Monday, June 28, 2010

That Fuzzy Thing

Have you ever had that little itch somewhere on your face or head where you can't reach it to scratch it because you have your helmet on? Sure you have! Well it happened to me again recently. It was on my right cheek and I thought it would just go away. It didn't and when I stopped at the next stop light I popped up the visor, took a glove off, reached in and gave my cheek a quick scratch. Ahhh, Relief! But a little ways down the street the itch came back, but this time closer to the right side of my nose. I could barely see that it was a white object with what felt like a long piece of hair attached to it. I could only partially see it, but it felt like it was tickling the entire right side of my face. It was really starting to drive me crazy. For a moment I thought I might have to stop the scooter and remove my helmet to get it out. At the next stop light though, I repeated my earlier treatment and was able to get it out of my helmet. I am still not sure exactly what it was, but it was like a piece of stuffing that you might find in a pillow, or one of those fuzzball things that come off cottonwood trees. How it got in my helmet, I'm not sure. Doesn't matter now either. But for a few minutes there.........

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm a Lucky Father

The immediate family members have always done something very nice for me for Fathers Day. This year my son had to leave on Sunday for a trip to a conference in Dallas so we got together on Saturday night for a barbecue dinner at my son's house. We had a great dinner of chicken breasts, salad, fruit and Laura (son's significant friend) made a Key Lime pie for dessert. My daughter and her fiance were going to meet up with his father on Fathers Day, so Sunday was going to be a day with just Jayna and I. I was looking forward to a relaxing day alone with my wife after a very busy week. I was also hoping to go for a short ride sometime on Sunday, but the house needed cleaning and there was some yard work to do. Then my wife said that she would clean the house Sunday morning, while I was gone, if I wanted to go for a ride. I gave a measly sort of protest about it not being fair for her to stay home and clean the house while I went out to have fun. She firmly insisted that I go. I couldn't make her change her mind. (Then again, maybe I didn't try real hard, or maybe she is not impressed with how I clean.) I left the house about 8:30am. It was one of those days where I had no real plan as to where to ride. And I love a ride like that. So many rides are for a particular purpose. I thought I would head south first on Greenwich road, a section line road just east of town. I ran into some road construction and turned east for a few miles. I decided to turn south again on Andover Road. My makeshift plan was to see how far I could take this road before it turned into dirt. I discovered that Andover Road, the main street in Andover Kansas, eventually became renamed as Butler Road as I got further away from the city of Andover. Butler is the county and I wondered as I rode how the road ended up with two names depending on where you were. Then again, who cares. As I rode along I thought about what a great family I have and how lucky I am. My wife is the best, of course. My kids (28 and 23) are both out of college and gainfully employed as teachers. They each have really neat significant others in their lives and I really couldn't be prouder of them. It was a hot and humid day as I continued south. The first town I came to was Rose Hill. Not sure where the town got its name. Saw some roses but someone would have to show me where the hill is. They have a new high school there and it is a nice little community. I know people that live here and commute to Wichita every day. As I ride south from Rose Hill it looks like the road might dead end at K-15, a state highway, but the road just jogged over a bit and I continued on to the town of Udall. I stopped here to get a couple of pictures.
ATSF stands for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
Udall has some notoriety for having been almost completely destroyed by a huge tornado in 1955. Jayna's father was a newspaper reporter for the Wichita newspaper at the time and was one of the first people into Udall after the tornado hit. Having some scary experience with tornados myself, I took a moment to look at a small memorial for the victims of the tornado in the park adjacent to the caboose.
A rather somber memorial. The names continued on down to the bottom of the rock.
I decide to go west from here after seeing that Butler (Andover) Road had apparently ended. There was a sign saying that Belle Plaine was 9 miles away. I always thought that "Belle Plaine" was a nice name for a town.
About nine minutes later I rode in. I have been there before, but don't recall entering town from the east side. It's amazing how your memory of a town is dependent on what you see by the direction you come in. It was pretty in the morning sun.
Belle Plaine has a beautiful little nature conservancy known as the Bartlett Arboretum. Beautiful flowers and trees abound. You can take a walk over footbridges and paths inside the park while being surrounded by beautiful plantlife. One of those little known and out of the way gems of the world.
I went on westward eventually reaching an intesection with old US 81 that goes north back to Wichita and eventually becomes Broadway Ave in the central and downtown areas of Wichita.

