Archive for November, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

We decided to do a low-impact meal and did an eleven o’clock dinner at the Snoqualmie Casino buffet.  I really enjoy these kinds of things. I love grazing with so many choices.  I ended up sampling turkey, dressing, ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, carrots, mac and cheese, crab legs and even a little slice of pizza.

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Ugly Front Page

Yikes! Today’s advertisement-laden Seattle Times weighed something like five pounds.  A real monstrosity.  Even worse though, is the home page of the Times online edition.  Is this one of the ugliest things you’ve ever seen?

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The Delusional Mr. Ballmer

I don’t work at Microsoft any longer and I dumped the last of my MSFT stock earlier this year.  And I feel good about it especially after reading the description of the latest shareholders’ meeting.  Mr. Ballmer reprised his past performances, telling everyone what a great year the company had and how rosy the future is, emphasizing –get this–: “We are in the Windows era. We were, we are and we always will be.”  How’s that for thinking outside the box?  He’s saying effectively, “You know that stuff we did in 1981?  It was great and that’s all we’re ever going to do.”

I’m stunned how a CEO and corporate board can have so little regard for the shareholders.  They absolutely don’t care that MSFT stock price has been flat for a decade and seem to think it’s unreasonable for shareholders to ask for a better ROI than zero.

MSFT 10-Year Stock Price Graph

MSFT ended the day yesterday at $26.74.  Ten years ago, Nov. 16 2001, it closed at $32.88.  By comparison, McDonalds, another mature company with a pretty basic product line has managed to raise its share price from $28.01 to $94.47 while paying out a 2.5% dividend.

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Final Handicap Number for the Year

I ended the year with a handicap index of 13.3, one-half stroke better than last year’s final number and one stroke above my low for the year of 12.3 on September 1st.  This very much mirrors my scoring pattern of last year but I have been maintaining a lower scoring average through the end of the year better than in my earlier golfing years of  2005-08. I’m sure getting much below 12.0 is going to be very difficult.

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Eek! First snow of the year

We had some sleet over the weekend but this afternoon we have a little dusting of real snow.  I guess I’m just as happy for winter to get here and get it over with so we can get back to yard work and golf as soon as possible.

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Under 80 Again!

I’ve always liked fall golf but my scores have not usually been all that good once the leaves begin to cover the edges of the fairways.  Things have been a bit different this year, though.  This morning I shot a ho-hum seven over par 79 at Mt. Si, my second sub-80 round in two weeks.  It was an unspectacular but very steady round.  No long drives, no long putts or chip ins.  Just eleven pars and seven bogeys.  The short game carried the day for me.  I hit just one green in regulation and two fairways over the last eleven holes but knocked enough chip shots close to  get by with just 13 putts over that stretch.  I’m looking forward to seeing where my handicap ends up with next week’s final update for the year.

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Fall in North Bend

It’s been clear since we returned from our California/Arizona trip that it’s fall.  There’s no escaping the early sunsets, persistent gray skies and cool, drizzly days.  But we also get scenes like this: a delightfully cool afternoon with bands of sun, clouds and rain showers that occasionally paint a lovely rainbow over the mountains.

Our front yard

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Saber-Toothed…. Squirrel

Illustration: Jorge Gonzalez/Guillermo Rougier

What a concept.  I look at the little guy munching on peanuts all day in our back yard and it’s hard to imagine him with big fangs sticking out of his little muzzle.  But his ancestors apparently had a more ferocious look.  Scientists describe Cronopio dentiacutus as a mouse-sized critter with a long snout, large eyes and super long canine fangs.


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Second Day in a Row Golf Surprise

As I prepared to tee off this morning I wasn’t expecting much of a round.  Winds were howling at 30-40 mph and following yesterday’s 76 I figured I’d most likely shoot a score more in line with my 13.6 handicap.  Anything under 90 would have been fine.  And that’s how the day started: eight over par through the first six holes.

Then on the 500-yard 7th hole I launched a 270 yard wind-aided drive.  I followed that with a 5 wood that stopped on the green just 18 feet from the cup.  I missed my first ever eagle putt but the tap-in birdie was followed by two pars for 43 on the front nine.

The back nine was an unusual adventure.  Following an easy par on hole 10 I hit my next tee shot into the woods and flailed through holes 11 and 12 five strokes over par.  Amazingly enough, though, I 1-putted every hole except number 16 for just 10 putts on the final nine holes and 23 for the round.  In spite of some inconsistent ball-striking I shot an 85.  That took my scoring average for the year down to 87.87.

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Golf Surprise: 76

A weak initial drive and bogey 5 on the frosty opening hole offered little hint of the round I ended up with this morning at Mt. Si.  After bogey, double bogey, bogey on the 6th, 7th and 8th holes I approached the 9th tee five over par; an ok score but nothing remarkable.  But I played the final ten holes at one under par to shoot 76, tying my personal best score (last done, Sept. 15 2010).  Three birdies and nine pars, along with just 27 putts supported generally good ball-striking.

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