Knickers in a Knot

December 10th, 2013 by insightout

* a quaint britishism 

Lynn decided that WE needed to go to Chicago for MY birthday…you understand, shopping, the Art Institute, elegant dinner at a 4 restaurant, a stay at the historic Knickerbocker Hotel, which we were assured is LGBT friendly, yet maintains a no pets policy.  Transvestites are o.k., ear mites are not.

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Uniformed Doormen : when you lack the strength to push a revolving door

Convincing birthday boy that the outing was not a violation of our agreed upon, “no gifts, thank you” policy.  Rather, an experience, a memory to cherish forever (or noon a week from Tuesday, whichever comes first).

We shopped at two stores, The Disney and The American Girl, commercial shrines to the pre-teen and younger set. Employees with Mickey Mouse ears failed to control the enthusiasm of hundreds of little snots in need of ADHD meds and kleenex.  We’ve come a long way since Lionel trains, Lincoln Logs, and Daisy BB guns.  Nothing, in either store, made in the US of A…100% China.

The prized, memorable moment; upon checking in, the desk clerk (a recent grad majoring in leisure and entertainment, University of the Painful Truth) proclaimed, ‘sir, you’re all checked in, room #1130, and parking, only $42′.

I remarked that was much more reasonable than I had expected, really, only $42 for the room.

“sir, the room charge will be applied to your Visa card,  the $42 is for overnight parking only, and must be paid in cash”

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Days later, an e-mail request from

Expedia

requesting a first-person, customer review, so the following was submitted;

Millennium Knickerbocker, Chicago

Superb location, the ‘Knick’ has a definite European appeal. The restoration, replicating the ambient charm of 1927, was no-expense-spared and all first class. Yes, yes, the elevators are small & intimate, however, the on-board women all smell fresh and alluring, and they look as good as they smell. Why would you want an elevator with a two ton load limit ? Carrying a dozen, plus-size, weightwatcher rejects on a shopping frenzy does not convey holiday intimacy, even if you take a freight elevator.

The rooms are comfortable, very clean, with all the amenities you might expect, but rarely use. My wife and I, both in our mid-70s, did not avail ourselves of the bathtub gin in the fridge or the pay-to-play adult movies. But we thought about it. That, and sex in the tub……

The stay was delightful and the Knickerbocker will remain our first choice.  And look, I think most of the women on the lift were women. It’s not like I did a TSA pat down to check.  Or requested a DNA sample, photo ID, and the last four digits of their social security number.

24 hours later and this automated reply:

Your hotel review needs revision!  Oops! Looks like we need you to revise your review before we can post it on our website.

 

So, there you have it, the subject title for this essay: youll-never-get-your-knickers-in-a-knot2 Dont-get-your-knickers-in-a-knot

Having submitted a descriptive and honest portrayal of our hotel ‘experience’, it apparently did not meet the Expedia standard of suitability. I reviewed the rules/guidelines but failed to perceive where I’d gone astray.

My final word for your website police: WYSIWYG, What You See Is What You Get.  I’m elderly, approaching 80 y/o, retired, and adhere to the 1st year med student mantra..’do the patient no harm’. If you deem the submission (as it appeared above) as harmful, why not employ a niceness editor to eradicate wrongdoing?  Kind regards to all the staff at Expedia. Enjoy the upcoming holiday season, the winter wonderland, the serenity evoked by the baby Jesus, and quiet reflection on the Constitution’s 1st amendment.  And may all your knockers be in a knit.

Boy, I can’t wait for Christmas.

 

©insightout2013

Time left on the clock

November 18th, 2013 by insightout

A faceless city sandwiched between equally dull, non-descript neighburbs, all working-class in the shadow of industrial giants, Hammond, Indiana was generic, before the meaningless word had meaning.  Separated from lurid Calumet City, the Illinois home to 252 bars and strip clubs, by State Line Avenue and a tangent on the Rand McNally atlas.  From the playwright’s perspective, Thornton Wilder, Hammond was Our Town.

