Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fighting Back

Rocky Bleier was one of my favorite Steelers back in the 70's. As the alternative to Franco Harris, he wasn't their biggest star, but he was a solid, hard nosed guy. He rushed for 1,000 years in 1976, and retired with 4 Super Bowl rings....
I just finished re-reading his autobiography, "Fighting Back", which was written after the Steeler's Super Bowl IX win. I was given a hardback copy sometime back then, probably as a Christmas gift when I was 15... and I still have it. The book chroincles Bleier's comeback from devestating injuries in Vietnam, when he was told he would be lucky to walk normally again. An interesting read, even though it was written well before his retirement from Football, or subsequent activities....
GO STILLERS!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

White Christmas??

Or not... Try 35 degrees and rain. Freezing rain advisory. Blech. This is the view from my office window, dark, gray, dreary....

Fantasy Land

OK, I'm not generally big on Fanstasy Sports, but I have played a NASCAR fantasy game through Yahoo for several years, and generally do pretty well... Anyway, this year I decided to give Fanstasy Football a try. I went with the simplified version, no draft, randomly assigned leagues, etc. You're able to request certain players for your team, but may or may not get them.

After setting up my first team, I decided that a different strategy for selecting players might be better, and I set up another team.... So, 2 teams to manage. The Fantacy leagure ran 14 weeks, then 2 weeks of playoffs, ending with last night's MNF game. So how did I do?

I ended up with 2 teams, as life evolved, the Ridgerunners and LSquared. So, how'd it work out?
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Yep, 2 teams, and 2x first place. Sadly, all I win is bragging rights, and I figured this was a good a place to brag as any.... Aren't y'all proud of me?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kids With Cameras

I received a "Seasons Greetings" email today from one of the microstock agencies I belong to, with the message:

"A donation to Kids with Cameras has been made in your name. This organization believes in the power of photography to ignite imagination and self-esteem in children"

I think that's very cool. Not just the donation, but the organization. I wasn't familiar with them, but a quick glance at their web site looks like something I'll want to learn more about.

One of the images for sale at the site:

Suchitra, 14 "Girl on a Roof"

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Just A Few Weeks Ago

Fall colros were in bold and bright. Now all the branches are bare, and the wind is biting.....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sign Sign everywhere a sign

And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right?

Along the Katy Trail, central, MO...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Turkey cookie concoction, something my wife whipped up. Hope I get to eat it later! We're actually having our celebration today, based on schedules of all involved. Hope everyone had (or is having) a great Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fall Colors

Just a couple of shots of the colors this fall. All the leaves are finished with their display now, but that's the way of it...


Monday, November 24, 2008

Lost and Found

Last Saturday, this puppy showed up at our yard, trying to visit with our dogs. She didn't have a collar, but was clean, well fed, and very well socialized.

Long story made short: We were unable to find the owners, and ended up taking her to our local pet-hospital. They determined that she had been micro-chipped, but it had not been "activated". So the weren't able to identify the owners (only the place that installed it, but they were closed for the weekend). Anyway, they agreed to keep her for the weekend... We checked this morning, and the pup was reuinited with the owners today, after they were able to track contact the place that planted the chip... So we're pleased.

Our puppies are chipped, but the registration expired not too long ago. We need to renew it, I suppose!

Riding The Rails

Last weekend, the local Model Railroaders club had an open house. They have a huge setup in one of the local historic buildings, and my (8 year old) son really enjoys checking it out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bare Trees

A flood of them, all from the archives. With lyrics from Fleetwood Mac:

Bare trees, grey light, Oh yeah it was a cold night

Bare trees, grey light, I was alone in the cold of a winters day

You were alone and so snug in your bed

I was alone in the cold of a winters day

You were alone and so snug in your bed

Bah do dah, do dah da do da do

Bah do dah, do dah da do da do

Monday, November 17, 2008

504

Well, the 2008 NASCAR season just ended, and Jimmy Johnson won his 3rd consecutive championship. Congratulations, Jimmy!! Much more important (to me, at least), was my showing in the Yahoo Fantasy League… Yep, they have fantasy leagues for just about everything these days, including Nascar racing! This year I finished in 504th place. Doesn’t sound too impressive, until you consider that there’s something like 400,000 players! A solid 99th percentile… And coming on strong at the end; 220th place for the second ½ of the season. This is the 4th year I’ve played, and my best performance (Previous were 66th, 96th and 95th percentiles)… Maybe next year I can crack the top 500… Either that, or maybe I'll just get a life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Leaf


Just a silly little photo, taken this morning on the way to collect “scouting for food” donations… Today was the coldest, greyest, yuckiest day we’ve had in quite a while. This pathetic little leaf was stuck to out windshield……

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Late fall, winter on the way...

