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Thicker Than Water

Filed under: Family,Favorite Things — dave @ 10:34 pm 2010/12/19

Blood is, that is.

One of my favorite aunts passed away this year; Mom’s younger sister Carollee died unexpectedly in her apartment in Henderson, NV, at age 75. She and her seven kids had all left Sioux Falls for greener pastures at the far corners of the US, but Carollee’s second husband died shortly after their marriage, and she had a gravesite waiting for her next to his. All of the kids were able to come back home for the funeral; some for the first time in 30 years. It’s a bitter-sweet thing, being able to catch up with cousins that I practically grew up with, but haven’t seen for so long. We need to get together more often, but for better reasons.

Carolee’s kids were always my favorite cousins; three of the five boys and one of the girls were all within a few years of my own age, and we spent a fair amount of time together, usually at their house. Their house because things were always a lot more fun there. It was within an easy bike ride of our own, so I made the trip probably far too often, probably making a bit of a pest of myself.

Truth be told, I secretly wanted to be part of their family instead of my own. Things between Mom & Dad were far from rosy in the late ’60′s & ’70′s, and Carolee’s household provided a nice respite from the conflicts at home. Plus they always had a nice house (I remember one house that had a secret sub-basement bomb shelter; how cool was that!) and nice cars and nice things and played golf. Her first husband, and my cousins’ dad, did well financially and provided well for the family. Of course my perspective of that family was pretty limited, so I was unaware of the deep-seated conflicts that eventually caused Carolee and Paul to divorce. The news of their divorce came as a real shock to me; the possibility that relationship problems like Mom & Dad had could happen in such a great household had never occurred to me.


We all somehow got through the wake, prayer service, funeral and luncheon. It was a sad time, but the reunion atmosphere made the grief easier to bear. Not only Carolee’s kids, but uncles and aunts and other cousins from far away. The night before the funeral we had a huge family get-together with probably 80 people in attendance, and it was an amazing time. While catching up on life stories, it was interesting to see how many things we still share in common in spite of our living in different parts of the country. Funny that the aging process is hitting many of us in similar manners, making our common ancestry even more obvious than when we were younger.

But the thing that kept hitting me was how great it was to get together, and why events like this so rarely happen in happier times.

Carolee_Green_lr

Carolee Green Buehler of Sioux Falls, SD

Published: August 11, 2010
Sioux Falls – Carolee Green (Rooney) Buehler, Henderson, NV
Carolee Green Buehler passed away suddenly on August 5th, 2010. She was 75. Carolee was born to George and Floris Green in Sioux Falls on January 20th, 1935. She graduated Cathedral High School and Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Carolee married Paul Rooney Sr (Dec. 1989) in 1958, together they had seven children. In 1978 she married Dick Buehler (Dec. 1980) and they shared time together until his death in 1980.
Carolee began work with Dayton Hudson in a professional capacity. She worked there for 25 years. Carolee moved around the Midwest during her time with Dayton Hudson and upon her retirement settled in Henderson, Nevada. She enjoyed reading, gardening, baking, golfing, sewing and traveling. She loved to travel to see friends and family. Carolee will be remembered for her wonderful sense of humor, her strong sense of faith and her kind and loving heart. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Her love of life was evident to all. She had an amazing gift of making everyone she knew feel special.
Survivors include her sons; Paul (Kim) Rooney Jr. of Kings Mills, OH, Tim (Leza) Rooney of Livermore, CO, Steve Rooney of Portland, OR, Mike (Claire) Rooney of Medford, OR, Pat Rooney of Honolulu, HI; daughters, Sheila (Joe) Prusa of Seattle, WA, and Margaret (Craig) Johnson of Renton, WA; eight grandchildren, Paul, Parker, Tim, Seth, Sam, Olivia, Sophia and Sarah; brothers, George “Bud” (Darlene) Green, of Bloomington, MN and Dan (Marcia) Green, of Camano Island, WA and sister, Clare Dargen of Torrance, CA; as well as many nieces and nephews and countless friends.
Visitation will begin at 8 am with the family present from 5 to 7 pm and a wake service followed by a rosary at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 12th at Miller Funeral Home, 13th & Main. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Friday, August 13th at St. Michael Parish in Sioux Falls with burial at St. Michael Cemetery.
For obituary and online registry, please visit www.millerfh.com.