The writer, Sinclair Lewis, would have gagged on the polluted air from the Sinclair refinery, from the belching furnaces of USSteel, from the omnipresent aroma of pig fat rendered by Lever Brothers when the wind drifted south off Lake Michigan, all in the name of battleships, Lifebuoy Soap, Ivory Flakes, and 89 octane Dino Supreme.  Had this been Lewis’  Main Street in Indiana, and not Iowa.

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The corner window at Goldblatt’s
presented the newest toys for the Holiday Season.  In Jean Shepherd’s ‘Christmas Story’, it is where Ralphie first saw the Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun.

The 1957 high school graduating class was thought special.  It was not.  Tens of thousands of seniors, everywhere, were gelatinized by geographic lottery, turbulent hormones, acne, fear of peer rejection, sexual arousal, and a license to drive.  So it was at HHS, neither a Blackboard Jungle, nor the Fonz in ‘Happy Days’.  Each class different, each class alike;  crinolines, flattops, bobby sox, and the Cubs finishing last.

Homeroom teacher, John Muri, spirited organist for the Civic Center basketball games, iconclast, strict disciplinarian, was known to break wind at 8:10 each morning.  The foul odor was overcome by the classroom stench of  flesh-tinted Clearasil except for the likable Jerome Johnson, whose flesh was a different color.

The permanent positive effect of demure spinster, teacher Margaret Work, and her devotion to Latin and literacy, was never acknowledged.  It shaped many lives, mine included, and I still retain her text, Ullman & Henry, “Latin for Americans”.  She was on my Mason Street paper route, but what I remember most, (a) the difference between the gerund and thirty forms of the future passive participle, and (b) we bought her father’s used 1940 DeSoto after WWII.  Henry had purchased a 1948 bullet nosed Studebaker.

The suppressed memory of my favorite English teacher, Miss Ellen McGranahan, whose posterior aspect of her calves, partially obscured by seamed nylon hosiery, resembled the blue and red interstate map of America’s east coast.  She quietly and singly, urged me to become a writer.  I succumbed, however, to the gruff math teacher, Charles Garrett, who demanded, in the name of patriotism, that we study math and engineering to counteract the Red Menace……the Soviet launched Sputnik satellite.  I foresaw no future in starvation;  on an empty stomach, science trumped art.

Proof that staying awake in class was important; to this day, I rarely end a sentence with the preposition, at, and never, never, modify an adjective with an adjective, e.g., large huge is where it’s at.  Unless you prefer butchered rap music over silence.

I had one favorite female class member, admired secretly.  She was quiet, soft-spoken, and very smart.  And in the basest, understated description, simmering hot.  If describing a wallflower, she was an orchid.  At a previous reunion, perhaps the 40th, her appearance caused two male counterparts and me to audibly gasp at the transformation…silver-haired, petite, and stunning. Although both Bob and Tom, their real names, have since dropped dead, the gorgeous (forever unnamed) classmate was never formally charged with involuntary manslaughter.

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Much of the class of ’57, I remember, although in the pie of life, a third now constitute the necrology report, another third lost and forgotten, and for the breathing balance, the vagaries of advanced age move onto center stage; medicare part-D, dementia, grandchildren, mobility chairs, and assisted living options.  Few will choose assisted dying.

Dismissed: corporate stature & titles, tax bracket, size or number of homes, skin color, popularity, vanity.  All once relegated as important, now insignifigant, they’ve become the compost heap of righteousness, i.e., who really gives a s#it.     Relevant: family, friendships, lucidity, and remaining vertical.

The misses, Work and McGranahan, embraced reading (and writing), pursuits which have become passe, no longer a requirement for graduation.  Both ladies have since been bar-coded and scanned on the check-out lane of life, free, free at last, from the contemporary jargon that produces the idiotic phrase “my bad”. I miss them dearly, thankful for enriching this life.   A non-perishable memory.  Wherever and whenever those who survived this stepping stone to adulthood, we all possess private recollections.

With an internet assist, our remaining classmate leaders, those not yet at room temperature, may plan a 60th reunion in 2017.   Reunions, like Chai tea, are not my cup of gin, but we’re late in the 4th quarter.

With no time outs remaining.

Count me in as a yes.

