Saturday, April 27, 2024

The Dr. Baker Positive Post

 This post is in honor of and prepared for Dr. Wallace Baker from Idaho Falls.  Dr. Baker has heaped high praise on the idea of finding positive news to post here.  NOTE that there are three stories in this post so "Keep CALM and Scroll ON".

So, how do we find such positive material?  Good question!

First we start with a "Random Point Generator".  Then we select a starting point and have the app generate five random points within a 250 mile radius from that point.  We quickly eyeball the resulting map and pick a city or town near one of the random points.  Then we check online to see if that city or town has a newspaper. For today's positive news, we used St. Louis as the central point.  Sure enuf, it turned up that Hannibal, Missouri, was near one of the points generated.  And that's how we found:

Top ten finalists selected for 2024-25 Tom and Becky program

Seriously, what could be more positive than having a bunch of young people vie for their home town's Tom and Becky contest.  Here's what the "Hannibal Courier Post" had to say about it:

"HANNIBAL — Ten finalists for the Tom and Becky program have been named by the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.

Twenty-four semifinalists completed a written exam on the history of Hannibal, Mark Twain, and Twain's writings on Thursday at Hannibal Middle School. On Friday, the 12 boys and 12 girls were scored in personal interviews at Hannibal LaGrange University by two panels of five judges.

Once the scores of both the tests and the interviews were tallied, the top five boys and top five girls were selected to represent the city as goodwill ambassadors for one year. The final two stages of the competition — a two-day orientation with three judges familiar with the program in June and a final judging on July 3 — will culminate in the naming of the office 2024-25 Tom and Becky during National Tom Sawyer days."

Hannibal is, of course, Mark Twain's boyhood home.  And, yep, there's even a Boyhood Home Museum in Hannibal  Viking Cruise Lines now makes Hannibal a primary stop on the company Mississippi River excursions.  Each year visitors from all 50 states and over 60 countries make their way to Hannibal to see the places that inspired Mark Twain’s stories.  You can read all about the Museum here:

And, if you feel so inclined, here's a free online 1884 first edition of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer":

Goin' Baroque in Cody
We consider this a VERY positive story because it proves beyond ALL doubt that there is more to Wyoming than Cowboys!  And that's a Good Thing.  We chose Billings, Montana, as our center point and one of the random points generated was near Cody so it was a no-brainer to find and read the latest online edition of "The Cody Enterprise" founded by Big Man Buffalo Bill himself in 1899. Cody is nothing if not a gi-normous living memorial to The Big Man.  If you haven't been to the iconic Buffalo Bill Center of The West, you're really, REALLY missing out!  It's the Smithsonian of The West.

OK, let's get back to goin' Baroque, shall we? "The Cody Enterprise" reports:

"In the 17th and early 18th centuries, composers invented a new, expressive musical style designed to stir the listener’s emotions. Later called “Baroque,” this musical language spread internationally and is sometimes referred to as the first global genre of music.

Musicians who specialize in this genre will perform Friday, May 3, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in the Kuyper Dining Pavillion. The evening will begin with appetizers, a cash bar and an Italian dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the classical concert at 7 p.m.  Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The Wyoming Baroque ensemble, of Sheridan, will present its program “Consort of Nations,” which showcases 18th-century composers from Europe, Africa, North America and South America and their unique musical language.

Mark Elliot Bergman, PhD, will direct the concert, which features Baroque music as it was originally composed. The performers will play reproduction Baroque instruments–two violins, a viola, a cello, a double bass and a harpsichord.

Tickets are $75 per person general admission, and $65 per person for BBCW members, available at

The dinner menu offers Mediterranean chicken, pasta primavera, roasted broccolini, Caesar salad, Tuscan bacci rolls, and Tiramisu or limon cake.

Wyoming Baroque promotes, performs and advocates for music and music education in Wyoming and beyond, with particular attention to historically informed performance practice. The ensemble features artists specializing in presenting 17th and 18th century repertoire and contemporary compositions.

The ensemble is in residence at Sheridan College. Committed to education and arts advocacy, Wyoming Baroque also presents master classes at schools and community centers throughout the region. The musicians play reproductions of 17th and 18th century instruments and use baroque tuning. They’re accompanied by a soprano. Learn more at

The program includes compositions by Henry Purcell of England (1655-1695); an anonymous composer telling the story of Sephardi fleeing the Inquisition;  \Accramar Mareycoo (1746–1826), of Africa; Manuel de Zumaya (1678–1755), of Mexico; Ephrata Cloister, founded in 1732, a celibate, ascetic, German-speaking, Sabbatarian commune in rural Pennsylvania; and anonymous, indigenous Peruvian composers  of late 18th-century musical scores reflecting dances and customs of the region and era."

And for item Number 3, we chose Knoxville, Tennessee, as our center point and reduced the random range to 125 miles.  That brought up Dayton, Tennessee.  We could hardly believe Dayton has a newspaper but they DO.  And that's where we learned of their love for a tree.  See:

"A southern red oak located near Main Street has called Dayton home for over 100 years. With the opening of BlueCross Healthy Place at Pendergrass Park, the city is employing an arborist to evaluate the historic oak located at the edge of the parking area. Observations of the tree include considerable damage to the roots along with multiple broken branches. In an effort to maintain and care for this beautiful tree, the city is consulting a professional arborist as an important step to ensuring proper care and addressing present concerns. This expert will provide critical information, insight and professional suggestions per arborist standards about the health and maintenance of the tree. City officials said they hope these efforts will keep this aged oak with us for years to come."

Monday, April 15, 2024


Each phase of Snow Bird Life has its chores.  Coming back to our Idahome involves Chores Galore.

A lot of the Chores actually begin weeks before leaving Arizona.  Such things as scheduling electricity turn on, change of address and Idaho mail hold must be done well in advance.

