June 16, 2014

So I’ve been updating my website with WordPress updates and theme updates and such, but I just noticed that today marks six months since I’ve posted. That’s the longest time I’ve ever went without posting here. There are various reasons for this:

  • Facebook – Most of my posting any more is on Facebook. All of my “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Anniversary” wishes I now post there. Also, any of the really interesting or cool jokes I get sent via email are now posted on Facebook.
  • Forums – I do spend a lot of time on forums. Like ZDNet and LXer for computer news and Hawkeye Nation for Iowa Hawkeye news. Lots of reading, interaction and posting there.
  • LinkedIn – While I haven’t been on LinkedIn much, I have been there. And it does take away time that was spent posting here.
  • Life Changes – As my family grows I spend more time with them and less with the computer in general.

OK. So this is just a short post, but I plan to start posting here more. First off I have a couple of home improvement projects I want to post about. And I have a new line of information to explore that is different than any I’ve posted about before. (Yes, that’s a teaser)

Filed under:  Time Out
Tagged with:
Run batted in by BillH at 4:08 pm |  No comments so far
September 20, 2013
Food for Thought
  • If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally … you might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion …. You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched … You might live in a country run by idiots (or a Muslim).
  • If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government … You might live in a country run by idiots.
  • If you are offended by this article, I’ll bet you voted for the idiots Who are running, and ruining our great country.
Filed under:  Funny!
Tagged with: , ,
Run batted in by BillH at 4:07 pm |  No comments so far
August 23, 2013
A True Miracle

The Human Body is a treasure trove of mysteries, one that still confounds doctors and scientists about the details of its working. It’s not an overstatement to say that every part of your body is a miracle. Here are fifty facts about your body, some of which will leave you stunned…or really creep you out!!

