Friday, July 30, 2010

Is it Blogger or the Computer Store?

We got the computer cleaned and added some new power....so I check out the blog and see half the photos are gone....was it them or Blogger....

back after repairs to the site....

It was Blogger...what else is new? 

Baseball all weekend at the Dale Harter Tournament in Celina, my one Little League gig of the year....1 game last night, 3 today, and 3 or 4 tomorrow....sooooooooooooo, I'll be back on Monday, enjoy the weekend!

back later>>>>

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Road Trip 2011/12...Moonwalkers vs Mammoths

Some needed rain(considering how things looked back in mid June, never thought I'd say we needed rain by the end of July) came rolling through west central Ohio last night.  Most of the recent storms had by-passed this portion of Ohio and moved to the north, south, and west...heck!  East too....we just didn't get much.  A storm with some rain on Saturday night, but not enough to make the grass green, until last night when we received a couple of good storms and showers.  It was enough to delay the State ACME Baseball Tournament again, so they will move those games(postponed in the 2nd inning of game #1 last night) to this evening, and push the Championships back at least until Friday evening, and depending on outcomes, it may be until Saturday before we know a State Champion.  Celina still is alive and will play in game #2 tonight.

Sunflower Update_____

After the rains last night, I figured to walk around the back yard and beyond the aging wooden fence that surrounds the back yard of the property....a chance to see any limbs that were dropped by the storms(and there were some), pick those up and check on the condition of the blooming Sunflower population.  I planted 5 or 6 varieties, and a rouge wild plant also appeared...so far 4 types have bloomed, and another is about to.  The only one I have no seen hide nor hair of is the "puffy sunflowers"....no horticulturist am I, but I do appreciate the hardy Sunflowers.  During my time in Dodge City, Kansas, I marveled at the fields of them that dotted the farms and roadsides of southwest Kansas...plus they are so damn easy to grow and and take care of....they don't need much care.  Pull some weeds, pick off the plants that may be too close to the others, and watch them grow...fast!  I noticed the first "Moonwalker" has bloomed...as tall or taller than the Mammoths, the Moonwalkers grow multiple flowers on each stalk, and even though as tall, they are not as big or are the stalks as large in circumference....which lets them reach to the sky, them bend over when the flowers are in full bloom....

Our planned Road Trip for 2011_____

Patricia and I have decided, now that the kids are grown and on their own, even Anissa lives away most of the time, we will do some major traveling the next couple of Summers.

After retiring from the Environmental Health field in 2002, I spent the next 5+ years driving the highways of the country, delivering RV Motorhomes....if you count my Air Force years, I have seen 48 of the 57(right Obama?) States.  The only 2 I have not at least stepped foot or landed in are South Dakota and Montana.  Alaska I have to admit was only for a 15 minute stop over in my Sky Cop days.  Anyway, we have decided to take off for at least 2 weeks in late July through mid August of the next 2 summers to "see the USA".  The first year we will head west, then in 2012, we plan on going south then up the east coast towards New England, and back across the eastern Great Lakes area.

Although I saw much in my RV Driving, I really never got to stick around places for very long...time taken was money lost....I did hang out in Las Vegas on occasion, but for the most part, a few hours spent at any one location was not in the cards.   So next year, we will visit her folks in Wisconsin for a day or 2, then on to South Dakota, Deadwood, and Mt Rushmore, then head west through Montana, Idaho, and south to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, back to Colorado and the Rockies, Dodge City, and back east towards home....2 weeks to 17 days should do it.  Of course it all depends on cash, time, and health....and if the Kenyan Bastard in the White House hasn't locked down the country.

More on the trip(s) as I begin to see the plans come to clearer....

back later>>>>

Photos-The Wall Cloud from last night storms moves through Celina(looking north from our porch), The First of the "Moonwalker" Blooms...and Mount Rushmore, is one of the early stops planned for our 2011 Road trip through the west....The Marxist Sanctuaries of California, Washington, and Oregon, are not on the vacation agenda, but most of the other states west of Ohio are.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jumping into politics...for just a minute/Obummer The Snake Oil Salesman

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been staying away from talking much about politics of late on this blog....for the 100 or so folks that stop by here per day, you already know where I stand.  That being somewhere to the Right of Attila The Hun.

But I did want to reinforce this morning just what a snake-like crooked son of a _______ our Kenyan President is(don't be shocked, I'd say the same thing to the bastards face if I ever was given the chance).  The latest news in circulation for the past couple of weeks is the rumor that Obummer and Company stole the Democratic Primary from Hillzilla Clinton.  Now this does not surprise me one iota, nor do I care.  For you folks that look at not electing Hillary over Barry as a lost opportunity...I say "Get Over It"!  Hillary and Billy are just as left and just as corrupt as The Obummer.  So even if the following Fox News report is true..I don't care...one corrupt Marxist or the other corrupt Marxist...What the Hell is the difference?


Left Wing is Left Wing...and both Obama and Hillary are...both a couple of crooked snakes in the grass, one as evil as the other.  As long as those that support either of these ideologues, are in the majority of people that vote, the former Republic known as the United States of America is in deep dung.