 

©insightout2013

1959downtownbridge

A suitable quote (unattributed)

Where is it again that we are going… And why are we in a handbasket?

 

 

 

Providence

October 28th, 2013 by insightout

To some, the capital of Rhode Island, to others, however, upholding the natural order of the universe, an intervention into the lives of extraordinary people.

Hence, a sequel to Baptists and Prisons, the highway breakdown part II,  so why not fashion a rap stanza;

A major setack, a carburetor crack, aint cause for (bleep) dismay,

Rent a car, raise the bar, who give a poop, meet the 190 group,

Outta that funk, got beer in the trunk,

No (delete) delay, gonna be a  great day

Dateline: Punta Gorda, Florida

Event: Mercedes 190SL International Convention

A dire bathroom warning in the Sheraton Four Points reminds me that things could be worse than songwriting hip-hop.

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From our individual launch pads, members share only two things in common; (a) title to an orphan status car of erotic design, and (b), the right to trial by jury. From the first example built in 1954 to the last, 1963, now a half century past, this disparate owner group of thirty years standing has created a timeless thread, thriving, beyond the 190SL roadsters. To the core, the individual characters, made this journey memorable.

Yes, the cars are important but they are inorganic (aside from the tanned hides of recently deceased livestock). Blasphemy alert; the cars do not have a gender, a menstrual cycle, headaches, or bi-polar depression requiring serotonin inhibition. Yes, yes, you’ve given them pet names, assigned a sex, and cover them in heated nurseries with a  diaper.  Get over it; they are just cars, with neither memory, feelings, chocolate cravings, nor requiring prophylaxis against chlamydia.  Brace yourself for taser shock, the car doesn’t know you own it.DSCN1079

Red Hot with Swiss Cheese backdrop; @ Muscle Car City

A partial list of the people, real, organic, that authenticated a weeklong odyssey, none of which would have happened without driving misfortune:

Captain Bill on Tamiami Trail who gave me the best haircut in years.

Sharing breakfast and an autograph with acclaimed Cape Cod artist, Karol Wyckoff, before 7 AM.

Having the honor of introducing Kent V., a retired American Airlines captain from TX, to John McC., retired Air Canada captain from BC.  These two looked the part; tall, handsome, distinguished, and either could perform the cameo role of Hudson River hero, Sully Sullenberger, or Leslie Nielsen in the movie, Airplane!  I knew, immediately, that John, like Leslie, was a Canadian when he pronounced ‘about’ as ‘aboot’.

Native New Englander, Henry Magno, a dedicated gearhead, and Marcia Herrara, a Nebraskan companion with encyclopedic knowledge of 3rd world infrastructure, disease, and reproductive health. Unlike most Massachusetts residents, they do not regard Rhode Island as a suburb of Boston.  Which it is.

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Scratch ‘ride in a camoflouge swamp buggy’ off my bucket list. Henry….hmmm, not so sure

Dining with legacy member and first timer Mary Anne Westphal and sidekick, Ken Lowman, refugees from Gainesville, home to the FL Gators.  This, a relief, after three dazzling hours of million dollar cars in Miles Collier’s private museum.

Catching a ride to dinner with Mike, Mary Jo, and young Joseph Herrmann, genuine Californians, the latter playing hookey while tap-dancing around middle school truancy.

In a very dark parking lot, I manage to thumb a ride back to the hotel with Hagerty rep, Jen McWhinnie, a SYT barely old enough to be my granddaughter. Without hesitation or equivocation, she offers the shotgun seat, unaware that I may possess outstanding warrants or priors as a serial killer.  Blind trust by one very cute kid.

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The Hagerty WOW factor, an unfair competitive advantage

Conference call with gurus, the two Dons and Walt Puryear, to confirm the fine points of carburetor installation with our mechanic Seth, 180 miles distant.

Depart Punta Gorda hotel, Friday, at 3:30 AM, clutching a used Solex PHH, a doughnut, and GPS.

Mark, Jerry, and  Seth, the A-Team of European Car Clinic, Ocala, FL, perform surgery on Baby Jane’s PMS and get us back on the road.

