Christmas Week

Well, Christmas 2008 has come and gone. Sure hope you had a nice one. We traveled to Houston for the holidays to be with part of our family and had a great time.

One of the interesting things about about our trip were signs along the way. I combined three photos that I took and as you can see the price of fuel continues to fall. The lowest for regular was $1.16 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Diesel was $1.97 and at a station in Arizona it was $1.91. What a difference from July when we paid $5.20 when pulling our RV to Colorado!

I just had to shoot the exit sign to Gary, New Mexico, and can you believe that across the State of Texas they raised the speed limit to 80 mph! You know that most people always drive above the limit so that means you'll see a lot of folks becoming NASCAR drivers! I don't know who was responsible for passing that law, but for me that's too fast to be safe. Hit something at 90 mph and you don't stand much of a chance of living!

On a better note, I hope that 2009 will be the best year of your life. Happy New Year!

Spike O'Dell

My friend Spike O'Dell spent most of his life on the radio. It all started in 1977 at a small station in East Moline, Illinois, and within a few years he ended up at Chicago's WGN. Yesterday he made his last broadcast as morning personality and I had the privilege of being there.

The show originated from the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights and the theater was packed. I flew in Thursday and flew back home Friday afternoon. It was two days of action packed fun, and the weather was beautiful on both flights. Beautiful except for 15 degrees in the "windy city" so it was awesome coming back to sunny Arizona where the temperature was over 70.

While doing research for an article in the Quad City Times the editor found this picture of Spike on my Photo Site and asked permission to use it. It was used, along with a couple of other shots that I took at various stations, in the article that was published Friday.

I took the above photo during the show and also shot a few minutes of Video with my little Sony camera. You can click on the picture for a larger view.

When the broadcast concluded at 9 am Spike threw his earphones into the audience, signed autographs for hundreds of people, then jumped into his car and drove to his new home in Nashville where he is retiring.

So many memories with my friend over all these years, especially when we were both in the Quad Cities.

Here's a toast to you Spike!

Certainly you are joking!

Do you know this man? His name is John Thain and he is the CEO of Merrill Lynch. He has my vote for the biggest _ _ _ _ on earth! What this character has done is beyond my conception of reality.

The taxpayers bailed out the company that John heads, to the tune of $10 billion dollars, and that's spelled with a capitol B. Now Mr. Thain has asked the Board of Directors for a $10 million dollar bonus!

Run the company into the ground, ask for a bailout, then ask to be rewarded? Personally, I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or vomit! I can't find words of how ridiculous, absurd, outrageous, and utterly insane this is! Details from Fox News.

Arizona Sunsets

Some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world are in Arizona. It was almost dark when I took this shot a mile from our house. Was it through someone's window? No, I added that, but who wouldn't want this view every evening.

After taking this photo we stopped and filled our stomachs with oriental food. Now you'll have to pardon me as I have to check some data.

The Love of Photography

The more you have a passion for something, the more you are constantly aware of it. And so it is with me and photography. Every where I go I see places and things as a picture.

While walking through our living room today, the late afternoon sunlight was streaming though a window accentuating the beauty of an arrangement.

I grabbed my camera, captured the sight then added a few effects using different programs on my computer. You can click on the photo for a larger view and I also posted it on my Photo Site.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have discovered a new drink and thought I'd pass it along to you. It's Lipton's Diet Citrus Green Tea. I'm not a lover of water which you should drink plenty of each day, but I'll drink this and I love it, besides it's good for you. That's got nothing to do with nothing but what the heck.....

From our house to your house, may Diane and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! We all have so much to be thankful for and our lives are greatly enhanced when we are grateful.

Click on the Photo for your piece of pumpkin pie!

Digital Cameras

I recently purchased a Canon SX110-IS point & shoot digital camera for day to day use. I have an expensive Nikon D80 with a lens that cost as much as the camera. It is a sophisticated piece of equipment with advantages over this one, but the Canon costs 1/10th as much. On most occasions this camera will do the job and probably take as good a picture as the Nikon, or any other expensive DSLR for that matter. For comparison, I walked outside and took the same picture with each camera using the same settings. You will read a full explanation in the upcoming December edition of Cyber News. You can also click on the photo of the Canon for a larger view of the back and the beauty on the LCD.