Upon return to 12th St. the first chore is clearing a path through the piles of wind blown leaves. And then the fun begins.  This year the city was supposed to turn on the electricity April 12th.  But the city didn't.
So bright and early Monday morning we beat feet to City Hall to rally up the workers and "git 'er dun".  Then there's standing in a LOOOONG line at the Post Office to pick up our mail that was on hold.  And then a quick trip to the city water department to schedule someone to come and turn on the water at the street valve.

Of course, there's the Always "Fun" interface with Sparklight to reignite our internet.  We'll skip describing the Always "Fun" part.  You really don't want to know those details.

And then we must reinstate insurance for Susun's Town Car--the 1995 Suzuki Sidekick.  This year that turned into a Goat Rope.  Ugh.  We also had to go stand in a huge long line to renew registration for both our vehicles.  Oh, Joy!

Meanwhile, Susun was busy removing the think foam sheets that cover our basement windows.  Putting up the foam prevents the basement from becoming excessively cold in the Idaho winters.  Once the electricity came back on then we removed the "window shields" from the basement windows.  The easiest way to break into a 1939 house would be through the basement windows.  Our interior "window shields" are lag-screwed into the basement structure and you'd need a battering ram to get through them.  Ditto the front door brace to lag screw to the framing material of the old house.

Finally, it was time to bring in The Plumbers.  They reconnected our pipes roto-rooter our drain lines and double checks all the connections under full water pressure.

After than it was time to hook up the battery in Susun's Town Car and 'fire 'er up'.  It's always so gratifying when the little car starts on the first turn of the key.  We put fuel stabilizer in it each fall so the fuel system doesn't get clogged up during the long winter.

Of course, then it's time to empty the faithful 65 quart cooler we've used all winter and transfer the contents into a real refrigerator in the house.  Various vitals are brought from the travel trailer into the house.  Susun always makes sure the household TV is working, too.

So, all of that takes about 6 hours from start to finish.  Lots more misc. unpacking remains.  Lots of yardwork must be done.  However, by and large, the Big Chores are finished and we're moved into a cozy little home with hot running water and a real refrigerator.  Life is Good.

We drove out of Idaho Falls on Monday October 16 and we're settled back into our Idahome on April 15, one day short of six months.  It was a Joyous Snow Bird sojourn and we're Happy to be home once again.   And, of course, one of the Big Perks of being home is having Real Internet again.  YAY!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Various projects

 Hum...let's see what we're working on these days...

Right now as of July 5th we're hot to trot on our cribbage boards.  We started making Big Boards for Cribbage in 2021 and had quite a successful year.  Recently, we decided to revisit Big Boards.  We're taking numerous finished boards up to Island Park this week. We know we've sold one already.  To see some of our older cribbage boards visit:

Next in line is our upcoming Wisdom, Montana, trip.  Back in 2018 when we did our Team US 89 Road Trip from Mexico to Canada we "discovered" author Ivan Doig.  His books are truly fantastic!  We fell in love with "Last Bus To Wisdom".  So when it came time to select a Road Trip destination this summer, we picked Wisdom, Montana.  The beaverslide haystacker was prominently featured in Doig's book.  We think we've lined up a rancher who still uses the archaic beaverslide.  Anyway, that's our goal.  You can see a lot of 1942 photos of the beaverslide in action at our new blog here:

We spent WAAAY too much time working on our Road Trip Rig: The Mosey Inn and Sharlot, the 2005 Tundra.  Rare is the day when we aren't tinkering with one or both of them. We will be camped at Site A16 in Riversided Campground this week.  To see A16 visit:
One of our ongoing, multi-year projects is "Leo The Flying Lion."  This coming year we've moving Leo to the top of our TODO list for The Arizona Snow Bird Season.  During April-May 2023, we completely went through our traveling oral history kit to get ready for the 2023-2024 Season.  We really plan to hit this project MUCH harder!  
For the short story on Leo see:

For the full Leo blog see:

In the past year, our typewriter obsession has really re-blossomed.  We started out The Summer of 2022 with one machine, an 1971 Olympia SM9.  Now look at us--we have six typewriters including out latest addition, a 1936 Remington Rand Model 1.  The others include a 1970 Olivetti Lettera 33; a 1948 Royal Arrow; a 1953 Smith Corona Silent Super; a 1967 Consol 231.2 and a 1954 Underwood portable.  We now write typed letters to Dear Friends and mail them in ornately decorated vintage air mail envelopes. 
Of course, our biggest hobby is posting on Facebook.  Our account is strictly non-political and 100% G-rated 24/7/365.  We invite you to visit us at:

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Parsons Preserve Dedication

(This is a reprint of an older blog post.)

The Camp Verde Town Council voted unanimously in July 2017 to name a 40-acre piece of prime river property Parsons Preserve.

I was overcome with emotion at the time.  Typically, things don't get named for people until long after they are dead. At least one Board of Geographic Place Names I know says you have to be dead FIVE years before something can get named for you.

Well, I was very much alive when this happened...and still am!  So, it came as somewhat of a shock that such a august body would name riverfront property for me.

Time passed. Various real & imagined circumstances conspired to keep any sort of a Parsons Preserve Dedication from happening. And more time passed.

A few months ago, I suggested to the ramrod of the Parsons Preserve Project, Steve Ayers, that we somehow get it together to have a Dedication.  By and by, we agreed to make it happen and the details eventually resolved themselves. We even made a heck of a set of maps to show people how to get there.  You can see the maps here:

Today was The Day--April 6 @ 11 AM on The Site.

We had obsessed for weeks about our speech for the Dedication.  It came right down to the wire when we printed out the final draft at 7 AM Saturday.  By that time, it was lock & load and "Git-N-Go" mode.  Susun worked two days on getting signs ready to roll.

