Monthly Archives: January 2011

Visitors from Farley

We were glad to meet up with Gramma Kramer and Uncle Dan on Sunday. The five of us had lunch at IHOP in Ankeny.

Gramma surprised Maisa with a bag full of goodies, including a Winnie the Pooh Valentine’s Day card, a coloring book and a box of Crayola markers. Maisa was very excited about her new goodies!


Good buddy Mark stopped by the house last Thursday evening. We had a delicious meal prepared by Jill, and then we watched the UCLA-Arizona game. Maisa went to bed around 9:30, with the game still in progress.

Next morning at breakfast, Maisa asked me, “Where Mark at?”

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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized



Nephew Brett made his Winter X Games debut on Thursday night. Read more about it here.


A nice road victory for the UCLA men on Saturday, winning in overtime at Arizona State.


And an ugly home loss by the Lakers on Sunday. Boston took it to ’em and won easily. Sigh.

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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized



My pal Dave loaned me three movies — “Hud,” “Paths of Glory” and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

I’m going to start with “Sierra Madre,” since I’ve recently become a fan of Humphrey Bogart.

I’m slowly but surely developing an appreciation for old movies. Hopefully these three films will keep me on that path.

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks

Oooooh, that sounds great, doesn’t it?

This cold weather is really taking its toll on me. I’ve given up on my snowy driveway.


Among Sunday’s winners were the Packers, the Steelers and the Hawkeye men. Iowa picked up its first Big Ten Conference victory after six losses.

The UCLA men have been hot lately. The Bruins swept Cal and Stanford over the weekend and are 5-2 in the Pac-10 (tied for second place).

The Lakers are 32-13 and play host to Utah on Tuesday.


Maisa is a singing machine lately. The Alphabet Song, Twinkle-Twinkle and Row-Row-Row are her three favorites. She can carry a tune pretty well for a 2-year-old.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Another city, another newspaper

One of my favorite things about traveling is reading the local newspaper in each city I visit.

Last week, I read the Omaha World-Herald, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post.

I find it interesting to see what’s making news in each individual city. In Omaha, the mayor was being accused of unethical electioneering. In Chicago, an increased income tax was all the rage. And in Washington, folks were talking about the visit of Chinese president Hu and Metro rail closings. 

You can’t find those local angles by watching CNN. 🙂

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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Raise the speed limit? Why?

An Iowa legislator wants to increase the speed limit on state and county roads from 55 to 60 mph.

Why would we want to do that?

It’s a silly idea. Nothing good can possibly come from it. If the primary reason for changing a law is “Well, nobody obeys the law as it is,” then the proposed change is probably not very wise. Let’s just lower the drinking age to 16 while we’re at it. (High school kids don’t obey the 21-law, so we should change it, right?)

We as a state have worked very hard over the last four or five decades to lower the number of traffic deaths. Iowa peaked in 1970 with about 900 deaths, and in 2010 we had about 350.

Do we really want to see that number start to increase again?

The current situation is perfectly fine. The law is 55 mph, most people drive 60 to 62 mph, and the cops generally look the other way. When a driver approaches 65 mph, he deserves to get nailed by the police.

Moving the law to 60 mph would merely increase everyone’s speed and lead to more crashes. That’s just a fact. A speed limit of 60 would mean that the cops would allow speeds approaching 70, and there would be more accidents. I say no thanks.

I got mixed up in a scary highway situation a few nights ago. Why? Because the guy in front of me was driving too fast and lost control on a snowy road. People could very easily have been injured or killed; it was a narrow escape, to say the least.

And I want that guy ahead of me to drive 5 mph faster than he was already going? Again, I say no thanks.

Raise the speed limit? I guess our economy must be fixed if legislators are spending time on issues like that.

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


A nice trip … but glad to be home

Jill and I visited our good friends Al and Al in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. We arrived on Friday and came back to Iowa on Tuesday.

We had a lovely trip, with lots of laughs, good food and memories. We don’t get to see Al and Al nearly as much as we would like. They are our best friends — by a mile.

Having said all that, I’m ecstatic to be back home. I’ve made a vow not to take another trip for a good, long while. I just can’t stand being away from my daughter for more than one or two days.

Maisa certainly would have been welcome at Al and Al’s. But we didn’t really have the cash to buy another plane ticket, and Maisa wouldn’t have had much space to run around. So we opted to keep her at Gramma and Grampa’s house, where she had a grand time.


I also loathe the act of traveling — especially air travel. It’s scary, uncomfortable and frustrating.

I’m slowly turning into my Uncle Hub, who prefers to play it safe and stay close to home whenever possible. If you ask me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that lifestyle.


I don’t know why I’m noticing this more lately, but is there anything in our homes that isn’t made in China?

Every single time I see one of those “Made in …” labels, the last word of the sentence is “China.”

I bet if you take any 10 random items in your house, at least four of them will have been made in China. It’s amazing.


On the other hand, maybe I’m just noticing the “Made in China” labels more now because I constantly have my hands on toys for toddlers. The Chinese clearly dominate the toy market, from what I can tell, but perhaps they don’t fare as well in every other area.


Lots of hoops to watch last night.

Iowa State endured a maddening loss at Oklahoma State. ISU led by nine points late in the game but ended up losing in overtime. The same thing (more or less) happened against Kansas and Nebraska.

I feel bad for Fred Hoiberg and his troops. They are so clearly outmanned (the Cyclones only have about seven guys who can play) yet they compete like warriors. The Big 12 should consider itself lucky that ISU has no depth.

Iowa, meanwhile, fell to 0-6 in Big Ten play for the first time in history. Ouch.

The Lake Show rode an awful third quarter to a frustrating loss at Dallas. Hard to keep the two-time defending champions motivated in mid-January.

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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Uncategorized