ACME Baseball___

I headed to Eastview Park last night as the loser's brackets continued in the State ACME Tournament.  My 2 partners from this Spring's High School Districts(and Regional), Mark Weidenhammer and Bob Grubaugh, were working the games...Host Celina came from behind to defeat Napoleon 3-2 in the first game, and Lima Shawnee was eliminated by Vandalia in the nightcap 11-6...those two will face off tonight in another elimination game, after the winner's bracket final between Anthony Wayne and Perrysburg.  Things will wrap up on Friday Night...and that will be the day Sam and I begin our last weekend of baseball for another season, working the Dale Harter Memorial Tournament on the other diamonds at Eastview.

Politics and Baseball....now that is a strange mix, and enough for today.

back later>>>>

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's still a Jungle out there!

"It's a Jungle Out There", I could be talking about politics, Obummer the Kenyan's evil mind, or our nitwit left wing media that worships his sorry ass.  I could be talking about the Islamic Trash that wants to infiltrate this nation and eventually make it like those dumps that they run(into the ground), or I could be talking about inner city America, which have become cesspools of violence, poverty, perversion, crime, and mayhem.  But nope that crap is too depressing...so I'll stick with my summer time theme, away from politics and terrorism, and instead write about my mundane life of baseball umpiring, and keeping the flowers growing, and trying to stop the weeds from taking over the yard in it's entirety.

With no baseball until Friday at the Dale Harter Memorial in Celina....I've got to shift my thought process a bit.  So yesterday I wandered around our large city lot....not big by living in the country standards, but large enough so this corner lot with fence, trees, and shrubs can house not only flowers, but weeds, and rouge trees by the hundreds....so for the second time since winter ended, I headed into the shrubs to fight the dreaded rouge Maples...what a mess!  I spent the next 2 hours or so, cutting back on the Maples, most with roots and circumference to large to pull out of the ground, so I just looped them off, as close to the base as I could...it still made an impressive pile.

Meanwhile the 5 or 6 varieties of Sunflowers I planted are starting to grow at a quicker rate.  When I planted them back in early May(later than most folks), I didn't bother to mark or make note of where I planted what...so except for the Mammoth species, I guessing as they come up to what is where.  I have figured out the Mexicans, and the Moonwalkers, but the rest I will have to wait until the actually produce blooming flowers. So that will be my week...the rain we had over the weekend was still not enough to get the grass into mowing size...just a few weeds to knock down.  So both our and mom's yards will have to wait until a few more sprinkles hit, before getting the mowers out.....

For now I will continue to ignore politics, why bother?  It just pisses me off anyway, and as I said before, life and God will sort this son of a bitch named Barry out, sooner or later, and may he help the fools that support him and his corrupt, Marxist policies....just lock, load, and be aware of the evil that he and his subordinates are bringing to this republic.

back later>>>

Photos-top>not sure what variety this one is, it appears that I will find out soon enough.  And the brush pile that I gleaned out of the "shrubs" that act as a private border from the duplex apartments east of my yard.  The Wild and the Mammoth, as well as the Mexicans(fighting the weeds) continue to bloom...

And if you are really bored, or have time to burn, click on The Official View(on the right side), and read the latest about umpire work in the rain and lightning.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday....Monday

Really? Monday...Monday, is about the best I could come up with.  Nothing going on this Monday that sticks out and makes me want to shout "It's Monday!!!".

Sam did 11 baseball games from Thursday through Yesterday at the Minster Tournament, I did 6 between Minster and the State ACME Tournament in Celina....but not without a rain maker moving through causing a delay in the final game Saturday at Celina.  Garry and I finished that one up yesterday morning.

After working with Sam at the Pony Tournament games in Minster on Thursday and Friday, it was my turn to do games 3 and 4 of the ACME(Summer High School Varsity Baseball) State Championships:

http://www.acmebaseballcongress.org/STATETOURNAMENT2010.pdf

With GM behind the plate we had a quick moving game in the heat and wind of the afternoon....1-0 Perrysburg with the lead over Lima Shawnee heading into the bottom of the 7th.  The Jackets could have led by more, but a few scoring opportunities were left in the wind, and Shawnee then tied the game in the bottom of the 7th....an inning they, despite scoring the tying run, had two runners tossed out at the plate, costing the Indians a shot at winning.  Perrysburg pushed across 3 runs in the top of the 10th to secure a 4-1 win.  Thus the game that looked to be 90 minutes long, ending up being a 2 and 1/2 hour contest.

That extra length allowed a heavy rain making cold front to settle just north of Celina...lightning came as I went behind the plate...so I called time, and we delayed 45 minutes.  3 more starts and stops for either lighting or heavy rains, put us at 10:30pm and we killed the game in the bottom of the 1st with Napoleon leading Piqua 1-0.  The postponement caused me to cancel my game at Minster in the morning, working with Sam...but they found a replacement, and Garry and I were back at the artifical turf at Eastview Park for a 10am resuming of the Piqua-Napoleon contest.

