Carrie. His GF, Sandy, joined him and most of his family including Justin, Kevin, Ina and I'll be damned if I knew the others. The rest of the partyers included: Jen, Rick, Sterling, Richard, Rod, Diane, Linnae, Ciji, and myself. Have I forgotten anybody, hmmm? If so, my apologies.



Pulled BB-Q sandwiches, a game of "3's" and karaoke. Fun night and for me profitable. I made about $6 on a game that mathematically eluded me. Thanks to Ciji for letting me know when I won. Tomorrow's blog is perhaps one that may frighten younger viewers and make the older set cringe. Gary and Patti, my favorite Creve Couer residents, I apologize. Your son sings tomorrow.



Ole, best wishes for you and Sandy and hopefully we will meet again soon and have the privilege and honor of riding with you once more.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rhubarb!



Last week was the Rhubarb Festival in Aledo. I have a couple well-placed sources over there and made a call desperately seeking a pie. Usually, in the past, when I have gone over there everything was pretty well sold out. This year, since I am in temporary residence in BFE and may not ever attend another one, I really needed it. Well, my sources came through and I came home with this wonderful pie. Thanks, sources: Mark & Holly.

PS I understand my new friends from Creve Coeur, Patti and Gary, have a rhubarb patch in their back yard, near where the forest snakes gather, and lots of extra spare time on their hands. Hmmm, shameless hint, but I feel no guilt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pesky Fly



Answer to yesterday's quiz.

We had 2 Bloody Marys at $1.00 each. How many more BM's would we have to order apiece to equal the price of the Macanudos?

A. 4
B. 6
C. 10
D. 14

The answer is C. The Macanudos cost $11.50 each not including tax.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Macanudos and Bloody Marys




Carrie went to South Carolina and visited a nice cigar shop. She wanted similar cigars to a Cuban and they recommended a Dominican Republic cigar called a Macanudo. On a recent trip to Keithsburg to take advantage of $1.00 bloody marys at Tweety's we enjoyed a very mild and very expensive cigar. Glass encased cigars about a half mile long and as thick as a tree stump and brought from the Dominican are expensive and tasty. Thanks Carrie.

Quiz:

We had 2 Bloody Marys at $1.00 each. How many more BM's would we have to order apiece to equal the price of the Macanudos?

A. 4
B. 6
C. 10
D. 14

Answer at bottom of tomorrow's blog.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Only Cat I Ever Liked - Happy Fathers Day



Cat Stevens was one of just a few artists back in the day who helped me navigate while cruising roads and cruising feelings and thoughts as a 16-17-18 year old. Those rides in my car helped or confused me more about life and how I fit into it. As a son who harried his father and now a father harrying his son, this song has always resonated with me. With Father's Day on Sunday, call your Dad if you still have one. If you don't have one anymore think good thoughts. Age has given me the wisdom to know we were all simply trying to do the best we could. There is no manual for parenting.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saturday Ride To Poopy's - Part 3

Another view of the chapel at the Iron Horse Social Club in Savanna.




One of the bikes on display.





The apt-named Poopy's in Savanna.




The entrance and exit is around that car on the left side of the picture. I am surprised people don't get run over since it is coming down from a curving knoll. You can't be shy coming or going. I found myself quite quick in leaving.

Fellow patrons of Poopy's. Don't know if they were able to chat or if it isn't important. The band cranked up the music and demanded you listen. I escape it momentarily in the restroom. Oh well, when in Savanna...



Ole after a long ride.


Poopy's is a name I have heard often in the past few years. It is a place bikers go to in Savanna although why I don't know. All I can tell is that they can get good food and hearing loss. It's just a building with tables inside and out and they sell overpriced chrome stuff and panties with Poopy's on them. If you have a sudden inspiration for a tattoo you can get it done before you chow down on a Super Poopy. Perhaps a neat little tat with "Get Me Out Of Here" might be appropriate.


