Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It rained today

August, too, is winding down. Tomorrow the Minnesota State Fair begins, pigs and all, and well over a million visits will occur to the fairgrounds on Snelling Avenue by the end of the day on Labor Day. The powers that be have decided to ignore the swine flu outbreak taking place in the USA and allow the appearance there of the state's largest pig and others of assorted smaller sizes. They have made provisions for places to wash your hands when leaving the hog barn. The virus, I am informed by my favorite radio station, is transmitted though the air. I think I'll be avoiding the livestock area, and perhaps the entire Minnesota Get Together.

It was a scheduled tennis day today. Four of us older gentlemen showed up at the appointed time. It had just begun to rain. We considered our options and decided to go to Caribou Coffee to wait for a break in the drizzle. A break that came too late to be able to go back and play, so we rescheduled for Friday. The geezers are experiencing a series of injuries that seems to be keeping a few of the regulars out of action for a while. A groin pull and a rotator cuff injury requiring an MRI are the most serious of the maladies, but I realize that this is the sort of problem that will continue as these aging athletes try to keep on keeping on into their seventies.

The photo of the day is a vine covered wall that stands next to Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis. I took it a couple of days ago when I walked in a different part of the park than normal. I like a little variety in my exercise regime.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The middle of August

It felt like autumn today. It was nice to get a coolish breeze and an opportunity to once again wear long sleeves and long pants. The Minnesota State Fair is barely a week away. Summer is coming to a close and it seems like it just began.

I mowed my lawn, circled Como Lake on foot, and walked to the grocers to buy some fresh fruit. Not a bad day, just an off day from the tennis wars. A day to recharge my camera batteries.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Primary election

It's primary election day in the People's Republic of Minnesota. It's mostly a non-event in my part of the state because there are no controversial races in doubt. The people who predict such things think that about ten percent of the eligible voters will exercise their franchise. The main contested elections are in the northeast part of the state and the southwest part, too. The members of the House in those districts will likely have more primary voters than here and also can expect a vigorous campaign before the November election. I voted this morning at Lyndale Community Center where I was the 56th voter of the day. I was the only voter in the room with about six election judges. They were chatting and eating "fat pills" (rich pastries) when I arrived. They seemed happy to see me, checked my eligibility and gave me my choice of the voting booths. And one of those "I Voted" stickers.
The community garden at Hamline Methodist Church, which is planted, maintained and harvested by Hamline students, still exists. PP was one of the group that organized the garden while she was a student there. I walked by there a couple of days ago and took the photo, partly to show PP that her efforts weren't wasted and there are still students with a similar environmental bent carrying on the project.
It's been a nice stretch of pleasant weather. Our Wednesday afternoon tennis group competed yesterday in playable weather - not life threatening like it was for much of July. We played for about two hours and I still had energy left later on to be able to fix a nutritious dinner. I am sorry to report that there was no blueberry cake on the menu.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Historical Bench

Although I do have more recent photos, I decided to post this bench photo, especially in light of the current focus on benches in at least a couple of blogs. This old concrete bench sits next to the Visitor Center at Fort Snelling State Park. I suspect it may have been moved a time or two, because it sits flush against a building that is much newer than the bench. It's concrete, too; not a popular choice for benches these days, but pretty resilient to the forces of nature. It commemorates the veterans of the Civil War of Minnesota and was erected by their daughters. This bench clearly had to be preserved, but it's in a kind of out of the way place where few visitors would stumble across it.  That's about all I know about the bench - even a google search failed to reveal much other info.

A photo from yesterday, taken on a walking tour of my alma mater. It clearly shows that the old athletic field has been upgraded since my leave taking forty-seven (!) years ago. I also noticed a new building that was to open today for the first time - the Anderson University Center. I may have to take a tour there sometime soon. Perhaps in October during homecoming when my old tennis coach, Ben Lewis (Doc) is inducted into the Hamline Athletic Hall of Fame. There will be a banquet and speeches, plus a chance to see some of the guys that I played tennis with 45 or so years ago, some of whom I haven't seen in the meantime.

It rained a bit on me after I took the photo and made my way across campus to where my car was parked by the big church on Englewood.

I played some tennis today - just hitting ground strokes and volleys with Tennis Dennis. It was a most pleasant morning, a clear improvement on the weather in July which, so I've heard, was the hottest July in the history of Julys. There was a gentle breeze and a temp in the comfortable 70's.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Sometimes, if you warn that you may have to post a picture of a bench, sometimes you have to do it. This, thus is a picture of an extremely artistic bench that I saw in Port Charlotte this last spring. It's one that someone applied a great deal of loving attention to, and thus deserves an audience, even one as small as my humble blog.

