Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Around the Water Cooler 7/29/2011

While you might be aware of some of the most frequently reported  news stories this week such as the  on-going negotiations to try to raise the debt ceiling and  the record breaking heat wave that has most of the country sweltering, perhaps you have missed some of the more obscure news.   We can't have that.

Here are a few of this weeks stories that you might of missed.

He's Dead, oh..not so fast

A man in South Africa woke up to find himself in the morgue.  Not only was he in a morgue but had been put in the  morgue's fridge. 

The morgue owner, Ayanda Maqolo said that the family of the "deceased" called him to pick up the body of their loved one after he collapsed due to an asthma attack.  According to Maqolo, the morgue employee that retrieved the body checked for a pulse.  The dead guy was hauled back to the morgue and put in the drawer.

After almost a day (21 hours) employees at the morgue heard shouting from the fridge and thought they had a ghost on their hands.  (this is what the article said...I am not making this up)

The morgue employees did what all people that are afraid of ghosts do: they called the cops.  Maqolo was quoted as saying he was glad the police had guns in case something wanted to fight with them.

Is it just me or do these morgue employees sound like morons?  They put a live guy in the cooler, think they hear a ghost calling out to them and think that cops with guns will in some way be effective against spirits.

Another interesting aspect to this particular article is that it concludes that the "dead" guy's family is happy to have him home. 

I am thinking he better watch is back.  His loved ones are pretty quick with the "I now pronounce you dead".

Because this story smacks of something that I would just make up..and you have justification to be jumping to that conclusion.  Alas, this one isn't one of my "stories".  For the article click here

Another Dead Guy

A former Chicago commodities broker  that disappeared in 1979 and was since declared LEGALLY dead has been found living under a false name and working at a Las Vegas casino.  Authorities say that Arthur Gerald Jones disappeared from Highland Park, IL to escape large gambling debts and trouble with organized crime.

Seventy two year old, Arthur was arrested Tuesday on felony identity theft and fraud charges.
Turns out that Art has been going by the name Joseph Richard Sandelli ever since he went missing.

Doesn't look dead
An Illinois court declared him dead in 1986 which allowed his wife and three children to collect his social security benefits.

OH OH, some one is in trouble.  Who, I am not sure.  Is it Arthur?  No Art can't be in trouble.  He is dead after all and has been since 1986.  I am sure Mrs Art Jones wants him to stay dead as she would be on the hook for a whole bunch of social security payments that were paid in error.  Is Joseph responsible for Art's problems?  If so does Art have to be resurrected from the dead?  This could be complicated.

South Carolina Woman To Go To Trial..Oh nuts!

A South Carolina woman will face a jury trial over a $445 ticket written to her after a police chief deemed her "truck testicles"  hanging on her vehicle violated  the local obscenity laws. 

Virginia Tice, 65, was issued the ticket earlier this month after being pulled over by Bonneau Police Dept. Chief Franco Fuda, Fuda had eye "balled"  the Truck Nutz hanging off of Virginia's 2004 Dodge.

The actual violation was recorded as an obscene bumper sticker.  Obviously there isn't an actual violation that includes the words Truck Nutz.   The obscene sticker charge covers "displays" that the community could find offensive which can include sexual acts, excretory functions or parts of the human body.

The trial is scheduled for late August.  Time will tell if a jury of her peers deem novelty balls to be obscene.

**shaking my head**  Oh, Virginia tsk tsk. While I concede to your right to freedom of expression, do you really think that this is the classiest adornment you could put on your ride?  Nothing says "high class" quite like plastic testicles.

Get out of jail card

Finally a criminal with some intelligence.  Mind you, he isn't using his IQ for the greater good or anything but still...

An inmate in a central Florida jail used a glitch in the facility's phone system to raise his bail money. 
The Lake County Sheriff's office says that 32 year old Larry Stone discovered that the phone system at the jail credits the accounts of  the inmates for calls they make if the phone call doesn't connect to the party being called.  The glitch is that it not only credits the accounts but it credits the inmates account twice for every one call made. 

Larry kept making calls and hanging up before making any connection until he reached $1250.00. That is the amount he needed to bond himself out of jail.

Stone only remained free for a couple of hours as officials became suspicious when other inmates started duplicating the trick. Stone is being held on a property damage charge.

I wonder if Larry lost his phone privileges? 

The Good for the Day... I haven't been pronounced dead this week or been in jail.

The Bad for the Day...the ongoing "talks" about the raising the debt ceiling.  Let's have less talk more action.

The Weird for the Day...

While I was roaming around the Internet looking for the lesser reported news for the week, I found some rather interesting mug shots over at Smoking Gun.

This guy was exposing himself which is why he is getting his
picture taken.  At the time of his arrest he was wearing a blue
dress.  Not surprised are you???

