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Wednesday, May 06, 2015
  • Camping has never been high on my list of things I’d like to do.  Nevertheless, when your eight-year-old daughter’s scout troop goes camping, and you finagled your way out of last year’s trip by promising that you would definitely go this year, you go. 

    Prior to this past weekend, I had only slept in a tent twice.  Both times were in the backyards of friends. Once next to a deck, and the other next to a swimming pool, so I don’t think it technically counts as camping.

    But the scout trip was the real deal.  They called it “primitive;” a word I’ve come to hate.  Primitive means no electricity, pit toilets, and freezing your butt off at night.  I knew we were in for a long weekend, when after finally getting the tent set up (thanks to the help of a twelve-year-old), my daughter spotted an animal in the shadows and exclaimed, “There’s someone’s dog or cat! No, it’s a skunk! Oh my gosh, it’s an ANTEATER!” 

  • I’ve been watching YouTube videos of personal appearances by Stephen King and it occurred to me that “extraordinary,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    It seems to me Stephen King is pretty ordinary when I watch him in front of an audience on YouTube. He seems down to earth, the kind of guy you might find living next to you, maybe drinking a beer in his driveway.

    I have found that to be true of other “celebrities” I have met. 

    One night Mitch Miller brought his music to my college campus. 

    Mitch Miller, if you are less than 100 years old, had a weekly TV show. He didn’t come to town to attract a college crowd but to do a show for the older people in the community. 

    My grandparents watched him on TV every week so I decided to get his autograph for my grandmother. 

    I have never been shy when I wanted to talk to someone and when I found out what room backstage he was in before the show began, I went barreling right in … and caught him getting dressed with his pants down around his knees.  

  • As you all know by now Crawfordsville baseball Coach John Frodege won his 700th game on Saturday, not only as a varsity coach but he has spent his entire career at the helm of Crawfordsville’s program.  This is truly a remarkable milestone!

    As a photographer I get to see a unique perspective from the dugout that fans from the stands do not get to see. The first thing that stands out in Crawfordsville dugout is respect. In 30 years of sport photography I have never seen the level of respect that I see in Crawfordsville baseball. It’s not just that they follow direction and do what coaches tell them to do. It goes far beyond that, it is respect of the game, the field, the uniform and beyond. Perhaps that is just a small part of Coach Frodege’s success he is not only teaching the game but life values.

  • If you’ve been in the workforce for a decent length of time, chances are you’ve sat through a seminar or 12.

    If you are at all like me, chances are you hated it.

    Nothing against the good folks who present seminars. I’m sure they’re nice people and all. But as a guy who’s sat through more of these things than I can count, most of the time the folks doing the talking at the front of the room don’t have a clue what the folks sitting in the back of the room really go through each day. So they have neat messages, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, but all too many times boring. They also charge a lot of money and then take off back to wherever they came from.

    Quick aside. Know the definition of an expert? Anyone who lives 50 or more miles away.

    So please understand that what I am about to share comes from a guy who’s been there, done that and gotten real cynical in the process.

    A couple of seminars are coming to Crawfordsville that are worth the time and money.

    No kidding.

  • We’re just starting to enter barbecue season and it’s a good time to review food safety. Food-borne illness is something that almost all of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

    Food-borne illness is defined as more than two people having a similar illness with evidence of food as the source. The overall rate of these illnesses has gone down drastically in the last century with improvements in food handling and sanitation. However, we still hear about illness outbreaks.

    There are approximately 76 million cases of food-related illness in the United States each year. There are also about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Underdeveloped countries, as a group, experience about one billion cases annually and four to six million deaths.

    The Center for Disease Control estimates that 97 percent of all cases of food-borne illness comes from improper food handling. Most of these (79 percent) are from commercial establishments, while the other 21 percent originate in the home.

  • I purchased a new car last week, the first in almost 10 years. It comes with a 250-page instruction book, plus three additional manuals to guide you through the high-tech accessories, but there is no key. I always liked the idea of having a key. “Hey, Dad, can I have the fob to the car tonight?” Sorry, that doesn’t have the same charm.