Last weekend was the start of Scouting For Food. Boy Scouts / Cub Scouts across the country distributed bags to homes, for willing families to fill with food for the needy… It was cold and gray and windy last Saturday, but everybody still had fun.…. Here’s one of the neighborhoods we visited, just a “slice of life” from the East 30 Mobile Home Community….


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veteran's Day

I meant to post thgis yesterday (Veteran's Day), but didn't get it done... A couple of images from our Village’s Veteran’s Day ceremony, held last Sunday… My son's Scout Troop marched in the procession from the VFW to the village's Memorial..


Thanks to all the men and women who have protected us over the years, and continue today.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hoops!!

Not too long before NCAA Basketball gets started, I think Duke plays their first “real” game tomorrow…


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Super Duper

Metropolis, Illinois claims itself as the home of Superman, complete with a huge statue of the “Man Of Steel”… On a recent trip to Murray KY, we did the short side trip to Metropolis, and can now rest easy, having seen the fabled statue...


Least Rabbit

I got hung up at a railroad crossing today. Tool a couple of shots of graffiti on the cars as the rumbled past….



...and gas as cheap as thrills

I was driving across Missouri yesterday, on a STL --> KC round trip. I always try to fill up my gas tank in Missouri, because the gas taxes are about $0.20/gallon lower. Yesterday, for the first time in a LONG time, I paid $1.999, somewhere between Columbia and the STL Suburbs. That's less than 1/2 what I paid in July ($4.189), and saved me over $35 on a fill-up.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

R.I.P.

I’m often struck by the memorial crosses you see along the highways of our country… Some simple, some intricate. Some well maintained, some obviously neglected. I wonder about the stories behind the losses…


This is actually not on the interstate, but where the off ramp from I-64 eastbound dumps onto Illinois Route 159, not far from my office.

Fall Colors

The front yard on a beautiful Sunday morning…






Friday, October 31, 2008

My Mind Is In The Gutter

I'm not even sure when I took this image, but it was autumn. Waiting for a parade through downtown Edwardsville, IL. Possibly Halloween 2006.... Naturally, while everyone else is chatting, or people watching, or whatever, I'm staring at the dead leaves in the gutter....



Anyway, I really like this image, always have. Tonights the 2008 Halloween parade in Edwardsville, and we'll be walking with my son, who will either be with his Tae-Kwon-Do class, or our Church float (or maybe both)....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ford


Close up of the Ford logo on an old tractor. This beast has been a fixture at our Church way longer than we have (which is getting close to 20 years)…. I’m pretty sure it still runs, dragging around the lawn cutting attachment. Then again, I haven’t actually SEEN it running in a while. Below is another close up…


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Branches, Water

Here's a couple of oldies. Similar, but different... B&W or color... still or windy... flat light, or bright... I like them both.


Both of these were taken at Silver Lake Park, Highland, IL. Not too far from where I used to work (till 2006). I don't miss the job, but I do miss the park.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Goose Poop

There’s a nice, open, field next to where I work. Nice now, but soon to be another office building. And a fountain. I noticed the other day, that with the nearing of cold weather, quite a few geese are hanging out here. No problem, happy waterfowl, I love the environment, all that warm fuzzy stuff. Until today, when I went out for lunch and found a massive splat of dried gloop on my windshield. Had to be goose poop. Grrrr. Reminding me once again why there’s a big market for goose abatement products


But, on reflection, it’s hard to blame a goose for being a goose. And they are cool when they fly overhead in formation, honking away. Just as long as they’re not dropping bombs, I suppose.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palouse.....

I spent the last 6 days in SW Washington state. My first trip back there since spening most of last Winter and Spring there....
I didn't even have a camera with me, but here's a few oldies from the Washington State:





Monday, October 13, 2008

and people down in Florida can’t be still when ol’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s pickin’ down in Jacksonville

Well, the train to Grinder's Switch is runnin' right on time, And the Tucker Boys are cookin' down in Caroline, and people down in Florida can’t be still when ol’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s pickin’ down in Jacksonville.
Continuing the “South’s Gonna Do It” theme, today’s band is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Out of Jacksonville Florida, Skynyrd was probably the biggest of the Southern Rock bands, at least through the mid ‘70s. Like MTB, there is no person Lynyrd Skynyrd, but the band is named after a real person, Leonard Skinner, who was a teacher in the school that several of the guys attended. No brothers in Skynyrd, but lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s 2 brothers also were/would be/are in Southern Rock bands. With the wonderfully “southern” names of Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant… The band did have a sibling connection, though, with guitarist Steve Gaines brought into the band by and backup singer and sister Cassie Gaines. Skynyrd had several of the most iconic songs of the southern rock era, including “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”. They hit the Top 40 five times, which may be tops in the genre. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Skynyrd was my favorite band as a teenager. I wore out copies of each of their first 5 albums by the end of college. Each was replaced on vinyl, and subsequently on CD… I was fortunate enough to see them twice in 1976, shortly before, and not long after Steve Gaines joined. I could probably write a small book with observations and experiences related to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but this is a blog, not a book….

