Monday, December 24, 2018

Becoming a child again a Christmas-time

 A few images to share

First, I've traded out the albums that usually adorn our "playroom" -- usually with some of my favorite albums from my teens -- with Christmas albums.  Mostly children's albums, but one is a promotional album from Grants Department Store.  The album includes such rockin' stars as Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere & the Raiders), Gary Puckett (Union Gap), Aretha Franklin, and Steve Lawrence and Eddie Gourmet (Steve Lawrence and Eddie Gourmet?). 

That album is right under the Partridge Family Christmas Card.

The next few images go back to the 50s and 60s:  Downtown Evansville.
It was a time when just about every business window was decorated with some sort of magical Christmas display -- many animated.  In the mid-60s, after retailers started moving out to the east side mall and strip center, all the displays were packed up in a warehouse and forgotten about for decades.

Thanks to some dedicated folks who still have that childlike wonder (and skill for mechanical renovation) several of these displays are set up to enjoy at Santa's Workshop. 

So, from our family to yours:
"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
 Laura Ingalls Wilder

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Another "Leave it better than I found it" story

Moutoux Park (off St. Joe on the north side) is one of the more unknown Evansville parks. Mostly known for soccer fields, it does offer a few other amenities -- including a large lake with a hiking trail around it.

"I see litter as part of a long continuum of anti-social behavior."
-- Bill Bryson

Yes, being a secluded lake where people fish, drink, and god knows what else, litter is a problem. 

So, today was another "adopt a spot" trash pick up.  It's a shame that I made it only 1/8th around the lake before I filled a large trash bag full of discarded beer cans, styrofoam drink cups, and plastic live bait containers. 

I don't know if anyone will appreciate it, but the fox that I saw down at the creek looked up at me and we seemed to have a moment.

Speaking of having a moment.   From the "and god knows what else department":  They say every object tells a story.  But, latex gloves and a condom?  Really?  Sorry, there are just some things I won't pick up.   

Carpe diem Life (and try to leave it better than you find it),
David Kuhn

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

And now for something completely different:

 Sometimes you just have to post from the original source:

Headline:  Parents disturbed by elf 'murder' class assignment
By Ben Hooper

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Some parents of students at a British elementary school are complaining after an assignment that involved the "murder" of a Christmas elf.

Parents said 8- and 9-year-old students at Flowery Field Elementary School in Hyde, England, arrived for class to find a crime scene had been set up in a classroom, complete with the outline of the "murder scene" involving an Elf on the Shelf.

"There was a crime scene in one of the classrooms," a mother of a fourth-grade student told the Manchester Evening News.

"There was police tape and a table had been knocked over, and there were blood smeared on one of the tables," she said. "The idea was Elf had been murdered by another Elf. My daughter came home and she was absolutely traumatized."

"I'm not the only parent who felt like that. A lot of the kids in Year 4 were unsettled by it," she said.

Headteacher Ian Fell said the elf murder scene was part of a writing assignment, which came to a close Wednesday.

"I have been a teacher for 30 years and this is, in my judgment, an appropriate, engaging and exciting thing that children aged eight and nine have done. They have been so up for it," he said.
# # #

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, December 17, 2018


Some management guru once wrote, "When you're on the right track, you'll know it, but until you get there, you have to believe you're on the right track."  Interesting little conundrum.

I've witnessed this a lot over my career -- especially in tracking down equipment problems.   Both of my current jobs involve equipment that is networked together by miles and miles of cables and connections.  When something isn't operating correctly, where do you start?

The other day I watched three guys scratching their heads and asking themselves the same question.  If it heard it once, I heard it 5,280 times, "I bet it's... !"

Then one would say, "No, if it were (that), then (this) would be occurring."

"I bet it's . . . "  Repeat!


To complicate the problem, the voice from the ivory tower was yelling, "I don't care what it costs, but fix it now!  Just don't spend too much money!" 

So, they were faced with two avenues to the solution.
1.  All the easy, quick fixes -- even those were the least likely.
2.  A couple of hard, time-consuming fixes -- even though they were the most probable.

Time - Quality - $

Seems to be a conundrum right there.   If you want it done fast, chances are you're going to have to pay an "urgency" fee and possible sacrifice quality.  If you want it high-quality, then you might have to spend more money and more time on it.  If you want it cheap, it might end up taking more time.

It's rare that you can have it all.  

By the way, when left after the second day, the problem had been temporarily fixed.  Leaving another conundrum:  "Do we take the time and money to fix it right so it doesn't happen again or do we save the money and gamble that it doesn't break down again?"


Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wendsday [sic]

If I had to guess, I'm pretty sure the person who came up with the spelling of 'Wednesday' also had something to do with 'February'.

Anyway,  Happy Wednesday.  

Hump Day. 

Which is exactly which day if you're a two-humped, even-toed ungulate?

Oh, by the way, there are three surviving species of camels. The one-humped dromedary makes up 94% of the world's camel population, and the two-humped Bactrian camel makes up the remainder. The Wild Bactrian camel is a separate species and is now critically endangered.

I bring all this up because I came across the following not too long ago while researching my Grandfather's unit in WWI:

Did you know that The United States Army established the U.S. Camel Corps, stationed in Benicia, California, in the late 19th century?   The experimental use of camels was seen as a success.  In fact, John B. Floyd, Secretary of War in 1858, recommended that funds be allocated towards obtaining a thousand more camels. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 saw the end of the Camel Corps: Texas became part of the Confederacy, and most of the camels were left to wander away into the desert.

Why am I writing about this?  Because it clears off one of the hundreds of scraps of notes I have stacked on my desk.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Never lose an opportunity . . .

They say that you should listen to what your body is telling you.  Mine just looks at me and laughs.

So, one of my "goals" this year and for 2019 is to diet and be more active.  Believe it or not, I've been doing pretty well on the diet part, it's the active part that I've been a little sluggish.  Not to the point of leaving a silver slime trail or anything, but certainly not active enough.

Yesterday was an exception that also ticked a few other boxes on my personal goals.

I started at my younger daughters:  a final cut of the yard, raked leaves, shredded and bagged everything.  That was a three-plus hour workout.  Next, to our "cabin" at Lake Lynnville for some pre-winter work.

While working there, I came across a map of a DNR property just a couple of miles away.  So, I was off to Interlake SRA.

With the exception of the DNR employee, the place was deserted.  Overcast sky, temps in the low 30s, spitting some sort of precip . . . Perfect!   Left a note saying which trails I was planning on hiking and when I was planning on being back to base. Then I was off!

"Never lose an opportunity for seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm putting in close to 30 hours of work -- indoors -- the next three days; good to get out and check off a few boxes:

Explore new places
Get lost (okay, I did have a map with me, but still, I'd never been there)

Have a great weekend.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Today's Haiku

A Red Tailed Hawk
Squirrels frolicking about
You guess the ending

Carpe diem Life, 
David Kuhn 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Self-Activated Service Project

I looked out the window yesterday and saw that it was starting to snow.  To the woods!

I reached out to an old buddy of mine who enjoys hiking.  He had some free time, so we headed off to the woods, not to, as Thoreau said, "because I wish to live deliberately, to form only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." 

No. We went to pick up trash.
Jim C.

A few years ago I sort of adopted the North Woods off First Avenue and go there from time to time to get out and hike, to live deliberately -- if only for a brief time, and pick up trash.  It's a disgusting job, but I feel that somebody ought to do it.

Good to have company on this adventure.  And a 30-gallon trash bag later, we left the woods ready for her to receive the blanket of snow that fell last night. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Well Grounded

Came home the other night to strobe lights -- from our kitchen lights!
What the?  Flickering like a 70's disco! 

I quickly assessed the situation as, "Not working correctly!"
(and I'm not even a trained electrician).

I have learned a few other electrical terms over the years:
"It's got to be a 'short' somewhere!" and "Got to be a ground problem!" and "Dirty power!"
To be honest, I really have no idea what they mean, I just throw them out there and hope the other guy doesn't know either.

So, I did the only thing that I knew how to do.  No, not call an electrician.  I replaced the switches and tightened up those little wire thingies that come out of the ceiling. 

Let there be light!  Fixed -- for now.  A little research after the fact shows that it could be, in fact, a symptom of some other issues.  But, most likely I did miraculously manage to fix the problem.   And with no extra parts.

Sometimes it's the small victories that keep me grounded.

But, I still have a problem figuring these symbols apart.

Oh, I get it, "O" is for "On"  -- or it that "Off" -- damn it!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, December 3, 2018

Explorer of Lynnville Lake

Yesterday was the last day on the lake at Lynnville.  Time to winterize the ol' pontoon and tuck her in for the season.  Before running her out of gas, unhooking her battery, and wrapping her up, I took the opportunity to explore a couple of areas.

The waterfall runs most of the time with the exception of very dry conditions; the other two photos are from an area where fields 20-30 feet above the lake drains down.  An area I've always wanted to explore.

 A view from the bottom looking up.
And out to the lake.

I'm grateful for having the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful, hidden diamond in the tri-state.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Why did the boy drop his ice cream?

Because he was hit by a bus!

A line from my "Manifesto in Progress" says, "Help me laugh at myself, lighten up, and not take life too seriously."

In that vein, vane, vain (sometimes autocorrect can be your worst enema) . . .

I present a few lines I read this morning that made me, for whatever reason, smile:

If procrastination was an Olympic sport, I'd compete in it later.

If someone asks you about a musical you haven't seen, fake it by saying, "I love that part at the end when they all sing together."

I think I speak for everyone when I say people who think they speak for everyone are idiots.

One day, a little boy wrote Santa Claus, "Please send me a sister."  Santa wrote back, "OK, send me your mother!"

Eight out of ten experts agree that the other two are idiots who should stop being thought of as experts.

Why people say I'm ignorant, I'll never know.

I accidentally swallowed some Scrabble tiles.  My next dump could spell disaster.

I wanted to be a blogger badly, and I've achieved my ambition -- I'm a bad blogger!

Carpe diem Life -- and don't take life too seriously,
David Kuhn