  1. It’s possible for your body to survive without a surprisingly large fraction of its internal organs. Even if you lose your stomach, your spleen, 75% of your liver, 80% of your intestines, one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from your pelvic and groin area, you wouldn’t be very healthy, but you would live.
  2. During your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools. Actually, Saliva is more important than you realize. If your saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
  3. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. The egg is actually the only cell in the body that is visible by the naked eye.
  4. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue and the hardest bone is the jawbone.
  5. Human feet have 52 bones, accounting for one quarter of all the human body’s bones.
  6. Feet have 500,000 sweat glands and can produce more than a pint of sweat a day.
  7. The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades. The reason it doesn’t eat away at your stomach is that the cells of your stomach wall renew themselves so frequently that you get a new stomach lining every three to four days.
  8. The human lungs contain approximately 2,400 kilometers (1,500 mi) of airways and 300 to 500 million hollow cavities, having a total surface area of about 70 square meters, roughly the same area as one side of a tennis court. Furthermore, if all of the capillaries that surround the lung cavities were unwound and laid end to end, they would extend for about 992 kilometers. Also, your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.
  9. Sneezes regularly exceed 100 mph, while coughs clock in at about 60 mph.
  10. Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
  11. Your body has enough iron in it to make a nail 3 inches long.
  12. Earwax production is necessary for good ear health. It protects the delicate inner ear from bacteria, fungus, dirt and even insects. It also cleans and lubricates the ear canal.
  13. Everyone has a unique smell, except for identical twins, who smell the same.
  14. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born. This is why one out of every 2,000 newborn infants has a tooth when they are born.
  15. A baby’s head is one-quarter of its total length, but by the age of 25 will only be one-eighth of its total length. This is because people’s heads grow at a much slower rate than the rest of their bodies.
  16. Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood the number is reduced to 206. Some of the bones, like skull bones, get fused into each other, bringing down the total number.
  17. It’s not possible to tickle yourself. This is because when you attempt to tickle yourself you are totally aware of the exact time and manner in which the tickling will occur, unlike when someone else tickles you.
  18. Less than one third of the human race has 20-20 vision. This means that two out of three people cannot see perfectly.
  19. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents. But if you are a woman, you are a better smeller than men, and will remain a better smeller throughout your life.
  20. The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels.
  21. The three things pregnant women dream most of during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Scientists have no idea why this is so, but attribute it to the growing imbalance of hormones in the body during pregnancy.
  22. The life span of a human hair is 3 to 7 years on average. Every day the average person loses 60-100 strands of hair. But don’t worry, you must lose over 50% of your scalp hairs before it is apparent to anyone.
  23. The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as an encyclopedia. Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen that enters your bloodstream, and is itself made up of 80% water. Though it interprets pain signals from the rest of the body, the brain itself cannot feel pain.
  24. The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself.
  25. Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing.
  26. By 60 years of age, 60% of men and 40% of women will snore.
  27. We are about 1 cm taller in the morning than in the evening, because during normal activities during the day, the cartilage in our knees and other areas slowly compress.
  28. The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb, even while you are sleeping. In fact, the brain is much more active at night than during the day.
  29. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. Neurons continue to grow throughout human life. Information travels at different speeds within different types of neurons.
  30. It is a fact that people who dream more often and more vividly, on an average have a higher Intelligence Quotient.
  31. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger.
  32. Facial hair grows faster than any other hair on the body. This is true for men as well as women.
  33. There are as many hairs per square inch on your body as a chimpanzee.
  34. A human fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months.
  35. By the age of 60, most people will have lost about half their taste buds.
  36. About 32 million bacteria call every inch of your skin home. But don’t worry, a majority of these are harmless or even helpful bacteria.
  37. The colder the room you sleep in, the higher the chances are that you’ll have a bad dream.
  38. Human lips have a reddish color because of the great concentration of tiny capillaries just below the skin.
  39. Three hundred million cells die in the human body every minute.
  40. Like fingerprints, every individual has an unique tongue print that can be used for identification.
  41. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it has been decapitated.
  42. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown.
  43. Humans can make do longer without food than sleep. Provided there is water, the average human could survive a month to two months without food depending on their body fat and other factors. Sleep deprived people, however, start experiencing radical personality and psychological changes after only a few sleepless days. The longest recorded time anyone has ever gone without sleep is 11 days, at the end of which the experimenter was awake, but stumbled over words, hallucinated and frequently forgot what he was doing.
  44. The most common blood type in the world is Type O. The rarest blood type, A-H or Bombay blood, due to the location of its discovery, has been found in less than hundred people since it was discovered
  45. Every human spent about half an hour after being conceived, as a single cell. Shortly afterward, the cells begin rapidly dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.
  46. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. This is largely due to the fact that a majority of the machines and tools we use on a daily basis are designed for those who are right handed, making them somewhat dangerous for lefties to use and resulting in thousands of accidents and deaths each year.
  47. Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t.
  48. Koalas and primates are the only animals with unique fingerprints.
  49. Humans are the only animals to produce emotional tears.
  50. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet in the air.

And now that you’ve had your science lesson for the day, you can happily move forward in the world!

Filed under:  Time Out
Tagged with: ,
Run batted in by BillH at 3:59 pm |  No comments so far
July 16, 2013
Vacation Hindsight Observations

A few random thoughts on our vacation detailed in the previous post.

