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A week ago, back when it was still summer, Bettie and I stood outside at 2AM and watched the Orionid meteor shower. We didn’t stay long, and it was chilly, but we each saw a couple shooting stars. Fun.

In the week before that, around the middle of October, I was still seeing lightning bugs. Not flying around, but resting on the ground. That’s the same way I saw them back in February, which was extraordinarily warm this year.

The two events aren’t related, not directly. One looking up, one looking down. One fast, one very slow. One cold (a dirty snowball, except for at the very end), one doing much better in the heat of high summer rather than either cooler end.

But they are connected. As James Herriot quoted, “The Lord God made them all“. I’m in that bucket, and so are you. We are all creatures, created beings, and we have a Creator. Rather, He has us. What is He going to do with us? It depends on what we do with Him.

I’ve seen a lot of death recently. A coworker’s husband lost both his mother and his father this year. Another coworker lost his teenage son unexpectedly. A third coworker died from cancer after winning a serious battle against another disease. One of Bettie’s former coworkers, younger than she was, died a week ago. The end of life came for each of them, and it’s coming for me. Not a dire announcement, just a recognition that we’re all going to die eventually.

And after that comes the judgment. We’ll be judged on how we lived our lives and spent the blessings we have been given. I have been very blessed, from my parents being who they are to growing up in a family of faith, from attending a church college to finding a wonderful wife, from losing my way to finding solid ground and a well-grounded church and pastor. And still, though I am not perfect, the blood of Jesus makes me so in the eyes of God the Father.

I don’t know what led you to this site. I encourage you to think about your past, and your future, and eternity. Pick up a Bible and read the book of Romans. Take your time, make the investment, decide what matters.

I did, and it has made all the difference. In the world and the next.

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While I was growing up, I wanted to be a race car driver. I’d still like to do that, but the realistic option is gone. It was pretty well gone when I realized that race car driving was dangerous – I could get hurt!

Still, I like racing. Pretty much anything going fast, but focused mainly on NASCAR. My first hero was Richard Petty – the king. He won 200 races, finishing in front of President Ronald Reagan.

After he retired, I moved to supporting Darrell Waltrip, #17. He had a mouth, he had an attitude, and he had the championships to back it up.

When he retired, Tony Stewart moved into my top spot. He had a temper, he would sometimes sometimes cross the line, but he also had the skills to win championships.

Tony Stewart retired a year ago. For me, nobody has taken his place. Some don’t make the list – Logano and Keselowski, I’m looking at you. Jimmy Johnson – nice guy, but no passion from me (maybe because he exercises). The replacement in Tony’s car, Clint Boyer, doesn’t have a spark.

The racing itself has changed, with stages and weird end-of-race rules, not to mention artificial cautions to bunch the field up.

Bottom line, I’m done with NASCAR. it just isn’t worth the investment of my time. I’ll still watch a few races – Daytona to start the season, the World 600 as part of the Memorial Day triple header. The Indy 500 is the only Indy-car race I watch.

The first race in that triple header is the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco. It’s always been fun to watch, with the long underground chute leading into the blinding sunlight, the tight corners and the water right there!

This year, I watched that race with different eyes. I saw internal struggles, man against machine and man against man. The incredible power and incredible fragility of the cars. The money spent and the technology used.

And I started watching F1 races, enjoying them more than I expected. Even the practices are fun, with David Hobbs mentioning the occasional “argy-bargy” in his understated English way.

So in 2018, I’m dropping NASCAR and switching to F1. It isn’t necessarily permanent, but it will take a lot to turn me back.

Forty seven years ago today, a strange man who went by the name “Tiny Tim” was at the Clinton County fairgrounds in Plattsburgh, NY.

A wire report from the next day read

Tiny Tim Joins N. Y. Jaycee Unit

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. AP — Tiny Tim, the long haired, falsetto-voiced singing star, eagerly signed an application card for a local Jaycee unit Wednesday and was promptly accepted as a member. The performer was rehearsing for an appearance at the Clinton County fair when he was approached by several Jaycees who suggested he join the organization. “His wife filled out the card,” said Sgt. Gary Flaherty, an Army recruiter who is president of the local chapter, “and Tiny Tim signed it.”

I don’t remember whether I saw him – memory says yes, but memory is funny.

Documented from the August 6 papers here and here (lower right corner).  Unfortunately, I can’t find the text of the (almost) unreadable Press-Republican story online.

If you are using sharp kitchen tools – a mandolin, for instance – keep your fingers away from the sharp parts. Otherwise you can end up with a bandaid on your index finger.

Or so I’ve heard.

My other revelation from the evening is Lip Blam, useful for when you’re shooting your mouth off.

Sunday morning, January first 2017, started off foggy. 

