Monday, May 30, 2016

Reflections...

Benjamin in Afghanistan
...on Freedom...I like that picture...my soldier son trying to get some rest in the desert but still fully armed, ready to do his duty when called.

For a stark contrast, here's some of what I got to enjoy in the cool of the morning today:






We live in the city, but it's been a quiet, peaceful morning...birds chirping, squirrels scampering around the deck for peanuts, a beautiful view of lush greenery and vibrant flowers.

At first blush these two environments - armed conflict in a foreign desert vs peaceful beauty at home - appear to be radically different, disconnected realities.

But they are related in one vitally important way:  the first makes the second possible.

Without the sacrifice of our service men and women through the ages, those of us at home would never be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom.

Freedom is a God given right, but it must be defended by our soldiers.

President Reagan said it best:

Memorial Day...

So on this Memorial Day we pause to remember and to give thanks for the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedoms.


A heartfelt Thank You to service men and women everywhere...God bless you.
This has been a good weekend...very relaxing, nice weather, and fairly productive.

Thanks to #4 son, I am able to start weightlifting again:


Chris had these in storage and so is loaning them to me...I've been using the Total Gym to work out and that's been fine, but I really need to muscle build again and weightlifting will do the trick.

I've driven Mr. T a few times, relaxed by the fire at night, gotten some yard work done, worked on my fourth "Papa's Model T" book, and kept up with the Notions scramble as always.

Almost ready to jump back into the workaday world tomorrow...I said almost.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Invasion Of The...

...baby 'possums...never fear, PETA* members...no actual 'possums were harmed during the filming of this animal relocation project.  Well, other than the three that have drowned so far in our pool and pond...but technically we didn't relocate them anywhere, so they don't count.

This one was wandering about our backyard so to save him (her?) from the fate of his deceased siblings, we decided to move him to a nearby park.  While walking to the car we saw yet another baby 'possum lining up to be roadkill, slowly ambling across our street...so we scooped it up too...now they're free to "womp and fwowic in the fowest" as Elmer Fudd once opined to a recalcitrant Bugs Bunny.

Of course, we did discover mommy 'possums can have anywhere from six to twenty five babies at a time, so we may not be done with the infestation yet

[*PETA: People Eat Tasty Animals]

"Finished" (a relative term) the goldfish pond this week...added a frog spitter:
My mother used to tell me spitting was a nasty habit, but as a friend opined, at least it's not a statue of a little boy urinating in the pond.

The point is to aerate the water, and it should help with that.

But speaking of frogs, here's one of my favorite documentaries on the common every day Rana Temporaria:

One Froggy Evening

Drove to the Allendale Aquatic Nursery and bought a few more goldfish...all the original teeny tinies I bought from a local pet shop gave up the ghost this past week.

Those were comets; these are supposed to be a hardier breed:


The gold and white are sarassas and the ones with blue in them are shubunkins...got three of each and a couple of water lettuce plants...guess I'll know in a week if this is going to work any better.

It's a cool start to Sunday, a beautiful sunny day, and I'm spending it outside luxuriating amidst the glories of nature...
Mr. Frog, spitting and staring wide eyed in the distance.  Staring is another thing my mother told me not to do.
It's a jungle back here.
The site of our first pond; now a flower pond.
Chief MorningFire enjoying a, uh, morning fire...
Started Papa's Model T: The Grey Ghost last night...still putting the details together but I have a general outline worked out.  This will be the fourth book, so I think I can honestly say it's a series.  Now if I can just convince people to actually read them.  Maybe I should have majored in marketing instead of basketweaving when I was in college.

Remember, Life is better down that old dirt road...


Later, mcm fans.


* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books on Amazon.com and Createspace.com!  I promise* you'll be a better person for it!

[* some exclusions apply including the promise you'll be a better person.  not valid in certain solar systems.  see the Bhagavad Gita for details.]

Get your ebooks here:


Get your paperback versions here:


Thank you!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Snowballs...

...in May...at night...on our grape arbor...love this time of year when everything is blooming.
And yes, I believe "snowballs" is the official botanical name for that flowering plant...it's either that or Viburnum Opulus Roseum...

Finished up the goldfish pond this weekend:



...but of course "finished" is a relative term...we now have pond plants and a few goldfish in the pond...but I found a "frog spitter" fountain online I liked, so I'll be adding that later this week:


should be a fun addition for our small pond in lieu of an actual waterfall.

Was in the garage this morning and saw this reflection in the windshield of Mr. T:


thought it was an interesting picture.

Yesterday we were at Countryside Greenhouse buying pond plants, and saw these "hillbilly tool sheds":



classy...I suppose if I actually lived out in the country and had been raised on a farm I might be tempted to decorate with country decor, including a fake outhouse.

It's a cold one this Sunday morning...around 37 degrees...not quite cold enough for frost thankfully, but still way too cold for the middle of May...in spite of the chill, the flowers are still beautiful:

...just need some actual sunshine and warmth to go with them.

Watched a very cool movie from 1999 last night...


Great mid century modern themes in this fun romp about a family that hides out in their fallout shelter when they think the Russians have dropped the bomb on us in 1962 (in reality a jet flying a mission to Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis crash landed on their house).  The son (Brendan Fraser) emerges 35 years later in 1997 to try and find supplies for them...it's hilarious - and sobering - to see the differences in society that have occurred in 35 years...as the dad (Christopher Walken) explains to his little group after a very brief and disturbing trip to the surface, it appears a mutant sub species has survived the blast and now roams freely over what's left of civilization.