  • Pittsburgh, at least the North Shore, seems to close up shop on Friday nights. There was only one place open on the street where our B&B was.
  • Boston was the most pedestrian-friendly city we visited.
  • You could not pay me enough to live and/or work in New York City.
  • When I thought of Pittsburgh before this trip, I thought of steel mills and ash and suet. I was really impressed with the city.
  • Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was the best place to people-watch.
  • Orioles Park at Camden Yards was the nicest stadium we visited. All of them were nice, but Orioles Park was just a bit nicer.
  • Cleveland has a very nice fireworks display
  • The Parador Inn was the coolest and best place we stayed.
  • We had the best seats at PNC Park, just a few rows up from field level and a few seats over from the Pirate’s dugout.
  • The worst place we stayed was the Hampton Inn Cleveland Downtown. In it’s defense, one of their elevators was not working. But their breakfast area layout was bad and caused much waiting.
  • EVERY American should walk the Freedom Trail in Boston. We all need to be reminded of just how much our Founding Fathers risked. Too often today we talk about sacrifice but mean spending a couple of hours extra at work; each one of our Founding Fathers risked not only their lives but their family and property as well.
  • Why is it that every Expressway seems to have traffic patterns better suited to tortoises? The Cross-Bronx Expressway was probably too slow for tortoises.
  • PNC Park in Pittsburgh had the best pretzels.
  • Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore had the best selection of restaurants in and around the ball park.
  • The seating at Progressive Field in Cleveland had the most leg room.
  • No self service gas pumps in New Jersey = lower unempolyment.
  • I didn’t have to wear a hat at any of the ball parks; our seats were always in the shade, at least until the sun went down.
  • The tour of the Sam Adams Brewery was free, plus you could get two glasses: an 8 ounce etched glass and a 18 ounce beer snifter.
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of the coolest places on the planet.
  • All the games we attended were night games.
  • The fans at all the ball parks were very friendly.
  • Even walking back to our hotel/B&B after the ball game, I didn’t feel threatened by crime at any of the cities we visited.
Tagged with: , ,
Run batted in by BillH at 4:29 pm |  No comments so far
July 14, 2013
Baseball Vacation Recap

First, a little background. We had thought about going to the Caribbean with friends for our spring vacation but decided we’d try something a bit different. Casey had shown me an article where a bus tour for retirees was going to start near our home town and take two weeks to see 10 baseball games. While we couldn’t take the two weeks vacation necessary and we aren’t retirees, the idea of going to baseball games at multiple parks was intriguing. So…. I planned the trip and we went on it. After planning and going on this trip, I have found three things that are undeniable:

  1. Google Maps is amazing! We took no paper maps and used our phones with Google Maps and were never lost.
  2. Google Maps is truly amazing! I found all the places to stay using the Google Maps “nearby” feature and the comments left by others who stayed at those places.
  3. Stubhub is a great way to get major league baseball tickets. You even get a preview of what view you get from the seats you choose.

With those out of the way, on to the descriptions!

June 27
We packed up Casey’s car and took off after work. We wanted to get a head start on our first destination, Pittsburgh. We drove to Danville, IL, about 4 hours from home in order to make the next day’s drive a bit easier. It was an uneventful drive, as was most of the trip.

June 28
Got up and headed for Pittsburgh, which is about a 7 hour drive. This day was my only error in the trip; I had neglected the fact that we would change time zones and “lose” an hour. This kind of pressed us when we actually got to Pittsburgh as it gave us less time. Instead of getting into Pittsburgh with 2-3 hours before game time, it was 1-2 hours before game time. We easily found the bed and breakfast I had selected, The Parador Inn. We were kind of down as it was raining when we came into town and checked in, but about 30 minutes before the game it stopped and the sun came out.

The Parador Inn was selected because of its proximity to PNC Park. The walking distance according to Google Maps was 1 mile – an easy walk. And we found it to be a nice walk after driving so much that day. PNC Park is one of the newer baseball parks that is designed to look like an older ball park; none of the “cookie-cutter” stuff that was so popular 20-30 years ago. The shape of the playing area is not symmetrical and has small idiosyncrasies. And it truly is a beautiful baseball park. The Pirates beat the Brewers that night and it was free t-shirt night! Our seats were great, probably the best seats of the entire trip and definitely the least expensive. They were called “Outfield Box Seats”, but we were in the first section past the Pirates dugout in row L. Awesome!

After the game we were surprised that there were very few places open, especially considering it was a Friday night. We wanted to get something to eat but there was only one place open. We went to Benjamin’s, just down the street from our B&B. The burgers were great.

June 29
This morning we got up knowing that we had a short drive of 4 hours or so. We had a later breakfast (excellent, I might add) and packed up and departed Pittsburgh headed for Baltimore. Once again, the drive was uneventful. Google Maps took us right to our destination, the Holiday Inn Express Baltimore at the Stadium. Again, this was selected due to its proximity to Orioles Park at Camden Yards, which Google Maps told us was just under 1 mile. Due to construction, the sidewalks were closed on this route so we found another walking path that was actually a bit shorter.