We left the house fully prepared at 8 AM sharp Saturday.  It took an hour to get all the 11 signs distributed to the proper places to help people find the Dedication site.

We got back down to the site just in the nick of time to meet two Dear Friends who couldn't attend the event but arrived early to visit and say "howdy."  It was So Fun!

The event began evolving better when Steve Ayers and his wife and Rainia Zhang arrived.  The women enjoyed talking while Steve and  I went back to the end of the pavement.  There we met with the Camp Verde Marshall's Office Volunteer who had been detailed to direct traffic.  He was from Homer, Alaska, so the three of us swapped halibut fishing & eating stories, Naturally a few whopper fish stories were told.

By and by, guests began arriving and the pace picked up as the clocked ticked toward the 11 AM Event Time.

Most attendees drove into the site while a few walked.  I did succeed in enticing a couple of neighbors to ride in with me. Turns out those two neighbors are the ringleaders of local support for The Preserve and Liz presented me with a fine piece of photo art she created.

It was funny, we were driving in and Liz said, "Do you work for the Town of Camp Verde?"  ANd I said, "No, I am just a citizen."  She didn't have a clue who I was until later and then she was surprised.  She told Steve, "He never said a word about who he was."

Well, when you get a park named for you, what are you going to say?  I simply have never been able to brag or boast.  I mean it is what it is.

Pretty soon a fair large group of Dear Friends congregated at the rather rough location for the Dedication.  I eventually said it was 40 people.  Susun says it was 46.  Let's just say it was in the 40's.

Some people said they were coming and didn't.  Some people came who never said they would.  That's the way it goes with  an event.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Positive News

Yesterday June 28 I had my annual physical performed by Dr. Wallace Baker and a very capable Student Assistant. Dr. Baker was his usual ebullient self and opened our session by telling his Student Assistant about my "Positive News" project. Dr. Baker literally showered me with glowing testimonials about all the Positive Energy I bring to the world.  We spent time discussing the obvious health benefits of positive energy compared to negative.  We didn't talk much about the physicalities of the annual check up.  

In any event, the session reminded me that it's been a long time since I exercised my Positive News Finding Skills.  So, today marks a return to my roots.  Years ago we perfected a simplistic way to find truly positive, FUN news stories.  It's a rather esoteric technique, of course, but that's nothing new at Chez Yonni, right? RIGHT!

The first thing I do is select a suitably obscure little town somewhere in American.  Today it was Alta Vista, Kansas. Of course, there's a story about WHY it was Alta Vista but that story's too long to tell here.

Then we went to our GOTO random point generator and generated six GPS coordinates within a 250 mile radius of Alta Vista. We picked a point nearest to a named town--in this case Greensburg, Kansas.  Luckily, there is a small town newspaper in Greenburg called "The Kiowa County Signal."  With a name like that you right away know you're going to find The Good Stuff and we sure enuf did.

You're really not going to believe how this image was created.  But it's true.  Trust me, if you read it in "The Kiowa County Signal," it's TRUE!

“After a refined drawing, I grab my very worn pair of tweezers and always start with the eyes,” Burnam said. “I figure if I can’t get those right there is no use in continuing. I’m pleased to say I’ve yet to scrap a project! Once they are perfect I move on, usually to the nose, eventually connecting the mosaic like a giant puzzle. The first 10 hours or so are very stressful while I get each piece exactly right.”

Here's "the rest of the story" and it's a wonderful breath of fresh positive air!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Fires Teach

The abandoned meander LEAPS off the computer screen!

Covering wild fires for me is about way more than the nuts & bolts of acres burned, crews assigned and all the usual suspects.  It's a chance to learn intimate details about the physical terrain and geographical context of an area.  Covering fires allows me to "see" the landscape with "fresh eyes" in ways I might never imagine otherwise.

And so it is with The Lost Lake Fire flaming ferociously today SW of Parker, Arizona. The Lost Lake has burned open my brain to allow my eyes to see that entire region with entirely new geospatial and macro historic fluvial perspectives.

It's invigorating, challenging, enlightening and exciting to see such new stuff as a result of covering The Lost Lake Fire!  If I was a rootin' tootin' cowboy, I'd stand up in my stirrups and twirl my ten gallon hat overhead while giving the cowboy yell, whatever that may be.

Back in December 2020 when we decided on a spur (pun intended) of the moment trip to The Parker Strip (not to be confused with the Arizona Strip), I had almost zero time to get an agenda.

And you know how we are about agendas, right? RIGHT!

Our agenda on that trip was all about Parker Dam, The Arizona Navy, the infamous Poston Internment Camp, Ehrenberg and the Blythe intaglios  We covered our agenda adequately.  Along the way we found other tantalizing tidbits like CRIT's Ahakhav Preserve, the old railroad, Salome and so much more.

After the trip, we decided we didn't want to  go back to The Parker Strip.  We'd been there, done that.

Well, along came The Lost Lake Fire yesterday and now we want to go back to The Parker Strip!  GO FIGURE!

But it's ALL about The Colorado River and it's abandoned meanders.  Heck, The Lost Lake is part of such an abandoned meander.

We were  studying one of the NASA satellite maps of the Lost Lake Fire and we saw this HUGE abandoned meander and we said, "WHOW!"

That's what covering a wild fire can do for us.  Make us see stuff we couldn't see beforehand.

Once we saw that meander, we started studying the fluvial geomorphology of The Parker Valley and suddenly our brain and eyes were opened.  It was like we never really LOOKED at what was going on there on the CRIT Reservation in Parker Valley.  No wonder they have such rich farmlands!

