Thursday, December 25, 2008

Photo Flashback - Young Married

I do not know the exact date of this photo, but my guess is late 1974. Barb and I are married. I can tell by the wedding band on my finger. (If you enlarge the photo you can see it.) Barb's not giving the photographer the finger, she's fiddling with her wedding ring. From left to right are Mike and Brenda Gans, Linda Rodgers (later to be Smith), Barb and Harold Rodgers. I don't look half bad in this photo. This photo was taken at my parents home on Eagle Lake in Edwardsburg MI.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Photo Flashback - YFC Campus Life

It was the early 70's when I worked with Youth For Christ in Elkhart County. This group was from Concord High School. It shouldn't be too hard to identify which one of these free spirits was me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Case of the Missing Camera

It was Saturday October 25th when Kodak was last seen. Harold had taken him to Schlafzimmer where he could re-charge. Kodak was going to have a gig the following day and wanted to be fresh and full of energy. Harold had given him a couple of Double A's to hold him till the next morning when he would get a fully re-charged set. There by the dresser was the last time Harold remembers seeing Kodak.

The next morning things were a little hectic and Harold decided not to take Kodak to the gig that was planned. Later Harold retrieved the set of Double A's that he was going to give Kodak for the gig. But Kodak was no where to be found. Since Kodak was dependent on others for transportation, he couldn't have gone far on his own. There have been numerous searches in the immediate area where he was last seen but with no avail. Kodak's normal hangout was even searched thinking that perhaps someone may have returned him there. It was empty. It's unsure whether Kodak has taken any sensitive data with him. He does have identification on him, but it may not be easy to find and he won't give it up willingly. It will need to be forced from him.

In the six weeks since he's been missing, his companionship has been noticeably absent. He was able to show us things about ourselves that we enjoyed. We don't suspect any foul play, but who knows.

Kodak, if you're out there and reading this, we want you to know we miss you. Please come home. Christmas without you just won't be the same.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Over Medicated

Over Thanksgiving I started coming down with a cold, at least that's what the symptoms seem to be. So I start taking vitamin C, Zycam and green tea. I thought that I had dealt it a decent blow.

Saturday I picked up some Zinc lozenges and some menthol cough drops. The Zinc to reduce the effects of the cold and the cough drops to hopefully to help clear my sinuses or as the packaging says "cool nasal passages". I popped a Zinc in and then afterward a cough drop. Shortly thereafter I began reading the packaging for the cough drops.
Adults and children 5 years and over: Dissolve 1 drop slowly in the mouth. Repeat every two hours as needed.

I have to confess. I did not wait two hours for my next dosage. In a two hour period, I may have taken anywhere from 3 to 4 cough drops.

It's now a few days later and the cold, if that's really what it is, seems to be dealing me a decent blow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It'll be a cold day in ...

It'll be a cold day in Granger when Harold get's around to replacing his sliding patio door. He knew in the spring that he probably should get it replaced. There was no major hurry though. By the time summer arrived, he was concerned about the heat. (Looking back, that probably would have been a better choice of year.) So he procrastinated till the fall. Late fall. It was October when he finally connected with a friend who sells windows and doors to suppliers. At the same time he connected with an individual to do the work. It was late October when he actually ordered the door. The initial estimate on the door arrival was two weeks. After a week a followup call revealed that it would be yet another week before the door arrived. As the weekend approached, the forecast continued to drop. The actual day of the door replacement, it was -4°C.

The door is now in. Fortunately the interior of the house didn't get any colder than 16°C while the work was being done.

There were some stickers on the window. I removed them. Then I opened up the warranty materials and find this.

Now really! Do they expect me to leave the stickers on the door windows? Did I void the warranty? Maybe if I pull them out of the trash and stick them back on the windows no one will know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Photo Flashback - Actor

The hills are alive!

My second major theatrical involvement occurred in my Freshman year of high school. Who knew I could sing. And if I could, what ever happened to that talent?

A number of years have passed, but I believe my recollection is clear. I played both boys in this production. Friedrich one night and Kurt the other. It appears from this picture that I was playing Friedrich this night. (I'm the one kneeling in the lower left)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The 6th Juror

After clearing security and glad I wasn't carrying any knives this day, I made my way to Jury room 124. There on the table was a number of pages stapled together with names highlighted in yellow and blue. Each prospective juror had to find their name and sign in. If your name was highlighted in yellow, you returned to the previous room to have a seat among 23 other prospective jurors. My name, highlighted in blue, had the number 6 beside it. My destiny had already come into alignment. Born the 6th day of the 6th month and now sitting in the seat for juror 6 it was becoming clear, 666, I was to be selected for the jury.

The grueling jury selection process began at 10:30. The first 14 jurors entered the box and responded to questions by the judge, prosecutor and defender. Two and a half hours later the dismissed 9 of the 14 initial jurors. I was the only male out of 5 that remained. After lunch a second group of 14 entered the jury box. One and a half hours later 7 more were dismissed. For the third round, 7 entered the jury box. Thirty minutes later the last two jurors were selected. We had now spent an entire day on jury selection.