Despite another rain delay in the bottom of the 7th, we finally finished up at about Noon, with Napoleon holding on to a 7-5 victory, and moving on to the winner's bracket.  4 more games were played, with both Celina and Shawnee pulling out wins in the loser's brackets, and staying alive.  Bellfontaine and Piqua were eliminated.   With six teams left, two undefeated, the tournament resumes Tuesday, and will finish up Friday.

As for me and Sam, we will help out again this coming weekend with the Dale Harter Memorial Tournament in Celina, and then put away the umpire gear, and get ready for football officiating season to begin.

Celina Lake Festival wraps up_____

Despite all the bad press from the Algae Bloom that has all but put Grand Lake off limits to swimmers, fisherman, and boaters, the Lake Festival went on....The Fireworks got in on Friday Night, and the Grand Parade beat the storms into Celina on Saturday.....it was hot, and I've gotta be honest, with baseball taking up most of my weekend, I didn't make it uptown to partake in any of the activities.

Hal was home for part of the weekend, and went to see what was happening...he said the crowds were down, probably due to the excessive heat index of 104-f....the Antique Car Show was smaller as well.  Guess I'll wait for the Daily Standard to come out this afternoon to get the real scoop and what actually happened.

Sunday wrapped things up, and after some light rain in the morning, the skies cleared and the humidity went down....that won't last however, as the rain(we could still use some), heat, and humidity, are due back by tomorrow and Wednesday.

That's a wrap....for what little there is...

back later>>>>

Friday, July 23, 2010

Celina Lake Festival and Baseball

The final full weekend of July is upon us, and despite the heat, humidity, and Algae Bloom on Grand Lake, the show will go on.

The Lake Festival in Celina kicks off today, with the huge fireworks show at 10 tonight, and the Grand Parade tomorrow...this, and the State ACME Baseball Tournament will take place in mid 90 degree heat and humidity to match...there also may be a strong thunderstorm or two roll through, before the Festival wraps up Sunday afternoon.  The ACME Tournament lasts through next weekend, with the eight District Champions doing battle in the double elimination format.  Garry Mosier and I have games 3 and 4 of the tourney tomorrow afternoon starting at 5, which of course could all change if the storms that are currently pounding Wisconsin come this way.  I just talked with my father-in-law in Oconomowoc, and he said they had 7 inches of rain yesterday alone, along with a hail storm.  They are expecting more for today and tomorrow.

Sam, home from Columbus for the final baseball fling of the season, and I had our opening games of the Minster Youth Baseball Tournament last night...the humidity stayed up, but a breeze and clouds help make it bearable.  This evening we might not be as lucky...it appears that the heat will stay, but no clouds to block out the blazing sun....the rain may come late tonight or tomorrow.  That would have the potential to throw a monkey wrench into the whole weekend of activities.  Sam has four games at Minster tomorrow, and 2 or 3 on Sunday, while I finish things off there on Sunday morning.  Next weekend the Dale Harter Memorial Tournament in Celina will end our baseball work for the summer.
Here is the lineup for the State ACME Tournament(with me slated for the 5pm and 7:30pm games on Saturday)http://www.acmebaseballcongress.org/STATETOURNAMENT2010.pdf

I may pop back in over the weekend if things warrant, otherwise, I'll be

back later>>>>

Photos-Grand Lake, despite the Algae Bloom scare, still looks good in certain places, and ACME Baseball calls Celina "home" for the upcoming State Tournament this last week in July.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Search of the Grand Lake Ohio Killer Algae

For the last 6 weeks or so, the talk around this area of western Ohio has been Grand Lake and the warnings put out by the Ohio EPA and Ohio Dept of Natural Resources(ODNR) for the toxic algae that has invaded the 13,000 acre lake.  At one time Grand Lake St. Marys was the largest man made lake in the world...hand dug by thousands of workers in the first 1/3 of the 1800s, it began as a feeder for the famous Miami-Erie Canal.  After railroads took over most of the moving of goods and equipment, the lake eventually became a hot spot for tourists and fishing.
The lake for years was dotted with cabins and recreational summer parks....that all changed when the lake became a central sewer district in the mid 1980s.  The development companies got their greedy hands on the property, destroyed wet lands(while paying small fines), and built gated communities and high end houses on the lake, it became an expensive, high property taxed recreational area.

The two things that never changed were farm waste runoff and the shallow depth of the lake....Algae blooms have destroyed the fishing in recent years, this years massive Blue/Green Algae outbreak has basically killed the tourism, boating, and fishing, around the lake, and put a massive crimp in the economy of the 2 main towns on Grand Lake...Celina and to a lesser extent St. Marys.

In search of the Algae Bloom_____

Yesterday I headed over to Nick's on the south side of Grand Lake....Nick's parents moved over that way from Celina back in the mid 1970s when he and I were down living in Athens and attending Hocking Technical College.  When the parents passed away, Nick and his sister took over the 10 acres and now have 3 houses on that and a nearby property...Nick has been a Lake Rat for a couple of decades now.

