Wednesday, September 30, 2009

what I did on my vacation

The gentleman who owns this car thought I was taking pictures of his bumpers because I agreed with his ass-end-of-a-car philosophy. I wanted to quarrel with him, but Pat said no.

The man is concerned with keeping his guns and his money. I have no idea whether he acquired either in a decent or lawful manner nor whether he employs either in a good way, although the bumper stickers cast lots of doubt. But when he says that everywhere he goes, people toot at him and pump their fists in support, I wonder if he makes the same mistake with them that he made with me. I 'm confident that he passes lots of folks who, like me, think he's a dodo.

I applaud his love of country, even though he doesn't love it enough to be generous, and he doesn't love it enough to buy its cars. That is a Hyundai, you know.

(click on pic to enlarge it)

A couple of thoughts in passing

I'm not really, really mad-as-hell at the government, but there is lots about it I don't like. I am much less upset than I was when the Dick Boys were running the country last year.

I think that if the government operated as inefficiently and corruptly as most American corporations, we would have a calamity on our hands.

I am willing to continue to be patient with Obama for a little longer, until we see how the Afghan and health care situations come down.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


PILOT (Elaine Carlson) and FELIX (Rob Davis), hitched

At 9 a.m. last Sunday, on top of a wind-blustery mountain in North Carolina, while the bagpiper played, I think, "McPherson's Lament," FELIX and PILOT became married. Small freshets left from the rain and heavy fog of the day before, complicated the path up the mountain that a group of celebrants carefully climbed. But on this morning, the sun shone.

This is the most exciting and pleasurable marriage ceremony Pat and I have attended since BRENDA and STEVE were married in the woods last year, TRASE and SCOT were married on Mackinaw Island, and therefore, one of the several very most appropriate weddings we've attended since 1970. Guests dressed correctly for the circumstances, and there was not a formal suit or tuxedo or pair of high heels in the congregation, except for the beautiful dress and shoes of the bride.

When the pastor asked, "Do you take this man ...?" Pilot said, "es-yay!" And in his turn, Felix said, "Sure, why not!"

"I now pronounce you," said the pastor, and the couple kissed, the deed accomplished.


THE PEOPLE - the people who attended the ceremony were almost entirely composed of family and hikers (those people who for pleasure walk great distances under assumed names.) Such people are independent spirits. They are glowing extroverts who seem to assume friendship with anyone they meet. These people joke and kid around and laugh heartily. They turned out to be, to us flatlander old folks, as kind and fun an association of people we could ever have hoped for.

Many of them have "trail names." Felix and Pilot are trail names.

This is how they identify one another in casual conversation. Some other trail names were, "Sundown" "4-11" "Stoat" "Walkabout" and "Earthworm." There were hikers from many places. The bride's family are from Massachusetts, the groom's from Indiana, we from Michigan, and others from Kansas City, North Carolina, Baltimore and Colorado.


I was so happy to have invited myself, while Pat thought it was the event of the year. We both met so many comfortable new people that we're tempted to take up hiking. Long life and much happiness to the new couple!

Monday, September 28, 2009

home again

We went to the mountains, and now are safely home. We had lots of experiences and we attended a wedding unlike any we had ever known before. It was beautiful and on a mountain top. It involved people whom readers of this blog know well.

I will be posting on our trip and the wedding, in the next few days.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Add to Your Day -- some rousing rock

In 2008, Jackson Browne sued John McCain and the Republican Party for using this song without permission in political ads. There was a public apology issued, and an out-of-court settlement for an undiscloed amount of money

Some people once thought this song was about truck driving, but of course, it's about something else entirely. There are people (ahem!) who were 17 in 1965, and 21 in 1969, and about whom these lines may still be highly relevant!

Goodbye Arthur Ferrante

Appropriately, Autumn Leaves CLICK



This is the AVE a fast-speed train, a.k.a. "bullet train," sitting in the Central Train Depot (Atocha) in Madrid. It will make the run to Barcelona at 180 mph. with a maximum permitted rail speed of 220 mph.