Visit any high school, college campus, mall - heck, even your local grocery store - and you can see the truth of that statement.

A fun couple of hours...highly recommended for all you mcm devotees.

Later, mcm fans...


* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books on Amazon.com and Createspace.com!  I promise* you'll be a better person for it!

[* some exclusions apply including the promise you'll be a better person.  not valid in certain solar systems.  see the Bhagavad Gita for details.]

Get your ebooks here:


Get your paperback versions here:


Thank you!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Glory Of Young Men...

...is their strength...Proverbs 20:29

That's Benjamin, #5 son, practicing his Olympic lifts for cross fit.  That was 185 pounds on the bar for that Olympic style snatch.

Benjamin is my son who always surprised me...he weighed 260 as a sophomore in high school, and after the football season that year decided he wanted to lose weight.  By next fall he weighed 180.

Then he decided he would act in a school play...and tried his hand at stand up comedy in the school coffee shop...sang in a quartet where he saved a faltering routine in a talent show with a mellow rendition of sitting on the dock of a bay...decided to get into boxing, and boxed in an amateur bout in a casino in Traverse City...then announced he was joining the military during wartime...became a certified cross fit trainer, and is now attending Bible College on the GI Bill while he manages two gyms in Ohio.

He def keeps me guessing on what's next, but I know whatever he puts his mind to will become a fait accompli since he first commits his plans to the Lord and leans on Him for guidance.

Oh, the second part of that verse is "the beauty of old men is the gray head."  See?  I'm beautiful after all.

This is Mother's Day weekend...hope everyone did the right thing and honored their mother.

Karen's not my mom, but she is a mom, and a very good one...bought her roses for Mother's Day:

Our tree out front is blossoming now...it's gorgeous...too bad it only lasts for a few days:

that's Kitty photo bombing my picture of the tree...

Got a couple of radios back from Chase Electronics in Lowell...one of them is a 1949 Philco that's not just a radio...it also plays 78 rpm records...here it is playing Les Paul's "Dry My Tears"



Think I'm going to put a small - and I do mean small - goldfish pond in our backyard.  We had a pretty big one years ago, but I got tired of the constant maintenance of filters, pumps, waterfalls, etc.

This one's going to be a 50 gallon pre-formed pond and all it will have is one pump with a filter and a uv light for algae control...that's it...well, besides a few pond plants and some 50 cent goldfish you can buy at Meijer.

Drove Mr. T today...hopefully will tomorrow, too...didn't travel back in time to the 1920's...leaving that for Papa X at the moment...and ruminating on the next book now that Papa's Model T: The Long Count is almost complete.

Later mcm fans...

post script:

we now have a small pond almost complete in the backyard:
still need a uv light, a few pond plants, then a half dozen goldfish and we'll be good to go.

now...later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books on Amazon.com and Createspace.com!  I promise* you'll be a better person for it!

[* some exclusions apply including the promise you'll be a better person.  not valid in certain solar systems.  see the Bhagavad Gita for details.]

Get your ebooks here:


Get your paperback versions here:


Thank you!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Almost Finished...


...with Papa's Model T: The Long Count...3rd in the Young Reader series...proof copies coming this week...editing process underway...

One of the elements of the Papa's Model T series is a 1925 Crosley Pup radio:
A single bulb radio that uses batteries, not AC power.  It's fun tuning it, bc it doesn't have the traditional AM band...it's a combination of the "volume" knob on the front...the bulb glows brighter as you up the voltage from the battery and the volume increases...and the two knobs on either side.  It's s discovery process to find stations.

Doesn't drive a speaker so you use headsets to listen to it.  It was fun learning about this old radio as I was formulating ideas for the PMT books.

The weather has continued to be crappy...the older I get the less I understand about why I still live in this state...a move is definitely in my future.

I need to live in a traditional small town with some back / dirt roads where I can comfortably drive Mr. T.

Would like to be able to take him 2 or 3 miles into an old fashioned main street town...stop at the grocery store for milk, bread, eggs, then drive back home.  Have people wave as you motor by instead of giving you the finger bc you're not going fast enough to suit them.

Do those towns still exist?  I mean other than in 1956.

I kinda think Indiana might have some of those...I've driven through that state a couple of times and have come to believe their state motto - "wander Indiana" - is really a state law bc actual highways seem few and far between...everything seems like a two lane back road.  Could be wrong...

Saw this saying the other day: Life is better down that old, dirt road...


In keeping with the country motif, seems like everywhere Karen and I have gone shopping for several years, they're selling statues, posters, metal sculptures of roosters...we've kidded about how eventually it was inevitable; we'd have to finally give in to the inescapable Madison Avenue advertising monster and buy one.

That finally happened:
 Meet Rory Calhoun, our new rooster...

On a more serious note, my oldest grandson Marcellus had his senior recital this past week...did an excellent job as always:
He really is very talented...it was a fun evening listening to him strut his stuff.


To hear some of his recital, go here:

Marcellus-recital

Congrats, Marcellus!  Job well done.

Later, mcm fans...