Some sunflowers and other pretties on the side of the road

At the intersection I stopped for a bit to get a drink of water. Took a few pics of some wildfllowers and made a new plan on getting back to Wichita.

A pretty shot of some sun and shade

I wasn't going that way this morning, but I bet the produce is good. This is serious farming country

On the southeast part of Wichita was an old (now closed) amusement park known as "Joyland". I though it might be interesting to ride by and see what kind of shape it was in. It was primarily for grade school age children. But there was a rather unique old wooden roller coaster there as well.

I had an acquaintance that said he worked there as a teenager. He said his first duty each day was to "walk" the roller coaster with a couple of wrenches and tighten any bolts that might be loose. He said there were always loose bolts.

It sure appears to be a lonely looking park now. If you listen, you can try to imagine the laughter and screams of children on the various rides when the park was in its hey-day. That was a long time ago.

I dared not to trespass. Looks a little overgrown
I am sure it would be very costly to fix up that old roller coaster now. It was never breath-taking with speed or thrills, but was always surprisingly fun with its little creaks and rattles. Nowadays the big amusement parks in Kansas City or Oklahoma City, even Dallas seem to get Wichita's business for amusement parks with their big expensive thrill rides. I only rode on that roller coaster maybe 3 or 4 times in my life, all as an adult, but somehow I miss it. Another bygone era.
The tallest portion of the old roller coaster. I bet there are a lot of loose bolts now.
I rode on home after that stop and was glad to get out of the heat. Jayna and I watched some World Cup soccer that afternoon and also a rather bad movie starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. We took the dogs for a walk later that evening after it cooled off a bit.
What a great day it was.
I am a lucky dude!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Watch Out, Out There

Recently, I had a couple of scary events while riding or driving that have caused me to ponder a bit about rider safety "out there" on the road. First: I was riding home on the scooter. It's about 10:00 pm. It's a 4 lane street and going the opposite direction from me was a motorcycle and a car almost side by side with each other. The motorcycle was in the curb lane. No big deal, really, but suddenly I hear the motorcycle engine roar and the rider does a wheelie for about 20 yards or so. Almost right in front of me. Startled the crap out of me. Didn't expect that at all on a somewhat lazy ride home at night with seemingly little traffic. We passed by each other and nothing bad happened except for a little jolt of surprise on my part. But as I rode on I wondered a bit about what might have happened if the other rider had screwed up the wheelie and maybe caused the car to swerve, possibly into my lane. How would I have reacted? I was being alert, but this was so totally unexpected. Made me think. . Hmmmmm. Second: The next afternoon I am driving the famous Canadian Subaru. We were on a two lane highway and we were executing a somewhat lazy left curve at about 55 mph. There was a car on my right, stopped at a driveway, waiting to make an entrance to the highway. I saw it early on and sort of kept an eye on it. There had been some traffic coming from the opposite direction. Unbelievably, the car pulled out on to the highway right in front of me making a left turn onto the highway. Thank God for a good car with anti lock brakes. I actually had to swerve to the right and drive off the road a bit, onto some grass and across the driveway. I ended up driving behind the car that had pulled in front of me. I don't think I could have stopped completely in time, but was able to successfully make the maneuver around the car and avoid an accident. I saw the face of an elderly looking lady very briefly as we passed by each other. There was some fear in her eyes as she was realizing that I could have easily plowed right into the driver's side door. But no accident. Just a fairly close call. As we drove on, I thought about my reaction. I thought I had done well in avoiding a potentially serious accident. I then considered what might have happened had I been on the scooter instead of in the car. The scooter does not have anti lock brakes. I was real glad I had them that afternoon. And the scooter brakes are decent, but not as good as the brakes on the car. I know that and try and take that into account as I am riding. Then I also thought about the maneuver I made and how different it would have been with the scooter. The grass could have been much more of a potential problem for the scooter. I wondered if my reaction riding the scooter would have been as good as my reaction was in the car? I'd like to think I would have been planning ahead a bit further on the scooter and been going a bit slower in the situation. You know, SIPDE. Also. I'd like to think that I would have handled the braking differently knowing to avoid allowing the brakes to lock (particularly the front) and potentially causing a skid. But again, this entire scenario was so surprising and unexpected. Hmmmmm. Third: That night on the news there was a report of a traffic accident near town where 2 people died and a motorcyclist was severely injured. The accident apparently involved a car crossing over the median on a separated roadway and striking another vehicle on the other side. A mother and her 10 year old son were pronounced dead at the scene. It sounds like the motorcyclist avoided the collision, but apparently laid the bike down in his effort to avoid the incident. A car suddenly crossing a median on a separated roadway is not something that I would normally even remotely anticipate. Let's hope the motorcyclist gets better soon. Let's also hope all our riding stays serene, ordinary, with little traffic and courteous drivers. But can you ever predict everything? Particularly when another driver does something really unusual and totally unexpected? Hmmmmm