Nick had taken a day off work, and we sat with his dog in the open air of the garage, smoking a cigar and popping the cap on a first beer....well it was about 1pm and I certainly didn't want to spend the day drinking beer...well at least not in one spot, so after some thought, we decided, against EPA and ODNR warnings(not orders) to take his Pontoon out and about, hit a few bars and see if we could photograph the "Killer Algae Bloom"...5 hours and at least as many beer later, we were back in his garage, I was waiting for Patricia to pick me up(I wasn't about to drive the Jeep with a 6 pack in me, even though it was over a 6 hour or so period), we had discovered that the main lake was algae free, and to me, it looked and smelled much like it did when I first saw Grand Lake on a summer vacation to Celina, 50 years ago, in August of 1960.

In 1960 we were living in Venice, Florida, when on our summer trip, we stayed with our old family friends Jon and Sharon Swoveland, in Celina for a few days....some 2 plus years later, dad had purchased the Celina Marathon Service Station on Main Street, and we were back in Western Ohio.  Dad's station was 2 blocks from Grand Lake, and I fished that place over the next 5 years whenever I got the chance....Algae Bloom or none, the lake looks little different than it did back in those days.  Except for the Condos and over development.  The Algae outbreak was bad a few weeks back, but the media and state bureaucrats have decided to make a mountain out of a mole hill....and the fragile economy(thanks in most part to incompetent Celina City Mayor and Officials) is in deep trouble.

Aftermath_____

In my humble(humble my arse) opinion, the perpetrators of the farm runoff that has caused the bloom should be tried, convicted, and fined heavily....it is also my opinion after being out on the lake for 5 hours or so yesterday, the problem is going away, and the OEPA, ODNR, and the Media need to cease the scare tactics and horror stories....it isn't that bad...it still looks and smells like 1963 to me.  Except for those damn gated communities, condo, and destroyed wetlands.

I just noticed that this is post #800 for this Blog, and next week will mark 3 full years of posting.
Milestones, milestones....
Photos-Nick with his turn at the controls, and the lake...does it look that bad?  The wildlife doesn't seem to worry about it, a large swam swims along without a care near Duck Foot Landing, and the setting sun as our day on Grand Lake comes to and end.  No Killer Algae Found!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Canning News!

Yep, that's how slow things are around these parts are, as the Summer lingers on.  The wife has been busy with this years canning of preserves and veggies....and right now she is in the upstairs bathroom ripping the 20 year old wallpaper out of that, so she can paint the bathroom and vanity.  She has a little more 'git up and go' than yours truly, to say the least.  So while she cans and paints, I pretty much sit around and wait for the next round of games, baseball games that is.
Last night I headed over to Coldwater to take in the District ACME games...Celina faced off against Minster in the Winner's Bracket final of the double elimination tournament, with the C-Bulldogs coming out on top 9-7 after surviving a furious comeback by the Minster squad.  In the nightcap, the hometown Coldwater Cavilers, coached by my old buddy Tommy Brunswick, roared back to eliminate St. Marys 11-8, by scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 6th to end the Roughriders season.  This sets up another elimination game at 6 tonight with the Co-Champs of the MAC from the spring high school season matched up against each other...Coldwater faces Minster, with the loser going home and getting ready for football, and the winner playing a second game this evening against Celina. The Bulldogs need only 1 win to advance to the ACME State Tournament this weekend at the Bulldogs home field.  Whoever wins the elimination game will need to defeat Celina tonight, then come back and beat them again tomorrow night...not an easy task, but it has been done before.  If Celina's Bulldogs win tonight, the District is over.

Speaking of the State ACME Tournament, Garry and my games on Saturday are set(unless the rain, which is predicted for all week and most of the weekend comes to fruition).   We have games #3 and #4 of the tournament.  In our opening game, Lima Shawnee goes up against Perrysburg from the Toledo area at about 5pm, then in the final of the opening days 4 games, I'll take the plate as Piqua takes on Napoleon.  This, as I have mentioned, is right in the same time frame as the Lake Festival is in full swing, and the Grand Parade is going on in Celina....the town should be a mess, especially considering the shape the streets(from road construction) and lake(from the smelly algae bloom) are in.

Back to Patricia's canning and painting....

The bathroom upstairs is in a full fledged war zone mode, as she takes the paper and extra glue and old paint off...lucky for me, I seldom use that one....I have my downstairs john, and the shower in the basement.  In fact the last time I can remember using the bath/shower upstairs was when I was soaking the pain in my side while in the preliminary stages of my appendix blowing out some 7 years ago...for the most part, the basement shower has been the boys(when they were living at home) and my private stall....nothing fancy or fresh, but it does the job, and you can take all the time you want, with nobody knocking on the door to get in.

Canning wise, she has done up 4 types of  jams/preserves, including Peach, Strawberry, Raspberry, and a Strawberry/Rhubarb combination.  And this week began on her Green and Wax Beans, and some peas as well....always good eating in the winter months.

That will do it for the day....back later>>>>

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mexicans! And a Medical Checkup

Mexicans!

Nope, not talking the folks that climb the fence or swim the Rio Grande in search of the American Dream, you know, getting benefits illegally, selling drugs, gang wars, or those that just come to pick the veggies or take care of "Joe Upper Crust's" lawns...I'm talking about Mexican Sunflowers....