Apparently you can, on some weekends, ride in and camp out on a hill and stay overnight. For those who like camping out on a hill in noise-drenched nature it might be great but for this old guy a bed trumps earth and quiet conversation beats the pounding music that effectively stops all human interaction except sign language.


I, for one, evidently didn't appreciate the more esoteric aspects of this place. All of my companions raved about the food, and by the looks of it, I confess it sure made my mouth water. In fact I begged Carrie for a piece of chicken and it was very very good. But I am a sit-down-and-chat kind of guy and loud music that prevents that regardless of quality is an almost instantaneous deal-breaker for me.


The ride was great otherwise: Iron Horse was a hoot, the day was warm and we finished with a cold soda/beer at Jimmy Lee's in Port Byron before heading home. We saw some country we had never seen before and had a few laughs. We all straggled home tired but it was a fantastic day. Thanks Tim, Carrie, Rick, Jen and Ole for a good time (except that Poopy's place).








Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saturday Ride To Poopy's - Part 2

Hundreds, OK maybe scores of bikes lining the street.

OK, scores of bikes but I was told it would be hundreds later in the day.


Upstairs in the chapel. Tim and Carrie who are planning on getting married on 9-10-11 practise their nuptials.



Gorgeous wooden bar on third floor next to the chapel.

There is an actual chapel upstairs where services are held on the 1st Sunday of each month. There is a pulpit, pews and old motorcycles as a backdrop, along with the stained glass windows.
Our route took us up to Milan and to Davenport via the interstate. We stopped at Honda at the Flying J exit and from there through Clinton across the river up to Savanna. In our group we have a Harley, two Kawasakis and a Suzuki.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Full Moon Over BFE




One of the really neat things about living out here in the sticks is the sky. It is always chock full of stars and you can hear and feel summer. I have always said that if I was staying here permanently I'd have a nice expensive telescope out on the back deck. Carl Sagan minus the genius is inside me wanting out. Just look up and you can see "billllllllions" of stars.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Riding With the BFE Mild Ones

video
video


video


Just a couple of videos to whet your appetite: heading up to Savanna to visit the Iron Horse and Poopy's. I'll review these joints and provide more pictures of these places next week. I scraped the lens and now I have a blurred spot. Drat!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Heat Lightening In BFE




Nothing earth shattering in this short video. Just a pleasant and hot (record-setting 95 degrees) summer evening in BFE. It was a nice porch sitting night and I liked the sky which was moonlit and at the same time some cool heat lightening over to the south west. (May 24)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sammie - A Boxer




"THIS BOY COMES WITH QUITE THE STORY, HE AND HIS PAL CHEECH ARE AMAZING DOGS. SAMMIE ENDED UP IN A HOME WHERE HE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SEE THE OUTSIDE WORLD, HE IS AROUND 1 YEAR OLD AND LITERALLY WATCHED THE WORLD THROUGH ONE WINDOW THAT PEERED INTO THE NEIGHBORS DRIVE AND HOUSE. LUCKILY SOMEONE SAW THIS POOR DOG AND CONTACTED US TO CHECK ON HIM. POOR CHEECH WASNT SO LUCKY HE DID NOT HAVE A WINDOW. SAMMIE WAS RESCUED ALONG WITH CHEECH AND THEY ARE AMAZING DOGS. VERY FRIENDLY AND HAVE ADJUSTED SO WELL IT IS AMAZING. HIS KENNEL IS CLEAN IN THE MORNING AND HE IS SO SOCIAL AND LOVING, HE IS LOVING THE OUTDOORS BUT STILL LOVES TO COME IN FOR ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN GIVE HIM. HE KNOWS NO STRANGER AND IS A QUICK LEARNER. HE IS THE YOUNGER AND HAS SHOWED HOW WONDERFULLY RESILIANT THAT DOGS ARE. PLEASE COME AND MEET THIS BOY IF YOU CAN ADD HIM TO YOUR FAMILY HE NEEDS ANOTHER CHANCE HE IS CURRENTLY IN A KILL SHELTER AND WANTS A HOME."