Useless trivia 1: Original guitarist Ed King was formerly a member of the 60’s psychedelic band Strawberry Alarm Clock, famous for Incense and Peppermints.
Useless Trivia 2: Skynyrd is referenced in 2 songs I can think of, Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” and Warren Zevon’s “Play It All Night Long”. There's probably more….

And my biggest pet-peeve: it’s not Skynard, folks. It’s Skynyrd.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

And the Tucker Boys are cookin' down in Caroline

The South’s Gonna Do It, by Charlie Daniels Band:
Well, the train to Grinderswitch is runnin' right on time, And the Tucker Boys are cookin' down in Caroline

Following yesterday’s post on Grinderswitch, the second band mentioned in the song is Marshall Tucker Band (MTB). One of the more popular bands from the southern rock movement, with several radio hits in the 70’s, including Top 40 entries “Heard It In A Love Song” and “Fire on the Mountain" and the classic-rock classic "Can’t You See”. Typically, their best stuff isn't necessarily the hits... MTB is notable for not having anyone named Marshall Tucker in the Band. But that wasn’t too strange for a southern rock band, every Allman Brothers was offset by a Lynyrd Skynyrd, it seems. Anyway, MTB did feature another common southern rock thread, in brothers Toy and Tommy Caldwell. As far as Southern Rock credentials, they had the southern part down, coming from Spartanburg South Carolina...

Interesting note: Charlie Daniel’s album “Fire On The Mountain” (which includes "The South's Gonna Do It") was released in 1975… Marshal Tucker’s song “Fire On The Mountain” was released in 1975… coinincidence??? Regardless, the photo below was also taken in 1975, near Beckley, WV. That's Ned Rugeley, who, IIRC, pointed out that little bit of trivia to me around the time that photo was taken...


Unlike Grinderswitch, MTB is well represented in my music collection. And I saw them in concert several times, too. Most interesting was when they came to Duke during my college years. I worked Event Security and was lucky enough to be on the backstage crew. I’d like to tell you I got to meet the band and become best pals with them, but that would be a rather huge stretch. But hanging out backstage is always cool.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The train to Grinderswitch is running right on time….


As a kid, I was a huge “Southern Rock” fan. All the biggies, and some of the lesser known ones. And the definitive song about southern rock (though not the definitive southern rock song) was Charlie Daniels Band’s “The South’s Gonna Do It”. In deference to the song, and the sound, I plan to be listening to the bands mentioned in the song over the next couple of days. First up is probably the most obscure, Grinderswitch, from a bit south of Macon, GA. I expect their inclusion in the song is largely because they were part of the Capricorn Records stable, as was Charlie Daniels Band. I actually didn’t have a Grinderswitch album back in the late 70’s, and only knew them from their appearance on one of the Volunteer Jam albums. But through the joys of iTunes, I now have their album “Redwing”, which includes the only song of theirs I knew back then: “You And Me”. Not a bad group, but certainly second tier…
According to Wikipedia, Grinder's Switch is a real location just outside of Centerville, Tennessee, which consists of little more than the eponymous railroad switch. It was also the fictional hometown of Minnie Pearl. I don't know if there is a connection, but it seems like a heck of a coincidence.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

Q: What did the deadhead say when the drugs wore off? A: Wow this music sucks!!

OK, I’m not much of a Grateful Dead fan, but I do have 5 of their songs on my iPod, and it struck me as a good selection for a cold rainy Tuesday morning. And it seemed to fit the moment reasonably well.

Aside: Many years ago, my brother was did some DJ work at his college radio station. He was into puk, new wave and all that great stuff, and I’m sure his radio show reflected that. I remember him telling me about people calling and requesting Grateful Dead songs, and him refusing to play them. A couple of years later, during my college days, I did DJ duties at a couple of my dorm’s parties. I had the same issue, with folks coming up and requesting me to play some Grateful Dead and such (Dixie Dregs, for instance), even offering to bring me their records. I figured that would’ve cleared the dance floor quicker than the B side of “They’re coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haaa”…. So, gently but firmly I learned to say no….

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'll Be Watching You....

Array of security cameras at one of the nearby Elementary Schools. I guess you can't be too careful these days, but it's a kind of sad statement... Check it out at Shutterstock.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gather At The River (or Lake)

One of our friends was baptised recently. Not in the "splash" way I'm most familiar with, but by dunking an a lake. She was "dedicated" as a baby, but not baptised. My wife, son and I were honored to stand with the family for the special event. I managed a few photos before the ceremony, this is my favorite.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Artsy

We made an excursion to the St. Louis art musuem yesterday. Just a coupel shots, didn't do much photographing, just looking....

Saint Louis himself, out front of the building...

- - - -

The fountain in the main entry area....