Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category


Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Voting booths at Point Pleasant Fire House in Rochester New York

When I was growing up the City dropped off small wooden houses, the size of large Home Depot shed, in all the neighborhoods. We walked by the one on Humboldt Road on the way to school and I couldn’t wait to get inside one of those. When I was finally old enough to vote the houses were gone and the polling stations all had those technical denies where you turned a small metal lever for each candidate and then locked in and cast all your votes with one pull of the big arm. Today, while the rest of the world is going paperless, we fill out large cardboard ballets with markers and then we slide the ballet into a scanner. Well, mine was rejected yesterday and I was pretty sure I knew why.

We had read a bit about the NYS Constitutional amendment. We like a lot of what it was proposing. Our local paper recommended a yes vote and the Times recommended a “no.” The more we read the more we were leaning toward no but just to be sure we asked our friend, Matthew, what he thought. Although originally from Australia he is the most informed person we know. His reply was short but more than we had asked for. “Flip the ballot over and vote no, yes, yes.” That stuck with me or should have but I have a bit of dyslexia. I voted “yes” on the first one and almost a no on the second but I realized I had messed up. I scribbled a big “X” on the answer and filled in the circle for “no.” One of the voting attendants came over and wrote “Spoiled” on my ballet and gave me another.

I tried to do the second one in record time but in my haste I made the same mistake! The assistant said “I’m not supposed to look at the ballet but she went ahead to see what I was doing wrong. Another assistant came over and introduced herself as the Democratic representative. “We need to be nonpartisan.” My ballet was marked “Spoiled” and I was told this would be the last time I could try. Three strikes and I’m out.

I got the third one right and even managed to write-in “Gary Pudup” for Sheriff. I would like to know the story of who was behind that last minute campaign and we may find out tonight as Gary is usually there for Margaret Explosion gigs.

Margaret Explosion - Inexplicable

Margaret Explosion – Inexplicable

Me And My Arrow

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Steve Grieve with a buck on the back of his car

It rained all day yesterday, never let up, and it got really windy in the night. It was the first time we slept with the windows closed so we didn’t hear the big tree come down out back. It was hung up, leaning at a forty-five degree angle for the last year. A red oak, it was probably ninety feet tall with very few branches. We were worried it was going to take down the power lines on the other side of the street when it fell but we miscalculated.

It fell toward the road and the top quarter was surely blocking the road. Good thing a car wasn’t coming by at the time. When we spotted it in the morning the town had already cut the top off at our property line and hauled it away. We went to work on the rest of it, cutting it into log length sections and loading them into our car so we could drive them up to our wood pile.

The guy across the street came out. We hardly ever talk and we’ve never been introduced. He asked us if we had seen a wounded deer. I told him we saw the eleven point buck on the back of Steve Greive’s car the other day. Steve is in the town’s bow program and he shot the deer on his property at the end of the road. This guy didn’t know Steve but he said he too was bow hunting on his property and he hit a buck but it ran off. He wanted the rack and asked if it was ok to look around in the woods by our house.

Cup Of Joe

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Sea Breeze neighborhood with Jack Rabbit, Rochester, New York

We buy our coffee in bulk at Canal Town. We get two five pound bags of “Rochester Choice” at a time and I don’t notice any drop-off in flavor as we get to the bottom of that second bag. We took a chance and didn’t call ahead this time. They had some on hand but Pete said he was planning on roasting more this afternoon so said we’d stop back and pick it up fresh. I wanted to grab cup of coffee but decided to wait until we got to our next stop.

We had a arranged to meet Shoshannah White in her studio space at Visual Studies. She is doing a one month residency there and we were introduced to her at last Wednesday’s Margaret Explosion gig. She had chunk of coal on a table in front of her and had already taken some beautiful photos of it. She works somewhere between low and high tech. She uses expired Polaroid film and takes photograms by directly placing objects onto light-sensitive paper. But she also photographs with 2 1/4 film and subtly manipulates large format prints. She currently lives in Maine and even photographed Stephen King.