Of course, the very name "Lost Lake" kinda says it all, too.  The ancestral "lost lake" was a remnant of an abandoned meander.  Basically, the what we now call The Colorado River whip lashed itself all over the place after it got cut loose from the strangle-hold of what's now the constriction of Parker Dam.  That river sure did have Some FUN roaming at will across the flat alluvial silts of the valley below.

We get so caught up in this kinda stuff, it's hard to pull away to actually cover today's happening wild fire.  

That's what covering wild fires does for us: Fires Teach. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2022


The median home price in February for Flagstaff was more than $600,000, according to local real estate estimates.

That kind of price makes it difficult -- or impossible -- for many families in the area, or for those wanting to move to Flagstaff, to purchase a home.

But Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona has a plan. They’re called “Starter Homes,” and the first two have been approved to be built on a city-owned parcel on the corner of O’Leary Street and Butler Avenue.

“To me, this is a really exciting opportunity to help a wider variety of families in our community,” said Kim Murdza, president of the HFHNA Board of Directors. “This gives us the potential to build more than our one or two homes annually -- which is especially needed in our current times.”

Eric Wolverton, executive director of HFHNA, said the concept of the starter home is to help young families get into the home-ownership game so they can begin to build enough wealth that they can either move up to a larger home as a family grows, or they can use that earned wealth for a business venture and more.

“We want to try to serve as many people as possible to get them into the American dream of home ownership,” Wolverton said. “We’re trying to allow people stay in Flag and to build wealth in Flag. We need affordable homes to function as a savings program to provide a hand up into conventional housing and lending.”

The concept of a starter home is this, Wolverton said: they are 400 square feet placed in partnership with the city or with other organizations that have land on which to build, with room for two adults and one child. HFHNA sells the home for $100,000 to an income-qualifying family. The family puts up a $1,000 down payment and pays $833 a month toward their principal with a mortgage that has 0% interest. Therefore, if the family is ready to leave after five years and wish to sell the home, they have amassed $50,000 in savings toward the purchase of a larger home -- which HFHNA keeps in a bank account ready for the family to “cash out.”

As part of the deal, the family must sell the home back to HFHNA so that the it may be sold to another family wishing to enter the homeownership game. The hope is to continually offer the same starter home repeatedly to new families entering the market -- a significant departure from building one home for one family.

Wolverton added that by the time a family has outgrown the start home model, it will have built up enough equity to afford to purchase a larger home in Flagstaff. The family must stay at least three years to build sufficient equity to ensure success.

Murdza acknowledged the concept is a departure from the HFHNA standard of building three- or four-bedroom homes for low-income families. HFHNA has built one or two such homes each year in partnership with city government, and there are more than 20 located throughout Flagstaff. Although HFHNA will continue to build homes of the standard model, the need has far outgrown such a standard.

Waco Habitat for Humanity gets $1 million from billionaire

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Gotta put it out there

We're riggin' for our first camp Road Trip in 10 weeks.  When we arrive Back In The Tonto Again Monday it will have been 71 days since our most recent camp trip ended.  Yep, that's 10 weeks alright.

The details and difficulty of riggin' for a camp trip is directly proportional to the length of time  since the most recent trip.  All sorts of vital items stray far, FAR away from the travel trailer.  The pantry gets robbed.  Supplies become depleted.  Batteries decide to go dead.  The longer the sedentary duration, the more difficult the prep work for the next camp trip.  And so it goes.  We well know the drill.

This time around we decided to complicate matters by deciding to obtain a metal bucket  with which to clean our camp site fire ring.  For some reason we've never understood a lot of people are downright pigs when it comes to the fire ring.  They throw trash in there and leave partly burned wood.  It's particularly vexing at Roosevelt.  So, we just assume we're going to have to roto-root the fire ring and carry off a LOT of stuff to the dumpster.

In the past, we've gingerly used a plastic bucket and somehow not melted it into a disfigured avant garde sculpture.  This trip we said, "We have to have a metal bucket."  Period.

So, we put a notice on our local Facebook buy-sell group and within mere minutes received a reply from a very nice local person who offered to give us a metal bucket.  Of course, we figured since it was free it was going to be a dented, beat-up derelict bucket.  Much to our amazement last night, the bucket turned out to be an antique coal bucket complete with scoop!  We were shocked and told the donor so.  The person was very gracious and happy to give us the bucket.  Sometimes it's so surprising what comes our way when we simply ask for something.  "Ask and you shall receive,: eh?

So, that bucket is the missing piece in our camp fire puzzle but lots of grunt work remains to get the rest of the puzzle together.  We haven't purposely built a campfire in over 9 months so you can imagine the "hide & seek" game we will be playing with our fire tools, etc.  What fun.

One of the biggest chores of riggin' is always battery management.  Geeze, Louise.  It just goes on and On and ON!  We have so many different elect5ronic devices and many of them have their own unique batteries.  It takes nearly a full day to find them and get them all charged up.  We're not complaining.  We're thankful to just HAVE all those electronic devices. Charging their batteries is definitely a First World problem.

As our Dear Friends and regular readers well know, we travel with way too many gizmos, gadgets and Gee Whiz kinda toys.  What's a geezer to do if he can't fiddle around with all those whirly gigs in camp?  It takes hours to make sure all of the toys are packed, hours to set them all up and hours to take them all down and pack them up to go home.  But what elses would I be doing anyway?  Sitting around admiring the scenery?

Riggin' for a trip to Roosevelt always means lining up peripheral stuff.  Like what, Yonni?  Well, in this case, we're hard at work on the Easter Sunday 1979 Salt River Rescue Story.  A few weeks back we advertised in Globe to find an eye witness who was there.  We got lucky and found an AZGFD Officer who was a member of the rescue crew.  So, we've been finalizing the details to do an oral history interview with him in  We have also been making appointments to visit our Dear Friends in the Globe/Miami area.  So that's all part of riggin', too.