    The car also comes with Bruce, the sales guy at Hyundai, who said he will “always be by my side.” He didn’t literally mean that, but he did give me his cell number in case I had any problems. Unless, of course, the problem includes using the Bluetooth cell phone technology, in which case I could drive back to the dealership. That is, if I remember how to start the car.

    Bruce was very patient with me. He told me that “before you bring this baby home, you need to know how to take care of her and understand exactly how she operates.” This is pretty much what Mary Ellen’s father said to me the night before our wedding. 

  • The National Garden Bureau has declared 2015 to be the Year of the Sweet Pepper! Sweet bell peppers are cultivars of Capsicum annuum. Sweet peppers are called sweet because they lack the gene that produces capsaicin - the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat.

    While the 3-4 lobed, blocky, bell-shaped peppers are most common, sweet peppers come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Other shapes of sweet peppers include elongated banana, round cherry, tapered horn and flattened "cheese" types. Most all peppers are green in color when they are immature but ripen to red, yellow, orange, white or purple as they mature. Some cultivars may show all of these colors at various stages of ripening. And many cultivars are both ornamental and edible.

    Pepper plants are easy to grow and are quite compact, making them a good fit for limited-space gardens and containers. Peppers are warm-season crops and should be planted after danger of frost has past. Many local garden centers will have transplants available, or you can start your own transplants. Start seeds about seven weeks prior to the average date of last frost for your area.  

  • We passed another Movie Milestone last weekend. After Philip had narrowed about 100 total hours of every previous “take” in our files down to about 4 hours, we each made our individual list of what to consider before we make the next cut toward approaching the ultimate goal of a movie at or under 2 hours.

    We spent 6 hours on Saturday and 4 hours Sunday going over a long list of considerations. I had 273 items on my list. Philip added a few more all of which fell into these categories:

    Picture Quality. Many shots need work. Some were too bright, some too dark, some too fuzzy, some too “shaky”.

    Sound Quality. Some shots had volume too low, others were too loud. Several times an actor “mumbled” their lines or said them wrong. To correct this we must either raise the volume and see if “ambient sounds” don’t become too distracting or we must call the actor back to “dub-in” that audio.

  • Tomorrow is Law Day.  The League of Women Voters marks the annual celebration of Law Day by recognizing the importance of fair and impartial laws and why every vote matters to the people of Montgomery County.

    Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law.  Law Day was created in 1958 by the American Bar Association and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The League of Women Voters is a longtime cooperating partner.  Every year, through educational programs nationwide, Leagues and other organizations help underscore how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.

    The American Bar Association is celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 this year. “The fundamental concepts of liberty that had their beginnings in Magna Carta were transplanted to the American colonies where they were accepted, refined, and embedded in the instruments of government as well as the thinking of the American People.”

    The LWV believes that the rule of law depends on public trust in the courts, and the right of every citizen to vote has been a basic League principle since its origin in 1920.  It should be noted that granting all the right to vote has been a long process.

  • Lawyer son of a dentist’s son

    This week’s guest grew-up a doctor’s son, but never desired to follow his father’s occupation.  However, the portion of dad’s life that did interest him was the love of politics.  During his growing-up years, Dad was gone a lot.  With Dad having his own practice, he made many house calls, often times taking some of the family along.  However, when Dad was home, he made the best of it and was a confident, loving father.  That father was one of my fav people, Dr. Sam Kirtley and our subject this week is his equally awesome son, Ray.

    Ray’s gpa’ Kirtley was in the medical field, as well, being a dentist who passed away during the 1918 flu epidemic when Sam was just eight years old. Ray’s “Nanna” was also a political influence on him as she was Montgomery County’s first female office holder.  Besides that, she won as a Democrat in a Republican community.  Nanna was also around her son’s home quite a bit to help raise the boys, clean house, cook or whatever was needed, as Ray’s mother had contacted t.b. when she was attending nurse’s school and remained weak throughout the rest of her life.  When Dr. Sam Kirtley was in the  

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