I planted about a half dozen varities of sunflowers this year, from the Evening Mix, to Puffys, to the usual Mammoth.  Throw in the 30 bud wild one that sprang up in the mix, and I've tapped into quite a few different selections.  So far, the wild plant has started to get going, the big daddy mammoth are ready, but the rest are slow at the gate.  Probably because of the wet spring, and a lack of sun where I have those planted(will try some alternate locations next year).  The one variety I was most interested to see grow was the Mexican Sunflower.  The plant looked different, and the flowers were a unique color for Sunflowers..well my first "Mexican" arrived this weekend, and you can see what it looks like in a couple of photos...Orange is the color of choice in this legal variety of Sunflower.

Meanwhile as I wait for the large ones to come out, the wild Sunflower plant that arrived ahead of my plantings, has 8 flowers in full bloom, out of the two dozen or more that have attached to the 9 foot high stalk.

More photos on the way soon.....

6 month checkup____

I headed for Minster and my Doc's office this morning for my 6 month check up...the results took about 5 minutes.

Blood Pressure was 124/74...not bad for a 61 year old, especially considering that last year it stood at about 155/85.  Weight is now at 187 with indoor clothes, last September it was 211...looks like 25 pounds gone to me.  And my resting heart rate is 61, same as my age....the blood sugar was not even checked, because of the good readings from February.  So, as of right now, despite a summer of beer and a few cigars...things are looking good!

back later>>>>

Photos-Top The Mexican Sunflower #1 that has popped up in the back yard...and the 'rouge' Wild Sunflower that was dropped off by a bird or thunderstorm is going great guns, as it sets in-between the numberous Mammoth Plants.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Road Trip to Cripple Creek July 1980


The rain on Friday Night for the most part missed the Celina area...just when it looked like the storms was going to hit us head on, the mass of Radar reds and yellows dissipated as it came across the Indiana-Ohio State Line. We had plenty of rain in the Spring through mid-June, and we are not in a drought, but we could use some rain, and tomorrow looks like the next chance...meanwhile the heat and humidity continue unabated. In an officiating lull I'm off the baseball diamonds until next weekend, when I will alternate between the State ACME Tournament(Summer High School Baseball in Western Ohio) held here in Celina, and the Minster Youth Tournament, where Sam and I help out each year in the Pony(14-15 year old) Division.

Around town, the Celina I.C. Parish Festival is this weekend...it's only a couple of blocks away, but I have not been to it in several years....we bought a couple of tickets for the new car raffle, but that may be the extent of our involvement. Next weekend, despite the OEPA and Ohio DNR warning on Grand Lake activities, the Celina Lake Festival will go on...in fact as the large parade hits the streets(our torn up streets, what a mess this city has become) next Saturday evening, Garry and I will be doing a first round double header at Eastview Park in the ACME Tourney.

Road Trip Summer of 1980____

On occasion on this blog I write about various crazy road trips that the gang I hung around with in the mid 1970s took...crazy we were, we would pick up after the Red Door closed for the evening and just go...Kansas, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin....Tester, Schilling, Olson, Hromish, others, and I would just pick up and go...whether for 24, 48 hours, or a week or 10 days. Once Patricia and I married and we made our move to Wisconsin, the "Road Trips" off the cuff pretty much came to and end for the next few years.

Rick Pearson was my best man at our wedding in 1976, and I returned the favor in 1981 when he was married in northern Indiana. We were roommates so to speak for awhile in college, living in side by side rooms with a shared bathroom in 1976 for a couple of quarters at Ohio University. We still get together four or five times per year, and as I mentioned on last weeks blog, I was up at his and Toni's new place just last week or so ago. Anyway, Rick had made a few "rock" trips(him being a Geology major at Ohio U) west in the mid and late 70s.....so when Patricia and I decided to return to Celina from Dodge City in 1980, it gave Rick and I a chance for a road trip out west.

When we were getting ready to move back home, my 1976 Jeep Cherokee had a Universal Joint go out...so Patricia and Anissa flew to Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, while I drove the AMC Hornet to Ohio with the Airedales, and some of the belongings...leaving the Jeep for a return trip to Dodge City, to get it, and the rest of the belongings.

I needed a co-driver in late July, 30 years ago,  to go with me to Western Kansas to pick up the Jeep and belongings...Rick had some time off and we packed up my brother Mike's Ford Pickup, and headed west. A couple of coolers full of ice, beer, and sleeping blankets, and we were off to Dodge City, and then on to Colorado, for our "Road Trip".

Now Kansas is hot and dry in July, to say the least, and 1980 was typical...when we pulled into Dodge City, the Jeep was not quite ready, so we decided to drive the two wheel drive Ford into Colorado where the Rockies beckoned us....now we really had no set plans, just seeing some sights(I regret not taking a camera, we would have gotten some excellent shots)...and that we did. We pulled into a small city called Canon City, located on US 50 about 20 miles west of Pueblo. We checked out the Royal Gorge some 10 miles west of town, liked the view, and then and only then did we decide that Cripple Creek and Pikes Peak seemed like good spots to do some sightseeing, drink some local beers, and pan for a few grains of gold.

We pulled back into town, filled the pickup with gas, and asked the attendant the best way to get to Cripple Creek, without heading back the main drag(US 50) and taking the pavement highway, to the mostly(at that time) abandoned mining town. He tells us the scenic route is Shelf Road or Red Canyon Road as the locals called it...we figured, what the Hell? We might as well give it a try...it wasn't dark yet, and we had plenty of time to make the 25 mile gravel road trip to Cripple Creek.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwVavtDBZ9E&feature=related


I'm not sure if the old guy was being funny, but Shelf Road was hardly a route one would take unless they knew the area...basically a one lane gravel road winding around the mountain pass, along the Fourmile Creek, north towards the town of Cripple Creek. Like I said, I wish we had taken a camera, because the photos posted are taken from other sources. The 300 foot and more drops along the way were spectacular...and made for just a little nervous driving. We pulled into town as darkness fell, stopped in a local watering hole where the clients treated us well...drinking our share, with Rick buying a couple of bricks in the wall to sign, we headed back south after a couple hours on the same road...now don't get me wrong, no way at night, after drinking beer, was I going to try to drive back to Canon City, especially no Shelf Road, we just wanted a place to stop and sleep in the back of the covered pickup, and take in the mountain air. Here is a YouTube trip along Shelf Road...with the camera at wheel level: It gives you a great feeling of the road:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS1Krc8YbpA

After staying the night along the creek, we awoke to a late July temperature of about 35 degrees in the mountains...and like two 30 year old dumb asses, we jumped into the creek to 'wake up'...that did the trick, it was cold, damn cold. We cooked breakfas,t and after that, being sober as a couple of Methodist ministers, we headed towards Pikes Peak....If I recall we made it half way up that road, and decided a two-wheel drive pickup, 8 cylinder or not, was not meant in stock condition to make that climb...but we had seen enough. It all-in-all was a great trip...

The Shelf Road was built in 1892, about the same time as the area went from boom to bust, and then back to boom in the tourist/yuppie days of the late 20th Century. As for me and Rick, we hit it at just the right time...1980, 30 years ago this week, Cripple Creek was in it's "bust days"...and we enjoyed the heck out of it. We headed back to Dodge City, the Jeep was ready to go...Rick drove the Cherokee, I navigated the pickup, we filled the cooler, and headed back towards Celina. My days of moving around the country during my Radio Broadcasting Career came to an end....and I have lived back in Celina now for 30 years.

Patrica and I plan on taking a long road trip west the end of next Summer...Cripple Creek? Perhaps, the Shelf Road? Not a chance...I'm content with the memories of that road, 30 years ago this month.
Back Later>>>>
Photos- Me and Pearson on the day of Patricia and my wedding in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, in December 1975....Map of the Shelf Road between Canon City and Cripple Creek. 2 photos along the Shelf Road, and one of the view over the Royal Gorge, where Rick and I stopped before heading north to Cripple Creek.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sam's New Ride


A few weeks ago, I wrote and posted a photo of oldest son Sam's run in with a Deer and his Toyota near his place in Columbus....we were hopeful that it wouldn't be totaled, but it was, and after the settlement from Nationwide Insurance, he didn't feel so bad about losing the 2000 Toyota, even though it had been purchased  only 5 months or so before.



The settlement seemed generous enough, and while Sam was away umpiring down in the Columbus area and driving my old Intrepid...I began looking at a few cars, that I thought he might be interested in....I mentioned on in particular to his mom. By the time he received his check and had returned home, the 2001 Nissan Altima was still on the small dealership lot, and he went looking. Despite having 130,000 miles on it, the car appeared and drove like it was well taken care of. After some back and forth, Sam got a price that seemed far to all of us(some $1500 below retail Bluebook) and yesterday he made the purchase, and is back in Columbus with his new vehicle.

To tell the truth, if he hadn't bought it, I might have...it is a nice car with everything from A/C to CD Player/Radio working in good fashion. Best part is, I get the old 1995 Intrepid back, and with putting new tires on the back of the Jeep Wrangler this morning and having the exhaust fixed, my 2 cars appear ready for the fall and Winter months to come.

The 4 family vehicles, the 98 Jeep, the 95 Intrepid, Patrica's 2000 mini van, and my old 1977 Buick are all paid for, and all(even thought the Buick is parked) running....they all have well over 100,000 miles, except the 33 year old Buick, which believe it or not, has only 62,000 on it, still with the original engine. I love having all the cars paid off and running...Patricia is planning on buying a newer vehicle this coming Spring...as for me? I hope to have the 3 others for the rest of my days.

Funny, when you get my age, there is no ego in having a "new' ride....ever the cheapskate, I like mine paid off, leaving money for other toys and entertainment.

back later>>>>
Photos-The 2001 Nissan Altima replaces Sam's Deer destroyed 2000 Toyota Corolla

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Out of the Fog.../Fox News Cat Fight


Once the morning fog lifted, the heat and humidity came back with the sun....took a morning walk...hey, that is about it until I head for Ohio Northern University in Ada, this afternoon for a summer college baseball game....here are some Foggy Photos...







Enjoy....
oops....


Game Cancelled....one team didn't have enough players...let's see 95 degrees, 80% humidity...am I upset? I don't think so....I kick back with a few cold ones and a cigar later....