We suggested a cup of coffee but she didn’t have time so Peggi and I went across the street to the Memorial Art Gallery. We thought we’d check out the Bill Viola exhibit while we were there but both the cafe and gallery were closed.

We decided to stop in Fifth Frame which had just opened a few days ago. The coffee shop/brewery is on Saint Paul and the article in the paper about them called the place “Fifth Flame.” A typo in the headline of that story. They describe their coffee with ratios instead of the common coffee names like latte, cappuccino etc., and told us the fifth frame in bowling is the beer frame. We had a couple of 6:2s. Delicious.

Tower of Babel

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Jared taking a tree down on pool property

Our friend, Pete, was trying to install an update on his iPad and he got part way into the install but couldn’t remember his password. Someone at MCC, where he teaches, tried to bail him out and they restored the iPad to its factory state. But Pete had never turned on his iCloud backup and wasn’t able to retrieve anything. Five years of photos and sketches from SketchBook Pro. I tried to help him get some music on the iPad tonight but his wife had already synced the iPad with her pc so I couldn’t get Pete’s Mac to connect to the iPad. So I went back to the pc and dragged some songs out her Windows Media Player into her iTunes so I could get them n the Pad. As I did each song came up with a little message that said it was converting the files from .wma to .acc. It’s like the Tower of Babel.

Peggi and I tried helping Jeff earlier in the week. He had a related problem. ITunes on his PowerBook would not launch anymore. It froze when he was trying to Restore his father’s iPad. I reinstalled iTunes on his PowerBook and reacquainted it with his media files but it wasn’t easy because Jeff couldn’t remember his admin password. Meanwhile Peggi got on the phone with Spectrum to see an operator would give her Jeff’s father’s password for his email account so we could set up his restored iPad. The operator had Jeff’s father’s password hints on file and she asked Peggi what his favorite song was. Jeff called his father and asked him what his favorite song was. He thought for a minute and said, “the Star Spangled Banner.” Peggi said “Star Spangled Banner” to the operator and she said “No.” We all laughed and the operator told us what the right answer was. “Summertime.”

Harmonica Johnny Is Dead

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Harmonica Johnny's basement bar

We were on bikes headed to Staples and eventually Starbucks and we were only a block from home when we stopped at a garage sale. Someone the neighbors called “Harmonica Johnny” lived in the house but we hadn’t seen him in a long time. Sure enough, we learned Harmonica Johnny had died. His sons were selling the stuff and there wasn’t much to look at. I went through the stack of lps on the basement bar (shown above) but most were cornball 1950’s harmonica records. As I walked away from the stack one of his sons said, “You didn’t find any rock ‘n roll records in there did you?” I laughed and he said “I found a Black Sabbath album in there.” I said “And it was probably yours.” He said it was.

He told me he played drums and his brother played guitar and they used to play in a band with their father. “Mostly Ukrainian weddings.”


Friday, October 13th, 2017

White dog with solar lights in Durand Street in Rochester, New York

We’re going to have to stop back and see this white dog under the solar lights.

Our friend, Kathy, made some pillows for us. She made our last batch too but they have all gone soft, like you pick them up and wonder what the heck is inside of these. She is a decorator and that word is not descriptive enough. She brings an artist’s eye to her craft. She is frugal for starters and has a stash of fabric to rival Fabrics and Findings. She mixes and matches them with ease and the results are delightful.

She stopped by this morning with our new batch and she unveiled them one at a time. Each is a knockout. Invisible zippers, the front and back of some fabrics both used to effect and with piping from yet another fabric, designs arranged to create new designs and pick up on elements in our minimal decor. She made four for our grey couch and said she wanted to make more but she said she kept hearing my voice saying, “We only have one couch.” That and the chair my brother, John, made for us and the stump that Pete and Shelley gave us. We need to have a party.