Day two the last juror arrives right at 10:00 the appointed time. Forty five minutes later we enter the courtroom. Opening statements and our first witness get's things moving. As jurors, we also get to submit questions of witnesses after the prosecutor and defender are finished. Questions that may end up being rejected due to inappropriateness. Fortunately mine was appropriate unlike another jurors whose was not. Three more witnesses and 8 pages of notes (5x7) later we head off to the jury room to deliberate.

One juror volunteers to be the foreperson, the one who puts their name on the official verdict, and another actually leads us in the process through the 5 elements that needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubt for us to return a guilty verdict of attempted robbery. Eight by ten photos of the crime scene along with the victim were passed around. Obviously officers had not been trained in the art of photo composition. The sealed evidence folder with the defendant's watch and broken watch band inside was passed around. I wondered why DNA samples had not been collected from the watch to positively place the defendant at the scene of the crime. I guess it wasn't needed since the defender did not contest the fact that the defendant was there and had done a horizontal rumba with the victim. I with my 8 pages of notes was ready to argue the finer points as we deliberated, convincing that one juror to our side. Since we were all in agreement, there was no need to convince anyone of anything. We knock on the door informing the bailiff that we had reached a verdict. Thirty minutes later we are ushered back to the jury box.

Our job is now done as each of us are polled as to our agreement with the verdict. Then the judge informs us that the defendant has had two prior felony convictions and we are now entering into the second stage; the determination of whether the defendant is a Habitual Offender. As the two lawyers talk with the judge, I cast my eyes towards the defendant. My gaze is returned and he mouths something to me. Did anyone else see that? What did he say? Does he know my full name? I'm pretty sure he didn't say "Good job". I'm not really sure I want to know what it was that he said. That was the last time I looked directly at him.

The verdict on the Habitual Offender went quickly since it was straight forward. The defender didn't even address the jury. After being thanked for our service we went our separate ways. Me looking back over my shoulders to make sure one of the defendant's family members wasn't following me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photo Flashback - Actor

I was in 8th grade when I had what I consider my acting debut. It was the spring of 1966. I don't even recall how I, an eighth grader, ended up in a high school production. A musical none the less. Here I am far right.

I'm not sure how I end up in the center of the finale. It must have been my vocal talent. :-)

My brother-in-law, Mike Gans, is also in the cast. Right of center in the finale photo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photo Flashback - Flutist


Harold knows how to play the flute?

Harold played the flute in high school?

The tux and flute are borrowed?

Harold has played publicly before an audience?

This photo is from his first album?

This was part of a sketch he was in?

Harold does know how to play the flute. He took lessons in his late twenties. (This photo is from 1980) The tux was from my participation in a wedding. One of my most precious moments was playing a duet with my daughter Emily at church. I have never recorded an album.

Score of 5-6, you know Harold really well
Score of 3-4, you know Harold
Score 1-2, you should get to know Harold better
Score 0, This should be an impossible score due to the first two questions where you would have said that I didn't know how to play the flute but yet I played it in High School.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NOmonic Device

A mnemonic device is something that will help you remember something else. For me it's been things like putting my keys in a different pocket. When I realize they're in a different pocket I remember why I put them there. That's the way it's supossed to work.

Here I am 200 miles from home attending a funeral. A light rain is falling. Being the gentleman I am, I open up the umbrella and walk Barb from the car to the church. As I place the umbrella in a corner not far from the entrance, I realize that it may not be raining when we leave and something needs to be done to remind me that I have an umbrella to retrieve before leaving. I switch the pockets my keys are in.

An hour an a half later we leave the church. The rain has stopped. We walk to our car conversing with one of Barb's relatives. Upon arriving at the car I realize my keys are in a different pocket. Ahh. Turn my cell phone back on! Then as we slowly get into the car it hits me. I took an umbrella in there. Fortunately it didn't take as long to remember this as the last time I used this method in "Now What's That String for?"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Slice of Life

Barb turned 55 on Sunday. In preparation for her birthday dinner I was preparing ingredients for a salad. Radishes go good in a salad particularly if they are sliced thin. The best way to slice veggies thin is to use one of those Pampered Chef "Ultimate Mandoline" thingy where you slide the vegetable back and forth on it as it slices it. The one that has imprinted on it's plastic surface "Always use food holder to hold items being grated or sliced." Have you ever tried to use the holder with a radish? It's so much easier if you use your hand knowing that you will stop before...OUCH! If I were a cussin' man, this is where it would have occurred. I sliced the end of my thumb. I didn't cut it, I sliced it exposing what I believe were nerve endings. Why else would it hurt when I put it under running water? Well, that was the first radish. I found a way to do the second radish using the food holder. Now, I'm learning how to do things without using my right thumb.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Two (many) Scents

Scent 1 - I step in the shower and lather up with soap.
Scent 2 - Shampoo my hair.
Scent 3 - Put on deodorant
Scent 4 - Shaving cream
Scent 5 - Hairspray
Scent 6 - Cologne

It would be nice to not have so many competing scents to deal with.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blast From the Past

Circa 1973/1974 with Barbara Krake (eventually to be Rodgers). Taken on Bethel's campus, in the Acorn (which was then located in the lower level of Shupe).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rights Trump Life

Tom Brokaw interviewed Nancy Pelosi August 25th 2008.

MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you're looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, "Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?" what would you tell him?

REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator--St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child--first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There's very clear distinctions. This isn't about abortion on demand, it's about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and--to--that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who've decided...

From transcript on MSNBC's website

I don't think I would be wrong to summarize those lines as:
Q: When does life begin?
A: It doesn't matter, It shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.

I realize that there may be disagreements on when a "human life begins". But I would think that we would respect "that life" at the point at which we believe that it became a human life. If one said, that it becomes a human life at conception, I would expect that they would hold that life sacred from that point forward. If another said that human life begins at birth, I would expect that they would hold that life sacred from that point forward. But what I hear Nancy Pelosi say is that even if we were to come to a consensus on when human life begins, a woman should be able to terminate that life. I believe that crosses the line and that we are not far from justified infanticide as a right.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


When "My Man Mitch" leased out the toll road, I was among the many who didn't particularly like the idea. I'm thinking, "If someone else can make money at it, why can't we?" I'm not all that fond of toll roads. Haven't they recouped the cost of the road by now? I guess "Once a toll road, always a toll road". If anyone knows of a toll road that became a freeway, I'd be interested in hearing it.

It's been awhile since the toll road was leased and I've gotten over it. Then this spring Barb and I took a long weekend and flew out to Phoenix from O'Hare. What was I thinking? Was it really saving me money by driving to Chicago to catch my plane? I need to calculate the cost before I do that again. When we returned, the fares on the Indiana Toll Road had increased by 50%. What previously cost $2 now cost $3. I'm thinking now that it wouldn't take too many trips to recoup the cost of getting an i-Zoom. With the i-Zoom I pay the old rates. The materials though indicated there would be a $1 a month maintenance fee. There went any savings I had hoped to garner. I don't use it that much. Then recently I found out that the fee is waived if you have your account replenished from your checking account. With a trip to Wisconsin coming up, i-Zoom's reduced fare on the toll road and the Zooming through the Illinois tolls became attractive.

We left work that Friday at noon, I dropped off Barb at home and Zoomed over to the i-Zoom Customer Care Center which was a few miles away to get my handy dandy transponder which I would reluctantly attach to my windshield. As I was making the transaction, I heard them say "It will take up to two hours to become active in Indiana, and up to 48 hours in other states." Rats! That meant full tolls heading to Wisconsin and stop and go at the Illinois toll booths. But at least it would be functional when I returned...or so I thought.

On the return trip home I was gleeful as I Zoomed through the special lanes on the Illinois Tollway. I had no idea if it was working or not. Once through Chicago, I had the real test, the Skyway. Here there was a gate that would only lift up if your transponder was working. Bingo! Up it went. I was feeling good. Forty-eight hours and it was working in Illinois. As I approached the Indiana entrance to the toll road I got in the i-Zoom lane following the cars as the gate came down and went up as each car passed through. Finally my turn. I drove up and the gate stared at me. The machine to my left politely told me to "take a ticket". All my previous elation now drained from me. Not only was it more than "two hours" since I obtained my transponder, I wasn't Zooming through the booth. I was beginning to fume. We made an exit at Michigan City to visit the outlet mall. I handed my ticket to the attendant and then handed my transponder to him as well explaining the situation. They attempted to read the transponder to no avail. Full fare in cash please. I fume.

I hope beyond reason that when I return to the toll-road from our interlude at the Lighthouse Mall that my transponder and account would be working. I work with computers. I should know better. You don't keep hitting the submit button if it doesn't work the first time, it won't do any good. I approach the gate and a message appears, "Transponder not read". Well what's up? It knows I have a transponder. It worked fine in Illinois. Why can't it work here? "Take ticket." I'm fuming.

We finally arrive at our exit. Again I hand the ticket and transponder to the attendant. Still no read. Full fare in cash please. Give me a receipt please, I fume.

Monday I contacted the Customer Care Center and told them I was an unhappy customer and explained the situation. The lady on the other end of the phone could see where the transponder had worked between the Skyway and the toll-road west entrance and was perplexed. She said she would ask for an adjustment to my account and have the problem looked into. Saturday Barb used the toll-road and the transponder and the gate are now friends. My account still has not been credited. It's the principal. I guess it's time for another call.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tour de Wisconsin

What was I thinking?
For our 34 anniversary I wanted to go somewhere special. I look at southern Wisconsin revealed a number of rail-to-trail paths. The Elroy-Sparta trail is claimed to be the first of such trails. showed that the trip there would be 5 hours and 44 minutes. I rounded it down to 5 thinking that google was conservative in it's estimation. We didn't get away until 3:15pm Friday and by the time we hit Chicago it was time for the exodus from the city to outlying destinations and we crawled for what seemed to be hours. We finally made the Illinois-Wisconsin border and it was still daylight, but the daylight was dimming. The sun went to bed and we were still driving. Seven hours after our departure we arrived at our destination. Had my calculation been a seven hour drive, I probably wouldn't have planned it. Even at 5 hours 44 minutes, what was I thinking?