An Obama Chia Pet? Seriously?

Filed under: Just Stuff — Tags: , , — dave @ 12:02 am

I heard an ad on the radio this afternoon for a Barack Obama version of the Chia Pet. At first I thought it was a joke, so I looked it up and sure enough, it’s an actual for seriously real product.

https://www.americanchia.com/flare/next

My first thought is that somebody’s going to complain about this being ‘racist’ in some way, and sure enough…

The grassy-headed figurine of President Obama was pulled from Walgreens shelves in Chicago and Tampa after some people called it racist and company brass decided the new collectible was wrong for their image.

Although I was right about someone complaining about it being ‘racist’, it’s more than just a little ridiculous to claim that it’s racist because the plants growing on the bust of the President look like an afro; I’d call a Chia bust of anyone — President or not — ‘ridiculous’ or ‘incredibly lame’ or ‘totally devoid of good taste”, but not ‘racist’. The sad thing is that the company producing these things is actually serious about these things, promoting the Obama Chia as part of a Proud To Be American Chia series, along with busts of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln & Lady Liberty.

Maybe the bigger problem is that there is actually a market for tripe like this.

Gawker FAIL!

Filed under: Geek — Tags: , — dave @ 5:26 pm 2010/12/15

Gawker Media is the 500lb gorilla of the blogosphere, owning a pile of very popular websites. One of my favorite websites — Jalopnik — belongs to them. I’ve followed Jalopnik since long before they were swallowed up by Gawker, and while the format has become a little too… Gawker-ish in recent years, I still visit once in a while. The commenting system now used on Jalopnik is part of the Gawker family commenting system, and it absolutely bites, and is the target of many complaints by the Jalopnik crowd, but it is what it is, and I put up with it.

Sometime last weekend the Gawker commenting system got hacked and their user information was “compromised.” So every time you go to a Gawker website you see dire warnings about the problem and that you need to reset your password right frickin away! Being the good netizen that I am, I did that. Or at least I tried to did that. But in order to change your password you first need to enter your old password, and since I cookied mine long, long ago, I don’t remember what I entered as a password.

The password change dialog has a reset password button, but when I hit that & entered my email — the one that I originally associated with my Jalopnik account — I would get a new password, but the login name differed from the one I had originally set up; it was the same as the first part of my email address. And when I would log in with that name, it was a brand new account with zero comment history and zero friends and zero everything. Great.

Subsequent password reset requests were entered, but they all pointed back to that new account that I wanted to forget instead of my comfortable old account. I wasn’t happy. I got really unhappy when I hit the log-out button then tried logging back in to reset the password; now I was apparently locked out of my account and couldn’t get back in.

I read through the Gawker apology a number of times trying to figure out where I went wrong, and in the end I figured it out on my own. It turned out the problem was that my account had been grandfathered-in from the old Jalopnik system, and didn’t have my email address on file. Thankfully, even though I had logged out a few days ago, when I went back to Jalopnik today it showed that I was indeed logged in! And my work computer was apparently set to log me in automatically too, so that was another gateway I had to my original account.

What I did to fix it is this…

  1. Went into the new account (using Firefox instead of Safari) and changed the email address to something other than what I wanted to use on the real account.
  2. Went into the real account and set my email address — that field was empty — to the address I wanted in there.
  3. Clicked on the Password button in the real account,
  4. Clicked on the Password Reset button; that triggered an email to be sent out with a new password and my old login name!
  5. With that fresh password, I was able to go in & set my password to what I wanted.
  6. Whew!

I guess I need to take some responsibility in this; how long has my account been without an email address? That’s something I probably should have checked right away. But isn’t the missing email address something that the Gawker overlords could have easily picked up on? And how easy would it have been for them to narrow down which accounts were missing the email address and alert those account owners on their next visit to a Gawker-owned site?

So if you’re having problems getting your Gawker password changed, click Edit Profile on your account to see if there is a password there; if not, put one in there. And if you’ve already tried changing your password and ended up with a worthless new account, do the same with that account and give it a different email address. But if you’ve managed to lock yourself out of your account, and can’t get back in… I’ve got nothing but sympathy for you as you try to get back in. Good luck!