Take a look at the two photos and you decide if one is better or if they are equal, then come back here for the answer. Don't read any further.......

Did you pick Test A or Test B? Both pictures are almost identical in content, and both were hand held. I had Diane sit down in front of my monitor and asked her opinion. After quite a few minutes of deliberation she picked Test B. Test A was taken with the Nikon which cost over $2,000. Test B was taken with the Canon which was $249. Believe me after that little test I'll use my new friend with confidence!

Bill O'Reilly, Christmas, & Spam Calls

I was shopping at COSTCO yesterday and picked up a copy of Bill O'Reilly's new book "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity." It didn't break the bank as it was only $14.00, and when I got home I couldn't put it down until I had read the whole thing. Interesting, informative, and entertaining. I enjoyed it because I could see a lot of my life in his. If you like Bill you'll love his new book!

On another note, I think it's time for us to seriously consider how much money we should spend on Christmas. This can be a very stressful time of the year because we feel compelled to fulfill the thousand wishes of our children and grand kids. They don't need every item that they see on TV and we don't need more debt on our credit cards! Be honest and explain that there isn't enough money for their entire wish list. Scale down, spend less, enjoy family, and everyone will be happier!

While writing this my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number but answered it anyway and it was a recording about having my carpets cleaned. It's one thing getting these calls at home but I detest this on my cell phone and I'm steamed! Pardon the pun.

There is a way to hopefully put this to a stop and here's how to do it. You can call 1-888-382-1222 from your cell phone, or go to this web site to register all your phones, which is exactly what I did.

Email Virus

As mentioned in Cyber News, one of the purposes of this blog would be to keep you up to date on computer stuff during the month.

Here is an example: There is an email virus floating around and I have actually received it myself. It makes you think it's from UPS and asks you to fill out information so you can retrieve a package at your local UPS office. If you fall for it you get bit with a virus! Keep alert for these kinds of emails and don't be gullible.

Details from Snopes.

Magazine Cover Shot

I took this photo last Saturday evening while attending a Hot Air Balloon Festival west of Phoenix. It was a beautiful day and we had a fun afternoon shooting the colorful balloons. See the last 6 shots in my Balloon Gallery.

We were munching on a cheeseburger and fries when we noticed the beauty of the sunset. I grabbed my Nikon, walked about 100 yards from where we were sitting and snapped some frames.

Using Paint Shop Pro X2 for a little post editing fun, I created a magazine cover in which I escalated my photo talents. I only wish I was a Master Photographer, but I'm learning and it wouldn't be much of a challenge if you started off knowing it all. Arizona sunsets are breath taking and I always look forward to the next one. I also look forward to the next pleasing photograph that comes from my camera.

Find Happiness Today

I receive a motivational email each day from a man named Ralph Marston. Most of them are inspiring and "food for thought." Here is today's message:

What is the path to true happiness? How far must you go to
find happiness?

You need not go very far at all. For happiness is always
inside you, ready whenever you are.

No object, no person, no circumstance will make you happy.
You are always happy when you decide to be.

The good things in life do not cause happiness. It is
precisely the other way around.

Allow happiness to flow out from you, and the good things in
life will surround you and fill your world. Choose to be
happy, with no conditions imposed upon that happiness, and
you'll create the ideal conditions for your life.

Happiness is a beautiful gift you can give yourself no
matter what. Give it freely and it will change your world.

You can visit his website at

I hope you find happiness today!

French Fried Green Beans

Now I'm a few years older than the average guy, but never in my life have I had french fried green beans....until last night. I've had them in a casserole, but never made like french fries.

We met some friends at TGIF for happy hour. We do this every Friday night at a different place here in Phoenix, and believe me there's lots of places to choose from. In a two mile stretch near our home there are more restaurants than anywhere in the world.

So this was our first visit to Friday's and the hostess recommended that we try their french fried green beans. We did and we couldn't get enough of them. Umm good....give them a try sometime!

