issues & thoughts


Louise & I have been having a lot of fun here at HighPoint sorting through our various collections of vintage sports cards.  Baseball, football, even a handful of non-sports collector cards, many from my father's youth (1930's) as well as my collections from the '50's and '60s.  So we decided to have a few cards framed to preserve as keepsakes and memories of my Dad, and sell the remainder.  Its hard to let go of many of these because so many of the vintage cards are really quite cool.  The wide frame below with 7 small baseball cards are from a limited series created by the Goudey Gum Co. in 1938 affectionately referred to as "Heads-Up" cards.  To learn more, click on one of the frames below:

I've learned a lot through the process of researching these sports cards. Example: as a youth I was definitely into sports as a participant and a fan.  I'd fall asleep listening to Ernie Harwell broadcasting Tiger games...but I do not recall ever hearing about The Boston Bees.  Turns out, the Bees of Boston played on a field called The Bee Hive.  I'm not making this stuff up. Originally the team was known as the Red Stockings in 1871 - sometimes called the Red Caps not to be confused with the Cincinnati Red Stockings (and not to be confused with the American League Boston Red Sox founded in 1901 but not named Sox until 1908). The NL Boston squad was known as the  Beaneaters ... then became the Boston Doves (named after new owners George Dovey, John Dovey). In 1911 the team was named the Boston Rustlers...who finally became the Boston Braves...they moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and then off to Atlanta in '66.  Whew.  Talk about an identity crisis!  Bet those who think native Americans are disrespected by "the Braves" nickname wish it were still The Bees!
The '38 Goudey Heads-Up card above features Hall of Fame catcher Al Lopez who played then for the Boston Bees and featured 2nd from left in 7-card collection at the top of this page.  After his playing career Lopez became manager of the Cleveland Indians & Chicago White Sox in the '50s & '60's.

We sure have had plenty to cheer about when it comes to Detroit's pro sports teams...we were fortunate to get tickets for the Tigers world series games in '68 & '84. The Pistons were exciting through championships '89, '90 & '04...after decades of mediocrity.  But the football Lions have been a different championships since '57.  Quite a drought.  Still, we watch and hope.  I know my friends in cities like Cleveland can relate.  While something tells me the situation is about to change (and improve) I admit, I've had that same sense of optimism about our Lions for over a half-century.

Meanwhile, we'll continue our de-clutter projects and are in the process of selling most of the vintage cards from these collections.  (Another note to family:  those who wish to have similar pieces for the memories should stand tall and express themselves before they are all sold. As they say at weddings: "speak now or forever...")

Rediscovered: we've found plenty of gems like the picture below as we've sorted thru family photo albums and slides taken largely by my father.  We call our collection the Scan-A-Slide photo project and it continues to grow.

above: Mike & Pat practice in Dearborn ('57).

As a youngster our family lived in a very nice community within walking distance to elementary school.  Quarton Elementary was just 701 yards (.4 miles) from my back door.  From the 1st grade onward I viewed the taller, older "safety boys" with great admiration, respect & a touch of envy. They were posted at each intersection on the streets surrounding the school...from my house to the school there were 4 such crossings where "safety boys" stood, arms extended, protecting kids from any traffic or danger.  "I wanna' grow up and be one of those guys!" I likely said to myself thousands of times.  It must have one of the many goals my parents urged me to set for myself & it paid the time I was a 6th grader I was doing my part to keep kids safe.  The badge they gave me has been a cherished keepsake in that shoebox filled with memories that included some of my favorite Match Box die-cast little toy cars & ticket stubs to the '68 World Series, among other treasures.  

Not familiar with the Safety Patrol?  Here's a vintage public service announcement that may help explain on YouTube: 

Mom passed away Oct. 19, 2017.  To celebrate Mom's life, and her family and our heritage I've created a virtual family photo album  called: "Scan-a-slide" - a mountain of family photos spanning a century! photo page >

SOLD!  J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store...the fun little shop that Louise launched in 1991 now has a new owner.  Our beloved Little Red wagon that hauled over 4.7 million pounds of the birdseed has such rich patina we couldn't give it up.  Brother John was kind enough to get us a new little red wagon for the new owner of JJ's: Gretchen Giles so that our original little red can enjoy retirement, too.  Little Red is now Louise's "Chuck Wagon" - helping with the daily task filling bird feeders at High Point!

We Went Solar !

In a big 2012.  Since then we've shared our production data, particularly for those who think only Southern states get enough sun to justify the investment...because it's a false narrative.  Even in cloudy Michigan where half the year you need a sweater or jacket anytime you venture outdoors...we generate electricity from the sun.  Lots of it.

frugal is what frugal does? What sweet delight a quiet life affords. 
       ~ William Drummond

We tend to get our money's worth out of things we buy, and we find joy in being rather frugal.  Pictured here are a pair of Mike's blue jeans that have been mended multiple times...just because they are so darned comfy.  The jeans are amazingly well-made and it seems worth the effort to hang on to 'em.  You see, Louise found a source for great blue jeans that are actually made right here in the USA. They are a bit more expensive than the disposable variety found in Big Box stores - but we think they're worth it.  We think our economy is better served when we make stuff right here in the USA.  Here's a link:

She's a picker, he's a picker....wouldn't you like to be a picker, too?Louise Wins 2017-18 Contest...By A Mile!

College Football Bowl Season - The 2017-2018 college bowl season was a lot of fun & Louise prevailed again by picking 22 winners - Mike had 20. Not that we watched all the games.  We enjoy watching some sports ...particularly high school & college and decided to make it an official contest "HighPointe Bowl Pickers" back in 2011.  You may have read about it previously on this website. Mike wrote: "He Lacked" when Louise won big that 1st year.  

