Friday, April 30, 2010

Well, Crap!

Wifey and I own several rental properties.  We scraped, saved and did without to buy each of them. Our goal was to buy properties that appealed to families with children that were in nice neighborhoods plus put our hard earned money to work for us.  All in all the rentals have been nice to have but like owning any home there are expenses:  Property taxes, insurance, landscape fees, repairs and replacements.  They add up.  The net is small from each one but still worth the investment.

Here's one of the properties. A small lake is located across the street that is filled with fish, jogging trails to run on and picnic areas.  To the left of the home is small pond that feeds the lake.   Its home to turtles, fish and other forms of aquatic and bird life.

Without going into the details of the tenants who have occupied this home, let's just say that beauty is skin deep:  The homes always look great inside and out when we inspect them throughout their tenancy but oh what a shit mess they are once the tenants leave.  There's always lots to do in readying each home for the next tenant.

Today we'll inspect this home.  It will be cleaned to a level that the tenants think is pretty good.  What Wifey and I ask for is the home to be as clean as it was when they moved in.  We'll find that their standards of cleanliness are much different than ours.  The bottom line here is that either they clean what we find needs cleaning or fixing.  If not, it comes out of their security deposit.

We've already found a family to lease the home for the next year....a physician recently graduated from medical school who will serve a three year residency in one of our hospitals.  He has a wife and two little girls.  Perfect.  It's a great little home and it is always easy to rent.

The new family will move in the first week in June which leaves a lot of time for repair. 

I'm not crabbing (but I am) but it's always an expense to get a home ready for the next occupants.  Paint.  Clean the carpets.  Clean whatever needs cleaning.  Repair whatever needs repairing. For security reasons, rekey all of the locks.   It's not unusual to spend  a lot of our time along with a couple grand or more before turning the keys over to the new tenants.  You can see why we like to keep tenants for a while and not always fork out money every year or two when they move out. 

I think one day we'll sell all the properties just to rid outselves of the hassle. We could do other things like:   I'll buy that long wanted Corvette.  Spend a year or more in a rented villa in Italy.  Stuff like that.  The real estate market has to come up a bit before that's even a possibility. 

Here's part of the family room.  Wifey love this place and would like to live in it but it's a lot smaller than the home we own.  She'd have to dump many of her prized possessions in order to fit them into a home with fewer square feet. 

There are three bedrooms, an office, two baths, a living room and a three car garage.  Ample for any family except ours. 

The kitchen has gas appliances which goes with a guy with lots of gas.  Together we could burn off a bunch. Our home has all electric appliances which do the job but nothing like cooking with gas.

The backyard has lots of privacy.  Pond on one side, green space to the back, neighbors only on one side of the home.

We're lucky to have such a wonderful asset.   I need to quit crabbing and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TANGO !!!!

Winner Winner Fish For Dinner!

It was Kid's Day on the river last Sunday and every Tom, Dick and Harry kid (including many young ladies, too) had their lines in the water.    In short fashion our Gracie caught this five pounder.  She was so proud of her catch.   Whoo Hoo, Gracie!  Here's one photo to always cherish. 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Duck Duck Goose!

I drove to the marina yesterday to check Sparkle Plenty's mooring lines.  There had been winds to 40 miles an hour.  That usually mean it's a good thing to take that drive to make certain all is ship shape.

No sooner had I stepped out of the truck when a mated pair of geese glided by the shoreline.  Making a bee-line for the truck, I opened its door and grabbed the camera, snapping 7 or 8 photos similar to this one.  It was magic, a Kodak moment.  Well worth the drive to the marina.

Once the photos were snapped I walked down to the boat.  Once there one quick look told me that Sparkle Plenty's springline, the line designed to keep her nose from hitting the dock, had been stretched due to the boat bobbing up and down.  It was much too loose.  In two shakes the line was tightened and retied to its mooring cleat on the dock.

Just another day in paradise.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kiri and Wifey

Taken this afternoon during a break in the weather, Kiri and Wifey play a little toy on the string game.  This dog is hell on wheels. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Marina Michael

This is Michael.  His boat is anchored to a "hook" just off of the marina and to the rear of Sparkle Plenty.  The photo shot with the digital camera using a close as you can get zoom of 200 mm.  Michael looks close but is a fair distance from where we're docked.

Yesterday Mike rowed out to his boat using the little green dingy that's attached to the stern.  It was a marvelous day on the water.  Warm.  Enough breeze to fill the sails.  Not one other boat on the lake.  Pure Nirvava.

I tried to figure out what the hell Mike was doing.  By these photos it appears that he's working on his toenails.  Is that it or is he working on something else?  Hmmm.  Funny guy this Michael.  Never know what he'll be up to next.

Mike works full time during the summer on the marina.  He rents boats - ski boats and patio boats.  He cleans the rental boats.  Mike also makes certain the boaters who frequent the marina follow the rules.  And when someone like yours truly needs a hand, Mike is there to lend just that.

Mike, like Marina Bob, always make for interesting "male" conversation.  It's part of the experience of being part of boating culture.   That's why I never accomplish what I set out to do in terms of cleaning and fixing Sparkle Plenty.  There's just too much to talk about with Bob and Mike.  Way too much.

