Monthly Archives: June 2015


We were in the middle of a prolonged heat wave, with high temperatures each day ranging between 95 and 102.  In order to beat the heat, I was out the door at a little after 6:00 am that Sunday on one of my thrice weekly, 40-mile bike rides.  Not one car had passed me in over 5 miles, and I was about to crest Collins Mountain, which isn’t really much of a mountain, but being as it’s the highest ground for some miles around they named it that and at some point plunked three gigantic antennae among the loblollies.

Due to the lack of traffic, I was just pumping hard, and not really tuned in to what was going on around me.  So I was startled a bit when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large bird fly up on the right side of the road.  Probably 99 times out of 100 that bird will be a buzzard that’d been scared off of a carcass of some sort, but I could see that this bird wasn’t black as it crossed in front of me and landed on a low branch of a small tree.  After it lit in the tree, I saw that it was quite a large owl, and that there, sitting on other branches were two more owls, probably a family, as owls are fiercely territorial.  Just as sure as I was that I’d never seen three owls in one tree before and never would again, I was equally sure at that moment that what I’d seen was some sort of a “sign.”

Fast forward now a few days.  Again, I’m out early, this time heading in the other direction, north.  I was on Dairyland Road just a quarter mile from the dairy store when I saw something that at first looked like a dead cat in the middle of the road.  As I got closer though the undeniable smell of skunk hit me.  I quickly came up on the body and amazingly, it turned out to be an albino skunk!  Now surely that has to be a sign.

The thing about signs like these is that you don’t know what they portend.  Making it worse you don’t even know the time frame.  So all you’ve really got is a notion that something pretty special (could be bad, could be good) is going to happen sometime, probably sooner (but not necessarily) rather than later.  Essentially, you’ve got nothin’, but still…those were signs.

Actually, I take back part of what I said there.  I do know one thing that will happen for sure because of those signs.  I’m going to lose the three dollars (two more than usual) that I spent on (I mean invested in) lottery tickets this weekend.  Crap!

Speaking of signs, I was walking on campus last week, and as I passed by The Ackland Museum (UNC’s art museum) I saw a big banner plastered across the front of the building.  Here’s a photo.

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Holy cow, I thought, those are my initials.  Someone there must have read my last post and recognized my prodigious talent as an artist.  Here’s the photo of my art work from the last post.

Version 2

I got pretty excited thinking, my god, they’re mounting an exhibition of my tractor-related art.  Then I read the fine print and saw that their BRB simply means “Be Right Back.”  You know, not in my 68 years have I seen BRB used in that manner.  I’m guessing this new usage was driven by the pervasive need for brevity that today’s social media demands.  So, bottom line, the internet has co-opted my initials, and I don’t get my one-man show.  Double crap.

I guess one good thing has been confirmed.  I’m clairvoyant.  I just confirmed by checking the internet that I accurately predicted my loss of three dollars this weekend.  Woo hooooo!

And to sign off now in addition to thanking you for reading, I’ll add BRB.


That was the banner I saw in three-foot tall letters along the “main drag” in Sarasota, FL last week.  Jeez, what do they do, just throw you on a bonfire out back?  Put another log on the fire, honey!  Kind of wondering too, suppose I’m not happy with my “el cheapo” cremation?  What is my recourse?

Other Florida observations.  It’s hotter in Chapel Hill than it is in Sarasota, but they got us beat hands down on humidity, rain and not surprisingly, the attendant mosquitoes.  Holy cow, while sitting outside at Starbucks I think I donated more blood than I did the week before at the American Red Cross.  One came at me that was already red with someone else’s blood.  That really scared me, you know, as in “sharing a needle.”  I just got done telling the Red Cross that I didn’t do that!  Yuck!

You can get a giant frozen yogurt outside the Sarasota Costco for just $1.35.  But if your mother gets chocolate and doesn’t like hers, she won’t hesitate to dig her spoon into yours, which was delicious vanilla and slathered with strawberry sauce.  I was the only child there not smiling.

Speaking of children, my mom and I went to see the movie Cinderella during my visit.  Kate Blanchett, Paul Giamatti and others did fine acting jobs.  But at some point while we were sitting there my mom popped out with, “You know, everyone else is here with children.”  Of course, I had to remind her that, hey, she too was there with her child.

Staying with the family theme, I don’t think in all the years I’ve been doing this blog I’ve ever burdened you with a cat picture.  Either you’re a cat hater, or a cat lover, so apologies to those in the former category.  Our son (Andrew) sent a nice photo of his cats last weekend; here it is:


That’s Junior under the umbrella and Buddy acting like Junior’s shadow, in the back.  Now staying with the animal photos theme, here are some lovely shots of a Pony.

IMG_1208That’s the new draw bar all finished and attached.  Also, of course, my new (vintage) road hazard triangle.  Newer farm equipment signs aren’t yellow and red, so I was pleased to find this older one on eBay that maintains the Pony’s yellow and red paint scheme.  Also you may note in this photo that a seat cushion has been added.  Here’s a shot of that from the front.

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Pretty cool.  Those two items set the ol’ Cost-O-Meter back a few clams, and I’m trying to figure out if I actually added them or not.  Cost altogether though was less than $100.  And now, if you hadn’t already figured out that I’ve gone “round the bend” with this Pony stuff, check out these next couple of photos.

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Yup, that’s some tractor-related art hanging in my new gallery (the garage), and the corresponding “reader card.”  The Princess helped me with the reader card.   Tours of the gallery are available by appointment only.

Did you know the forecast for Chapel Hill today calls for a high temperature of 102?  So, as a tribute to that, here’s this:

A Hundred and Two

It’s a hundred and two,
And everyone’s down east,
but me and you.
Let’s just lie here in bed
on our best fine linen,

and just think about it,
instead of actually sinin’.

Stay cooooool everyone and thanks for reading.