Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

Back at the Cabin in the Woods.  Always nice to get back.  Went to the Bushnell Car Show and, sadly, didn't win this year.  I was up against some stiff competition, a blind judge, expanded classes, and two red '64 Chevy Impalas.  But I'm not bitter.


Saw this at the Wal-Mart in Emerald City.  Clearance sale on a bike and security chain. 


The Wombie had this bag of cable ties down at the pump house in Seaton.  Sorry about the small print picture not turned around for easy reading, but it says to add moisture to the bag so the ties will "continue to absorb the moisture necessary"  to maintain flexibility   Cable ties?  Plastic?  That's a new one on me.


Norah being Norah.


I swear I saw camels just on the edge of town in Avon on my way back from Bushnell.  I was sober, too.


You won't find many bargains at the Mercer Market grocery store in Emerald City, but this is one.  A bagful of ripe bananas for a buck.  You have to eat them fast because they are really really ripe, but if you have the stomach for them, its a great cheap snack for a couple of days.


Had a nice lightening show yesterday morning at 5:30 am and scrambled to grab my camera and tripod.  Walked a block down and set up, then discovered the battery was dead.  The greatest photographic picture ever will just have to wait for a later day.  Guggenheim weeps.


Alfred being Alfred.


Flying is still a wonder.  I've lost the fear.  So very pleased to see  Allegiant pilots recently signed a new contract raising their pay and better health insurance.  I want my pilots to be happy.

Monday, August 29, 2016

4th Party On the 2nd in BFE - Part 1

My visit in Northlandia was purposely lengthened so I could  attend the annual 4th of July party at the Stages in North Henderson, aka,the original BFE.  When I was a resident these were smaller affairs - mostly the regulars of the Community Center, aka Neighbor Tim's garage.  

Since those days, The Party has become bigger, and is something of an Event, in an otherwise eventless village.  The crowd had already gathered when I got their early.  I had prepared a cooler of Bloody Mary;sand a couple of beers.  The food was prepared by the hosts - Tim and Carrie Stage.  Before I forget, my thanks and apppreciation for a a great night. 

In a scene duplicated all over the country good people gather to celebrate a nation, eat, drink, laugh and watch some fireworks.

Christopher and Megan.  Do I hear wedding bells?

Momma Stage, relaxed and unsuspecting.

Momma Stage, surprised but a good trooper.

Christopher warming himself by the fire.  The little place just at the center of his back and to the right of the truck is where Missy and I lived. 

Finally, a fire to enjoy.

No good family party is complete without kids and those glowy thingies.

Meanwhile, Tim and Ryan are getting their salvos in place for the big show.

I know you are anxious for the big fireworks show, but I'm going to leave you for a few days with this teaser post.  It was a fun night - hope to be here again next year. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Flashback Friday

After college graduation, a few of us tried keeping the spirit alive by meeting once a year in a cental location.  This was usually somewhere in Iowa, but once we even met in Kansas City.  This picture is rather intriguing, and I've never posted it before.  Not sure why, but maybe becasue I thought I should know what is going on.  I will do my best with what I do know.  

1.  That young lady looking up at whoever was taking the picture is Margie, with a hard G.  Not sure why it was pronounced that way,  and if I did at one time, I have forgotten.  Margie ended up marrying her date, Mark N., and after his coaching gigs in Nebrask and Idaho, settled in Arizona where we remain in contact.  

2.  The girl in red is Pam, my date and occasional GF in college.  Pam was a New Jersey girl, Patterson, NJ actually, and had the East Coast/Jersey accent.  We liked walks, and walked all over Mt. P talking about life, love and everythign in between.  Poor girl was nuts about me and her folks had money.  Should have worked harder but I was the philosophy student who said a starving man could die happy.  What I have sinced learned from life is that a man with money can die happier.  Alas, she found a hulking brute named Rocky, no doubt with a similar accent, and I assume lived happily ever after.  

3.  The young man, of course, is your fathful blogger,  playing cards and looking like he needs to work on his poker face.  Since I see no money on the table perhaps we had different stakes in mind.  If you peer under the table you might see a white tennis shoe that has my sockless foot in it.  I did not wear socks until I started working at the Mary Davis Home.  In fact I was painting my ankles black for formal functions.  I got caught abusing the dress code at the Mary and the rest is history.  Socks ever since.  Shame.  