There's been no one but us on the docks and around the boats since October.  Basically there's a bunch of boats docked but no people around to use them.  With the onset of the boating season nearly on us and the probably of a lot of people using the marina there's one thing for certain:  The three of us definitely have to clean up our least until next October.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Wedding

There have been many suggestions to tell the Bob and Wifey wedding story.  After much consideration in regards to our privacy we've decided to tell our story.

It was a warm spring day when Wifey and Bob decided to tie the knot.  Everything was in bloom including their love for one another.   The wedding was planned, guests invited, catering arranged for, the honeymoon in place.

Being the age that Bob and Wifey were, they were not old enough to apply for even a learner's permit to drive a car.  So just before the wedding was to begin, the two gathered all of their friends at the old oak tree in the park and together the entourage of fifty rode their bikes, single file, bells ringing, bicycle horns tooting, to the church.  It was a wonderful ride.  Everyone smiling.  A couple of guys doing bike wheelies for most of the way.  The day was meant for a wedding.

The church Bob and Wifey selected had a big sign out front.  It read: 

Church of the Too Young and Too Old to Cut the Mustard

Rev. Archibald Doohickie, Minister

Cheap Weddings:  $10.99 Special, $16.65 Hum Dinger, $21.00 Dog Patch Special and $60.00 What the Hell Was That?! Deluxe Service

We Marry Cousins, Sister and Brothers Underage, Overage but we don't do Father/Daughter, Father/Son, Mother/Son, Mother/Daughter weddings and do over marriages.

It was a quick Doohickie ceremony that was over as quickly as it started.  After the "I do's and I'll will as soon as I can's" Wifey and Bob started to walk back down the aisle and out of the church.  The guys had brought their BB guns to the wedding and held them up and across the aisle just like they do in the military with swords.  You get the picture.  It was enough to make the Pope cry.

Outside the church everyone threw pieces of bubble gum at Bob and Wifey.  The guys with the BB guns shot off a 21 BB gun salute. Wifey threw the bouquet that her best girl friend Penny Rich had created for her.  Doodlebug O'Brien caught the bouquet and signed knowing that indeed she was the next to be married.  What we didn't know until a couple of days later that Penny had gone into the meadow next to the grade school and picked a lot of stuff growing there for the bouquet.  She included some poison oak along with the wild flowers that made up this arrangement.  Doodlebug slept with the bouquet under her pillow that night.  Need I say more?  We changed Doodlebug's nickname to Itchy Scratchy.

Our reception took place at the A&W root beer stand.  Back then they sold Papa, Mama and Baby burgers.  Everyone only had enough money in their pockets to buy a fifty cent Baby Burger and a twenty-five cent Baby mug of root beer.  Bob's best friend Squid made a toast to the newly wedded couple.  Everyone clinked their mugs together and chugged a frosty baby mug of root beer.  The all of us guy had a burping contest.  Bob won hands down for the loudest burp.  Fatso McDuncan won for most burps in a minute.  The girls didn't burp.  They watched and kept saying, Ewww, gross, Ewwww, gross!

After the reception it was time for Bob and Wifey to go home.  He had a curfew as did Wifey.  About 10 that night both Wifey and Bob snuck out of their bedrooms through open windows and met in the park.  They played doctor for an hour and then went back to their parent's homes.  It was a short but a nice honeymoon.  A perfect way to begin a life together.

And now you know the rest of the story....

Good day.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just Gotta Be Me
Or maybe the title should be, What's Wrong With Me?.....

This morning.  Get the dogs up, push them out the back door to do their morning thing.  Turn the computer on.  Make coffee.  Push the hair down on my head that's standing on end, open the garage door and go pick up the morning papers. 

This is the one part of my morning I hate:  Picking up the newspapers, hair standing up on end, dressed in pj's.  Shit.  Don't want to be seen.  And I'll be damned, if it's not one person it's another who spots Bob dressed for bed nighty time out front of his home in broad daylight.  I hate it!   This morning the neighbor is out walking her dog just a few feet of where the papers are.  She spots me. Oh shit, I think.   She smiles and says:

Neighbor:  Yo Bob, you up kind of late this morning.   Looking good, bud.

Me:  Yeah, it was a late night.  I just wanted to sleep in a bit.

Neighbor:  Love your checked flannel pj bottoms.  You buy them yourself or did Wifey get them for you for your birthday.   I'd love a pair for my hubby.  Maybe he can borrow them?  I'd just love that.

Coy smile on her face.  I look back at her and think, Oh, no, I'm not going to do this, am I?

Back in the day when Bob was a wee lad, he could and still does a pretty mean impression of Louis Armstrong, Sachmo to most of us, doing I Can't Give You Anything But Love.....And I sing it like Sachmo.  Really, I do.  Doing this number at age 7 knocked 'em dead.  My Aunt said I should go into show business but that was never ever appealing.

So after the neighbor's last comment and for no reason what so ever (why, Bob, why do you do these things!), I break into I Can't Give You Anything But Love (and certainly not my pj's!).  And it's loud.  I belted out that mo dinger. 

