Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Bag...

...in all its minimalist glory...exactly what I had in mind when I contacted Mike Armstrong from Atrixleather on Etsy.

Comfortably holds 3 or 4 clubs which is all I need for playing 9...for whatever reason I've been able to hit my mashie and niblick fairly well right from the start.  It's the longer clubs...my cleek and woods...that tie me up in knots.

And for what hickory golf means to me - some solitude, exercise and a pleasant stroll through the country - it's far more important to enjoy a well hit shot, even if it's short, than it is to flail away with the "correct" club in an effort to lower my score.

Friday on 7 I hit a beautiful approach shot with my mashie that landed about 10 yards away from the water hazard in front of the green.

I then lofted a 50 yard niblick shot over the water that landed right in the middle of the green...a rare display of back to back competence that I may not repeat for many more holes of golf.

But right then I could have been Bobby Jones waving modestly to the gallery as I walked to my putt, Calamity Jane in hand.

That was a "moment" - serene, peaceful, rewarding - and it's why I've embraced hickory golf as a favorite activity at this point in life.

Today we plan to visit the farmer's market and maybe stroll downtown Holland a bit.

...we need a short break from our every day routine of dealing with the house renovation.

Here's an interesting concept...
...that's a vintage teardrop trailer outfitted with an "aerolux" package to give it a 1930s art deco streamlined look.  The inside is basically just a mattress to sleep on, and the back opens up into a portable kitchen area...campstove and some storage.

Pretty much the opposite of today's "I put my entire house on wheels and I'm taking it with me to the campground" luxury trailers.

As someone once said to me, the problem with camping is it's "almost but not quite"...almost enough space but not quite, almost convenient but not quite, almost enjoyable but not quite...plus most of the so called campgrounds where people park their trailers have a population density that rivals downtown Chicago.  You can reach out your trailer window and borrow your neighbor's salt shaker while listening to their boombox belting out "Achy Breaky Heart".

And yes I've heard all the stories - and suffered through a few of them personally - where we all drench ourselves with Off mosquito repellent, sit on lawn chairs or play bean bag toss, then gather around the campfire for stories and s'mores and songs.

It's all fun and games until someone yells "one more time!" after the 4th rendition of "100 bottles of beer on the wall"...

To each his own I guess, but not my thing.

Even so you have to admit that teardrop trailer is pretty cool.

This morning after golfing I was in the backyard taking a few practice swings with the tools of my ignorance and unbeknownst to me Karen snapped a few pics...
Ready...

...gotta get those hips out of the way to start the downswing...

...you can see my hips rotating and weight shifting...and isn't that a beautiful hickory club?

...as the finish pulls my head up to follow the glorious flight path of another perfectly struck whiffle golf ball...
Ok so I may be guilty of hyperbole...but my practice shots were all pretty good...now why can't I do that in real life??

But today on the links went pretty well...hit more good shots than bad and as anti-golf as it sounds, as long as I'm hitting them well, I actually like taking more strokes to finish each hole bc that means I get to hit more balls.  I like doing that.

I don't like playing from the rough or losing balls in water hazards and accumulating more strokes that way...but if I"m hitting my mashie and niblick well, I enjoy having 4 or 5 chances to strike the ball from the fairway to the green.  It's fun, bc I'm not a slave to the scorecard.

Don't get me wrong; if I could hit my woods and cleek with any consistency and accuracy I'd do so...but now we're back to the two things you need to excel in any discipline: talent and time to practice.

When it comes to golf, I don't have an abundance of either...but I do enjoy the game...so my stripped down version which plays to my strengths and maximizes my enjoyment works for me at the moment.

Yeah, I know...all you serious golfers just clicked away from the lunatic's page.  Buh bye now...

Made some actual progress in the continuing battle to organize stuff...

yep, that's Mr. T in the garage, and I had to move a ton of crap out of the way to make that possible.  The depressing part is all the stuff I moved is still here...we didn't actually get rid of anything...but we did stage it on the side of the garage so we can get rid of it soon.  I'm going out on a limb here and counting that as progress.