17 trains run daily in each direction.

From Ann Arbor to Chicago by train is 203 miles and will take you about 4 hours.
From Madrid to Barcelona is 313 miles and will take you about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

History 106

Lincolnton North Carolina

1908, 2008

Add Image

Our lastest Wacko of the Week Award

to the staff of: EASTERN STATE HOSPITAL, Washington STATE

This is Philip Paul. He has been judged legally insane. He was a murderer.

Now he's loose in the world, free as you please. Why?

His keepers took him to the County Fair. Why? I guess the wanted to treat him with cotton candy and 'elephant ears.'

He escaped, carrying a backpack. In the backpack: all his clothes. Conclusion??? Authorities believe he may have planned his escape.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Caturday!

his advice is always purrfect

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update on "Where are the bullets?"

BILL FROM WNNCO - reports that the gentleman who has been arrested for committing what are two alleged grudge murders near here, had ten thousand rounds of ammunition in his apartment.

That seems to be more than absolutely necessary for the job. What the hell does he do, eat them? In any case, thanks to him, the government is now ten thousand rounds stronger.


Anyone who can accurately identify both of these people can claim a hug from each of them.
(Click on picture to enlarge it)

moving missiles

It was welcome news to hear that Obama is fulfilling a campaign promise to reconsider the placing of missiles in Central Europe. These missiles were a favorite brainchild of the Bushies who almost re-started the cold war with Russia over the issue. Most of us never believed this was a wise or needed move and now I see the U.S. military agrees.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Goodbye Mary Travers

I saw you in your "concert on the Diag" in Ann Arbor in 1962, when I was young and the trio was new. You were what I remembered best in the years to come, from that sunny day. I remember "Take me for a Ride in your Car-Car" and "This Train." I remember you had big feet and a wonderful voice. The Peter Paul and Mary trio is over, memories blowing in the wind; but wasn't it a wonderful trip?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

entry in the journal of life

Here is one more sign of the pathetic state my life has reached. I went golfing with my wife yesterday because she asked me to. On the second fairway, I got off the cart, hit the ball, and she drove away and left me there. Oh, she pleaded a mental lapse, which is possible, but I choose to believe it was malice.

Favorite Headline of the Day --- send yours sometime

D.C. Police Search for Suspect in Wheelchair

(This could be a tough one to solve!)

The Land of Milk and Money

So far as I am aware -- I have never known anyone who sued a doctor, much less someone who sued a doctor and won big bucks. MAYBE I have a bad memory. (Well, hell, I'm sometimes lucky to remember what I said in the last paragraph I wrote. )
But, I have known plenty of people who believe they were done wrong, or harmed by a doctor or a hospital. Such folks are often talking about suing, but I don't think anyone I know has. Yet, we are constantly hearing from the doctors about how expensive medical malpractice insurance is, and about how they have to constantly "cover our asses" with extraneous tests and procedures so that no one can claim they didn't do their best and follow every avenue.

This raises an interesting question in my mind: If insurance is so very, very expensive and if it is handicapping the work doctors do, and yet there really are not many lawsuits, could it be the problem lies not with the doctors nor their dismal and ill patients but with the insurance companies? Those companies are bastards you know, and what would keep an enterprising entrepreneurial insurance company from milking the medical cow from both sides?

So, they charge the patient a ton of money to cover his health concerns, then they charge the doctors a ton of money to protect themselves against the patient.

