Happy Saturday morning:

a bit of a weather thought:

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours” ~ Mark Twain

Yesterday I got up early to start the coffee and quickly follow that with a bracing 15-minutes of farming. Mind you, that’s an annual total of 15 minutes. The plan was to take advantage of mid-fifties in temperature to knock down and dispose of the 7-foot high stalks of elephant grasses in our yard. These dead stalks have provided that “certain” winter look to the yard and now must be made ready for the new spring growth.

Earlier in the week we had a day when it was 65 degrees, followed, a day later, by snow. Yesterday morning it was the pouring rain that stopped me in my tracks. Then it was some lovely sun in the afternoon. Today we’re in for an inch of rain followed by snowflakes later in the day. Monday it’s supposed to be 70 for the opening day activities as the Reds start their major league baseball season.

I’ve concluded that Twain was the best weather forecaster ever.

It’s my fault – Last evening my graduate school alma mater – Louisville – tried to get to the NCAA Elite Eight by fighting off their archrival, the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team. It was a lovely start to the game – for Louisville. By 12:30 this morning Louisville lost it at the free-throw line.

By then Marcia had been asleep for going on three hours. I crashed as soon as I hit the sheets. At 6:20 this morning I heard a loud and very obnoxious ‘boiiiiiiiing’ and could have sworn I had heard that sound before. Again, another ‘boiiiiiiiing’ rang out. From some deep recess it dawned on me that possibly, just possibly, my phone was running out of juice.

At that very moment Marcia leapt out of bed mumbling something about not appreciating my alarm clock. That’s how our day started, with an assumption that I’d let the phone run out of battery on purpose. Me, well I just staggered around after too short a night. But, on the bright side, Marcia made the coffee. Good morning everyone.

Flipper-bally-speakeasy_77190949LIt happens every week or two or three – that’s when I get motivated to explore the problem with our glorious Bally pinball machine. Yes, we have an early-eighties Bally ‘Speakeasy’ (feels like it was made in 1972) which is hugely fun to play; except for the fact that it’s stopped working. I’ve traced the problem to be occurring in the Head Box.

Additionally, the Head Box needs to come down to move the thing to the condo. So, the pressure is on. For too many months I’ve tried to get into that part of the machine with no avail. DSCF0526And, I’d assumed that the main problem was with the locking mechanism.

Yesterday I was, once again, exploring web sites for information. Only this time instead of looking at repair sites I was exploring moving pinball machine sites – they’re big, heavy, and quite fragile. It was as if a flashlight was turned on when I got several pages into one mover’s explanation. About thirty seconds later the puzzle was solved; the glass with its splendid painted scenes was out, the door to the guts open, and the bolts to remove the box visible. It was a very happy moment.

USPS – we all know about the financial difficulties confronting the post office. The reasons are myriad, from Congressional interference, antiquated work and pensions systems, to electronic mail.

Many companies have faced similar difficult times. Some have failed, while others have re-invented themselves and ended up thriving.

This week two things happened which will allow you to judge for yourselves whether or not the USPS will end up in the winning or losing column.

Number 1; this week I read that it’s come to light that there’s been serious abuse of employee’s use of the USPS issued credit cards for personal use. From shopping trips, hotel stays, and to even casino gambling. Stuff happens, but this is not good news.

Number 2; this week I received a piece of mail. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the photo I took that shows how it came out of our mailbox speak for itself.

Which column will you vote for; winning or losing?

DSCF0525

Animal Planet – There are few things that I find more obnoxious than walking about and seeing some characters loafing around streetcorners trying to hold up their saggy pants. In fact, I’ve been known to show off my less progressive side by occasionally blurting out one comment or other to one of the young fellows. Marcia hates it when I do that and so I do minimize my commenting.

Anyway, it was with some glee that I noticed that a number of Louisiana parishes have now banned saggy pants in public. However, the absolute best way to stop this stuff I happened to read in the comment section of the Louisiana article; “……..the best way to stop this trend is to encourage senior citizens to start dressing that way. When you see Grandpa’s drawers out above his sagging pants the kids will abandon the trend.”  I love it!

