Chatting with Collin Klein in NYC (Heisman Presser)

NYC: Interviewing Manti (Heisman Trophy Presser)


His First! The 8-Point Buck

Early this morning, my friend Joe Beach shot this thick ol' deer somewhere in the woods of Harbor Springs.


Making a Splash by Sponsoring a Pool Lane

Props to Kay Seelye, the owner of Kilwins/Charlevoix, for her sponsorship.

The Charlevoix Area Community Pool is a well-maintained, family-friendly facility that couldn't exist without its generous benefactors.

Lifeguard Danny Ryosa (pictured) notes, "We promote a healthy lifestyle, a positive atmosphere, and it has a good impact on the community."


Bill of Rights for Air Travelers

My realtor, Mac, appears at the 0.31 mark in this commercial which promotes Lakeshore Express Airways.


Sun. Inspiration: Of Merry Hearts & Shock Absorbers

Chaplain Jesse of Truckstop Ministries explains a spiritual truth by employing a practical example: "Life without joy is like a vehicle without shock absorbers. A vehicle's shock absorbers are designed to cushion the vehicle from unexpected bumps in the road. Without them, the vehicle would fall apart from the violent blows encountered during its travels.

People are often the same way.

As we travel on the road of life, most of the time we are not looking for bumps or potholes. So when they suddenly show up, we're not ready for them. The Holy Spirit — our God-given 'shock absorber' — cushions the blow until we can readjust and adapt our thinking to accommodate the sudden change in the ride. Joy is to life what shock absorbers are to vehicles. It won’t take the potholes out of the road, but it sure makes the ride smoother. Laughter and joy are the shock-absorbing cushions of life and can radically change our perspective."

John 16:33 " ... but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (KJV)


UMass/Amherst In the Big House

Today, at 3:30.

Will the Minutemen prevail against the Wolverines? Uh, no. In fact, QB Mike Wegzyn might consider Tebowing, like, right now.

Update: Michigan 63, Massachusetts 13

Saturday Sighting: Structures of Note

Earlier in the week, I boarded a ferry to Mackinac Island where no cars are allowed - only horses and bikes. Once a year big shot politicos converge on the island. (They attend a policy conference at the Grand Hotel.)

While I wasn't charmed by the messes the hard-working horses made in the streets, I did like the variety of architecture I saw.

Like the Round Island Lighthouse. What a setting!

Notice the roof made of bark on this historic property located near downtown Mackinac Island.

This palatial Victorian has a water view.

Mackinac Island in the distance.

Back on land, near Mackinaw City, I checked out the McGulpin Point lighthouse. Here's what it looked like, before it was restored.

And this contemporary beach house at The Headlands, a dark sky park. Rent it for your group, and spend a weekend stargazing.

The upside of living in an underpopulated resort area is that there's always something interesting and pleasant to see, either made by God or by man.


Friday Fun: A Grouse Stops Traffic

The few grouse I've accidentally encountered, in the northern Michigan woods, are always skittery and jittery. But this one stood still long enough to let me snap a photo (through a car window).


Young Life Hearts Kids

My profile of Cory Gibson and the Little Traverse Bay Area Young Life chapter.

(Click on the photo, so you can better see the message on Cory's tee-shirt.)

Crossposted at Northern Michigan Daily News.


A Tree Grows in Lynchburg

When I was in Lynchburg, VA this past summer, I noticed this simple plaque on a lawn near my son's apartment building.

Here's the tree that was planted "in memory," a tasteful way to remember 9-11.


The Third-Generation Photog

The Ironman's co-worker's photographer wife rates a nice write-up in the local paper.

And what a great photo of Jana!


Sunday Inspiration: Sara Weaver

A couple of years ago I wrote about Randy Weaver's eldest daughter for the Belgrade News.

So I was interested to learn that Sara Weaver Balter has written a memoir of sorts. In From Ruby Ridge to Freedom: "Sara shares her family memories, life struggles, life lessons, personal family photos, the days of the siege where she lost her mom and little brother, and most importantly, her message of forgiveness."

When I interviewed Sara, who is married and has a young son and lives in Montana, she shared that she has indeed forgiven the federal government agents responsible for the death of her loved ones at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Apparently she continues to have the 'peace that passes all understanding'. Sara has eschewed bitterness. She has chosen wisely.


Saturday Sighting: A Little Brown Toad

Another day, another cute squatter in my planters.

Brownie has bonded with the flamingo ornament; must be pining for a Turks & Caicos vacation.

Rent Fake Paparazzi & Bodyguards, Don Some Shades

And, you, too, can be an overnight sensation. Here's the story of how an average guy named Brett Cohen effectively punk'd a few folks in NYC by pretending to be a celeb.


Friday Fun: It's Not Easy Being Small

Earlier in the week, I discovered this mini frog sitting so still (on the solar light that's inserted into one of my garden planters) that I mistook 'Kermit' for an ornament.

Must be a patriotic sort as Kermit returned to the same spot, yesterday.


Off Till Tuesday

May your Labor Day be a restful one. I'm so glad the fall-like weather is starting to arrive!

Mid-morning update: My friend, Larry Kelley, just appeared on Fox and Friends, so I had to post this video of his interview. Did you enjoy the limo ride down to the Newton studio, Lar?


Saturday Sighting: Wall of Cups

Photo snapped outside Roast & Toast


Good for Janna!

For proving that a gal can look like a million bucks, at a once-in-a-lifetime event, without blowing 2k on a dress.

Response to Romney's Job Creation Plan

The smart Bob Adelmann has penned a very good column exposing the puffery (my word, not Bob's) behind Mitt Romney's claim (last night) that his administration will create 12 million jobs.

He writes, "His five-point plan consists of attaining energy independence by the year 2020, strengthening the educational system, forging new trade agreements with foreign countries, cutting the deficit with the ultimate goal of balancing the budget, helping small businesses, and repealing ObamaCare. With the possible exception of 'helping small businesses' — whatever that means — nothing in his plan addresses the issue of job creation.

The key issue isn’t job creation but wealth creation. Nothing in his platform talks about making it easier for employers to create more value by making it easier for them to make profits."

Read the whole thing here.

In the photo: Bob A.


When Hand Saws Were the Method Du Jour

Old-Timey Northwest Logging: Tom of Montana passed along this photo.

The Self-Made, Echo Boomer Anchorman

Fast-talking Philip DeFranco, a 26-year-old with no formal journalism training, has been hired by YouTube to cover the Republican National Convention and the DNC.

Phil usually hyper-chats about current events and the pop culture with oddball props - angry bird plushie dolls.

While Phil's style isn't necessarily my cuppa, I gotta admit: The angry birds and grunty pigs (an ingenious game!) is a plucky touch.


MI State Sen. Tom Casperson Challenges Nature Conservancy Racket

Those well-compensated executive directors, et al., at these left-leaning land conservancies, who do little meaningful work and often don't practice what they preach, just got their artificial little worlds rocked:

"A state senator who introduced Michigan’s controversial land cap law now wants nonprofit land conservancies to pay property taxes -- unless they provide unlimited public access and allow motorized vehicles in privately owned nature preserves.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said he has drafted legislation that could ensure public access to tens of thousands of acres of private natural areas owned by groups like The Nature Conservancy.

'This will provide more recreation opportunities and ensure residents get some benefit from their communities receiving fewer tax dollars due to the tax exemption in current law,' Casperson said."

This article notes why this all came about: "A bill that would require land conservancies such as the Little Traverse Conservancy to either pay property tax on their nature preserves or open the preserves to all uses started because of a dogsled race.

The race, which ran from Marquette to Newberry, would have had to cross land owned by The Nature Conservancy, an international nonprofit land conservancy with a Lansing chapter.

'(The Nature Conservancy) wanted the racers to carry $5 million worth of liability,' said Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). 'The dogsled race would have been useless, they couldn't spend that much for liability. Newberry was the one who brought it to our attention, saying we need those tourism dollars into our area, and they couldn't see the logic in not allowing the dogsledders across it.'

Casperson said when he looked into the situation, he found that the conservancy, like other nonprofit organizations, isn't required to pay property taxes on the land it owns."

FYI: The Nature Conservancy's motto is "protecting nature, preserving life."

One could add, "and not paying their fair share."

KUTGW Senator Casperson!


In the Mitten State: Growth, The Good Kind

Welcome news for an entrepreneurial giant and for java drinkers: "Biggby Coffee held its first meeting for employees in 1999 and hasn't appeared to slow down with its rapid growth since.

Bob Fish, the company's co-founder, said in a newsletter delivered to customers, employees and stakeholders this week that Biggby has experienced 32 consecutive months of 'same-store-sales growth.'

One of the reasons appears to be expansion of stores selling their popular beverages, including several recent openings and signed store agreements in Metro Detroit."

Finally: " ... Biggby's growth, compared to a June. 25 Nation's Restaurant News report of other coffee companies, outpaced the growth rates of Panera Bread (12.21%), Dunkin' Donuts (4.71%), Starbucks (7.28%), Tim Horton's (5.48%) and McDonalds (4.39%) by 6 to 13%."