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Intensive care unit, intravenous 15W40, and skinned knuckles

Forewarned that the replacement unit might still run lean, sucking air from the resultant warping of both the intake surface and carburetor body, I was guaranteed safe passage to Indiana.  The long hill climbs in the south become a challenge to maintain 70+ mph, however the right hand lane, between semis, becomes your new best friend.

Avoiding a mirror replay of the trip south, fueled by anxiety and loneliness and robust Starbucks, I’m northbound on overused I-75.  It has the personality of styrofoam, and at each interchange, faceless motels, gas, and food too fast to be taken seriously.  Ringed in asphalt, like the excessive use of eyeliner applied to an aging prostitute.

Tifton, GA, Jericho, TN, and the mandatory stop in Corbin, KY for KFC, home to Colonel Sanders, and birthplace of the secret 11 herbs and spices; original, crispy chicken. Tastes better here, they say.

It isn’t.

A curious irony  at this convention, having attended ten over two decades, was peeling the veneer from so many delightful people.  The norm is to congregate with the familiar, the friends you’ve grown to know well, and become oblivious of newcomers.  Sans my wife, dog, and without a car, this became the best meeting ever, the result of a roadside calamity.  Divine intervention.

A future as a vulgar lyricist, i.e., challenging Kanye, Jay-Z, and Fifty Cent, is not in the wings for this contributor.  I gave up by singing, “What’s it all aboot, Alfie?” and opted for a moment of reflection in rural FL, Sholom Park.  An exquisite stoic beast three feet in length.

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Cincinnati, Indy, and home, sweet, ‘back home again in Indiana’, 2630 adventurous miles.  Home to dog, Jack, my darling wife, Lynn, reunited after ten days, we practice our flying butt bump  in the family room, as if we are in the end zone, and just taken the lead in the fourth quarter.  No small task when each of us has a vertical leap of three inches.

And no tattoos.

 

 

©insightout2013

 

Baptists & Prisons

October 15th, 2013 by insightout

dateline: Ocala, FL

alert: minor Airstream reference

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In Pooler, Georgia, a bi-polar city vehicle, the SquadTaxi

Traveling four days in a 53 year old mercedes roadster, twelve hundred trouble-free miles on the odometer, destination Punta Gorda, southwest Florida, and I’ve hit the wall. Unable to maintain idle, stalling at every intersection, I’m now on a flatbed headed to the European Car Clinic.

Suspicious that the car is running on only 2 cylinders, of the four available, I’ll have to await the diagnosis. Here’s hoping it isn’t open heart surgery.

Having driven vintage cars for>forty years, this is, quite simply, an adventure in motoring. What the hell, write a blog. The most visited national park, the Great Smokies, is nearly suffocated by the tawdry tourism of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Dollywood, and Gasplingburg. However, breaking through the pea soup fog in early morning sunrise, the view from above the clouds is an ecstatic panorama in resplendent fall colors….nothing ober nor uber, and not a single waterpark to dampen nature’s splendor.

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Mountain dew (actual) at pre-dawn on the boot lid

Years since I’ve made this trip, the Blue Ridge Parkway remains a great ride. The stop in Saluda,SC, the most photographed nostalgic main street in the USA, a visual delight. A shaded park bench, a honey crisp apple from the 1890 Thompson grocery, and a half hour of girl watching…makes for a reluctant departure.

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Oldest grovery in NC, where you can still buy a bar of BonAmi®

I-95 in Georgia is nightmarish except for sighting a continuous stream of motorcycles en route to Daytona Beach for Bike Week, the southern version of Sturgis, SD. A group of vintage Porsches, all owned and driven by Belgians, is on tour, a pilgrimage of sorts, from NY city to Miami. Le Tour de Automobile. Nice cars, good-lucking guys, French accents, and gorgeous women riding shotgun.

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Oooo,la, la

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Photoshopped image of my favorite redhead on R. Luhr’s BMX bike

Pastoral setting under the Darien, Georgia bridge, from the deck of Skippers, the best seafood restaurant in a state that worships peaches.