We went down to the Inner Harbor, which was very close to Orioles Park and had some dinner and just walked around. For some reason I was hitting the wall… just really tired. We went back to the hotel and made an early night of it.

June 30
Once again, we were worried about the ball game. When we got up, we went down to eat breakfast and saw it was raining outside. Oh no! We really didn’t go anywhere due to the rain. We walked across the street to a Royal Farms, a convenience store, and got our lunch there. Hey – it was raining! The good news is that the rain finally stopped about 2 hours before game time. Until then we pretty much lolled around the hotel room napping and reading.

Oriole Park at Camden Yard is another of the newer ball parks that is designed to look like an old ball park. One interesting feature is that when you walk in you are at gangway level. In other words, you walk in at the top of the lower level seating. And they have a “street” of shops and restaurants between the train station and the ball park. We found that if it’s your first time at the ball park you can get a “first timer’s” packet. We also got a free t-shirt as one of the local auto dealers was having a t-shirt giveaway. The Orioles beat the Yankees that night. Our seats were Terrace Box seats down the right field line, row 9. All in all an excellent night at the ball park!

July 1
Travel day, and the worst one of our trip. Nothing really bad happened, it was just the worst travel day for us. Google Maps took us up the New Jersey Turnpike. We have an I-Pass that we can use in Illinois in the Chicago area to cover tolls. It works easily and we don’t have to stop and pay. In New Jersey, and many states in the northeast, they use EZ-Pass. I was told by a friend and happily found that the I-Pass worked in all the EZ-Pass toll collection booths. We found out later just how much they charged us on the turnpikes and were kind of shocked; how can anyone drive these roads consistently and afford it? Another thing that was kind of shocking was that in New Jersey, there are no self-service gas stations. They don’t even want you to leave your car!

The real reason it was the worst day of travel is that once we got off the New Jersey Turnpike, we were on the New York Turnpike. Ugh. We went across the George Washington Bridge and then took the Cross Bronx Expressway… at about 4pm. (Why is it called “rush hour” when everyone drives so slow?) I don’t know why they call it an expressway – we averaged about 30 mph. The day was supposed to be 6 hours of travel but was closer to 7.5 hours. However we made it to Boston and to our bed and breakfast, the Adams Bed and Breakfast.

Again, this was selected for its proximity to Fenway Park; it was only .7 miles. It was also selected because the T-rail station was even closer and we wanted an easy way to get downtown. What I didn’t realize is that it was very close to the Boston Pops Symphony Hall and the Berklee School of Music. Kind of in a campus town area.

July 2
Since the game was in the evening, we decided to do some exploring. We took the T downtown and went to Durgin Park for lunch, recommended by a co-worker. We weren’t disappointed as the food was excellent. We then walked the Freedom Trail. It’s a very sombering experience, looking at the monuments and headstones and reading about the sacrifices our Founding Fathers made for us. All in all, the Freedom Trail was about 2.5 miles long, but we definitely walked farther than that. A short T ride back to the B&B, we rested for an hour or so before heading to Fenway Park. We decided to eat dinner before going in to Fenway and ate at the Lansdowne Pub, right across Lansdowne Street from Fenway. Great place, decent prices for the location and good food.

Fenway Park was the “goal” of this trip. Neither Casey nor I had ever been there, and with the age of the park who knows how long it will be open? Our seats were very good. We were near Pesky’s Pole in the “short porch” area of right field. The seats were the easiest seats to get to of any of the ball parks. We walked through an entrance chute and then down to row K. The Red Sox beat the Padres. All in all another great night at the ball park!