This morning I was playing around with some photos that I took last month in the Smoky Mountains. I came across one that was really a "throw away." It was way over exposed and I almost hit the delete button, but that's the nice thing about a good photo editor is that you can take a bad picture and turn it into something that looks pretty good. So I darkened it, tweaked here and there, gave it a paint effect and put a frame on it. Not bad....

Click on it for a larger view.

The Weather & Internet Scam Alert

The biggest reason why we live in Phoenix is the weather. Today's forecast is for plenty of sunshine with a high of 76. That's my definition of joy.

South Dakota today had 4 feet of snow with 50 mph winds. Now that's my definition of miserable!

There's no doubt about it, sunshine just puts you in a better mood.

This morning I walked around the house with my camera shooting this and that. One of my shots was a painting hanging on the living room wall. I imported it into my computer, modified it somewhat, gave it a painted effect, added borders and a frame and here's the final product.
You can click on it for a larger view.

OK, so much for the weather and fun stuff, but now I have to warn you about new email scams since the election of Senator Obama. Details from PC World.

Have a nice weekend!

A New Future for America

November 4, 2008 is an historic day for our Country. America has spoken and elected Senator Obama as its 44th President.

John McCain gave an elegant concession speech saying that America now needs to be strong and work together for common goals. Senator Obama gave an outstanding acceptance speech in which his words were the same.

We have come a long way and each of us must have a positive outlook for our Country. We must become one people, one voice, one nation.

We are all glad the campaigning is over. Now let's get on with our lives, and build an image of the world we want to live in!

Welcome Cyber News Readers

People on the Internet have been blogging for years and I'm just getting on the band wagon. The word Blog is a derivative of Weblog, kind of like a Captain's log on a ship. It's essentially a diary and you can write about anything you like.

I originally started this for a few family members and some friends so they could see the progress of a recent trip we took with our RV.

After the trip I thought maybe this would be a good way to supplement Cyber News with timely comments about things we write about. Whether this is a good idea or not only time will tell.

Thanks for dropping by. Stop back again and I'll keep an eye out for you. If you're reading this and haven't seen Cyber News, here's the link.

Mystery Solved

A few blogs ago I mentioned that mysteriously a Stanley Engineering sign appeared at our door step while camped in the Quad Cities.

Well we have the mystery person. He was a former neighbor and when I got divorced in 1984 he bought it in a garage sale that my former wife had. So for 24 years he has had this sign that was formerly on a business that I owned in Davenport, Iowa.

I can't tell you how surprised I was to receive this momento from the past, but for a few days was mystified on how it got to our RV! If you know Pete Lau, you would understand how wild this was. He was, is, and always will be one of my fondest friends!

Thanks Pete.....

A Great Vacation!

Let's see, from the 14th until the 28th. I think I've skipped a few days. We're back in Phoenix now, but really had a wonderful time for the 32 days we spent "On the Road."

The last two weeks of our trip we were camped at Scott County Park, just north of Davenport, Iowa. One morning we woke up early to find the area covered with fog, so off we went to take some pictures. This is a small lake in the park and it was most beautiful at sunrise.

Outside of a couple of rainy days here, the whole trip presented itself with sunshine. It was a great time of the year to travel as most people were finished with their vacations and the kids were all in school.

Another benefit was that fuel prices were down considerably since the summer months. We must have stopped at 20 to 30 Love's stations across the country. They were much easier to navigate with the RV than other stations and their prices were usually lower.

I have added some pictures to my Photo Galleries from the vacation and will be adding more as time permits for editing.

Thanks for your visit....Blessings.

A Fun Monday (Oct 14th)

Yesterday we spent the day cruising around looking for photo opportunities. Started in the morning spending time at Pioneer Village here in the park where we are camped. Very interesting place. If you live in the Quad Cities this would be a great way to spend some Saturday morning.

We had lunch with David and Paul in Davenport. They went back to work, and then we visited the John Deere museum in Moline.

I took this photo of an etching on the front window which I thought made a great shot! That's the Radisson Hotel across the street which is right on the Mississippi River. (Click it to see larger.)