That makes for a good year for headlight manufacturers and body shops – not for me, just in general. 

Sunday ended with me winning (through no fault of my own) a fantasy football league I didn’t want to join. 

Thanks, Mark

Monday morning, January second, starts out foggy again. I’d like to make a prediction about how this year is going to turn out, but the crystal ball is, predictably, foggy. 

When the nurse asks you which arm you want the tetanus shot in,  there are consequences when you sleep on your side. 

It all started innocently enough, just a regular day-after-Christmas organ delivery. While releasing a tie-down, I got a scrape that needed to be band-aided. My last tetanus shot was about 8 and a half years ago, so it was time. 

Show up at the doctor’s office at my scheduled time (missing work), and they tell me I can’t do it because I haven’t seen the doctor in over 6 months. Wish they would have known that when I made the appointment. I do mention in passing that I could get it at an urgent care place without having seen their doctor, but to no avail. 

The Little Clinic at Kroger filled the bill (with an upsell to include diptheria and pertussis – whooping cough). No reaction, so all is well. 

It could have been weller had they mentioned that if I was a side sleeper, I should get the shot on the ceiling-facing shoulder to avoid a few nights’ discomfort. They didn’t, and I didn’t think of it.

All is well. Still,  note to self . . . 

Today I turned 57.  A lot of varieties, a lot of years.

Instead of a maudlin post about how great it’s been (I thought of that) or how bad it’s been (less thought there) or remembering people, I decided to do another round of sayings that I found interesting.  Previous entries here, here, here, here, and here.

Sep 14: Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood

Oct 14: Too many rules are legalism.  Too much grace is enabling.

Nov 14: There is no substitute for genuine lack of preparation

Dec 14: The best thing about getting lost is what you find while you are there

Jan 15: Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon

Feb 15: Learning binary is as easy as 01, 10, 11

Mar 15: I’ll have a piece of cake.  It’s gotta be somebody’s birthday somewhere.

Apr 15: Don’t anthropomorphize computers – they hate that

May 15: Water pressure doesn’t matter if the faucet is closed

Jun 15: Green is not a creative color

Jul 15: You can write FORTRAN in any language

Aug 15: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

Sep 15: Anything can happen in the next half hour

Oct 15: Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty

Nov 15: I have OCD and ADD. Things have to be perfect, but only for a couple seconds.

Dec 15: One candle loses nothing by lighting another

Jan 16: If you don’t like change, you’re going to HATE irrelevance

Feb 16: If you can’t play with words, what good are they?

Mar 16: There is no failure, only learning

Apr 16: We prepare for glory by failing until we don’t

May 16: Fools ignore complexity.  Pragmatists suffer it.  Some can avoid it.  The wise remove it.

Jun 16: The best of men is a man at best

Jul 16: The river is calm. There may still be crocodiles.

No, this is not some strange yoga position.  Nor is it about calling the Republicans to be more vocal (though there are some RINOs that are plenty loud).

I use a CPAP machine to help maintain my breathing through sleep apnea.  I have been doing it for 1001 days, according to the cool SleepyHead software by which I monitor myself at much closer intervals than the office’s six-month checkups.

CPAP machines have a hose by which they deliver air to your face.  The hose is a little bigger around than a Hula Hoop’s tube, and much more flexible. It is also connected at both ends, since they haven’t figured out how to deliver air wirelessly.  Yet.

I used to have the hose running down past my chin, tucked under me as I slept, and that worked fairly well. hose down  Not perfectly, mind you – I would wake up several times a night because the hose had shifted, or the weight was pulling it away from my face.

I didn’t want to get a hose stand – I don’t want more clutter. hose stand

What I came up with, after reading about other technologies, was to turn the world upside down.  Make the hose go up, almost like a snorkel tube. hose up I tuck it between the headboard and mattress.  It stays out of my way, and I sleep better.

 

 

 

So I grant to the world the name “Trumpeting Elephant” as a great description of an existing method.  Long may it roar!

trumpeting elephant

 

Way back in the day, my favorite car was the Honda City.  Not the new-fangled thing they call by the same name, but the original urban car.

Honda City

I remember it being much cooler looking, but it was definitely a small car.  I may have been influenced by my friend Steve’s little Honda

honda600 b

That’s not Steve (he’s taller).  The picture does show the size of the car.  Steve also had a Volkswagen Thing (in orange, like this one)

Volkswagen Thing

that had detachable doors.  But I digress.

Read the rest of this entry »

It isn’t that I am not thankful – I am.  It’s just that my car hasn’t gone a million miles – and it won’t.

After twenty years and two hundred and fifty thousand miles, I have parked my car.  It is my intention to never drive it again.  It has done me well, but it’s over.

quarter million