Today I got another phone call from PP in Tanzania. It was again garbled, but this time it was live instead of on my answering machine. The garble was only one way. I could be understood clearly on that end, but any and all responses from there were garbled on the google phone connection. It made for tough communication, so we tried iChat with video feeds from both sides. Against my power to explain it, the iChat session was as clear as those to much more technologically inclined countries. So we chatted a while and I was able to see a bit of the place where she lives - including her mosquito netting. She's traveling to Mikumi National Park tomorrow, about two hours away, with her band of UMB grad students. It seems that all is well, and that she will have stories to tell.

I played some tennis today, and although the slump is not really over yet, I seem to be getting slightly better results. I will turn down the volume on my whine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Bike Rode By

Sometimes while you're walking for exercise in a public spot, something a little odd will go by. As I was strolling about Como Park in the early evening with the Girl From the North Country (GFTNC) a guy on a very tall bike rode by. I think I've seen him before, but it was a first for GFTNC. Maybe GZ has seen him before on his rides in the Twin Cities, too.  The guy rode up to the door at the Conservatory, turned around and rode off. I don't know how he gets up on that tall bike, or how he negotiates a dismount, but it must take a bit of planning and perhaps a ladder. He gave us a subject to discuss on a very pleasant August evening.

A baby duck, or perhaps an adolescent was swimming in the lily pad pool outside the Como Conservatory. The area was pretty much devoid of humans when we walked by, and the duck seemed unafraid of the large creatures mere feet away. I guess if you live in a park that busy, you get used to intruders. So I took his picture.

We walked for a while and then drove to the airport to pick up Unky Herb and his lady friend as they returned from their vacation in Washington state. I guess they had a pretty good trip, but now must get readjusted to the mundane every day world.

I heard from the Prairie Princess today. She called using google voice from her perch in Africa. I was gone so she left a message on the answering machine. It was badly garbled, but I was able to discern that she was doing ok and that she'd try again some other time.  Even garbled I recognize her voice.

The realtors have not yet called about how the land on the Yellow River should be priced and sold, but today I was reminded of the direction of flow of the river.  I should have remembered from my childhood, when one day I lost my favorite cap in the river and my dad tried to retrieve it by casting a hook at the end of a fishing rod as the cap drifted to the north with the river's current.  He didn't ever retrieve it, as I recall.  I think it eventually sank to the bottom of the river.  Memory is odd.  I remember that incident, but can't remember what I ate for lunch today.  Oh yeah!  A Southwest chicken salad at Ronald McD.'s with low fat dressing.  But I don't remember what I ate yesterday for lunch.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Yellow River

I finally did something that I had been meaning to do all summer.   And last summer, too. I took a drive to northern Wisconsin and talked to a realtor about the possibility of selling the chunk of land on the Yellow River that I own jointly with my sibs. I took along a consultant former realtor to make sure I didn't blunder into alien territory (PW).  I came away with promises from two realtors to have a look at the land and give us some options as to price.  Perhaps we'll be able to move the property, perhaps not, but it seems like a good time to take a chance. One of the other lots of the six in the set is also for sale - the one just next to ours, on the other side of the gully, one belonging to the children of the next to youngest of Lillie's sisters.

It was an interesting trip in many ways.  We stopped at the Webster Cemetery and looked at the state of the graves of the family members interred there. As we were trimming some branches off a tree near Grandma Anderson's grave we ran into a woman. She asked if I was related to the Andersons. I admitted to being a grandson of my own grandparents. She said that her uncle John was the guy who watered the flowers and otherwise tended the graves. He also planted the pine trees near the graves.  It turns out that she is my cousin's cousin - and lives in Webster now.  Her uncle John is 89 and lives in Grantsburg, so several of my readers can guess his identity.

PW and I trekked to the lot site and checked out the state of the property. Of course, I couldn't remember the dimensions of the lot, nor could I find the corner survey stakes. But I took a photo of the river, except that it was upstream from the bridge (the one near County Roads FF and U).   And towards the Fort.  It's posted below.

The fat's in the fire.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Statue

Yesterday Bill Clinton was in town to dedicate a new statue on the capitol lawn in St. Paul. A lot of current and retired politicians showed up for the dedication. I wasn't invited, as far as I know, but today was a beautiful day and the PW and I wanted to see what the statue looked like, so we went down there to scout out the location of the memorial. The Happy Warrior, Hubert Humphrey, has been gone from this world for 30 years. Yesterday Walter Mondale and Skip Humphrey, HHH's son, were there along with our current senators and a smattering of Representatives and unveiled the statue. Today, there were far fewer people and no politicians at all there to view the site, which is just north of the Charles Lindburgh memorial and somewhat closer to the capitol itself. It's not a bad likeness from what I know of HHH, and a pretty nice tribute to the former VP, multiple term Senator, and one time mayor of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota State Capitol on a beautiful August day. The scaffolding indicates that work is going on maintaining the very old building which is much in need of repair. We walked around the grounds, looking at most of the memorials, but the capitol building itself was locked. One of the guys who was catering an event in the afternoon said that the building was to open at one p.m., but we didn't hang around to go inside.  It's quite a nice capitol building.  I dare say one of the top 50 in the nation.