Of course what kind of a day would it be if a girl couldn't do a little shopping? When you are the world's largest farm implement company, there's a lot of goodies to choose from in their gift shop.

After the Deere Museum we cruised the Illinois side of the river and spent some time walking around Prospect Park in Moline. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon and this was a great place to reflect and relax.

When I was on the radio, I remember one of our DJs got married here.

Hope all is well at your house.

Life is good!

The Weekend of Oct 10th

I can't believe how many people we have seen and how much fun we are having! Saturday it was up at the crack of dawn, headed into Davenport, picked up our friends Pete and Ronelle who had VIP tickets for us to attend the McCain Rally. It's one thing to see one of those shindigs on TV but another to be there in person. A very enthusiastic crowd was on hand to meet John. I can call him John now, but not long from now it will be "Mr. President."

It was neat to see him in person and to see how well the advance people can organize a rally. We waited around for a while to see his bus leave.

From there we had a large pizza for lunch and then Di and I went to my cousin's house for a relaxing afternoon. Then to church with David and Paula and out for a fantastic dinner.

If you are live in the Quad Cities and are reading this and haven't been to Graze you need to make a visit! Outstanding food. I'm now wondering if we will ever get back to Phoenix as we will be overloaded because I'm now 500 pounds!

Today it was church again this morning with my daughter Lisa, husband David, Hannah, and Emma. I took a picture of Lisa and kids during breakfast and they are the last three in my portrait gallery.

Kenny and Sharon just pulled up in their motor home and will park next to us for the next four nights. We will head back to Phoenix on Monday the 20th. Meeting more friends this week, and might even find time just to relax.

Life is good....

Good Times in the Quad Cities

We are seeing lots of friends, some of them that we haven't seen in years. The weather is great with temps in the 70s and cool enough at night to have the heat on in the RV.

We had delightful lunch yesterday at a winery in Colona, Illinois, a short drive from our campsite across the Mississippi river in Iowa.

Years ago, before my flying career, I owned a business in Davenport, Stanley Engineering Co. Somehow someone got a brass sign off of the building, kept it all these years and delivered it to our campsite yesterday while we were gone. When we arrived it was sitting on the table outside the RV, and it was quite a thrill! We have yet to find out who the mystery person is.

Today we were visited by my cousin, Lance Frye and he brought his son Keaton with him who is attending Augustana College in Rock Island. He's a tall good looking basketball player who is currently up for Cosmopolitan Magazine's "Bachelor of the Year." They flew him to New York for a photo shoot and you can see him and vote for him here. He is Mr. Iowa. I posted this picture that I took of him today in my "Friends & Family" gallery.

David and Paula were out the other night and presented us with a video production that he made of our European vacation last October. We watched it in full stereo in the RV. Very cool and a very nice gift! Sure nice to have talented friends.

We sure are enjoying this gypsy life and our new rig. Who knows, the way we are losing money in the stock market, this may be our new home!

Life is good.

Travel to the Quad Cities

We left Pigeon Forge, Tn Friday morning and camped in Crawfordsville, Indiana that night. Arrived at Scott County Park in Davenport, Iowa Saturday at 2pm. We traveled through the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. This park is absolutely beautiful! 1,280 acres located 9 miles north of Davenport, where I was born and grew up.

This morning it rained hard for a couple of hours, the first precipitation on the whole trip. It will be fun to be able to see so many old friends while we are here. We spent the afternoon with my cousin and his wife touring and bringing back memories.

My daughter, her husband, and my granddaughter live here and have spent the last two evenings with us. After dinner tonight we had a fire and roasted marshmallows.

As of today, I finally got out Cyber News as I could only mail a few hundred per day.

Haven't had time to work on photos but I did post the last four pictures on this gallery and this one.

Hope things are good with you. Drop us a line.

Life is good.

Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Wow, haven't posted since Friday. Time flies. The wedding Saturday was superb. Outdoors, great couple, good wine, outstanding food. Congrats Chris and Caroline.

