Friday, November 30, 2012

Flashback Friday

In scrounging through what is left of my belongings after the Great Flood of BFE I recently came upon this gift certificate.  There is no date.  It is made out to me in my mother's writing.  It was, I'm sure, a Christmas gift for greens fees at the Aledo Hawthorn Ridge golf course.  It was signed by her for both of my parents.  

On the back is a detail of an outing I used for $8.00.  In edgy state-of-the-art pre-digital or pre much of anything, save an abacus, this seems awful quaint.  The subtraction is clearly noted.   I have just a couple comments, then we'll dispense with this Flashback for today.  

  • Is it me or does $24.00 seem a little off?  Traditionally aren't gifts are $20, or $25?  What's with $24?
  • This is creepily ancient.  I wouldn't mind taking up a little golf again.  Unfortunately Holly threw my clubs in the garbage a few years ago.  Wonder if Hawthorne would honor this?  Maybe just buy a nice HR polo and forget the golf.  Seems a shame to pay $400 for a set of clubs just to get $16 taken off the fees. 
  • Wonder why Hawthorne instead of Oak View CC?  With four family members there greens fees would have seems much more logical.  Easier to find a foursome, too.  A mystery that will likely never be solved.  Then again, I could give it to Wombie Mark who plays golf passionately.  Have I mentioned there are around 4 hole-in-ones within the family?  If I'm not mistaken, and I could be, Holly has one, Mark has 2, and Herb had one.

My best golf was always in my dreams, on Friday night before a Saturday round.  It's what drove me to buy an old car, and another, and another.  Too much Saturday morning frustration, introversion and far too few good shots. Decided sitting in a chair beaming at an old car was a better way to spend my time.  Saturday's became too busy with car shows to venture onto the hallowed fairways of a golf course.  But I always had fun.  Kicking back and casual golf on a beautiful morning is unbeatable.  

Once on an early misty morning we saw two deer run from where we were on the number 9 tee off, across the valley along #4 fairway up through number 2, and over the highway going into Aledo on Rt. 67.  Funny, I don't remember drinking much while playing golf, maybe two or three times.  It was almost like the game had to be respected.  Keep your wits, play golf, and the bar will be open at the end of the game.   

Of course there are many things I remember.  Phil and Chesty feeding off each other's jokes and hearing them both hoot with laughter.  Herb clenching a cigar in his mouth when he clubbed the ball.  I also remember each and every times I duffed it to the amusement of others, although usually they kept quiet.  No sense in outward mockery, we'll wait till the 19th hole.

And of course I have some memories of golf with the MDH guys, notably Randy and Mike.  I can still see that bird fall out of the sky from Randy's fairway shot.  And of course that nasty bit of business with Randy and Blackie that ended up in a bit of a tussle.  Seems Blackie thought Randy's shot was pushing their group a tad, but really, Randy just got a hold of one that he couldn't duplicate if he had 1000 swings.  

I recall all of the people of the Club who are no longer with us.  Guys like Chesty, Hogie, Doc, Jay,  and a host of others I can't remember.  We started going to the Club when we were in junior high to golf, but before that we'd go to the movies then spend time at the Club till Marj and Herb went home.  For a time Marj played the organ there to entertain in the bar area.  It was a fascinating peek into adulthood.  It was cool, and of course everyone fawned over the twins.

It has been an integral part of the Blythe family, with, at one time Club memberships for Herb, Phil and Mark.  Upstairs has hosted many class reunions and both Mark and my wedding receptions.  Downstairs, gone is the old horseshoe Tiki motif and a newer room length bar;  the place where you discussed your game with a cold one or several.  It was a place where a stranger came in the back door once looking for Hawthorne and remarked how such a small place had two golf courses.  Herb remarked there was talk of a third one, too.  Of course there wasn't but it got a good laugh.  It was a place Herb stepped on it one day relaying a joke about one of the Frye boys and forgetting one of the listeners was his father-in-law. It was the place where one New Year's Eve dance the band leader asked all the vets to stand while they played Lee greenwood's God Bless the USA, and I sentimentally got teary-eyed.  Herb stood up, ramrod straight and proud.