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Shrimp boats awaiting high tide

The most common vehicle south of Jacksonville is the 400,000 off-road fleet driven by elderly, white retirees. Not the ubiquitous Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Marquis, or Ford Crown Victoria, they’re all made by Cushman and E-Z-Go.

Promised airstream reference, Nintendo character demonstrates vista view windows on an aging retrofit for travel.

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In the same Hampton Inn parking lot where the old 121 chassis is being loaded on a flat bed for the trip to the clinic.

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Tim H., tow truck driver extraordinaire, tightens the straps

The title line is a tangential reference to Florida’s two most profitable industries. Not citrus agriculture, nor discount coupon travel guide publishing, oxycodone abuse, or even freedom from state income tax; Baptist churches and incarceration facilities rank #1 and #2. If you’re searching for Jesus here in the Sunshine State, they’ve got you covered.

Before or after you’ve sinned.

Tesla : Preamble in tunnel vision

August 19th, 2013 by insightout

The rosy fingers of a Saturday dawn are welcomed, late September, 2008, after the six mile drive and 2500 foot climb up the winding road of Rancho Carrillo. Named for Leo Carrillo, the Cisco Kid’s mischievious sidekick, Pancho, the ranch is an idyllic mountaintop respite from the urban torture of Orange County.

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The event, a popular cars & coffee excuse for the sybaritic motor culture in southern California, attracts a hundred vehicles of every ilk; none of which are routine, pedestrian, nor inexpensive.  The morning feature is a prototype electric sports car, the Tesla, rather sexy looking, attached to a 220 volt charging station that resembles the yacht cable on a marina pier or the type for a monster motorhome.  8007568972_d4077a73cf_cThree members of the Tesla team explain the virtue of electric cars, a century-old concept, now invigorated with advanced technology. Below, antiquated technology.

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DSCN1891The infectious enthusiasm of one, Elon Musk, a 37 y/o South African with the clipped accent of Ernie Els, is intoxicating.  Apparently now, my 190SL companions tell me, a billionaire from the sale of his popular credit card scheme, PayPal®, an unlikely visionary sipping on dark roasted Starbucks® morning blend. Referencing a possible IPO for the company in a year or two, he is impressive, yet I see only the failed ghosts of Preston Tucker, John DeLorean, Edsel Ford, and Malcolm Bricklin.

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By 9:30 AM, a local horse show commences, a gorgeous array from 4 years old to 40 years old, and the horses aren’t bad looking either.  We begin the invigorating downhill run, top down, on the legendary “zoom-zoom” road made famous in Mazda Miata commercials.  I’m smug, smiling, contemplating how laughable and foolish a stock offering would be for an unproved, limited production, six figure sports car.  Even as a dedicated gearhead, I could not, would not, embrace the fantasy. DSCN1903

 

On June 29, 2010, the stock, symbol TSLA, opened at $19.00/share.

On Friday, August 16, 2013, it closed at $142.00/ share.

The horses weren’t the only ones with blinders on that California hilltop.

 

©insightout2013

 

 

 

The 190th Day of the Year

July 12th, 2013 by insightout

 

9July2013

dateline: Charlevoix, Michigan

Re: response to an editorial challenge

A ride through pristine countryside in northern Michigan, a beautiful July day, top down, with hot women as companions……lurid thoughts emerge as to how the day might unfold.  However on this day, 190th of the year, ours turned to, what else, infrastructure systems for clean water, sanitary sewers, and storm water management.

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Ever wonder about those circular grates at the base of cityscape trees?

On the shore overlooking the south arm of idyllic Lake Charlevoix, at the renowned foundry of the East Jordan Iron Works, three 190SLs convened to visit the largest manufacturer of manhole covers, anywhere.  What follows is all PG, for any reader whose mind might wallow in the gutter.  Where there is rain, molten iron reigns.

Within the twenty four hour window, the three aging 55 y/o Mercedes-Benz roadsters driven by club elders, logged a combined, astounding 1,236 miles, to meet and tour the EJ museum.  Corporate hostess, Erin Nickle, whose charm and feminine guile elevated fire hydrants, hydraulically operated sewer grates, and company mantra (durable products of high quality supported by unparalleled customer service) to a heartthrob level.  And she has gorgeous blue eyes, not that I noticed.