Sunday we attended church in Franklin, Tn with David, Paula, Scott, and Leslie. The church was so much like ours in Phoenix and we really enjoyed it. I can't tell you how fascinated we were with this town. I would seriously consider moving there. After church we had lunch, then headed for Pigeon Forge, some 4 hours to the East. Staying in a KOA.

Monday we drove through part of the Smoky Mountain National Park, namely Cade's Cove and along the way saw old cabins, churches and other buildings built in the early 1800s. At one cabin, while I was taking a photo, we met a woman and her daughter. The mother's great grandmother lived in the cabin! At another stop while walking through an old barn a five foot black snake slithered in front of us. My skin crawled but I still got some pictures of him.

Tuesday we drove to Gatlinburg and were very surprised at what a quaint town it was. We rode a tram to the top of a mountain, and that was fun.

Today we spent the day at Dollywood, just a short distance from our RV resort. A fun day, and it seems like all we did is eat!

Tomorrow we will explore more of the mountains and looking forward to some good pictures, although it's still a little early for turning of the leaves.

The first thing this morning I posted Cyber News on the net, but this ISP won't let me mass email anyone, so that's got me frustrated. Oh well, not the end of the world. I'll try from the Quad Cities.

The day before the Wedding

This was a fun day. We met David and Paula in downtown Nashville and visited a thousand gift shops. Had to have a t-shirt you know, and of course a visit to Starbucks. We drove to Franklin, 20 minutes south and had lunch with our friends Scott and Leslie Lehman. They moved here from the Quad Cities and he has a most interesting occupation. What a great couple!

Then we went to the wedding sight for the rehearsal and so David could do interviews with the bride and groom for a video production. After that the four of us had a very relaxing dinner.

Franklin is a fabulous town, very quaint, and very nice people. It would be a great place to live!

We've done lots of driving in this large metropolis and I don't know how we would have found anything without the GPS. That, along with the cell phone adds a lot of convenience to life.

Incidentally, I used the GPS to find an Apple store yesterday. Long drive. After not being able to use my phone for two days, I was anxious to hear the verdict. We were met at the door by a friendly young lady who asked if she could help us. I told her that my IPhone was dead. She took it from me, pushed two buttons to reset and it was fixed in 3 seconds. Boy, did I have egg on my face. Don't we all have to be humbled from time to time?


Got to sleep in a little longer today because we only had a 4 hour drive to Nashville. Arrived at the RV Resort at 2pm. This place is really nice and only a half mile from The Grand Ole Oprey. It's where the stars stay that have those deluxe motor coaches. Now for the punch line....We are parked right next to "Larry the Cable Guy!" He was thrilled to meet me....just kidding. I said hi but that was about all the conversation we had. We'll see if he gets any friendlier in the next few days. What went wrong today you ask? Well, my fancy dancy Iphone quit working! How did we live without them? So my project the first thing in the morning is to find an Iphone store.

Going to sit outside now that the sun has gone down and have a drink. Life is good.


You gotta love life! You know why? Because everyday is an adventure, and that's what we had today. We left the Oklahoma City KOA, which by the way was very nice, and headed for Memphis.

East of Little Rock, Arkansas we stopped for fuel. In some stations it can get awkward with a big rig. There were semi trucks all over the place and to get to the pump I had to make a tight turn. Too tight, as in the turn we heard an explosion. The corner of the RV hit the back window of the truck and we had glass all over the place. We filled up and since we were an hour from Little Rock we had little choice but to make the trip with a lot of noise.

Now you can imagine this gave a whole new meaning to moving down the highway. We had the feeling the RV was coming through the big hole at our back. My co-pilot plugged in "Auto Glass" in the GPS and it took us to Safelite. I had visions of being hostage in Bill Clinton's home town for a week while they ordered the window.

After maneuvering the rig into their small parking lot I walked in the office and told my story to the receptionist. She said "Would you like the plain, the heated version, or the tinted one?" I couldn't believe my ears. I said "Well, the one that I did have was heated and tinted. She said, "You got it." I thought this is going to cost a fortune. The bill was only $174 installed, and we were out of there in an hour. Thank you to the Safelite team! (The are all over the U.S.)

When we arrived in Memphis we again stopped for fuel and would you believe I had to back up and pull forward about 100 times to get out of the spot I was in. By now I'm frustrated and tired after another 9 hours of driving. I'm really looking forward to the Memphis KOA and a glass of wine.

I missed the exit, went 10 miles out of the way to get to our RV Resort arriving 4 minutes before the office closed. Plugged in the water and electricity, went inside and poured that glass of wine. Setting up my computer and monitor I moved the table slightly to plug in a USB cable and spilled the wine all over the place.

We are safe and sound, no one got hurt, we made a memory, and I'll sleep like a baby tonight.

Short drive to Nashville tomorrow.


Nine hours on I40 today. At one fuel stop in Texas I was parked next to a burly man driving a flat bed truck. The bed was loaded with salt blocks for the farm animals and sitting on top of the blocks were his two dogs. We talked about diesel prices and he said in his Texas drawl, "I was very happy the other day drivin' down the highway after just payin' $3.82 a gallon, and then I had to laugh at myself!" Isn't it funny how we are now thrilled to have prices under $4.oo. The further East we drove the better the prices and at our last stop in Oklahoma City it was $3.73. The KOA here is very nice with lots of trees and a mile off the Interstate, much quieter than last night. Interstate 40 paralells old Route 66 so the big gas stops have plenty of stuff related to that era. "Get your kicks on Route 66!"

You know, when you sit driving for that long, there's plenty of time to think and most people will bring back memories. Good memories are fun to relive, but so is living for today. We have a saying on the back of our RV which states: "Heal the Past, Live the Present, Dream the Future."

Tomorrow morning it's off to Elvis' home town.


Wonderful trip today with a light sprinkle in New Mexico, just enough to ruin the wash job on the truck and the RV. Not complaining. At a fuel stop in Winslow Arizona a rig pulled up next to us at the diesel pumps and I struck up a conversation with the driver. Said they were headed for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and that's our second stop after the wedding in Nashville. We'll be there at the same time. Small world.

Tonight we are in an RV resort in Albuquerque with much milder temps than Phoenix which is a delight. In two weeks this town will again host the annual hot air balloon festival, the most photographed event in the world. Maybe next year we'll be here for that.

Monday it's Interstate 40 all the way to Oklahoma City.

Be Kind to Your Computer

We pick up our RV today and will be spending tonight and Saturday loading her up for the trip. Church Saturday evening and hit the road Sunday morning.

I'm working on October's Cyber News and included a paragraph about getting mad at your computer, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peak. I remember a few years ago, here in Phoenix, police were called to a residence with a report of gun shots. You guessed it. The guy was so mad at his computer that he shot up the monitor! True story. I took this photo last summer out in the desert while riding our ATV. I guess that person lost his temper too, or just maybe it's the same guy that was in the news!

Look for a video in next month's Cyber News that will really make you think twice before you get mad at your computer!

Enjoy your weekend.

Our Septembr Trip

This week we're busy preparing for our month long trip. So much to think about, like paying bills ahead, cleaners, food, clothes, etc. The great part about this is we are not limited as if we were going to fly. The RV holds tons of stuff!

We'll depart PHX on Sunday 9/21 and spend the first night in Albuquerque. The next night in Oklahoma City, third in Memphis, and arrive in Nashville on Wed. We'll meet our friends David and Paula there and we'll attend my friend Spike's daughter's wedding.

Will leave Nashville on Sun 9/28 and the four of us will travel to Smoky Mountain National Park and stay there for a week, then north to the Quad Cities. We'll stay there about 10 days, time enough to visit family and lots of friends. Life is good!

Lisa & Jason

We received good news today that Lisa and the kids will be able to return to Houston on Thursday, 9/18. They have been in a motel in San Antonio for the past week, escaping the rampage of Hurricane Ike. Jason stayed behind to guard the house and has had no electricity since Ike hit. Limited food in the stores and no gas in most stations. Over 2 million people without power. They still don't have power at their home, but utilities, gas, food, etc are slowly returning. We are just glad that they are safe!