Friday, February 27, 2009

W.O.F. 52 Hope Springs Eternal

This week's weird object reminds us that teams have reported for spring training, and the training is underway. I am a fairly passive baseball fan, but it's always good to see spring training underway, because, I mean, hey, it's SPRING training.

I have had a long happy association with baseball. Growing up in Baltimore, I was an Orioles fan back in the day when it was quite fun to be an Orioles fan - the Robinsons Brooks and Frank, Luis, Jim Palmer, the Earl Weaver days, etc. Good times.

Then the 90's were pretty fun times to be here in the Cleveland area. The Tribe almost...almost smelled the sweet smell of (World Series) success, but for a fluke of a Marlins team. But it was fun and my son was of the age that he was following Jim Thome and Omar and a number of others who made it a special team.

But baseball teams tend more and more toward the revolving door model, where a player is "loyal" up to and not beyond the date of free agency. Then it is a pure business model and it's all "follow the money" and "show me the money".

And the beauty is that money is not the only thing that produces victory. Take THAT, Yankees!!! I mean, the Yankees have their own annual stratospheric stimulus package with their payroll madness. It is always fun when they do not land in the playoffs, or get eliminated early on. (Apologies to Yankee fans out there. Insincere, but apologies just the same.)

I think I like the concept of baseball better than the actual game. The idea of a national pastime. Not a sport but a pastime. The leisurely pace. The smell of mustard. The sound of crack and roar. The patina of cerebral play and ploy that pervades the pastime. (Ok, I will not write any more sentences like that...). The perfect green-ness of the grass. Watching the flag to see if there is any breeze. Watching the scoreboard to see how the other teams are doing around the league. Just for the evening, actually caring about how the other teams are doing.

Yeah, I'm ready for the concept of baseball, and maybe for even an actual game or two.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A-Z Monday: G is for...

It's time to play the ol' guitar
This thing and I have traveled far
Don't know many chords; can't really bar
But peace accompanies my guitar

Bought this Alvarez in the mid 1970's at a long-gone guitar shop on High Street in Columbus, not far from the OSU campus. It's gotten a lot of use over the years, but lately it's been staying in its case. I've preferred tinkling the keys of a keyboard, or messing with a Squire Strat electric guitar I inherited from my son when he moved on to a Les Paul and other extravagances. Maybe I'll just leave this guitar out for a while, tune it up, and have a go.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rocky Comes to Dinner

So we're eating a late Sunday evening oatmeal dinner, looking out at the darkness, and we make out the shape of an animal chowing down on the suet cake. Doesn't look like our usual diners, or any of the local squirrels. Turns out upon closer inspection it's s flying squirrel. We know they are quite common all over the place, but we've never actually seen one - perhaps they are mostly nocturnal (such as this guy, who must have spent 15 minutes pounding down the suet cake, and didn't seem to care about the camera flash going off in his direction every couple minutes.)

In other weekend news, our son came home with four college cohorts. They presented a little program at church about their upcoming college sponsored mission trip to central America. They are all looking forward to it - it's at an orphanage where our boy had spent a week two years ago - he looks forward to going back and seeing the kids, all two years older. He seems to really like to take these trips - he says he feels an obligation. I'll bet this is not his last one. Seems like the young 'uns get more opportunities to travel, experience, lend a hand, and learn, than back in the day. I think that's great.

Friday, February 20, 2009

W.O.F 52 No, I'm Not a Jimmy Buffett Fan

Well, there is a history behind this little plastic dude. He once had a long handle and a gizmo where you could make him bite or chew on stuff. That broke off, just leaving this severed exotic bird head.

Many years ago, this thing became the object of a little game with Linda and me. One of us would hide it in a cereal box or some place where the other would find it, then think warm thoughts about the other.

In more recent years, the parrot head was mostly stuck in a suitcase after one of us had packed to go off on a business overnighter or even a vacation with the other. Most recently, the thing has just been more or less permanently residing in a suitcase under our bed.

But now that I have brought this thing out to see the light of day, maybe I'll go hide it in some spot where Linda will come upon it shortly...