July 3
The “extra day” in Boston? What to do? Well, we hopped on the T and went to the Sam Adams Brewery and took the tour. It was an interesting tour, with the most interesting thing being that it was free. They ask for two donations, both go to local charities in Boston. At the end of the tour we got a nice etched glass to drink three samples and keep. We then went to Doyle’s Cafe for lunch, a recommended place at the brewery AND they offered a free trolley ride there. Doyle’s is a pub featured in such movies as Mystic River, 21, My Best Friend’s Girl and Celtic Pride. The place is a kind of throwback to neighborhood pubs; very cool and lots of history displayed on the walls there. We then took the trolley again fully expecting to go back to the brewery and then walk to the T, but the trolley took us directly to the T! Very nice!

Getting back to our B&B neighborhood, we did a little walking around and shopping. We were just a few blocks from the Prudential Center Plaza, which is a pretty good sized mall. We didn’t actually buy anything but we did walk around quite a bit there. On our way back we went through the First Church of Christ Scientist. No, it’s not scientology, it’s the church that publishes the Christian Science Monitor. Really a nice place with a HUGE reflection pool, a nice walk area, a fountain where the kids were playing in the water and plenty of trees with places to sit under them.

Later, we went to a small shop called Junk Yard Dogs for burgers and topped it off by going to JP Licks for some ice cream. Knowing we had a big travel day for the next day, we decided to turn in early.

July 4
This was the longest travel day of the whole trip. Boston to Cleveland. While the trip was uneventful, it was LONG! It took us about 10.5 hours to make the trip. With quick stops along the way for lunch and restroom, we made it about as quick as we could. Once again, Google Maps was a real champ. We were easily routed directly to our hotel, the Hampton Inn Cleveland – Downtown. Again, this hotel was selected for its proximity to Progressive Field which was only .5 miles away. The added bonus is that it is only .5 miles the opposite direction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Seeing how it was July 4 and we wanted to see some fireworks, we walked to the 9th Street Pier on Lake Erie, which was right next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We got there about 9pm and the fireworks didn’t start until 10pm, but it was a great fireworks show. Plus, we could see other fireworks shows up and down Lake Erie.

July 5
Got up kind of early and we wanted to see how far it was to the ball park so we walked up 9th Street. We found it was very close! We were impressed with the local architecture of many of the buildings and saw that many had construction/restoration crews working. Nice to see that Cleveland is trying to keep it’s heritage. We then walked down and marveled at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It’s a very cool monument for all the fallen Armed Forces people from Cleveland. We also went to The Arcade, which is a really cool looking old-style shopping mall. The detail and setting took us back in time.

In the afternoon, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One word: WOW! We got there between 12:30 and 1pm. It closes at 5:30pm and we were there until closing time. There is so much to see and do there. If you are a fan of rock and roll, ANY flavor of rock and roll, I’d highly recommend the Rock Hall. I can’t begin to describe all of the displays of instruments, sheet music, clothes, posters, etc that are there.

After a quick stop at the hotel, we then went to the ball game. Progressive Field is very nice. Our seats were the first row in right-center field. EXCELLENT seats! The game? Well, it was the only one of our games where the home team lost. Detroit beat Cleveland that game. And afterwards there was a fireworks display!

July 6
What can I say? We were up early, got breakfast drove home. It was an uneventful drive on I90 and I80. The only bad part was it took about 8 hours.

Filed under:  Time Out
Run batted in by BillH at 8:21 pm |  Just one comment so far
April 30, 2012
Cozumel, Redux

Vacation was EXCELLENT! Again, we went to Cozumel. We stayed at the same resort as we did last year, the Iberostar Cozumel. But this year we were “armed” with our knowledge gained from our experiences last year. It definitely worked to our advantage this year.

On Friday, we drove to Des Moines and stayed with Zach and Jessie instead of getting a Park-Sleep-Fly. Definitely better to stay with them than some hotel! We left after work and got there some time after 8pm. While it wasn’t that late, we were pretty tired from packing and traveling there so we just visited for a bit and then went to bed.