It's been 15 months since I lost Missy and I have begun to entertain thoughts of finding another friend. I went over to Aledo last week and stopped at the shelter. All of the dogs were outside and as I pulled in they all barked except one. I sat there and stared at them not making a move, and they quieted. Then I opened the door and they all started barking again except one. Then I got out. Sammie never barked. Good dog, and they let me pet him and play a bit. If he was a she, I'd really consider it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tornado in Elmwood





Storm clouds over Peoria.









Last Saturday was pretty stormy all over the area. We hear there were organized groups of storm chasers gathering at Lowes to embark around the area. The main cells passed below BFE and the Peoria area got the brunt of it. This is a video of the Elmwood tornado that wrecked a portion of the downtown area. Brimfield, Yates City and an area by the Peoria Regional airport all reported tornadic activity. We're only talking 40 miles away so we were fortunate to not only miss the stormy activity we also didn't even get any rain.

PS I was worried about Patti and Gary, my new friends from Creve Coeur, but Tim said they lived in some kind of super reinforced cement survival bunker. I was not worried at all about the snakes.


PSS We needed a few beers to calm our nerves.

Friday, June 4, 2010

BOYCOTT BP




Decaying dolphins




BP has cut corners, lied to the public and has been sometimes disingenuous in its statements regarding the Gulf oil spill. Mass boycotts against big companies (BP made 16 billion last year) seldom work, but if you have a chance to get to another gas station even if it is a few cents higher you can send a message. This mornings reports say the combination of hurricane season and the possibility they can't shut the flow till August or even December will cause untold decades-long devastation. Might as well rename the Gulf the Dead or Dying Sea. Oh and many people are saying that gas stations are just local people who franchise out to BP. Tough luck, they made a pact with the devil and need to pay.



Aledo Illinois, for instance has a tough choice with their 3 major gas stations. They have a BP, a Mobil and Casey's. Well, Casey's jacked their prices and gouged the public right after 9/11. And their Mobil is run by Arabs who canned local employees after they bough the place. We were in there last week and loud Middle Eastern music was blaring and the worker was talking on the phone in a foreign tongue without any regard for customer service. Who do you patronize in that town? I don't know, and I'm glad I don't live there.




All I am suggesting is to exercise your right as a customer. Patronize those places that you are comfortable with handing over your money. You do have power.



Oh, and if you still can't decide, how's this statistic from ABC News and the past 3 years of oil company "willful, egregious safety violations":




Conoco: 8


Sunoco: 8


Citgo: 2


Exxon: 1


BP: 760



BP takes in $65 million a day and is paying $23 million a day during this crisis.


Oil Spill Graphic:



Thursday, June 3, 2010

World's 2nd Best Pizza

Tim and Carrie working on a Davis Pizza.

Rick and Jen chowing down on a great pizza.


Here are Tim's folks. She accused me of lacing mints I offered her. Must be my gentle honest face. Dad is a snake wrangler in retirement, and former Keystone worker. Funny nice people. Glad they joined us for lunch and told us many tales of Tim's childhood. May come in handy at some point. I told them not to judge their parenting skills by Tim, he can be blamed on free will.


One of the highlights of our weekend ride to Peoria was lunch at the Driftwood which offers Davis Pizza. Tim had mentioned this before and wanted to see how it compared to the World's Best pizza: Jerry's in Mt. Pleasant.

Review: I ordered a sausage deluxe which had a bit of green pepper, cheese and onion along with a generous layer of sausage sprinkles. The cheese are slices placed randomly on top. A very small crust compared favorably to Jerry's and the taste was unmistakeably sausage instead of an overpowering 'tomatoey'. Kudos to Davis, it was exquisite. It was unique, light and delicious. I'd go back again next week to have another Davis and indeed, I hope to have another one before I head back to Florida. Maybe a bit like Butch's frozen pizza but of course much better.