Most of our Menu and Pantry Gig is all taken care of.  We overpacked coming south from Idaho so we still have enough food in that travel trailer to go camping for days and maybe even weeks.

We will be camping once again at Site #287.  It's the one we camped at last year.  It has two perfect hammock trees and a 40-foot bocce ball court.  The bocce area in that campsite is one of the finest bocce courts we've yet found in any camp site anywhere.  

Uncle NOAA has upped the ante on rainfall so it's probably gonna be wetter than we'd prefer.  That means we have to rig rain gear and various other rain-related stuff.  That's not a hassle, per se, at least as along as we remember to actually do it.  It definitely is kind of a bummer to camp in the rain without all the rain-related stuff.  There's no such thing as bad weather--it's just bad gear or the LACK of gear that  makes the weather seem bad.  Well, at least if it's not -37 degrees in three feet of snow.  That would be Bad Camping Weather in just about anybody's book.

Anyway, that's our daily activity agenda through today, all of the weekend and probably Monday morning as well.

When a loss is a gain

You lose some, you win some. It's pretty much The Way of Life.  So we lost one yesterday but we won one, too.  Here's how it all came down.

Back in early December we played cribbage with some local geezers at the Beaver Creek Community Center.  They really oughta call it a Senior Center since geezers are the only ones who use the place.  But we digress.  Anyway the geezers were playing on a board so small some of them could barely grip the microscopic pegs.

So I decided to make a multiplayer Big Board and donate it to them.  As some readers know from following our Facebook, I found a nifty way to drill 732 holes and keep them all straight as a piano wire.  Then I had the board trimmed out on a table saw; sanded it 'right & proper" and made six sets of color-coded pegs.  I was really stoked to present the board to the geezers yesterday.

Well, it sure didn't work out the way I thought it would.  Nobody liked the board.  One guy said outloud, "Your Board sucks."  Geezers are creatures of habit and those geezers really like playing on a teeny, tiny board.  People were not happy about playing on a custom made Big Board and they let me know.  It was rather humiliating but I took it in stride and never let them know I was humiliated.  During the two hours of cribbage play, I won half my games and had some pretty good hands.

Meanwhile, I packed up my Big Board and color-coded pegs and returned home with them.  However, I flipped the script and was very happy to retain possession of the six player Big Board.


Well, the primary reason is that those geezers taught me all of the cribbage variations and permutations I had never learned or played before.  Now I know how to play cut throat cribbage with 3-4-5-6 players.  I also know how to play doubles with four players.  I'd never bothered to learn those variations before and actually didn't want to know them.  But they are fun.  WAY Fun!  In fact, both four person doubles and 5 or 6 player cut throat cribbage could be my new favorite games.  It's a real horse race playing again four or five other people and the Big Board makes it even MORE fun for me.  It might not make it fun for that particular covey of geezers but it sure does work for me.

So, I was real happy they didn't like my board and that's how a loss turned into a gain.  Having the multiplayer Big Board will add an entirely new dimension to all of our cribbage both here and in Idaho Falls.  It's exciting to think about and we're thankful we made the board.  We're VERY thankful the local geezers didn't want it.

Sometimes ya gotta lose to win!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Life Changes in January 1972

Fifty years ago this week my Life Changed.  I had been footloose and fancy free, as they say.  During the first week of January 1972, I was hired on as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite" newspapers based out of Zionsville, Indiana, a then distant suburb of Indianapolis.

Zionsville was a picture postcard 19th Century throwback with a brick Main Street and all manner of Victorian gingerbread-bedecked houses scattered along tree lined streets.  It was the kind of small town Normal Rockwell could have retired to.  Zionsville was founded in 1825 and got its own weekly newspaper in 1860.  One of the very first Big News Stories "The Zionsville Times" covered in 1860 was a whistle stop by a guy named Abraham Lincoln who happened to be campaigning for President.  Back then a main line railroad ran right through the small town.

Anyway, a pompous meglo-maniac had purchased the two newspapers.  He needed some low paid flunky to hire on as Editor to attempt to keep them on life support. We won't give his name for a variety of reasons. We'll call him Jimbo.  Jimbo actually had a pompous three word name with the numeral III behind it and he insisted on being addressed as "the third" because of that numeral.  To say he was pompous is an understatement.  He was carried around in a stretch limo by a meticulously-dressed chauffeur. Whenever Jimbo came to visit the Zionsville office, the chauffeur would sweep through the front door and announce that so-and-so The Third was about to enter.  We were all required to stand up and show proper respect for Jimbo upon his entry.

Jimbo had purchased quite a chain of newspapers in and around Indianapolis.  He had grandiose visions that never materialized according to his mega-expectations.  First off, he milked each publication for every stray dollar he could while paying staff the least  amount possible.  Jimbo really despised dealing with actual people, especially people he paid.  So most of his communications where in the form of "orders" that were delivered by the chauffeur in an envelope that had been sealed with hot wax on the back flap.

Anyway, I really needed a job 50 years ago. ANY job!  We girl friend and I had just returned from Seattle in what was widely known as "The Dead Of Winter" back then.  The Dead of Winter was to Indiana during the cold months what the Dog Days were to the Hoosier state in the high heat of summer.  Cathy and I had barely supported ourselves in Seattle selling Time-Life books over the phone.  She became acutely homesick and was also suffering from a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The only solution was to return to Indiana which we did just before the Holidays.

Well, her parents were incessant with the "When are you going to get a job?" refrain.  Morning, noon and night that's all I heard from them: "When are you going to get a job?"  Young people back then just couldn't be slackers.  They HAD to have a job. That's all there was to it back then.

Well, that's why I leaped at the chance to be Editor of "The Zionsville Times."  It sounded like a real job and I never told Cathy's parents just how low the wages were.  They were pleased that I had a real job and was actually using my Purdue journalism degree.  My folks were pleased, too, but they were OK with me being a slacker as well.

