Published on September 23 2007

This is what early autumn in northern 'sconsin looked like from my saddle today.
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Trust me, getting that shot wasn't as easy as it looks. Note the buggy windshield--it was spotlessly clean about a half hour before I took this. (And yes, I *was* poking along at 40, for a change.) This is a little bit better look at the colors of the Flambeau River state forest. It was so pretty, and the newsy-types are saying that peak colors are still over a week away.
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Published on #motorcycle, #photo, #Photos, #Pics and Babbling

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Published on September 23 2007

If this documentary is anything like his others, it will be well worth the time spent to see Ken Burns' latest work. The PDF viewers' guide is here.

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Published on #Timelines

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Published on September 21 2007

Rudy tells me exactly what he thinks of me for having certain of his body parts removed, fore and aft:
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I'm hoping he'll talk to me again when his paws and his.... ahem.... are all healed up. Right now, he's ignoring me mightily, refusing to even play with his beloved catnip mouse.

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Published on #Family&038;Friends

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Published on September 18 2007

Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site - New York Times
The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night. The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.
I was *not* one of those students. And it was one of the most irritating aspects of following links-- to click on a story and find that it was behind a subscription. I always thought that the Times could probably generate more revenue through advertising on free views than it did through the subscription service, and it looks like they have decided that's true. The Times used to be my first stop in the morning; looks like I'll be getting back into that habit! :-D

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Published on September 17 2007

This week September 17 through September 23Libra Tuesday brings a chance to make some profound choices about your values and about the kind of company you keep. You may have known about this for some time, but an event may push you to take action. It looks like the outcome will be positive, enabling you to move in new circles and enjoy an uplifting social life. Mars in Gemini makes the perfect time for exploring new vacation destinations and absorbing the delights of cultures you have never experienced before. You may also want to try out a new class.
Why is it every week the stars think I should try a new class? Are they shilling for some online University?? Ah yes. The Fall Ride. I honestly didn't take all that many pictures, since I've discovered it's hard to run the camera with both hands on the handlebars! Not to mention, it was so chilly all weekend that the lens kept fogging up. But here is a quick little shot of the Thunder Parade Friday evening as it makes the turn onto our main street. That line of headlights, although you can't see it, is about four or five miles long.
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s4012227.JPGThere were so many gorgeous bikes to drool over. Some of them were true works of art!! This is just a little shot of one of the lowest, widest-rear-ended choppers I've ever seen. I'll bet that tire was close to 300mm wide. It definitely drew a crowd.s4012230.JPG And here we have a little guy enjoying his first ride on a "Harley" at the kids' play area. If you could only have seen the grin on his little face--we are looking at a future buyer, for sure. He had the same grin as on every other face I saw this weekend!

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Published on #'Sconsin stuff, #Photos

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Published on September 13 2007

It's here--the biggest event of the year for this little town, rivaled only by our great Independence Day celebrations. It's the 26th Annual Fall Ride, both a celebration of the end of summer and a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The ride raised nearly $150,000 dollars last year! Last year's event also brought about 45,000 riders to the area, so yes, the low rumble is considerable. We're just not used to this!! So what do we do at this little event?
    Well, we got yer street dances and bonfires. We got yer Poker runs. We got yer Harley Plant tours and stunt motorcycle shows. We got yer Harley Demo rides--I plan to go drool on the Fat Bob. Saw one in Marquette last week and promptly fell in love. That flat paintjob and low chrome look gets me every time. And those tires, wow!! We got the Harley Traveling Museum, which is going to be replaced shortly by this. We got yer Thunder Parade. We got all the vendors you can imagine, selling everything from leather to tshirts to chrome goodies. We got Sammy Kershaw tonight and 38 Special tomorrow night at Bubba's Big Party. We got yer raffle bikes, a 2007 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide. Second place is a 2007 Harley-Davidson 883 Custom. (By the way, the Ultra? I already have the winning ticket. Just FYI.) And we have more gorgeous custom motorcycles to see in town than anywhere else in the Midwest.
In short, we got yer fun. Pics will follow over the next couple of days. KB, we're going to get you on two wheels yet! ;-)

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Published on #'Sconsin stuff, #Harley, #motorcycle

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Published on September 13 2007

Believe it or not, I've seen a few of these--the electrician's sign, for example. Thanks to Dee for sending these on. Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office: " Dr. Jones, at your cervix." ************************** In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels." ************************** On a Septic Tank Truck in Oregon : Yesterday's Meals on Wheels ************ ************** On another Septic Tank Truck: "We're #1 in the #2 business" ************************** At a Proctologist's door: "To expedite your visit please back in." ************************** On a Plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed." ************************** On another Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.." ************************** On a Church's Billboard: "7 days without God makes one weak." ************************** At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee : "Invite us to your next blow-out." ************************** On a Plastic Surgeon's Office door: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?" ************************** At a Towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows." ************************** On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts." ************************** In a Non-smoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action." ************************* On a Maternity Room door: "Push. Push. Push." ************************** At an Optometrist's Office : "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place." ************************** On a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff." ******************************** On a Fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!" **************************************************** At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment." **************** Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming." *********************************************************** In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!" ************************************** At the Electric Company : "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However , if you don't, you will be." ***************************************** In a Restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry, Come on in and get fed up." ************************** In the front yard of a Funeral Home : "Drive carefully. We'll wait. " *********************************** At a Propane Filling Station , "Thank heaven for little grills." ************************************ And don't forget the sign at a Chicago Radiator Shop: " Best place in town to take a leak

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Published on #Pics and Babbling

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Published on September 11 2007

I find this exhibition of wanton destruction of something I work so hard to create.... ..... absolutely enchanting. I needed this laugh today.

