Thursday, March 1, 2012

daily stuff

The civility which money will purchase, is rarely extended to those who have none.
Charles Dickens

A gentleman wandered around the campus of a college looking
for the library. He approached a student and asked, "Excuse
me, young man. Would you be good enough to tell me where the
library is at?"
The student, in a very arrogant and belittling tone,
replied, "I'm sorry, sir, but at this school, we are taught
never to end a sentence with a preposition!"
The gentleman smiled, and in a very apologetic tone, he
replied, "I beg your pardon. Please allow me to rephrase my
question. Would you be good enough to tell me where the
library is at, dummy?"



1. Pastoral; rustic.
2. Of or relating to a herdsman or a shepherd.
1. A pastoral poem.
2. A farmer; shepherd.

From Greek boukolos (herdsman), from bous (ox). Earliest documented use: 1609. Other words derived from the same animal are bovine, boustrophedon, and hecatomb.

"War Horse tells the story of Joey, a horse raised in the bucolic English countryside who is torn away from his home and sent to France to the battlefields of World War
 Word of the Day  
Definition: (noun) A woman's very brief bathing suit.
Synonyms: bikini
Usage: Kristen changed into her two-piece and drove with her friends down to the beach.

 Article of the Day

Woman in the Moon
One of the first serious science fiction movies, Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon was made with advice from some of Germany's leading rocketry experts. The silent film blends science and melodrama, resulting in a tragic love triangle on a lunar expedition. Created 40 years before the lunar landing, it showed humans breathing unaided on the surface of the moon but was nevertheless remarkably prescient. The film introduced a notable process that is still used in rocketry today. What is it? More... Discuss
 In the News

North Korea Agrees to Halt Nuclear Activities
North Korea has agreed to suspend all nuclear activities and stop testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of US food aid. In addition, North Korea will allow nuclear inspectors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency to visit its main nuclear complex. The concessions are an encouraging sign that nuclear tensions in the region could be eased under the leadership of Kim Jong Un and are an important first step along the path to resuming disarmament negotiations. More... Discuss
 This Day in History

Yellowstone National Park Established (1872)
Before Ferdinand Hayden's extensive geological exploration of the Yellowstone area in 1871, many doubted the stories of prior European explorers describing a remarkable landscape dotted with geysers and boiling springs. Paintings and photographs from Hayden's expedition helped convince Congress to make Yellowstone the US's first national park, and it now draws millions of visitors each year. Why do park officials refrain from extinguishing wildfires that pose no immediate threat to human life? More... Discuss
 Today's Birthday

Alton Glenn Miller (1904)
Miller was an American jazz trombonist and bandleader. A freelance musician in New York City in the 1930s, he formed his own big band in 1938. It soon became one of swing's most popular groups, known for hits such as "In the Mood" and "Moonlight Serenade." During World War II, he joined the military and became leader of the US Air Force band. In 1944, while flying from England to Paris, his plane disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and Miller was never found. What might have

Monday, January 30, 2012

Life after 50. A great biker story

The other day I was riding in my area,when a squirrel ran right in front of me. Luckily I missed him, but I did let him know that I have a vast vocabulary and was not afraid to use it. When I got home I started thinking and this time....remembering a great story that I read once. Now for all you non-biker types out there let me tell you that I have friend that have hit, birds, deer, wild turkeys, and many other assorted animal hazards. So here is the story, I hope you enjoy it.