Fini – This week it’s wishing a very joyful Anniversary to Vince & Kirstin. Also, can’t forget that it’s a happy Birthday wish to bro Art.

If you are one of those people who must make the most of April Fool’s Day do so in a spectacular fashion. None of that lame stuff, the drippy coffee cup comes to mind.

Make it a great week everyone, stay safe.
Cheers.
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Good morning all:
Quote Of The Week:

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” — John Wooden (Basketball Hall of Fame coach)

I love spring as I have written previously, so won’t bore you more. It is just that now that the pear trees are in full bloom all over the city that I realize their blossoms are rather pungent. It’s really distinct, not subtle, and not the best thing that’s ever hit my nose. Actually, give me the smell of my morning coffee any day.

Last week I mentioned that we “have a nesting pair of American Kestrels in a nearby tree.” Wrong! Sorry, but I had only seen the birds fly over and by. It was our neighbor from across the street that called and pointed out what’s really going on. It appears that a pair of hawks have built a nest in the large tree in our front yard. Now that I know where to look it’s amazing to see these creatures swoop in on 4-foot wingspans. By size and markings they appear to be Red Tails.

Jason let me borrow his 8X50 binoculars with a zoom function and a tripod. Sitting here writing it just occurred to me that I should be amazed that I have not been reported as yet, sneaking from between trees through neighbors’ yards trying to gain a better line of sight of the nest. At least that will be my excuse. The next thing you’ll read about is me getting caught slinking about with night-vision goggles. Please back me up on my story.

After much research, last fall, I bought a used Folbot folding kayak. It’s a 17 foot 2-person boat, bought new by the previous owner, and is now thirty years old. It was lovingly cared for, but as you can imagine it does need some work. But hey, spring fever is in the air, and so I started on the project.

This model and style is still being built and over the years this model boat has been used extensively by Special Forces throughout the world. Additionally, expeditions have used it from exploration work in jungles to Antarctica. The fact that the 2-person model is extremely stable and can handle 720 pounds is a large part of why it’s been used by these groups. The load carrying ability is also perfect for folk my size. Folbots have a rich history. It is just that the price for a new one would have caused another major family “discussion.”

On two pages of written assembly instructions – each sheet being 22” by 17.5” – it is very clearly marked at the start that the world record for assembling a Folbot is 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Six hours after my start the kayak was recognizable as being a boat. I should point out that I lost a bit of time when, at one point, I had to stop for a tad to wash a wound and stop the bleeding.

The next time I assemble it, I’ll cut the assembly time minimally in half. The kayak bottom (read: critically important) section is absolutely sound. The decking repair is coming along nicely.

It would be a done project except for the fact that the rains came in. Also, I had to run back to the Home Depot to purchase their remaining supply of Marine Epoxy.

April 26th Adrianne and I will be walking as members of our fund raising team for The March of Dimes. Tevita is also practicing and Marcia claims that she’s ready. As Adrianne states so beautifully, “everyone has causes that are close to their heart and mine happens to be the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes’ goal is that one day all babies will be born healthy.”

Our youngest granddaughter came into the world at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces. For 103 days she was cared for in the hospital NICU. The incredible level of care our little “sliver” of humanity received means that our Vaioleti, today, at 6½ months, is a healthy and bouncing 12 pounds and 12 ounces—and she’s amazingly alert with no apparent health issues. Underlying the treatment knowledge base is all part of what the March of Dimes is about.

Alright, that’s enough for the build-up. We’re looking for support. Times are tough so the Ongolea/Pastoor team is looking for pennies – skip the dime stuff. On the other hand a dollar here or there will be just fine. We’ll have a great time walking (Vai will join us in a fully decorated ‘pram’) and a little support will just add to the event. You’ll recognize you’re on the right page by the great photo of Vai.

Make it a great week everyone. And thanks much.

Cheers,

Dirk

3/28/2009 07:56:00 AM

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