4.  I am guessing this to be our first post-college get-together.  Pam was a year younger so she would have been in school still.  What I don't get is the time of year - we all have winter clothes on, and I thought we met in the summer.  That is definitely a motel room.  And I started school in Denver in the Fall after graduation, so frankly I'm a bit confused. 

These get-togethers didn't last (does anything).  People got jobs, moved away and life finally forced all of us out into the real world.  Mark N. became a coach in Nebraska, Tom S. a realtor in Marengo, Iowa, RB back to England, Dave became the CEO of Boetjes Mustard in the Quad Cities, Mark became the Superintendant of Orion water department, and I continued on with school for another couple of years.  The cocoon of college is ephemeral - it is there as a constant reminder of early adulthood, and then it is gone - the real world of kids, bills, jobs and marriage soon popped the protective bubble.  

"When Life begins Anew, 
And Youth, from gathering flowers,
from vague delights, rapt musings, twilight hours,
Turns restless, Seeking some great deed to do..."

Laurence Binyon

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Ruination of Baseball


Baseball.  They were playing it when Lincoln was wandering the White House.  It used to be the center of activity in small town across America.  Girls, boys, old guys - everyone used to play.  Maybe they still do in some urban areas, big cities where you can find people to do anything.  

Even in little Seaton when the Blythe boys were running around, every kid had a glove and played some form of ball.   We three boys played a modified game:  one in the outfield, a pitcher and a catcher.  We had rules and the only problem was when the pitcher wouldn't throw strikes so the hitter had to play catcher, too.  

There were aspects to playing baseball that were inviolable.  One was the ritual of breaking in a new glove.  You had to wet the glove, put a ball in the heel and wrap it tight so it would make a kind of mold.  If you had a cap you had to squeeze the brim to a half moon to the hat would not only fit but would keep the sun out of your eyes on both sides.  Besides, it was just the way it was done.  A bent brim was gritty - it was a symbol of a ball player.   

Fast forward to present day.  Sure, you still have guys like Justin Morneau, above, who look like ball players.  The majority still do.  The majority still realize that a ballplayer starts to look like on from the head down.  However, in this hip-hop world, baseball has fallen prey to the fakers, the weird players who have forgotten how to work in a cap and who display their headware in a most decidedly non-baseball way.  These guys are the ruination of the sport.  

Take, for instance, this Cub above.  I think his name is Arrieta.  See his brim?  Its like he just grabbed it off the shelf of the local sports store at the mall.  Wonder if he still has the sticker on it?  He has turned his back on his childhood and baseball to form a new fashion statement - Destroyer of Lore.   They are called "flat-brimmers" and they are the vanguard of new school baseball.   They are attempting to be cool.  But, thing is, no one outside the local club scene, hip-hop dance halls, or wannabe gangsta like that look.  The true baseball fan disdains this kind of knife thrust in the back of America's sport.    

Also invading the sport is this look, started by Fernando Rodney, a loser has-been pitcher for a decade now.  Bouncing from team to team, still pouring gas on closer situations,  he has this brim-to-the-left look that several players are emulating.  Just goes to show you intelligence isn't necessary to play.  


Football has been America's favorite sport for a half century so one could make a case that baseball hasn't been relevant for a couple of generations.  African-American attendance and participation has fallen to dangerously low levels.  If these guys like wearing their caps a certain way, and the Commissioner and/or owners don't have a problem, then we fans shouldn't care either.  If kids are wearing flat brim baseball caps then they are at least interested in the sport, or at the very least team logos.  

Besides, baseball has always gone through fashion disasters, myriad crisis and always pulled out of them just fine.  

Baseball itself is slipping - steroids, the DH, a game perceived as slow and dull, and to focus on a hat is ludicrous.  The old-timers who rail against any new intrusion to their old-fashion world view should just keep quiet and let the game evolve naturally.  Look at all the empty, unused, weedy, ball diamonds all across America to see that the problem is more than just a cap, it's a game that isn't attracting kids or their parents.  Want to do something worthwhile? Then figure out how to get the future generations interested again, or a cantered brim will be the least remembered nail in the coffin of America's sport.  

I don't know if baseball will survive its present preeminence as the number 2 sport in the country.  How do you keep it going when generations of kids would rather sit in front of a computer, or play a video game, skate, or egads! play soccer?  One thing is certain, a cap won't kill it.     