Saturday morning we drove from our accommodations in Hillsboro to Elroy. As we hung around waiting for the Trail Shop to open, I noticed all the other bikers were wearing their helmets. I began to feel the peer pressure to wear a helmet and I applied that pressure on Barb who eventually conceded to wear the helmet. I believe that in wearing the helmet we advanced our standing among serious bikers.

What was she thinking?
Finally we were on the Elroy-Sparta trail, a 32 mile trail from Elroy to Sparta. My plans were to bike midway to Wilton (15 miles) and then back to Elroy. Maybe even to Norwalk (21 miles). Round trip to Wilton and back would have been a 30 mile ride. Norwalk would have been 42 miles and the longest ride we would have ever done. The Elroy-Sparta trail had 3 tunnels. Two of them were a quarter mile in length and the third was three quarters of a mile long. Lights were recommended. I had planned to buy some lights but never got around to it. The trip to Wilton went well. We even made it through the first tunnel without lights. Bikers must walk bikes through the tunnels. Inside the tunnel the path was crowned and water dripping from the walls fed streams of water on either side of the path that were designed to take the water out of the tunnel. Barb's odometer turned 1,000 as we approached Wilton we lunched at Pies Are Square. Also a visit to the hardware store enabled me to purchase a flashlight. I now had determined we would go through the second tunnel and then on to Norwalk. Truthfully I had planned to go to the third tunnel (24 miles) and halfway into the tunnel before heading back to Elroy. Sparta was 8 more miles beyond the third tunnel. Barb thought, "What's another 8 miles?" (actually 16 round trip). I conceded thinking that we could do it with a break in Sparta and nourishment from perhaps some ice cream. The trip from the third tunnel to the Sparta end of the trail was all down hill. Unfortunately, the Sparta end of the trail did not end in Sparta, but short of Sparta. We had now biked at least 32 miles, more with the side trip into Wilton. No ice cream. Not even clean drinking water. What was she thinking? We now had an 8 mile climb back to the third tunnel where we would then get a little relief down hill. It was gruelling. Now we had envisioned Wilton where we would be assured of ice cream.

Left for dead
Barb's strength and her desire for ice cream soon put her out of my sight. With a mile left to go to reach the tunnel, I welcomed a small descent under a bridge, but something was amiss. Instead of being able to coast, I actually had to pedal. Something was not right. In the shade of the tunnel I examined my bike. I picked each wheel off the ground and spun it to find out where the drag on it was and to see what I might be able to do to fix it. I knew that I could not bike the remaining 25 miles in this condition. To my amazement, each wheel spun freely. The descent had been an optical illusion. I continued my trek. For all Barb knew, I could have been dead alongside the trail. I then heard her voice call my name. There she was, sitting in the shaded grass near a little hut that sold all the amenities bikers would desire on a long ride. Even ice cream. But our ice cream awaited us yet another 9 miles. We needed the incentive to continue.

We eventually made it to Wilton and enjoyed our ice cream. We were now a mere 15 miles from the end of the trail. Another 6 miles and we were going back through the first tunnel. This time we decided to ride the tunnel instead of walking it. This required my holding the flashlight with my left hand and peddling slowly while trying to light the path. Barb kept beckoning for me to slow down and warned that she thought I was too far left in the tunnel. I made an exclamation of surprise and warning. She took it to mean that I had definitely strayed too far left and was endanger of ending up in the stream. She countered by going to the right. Unfortunately she had been in the center of the trail. By the time she realized she had strayed to far right and attempted to put her right foot down to balance herself, there was nothing there for her foot to keep her upright. She had an encounter with the rough hewn wall and the stream. Her right arm was now almost totally incapacitated due to an injury to her elbow. Fortunately the three miles from the tunnel to Kendall were downhill. In Kendall she was able to clean her injury while I obtained antibiotic cream from the gas station, the only establishment in the town to sell such an item. The remaining 6 miles were unpleasant. But now we have the bragging rights for completing the Elroy-Sparta trail from one end to the other and back. My trip odometer read 69 miles as we approached our car. Never did we intend such a ride. Aside from the injury we suffered no other adverse side effects.

Friday, July 25, 2008

He ventured forth to bring light to the world

I enjoyed this piece and thought that I would share it with those who might read my blog. The original post can be found at Times Online.

He ventured forth to bring light to the world

The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the

Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.

Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.

But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Smell Of War

The king decided that he had little choice left but to enlist the services of Conibear The Mighty. He stationed Conibear at the entrance to the tunnel that Chuck of the Wood had made with the orders to kill anyone who dared pass in or out of the tunnel. It saddened the king that it had come to this.

Before long the report came to the king that Conibear had followed the kings orders. The king went to the southern border to verify that the report was true. The king found there the lifeless body not of Chuck of the Wood, but of his wife, Charlene of the Wood. The king was told by his advisor's that he should not release the services of Conibear and that Chuck of the Wood would likely come to the tunnel before long.

The war on the southern border seemed to be increasing. The king rested uneasy but knew that he could not back down or his kingdom would be over run. Why, later the same day that Conibear had fulfilled the kings orders, three of the enemy "of the Wood" had been seen in neighboring kingdoms.

