Meanwhile, At The IMAO T-Shirt Babe Reunion

As I mentioned in the book report for Who Built That?, we were thinking of going to see Michelle Malkin speak. Last night, we did.

I spent the whole evening telling the various high-powered other attendees of the annual Vitae Foundation event that my beautiful wife once modeled a clothing line with Ms. Malkin.

WHICH IS TRUE because they both appeared in the IMAO Peace Gallery wearing Nuke the Moon shirts.

Were they wearing clothing for promotional purposes? Yes. AKA modeling a clothing line which only had one offering, so it was geometrically more of a clothing dot.

As I’m relying on pictures of my beautiful wife as Rule 5 material here on the blog so much recently, I’ve started to wonder if I’m turning into an Instagram husband. But in my defense, I had to remind myself that the previous picture was from a local business magazine.

Yes, yes, the headline is misleading. Technically speaking, Sarah K. was the IMAO T-Shirt Babe and won the grand prize, marriage to Frank J. So I guess she’s Sarah K.J. now.

And, yes, I could have said I modeled a clothing line with Michelle Malkin as I was in the Peace Gallery, too, but, come on. That does not flatter my beautiful wife, with whom I dispute whether she was any higher than result #3 on the Google Image Search for legs back in the day. She says she was higher, but when my co-worker told me about it, she was #3. Unstated: Why my co-worker was searching Google image searches for legs. I would have mentioned that fact about my wife at the Vitae event, but that might have mortified her.

Thank you, that is all.

What We Did This Weekend

I’m pleased to see that the new sledge hammer and mauls work to split the logs left over from when a spring storm blew a large tree over, knocking down our security light. The utility co-op came along and cut the tree off of the broken light post, replace the lights, and left me with some firewood to split.

So I ordered some splitting wedges from Amazon since I couldn’t find them in the local hardware store. They arrived in a damaged box clearly labeled as “It Wasn’t Our Fault” by the delivery company, but fifteen pounds of pointy iron in cardboard isn’t going to ship well.

I went looking for my sledgehammer, but I believe my boys have taken them into the woods some years ago when they were into “mining” which meant tearing chunks out of the old railbed that serves as my neighbor’s driveway. So I bought a new one, and we were in business yesterday.

Briefly. It took me a while to get back into the swing of things, literally. Hitting off-center often sent the maul looping through the air, and the uneven ground often made the log topple when hit. It took us 30 minutes to split three of the logs which are pretty wet yet, and it was well over 90 degrees. So this is a chore to resume on a nice autumn day.

You Do Have To Show Them The Way

The Bank of Missouri has a series of ads with bankers inserted into various situations to illustrate that they’re more than bankers. They’re part of your community or something. One depicts a banker holding a fire hose along with the firefighters. So I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be all metaphor or not.

But this one spoke to me:

The banker is not awarding the kid first base for a walk. The banker is reminding the kid to go to first base.

Friends, with the young ones, this is often the case.

As I mentioned, I coached a little league team for a season, and I was the loud coach. I cheered for all the boys, and I shouted instructions all the time.

One of the most common instructions was “Run, run, run!” which I shouted when the batter made contact with the ball. Otherwise, the youngsters were prone to gape in wonder at what they’d done and to get thrown out or tagged out easily.

Hey, I know the feeling. I had the same reaction the first time I made contact with the ball in a league softball game. Although I was nineteen at the time. And this occurred a couple of minutes before I took a fly ball to the face resulting in an ambulance ride and my getting thrown out of the league because I was an injury risk. But just so.

My second most-shouted instruction was “Get it! Get it! Get it!” when an opposing batter made contact with the ball. Because they would often stand agape at that turn of events as well.

I don’t know how many of those kids benefited from my volume, but if none of them did, I must attribute it to the fact that I did not wear a suit with a green tie that is visible from space. Clearly, I was not taking it seriously. Why should they?

Two Indicators I’m Getting Older

So the other night we went to a local bar and grill for dinner.

My boys were thrilled with the fact that they have video games and whatnot that they could mess with while awaiting the food.

I remembered the days of my own youth, although I didn’t hang around suburban bar and grills with a clean, urban industrial aesthetic. My father took me to taverns with scarred furniture and smoke. But they had video games, and they had pinball machines, and they had pool tables where I could roll the cue ball back and forth. So I know the little sense of freedom one gets from roaming around them.