The Viet Nam War and Korean War Memorials are both quite striking and remind me of the many wars we have fought in my lifetime. As is the newer World War II exhibit. 

Another memorial at the Minnesota Capitol is dedicated to living soldiers, those who survived their time in the service of their country.

Just a word of congratulations to Andy Murray who won the men's singles gold medal in straight sets at the London Olympics. It was a big day for the Brits and the Scots today, and not so good for Roger Federer and the Swiss. Murray also was able to win a silver medal in the mixed doubles - one of the best tennis days for the English populace since about 1937 or so.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tennis stuff

The weather has improved. It's cooler and less humid today and thus much more pleasant. We had eight of the codger crew at tennis this morning at our usual meeting place. We had enough time to play about a set of tennis before light rain started to fall. Rain makes for slippery courts and a chance for injury, so we curtailed the activity and quit playing. It was okay by me, because I seem to be in a mild slump. It doesn't seem like I'm playing much worse, but my results have generally gone south. It partly has to do with the quality of the opposition, but I'd rather be winning more of the games that seem to be slipping away. So I'm taking a few days off from tennis ball thumping and hoping that rejuvenates the quality of my play.

It was a good day for other USA tennis players, especially those named Williams. Serena won her gold medal match over Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.  Maria reportedly only got in about half a dozen of her patented shrieks during the match. Then Serena paired with Venus to win their semifinal doubles match over a Russian team to assure themselves of a medal in doubles. And the Bryan twins (Bob and Mike) won the men's doubles gold over the French pair (one was Tsonga) in straight sets. A pretty good tournament for USA tennis, a group which has been in eclipse the last few years.

I'm pulling for both of the men in the men's final, Federer and Murray, but I think it would be really nice if Murray won a tournament at Wimbledon, him being so British and all, and the Olympics being in London and other areas of the kingdom. I'm hoping that the queen (Lizzy) shows up to bolster the spirits of the best British tennis player of his generation.  It'll probably be a pretty good show.

Incidentally, today's photo has nothing to do with tennis, but it's a recent photo that I sorta like.

I have heard from the Prairie Princess.  She has landed at her home for the next few months - Sokoine University - in Tanzania in the mountains outside of Dar Es Salaam.  She has some internet connections and probably will be doing some blogging again soon.  I'm anxious to see the photos.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Number is one of those interesting words with more than one meaning. Usually it's numeric, but it can mean more nearly numb. (Or is that like "perfect,"  incapable of comparison, i.e you are either numb or not numb without gradations of numbness).

No matter. I've spent a working lifetime using numbers - the numeric kind. The computers and memory dumps, that I'd have to examine to determine what caused software glitches, used binary numbers. The binary numbers were always bunched up and printed as octal numbers (base 8) at first, but later in my working life they were further bunched into hexadecimal numbers (base 16). The 16 cardinal hex numbers are written 0,1,...9,a,b,c,d,e,f. where f is 15. I used to be able to convert them to decimal in my head, but since I retired five years ago I only deal with decimal numbers.  I think if humans were born with twelve fingers rather than ten, we'd be dealing with a base 12 number system, whatever that would be called, and it would be easy.

I like numbers, maybe almost as much as Santini does - although I think she's more familiar with the decimal variety. My favorite number is four. I've sought it out as the number on my back when I have played on organized softball and soccer teams. Since I now mainly play tennis, I usually don't wear a number on my back.  I'm not quite as reticent to use the number 13 as some, but I consider it unlucky and casually avoid it when possible.  I'm not sure where it got such a bad reputation, but there is a name for the phobia it engenders - triskaidekaphobia.  I think the subject has appeared in one of Mr Moohoo's blogs lately.

I like number jokes. I blogged one a while back. (There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary numbers and those who don't.)  The commenters added a few others in a similar vein.

Another in the intermittent series of benches encountered wherever I happen to encounter them. This one sat and sits on the shore of Swan Lake somewhere north of Floodwood.  Near Pengilly.   It has just the right amount of wildness and neglect to make it attractive to my lens.

These photos have little to do with the theme, but I took them lately and it is after all my blog. This is a close view of a female duck at Richfield Nature Center yesterday.