Nothing much has changed.  The bar area gets renovated once in a while, but the noises and the laughter remain the same.  The lockers I remember as a kid are still being used.  They may get a new splash of paint every so often but the familiar clanging remains the same.  Newer members become active as the older ones fade away, much like the paper my gift certificate is on.

All I have to do is open the door, and by the time I make it to the bar there's always at least a beer or two ready for me.   Yup, gonna have to go golfing again, I suppose, if only for old times sake.         

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Norah At The Vinoy

It was a slow week at the Spare-The-Rod Daycare center so Norah and I decided to shake things up and go to the Vinoy for a walk.  The sea breeze, the birds flocking out in the Bay, the soon-to-be-demolished Pier, the power people-watching, and all she is interested in is a squirrel.  That's life as an 18-month old, I reckon.

Take a walk with us, but sssshhh, you'll scare the wildlife.  And while we are Ssshhhhh-ing it, I'm not going to say much more.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  Let's just walk.

By the way, the Vinoy is on my top 3 places to go here in St. Petersburg.  This is where one can find a park bench and look out at the Bay, watch people jogging, biking, and walking.  It is next to a small airport and you can watch planes practicing their takeoffs and landings.  On special days you can catch a cruise ship entering or leaving.  There are freighters, big planes heading to Tampa from all over, to just simply watching the water.  We have seen manatees, sharks, dolphins, horseshoe crabs, and the 4th of July fireworks from here.   It is as good a place as any, outside the BFE CC, to get your head on straight.

This bird was checking Norah out for food.

Deciding she didn't have any, the bird wandered off.

Walking can be hard work for a wee one.

But when she gets up a head of steam she can leave the old guy in the dust.

So much to see at the Vinoy...

Such picturesque surroundings...

But all she sees is a squirrel.

Said squirrel has jumped onto the tree.

Norah, look!  You won't see that up North!

But all she is interested in is that squirrel, and there's plenty of them everywhere.

In my favorite park, with my favorite girl.  Perfect.  Hopefully next time she will appreciate more of the aesthetics of the place other than just the squirrels.  But then again, you find find whatever it is you need at the Vinoy.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bikers Are Strange, Or At Least This One Is

We are a strange lot, we bikers, we revelers of the open air.  Take a bike, any bike.  Engineers painstakingly build it to ride without vibration from a large mechanized engine straddling its loins.  They consider stress points, weld joints, weight, torques, thrust, braking, centrifugal forces, all the while throwing onto this frame a tank with gasoline, wiring that stretches around the block, and untold bolts, gauges, pads, tires, forks and springs.

Engineers build it and the art department beautifies it.  They do the color coding, matching, accenting, what to chrome, what to black out, what to blink, what to open, what to hide and what is slick or rubberized.  The engineers do their thing, the art department does its thing, then they give it to the sales and ad people to sell it.  

And what do we buyers do when we get them home?  We modify it.  We change it.  We take things off, then replace and tinker with it, tweak it and indirectly say the engineers were a little wrong here, and the art department was aesthetically stupid there.  We tell the ad people that its better if we change the seat, the exhaust and the lights.   Of course the aftermarket parts folks love us.   Millions are spent annually fixing the mistakes of the builders.

And I am just as much to blame.  In the year I've had my Yammie I have changed the handlebar risers,  replaced the license plate bracket and added a bag onto the windshield bracket.

And all this cost money.  Last week I changed from an amber rear turn signal system to a red.  Sounds easy doesn't ti?  Just go replace the bulbs in my turn signal housings.  Nope, no mod ever goes unpunished.  

I stopped at Rossiter's Harley Davidson in Sarasota on one of our outings to see the grandkidlings.  Asked the guy behind the service desk for the Kuryakin bulbs to put in my bike and he reached down and grabbed two red bulbs from a display sign.

Here are the original bulbs I got to start this modification.  The price tag on the right says $21.00 and some change.  Really?  Gee, expensive.  

I get home, all giddy and spend 20 minutes trying to find my short Phillips screwdriver.  The bags prevented a good grip on the screw but I finally get the housing off and, uhhhh ohhhh.  It doesn't fit.  These bulbs don't fit.  Crap.  

I don't have photo shop or I'd circle the side prongs that fit into the electrical socket.  The top bulb is what they sold me but the prongs are opposite each other and do not fit the housing.  The bottom bulb is what I had to buy to replace the original bulbs with.  See how they are offset?

