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Friday, September 28, 2018
Tamaqua is little former coal mining and railroad town in Pennsylvania where we lived most of our lives. It has about 6000 people.
Note added later - The Raiders are 6-0 after beating Pottsville 34-6 at Pottsville.
Population - Pottsville 14,000 - Tamaqua 7000. This Raider teams seems to be a team of destiny.
I did not type the "too" above. :-)
Monday, September 17, 2018
|This summer we waddled to see the play Hamilton in London.
This picture was taken of us in The Tube on the way home.
Lulu and I spent 70 days in Europe this summer. She was there for work - I was there to loaf. As we get older - it has been harder and harder to stop gaining weight. One of the biggest problems with carrying extra weight - especially when you are older - is that it is bad for your health. We each have gained 30 pounds in the last 3 years.
I can't believe that when I retired 15 years ago I weighed 227 pounds - but then it was mostly muscle - now it has turned to flab. My 34 inch waist of 3 years ago - has just reached 40 inches! I can no longer cheat with 36 inch elastic stretch pants. I have to buy "big boy" pants. Carrying an extra 30 pounds is like lugging around two bowling balls all day.
I made a wager with Lulu. We had to have some sort of incentive. Very simply - whoever loses 30 pounds first - get $10,000 to spend on whatever they want - no veto from the other - no bad comments.
On September 1st - I weighed 223 pounds. Lulu does not want me to say what she weighed. But we both accepted the challenge. We have a calendar and every day we write down our weight.
So far the Pillsbury Dough Boy is winning 5 pounds to 2 pounds. This is after 16 days. I am 218.
Simply - no more eating out unless we are traveling. Lulu makes 3 square meals a day and that is all we eat. No sugar sodas. Very little bread.
We have a program called "Tap and Track" on our iPhones. When you eat something you enter it. It counts calories. In order to lose two pounds a week - I am confined to 2200 calories a day. Lulu only gets 1200 calories a day. We also walk 2 miles a day at the mall. They gives us an extra 300 calories.
It seems unfair that I get so many more calories to eat. I did not make the rules. If we follow that diet we are supposed to lose 2 pounds a week.
There is no clock running. It is simple. If either of us weighs 30 pounds less - the contest is over. For me that is 193 pounds. For me - 193 pounds is about a 34 inch waist - and a "L" shirt instead of "XXL."
I will update it here - win or lose.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
|King of the Hill - the Tesla S - 0 to 60 in 4 seconds
Saturday morning in the park - there was a meet of people that owned or sold electric cars. Some were pure electric - some were hybrids. All of them were really neat. There were about 30 or 40 cars on display - and many more in the parking lot. I drove my 2012 Nissan Leaf to the event with one of my electric bikes folded in the back seat.
It was fun talking to other owners and seeing what they were doing with their cars. It was almost like a hobby club - except most of the cars were their daily drivers. Most of the cars were Tesla - Nissan - Chevrolet - Honda - Toyota - or Volvo.
Easily the favorite - although the most expensive - was the Tesla S - capable of going from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds with a range of 350 miles. Tesla also has its own network of charging stations where one can charge up for free - full charge in 30 minutes. Teslas are very refined - I truly believe it is the finest car I have ever been in. Tesla is having growing pains - their owner Elon Musk has been losing millions on the project.
The least expensive was the GEM Car - now owned by Polaris. One can buy a street legal machine for $8000 new.
A realistic favorite for me - is the 2018 Honda Clarity. It is an Accord size hybrid selling for $35,000. You can plug it in to charge the battery - then drive 50 miles on electricity alone. When that runs out you have a gasoline engine as a backup. This is the perfect city/cross country car. With city only driving you never use gasoline. On a long trip you never worry about the battery running out. It would be like me combining my 2012 Nissan Leaf and our 2016 Honda Odyssey into one vehicle.
There were several Tesla Model 3's - the "cheap" Tesla. This car was originally planned to sell for $35,000 - but all of them at the meet had tags of $49,000 plus.
The city even had one of their all electric buses at the event.
The new Chevy Volts are very nice. They are hybrid. One guy had a 3000 watt inverter attached to his Volt that was powering a refrigerator - lights - and fans. The big traction battery is 300 volts but it steps down to a 12 DC volt accessories battery. The inverter is attached to that. During a power failure - he can partially power his home from the car - not the AC but other smaller devices like a TV.