In the photo: The baristas of the Biggby's of Petoskey (which opened in July of 2011) ... from left to right: Mel, Jessica, Kaitlyn, Hannah


Sat. Sighting: Big Bro Watches a .... Bear?

My friend, Joe B.'s (a real-life, working Everyman, as opposed to this Joe turned celebrity) infrared camera caught this image of a Yogi.


The Four Boxes

Thanks to "old" Tom for sending me this punchy visual.

Friday Fun: Stained Glass Art

A stained-glass, medieval window, of the sort one sees in a cathedral in Europe, is awe-inspiring.

However, there are many affordable, simple ways to bring some colored 'glass' art into less grandiose surroundings (translation: Middle American tract homes).

Via one of these stars.

Or, making this stunning quilt.

There's even a fast-and-easy paper stained glass project to do with the kiddies or grandkiddies.


In Virginia: Chris the Baker

He did built it!

Listen to the spirited owner of Crumb and Get it.


Youth Revealed, Maybe

You'd think the members of the Harvard baseball team would be too hoity-toity to post something like this on YouTube.

Set to the tune of the catchy Call Me, Maybe, sung by Carly Rae Jepsen, the road trip video went viral. It also inspired many knockoffs - from other college sports teams, military personnel abroad, and even the U.S. swimming team.

Ah, youth.


This Was on a Sidewalk?!?

One of the more sophisticated entries at a local chalk art contest.

The 6-Step Plan to Perfect Peanut Brittle

1) Stirring.

2) Pouring.

3) Patting.

4) Spreading.

5) Smiling!

6) Hireling.

(Because without a hard-working chef there would be no top-notch peanut brittle.)

**Photos of Jeffrey S. snapped at Kilwins flagship store.**


Sunday Inspiration: Using our Gifts

Track-and-field star Allyson Felix (pictured, right), who struck gold at the 2012 London Olympics, has stated, "For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it's all about using it to the best of my ability."

Two observations.

First, Miss Felix expresses herself like that, due to her religious roots. Her dad, Dr. Paul Felix is a professor of the New Testament at the conservative The Master's Seminary in Sun Valley, California.

Second, I believe God has given each of us a special gift (or talent, if you will). While we may not earn an Olympic spot exercising our gifts, I also believe we will experience the joy that Allyson must have experienced when she mounted the podium to receive her medals.


Friday Fun: United Bates of America

Yo, Maria. Meet the Bates. Another super-sized, wholesome Christian family who tout the virtues of home education.

Friday Fun: Amateur Landscaping

The Ironman invited me to beautify a scraggly, weedy site at his place of his work.


So we're not master gardeners, but the whole project cost us (geranium plants and bark mulch) less than $10, and we did in about an hour, weeding included.


Commitment to the Founding Documents Pays Off, Part 2

Economist Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale faculty, speaking at BHYC

A story I wrote (for the Northern Michigan Daily News) about Hillsdale College's Freedom Forum which took place earlier this week at the Bay Harbor Yacht Club in Bay Harbor, MI.


The All American Clothing Co.

Ladies and Gents, there's an opportunity to buy American-made clothing from a company based in Ohio.

BJ Nickol, a co-founder of this free-market enterprise, explains the mission of the All American Clothing Company: " ... to support USA families and jobs by producing high-quality clothing in the USA at an affordable price. By keeping our production in the USA we provide jobs and a tax base that supports our communities."

"We care about our country and the people in it; if we were only in it for money we would move our production overseas. We will NOT trade USA jobs for foreign profits."

Wow, just wow.

There are some bargains to be found. Browse around the website, and you'll see what I mean.

Hat tip: W.L.


Social Safari: Top O'Michigan Outboard Marathon Nationals

A 2-day boat race covering 87 miles on northern Michigan's inland waterways.

Yesterday, the Ironman and I caught the Crooked River section (in Alanson) of the race.

Unexpected drama, right at our host's shoreline, when a racer's motor collapsed on the unfortunate chap's back. (He was limping some, but mostly ok. Probably more upset that he was no longer in the competition.)

This is what sidelined looks like.

Watching the other racers zoom by.


Sun. Inspiration: In the Forest, Near the Big-Sea-Water

I've seen the same heron enough times, now, that a naming is called for - Hiawatha.

In the Old Testament, God even had a mandate concerning this creation of His.

Deuteronomy 14: 12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 13 the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, 14 any kind of raven, 15 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17 the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, 18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

There you go, Hiawatha.