At the bar, three male friends sang, in unison, something I recognized but couldn’t immediately place. One of them had brought his girl, and when they finished, one of the guys high-fived the other and then was left hanging by the girl who was amused by the men’s behavior in that way that they sometimes are and maybe are not, actually. These guys weren’t twenty, either–definitely in their thirties or older.

The next day, I placed the song. The Numa Numa guy.

From 2004. So these guys were definitely not kids.

You know what made me feel old most of the experience? The two things:

  • It took me a day to place the Numa Numa song.
  • I am no longer the kind of man who hangs out with friends at a bar and grill and gives high fives for silly things. I mean, I do athletic things, so I give high fives, don’t get me wrong. But they’re for doing some drill at martial arts or running some distance.

Actually, you know what makes me feel old most of all? Getting older.

Want To Get Away?

The British press has a number of remote and/or secure locations profiled this week.

Uninspiring grey brick fort tower hides an amazing interior inside:

From the outside it looks like nothing more than drab, brick-built fort and a relic of Britain’s military past.

But step inside this 19th century tower and it’s a totally different story.

Martello Tower Y, tucked away on a quiet stretch of Sussex coastline, was built for a Napoleonic invasion that never came.

It was meant to repel the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and as such dates back to the early 19th century.

But a complete refurbishment in 2010 has seen the property scoop a number of architectural and design awards, with English Heritage labelling the renovation as “exemplary”.

It has been described as “one of the most original and soul-stirring modern homes in Britain” – and it could be yours for a cool £1.25million.

The three-bedroom home has a completely re-sculpted interior which perfectly blends period features with modern, contemporary architecture.

It even has a modern-day drawbridge as well as a wrap-around roof terrace so buyers can take in that stunning seaside view, which is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Magnificent Gothic 10-bed Welsh castle with 31 acres and stunning views of Snowdonia on sale for £2.85m:

Glandyfi Castle, set on a 31-acre estate overlooking the stunning Snowdonia mountains in Wales, is nothing less than a fairytale property – if it’s within your budget.

The 10 bedroom Gothic-style property is fitted with an octagonal tower, an imperial staircase and a pink marble fireplace.

Commanding a clifftop position and overlooking the Dovey Estuary and Snowdonia mountains, this magnificent castle is the perfect romantic property.

The breathtaking castle built from stone has recently undergone a major renovation, with a new glass roof for the courtyard and modern kitchen design.

Couple swap four-hour city commute for abandoned island:

An Irish couple have ditched city living and relocated to an abandoned island off the coast of Co Kerry – but say they are loving every minute of it.

Lesley Kehoe, 27, and Gordon Bond, 29, are said to be the only inhabitants at An Blascaod Mor, the largest part of The Great Blasket Islands, located off the coast of Co Kerry.

Tired of spending four hours commuting from Kildare to the Dublin everyday, the couple made the life-changing decision to move island which has been abandoned since 1954.

Lesley told the Irish Sunday Mirror : “I have always been interested in the Great Blasket Islands – I wrote my thesis about their heritage.

“As part of my research Gordon and I went out there and we stayed in one of the cottages.

“We just fell in love with the place and in January I saw a Facebook post advertising a job looking after the hostel there.

I don’t think I’d like to manage a hostel or a wedding and event venue. But the castle would be a treat, even if it sits on only 31 acres. I would feel like a marcher lord.

What I Did This Weekend

You know, I often get to the end of the weekend and wonder just what I did and how I wasted my time instead of accomplishing big projects or big personal goals. So, in the interests of my own sanity, allow me to bore you with the details of what I did so that some years in the future, I can return to this post and perhaps feel some satisfaction that I did not waste all my weekends.


Saturday morning, I did the Republic Tiger Triathlon (super sprint) and took my kids to a martial arts class.

After that, we went to the local pizza buffet for lunch; after that, I napped.

When I got up about 1:30, we had a Family Meeting that lasted about 40 minutes.

Then I spent fifty minutes applying the third coat of paint to my third set of record shelves.

I rested a bit, and a little after 4:00, I went swimming with my family in the backyard pool for the first time this year.

We had pasta for dinner, and after winding the chores down for the night, I read a bit and went to bed at about 9:00.


On Sunday, we went to church for early service; as it is the summer schedule, we didn’t stay for Sunday school and were home by 10:00.

I took an early nap.

After the nap, I moved some furniture as my boys have moved to separate rooms again.

I also moved some wall art around as my beautiful wife had just bought some things to hang in the guest room, and we moved them to the master bedroom and moved the existing master bedroom art around.

We then went shopping for a bit, looking at Best Buy for a reliable-looking cheap record player. All they had was the same unit that I just bought which failed after a couple months, and it was more expensive than Amazon. We picked up some groceries as well.

I grilled some burgers, and we assembled a meal for a family for church with an ailing member. My wife and boys ran the food over, and we had dinner.

I moved the new record shelves indoors and filled them with overflow LPs. I also took our box sets out of storage, and it looks as though I will need one more if I want to unbox my mother’s pop records or move Heather’s folk LPs upstairs. Or if I plan on buying new records ever again.

After dinner, I finished the chores and read a bit and talked with my oldest son, who has discovered James Lileks’ Mommy Knows Worst and thinks it’s funny. I got to bed about 10:00.


So that’s how the weekends pass. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing Civ IV, as I do on some weekends, but it passed nevertheless with chores and normal activity.

I did bring some projects to fruition: I completed my third Tiger Triathlon, but I didn’t end up doing the longer distance Sprint length, which is good, as I have not trained for it much, and it wore on me.

I finished the record shelves, but I started them three weeks ago, and they’ve been in my driveway for a couple weeks awaiting the complete paint job. So I didn’t take a real sense of accomplishment out of simply clearing my driveway.

And so it goes. Tempus fugit.

Another Victorious Turn At 1984

So last night, we went to the local arcade 1984, and I again made the leader board on two different games, although it might look like I was going in alphabetical order:

I found that you didn’t even have to get through the second level on Space Invaders to beat the default high score. And I got a higher score on Spyhunter than I did in 2017, and as a bonus, I got it when I was showing one of my son’s friends how to play the game.

I beat my previous high score on Elevator Action, but the current high score was almost 20,000, and I only got about 16,000. I also tied the high score for Omega Race right as we were leaving; perhaps I’ll focus on that one next year as it looks pretty easy to play and perhaps dull enough that the cool kids leave it alone.

Although it looks like 1984 thinned out its selection of games a little bit. Perhaps as part of opening a location in Branson this year. And the price has gone up. Still, ten bucks for a couple of hours of video game time is worth it as long as you, you know, play the video games. I think I again spent most of my time wandering around looking at video games.

The Almost Fallen Apple Trees of Nogglestead

As you might know, gentle reader, when I first moved to Nogglestead, I began planting an orchard of pear, apple, peach, and cherry trees.

It has not been particularly rewarding. To make a short story long, deer ringed the apple trees the first year–they stripped bark all the way around the trees, which killed them. I replaced them and resuscitated one, only to discover the signs of life it showed came from the crab apple root stock and not the grafted eating apple part of the tree. Then, we’ve had cold winters, late freezes, droughts, and Japanese beetles so that I did not get any yield even almost a decade later.

Until this year, when we have had a moderate summer and a wet spring which apparently kept the beetles at bay. The harvest of the peach trees in the front was small peaches and just enough for me to snack on them when I went out to the mailbox and back. Growing fruit here is a little like Edge of Tomorrow; every year, we get a little closer, but something gets the harvest.

Like a derecho wind this spring that blew through the Nogglestead side yard, where it knocked over a couple of apple trees and sent a large tree crashing against one of our side light posts, destroying it.

The apple trees were pushed over, but they were still alive. Until the deer came along and could suddenly reach all the leaves.

But I see that, in addition to the remaining a couple of small apples (hopefully, not crab apples, it has sprouted some new leaves.

I’m not sure what I am to do with the tree and its smaller fallen brother closer to the woods. Perhaps in the spring, I will hook it up to my truck or my tractor (lawn mower, but I don’t feel as rural if I admit that) to try to stand it up or continue to let it grow crooked.

Probably the latter, as I am lazy.

What I Learned About Myself, And The Reasoning Behind It That I Just Made Up

As my beautiful wife and possibly anyone who has been following my Good Album Hunting posts could have guessed, two tiers of record shelving, with roughly eleven linear feet of record storage, cannot contain all the records at Nogglestead.

So I quickly assembled a third tier, and as I was priming it yesterday, I noticed something.

When painting something, I always go from left to right or counterclockwise around the item.

I credit this to being old enough to remember a typewriter, and I’m just doing what the typewriter does with paint.

I dunno, maybe it’s more because that’s my dominant hand. But I like the typewriter analogy better.

Also, please note that I am not sure if roughly sixteen feet of shelving will be enough.

Thank you, that is all.

