Saturday, May 27, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend... upon us once again...and so we pause to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident," penned Thomas Jefferson so many years ago, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

A noble thought and true.

But what happens when an enemy arises determined to abrogate your God given right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

What do you do then?

If you want to remain alive and free, you fight.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the timid or the weak."

Thank God in heaven for the brave men and women who, throughout our history, have heroically fought - and died - for our nation's freedom.

President Reagan said it best:

If you ever see a turtle on a fencepost... can be absolutely certain of one thing: he didn't get there by himself.

And so it is with us: we are free today, but only because others who have gone before paid the price in blood.

On this holiday weekend, please take time to remember them, and give thanks.

The Twins Report from my coworker:

They are progressing and gaining weight - both boys are over 4 lbs now - but the most recent issue is ROP (retinopathy of prematurity).

ROP is an eye disease that can happen with babies born too early.

There are five stages, with 5 being the most serious, often leading to blindness.

Right now the twins are at stages 2 and 3, so there's real concern.

Please continue to pray for healing and good health for the twins, and pray for the doctors and nurses who are caring for them.

In more mundane fare, I'm now employing the tools of my ignorance at a new (to me) golf course:

There are actually 3 separate 9 hole courses: Smoke, Fire and Blaze.

As their names suggest, "Fire" and "Blaze" are the more difficult courses (longer, more hazards) and can be played as either 9 or 18 holes.

The one on which I'm flailing away is the bunny slope of the three:

From the mid 1800's / to early 1900's - the gutta percha era of hickory golf - it was common for 18 hole courses to be 4500 to 5400 yards long.

That means a 9 hole course between 2300 and 2700 is just about perfect for my hickories and guttys.

So how am I doing on this hickory friendly course?

I've only played it twice, but so far it's a mixed bag, primarily due to my insistence on using my brassie.

I love the looks of this club, I love the feel of it, and I've worked hard at learning to swing it.

And swing it I have, probably 1,000 times or more this spring in my backyard using wiffle golf balls.

I'm happy to report I've seen significant improvement.

In my backyard.

With wiffle golf balls.

On the actual course with guttys?

Well...not so much.

Almost every drive is a worm burner, a fade or an outright slice.

And my distance - which should be 150 to 170 yards - is pathetic.

I hit farther and straighter with my driving iron.

To add insult to injury, today when I teed off on 7, a chunk of wood broke off the heel of my brassie.

Ok, it's old like me, and sometimes things break, but really?

As Bozo the Faux Prez mumbles...

I've repaired it with wood filler, so we'll see if it lasts...but I'm this close to using it for firewood.

One more outing with Mr. Brassie, and that's it...there are a finite number of times I can walk 9 this summer, the point of which is some exercise, some solitude, and a pleasant stroll through the countryside.

Two of them are already in the rearview mirror.

If, after next week's effort, I still can't hit it with some consistency, it's 3 strikes and out.

I'm calling it quits with Mr. B and switching to Big Bertha (my driving iron).

In spite of all that nonsense, I still did ok today and enjoyed my round.

Allowing for a few mulligans sprinkled here and there, I had several chances to 1 putt for par today...

def should have been a par, but rimmed the cup and settled for a bogey

far enough away I was happy with a 2 putt

same here...2 putt for bogey

...swung my irons with some proficiency and managed to 2 putt every green.

Next week's outing tells the tale...Bobby Jones?

- or -

Stay tuned.

As the gorgeous month of May draws to a close, we start the countdown...

...3 months of lovely outdoor weather straight ahead, and all the summer fun that implies.

Don't waste it!  Life is not a spectator sport.

Put down your phone, get off the computer, turn off the TV!

Get out there in the real world where you can see and smell and hear and taste and touch God's creation all around you.

Enjoy what blows your hair back...

...boating, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, golfing, swimming, tennis, cookouts, reading by the pool, singing by the campfire, dancing by starlight...

...whatever it is, as the Roman poet Horace opined, Carpe Diem!

And while you're screwing up the courage to get started on your exciting summer itinerary, let's stroll through the Parting Shots department:

the DNR recently did a controlled burn up around Larry's cottage, so...

...time for s'mores

it's true, just before Al Gore invented the internet

let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter...

a view of the courtyard

and another

and one more

hardscape area is starting to bloom

more to come

morning fire by the lower patio

relaxing by the pool

As you hit the exits, a reminder from God's Word:

A promise God made to Noah after the flood, so enjoy it while it lasts, folks.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Sunday, April 30, 2023

Why Do We Love...

...April in Michigan?   

Because we can have snow storms and sunshine in the same day.

When it comes to the weather our motto is “keep 'em guessing”.