Saturday morning at 5:30am, Jessie and her dad Jim drove us to the Des Moines Airport to begin our journey. No bad weather this time. We flew US Airways this time and the connecting flight was in Charlotte, NC. All in all the flight there was pretty uneventful. We landed at the Cozumel Airport on time and got through customs without any issues. I asked the driver of the van to drop me off at Rentadora ISIS, where I had reserved a rental car for this stay – no scooter this time! The driver dropped me off there and I spoke with Magarita, the owner of Rentadora ISIS. She had the car waiting. Got the car and headed to Iberostar Cozumel, the same resort we stayed with last time. Here, we met with friends Corey and Andrea who had the trek to this resort the day before; they were there with Corey’s parents Ken and Elaine. Basically, the rest of the day was loll around the beach and the pool recuperating from the uneventful trip.

Sunday, Casey and I went to breakfast the the others but we had plans. We went to Punta Sur (South Point), an eco-park on the southern tip of the island. Basically, you go to the Rasta Bar and turn south. The road there was plenty bumpy and going was slow but we did get to the beach. Had a wonderful morning snorkeling. Each time I go back I’m amazed at how clear the water is there; five feet of water looks to be a few inches because of how clear the water is. After a morning of snorkeling, mostly by Casey, we decided it was time to go. On the way back we went by the lighthouse Faro Celarain. We actually went up the 128 steps to the top of the lighthouse and took some amazing pictures there. Leaving the park, we took the “scenic route” around the island instead of going straight back to the resort. Lots of work has been done on the road on the east coast, but it’s still pretty much the same.

Sunday night, the whole group went to the city San Miguel. Casey and I had been told the locals have live bands on the town square by friends Tom and Dawn. They were more than right. The band was very good. There was dancing and a lot of people just hanging out listening to the band and having a good time. We enjoyed that very much. But, as it got later our tiredness got the best of us so we went back to the resort.

Monday, I took Corey and Ken on a “guys day” over to the east side of the island. We stopped at the Rasta Bar and had a beer and visited there. We all agreed that it was a great place to have a beer and watch the waves. Then we went up to Coconuts, a bar farther north. Again a good beer and great view; Coconuts is up on a bluff so you have a great view for miles over the Caribbean. Rough weather came up, though, and soon we were leaving Coconuts due to sand being blown up in our faces. Yuk. The ride back to the resort was uneventful. We spent the rest of the day just hanging around the pool and at the swim-up bar.

Tuesday, Casey and I returned the rental car and did some shopping. Got some really nice silver from a place recommended by Tom and Dawn: Sergio’s. It’s off the beaten path and both Casey and I felt we got a fair price for the stuff we bought. Later, back at the resort, we spent the rest of the day reading around the pool and swimming in the pool (and going to the swim-up bar!) and just taking it easy.

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much carbon copies of each other. We did a bit of snorkeling and laying around the beach in the morning, and a bit of swimming (well, maybe wading) in the pool and going to the swim-up bar in the afternoon. Evenings we got the group together and played cards after we ate; of course, making sure we all had drinks!

Friday we were up and packing early. After packing, we had plenty of time to get to the airport. The flight home was uneventful. The only bad part was customs in Charlotte. I think the Marx Brothers created that mess. The lines were long and not fast-moving and the officials there seemed to always create another zig-zag lane making it seem like we were moving but all we were doing was walking down the newly formed lane and not really making headway. Finally, though, we got through customs. We ate in the airport there and then boarded our plane to Des Moines. Uneventful trip there as well.

All in all a GREAT vacation filled with sun, sand, water and good friends. Couldn’t ask for more!

Filed under:  Time Out
Tagged with: , , , ,
Run batted in by BillH at 7:30 pm |  No comments so far
January 23, 2011
The Striped Blind Guys

Yeah, we all know them. Referees. They are blind, stupid homers, right? And its only been in the last few years that its been so bad, right? Well…..