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Like Two Ships Passing In the Night - Part 3

Every once in a while you accidentally take a picture that makes your jaw drop.  Some may know exactly how they did it, and those people are called professionals.  In my case, however, I am still an amateur in every sense of the word.  I'm still fuzzy on f-stops and aperture but occasionally I stumble on something really really fine.  Having sung my own praises, I suppose I should step out of the way and let you judge for yourselves.  

Today we continue with one of my favorite Northlandia pastimes - the river at night, camera in hand, or rather tripod.  There is something dark, moody, mysterious and threatening about the river at night.  Barges plying up and down, almost silently, their lights like dragon fire marking their path.  

These pictures are rather surreal.  These barges, these river ships, like ancient warriors - they meet their enemies by probing the shoreline, vanquish them by sheer avoidance and then move on.  Add a lightening bolt to the proceedings and you have a good picture worth singing praises.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

Following a national trend toward more modern degrees Western Illinois University, like Iowa Wesleyan University before them, has removed Philosophy as a major.  First my high school merges with another district and destroys the Greendragon mascot, then my college becomes a university, then my major is stricken from the rolls.  I'm all for modernization, but replacing Philosophy with Digital Media and Design seems so...trendy.


A few weeks ago I mentioned, perhaps insensitively at the time,  that John McLaughlin of the PBS McLaughlin Group should retire since he seemed to be withering in his chair before our eyes.  This past week he not only retired due to death.  He was 89.  His show was the grandaddy of all the talking head shows that followed, usually less successfully.  I started my fondness for politics by reading Alan Drury novels in high school and latched onto The MacLaughlin Group at some point.  It was usually an entertaining hour and maybe I learned something from it.  With politics going on 24/7 today I won't miss it too much,  I can always find it somewhere, but its another tether from the past snapped.  


Norah picked purple this time and had a tough go at staying within the lines.  Might have to beg for a redo.  


Went to the beach a week ago.  As I was heading to the car I saw this.  I don't even know where to begin, so maybe I'll just leave it alone and let you make of it what you will.


Saw this display at Big Lots recently.  I would have thought that health concerns, child-rearing and plain common sense would have eliminated candy and bubble gum cigarettes a long time ago.  Kind of amazing if you think about it.   And it doesn't say much for Big Lots.  


Last Sunday Kenzie, Drew and the family came over for a dip and breakfast.  

This was a spontaneous hug for Daddy I was able to get on my cellphone.  Man, that's got to make you feel like a million dollars.


Now that the election is over, I can turn my thoughts to baseball and the Mets.  Hmmm, let me see.  11 1/2 games back!!  Four teams ahead of us in the wildcard!!  Well, in that case I guess I can start thinking about...having a Bloody Mary. 

While the Mets are definitely out of it, the focus will be on the Chicago Cubs to become the next National League champs.  While I am no means a Cubs fan - and only this year allowed a Cub to be on my fantasy team (Contreras), I will suspend my dislike long enough for them to make it to the post-season playoffs and maybe World Series.  And if I don't jump up with joy with every Bryant home run it doesn't mean I am not rooting for them.  I am, rather, rooting for every Cubs fan, those patient, wistful losers who seem to have finally earned a shot to enjoy a World Series.  There is nothing like it.  I wish you much success.  Now where's my Bloody Mary.     


Spotted by daughter Kenze yesterday on her way to work.  I'm not a big fan of bathroom colloquialism but as advertising I guess it works.  It did for her.


As I was walking Alfred in her carriage yesterday around the block and past Wal-Mart, a real bum found the penny in front of the pop machine before I did.  He then walked over to Burger King.  Sure hope he had enough to have a good breakfast.


Remember two years ago when this election was supposed to be between Jeb and Hillary?  Now that's an election that would have been worth having.


Went to Port Richey to get a free oil change for the present Mrs. Blythe's Murano last Saturday.  The dealership has in its employ the greatest Honduran car salesman and, get this, his name is Otto.    Enjoyed him when we bought her car and I have fantasized about something for myself.  He almost sold me on this 2011 Nissan Pathfinder, a three-row seater so the whole family could ride together instead of having to use 2 cars.  Sadly, my finances couldn't handle it, but, whew! was that ever close.