Monthly Archives: February 2015

Bad Puns

Actually, that’s simultaneously redundant and oxymoronical! By their very nature, puns are “bad” … and the worse they are, the better they become!

frank and ernest

A typical Frank and Ernest strip … ©Thaves

I used to keep a manila folder filled with comic strips that I’d cut out of the newspaper. It was a lo-tech version of what we do today, where we save stuff in folders on our laptops (at this moment, I probably have a few hundred jokes that Larry’s emailed me over the years). Anyhow, my favorite strip was Frank and Ernest because you could always count on Bob Thaves to deliver a really bad pun. The one I remember the most was where the two guys were dressed as monks and the following exchange occurred:

Frank:  Do you know what happened to the guy who fell behind in payments to his exorcist?
Ernest:  He was repossessed!

As I cut them out, I’d share them with my staff, with the typical response being a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head. And I couldn’t figure out why few other people thought they were as funny as I did! I’d take advantage of any chance I could to tell some of these puns, just to see whether I’d run across someone else who enjoyed them as much as I did. (As an aside, one of the benefits of my impending vagabond lifestyle is that I’ll have a whole new audience for my bad jokes.  I’m looking forward to it!)

Anyhow, that’s really just a backdrop to a story I wanted to share.  Back in the late 80’s, I was getting ready to drive back “over the hill” to San Jose, CA after spending the day in Santa Cruz, but had to stop for gas.  It was a few days before Christmas.  I went inside to pre-pay my gas.

I had just heard what I thought was a really funny story / joke … it was stupid (like a pun), but it had really made me laugh.  I decided to share it with the two gas jockeys that were standing in the gas station’s office:

A department store Santa has really gotten tired of his gig: all the obnoxious kids, being pestered by parents, gimme, gimme, gimme. He looks at the kid they’ve just plopped on his lap and resignedly says, “Kid, I’ll give you anything you want for Christmas – you just have to answer three questions for me.  First: How many days of the week start with the Letter “T?” Second: How many “D”s are there in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?”  Third: How many seconds are there in a year?” Come back tomorrow with the answers and I’ll give you anything you want!”

The next day, the kid comes back and says, “Santa, two of them were really easy, but one was hard. So Santa says, “Okay, let’s hear the answers.”

The kid says, “Well, the first one is easy – two days of the week start with the letter “T”. Today and tomorrow!” Santa stops for a moment and finally says, “Okay, I’ll give that one to you.”  The kid then says, “I can answer the third one.  There are 12 seconds in a year:  January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd …”  Santa shakes his head and says, “Okay, that wasn’t what I meant, but I guess I have to give you that one, too. But I thought that would be the hard one for you.”

The kid starts crying and says, “I just couldn’t come up with the ‘Rudolph’ answer!”  Santa’s astounded: “Why couldn’t you figure that out?”  The kid says, “I kept losing count” and then starts singing …”

(to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) “Dee dee dee dee DEE dee dee …”

Okay, the joke comes across much better verbally than it does on paper. Sue me! :o)


This story has been approved by Rudolph!

Anyhow, the two gas jockeys look at each other, shake their head and start chuckling a bit … I figured it was just showing courtesy to a customer rather than telling him to eat shit and die for wasting their time with a really bad joke!  I walked out and started to pump my gas.

A few minutes later, one of the guys comes out of the office and walks over to where I’m pumping gas.  “I have to thank you for telling me that joke,” he said. “I was really having a bad day. It’s Christmas, I don’t have a lot of money and can’t buy the presents I wanted to get for my kids. And I was feeling really down about it.  So that joke made my day and it lifted my spirits up a bit.  Thanks – you did a good thing!”

I was completely taken aback.  That was the last thing I expected to hear.  I wished him a “Merry Christmas” and told him that I was pretty sure his kids would appreciate whatever he brought home to them and to just be there for them – that’d be the best Christmas present he could give them.  He replied, “I know they will – it’s more about me than it is them!”