This year Mike employed a new standard - he refused to select any team without a winning record...and this stubborn position obviously cost him.  Hey!  Sorry folks if it upsets you but why is a team with a 6-6 or worse a 6-7 record, is being rewarded with a trip to a bowl game?  Fourteen teams with less than a winning record were awarded with bowl game appearances. "I advocated we limit the contest to just those games between teams with winning seasons," Mike reasoned.  But even if that rule were followed, Louise would have still won 12-11. 

Another bone I have to pick with college football is the compensation paid to the people who manage these bowl games - in some cases we're talking over $1 million per year.  Doubt me?  Read: "Bowl game executive pay soaring around $1 million" USA Today 12/14/'s pathetic.  These are supposed to be charitable organizations - not another get-richer-quicker scam for the wealthy, well-heeled, well-connected good old boy network...but it seems that's what we have.  The insult to the sport is compounded by the level of compensation modern day coaches are receiving...the average FSB head-coach is knocking down over $4 million, annually, while assistant coaches typically rake in $500K or more.  It's sickening.  Spare me, folks, this has gotten a bit out of hand.

But for now, we'll enjoy a college bowl game provided it's recorded on our DVR so that we can zip past the avalanche of commercials.  We enjoyed watching all eight state high school championship games played right after Thanksgiving and really gave that DVR a work-out!  Louise has won 4 of the past 7 years:

2017-18:  Louise won! 22-20 (consolation - Mike picked Alabama for our national championship)
2016-17:  Louise won! 24-22
2015-16:  Mike won 25 to 20
2014-15:  Mike won 19 to 16
2013-14:  Louise won 22 to 16
2012-13:  Mike won 24 to 17
2011-12:  Louise won 18 to 14.

turkey-time at High PointTurkey time - in the early 2000's we began seeing a couple wild turkeys on a regular basis.  Then a dozen.  Then 2 dozen.  Today we've got upwards of 50 crazed turkeys roam around High Point.  They swarm our roof, our yard - and get quite vocal when they think it's "feeding time".  The gang obviously enjoys cleaning up seed debris under our bird feeders and the flock has grown to the point we're finally beginning to question our sanity.  It's gotten out of hand.   So the plan now is to feed further away from the house and gradually reduce the volume of corn and bird seed available to 'em. 

Left:  turkeys feed on seed ribbon Mike spread out the new section of driveway.

Parade of Projects - 2012 was the year for projects! Landscaping around the house to correct drainage issues, installing sump-pump in basement, painting lower level, and replacing deck surface with new cedar boards.  The original deck was built 24 yrs ago...and always had a bit of wobble - but less so now that Mike shored up the structure. 2015 Mike sanded the new surface & re-sealed. Likely he'll get to do that again this summer (2018).

07.07.18:  yep, as predicted, the deck got sanded and re-stained last month...2 gallons every 2-years.

a guy and his deck
As with most projects, it took longer than planned - but the new deck surface and benches turned out pretty nice. 

enlarged view >

finally completed
ground source loop - one of five lines buried 5 ft down in our backyardGoing Geo (As in ground source Geothermal)
2011: we installed a new Geothermal heating and cooling system.  Some trees in backyard (stumps and all) had to get cleared, then we had the nice folks from Michigan Energy Services dig five trenches roughly five feet deep and 150 feet accommodate 750 feet of  "GeoThermal loop".   These series of pipes contain fluid that is capturing the earth's energy - in this case a fairly constant temperature (50-55 degrees), which is piped into the basement, connected to our new WaterFurnace to heat and cool our home and supplement hot water heating.  The WaterFurnace is connected to our existing duct-work and operates much, like the natural gas forced air system we had previously, and was installed by the talented folks at Porter & Heckman from Lapeer, MI.   And yes, the Water Furnace was made right here in the USA.  Cool huh? See more: photo-album & video clips >  

inside: a new Geo Thermal "furnace"Meanwhile, Louise and I walk about the house repeating: "we're heating our home with water!"  No fuel oil, no natural gas....just improved technology capturing the power from the sun, stored right here in the soil.  We're loving it so far!   The jury is still out but in the first year using geothermal system our natural gas consumption dropped by over 90%.


hammock lovers....head to toe (times 2)...the rest of the friends
while in college Mike had a roommate who nixed the standard issue dormitory bed in favor of a hammock. Yep, he strung it up with lag bolts secured in concrete walls. Quirky guy that boy we called "2-shirt Tanis" (because he always employed the layered look: shirt on shirt).

Anyway, this isn't a shirt-tale, but rather, a hammock story. Louise has bought a couple of 'em for our little utopia in the woods - strung between two sturdy oaks with the bolts slowly being absorbed by the growing trees. It's a peaceful way to spend some quality time with a good friend: swinging in a hammock. We made a design note to ourselves recently that when it comes time to build a Superior home we'd be wise to incorporate a hammock to be placed indoors so that we could use it year-round (ala' 2-shirt)! See? There was some linkage after all, to these tales. 

a little bomb - see Mike's latest comment >

If some foreign country had dropped 20,000 bombs on the USA do you think we'd notice?
see Mike's archive of past rants >

What happened to the "blog"?  Too much spam.  Given the political landscape in this country, one more ranting voice is certainly not going to make a difference.  I'll continue to write an occasional piece under the heading above: "issues & thoughts". 
revised 07.14.18   The good news: Democrats can regain control of Congress this year.  The House and the Senate.  So far Republicans have lost two recent races in deep RED districts in Alabama & Pennsylvania.  The rest of the Nov mid-term elections can not arrive soon enough!