Photos-The sun trying to burn off the morning fog around Celina....and the spider webs in the Ivy surrounding the house, have the morning fog attached.

Fox News Babes Face Off:

Yesterday Patricia had Fox News on, I just happened to catch Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly talking about the racist assholes known as the "New Black Panthers" and the BS they had pulled during the 2008 Election. The only thing "New" about these Panthers is that they are alive...the Old Black Panthers are for the most part, dead and gone...it will a sweet day when these clowns join them:

Anyway Megyn had Fox News Contributor and Obama lapdog, Kirsten Powers, on talking about the situation, and when Powers did her usual excuse for The Obummer Administration, Kelly let her have it, and a Cat Fight of great entertainment, was on:


Nothing better than watching a couple of good looking women do battle...even though this one was just verbally....

Megyn Kelly>>>>Another good looking Conservative the left cannot stand...but Hell, if my heroes were low IQed skanks, like Michelle Obama, Hillary Klinton, and Nancy Pelosi, I'd hate good looking, right leaning, women to.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer moves along

Usually by about mid January I am sick and tired of cold weather and winter in general...the Spring is always slow to arrive in Ohio, and once it does, it is usually windy with rain and the continued cold. By the time things improve in the middle of May...I am glad to see some sunshine and warmer weather. However in Ohio, you never know how long the Spring conditions last before the heat and humidity make one long for Fall.

Last year, the Summer remained cool with low humidity throughout the duration...this year? Not so lucky...it got hot, humid, and stayed wet through June, and with the exception of a day or two respite...it has been pretty miserable to be outside, at least during the daylight hours. Here it is heading into the middle of July, and I am looking forward to Autumn.

Growing up in the heat and humidity of South Florida, along the Gulf Coast in the small town(at that time) of Venice, I can understand why folks move south to get away from the brutal winters of the North and Northeast, I never could understand why one would live there from May through September, or even want to. Rain, humidity, and oppressive heat indexes are the rule of order, and I would never live there for that stretch of time...Hell Ohio Summer's are bad enough, but the deep south, along the Gulf Coast? No Thanks!


So here we are, less than a full month into Summer, and I'm sick of it already...knowing we have at least 2 full months to go....unless, like last year, we have a couple of months of less humid conditions, but with the universal Global Warming Threat(sarcasm insert), that cannot happen 2 Summers in a row...can it?






No games for me today....one college summer game at Ohio Northern University tomorrow evening, then some late season tournament action in both ACME and area Pony League stuff and I am finished with baseball until next March...football beckons, and that is usually pretty warm and humid to start, and then finishes on the cooler side. I'll settle for a season of 70 degrees and sunshine with humidity in the 20% range. What are the chances of that happening for an entire season? Hummmm...that would be ZERO! But we will take what we get, and be glad to still be up and around, running up and down the diamonds, fields, and courts at the age of 61.

I did get out and check out the flowers around the fence this morning, photos included...the Radar says rain is on the way....a good shower would be welcome, if, if, if, the humidity would be lowered...but I see 90-95 will be the temps with humidity to match for the next couple of days...O' Well! You take what nature throws at you.

enjoy your day.....back later>>>
Photos-The lone Sunflower that has bloomed along with some of the fence flowers that are surviving the Summer's Heat....and me in the Summer of 1956 with a Red Snapper that I caught off the Manasota Bridge, near Englewood, Florida. South Florida was a great place to grow up in the 1950s, it was a wild and wonderful place back then....not so today, that Venice and other areas have been destroyed by over development, and it has become an overcrowded expressway to Hell, teaming with traffic, Condos on the Beach, perverts, and illegals. Plus the hot, wet, summers still suck. But hey, I got some photos and the memories of when it was pretty nice. A town of 1500 compared to today's 50,000 souls crowded against the dying Gulf.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Un-Official View on the Weekend that was...

I finished up my portion of the combined ACME Sectional/District for Putnam and Paulding Counties on Friday night...things were supposed to cool down, and be less humid for the weekend, so said the NBC owned Weather Channel(How far as that dump fallen since the DNC tools from the National Obama Network took over?)...just like with their political and phony Global Warming BS, the Weather Channel got it wrong...Again! It stayed hot, and the humidity, if it did drop, didn't by much.


Anyhow, I was sound asleep on Saturday morning, when the wife, already up and being productive around the house, brought my cell phone upstairs...and handed it to me. On the other end was Bob, the assigning umpire for the ACME and Junior ACME Regional and State games. Seems one of the umpires had bailed out on him, and he needed someone to work all 3 games of the Junior ACME Regional at Celina on Saturday. I was already slated to do games #2 and #3, he asked if I could take the first one as well. Since the weather was going to be cooler and less humid(Forecasters could never be wrong, could they?)..I figured, "What the Hell"?, bigger bucks and pretty good baseball in the cooler, less humid conditions....so I say "Yes", and committed to work the games from 12 noon through about 8pm.