Man, ain’t that the truth? The stuff that occupies our own thoughts is what drags us down. Let it go, right?  But sometimes that’s easier said than done.  You need help from others … and sometimes it comes from the least expected places … like some corny guy walking into your gas station with a penchant for telling bad jokes.

The moral of the story – never miss an opportunity to tell a really bad pun.  You never know whether it’ll brighten up somebody’s day!

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Musings


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Grandma Tice

Earlier today, I recommended another blogger’s site … “StoryShucker”.  In today’s post, “Just Some Vanilla,” Stuart talked about his relationship with his grandmother and a lesson he learned later in life about helping others feel a sense of purpose.  (I won’t share any more of the story – again, I encourage you to visit his blog and read it for yourself … then spend some time reading some of his other posts. You’ll be happy you did!)

Anyhow, I replied to his post, telling him about how his story reminded me of my own grandmother. I proceeded to write about her in the context of Stuart’s post regarding “purpose”.  Stuart replied, “You just wrote a blog post for yourself there, a great one!”   His reply got me to pondering – not just about doing a blog post, though.  In remembering my grandmother, I realized that I don’t have many good memories of my time growing up.  Oh they’re there. Not many of them, but they exist.  The problem is that they’ve been almost completely smothered by the bad memories that so easily invade my thoughts.

So, I decided to follow Stuart’s advice and write a little bit about her. Maybe in reclaiming some of the good memories when they’re conjured up, the bad ones won’t have as much space to occupy.

For the whole time I knew her, Grandma Tice was blind.  I’m not sure what caused it … I know she was sighted up to the time she was a young mother to five kids because I saw an old home movie of my mother from when she was a teenager … the movie camera had caught my grandmother feeding chickens on their farm in northern Kentucky, just across the Ohio river from Cincinnati. I could tell she had her sight then. I vaguely remember someone saying she had contracted Scarlet Fever at some point, and that’s what caused her blindness.  It wasn’t talked about around my house because both she and my mother were Christian Scientists, so whatever physical ailments or infirmities someone had weren’t really addressed in the way you and I might talk about them.  (As an aside, I wonder if my grandmother even saw a doctor when she first became ill, and if she had, whether it might have made a difference. But I digress.)

When I was growing up, Grandma and Grandpa Tice lived in Stony Point, NY, on the banks of the Hudson River as you drove up to West Point from northern New Jersey.  It seemed like it’d take forever to get there as a kid. We’d go up to visit after church on Sunday because church was the half-way point between our house and theirs. They lived in a small cottage on top of a hill.  The three things I remember most about that place are baseball, the apple orchard and a marble. Any time we visited, my grandfather was glued to either the radio or the TV (sometimes both) enjoying a baseball game … that’s how I developed a love for baseball. As an aside, that might be the subject of a future post. The orchard was right behind their cottage and it was there that I learned how to climb trees (I do love apples!)  The marble?  The house was surrounded by a cobblestone patio, built into the side of the hill, with a stone and mortar retaining wall on the west side.  And at the end of the wall, a cornflower blue marble … what we used to call a “moonie” … was two-thirds embedded into the mortar. I tried to release it from its prison a few times, but gave up after a while. It just seemed like it “belonged” there.  The thing about that marble was that it matched my grandmother’s eyes. Whatever had damaged her eyes had left both the irises and pupils a solid, opaque blue.

One of the amazing things about my grandmother was her memory.  She had stored the layouts of about two dozen houses in her mind: those of her children, her sister, a few cousins and several church friends.  She’d navigate them as well as any sighted person could because she had memorized the number of steps it would take to go from, say, the living room couch to the entrance to the kitchen.  I remember we were over at my Uncle Al’s house one time for a family get-together.  Grandma and Grandpa Tice arrived and my Aunt Helen met them at the door.  They had rearranged some furniture in the living room.  She took my grandmother by the arm and led her around the room, showing her where all the pieces had been moved.  My grandmother then went back to the front door and walked to each one, mentally counting off the number of steps she had taken.  She repeated that, coming from the kitchen door.  And that was that. It took her only one time to replace the old layout with the new one! In the 18 years I knew her, I never saw her bump into anything (except for the end of the summer of 1971, shortly before she passed away).