As the morning sun prepared to rise on the kingdom, the king woke in his bed to the smell of war. He feared that another contingent had joined forces with Chuck of the Wood to lay siege to the kingdom. The king dressed as a pauper and journeyed to the southern border. On leaving the castle the smell of war was no longer in the air...until the king approached the border.

There from a distance he could see Conibear with another enemy in his clutches all but lifeless. The king knew that he must let Conibear finish the task and that any interference by the king could lead to dastardly consequences. Later that day, a coded message came to the king. "The kitty is dead". As the sun traversed the western sky, the king himself oversaw the burial of the one who had put up such a stink in battle with Conibear. The king ordered the tunnel filled and retired the services of Conibear.

May the dead rest in peace and their grave be un-desecrated. May there be peace on the southern border.

Thus it is written in the allegories of our leader.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

All Four One

It had been quiet in the kingdom of Heir-Olde for some time before the king noticed an intruder into the kingdom. The intruder was well adorned and quick on his feet. He on more than one occasion had peered through the big glass wall into the kings castle. This Munksketeer was soon to experience the wrath of the king. The king knew that a weakness of a Munksketeer was a certain delicacy. So he arranged to entrap him leading to certain death. What the king did not know was that the Munksketeers had a motto, "One for all and all for one". This though worked for his advantage, for not only was the intruder ensnared in his trap, three others as well. This pleased the king.

There had been During this same time, another attack on his kingdom was being waged. Chuck of the Wood had positioned himself just out side the border of the kingdom and had dug tunnels. The king feared that these tunnels would lead to his kingdom so he ordered that the 4 Munksketeers executioned be taken to the opening of this tunnel of Chuck of the Wood and placed there as a warning. The king fears though that Chuck of the Wood will not be deterred until war is waged and then enemy vanquished. A call is being sent out for one who will slay Chuck of the Wood. Who will come forth and take on this Whistlepig?

Thus it is recorded in the allegories of our leader.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Strawberry fields forev....

I was munching on some All-Bran Strawberry Medley cereal (Crunchy bran flakes & squares with granola clusters & real strawberries) and decided to read the box to pass the time. I'm sure that we all are familiar with the fact that the ingredients start with the highest percentage and then work their way down. So it's not surprising to see Whole grain wheat, Wheat Bran and sugar as the 1st three ingredients. The fourth item was a Berry flavored oat cluster which was contained "Strawberry flavored apples". Coming in number seven was the Freeze Dried Strawberries. I guess I was a little surprised to find the "Strawberry flavored apples" higher in the ingredient list than the strawberries themselves. I'm not even sure why they couldn't have used actual freeze dried strawberries in the Berry Flavored Oat Cluster instead of apples flavored to taste like strawberries.

It's amazing what you find out about the food you eat when you read the ingredients.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bike this way - Granger IN to Barron Lake MI

Since I had a vacation day to use before July 1st, I went for a bike ride with my friend John Gardner. For him, it was a normal daily bike ride. For me it was an above normal bike ride but by no means a very long bike ride. Two hours, 24 miles and 20 wellness points.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gee, I bought a movie...two

Now why would I buy a movie let alone two? I must be getting old. One reason to buy a movie is that I really like it and intend to watch it over and over. Another is that it could just be cost effective for me even if I only watch it once and I could watch it on my schedule without worrying about returning it. A third would be that it would be the only way I would be able to see the movie (French films aren't always in stock at the video store.)

I stopped by the Blockbuster near Notre Dame because I knew they generally had a large selection of previously viewed movies and some of them could tend to be foreign due to their clientele. Two movies for $20. I figure that the cost of gas plus tickets for Barb and I could easily exceed the $10 per movie if we saw it in the theater as a first run. Even if we saw it at the second run theater my cost could quickly eat up most of the $10. And if it's a foreign film that I would only be able to see at The Vicker's, I'm talking major cost savings even if I use my senior discount.

I happened to find two movies that I did feel worth a purchase, Ratatouille and Mr. Bean's Holiday. (Confession time. I already saw Ratatouille with my grandchildren at the second run theater.) A video purchase for the grandchildren is always a good expenditure of money. Not to mention the fact that I can now watch it possibly in French. :-) For any who might not be familiar with the movie, it is about a Rat in Paris that wants to be a famous chef.

Mr. Bean's Holiday I have not seen. I do like the Mr. Bean character and since this one takes place in France....

The intriguing item about these purchases though was that after their purchase I looked at their parental ratings. They both were G. I was astonished. I think that it is rare that a movie is created and ends up G. Some in the industry may think that the G rating would be the kiss of death for a movie so they would intentionally spice it up to get a PG or PG13 rating.

Well if you will excuse me, I have some special bonus features I want to watch on Ratatouille, another one of the reasons to buy the film rather than see it in the theater.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nine Moles Mine

It was 1850. Harold had traveled west to California where he would make his fortune in the Gold Rush. A gold vein had been struck and his mining ventures begun. The name of the mine would be Nine Moles Mine...oops. Wrong story.