I bet, when a jury decides to award millions of dollars to an injured patient, they are thinking not to soak the doctor or the hospital, but the insurance company. Like the banks, the insurers have earned the hatred of the population in ways that doctors never have.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

History 105

Friends Report on Sept. 15

Some people are calling our run of excellent weather in Michigan "Indian Summer" although I don't believe it really qualifies for that name. I believe "Indian summer" happens later, if at all, after a siege of bad fall weather. In any event, it has been beautiful here and only a supreme grouch would not appreciate it. Meanwhile, with some stimulus money from Washington, many roads are being repaired. Everywhere we go, there are the traffic barrels. In Saginaw, it's hard to leave town, with all the roads it seems being blocked or narrowed. Again, we are glad, not upset by the happenings. I was driving down a main thoroughfare, Michigan Avenue, and thought how bad it was. Then I wondered when might have been the last time the avenue was in such bad condition and would GUESS, it was in the Great Depression, although I'm not old enough to swear to it.

What some people are doing and saying

SOMEONE - is slaving away in Rm 61 at BHS, where I once spent many long days -- and years.

ALICE - is suggesting that everyone read this Huffington Post item about how the Democrats ought to get some backbone for a change. Very good article: CLICK

DEB V - will be off to Vegas.

DASHMANN - is off on a golfing excursion with friends.

SANDY - is home from California and will soon be off to France.

TRASE and SCOT - spent the weekend in Chicago, where they attended a U-2 Concert and had lots of other experiences in the big city.

BRENDA and STEVE - are home from a long weekend at Marquette (and a beer fest.)

AMY and IRISH MIKE - are visiting at Traverse City.

GIGI - tells the story of a woman friend of hers who always seems to find the negatives. After taking a tour in Europe, the woman spent her whole conversation time describing the bad weather in London, Paris, etc. This is why some people avoid some people.

SPARTY - commenting on the outburst by Joe Wilson calling Obama a liar, Bob says:
"Can we somehow get rid of the state of South Carolina? When Texas secedes can we make it a package deal?
"Madison, Franklin, Mason, Wilson, et al should have called South Carolina's bluff on the slavery issue in Philadelphia in 1787, Jackson should have let them go in the 1830s, Lincoln should have let them go in 1861; however, there's still time."

MARI - showed up well decked out in Michigan sybols, not because she's a fanatic, but because she wanted to chide SPARTY. Take a look at THE FEET!

SCOT - commenting on our movement to boycott self-checkout machines in stores, he said: "This is why I only purchase hand-built cars. Enough with the bloody robo-auto workers! And don't get me started on milk from mechanically milked cows... everyone knows that milk tastes better when extracted from manually-caressed udder."

BUMPER STICKER: You've all seen the one, "What would Jesus do" but now this: "What would Scooby Do?"

MARSHA - is embarrassed by Congressman Joe Wilson, as they're both from the same State.

BRENDA - has opened a very good new website, MICHIGAN MUGS AND MEALS. Go see her article, UP OKTOBERFEST CLICK



The Thill kids
Cute as can be: Eden Cooke
Deb, Bud, Pat: friends

Monday, September 14, 2009

Barney Fife Award: New Haven Police

Such clever police work should be rewarded. Let's hazard a small guess as to how the police found the body in the school building after 5 days. Hmm ....

So, let's give the NEW HAVEN police this prestigious Barney Fife Award.

"NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Clues increasingly pointed to an inside job Monday in the slaying of a Yale graduate student whose body was found stuffed inside a wall five days after she vanished from a heavily secured lab building accessible only to university employees."

"Inside job" ? No pun intended, I suppose.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Goodbye Norman Borlaug

You saved the lives of hundreds of millions.

It's not hard for Borlaug to keep himself motivated, though, as he can state his central passion in clear terms: "I hate suffering and human misery," Borlaug said.

By now, human misery has learned to hate Norman Borlaug.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Here in our area there have been a couple of shootings that drew some national attention.

1. Someone shot a little girl, probably by mistake (well, you gotta expect some occasional "collateral damage" in these here urban wars, right?) whilst aiming at a porch full of other people. The girl was not on the porch. This points up once again the need for required gun-shootin' classes in them there schools. If the shooter had been properly trained in triggernometry, he would-a missed that little girl.