BMWotD — 1967 BMW 2000tilux Time Machine

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars!,Fun! — dave @ 3:59 pm 2010/12/11

Here is an outstanding little BMW… A 1967 2000tilux with a mere 12,800 miles on the clock! Judging by the amazing condition this car is in, I don’t doubt that mileage figure a bit. Of course, photos can be deceiving and a closer inspection would be needed if I were planning to buy this car, but still… Very impressive in pictures!

From the photos and the description, the car has gone through some minor refurbishing — new paint, cleaned things up underneath, detailed the interior — but you just don’t find complete 40-plus year old cars from European automakers in the US, much less complete 40-plus year old cars from European automakers that have less than thirteen thousand miles on them.

I don’t know much more about the 2000tilux other than what I’ve read this morning (here and elsewhere), but I do like the styling. The headlights are so otherworldly considering the car’s vintage… US Federalization back in the day would of course have required the trapezoidal headlights be replaced by boring round headlights — as illustrated below in another car that was recently featured on Bring A Trailer.com — so this one was either a gray-market import or converted. My guess is the former.

I dunno; it’s just something about these boxy little European sedans that’s just really appealing to me. And the little details, like the way the fuel filler door blends into the corner of the rear quarter panel… This is one gorgeous automobile!

This car probably weighs in around 2,000 lbs, and with an engine under the hood rated at 135 HP, it’s got to be a screamer. Lots of things to like about it!

Here’s the copy and the rest of the photos from the eBay ad, just for fun. Thus far nobody’s placed a bid on the car, and the seller’s $5,000 minimum bid stands with four days to go in the auction. Reserve hasn’t been met; it’ll be interesting to see where the bidding goes on it.

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BMWotD — 1985 Hartge H5S E28

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars! — dave @ 9:27 am

This car is the ultimate BMW e28; a 1985 BMW 535i that has been modified by Hartge, a renowned third-party BMW tuner. Not only that, it’s been restored by Ron Perry, a long-time e28 aficionado, known for his quality work.

hartge_h5_right_front

The color combination on this car is perfect, and the work Ron has done to restore it is perfect. The Euro bumpers, Euro lights, driving lamp wipers… An e28 just doesn’t get any better than this, unless maybe it had a turbo under the hood. Nah; then I’d probably just want to drive it around with my foot on the floor.

As much as I would love to have a car like this, it just ain’t gonna happen. This one just sold on eBay for an astonishing $36,463.63. That’s for a 25 year old car. The closest I’ll get is the set of spiffy-looking valve caps with the Hartge logo on them that I got in a Priority Box Exchange earlier this year.

Update: This car is still for sale, and still way out of reach, but I thought it appropriate to update the post with some more photos and info on it. Apparently the eBay sale fell through, and Ron still has it. Price is set at $39,500 with the pictured Hartge wheels, or $36,500 with stock wheels — $3,000 for those wheels! I’d be more likely to spend that much on an entire car than on a set of wheels, no matter how nice! More photos of the finished car — beauty shots and some candid shots from the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where the car won… something, along with a pile of photos from the build log posted on mye28.com. Truly an amazing car, and amazing that the restoration came together so quickly, getting it ready for the Pebble Beach show.

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BMWotD — 1984 Alpina B7 Turbo

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — Tags: , , , , — dave @ 11:28 am 2010/12/08

Here is an awesome car, that sold on eBay recently for $20,100. Some say it went for far too little.

What makes a 27 year old car worth that as much or more than the average BMW e28 sold new? The primary factor for this particular car is that was re-made in very limited numbers by the legendary tuner Alpina. This car is one of only 236 similar cars that rolled out of Alpina’s doors in that model year. Alpina started out with an M30-powered e28 533i, added a turbocharger, their own custom-designed intercooler, intake & fuel-injection system, lots of suspension goodies, some beautiful & lightweight wheels, and finished it off with some very nice interior modifications. One very cool feature is the ability to adjust the turbo’s boost on the fly by way of a knob mounted next to the parking brake handle.