One of my first jobs when I was a kid was making braille for Grandma Tice.  It started as a Cub Scouts “do a good deed” thing, but I kept doing it long after that particular project had ended.  I had a braille slate, a device made specifically to write braille. You’d put a piece of paper in a clamp … one side of the clamp had concave bumps on it, grouped in 2×3 sets.  I’d use a stylus to press down on the bumps, creating a dent in the paper.  When you turned it over, you’d have braille.  I’d spend Sunday afternoons creating the Bible verses that were in the following weeks lesson plan from church and she’d read them during the week. As I write this, I’m again remembering Stuart’s story – she could have bought a braille lesson from the Christian Science Reading Room, but instead she decided to let me do it for her instead. She was giving me a chance to help her!  I have never thought about that little “job” in those terms until this moment!

My sister was born in June 1965 and two months later Grandpa Tice died from a massive heart attack, so Grandma Tice moved in with us.  It was a tiny house, so we were forced to move into a larger home. A new house was being built down the street from us, and we wound up moving there in March of the following year.  It was a bi-level … we all lived upstairs except for Grandma Tice. Her bedroom was downstairs, along with a family room and a wash/utility room.  I used to get her LP’s set up on the record player spindle so she could listen to music:  her two favorite singers were Andy Williams and John Gary. She’d sit and listen to those albums for hours at a time, and really looked forward to when the Andy Williams Show was on TV (I can’t remember what night that was. Thursday? Friday?)  When it was on, she’d sit on the edge of the couch with her elbows in her lap, leaning over so far I thought she’d fall flat on her face. That’s how intently she’d listen.  It was a variety show, something like Jackie Gleason’s old show, with skits and guest performances.  I remember getting such a kick out of her – I’m chuckling as I write this story.  She’d listen to a comedian tell a joke as she was leaning forward.  It took a couple of seconds sometimes for the joke to register with her, but when it did, her head would raise from that hunched-over position and she’d have a big smile on her face.  Then she’d look off to where she thought someone else might be sitting, as if she was looking at them, shaking her head and laughing.

Here’s the part of her story that Storyshucker brought to mind (and which I shared with him in a reply over at his blog) …

Grandma Tice played a big part in dinner time.  I’d come home from school to find her sitting at the kitchen table with a colander in her lap.  She’d be doing something to get the meal ready, whether it was shucking green beans / peas, peeling potatoes or carrots, making meatballs or something else.  And once dinner was over, she’d man the dishes.  I was really glad when she moved in with us – rather than exchanging washing and drying duties every night with my brother, my chores were cut down to drying the dishes every other night .

We moved to Dallas in October 1968 when my father’s company transferred him.  One of the big changes was that for the first time, we had a dishwasher. After a couple of weeks, my mother noticed that my grandmother was sort of moping around. She definitely had a different mood to her. My mother asked her a few times what was wrong, but got a typical, “nothing’s wrong” response … Grandma Tice rarely complained about anything. Finally, my mother said something like, “look, I know something’s bothering you. What is it? Are you mad at me for something or what?”

Grandma Tice finally spilled the beans – “You’ve taken my job away! It’s like I have no purpose here. I feel useless!”

There my parents were, thinking they were giving her a break!  From my grandmother’s point of view, exactly the opposite was happening. From that point on until she passed away, that dishwasher remained unused. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, seeing as how I was back to dish drying duty, but I sure appreciate it now. I do know that I learned a big lesson at the time about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to see things from a perspective other than your own.  That alone had a big impact on how I’ve tried to live my life!

My grandmother was one of the few people that stood up for me.  I remember hearing her quietly asking my mother, “Why does Bert have to treat him like that?” after one of my routine beatings. My mother just told her to mind her own business. Every now and then, after those beatings, I’d hear her quietly say, “I wish he wouldn’t do that,” referring to my father.  I know one particular time, she asked me out of the blue, “do you know the story about Joseph in the Bible?” I told her that, yes, of course I knew it.  She then said, “Joseph went through a lot of horrible experiences when he was growing up and even when he became a young man, but if they hadn’t happened, he wouldn’t have been in a situation where he could save his family.  You have to remember that! Sometimes you don’t know what good comes out of a bad experience – you just have to trust that at some point, something good will happen if you have faith.”

(I’m still waiting for that “something good” to happen, Grandma. Haven’t seen it yet and quite frankly, I’ve pretty much lost faith that I ever will!)

My grandmother passed in September 1971.  I was away at college when it happened, recovering from my accident (which I’ve mentioned in other posts), so I couldn’t come home for the funeral.  In the weeks prior to her death, she became very disoriented. My parents had to tie a string from her bed to the bathroom so she wouldn’t get lost going from one to the other.  My mother told me that a couple of days before her death, she went into my grandmother’s room because she heard her carrying on a conversation with some invisible guest, talking and laughing away.  My mother asked her who she was talking to and she replied, “I’m talking to all these people here!”  When my mom told her there was no one there, Grandma Tice said, “Yes there are. They’re telling me that I don’t need to be worried about where I’m going. They’re telling me about where I’m going to live. Isn’t it funny how I’m the one who can see them and not you, when it’s been the other way around for so long?”

I don’t know if she was actually talking to someone or if dementia had taken hold of her. Quite frankly, my whole belief in an afterlife has been shaken over time.  I used to believe that there was. I’m not so sure now.  I haven’t thought about my grandmother’s experience for years!  She sure believed there was an afterlife. Not “heaven” in the traditional sense of the word … Christian Science teaches that when you die, you simply move to another plane of existence. Sort of like going through a door from one room to another.  The transition helps you realize the “nothingness” of the material world and you become that much closer to understanding the “true” concept of spiritual life.  I don’t know if that’s true, or if there is a heaven.  I do know there’s a hell.

Years later, when I moved back to New Jersey from California, I spent most of a Saturday morning and afternoon trying to find the old Tice cottage in Stony Point.  There were a few intersections off Highway 9 that looked really familiar and a couple of roads that carried some memories, but there were no old cottages to be found.  They had all been replaced by McMansions.  I think she would have liked knowing that I had given it a shot, though.

So that’s my Grandma Tice.  She was an incredible woman, full of spirit, undaunted by a physical disability, holding on to a sense of purpose when others … even unwittingly … tried to take it away from her.  Remembering her right now was a good thing.  Thanks, Stuart!


Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Musings


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Storyshucker (Blog share)

There’s another wonderful blog I’d like to recommend (not another besides “mine” … I think I have a long ways to go before anyone would consider my blog “wonderful”.  By another I was referring to “This is a Thing I Love”, the other blog I recommended a little while back).

Anyhow, the blog is “Storyshucker“.  Stuart shares stories and observations from his world in Alexandria, Virginia.  He tells marvelous tales about people he meets and people from his past.  You can’t help but feel enriched after reading because they display a sense of “humanity” that seems so lacking in the world today.

I’m not the only one who thinks this, by the way … Storyshucker was just nominated for a “Very Inspiring Blogger” award.  In my opinion, it’s richly deserved.

You should stop by his little corner of the web and see if you agree.

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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Bloggers I like


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More Poetry

The Climb

It’s funny where life takes you
as you head on up the road.
You make your plans. You think you’re set.
You see the “pot of gold”,

But then the bump. The sudden turn. The unexpected fall.
And things you thought would never change
are gone. You’ve lost them. All!

Some men would let it ruin them
while others go in stride.
Me? I’m the middle, choosing paths
for the rest of my life’s ride.