2. A gentleman with no criminal history, 3 legal handguns, and a permit to carry concealed weapons, shot two people to death in Owosso near here. One of the shootings took place in front of a high school full of students. In fact, it was students who rushed to the aid of the stricken man.

Now there ya go again: We gotta keep the guns out of the hands of criminals so decent folk can carry them and be safe. Umm, what's wrong with this picture?

It's Caturday!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Add to your day: Rose-Marie --- and HISTORY 104

This was quite awhile before my time, and yes, I'm sure it's hokey, but it's a heart warmer from another age of film and music. The original song was composed in the 1920's. This was from the film in 1936.


TIME: about 4 minutes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

hypocrite report

MIKE DUVALL (conservative Republican Assemblyman, California):

We simple folk care nothing at all about you having a spanking good affair with a willing woman wearing an eye-patch. This sounds like huge fun, and we wish we could all have been there to watch. It is not of any concern to us that you're having extra marital affairs. These stories are as old as mankind. And, of course, Jesus advised us about casting stones.

What bothers the rest of us is:
1. You are a "Family Values" man. You campaigned on that. You seem to have no trouble judging the morals and behavior of others. tsk!-tsk!-tsk! Therefore: You lied.
2. You were talking about it at a government sponsored hearing while you should have been paying attention.
3. The woman in question is an energy industry lobbyist, lobbying your committee. This is corruption.

Thanks for quitting, not because you're sexual, but because you're a liar and you're corrupt.

This is one more example -- if one more example were needed -- of how committed the "holier than thou" crowd is to its so-called values.

Today's favorite headline

Bad oysters blamed for Fat Duck incident
Shall we assume good oyster slim ducks down?

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

The committee is considering the idea ...


From Lake Michigan, to SCOT, to the grill, to the happy eaters. This is one of three large salmons that SCOT and STEVE provided for the labor day gathering.

STEVE: find something you love and then work at it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

from Sparty

I have sent emails to Kildee, Levin, Stabenow, and Obama stating my opinion that health care reform without a real public option is no reform at all, and urging them not to support any bill that doesn't include a public option.
Emails probably aren't as effective as a letter but I'm sure each office has an intern tallying this type of thing. Plus, it makes me feel better.


"This is an interesting story:

"Call it a case of bite and run, but a 65-year-old man opposed to health care reform struck another man who was trying to reach a pro-reform rally of 100 participants -- and had half his pinky finger bitten off in return. And, in a dramatic tour de force of socialized medicine, the victim was sent home by doctors after they tried, unsuccessfully, to reattach the digit ALL covered by his Medicare policy."


It's every citizen's right

A Pennsylvania history buff who recreates firearms from old wars accidentally fired a 2-pound cannonball through the wall of his neighbor's home in Uniontown, Pa.

William Maser, 54, fired a cannonball Wednesday evening outside his home in Georges Township that ricocheted and hit a house 400 yards away. The cannonball, about two inches in diameter, smashed through a window and a wall before landing in a closet. Authorities said nobody was hurt.

State police charged Maser with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

No one answered the phone Friday at Maser's home. He told WPXI-TVthat recreating 19th-century cannons is a longtime hobby. He said he is sorry and he will stop shooting them on his property, about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Monday, September 7, 2009

More from the opposition

I'm not in a mood to call them the "Loyal Opposition" any more.

Update: self-checkout scanners

This is the list I am currently aware of, of people associated with this blogster who are now included in the boycott of self-checkout scanners:

Mike and Amy
Sparty and Gigi
Bud and Pat
Irene and family
Felix J. McGillicuddy

If I missed someone, or other people want to join the list --- let me know!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Bradenton FLA cheerleader was shot dead in her car after the first football game of the year. A 17 year old Second Amendment advocate is under arrest.

This being a quiet night around here, I decided to provide more grist for the mill.

This man has a legal firearm. He shot it at a stray cat and missed. He hit a student driver and a driving instructor at the gas station across the way. Are you surprised? CLICK

our latest WACKO -- R.I.P.