So on a day I had some time I hopped on the bike and drove back to Sarasota to trade them in for what i really need.  But they won't take them back.  On the receipt they gave me in the top picture it says they won't take any electrical stuff back as well as any swimsuits.  I can see the swimsuit, but one bulb was still in its wrapper.

Chad, a very nice young man who studied the books came up with the right bulbs but they would cost another thirty bucks but he would give me some kind of break.  In for a penny, in for forty, right?  Three weeks later I called to see if the bulbs were in, and they said, oh, yeah, they came in yesterday and we haven't had time to call.  Yeah, right.  I don't like these guys anymore.

I took the new set of priceless bulbs back home and tried them out.


Two trips over the Skyway....$5.00
Two tanks of gas..................24.00
4 red bulbs...........................44.35

Total Cost, more or less      $73.35

All this so I can change my turn signal from amber to red.  Yes, we bikers are a strange lot.  Please help me not to be an engineer, an ad man and an art department wunderkind. Let me be satisfied with my stock seat, although I'd rather have a Mustang ($329).  Let me be satisfied with my universal cruise control although I'd rather have a Flip-A-Lever ($59).  Let me be satisfied with my makeshift iPhone filming system although a GoPro system is he ultimate ($300).  Let me be satisfied with my stock headlight although I'd rather have a safety modulator ($100).  Let me satisfied with my stock saddlebags although the metal ones look awful nice ($1000).  Let me be satisfied with my stock horn, although the one Rick put on my old bike sure sounded great ($50).  You get the idea.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mugshot Mondays

We are wrapping up the Mugshot Mondays, so we can start our Cub Reporter pics, vids and comments from YOU!  Send anything to and we'll post them on Mondays.

Bad... day.


Let's hope he's got a great personality. 

Pretty in pink.

The look of someone who had a rough night but enjoyed it.


  Wearing a tux but has that Rasputin look going on.  Would love to know how his night went South.

There is nothing this red on the color spectrum, except maybe that guy's nose below.

His 'grille be gleamin'...and proud of it.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

You remember this holiday don't you?  It's the minor one squeezed between Halloween and Christmas.

Whatever your plans are, be they large or small, give thanks to yourself, your God or your Guardian Angel for the things you have.  It can all change in the beat of a heart.  

Tell your family you love 'em, your friends they matter, and while you're at it give yourself a big hug, you've made it this far. 

This year we will be honored to have dine with us Sgt. Robert Jumper of the 101st Airborne out of Clarksville, Tennessee.  Sgt. Jumper is a an old friend of Brendan's and will travel to Florida this week to see him and join us on Thanksgiving.   


There will be no Flashback Friday this week. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Pics From Florida

I've watched too much Mad Men.  My marketing tagline for Kumho Tires: Put Some Rubber On Your Rod.  Huh?  Huh?

Speaking of rods, spotted this at LA Fitness Center on 4th Street.  Damn fine 57 T-Bird to be used for such a chore.  Only about a $70,000 machine to get you to a $300 treadmill.

Something bad happened at this intersection.  Bent bike tire and rescue and cop cars is never good.

Poor Little Lily Lu cowering from the nasty crows outside at the Sutor residence.  She has learned to watch her flank.  (Wonder how high she'll jump when Santa comes down the chimney?) But a future as a mighty hunter is in doubt.  

Santa arrived at the Mall down here on Saturday, November 10th.  I realize it is marketing to boost sales, and I'm sure it works otherwise they wouldn't do it.  But this early brings into question the whole spirit of the Holidays.  I must be naive.

In this day of X-Boxes, video games, and every other distraction for kids, it's actually refreshing to see an old school activity that still persists.  Scandals, sure, the Scouts just released molestation info dating back to the '60's, but Scouting still survives in an age of skepticism and game controllers.  Good for this young man and all the other scouts still learning to tie knots and be upright citizens.

Further proof of the dumbing down of America.  If I step on anyone's toes, my apologies. This guy was next to us at breakfast the other day.  Proper etiquette compels gentlemen to remove their hats while eating as well as any other protrusion or device hanging from their heads.  Besides, it looks goofy and reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode.  No other editorializing.  Seems we have lost a lot in this country in the past 20 years.  You can be a biker, or redneck or lumberjack or pole-sitter, but there's no reason why you can't have some social graces.  See, I went and editorialized anyway.  Damn my mouth.

