Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Five - Great Grandparents

This is my maternal grandfather's parents, my great grandparents on my mother's father's side.  Don't they look like a happy couple? 

Five questions about family:
1: Did you know your great grandparents? 
2: When was the most recent generation of immigrants in your family history? 
3: Who is the the custodian of your family photos? 
4: What work did your great grandparents do? 
5: Would you trade places with your great grandparents? 

My Answers: 
Five questions about family:
1: Did you know your great grandparents? Only one, my father's mother's mother, lived with my grandparents for a decade, she died when I was 18. 
2: When was the most recent generation of immigrants in your family history? My father's mother was born in London, moved to the States on the eve  of World War I. 
3: Who is the the custodian of your family photos? My sister and I split them up, I have the oldest of the old.  
4: What work did your great grandparents do? On my mother's side, farmers and farmers.  On my father's side a tunnel digger, and - well it is complicated, he was born a trust fund baby - spent it all - and worked in the power plant at Henry Ford's estate for about 30 years.  
5: Would you trade places with your great grandparents? No.  They had relatively hard lives.  

Your answers in the comments, please! 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Caption this Photo

The aboveground is not Very Exciting.  

They shouldn't make it that easy for me, should they? 

Friday, June 28, 2019


I had a dream the other night that I was flying, solo in a tiny airplane.  Basic, feel it in the seat of your pants flying.  

Don't you wish you could continue a dream like that? 

Thursday, June 27, 2019


I remember the night that Richard Nixon announced his resignation.  I cried.  And it all began in the buildings above, with a bungled second rate burglary of the Democrat's Presidential Campaign headquarters.  A breaking and entering that yielded nothing worth having, an illegal act that was then covered up.  It was the cover up that destroyed him. Year's later Martha Stewart lied about receiving and trading stock on insider information.  She went to prison not for the stock trades (that were illegal) but for trying to cover up her indiscretion.  Bill Clinton was dragged through hell, over lying about a blow job.  All too often, it is the cover up, more than the initial act, that gets people in trouble.  

There may have been "no collusion," the problems are with the acts trying to interfere with the investigation. Obstruction of justice is a crime, just ask Martha.    

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - A Disconnected Life

While reading about the need to be constantly connected to our phones and all of the electronic communications therein, I was reminded of my maternal grandparents.  

In 1961 my grandfather Dale broke a leg in a farming accident.  It was seldom talked about, and the details are kind of a fuzzy, as I recall a tractor rolled over.  While recovering from that, he had a major heart attack.  Being the early 1960's, before the days of drive by bypass surgery, his doctors advised him to retire.  In the spring of 1962 they sold the farm, bought a 30 foot travel trailer and a new Chevy pickup truck and retired.  

When they left the farm for the last time, they had the phone disconnected, and never had a phone again.  My grandfather lived 14 years, my grandmother almost 30 years without a phone.  And you know, they did okay.  They split their time between Michigan and Florida.  They moved anytime my grandmother had a spat with the neighbors, two or three times a year, she was not an easy person to please.  Over the years they owned a couple of "permanent homes," but those seldom lasted long.  The nomadic life, living without a phone, or a fixed address suited them just fine.  

Could you live a disconnected life? 

I turn my phone off at night,  when I am home it is on the desk in my bedroom, I only answer the house phone if I know who it is on the caller ID.  I moderate this modern day addiction, but I would find it hard to live without. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Model T Ride

My paternal Grandfather worked at Fords, as a true Michigander would describe working for the Ford Motor Company, for about 35 years.  He was a "job setter."  He installed and adjusted the grinding wheels on machines that finished the surfaces on gears for differentials and transmissions.  He described the machines as "being the size of a house." He left Ford, a year before the hourly workers pension plan was started - moved the farm to do what he wanted to do and seldom looked back.  

Recently Jay and I took a ride in the back seat of a 1929 Ford, it was built at the Rouge plant in Detroit, odds are my Grandfather worked on some of the parts that are still moving it down the street.  