Dragon Sauce

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Leo Dodd watercolor of Rochester's Washington Square Park currently in Witness show at Rochester Contemporary

Margaret Explosion’s first performance with Phil Marshall came off without a hitch. I was confident that it would. Phil sounds great. Ken Colombo streamed our first two songs live on Facebook so Bob Martin in Chicago could hear how it went without him.

Everybody knows the Mushroom House. It is so over the top. But I had forgotten that the same local architect also designed the Liberty Pole (nowhere near as elegant as the Civil War Monument in Rochester’s Washington Square Park, pictured above in a watercolor by Leo Dodd). I’m not crazy about the house or the pole but James Johnson also designed many of this area’s most unique sacred places, churches and temples, and this is where is his organic sense of form really shines. Temple Sinai in Brighton, the dramatic light silo in St. John the Evangelist Church in Greece and the AME Zion Church on Clarissa Street in Rochester – Frederick Douglas’s old congregation – are all magnificent. Chris Brandt, architectural designer at Bero Architecture, gave a presentation about Johnson’s achievements today at the Memorial Art Gallery and it was really inspiring. I especially loved how he cast giant Gaudi-like organic forms in sand and then lifted them into place in structures like St. Januarius Church in Naples.

We hadn’t been to Atlas Eats all summer. “Witness” has been all consuming. We would have eaten out on the sidewalk but they were taking down a tree across the street. We started with a cup of coffee and both Peggi and I ordered the usual: Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese with Braised Onions in Peggi’s case and Kimchee with Tofu in mine. The homemade Dragon Sauce is secret weapon there.


Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Turtle on a walking path in Durand

I wanted to take this guy home with me. I had a turtle about this size when I was a kid. I named it Manuel after a character in a movie. No idea what that would have been. I used to let it run around in our backyard on Brookfield, near where Radio Social is now. I took my eyes off it and it went under the neighbor’s fence. I looked for him for days and really missed him.

This one was right out on the walking path that parallels Sweet Fern Road in the Park. I took a few photos and picked him up and set him down in the weeds. I hope he’s ok.

What Vs. Why

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Leo Dodd drawing of my accident with Sammy G" Gingello in Webster, New York

I am not particularly interested in the why. I am more interested in the what.

But we have been developing a back story from fuzzy old negatives as to why I am interested in the mugshot. The better to serve the public.

I traced a certain fascination to 1970 when my brother was arrested in Ohio for pot. It was an incredibly minor infraction in my book but he was looking at ten years in maximum security. His arrest had huge impact on our family. My brother was in town a few weeks ago and shared a few of the letters my father wrote to him while he was in prison.

I was back home for the summer, staying with my parents in Webster, and I headed out somewhere in their black VW bug. I had my dog, Molly, in the back seat and I was only a few blocks from our home when I spotted Brad walking up to my house. He had probably hitchhiked over, we hitchhiked everywhere in those days. I swung the passenger door open for Brad to get in while trying to keep Molly from jumping out and then turned left right in front of a fancy red car. My dad illustrates all this in the enlargement of his drawing above.

But he left out one interesting detail. The red car that I hit, the guy I pulled directly in front of, was the infamous Salvatore “Sammy G” Gingello, a local mobster, and he wasn’t as pissed off as I would have expected anyone to be. He was just grumbling about how he was on his way somewhere and this was gonna set him back. I read a pretty interesting book about the Rochester mob written by Georgia Durante, Sammy’s girlfriend. Sammy was killed in 1978 when a bomb was detonated as he entered his car, which was parked outside of the Blue Gardenia restaurant in Irondeqouit.


Monday, September 25th, 2017

Street dancers on Gibbs Street at Rochester Fringe Fest 2017

Part of this, for the time being, all-consuming show is filling a four foot by seven foot display case. A place for ephemera related to the “Witness” show. I could fill ten of those cases with my father’s sketch books but there is only one.