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Erin Nickle lectures Donald Freese, prominent steel executive & metallurgical engineer 

Treated as visiting royalty, we are afforded the opportunity to pose, along with a commemorative manhole cover, on the lawn of corporate headquarters.DSCN0505Combine the photo-op with a gourmet luncheon at the Charlevoix bridge, homemade ice cream in Petoskey, and a 56 mile escorted tour, by guides and fellow gearheads, Keith and Marie Ambs in their 1934 Plymouth coupe as the lead dog…well, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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L-R, Kathy & Don Drabik, Don & Shirley Freese, Lynn & Charles Spiher 

The moral to the story:  join up with old friends, and drive.

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The shadow of the Ambs 1934 Plymouth coupe looms large. Boyne City, MI

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L-R: Shirley Freese, Lynn Spiher, Marie Ambs, Kathy Drabik

Responding to the question; here’s some money, would you like to go shopping? Note that smiles had to be photoshopped on all four faces.

The immoral: did I mention that Erin was quite attractive ?

 

©insightout/2013

Detour, there’s a muddy road ahead

July 7th, 2013 by insightout

A retrospective, 5July2013

Community pride is manifested in many forms, e.g., Tulsa, OK (birthplace of Garth Brooks), Dyersville, IA (farm location of the movie, “Field of Dreams”), Tryon, NC (The Bulletin, smallest daily newspaper in the U.S.), the list becomes infinite.

DeTour Village, an aptly named town at the eastern tip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is so small it reflects 30 years in reverse to highlight its most recognized achievement.

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Reaching DeTour is simple. After crossing the Mackinac Bridge, turn east on state road M-134, uninterrupted, and ride the north coast of Lake Huron; the last, pristine, undeveloped shoreline on the entire Great Lakes basin. No McMansions, glitzy marinas, or requisite, garish vinyl clad condos. Locals refer to the highway simply by an adjective, the “Scenic”.

Located at the end of a forty mile cul-de-sac, a mere 3 miles across the St. Mary’s River to Saint Joseph Island, Canada and a claimed population of 420, it is home to the 1983 Girl’s High School basketball champions, the DeTour Red Raiders, with a record 26-0. One year prior, the 1982 team, 26-1, lost only the state championship game. By a single basket.

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No fluke however, as the David F. Miller coached team, in five years from 1981-1985 amassed a record of 124-5. Those are John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Red Auerbach numbers.

Coach Miller today: a little less hair, the 80’s leisure suit retired, his presence still commanding

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Tonight, a reunion game to commemorate the victory, pitting the 1983 squad vs. the current 2013 team, has packed the gymnasium with more than 800 friends, neighbors, alumni, children, parents. The pre-tipoff tension is palpable. The 50/50 lottery pool totals a tidy $756.

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19 players from the three decade past era have returned and practiced in advance. They are not quite as buff as their championship photo. All nearing 50 y/o, their enthusiasm and competitive spirit have been ameliorated by menopause, marriage, child-bearing, and a few divorces. One, a gorgeous, statuesque, and pony-tailed blond, has six children and four grandchildren. She could easily audition a Celebrex or Cialis commercial on network television.  DSCN0451

“Let’s pretend we’re 18 again”

The game atmosphere is intense. Perspiration trumps inspiration, defense is tight, elbows flay, this is serious s##t. At the end of the 1st quarter, the elderly prevail, 4-2, but as the first half buzzer sounds, a nail biting 13-13 tie. The overflow crowd cheers every shot and roars at each score.  Teen-aged boys cheer their mothers on and boo their female classmates.  The battle of the sexes.  Shooting percentages, also in the low teens, but no one is keeping statistics.

What matters is that on this July Fourth weekend, small town America was the shining moment, a reunion night, a generational memory to savor for a lifetime. Briefly, time stands still, a time to be thankful we’re not in Kabul, Cairo, or Damascus, but in a high school gym adorned with a championship banner adjacent to the American flag.  Long may they both wave.

The final outcome.  Unimportant.

The Detour girls basketball team won.