A neat connection with my family past. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Around, and Around and Around I Go

A good thing happened on Friday morning, I woke up.  It is always a good sign to wake up and still be alive.  Then a bad thing happened, I rolled over and thought to myself, "time to get up and drag myself through more of this shit."  

I will explain in coming posts, but my normal pleasant commuting routine has become a summer nightmare, the subway system has closed a bunch of stations for rebuilding this summer.  In short my morning commute has gone from 45 minutes to 75 minutes, my afternoon commute from 45 minutes to 90-120 minutes (it took me over two hours to get home Friday night, it is only 9 miles, a fit man could walk it faster.) That hell will continue through September 8. 

I have been crazy busy in the office, though I am down to only one behind schedule project.  Not unusual for me to be busy.  I am working on some exciting cutting edge concepts that could make a real difference in our older-old age.  

Dreading the day, is really unusual for me, for a decade I have rolled out of bed in the morning excited about another day of doing interesting things.  Enthusiasm, and a belief in the work I do, has carried me through the challenges of the past.  I need that to come back.   

Sorry about the downer post, I guess it comes around to all of us sooner or later. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Sunday Five - You Asked For It Again!

A month ago I asked you submit questions for the Sunday Five, here is the second installment of your questions. 

1: From Anne Marie in Phill What is your favorite pie/candy/cake/cereal?
2: Also from Anne Marie, How did you and Sweet Bear meet? 
3: From Mistress Maddie  Since you travel so much, if someone offered you an all expense paid trip for three weeks, anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
4: From Deedles, who really should start blogging, Do you ever read anything trashy or light (by others' standards not yours)? 
5: From Ur-Spo, AKA Dr. Michael, What is your meaning of life?

My Answers: 
1: From Anne Marie in Phill What is your favorite pie/candy/cake/cereal?  Pie-cherry, Candy-chocolate covered cherries, cake - black forest, cereal - I don't eat. 
2: Also from Anne Marie, How did you and Sweet Bear meet? At a party hosted by one of the professors at Rollins, I was alone, he was there with a date - who dumped him shortly afterwards.  
3: From Mistress Maddie  Since you travel so much, if someone offered you an all expense paid trip for three weeks, anywhere in the world, where would you choose? How about three weeks with a car exploring rural France.  
4: From Deedles, who really should start blogging, Do you ever read anything trashy or light (by others' standards not yours)? Not often, but yes.  I like a good legal mystery thriller, there are some great anthologies of gay fiction (or gay friction.)  I read 50 Shades of Grey, and laughed at what they thought was kinky. It is a sick world, if you know where to look.  
5: From Ur-Spo, AKA Dr. Michael, What is your meaning of life?  Life is not rehearsal, "you only get one shot, one opportunity" (bonus points for anyone who can cite the song that is from.) Be kind, try to leave the world a better place, but do things you enjoy, life is too short to not have fun along the way.  

Your answers in the comments, please! 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Climbing to the Top

We had most of day, free in Cleveland.  We decided to take a slow drive along the cost of Lake Erie and see where the slow roads took us.  We stumbled across the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.  This lighthouse sits atop a hill, overlooking the lake, right at the end of the main street in Fairport.  94 years ago, it was replaced by a more modern lighthouse on a jetty at the entrance to the inlet.  There is a small but interesting museum, run by volunteers, and the lighthouse is open to be climbed.  And climb it we did.  To old fat guys all the way to the top.  

Climbing up or climbing down, which is harder? 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Going Nuclear

My father was a big fan of nuclear power plants, after retirement he accumulated a portfolio of stock in electric utility companies to collect the dividends on.  Nukes generally paid, better, when things are good the profit margin is higher.  When things are bad, they can get very bad.  Later in life, he unloaded most of the nuke stocks, the risks started to worry him.  