She beat up her boyfriend.  Doesn't she look totally clueless?

This guy is having an identity crises His other problem seems to
be not handling his anger issues.  He was arrested for domestic

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet Me At The Fair

My husband's family volunteer a lot of their time to help organize the county fair. My brother-in-law is especially involved in the planning so we try to make it back to Iroquois County, IL during the fair time to support all of his effort.

Probably every county has some type of agricultural equivalent of the county fair and a lot of those are affiliated with the 4 H clubs. 

A little blurb off of the 4H website.

Through America’s 109 land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System, 4-H reaches every corner of our nation—from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. With a network of more than 6 million youth, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H helps shape youth to move our country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.

While I didn't live on a farm, I did participate in 4H.  I don't remember every project I ever did, but I do remember constructing the world's ugliest skirt at one point.  Needless, to say, it did not win the blue ribbon. 

My husband and his brothers were avid 4Hers and raised animals to show every year at the Illinois fairs. They traveled all summer from one fair to the next with their assorted animals.

So what does any of that have to do with today's post? 

People are quick to point out how many kids are not responsible, or are rude or lazy or any number of negatives but....there are 6 million kids out there in America that work all year to bring their projects to be judged at the local county fairs.  We need to support their effort.  We need to walk through the show barns, and the exhibition halls, and buy tickets to the programs that support the kids.

So this year we drove from Kansas City to Iroquois County Fair

Here are just a few of the things that we did at the fair.

The Big Cat Show

One of the first shows we went to was the Big Cat Show.   Clayton Rosaire is a ninth generation animal trainer that has a  wild life habitat in Sarasota, Florida.  He has been bringing his cats to the fair for the last few years. Besides being a really nice guy, his cats are amazing.  You can read about the show and the habitat by clicking here.

Clayton standing with his lion, Handsome
Handsome is quite handsome, don't you think?
Clayton with Mia.  Mia is a liger. She is a really rare breed.

grandson #2 is way more interested in his stroller than the lions and tigers
He is just over the chickenpox so he gets to chillax a bit.

Handsome is discussing world affairs with us.

Demolition Derby

I thought maybe the grandsons would find this too noisy but they seemed to find it pretty entertaining. 

Demolition Derby judges

Visit with assorted animals
Draft Horses

Eyeing the chicks (from a 3 yr old's perspective)

Chickenpox survivor still just chillaxin in his stroller with his binky
 Ride the Rides
As far as Grandson #1 was concerned the best part of the fair was the rides.  He particularly liked the slides.

Had to sit on daddy's lap as G-boy didn't meet the height requirement

A smaller slide that a 3 year old can maneuver

Slides are fun
Eat Fair Food
 We all like the "tasty but not so good for you" fair food.

The Good for the Day....a lot of fun seeing all the animals and the exhibits

The Bad for the Day....Really, really HOT

The Weird for the Day...Handsome is thinking how tasty we would be with a little BBQ sauce.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

But That Was Then and This Is Now

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

First Thought  ....Farms are changing

In the forty years that I have been married to my husband  I have seen big changes in family farms. Farms, even of the family farm variety have gotten bigger but fewer people stay in the profession.  In the case of my husband's family farm,  only  one of the brothers  remains committed to stay "on the farm" AND two brothers decided to be silent (well...maybe  not so silent) partners keeping their farm in the family.  My husband is one of  those brothers.  That is not to say that he isn't committed to making it a sustainable business and takes pride in the farming way of life. 

The farming community (at least the group around Iroquois County) is made up of a close knit, supportive, hardworking group of families that are just good people.

My 2nd thought:    Being a farmer isn't for the faint of heart. 

This is what barns used to look like.

This is what barns look like today.

Drought effects on corn crops 40 years ago

Today farmers might handle drought with one of these

I was chatting with some of the older farmers at the Iroquois fair over the weekend about the cost of tractors and such.  I am a total nerd that way. 

They tell me that in 1951 they probably paid $2300 for tractor like this one.

Those days are long gone....

Today's tractors have on-board computers that have GPS technology and keep the rows from overlapping, keep the operator nice and cool in the air conditioning and a farmer can plug in his ipod or talk hands free with built in bluetooth technology.  While you might not think of a tractor as needing bells and whistles, a tractor like this can plant large acreages more efficiently with less fuel and less waste of seed and chemicals. From the farmer's point of view, he can work a lot more hours and conduct business without "beating himself up" as in the days of the older tractors.  Productivity is a good thing.

But all of this has raised the price a bit.  This tractor would cost in the neighborhood of $300,000.

The end result is perfectly planted rows.
Doesn't my BIL do a good job?

End of the row on part of my husband's crop

If you missed the turn coming out of the driveway you would be covered in corn.