And I did not win the 50/50 drawing.

 

Willie Nelson could sing, but he wasn’t always right;

Headed down life’s crooked road,
a lot of things I never knowed

And because of me not knowin’
I now pine

Trouble got in the trail
spent the next five years in jail

Should have read that detour sign

Detour there’s a muddy road ahead, detour….

5 y/o Korean golfer, LPGA at standstill

April 27th, 2013 by insightout

Confidential to David Feherty:

A young female, born in 2008, residing in the Seoul suburb of Nanyangju is contemplating departure from amateur status based upon her recent acceptance to the David Leadbetter Academy, pre-school kindergarten program.

Her parents (father an interventional radiologist, mother a pediatric cardiac surgeon), and the daughter’s name have been withheld based on advice of counsel.  A carefully planned leak from an anonymous source divulged her identity, Phee Nom.  Phee currently plays to a 4 handicap.  The family intends to move to Bradenton, FL, pending passport approval, green card acquisition, medical license reciprocation, finalization of an agent contract with IMG, and receiving title to the ‘Hello Miss Kitty” Ferrari (lo-res photo attached).

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The contentious issue; Phee’s demand that the world’s foremost physical trainer, Zhao Hanhua, Chinese gymnastics coach (Beijing Olympics, 2008) of the Wuhan Institute of Physical Education be retained full-time and also relocated to FL.

Preliminary sponsorship negotiations, not yet revealed, have been initiated with representatives from Nike® and Rolex®.   Other corporate entities are being wait-listed on a lottery basis.  The player is also seeking a permanent director seat on the board of the Annika® Academy.  Phee will limit her schedule to 15 events per year through graduation from the 6th grade, Harvard-approved, primary school, according to the PTA, professional tutors association.

The-pros-and-cons-of-summer-burst-Tong-short-sleeved-cotton-suit-to-wear-Korean-children

An internet rumor that Phee is involved in a clandestine relationship with 4 y/o Charlie Axel Woods, Tiger Wood’s son, was addressed with this terse, six-word, denial, ” I do not date younger men”.

Her future plans, assuming the stodgy LPGA board of governors voids its discriminatory ageist policy, is to complete her LPGA career by age 13, or the onset of menarche, whichever comes sooner.  By 2021, she will likely have accumulated the requisite 35 victories/points to qualify for the LPGA hall of fame, at which time she will retire and join the PGA Tour on a full time basis.  The invitation to her inaugural event, The 2021 Masters tournament, will soon be issued by former tournament chairman, lovable southerner, Wm. “Hootie” Johnson.

Cross-licensing between her favorite charity (Susan Komen’s Race for the Cure©), Mattel®, Hasbro®, and Disney©, are on hold until she actually develops breasts.

Above, Phee, at her first photo shoot for Abercrombie and Fitch®

©insightout2013

Thoughts while shaving…..

April 10th, 2013 by insightout

A tattered front page section of the Chicago Tribune, dated Monday, April 10, 2000, has served to collect the clippings from a personal bi-monthly trim for 13 years.  This gesture to preserve marital harmony, a ritual of personal hygiene, is for a wife ambivalent about rings: a ring around the bathroom bowl is not o.k.; a ring of the telephone, a nuisance; a diamond ring, well, you understand,….size and clarity do matter.

Lead stories that day; Vijay Singh in his new green Masters jacket and acting AG, Janet Reno, avows the reuniting of 6 y/o Elian Gonzalez with his father in Cuba.

220px-InselianArmed US Marshal forcibly removing kid from Miami relative

It also marked the 84th birthday of my mother, Florence, who had sadly passed away three years prior.  She was a dreadful cook, a world class leader applying guilt on her three sons, and an advocate for both responsibility & independence (translation : ‘do it yourself’).  Although many years have passed, we still recall fondly the little things, unanticipated, unheralded, that she did for us when we needed it most.  Define motherhood.

On a recent drive through the tired and dusty town, Florence, AZ , two photos triggered memories.