One that surprised me was a Volvo 60 Station Wagon. It was hybrid - had a gasoline engine and an electric motor that added up to 400 horsepower! It was $63,000 - but it was one very impressive package. Very few cars have 400 horsepower - like the Cobra and the Corvette. That would be a really hot family hauler getting 58 MPG.
|Model 3 - poor man's Tesla - supposed to sell for $35k
|I liked the Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid for $35,000
|Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X SUV
|GEM Polaris street legal pick-up
|GEM Polaris seats 6
|Chevy Volt a very nice hybrid
|Tallahassee electric bus - no emission?
Electricity is made somewhere with smoke stacks
|Tesla Model 3
|400 HP Volvo Hybrid
|Volvo Hybrid $63,000
This Chevy Volt was wired to put out
3000 watts of 120 volt AC power.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
|Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes riding
And when she passes, each one she passes goes, ah
We have purchased 73 vehicles. I was trying so hard to make 2018 the first year with no vehicle purchase. Like being in the mob - you try to get out - but they keep dragging you back in. Today - I drove to Blakely GA and bought this scooter. It is a 2017 Vespa Primavera 150. It only has 600 miles on it - and I got it for a great price.
Mainly - it is just like our old Vespa 150 that we bought new in 2007. We have it 11 years and Lulu takes it to campus because parking is difficult there. That is the longest we ever owned a vehicle. It has been a great scooter - and now we are selling it.
The new 2017 Vespa has many modern features. First off it has fuel injection. It also has ABS disk brakes. It has a completely redesigned engine and transmission. It can go 70 MPH - I did it today to make sure (I did wear my helmet). It has a digital dash board - LED lights - alloy wheels - and gets over 100 MPG. It rides two legally and safely. Lulu likes the light blue color - you can see she dressed for the event.
If we have this scooter as long as the last one - I will be 81 when I am selling it. Of course Lulu's new husband or boyfriend will love it.
|Alloy wheels and Michelin tires
|Something old - something new
|I bought it in Blakely GA today
|Headlight - turn signals - mirrors
|Vespa made in Pontedera ITALY
|150 cc - 12 HP
Nothing borrowed - something blue
|Digital gas gauge - digital clock - trip odometers
|Vespa have steel bodies
Monday, September 10, 2018
|Buford T Justice and The Bandit
Last Saturday night we went to the FSU football game. Outside the stadium - they had Burt Reynold's famous Bandit Firebird with the "Ban One" license plate and his Bandit hat on it. Burt died this week - many do not know that Burt "Buddy" Reynolds was a football star at FSU in the 1950s. He was a halfback and his roommate Lee Corso was the quarterback. A knee injury ended his chance of a pro football career so he chose acting instead. Burt used to attend FSU games usually with his wife at the time - Lonnie Anderson. He also did a segment on the Seminole Call-In Show every week. Near the end he did not have a lot of money - but he made generous contributions to the school. He was a character bigger than life. The players will wear a helmet tribute sticker to honor him this season.
|Jimbo Fisher the Aggie
FSU is not a very good football team. We have a new coach - a new system - and Jimbo let the well go dry because he knew he was going to Texas A&M in March before the season. He recruited no one. So Willie has to start with a clean slate.
If Willie survives the haters the first season - we will have a great program again and soon. VT is a good team - with a great coach. There is very little love in this town for Jimbo - heck - there was not much love for him when he was here. He had to leave because his stock was falling badly - and he cashed in while he could for $76 million. That can heal a lot of loyalty questions for him. He left here last year at 5-6 - but had a $40 million buyout that protected him from being fired. The team had to scrape and crawl thru a Shreveport Bowl to get to 7-6. We were lucky to get out from under that $40 million with Jimbo. Each game is going to be an adventure for the Noles this year. The Noles will have a tough time keeping the 41 season winning season string intact. In Bobby Bowden's first season in 1976 the Noles were 5-6. To me - the is standard bar I am hoping to jump. In that same streak - FSU's baseball team has won 40 games every season.
Next Saturday at noon - FSU plays Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Our motorhome is champing at the bit.
Saturday, September 08, 2018
The Seminoles were full of glee - before the game.
|Lulu - the Golden Girl - with the Glitter Guys
|Great tickets for $15
Labor Day in Tallahassee and as always college football is in the air. Fans are still smarting from the terrible job that Jimbo Fisher did last season - and then jilted the Seminoles and left for a $76 million contract with Texas A&M. One week they wanted to hang Jimbo Fisher - for going 2 and 5 - they wanted to buy out his $40 million contract and send him packing on a rail. The next week they were outraged that he left on his own - saving them the $40 million buyout. The real thing that irks me is we learned he accepted the job in March before the season began - and left the cupboard bare by not recruiting at all for the Seminoles. How he kept that secret is beyond me.