I snuck a few mug shot flyers out of the office when I worked for the cops in 1976 so I’ll show those. They used a transparent overlay system back then called “Identikits” to construct what perpetrators might look like. This kind of mustache, this kind of smile, a wide range for goofy haircuts. Some of the suspects are pretty Frankenstein-like.

I saved the newspaper clipping from the time the District Attorney bought my sketch of Arthur Shawcross. And I’ve been cutting out the Crimestopper page since the Times Union was around. My sister, Amy, saved a few articles about my father that describe him out there in all four seasons sketching the Can of Worms construction project. And there’s a 1970 letter from my father to my brother who was serving time in an Ohio prison for a a minor pot infraction. The letter is precious for a number of reasons. I recommend it.

When my brother, Mark, was up last he talked about his reaction to my latest batch of drawings. I liked what he said and I asked if he could write it down.

“Looking at my brother Paul’s paintings, based on mug shots, always brings up a mix of thoughts and feelings for me ranging from artistic appreciation to memories of personal experience. They’re all portraits of real, and various people who are sharing a certain exceptional experience. They’ve just been arrested, stopped suddenly in the tracks of a free life, and are being transitioned to captivity. They’re all entitled to the presumption of innocence. But it’s a hugely degrading experience. They’re now prisoners, about to be put in a cage. Yet for me Paul’s paintings expose their dignity, their humanity – their emotions: of fear, sadness, embarrassment, defiance, anger, or resignation.

For some this is their first arrest. For others it may be another of many. But they were all innocent children once. They all have families, most probably have families that really care about them. I did when I was arrested in 1970. It was a cold February night and I felt free enough to leave my college dorm with a couple of friends and walk to a distant ball field to smoke a joint. We were looking forward to returning to the dorm to listen to “Let It Bleed,” The Rolling Stones album that just had come out. Then the cops came around a corner, with guns drawn, and in that instant I lost my freedom.

I was handcuffed, forced into a patrol car, then fingerprinted, photographed, and locked up. Paul’s paintings capture people at this border moment, when they’re told to stand at a wall and how to hold their head. They’re portraits but not in the usual circumstances, and I see the dignity in all of them, as I’m reminded of my own experience.”

The Experience Of Experience

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Irondequoit Bay from front porch of MacGregors on Empire Boulevard in Rochester, New York

John Ashbery grew up in Sodus NY, near where our literary friends just bought a house, and he went to school in Rochester, later living on Dartmouth Street where Peggi and I lived when we moved (back here in my case) from Indiana. I di not know much about him until died. I still don’t but I love the snippets o poetry hat have been quoted in his obits and related remembrances.

“I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees,
Merging into one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
And I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.”

Ashbery claimed that he was trying to convey “the experience of experience.” What a noble pursuit.

Full Swing

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Mizin Shin woodcut prints and silkscreen prints in the Lab Space at Rochester Contemporary

First Friday in September. Gallery night out. We started with the show at R Gallery on College Avenue. Mitch Goldstein’s large scale abstract photograms made from small objects. Both were artfully displayed in the front room. The back room was surround projections from Nancy Bernardo. She creates intentional and accidental glitches by manipulating the scanner bed while digitizing and then layering the results in moving pictures.

“Under Pressure,” Rochester Contemporary‘s new show features work by four printmakers, very unusual printmakers. They push the boundaries of printmaking big time. We spent quite a bit of time talking to Michael DeLucia about his high tech process for making low tech contact camera-less prints and 3d cork sculptures. They were beautiful and the more questions you ask about the work the more engaging they became.

Mizin Shin (photo above) really wowed us in the Lab Space. That space has been transformed as never before with her B&W silkscreen and woodblock prints.

We finished our night at Roc Brewery where A.R. Stone’s early aerial photos of downtown Rochester were on display. Stone’s great great grandson was on hand to talk about the prints that were handed down from his grandmother. He told us how she accidentally broke the glass negatives so we were looking at the only surviving prints. The Brewery crafted a beer named after Stoney for the evening.

