Positive Imaging

What to talk about today? The sky is cloudy and rain is imminent. There are still too many weeds to pull in the garden, but I’m not into it. My attitude is dreadfully morose. That condition requires me to work overtime to eliminate. How? By prayer, and huge doses of mindless work of some kind, like writing a post for my blog.

My life which was filled with the activity of caring for my late wife, and has become empty. The virus has cooled my second passion after Peggy, the Lions Club, and I am very down about the members not showing any interest in revving up the juices to serve the community. Many of our members are my age and some older, so they are afraid of their shadow and are hunkered down. I still think I act and feel twenty years younger than the average aged 62 year old in our club. Just yesterday, I attended an online Zoom webinar on virtual fund raising. I was amazed by the activity presented by a newly formed club during the pandemic. They chartered as a virtual club, meaning they don’t meet in person. All of their communication and activities are done using eMail, Messaging, Zoom, Facebook, Youtube, and other social media platforms. They collect money using apps like Go Fund Me and PayPal. Their projects, what ever they are, require fund raising. I have often thought that lots of activities that require fund raising for each one is a smarter way to keep club members engaged and active. The one giant fund raiser of the year approach which our club evolved into requires a huge effort during the fund raising process which wears everyone out for further activity. In the meantime members leave because there is not a lot of activity for them to participate in to bring service to the town, and which gives them a feeling of “giving back”.

Another habit or culture that our aged club has evolved into is to write checks to help causes within the town, this is a good thing. What is bad about it is that the causes are determined by a very limited number of people who decide behind closed doors how much should be donated, and who will get it. The list of charities is then presented to the regular membership for approval. That vote for approval is the only action a person gets to make him feel he is giving back to the community. On the opposite side of this process is the scheme which has members bringing project ideas to the services committee for approval and then they organize into a team to raise funds to bring the idea to fruition. This method gets more members directly involved with the implementation of the service. It all sounds good on paper. The downside is that our culture at this point works against such a system. The one big project for the year system seems to shade out any new activity. It’s kind of like trying to present an idea to Congress who will discuss, debate, present to committee, and maybe vote to bring it into law. Nothing happens fast. In our world today the key words are fast, action, team, solution, next!

Above I stated that I think younger than the average person in the club even though I am in the upper quartile of senior members. I must learn how to present ideas to the hipsters because my ideas don’t gather any interest for action by the young crowd. For them these things all sound like a dirty four letter word spelled W-O-R-K. If they can’t push a button or get it done on a keyboard it isn’t for them to do. That is what frustrates the hell out of me. I can get more done using those tools even though I am a dinosaur pushing the keys and thinking outside the box. All I can do is to continue to push ideas into their brains and hope these thoughts break through the blood-brain-barrier. In the mean time I will remain despondent about my ability to lead this club forward.

Now, I have to take a long walk to build a pile of endorphins, and follow it up with a mediative trance during which I will envision myself making a ground breaking positive presentation that will cause members to line up with ideas and a desire to serve.

English Oddities

Questions with no apparent answers:
1.  If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?

2. Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C?

3. Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn’t it be called double V?

5. Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

7. The word “swims” upside-down is still “swims”

8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.

great confusions still unresolved. 


1. At a movie theatre, which arm rest is yours?

2. If people evolve from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?

3. Why is there a ‘D’ in fridge, but not in refrigerator?

4.  Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?



Vagaries of English Language!
Ever wonder why the word funeral starts with FUN?

Why isn’t a Fireman called a Water-man?

How come Lipstick doesn’t do what it says?

If money doesn’t grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches?

If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?

How do you get off a non-stop Flight?

Why are goods sent by ship called CARGO and those sent by truck SHIPMENT?

Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the Cupboard?

Why do doctors ‘practice’ medicine? Are they having practice at the cost of the patients?

Why is it called ‘Rush Hour’ when traffic moves at its slowest then?

How come Noses run and Feet smell?

Why do they call it a TV ‘set’ when there is only one?

What are you vacating when you go on a vacation?


Did you know that if you replace “W” with “T” in “What, Where and When”, you get the answer to each of them.

