Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Miscellania”

A Vital Reminder

How about a little inspiration? How about a lot? What is your dream for this time of your life? How determined are you to realize it?

The video below says it’s about piloting the fastest manned fixed-wing aircraft ever built, but that’s just the dressing, complete with some of the most impressive in-flight photographs I’ve ever seen. The majority of it is a message about life and living, for every person that Brian Shul can reach. With humility and uncanny humor, he delivers an account that I believe you will get much out of. I sure have. Runtime: 1:11.


Problems vs. Opportunities

I received the missive below  from a good friend of mine, who happens to instruct art classes at a local college. As an admirable artist, teacher and person, now and then he gets an inspiration to get creative with problems. In this case, fashionable school policy prohibits the possession of a recyclable water bottle on school property, so reusable water bottles abound and are frequently mislaid. Thing is, not one person in this class has ever reclaimed theirs. That’s odd, because commercial water bottles can get pretty pricey if you don’t want your water to leak and taste like plastic, so my friend has not yet found an alternative to adding them to the waste stream – other than relabeling his little lost & found display collection as…

“Dear friend,

“In the future, examples of lost, misplaced and recovered water bottles
will be used to determine dynasties and earth ages of forgotten
civilizations and generations.

“Unearthed pottery shards and extinguished campfires are uninteresting and

“Oakton Community College is proud to announce the first museum-level
collection and overview of this kind.

“Subscribe now and receive minute-by-minute updates as to how this dynamic
new field of anthropology develops!”

My Favorite Advertisements?

Hey kids, do you wonder why Grandpa or Grandma is so screwed up? It’s because of ads like this from the Soda Pop Board of America. Read that copy!! Not surprisingly, that’s a reversed image of a Coca-Cola bottle.

[Caution: this is one of those posts that started small and, well, just got out of hand as I began mulling over things. Enjoy. Or not.]

This is a peculiar post, because I am weary of ads. Ads are all you now see on TV, online, by the road, and in printed material. We’re inundated by the stuff, so now ad men are advertising in a “viral” way so that it appears to not be what it is. So, it takes some effort for me to think back and ask myself, “What ads have I actually enjoyed?” There aren’t many.

The first is a whole series put out by the Doyle Dane Bernbach firm for Volkswagen in the 1960s, when the task was to market a car designed in the 1930s, a “people’s car” to highlight progress from the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party in the Fatherland. It was an antediluvian copy of an existing Tatra model, but it was still well thought out for what it was in that era, and it was inordinately tough. The Beetle was small and homely, and once it was timidly pushed into the market in an era when “longer, lower, wider” prestige were what sold, it was bought only by a few minimalist nonconformists seeking relief from the fins, chrome, and tonnage. What did the mainstream market look like? Like this:

The new 1960 Pontiac!

Or this: Read more…

A Cellular-Challenged Campsite

Just letting you know that I’m in a very notable campsite at the moment, but the cellular signal is one bar, and the Internet is unreachable throughout most of the day. The only exception is email, which works on its own unique time table. Viewing websites and uploading even one photo is not possible, let alone some videos I have waiting. The stories that I have in mind depend on them. I am amazed that I can, with difficulty, even post this bare notice! It’s a fluke of timing and atmospherics, I guess. When I move to a more cellular-friendly site, I’ll post some more useless fluff.

So, we wait.

Ooo! More Junk Mail Friends!

Apparently, I’m more popular than I thought! Witness the following emails I received recently:

I am Judece Michael Tisioh, writing with due respect, trust and humanity, I got your email address after an extensive on-line search via network power charitable trust for a reliable person. Please exercise a little patience and read through my letter, I feel quite safe dealing with you in this important message, I will really like to have a good understanding with you and i have a special reason why i decided to contact you, I decided to contact you due to the urgency of my situation. I’m writing you from hospital bed, therefore this message is very urgent. I have a donation to make which I will need your assistance to carry it out, I will be 62 years old this coming month, I’m a widow and a government worker for many years here in Ivory Coast. I have sum of $4.9 Million, Four Million Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars with my late husband Hon. Michael Tisioh, I want to donate to orphanage homes and Charity organizations through you.
“I have a serious cancer disease and will be going for my third surgical operation, although the doctors had already confirmed that I will only last for few months but I am glad that the lord has kept me safe and guided me to accomplish my desires. I want you to contact my house helper, I have given him the documents of the funds and have directed him to a lawyer that will assist you to change the documents of the fund to your name to enable my bank transfer the fund to you.
Victor Bailly Joshua.
Address: Avenue 16, Wade Ave,
Abidjan 16, Cote d’Ivoire.
He will give you the documents and direction on how to contact the lawyer i contracted to assist you, the lawyer will do everything on your behalf here in Ivory Coast to ensure the success of my fund transfer to you.
This is the favor i want from you after you received the fund under your control.
(1) Give 20% of the money to Victor Bailly, he has been here for me throughout and i promised to support him, therefore you will take him as your child.
(2) Give 60% of the money to charity organizations, orphanage homes e.t.c, on my name so that my wishes will be fulfilled.
(3) The remaining 20% should be for you and others that you may personally wish to assist.
Remain Blessed,
Mrs. Judece Michael Tisioh.

This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.”

And the following personal message from one Susan Williams, entitled “Hello Dear”:

How are you? I must confess that you’re a nice looking gentle man on your profile.Are you married?, Can we be friends?????

The latter is especially engaging because it was marked “To: undisclosed recipients”, which means it was broadcast to a ton of people like myself. You know, guys with that same kind of sensual masculinity that I have. Makes me feel special, because “Susan” knows I’m handsome by the photo of me that is missing from my profile page. Somehow, I have the feeling that any reply will eventually turn to the topic of finances. How is it that my mail program segregated these great opportunities into my junk mail folder?


Road Locomotives

Once cutting edge technology, these steam tractors are still very impressive accomplishments.

Different weeks here in Butterfield bring different sights. This week, it’s a couple of steam-powered threshing machines that have been moved out of a large shed and parked on the grass. This won’t do the grass much good in the long run, since the prodigious weight on the rear wheels of these things visibly compacts the soil! These two are not the largest I’ve seen, but they are certainly large enough.

Advance Thresher Co., Battle Creek, Michigan. 1881-1917. At their peak, they produced 1,000 annually, along with much more harvesting machinery of various kinds. (The rear platform and boxes on this one are not original.)

They are referred to mainly as steam threshing machines, though the terms traction engines, road locomotives, and tractors are often bandied about. We think of them today as steam tractors, but that connotes plowing as the main function, which is not really accurate. They were actually designed mainly as Read more…

The Butterfield Marauders

Not having been started for months, this little motorbike sputtered for awhile before it was able to idle.

Out for a walk a couple of weekends ago, I returned to camp to find that a motorcycle gang had moved in. Okay, maybe it was more of a motor scooter gang, and all of their bikes were vintage and very similar. The rider in the photo above told me that his mount was a Hirscheiser, spoken in a tone which assumed that I had heard of it, or at least should have, had I been civilized or at least housebroken. You know, Hirscheiser! Nope. My memory banks coming up dry, I didn’t think to ask for the spelling, and a modest search online didn’t produce anything. Nonetheless, a half-hour later, fifteen riders of the little bikes putted down the road toward downtown, happily looking for trouble.

I thought these were all there was, until I later peeked out of the Intrepid to see a stream of them heading toward town.

Nearby were parked two Indian motorcycles, 1946 and 1951 models. The stuff of legend, Indian motorcycles predate Read more…

Last Call for Senior Passes

Grand Canyon

I’ll quote from an emailed notification:

On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. This increase is a result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the US Congress on December 16, 2016 and is the first increase since 1994.

The lifetime Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:

  • National Park Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers

The passes cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees. For more details about the pass, visit Changes to the Senior Pass.

To purchase this pass any federal recreation site, including national parks, that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. You can also purchase online or through the mail from USGS; an additional $10 processing fee will be added to the price. Visit the USGS store.Read more…

Much Ado About Nothing

I regularly come across examples of how our perceptions can markedly contrast with reality. That always impresses me, and in the realm of major media, I’ve found that it takes quite a bit of personal digging to negate the filters of bias which tend to permeate their end products. If you want to know what they think about an event or an issue, all you have to do is read or see what they produce. If you want to find out what actually happened or what else is involved within an issue, you’re going to have to do some excavation yourself, elsewhere. You may be one of the those who trusts their news source these days, but Walter Cronkite passed away decades ago, so if you just turn on the news and accept it without question as accurate and balanced, you may find yourself becoming unbalanced. Editorializing does that. Propaganda does that. The difference between them is that editorials are labeled as such. Propaganda is not, yet purports to be a reasonably accurate representation of the true situation.

Straight news reporting and accountability for errors has become an endangered species. Propaganda works. If I listen to Fox News long enough, I find my opinions of facts and issues swinging their way over time. If I switch over to NPR, I find myself going the other way. In the end, we’re stuck with listening to the bias that we prefer, and become unable to understand Read more…

Mr. Picky on Fender Flares

Lifted, big tires, Chevy.

Rant time! Okay, maybe not so much a rant as expressing an opinion parading as a pseudo-fact. Aftermarket fender flares for trucks. They are plastic attachments that emphasize the wheel openings in vehicle fenders. They’re fairly popular as a way to make one’s pickup look like an off-roading titan. They often look good. Sometimes they look bad. Really bad. I’d seen individual samples here and there, but whilst pigging out on a heavy-duty ice cream confection at Whippy Dip in Silver Lake, Michigan (which is not entirely unlike a pilgrimage to Mecca), I saw two pickups parked near each other that illustrated the far ends of the fender flare universe. I was motivated to take photos with my ever-present iPhone.

Now, you may not think that fender flares are worth writing a blog post about, and you’re right. I’ll give you that. It’s decidedly a waste of electrons, especially since half of my readers are of the female persuasion, and I have yet to discern the topic of fender flares when walking by any conversation on the street. But some things just need to be noted, and although this isn’t one of them, I’m writing about it as if it is. Personal quirk.

At any rate, the truck in the above photo has fender flares that work well visually, mainly since Read more…

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