I am sure I am not the only person who did so, but I made money on Three Mile Island, or rather my self-directed retirement plan did.  I didn't own the stock when things "melted down," thankfully, or I would have lost a lot.  The stock dropped precipitously, and was considered radioactive. I watched it and read the news reports. When it looked like General Public Utilities might survive bankruptcy, I had my retirement plan buy 400 shares, at $2 each.  My broker said, you are throwing away $800, there is no guarantee.  I took the risk.  Months later they emerged from bankruptcy without wiping out the shareholders.  A few months later the company resumed paying dividends, and the stock went up in value. Later on GPU was acquired, I ended up with cash and stock in the company that bought them.  I still have it.   That $800 risk, ended up being worth about 20 times that, and it has paid dividends for decades. 

I no longer believe nuclear power is the future.  64 years after we unleashed the nuclear jenie for power generation, we have not figured out how to put it back in the bottle, how to deal with the waste left behind.  Eventually the cost and danger will outweigh the value of the energy.   

What is the future of energy? 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Is it time for my Nap?

I remember hating nap time in kindergarten.  Naps were for babies and I was in school, I was grown up.  Fifty odd years later, I love the luxury of an afternoon nap, when I can.  Close the blinds, my bedroom is wonderfully dark, turn off the noises, and drift off for 15 minutes to an hour.  The older I get the better the naps are.  I am starting to think about retiring, stopping working full time (4 years 2 months!) In addition to traveling when I want to, I am looking forward to generous afternoon nap times. 

Do you nap?  

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday

Look at this spectacular museum piece, a mid-70's Chrysler Newport. Either this one was needlessly restored, or it was never driven, the bottoms of the fenders are not rusted out and full of holes. The scrap metal alone must be worth $50.   

My father had one in a brown metallic paint.  I took my driving test in it.  It was a massive beast, the best part of driving it was it had air conditioning, the first car my father owned with air-con.  My father insisted it had to be backed into the garage, until I knocked over the furnace with it, then it was okay if I pulled in forward and backed out.  

In 1977 dad bought his first new Buick, the first in a long line.  As I recall he gave the Chrysler to my sister - funny I thought he liked her.  

Ever driven a beast the size of this?  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

High Water on the North Coast

My first reaction when seeing this sign was "what beach?"  The wind was blowing, the waves were crashing, nothing that looked like a beach was to be found, along the coast of Lake Erie in northern Ohio.  Then I read that the water levels in the Great Lakes are at near record levels, Lake Erie is about 3-feet above average. The beach that might be here, is swamped.  

All of that water, and the shower head in the hotel dribbles out a sprinkle that barely wets your skin.  Yes there may be a fresh water shortage in the deserts of the southwest, but here in the mid-west we are swimming in water, and yet we are subject to the same stupid water flow restrictions as people living in the desert.  

Why? One size does not fit all, there is more than one solution, we need to teach judgement.  The water from Lake Erie is not going to solve a water crisis in California unless we put it in tank trucks and sell it for $5 a gallon in California.  The world is not running out of fresh water, it has fresh water in abundance, but not necessarily in the places people want it.  There is a terrible shortage of seawater in Kansas, perhaps we should restrict access to the beaches in California.  Makes as much sense as a flow restricting shower head in Cleveland. 

Ready for a summer swim? 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Little Libraries

I grew up in a house with few books around.  My parents read the daily newspaper, but seldom, if ever read books.  Books were considered expensive, and books took up space.  There was a small collection of "Little Golden Books" and a cheap set of grocery store encyclopedias, but not a lot else around the house.  I didn't spend time in a bookstore until I was a teenager.  

My love of reading, really didn't set in until I was a young adult. Over the years it has blossomed.  E-Books and a subway / train commute have vastly expanded my reading opportunities.  I am on pace to average over one book per week again this year. 

The little library movement has sprung up over the past few years, a simple place to pass along a book to the next reader.  A great idea.  In the highrise I live in there is a bookcase in the reading room off the lobby, an open book exchange.  If you have a book you don't want to keep, drop it off, see something you like, take it with you.  A couple of times a year, the inventory is balanced, sometimes excess books are taken away, other times empty shelves are filled by a volunteer.  At this point I have left more than I have taken home, space is limited in the condo.  An most of my books are in Kindle format.  I am reading number 28 for this year. 

Over the years I have left books on airplanes, and trains, in hotel lobbies, and restaurants.  Most books I will only read once, time to pass them onto the next reader.  