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Manufactured right here in Wichita. The airplane, not Max.
The Boeing B-17. You've seen the plane in a lot of the WWII movies.
Max and the Liberty Belle parked at Jabara airport over Memorial Day weekend
One of my favorite movies from this era was "12 Oclock High" It was about the people that manned a squadron of B-17's flying regular missions from England to bomb Germany during WWII. Many lives and planes were lost.
Wichita played a vital role in that process as a lot of those B-17's were made here. In fact, a lot of Wichita's growth as a city is a result from this war effort. Labor was cheap, the work ethic was strong with midwestern values, etc.
If you had a spare $400 you could take a ride on this beautifully restored B-17 this last Memorial Day. Lots of people did. At the time it was quite a weapon. There were hundreds of these in the skies. Much of Germany was laid to rubble. Ahhh,,, you know the history. Max and I went out for a short ride one morning that Memorial Day weekend to get a shot of the plane. I had seen it in the sky the day before. It was slow, loud and impressive. Up close, it looks like someone did a beautiful job in restoring a 65 plus year old plane. A ride in it would be quite a rush! But I have Max, and a ride on him is a pretty good rush too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

1954 Cushman, One Owner

The Wichita Twisters held their monthly ride and 21 scooterists showed up on a warm day with a bright sun. Our little club continues to grow slowly but steadily with a few new people showing up each time we get together. . One of the new people that showed up to ride was riding this. Italic
A 1954 Cushman Scooter.
I didn't get much of a chance to talk with the guy. But from what I understand he bought it new in 1954 for $175?
It runs like a top. The brakes are squeaky, but it is because of new pads.
Wish I had got better pictures, but we were having such fun riding and socializing.
Kick start only. Started on the first kick.
Quite a machine!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


One of our cats, "Mo", looked up at me from his sleeping place on a couch with an expression on his face that said, "What the heck are you doing? It's not 6:30 yet!" All the animals in our "pack" know that 6:30 am is the appointed feeding time. It is hard coded into their psyche to wake up at this time and expect food from their "human" providers. Alarm clocks are not generally needed in our house. Today, though my cell phone notified me it was time to get up and start "smokin'".

At 4:30 I was tested by my photographic ability to take a picture in almost no light. I used the flash. It was easier, and I wasn't real awake yet.

In fact it was 4:30 am and still very dark outside. I was captivated by the smells of the air on a lazy Sunday morning: The meat was drunk after spending a night bathing in a copious amount of Jack Daniels. The aroma of the alcohol was present as I put on a rub of fresh grown herbs (from our garden), salts and sugars. The smell of the oak and mulberry starting to burn in the firebox of the smoker was somehow sort of sensual.

The drunk meat is placed on the cooker after a generous application of a rub.

Then there were the sounds. The birds were starting to chirp. I wonder what they actually say to each other at this early time. The neighbor's outdoor fountain was making its usual sounds. They have a tall privacy fence. We can't see the fountain, but can hear it. An occasional car would go by on Woodlawn Ave just a couple of houses away. The neighbor's yippy dogs were asleep. No complaint about that. It was very quiet.

There is something very primitive or tribal in nature to the process of burning wood. A charcoal base is used just to get things started. All wood fuel thereafter

The sky was just barely starting to turn lighter as the sun neared the horizon. It would still be awhile before the sun made a blazing appearance. The full moon bathed the yard in a soft light as only the moon can.

Crappy attempt to get a shot of the barely light sky, but you get the idea.

Eventually, as time marched on, the dogs let me know what time it was. I had just put new wood on the fire and went back into the house to feed them. Later today it would get hot, maybe with some thunderstorms, but this morning I was enjoying the cool air and being outside in it. It could only have been better if I was out riding on this absolutely beautiful morning.

A shot toward part of the garden as the light continues to slowly invade the back yard

I went back outside. I got out the laptop and finished up a couple of scheduled posts to the blog. The sun eventually made its appearance and the newspaper arrived. I picked up a few "dog bombs" from the yard knowing that other humans were coming by today and wanted to be sure that there were no "hazards" in the yard.
Sorry Bobskoot, it's all in farenheit, but this is the ideal temperature goal for about 7 hours of cooking
The other humans were coming over today to sample some brisket that I was "cookin'". I had not done a brisket in the smoker for awhile. It is not a lot of work, but to do it right, takes a long time (at least 6 hours) at a low (225-275 F) heat. So most of the effort is just keeping the fire going and watching the temperature gauge occasionally.
The cooker in its glory. It's starting to get a bit lighter out.
About every 45 minutes or so I put a few more chunks of wood on the fire and check the temperature. Other than that, there is not much to it. There is much time available to enjoy being outside and enjoy the sights , smells and sounds of the early morning.
It bocomes time to create a "mop" for the meat to cook in after wrapping in foil. We actually didn't use the tequila in the mop. (The tequila was for later) I threw in a few spices in the mop as well, but not much, mostly pepper.
I was amazed to discover the origin of the lime juice. Conch, do you know Nellie and Joe? .
The sun started to warm the air as the smoke from the fire continued to bellow from the vent atop the smoker. I turned the meat over at about 7:30am and although it had a long way to go, it was starting to brown a bit and looked good.
The ceremonial wrapping of the brisket. A double layer of heavy duty foil with lots of the mop inside.
To barbecue experts, the creation of a "smoke ring" in the brisket is a desired goal. A faint discoloration just inside the surface of the meat from the smoke is recognized in smoking competitions as a sign of quality cooking. It is not as easy to do as it sounds. I have had success at times, but not every time. The meat we bought came from a mennonite farm near here, not a huge industrial packing plant. No growth hormones were used and the cattle are raised on farms using time honored traditions. It is much more expensive than what would be in a grocery store, but amazingly well worth it.
A shot of the garden. Tomato plants on the right, some Anaheim peppers on the left, Cilantro, Lettuce and Spinach. We have had some awesome salads already this summer.
I had to ask for a cut of the meat with the fat still on it, and the guy at the meat counter of the local butcher shop we like, seemed to sense immediately why I wanted it that way. They had some "in the back" he said. We smiled at each other as he put it on the scale (close to 9 lbs). He knew instinctively that I was going to smoke it and the fat would almost melt and disintegrate into the meat and provide the flavors desired by those familiar with the concept.
A shot of the herb garden. Basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and lavender all fight for space in this little barrel. The oregano and basil are winning so far.
My smoker is almost perfect for this purpose. There are many more revered types of smokers out there on the market but this one does just fine for us. The firebox sits to the side of the cooking area providing indirect heat and smoke to the cooking area.
After 7 hours I check the temperature with a meat thermoneter. I was aimimg for 160F. Turned out to be 190F. Very nicely done and very moist with the use of the mop.
After close to 3 hours, with my hope for a smoke ring firmly in place, I wrap the brisket in foil and pour a mop of various fluids on top. Some experts don't wrap the brisket, but wrapping helps speed up an already very slow cooking process. After all, I don't have all day to do this. Humans are coming by between 12:00 and 1:00 pm and like the dogs at the 6:30 am feeding, they will demand to eat what by then will smell fantastic.
The first couple of slices are made. I am ecstatic. The smoke ring is almost perfect.
We had a brief rainshower at about 10:30 am. It managed to make the air very humid. With a high temperature today expected to be in the upper 80's and a possibility for thunderstorms, this was bound to be a very sticky day. The sun came out with a vengeance after the rain making the air feel very heavy compared to what it was like at 4:30am.
Madeline, our Shepherd/Husky is always curious as to the droppings of liquids as they come out of the cooker. The little coffee can is supposed to catch them all, but a few drops were found to the benefit of the dog.
I placed the last bits of wood on the fire at about 12:15pm. Except for a brief period of time during the rain when the cooking temperature dropped a little below 200, I was able today to keep the temperature between 225 and 275 most of the time. Aiming for a prescribed temperature with a wood smoker isn't always successful. Some woods burn hotter than others. It takes some experience with your equipment. I was happy just to stay close today.
More slicing ensues. It's hard not to eat it all right there, but others will be angry if we ate it all.
I hadn't even opened up the oven portion of the cooker since I wrapped up the brisket at about 8:30am. You have to fight the curiosity to open it up and look at it. Opening it up can drop the temperature quite a bit and cause more cooking time. I placed my faith in the Barbecue Gods that all would turn out well in the end and a special nirvana would be created within the confines of the foil surrounding the beef.
Let the feast begin.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ockham's Razor