Well, it wasn't a fun job.  Nope.  Everybody in Zionsville hated Jimbo and some of them hated Jimbo so much they took it out on me.  People thought Jimbo was the root cause of a lot of social ills and all the old geezers in Zionsville loved to heap score on Jimbo, his newspaper and his employees.  There were only three of us in that little office and we felt like it was us against the whole world.  Some days it was tough to even walk out of the office and face people on the streets of Zionsville.  You have NO idea how difficult it was trying to get stories out of people in Zionsville.  They were all convinced that I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag.

Apparently, the person before me had ZERO writing skills and totally butchered every story he ever tried to write.  Slowly but surely, I convinced them that I was real and I cared and I would do my best even if Jimbo tried to thwart success.

Within a couple of months I actually had made some Friends in Zionsville and people began giving me compliments and even smiling when they saw me.  Whew!   It didn't take long before Zionsville people began hitting me up.  It went like this: "You ought to start your own newspaper and run Jimbo out of town!"  Seriously.

Well, that's how getting that job 50 years ago this week changed my life.  By spring time I'd heard the "run Jimbo out of town" so much I actually began to believe I could do it.  Cathy and I were married in May and I soon thereafter quit as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite". On August 8, 1972, we started "Zionsville Main Street" newspaper, a tri-weekly that sold for "One Red Cent" a copy.  It was an instant success.

Oh, MAN!  What a life-changing saga that was.  Cathy and I and our few loyal employees slugged it out for almost a full year with Jimbo and "The Zionsville Times."  Finally, we stole all of his subscribers and advertisers and ran him out of business and out of town.  He literally emptied out the office in the dark of night and locked the door and fled into whatever dark alleys meglo-maniacs frequent.

We were able to assume the sales contract of "The Zionsville Times" from its former owner for something like a mere $10,000 and then we actually owned and published two paid circulation newspapers.  Those were heady days of unbridled economic and social success.  

We were the toast of the town.  Money poured into our coffers.  We could do no wrong--make no mistakes.  Everything we touched turned to success. It was incredible and amazing.   The joyride went on for years in the 70's. It got to the point where we thought we were invincible.

And, well, you know how that goes.  NO one is invincible.  The higher they fly, the harder they fall. Sure enough, it all came crashing down and that's how I started a new life in Arizona.  But that's another story.

So, in the meantime for everyone who was curious about my cryptic little note on January 6, that's what happened 50 years ago this week that changed my Life.

To be continued.

Epilog: Numerous things happened after my divorce and departure from Zionsville.  The Zionsville Main Street and Times went through several incarnations and various names and finally folded for good in Year 2020 due to the pandemic.  It was absorbed by Boone County's leading newspaper in Lebanon and is no more.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Year 2021 In Review

Parson Parsons & Clair Buoyant are all smiles
after performing a wedding at Camp Verde's
Old Rock Church. Photo by Jodi.

Lucky, plucky, ducky Twenty One.

The CCCs sum up Year 2021: Camping, Cribbage & Camaraderie.

Roosevelt Lake was a Camping Mecca for us as the year began.  We returned over and Over and OVER to enjoy the blissful isolation of Windy Hill Campground.  We likewise spent gobs of time in Globe and neighboring Miami.  There we renewed a Fabulous Friendship and found new Friends, too.  We learned more about Gila County and Globe-Miami in 2021 than ever before. 

We camped twice in Prescott to get our covid jabs.  Then we decided to max out our Trip North and camped for days along a new long and winding way.  Practically as soon as we landed in Idaho Falls, we headed out to camp beside the Salmon River near Challis for yet another 10 days.

And, if that wasn't enough we then set up camp in Sawtooth Country, too.  After a a campapalooza in Year 2020, Year 2021 dovetailed right in.  Finally, when we returned home after camping near Stanley we both said, "Enuf is enuf" and decided our little bungalow is The Best Campsite in Idaho.

We didn't camp again until mid-September up at Riverside in A16.  That was a tune up for our Trip South and we spent yet another 10 days camping during a leisurely migration to Arizona.

Since we arrived in Rimrock November 1 we haven't camped again.. We're settled into our Straw House and feeling like it is The Best Campsite in Arizona.  As Year 2021 draws to a close later today neither of us has the slightest desire to go camping.  Of course, that will eventually change but who knows when?

Once we settled in to our Idahome, we began crafting cribbage boards.  Many Thanks to Jason for jump starting our cribbage craze. Of course, it became a near obsession and that's pretty much all we did from June through October.  We turned out nearly 50 boards and sold about 30 of them.  The most fun of the Cribbage Craziness were the stories our buyers told.  Gosh!  Some were side-splitting funny and one was overwhelmingly emotional. Each story was unique and wonderful.  We carried some boards to Arizona and continue to sell one now and then.  We don't know yet if we will continue making boards in Year 2022.  It's extraordinarily time-consuming, tedious and often very tiring.  On the other hand, it's a great repetitious process for exercising eye-hand coordination as well as streamlining the complex steps from start to sale to shipping necessary for success.  Plus, it keeps a geezer off the streets.  So, maybe we will and maybe we won't.

Year 2021 saw the departure of two of our beloved objects--Marvie The Nissan and our AIRE Lynx II inflatable kayak.  We were sad to see them go but clearly realized their Days In Our Lives were over and it was time to move on.  Both went to Great New Homes and their sales enabled our Salmon River and Sawtooth Country camping trips.