Have you left a book behind for the next reader? 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Five - You Asked For It!

A couple of weeks ago, I challenged you all to ask me questions, and I will attempt to answer them on the Sunday Five.  Five of you offered one or more questions, this should keep us going for a couple of weeks.  Thanks to all who asked for it.  

1: From Debra at She Who Seeks: "The kinkiest thing you've ever done?" 
2: From Anne Marie in Philly: "What is your personal theme song?" 
3: From Mistress Maddie: "Would you ever go gay Glamping?" 
4: From Deddles (who does not blog but should): "Boxers, Briefs or Commando?" 
5: From Ur-Spo (aka Michael): "How many Frenchmen can't be wrong?" 

My Answers: 
1: "The kinkiest thing you've ever done?" It is only kinky the first time.  Based on my true self, having sex with a woman was probably the farthest outside of my comfort zone.  I was seduced by the wife of a client almost 40 years ago. 
2: "What is your personal theme song?" Jimmy Buffett, "He went to Paris" 
3: "Would you ever go gay Glamping?" No, my idea of roughing it is staying at a Holiday Inn. 
4: "Boxers, Briefs or Commando?" I have done all of these - and more.  Today, mostly Under Armour boxerjock, prefer the 9inch style. 
5: "How many Frenchmen can't be wrong?" In theory, all Frenchmen, could be right, meaning that none would be wrong.  I like the French, they are all correct. 

Your answers in the comments: 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

McDonnell Douglas

McDonnell Douglas, first made famous by the DC-3, later the DC series of commercial jets, there are still a lot of MD-80s flying out there.  McDonnell Douglas also built military planes - and other defense products.  My parents retired for the first time in their 50's, younger than I am now.  After a year or so, they became restless, my father worried that he didn't have enough money, and they both went back to work.  My mother worked retail for a few years, my father went to work for McDonnell Douglas in purchasing, buying parts in a plant the assembled cruise missiles.  He worked there almost a decade, drew a small pension from them for the rest of his life.  

Amazing the things that draw connections like this.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

General Fun

Well why not?  He appears to be having fun.  Don't we all need to let our guards down and forget everything we have been ever told about what we should do, and how we should do it?  I have to admit, and no big surprise here, I am not very good at relaxing.  So what do we fear? 

  • Making a fool of ourselves - too late
  • Looking ridiculous - it matters not what other think
  • Showing our flaws - others have flaws 
  • Being seen as silly - we all need a little silly in our lives 
  • That we might not return to "normal afterwards- normal is overrated. 
Relax, wear what you want, eat and drink what makes you feel good.  Have some fun in life.  

Is he a real General? 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Street Art?

I love art, but especially art that is meant to be interacted with and enjoyed, like my pal the Gorilla.    

So where is the Gorilla, Washington DC, Cleveland, Detroit, South Bend, Pittsburg? 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - What Became of Phil

These were a couple of my high school classmates, Phil the guy with the hair (for the life of me I have no idea who the other guy was) was a magician and hypnotist.  He was working the amature and low level professional performance scene in High School.  He was also convinced that if Gerald Ford was elected president we should dig a bunker and hide.  

The last I heard, Phil was a family law ligator in the Detroit suburbs.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I thought I was More Transparent Than That

I am collaborating with two colleagues at work on a project.  In the first meeting, I realized that if I wasn't careful, Charlie and I were talking over our colleague.  We are older, we have been there much longer, we are louder, and if we are not careful we drown out our fresh, young, bright co-worker.  We hired her (yes - gender roles play a factor in this,) we hired her because she has a lot to bring to the table, but we will never hear it if we don't shut up and let her talk.  In a meeting with her, she mentioned that something had not happened the way she had envisioned, and I said, "sorry, we drowned you out on that." I went on to say, that I had made a conscious effort to try to listen more and talk less in meetings, so we could benefit from her contribution.  She said, thank you but I didn't notice.  

That leads to one of two conclusions:
1: I didn't succeed in shutting up and listening.
2: I did it so well that she didn't notice. 