Demonic Squirrel Riding Story
by Daniel Meyer
I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous!
Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more decisions per second, and more sheer data processing than nearly any other common activity or sport. The reactions and accurate decision making abilities needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor situational awareness are pretty much the same for both groups too.
Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight training, my instructors called this being “behind the power curve”. It is a mark of experience that when this begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation, and more importantly, does something about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things right again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up.
Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding a motorcycle…at least if you want to remain among the living. In short, the brain needs to keep up with the machine.
I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage that decided it needed my lane more than I did. This is not normally a big deal either, as it happens around here often, but usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not paying attention and avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action I nearly broadsided another car that I was not even aware was there!
Two bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness…all within seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to get off the freeway.
I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty well, headed through a few big residential neighborhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax, think, and regain that “edge” so frequently required when riding.
Little did I suspect…
As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it—it was that close.
I hate to run over animals…and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact.
Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing the oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his little beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, “Banzai!” or maybe, “Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!” as the leap was spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely in the chest.
Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I would have sworn he brought twenty of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage!
Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential street…and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing.
I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to snag his tail. With all my strength I flung the evil rodent off the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as I recoiled from the throw.
That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have headed home. No one would have been the wiser.
But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary pissed-off squirrel.
This was an evil attack squirrel of death!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands, and with the force of the throw swung around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact he landed square on my back and resumed his rather anti-social and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take my left glove with him!
The situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him.
I was startled to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. Torque. This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it.
The engine roared as the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in…well…I just plain screamed.
Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street…on one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.
With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want to crash into somebody’s tree, house, or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the throttle…my brain was just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little affect against the massive power of the big cruiser.
About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got IN my full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed partway and he began hissing in my face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone and intensity. It seemed to have little affect on the squirrel however.
The rpm’s on The Dragon maxed out (I was not concerned about shifting at the moment) and her front end started to drop.
Now picture the large man on the huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt, and wearing one leather glove, roaring at probably 80mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrel’s tail sticking out his mostly closed full-face helmet. By now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper hand…I managed to grab his tail again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I could. This time it worked…sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.
Picture the scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to do some paperwork.
Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing one leather glove, moving at probably 80mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.
I heard screams. They weren't mine...
I managed to get the big motorcycle under directional control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross street.
I would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would have. Really. But for two things. First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on his back in the front yard of the house they had been parked in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car. The other was standing in the street and was training a riot shotgun on the police cruiser.
So the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to “let the professionals handle it” anyway. That was one thing. The other? Well, I swear I could see the squirrel, standing in the back window of the patrol car among shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery, and shaking his little fist at me. I think he was shooting me the finger…
That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol car…
I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made an easy right turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.
As for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. Faced with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers, or the evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...I’ll take my chances with the freeway. Every time. And I’ll buy myself a new pair of gloves.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Retreads- returning to the world of Motorcycling

The other day someone ask me what got me back into riding motorcycles. That got me thinking, and yes…writing.

Before I got back into riding, I spent some time asking more experienced riders for advice.  Well, you can imagine the plethora of more colorful and smart ass answers I got. There were a couple, however, that were useful.  The two I thought to be most helpful were to take the MSF course,(  which I did.  The other was to always be playing the “what if” game or as I like to call it “just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean that they’re not really out to get me.”   Other than the time a road captain told me I turn like a big turd on Roller skates after I took one that went a little wide (OK, a lot wide), the “what if” game stuck in my mind.

Here is how you play.  Pretend that when you are riding on the mean streets of SO FLO (or any other place you call home) that every single solitary car, bus, and van on every single solitary road on every single solitary day is out to get you. Pretend that they are looking for any excuse and opportunity to turn you into an 800 pound, two- wheeled pinball.  Oh sure, they will try and make it seem like an accident (which is the only thing that keeps me from going completely insane).  This exercise in mental health (or illness) is easy to do in town or on our many back roads.  Now, unlike the wonderful MSF course that teaches us to watch out for those hidden driveways, oncoming cages, and crossroads; this is a whole different level of mistrust.  In my world, I’m always thinking about who can hit me, and then calculating the odds of them being successful at doing so, then planning my escape.  Then I plan how they will atone for their transgressions, but that is for another article.  It’s all part of being paranoid.  I try to know what they are going to do before they do.  Welcome to Will’s World!!  OK, you say “Now what?”  Should you too obsess about every devious driveway, crazed codger, bumbling bus driver, bone-headed bicyclist, deranged dog, dive-bombing bird (this one actually happened) and that schizophrenic, sociopath, suicidal squirrel that we have read about recently?  Or, how about this scenario: the ride leader has to stop short because the car in front of him has a hallucination at a green light. The result is that everyone has to stop so short that I give the guy in front of me an unscheduled Prostate exam.  Now if that person happens to be a Polish friend, and since we are both of Polish decent, we may actually be legally married in some small Polish village.  Just thinking of that is enough to make a person park their bike for a very long time. 

Relax; as they say in AA, “You can only control so much” (no, I’m not a member). Luckily, humans have an incredible ability to process and prioritize the world around us. We all can observe our environments, interact with it, and refine our actions within the blink of an eye or the electric firing of a synapse to be more precise. The more we play the “what if” game, the better we get at it.  Now I should say that if you are just beginning your adventures in riding, stick to the wonderful stuff they teach at the MSF course.  The fundaments will serve you well until you are ready for the next level of paranoia.  For the rest of us paranoid Bikers, let’s talk about some of the things we can do.  First, belonging to a club is probably the best thing you can do. In the world of motorcycling, there truly is safety in numbers.  When there are a pack of ten bikers coming their way, I promise they see us.  You also have the advantage of having members with many years of varied experiences. That is a wealth of information that should be drawn from often. Next, while you can’t control the fast and furious pace that these challenges come at you, you can control your pace.  Reducing your speed by as little as 3-5 mph allows your mind vast amounts of additional time to process things. Unconsciously, this allows your body to relax and be more responsive. Of course, this also depends on the kind of road you are on. When riding in denser traffic, it is usually a good idea to roll back just a bit.  On the other hand, when braving our interstates and turnpikes you’ll want to keep up with the traffic flow.  On highways, cars may have a harder time judging your speed and position, so keeping up with the pace is safer. Of course, you can still worry about deer, armadillos, night riding, oil slicks, untold amounts of road debris, people throwing cigarettes out the window, and anything else you want to keep you at that healthy level of paranoia.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life at 50, and then some

