Saturday, May 28, 2022

It's Memorial Day Weekend...


...when we pause to remember...those who gave all in defense of our nation.

This holiday began as "Decoration Day" - when towns set aside a day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers and honor their sacrifice.

Because the losses from the bloodiest war in American history were so staggering - more than 620,000 dead - NOT pausing to remember and honor those who perished was unthinkable.

But for obvious historical reasons, the observance of Decoration Day took different forms in Southern states than those in the North.



Neither side wanted to be told by the other when or how they should remember their fallen heroes.

After WW1 it changed from honoring the Civil War dead to honoring any who died in our nation's wars.

Finally, in 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday.

And while it's common to celebrate the day as the kickoff of summer with parades, ball games, camping and cookouts...


...all of us should stop and reflect on its somber and sacred essence.

Men and women - most in the bloom of youth - gave up their futures, their families, their hopes and dreams to lay down their lives in defense of our country.

Whatever freedoms we have were purchased in their blood; gratitude and reverence should be the prevailing sentiments on this day.

Canadian Lt-Colonel John McCrae captured the soul of their sacrifice in a poem he penned during WWI, after the second battle of Ypres in 1915:




Always Remember.




Turning now to domestic affairs...

After calm and reasoned negotiations...


 ...Karen and I have reached an equitable agreement:

There will be NO golf holes in the front yard.

I tried to be gracious in defeat, but it was tough when she started singing "I got my WAY-ay, nyah nyah nyah NYAH nyah..."

Have to admit, her point that the backyard is for fun while the front yard is for curb appeal was tough to argue.

“You don’t go skinny dipping in the FRONT yard do you?” she demanded.

“Of course not my Darling Kumquat,” replied I.  “After taking pictures, the neighbors would have me arrested since the pool is in the backyard.”

“Game, set, match!” she exclaimed with both clenched fists thrust skyward.

I was going to suggest my DIY putting greens equate to "curb appeal", but that’s when she started singing and doing the Chicken Dance and I surmised my cause was lost.

So...plan B is I'll have 5 putting greens and 9 tees, ALL in the back yard.

Basically I'll play 1 through 5, then "turn the corner" and go back through holes 4, 3, 2 and 1 (read: 6, 7, 8 and 9), using different tee placements to make each hole "unique".

End result will be a 9 hole, par 32 hickory wiffle golf course.

What’s the overarching lesson here?





Staying with the golf theme, almost done with this year's 1st putting green installation:

it's #1 when you tee off...



...and #9 on the way back

Just laid the rug on there for the pics...still have to put sand down, compact it, then swap the paint can placeholder for the actual cup you see there, and finally spike down the carpet and carefully cut out the hole.  A little mulch around the edges and voila, new putting green.

Hoping to get the final one (hole #5) - planned as a 9' diameter circle - in place by end of June.



In the "whooda thunk it" department...

got to the lanes with a "full" scoresheet so had to improvise


...I actually rolled two 200 games back to back this week.

And...if I hadn't chopped the 10 pin on an easy 6-10 spare in the 10th frame of my 1st game - or done THE EXACT SAME THING in the 7th frame of my last game - I would have had my 1st 600 series, instead of falling short by 5 lousy pins.

Been trying to learn something from every outing, to pick up a tip or pointer from that series that will help me improve.

A recent subtle but significant realization is I need to stop trying to "place" the ball and instead just roll it.

I don't mean it doesn't matter where you put it; of course it does.

But in my efforts to hit the right board, I've tightened up, slowed down and become hesitant.

So starting with the last 2 games of my prior outing, I focused on a little more velocity.

Basically I just sped things up a bit and the added velocity increased pin action.

yeah, something like that...


I should have been thrilled with the results, right?

The 200 games were great, and realizing the importance of increased velocity was another step forward in the learning process.

But in spite of my improved score, I was really uncomfortable rushing to the line...felt very forced and unnatural.

Consequently I spent some time thinking of better ways to achieve velocity, and landed on the (obvious) concept of a higher backswing.

While that's pretty common today, it wasn't at all when my Dad taught me to bowl in the 60's.

He carried a 200+ average back when that actually meant something.

And when instructing his young buck in the black arts of ten pinnery, he imparted the common wisdom of the day:

You faced the pins, shoulders parallel to the foul line, which forced you to have a low backswing.

So implementing a higher backswing means a big change to my form.

For one, my shoulders are no longer square to the foul line; they now have to be "open".

Also, the movement and position of my balance arm has changed significantly.

Before, with my super low backswing, it hardly came into play at all.

Now it's an important factor, as I should be able to draw a straight line from my ball hand to my balance hand at the peak of my backswing on step 2.


And true confessions, my first attempts at trying to make these changes have been very unimpressive; embarrassing, actually.

Even so, I'll keep hammering away at it.

It's the right way to regain a measured approach and still achieve increased velocity.

Admit it; you're fascinated by this.

I know Karen is.

Whenever I start mansplaining stuff to her she practically tingles with excitement.



Oh well...as with all of life, bowling is a...