If two hypotheses are equally accurate and neither appears more probable than the other, the simple one is to be preferred over the complicated one, because simplicity is practical. Where the hell am I going with this? Let me explain. Just soon after some warranty work was performed on my scooter recently, I began experiencing a starting problem. Not enough juice from the battery to engage the starter even though the lights and accessories all seemed to work properly (and yes, no blown fuses). I was so mad at the repair shop that did the warranty work that I began to suspect that maybe they did something wrong. Was there still some sort of short somewhere? Did they cause this? My early suspicion was the wiring to the horn which was the subject of a maintenance bulletin. It had caused a blown fuse about a year ago.
The horn next to the coolant overflow reservoir. The wires to the horn originally ran underneath the radiator, sometimes causing a short. They have been moved now.
It was also suggested by a good friend that maybe I just had a bad battery. I took the battery out and took it to a local battery store. They said it was pretty dead, but at no charge they said they would attempt to charge it up, test it and see if it was good or not. They did charge it up and test the battery and pronounced the battery to be healthy. Two days later, the scooter didn't start again. Hmmmmm I had been working with my good friend who helped me do some of the maintenance work I needed to get done on Max. The morning after we had worked on Max I noticed this box by my garage. A new battery was in there along with a trickle charger. A note said to try this battery out and see if that fixed the starting problem. If it didn't, then we would have to look further into some sort of electrical problem.

A box containing a battery, a charger and some extra coolant. A good friend is invaluable.

In trying to diagnose what my problem was, there seemed to be two possibilities: 1) I had a weak battery, pretty simple to fix. Or 2) There was a short somewhere causing a drain to the system. Would be potentially hard to track down and difficult to isolate. The timing of the starting problem closely coincided with the time that my scooter was in the repair shop. I didn't like those guys anyway. And the battery store said the battery was good and should maybe last 5 years or so (it was only 2 years old). So it was easy to assume I had a problem that might be tricky to solve.
The SYM has a 4 valve engine. Intake valves on top, exhaust below. There are 2 valve covers (the top shown here) held on the engine by 3 bolts. Two bolts are easily accessible, the third is under the bracket that holds the seat. Had to get that one from the other side. Oh well, if it was easy everybody would do it.
But, as you can maybe surmise by now, the simple solution turned out to be right and I made the whole affair seem more complicated and difficult than it really turned out to be. The new battery did the trick and the starting problem went away.

The exposed valve tappets on the bottom of the engine. We thought we might have to disassemble all of the body panels off the scooter to get at them, but turned out it wasn't that bad. Just a little inconvenient. We did have to take part of the floor off. A repair stand would help at this point but a little garage floor dust never hurt anybody.