I wish that I could boldly say
with total certainty
that I won’t let misfortune
take its final toll on me.

But for the moment I have to take
things one step at a time
and forget the steepness of the hill ,,,
to focus on the climb.


I’ve spent a lifetime building walls
knowing nothing else to do
With walls, I felt protected
from heartaches, old and new.

With every passing day a brick
was added to the pile.
As months and years passed by the wall
grew higher. Yet all the while

it never seemed to bring to me
the joy and peace I craved.
It only brought me solitude
and closer to the grave.

I longed to have somebody take
the mortar from my hand …
to tell me, “You don’t need that wall!
It’s alright! I understand!”

But I’ve spent a lifetime building walls
knowing nothing else to do.
So if I reject your loving hand
please know it’s me. Not you.

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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Poetry


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Frank’s in Love!

The new love in Frank's life - Miss P

The new love in Frank’s life – Miss P

I just finished my last post, turned around and saw that Frank was acting a bit miffed.  Actually, it’s righteous indignation – he’s been after me all week to mention that one of his kinfolk won “Best in Show” at Westminster this past week. Miss P is only the second beagle to have won Best in Show, the first being her grand-uncle, Uno, back in 2008.

Here’s the story, over at Reuters, along with a little video.  (Pardon me while I wipe Frank’s drool off my keyboard!)

He’s anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next issue of “Play-Beagle”.  I tried to explain that not every star does risque poses immediately after hitting the big time.  Frank’s reply?  “Dude, she’s naked!”  What can I tell you?



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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Frank Speaks


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Getting Ready for Baseball

The weather hasn’t been that cooperative here in Charleston over the past couple of days. It’s been overcast as all get-out, so I’ve not been back out with the camera to try and retake that last shot I posted.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I’d post some of my favorite baseball links. If you’re a casual fan, I don’t know that these will be of much interest to you. But if you’re a hard core baseball fan like me, you might find these useful when you’re talking to your buddies about things like salary caps, potential trades your favorite team might consider and the like. I’ve also posted a few links to sites that might help when it comes to planning out your daily team over at FanDuel or some of the other gaming sites.

As an aside, I haven’t done rotisserie baseball in years … fifteen, to be exact. I was really into it at one time. Back in August, 2000, I even won ESPN’s Weekly Challenge – I beat out about 125,000 other baseball junkies that week to take first prize! It wasn’t easy – I spent about 50 hours planning out my team that week. Every night, from 5pm to midnight, I’d pore over the next day’s pitcher / batter matchups. I’d go through it position by position, seeing which batters had historically good performance against each pitcher. I’d rank ’em by position, and then put together the best team I could given the $50k in salary we were allotted to put together a “team”. And all that effort seemed worthwhile when I won. At least it did for a while …

You know what my prize was? A freaking ESPN baseball cap!!!! Oh, I was also put in a drawing for a $5,000 home entertainment package (big screen TV, stereo sound system, etc.), along with the other 12 weekly winners from the second half of the season. But my name wasn’t drawn, so all I had to show for my 50 hours of work was a freaking cap! At the time, I was doing consulting work at about $55/hour, and the realization that this particular baseball cap cost me over $2,700 just about did me in! I haven’t played rotisserie baseball since!

On to the links …

MLB Gameday BIP Location

This is a cool site. Their tool enables you to overlay a chart depicting the balls in play from one park onto another one. You can do this for all balls in play in a given park or a particular batter. You can even select a pitcher to see how they fared against opposing hitters in that park. For example, do you want to get a feel for how Hanley Ramirez might have fared in 2014 if he had played the majority of his games at Fenway instead of at Dodger Stadium? No problem! This’ll give you an idea as to how many long outs in left field would have been doubles off the Green Monster (hopefully it’s a harbinger of things to come in 2015!). The tool even allows you to filter out certain types of balls in play, i.e. you can eliminate ground outs, or popups. It’s become one of my favorite sides to look at when it comes to trade rumors.