And now boys and girls, it's time for a leisurely stroll through the Parting Shots department and this week we’re trying something new.

Just send me your email address, a valid credit card number and your power of attorney and I’ll email you the hand curated pictures I’ve…

What?

Hold on a sec…

Ok, scratch that.

Karen says to avoid prison time I should just do it the usual way, so here goes…

morning fire on the lower patio.



our "snowball tree" (latin: aboretum snowballus) in bloom.



looks like hasenpfeffer and duck risotto for dinner.




buddy and mr. squirrel in a staredown at the bird feeder...




...and mr. squirrel staring down at buddy from the bat house a moment later.




mr. mouse taking a dip in the pool.  never fear, I flung him to the (relative) safety of dry land, so he lived to swim another day.



gotta love the pink bird.



some mcm styling for you.



they have to be else I can't golf here.





Enjoy your Memorial Day holiday and remember those who gave their all in service to our country.

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, May 21, 2022

My Summer Staycation...

 

...just got underway.

Taking Fridays off starting now through August, and those 4 day work weeks / 3 day weekends are wonderful.

So...how did I begin my first 3 day weekend of the summer?

Come on...hickory golfing of course!


Oops...looks like some kind of technical issue...



I'm sure the techno-geeks will figure things out shortly.

In the meantime...my round wasn't a total disaster - first tee shot with my mid iron was great, actually; right on the edge of the green.

As I walked the 150 yards to my ball I was thinking I was on my way to an enjoyable round.

Unfortunately, every tee shot after that was a push to the right.

As a result, I ended up losing 4 - count 'em FOUR  balls.

One of them hit a stone on the edge of the fairway and did a crazy right angle boing off into the hinterlands.

Another I lost in plain sight; I saw where it landed to the right of the green, just on the edge of the rough, but could I find it?

The next guy that came along probably leaned down, picked it up and pocketed a brand new Callaway supersoft golf ball.

The other two landed in deep rough on the right of the fairway and I didn't even bother.



Along the way I managed to 3 putt 8 out of 9 greens, and my short game was nothing to write home about.

Now that I think of it...

My round was in fact a total disaster.

On the other hand, don't you believe those ugly rumors that they banned me from...

What?

Hold on a sec...this note just handed me...


Hmm...seems the FCC has weighed in and labeled the pictures of my round as "unfit for human consumption".

The nerve of those guys...they probably can't even tell a mashie from a niblick!

can you?


But then again, who am I to argue with the genii...


...that populate our federal bureaucracies?

So...nothing to see here folks, it's all over now, move along, that's right, keep moving...



In the Pet Peeve department...



...what is this man doing?

Yes, of course...he's supposed to be shaving.

Specifically, he's pretending to shave with a straight razor.

Only problem?

He's got the sharp side up, so at best he's giving his whiskers a little tickle, but he's certainly not shaving them off.

You don't put the sharp side of your wimpy little safety razor UP, do you?

What's worse, these shaving scenes are almost always placed in historical dramas to create an authentic look and feel.

They want to capture the gritty zeitgest of the times and get the details right; it bolsters their credibility while retelling the event they're chronicling.

Unless, of course, they get it wrong.

Then it just makes them look lazy and dumb.

Seriously, they couldn't take 5 minutes in the interest of historical accuracy and watch a video on shaving with a straight razor?

That particular scene is from the movie Anthropoid, which tells the riveting story of the Czech resistance underground during WWII, assassinating the Nazi pig, General Reinhard Heydrich.

The movie is worth your time; just get up and grab some more corn chips when that ridiculous shaving scene appears.

So...how do you do it correctly?

note the sharp side of the blade "down"


That's from a pretty good <instructional video> 



In other news, there is progress on the next green:

wednesday evening, just getting started removing the top layer of sod



saturday afternoon after spreading a yard of crushed limestone

Next I'll dig out a 4" diameter hole and put a small paint can there as a "placeholder".

After that I'll do 8 or 9 reps of compacting the crushed limestone with that 13# hand compactor you see in the top right corner of the picture.

Then I'll spread a bunch of sand over it and compact it some more.

At that point I'll remove the paint can and replace it with the actual cup for the hole, and compact around that area to be sure it's flat and level.

Finally I'll lay the 6'x12' short pile outdoor carpet over it and spike it down with garden edging.

Last step is to take a utility knife and carefully cut out the hole and put the flag in place:


Yep, even though there are 3 greens already in place, this is going to be hole #1 on the course.

Lord willing, hole #5 will be in place sometime in June.

Hole # 6...well, still in negotiations with the Lady of the Manor, since that one goes in the front yard...along with 7, 8 and 9...and now you're talking about curb appeal, resale value, etc etc etc.

She says that's going to cost me an arm and a leg; I've offered a kneecap and three toes.

Besides, this is a matter of principle!

I say you've got to be an illiterate hillbilly...



...if you don't want a 9 hole wiffle golf course in your yard!

More to come.



But not now; I'm tired and headed to bed.

You know the way out, and no, it doesn't go by the liquor cabinet.

Now go on; git.

later, mcm fans

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com.

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here: