Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Being Different

I recently read the writings on another blog (Dawn Reader) where the writer discusses his use of Facebook and the shying away from politics and religion. He entitled the posting, “When Facebook Get Awkward.”

Much like the many wonders of Disney World, Facebook should be filled with fun and excitement for everyone.

Unfortunately, for many, it’s a political/religious battle ground where stupid subjects like “should toilet paper roll off over or under” turn into bitter attacks on character.

People launch long-winded debates with “friends” who make a general comment that somehow stabs the reader like a sword. These debates are often filled with facts and other minutia that only the "debater" could possibly care about.

I, for one, have made a conscious effort to NOT comment on politics and religion on Facebook or in gatherings in general. I have my views, I own them, they’re mine and I don’t need people telling me I’m ignorant for having them.

IF, however, I will gladly discuss my viewpoint and listen to you share yours in a calm and rational manner. I’m all about conversation. But when I see a vein popping out of your forehead, we'll talk about something else.

In the spirit of BareNakedBill – that raw and uncensored postings – I’m sharing Dawn Reader’s blog: When Facebook Get Awkward. PLEASE do not get caught up in the examples presented, because if you do, you’re not reading the post with an open mind.

And that is precisely the point of the post in the first place. Having an open mind to discuss our differences.

Agreeing to disagree is a wonderful thing. I’m truly thankful that I CAN disagree with my government and not be thrown in jail.

Unfortunately, far too often, friends with whom I am in disagreement throw me into their own private hell.

Jail time might be easier.

It’s rarely awkward at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Habit Forming

Repeating an event on a regular basis is said to form a habit. Reminding kids to brush their teeth after a meal, reading the Bible everyday or going for a walk.  If you just force yourself to do it everyday, for as few a 10 or 15 days, it should become a habit.

If that's the case, then why, after six months of writing this blog, having I formed a true habit of writing it?

Oh, I remember it, often just as I'm getting ready for bed.  Maybe that's the habit -- last minute journalism.

I sometimes write when I'm fresh, first thing in the morning.  I think my fingers work better then and I know my brain does too.

Some habits are hard to break.  Smoking, overeating, nail-biting. Breaking the "hanging-by-a-thread habit of writing this blog would take about 2.3 milliseconds.

That's not to say I don't enjoy writing it.  I actually do enjoy it.  I think it's the DAILY part that kicks my butt.  But if I stopped posting daily, I know I would quickly lapse into a weekly then maybe monthly event.

It's all good.  Habit forming is work, to create a habit or break habit.

Thankfully the lack of a solid writing habit was fodder for another blog post.

Caution: Reading BareNakedBill.blogspot.com could be habit forming!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Yes, No, Maybe, I don't know....

Sometimes we have too many options in our life. All those options, when they call see so appealing, make it difficult to make a choice.

I become indecisive when I have plans, but they may need to be changed. My head spins as I try to make the right choice.

Case-in-point: I planned to go camping this weekend.  It was a rare weekend where I had someone who planned to tag along.  Then for plans changed, as did the weather.

Should I go camping or not?  With the impending wet weather forecast, I thought better of pitching my tent.

Maybe a trip to Detroit to meet up with friends. Then another invite from my nephews to venture north and camp near their lake cottage.

So much to do, so little time. If only I didn't have to work! I want to do it all, but I know I cannot.

I have a type-A "take charge" personalty, why is it so difficult to make a choice?

Well, it's not.  I'm choosing to take a nap.


Don't wake the sleeping bear: read more BNB at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blog Readers

I've been remiss offering my greetings and salutations to the many (3 or 4?) readers of this blog.


With that out of the way, I also want to tell you how surprised I am at some of the people who are stopping by to peruse the blithering nonsense that comprises most of what I write.

While I enjoy writing, and have begun to enjoy it even more, I don't take this blog overly seriously. My lack of seriousness is proven by the grammatical and typographic error that slide through. I often don't take the time to proof read what I've written.

What you see is what you get.

But back to you, the reader.

Earlier this week I took a call at work from a local businessman.  He said he wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed reading my blog.

How the heck did he know it ever existed.

Over the past couple of months I've discovered that I have a readership beyond by family and Facebook Friends. Out of the blue someone will comment and send a note of agreement with my point of view on a blog topic. Occasionally I get a raised eyebrow from someone who isn't so happy with my what I have to say.

If you backtrack on the posts, you can see that some people even post comments directly on the blog itself.

However you found my blog, and whatever you level of reader satisfaction... THANK YOU!

Want to see more? Check it out at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thank you but no, Ms. Geddes

Seriously? This premature baby should be in a hospital, not a shoe.
According to Wikipedia, Anne Geddes is an Australian-born photographer, clothing designer and businesswoman who now lives and works in New Zealand. She is known for her stylized depictions of babies and motherhood. Typical images show babies or young children dressed as fairies and fairytale creatures, flowers, or small animals.

She has described herself as "a baby freak."

Yes, Virginia, she is a freak.

Now before you go nuts, I will say she is very artistic.  But her photos are creepy as hell.

I don't like babies posed in various positions with a assortment of set props stacked around them.  It's just unnatural and the babies often look, well, less than alive.

Why can't she just prop the kid up with some pillows and take the picture already?

Was Anne at a dinner party one evening when someone nonchalantly said, "Baby pictures are so boring, I wish someone would be more creative and lay a sleeping baby on a pile of old shoes.  It would be so refreshing"?

I seriously doubt it.

And while I'm ranting, what parent in their right mind would allow this sort of non-sense in the first place?  Child protective services are asleep at the shutter on this one.

I'm sure she's a perfectly wonderful woman and we can see, aside from her choice of subject matter, that she is an accomplished photographer.  How about taking some picture of trees, or a boat on the ocean?

Ms. Geddes has made millions off this baby-balanced-on-a-beachball shenanigan. Which makes me mad.

Why didn't I think of it?

Hijinks and shenanigans galore can be found at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's killing me

Digital technology is killing me. Text messaging, email, instant messaging and all the other non-interpersonal communication methodology are killing me.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been in a “conversation” (if you can call it that) that has included phrases like “are you mad at me?” or other assumptions of my current emotional status.


I require voice inflection, facial expression and other body language to determine someone’s demeanor.  Words on the screen are just that… words on the screen.

We’ve become so disconnected from each other that we think we can understand each other’s emotions from electronic blips.

You would know how truly upset I am when you see my red face, pursed lips and arms crossed in from of me.  You would know the deep sadness I’m feeling when you hear my voice crack, my lips tremble and see the tears in my eyes.  You would better understand my explanation if there wasn’t minutes between each piece of the messages we’re exchanging.

Yes, digital technology is killing me.

I’ve been looking at apps that auto-reply to text messages.  So don’t be surprised when you get a reply that says:  “You’re digital voice cannot be heard, please CALL me on the phone. Or better yet, come visit me in person.”

Yeah, the blog is digital communication too: BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Broader Horizons

"Outside the box" is a cliche' phrase overused to describe the rethinking an idea or a departure from the norm. It's a good way to get people thinking when seeking new and fresh concepts.

Personally, I prefer to simply ignore the fact that there is (or ever was) as box in the first place.

We are all creatures of habit. I, for one, function better when I have a routine to follow.  That's not to say I want to live in a mundane repetitive day-in/day-out world. I would never say, "we've always done it this way."

Broadening our horizons makes us better people in general. Exploring the unfamiliar should be a welcome challenge.

Maybe that's why I like to travel -- it can take me to unknown territory waiting for me to discover.  I love arriving in a new place and getting a lay of the land, checking out the sights and sounds.

Sadly, many people live inside that box with the lid pulled down securely, never wanting to know what is on the outside.

I know people locally who, I'm pretty sure, have never ventured much further than the county-line.  I feel sorrow for all the things they're missing.

But not knowing, and more importantly not caring, what you're missing leads to contentment.

While it's okay to be content with the status quo, we should always be willing to explore other options, throw the box away and broaden our horizons.

Months of daily blogs are archived at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Bill's List of Life's Lessons

 "Experience is a hard teacher:
she gives the test first, and the lesson afterwards."

—Vernon Law, former major league baseball player

As I've grown older, I hope that I have grown wiser.  I try to pass on bits of wisdom I have gained along the journey I call life.

So in keeping with my Tuesday Tally, here are a few of the lessons I try to keep remember everyday.
  • All things are as they should be.  Sometimes we get caught up in thinking that our lives should be different. We think we need more than we have or otherwise feel we're lacking something. We try to predict the actions (or reactions) of others. It all just causes stress on our own life. Sometimes when it seems like everyone is falling apart, they're actually falling into place.
  • You can't fix others, only yourself. I'm a nurturer. I take care of others.  My jobs -- customers services and EMS is all about caring for others, making people happy or healthy. But it's not always possible to fix someone else's problem. But you can fix yourself by making changes that make you a better person. We may fall back into the old habits, but that's not a failure.  Failure is not continuing the work on those changes.
  • Risking emotional hurt is worth it. There is nothing more painful that the emotional hurt. Regardless of the cause -- a failed relationship, an unexpected reaction from someone, betrayal or public humiliation -- it's still painful. Most emotional hurt comes from our interaction with others, so avoiding the hurt means avoiding others.  Life would be far too mundane withing interpersonal relationship.
  • True freedom comes from not caring what others think of you. When you're concerned about what others think of you, you are somehow owned by them. That's not to say you can act like a total butthead. But when you no longer concern yourself with the confines of public opinion, you are free.  March to the beat of your own drum.
  • Carpe diem! I hate that phrase, which is Latin for "Seize the day."  Just fricking seize the day already.  No matter the language, it still gets you started in the right direction.  Failure to seize the day (or the opportunity) only leads to one thing: REGRET.
  • Choose your battles carefully. A fight for the sake of fighting never has a victory. Sometimes it's just easier to walk away from the battle. Sometimes it's necessary to fight the battle.  Knowing the correct choice is important.
  • Being single can be the best thing for you.  I know so many men (and a few women) who have never lived alone.  They go from their parent's home into a home with a roommate/live-in/spouse.  Living alone gives you the opportunity to find the confidence to stand alone and take care of yourself. That's not to say having someone at your side isn't awesome, but so many people are totally lost when they are suddenly alone.
  • Asking for (professional) help doesn't mean you're weak. I'm a big supporter of counseling. Talking to someone impartial (which excludes anyone who knows you) can open doors into your mind. I am a prime example. Through counseling, I gained the ability to work through even the most difficult problems I face.  Give it a try.
  • Exercise control when life is out of control. When everything seems to be out of control, you can still control how you react to the chaos. Exercise that control empowers you to endure what comes your way.
  • Some people will lie to you.  It's said, keep your fiends close and your enemies closer. It's also true that an honest enemy is better than a friend who lies.  Actions speak louder than words so pay less attention to what people say, and more attention to what they do.  Their actions will show you the truth.
  • Everything is going to be alright. No matter what is happening, eventually it will be okay. Like Lil' Orphan Annie sings, "The Sun will come out Tomorrow."  So enjoy the thunderstorm knowing things will be brighter another time.
 In the end, it's about living life fully. Seize it!

More wit and wisdom at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brain Farts

I swear I'm having brain farts which, it may surprise you, is a medical term.  Well, it comes from a medical term.

Wikipedia defines a brain fart as: slang for a kind of abnormal brain activity which results in human error while performing a repetitive task or more generally denoting a degree of mental laxity or any task-related forgetfulness, such as forgetting how to hold a fork.

The term itself may be derived from "brain infarction," a medical term describing some form of stroke.

Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure I have it.

For example, twice this past weekend I had great ideas for blog topics.  You won't see them here.  I cannot, for the life of me, recall either of them.  I think one had something to do with my hair, or lack of it.

I don't know... I had a brain fart.

If our brains were really like computers, we could say the memory was full and the data was lost due to a lack of storage space.  But since humans only use about 10-percent of their brain capacity, I won't use that excuse.

According to Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Denis Gauthier a brain fart occurs when one "momentarily loses his sense of logic…and does something 'dumb'."

Sometimes brain farts occur when your brilliant thought is momentarily interrupted and it becomes lost forever.

Much like the brilliant ending I had for this blog before my phone rang.

Brain Farts!  Ending gone.

Check out the 13 most common brain farts: HERE.

Much more silliness at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More Bible Than Expected

A few months ago I mentioned that I was looking for a digital edition of the Bible.  I prefer the New International or Standard English Version since my mind gets caught up in the mental calisthenics of understanding a King James translation.

I looked at various options for my Kindle Fire, carefully reading reviews written by those people who had already downloaded a copy.  One of the major "red flags" in many of the views was a lack of ease in navigation.

Yeah, you can't just flip the pages.

But none the less, finally have found what I believe is the (nearly) perfect digial Bible App from You Version.  Don't ask me the difference between an ebook and an app because I don't have the foggiest idea.

Two great features are the multiple English versions -- 29 in all.  I haven't checked them all out, but I'm sure many are similar.  I mean, how much difference could there be between the Common English and Contemporary English Version?

I tend to stick with the NIV or SEV I mentioned earlier.

The other great feature is that the app is free, which allowed me to download it for review in case I didn't like it.

So on this Sunday morning, I have 29 versions of my B-I-B-L-E. I'd better get reading.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DVR my Life

One of my favorite pieces of technology is my digital video recorder -- a DVR.  Mine is part of my satellite TV system.

What I love about my DVR isn't the ability to record TV shows and watch them at another time, but the ability to stop a show and, if necessary, back up and replay what you just watched.

I want that ability in my life. Think of the possibilities!

You're having a conversation with your boss and, for just a moment, your mind drifts to something else and then you're suddenly lost as to what the big guy who signs your check just asked you.  CLICK: Rewind (and pay attention this time).

It would have been great during my college days when I was taking notes. CLICK: Pause, catch up on my note taking, CLICK: Play.

It would also be great when you need to be in three places at one time: CLICK: Record, date/time. Playback later.

Of course there are things you wouldn't want to save: tragic news, losing big at the casino or an argument with a loved one.

I'd love to DVR my life for playback later, when I haven't gotten enough sleep.  The problem would be just like the recordings on my TiVO... I just never seem to have the time to watch them.

Like the DVR, you can go back and read past postings at: BareNakedBill.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 20, 2012

24 is not enough

I have an unscientific theory, more commonly known as a hunch, that somehow the earth has started turning faster on its axis.  The result of this unnatural event is that an hour isn't an hour.  If my theory is correct, that would explain why there are not enough hours in the day.

Sounds logical, right?

I mean I get at nearly the same time each day and run my daily routine before I head off to work.  I'm in work mode for nine, sometimes ten hours. When I leave the office, it seems like my day is just beginning.

Meetings or social events, ambulance call and household chores, the list doesn't seem to end.

Part of the problem is that I can't seem to say no.  Volunteerism is a big part of my world, and from time to time I have to reevaluate what's going on because I'm just not doing a good job with anything.

A huge portion of my time is taken up by what is technically a second job: ambulance call.

My normal on-call times during a typical month go something like this:
  • One week of first call: 6 pm Friday to 6 am Monday, and 6 pm to 6 am Monday thru Thursday;
  • One weekend of second call: 6 pm Friday to 6 am Monday;
  • One weeknight of second call (when I'm not on first): Every Wednesday, 6 pm to 6 am.
I'll do that math for you, that's 204 hours a month... 51 average hours per week.

And, when those 204 hours are sped up, as in my theory, you're totally screwed.

I'm sure you'll agree, there are just not enough hours in a day.

I find time to write my blog, there is proof at barenakedbill.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is Jimmy in the House?

Last night I attended the “World Premier” showing of “Chasing Jimmy,” an independent film about one man’s quest to find Jimmy Buffet in the hopes of persuading him to visit the “Cheeseburger in Caseville” festival, in Caseville, Michigan.

Cheeseburger, as it is known locally, is an all-things parrothead and Margaritaville related.  Mr. Buffet is the king of parrotheads everywhere.

So last night’s Premier started out with a few technical issues – namely the resolution on the presentation projector was set to only show a small portion of the entire frame.

So there was some stalling and music and general conversations that lasted about 30 minutes until the movie finally started.

During the nearly 90-minute screening, we follow Caseville resident Bob Brown on his quest for “J.B.”  He was on the phone a lot with a lot of one-sided conversations that left we wondering who was on the other end.  I never really got the gist of the conversations which didn’t seem to provide Mr. Brown with much information.

Mr. Brown made his way to J.B.’s hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida where he attempted to make contact with J.B. at his home, yacht and recording studio.

Return to Caseville and scenes of the organized chaos that is the Cheeseburger Festival. There are snippets of interviews with many locals (a couple of which should ask that their “scenes” be edited OUT of the production).

By the end of the show, Brown hasn’t caught up with Buffet, which allows for multiple sequels, perhaps entitled “Still Chasing Jimmy, Part ?.”

Overall, in my opinion, the piece, if edited more tightly, would make a great promotional presentation for one of the larger festivals in Michigan. Rework the script away from the underlying “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” feel, sprinkle in more locals sharing the beauty of the Western Thumb, and you’d had a good start at a Pure Michigan promo piece.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be given to the newly-formed Thumb Area Arts & Entertainment Council.

While I seriously doubt there is an Oscar waiting for this movie, it certainly was an event that helps keep Caseville on the map.
More blithering non-sense is at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's just a number...

“How old would you be
if you didn't know
how old you are?”
--Leroy (Satchel) Paige

As the clock ticks yet another moment forward, I often pause to think about age – my age. Can it be that I’m really this old? Is this how others feel at this age?

When we’re children we are often told to “act your age.” Am I acting appropriately for my age?

“You’re as young as you feel.” Yikes, some days I feel pretty damn old.

But while I don’t often feel young, I do, for the most part, feel youthful.

I’m not content to sit at home letting time pass by. I live life!

Oh, some days I arrive home from work and find myself catching a quick nap on the couch. Is napping in the recliner acting your age?

For years I have said, “Age is just a number.”

Age, acting as an indexed directory, is just a marker for referencing life’s experiences.

I don’t know how old I would be, if I didn’t know how old I am. And I think that is a very good thing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tally: July 17

It's July 17 and here's the Tuesday Tally:

  • 1961
  • 1962
  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1967
  • 1968
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1975
  • 1976
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1980
  • 1981
  • 1982
  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1987
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012

Is that 51 years?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Being Outbid

On Saturday, some of our reunited family stopped by the Bluewater Thumb Youth for Christ Benefit Auction here in Pigeon.  It's fun to check out the thousands of donated items up for sale to raise funds for the YFC organization.

It's amazing when some flavor of cream pie or a pan of cinnamon rolls sells for hundreds of dollars.

If you're a good shopper and successful bidder, you can get a bargain on your purchase which, as an added benefit, it tax-deductible.

I had my eye on a pair of season tickets for the Broadway Series at Michigan State University's Wharton Center.

I have fallen in love with the stage at the Wharton Center.  There is less seating than the theaters in Detroit, which makes it much more intimate for show viewing.  As an added benefit, the attached parking structure is less expensive and drivers are much less offensive when arriving and departing.  Plus the Wharton Center is roughly just as far away as Detroit, with much less traffic hassle.

As the ticket package lot number grew closer, I was calculating my buying strategy:
  • There are seven shows in the series: Anything Goes, War Horse, Billy Elliot the Musical, Sister Act, Blue Man Group, Green Day's American Idiot and Catch Me If You Can.
  • Two tickets for each show.
  • Tickets would be sold at an individual rate and you had to take at at least a pair.

I decided that I could bid as high as $100 per ticket, use the tickets for the shows I really want to see and sell off the rest at a minimal loss.

I jumped into the bidding at $50 each, but I had competition and the bidding climbed quickly to $85, $90, $95, $100, $110... $110... $110.  They were looking at me to up the bid.  $110, once; $110 twice; Sold for $110.

I lost the bid.

My competitor took only two sets: Billy Elliot and Blue Man Group.

Of course those were my top choices as well.

As the backup bidder, I was offered the remaining tickets at the same price.

No thanks.

Bidding was reopened, starting much lower.  I jumped in and became the successful bidder at $50, which is a pretty good savings over normal prices.

I took the remaining 10 tickets.

It will be a fun way to spend a few evenings over the course of the next few months.

See you on Broadway (at the Wharton)!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reuniting is tiring

I often write my blog the night before it posts. That's what I'm doing with this one.

It's only 10:30 pm, which is early for me, but I'm nearly exhausted.  The last three days has been go go go.

Maybe I'm showing my age?

More about the Family Reunion to follow.

Have a good day.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Talk Talk Talk

How much talking can you do in a weekend?

I don't know the answer, but we're all finding out very quickly during our Esch Family reunion this weekend.  Glad to see aunts & uncles along with a couple cousins who could make the trip!

Today, many of the Clayton Esch family will be joining us.  When we're all together, there are (if I counted correctly) 28 of us.

When you do a lot of talking, there really isn't a lot of time for writing.

Here's to another day with family!

Friday, July 13, 2012


I don't know if this is actually
our family crest but it looks good here.
While this blog doesn't post until early morning, it's actually late in the night and I'm bushed.

This evening was the first of the 2012 Lewis & Maggie Esch Family reunion!  We're hanging out together at The Lodge in Oak Pointe.  It's great to have my aunts and uncle here with their spouses.  This is my dad's family, who live in Colorado, California and Arizona.

He doesn't get to see them often, so it's nice when we can all be together every few years.

We'll be joined by a couple of my cousins later tonight and tomorrow (Saturday) we expect to have nearly 40 here for a barbecue.

The majority of the 40 will be my dad's grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their spouses.

My Uncle Lloyd told me that I'm blessed to have a family like mine.

That is so true.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Floundering in a Quagmire

Floundering present participle of floun•der (Verb)
  1. Struggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud: "he was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters".
  2. Struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion: "she floundered, not knowing quite what to say."

Have you ever just felt like you’re treading water and you’re not sure how much longer you can stay afloat?

I’ve been dealing with that overwhelming feeling for several weeks now.  There’s so much going on in so many areas of my life – my jobs (plural), volunteer work, social relationship – I feel pulled in too many directions all at once.

Here it is the twelfth of July. What happened to the first six months of the year?

While this quagmire-like feeling has, at times, consumed my life, I have found a way to deal with it… Give it to God.

When I get tired of carrying the load I just say, “Lord, it’s all yours,” and I can physically feel the weight being lifted.

I once read that 90% of the things we worry about never happen and we can’t control the other 10%.  Just let it go.

Yesterday some prayers were answered.

Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe Conundrum

If you're like me, you have have some favorite recipes that have been passed down from one generation to another.  I have several that use measurement like "1 can of this" or "two bags of that."

There are no measurements, but containers that used to be standard in size.

Last week I made a salad that called for a quart of Miracle Whip, but the container is now 28 ounces.  A one-pound bag of peas, is 14 ounces.

Less content in a near-standard sized container is a marketing ploy to make you feel like you're not paying more for the product.

My salad recipe seemed to turn out, even with the mismatched measurements.  I just wonder what will happen in a few years as the measurements keep decreasing.

More blogstuff at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tuesday Tally - My Readers

It's interesting to check the stats on this blog check out the information provided by blogger.

Since I started blogging, back in January 2012, I'm pleased to say that I have had nearly 4000 pageviews. The breakdown goes like this:

United States: 3,677
Russia: 241
Germany: 39
United Kingdom: 27
Latvia: 23
Netherlands: 20
Canada: 14
France: 13
Japan: 12
Indonesia: 9

Most of my readers come to me from Facebook, because I use third-party software to automatically post there each morning around 6:30 am.

The vast majority of my reader use Internet Explorer, with Mobile Safari (I think that's the iPhone); Firebox and Google Chrome following behind.

More readers checked out my "Summer Solstice" post than another other. I suspect that a Google Search for that phrase may have lead a few to the blog page.

I'm glad I decided to take it look at the stats.  It gave me a reason to keep writing for a few more days.

Here's to blogging!

The popular Summer Solstice and other interesting posts are at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Useless Mail

I'm really bad at walking to the mailbox and collecting the day's delivery on a regular basis. Honestly, I'm such an electronic guy with the majority of my bills coming to me via email.

Over the last few weeks I've been collecting a pile of "crap" that is really unnecessary, including:
  • far too many credit card applications.  I have a couple credit cards, which I may off monthly.  I don't need to have more cards to lower my credit score.  It would be great to have a website where I can tell the banks to save a few million trees and stop the nonsense.
  • a half-dozen coupon cards from Kohls.  I love Kohls.  I shop at Kohls.  The coupons have usually expired by the time I get into Kohls.  More junk!
  • Vacation information.  I love vacation ideas, but the companies need to review their demographic information attached to the addresses where they send their materials.  Trying to sell me vacations destinations that "the kids will love" is a way out of the ball park. Unless someone comes forward and starts calling me daddy, I'm not really interested.
  • unsolicited magazines. I guess AARP and AAA membership include member-magazines. I also get something from Good Sam that is somehow related to camping. I rarely read them and wish I could cut them off.
  • information from my insurance company. I get something from them at least once a week.  Change in this, variance in that. Upgrade here, save there.  Sheesh.  And the envelopes have page after page that needs to be read.  I was looking at some of the info and found out I have coverage the will, along with other perks, pay to replace lost prescription glasses while I'm vacationing.
I generally tear open the envelope and give the contents a quick scan before it hits the trash.  It would be great to not be filling up landfills with this stuff.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Movie Critique: Magic Mike

First, a disclaimer: Magic Mike wasn’t high on my “must see” list of movies.  I didn’t know much about the show, but I am a Channing Tatum fan.  I managed to have a few hours to kill last Tuesday on my way home from camping, when I found myself at the Birchwood Mall in Port Huron, MI.

I figured if a movie was close to starting, I’d check it out.

Arriving at the theater, I had a couple options: Magic Mike in 10 minutes, or Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection in about 35 minutes.  Hmmm. Magic Mike won out.

Magic Mike was far from magic.  What was I thinking that a show about male strippers would have any kind of plot.

What made the show enjoyable was the audience in the theater with me – elderly woman (in their 70s) and high school kids.

I chuckled as two young men sitting in front of me with two young woman made comments about how much the show sucked.  The ladies shushed them repeatedly as they drooled over the nearly nude, well-sculpted magic-men on the screen.

But as I said, there wasn’t a plot.  It is interesting to know that the film is loosely based on Channing Tatum's experiences as a male exotic dancer before hitting it big as a movie star.

I have to wonder how closely the storyline follows his life experiences.

Whatever the case, if you like movies and have a couple hours to kill, Magic Mike isn’t the worst movie I have seen.  If there are other choices, I’d pick them.

Screened on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at GKC Theater, Port Huron, MI

Movies critiques and more at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Doe and Fawn

You never know what you’ll see when driving along the country roads of Michigan’s Huron County.

Pictured here is a mother deer (aka a doe) with her baby (fawn), dining on the green vegetation along with Pigeon River about two miles north of town.

Deer in the Pigeon area are healthy animals, eating the farm crops grown in the area.  They’re “corn-fed” deer, unlike their cousins in the north that feed on berries, bark, grasses and acorns.

Venison, as the meat is called, from the north has a wild, gamey taste and is often cooked with beef or pork and lots of onions.  Local venison is much more tender with a milder taste.

More blah blah blogging at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

Water Fun

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder
measures the depth of his own nature. 
~Henry David Thoreau

July fourth was a beautiful, hot summer day here in Michigan’s Thumb.  I’m told it was a perfect day to ride the jet skis.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’d been invited to experience the fun on the water, but never really grasped the opportunity.

I’m overly-cautious around bodies of water – pools, rivers and lakes.  Some of it has to do with my mother’s fear of the water as well as once watching a cousin holding his bother under the water until he nearly drown.

Regardless, when James told me that he took a 91-year-old woman out and she drove the jet ski herself, I had to go.

We launched from the Caseville Municipal Harbor.  I had to idle in the harbor while James parked the van and trailer and joined me before we headed out into the open water.  The ride along the breakwall is a no-wake zone, with calm waters.  This was gonna be fun.

Or so I thought.

Two minutes into this little adventure I managed to get swamped by a wave and thought it was over for good.  James assured me that if I got the machine up to at least 18 mph, I’d have a better ride and stay above the water’s surface.

Off we went. About seven miles of me getting used to the wave and feel of the machine.   I was beginning to enjoy the trip.

Near the end of Sand Point, I stopped and checked out some of the large homes along the north shore.  That’s prime real estate and you don’t get a look at this side very often.

We decided to head back toward the swimming beach, but not before James made a confession: “We’ve been riding with the waves. The ride back is going to be a little rougher.”

My options were to beach the machine on the North Shore and walk back to Caseville, or tough it out.

I wasn’t going to bail at this point.

The ride back was much more intense, but I had gotten the hang of keeping the throttle up and staying above the water.

A couple of times I know I was airborne and slammed down on the water’s surface.  I felt my spine crack like I was getting an adjustment from the chiropractor.  At one point, I was getting so much water in my face I had to stop.

James came to check on me.  I told him I felt like I was being water-boarded like a detainee at Guantanamo. Sadly, I’d give up State-secrets in 2 seconds!

Finally we made it to the much calmer waters west of the beach area. James went racing past me and I pressed the throttle down, reaching speeds around 55 mph!

I was getting hooked on this jet ski thing.  I even did a few tight circles.

We had frolicked long enough, called it an afternoon and headed in. I was shocking to learn we had been on the water for about 2.5 hours.

While I will always be cautious of the water, I know that I love the fun that can be had on it.

I’m looking forward to my next journey on the “sea.”

More adventures can be found at BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jet Skiing

Living just a short seven miles from Saginaw Bay, which is part of Lake Huron, you would think that I love the water. The truth is, I have a great "respect" (read: fear) of the water.
I'm not a great swimmer and I tend to panic when I get water in my face.  I don't even like water running down by face during a morning shower.

So how in the heck did I end up riding - nay - driving a jet ski on the open waters yesterday?

This tale starts a couple of years ago when my friend James invited me to join him on the lake.  He has a pair of jet skis and I could take one myself.  It just never seemed to work out.  The timing was always wrong.

James loves sharing the fun on the lake with friends (and I'd guess total strangers if the circumstances were right).  In fact, a few weeks ago he was at a luncheon and mention how nice the water would be later that afternoon. One of the woman there picked up on the conversation and asked what they were discussing.