The local rag, the Reminder, as in, "Charles, do your homework"

The local rag, the Florence  Reminder, as in, “Boys, do your homework”

 

The same Rexall sign, circa 1948, as our first drugstore

The same Rexall sign, circa 1948, as our first drugstore

 

The ratty double page centerfold in the World’s Greatest Newspaper is a reminder of why I chose to leave industry and embark on a career as a small town pharmacist.

DSCN0224Extolling the virtues of Vioxx in 2000, long before the manufacturer, Merck, withdrew the drug after disclosures that it withheld information about rofecoxib’s risks from doctors and patients for over five years, resulting in between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease.  Worse, by the time it was discontinued in 2004, it had already caused an estimated 60,000 deaths worldwide.

Although no one in the company ever had to face criminal charges or do hard time, the decision by marketing executives and accounting was quite simple; having sold $ 2.7 billion of Vioxx, the math was easy.  The cost of litigation, executed by our superb, in-place, legal department, is far less than the profitability gained if we continue killing patients rather than removing the drug from the market.  Clever bastards. Define greed.

DSCN0227 Yes, but what if you’re at room temperature, six feet below the earth’s surface ?

Little has changed in thirteen years, as the aptly named BigPharma continues their cabal, possessing the morality and ethics equal to (actually, worse than) the tobacco industry.  Vijay Singh will tee it up in Augusta tomorrow.  I still harbor shame and embarrassment, 45 years later, that I was ever employed by a major drug company.  The hairy stubble will still need trimming every two weeks.  Florence was right nearly all the time; none of her boys are under indictment, incarcerated, facing felony warrants, or on public assistance.  Yet.  If you ignore Social Security.

No doubt what has changed.  Elian is now 19 y/o, we still share the same birthdate, December 7th, albeit 54 years apart, and he’s probably tattooed and driving around Havana chasing skirts and drinking Corona.  Tipo con suerte = lucky guy

Six degrees of unification

February 20th, 2013 by insightout

The ‘small world’ phenomenon is familiar to many, as mapped in six easy steps.

♥  2537 miles → Airstreaming → Mushrooms → retired medical professionals → writers → Queen Elizabeth’s dogs ♥

The distance from DeTour Village, MI, to SanDiego, CA is five days by car and 0.005 sec. by Google.  Our summer neighbors, acclaimed travel writer, Graham Mackintosh, and his RN wife Bonni, an accomplished mycologist, split their time in these two idyllic locales.

SanDiego is also home to writer, photographer, naturalist, and RN (ret.) Bill Doyle, and his partner, Larry Ko, a culinary chef extraordinaire & pediatric therapist (ret.).  Their adventures are richly documented on the Airstream site, History Safari Express…..an appetizing read.

Through our joint friendships, they were all able to meet at this ‘can’t miss’ affair, in scenic Balboa Park.

Caution: Leave your Lotrimin and Sporanox at the door

 

Bonni is always welcome in our cabin as a dinner guest, where she provides an assorted tray of mushrooms to sample with wine and dinner.  Hand picked from the wild of the upper peninsula, they can range from earthy to sweet….and always, the non-poisonous varieties.  It’s safe to ask for seconds.  Or if you require resuscitation, she is equipped with the nursing skill to insure your survival.

Below, the happy trio smiling in the ethereal atmosphere which can only be provided by fungi and air-borne spores:

L-R, Bill D., Bonni M., Larry K.

If this isn’t adequate evidence that hallucinogens work, enter Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog, the Welsh Corgi…..another common bond shared at the fair.

Graham and Bonni’s irrepressible, PILI (pronounced, pee-lee), in mid-flight on the beach at Lake Huron

Larry and Bill, with MAC and TASHA in the CA desert, joined by an iron-rich hound in the background

Note: if they were my dogs they would have been named Mac & Cheese

 

We wished we could have attended, nestled in southern AZ, however did so vicariously.  Content to watch the final episode, season three of Downton Abbey, along with a favorite, the brassy Queen Mother and her corgis.

 

Perhaps someone else will link Kevin Bacon and the six degrees of separation to this text, but Lynn and I are grateful our mutual friends, living only a few miles apart, finally met at this BYOM* affair.

 

* bring your own mushrooms

 

©insightout2013

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