First an introduction.  My name is Will and I'm 54. I don't feel 54, but yet there it is on my license so it must be true. I live in South Florida with my wife and young Daughter. We live in what most people would call the country. I am a Nationally Board certified Educator of about 20 years. My blog will be about almost anything that strikes me as important or funny. Sometimes it will be hard to tell the difference. My main interest will be motorcycling, Health , and life at and after 50. I hope you enjoy.

So lately it seems that I have come up with this blinding realization. Ready...54 is not a good time to start ignoring you health. I know , astounding aren't I. This got me thinking, and yes writing.

For the last 2 weeks I have been eating better, going to the gym, and made a commitment to lose fat and look and feel better by June. That why when I started to have stomach problems on Sunday evening, I was a little surprised. It was Christmas day and the wife asked what I would like for dinner. After a moment of weakness "Italian Sausage with peppers and onions" came out of my mouth I swear I looked around for Jeff Dunham.  What the Hell it was a holiday and I could live it up a little. I should also tell you that I had been taking some Antibiotics for a chest cold that was staying passed it's welcome. Dinner was great! Until about 8pm when the pain in my stomach started. Since it got worse and I'm a big baby, we decided that the hospital needed a donation.  Now that reason we waited until 2am was it took that long for my wife to convince me that being double over in pain was probably a bad thing. So we wake the kid get everyone dressed and head out. Now all this time I'm thinking OK we'll get there they'll give something to calm my stomach and we'll head home. Eh, no. Before I know whats happening I have IV's hooked up, pain meds running through my body (that was actually a good part) and I'm being admitted. I have had more sports injuries than and NFL linebacker, but I've never had to spend a night in a Hospital. Next come Cat scans, Ultrasounds and about 20 people asking me about my Bowel movements like it was a book I'm reading. "so, when was the last time we had a BM, what did it look like?" Hey glad you asked, I was hoping we could have a nice long conversation about that. BTW what's this we stuff. If you mean me, say so. The next question is" have you had anything like this before?" No Einstein in 54 years I've never had a stomach ache. Then the magic word " Diverticulitis" . Holy Shit !! excuse the pun, but that's all it took. Next thing I know I have 6 Doctors 8 nurses and God knows who else asking the same questions. The next 36 hours are just something out of a Stephen King book.  OK here is where the fun really begins. I'm put in this room with 2 beds. Not the worst room, but then again no one else was in the other bed. Now I'm still thinking that Hell they'll just let me go in the morning. Eh, no.  I'm told that I can't eat or drink and that they are going to give me bag upon bag of IV antibiotics and saline. So, they hook me up to this machine that keeps feeding me this cocktail. Now at this point I'm thinking, hey no one has even said what the hell is wrong!!! Then the parade starts day nurse, nurse tech, the Vampire who needs my blood, the doctor that's filling in for my regular Doctor who is on vacation in Spain, the internist, the infectious disease Dr., the Gastro Dr. and someone called my "case manager.  I keep asking, can someone tell me what wrong? Eh, no. About this time I realize I'm in a bed that has to be an invention of the The Marquis de Sade. My back staring cramping so bad that I spent the night in a reclining chair. Oh, just a side note, does it really have to be cold enough to hang meat in the room???? The next Dr, was the infectious disease guy. He proceeds to tell me that I'm going to have to be on intravenous for about 2 weeks. He wants to put in a pic. That's a line that runs in your vain so they can hook you up anytime they want. Really ??? What did you say is wrong with me again??  The Gastro guy comes in and tells me that none of the test show anything and he wants to do an endoscopy. For those of you not familiar with this, it is when they stick a camera down your throat. They relax me by telling me not to worry because" we will put you to sleep" some how that phrase didn't help. So, off we go to have that done. Now it's Wednesday. I haven't eaten anything or had a drink since Sunday. I haven't slept since Saturday. So, how our patient feeling?? That  suppose to be funny?? At least I had a little revenge, I stop breathing while I was under. That scared the crap out of the Dr. After I woke up I said to my wife 'that's it we are out of here. After all this what did they find ....looks like I had a stomach ache. So now after 10 hour of sleep, some food and water, I'm feeling fine. Am I done?  Eh, no. Now I have to make an appointment for a Colonoscopy. Another camera different place. We'll see how that goes I'm sure it will get me to thinking, and well ...writing.