I hope it was the second one.  
Every voice brings something important to the table.  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Back Home Again!

The timing seemed right, the office has been crazy, the boss was in Spain for two weeks, and there were places I wanted to go, it was time for a road trip.  We went to Cleveland and visited Jay's two brothers, to Detroit to see my Sister and her husband, and Cousin Bill's last wife, then South Bend Indiana to visit a couple of friends, then back home.  Nine days on the road, we didn't keep track of travel.  The longest day was 7 hours of driving.  Sleeping late, forgetting about the office and home.  And now back home again, from Indiana. 

Is anyone humming the Indiana state song? 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Sunday Five - Easily Distracted

Some of us are easily distracted by almost anything bright and shiny, some are harder to distract, but I dare say all of us have our weakness.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five - easily distracted. 

1: What food smell do you find most distracting? 
2: What sport catches your attention? 
3: What music do you find it hard to leave before the song finishes? 
4: What view makes you stop and go "ooh! Ahh!"? 
5: What part of the human body do you notice first? 

My Answers! 
1: What food smell do you find most distracting? Bread baking
2: What sport catches your attention? Bike racing 
3: What music do you find it hard to leave before the song finishes? Jimmy Buffett
4: What view makes you stop and go "ooh! Ahh!"? An Airport 
5: What part of the human body do you notice first? The eyes or the ass - kind of a tie. 

Your answers please in the comments. 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Love of Flying

I love to fly, I grew up around airplanes, and little airports.  My fathers friends were either beekeepers or pilots.  I am still amazed that airplanes fly, I understand the concept, but would never have thought that lift would work the way they say it works.  Life is like that, I don't have to really understand it to believe in it, or enjoy it.  I trust pilots, they don't go to work thinking, well maybe I can do this, they know how to do it and are committed to doing it safely. If they get home safely, so do I.  I love looking down and seeing the country pass by.  Having grown up with a seat of pants flyer, I can navigate by landmarks, having traveled a lot, I know many of the landmarks across this land.  GPS is nice, but looking down and knowing that the river that stretches from horizon to horizon, north to south in the middle of the US has to be the Mississippi gives me a feeling of knowing where I am.  I know the approaches to my home airport, if I am in a window on the left side of the airplane and we are approaching from the northwest, we will fly by the Lincoln memorial on final approach.  

What is your favorite airport? 

Friday, June 07, 2019

Nice Car!

I guess there are car people, and not car people.  I went to dinner with a friend in Ft Worth, and a couple were getting into a McLaren in the valet line out front.  I stopped and stared, my friend had no idea, she said, it looks awfully low to the ground.  And it is, I'd need help getting in and out of it.  But it is special.  I'll never own one, unless someone gives me a winning lottery ticket, but I admire them.  It is made to go very-very fast, handle like a dream and stop on a dime. It is not designed to be comfortable or easy to get in and out of.  

Why do fast and exotic cars matter? They are amazing design, fun to look at, listen to and watch.  They are also developmental test beds for things that will end up in your daily driver, or self driving car.  We take disk brakes for granted, they were developed for high performance cars that needed better braking, and anti-lock brakes, and traction control - those along with airbags have reduced traffic fatalities to all time lows.  People walk away from accidents today, that were fatal just 40 years ago.  I know it is more government regulation - a good thing to.  

Would you drive one if it was given to you?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Random Thoughts

Don't get me started on:

  • The Mango Menace and his tweets 
  • Twitter, random meaninglessness taken as gospel 
  • Fake leaders, complaining about fake news
  • Brexit - and protectionism 
  • Hiring the wrong person for the right job 
  • Playing injured - welcome to adult life 
  • People trying to borrow their way out of debt 
  • Teaching to the test 
  • Flint's water 
  • Religious terrorists taking over government - 
  • Abortion bans 
  • Elon Musk 
  • Short Term Thinking in a long term world 
  • Failure to modernize our immigration laws 
  • The difference in pronunciation between "the oven" and "the cat"

How to Pronounce the

  • Normally, we pronounce the with a short sound (like "thuh"). But when thecomes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long "thee".
    vowel soundwritesay
    athe applethee apple
    ethe eggthee egg
    ithe ice-creamthee ice-cream
    othe orangethee orange
    uthe ugli fruitthee ugli fruit

All of these could start a random rant.  I will kindly avoid them. 