And yes, that's Santa and his reindeer on the back shelf to the right...can't get much more mid century modern kitsch than that.

Shifting gears, what red blooded American male doesn't enjoy a good centerfold pinup?

Well, in the "makes me laugh" department...there are a couple of big storage cabinets in the back of my garage ...and when you open one of them on the left, the previous resident had a bunch of his favorite pinups on the inside of the door.
As you might have figured out, he was a hunter...pretty racy stuff.

It's another beautiful sunny morning...time to get after this day.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Hint...

...I should have taken...sprinklers were still on when I arrived for a round of golf...instead of waiting as I did, it would have been the better part of wisdom - and certainly better for my mental health - to abandon ship right then.

But no...I had to hang around and then repeatedly illustrate that everything I thought I knew about how to properly strike a golf ball is in fact rubbish.  Or else my execution of it was garbage.

Either way, this was a wasted hour and fifteen minutes of pointless and frustrating activity.  If you subtract the cost of the golf balls I donated to their water hazards and fairway rough, they only owed me $2.38 when I put the finishing touches on this debacle.

To my faux surprise, they don't do that but instead expected me to remit the full amount as payment.

And why not?  That was the coup de grace on my self-inflicted humiliation at the hands of the golf gods.

Naturally, I'll never golf again.  (until next week.)

Since analysis is what I do, I've already figured out a lot of what I was doing wrong and practiced doing it right.

It's so simple hitting plastic whiffle golf balls in my backyard.  I can't wait to muck it up in real life next week.

When I do, I'll be playing out of my new "Sunday bag":

Crafted by Mike Armstong of Atrix Leather on Etsy, it's a beautiful leather bag designed to hold only 3 or 4 clubs...perfect for what I'm doing with hickory golf right now.

The above is a pic Mike sent to me; when I get it this week I'll put my cleek, mashie, niblick and putter in it for another photo shoot...those are what I'll be golfing with for awhile.

Note the "Wild Hare" logo on the bag.  Couldn't be happier with Mike's work...he's not just a talented artisan, he's also a good guy; great to deal with.  Check him out on Etsy for your custom leather needs...you'll be glad you did.

And speaking of craftsmen, received an unexpected gift in the mail from Bob Adams of Ronson Repair   Bob's the guy who helped me put together my Ronson lighter collection, beautiful pieces from the 1930's art deco era.

He knows Karen and I are mid century modern fans, and has heard me whining about all the issues related to our move into our new digs...so to shut me up (temporarily) he sent along this gorgeous mid century modern Dansk Cheese Knife:
Since it's a cheese knife, maybe he was making an oblique reference to "whine and cheese"?

Either way it's beautiful and substantial, with a pleasingly heavy feel in the palm of your hand.  Could easily double as a self defense system in the event of an emergency (as could my bakelite phones), but only if I can't get to my Mossberg 500 pistol grip shotgun.

And speaking of Bob's assistance with my Ronson collection, here's something in our living room display cabinet:
Both the lighter on the right and the bartender cigarette holder behind the ash tray were obtained from / repaired by Bob.  (Found the ash tray in an antique shop in Palm Springs.)

The bartender piece is not Ronson, though on ebay it's often listed as such.  Got into a brief but nasty debate with a clueless / dishonest seller who listed one as a Ronson piece.  I contacted them and politely pointed out those were not made by Ronson, and if you turned it upside down you'd see that right away.

O boy...that did not go well.  After an insulting reply from the uneducated idiot, I ended up telling them if ignorance and arrogance were pennies, they'd be a billionaire.  For some reason I didn't hear back from them.  Odd.

Progress continues on the house reno...





...but not fast enough to suit either Karen or me.  Really don't want the summer to disappear, but that's tempered by the realization it will probably be a couple of months before we finally have this place "complete" (a figurative and temporal term to be sure).