Why is it that we sometimes assume the worst? Is it human nature? Is it because I had such a bad experience at that repair shop? But anyway, Max is now back to being his old dependable self. All is well with the universe. I have now learned a lot about Max with the help of my good friend. I have changed the engine oil, changed the gear oil, flushed and refilled the coolant, changed the spark plug, replaced an air filter and even inspected the valve clearances. The valves were all spot on and didn't need adjusting. I know how to do all these tasks now. And I replaced the battery.
The old and new air filters.
I still haven't re-set the clock though.
Maybe someday I'll tackle that too.
Many thanks to my friend for kindly "showing me the ropes".

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Still Crazy

After all these years. Just like Paul Simon said. From a docked I-Pod came music from the 70's. Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills and Nash and other similar vintage music. Disco music was not to be tolerated. A couple of propane space heaters helped warm the cool evening, the glow of the heating elements providing a reddish tinge to the otherwise white lights in the garage.
From left to right, Jim (the blog author), Jim, Terry, Greg and Mark
Lawn chairs and coolers were arranged in a circle to enable conversation. I wanted to ride to Lawrence (direct route by slab about 155 miles) but because of rainy weather I took the famous Canadian Subaru up to Lawrence to meet up with some friends that were fraternity brothers of mine in college. We met at Terry's house and congregated in his "Man Cave" for beer, burgers and remembrances of older times. I hadn't seen a couple of these people in over ten years. Most of them I had not run into except for a very few times in the last 30 years. We kept in a somewhat loose contact with each other over the years, but rarely got together. With kids growing up, family and work commitments, it was always difficult to arrange get togethers with more than 2 or 3 of us. Most of us now are "empty-nesters" and it became a bit easier this year to arrange a date. Facebook became a way to communicate with each other for the planning of the event. We jokingly argued about who was friends with who on Facebook and why or why not.

A view of the "Man Cave" from the driveway.

We all looked a bit older, much shorter hair, some with gray hair, etc., but we were still the same crazy people in many respects. We recalled various events and spent a lot of time asking each other things like "Do you know where so and so is now?" or "Who was that guy that did that crazy thing that day at the lake".

One fun thing we did is tell each other about our kids, what our experiences were like in raising children, etc. There were some good (and some maybe not so good) stories told about our kids. We made the Catholic couple amongst us go last because we knew it would take awhile. It did. They have 5 kids, most of the rest of us, just 2. But we are all very proud of our offspring. There were supposed to be 6 of us there along with some of the wives. One guy didn't make it to the party, and we spent some time telling tales about him to his detriment. His loss. In the group I ran around with, there were 3 of us named Jim (one being the guy that didn't show up) and that got sort of confusing at the time. So the 3 Jim's were known by their last names instead. My nickname was "Roger" then.
The unbelievably organized north wall of the "Man Cave". There was some discussion of the usefulness of some of the equipment, particularly the small shovel toward the left. It was eventually determined to be a "good" by the group.
One is an attorney, a couple are self employed, another is a corporate exec. It's a wonder how we survived those years, but we all remain good friends and we had a great time reminiscing. We gave Terry a lot of ribbing about his "Man Cave". In his garage there is a TV, a fridge full of various types of beer, and a collection of rather unique bottle openers. His wife said that there were only 2 stores that Terry frequented, Home Depot and the liquor store. He also has become a serious bicyclist. There is a display of number tags from a series of annual MS tours (usually about 150 miles) he has rode on in honor of a childhood friend of his from his hometown (who was also a frat brother) and had died years ago from Multiple Sclerosis. A great guy that just went too soon. The level of storage sophistication with pegboard and hooks was amazing. We marveled at the shelf containing cleaning fluids and lawn chemicals, all neatly arranged and easily found. Terry said that nothing pisses him off more than not being able to find something. Rest assured that my garage is not near as organized.

Are your screwdrivers and hammers this organized?

The stories were many and too lengthy to describe here. The laughter was raucous, the food fantastic and the fellowship even better.