FSU hired Willie Taggart - a young coach that turned things around at 3 colleges - Western Kentucky - South Florida - and Oregon. In the next 9 months - Willie Taggert has done everything you want from a coach - including donating $1 million back to the college to build a football building. He has hugged every lady and kissed every baby. He has posed for every picture - and signed every hat. He has a dynamite smile and used it often. He has let the players play rap music at practice. Everyone knew that all would go away if he lost football games.
Monday - before a full house - and a national audience they did just that. The Noles committed 5 turnovers and lost 24-3. The team looked disorganized. His so-called hurry up Gulf Coast Offense was neutralized by Virginia Tech players faking injuries. Every time the Noles got a big play - a Tech player would look to the bench and then fall over. The refs called a time out that went to a TV timeout - and the VT players rested. Willie did not plan for that.
We left our house around 7 PM on the scooter. We weaved through town and parked for free near the stadium. There were plenty of tickets for sale by fans outside. The announced crowd was 78,000 out of 80,000 capacity. The first pair I saw were on the 25 yard line - 22 rows from the field. They looked like good seats and the owner had another pair in front of us. The face value was $100 each - the guy asked for $30 each and accepted $15 each. We went inside and I later rented seat backs for $10 each. Another way to get money out of the fans. We did not bring soda or snacks with us - we were told they were going to have metal detectors at the gates. They did not. Next time I will bring sandwiches and tiny coke cans. They do not search old guys. Discrimination!
Virginia Tech scored early - and it went badly from there. It started to rain - but Lulu brought rain suits. The suits were tight because we gained weight - but they kept us dry. Fans were cranky all night - there was nothing to cheer about. The Seminoles had 5 turnovers! No one can win with 5 turnovers.
After the game - we hopped on the scooter - and due to traffic control blocking streets - we did not get home until midnight.
The scooter performed well. We got $15 great seats - the Seminoles did not look good. Since our new coach is black - in a Southern town - it brings out a certain element - that is very brave to post stuff on the Internet - behind closed doors. Non-stop media piles on and flames it. Tallahassee - which is so used to winning 10 games a year under Bobby Bowden - has the feeling of entitlement. They want the biggest stadium - biggest football building - and 25 five-star recruits a year. Anything under an undefeated season is a failure. 99% of these fans never played in a game in their lives. Yet - since they have a Game Boy - they think they can be a head coach.
I love living in Tallahassee and having a wife who is an FSU star professor. She has built us a beautiful home here - and has taken us all over the world carrying the FSU logo and wearing garnet and gold. The paycheck comes every other Friday - and this town is a great place to spend the money. We have each gained 30 pounds by enjoying the 500 restaurants and pubs that a capital city and college town can offer. We have a motor home that knows all the roads to the all of the other ACC colleges. It also can find its way to the local beaches and Disneyworld. We loved the days of Saint Bobby and the Seminoles winning the first 70 ACC games he coached. But that is a mirage in the rear view mirror.
I remember Virginia's Coach George Welsh from Coaldale PA - winning 7 games a year for 10 years - back when you only played 10 games. He would graduate players at a prestigious school and win. But they fired him - he didn't win enough. Basketball Coach Leonard Hamilton is constantly on the block here. His teams win - he graduates the players - but they don't win enough for these fickle fans. I pick on Tallahassee - because I am here - but it happens all over. Penn State could not fire legend Joe for losing games - but they could find another reason to let him go.
Tonight we play Samford - a Division 1 AA school. Both Bobby and Jimbo were stars there when it was called Howard College. They are ranked number 9 nationally in that division. We are favored by 33 - so if we do not win big - the haters will be on Willie again. Willie has a $30 million - 6 years contract. He was a 6 foot - 145 pound quarterback - so he does not need my 220 pounds of 70 years old blubber defending him. It is a nice golden parachute I hope he never needs.
I like the new coach Willie Taggart. I am willing to "cut him little slack" - am I allowed to say that any more? He is a good example for the players. He is a good example for the fans. Unfortunately that does not count for much now. It is win at all costs. Today's atmosphere of money - politics - Internet - and society demands it.