Thomas James went to rob a cell phone store on Sparkleberry Lane (yes!) in Columbia S.C.

To conceal his identity, he spray painted his face. This turned out to be a wrong number. He's dead.

It has long been the advice of this blog to all you wackos out there, that if you're going to be a criminal, it's best not to do things that attract attention. Really.
This award is cheerfully given posthumously. CLICK

opinion in passing

As a matter of principle, I think that having government officials address all school children in their classrooms simultaneously is a bad idea for a democracy. The right wing has suddenly awoken and discovered that such a thing could be used for nefarious purposes. Agreed, especially where democracy itself has been put into question by the whacked-out right wing.

These days, they're objecting to Obama using a nationwide network to ask kids to help him. Why didn't they raise these objections when Republican presidents were doing the same thing?

No, I don't think Obama should be doing it, nor should any President in the future do it, but to suddenly suggest as many people have, that this is an effort to propagandize and brainwash our children by a socialist president is ridiculous.

Where I live

As seen from the faroutasphere, with snow. I've always wanted to explore at leisure, these massive waters -- but never have.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's Caturday!

who owns Felix J. McGillicuddy

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BULLETS: Where the hell do they all go?

One of the mysteries of modern society concerns the shortage of bullets.

I was reading in today's occasional daily newspaper -- occasional because it publishes only once in a while -- six or seven stories about shootings in our area. That would be, as you know unless you're a total ignoramus, shootings of people by guns of one calibre or another. These shootings included the exchange of bullets between police and gunmen, excuse me, gunBOYS for they are 17 and 18, in a busy theater parking lot this week.

There seem to be plenty of bullets available for the folks who wanna shoot someone else.

Maybe that's because 8 billion bullets were produced in the U.S. last year, and closer to 10 billion will be produced this year. God -- or someone -- probably knows how many additional bullets are imported, because the rest of the world is scrambling to take advantage of the huge American appetite for guns and bullets and other non-discriminating killing devices. Fools and their money are soon parted.

This should be some evidence that the disappearance of the bullets is all perfectly explanatory. Our "well-regulated" citizen militia is buying them up and shooting them at people. It speaks well for us as a nation that most of those billions of bullets never find their mark.

Then I turned the page. Ye Gads! Some people are blaming Obama for the shortage. He's to blame for getting elected, you see. He has done nothing at all to control the murder and mayhem in our streets or the onrushing sales of murderous weapons in our "sports" shops. He hasn't banned even so much as a BB gun or a popwad used in a toy cap gun. He simply got elected. This gave the frantically stupid right wing the opportunity to accuse him of being a gun control "nut."

So let us people of some intelligence marvel at the spectacle of gun lovers, buying bullets at exorbitant prices to shoot at other people if they wish, and hoarding the bullets in their basements against a shortage created by --- themselves! Which they then blame on Obama because their ilk is spreading the word that he is going to ban guns, a rumor they undoubtedly started in order to sell more guns and ammo.

Some people are just too stupid or self-deluded to look at without laughing. Unfortunately in all their inane foolishness, they're armed to the crotch with lethal weapons.

Friends Report on Sept. 3

MARSHA - has had her wooden floors "re-done" and sends this picture: (click to enlarge)

VINCE - agrees with Obama's notion that Christians should be backing health care for everyone as a human right. He sends this:

DASHMANN - told a wonderful story about a weight-loss challenge that a group of workers in his office once had. The winner would be the one who lost the most weight. At the end of the contest, the winner was the guy who only gained 1 pound.

Dashmann is now on another weight-loss program and doing well. I asked if he had divine help, and he said, "sure, I held a prayer vigil." Whereupon SKUZZA said: "Preayer vigil! You can't even stay awake during church."