Covid didn't put much of a dent in our Camaraderie for Year 2021.  Family and several Dear Friends visited us at Roosevelt Lake.  We enjoyed great Camaraderie in Globe-Miami.  Many Dear Friend visited us at the Straw House.  Of course, each Summer at our Idahome is a time when Camaraderie shines bright.  Susun spent practically all of her time with her many Dear Friends and the proverbial good time was had by all.  Terry, Carrie and we enjoyed some memorable episodes of Puttz.  We also started weekly croquet and bocce games at a local pocket park.  Getting to visit and play cribbage with Mike & Camille was another highlight of the summer.  Of course, Kenyon & Julie always enliven the neighborhood with their delightful Camaraderie. Our soirees with Karen and Dave were a welcome and wonderful weekly summer tradition. 

Susun was able to visit her Dear Daughters and Grand Sons twice this past year.  Each of her trips to Southern California always seems to get better and better and filled with yet more fun.  As always our visits with Dear Friend Suska were memorable and fun.

Of course, we both had our medical challenges in the past 12 months.  That's a commonality with all geezers our age.  Susun likes to say, "We know we're going to have challenges.  It's not about the challenge.  It's about how we HANDLE the challenge."  So we won't go into medical details.  Let's just say we both handled our challenges as well as possible and we proceeded on.

Our personal Whirled of History continues to grow and expand.  We're finishing Year 2021 with almost 6,000 Followers for our three Facebook history pages for Arizona, Utah and Idaho. We delved into many fun stories and have "enjoyed" all of the Rabbit Holes we visited in Year 2021. Studying history stuff every day serves two purposes: A) It makes time pass very quickly and B ) It's a great way to avoid reading the news.  It's a near perfect Geezer Pastime and will continue so long as we are able.

Most of the last two months of Year 2021 were spent dealing with weeds and brush on our Rimrock property. We finish Year 2021 with perhaps The Best Defensible Space we've ever constructed here at the Straw House.  It's looking really, Really GOOD and we are both quite proud of our hard work since November 1st.

We don't have any specific plans for Year 2022 other than celebrating Susun's 75th birthday at 2:22 PM on 02/02/2022.  Chances are pretty good that Year 2022 will be once again dominated by the Three C's: Camping, Cribbage & Camaraderie. We suspect we will once again go camping at Roosevelt but we don't know when. We will undoubtedly play a lot of cribbage, even if we no longer make boards and abundant Camaraderie will once again be a Bright & Shining High Light of the coming twelve months.

May Your Year 2022 be Your Best Ever to be followed by every year even BETTER!

Happy New Year & Many Gi-Normous Holiday Cheers!

Friday, December 17, 2021

The Rabbit Won

I go down a lot of Rabbit Holes, far more than I need to and sometimes far more than I want to.  And sometimes I go down too deep in them there hare deep I can't even see light at the top of the hole.  Almost always I can beat The Rabbit and come back with good stuff.

But today The Rabbit won and I am pulling out with nothing much to show for a couple of weeks and seemingly countless hours deep down a dark, damp, dank hole.

Yep, it's the story of Dick Wick Hall and Salome, Arizona, and "That Salome Frog" and all of that amore more.  If ever there was a wall at the end of a bottomless Rabbit Hole, I sure hit that wall on this foray underground.

Part of me doesn't want to admit defeat, especially da feet of the rabbit.  They're supposed to be good luck, right?  But the bottom line is "ya hafta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em" and when to cut your losses and RUN!  Well, we're up and outta that Salome Hole and we're running fast and far away.

In some ways it's been fun and in other ways not so much.  I found a lot of good stuff but can't really use much of anything because it would be all out of context in a helter skelter meaningless mish mash.  And it just wouldn't be worth the time and trouble to mess with.

Dick Wick's story is filled overflowing with contradictions, conflicting facts, obscure, dubious sources, questions that can't be answered and sources that can't be found.  Just when I thought I was "on to something," I'd get smacked back down with the reality I was on a false, fleeting tangent to nowhere.

And then there's the Dark Side.  Sure enuf I found a Dark Side to Dick Wick, a side almost no one knows and if they do know it, they don't want to admit it.  Everybody just wants to let sleeping dogs lie and move along.  That's all well and good I suppose.  You can get in trouble if you wake up the wrong sleeping dog!

So, each night I lay awake pondering how I could integrate Dick Wick's Dark Side with hisw Light Side and somehow make it work.  Well, there's really no way to have your cake and eat it, too, in his story.  And then there's the fact that everybody LOVES Dick Wick and his Frog and his silly stories.  Dick Wick is kind of an Arizona institution whose "Salmon Sun" debuted 100 years ago.

SO, in summary,, as I tried to peer into the dim recesses of that deep Rabbit Hole, the realization finally dawned that I was on a false and inappropriate journey to nowhere.  

So I climbed out of that hole today and I'm not going back.  It's best to leave Dick Wick Hall's memory and legacy "as is" and not rattle those skeletons in the closet.  Just let it be, as some famous English boy band once sang.

So that's all the story you're gonna get out of me for nearly two weeks worth of hard work.  Now we'll move on to the next Rabbit Hole on down the line and try to keep it simple.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Rippin' it up

Some of you ripped up an alarm clock as a kid, right? RIGHT!  Man, it was easy rippin' it up...but there was NO WAY it was goin' back together to keep time again.  It was D-O-A the minute your little kid hands starting rippin' it up.

Fast forward to being a 70-something geezer.  It's a time of my life when I studiously avoid ripoin' it up.  After all, it's impossible to fix anything these days, right?  Plus, stuff is made to fail from the git go.  That's the modern marketing mantra.  Make it good enuf to work for awhile and then fail.  So people buy a new one.

Well, this week I somehow regressed and began rippin' it up.  Only it wasn't an alarm clock.  It was a propane heater!  YIKES!

A year ago we bought a $100 Mr. Heater catalytic unit to use in our travel trailer.  It performed flawlessly for the past year and completely changed our 12 volt paradigm.  We both LOVE the thing.