Major League Baseball Free Agents by Year

Spotrac offers a sortable list of free agents, by year through 2018. You can filter it by position or by team and then sort it by player age. It also shows the amount of salary cap impact the player had in the previous year. By the way, there’s some other nice stuff on there as well, such as a list of current salaries by position and team. But I primarily use the free agent list from this site.

Cot’s Baseball Contracts

Do you want to know when the Phillies are going to be rid of Ryan Howard’s contract? I’m sure Ruben Amaro has the date tattooed on his inner eyelids! Everyone else can visit this site. It not only shows the current salaries for each team (along with a rundown of each player’s contract), it allows you to see your team’s payroll obligations going out through the 2020 season! It only covers the 40-man roster and doesn’t list minor league commitments, fringe compensation, or AAV (annual average value), so it doesn’t help with luxury tax calculations. But it’s got just about everything else!

MLB Lineups from Baseball Press

Baseball Press publishes the daily lineups for each game as soon as they’ve been released by the team. You have to check back often during the day to get them all.

Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups

Remember the 50 hours of research I put in so that I could be a walking advertisement for ESPN? Well, if this site was around back then, I would have probably been able to do my work in about half that amount of time! Rotowire provides a complete rundown of all the batter / pitcher matchups for a given day … all you have to do is compare that against the daily lineups posted on Baseball Press to verify who’s in the lineup.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Yahoo Sports publishes a list of the players that are streaking … good and bad. It’s sortable by position. Back when I was doing this by hand, the tiebreaker for deciding between two good matchups was based on which player was riding a current hot streak.  These days, Yahoo Sports has done all the work for you!’s Sortable Player Stats

For all you stat junkies out there, here are the standard run-of-the-mill baseball stats, offered directly from the source.

A Guide to Sabermetric Research

Here’s some basic information about sabermetrics, from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). If you want to know more about how to do your own research, and perhaps publish a paper on the subject, this tells you how. (I have to be honest, while I’m exceptional at math, my eyes cross when I read some of the formulae that’ve been published by these guys!)

That’s about it for now. Oh yeah, one last thing … here’s an April 2014 article that I just read and enjoyed so much, I thought I’d pass it along: Scout’s Honor. It tells the story about how “old school” scouting unearthed Xander Bogaerts for the Boston Red Sox. It’s a great read. Stories like these that are why I love baseball so much.

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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Play Ball!


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Take a Shot … of Anything! But Take a Shot!

So, it’s been a week since I last posted to the blog. Funny how “inertia” is such a big deal with me. It has been most of my life.

In order for me to start something, I need a few jolts from a cattle prod, And once I get going, if I put that “thing” down, it takes an act of Congress to get me going again! From what I understand, that’s typical of complex PTSD sufferers … something about fear and paralysis associated with being in uncomfortable situations. For whatever reason, I was finally able to open up Notepad and start free-forming some thoughts this evening. So here I am.  ; o)

Part of my anxiety has to do with picking up the camera. Oh yeah, the camera arrived. Last Friday. Everything was in there that was shown in the posting, so I was pretty happy about that. (It truly was a fantastic deal!)  But try as I might, I wasn’t able to pick the damn thing up and actually take a shot of something. Anything! You just wouldn’t believe the anxiety surrounding that. Every morning, I’d get up with resolve. “I’m going to take my first photo today!” Only to sit down at the laptop, do my typical routine, get to around 10:00 and then say, “Oh well, I’ve missed my window,” knowing full well that I didn’t need a window, I just needed to take a freaking photograph!!!!

First photo

My first photo with the new Nikon D3200

So I finally managed to take one this morning. Here it is. Nothing fancy, just some branches in a neighboring tree that I thought looked interesting. When I sit at my laptop in my home office, the sun comes streaming through that tree (and hits me square in the eyes … it’s a really wonderful feeling [/sarcasm] if I’ve not had my first cup of coffee by the time the sun gets up that high). I got to thinking that perhaps it would be an interesting shot to have the sun gleam around the branches. And this morning, during Frank’s morning “constitutional”, I took it –  from underneath the tree, looking up.