The kingdom of Heir-olde was peaceful and plenty abounded. All who lived there had no want. But there were those who sought to destroy the kingdom and scar it. They sent moles there to spy out the kingdom. The moles would fill themselves on it's bounty and then return to send others there to ravage it. The king quickly tired of this invasion and posted a sentry in the south east region. The sentry's orders were to capture and kill those that would enter unlawfully there. Occasionally a mole would be captured and the king would preside over a quick trial where the mole had the opportunity to speak in his defense. Non were able to convince the king that their lives should be spared. It particularly irritated the king when a mole would escape the sentry. As the moles were executed, their remains were sent back across the border, but this did not stop them from coming. In this season the king proclaimed across the land "Nine Moles Mine, continue if you dare to spy out my land but be assured that your life will be required."

Thus it is recorded in the allegories of our leader.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Now what's that string for?

Most of us older individuals and maybe even some of you younger ones know what the string on the finger is. It's a method of remembering something. You look at the string on your finger which you know is not normal and you associate it with something that you wanted to remember like "buy eggs". There are variations on the string on a finger. I tried using a variation this morning. As I was getting ready to come to work, I remembered something that I wanted to do when I got to work so I decided I would put my id card, which is used to swipe in and open the door to my office area, in my left pocket instead of my right pocket. That way when I went to swipe in, my card wouldn't be where it was supossed to be and I would remember what it was I wanted to remember.

As I approached the building this morning, I remembered that I put my id card in my left pocket and that I had put it there to remind me of something, but I couldn't remember what it was. Oh well, maybe I should have wrote a note, called and left a message at work, sent myself an e-mail or used Jott.

As things normally go, I will be nowhere near my office when I remember what it was.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We don't have a button for that

"We don't have a button for that." That's the response Barb and I received at a local Subway when we attempted to redeem a coupon for a 10% discount for seniors. The Subway was located inside a gas station. I should have know better than to expect three young people to be able to run a gas station, make a sandwich and give me the advertised discount. It seems the only way these three young adults could give me my 10% discount was to do it through pushing a button on the cash register that would calculate the 10% discount and subtract it from the total. All they would have needed to know was a little math from grade school to do this. They would need to know how to multiply the sandwich value by .1 which is basically moving the decimal point one position to the left. Then they would need to know how to subtract.

Let's experiment. $3.97 * .1 = .39 (Okay, so it's actually .397 but I would allow them to truncate the fractions of cents) Now, $3.97 - $0.39 = $3.58. The didn't need a button, just a pencil and paper at the most. If they rounded the .397 up to .40 they should have been able to do it in their heads. But no, they needed the button that the proprietor had apparently disabled. Now, why would the proprietor disable the discount button and then advertise the discount?

Times sure have changed. Back in the early 70s I worked at McDonald's. I had many jobs during my tenure there at the "Golden Arches" on North Main St. in Elkhart IN. One of them was working the counter and taking orders. Back then we had a pad of paper and pencil to take the order and add up the cost. We then entered the total into the cash register, took the money and made change. The cash register did not tell us what the change should be, it only kept track of how much was added to the drawer. Times sure have changed.

If I were a mean sort of fellow, I'd go back to the Subway order the sandwich and then when they told me "We don't have a button for that." when I hand them the coupon, I'd tell them to keep the sandwich then.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Paging Passenger Rodgers

We had arrived at the airport in plenty of time to catch an earlier flight to Phoenix. At check-in I inquired as to whether we might be able to take the earlier flight. Not a problem, just pay a small fee for the change. I gave them my credit card. The agent worked her magic and gave me my receipt and new tickets. Barb and I were off and would be arriving in Phoenix two hours earlier than expected. While waiting in the seating area, I hear over the speakers "Paging passenger Rodgers". Oh no. What could have gone wrong. Maybe we weren't going to get the earlier flight now. As I approach the counter I see the ticket agent who changed our flights walking toward me. She holds up my credit card. !!! I had left it at the front desk. I hadn't even realized that I had not gotten it back. I wouldn't have known until the next day when I would have used it. Thanks Sophia.

On the return trip home we checked in and walked the long walk back to where we would board our flight. I left our carry-on with Barb and headed off to the bathroom. Just as I was about to take care of business I hear over the speakers "Paging passenger Rodgers". The timing was lousy, but fortunately this time it was just to assign us our seats.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

With Deals Like This

With deals like this, on a website that peddles overstocked items, who couldn't make money? Buy low, sell higher. But is it really wise to tell them that you're doing that?

Back in the 60's I was a crossing guard. The Beatles were the rage and there was no lack of fans during Beatlemania. Early on, I would buy what amounted to "baseball cards" except for the Beatles. Hard piece of gum and all. I would buy them for $.05 and sell them for $.10 to girls that came by my crossing. It worked pretty good...for a few days. It didn't take them long to find out that I was price gouging.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Take It For A Spin

I was in Meijer's last week and saw that powered toothbrushes by Crest were 50% off. They are called SpinBrush and normally selling for $5 and some change. So I picked up a couple of them. One was the ClassicClean and the other Slim. The ClassicClean has a round brush on the end that spins, but Slim looks like a normal brush that goes back and forth. Classic takes two batteries and Slim 1.