"Jet Skiing," was the reply, "would you like to join me?"

And James had someone to take a spin on the lake with him.

So what does that have to do with me getting on a jet ski? The woman who accompanied James was 91-years-old.

Check in tomorrow and I'll share my adventure on the water.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Are there people in our country today who would stand up for freedom like the founding fathers?

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Lost

You would think that taking a road trip while manned with a GPS would mean never being lost.

Think again.

Yesterday afternoon I got the bright idea to escape the heat of camp and grab some dinner in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  It should have been a nice hour-and-a-half drive.

The hour-and-a-half was correct.  Nice? Debatable.

I forgot that Canada lacks decent roads in many places.  I've driven on cow paths that were smoother than some of the county roads my TomTom GPS lead me down.

But I did make it to Niagara Falls.  So did about 37 trillion other people.

A 30 minute drive looking for parking near the falls took me to the entrance of a N.F. Parking Lot, staring at a sign that read, "$20.00."

I'm too damn cheap to spend that kind of cash for a 15 walk to see the falls.  Especially when I kept thinking, "Been here, done this."

And then I was lost.

The GPS must have thought the campground moved into the States, cause it wanted me to cross the border. I did not want to explain that issue to customs.

I stopped at an Ontario Welcome Center for a map.  The helpful young woman there helped me plot my route back.  It mimicked my route TO the falls.  (Sigh)

If I don't return home you'll know why.  For now, I think I'll stay lost.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Camping from the Car

I think I've mentioned that I have a bit of a ritual when it comes to packing for a camping trip.

The tubs and other container are labeled and loaded in the order they're needed as I set up camp.  Everything has a place and a purpose.

Two weeks ago, when I was camping, I looked at several of the tubs and asked myself, "Why did I bring that?" Those questionable tubs included my camp kitchen with pots and pans, stove and utensils.

I didn't cook a thing, instead opting to grab breakfast at a nice little restaurant on the beach and eating boloney and crackers for lunch.  After all, I'm not going to starve.

The last trip also cost me well over $100 in fuel for my F150 pickup. At 14 mpg, and nearly 500 miles round trip, it takes a bite out of the wallet.

I got the bright idea that I could probably make the trip in my Ford Fusion.  I'm consistently getting 30 mpg, so I can cut my fuel cost in half.

So Saturday night, after my great-nephew Nathan's graduation party, I started loading my car to see if the necessary items would fit.  If not, I could load the truck in about 15 minutes.

I was surprised that everything fit! I do have a tub sitting next to me on the passenger seat, but otherwise, it's all there.

When I arrived Sunday evening, I started setting up camp and quickly realized that I didn't have any chairs to park my carcass in. And, since I left he camp kitchen at home, I don't have any utensils, plates or cups.

No matter, I'll pick up some stuff at the store.

That proved to be a challenge as well.  The "SuperStore" had a knife, but no chair worth buying.  My other option was Walmart.  They didn't have anything either, which I'm sure makes my dad happy. He hates Walmart.

I thought I could stop by Canadian Tire, which is much more of a super hardware store than a tire shop.  They're closed on Sunday, AND, since July 1 -- Canada Day -- fell on Sunday, most of the stores, including Canadian Tire will be closed today.

I can't win.

Camping from the car saves me money on gas, but has added to the aggravation.

I guess this is what they call "roughing it."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

No One Mourns The Wicked

There's a song early in the play Wicked entitled, No One Mourns The Wicked.

That is so true.  There are truly wicked people in our lives who, when they pass, will be missed by a very few.

Oh sure, someone loved them, once. But then their wickedness came through.

Of course there are those who are forced to love the wicked.  It's... an obligation. You have to love them, right?

No, no one mourns the wicked.  And those wicked people reading this... YOU should look deep deep into your soul and ask, "Will anyone mourn for me?"

No one mourns the Wicked

No one mourns the Wicked.
 No one cries "They won't return!" No one lays a lily on their grave The good man scorns the Wicked! Through their lives, our children learn
What we miss, when we misbehave:

And Goodness knows
The Wicked's lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked die alone
It just shows when you're Wicked
You're left only
On your own

Yes, Goodness knows
The Wicked's lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked cry alone
Nothing grows for the Wicked
They reap only
What they sow 

[Sorry for the darkness of this blog posting.  These are just some words I needed to share.]

Some light-heartedness can be found at: BareNakedBill.blogspot.com