One thing it showed me … I have a lot to learn. After I finish posting, I’m going to read about some of the things I did wrong (and had to correct for with some software).  Tomorrow morning, I’m going to see if I can’t take the same shot and have it turn out better. Knock on wood.

Aside from the anxiety, it’s been an interesting week. I ordered the cargo basket and mounting hardware for my car top from Rack Attack. I went ahead and placed an order last weekend because they were running a discount offer that saved a little more than $100! Of course, I promptly used that to buy a cargo bag to store my gear in. Took a while to find one that fit the dimensions of the basket, but they wound up having one over at (with a name like that, you’d have thought I’d have visited that site first!). It all arrived today (after a 2-day delay in Edison NJ because of the winter storm).

One thing that hit me was how low my car’s profile is to the ground. sells a little step-stool you can attach to your car’s rear tire in order to place gear in the bag once it’s on top of your car. Funny, but once the basket is installed on my Hyundai Azera, it’ll only be about head-high! One of the benefits of being tall (although I discovered today that I’ve shrunk about an inch from how tall I used to be – more on that in a minute).

I made an appointment to bring the car in for service next Wednesday. Once that’s all taken care of, I’m going to practice doing an install on top of the car. As an aside, I love the practicality of the Internet! As I’ve been gearing up, I’ve found a number of video reviews of different items I was considering for purchase. I also found some handy video installation guides for the mounting hardware and the basket. I’m a visual learner. It’s a helluva lot easier for me to follow someone along as they do it than trying to read a bunch of directions (written by someone for whom English is obviously not their first language). By the way, do you want to see something funny? Well, it struck me as funny anyhow … it’s the demo for the cargo bag I bought – basically, it’s a woman squirting water on the bag with a high-power hose, after which she opens it up to show how everything inside is dry. Not a word is spoken – I guess it’s true that a picture video is worth a thousand words!)

Down East Walking Stick

If you need a walking stick, this is the place. Ask for Barrie (tell him “Big Jeff” sent you)

I also bought a hiking staff today. I used to have a great stick years ago – it was a tree limb I found on a walk up in Lake Tahoe one summer. I stripped off the bark and really liked the way it looked … kept it for years. Anyhow, I was looking for something that reminded me of that stick. I wasn’t having much luck until I came across the Down East Walking Stick website. I emailed them, asking for particulars about sticks for guys that are carrying around my weight. Barrie, the owner, sent me a prompt reply and we wound up talking on the phone for about 15 minutes. Great guy! Anyhow, I’ve ordered a one-piece hiking staff made of cherry wood. The instructions were to measure the height of your shoulder and subtract 2 inches. Based on that, my staff should be 60 inches tall, but I’m limited as to how long a staff I can fit in/on my car, so I’ve ordered a 55-inch one … Barrie suggested that I should get a one-piece stick rather than the collapsible 3-piece ones they sell since it would be stronger. He said it would be better for me to just go with a little shorter staff, so that’s what I did.

Another aside – that’s how I discovered that I’m no longer 6′ tall. I’m a little under 5’11” now. I’ve always said that I don’t have a weight problem – I have a height problem! I’m too short for my weight! And with this latest measurement, I’ve discovered my height problem has only increased with age! ;o )

So that’s it for the latest chapter. Oh yeah … HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Red Sox pitchers and catchers reported to spring training today! If only the weather would make it feel like it’s baseball season instead of still being in the middle of winter (damned groundhog)! It was 25 degrees this morning here in Charleston SC, with a “real feel” of 14 degrees! At least I’m not still back up in New Jersey … a fellow in the men’s group up at my old parish posted on Facebook this morning – he was waiting for the train to take him into New York City that it was only 1 degree and the “real feel” temp was -14 degrees! Glad that’s not part of my experience anymore!


Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Planning


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