In the meantime, as June Carter opined musically, time's a wastin'...

later, mcm fans...

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

That's One Small Step...

...for man...one giant leap for mankind...

So spoke Neil Armstrong 48 year ago today at 10:56 pm EDT as he stepped off the lunar landing module "Eagle" and onto the surface of the moon.

My 12 year old self was one of the billion or so humans who watched that historic event...Dad brought along a small, black and white TV for our vacation on tiny Chebeague Island off the coast of Maine, snuggled serenely in Casco Bay.
Normally TV was verboten on these summer excursions.  Dad was a harried executive type and for two weeks out of the year he worked hard at unplugging...no phones, no TV, no newspapers...nothing but golfing on the island's humble 9 hole course...
...trolling for mackerel off the shores of our quaint rented cottage, long walks along the beaches to collect shells and starfish, sitting by the Franklin pot belly stove, being warmed by the fire on those cool summer evenings when the fog rolled in off the ocean, and lots of nothing in between.

The cottage did boast a floor model Philco radio, and we could listen to that as long as it was music, not news...

But this vacation in 1969 was different.  A former engineer with Thiokol in the early days of the space program - decades before the O ring disaster - Dad had a keen interest in what was about to unfold.  No way was he going to miss this...thus our little black and white TV...
We watched in collective awe, admiration, respect and pride as Neil Armstrong, then Buzz Aldrin became the first two human beings to set foot on a celestial sphere other than our own.
They were true American heroes, well aware of the possibility theirs was a suicide mission.  The slightest error, equipment failure, misjudgment or any host of other potential problems, and they would have perished on the cold forsaken surface of the moon.

Had the unthinkable occurred, President Nixon would have delivered this speech, prepared by his speechwriter, William Safire:

"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."
It is a literary masterpiece, an emotional and poignant tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of fearless men who risked everything in the pursuit of new worlds.

How wonderful it was never spoken, as the world rejoiced along with the the Nasa control room at the success of this epic mission almost five decades ago.
At age 12 I did not fully comprehend the magnitude of that achievement...it wasn't exactly a yawn, but I do remember wondering why the nearly global hysteria over this event....

...but remember I grew up in an era when I was surrounded by great men and women, those who had survived the deprivation of the Depression and been tested by the fires of war, as they literally saved civilization from a malevolent evil during World War II...when they came marching home they laid down their weapons and got busy building the greatest economic engine mankind had ever seen.

I hate to say it, but greatness was par for the course back then.  I am reminded of the old saying, Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated.

That America would put a man on the moon with less computing power than you have sitting on your desktop seemed completely plausible to me then...of course America did this great thing...that's what we do.

Now, looking back over the widening expanse of years, I stand in stunned amazement at their accomplishment.  July 20th should be a national holiday, a celebration of an unparalleled achievement.

So Happy Moon Landing Day, y'all.  Look up in the sky and wonder at the majesty of the heavens, then ponder the miracle that we put a man on the moon 48 years ago tonight.
In far more mundane and earthly pursuits, but in keeping with the theme of the 1960s, we now have a Princess Phone...
...circa 2017...looks like the 1960's version and feels like the 1960's version...as in it's heavy and substantial, like the old bakelite phones were that could double as a weapon if the situation demanded...but this is a push button phone, not a rotary dial...a replica made by Crosley...pretty darn cool and meets Karen's requirements.

For some reason she didn't want to use my favorite phone of all time...
...the Western Electric 102B1, from 1927...so the Princess will be the main land line in the kitchen and will have a digital answering machine attached..."my" phone will be in the TV room...
...but need to get a little nicer perch for it than an old wooden stool.  Also have an old "Public Telephone" sign I'll hang near it.

And yes, the Princess phone is definitely mid century modern while my 1927 WE is art deco...so shoot me...I'm going to spread around a few art deco radios as well.

Karen commented that people are going to think the "Cinema" is the door to the right, which is actually a bathroom...perhaps, but that's a mistake they'll make only once.

There will be a few other decorative items in the room that will emphasize this is our new TV / "theater" room...we'll watch movies by fire light during the long cold Michigan winters...

Wait!  Don't say "winter"!  Even though the time to panic that summer is rapidly expiring is upon us - it as after all, the 2nd half of July now - we still shan't say the "W" word out loud...not for months to come, by order of the grand high poobah of the Wild Hare Castle and Turkey Refuge.
apparently cave men only had 3 fingers per hand and 3 toes per foot...
later, mcm fans...

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Miracle Of...

...a kitchen sink...yeah, I know...pretty humble, just like the rest of our unfinished kitchen...but it's running water!  And we don't have to trek to the bathroom to fill up a glass with water or wash dishes now.

And be still my trembling heart!  We also have a gas stove and a dishwasher (that unfortunately arrived with a broken part, but will be fixed on Friday)!

A couple of months ago if you told me I would be excited by what I just related...but alas, 'tis true.

Such is the life of those living in a construction zone.  We're thankful we get to live indoors and eat.

In keeping with the mid century modern motif, we're putting laminate on our countertops:
meet "Betty"...

...and this is "Endora"
Should be a fun and period correct look...now if we can just get the kitchen cabinet guy to give us his quote for the upper cabinets we might start to see off in the distance just the faintest outlines of a finish line for this project.

Of course all the electrical is not finished yet...and we still need get a roofer to patch parts of our leaky canopy...

In the "who, me...desperate?" category, we have this stunning new pool that Karen personally installed all by her lonesome:
Ah, luxury..."kiddie pool" be thy name...

A less than subtle hint to get my butt in gear with the actual pool construction.

One of the problems is it has to be dug by hand...not that it's huge or anything...9x13 in total, 3 feet in the shallow end, 5 feet in the "deep" end...but can't get any equipment other than shovels and a wheelbarrow in our courtyard...

...so we have pool contractors scratching their eyebrows and pulling their chins over this massive obstacle.

Dig a hole?  You mean by hand?  That would be like, y'know, hard...way more than we're used to doing with our bobcats and front loaders...hmm...we'll get back to you...

C'mon guys...5 day laborers for two days...$1000 in labor cost and it's a fait acompli, then you move on with the rest of it.  If they're not American born it will only take 1 day and cost $500.

Is this really that impossible?

Ever see the Hoover Dam?

The Empire State building?

Mount Rushmore?

All built during the early part of the 1900's with lots of manual labor involved.

You'd think I was asking them to dig the Grand Canyon instead of a 9x13 pool.

And thus is the state of American labor in the present day.

Not impressive.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Blast...

...From The Past...that's #5 son Benjamin, now 31 years of age, when he was just a stripling of 8 or 9...not sure who the sleepy eyed gent is behind him...looks to be 38 or 39...I am reminded of the old saw that that while Time may be a great healer, it's a lousy beautician...I can personally attest to that.

Our mailbox was on a ratty old stand with two others...looked like it was patched together with bubble gum and baling wire...so I asked our mail carrier if I could move ours apart from the others and he said no problem...
...so this weekend I did...our new "mod box", in keeping with the mid century modern motif...

Karen snapped a couple of pics of our domicile last night...in the courtyard...
...and in the backyard...
...imagine the parties we're going to have with the likes of Marilyn, The Chairman of the Board...
...Dino, Sammy Davis Jr, and all the rest of the gang...should be Rat Pack heaven...
...can't wait...

Making a little more progress on the domicile...
...the TV room...

...with our fireplace and "cinema" sign that still needs to be hung up on the stone wall...
...long ways to go but we're gaining on it.

And we're starting to formulate a plan for unloading half our stuff...
...and sell stuff that's worth something...contacted an acquaintance who deals with antiques and collectibles about taking some of my TV's and radios on consignment.  It's not going to happen overnight but it will happen.

Not enough hours in the day nor energy in my body for all that must be accomplished...

We press on...

later, mcm fans...

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