Saw this guy walking around Wal-Mart (surprise, surprise) a couple days ago.  I don't know what to say.  But on behalf of the non-f#%&*$@ds of this state, I apologize to the rest of the Union.

Two days later.

There is board fencing that separates our porches.  Noticed this the other day as well.  That busy little wasp is making something, but what I don't know.  I've seen wasp homes from up North and they looked like dried clumped mud.  These are enclosed round mounds.  Any ornithologists out there?

And finally.  At the check out at the grocery store the current Mrs. Blythe pointed out this magazine amongst the others.  Garden and Gun.  Wow.  Wow.  Nothing like working on your azaleas with a Glock at the ready, I guess.  Or maybe, Southern Honey Muffins with your Bushmaster ACR.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wash Out

As I have mentioned before we live in a condo community. The living areas are a miss-mash of one-floor, two-floor, single and double occupancy residences. Everybody gets a garage. I'm in a 2-story but the woman next to me is in a single. The other day I opened the garage and saw this.

The paint from the ceiling was coming down in clumps and it was raining inside.  This surreal vision was something new to me.  

What had happened was the neighbor's water heater had sprung a leak and come down on   my garage.  Good thing I didn't have an old car in there.  Although I always kept mine under cover, this wet, soppy, paint and drywall plaster would not have been good for my car.  As it was, nothing was damaged.

I post this just so you know that things happen in Paradise, as well as in God's Country, the Midwest.  

After a 4-car garage this one isn't much, but its better than nothing.  

They tell us some people will be around to put up new dry wall, but I'm not really too concerned.  It's not mine, after all, and everything still works as it should.  I guess I've got other things to occupy my worries than a little water and fallen plaster.  Mark it as just one of those things that happens in life and move on.  Other calamities far worse than this are probably in the hopper.  It's all about perspective.

And all better again.

My worries:

Whether to adopt a dog or not. (Oh my.  that's a post all by itself.  I did, but I didn't.)
A bike ride North scheduled for 2013.
A cruise scheduled for 2013.
A bike ride West scheduled for 2014.
Boxers or boxer briefs. 

You get the idea.  It's never as bad as it seems, and it's never as good as you'd like it. Fumble, stumble, right yourself and keep moving.  That's life. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cub Reporter Monday

We are ending the Mugshot Mondays, so we can start our Cub Reporter pics, vids and comments from YOU! Send anything to and we'll post them on Mondays.

This is a video submitted by Russ Foust, fellow Phi Delt and Iowa Wesleyan alumni.

This is what he had to say.

"You've goaded me into responding.  Unfortunately, I am no video shooter (??).  For your consideration, though, here is a link to a video I put together for a 9/11 ten year memorial service for church a little over a year ago. 

It has no original pictures - just a collection of on-line pictures and videos.  I thought it was good at the time, but perhaps now a bit dated.  Use or embed as you see fit; if it's not what you would like, go ahead and pass.  I'll keep working on my journalistic skills, and try to send a little bit of the "Life in Nebraska" as time goes forth.

I should point out that the rather poor quality photo of a group of people going into a small square brick structure was a snap shot of President Bush and his entourage (more entourage than Bush, I think) going down into an underground command center at the Omaha Offutt Air Force Base on the day of.  They landed AF1 at the base, and then went down for briefings (according to an interesting Nebraska Public TV show).

Enjoyed the last installment (November 9th Flashback Friday) = didn't realize you were such a hell-raiser at 19.  Obviously the studious nature of the Phi Delts mitigated your foolhardy tendencies by the time I got there as I remember you as one of the brothers more in alignment with our high standards at the time." 

You can tell Russ is an IWC graduate because of the big words he uses.  Hey Russ, 'mitigated your foolhardy tendencies' is way over our heads, but nice to see some gud English associated with this blog.  

Seriously, great video and thanks for contributing.  Oh, and the images of 9/11 will never be dated nor the sentiment of your work.  And please honor us with as many Nebraska slanted submissions as you like.  Although 'Life In Nebraska" seems like an oxymoron, I await your proof.