As unlikely as it may seem, I did walk 9 that day on my backyard golf course.

Looking forward to driving a dagger through the heart of winter and welcoming the month of May.

My co-worker reports his twins are continuing to improve, though it's been a "2 steps forward, 1 step back" dance much of the time.

The good news is, there is progress...they were born weighing 1.3 and 1.7 lbs, respectively; they're now 2.45 and 2.89 lbs.

Keep praying for these precious boys!

In Spring, a young man's fancy may turn to love, but for this old duffer, it's all about...

...yeah, that.

Last season someone stopped me as I walked off the 9th green and asked about my clubs.

Besides the usual...

* What are they made of?  (hickory wood)
* When were they made? (1920's and 30's)
* Can I use them with modern golf balls? (only super soft, otherwise I like gutta perchas)

...this gentleman and his wife also wanted to know what they were and why I had those particular clubs in my bag.

I ended up explaining they're what's called a "hickory playset" or "short set", and mine consists of 5 clubs:

1. Brassie

...used from the tee as well as the fairway, and so called because of the metal (sometimes brass) plate on the bottom:

With modern "super soft" golf balls, you should get 200+ yards with your brassie.  If you use gutta perchas (guttys), that's more like 150.

However, this has been my nemesis ever since I took up hickory golf, and rarely have I hit a wood with any consistency.

Part of it is simply the smaller size / surface area of hickory clubs compared to today's weapons:

One gentleman who examined my hickories remarked, "the heads are the size of M&M's!"

Hyperbole to be sure, but the smaller size of the old hickory clubs provides both a challenge and a built in excuse if (read: when) I flub a shot.

Be that as it may, this is the year I'm shedding the excuses and mastering this club!

Or at the very least, I'm going to hit it well enough to include it with confidence in my bag.

We'll see if I'm still singing that tune come September.

2. Mid Iron

...roughly equivalent to a 3 iron...150 to 160 yards with modern "super soft" golf balls, 110 to 120 with guttys.

This is a tricky club for me.  I tend to overswing for more distance with my mid iron, which never goes well.

A relaxed swing always yields longer, straighter shots, but then that's true with every club.

3. Mashie

...roughly a 6 iron, this has been my most consistent club...130 to 140 yards with super soft golf balls, 80 to 90 with guttys.

If I could only use 1 club and a putter, this would be my choice.


Because I usually hit it consistently, so on a 400 yard par 4 I can be on the green in 3 with a chance to 1 putt for par.

4. Niblick

...between a 9 iron and a wedge...90 to 100 yards with super softs, 50 or 60 with guttys.

This is my go to club for pitching when I'm away from the green and need some loft.

It's also what I use to get out of sand traps.

6. Putter

...good ol' Calamity Jane.

And hey, "putter" is the same name we use today.

The guy that asked about my clubs seemed surprised.

"You don't call it a Flarfenbanger or something?"

Sorry to disappoint; it's just a putter.

So there you have man's version of the hickory golf playset.

left to right: putter, niblick, mashie, mid iron, brassie

I've seen some with as many as 8 or 9 clubs by adding  a jigger (about a 4 iron), spoon (lofted fairway wood), driving iron (1 iron), spade mashie (5 iron), or a mashie niblick (8 iron).

And more clubs make sense if you're a serious golfer.  The better player you are, the more tools you can use.

But here in duffer land, more does not necessarily mean better.  With limited time and talent, mastering all those different clubs just ain't gonna happen.

In other words, it's better to be good with a few than bad with a bunch.

If you're interested in building your own hickory playset you could haunt ebay - I trust seller "pygolf" and I'm sure there are other, 100% rated sellers you could try.

Perhaps a better plan is to check with Gary Eley from Hickory Golf Workshop to see what he has in stock.

I've done business with Gary through the years - my first hickory clubs were from the HGW - and have always been very pleased.

Ok everyone, split into 2 groups:

Those that know the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance over here on the right...

...and the rest of you...well, you're excused so you can go learn the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Let's do that Parting Shots thing...

pics taken with my "new" vintage Polaroid 600 camera...

...refurbished by Retrospekt...The Pearl 600

#1 son and crew enjoying the warmth and sunshine of Florida

meanwhile, back here in paradise...

...we're enduring the uncertain climes of the schizophrenic midwest

this guy banged into our window, sat there stunned and befuddled for a few minutes, then thankfully flew away

For these next 3, I'm assuming you don't live under a rock...

...and do have functioning gray matter between your ears.

Thankfully we're (finally) knock, knock, knocking on May's door...the prettiest month of the year, when everything bursts into full bloom.

Everywhere you look you see the evidence of God's handiwork as once again our earth blossoms with new life.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Get your paperback books here:

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