Saturday, September 28, 2019

Binge Watching...

...Downton Abbey...and confession being good for the soul, I might as well admit a couple of things:

1) for all the years I was vaguely aware of its TV existence, I thought it was some pompous British fare named "Downtown Abbey".

"Dah-ling, shall we go to the downtown abbey today?"

"Quite right, my love...but what is an 'abbey', anyway?"

"Ah...so glad you asked.

"In the 1500s when King Henry VIII was desperate to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled and the Pope refused, the King started the English Reformation.

"He took ownership of the monasteries and abbeys, booted the priests and nuns, kept the properties for himself and gave some to his noblemen; the Peerage as it were.

"Westminster Abbey, Bolton Abbey, Holyrood Abbey..."

"Further, he -"

"Um, quite, my love...but that's enough for now, don't you think?

"Shall we have the chauffeur bring the motor 'round and drive us to the downtown abbey?"


-and-

2) as a writer, I find this series...well...intimidating.

I like a good story as much as the next person, especially if I wrote it...but for crying out loud...
...have you seen  how many characters there are??

How do you write coherent scenes - ones that actually make sense because they're true to each person and move the story forward - for that many characters?

That is just impressive.  And yeah, a little intimidating.

Gotta hand it to Baron Fellowes...well done, old chap!

Karen and I have only binge watched one other series...
That one veered off course and I lost interest after season 4 or so.

We'll see how things go with Downton Abbey...there are 6 seasons altogether and we're 2/3rds of the way through season 2 (World War 1 just ended).

At the moment Karen and I are definitely hooked, but Karen said she's concerned about us becoming "Downton Flabby" from binge watching "Downton Abbey"...
...gonna have to to get up and move once in a while...
Happy to report I've not allowed this British invasion to make me lose sight of the truly important things in life...
...like hickory golf.

Last 2 outings I've used gutta percha balls...the kind that were common in the late 1800's through about 1905.

This round I moved up an era from early hickory to the golden age...1910 through 1930...and used the style of golf ball popular then.
Definitely noticed the difference in distance...these "Ouimet" golf balls travel about 25 to 30 yards further...
...and since they're heavier than gutta percha balls, putting is different...
...actually parred a hole and bogeyed two others.

Overall another enjoyable round but one that has left me on the horns of a dilemma...

...which golf ball shall I use?

Gutta Percha balls are early hickory era and because they're hand made, very expensive.

I can only hit them about 100 yards with my mashie...a little further (140 yards) with my 1900 era spoon wood:
Par on today's courses with a gutta percha ball is a pipe dream.

Ouimet balls are golden age hickory era and are considerably less expensive than gutta perchas.

They're the kind the great Bobby Jones would have used when he was dominating the golf world in the 1920's.
I can hit them 130 yards with my mashie and probably 170 with my wooden cleek.

That implies a legitimate chance at par on par 3 holes; with practice I could probably achieve my "chance to 1 putt for par" on short par 4 holes as well.

Finally, modern era Super Soft (low compression) balls are very inexpensive, and I can stroke those 160 yards with my mashie and 190+ with my cleek.

It doesn't happen every round, but snagging a couple of pars and even an occasional birdie is at least possible from time to time.

So...what to do?

In the end, an easy decision:

I'll use the gutta perchas from now on.

What can I say?

I'm a history buff and I like the concept of playing the Old Game like it was 100+ years ago.

It's just a calmer, more peaceful experience for me, and that's something I truly value at this point in my life.

And I love the sensory part of using them...the way they feel in my hand, the sound they make when I hit them with my hickories.

So while it's painful to lose one because they are expensive, when you only hit them 100 yards it's a lot easier to keep track of them.

Plus a gutta percha does something no other golf ball does:
Yep, it floats...so you at least have a chance at recovering it if you do happen to drop one in the drink.
...well, maybe...
In the "please make it stop" department, we're now staring down the barrel of October...
...not that I don't enjoy all of October's delights...I definitely do...
...the beautiful colors...
...and of course All Hallows E'en.

But the gorgeous outdoor weather is slipping away much too quickly...we're doing our best to get out in it and enjoy it while we can, but we know we're being hunted by...
...yeah...that guy.

Not a fan.
And that Dear Reader concludes this stimulatin' edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe...we here at the AMC continue to work tirelessly...
...putting in many long hours to bring you only the best in whatever it is we do here.

Rest assured our passion for excellence is second only to our burning desire to be members of the idle rich, frittering away our lives on self-centered activities like boogie boarding in the Caribbean and drinking incredibly expensive wine.

But until that time, we're here for ya.

later, mcm fans...


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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Happy Anniversary...