IRISH MIKE - brought up the matter of the school superintendent in these parts (Merrill Schools -- this is a correction! I am sorry about the mistake. ) who has bragged to the local newspaper that he got the service workers (bus drivers, cooks, custodians, etc.) in his school system to accept a 20% cut in wages . The newspaper article cast the man in such a terrible light -- with him saying he hoped his plan would get accepted in other school districts as well. Part of the deal involved threatening the workers to be replaced with outside contractors.

He's a bastard -- the Superintendent, not Mike, who is most certainly not a bastard. Mike is a swell fellow.

BILL from WNNCO - Tells a story about Ronald Reagan once saying to Congress that if you convert a trillion dollar debt into $1000 dollar bills they would make a stack 67 ,miles high. Bill notes that there are no $1,000 bills, so we would have to stack up $100 bills, and that pile would be 670 miles high, farther into space than the International Space Station.

GIGI - sends along this wonderful story about grandkids:

The other day, Thomas was having a meltdown (what's new). He cried and screamed until I sent him up to his room and told him to stay up there until he was done crying and screaming. So naturally he goes upstairs crying all the way.
A couple minutes later, Jack began to cry about something completely unrelated and it went on and on until he too was then sent to his room (which he shares with Thomas). As Jack proceeded to walk into the bedroom crying the entire way, I walked up the stairs high enough to sneak a peek at the two boys.
I see Thomas laying on his bed on top of his bear. Jack enters the bedroom and I hear a slurp/pluck sound which I quickly figured was Thomas pulling his fat thumb out of his mouth - because yes he STILL sneaks it in every now and again.
As Jack stumbles in all upset and indignant, Thomas rattles off (like only Thomas would)....
"So, what're you in for?"
He made me feel like a county sheriff locking up local criminals!

SCOT and STEVE-have been coho fishing on Lake Michigan. One of them seems to catch fish.

ALICE - won a victory against a lawyer by demanding and getting back her money from a retainer on a small case for which no legal services were rendered. It wasn't easy. After her spate of bad health, she's getting back in fighting form.

SPARTY - who is more than helpful when it comes to advising and explaining University of Michigan athletics, offers this possible explanation for why Michigan last year had its worst football season ever: "Maybe they were just tired."

SKUZZA - as always the kind and gentle grandmother has been taking and picking up kids at school because the buses are not yet running.

HERPE and SKUZZA at lunch

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My corner of the world

1. There are now TWO colonies of bees under our new deck. The spaces between the boards give them ample room to go in and out. One of these bunches is simply "honey bees" of some variety. They play in our flowers and then come and go under the deck. The other bunch is bumblebees. They are about 3 times larger and they make a loud "mumble". So far they have been fine guests and haven't stung anyone. I'm reluctant to try to kill them because I hear so much about the disappearance of bees with "Colony Collapse Disorder."

2. The other night, not particularly tired, the cat and I stayed up late to watch some educational programming on TV. At 2 AM, my wife came into the family room and started asking me questions, like: "What's the matter, can't you sleep?" and "Why are you still up?" So I said, "Did you get up in the middle of the night to organize my life?" Turns out this was not a good thing to say. "Yes" and "no" was all that would have been required.

3. We went downtown today for a coffee club gathering and I was reminded that at one time, this town would have been hugely a-bustle at 9 a.m. The sidewalks would have been busily peopled, and the bus and car traffic would have been heavy. I remember those days quite well. Now, one can proceed all the way down Washington Ave without confronting another driver or having to avoid a pedestrian, and I don't think buses come down there at all anymore.

4. Here is one corner of my world:

5. We have gone to the Farmers market any number of times this summer and bought some wonderful fresh things including locally grown berries. So much better than those tasteless little turdy things we sometimes get from California or Chile. This week, we canned 44 quarts of tomatoes and 18 quarts of tomato sauce.

6. I have been made aware this week of a notion I had never considered. Should we be using the automatic checkout machines at grocery stores? What happens to the checkout people and their jobs if we do this? In truth, I made it a point to try to learn how to use the darned things so that I could get with modernity and check out quicker to boot, but now I'm reassessing my notions.