Soybeans, the all purpose bean

I will say that my husband and my brother-in-law  think I have lost my mind standing out in the yard taking pictures of the corn and beans. 

If I were to write up a bucket list, I think one of the things I would like to do is try driving that tractor.  I have dropped a few hints to both husband and brother-in-law but so far they think I am trying to be funny.
And when I say funny...I mean they think I am being ridiculous.   I might point out that I have never had a wreck with a tractor yet.  (how dare they point out that is because they haven't let me drive one yet)

Not to be denied without a fight,   I have given them a second option as well.  If they don't want to let me loose on the tractor there is a semi trailer truck that I could give a try.  I am thinking an 18 wheeler could be fun to drive.  Surely someone could show me how to shift 18 gears.  How hard can it be???

The Good for the day....I have a gem of  a brother-in-law and he is married to a gem thus giving me a equally great sister-in-law.

The Bad for the day....Farmers are under appreciated in a lot of cases.  It is harder and harder to stay competitive.  You have to really work smart to get the yields you need.

The Weird for the day...The cost of equipment

A new combine with corn heads would cost nearly a half million dollars....nearly...not quite $500,000 --That is a lot of corn and beans!!!!

In the weekend Kankakee paper

The cows seem to be liking the center pivot irrigation as well. 

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Acres

My husband grew up on a farm. His family stayed in the same geographical area for his entire childhood surrounded by their very large extended family.  I, for the most part, have always lived in towns or cities.  My family moved around a bit as a kid but I did spend a large portion of my childhood in the vicinity of Iroquois County, Illinois.  I met my now husband when he was 12 years old while my dad was drilling a water well for one of the buildings on the farm. I was 11 and remember him as being tall and skinny.

Anyway...Thursday, we headed back to his family farm, which he now co-owns with his two brothers.  My husband and his brothers look at their farm not only from the perspective of their family history but also from the perspective of costs, profits, production, blah, blah, blah...more work than fun. 

It turns out that it takes a great deal of work to plant crops like soybeans.

My brother-in-law is a good guy and a good farmer

We are pretty much the equivalent of a modern version of Green Acres with a twist.  My husband knows a lot about being a good farmer as he grew up on the farm. BUT.... He likes the city life.  I know next to nothing about farming, much like Eddie Albert's character, Oliver and I think farming looks interesting...dare I say fun.  So in our version hubby is Lisa and I am Oliver.
From where we live in Kansas City it takes 7.5 hours to get to Iroquois County, IL.  We always take the small state highways as opposed to the Interstate highways because it makes for a far more interesting drive.
Oddly enough, taking the backroads gets you there in exactly the same amount of time. 

This is what would see if one would drive on the Interstate

Ahhh, the beauty of traveling the Interstate (you do get the sarcasm here, right???)

The backroads however always have neat things to look at. 

If you ever need some tacky souvenirs, Nostalgiaville is the place to get them.
Need anything with Betty Boop on it???  Kingdom City, MO

Crossing the Mississippi at Louisiana, Mo

The Mississippi River (my tinted widows are making it look wasn't)
 Stopped in Springfield, Illinois for lunch.  If you haven't ever visited the historical area of Springfield it is worth a look.  The Lincoln Museum and Library is really interesting.

Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL
Be sure to check out the show  "Ghosts of the Library".  You won't
believe what you are seeing.

A little gas station in Dwight, IL that sits on RT 66

The little town near hubby's family farm is L' Erable.  It is tiny at around a hundred or so people.  You would have to hand count the inhabitants as the US Census doesn't recognize it as a town.  Still, it is the home to the oldest wood framed church in the state of Illinois. St. John the Baptist, Roman Catholic Church is still used today.

St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, L'Erable, IL

We recently attended a very pretty wedding
at St. John the Baptist

The largest town near our farm that would have hotels is Kankakee, Illinois.

Civil War Memorial in front of the Kankakee courthouse

As a little girl I thought this was the most magnificent waterfall.
I hadn't ever seen a real waterfall at that point.  Who knew??
Kankakee gets a lot of negative press as it has experienced an economic slump for a number of years but there is a lot of pretty places around town as well. 

We make a few trips back to the farm any given year but it is especially nice if we can go during the time of the county fair.  This year it worked out. 

So today, I am just getting you to the farm...tomorrow, I will post some farm pictures and Wednesday will be a post about our day at the fair.

The Good for the Day...It was a fun trip visiting old familiar places and seeing our family and friends.

The Bad for the day...when will this hot weather ever cool down.

The Weird for the Day... Kankakee is about 50 miles south of Chicago.  Saturday morning, we walked out of a mall to a downpour.  The rain was so heavy that it flooded nearby areas including O'Hare Airport.

A song about a train leaving from Kankakee