Archive for the ‘Things I Love’ Category

You guys know how much I love these nature videos. Animals just being animals like you read about. The Battle at Kruger was amazing, and I’ll post it below. This second one features a lone Water Buffalo being attacked by a Lion, fleeing to the river for safety, getting attacked by a Croc, heading back to land only to be attacked by the whole damn pride. The Lions were being real badasses until the cavalry showed up, as you shall see. Nature, man. Never gets old.

Here’s Battle at Kruger Part 1. Wait for it.

Amazing. Click, scroll and enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes something comes along that is so great, so awesome, so awe-inspiring that words do not do it justice. This is one of those times. Without further ado, I give you an Oreo cookie that is not double-stuffed but triple-stuffed. Thank you and goodnight.

Yep, that’s a big Sea Turtle alright. She’s a Leatherback and she’s humongous. Thank God she made it safely back into the sea before some jackass tried to ride her like a horse or something. God bless her.

PS- Sweet Mother that’s a big, beautiful turtle.

I’m crying. You’re also crying.

Seriously. You hate Christmas if this is not in your yard in 2-months. It’s 72″ tall and sells for a mere $50! Get one!

Sorry rest of the US of A, but the Buckeye State might just have you all beat in this one. I mean, The Shawshank Redemption? Seriously? Tough to top.

Note: If you haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption you can no longer be my friend, are an ignoramus of the highest order, and you should be beaten about the head and shoulders with a bag of lugnuts.

Note 2: Seriously Iowa? That’s all you got?

Everyone had a Little Tikes Car, right? If you didn’t have one your kid did. Folks my age didn’t because they didn’t come out until 1969 and we had to build our own go-carts with wheels from our Radio Flyer Wagon and scraps from our garage. Anywho, that’s neither here nor there but it looked like this:

Well everyone that didn’t get the pleasure of having a Little Tikes Car, I have good news. They are now available in adult versions! You heard that right, and it gets even better – these babies can reach a cruising speed of 70 miles per hour. Check it!

Man, I can just see myself motoring down the highway in that bad boy, just impressing the hell out of everyone who crosses my path. Can’t. Wait. Sparky will love it.

PS- I may add a windshield. You know, because of bugs and birds and rain and whatnot.

Simply put, the NBA as we know it today wouldn’t exist without the ABA, or the American Basketball Association.

Formed in 1967 and lasting until 1976, the ABA played a flashy, distinct brand of basketball, one far different from what the NBA was playing at the same time. It had an awesome red, white and blue ball and 3-point shots (gasp!). And oh, by the way, it also featured the first slam dunk contest in 1976. The league only lasted a few seasons, but its impact on the game continues to this day. Four ABA franchises that merged into the NBA (the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs) remain today. And those innovations like the three-point shot have continued to help the NBA evolve over time.

The league consisted mostly of players not quite good enough for the NBA, although they did swipe a few from the older league. Some great players that chose to play with the league were Julius “Dr. J” Erving, George “The Iceman” Gervin, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, Louie Dampier, and Rick Barry (who they signed away from the NBA). They also signed players that had been banned from the NBA for various reasons, great players like Doug Moe and the legendary Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins. Both were banned for alleged gambling violations that were never proven.

Although only four teams eventually merged into the NBA, the original ABA featured some really cool names and logos. Some still exist today. Check ’em out:

 

Here are some random photos from the American Basketball Association. Like I said, they played the game up-tempo and wide open, much like the NBA game is played today. At the time the NBA was a walk it up, pound the ball inside league. And man, that ball. The way it spun was almost magical. Ah, the memories.

Finally, for an in-depth look at the ABA I beseech you, dare I say implore you, to check out this video. Amazing stuff.

Man, I thought that Mallard was a goner. Little dude just did a deep dive evasive maneuver and popped up unscathed, swimmin’ around like he owned the joint, apex predator be damned. And that shark has to be the butt of jokes back at the shark bar, amirite? Even the Pygmy Sharks are cracking wise and making fun of him. Guy may want to get away for awhile until he has his pride back. Sad really.

So my sister and I have been cleaning out my Mom’s house and property and I found some boxes I’d stored in the pole barn. Some of them had all my old cassette tapes, and there were a lot. Like hundreds. And hundreds. And hundreds. Anyway, included were a lot of mix-tapes I’d made or that people had made for me, and man did they bring back a ton of memories. By the way, a couple of guys made me the large majority of tapes I’d been given, so thanks to Jed and Goose. They both helped form my musical tastes back in the 80s and 90s, the glory days of the mix-tape if you will. Included are quite a few bootlegs, mostly of R.E.M. that were somehow procured by the aforementioned Jed, Goose or myself. Anyway, I thought I might post just a few photos of the tapes because I know they’ll jog some memories of quite a few former students and friends. Let’s begin with those R.E.M. bootlegs.

Trust me, there are some rare recordings in there, and I bet not too many exist anymore. Stellar stuff.

Here are some other notables. Some aren’t actually mix-tapes but just copies of regular tapes. Since these were spread around to a lot of people, anyone recognize anything? Click to enlarge and scroll.

Memories, man.

Check it. Click and scroll too see whole photo.

GearPatrol.com: Living Vehicle, a California-based luxury mobile home manufacturer, has unveiled its new 2020 Series trailer. The model is designed for full-time living and spending substantial time off the grid. It’s a luxury apartment on wheels — one that will minimize your energy consumption and water waste.

The 28-foot-long trailer offers 220-square feet of living space. Its design maximizes that by offering a lofted queen-sized bed that stores in the ceiling and a fold-out patio deck. Reconfiguring the dining area and opting for an optional fold-out Euro loft bed can increase the sleeping capacity to six.

Want to go off-the-grid and off-the-road? Living Vehicle can outfit the 2020 trailer for overlanding. The trailer has a steel-reinforced aluminum frame, a rear incline for an improved departure angle, and 16-inches of ground clearance. The “Off-Road Option Package” adds off-road tires, additional ground clearance, and a matte black body liner.

The cooking setup is versatile. The “Chef’s Kitchen” package adds an oven, a propane grill, an instant hot-water system, a dishwasher and an ever-critical six-bottle wine cooler. The trailer features a movable kitchen island, permitting outdoor cooking and improved flow within the living space.

Even if you are technically off the grid, Living Vehicle still has you set with multiple “Netflix and chill” options. The trailer comes standard with a WiFi source and a 42-inch 4K TV, and there’s an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector.

Living Vehicle plans to produce a “small batch” of 25-trailers for the 2020 Series. Pricing for one starts at $199,995. That is expensive for a trailer (though on par with other luxury trailer options). But if you’re ready to embrace that full-on mobile life, it’s less expensive, better designed, and far better equipped than most apartments.

Lofted Queen-Size Bed? Check. Fold-Out Patio Deck? Of course. Chef’s Kitchen? Why not? Wine Cooler? Sure. WiFi source, 42-inch 4K T, and an an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector? Duh. But hey, where’s the hot tub? Do you expect me to live like a damn hot tubless savage? Come on, Living Vehicle. You’re better’n’at. On the positive side, at $199,995 they’re practically giving these things away. Only 25 left kids! Get in line!

PS- Who even considers this camping? Last time I camped I pulled my $17 K-Mart Pup Tent from the hatch of my ’78 Ford Pinto, built a fire with limbs and a wadded up newspaper, stuck some dogs on a sharpened stick, popped a cold Stroh’s and went to town. Those were the days, man.

PPS- Pretty sure my little 2017 Hyundai Veloster could tow that beast with no problems. Veloster is a combination of velocity and roadster after all.

 

New Yorkers are nothing if not adaptable.

SOURCE – Pizza Hut finally found a new place to hide cheese… inside of a giant Cheez-It.

The pizza chain just announced the addition of a brand new item to their menu, called the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza was created after Pizza Hut realized that their largest fan base — college students — was also fond of Cheez-Its, according to a press release.

Now available nationwide, the new “pizza” looks like a giant Cheez-It, albeit stuffed with mozzarella cheese (pepperoni is also available). A single order comes with four large squares containing the mozzarella inside a cheese-baked crust. It also comes packed with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Sweet God Almighty. I promise you that there is no ocean I wouldn’t swim across, no mountain I wouldn’t climb, no fire I wouldn’t walk through to try the new Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. Then again, there are a couple Huts within 12-miles of me so that’s not really necessary I guess. Anyway, how in the hell did it take someone this long to come up with this idea? I mean really? Pizza? Cheez-Its? ‘Tis a match made in heaven, man.

PS- In my exhaustive research I came across a recipe for Cheez-It Crusted Chicken Fingers and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

So yeah, I ran across this site called The Loon Preservation Committee and now I can’t get enough of loons, man. I swear I watched their Loon Cam for 7 1/2 hours straight last night. Just went into a trance like you read about. Anywho, the site has awesome links like “Mortality and Nest Failure”, “Loons and Lead”, and “Banding and Tracking Loons”. They even have a Loon Census and a link that shows you how to build Nest Rafts for Loons:


Dude, that’s a man-made Nest Raft for Loons. Cool. I guess nesting loons face a variety of challenges during their 27-day incubation of eggs. Loon nests are vulnerable to natural or human-induced water level changes that can flood nests or leave them stranded out of reach of parents, which makes me sad. Floating nest rafts rise and fall with water levels and help loons cope with these water level changes. Nest rafts also provide alternate nest sites to help loons displaced from traditional sites by shoreline development or recreational use of lakes, and offer protection from raccoons, eagles and other scavengers whose populations have increased due to the availability of human refuse.

They even have Loon Cruises up in New Hampshire on Squam Lake. The route of the cruise (which lasts 90-minutes) is chosen to maximize loon observations, because hell yes it does. Tickets are $27, which seems a little steep but how often do you get a chance to observe a loon up close? The answer is never, man. Can you say Bucket List?

Did you know that loons have solid bones, making them less buoyant? Because of this they are extremely powerful swimmers. They can also dive to depths of up to 200-feet for durations of up to 5-minutes which is freaking incredible. And get this – loons can achieve a flying speed of up to 80-miles per hour! Finally, the amazing loon can stay in the air for hundreds of miles in one flight! That’s crazy, dude.

And because their legs are located towards the back part of their bodies, it is very difficult for loons to walk or to take flight from land. In fact, it is often difficult for them to take off from water; the loon will usually need the help of wind. To take off, loons will need to use a runway – first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping their wings like a boss. Once they have enough air rushing beneath their wings, they can become airborne. Because of the loons need for a runway, they must be careful only to land in areas where there will be enough surface water for them to take off again.

You can find this and much more on the website. Here’s a link, because I know you’re dying to find out more about loons:

https://www.loon.org/

Enjoy!

Good stuff. Well, mostly.

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I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned places, whether they be houses, cars, or anything really. For instance, there’s something about looking at an old abandoned house and knowing that it was once someone’s dream, a place where maybe kids were running around, a home that somebody took great pride in but now it just sits there, overtaken by nature. Why did they leave? What happened? To me that’s very intriguing.

With that in mind, here are 12 photos of abandoned places that I particularly like. I hope you like them too.

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Barley Pops per state.

I know, I know. Another blog about words. Deal with it. What follows are several examples of weird idiosyncrasies in the English language. Mind blowing stuff, man. Trust me on this one.

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Big word guy here. Everyone knows that. I’ve written several blogs about words, including the classics William Shakespeare, Rad Bro of Avon and Inventor of Words, 7 Redundancies We Need To Eliminate, Moving Forward, Allow Me To Reiterate, A Message To Social Media Users, 11 Examples of Why We Should Let Kids Name Stuff, Mispronounced Words: My Top 10, My 15 Favorite Palindromes, Here Are Some Words That Need To Make A Comeback, Word Up! Snorkel, Curds and Uranus and the legendary Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need to Make a Comeback.

So yeah, a lot.

And I once had a kid claim that “dude” was a word that only young folk should use, so of course I had to point out to him that it’s been around for at least 150-years, and that it was even used with regularity back in the stone age when I was in high school. And yes, I wrote about that too, in the blog The Etymology of Dude. 

Which brings me to today’s little piece about words that are older than you think. Let us proceed . . .

HIPSTER

Seriously. “Hipster” shows up in the 1941 Dictionary of Hash House Lingo (yes there was such a thing) and it meant “a know-it-all.” The words hip and hep had been around since the early 1900s, meaning being up on the latest and knowing what’s what. And by the way, I’m old enough to remember beatniks being called hep cats. God I’m old.

UNFRIEND

Think “unfriend” is a word brought upon us by Facebook? Naw. It’s been around a long time. It shows up in this example from 1659: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.” Cool. On a related note, if you don’t think I’m going to use the word “betwixt” henceforth you’re out of your gourd.

HANG OUT

Hang out has been used as a verb for passing the time since at least the 1830s. In the Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens wrote: “I say, old boy, where do you hang out?” True story.

PUKE

Puke has been around since the 16th century, man. The word, not actual puke. That’s been around forever. Anyway, while it is often claimed that Shakespeare invented the term, puke has been found in earlier sources. It meant then what it means now, to vomit. To hurl. Barf. Heave. Spew. Upchuck. You get the picture. But it also used to be a causative verb, meaning to make someone vomit with a tonic or potion. Your doctor might have you purged, bled, and puked for your own good. That’s disgusting, but I get it. Sometimes puking does make you feel better.

FUNKY

Funky was used as a term describing music back in the 1930s, but the “strong smell” meaning has been around long before that. Since the 1600s funk was slang for the stale smell of tobacco smoke, and by extension, anything that stank. Cheeses, rooms, hobos, and especially ship’s quarters could be described as “funky.” And oh by the way, I saw Wild Cherry perform “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” on High Street in Columbus, Ohio 6-months before they hit it big. Boom.

FRIGGING

Wait, what you say? I kid you not. Frigging has been around since the late 1500s and has served as the more family-friendly substitute for that other F-word. Check out this 1943 quote, man:  “This shunting frigging new arrangement has got every flaming thing foxed up.” People used to talk way cooler than they do now, amirite?

LEGIT

Legit as a shortening of legitimate has been around since the 1890s. It started as theater slang for things associated with legitimate (as opposed to vaudeville or burlesque) theater. From the 1920s on, it referred to underworld or shady occupations or places. If you were “on the legit” you were being honest. Kewl.

So there ya go. Words that are older than you thought they were. I hope you learned something today, kids.

 

 

 

As many of you know I’ve decided to run for the Paint Valley Board of Education. As of a few days ago my petition was approved and I’ll be on the ballot. There are four people running for two open positions. The incumbents are Justin Immell and Deric Newland, who were both appointed, and they are being challenged by Blake Lloyd and myself, Dave Shoemaker.

I’m running because I care about our community. I care about our school. I care about our kids. I have a deep love for Paint Valley, and I’ve had it for the large majority of my life. I attended school in the Paint Valley district from 1st Grade until the day I graduated high school. I came back and taught in grades 5 through 8 from 1990 until 2013, coached varsity basketball from 1988 to 1996, then was asked to return and coached again from 2012 to 2018. I am the all-time winningest coach in Paint Valley basketball history, and I’m extremely proud of that. In addition, I served as the high school Athletic Director from 1996 until 2007 and was involved in the renovation of our facilities. I’ve also been a substitute teacher in the district from 2013 to the present. All-in-all I’ve been involved in education as a teacher/coach/athletic director/substitute for over 35-years, and 28 of those years have been spent serving the Paint Valley District proudly.

Much of my family has been involved in education, many at Paint Valley. My late mother Kathryn and my late sister Karen taught there, and my late friend and brother-in-law Don “Jigger” Anderson was a beloved principal at our school for 17-years. I was heavily influenced by all of them. I have several relatives who are educators too – Army, Mike, Todd, Josh, Angie, Linda, Rex, Deb, Lori, Terry, Cindy, Laura, and a few I’m sure I’m forgetting. Many of those I mentioned taught at Paint Valley, and countless former students and players of mine have chosen education as a profession  Many are administrators.

I’ve taught and coached thousands of Paint Valley students and athletes. I developed close relationships with many of them and have maintained many to this day. I still have close relationships with many on the teaching staff at Paint Valley as well as some of the administrators and support staffs. I know, appreciate and understand our district’s needs, and I understand how to open lines of communication between the school and community.

As a Paint Valley School Board member I believe communication between the school and community is crucial. Transparency, openness and honesty should be priorities. Community involvement and input is key. After all, it’s your school. A school board member shouldn’t have personal priorities or agendas, nor should they have axes to grind. They shouldn’t micro-manage or try and make decisions they’re not qualified to make. They should let the professionals do their jobs, becoming involved only when the welfare of our students and staff are in question.

And they should always, without fail, exhibit a dedicated commitment to the Paint Valley students, parents, teaching staff, support staff and community.

I care deeply for Paint Valley. To me, the right to be a school board member in a district I love is something I would consider an honor.

And that, members of the Paint Valley community, is why I’m running.

South Dakota, man.

I was hoping the squid would make a run at that woman and eat her. My ears, man.

As many of the local readers of my site know, I lost my mother on July 22nd. I haven’t written anything about it because frankly it was just too difficult. I’d already written several stories involving Mom, including A Right Cross With Love, Traveling Through History With Mom, The Greatest Teachers, and one I simply titled Mom. They all tell, in different ways, what my mother meant to me.

My sister Sara and I have been going through our mother’s house, trying to sort through everything. The other day we found a box containing notes that family members had written to Mom for her birthday a few years ago. My late sister Karen had asked that everyone in the family write notes to tell Mom what she meant to them. I went through them and found mine, and I think they are a pretty good reflection of my mother’s influence on me. Some are funny, some are sad, but together they paint a pretty accurate picture of what my mother meant to me.

Here they are, the notes I wrote to Mom . . .

  • Mom, you taught me to be independent. On my very first day of school in 1st grade I panicked on my way there with my sisters and I turned and ran back home. When I got there the door was locked. I’d just left so I knew you were in there. I knocked and knocked but there was no answer. After awhile I simply turned and went to school by myself. Only when I was older did I realize what you were doing – teaching me independence. Thank you Mom.
  • Mom, I have so many great memories of you as I grew up. I remember that you would let me lick the icing off the mixer after you made a cake. I loved those times.
  • Mom, you were my teacher in 4th grade. I thought I had it made! My Mom was my teacher! Woohoo! You paddled me the 4th week of school. And yes, I deserved it. I was pushing my boundaries and you were sending a message to not only me but the rest of the class. The message was received, Mom. Loud and clear.
  • Mom, I love our regular trips to Jerry’s for pizza. We’ve been doing it for over 20-years now and I cherish every moment.
  • Mom, you believe with all your heart that I can do literally anything I want in life and be the best at it. You always have. Thank you for loving me and for always, without fail, believing in me.
  • Mom, you are always, without fail, happy to see me. That means everything to me.
  • Mom, you are without a doubt the toughest person I’ve ever known. I guess growing up on a farm with two brothers will do that, right? I’m so lucky that you’re always on my side.
  • Mom, I became a teacher because of you. You impacted so many students in your career and I saw that. I wanted to be just like you. I wanted to try and have an impact just like you did. If I have impacted students positively, you are the reason for it.
  • Mom, I love you because no matter how badly I’ve screwed up or how many stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life, you’ve always loved me and supported me unconditionally.
  • Mom, I know without a doubt that you’re the best person I’ve ever known.

Last summer my mother lost her oldest daughter and her husband of 70-years, yet throughout all the loss she stayed amazingly strong. Even recently, as the end neared, Mom remained the same kind, sweet, loving person she’d always been.

I passed by Mom’s bedroom window when I’d go into her house over the past several months. My sister Sara would too. When I did I’d always stop and look in at her, both on my way in and out. When I left I’d always do something dumb, like acting like I was on an elevator, walking down stairs, or just making a funny face or something. Mom would always laugh and laugh. I just wanted her to be happy in her last days, and I think she was.

When Mom finally passed she was in her home with her family, where she was comfortable and where she knew she was loved.

Quite simply Mom was the toughest, smartest, sweetest, most honest person you could ever hope to meet. Oh sure, if I messed up she’d let me know about it but I never, ever felt as if she was disappointed in me. Unconditional love like she gave to me was priceless, and I will miss it.

There won’t be anymore trips to Jerry’s, but the lessons my mother taught Sara and I will stay with us the rest of our lives.

Mom had some flowers she called Naked Ladies, some call them Resurrection Lilies or Surprise Lilies, that grew every year just outside her bedroom. Every year several would sprout up about this time of year. This year just one single Naked Lady popped up, and it’s beautiful. It’s almost as if Mom is letting us know she’s OK, and that Sara and I are going to be OK too. And although Sara and I are the only ones left and we both feel a tremendous void in our lives, we will be O.K. We have to be. We have to carry on and be strong, because you know what? That’s exactly what Mom would want us to do.

Adorable. Possibly rabid, but adorable.