After I get home, I read the information included with the brush.
* It has a replaceable brush head. Cool.
* Batteries are replaceable. Cool.
* After every use, remove brush head and rinse thoroughly. Wait a minute. Why can't I just leave the brush head on and rinse thoroughly?
* Due to normal wear, it is recommended that the toothbrush be fully replaced after three months of use. Wait a minute. Replace the entire toothbrush in three months? Then why does it even have replaceable batteries? I'm not going to wear the batteries out that quick am I. Oh, wait, that's for the brush that doesn't have the replaceable brush head. Do you replace your regular toothbrush every three months? I don't. The dentist gives me one every six months, so I just use mine till I get a new one.

What I've found out since I've purchased them.
* I went back to purchase another Slim and almost all the Crest SpinBrushes were gone. It's like they were liquidating stock. I guess when you are liquidating you put stuff on sale for 50% off.
* The SpinBrush of Crest has been sold to Church & Dwight.
* It was Dr. Johns Products that developed the spinbrush not Crest.
* The round bristle on the end doesn't really spin. It "oscillates back and forth".

I'm so disillusioned I may just go back to my brush brush now that I've taken the spinbrush for a spin.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Want To Get Physical

You would think that you might be able to tell something about the job based on the Physical Requirements section of a job posting.

Physical Requirements:
Stronger than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Faster than a speeding bullet.

Those are pretty straightforward physical requirements. But what about the following that was recently posted with a job posting?

Sits, listens, sees and uses hands to grasp, handle or feel 50 to over 75% of the time.
Pulling, pushing, walking, carrying and talking are required up to 50% of the time.
Must be able to lift 0 pounds frequently and up to 40 pounds up to 25% of the time.
Must possess close, clear vision at 20 inches or less, ability to see and discern colors, peripheral vision and depth perception.

So, does the "uses hands to grasp, handle or feel" belong directly with the 50-75% of the time? I might want to know first what I'm grasping, handling or feeling before I commit to this job.

From the description, it seems that I'll be sitting, listening and feeling something half the time and the other half of the time I'll be pushing it, pulling it and talking to it. Maybe it's a parent to you, but it's not apparent to me.

And what's up with the ability to lift 0 pounds frequently? Anyone not able to do that?

Maybe it's the fault of government and regulations that require us to boilerplate our job descriptions so that our butts are covered if someone decides to stick it to us. But really, wouldn't the following be more helpful?

The ability to operate in a normal office environment. On occasion must be able to lift items weighing up to 40 pounds.

Then again, that's not as entertaining.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Birdie, birdie in the sky

Every time there is a bird in a direct vertical relationship to me this poem comes to mind.

Birdie, birdie in the sky.
Dropped some white stuff in my eye.
I don't cuss. I don't cry.
I'm just glad that cows don't fly.

The other day as I left the office to meet some previous co-workers for lunch I heard a flock of birds chirping. A little unusual for this time of year I thought. I looked up and ahead aways and there was what looked like a scene from "Birds" right above the sidewalk that I was headed down.

I wondered about the wisdom of walking under all those birds but thought, "they're just resting. It's when they take off that things begin to fly." As long as I didn't rouse them, I should be fine.

As I passed underneath, I felt something hit the top of my head. It wasn't an acorn. Something more in the form of liquid I thought. I didn't put my hand up there to rub it through the wet spot. What if it was bird poop? I trusted though that perhaps it was melting snow or something from the tree. It didn't feel thick enough to be bird poop.

Could you imagine though going to lunch with old friends with bird poop on your head? The waitress glancing occasionally at the top of your head. Then back to the office with your fellow workers.

That night as I brushed my teeth Barb asked, "what's that white stuff in your hair?"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

House, A Rest?

I'm now ending what has essentially been four weeks of "house arrest" and the irony is that the crime was committed against me. For the last four weeks it's like I've had an ankle bracelet that would notify the authorities if I walked any further than the mailbox. There were times early on I wouldn't even venture that far. Toward the end of the sentence I did receive some reprieve and was allowed to go out to a restaurant for a meal, chaperoned of course.

For most of this time, I have worked from home. Ah, the benefits of being in Information Technology and having a high speed internet connection at home. Many of you probably think that working from home would provide me a great opportunity for rest and major benefits. Yeah, I guess so. It certainly saved on the time I would spend getting ready for work. I could sleep in longer since I didn't have a 15 minute commute to work. I still showered, shaved and dressed for work. It was nice having a fully stocked kitchen nearby for a snack or lunch. The down side is that I didn't take up as much time in breaks. Usually at work, I would take a morning break. Not so here at home. I didn't have the 15 minute commute home from work, but that meant that I should probably begin preparing the dinner meal. So, working from home wasn't a big rest from work. It was an enjoyable experience under the circumstances but I am looking forward to getting back to a normal work environment.

Endnote: We have eliminated one of the usual suspects. Mon Bureau has been cleared of any involvement in my attack.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Usual Suspects

I was attacked and left barely breathing. My assailant came from out of no where and I didn’t see him. When medical professionals saw me they moved quickly. My hypoxic condition called for an immediate CT scan, blood work and bronchoscopy. Before I knew it I was in a hospital gown with family and my pastor around me. Would I make it? Was I on my way out? Soon they had placed a surgical mask on me and were wheeling me down the halls. Once we made it to the operation room, my mask came off and theirs went on. Soon the anesthesia had kicked in. Through the anesthesia I remembered struggling to breath and the nurse telling me to swallow. The end was near.

