Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

This day is celebrated annually around the world yet is not a public
holiday in any country of the world. It originated as a Christian day
of feast to honor Saint Valentinus and is a cultural, religious
celebration of romance.

Stories include a written account of St. Valentine when the Romans
imprisoned him for performing weddings for soldiers and ministering to
Christians. Soldiers couldn’t marry in the Roman Empire and ministering
to Christians was persecuted. Legend claims that Saint Valentine
restored the sight to the blind daughter of his judge and he wrote her
a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.

Today the celebration has come to include cards, candy, flowers, and
jewelry. In 2010 an estimated 15 million e-Valentines were sent as we
are also well into the computer age.

It is said that the verse “Roses are red” can be traced back to
Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”(1590)-

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew.
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

Before my time so I can’t swear all that is true but Happy Valentine’s
Day! Enjoy our Thursday as we will. Now I need some coffee to get my
strenght up for more shoveling.
Comments are always welcome.


Seen worse

January 31, 2019

Picture from the Iowa Historical Society

Since we are supposed to be over 40 degrees warmer tomorrow and
even warmer for a few days after that I thought one more mention
of winter of 1936 is in order. Some called it the “telephone
wire winter” due to a newspaper article by Jim Pollack that said
Lloyd Keller walked from Clarksville to his job at a college in
Cedar Falls with drifts so tall he touched telephone wires.

For a 36 day stretch that spanned January and February the
average temperature was -2.4 degrees. There was so much snow the
plows couldn’t move it, trains couldn’t push it out-of-the-way
to operate, businesses closed, and ice on the Iowa river near
Rock Falls was 42 inches thick.

About half of all wildlife died, livestock doubled their feed
intake along with drinking more water, farmers couldn’t get
their milk and eggs to market. mail wasn’t delivered, and there
was a coal shortage.

All during the Great Depression. This all happened after a hot
summer in 1936 and before a hot summer in 1937.

We have handled a short cold spell and above average snowfall
this go-round but feel it safe to say we’ve seen worse. And
people will do what has been done in the past and knuckle down
to get it done. Just please don’t pray for warmer weather as God
has a sense of humor and I don’t want a string of 100 degree
summer days coming up.

Enjoy our Thursday and keep warm if you’re still getting bit
by the Polar Vortex. Now I’m having more coffee while I make a
big omelet to keep up my strength.
Comments are always welcome.

Of steam engines and cell phones

December 28, 2018

Yesterday was one of those days I about had to beat myself up
to get moving. Everything hurt, my brain was disconnected, and
my body said ‘oh hell no!’ to anything that involved movement.
Not sure what the problem was but hopefully it’s just part of
getting older.

This morning I was thinking of Sprint Corporation for no
apparent reason and discovered something I did not know. You may
know that Sprint is a telecommunications company that provides
internet and cell phone services. But did you know its roots
can be traced back to a railroad?

The Brown Telephone Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
are both said to be origins of Sprint. Brown Telephone began in
1899 to give phone service to rural areas in Abilene, Kansas
and was started by Cleyson Brown.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was founded in the 1860s as a
subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. The company operated
thousands of miles of track and the telegraph wire which ran
alongside the track. In the 1970s the company was looking for
ways to use these lines for long distance calling.

This spawned several lawsuits between the company, AT&T, and
the FCC. Prior attempts to offer long distance calling wasn’t
approved by the FCC so the railroad used a loophole that would
allow a fax service called SpeedFAX.

Southern Pacific Communications came up with a new name to
tell the difference between the switched voice service from
SpeedFAX and came up with SPRINT. This stood for Southern
Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.

In 1982 GTE Corporation bought the telephone operation from
Southern Pacific. In 1992 Uninet (United Telecom Data) bought
enough of the Company to acquire the original company and in
1992 United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint
Corporation. And that’s my story.

Enjoy our Friday as the weekend has begun. As soon as I have
another cup of coffee before getting busy doing what should have
been done yesterday.
Comments are always welcome.


December 7, 2018

On this date 77 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked and after
just 90 minutes 2,386 American servicemen died and 1,139 were
injured. Although few are left that were there that day we
cannot forget them.

Ever think about….

September 19, 2018

Had a hard time falling asleep last night when something got
into my head and wouldn’t let go. The thought was that the
steering wheel has to be one of the most significant inventions
of the 19th century.

If you think about it gauges are now digital, some shifters
are just knobs on the console, and dimmer switches aren’t in the
floor anymore. But after all these years we still have steering
wheels. A lot has changed but we still steer with the wheel.

Locking steering columns have been around since the 1930s,
Ford came out with the safety steering wheel with spokes that
flexed in 1956, and collapsible steering columns were required
by law in 1968.

Almost everything about our vehicles has changed over the years
except the steering wheel. Brakes are now ABS, we drive by wire,
shift with a knob, we start them with a button instead of a key,
and no longer have vent windows for climate control.
Yet our steering wheels are still front and center.

I think we need a National Steering Wheel Day to celebrate one
of the few things on our vehicles that hasn’t changed since its
invention. We’ll leave that decision up to the lawmakers and
perhaps it will keep them busy with something important.

So enjoy our Wednesday and enjoy it as we will. Now I need some
coffee and about a pound of bacon.
Comments are always welcome.


September 11, 2018

Today is the anniversary of the attack that united our nation
in outrage at the attackers and the need to help those affected.
We hope that during your busy day you could set aside the time
to observe a moment of silence.

We remember where we were when the news broke, in my case I was
hanging quarter panels on a 54′ Chevy when the coverage started.
Everyone gathered around the TV in the shop and not a lot of
work got done.

A lot of work did get done around here and the yard is looking
much better than when we got home. I also started on my office
and if you’ve ever been in it you know it needs de-cluttering.
I keep mementos from car shows, car manufactures, various other
products I like, and more.

So much got done that I treated us to a fresh hot pizza from
a pizza joint. This always causes a problem as either we’re
getting older or the pizzas are getting bigger. We used to have
a lot less leftovers. Fine with us though as saved pizza is as
good as fresh.

Today I will go visit Dad for the first time since we got home
and see how he’s doing. I’ve heard some rumors but don’t put much
faith in them until I check things out myself. We picked up
some goodies for him on the trip, have pictures he can have, and
I will bring the doughnuts.

So enjoy our Tuesday as we will munching on cold pizza. Now I
need some hot coffee.
Comments are always welcome.

Quite the sight

September 6, 2018

Today we cruised into Oklahoma City with the intent of seeing the
memorial on the former site of the Murruh Building. You may
remember news of the bombing in 1995. To actually see the
memorial is chilling.

As you walk from the entrance near the museum you notice the
reflecting pool with the empty seats on the other side. Each
“chair” represents one of the 168 who perished in the bombing.
Hard to believe this peaceful setting was once the scene of such

This structure sits on the northern end and a similar one with
9:03 on it at the southern end. We had the chance to talk to a
park ranger who was full of information and very helpful with any
questions we had.

In the northeast portion of the memorial this plaque and tree
stand. It is a good sized Elm and after reading the plaque it
seems even more impressive. We would have visited the museum but
time was tight. Just another reminder that freedom isn’t free.

Enjoy our Thursday as we will with this portion of our vacation
drawing to a close. Friday may be our last day in the Sooner State
with Saturday seeing us cruising back to Iowa. Now I need more
coffee to finish editing some pictures.
Comments are always welcome.