Oh well, maybe I'll tell one story.

Warning! This story, very true, is not for those that are faint of heart.

One time the frat rented a school bus and took maybe about 50 of us to a Kansas City Royals baseball game. The Royals had a fairly new stadium and were somewhat competitive in those days. George Brett and Frank White were a couple of the stars on the team.

We sat in the cheap seats just beyond right field

It was a hot August day. We all had our shirts off and basked in the warm August sunshine. Of course there was a fair amount of beer consumption. We all sat together in the cheap seats in right field. We had fun heckling whoever was the right fielder for the opposing team right in front of us.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, the score was close, but the Royals were down a run. There was a runner on base. Two outs and George Brett came to the plate. Now, George was a left handed batter, a great hitter (notorious for the "pine tar" incident) and when he hit the ball he generally pulled the ball to right field where we were conveniently sitting. Thoughts of "Mighty Casey at the bat" and saving the day crossed our minds as he sauntered up to the plate. Plus, wouldn't it be cool for one of us to catch a walk off home run ball that won the game?

The celebrated hero of the day, George Brett. (Note the trace of pine tar on the bat)

The crowd was excited, tension was high. A couple of pitches later George took a swing. The ball took off like a rocket, a hard line drive seemingly headed to the right of us toward center field. The ball looked like it was long enough to be a home run. Could it be that George would save the day?

But as the ball approached, we could see a lot of spin to the hit and the ball started curving toward us. Cries of "Oh Shit" were uttered as we all stood up, hurriedly put down our beers, stretched out our arms and hands in a vain effort, in our somewhat inebriated state, to try and catch the ball.

But as you can imagine, the possibility of catching the curving and speedy missile was going to be difficult. Our reaction times were not good and the ball eventually hit a guy very close to me in the chest, bounced off a seat and was captured by a fan many rows away. The ball actually left a little imprint of the laces on his chest. It had to hurt!

But at the time we were not concerned for his health, we were just mad that he didn't catch it potentially preserving another little trophy for the frathouse. Turns out he was okay, but he had a pretty nice bruise for his paltry effort.

We laughed like crazy as the crowd roared in celebration of the victory.

But that wasn't all that happened that day.............

A fine example of a concession stand dispenser.
As we left the stadium, one of the guys that had a well deserved reputation for being certifiably insane, thought it would be fun to "borrow" one of the large mustard dispensers from one of the concession stands. It was bright yellow, shaped like a small barrel with a pump on the top. It contained a copious amount of mustard (at least a gallon).
Beats me how he got it out of the stadium without being seen, but he succeeded. Now you need to know that the pump on this "weapon" was about 4 inches long and was powerful enough to squirt the pungent fluid at least 10 feet or so if handled properly. You can only imagine that no good was going to come from this.
In short order many of us had been "shot" with warm mustard. Yecch!
The result of being shot by the "weapon" Rumor has it that certain "Axis of Evil" countries were considering this weapon for their armies. They weren't able to make it work effectively. We did!
Not only that, but our assassin friend started to turn the weapon on other unsuspecting patrons of the game as we left the confines of the stadium. Most were not at all amused. We were lucky that a fight didn't start. We all pretended that we didn't know the guy, but we were laughing so hard that it was pretty obvious he was with us.
Various vehicles left the stadium through multiple lanes of traffic. I am sure it was accidental, but more than a few times streams of mustard were seen emanating from inside the windows of the bus. The shots landed at times on hoods and windshields of cars that had the bad luck of just being in close proximity to this bus of destruction and carnage.
The natural reaction of drivers that had just had their windshield sprayed with mustard was to instinctively turn on their windshield wipers. But this feeble attempt at improving their visibility only resulted in smears of mustard across the entire windshield.
With the "weapon" on the bus an even bigger mess was made. I'd hate to have been the person responsible for cleaning up the bus after us, but somebody would have had to spend a great deal of time with lots of paper towels and cleaning fluids. The bus probably smelled like stale mustard for months thereafter.
None of us escaped without having at least some yellow substance on us that day.
They could have written the "Animal House" movie about us. We had all the characters.