...to us...14 years of marital bliss with my Beloved.  She's a saint to put up with me and I'm blessed to be with her.

Spent some time in and around Saugatuck this weekend, including the Fenn Valley winery...
...fruit of the vine...

We honeymooned in Saugatuck lo, these many moons ago, so it was enjoyable to revisit and reflect on that wonderful time.
...and the vines whence cometh the fruit...
We browsed the antique mall where I spotted this 'must have' piece of automotive history...
...for a mere $3,250 this can be yours...
...which temptation I easily avoided...and on the way home Karen got distracted a bit...
...so we had to stop and check it out...they had a couple of interesting fountains for sale, but hardly at garage sale prices...$500+ for the 2 of them.

Thankfully no money changed hands there either, and we avoided any serious damage to our wallets.
On this beautiful late summer / early fall weekend I finally managed to get on the links again...
...where I decided to play a couple of rounds using an old style golf ball called a 'gutta percha'...
These were used in the 1800's up through around 1910...hand made, very low compression, very light...
With my mashie I can hit a modern 'super soft' low compression ball about 150 yards...but with a gutta percha ball that turns into only 100 yards...so my chances to "1 putt for par" are replaced by "1 putt for bogey" (or double bogey).
Even so I enjoyed these rounds immensely.  It's a much calmer, more serene experience and it really helped me relax and savor my beautiful stroll through the countryside.
All 9 fingers crossed for another month, maybe 6 weeks of decent golf weather.
Decided to do something we haven't in many years, namely venture out to the movie theater for a premier...
...and I must say it was a surprisingly delightful experience.

Neither Karen nor I had ever seen the TV series, but we watched a special on the just released movie so decided to give it a go.

Several things amazed me as a "first time" movie goer...and I say "first time" bc it has been 15 or 16 years since I've bothered sitting in a public theater...
...due to the coarsening of our culture and the incredibly self-absorbed behavior we witness in public on a dishearteningly regular basis...and because I ALWAYS watch movies with subtitles due to hearing loss.

So going out to a movie has seemed like a waste of both time and money for quite a while.

But...Holland has a new theater complex...
...and it's nothing like movie theaters I used to frequent.

For one, think upscale...and yes, expensive.

For another, think alcohol...to my surprise they have a bar so you can enjoy your favorite cocktail while watching the movie.

Further, you pick your seat when you buy your ticket, and like days of old they guide you there where - get this - they explain the 'comfort controls'...
...because it has all kinds of recline and massage options.

Crazy.

Ok, I know you're shaking you're head, wondering under which rock I've been living, but truly, I had no idea.

It was all new to me.

But enjoyable...so much so we'll do it again.

Yes, I missed some dialogue on the silver screen but hey, that's a daily experience in "real life" for me and you know what?

I've discovered a fairly large percentage of what's spoken apparently doesn't really matter.

I didn't hear it and yet somehow life goes on, evidently without serious consequence.

Who knew?

Smiling and nodding really is an acceptable substitute for hearing.

And the movie itself was really quite good...
...so good in fact that I've ordered the first 4 seasons of the TV show and Karen and I will catch up on all the doin's at the Downton Abbey.

It's a time period that interests me - 1912 through 1927 - and the setting, costumes and acting are all first rate.

Gotta love the British.

See this movie...you'll be glad you did.
Well folks, this is finally "it"...
...the last weekend of Summer...Autumn officially arrives for us in the northern hemisphere on Monday, September 23rd at 3:50 am Eastern time.

Thankfully this last week has been feeling very summer-like indeed, with temperatures in the 80's and gorgeous sunshine.

Hope you got out in it and were present in the moment because it's going to be quite a while before you'll able to do so again.

Yikes.
For the past decade Holland has staged a Civil War Muster at the Van Raalte Farm...
Albertus Van Raalte was the leader of the Dutch immigration from the Netherlands to West Michigan in the 1800's...
...and he founded Holland in 1847.

It's on his farm where the Civil War muster is staged...
...and they reenact battles that took place in Virginia between Generals Lee of the Confederate and McClellan of the Union armies.
actual cannon used in the Civil War...
This little piece of history is well worth your time...
...don't miss it while you can.
Sights from here and there...
mum's the word at the farmer's market now...



beautiful waterfall on the way to the links...



we did NOT register...



strange doin's in a Holland park...



this balloon tire wonder can be yours for $1,100...




for the cuppa joe lovers...handy map from Starbucks...



Sadly, it's time for me and all the rest of the highly intelligent staff here at the Atomic Moster Cafe...
...to answer duty's call and get on with the really important things in life we do while we're not entertaining you...
...wish us luck...the arthritis in our thumbs is a real killer.

later, mcm fans...


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