And then...  POOF!  It broke.  Like TOTALLY BROKE.  At first I was like, "NO way!"  But this thing was way broke.  I watched all the various YouTube videos on how to fix it.  Most of them looked really scary and I thought like I could die if I tried that stuff.  Propane heaters aren't like alarm clocks.  Alarm clock can't kill you.  Propane heaters CAN kill you!  Trust me.

So, there was a lot of ear and loathing in my rippin' it up this week.  Each day I would rip and tear into a little bit more and then get gunshy and stop.  Then the next day I'd get a little more aggressive and get to rippin' it up a little more.  Finally, Thursday I kind of passed the point of no return and I thought to myself, "I'm NEVER gonna get this thing put back together, let's just go buy a new one."

SO, I dutifully traipsed over to Tractor Supply in Cottonwood and that's when the fun began.  Sure enuf, they have one of the $100 units.  But they said it could only be returned for 30 days.  They said the warranty was only good if you shipped it back to Mr. Heater!  Well, I got cold feet on shellin' out another hundred bucks.

So, I figured, to heck with it, let's really RIP IT UP!  And I came home with a rippin' vengeance in my eyes.  A couple of hours later, the thing lay in even more pieces than ever before.  

And then...

I figured out the problem.  The pilot light feed orifice was completely clogged. Not a nano-atom of gas could pass through it.  So, after a lot of hassle, I got the orifice opened up.  And then, for good measure, I took the feed line to a local auto shop and had them blow it out with compressed air.  Sure enuf, the feed line was clogged with oil.  Oil?  Huh?  Well, Propane People put a so-called "odorant" into the odorless propane gas so humans can smell a leak.  The odorant is an oil.  If the propane sits around long enough, the oil separates and fills in the low areas of the feed line.

So it was a double whammy--a completely sealed orifice and a oil-filled feed line.  Whoop-dee-DOO!

Anyway, I got the innards put back together feng shui safe and, man, that little puppy fired right up with the strongest blue flame pilot light I'd ever seen on it.

All I have to do now is put the sheet metal and plastic side guards back on the unit, attach the handle and we should be good to go.

All this rippin' it up saved us over $100 so I reckon we can call it good.

We DO keep a carbon monoxide and propane gas detector near this unit "just in case," as they say.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Weird but Good


We're Thankful....

OK. Astute readers know we ordered our Black Friday item on Monday, November 22, right about 5 PM, Arizona Time. That's right. Friday morphed to Monday.

So get this: the Samsung Galaxy A02 Android phone we ordered will be delivered to Rimrock TODAY. If I read my calendar correctly, that's the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Weird...but Good!

Remember the old Wild West Daze of Black Friday? People had to go out in the total dark of night and fall into huge, long lines snaking through parking lots. Many years ago, Clair and I purposely drove past a Best Buy in the Mesa, Arizona, area. The line was perhaps a quarter mile long. Some people had been waiting in lines for days. They had camps set up with BBQ's sofas and party decorations. They generally wore Hawaiian party outfits. It was C-R-A-Z-Y! Me, myself and I actually participated in such madness. When decent digital cameras were then a "thing," I joined a line at 4 AM in front of the Mesa Target store. We were maybe #5 in line. (Target deals weren't worthy of a conga party line.) The other people in line were multi-year veterans of Black Friday hand-to-hand combat. They swapped horror stories of their battle scars. When the doors swung open, a surge of humanity pulsed through and everybody (including me) took off running. It was a cross between roller blade, ice hockey, sandlot football and wrestle mania. People (including me) were throwing elbows and trying to trip their competitors. There were no rules and politeness and civility were not part of the Game Plan. The general idea was "firstest gets the mostest." Well, that night, I won. I got my whopping FOUR megapixel digital camera. Even as a Black Friday deal it wasn't cheap by today's standards. I think it cost me $125. HA! Now you can't even give away four megapixel digital camera--unless someone wants a trendy tire chock. We've had lots of other hair-raisin' Black Friday experiences plus one that was (and remains) absolutely hilarious. But that night at Target is unforgettable. I had to throw not one but TWO body blocks on two guys to get them out of my way. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it didn't come to outright brawlin'. In today's contentious cultural climate, I suspect it WOULD come to brawlin'...or worse. Thank Goodness stores have come to realize their liability for enabling and encouraging such egregious behaviors. It's quite fun to sit here in a straw house on a cozy Monday afternoon and score a Black Friday deal with a few mouse clicks. And it's even more fun to know that my Black Friday deal will arrive today. PS: Here's the Hilarious Story. It was at the Prescott Costco many years ago. I needed a new laptop and Costco had a truly incredible deal on a hot laptop. Even though I knew my odds of actually getting the laptop were Slim & None, I drove over to Prescott, knowing Costco was going to open at 10 AM and not a minute sooner. Well, the line stretched way past Tires but my intuition told me to stay the course. As soon as the scrum huffed and puffed their way into the store, I beat feet for the computer area. Sure enuf, maybe 50 people were crammed together trying to get the laptops. I quickly noticed there were NO laptops but then realized it was a "hang tag deal." That's right. You had to bring the hang tag to the register to get the computer. Well, while everyone was looking down and wailing about "where's the laptops," I looked up and, LO! There was the hang tag number, easily visible. I memorized it and hot-footed it to a register and asked for that number. The Staff quickly went and picked up a laptop and brought it back. I paid and walked out of the store while those 50 people were still wailing and moaning at the site. One of them saw me leaving the store with the laptop and yelled out, " LOOK! That guy's got ONE!" And the whole crowd of 50-some people turned slack-jawed to stare at me. I smiled and waved and tried my best to look like the Zip-Zag man "just passin' through." HAHAHA! I can't help myself. I STILL laugh at that one. It was a red hot, Super Sweet Black Friday triumph.