As Though She Were A Normal Person (III)

As I have mentioned a time or two, I scan the local society pages because, as Springfield is a smaller city, I can often see people I know or know of on the pages of 417 or in the photo galleries of the News-Leader.

And, to be honest, I started wondering when we would appear in those very galleries.

I mean, we have attended charitable functions from time to time, although we haven’t been back to a mega-ticket capital G-gala since the Springfield Symphony Guild Debacle of 2015. Even when I see the society photographer, he refuses to make eye contact. Still, I expected at some point I would be able to put down the beer and smile with my arm candy.

My beautiful wife has begun attending local business functions as she is a local business owner with a viable, proven software product on the market, and she is the first to the galleries with an image in the Biz 417 gallery for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce Luncheon 2019:

Compare that photo to this one from a recent book signing:

Of course, when you get to a certain age, sixteen years ago qualifies as recent.

But it proves that she is an ageless beauty.

If Anyone Needs Me, I’ll Be Safe In My Recliner

Best friends are both hospitalised after challenging each other to do 1,000 SQUATS in one go during a video call:

Two best friends in China have both been hospitalised after competing with each other to do 1,000 squats in one go.

Tang, 19, said she and her friend carried out the challenge earlier this month during a video call which lasted for about three hours.

* * * *

Tang went to a local hospital accompanied by her boyfriend. She claimed that her legs ached so much she could not even be carried by her boyfriend.

At last, she had to move slowly on her own to the hospital and was found to have a serious syndrome caused by muscle injury, known as rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when muscles are injured and they release their contents, including a muscle enzyme, into the bloodstream.

That sounds dangerous. I’d better sit down.

Although trying to do 1000 squats sounds like something I would try. Fortunately, though, I tend to forget to do squats at all unless I’m at the gym or the dojo.

Another Last Time Comes Suddenly

I changed the linens in the boys’ bedroom this week, and it was the last time I would make up my oldest child’s bed with sheets with cartoon characters on them.

They’ve had Spider-Man, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario, or Star Wars sheets on their beds ever since they had big boy beds. Oh, and how delighted they were when I would spend twenty bucks at the Walmart to pick up a new set and they would come home to vivid new colors and heroes. They were easy to delight when they were young.

They started out in separate bedrooms with their cribs and then their big boy beds–a set of bunk beds separated by a wall. A couple years ago, we moved them into a room together and activated the bunk bed feature of the bunk beds. We made the corner bedroom into a guest bedroom and painted it a pleasant orange, but we never got around to decorating it with wall hangings. It idled, as we haven’t had many guests to Nogglestead in recent years. Mostly, the boys used it as a playroom as their extensive Lego holdings resided in that closet.

This summer, though, as my wife thought she would spend a lot of time in the room after recent surgery, she ordered some art from a catalog, and I put them up. She didn’t end up spending much time in that room after all, but we’ve decided to again separate the boys into separate bedrooms, and the oldest will get the former guest bedroom and its full-sized bed.

So he’ll go to bed with adult sheets now and forever more (unless he’s a modern young man who might end up with cartoon sheets in adulthood). I guess it’s fitting; at 13, he has moved into adult-sized clothes that his mother often puts into my drawers.

But it puts one in a melancholy mood to start the morning. My children are growing up, and most of our lives will be spent apart.

A melancholy solved by actual exposure to those siblings who begin squabbling the minute they awaken (hence the separate bedrooms soon). Suddenly, I’m Can I send them to military school starting today?

Brian Fact-Checks Country Music

The other day, I found myself behind an International Harvester on Highway FF, and I thought of the Craig Morgan song.

This vehicle managed a speed of 15 mph along the state highway, but the song says:

Hoggin’ up the road on my p-p-p-p-plower
Chug a lug a luggin’ 5 miles an hour
On my International Harvester

However, this particular unit was a harvester, not a plower, so my experience does not counter the song.

I do, however, wonder what the combine was doing down by us. Most of the “crops” grown around here are hay. I can’t think where we have a field of wheat or corn big enough to warrant a combine.

Although perhaps that means I should get back into the habit of driving around exploring. I did that a bunch when my children were really young; we’d hop into the car to go for a ride and just drive around. Now that they’re older, we’re busy and don’t go driving around almost aimlessly. Which is a little sad.

(Previously, I mentioned this song in 2008.)

Not That You Asked

Brian J., did you live at the head or the mouth of the holler?

To be honest, when I lived down the gravel road in the holler made by Heads Creek (the house actually had some creekfront exposure, but in the back), I lived midway down the holler. Maybe somewhere in the nasal passages of the holler, or somewhere in the digestive tract.