COVID-19 Conquers

It is sad to say that the virus has succeeded in killing some long established customs of our community. The infamous Frankfort Fall Festival is dead. Ranked number three craft fair in the country, the Fest has been a Frankfort Tradition for nearly forty years. Over 250,000 visitors come through during Labor Day weekend. Three hundred crafters from all across America come to display and sell their creations. The evenings are filled with carnival rides and music at the entertainment venue. The whole town buzzes with excitement. The Frankfort Chamber announced this week after holding off as long as it could that they are cancelling the fest. Illinois is not far enough along in the Covid battle to allow large crowds to have some fun.

Along with the Fall Festival, the Frankfort Lions decided not to hold its annual Wurst Fest which is the kick-off event for the Fest. Also over forty years old, this tradition of the Lions raffle and the German themed evening of fun, food, and beer will not take place this year. What this means to the Lions is a totally new way to serve the community. Lions relied on their annual raffle to generate funds that would carry them through the year doing good things. Now, we scramble to think of safe ways to raise money. It will be an interesting time for sure.

The Lions Club will have to rethink charities like school scholarships. Three years ago we raised the dollar amount being awarded to graduating seniors from Lincoln Way East High School, and now we are in a spot where we will be scrambling. Our three times a year food distribution for families in need is also in trouble. Vision screening for kids has been on hold since the virus hit. Adult vision and hearing screenings have been placed on hold statewide until COVID disappears. Our efforts to expand services to visually impaired people are in jeopardy. In short we don’t know what we are doing at this time. Since we have not met for the past three months except via Zoom we are still adjusting and brainstorming forward. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery will be welcomed.

Meanwhile my garden weeds are in full force, and the wabbits are vigorously eating their way through things not weeds. Since the Liberals have chosen to take Elmer Fudd’s shotgun away from him his Wabbit fighting strategy must change. Maybe he’ll resort to something more humane like chemical warfare. Elmer is another tradition being forced to change because his actions are not condoned by communists who want to control everything we, say, eat, breathe, and do.

It is my opinion that China is openly at war with the world. Even if they were as surprised as we were by the virus, they are using this catastrophe to benefit their ideology. Hopefully, their actions will backfire on them and the USA will learn that it cannot fight wars in a global economy. Who in their right mind will fight when the very tools of war are dependent upon their enemies? Maybe that is the point, but it sounds like suicide to me.

Americans are not good fighting wars that don’t have visible targets to shoot at. We are in a quandary about how to use our skill and weaponry to shoot a microscopic enemy. We can’t see it so we think it isn’t a threat or a real fight. In this age of right now gratification where everything has to be delivered in this instant, and where we have to be entertained now we are unable to cope with fighting long term bugs like COVID-19

Getting back to COVID-19, Frankfort Township in which I live has doubled new cases of the virus within the past week. So much for opening the door and giving us the idea that things are safer now. They are safer, but not to the extent that we should forget all common sense and live as though the virus doesn’t exist.

I am at a loss to make any sense out of this post. I’ll be ahead if I just stop right here.

Adventure Travel

My tiny town of sixteen thousand has three camper sales businesses. Seems like a lot of campers for such a small population. Ever since I got married I became fascinated by campers and camping. The basic camping lifestyle is learned in Boy Scouts, tent, backpack, wood fires, and sleeping bags. A more sensible or nonsensical camping style depending on how one wants to live is to put your six bedroom, eight bathroom, nine thousand square foot house on wheels and drive it to the edge of the woods. Maybe you would have a small fire to make samores with the kids.

When I got the bug my wife did not have a clue about camping nor did she want to learn. She was that way mostly because I tried talking her into back packing. That wasn’t going to happen and it never did. Instead I got my fill of the rough style by working with the Boy Scouts. That cured me.