Neighbor looks at me with the WTF look and I'm loving it.   I only sing a few bars of the song, do a little soft shoe along with it, pick up the papers, bow and head back to the house.

I don't tell Wifey cause she'll only get pissed and yell, What are you, fucking nuts?!  We have to live here!!  Why do you do things like that!!

It's not nuts that I am.  I just gotta be me. You know me and you know that.  And being Bob is always a hell of a lot of fun.
A Short Story

One of my Facebook friends is a former student of mine and one of my all time favorites, Rayme Waters.  She was a wonderful kid, smart as a whip, yielded a wit that was often astounding and a student who loved to read and write stories.  We did a lot of story writing in my second grade classroom.  I felt that learning to express oneself on paper at an early age would be of value later in life.  So, by the end of the school year through everyday practice each student could write at least a 10 sentence story with a distinct beginning, middle and end.

Rayme has long since grown up and gotten a wonderful post high school education:  Cal Berkeley under graduate degree, Stanford University graduate degree.  I would not have expected anything less than this.

Yesterday Rayme announced on her FB page that one of her short stories had been published this time in the Meadowland Review.  Anxious to read Rayme's latest offering, I jumped on the computer and quickly downloaded a copy for reading later that evening. 

Here's the link:

To find Rayme Water's short story click on Table of Contents, then scroll down to the Rayme Waters, The Water Tower, click on Water Tower which brings up the story.  Click on download PDF file and print this story.

I have to say, without prejudice, that the Water Tower is an enjoyable short story.  Rayme has a way with words that is simply marvelous. 

I'd like to think that Rayme's love and talent for writing started when she was 7 or 8 years olds that began with my insisting that every kid of mine write a story a day...not just any story but one that made sense and where each word was spelled and used correctly.  Maybe that's why I popped all the buttons on my shirt while reading Rayme's short story.  Bob is definitely one proud papa.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zoe's Problem

Zoe makes the sound that's on the video a lot. She's been doing that since August. One day on and one day off. Vet after vet after vet says they have no clue what's wrong. Zoe's been medicated with every Tom, Dick and Harry medication known to dog kind including Valium. And she still does her "rant".

One vet said her back needs surgery. The back vet says nothing is wrong with Zoe's back. One vet said it's old age. She's on old dog medication. Zoe's soon to be 13 so that kind of makes sense if it had worked for her. Another vet says it's Zoe's aches and pains. She takes pain meds along with muscle relaxants.

Yesterday two consulting vets recommended that we put Zoe down. Hmmm.

Wifey: If you were Zoe what would you want?

Me: Another beer and life! What else?!!! End of discussion.

We'll keep trying. The experts say we'll know when it's time to put the old girl down. It's no where near that time.

The Cowtown Way

My way.  The right way.  The wrong way.  The Cowtown way. All things associated with getting  job done. 

This photo was taken while sitting at a stoplight last week.  A fairly decent, late model station wagon which obviously had a run in with either another vehicle or a baseball bat.  This being Cowtown, I'm thinking it was the latter.

People living in Cowtown get things done just like the folks anywhere else.  Sometimes how the job gets done leaves me scratching my head.  Take this station wagon for example:  A little black plastic sheeting, a little duct tape and BINGO!  All fixed.  Whether lazy, can't spare the time for the car to be in the shop or just plain broke, this car is driveable. 

I kind of like it.  It has that just been in a NASCAR race wreck look to it.  Cool.

Last week I went sailing.  Packing up the car with all my boating crap after an afternoon on the lake I noticed a pickup parked next to mine.  At first glance I knew that it belonged to the guy who also owns a sailboat and who was just going out onto the lake when I was coming in.  Like two vehicles in the parking lot.  One was mine.  The other had to be his. 

Something in the bed of the truck caught my eye so I checked it out.  Ah, ha!  The keys to the truck had been left in the bed with little or no effort to conceal them.  Yet one more way of doing things the Cowtown way, I thought.  Not a bad idea if you think that for some reason you'll misplace your keys on board your sailboat.  But anywhere else but Cowtown a set of keys to a truck left unattended in the wide open would translate into an invitation to theft. 

As I climbed up into the truck I smiled thinking that it was kind of neat that someone would feel safe in leaving their keys in the bed of their truck while they were off sailing.  Trusting.  The Cowtown way of keeping track of something. 

I wish everyone thought like that. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thought Provoking?

I read a lot.   Mostly it's periodicals that I find of interest. It's always been that way since age 11.  World and national news and topics brings knowledge that is useful at least to me. 

For me it's all about now.  Today.  Maybe the future.  But not yesterday which is what you'll find in contemporary novels.   Yesterday.  Guess that's why they call it history.

Today's Wall Street Journal.  Every read always provokes thoughts, deep thinking.  For example these articles which gained my attention in yesterdays WSJ. 

SOME HOSPITAL INFECTIONS RATES RISE:  "The nation's hospitals are losing the battle again life threatening infections that patients can catch as a consequence of medical treatment, federal health officials said Tuesday.  They found that very little progress has been made on eliminating hospital acquired infections and called for urgent attention to the shortcomings."

Yet one more reason not to be admitted to a large hospital.  Go in for a simple procedure.....go out in a box.  No thank you.  I'll go to a witch doctor or fix what ails me myself.  Better yet, I am told that boutique hospitals . .. those very small, are able to control infection due to their size.  Infections in small hospitals usually don't occur.  Those would be the better choice. 

PUSHING KIDS TO PLAY OUTSIDE:  "Ask whether children spend as much time playing outdoors and exploring nature as previous generations did, and you'll find little disagreement.  They don't.

Across the nation, worried parent tell stories of neighborhoods where children are neither seen nor heard.  There is a growing movement of parents who are concerned and are trying to figure our how to get their kids outside."

Isn't this stupid?  I was 6 years old.  Starting then and every summer thereafter mom shoved me out the backdoor at 8 in the morning and locked it.  Go play.  Have fun, she said.  The backdoor opened at noon for lunch.  At 12:15 back out I went there to stay until 5 when dad got home.  Rain or shine, it was the outdoors all day long each and every summer day. 

I nearly drowned during one of the all day locked out of the house sessions.  An open septic pond our backyard.  Me and a bunch of neighborhood kids throwing rocks in the poopie water.  I slip (I think I was pushed) into the pond.  Bob's going down for the third time when the neighbor lady jumps the fence and into the pond.  She pulls me out.  Mom, after a fashion, comes out of the house.  I'm crying but mom will still not let me come in the house....until she hoses me off with cold water.  Had a pocket full of turds that would have smelled up the house. Would have been a hell of a way to drown, don't you think?

So parents?  Want your kids to have more time experiencing the outdoors and making friends with the kids in the neighborhood?  There's an easy solution.   Lock your kids out of the house.  No choices.  They'll figure out what to do.  A little dirt, a few rocks . . . it will all come together without some so called expert like Dr. Phil (what a horse's ass he is) or Oprah writing books on how to coax the kids out of the house and away from the computer and/or video games.

Don't you feel that we over think problems that have very simple solutions? 

Property Loss Pounds Morgan Stanley
Bank says Battered $8.8 Billion Real-Estate Fund Stands to Lose Nearly Two-Thirds of Its Value

"Morgan Stanley has told investors in its $8.8 billion real-estate fund that it may lose nearly two-thirds of its money from bum property investments.  That would make it the biggest dollar loss ---$5.4 billion ---in the history of private equity real estate investing."

OMG.  A major bullet was dodged here.  Three or four years back I asked Wifey to check with our broker, Morgan Stanley, on the possibility of investing a portion of cash into . . . you guessed it, Morgan Stanley's Real Estate Fund.  She did.  Brought back the information.  Didn't look good to me and I saw that invesgtors had no control over the real estate investments Morgan Stanley bought or sold.  Didn't go there.  Didn't invest in that.  Put the cash somewhere else where it's been tripled in value.

 I may have been born yesterday but I wasn't born last night.

Then There's Toyota

I've watched in the newspapers Toyota's woes unfold these past 8 months.  It's now being told that their inability to address mechanical and electronic defects quickly is all due to their model of management which was developed in the 1950's/1960's.   When there's a problem rally around the flag and close ranks.  Don't talk about any problems openly.  Don't admit to anything.  Theirs is a very closed system of management where there's little communication with those executives outside the core of the company.

According to Toyota's American CEO (now unemployed) he had no authority to implement a recall on problematic vehicles.  All decisions were made by Toyota officials in Japan.  Decision making at that level often took months if any decision was made at all. 

Ford has been pointed out recently as being a model which has served them to (a) Remain solvent, (b) Operate more efficiently and (c) Sell more vehicles.  There's lots of communications.....weekly, with the CEO of Ford, middle and upper managers.  Problems are solved sooner and not later.  This is probably why Ford's quality has increased which inturn has improved reliability and consequently instilled more consumer confidence in their product, equals higher sales.  Ford is now turning a profit.

A year ago Ford stock was selling for a buck a share.   Yesterday that buck a share stock was selling on the stock exchange for just under $14 a share.  Just think of how much dough you would have made had you bought, as Bob did, a bunch of Ford shares for a buck.   Sure it was a risk a year ago to buy anything Ford.  I knew that there was going to be a better day for this company.   Risk takers - honest ones (or fools) seem to be the only ones making money today (or losing their asses, too).  Plus they're not going to jail as compared to those who run crooked schemes in search of a quick buck.      

Have I bored you with all this heady stuff?  Just say that I pay attention to a lot of different things in this world.  Some things I pay attention to are stupid.  Some things are sad.  Some events are concerning (China and Iran scare the living daylights out of me).  And so on.  Whatever the case, I definitely know what's going on in the world around me.  It's always been that way.  As the saying goes, knowledge is power. 

I gotta go outside and get the moring newspapers and start reading.

BTW:  If you have children, lock them outside your home this weekend with their arms filled with newspapers.  They will be better for the experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Life Becomes
Shit on a Stick

The film, Forest Gump....Forest said:   "My momma always said", 'Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'

Bob the realist says that in every box of chocolates there's bound to be shit on a stick.  The saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives you shit on a stick then what?   There's no making a box of chocolates or lemonade out of shit on a stick.

So you grin.  You bare it.  You never let them see you sweat.  Then you scarf down that shit on a stick and pretend you're loving every morsel.   Oh, so yummy!  It's a tough pill to swallow then you remember that what doesn't kill you (or make you barf your guts out) will only make you stronger.  When you're done "eating", always pick the shit out your teeth and get on with it like there never was any shit on a stick to contend with.

Life is 20% how you take it and 80% what you make out it.

Enough preaching for this Wednesday. 

It's another busy day in Cowtown. 

8 a.m. this morning:  Dental appointment for semi-annual cleaning. 

Costco at 10.  

At 11:  Wifey takes the little squirt, Kiri, to puppy training. 

Noon:  Lunch out somewhere.

Then at 1:  Wifey and Bob goes tile shopping for the master bedroom.

3 o'clock:  As it is my habit this time of day I take time to read the San Francisco paper and the Wall Street Journal while watching NBC's nightly news (East coast feed via satellite) and then a program recorded on TIVO early this morning:  IMUS.   

Soon it's 5:  Wifey prepares Chiles Rellenos.

Later on at 6 or 7:   Dinner. 

Finally at 8:  Walk the dogs. 

See how easy it is to fill up an entire day with all kinds of different stuff?  Never boring.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heart Attack Without the Bun

KFC's new sandwich:

590 calories

280 of those calories from fat

10 grams of saturated fat

145 mg cholesterol

1,430 mg of sodium

Damn this sammy looks so delicious.  But I wonder, is this yet one more nail in our coffin?

In a time when the fast food industry is pressured to provide healthy, nutritious meals, one has to wonder what KFC was thinking when they came up with this connoction.  You know they're thinking bottom line profits and not worrying about the physical health of Americans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Horny Sunday Dinner

Now you're curious, right?  A horny dinner for Bob on Sunday?  More or less.  It was dinner at the Elks Lodge last night.  The Lodge has lots of horny creatures hanging from its walls.  It was kind of like a horny dinner.

Last night was a special occasion.  Wifey belongs to an Elks auxillary organization, The Emblem Club.  It was their 30th anniverary.  Wifey helped to set up tables for dinner.  Dawn, also a member of the Club,  was asked to be the official photographer for the evening and take both formal and informal photos.  There were speeches.  There were lots of fancied up ladies both old, inbetween old and young. 

There was either steak or chicken for dinner.  But before that there were drinks.  Everyone was sucking them up and getting tuned up which it seems like something that the Elks do so perfectly. 

A jazz band played throughout the evening.  I guessed correctly every song that they played revealing one of two things:

#1  Bob's an old fart and that was the music of his era.  Or,

#2  Bob knows his music.

Well,number one is kind of correct.  But number two is spot on.  I know a lot about most any kind of music except Rap Crap and Hip Hop.  That music doesn't float my boat.  Anything else just ask me and I'll tell you about it.

There were two other couples at our table along with a close friend who is also a member of the Emblem Club.   At one point I said that I'd dance with Wifey if any of the other couples at table danced with us.  No takers.  Ha!  Bob got out of another thing he doesn't really like to do.   Just ask another couple to dance along with Wifey and I . . . and BINGO!  No takers.  So we don't dance.

There's a very large swimming pool outside the dining hall.  Double glass doors open onto the pool and its patio.   Just before leaving I wanted to do something special.

Me to everyone at our table:  Ever see the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

Everyone:  Yup.

Me:  Remember the scene where Butch and Sundance were close to getting caught by the guys in white hats?  They had to jump off a cliff into a river to get away from them.  Since Sundance couldn't swim Butch took him by the hand. . . they both started running towards the edge of the cliff shouting Ahh  Ahhhhh Ahhhhhhhhhh Ahhhhhhhh! And over the cliff into the river they went.

Me:  So, anyone want to do a Butch and Sundance deal?  Let's hold hands, start yelling Ahhhh AHHHH AHHHHHHHHHH! Run out the door and  jump into the pool.   It's raining like hell.  We'll get wet anyway just walking to our cars.  What's a little more water?  Let's do it!

Well shit.  Just like always when I get these extra special super dooper deluxe ideas.    No takers.  Just looks that say, "What is this guy, nuts?"  And I was bone dead serious about jumping into the pool.  It was likely that had I jumped into the pool that I'd be banned from the Lodge forever and a day but I figured that if that was the price to pay for having a little fun then it would be worth it.  Butch and Sundance jumping into a Lodge swimming pool at the end of a very serious Lodge festivity would definitely be a topic conversation for years to come.   "Remember when those two jumped into the pool?  Wasn't that the damnest thing you ever did see?"  Yo.

I'll file this idea away.  Maybe someday there will be one person who will want to play Sundance and Butch at the Elks Lodge.  Kerrrrrr splash!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Old Wild West

Here's a story . . . the history of the area what's home to our Sparkle Plenty.

Travelin' in Time: Whiskeytown earned its name
 as a drinking town

The original site of Whiskeytown was located where two creeks entered Clear Creek almost opposite each other — one from the east and the other from the west. That location is now beneath the waters of Whiskeytown Lake.

Whiskeytown was one of Shasta County’s original 1849 gold mining settlements, although that was not its first name. It was first known as Whiskey Creek Diggings, later as Whisky Creek, Franklin, Franklin City, and finally Whiskeytown.

The site of Whiskeytown was supposedly established at the same place where fur traders held their yearly rendezvous long before the Gold Rush.

As in other historical places, there is more than one version for its name. One version says it was named for a barrel of whiskey that fell off Billie Peterson’s pack mule in either 1849 or 1850. Another version says it received its name for the miners’ ability to drink a barrel of whiskey a day.

The community quickly became a principle mining settlement and thriving freight stop among the mining communities in Shasta, Trinity, and Siskiyou counties. The first white woman appeared in 1852. In 1855, the population had about 1,000 gold miners.

This was an excellent gold mining area where miners averaged $50 per day. Whiskey Creek became known for its large gold nuggets. A 56-ounce gold nugget was found in 1851, and a year later a 7- to 8-pound lump of gold intertwined with quartz was taken from the creek. In 1857 it was reported that 150 ounces of gold were taken from a 30-square-foot piece of ground.

In 1853, the hotel that later became known as Whiskeytown Hotel was built. It was first called Mix’s Franklin House, later as Mix’s Hotel in 1855, The Mix Hotel in 1860, Whisky Creek Hotel in 1870, Whisky Town Hotel in 1873, and Woodward’s Hotel in 1881.

It was a large, commodious, well-furnished, popular hotel complete with a saloon and dance hall. In 1858, it burned to the ground, but in short time later a more commodious building was built across the road by friends and neighbors of owner Benjamin Mix.

The hotel was demolished just before the creation of Whiskeytown Lake; the site where it once stood now lies beneath the lake.

The first post office was established in 1856 inside the hotel. But the federal government would not allow the Whiskeytown name to be attached to the post office until almost 100 years later because it considered it unacceptable.

Finally, in 1952, the federal government accepted the name. Until that time, the post office had been known as Blair, Whiskey Creek, Stella, and Schilling.

In 1960, construction began on Whiskeytown Dam. In 1962, Whiskeytown Lake began filling with water, and in 1963 President Kennedy dedicated it. He was assassinated less than two months later.

Some of the buildings in the town proper stood until 1963, when they began being inundated with water. One of the remaining buildings is the Whiskeytown Store. It was moved to higher ground beside Whiskey Creek Road where it operated as a gas station, store and post office for a number of years. Today, the building sits empty and abandoned.

Another remaining building is the Whiskeytown School. It was moved to Shasta to become part of a church on Red Bluff Road.

The inhabitants of the pioneer Whiskeytown Cemetery were also moved. All the graves were exhumed and reburied in a new Whiskeytown Cemetery established south of the dam.

When the lake level is low and the water is clear, it is sometimes possible to see building foundations from the old town near the bank on the south side of the Highway 299 bridge that crosses over Whiskey Creek. Whiskeytown was designated as California Historical Landmark No. 131 on Jan. 31, 1934.

A small portion of the land near old Whiskeytown is privately owned; the majority of the rest of the land is owned and administered by the National Park Service.

And the rest, as they say, is history. 

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Yesterday was Dawn's birthday.  Like her mother, Dawn likes her birthday celebration to span just not one day but prefers that the festivities go on for close to a week.  It all started with a Winner, Winner, Turkey Dinner, an ice cream cake and presents at our home Sunday.  It ended (I think) yesterday with a lunch to honor Dawn at the Elks Lodge (everything is like $4.50 - burger and a side of fries, slaw or green salad for that amount) and then dinner last evening at her favorite Thai restaurant.   I think Dawn enjoyed this year's celebration.

It must be Spring.  Everything is sprouting up and growing in the warm April California sun.  So the lawn grows like a weed - big time so there was definite need to mow it yesterday (no easy task - we must have a half acre of grass).  Afterwards I took a couple of hours to drive out to the lake to tend to a few things that needed attention on the boat.  Of course it is obvious this morning that red faced Bob didn't apply any sun screen.  The dermo says that I have to be Irish as people of that decent burn like hell and have lots skins issues all due to too much sun.   And I come back with, Burn baby, burn!

How sweet it is.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Heave Ho!

Could not have been a better day on the lake Wednesday.  Moderate wind . . . enough to push Sparkle Plenty through the water.  Warm - - - 79 degrees . . . total short sleeve weather.   Two other large sailboats beside SP on the lake . . . two smaller ones.  A couple of hotdog fishermen in their overpowered boats sped by a couple of times  . . . one of them minus the muffler which interrupted the peace and the quiet of the lake.  It was tempting to arm the flare gun and pop off a round in his direction.

Wifey and Grace were guests that day.  Everything sailing, start to finish was mine.  They sat, enjoyed and loved not having the duties of casting off, pulling in sails and all that goes with starting her up and putting her to bed.  I had brought and they consumed sandwiches from the corner deli, ice cold sliced watermelon and drinks.

Grace spent most of her time time in a stern "catbird" seat . . . as seen here.  Wifey had found an extra 20 foot length of mooring line and attached a fender (rubber bumper used to protect the sides of boat while moored) to it.  Grace delighted in throwing the fender off of the stern and towing it through the water, pulling in and out pretending it was this thing and that thing. 

While she dangled the line in the water I told Grace a story of how, during long automobile trips with mom and dad, that I'd tie something to the end a very long length of string and reel it out of the backseat window.  It was so very fun to watch whatever I had tied to the string bounce along the road very much to my amazement and certainly to the amazement of the people in the car in back of ours.

Dad usually never discovered whatever it was I was doing in the backseat having occupied himself with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  But when he did notice dad leaned over the seat to give me a smack where ever his hand happened to hand accompanied by a warning never to do that again.  Never paying much to attention to these warnings, I was soon back at the string out the window thing until the next slap came which was usually worse than the first.  You'd think that I would have learned.  Well, I did learn but didn't care.  Bob was going to do what he wanted to do regardless of the consequences. 

The wind died about 3 in the afternoon so I pulled the sails down and motored back to the marina.  Once there Wifey and Gracie packed up and headed back to the car for a trip home leaving me to button up Sparkle Plenty for the night..a chore that I love doing alone.  It's peaceful.  It's quiet. Just me and SP.

It was a great day sailing.  Definitely a prelude of things to come in our second season sailing on the lake.  Life doesn't get any better than this.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hoist the Sails!!!

It's going to be a fine day on the lake. Nothing but California sunshine. Temperatures are predicted to be in the mid 70's or more with winds 10 miles an hour gusting to 20.   It's time to get out there and just do it which is exactly what's going to happen. Gracie is off on Spring Break. Wifey has puppy training with Kiri until noon. By then I'll have Sparkle Plenty all spiffed up and ready for the three of us to cast off.
On a fine day there's nothing like a sandwich in one hand and the boat's wheel in the other on.  Too bad you're working. . . . (grin)......

Happy Hump Day!
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Take Your Pick

Our country is getting more screwed up by the day.  If you didn't know that it's time to get your head out your ass and pay attention to matters that are on a course to take America down for the count.

Yesterday's San Francisco paper's headline:  National debt on course for crisis/Obama budget piles on $10 trillion in next decade.

The article cited that out of that 10 trillion 5.6 trillion of it goes to interest costs alone this decade.  The projected debt will reach 90 percent of the gross national product.   Economists say that a percent debt to GDP ratio usually touches off a crises.  This year, the debt will reach 63 percent of GDP, a ratio that has ignited crises in small wealthy nations.  Fiscal crises has gripped Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Ireland where their debts were below where the United States is shortly headed.

Thus far the Obama administration has yet to outline a plan to dig our way out of this financial mess other than to pile more on via Obama Care and extensions of the wars in foreign countries. 

The last paragraph of the newspaper article:  "Obama promised to be honest with the public and he has a talent for doing so", said Maya Macguineas, president of the moderate Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.  "Yet he hasn't used it yet to describe what types of hard choices will be involved."

We're in deep doo-doo.  If you're not worried, you should be.  I wonder if anyone in the present administration has a clue on how to stop the present trend of deficit spending.  Sure doesn't seem like it.  I hear the Republicans yelling but their howling is falling on deaf ears all due to their lack of credibility.  And you'd think every citizen would be hopping mad....but there is barely a ripple of all this across the nation.  What's up with that?  A nation of sheep?  A bunch of people asleep at the wheel?  A herd of cows following the lead bovine over the cliff?

The current state of affairs reminded me of phrases that were coined by US soldiers during WWII when things went south.    They're still very relevant today given the state of the Union.  Here's a list of those phrases.  Take your pick then write your Congressman, call the President or grab a picket sign and write TARFU!!!! all over it.

FUBAR:    Fucked Up Beyond Any Repair

TARFU:  Things Are Really Fucked Up

SNAFU:  Situation Normal All Fucked Up

Pray that there's a better day for America.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Make Mine Milk

Make mine milk.  Mike does a body good.  Got milk?  All things healthy driven home today by an Associated Press article regarding a study which findings suggest that hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast feeding may help prevent.  End quote.  True story about the need for infants to be breast fed.

Back it in the day it was not cool to breast feed infants. Only poor folks did it 'cause they could not afford formula.  Yes, that's true.   I was one of those poor deprived kids who had a bottle shoved in his face and not mom's tit.    Maybe it is not too late, as the saying goes, to suck up a little mother's milk and get healthy.   Hmm.  I'm thinking that breast milk in the name of good health just can't be just for babes in diapers.  Why can't everyone benefit, especially the male species? 

It's tough to decide where best to find this miracle milk.....whether to get it fresh, off the "farm", or buy it by the can or bottle or in some other form.  Does anyone bottle it? 

It's like you just can't go up to a lactating mother and ask, "Can I have some of that?"  This would be a ticket to the slammer big time or a slap in the face, kick in the ass and a scream for help. 

There's a chef in Oregon who recently made cheese from his wife's breast milk.  Lord, where do I find all of this meaningful information?   Maybe I should make contact with this chef, ask him to cut the cheese and send me a bit all in the name of good health. 

Or, maybe I can turn Mormon, take on a few more wives, get them to big time lactating and enjoy the fruits of these so called labors.  Gawd, more than one wife would definitely cause Bob to go insane but he'd be one healthy nut all due to wonderfully, healthy breast milk.

I understand that some love the taste of that stuff.  Frankly, the thought of drinking breast milk leaves me a bit cold.  I'm a thinking that if I ever did that . . . consume breast milk, it would be from a woman who ate a lot of chocolate or drank a lot of beer.  Now that's bound to be tasty.

If drinking breast milk becomes the holy grail of health, milk bars may spring up all over America.  It would be likely that anyone could step up to the milk bar, order their favorite brand lactation and chug-a-lug.  As in any bar there would be singing.   Lots of it.  Like, 99 breasts on the wall, 99 breasts full of milk.  If one of those jugs happen to fall, 98 breasts on the wall.  Like that. 

James Bond ordered his martinis as I do:  Shaken, not stirred.  In a breast milk bar it would be exactly the same:

Mr Bob, how would you like your milk?

Me:  Shaken, not stirred with a twist, please. 

Breast milk might bring back our faltering economy.  It could be a brand new cottage industry.  Wall Street would sell stocks in benefit of the varying milk suppliers.  Brand names like Hind Tit, Mama Dog, Mostly Lactate, Wasn't His Kid, Knocked Up, Big Squirt, Here's Milk in Your Eye, Now That's a Rack and Holy Shit Knockers would become big names on the Exchange.  We'd all want to buy stock and drink up.

Think milk farms.  Each farm would have a herd of lactating mamas.   These mamas would make big bucks, like 500 a day with expenses.   The farm would like be like a spa complete with mud baths, lots of massage dudes running around in thongs (two thongs sometimes make a right), swimming pools, 80 inch high def TV's running Oprah and The View programs 24/7, Shrinks always around to hold women's talk groups so they could bitch about their husbands and kids, a chocolate store, a Baskin and Robbins shop, Krispy Kreme fried shit all over the place, and lots of other stuff to put smiles on the ladies faces.  Gotta keep them happy, don't you know.

The ladies are milked at 6 in the morning (it would be a bitch getting the bitches up and out by 6) and then they would be turned out to shop at the nearest mall until the next milking come 3 in the afternoon.  After the last squirt hits the can the herd is driven by stretch limo to a nice restaurant for a fine meal and lots of wine followed by an evening at the Symphony, then drinks at an all male strip club.   Last order of the day dictates that the herd enjoys Club dancing until the cows come home. 

Contented ladies do make for contented milk.

Ya think?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Bob the Artist

I usually take pictures which usually come out fairly decent if I do say so myself.  Back in the day before digital cameras there was always a darkroom studio in each of our homes.  There's nothing like shooting photos then retiring to the darkroom to develop and print each of them.  That was fun. 

I'd always wanted to do a nude photo study of Wifey.  It would be tasty . . .definitely photographic art at its finest.  Nothing rude, crude or lewd.  Wifey is Wifey:  Anything other than tasteful with class is not going to happen.  Well, she's never consented to being a part of this project and we're talking many years of trying.   Wifey knows that Bob would post her naked image all over the Internet.  She's probably right.

Last night I asked again if she would pose for a couple of nudie cuties.  Nope. No way Jose.  Not gonna ever happen.  What are you, fucking nuts? She said........

So I asked if I could get out my sketch pad and render my impression of Wifey butt ass naked.  She said yes.  Totally shocked at her response I got to work on my first master piece. 

I think this is pretty cool for my first figure study.  If my last name was Picasso this puppy would fetch millions.   This first attempt might be worth just that once I become a famous artist.  Better tuck this one away for safe keeping.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is yet another way to say WTF!  It seems a bit more civilized, don't you think?

Anyway, it's a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot kind of day.  It's been nearly three weeks carrying around what seems to be a cold/flu sort of thing.  H1N1?  I have not a clue.

This morning brings yet another thing:  Sty in one eye, pink eye in both. Crap! 

No contact lenses for a couple weeks (I hate wearing glasses!), hot compresses 3-4 times a day, eye drops for both eyes and horse pill antibiotics to swallow. 

Frankly Scarlet, I'd rather be sailing.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

One of Many

There were many paths to walked in life's journey.  And still, there forks in the road in which to choose.  Shall I go left or would be be better to head right?  Straight ahead looks pretty good.  Which one shall it be? 

That's the neat thing about life.  Choices.  So many choices.  Makes life interesting, sometimes exciting, never boring.

One fork in the road led me to local television.  It was a promising career.  Tons of experience on camera (host of several programs), producer of three or four programs, eventually managing the station . . . all make for great stuff on a resume.  At the time I was in the final stages of earning an undergraduate career. 

After an extended leave of absence from college classes it was time to choose yet another fork in the road in which to travel.  One fork had a sign that read "The Path of a Life in Television."  There were opportunities to move up in to broadcasting in San Francisco.    The second was labeled "A College Degree Opens Many Doors."  It was a tough choice but one that yielded no regrets years later.

I often wonder how I would have ended up had I taken that other path.  Maybe it would have been something like, HERRRRES BOBBY!

One never knows.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States