I was going through my Mom’s stuff with three of my brothers when we moved her from her senior living apartment to the nursing home where she is now. One thing I came across was rather interesting. It was a program from the 1945 Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament. My Mom graduated from Muscatine High School in 1945. The teams involved in the state tournament that year were: Storm Lake, Dowling (West Des Moines), Ottumwa, Muscatine, Geneseo Township (Buckingham), Sioux City Central, Ames and Waverly. Muscatine ended up losing to Ames in the championship game 35-33.

But something else in that program really caught my eye. It was a poem by R.J. Finn of Harlan, IA, called “Foul Play, or, Soul in Agony”. Here it is:

I think that I shall never see
A fairly treated referee.
He has to be o.k.’d by all,
To work a game of basketball.
His shirt must be in prison stripes,
To furnish gags for people’s gripes.
He nods and smiles to show he’s square,
To act too wise – he wouldn’t dare.
The game begins and all is set,
He hasn’t called a foul as yet.
But soon a boy has charged or blocked,
And for that foul he then is socked.
This time the crowd is full of joy,
Because it’s not a home town boy.
The game gets warm, the pace is hot,
Our whistle tooter’s on the spot.
Right underneath the home town’s goal,
Someone has pushed – and bless my soul –
Our striped friend, with whistle shrill,
Has called a foul on our star, Bill.
And fans go mad – they’re all agog,
And shout, “You need your seeing dog,”
“Where are the other two blind mice?”
“You’re not a louse – you’re almost lice.”
The ball drops in, the score is tied,
The heat’s on full, he’s being fried.
Now up the court, now back with speed,
The boys, all moving fast indeed.
To watch their feet, their hands, their hips,
And toot that whistle in his lips
Is one big job – at last – the bell,
The half-way mark it’s surely – well,
He needs a rest perhaps a smoke,
To referee is not a joke.
The coaches seek him out to say,
“Watch that big boy” or “Watch that play.”
He says, “O.K.,” but thinks, “You dope!
At home I could have heard Bob Hope.”
Three minutes more – the die is cast,
He vows this game will be his last.
The second half now starts, twelve all,
For just a minute there’s a pall,
That settles o’er the entire crowd,
That soon will be in cheering loud.
Up goes the ball, the tension’s high,
The ball is watched by every eye.
Of course each line of vision true,
Is not the same for me and you.
The guy downstairs, he hollers, “Boo!”
The guy upstairs says, “Give him two.”
The fan at one end hollers, “No!
He hit the ball, I’ll betcha dough.”
While at the other end afar,
Some fan explodes, “A thief you are.”
And in the middle of the gym,
Sit mammas, papas, fat and slim.
They gasp, they scowl, they frown, they shout,
“He roughed my Johnnie – put him out.”
And on the bench across the hall
The coaches scowl, the players call,
“Why don’t you call ’em? Now see there!”
Some wave their arms, some shout and swear.
The ball is changing hands so fast,
‘Tis hard to tell who had it last.
It’s nip and tuck and nip,
Two points far out, two in by tip.
The score is tied, now in it goes,
The crowd is standing on its toes.
A long shot hits the net – Oh gee!
It’s tied again, two three, two three.
The time is getting short, ’tis now
A foul called would cause a row.
One minute left – but now, “Time out.”
That poor official – scared no doubt!
I don’t believe I’ll stay to see
Who wins this game – it’s clear to me,
That our poor man in stripes so bright,
Is really in for one bad night.
Just think it o’er – if this were you –
Hell if you don’t hell if you do.
He’s out here trying, hoping too,
Some boy gets hot to see him through.
Perhaps he’s having one bad night,
We all have them and well we might.
For games are worked by men like ME,
Quite as fallible as You and HE.

Now playing: Halestorm – It’s Not You
via FoxyTunes

Filed under:  Time Out
Tagged with: , ,
Run batted in by BillH at 11:19 am |  No comments so far
December 27, 2010
Winter Wonderland

Ever wonder what happens when there are spiderwebs between the joists of your deck after a snow/ice storm? Here’s what happens:

This spiderweb is easier to see!  Little harder to see this one

Tagged with: , ,
Run batted in by BillH at 9:51 pm |  No comments so far
Next Page »