Along the way I morphed into going camping in a pop-up trailer. It was the lightweight version of house trailer camping. I dreamed about getting one or better yet building a pop-up tailer. I drew plans for one but never got excited enough to begin building. Instead I began looking at camper trailers at the outdoor show. They made sense, but Barb still couldn’t be convinced that this was for us. Then I saw a used pop-up for sale near where we lived. I called and convinced Barb to come look at it with me. She grumbled and balked a bit but decided to come with me. In fact the whole family went. The seller had set up the unit in his driveway with the attached fly extending out from the tent. Under that fly he had a home-built portable kitchen set up ready to cook meals. The kitchen had pots and pans, dishes, utensils, a stove and wash tubs for cleaning dishes. All of it packed into two boxes that were neatly partitioned for all the goods. The sides of the boxes folded down to make a counter top.

The tiny trailer was a canvas tent set up on wheels. Inside, there was room to sleep six, we were five, and a table with seating for six. There was a tiny indoor kitchen with a sink and ice box for keeping food.

By the time Barb moved from the outdoor kitchen to the inside she was sold. We bought the trailer. It was the beginning of a new life for us. We named the trailer Gypsy II. The two was because our first gypsy vehicle was our tiny Ford Falcon in which we traveled.

Just prior to buying Gypsy II, I had bought a new family truck, a 1967 Dodge van. Vans were a new idea back then, and they became very popular, they still are to this day. I had intentions of converting it into a camper van. After buying the trailer that notion changed. I did build a section behind the rear seat to give the kids a place to play and to nap when we drove. Barb made curtains for all the windows in the back to keep the sun from burning the kid up. That van remained our faithful camping partner for five years. Then, I stepped up to another van, a larger one, with more power, and air-conditioning. We became a two-van family. I sold off my going to work car which was a Toyota Corolla wagon. It was a genuine pre-quality Japanese piece of shit. I couldn’t wait to get rid of it after only two years. I didn’t buy another Toyota until thirty seven years later. It happens to be the best most reliable car I ever owned, and I still have it.

With the new van I sold off Gypsy II and bought a new pop-up trailer with very firm side walls and solid top and a complete kitchen. We named it G3. Our camping trips became more frequent and we ventured much further from home. One summer, I took the trailer back to the manufacturer for warranty work. G3 was stolen from the manufacturing company in Indiana. Eventually G3 was replaced by G4. Five years later I bought a new GMC van with a super interior and a coral full of horses under the hood (~400 HP) it pulled that big trailer like it wasn’t even there. We took the adventure camping trip of our lives, a five week tour of National Parks extending from Chicago to Seattle, down to Los Angeles, and back to Chicago via the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The only regret I have about that trip is that it should have been ten weeks instead of five. As it turned out, that was the last time we had all three of our kids with us on a vacation at the same time. The next year the two older ones got jobs and we couldn’t travel long distances any more. Barb had totally adapted to the camping lifestyle and became a magnificent planner for meals along the way. She pre-cooked and froze many meals which we kept frozen until we needed them. She needed a vacation from cooking too, and this is how she accomplished that. We enjoyed her home cooking away from home.

A couple of years after that Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer. One way she used to beat the deadly beast was to dream about camping. I found a used almost new class C, mini-motorhome, and bought it. She and I used it to take respite trips to help her forget her battle with the disease. Our youngest was eleven, and he traveled with us as we explored Canada and the Eastern states. another five years later we used the MH to take respite trips when Barb was caring for her dying mother 24/7.

After our young son was in college I finally sold the motor home and Barb and I began taking trips using airplanes and staying in hotels. We often discussed camping, but never did again. Instead I wanted to show her the hotel lifestyle and to give her a complete vacations without cooking. She loved it and so did I.

Today, I watched a half a dozen short videos on people who live in their cars or who convert a van to live in. I loved it still, the juices are flowing again. I’m afraid however that I would not fare well sleeping in my Toyota while camping in the wilds of Wyoming and Montana. I’d need a more substantial living space and a more drivable vehicle. It would have to be a professional van conversion with total off the grid capabilities, and I’d have to stay in super-safe campgrounds away from the wilde-beastes.

My how times have changed as has my penchant for adventure.

Something Old-Something New

It has been too long since I tried to make a movie. A few years ago I became very adept at using iMovie on the Mac and went crazy converting my old Super 8 movies into digital media. Last week when I posted about my first Cattail bloom I tried posting a simple video from my phone. I couldn’t make it work. (I had to take and insert a  still photo of the Cattail to show it off).  So, I left  iMovie open and went to work on it. It took me a full week to re-learn iMovie, but it is getting a little easier, now that I know how to import from my phone, and to turn it into a project on iMovie. All of the stuff that was in the program five years ago is still there, but trying to find it now is not easy. It seems that the millennials working at Apple think differently than do I. I use my own logical thinking sequences to make things happen, and they use the mindless computer functions as the logic to make things happen. Then, they garble the whole thing up with computer speak that only the inventor of the computer and its accompanying language can understand.

I can not understand computer speak and must resort to trial and error to learn what works and what doesn’t. Most time I strike it lucky but then can’t redo the same function, or at least don’t understand what I just did. Mind you, I learned how to program a computer in 1962 on a rather clunky Royal McBee 5000 (the size of a kitchen stove) that needed step by step instructions in binary code to function. Computers and their programs have evolved tremendously since then. Thank you Lord! What hasn’t evolved as quickly is my brain. I think my brain stopped evolving about the same time I realized that programming a Royal McBee 5000 was not going to make me a living. Before facing a real physical Royal McBee 5000 on the job I had learned of computers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois. They proudly possessed a hand made (Heathkit) personal analog computer the size of a drafting table which could add and subtract. Hidden behind the walls in another part of the school was a special lab that worked on a thing called the ILLIAC.  We only knew of its existence by rumor as the machine of the future. None of us really gave a damn.

Throughout my career, I fought the temptation to become a computer nerd. As a machine designer I prided myself on being able to visualize, and to hand draw machines. When I entered the mold making business this skill was most useful, I was able to design a plastic part in two dimensions in all planar views. Then I became adept at converting those views into a three dimensional perspective, and finally to convert that into a reverse image which was the picture of a mold cavity. Mold makers loved that. Because when you are machining a mold you are not machining the actual part but rather the hole into which the plastic flows to form the part. My images enabled them to get the job done much faster.

Sometime in the nineteen eighties the company began thinking the wave of the future was Computer Aided Design or CAD. Piggy backing onto that was Computer Aided Machining. Just think, draw the plastic part on the computer, push a button and the mold cavity will be ready to cut. Just clamp a piece of steel onto the milling machine table, install the cutting tool, press go, and walk away to take a break. They(computer salesman) made its sound that simple. Of course our company bought into it. It wasn’t until the late nineties that we came anywhere close to having the right computer, and the staff trained well enough to be able to think in computerese, computer controlled machines, and to give up the old ways. About five years into the program to convert our engineering department into nerdsville we met with the company experts from McDonald Aircraft who were selling the CAD/CAM system referred to as McAuto. I attended the meeting to express my dissatisfaction with their product. I asked the VP in charge if it was true that their aircraft division used this system to design the F15 jet fighter plane. “Why yes of course” was the reply. I said, I am surprised the wings on the F15 stay attached to the fuselage.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Because we use your system to model and machine our product, and at the intersection of the strap body (wing) to the cable tie head (fuselage) the system blows up and we cannot successfully complete the job. I can model and machine the job 1000 times faster using analog methods over the digital method capability.

What our problem was determined to be (note, it was our problem) was that we needed to make a design change at that intersection in order to make the system work. In other words, the system was incapable of replicating the geometry of our successful product, and now we were going to have to change the geometry to suit the capabilities of the CAD system. I was not a happy camper.  Luckily the owner of our company, the man who invented our product and insisted we keep the design exactly as he intended, allowed us to make this critical change and we moved forward.

So with all of the computer baggage behind me I am ceding to Apple’s latest iMovie system  to complete a short video which will become the basis of my new movie called 2020 Monet Vision-Retired. I selected the theme Retired because I fully expect this will be my last garden. I will use my iPhone exclusively to take videos and still photos of the garden as it blooms throughout the summer and use those clips to document this year’s gardening effort. I will post the finished product when it is complete, in the meantime here is the start, or in Hollywood terminology, the Trailer, but it is not really a Trailer because Trailers tell the whole story from beginning to end and my trailer is really just a Tease of what is to come, so here is the Tease.

 

 

 

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