30 April 2012

Almost A Motorcycle

Some, like the one in the pic, have two wheels in front, one in back.
Others, like the ONLY trike I've ever ridden, have one 'way out front and two in the rear.
That machine belonged to one of my former students. He drove up for a lesson with it and I was immediately knocked out...
It was a BIG V-8 with an automatic tranny... had obviously been a front-wheel drive system before becoming a trike.
"Guess what it is and I'll let you drive it", he said. The valve covers told me nothin'...
"Well, it's either a Cadillac Eldorado or an Oldsmobile Toronado engine, but I can't tell which."
"Close enough" he says. "It's a 455 Olds."
Four-Hundred Fifty-Five cubic inches powering a machine that probably weighed less than 1500 pounds! He gave me the keys, then jumped on my Yamaha XS1100 to give chase. That trike was so powerful, to change lanes on the Interstate all you had to do was twist the throttle hard...
The front tire would leave the pavement and torque would move the bike one lane to the right, (controllably!)

It was a neat thing... everyone on the road pointed and waved.
It got 15 m.p.g., and since the seat back was attached to the radiator it wasn't comfortable to ride it long distances, even if you COULD afford the gas bill.

The trike in the photo above is a "Can-Am Spyder".
It's a neat concept. There's a dealer about 30 minutes away from us doing a pretty decent job of sellin' 'em.

It's obviously NOT a motorcycle.
I have a question I'd really like answered-
They get about 23 miles per gallon of fuel and take up almost as much room as a car...
Other than the fact that it's different, or unless you have some disability preventing you from riding two-wheels, why would anyone buy one?
Why not just buy a motorcycle with a sidecar rig?

On the other hand, if someone comes out with something like this I'll REALLY be interested!

28 April 2012

We're Getting There Fast... Where Are We Going?

This fly-by was seen, maybe by millions.
I wonder if those onlookers thought about what it truly means?

We used to lead.
What other country has set foot on the moon?

Now, to get into space we have to thumb a ride with folks who don't even like us.

I grew up in an era of true "Hope and Change".
Our kids now can't even find a job and are "thumbing a ride" from others just to put food in their bellies.

Looking forward to retirement, this is NOT the world I expected to live in.
And the scariest thing?
I don't see a leader out there willing to stop this runaway train.

Be prepared.

26 April 2012


Friend Cary guided me to this video and now, unfortunately, he cannot hear it himself. 
Hope you can enjoy it soon!

21 April 2012

Like A Death In The Family-Updated

This is a piece of my life I haven't fully shared.
And this "piece" has been such a big chunk of our lives, it's felt odd not blogging on the subject.
Thirteen years ago, friends gave us a week in their condo here in Destin, Florida. Destin was a different place then... the condo was way out on the East end of town, and when the sun went down things got really quiet. We arrived in the wee hours, went out on the balcony with adult beverages, and all we could hear was the sound of small waves lapping against the shore... darkness prevented us from seeing the beach/water. When we awoke the next morning we were gobsmacked...
Sugar-white sand. Emerald green water. And all of it literally just across old highway 98 from us!
We stayed four days and considered the information our benefactors had shared with us about condo ownership. At the end of our stay I went to the on-site manager and, thinking it would be YEARS before we'd need to act told her we'd be interested in owning property in the complex should a unit become available. Two months later she called-
"The unit next to the one you stayed in is for sale. We need some new, younger blood down here. I'll help you as much as I can with the purchase."

We were unprepared for that sort of financial outlay at that point. I crunched the numbers East and West, Up and Down, and there simply was no way we could afford the place without it becoming a financial strain on our lives. We called the folks who kindly shared their condo with us and told them about the availability of this unit, just in case they were interested.
Their response was, "Would you consider owning HALF of it?"
And that comment put me right in the middle of my financial comfort zone.

The unit was a disaster. With partners and several friends we worked a solid week from dawn until dusk painting, wallpapering, more painting, buying furniture, buying and installing appliances, buying all the little things that make a house a home so the unit could be added to the rental program at this complex.
The finished product, (mostly under the direction of Sara Jean), was a showplace. It has been our now-and-again home on the beach for twelve years now.

But from the outset there was friction.
We are, shall we say, strong-willed. From the start, the partnership came under considerable strain. For twelve years we have juggled and danced, trying to keep things civil. And then I announced I'd be retiring and that we intended to spend the Winter in "our" condo.
Straw. Camel.

You know the rest.

I'm looking at a dozen factors that indicate I don't want to be a full-owner of this property in Florida right now. Apparently our partners feel the same way. We listed the property last week, and had a firm offer for it in two days. We drove down Wednesday to empty out "Owner's closets".