For the next two hours I babbled nonsense while Barb and her mom attended me. Despite my proclamations that I could drive home, Barb drove me home in my dazed state.

Now that I’m on my way to recovery, it’s time to identify my assailant so that appropriate action can be taken. The professionals indicate that my assailant was Aureo Basidium (Sounds foreign to me. I wonder if he’s an illegal.) and that he undoubtedly had an accomplice.

The usual suspects are presented to me.
Mon Bureau (sounds French)
Tannenbaum (German I think)
Nick Pallow (Sweedish)
Humi DeFier
Kahm Pohst
Woody Pyle

I recognized each of them and found it had to believe that one or more of them could have been an accomplice in my attack.

On a daily basis I’ve worked with Mon Bureau could he possibly have turned on me in recent days?

Nick Pallow a recent friend with whom I spend significant time. Could he have simply been gaining my trust in the months before the attack?

Humi DeFier one of Barb’s friends who initially stirred up some dust but had settled down prior to the attack after we had started serving him distilled water.

Kahm Pohst has been around for a couple of years, but we’ve never had him in the house and I’ve not spent any time with him since the weather has turned cold.

Woody Pyle has been around for years and we occasionally invite him in to share a warm fire with us. But it had been weeks prior to the attack that we’d had any contact.

Tannenbaum we invited to come live with us just after Thanksgiving. He was a welcome guest up until the day after Christmas when we kicked him out of the house. It was shortly after his departure that I was attacked. Unfortunately he was picked up for vagrancy and will probably not bee seen again nor will we have the chance to question him regarding the attack.

Aureo Basidium is most certainly the one responsible, but he could not have done it without an accomplice. He will never be caught, but if we could identify his accomplice we could keep him from another attack.

At this time there is not enough evidence to charge any of them as accomplices in the attack. From this point forward though I will be keeping a close eye on each of them and at the first indication they may have been involved I’m taking them out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

$15 Blanket

Back in 1997 we took what was our "last family vacation". This was before Emily and Andrea graduated college or became married. We spent a few days at Disney World. One of those days we spent at Epcot Center. At the end of that day we were waiting around for the final laser light show. Despite being Florida, it was getting cold. I slipped into the Mexican pavilion and purchased a $15 blanket which then all four of us huddled inside as we watched the laser light show.

During the last three weeks, this blanket has been my companion much of the time. I'm sure I looked the stereotype of a senior citizen sitting in my recliner with a blanket covering me.

Thursday we bought a $200 blanket. The thing about this blanket though is that it will only last ten days and then it's gone. Why would anyone buy a blanket that's only going to last 10 days and at the price I paid? I was told to. My pulmonologist prescribed an antibiotic that was basically a blanket to cover a multitude of possibilities.

I'm not sure anyone will really know if this $200 blanket will have done any good considering that it's probably a viral pneumonia that has plagued me. But I do know that my $15 Mexican blanket has provided me with warmth and comfort and will continue to do so long after my $200 blanket is gone.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Slow Motion

I remember as a young boy occasionally play fighting and we would go into slow motion while we continued the scene. It must have been an influence from tv. I don't imagine little girls had any such comparable experience.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been living life in slow motion. In fact much of the time as been spent in no motion. I have developed pneumonia of which the worst part is getting winded easily. The simplest of daily activities leaves me huffing and puffing to catch my breath.

I read where pneumonia can last 2-4 weeks and after two weeks I have not seen any improvement in getting winded. I continue to live life in slow motion. I'm hoping for a dramatic change one of these days. The sooner, the better.

During this time I have learned that many of those around me have also at some time struggled with pneumonia and can empathize with my plight. I in turn can now empathize with them.

Perhaps for me, this is the beginning of realizing that I am indeed getting old.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sleeping My Way To Weight Loss: Reality

Back in October of 2007 I put forward a theory that sleeping longer would lead to loosing weight.
Link to the Original post

Well, I have had the opportunity to test the theory and....It works! Since Tuesday of this week I have been getting an extra 4 hours of sleep per day. And I have at this time lost up to 6 lbs. Amazing! Unfortunately, it puts a cramp on making a living. Lest any of you think that I was just being lazy, I am having a bout with Acute Bronchitus. (I'm sure glad I got the cute one rather than the ugly one.) The best thing for this is rest.

Okay, so maybe the loss of appetite and minimal consumption played a part in it, but I think my theory is sound provided you don't overeat.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

HIGH def

Back in the 60's I remember seeing movie theater marquees lobbying against "Pay Television". I saw these and wondered "Who would pay for tv? It's free." Well, some 40 years later I'm one of those paying for TV. There was no way back then that I could imagine all the different offerings available via cable or satellite services.

Congress has mandated a move to DTV Feb. 17 2009. No longer are analog tvs being sold. Pretty much the only type of tv you can purchase is an HDTV. Now our cable and satellite services are charging more for their HDTV offerings. Somehow I'm feeling a little taken having to pay higher prices for HDTV.

Maybe we should just count it up to my old age.