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Published on #children, #humor, #Pics and Babbling, #video

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Published on September 10 2007

I'm posting tonight, since I'll be working long hours overnight and won't be near a computer for most of tomorrow. This post is as important to me today as it was last year, and I wanted to make sure it was "right". One year ago, just prior to the fifth anniversary of the loss of nearly three thousand souls to a senseless terrorist act, a private citizen started the 2996 project. This project was slightly different than the usual memorials of 9/11. Different from the recollections we all saw on the news. Different in one small way. Instead of remembering the horror of that day, the project coordinator asked us all to change focus from the enormity of the events of that day to concentrate on a smaller, but far more important, facet. He asked us to remember the individuals lost that day by writing about one single victim. I am reposting my assignment for that day here. Thanks again to old high school friend Pinch for checking the unfamiliar Naval references for me. The original post, with comments, may be found here.
We will never forget.
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[UPDATE 9/15/2006: I purchased the Sept. 11th edition of US News and World Report today. Inside, I found an article concerning Cmdr. Shanower's family and the man who recovered him. Read the article here. It's worth it.] Every one of us remembers where we were that day.In the East, our busy days screeched to a halt at the news. In the West, we awoke to a nightmare with our morning coffee. Here in the Midwest, I was finishing a night shift and trying to get a nap after work when my husband shook me awake to tell me I had to come quick, something had happened. Every one of us spent that day watching or listening to the awful news from the East. I spent much of it sobbing for the enormous loss of life and knowing that I was watching my generation's Pearl Harbor....live.When I was given my assignment for the 2996 project, I immediately felt a link to my subject. We both happened to be the same age with a love of travel, are both Midwestern natives--in fact, my subject went to college not far from where I live. The similarities ended there, but as I read more about him, Respect replaced that imagined kinship. It's been five years since that day. Five years since the day Americans learned of the war that had been declared against us, a war heralded in opening salvos against our military and diplomats numerous times since the late 70's in places like Beirut, Tehran, Kenya, and Yemen. This was a war most of us were only dimly aware of until the day it came home to American soil on the bright morning of September 11, 2001 in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. Dan Shanower.jpg Cmdr. Dan Frederic Shanower, 40 years old that year, was aware of this war long before we civilians were. A career Naval Intelligence Officer based at the Pentagon, he spent his days studying, analyzing, and reporting on intelligence data. Shanower had spent his adult working life in Intelligence and Foreign Affairs, from early in his career debriefing pilots on the USS Midway and Assistant Intelligence Officer aboard USS Coronado; to a stint with the US State Department working for the ambassador to the Phillipines; to the Office of Naval Intelligence; to his last post at the Pentagon. As Officer-in-Charge of the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot, he was responsible for providing current intelligence support to the Navy Secretariat, Chief of Naval Operations staff, and the Director of Naval Intelligence. His job was to assemble daily intelligence data, analyses of geopolitical data and troop movements into the series of morning briefings for these senior Pentagon officials. At the time of his death, he was finishing his final course for a Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. At the moment that American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon's west side, Cmdr. Shanower was in his newly renovated office with a team of analysts, collecting data on the World Trade Center attacks. We may not have immediately realized the source or understood the reasons for the attacks, but it's probably safe to say that Shanower knew. Much of the following information is taken from here, the Arlington Cemetary website for Cmdr. Shanower. Dan Shanower was raised in Naperville, Illinois; the fourth of five children born to a schoolteacher and a college professor. By all accounts, he was a smart, inquisitive and somewhat mischievous boy.
Dan played in Little League, but his career highlight was the game during which he lay down in the outfield. "He did it for fun, which every kid should do," said Eugene Drendel, who had a son in Little League at the same time. "But he wasn't into who won or who lost, to put it gently. He did, on occasion, just take a rest." Dan's high school exploits have become favorite anecdotes for those who shared his teenage years. There was the time Dan buried an unwanted car engine in his parents' yard. The time he installed living-room furniture in the Naperville Central High School courtyard. The time he named his soon-to-be-dissected fetal pig after WGN farm reporter Orion Samuelson. The time Mayor George Pradel, then a police officer, pulled Dan over after curfew only to find he had replaced his car seats with lawn chairs.
After graduating from Central High in 1979, the free-spirited young man headed north to Wisconsin to Carroll College. During his college years he also spent time as an intern in the US Senate, and took a trip to the Soviet Union, finally graduating in 1983. In 1985, he joined the Navy.
He spent the first decade of that career overseas, first in Japan and later in the Phillipines. He made the most of his life abroad; he climbed Mount Fuji and tried to learn Japanese. At gatherings, he could captivate a crowd with his sea stories. He also built a reputation as a smart, confident officer who loved his profession. "He once told me it was almost a religion with him," Cmdr. Stewart Holbrook said. "He took his job very seriously, protecting his country and just having pride in the Navy." His parents received photos of Dan in foreign ports wearing a kimono, peeking through bamboo stalks, hoisting his ceremonial sword. His nieces and nephews received stuffed iguanas and machetes for birthdays.
In 1999, Shanower moved to Washington, DC and began working at the Pentagon in 2000.
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In October of 2005, I had the privilege of touring the Pentagon with friends. The building seems unscarred now, but there is a new room adjacent to the Pentagon Chapel deep within the huge building. This is the 9/11 memorial, and seeing that dimly lit room is deeply affecting. Black marble tablets are etched with the names of the 184 victims of American Airlines' Flight 77's plunge into the building. Although I of course was unable to take away a photograph of this room, it's possible to tour the Pentagon Memorial here. Take the tour; it's worth the visit. ACF43.jpg boot2.jpg Next to the DuPage River in Shanower's hometown of Naperville, Illinois is another memorial to the victims of 9/11. Cut into the sculpture is an outline of Commander Shanower's boot print. He is also memorialized at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I..memorial.jpg Memorials are beautiful, a way to honor the memory of the departed, a way to show our respect and our grief, our resolve to never forget, and a means of passing those lessons on to those who will come after us. I think the greatest memorial to this man, and the lesson which should be passed to the future, are to be found in his own words. In an essay published in the May 1997 issue of Proceedings magazine, Shanower wrote these words about four shipmates who had been lost in an accident ten years before:
"I miss their friendship, but I believe that because they died in the prime of their lives in the service of our country their sacrifices take on a special meaning..... I think, however, that to a man, what really would have impressed them was to know that to their shipmates they had come to personify the virtues that we salute on this national holiday. The military loses scores of personnel every year in training or operational accidents. Each one risked and lost his or her life for something they believed in, leaving behind friends, family, and shipmates to bear the burden and celebrate their devotion to our country...... They knew the risks they were taking and gave their lives for something bigger than themselves. I'll never forget them, and I'll never forget the day I learned that freedom isn't free."
Hopefully, the rest of us won't forget the day we learned the same lesson.
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Published on September 8 2007

What a trip!! We had a great time--my poor repeatedly sun-and-wind-burned nose may never recover. Day One was great. It was my first time riding long-distance in a large group, so I was a little nervous. I didn't want to fall back and miss a stoplight, nor did I want to run up anybody's tailpipe. The crew put me in the middle to keep an eye on me, and once I got used to our staggered formation, I had a great time. The weather was warm, there was little or no road construction, I didn't have to worry about routes or map-reading, so I could just kick back and enjoy the ride. We did about 400 miles that day, over to Lake Michigan, up the western coast from Marinette, across to Escanaba and Manistique, then on up through a beautifully new-paved road past Tahquanemon Falls to a little town called Paradise. (Yes, there were many jokes about "how long til we reached Paradise". Sigh.) The motley crew in Paradise, minus one taking the picture and one who was wandering around someplace:
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As I said, the riding was great on Day One, as was the beer-drinking around the campfire, listening to Lake Superior a few yards away. In fact, we had so much fun that the motel owner had to come out and tell us to pipe down our raucous laughter. Ooops. Such a rebel biker gang we are, eh? The riding may have been great on Day One, but Day Two was another story.
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Yes, Precious (the soggy blue Harley submarine in the foreground) got a bath. As did the other five bikes and all of their passengers. Repeatedly. We figured we got completely soaked and dried at least three different times that day. You will hopefully not ever see photos of me in my el cheapo rainsuit-- not only because it's *white* and makes me look like the Michelin Man but also because I absolutely refused to let anyone within camera range. Not to mention, it didn't work too well keeping me dry, lol. There's just something... refreshing ... about ice water running down gas tanks at 60mph to puddle in the area where the posterior meets the leather. We only managed a couple hundred miles that day due to the many stops under whatever awnings we could find. We did manage to go out to Whitefish Point to check out the lighthouse and shipwreck museum. We saw this there, and yes-- the museum played that song. I didn't even get my camera out of its little waterproof bag, since everything at the lighthouse and museum was hidden by the low clouds and downpour, so sorry no pics there. At any rate, the hot shower at the end of the day made all the sogginess worthwhile, although I think my boots might dry out sometime in 2009. Maybe. Day Three, although it dawned cold (and early, due to my room's previous occupant resetting the clock to TWO HOURS EARLIER than the correct time), was another great riding day. Thankfully, all my clothes which hung over the heater all night had dried enough to keep me warm through the morning. We left Marquette and took the slow scenic route back home. I need to have more fun like this. But after waking up at FOUR AM, first I'm going to go take a nap.

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