It's a "homey" place. There are twelve years of memories attached to EVERY SINGLE THING about this place, from the color of the paint to the elbow grease I applied to fix the drier vent when it got clogged. We've felt like we're attending the visitation for a dead loved one for three days now.
I am NOT looking forward to shutting the door, putting the key in the ignition, and driving away!

I now have a "capital gain" to deal with, and in my vision of what is happening in the world, that's a welcome tool. The only question is, what's the best way to protect ourselves from the coming Civil War?
And if you think the idea of a Civil War is crazy, you're not watching the same news programs as me.

The deal fell apart and the property is back on the market.
What an emotional rollercoaster.

20 April 2012

The Business "List"

Newly added: Bank of America
My original "List" was devoted to the entertanment industry. Folks trying to force their political views on us when we're paying to be entertained, not harangued, need to know we'd like them to "shut up and sing".

But the hypocrisy is finally making my head feel like it's gonna burst.
It's okay to use metaphors to make your point, unless you're Sarah Palin.
Bill Maher can be vile and despicable, but Rush Limbaugh needs to be fired.
It's time we take a stand.
It's time for a new list... a list of businesses we need to boycott to show our displeasure.

This post, like my original "The List", will be periodically updated. New names will be added and, if possible, subtracted, as businesses see the light and change their path.

Hereupon I'll list business I know to be anti-U.S., or at least strong supporters of the "Socialist" way. As before, please feel free to share experiences you may have or news you hear about businesses conservatives need to avoid rewarding.
Here's my "Business List". Spend your dollars elsewhere:

Bank of America
Coca Cola
GE, and all it's subsidiaries
Home Depot
Men's Wearhouse
Pepsi Cola
Progressive Insurance

Time Magazine

16 April 2012

A Tough Week

Yeah, I know...
One of my old friends wrote to make sure nothing was wrong.
(Thank you SMS!)

This week has been a stressful one.
Six days ago while I was working my night shift, Sara Jean was "Grandma-sitting" for a friend at their home. She had both dogs with her, had gotten up in the morning and gone to the bathroom prior to taking the dogs out to tend to their business. She heard a heavy "thump", and when she went to investigate she found Desi the mini-dachshund sitting on the floor with his rear legs splayed out at an odd angle. She gathered him up and brought him home, and when I walked in the door she said, "There's something wrong with Desi" and told me what had happened.
I checked him out and said, "This is REALLY not good." She took him to the Vet and he, unfortunately, didn't want to give us the terrible truth...
"He may have just pinched the nerves in his back. He may improve."
She came home with pain medicine to give him and for two days we watched him suffer and slowly deteriorate.
I came to the decision before she did and, before I went to work 18 hours after the incident, suggested we should take him and alleviate his pain permanently. SJ still had hope...
Didn't want to bring herself to that realization. But at 11 P.M. she called me frantic and in tears-
"You were right! He's suffering and I can't help him!"
I got home as early as possible the next morning and we met the Vet as he opened his door for business. In less than 10 minutes, Desi was no longer in pain.
SJ went to work. Lucy and I buried him back near the pond with the rest of our departed pets.

We bring dogs, cats, and most of our pets into our lives knowing they'll live ten to twenty years, depending on breed and other factors. So we know from the outset that at some point we're likely to be in tears, grieving and missing them.
But to lose this little guy, only 7 years old and apparently healthy, just because he's a dachshund and that breed has problems with those short legs and long back? The situation took the wind out of my sail for days. (I'm crying again as I write this.)

Thank God for Lucy. I don't know what we'd do if we didn't have her to greet us ecstatically as we open the door.
She LOVED her Desi. We figured she'd mourn him for days. But she investigated his body when I laid it in the shallow grave and watched as I covered him with earth.
She has adjusted.
I wish I could say the same for Desi's humans.
Time heals. We're getting better.
And I have learned one lesson...
I'll never own another dachshund.

Mom was admitted to the hospital this week with respiratory trouble.
He heart is weak. They watched her for two days, then released her to my (nurse) Sister's care. Thank you Sis!
Mom's slowly getting better.

For various reasons, I choose not to share everything that is happening in my life with you.
Part of that is because I don't want to bore you. Part of it is because I don't want you to know ALL the little details of my life. But there is another transaction going on in my (our) lives that is also providing a little stress for SJ and me.
It's mostly a good thing, but will also require some adjustment in both our lives. No big deal.
But it's just another thing added to the rest that makes me glad we can see "No news is good news" on the horizon.

I also know things could be much, MUCH worse.
Thank you Lord for not giving us more than we can handle.

11 April 2012

Kenny Roberts and the Indy Mile

This incident is the stuff of folklore among those of us that follow flat-track racing.
In 1975, "King Kenny" Roberts rode an evil-handling, ungodly fast two-stroke 750cc Yamaha to a win at the Indy mile.
The video tells the tale: