Archive for June, 2010

Meet Jack, on FaceBark

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Not having blogged since the disastrous skunk encounter, Jack, our dog of suspicious ancestry, has opted to join the information age by creating his own FaceBark page.  Having failed miserably in his genealogy quest, and succumbing to multiple requests by ardent readers ( well, two, actually ) for updates, we decided to no longer ignore this ground swell of support.

mark as unread                       send spam                            delete 

Jack is fluent in three languages, sadly, none of which are in regular usage (Jaqaru {Peru}, Wu {Tibet}, and Limburgish {Netherlands} *, so it is necessary to limit his narrative to photo captions.  Translations are literal and may be inaccurate.

what’s on your mind ?

dscn4909.jpgAt my first “rally”, guarding a tent from foreign invaders.  The first timer ribbon should have been an RV ( rookie virgin ) badge. Will I be a ‘two timer’ next year? dscn0579.jpgIn Sante Fe, NM.  If you want to play with the big dogs, ya gotta pee in the tall grass.dscn4852.jpgWith Zimba, a hot black lab female from Naperville, IL, after meeting on eharmonysniff.com.dscn4543.jpg“House hunting” for a fixer-upper, with the family in Patagonia, AZ 

Upcoming Events

dscn1367.jpgReturning to the rocky shoreline of Lake Huron in the U.P., fresh sniffing, and dreaming of a life at sea.dscn0249.jpgAlthough I can not, or will not, accept donations, you (and that creep Michael Vick) are welcome to donate to my favorite charity.

* information plagiarized from Wikipedia.org

Closed Captioning brought to you by

Friday, June 11th, 2010

R & B Productions LLC.  And were you expecting, the Real Housewives of Jackson Center ?

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At Phil’s Market, a real cashier

Yes, the Alumapalooza Rally is a wrap.   What began five days earlier, slowly, but inexorably, became a small community with a distinct personality.  Although temporary, everyone had the positive vapor that the memory will become permanent, and it already has.

Here is the benchmark established by the most successful independent rally in the Airstream world.

  • No one bolted early
  • Everyone was reluctant to leave
  • Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem on Saturday morning
  • No ukelele concert

On a less serious note, you might consider early registration for 2011.  Although the field can hold more than the 120 units this year, 200 is probably the maximum, and the popularity of the event will grow exponentially, rain or no rain.

Full disclosure: I have no financial interest in promoting the event, no stock options, no t-shirts or CDs for sale, and I will not accept comps or bribes (although I can be flexible here).

On the subject of flexibility, note the gurus of yoga, sKY and slaDE, on the right, demonstrating fly exercises.  But can anyone explain the contortions of noted photographers, Bert Gildart and Alison Turner, who are both professionals.

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Do not attempt without adult supervision

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In Celina, OH, the J. A. Long Company, a good place to buy hides and butter, wholesale. 

Many residents of Arizona employ phonetics to assist in spelling Tucson, i.e., “tucks on”, thereby placing the ‘c’ before the ‘s’.  In rural western Ohio, near the Indiana border, lies the small burg of Tocsin.  A local simply calls it TOXIN.  Does the E.P.A. know ?  Why not call it toxin, an easy name to remember?  Xanax, Xerox, Kotex, Axion; see how easy it is to recall brand names with an ‘x’.

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Rural Superfund site

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A happy couple, with dog Jack, bidding a fond adieu to the Airstream backlot and papparazzi.

Perhaps next year the Saturday morning theme song will be the classic Cole Porter (Indiana born) song for aluminum lovers, the rendition by Sinatra;

I´ve got you under my skin.
I´ve got you deep in the heart of me.
So deep in my heart that you´re really a part of me.

I´ve got you under my skin.

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 The Old Chicago Trail from Detroit to Chicago

A sign erected in 1953, on an Indian path near Buchanan, MI. says it all.

Greater Jackson Center Area Growth Association

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

May sound like a support group in need of surgery to remove an unsightly body appendage, but be assured is only a euphemism for the “chamber of commerce”.  Never mind, the Pro hardware store sells a product labeled Poultry Netting which I would swear is chicken wire.  Semantics aside, after four fun-filled Alumapalooza days, many revelers ventured downtown Friday night to the JC Community Days.

My objective; humming along with the lyrics as rendered by Petula Clark.

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city

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After dinner at the Cafe Verandah, we stroll over to the town center, a midway enclosed in an orange plastic version of poultry netting.  Rides to attract youngsters, band stand, beer tent, ice cream, elephant ears, and yes, teenagers.  Almost all the girls wear tight stretch jeans.  There is a mating ritual in progress and we, the gracefully aged are here, privileged to witness it.  The jeans constitute their courtship plumage.  The local boys pretend not to notice, but how can they not ?  It is a blatant effort to attract their attention. Trying to be cool, the boys play an elaborate game of not paying any mind.  There is obvious signaling, pretending not to notice.  The girls text furiously on hand held raspberries, to their friends less than a few feet away, anything to avoid face-to-face contact.  It’s beautiful, the tension unbearable.

Linger on the sidewalks where the neon lights are pretty

Darwinian.  Only yesterday morning, the legendary Bert Gildart presented a wildlife photography program, a portion of which demonstrated the courtship of rare pelicans in the wild.  Same thing, only without I-Pads.  And acne.

How can you lose ?  The lights are much brighter there, you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

The JC entertainment is only slightly better than an impromptu concert by our own event staff only 3 nights earlier.

Picture three grown men, on stage, singing a gawdawful paraphrased version (now available on You Tube) of The National Anthem, to the delight of a small crowd.  Although alcohol was not a factor, sleep deprivation, high humidity, and physical exhaustion from 20 hour days might have lead them to believe they have talent and the need to allow the true beauty of their souls to shine through.  If this happens to you, you are not attractive, you are leaking.

Sadly, these same ‘entertainers’ rejected a request to include a scheduled dog show and parade, an activity considered by them as a lowering of the bar.  ”We’ve gone as low as we can go”

And go downtown 

dscn4928.jpgThe pressure on an event organizer is intense, especially from the fourth estate, seen here under direct assault by papparazzi and a reporter.  Note how he cleverly disguises his disdain for the press, cloaked in a wry, salacious grin.

Synopsis: the rally has been and is, without equivocation, a smashing success.  No this is not Woodstock, although many of us have a memory of Bethel, NY in 1969.  Here the tone is one of effervescence, lightness, and yet still intimate…..friendliness with no pretention in a warm and moist environment.

Ohio Route 127 to Paloozaville

Friday, June 4th, 2010

The rosy fingers of dawn, through a morning fog, provide the salivary stimulant for Jack and his favorite ride, an aging excella groomed for takeoff.  Destination: Alumapaloozadscn4897.JPG

  • Jack, 2005
  • Chevy, 2001
  • Airstream, 1985
  • Barn, 1881
  • Silver maple tree, 1855

The first pass is through Bryan, OH, home to Lester’s Diner, a 13 ounce cup of coffee, where you can still order eggs and toast for $1.99.   It’s noon, however, we are dribbling through town, aimed for Jackson Center, OH, and cheap eats can wait another day.At a stoplight, a pony-tailed motorcyclist on a Harley turns, smiles at us, gives a thumbs up to our vintage Airstream in tow, and above the rumble of his hog, points to the trailer and remarks,” Ya gotta a loose steel ball back there”.My initial reaction is a Frank Romano gasp, of the ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ sit-com, “holy cr@p, what now?”  My fear quickly dissolves when he realizes the white noise and my impaired hearing caused mock despair, and he yelled back,”Have you got Lucille Ball back there ?”I smiled, pleased at his reference to the classic long, long trailer cult flick, and shook my head in the negative.  Really, turning to Lynn, do I resemble a Cuban band leader ?The next town of stately Victorian mansions on South Washington Avenue is VanWert, OH, and a more famous eatery, Balyeats Coffee Shop, where, since 1924, they’ve serve Young Fried Chicken, Day and Night.  Their outdoor sign, the first neon in town, says as much, so it must be true.  We wouldn’t want old fried chicken, but we do stop for a four inch high slice of banana cream pie.As we pass along this truly blue highway Lynn muses, ‘if you lived out here and weren’t exposed to television and the internet, you’d think the world was peaceful’. She’s right.Endless farms, all similar, but different, like hopscotching across a giant board game.  No cookie cutter suburbs to dilute a fading Mail Pouch sign.  Barns with slate roofs that cleverly reveal, however faded by a hundred summer suns, the date they were built by hand.1893.In the rolling fields, summer wheat, knee high, is higher than the corn, but it isn’t yet the fourth of July.  A folly of nature, teasing us in a few brief weeks prior to the solstice, the corn always wins.  America still has, tucked in the edges, tattered remnants of the family farm.  Even in places where wilderness and self sustenance is illusory, it still exists within living memory.  We therefore internalize its existence, act as if it is still there, and behave accordingly.  The seductive and dangerously chaotic and capricious unknown lies just beyond the farmland in many places.But not here, not yet.Turning east on OH-274 headed toward Jackson Center, we pass through New Bremen, OH, home to the Bicycle Museum of America and promise to stop on our return.  Our interest is piqued; wouldn’t Dayton, home to Wilbur and Orville’s bicycle shop, be more logical ?  I’ll learn why and report back.Our destination, Jackson Center, is reached, a most unlikely town discovered by a California dreamer, a modern day Barnum, some fifty + years ago.   A legendary design icon, an aerodynamic escape on wheels, blossomed.  And this week, hundreds of disciples devoted to the coagulation of aluminum are joined at the rivets in a celebratory toast….and having a grand experience.Who could have ever guessed.Only in America.

About the Author

Retired 1997.
Frequent travel. Loyal companions: wife, Lynn; dog, Jack.
Avocation: writing social and political satire.
Past life: three decade clinical pharmacy owner. Now in recovery.
Location: Northern Indiana, Eastern U.P. of Michigan, Southern Arizona

No telephone;
E-mail cspiher@aol.com