For more thoughts on umpire work in the heat and humidity, check out The Official View on the MacOnline:


http://www.themaconline.com/macword/?cat=54


By the time I arrived at Westview Park, I had figured out, the day was still going to be hot(85 instead of the weeks low 90s) and humid, 50% as compared to 60% earlier in the week. With the bright sun, the days was going to be long and hot. Despite the long day, 3 games, 1(with me behind the plate) going extra innings, and 59 runs scored, 8 hours later I was sitting in the back yard, listening to the Reds continue to play bad, in what would be a 4 game sweep by the Phillies, drinking a few cold ones...it took most of yesterday for the 61 year old body to recover.


I was game free Sunday, and grilled out with Anissa and Patricia, caught a bit of the rather boring World Cup Final(Spain deserved to win), and some more pathetic Reds action(inaction?) in the run scoring department, before the All-Star Break. Later I did manage to drive out to Nick's on the south side of the Lake, smoke a cigar and BS with him, check out his garden, and then head home and pour myself into the leather recliner, where I watched the latest "Ice Road Trucker" installment on the History Channel(sadly the only good product that any NBC owned outlet puts out).


That was the weekend in a nutshell....the weather looks to remain hot, with a chance or 2 of rain all week...I'm off until Wednesday, when I'm scheduled to umpire a college summer game at Ohio Northern University...and then nothing until tournament action during the last week in July. The baseball season is winding down for me to be sure, but football is just around the corner. First high school scrimmage game is August 15th.

back later>>>>


Photos-The Avatar for The Official View/Nick's Sweet Corn is about ready for harvest, growing tall, and the Ice Road Truckers, pretty contrived stuff, but one of the few shows on TV I actually watch...Sunday Nights on The History Channel.






Friday, July 9, 2010

Baseball Rainouts and Record Sunflowers


One thing about traveling long distances to officiate/umpire sports, you cannot count on the weather to cooperate. For the second night in a row I had contracted to umpire the ACME Sectional/District for Putnam and Paulding Counties at Leipsic, Ohio. On Wednesday, after the game was complete, I headed to Deshler to down a few cold ones with and stay at my old buddy Tom's place...last night with rain in the forecast, I took Patricia's van(with the window's rolled out of the Jeep Wrangler, and Sam having my Intrepid in Columbus, I was short of options). Driving through rain in the Spencerville and Delphos areas, I arrived at the ball diamond in Leipsic a full 50 minutes before the game, with the skies threatening, and the sound of thunder in the air. I knew this was going to be "iffy" getting this game in, the Radar had shown me as much before I left Celina on the 65 mile trip.

Don, my umpire partner, and I got the teams around and started early, the home squad Leipsic were the visitors on the scoreboard(due to the drawing procedures) and had put up a 3 spot in the first when the first bold of lightning brightened the gloaming around the field. We took the mandatory 1/2 hour off. The skies were still dark when we resumed...but teams hit the ball, neither fielded very well, and the score stood at 8-4 in favor of the Vikings over Ottawa-Glandorf after the 2nd inning...another bold of lightning, some moderate rain, and a few minutes later, we "killed" the contest, and it was pushed back until tonight at 6 o'clock.

I had fulfilled my contract and could have walked away, with paycheck in hand, and would have been within my rights....instead I volunteered my services to return tonight, and not ask for another payday...they will however give me gas money, and have to pay a new partner(Don is scheduled to work Softball in Ottawa and cannot make it). Since I had this night off...I will return to Leipsic for the 3rd night in a row....no complaints from this umpire. Tomorrow the South Regional of the Jr ACME State Tourney begins in Celina, and Garry and I have a double header beginning at 2:30. The humidity will be down, and the rains gone by game time.

A Record Sunflower?___at least for me
Last year I planted and raised about 30 Mammoth Sunflowers, and used them as Squirrel and bird feed throughout the Winter...this year I planted another 2 dozen big ones, along with a number of "different" sizes and varieties of other Sunflowers.
After the Mammoth flower plants began to spring up, I noticed a plant close to the kennel fence had sprouted a bit earlier...it looked the same, and I figured it was a stray that I had dropped. However as I watched the plants growing, this one had slightly different leaves, and when the blooms begin, unlike the Mammoth Sunflowers, this plant was popping buds at a rate that I have never seen for any Sunflower plant. This morning the first flower had bloomed, and I begin count...23 buds so far, and more on the way it appears...although these flowers are not as large, they are big enough. I am wondering how many this plant can hold before it falls to the ground? I'm thinking that I may have to tie it up to the kennel fence to keep it upright, but for now, I'm wondering just how many flowers this plant will have attached before it all ends?

Stay tuned....But I'm guessing it will be somewhat short of the record 834 heads found on a plant in Michigan a few years back. It appears from a little research @


The National Sunflower Association says my rouge plant is a wild variety and they often have 20 or more heads...although, not a record, mine is going to have many more than that.....domesticated Sunflowers only have one bloom...just another "you learn something new everyday moment".

back later>>>
Photos-The Wild Sunflower plant towers above the rest of the Mammoth Varieties, by at least a foot, and by 2 dozen or more flower buds....the rest of the back yard flowers are going strong, but still competing with the weeds brought on by the heavy Spring rains, and hot sun of the past 2 weeks.