What are you avoiding these days? 

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - A Heck of Place to Lose A Cow

This picture was taken in the mid-1980's on my third of four visits to the Grand Canyon.  I was there twice as a child, 4 or 5 years old.  I went back in my late 20's, I was just starting to get fit.  I walked the trails along the rim on that trip for several miles one afternoon.  Jay and I went back about 8 years ago. 

One of the earliest descriptions of the canyon, read, a hell of a place to lose a cow.  Words fail me in describing the scene.  It is somewhat surreal, you drive along through a pine forest, come to a parking lot, walk over to a railing and there is this giant hole over a mile deep and several miles across.  The colors in the rock are deep and rich.  The layers of the earth's crust are exposed one after another.  I have been there four times, I would go back again, I could live with this view.  

Have you seen it? 

The digital image files from our trip 8 years ago were lost in a hard-drive failure (my backup was almost six months out of date, I have kept a backup mirror drive running ever since.) Only one print survives from that trip, framed and on the wall in my bathroom, were I see it daily.  

Tuesday, June 04, 2019


This "Concept Car" is part of Toyotas' traveling road show.  It is one person, three wheel super micro car - a personal transport vehicle. I believe this one is rechargeable electric.  Personal transportation.  I have owned a lot of small cars, Toyotas, Hondas, Mazdas, VWs, even a Renault.  And I have owned some full size cars, Oldsmobiles, and my one and only Cadillac.  I liked the luxury features of the big cars, but I like the smaller size of the little cars. For years there was almost always just me in the car, now the two of us go shopping or out to dinner together, but I can't remember the last time there was anyone in the back seat of any of the three cars we own.  Actually for the convertible, that would be never - I have never tried to sit in the back seat.  Why do I own back seats? Maybe a two seater with the plushness of the Eldorado is the answer.  

Would you drive this personal transport system if it were available to you?   

Monday, June 03, 2019


If my mother were still alive, today would be her 92nd birthday.  She lived to 89, a long a full life.  She ventured a long way from home, as we all are, she was forever scared by her upbringing.  

Five years ago, I stopped at a drug store the weekend before mother's day, to buy a card.  One of the men standing there was grumbling about having to find a card, before I could stop myself, I said, "someday you won't have to do this anymore, this may be my last time."  

Do I wish she was still alive, not really, and certainly not in the physical and mental condition she was in most of the last 3 years of her life.  Her passing was a relief.  

I am still examining my relationship with my mother.  It was far more complex than I admitted when she was alive. But the past is gone. Time to be thankful and move forward.  

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Sunday Five - Would You Try It?

I mentioned the meat market over in DelRay on recently.  It carries a wide variety of high quality meats, with full butcher service.  They also carry some exotics, hence this weeks Sunday five, would you try it?

1: Farm Raised Kangaroo? 
2: Python? 
3: Alligator? 
4: Horse?
5: Seal?
5.1: Whale?  

My answers: 
I will try anything, I have never had Kangaroo or Python (any ground snake for that matter.) Gator is good, it tends to be tough.  Horse you can get in France and Italy.  There is a native restaurant in Toronto that has a special license to serve seal, kind of dry. For 5.1, go to Iceland or Japan.  It does not taste like chicken. 

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Ask Me Questions:

Happy Birthday to John over at Going Gently, the best is yet to come! 

I have fun with the Sunday Five, at times it is a chore to think up a topic to ask about, I often struggle to come up with the fifth of five questions.  Yet, Inquiring Minds Want to Know.  

Let me try turning the tables, I will answer your questions in a coming Sunday Five.  What would you ask me if we met for lunch? What have you always wanted to know? Be silly, be serious, but please ask!  

Leave your questions in the comments, it will be two or three weeks before I am able to post the answers, I have an adventure coming up, and I will do this post when I am back. 

So what do you want to know?