Welcome To Somewhere

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Welcome To Somewhere sign near Mexico, New York

Peggi spotted this sign on the road to Mexico. Mexico, New York over near Oswego at the western end of Lake Ontario. We were in the back seat of Jeff and Mary Kaye’s car traveling up to Watertown to buy organic maple syrup and I was doing something on my iPad. I’m thankful Peggi spotted it. It’s a beauty.

It seemed like a long ways to go to buy maple syrup but when Jeff asked if we wanted to ride along we said, “Sure.” They used to belong to some sort of food co-op and they liked the syrup so they called the number on their empty container. Jeff called the guy again when we were close to town and had us meet him at the Sunoco Station on Rt. 81.

He was with his girlfriend but she never got out of the car. They looked like they might be Native Americans. He dropped his receipt book when he got out of the car and he bent over in slow motion to pick it up. He told us he doesn’t get out in the woods anymore because he had a downhill skiing accident. He buys most of his syrup from others but no synthetic defoamers or formaldehyde pellets are used in the trees. I wished he hadn’t told us that. It’s the last thing I would have thought of. And added that a rabbi had just been up to his warehouse so his syrup was kosher too.

We made the deal and Jeff put the containers in the trunk. It felt like a drug deal but it all went smoothly. We came back through Sodus in time to have dinner at El Rincón.

Get Well Sparky

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Sparky gives Little Man a haircut

We got a message from the woman who bought our old house that our former neighbor, Sparky, was in the hospital. Apparently he had a stroke. He had just stopped down here a couple of weeks ago and he looked so good we were thinking he had stumbled on the fountain of youth.

I’ve probably namedropped Sparky in these pages more than anyone else. Ours is such an unlikely association. We lived next door to each other for twenty six years and our first morning there the woman he was married to for a short time rang our bell with a pot of coffee in her hand. Her first words were, “We’re so glad you’re not niggers.”

We stayed away from them for years. They divorced, she left and we’d talk to Sparky over the fence. He collected junk and fixed things. He gave a us a mower that he found on the street and repaired. I started sneaking photos of him. Little did I know at the time that he loved it when you took his photo.

He played guitar and liked country music. He burned garbage in a barrel behind his garage. He told us he shot a sewer rat out front. He blew our minds and we became intrigued with his every backyard activity. Before we moved, I had keys to his garage and his shed.

We stopped up to see him in the hospital. He’s doing physical therapy but he is in rough shape. We made a card for him with this photo on it.

Invisible Idiot - Sparky's Shed
Invisible Idiot – Sparky’s Shed

Free Cookies

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Funky yard sale sign at Seneca Road traffic circle in Rochester,New York

This sale was almost scheduled for today. Whether they made a mistake or changed their minds, they covered their tracks well with some blue paint. I rode my bike up on the traffic circle to take a photo of it.

The first thing that caught my eye is the closed letters, the inside of the “a”s, the zeros and the the “d’s. Clearly a spray painted sign from a hand cut stencil. But then when they did the number “8”s, they cleverly cut the stencil so the inside of the eights resist the paint. I love the small caps usage on the name of the street and the ghostly starburst announcing “Free Cookies.” The finishing touch, the thing that really drives this thing home, is the wiggly red arrow with drip running uphill. I know where I’m going to be tomorrow sometime between 8AM and 3. This sign is going on my Funky Sign site when I get back to it.

Ticket To Venice

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Philip Guston book and tea on porch, Summer 2017

If I wasn’t so busy I’d be in Venice. Sure I’d take in as much as I could of the Venice Biennale but after the first good night’s sleep there I would start with the Philip Guston show at the Gallerie Dell’Accademia, “Philip Guston and the Poets.”

I travel as light as possible but when we were in New York last I spotted and picked up this book first thing at Hauser & Wirth Publishers on the first day there and had to pack it around the whole day on our gallery hop. Such a price. I have cherished every moment with this thing even if it is only a few dreamy pages before I nod off on the porch.