When properly cranked, that little knob on the console can make the turbo bump the base M30′s 180hp output to the neighborhood of 300hp, making some beautiful music along the way. The driver is able to keep tabs on the amount of boost, and other engine stats, by way of a cool-for-its-day LED gauge cluster fitted in place of one of the center dash vents. One needs to brush up on one’s German first!

A recent article in Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine featured a 1985 Alpina B7 Turbo in Agate Green a 1988 M5, but the article gave me a renewed appreciation for the work Alpina did with the e28; while the M5 is a great car in its own right, the Alpina is a head above that, especially in the push-your-butt-into-the-seat department. The real kicker of that article is that both cars are owned by Ron Wicklund, who is one of the members of my most most recent web obsession — MyE28.com. The cars could not be in better hands, as Ron is meticulous in his care for them and masterful in driving them fast.

Last month Roy stirred up a bit of envy on the board by posting this photo of his garage after tucking his toys in for the winter… Talk about a dream garage! The Alpina is on the right, and the M5 is on the left — love that license plate on the front! Under the orange cover on the left is his highly modified, highly orange, M3-powered 2002tii, which was also featured in a recent Hemmings Sports & Exotic (that car is in line for a BMWotD post very soon.) Next to that is a relatively ho-hum M535i (drool!) and on the far right is an e36 M3. And between the M535i & the M3 is the odd man out, an Acura NSX. Some guys have all the luck! Roy sounds like a gem of a guy; very down to earth, loves his old BMWs and loves to drive them fast, especially on the track. From what I hear, he’s a terror on the track, especially in that M5; the license plate is a very apt description of what he’s likely thinking while riding the bumper of a slower car! And word has it that he’s selling the M5!

When I grow up, I want to be Roy Wicklund.


Here are the rest of the photos and the guts of the eBay ad for the ’84 Alpina, just for drools.
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The Rifleman

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun! — dave @ 8:09 pm 2010/12/05

The Rifleman was one of my all time favorite shows when I was a kid, and thinking about it a bit, still is one of my favorite shows. I flipped on the TV this morning & watched two episodes that were being played on The CW channel; awesome.

The show’s original run was before my time, from 1958 to 1963, but the re-runs went on well into my early years, so I saw it often. Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford were the stars of the show, playing the roles of Lucas McCain and his son Mark. The episodes were pretty predictable, but still very entertaining. Lucas McCain was a good guy, a widower, living on a ranch somewhere, and trouble always seemed to be able to find him. But he was wicked fast with that Winchester, and wicked accurate, even while shooting from the hip most of the time. Yeah, the accuracy thing is a put-on for TV, but the way Chuck Connors handled the gun, with the spins and the fast lever action shooting was as real as it gets.

The gun that was used in the TV series was specially made to do the tricks Connors did, but it still took him a lot of practice to get the moves down and to make it look so smooth. It’s basically a modified Winchester Model 1892 .44-.40 caliber with a large rounded ring — the doughnut loop — in place of the standard lever that allows the gun to be cocked using a twirling action. That design was actually used first by John Wayne in the 1939 movie Stagecoach; Wayne’s rifle also had a shortened barrel, but Connors was a bigger guy — 6’6″ — and had a longer wingspan that allowed him to use a full-length barrel.

The lever also had a screw installed in the triggerguard that could trip the trigger when the lever was closed, effectively making the gun as close to a semi-automatic as you could get in that era. That feature was used in the introductory scene in the YouTube video above; a slow-motion replay of that video reveals he fires 12 rounds in what appears to be less than two seconds. There could be some camera/editing trickery going on there, but from what I’ve read about Chuck Connors and how seriously he trained for this role, I’m thinking it’s for real.

Of course, replicas of that rifle can even be had, at a price. One of the top returns for a Google search is a site called The Rifleman’s Rifle; and the guy who runs it, Mike Demuzio, has learned to handle the guns quite well himself.

Dimuzio’s replica rifles are pretty costly – about $2,400. But if they work as well as he demonstrates, it’s probably worthwhile. Not that I’m going to go out & buy one any time soon; with the current shortage of bad guys chasing after me these days, it would spend most of its time hanging on the wall. But it would look good hanging there!