But this description of the neighborhood is accurate:

Some hollers are more populated than others and it isn’t uncommon for as many as 300 people to live up a single holler, if “the bottoms” are land and wide enough for enough mobile homes, three story “fancy houses” and simple cinderblock homes — a fascinating patchwork I’ve seen only in the Appalachian Mountains where the haves and have nots coexist as equal neighbors.

Although I don’t know if the head and mouth really apply, as Heads Creek moved through various hills and hollows. I tend to think of the “mouth” of the hollow as where Heads Creek Road meets Highway MM, as this was our access route to the rest of the world, and Heads Creek Road followed the creek south from there. My holler was not the one with the fancy homes in it.

And I wasn’t born there; I moved in in high school and lived there for two and a half years, visited twice a year for four years, and then lived there again for a year or so. So I wasn’t related to anyone then (although my frisky younger brother might mean I have relations there now), and I didn’t get many “firsts” there aside from my first time having a party line or the first time living where one could dust the trees.

(Link via the Ace of Spades HQ ONT.)

Clearly, It’s Been A While Since A Bike Ride

The bike carrier still has the little sticker on it that identified it from when we moved to Nogglestead almost ten years ago.

While this might be an indicator of how we’re not serious cyclists (we’re not, except for my beautiful wife, who hasn’t been especially serious lately), it’s also an indicator of the fact that two of us (the boys) have had small bikes, and they could fit in the back of an SUV.

And when I needed to take my bike to the two outdoor triathlons I’ve done, I could easily throw it in the back of my late beloved pickup truck.

Now, though, times have changed; we’ve gotten the thirteen year old a full sized bike, and we will have to convey both his and mine to the Republic Tiger Tri in three weeks.

So now I can peel that sticker off. I did it for a long time with great pleasure because each was a reminder of the little damages done to our dryer and piano when six men and two trucks moved us from Old Trees to Nogglestead, and to leave those stickers on any box in the store room rubbed salt into that wound.

Nogglestead: Guilty of Violating Stephen Green’s Fashion Sensibilities

Vodkapundit, on Facebook, links to a Washington Post story called The fashion trend that won’t go away: Matching clothes for the whole family, and he disapproves.

Friends, I must confess that we at Nogglestead, have embraced this trend because we frequently run 5k races, so it’s not uncommon for us to wear matching t-shirts on a Saturday morning.

And sometimes after, two of us will end up wearing the same shirt on a day.

I hadn’t realized it was trendy.

Brian J., The Gods of Copybook Headings, and Smelt Fishing

So my wife showed me this meme on her Facebook feed:

And it reminded me of smelt fishing with my dad.

As I said:

Although I’ve never bitten the head off of one, so I’m not properly initiated.

I remember going one night with my father, where he and his buddies waded out into Lake Michigan with what seemed like a finer meshed tennis net, dragging a bunch of the small fish onto the beach. I mean, they were tiny, enough that my brother and I could easily wrap our elementary school fists around them.

My father tried to convince us that you weren’t a real smelt fisherman unless you bit the head off of one. I don’t know if that’s an actual smelt fishing tradition, or if my father was joking with us, but my brother actually did bite the head off of one. So in our family, he’s that one kid. Or maybe my father was.

Of course, I also remember from that trip putting my finger on the top of a lantern and burning it until it blistered. So I cannot make it out like I’m the smart brother.

As a matter of fact, as Kipling noted:

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

Years later, at my grandfather’s cabin in northern Michigan, I remember holding a completed sparkler and watching its metal turn from red to carbon color and touching it to see if it was cool. Which is was not.

Definitely not the smart brother.

(But, yes, I eventually learned the meaning of “hot,” thanks.)

Be Careful That Your Internet Translation Does Not Start A Reign of Unholy Terror

Facebook is very cautious. It thinks this is German:

Translated to English by Facebook, this text says:

That, as you know, gentle reader who probably also delves into eldritch tomes by the mad Arab, is not the real translation, which is:

In his house at R’lyeh, dread Cthulhu waits dreaming.

I was finta say that Facebook is being overly cautious here in hiding the meaning of unholy phrases, and that Big Tech is a conspiracy to keep this knowledge from the masses, and that no dictionary sites offer pronunciations for these words to help those who’ve only read them, but….

never mind.

Every time you watch that video, you strengthen the cult magic that seeks to raise the Great Old One.