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Just for the record, this marks one whole year of weird objects posted here. I think there is enough weird stuff around here for me to keep going a while longer.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A-Z: F is for FISH

Every fall from the fishpond we carry 'em
Down to the basement - their winter aquarium

And when they expire, we don't flush e'm - we bury 'em!
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Sorry for the tardy post - just spent a long day in and out of the OSU vet hospital in Columbus, trying to track down the cause of our dog's persistent cough. Spent some serious dollars to learn - not very much. The good news - no evidence of a big tumor or mass or anything. The not as good news - so it must be something they couldn't catch by X-Ray or ultrasound. There is more they can do to get to the bottom of it, and they changed anti cough meds, and they got a bunch of fluid out of her chest. So she is better off than when we showed up. And right now, as we just got home, she is fairly doped up and just lying here, moving her eyes around to follow us, but not moving much else. Ah, the joys of the geriatric pooch! And the things we would do for her!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

quiet time at week's end

Nothing helps clear out my brain after a busy work week like a trip out to a quiet place - often, for us, the local reservoir park. Our dog doesn't get around like she used to, but you can tell she treasures a trip out there as much as we do. We got away for about a half hour yesterday, late in the afternoon.

Nature was not exactly abounding, although a duck couple was hanging out by the bridge.
The water was up (no surprise there) and as it passed over the spillway (heading away from the camera here), it met the water below and set up a sort of permanent counter-wave of resistance. It was sort of a cool effect.
I could hear a lone goose headed our way, so I trained the camera on the moving target as it approached us and - pretty much missed the target. I caught it full-body as it receded.
Here was what I thought may be the last hunk-a-hunk-a-melting snow. Little did I know it would be snowing today (and, so say the forecasters, tonight). Oh well, it is only mid February.
Other than a few passing fellow dog-walkers and their four-footed companions, I noticed a lone woodpecker working a tree along the waterfront, and a couple squirrels scampering around. That, and Mr. and Mrs. Duck, was about it.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Well, this thing is pretty unnecessary these days. We have plenty of moisture, to the point that the rivers are nearly overflowing around here. But this is a rain stick, a fairly common item in the American southwest.

They take a chunk of cactus plant, block off the ends, knock all the needles into the hollow center of the thing, and then shellac or coat it with something to seal it up and make it durable. You end up with this section of cactus that makes a cool, rain-like noise as you turn it over, end to end. The noise is the needles, coursing their way up and down through the obstacle course in the hollowed out center.

The thinking is, when you start shaking this thing around, it will rain. So in times of drought, folks would head for their rain sticks and hope for the best. For me, it is a cool memento from a trip out to Albuquerque years ago, and given the fact that we already have a bit of water in the basement from all the rain and melted snow, I am leaving this thing alone!

Visit the other WOFs listed to the right! And have a great Weird Object Weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A-Z Mondays: E is for EARLY


Some people love to rise before dawn,
Shower and shave, and put a pot on,
Get ahead with their business, or savor the calm
Yep, being up early's their healing balm

Oh, some people live to be able to say
"I got it all done and out of the way"
For people like that, starting late is a sin
So call me a sinner; I like to sleep in!

Friday, February 6, 2009

W.O.F. 50 Absurd Icicle

Not sure a picture or two will do this justice, but a house near us became home to an icicle that reached from the second story rain gutter to the ground. Huge thing. And our candidate, while it lasts, for weird object of the week.
This was just a bit of detail from where the icicle joined up with a bush.
And a wider view of the bottom portion of this icy monster.

check the other W.O.F. links to the right ->

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Today by the Numbers

Number of hours I've been up today as of 5 p.m.: 12
Number of miles traveled in total, to and from a meeting today (in a rented Dodge Journey with heated seats; one small ray of sunshine in this dismal report): 350
Number of hours on the road (including the two hour meeting which, thankfully, was very productive): 9
Current internal body temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit: 101.7
Number of horse pill-sized cold gel caps just consumed: 2
Number of gel caps that shot out onto the floor because of the infernal, demonic "blister packing" that companies think they need to use: 1
Number of wives preparing chicken soup: 1
Likelihood that I make a scheduled 8:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow morning: 0.3%
Number of good reasons why I should be blogging and not crashing on the couch (davenport, what have you): 0.0

Tip of the hat to PIGEON: Thanks very much for the light diffuser (I'm trying to be all scientific and I may be getting my terminology wrong...) Should add some afternoon color to the dining room!

OK, soup time, followed by "davenport" time...

In honor of grandmothers everywhere, with this post I begin a one-man quest to return the term, "davenport", to frequent, nay, preferred use in common conversation...Join me!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A-Z Monday: D is for


D is for Dog; This is our spaniel
When we first got her she came with no manual
But for the most part we figured her out
And we all love her, from tail fur to snout

Now our girl's aging, and she sleeps a bit more
And she doesn't hear when I knock at the door
And we take her more frequently down to the vet
But her heart is still gold and her nose is still wet!