I superstitiously read the little slogans on the Yogi teabags even is most of them annoy me. But I’m taking this one at face value. “Love is an experience of infinity.”

Cereal Box Theater

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Covenant gathering in  Durand Eastman for eclipse

We walked up to the lake and spotted these witches gathering before today’s eclipse. Actually, they could be Presbyterians for all I know. They were dressed in white and one of them was wearing a cross around their neck.

Peggi had altered two Shredded Wheat boxes this morning and poked a pin hole in one end. We took them down to the pool where we put our backs to the sun and stared into the tiny theaters for an hour or so. I love it in there and the clouds that floated by made it all the more dramatic. I love the wide aspect ratio of the box end and the way the floor to ceiling screen appeared to be bordered on all four sides with a black frame. The perspective lines converging on the four corners of the black frame appeared to be fine white lines and it was easy to forget this wasn’t a life-sized room. We decided to save our boxes until 2024.

Big Dig

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Dodds and friends working on the pool at Hawley Drive in Webster, New York. Photo by Leo Dodd

I went looking through a box of clippings and old letters and stuff hoping to find an article from the local paper that was written in 1990 about my father during the Can of Worms reconstruction. My dad had taken an early retirement buyout from Kodak and he would go over to the construction site everyday and sketch the proceedings. Three of the paintings he did from these drawings will be in the October RoCo show and it would be nice to find this article for the display case. I did’t have any luck but my brothers and sisters are on the hunt.

I found this photo in the box and it reminded me how much fun we had hanging around our backyard. When my family moved out of the city in the sixties Webster was still a small town surrounded by farms. Although this place was pretty close to the four corners, our subdivision, referred to as the “Schantz track” by locals, was a muddy old corn field.

My dad decided to put a pool in the backyard and the idea was to dig it ourselves. You can see in this picture how much help we were. My dad did most of the work. My brothers did a lot more work than I did but I remember swinging a pick ax to break away chunks of hard packed clay. If you click on the photo for the enlargement you can see my dad borrowed a rototiller to break up the clay.

With seven kids in the family we would sometimes all have our friends over at the same time. There could be thirty kids in the backyard. And when it all got to be too much my mom would pop the back door open and order everyone to go to their own homes.

In this photo, from left:

Norm Ladd – Norm was a couple of years behind me in school but when I was a freshman, living in the dorm at Indiana University, his mom called and said, “Norm has run away and he’s coming out to stay with you.” As I remember it Norm’s future wife, an Indiana native, came to Rochester with some other friends to visit me. She met Norm here and they settled in Bloomington.

Paul Dodd – I’m shown in dress shoes with no socks talking to Norm. Norm also lived in the Shantz track.

Billy Mahoney and David Hill – These kids lived across the street. I used to babysit for them and I just talked to David at my mom’s funeral.

Frank Palozolo – Down in the hole, Frank, moved here from another town in our junior year but he quickly became school president.

Dave Mahoney – In his own world here, Dave came out to Bloomington after he quit MCC and we lived together for a few years. He was a fantastic drummer and he moved to San Francisco with his band, MX-80 Sound. He died rather suddenly. I think that’s the Mahoney’s car, last one in our driveway, a Chevy Impala or something.

Fran Dodd – That has to be my youngest brother, Fran, behind Mark in the group where Brad is holding court. Fran does high-end masonry for Rochester’s finest home builders.

Mark Dodd – Mark is in front of Fran. We shared a bedroom in this house. When our family lived in the city all five boys were in the same bedroom. Mark and I did everything together and shared a lot of the same friends.

Brad Fox – Brad was good friends with everyone in our family. In fact he lived with our family for a while during high school when his parent’s threw him out. He came out to Indiana too and stayed until he moved to San Francisco.

