Friday, February 28, 2014

On the Way to Work This Morning 2/28/14

The snow, it is not pretty anymore.

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/28/14

How should you end this cold, miserable month? With a cute kitty picture, that's how!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/26/14

This time, I can't lament not being invited to this party--because I threw the party. This is an Old Milwaukee can I'd hug out on the Dumpster out back for a scrap collector to grab, only to have this winter's howling winds thwart me and throw it to the ground and cover it with snow.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/25/14

The shamrock blooms don't know or care how far away spring really is. They just want the sun.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/24/14

This block of melting ice looks like a ghost climbing into a window.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/19/14

I hope some baby isn't out in the snow and cold without one of his boots.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pothole City

With this winter's especially rough weather--regular snowy spells, often followed by bitter cold--more potholes than usual have sprung up on city streets.

These two beauties can be found at the northeast corner of Western and Leland, each big enough hold a small child. I saw several cars hit one or the other; I saw a couple of cars hit both.

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/18/14

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

At Lunch Today

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/12/14

I don't think any of these bikes will be moving again until it warms up again--so, maybe, July.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snowmegeddon 2014: Even More Dibs

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/10/14

Shocktober may be months away, but Kimba is here now to warm up the bitter winter days a little.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On the Way to Work This Morning 2/8/14

These days, walking to the train station is like flying through the trenches on the Death Star.

Also? These days, I can see how many of my neighbors have dogs. (Hint: Yellow snow.)

On the Way Home Last Night 2/7/14

Now that we've had several fresh snowfalls, the dibs are back out in force.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Is Bring Your Little Big Chap to Work Day

In the late '70s and early '80s, it was customary for toy companies to purchase the rights to make action figures from the popular movies and TV shows of the time, especially in the tiny 3 3/4" size (which was super-easy for kids to carry around in their pockets--and super-easy to lose).

The Star Wars toy line is, by far, the best known and most popular of these toys, and every other toy maker in the business tried to emulate that success, most especially Mego, which had passed on making toys for the Star Wars franchise (and, by no great coincidence, went out of business a few years later).

So the market was flooded with itty-bitty, semi-posable representations of characters from such less-than-stellar efforts as The Black Hole, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Legend of the Lone Ranger, among many others.

One movie you didn't see such figures for, however, was Alien, the 1979 science-fiction/horror hybrid classic that featured Sigourney Weaver in her first starring role and an all-star roster of character actors (Yaphet Kotto, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartright)...oh, and one big fucking scary alien. known affectionately (then and now) as the "Big Chap."

You almost saw those toys, though.

Kenner held the license to make such toys, and they did produce a huge, 18" figure of the "Big Chap" himself (a toy which is now hard to find and super-expensive). However, they only got as far as the prototype stage for the 3 3/4" figures from the movie before someone, somewhere no doubt realized that producing a line of toys from a gory R-rated horror film probably wasn't the best thing for the sleeping patterns of America's children. (Never mind that we would have thought those toys were wicked cool and cleaned the shelves of them...when our well-meaning parents weren't looking, of course.)

But lo, all these decades later, the fine folks at ReAction Figures have dug out those prototypes and produced the figures we never had when we were kids. Now the "Big Chap" cam loom over my computer monitor--and, when he returns home, harass my tiny Doctor Who and Universal Monster figures, too.

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/7/14

They say that to truly know a man, you have to walk a mile in his shoes.

I don't know quite how many miles I've walked in the Texas Steer work boots I inherited from my dad when he passed away in 1995, and I don't believe those miles gave me any more insight into the man than I already had.

Except, perhaps, for this: The man had good taste in shoes.

It was a matter of self-defense, really. Years of working on his feet--at the railroad as a switchman and at various factory jobs thereafter--had left them in rotten shape, and late-onset diabetes and kidney/heart issues certainly didn't help. Therefore, he bought quality shoes build for comfort and protection, including the Texas Steers that he wore on the job to keep his toes from being busted and in winter to keep them from freezing.

Those same Texas Steers got me through many a winter and more than one blizzard. It had to get seriously cold (well below zero) for me to even feel the January chill, and all I had to do was work them a bit with saddle soap and Wetpruf every autumn to keep them in shape for the cold, salt-stained days to come.

In the end, though, that saddle soap and Wetpruf were probably all that still held the boots together.

The soles had long since lost anything resembling a tread--they gave me no traction in the snow and ice whatsoever--and the leather uppers had begun to crack along the creases. It was only a matter of time before they split open and let the cold and moisture in, no matter how much Wetpruf I slopped on them.

So last week, I officially retired the Texas Steers.

I didn't throw them away. Of course not. They belonged to Dad. They're not going anywhere. I'm not likely to wear them anytime soon, though, now that I've bought a pair of tough, warm hikers with long, deep treads that have kept me from sliding or slipping at all in the week since I bought them at the store-closing sale at the Sears on State Street.

The new hikers may not have the history that the Texas Steers do, but they're more likely to keep me from falling on my ass--always a possibility, no matter what the weather.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story 2/6/14

The snow piles along Richmond Street now reach up past my hips and, in some places, up to my chest.