Tim Dodd and John Dodd – I love Tim’s t-shirt. I’m quite sure it was one of mine, handed down. Tim is an art director at Xerox and John designs and handcrafts exquisite furniture.

Joe Barrett – Joe says he doesn’t think this is him but that is his family car in the driveway, the Corvair, the same one he, Dave and I drove to Woodstock and somehow managed to find when we left. Peggi and I are working our way through the Twilight Zones on Netflix and I think of Joe almost every episode. I saw so many of them for the first time in his basement. He needs to pull his pants up.

My two sisters were understandably missing from this manly gathering. My dad took this photo.

Harnessing Summer

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Turquoise house on Wisner in Rochester, New York

Every morning I look at the dead branches on the cherry tree out back. I don’t know why cherry are like that but branches are always losing their leaves and the next thing you know the woodpeckers are working on it. Today I got our pole saw out and took care of it. Cleaned up a bunch of other small trees as well and then went for a big one.

I cut the wedge on the downhill side of the tree so the center of my wedge cut was pointed in the direction I wanted it to fall. And I looked up one last time before I made my cut from the other side. I saw Peggi motioning but I was wearing my Home Depot noise cancelling headphones and couldn’t make out what she was saying. The tree was only about eight inches in diameter, a maple with hardly any branches until the top, but it was probably sixty feet tall. If it went the wrong way it would hit the house.

This is where we turned to Jared, our next door neighbor. He advised us to throw a rope around the tree and take the other end of the rope down the hill where someone could stand behind a big oak pulling the tree toward them while I made the cut. Jared’s friend, John, volunteered for that. We dropped it just where we wanted it. I cut the tree into 16 inch logs and came up the hill just in time to hear Rick calling me for a game of horseshoes. I won the first and third game to take the match.

We planned to go down to the pool before bed for a midnight swim.

Totally Unfair

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Two farmers painted on silos near Torch Lake in Michigan

Our hosts on Torch Lake were kind enough to stop the car so I could take this picture on our way out of town. I had spotted it the day before and I couldn’t get the image out of my head.

We were visiting Peggi’s sister and she had recently retired so Peggi was pushing her on what she did with her days. Peggi wanted to know, “What is a typical day like?” I find that a totally unfair question. I certainly wouldn’t want to have to account for my time.

So what did we do on our first day back? We were still reading the paper on the deck when our neighbor stopped by to ask for help. He was trying to play an iPod through a small PA system and he couldn’t get the volume up anywhere near the volume of the mic channel. I told him I would stop by when I finished the paper.

He had a brand new cord, Sony stereo mini to stereo RCAs, running from the iPod to the back of the board. He played something for me and then plugged the mic in. It was loud as hell. I looked at the back of the board and saw that that the iPod was coming in the “Record Out.” An easy fix but surprising he got any volume out of it at all with that patch.

Meanwhile Peggi heard back from our nephew, an IT guy at a New Jersey bank and our one man geek squad. The neighbors on the other side of us had asked us if we could recommend a way to learn how to fly their new drone without cracking it up. They were even considering buying a really cheap drone to practice with.

Our nephew had taken birds eye drone movies of our neighborhood when he was up here and we had shared them with the neighbors. We passed their question on to him and he advised them to download an app for their phone and put it in “Beginners” mode. He said that was easier than trying to fly a cheap drone. Peggi went down to the neighbors house to to download the app and she plans to return when they are ready to launch.

With those issues under control we rode our bikes up to Wegman’s. Came out with two quarts of homegrown peaches, some wild caught scallops and a bin of plastic mixed greens. We needed an “LR44″ battery for our grilling thermometer but couldn’t find one at Wegman’s so we went up to Walgreens. The clerk there told me LR44 is the same as Energizer 357/303 so I bought one of those. You would think the brands would want to sell to their competitors and put that information on the package. Our last stop was Aman’s Market where we picked up half a dozen ears of corn and some homegrown Escarole.

By he time we got home it was almost time for dinner.